Two Reasons To Run

For fans of drama, secrets, and small town suspense

Two Reasons to Run by Colleen Coble brings readers back to Pelican Harbor. Note: It helps to read One Little Lie first, as Two Reasons to Run picks up a few weeks later. Jane and Reed’s relationship is on shaky ground, while Jane tries to get to know her son. But naturally Jane finds herself smack in the middle of another mystery.

While the story brings drama and intrigue, much of the plot centers around the characters trying to figure out their ever-changing circumstances. Jane now becomes a mother after fifteen years. Reed deals with his son, his feelings for Jane, discovering his long lost relatives, and his ex-wife. Jane is a great character – her credits include being police chief and having escaped a cult. She’s strong, yet comes to grips with her need to let others into her life – especially Reed. She struggles to forgive both her father and Reed for past lies.

The plot is complex and I like that it follows the same characters as the prior novel – but don’t think things will be wrapped up when you read this story. It definitely leads into the next novel in the series.

As far as suspense, the small-town-murder-mystery vibe continues from One Little Lie. Jane investigates in the midst of death threats and multiple murder. Things get intense when Jane’s son becomes a target. Not too many plot twists, but the story is fast paced with enough intrigue to keep suspense fans happy.

You can’t go wrong with a Colleen Coble novel. She always brings readers great characters and edgy, intense story lines. Definitely check out this series.

**********Audio Book Review**********
I am such a fan of audiobooks, so I was excited to receive my first review copy for an audio version! I thought the narrator (Devon O’Day) was fantastic and kept up the suspense level throughout the story. I find fast-paced novels work best on audio, and the pacing and story line mixed well together. There is only one narrator, which I prefer over a variety for each character. This is very enjoyable and entertaining novel as an audiobook.
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Overall Rating: 4 stars (I liked it a lot and would definitely recommend)
Suspense Rating: 4 stars (lots of action and suspense to keep me intrigued)

I received an ebook and audiobook review copy of this book through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own

Minutes to Die

For fans of race-against-the clock investigations, life-or-death plots, and danger

Minutes to Die by Susan Sleeman takes readers deep into homeland security investigations. The Red team is comprised of several different agencies responsible for tracking down terrorists and keeping Americans safe. Kiley Dawson heads up the investigation as all signs point to a massive terrorist attack to take place on the anniversary of 9/11. Her team races the clock to find the suspects and stop them.

This is the second in the Homeland Heroes series, but can be read as a stand-alone. Kiley teams up with ICE Agent Evan Bowers. He’s also an explosives expert, and naturally sparks fly between Kiley and Evan. They have a past together and Evan is the last person Kiley wanted to team up with. But they try to put aside their conflicting personal feelings to focus on their high stakes mission.

I loved the action, suspense and intensity this story brings. Millions of lives are on the line if Kiley’s team doesn’t unravel the terrorists’ plot and get one step ahead of them. This is a great book for fans of investigations – readers get an intense look at the Red Team in action. This is a must read for fans of high-adrenaline action and suspense!

Overall: 5 stars (I loved it, couldn’t put it down)
Suspense: 5 stars (Non-stop edge-of-your-seat suspense from start to finish)

I received an ebook review copy of this book through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Acceptable Risk

For fans of action, suspense, and danger

Acceptable Risk by Lynette Eason should come with a warning label. “You might lose sleep when you can’t put this book down.” This story had me hooked from start to finish, with intriguing characters and a complex, action-packed plot.

This is book two in the Danger Never Sleeps series, but can definitely be read as a stand alone. Sarah Denning is a military journalist who gets discharged and sent state side after being injured during a kidnapping. Gavin Black is put in charge of her security, even though she doesn’t know her overbearing father arranged it. But Sarah stumbles headfirst into danger through a variety of circumstances. She meets a strange and disturbed woman in the hospital who disappears. Her brother commits suicide but the facts surrounding it don’t add up. And then several attempts are made on her life. It all adds up to one intense and suspense-filled novel.

Sarah’s strength shines through the story as she fights for justice for her brother and others. The plot twists are endless and the bad guys are pure evil. Gavin realizes his place isn’t “knight in shining armor” and wrestles with how to protect Sarah but give her the freedom she craves.

All suspense fans should move Acceptable Risk to the number one spot on your TBR lists. You won’t want to miss this.

Overall: 5 stars (I loved it, couldn’t put it down)

Suspense: 5 stars (Non-stop edge-of-your-seat suspense from start to finish)

I received an ebook review copy of this book through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

The Black Midnight

For fans of historical fiction, suspense and true crimes

The Black Midnight mixes historical fiction, romance and suspense into an intriguing novel. Anne Walters is a Pinkerton detective by day, but is secretly a British royal. She wants to live her life outside of family obligations. She gets assigned to Texas to work with Isaiah Joplin to hunt down a serial killer.  

I’m typically not a fan of the 1800’s or romance themes. But I enjoyed everything about this novel. First – the suspense. The murders in Austin, TX become linked to a series of murders in England, which eventually leads to the hunt for Jack the Ripper. Anne and Isaiah work to connect the string of murders between the two continents. Also, Anne is a female Pinkerton detective, which was rare for women during this time period, not to mention someone with a royal background. Anne takes a strong lead in this novel, as a detective and as she stands up to her family.

As far as the romance, I enjoyed Anne and Isaiah discovering their feelings for each other. Of course it falls into the forbidden love category as Anne could never marry someone who wasn’t a royal and chosen by her family. Her desire to be independent and work as a detective clashes with the desire to please her family. And Isaiah appreciates Anne’s investigation skills and sees her for so much more than the roles women of this time period traditionally held.  

I found this story intriguing from the historical aspect. I didn’t know much about Jack the Ripper, and I liked the author’s notes in the end with the research details. Kathleen Y’Barbo tacked a big topic and created a suspenseful story with heartwarming characters that will keep readers hooked until the very last page.

Overall: 5 stars (I loved it, couldn’t put it down)
Suspense: 5 stars (Non-stop edge-of-your-seat suspense from start to finish)

I received an ebook review copy of this book through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Set the Stars Alight

For fans of epic storytelling, split time periods, and a magical setting

Set the Stars Alight transports readers into an unbelievable setting, with incredible characters and an enchanting story.  Lucy Clairmont searches for a long-lost ship which disappeared centuries ago.  But she stumbles on so much more as she follows a trail of breadcrumbs her father left her in the form of fairy-tale-like stories.

Set in two time periods, the story weaves the tale of the past with Lucy’s modern day search. She winds up being led by Dashel, her long lost childhood love, to Stone’s Throw Farm to search for proof of the infamous shipwreck. Amanda Dykes has a powerful writing style that creates deep and meaningful characters. I loved Lucy’s struggle to find herself as she connects with a town and people seeped in mystery. I fell in love with Dash, his quirkiness and genius bringing out the best in Lucy. The stories, both past and present, are seeped in imagery and themes of love and sacrifice.

“The world is dark, so dark we sometimes forget the stars. But they are always there—we need only fight to see these places of brilliant light, these echoes of the truest stories.”

The combination of Dash and Lucy makes the story rich. She is a maritime archaeologist, and he is a forensic astronomer. Together they take their childhood stories and piece them together to understand the legend behind the missing ship, the Jubilee. Their connection is deep as the waters and sky they search.

I will add that this story isn’t a quick read. I love to read as I fall asleep at night, but I had to stay awake and pay attention to absorb every word for the story to come together in my mind. I’ll probably be re-reading this one someday as there’s so much meaning and imagery in every word. I 100% recommend this to fiction lovers who want to be immersed in a beautiful and intriguing tale.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Overall: 5 stars (I loved it, couldn’t put it down)
Suspense: 4 stars (lots of action and suspense to keep me intrigued)

I received an ebook review copy of this book through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

The Crushing Depths

For fans of action, romantic suspense and coastal settings

The Crushing Depths by Dani Pettrey is non-stop action from start to finish. This is the second in the series, but probably could be read as a stand-alone (but if you follow me, you know I refuse to read a series out of order.) Someone is sabotaging an oil rig. An old curse surfaces as CGIS agents Mason Rogers and Rissi Dawson search for answers as the body count rises higher than the tides. Meanwhile Noah Rowley finds himself in an adventure of his own as he tries to protect Brooke from a stalker.

Mason and Rissi’s story dials up the emotional intensity as they share a very broken childhood together, but lost touch over the years after Rissi disappeared to flee the bad situation. Mason resurfaces in the prior book, The Killing Tide, and Rissi finds herself fighting old feelings. The two are paired up on the oil rig investigation and sparks fly. I loved Rissi from The Killing Tide, and her reconnection to Mason is filled with all kinds of romantic tension. Based on their shared past, their feelings don’t take long to surface.  And Noah also has a love interest of his own. But outside of the developing relationships, the storyline is quite complex and kept me hooked to the end trying to figure out not only the culprit but the motivation behind all of the attacks. The book does a great job of blending the romance with the suspense of all of the investigations the CGIS agents are working.

I highly recommend this series for romantic suspense fans. There’s just so much action and suspense packed into this novel along with characters readers will love.

Overall: 5 stars (I loved it, couldn’t put it down)
Suspense: 5 stars (Non-stop edge-of-your-seat suspense from start to finish)

I received an ebook review copy of this book through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Relative Silence

For fans of complex mysteries, quirky characters and small town settings

Relative Silence by Carrie Stuart Parks gives readers quite the experience. The story centers around the Boone family and their lives on the private and exclusive Curlew Island. The location is mysterious, but the skeletons in the family’s closet make this story a page-turner. Piper still reals from her own tragedy as she lost her child fifteen years prior. But the Curlew Curse strikes again as Piper is the target of an attack. She decides to rehash the past as things don’t add up. A missing sister, the robbery that lead to her child drowning, and her neighbor’s strange disappearance all lead Piper on a dangerous quest for the truth. Even if the truth means that someone in her family is a murder.

This story is full of complex plot twists and the off-beat characters enhance the overall drama. Quirky isn’t even the best adjective to describe some of the characters. Piper has so many internal issues stemming from her overbearing family. Tucker Landry saves Piper’s life, but he has so many struggles from his past that he can barely function.  Mandy is with the Coast Guard and her southern accent gives off a weird vibe as it mixes with her Asian roots. Piper’s family lives super elitist lives, but their shallowness can barely mask their eccentric ways. The characters are broken and hidden secrets can’t be contained any longer. Plus, a hurricane is bearing down on the island, threatening to decimate the family estate. So much is going on in this story, but it all adds to the mystery and suspense that kept me flipping pages. Towards the end, some of the action seemed a little unbelievable, but I was so sucked into the story and characters that it didn’t seem to matter. I kept thinking, what else could happen? and then the next page would throw out yet another over the top twist. I couldn’t even guess the culprit – everyone was a suspect with the amount of baggage all of the characters carried.

I recommend suspense fans checking out this novel. It gives readers a fast-paced novel full of plot twists and outlandish characters. This kind of reminds me of some of the Agatha Christie novels like And Then There were None, where you have a cast of characters all in one place and any of them can be a suspect in the murder. This story definitely has an old-school mystery vibe to it.

Overall: 5 stars (I loved it, couldn’t put it down
Suspense: 5 stars (Non-stop edge-of-your-seat suspense from start to finish)

I received an ebook review copy of this book through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

The Green Dress

For fans of historical fiction, true crimes, and gritty dramas

The Green Dress by Liz Tolsma is part of the True Colors series. These stories are based on actual crimes in American history, and this novel focuses on the notorious Robinson family. One by one, family members die a slow and agonizing death. Harriet Peters, caregiver to the children and friend of the family, begins to realize that it’s way too coincidental that so many people in the same family all died the same way. She invites her own doctor, Michael Wheaton, to help investigate and keep the children safe from the mysterious illness that has taken the lives of so many.

This story is creepy! I read up on the historical events, and the author did a great job of bringing this story from the pages of the past and turning it into a suspenseful and intriguing story. This novel is gritty and dark, not a light read. There is a love story that develops to lighten the mood a bit. I’m usually not a fan of stories set in the 1800’s, but the author did a lot of research and the setting just adds to the macabre and nightmarish circumstances. It’s hard to believe this is based on real life! Also, by the time you understand why the title is The Green Dress, your head will be spinning.

Definitely check this novel out, especially if you like gritty true crime stories.

Overall: 5 stars (I loved it, couldn’t put it down)
Suspense: 5 stars (Non-stop edge-of-your-seat suspense from start to finish)

I received an ebook review copy of this book through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Dead Silence

For fans of intriguing plots, fact pace action and danger

Dead Silence is a fast-paced suspense novel that puts readers into the action right from the start. Elise Carmichael is able to read lips due to her hearing impaired son. She “overhears” a conversation about a murder plot. Things intensify when mysterious packages show up at her house, threatening her and her family.

Robin Caroll’s novels are always full of mystery and intrigue. Elise had many struggles before being threatened, as she suddenly found herself as a single mother and a widow. Her plight to protect her son and find herself again makes her a likable character. Lots of plot twists will readers engaged throughout the story. But I did find a few situations in the novel not entirely believable. While Elise is a strong and fierce character, she does act unrealistic when she decides to solve crimes with the help of a news reporter.  Elise at times seems oblivious to the danger around her. She withholds a lot of information from the FBI, which would have helped their investigation. It seemed like the FBI bumbled through the investigation while the “rookies” of the story were able to find out more than the agents. I wished the FBI story line had more substance. FBI Agent Rodriguez had the potential to be a strong character, but he didn’t take charge and seemed pretty passive for an FBI agent. However, this didn’t stop me from enjoying the story.

Definitely add Dead Silence to your TBR list– despite my comments above, the story is full of action and suspense and is an enjoyable novel.

Overall Rating: 4 stars (I liked it a lot and would definitely recommend) Suspense Rating: 4 stars (lots of action and suspense to keep me intrigued)

I received an ebook review copy of this book through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Airborne

For Fans of Danger, Action and Complex Plots

Airborne takes readers on an action-packed adventure where biological weapons in the form of a deadly virus are unleashed on an unsuspecting airplane full of people. The virus acts fast, and Heather Lawrence, an FBI behavioral analyst, happens to be on the flight and immediately starts to work on assessing the situation.

The story is intense. People are dying, trapped on a plane circling the airport because if they land, they risk triggering a pandemic. Heather’s estranged husband is a suspect, since Chad works in a laboratory that has been researching viruses. The suspense continues as the FBI hunts for the responsible party behind the attack.

I know DiAnn Mills wrote this story before we actually had a pandemic, making the story very timely. Lots of issues surround finding a vaccine and isolating the passengers of the plane that are exposed to the virus. The plot is complex with lots of twists. The story also focuses on Chad and Heather and their dying marriage. Lots of faith elements come to light as Chad struggles with “God vs science” and Heather tries to pick up the pieces of their marriage.

Overall, I enjoyed the action, suspense, and drama, and highly recommend that suspense fans check out Airborne.

Overall Rating: 4 stars (I liked it a lot and would definitely recommend)
Suspense Rating: 5 stars (lots of action and suspense to keep me intrigued)

I received an ebook review copy of this book through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Standoff

For fans of suspense, intricate mysteries, and major plot twists

Standoff is a fast-paced, suspenseful read from start to finish. Lots of twists and turns keep readers guessing until the very end.

Brooke Danvers is a new investigator with the National Park Rangers. Her father dies, but Brooke knows it wasn’t from suicide. She unwittingly teams up with her ex-boyfriend, Luke Fereday and the two deal with the investigation which includes drug smugglers, murders, car crashes, explosions and other surprising events. There’s lots of action packed into this novel. At several points, I suspected everyone. The author is great at giving red herrings, and plenty of characters have dark secrets and potential motives for murder.

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But even with the over-the-top action, the characters are well developed and likeable. Brooke and Luke struggle with unresolved feelings, but Luke’s hiding a pretty big secret from Brooke. Luke’s grandmother becomes the wise sage and dispenses wit and wisdom. Also, I liked the unique setting for the story set in small town Natchez, MS. Plus not many stories center around the National Park Rangers. The only drawback to the novel is that it ended rather quickly and I would have liked more.

Overall: 5 stars (I loved it, couldn’t put it down)
Suspense: 5 stars (Non-stop edge-of-your-seat suspense from start to finish)

I received an ebook review copy of this book from Revell Publishing and NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

The Water Keeper

For fans of gritty dramas, complex plots, and high seas adventure

The Water Keeper is a wild ride. The complex plot and broken characters put me through the emotional wringer.

Charles Martin is an off-the-charts amazing writer. His stories are rich with imagery and complex characters that work their way into your heart.  Murphy Shephard takes his boat down the coast of Florida, picking up off the wall, broken misfits with more baggage than his boat can carry. But Murphy has his own secrets, as he’s made it his life’s mission to hunt down missing women who’ve been trafficked.

The story is complex and at times weird. It took me a while to wrap my head around what was happening. So many plot twists kept me guessing, and this story is much darker and seedier than other Martin novels. The author drags readers right into the ick and evil of human trafficking.

This book has a lot of high action scenes. But at times I struggled with the reality of some of the scenes. The hero and his dog both seemed to be bullet and fire proof, and several times I found myself saying, “Really? How can that happen?”  While some of the scenarios didn’t seem plausible, the story was so good that I willingly suspended my belief. Other parts made me question, “Why would that happen?” as there were a few uncomfortable moments that made me question character motives. I don’t want to give spoilers, but the author isn’t going to deliver you a tidy story wrapped up in a bow. It’s going to leave you with questions and unsettled feelings. 

Despite my thoughts above, I loved this novel. It’s one of those stories that sticks with you long after you’ve put it down. I love when authors take chances and write something different. Some Martin fans might not hang in there through this one, but I enjoyed the characters and the overarching themes about love and evil. I like that the novel isn’t what I expected, and hope readers will embrace it for being “off the beaten path.” Figuratively, and literally – because much of the story takes place in alligator infested swamps, rivers and back-woods Florida.

Overall Rating: 4 stars (I liked it a lot and would definitely recommend)
Suspense Rating: 4 stars (lots of action and suspense to keep me intrigued)

I received an ebook review copy of this book through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.