Missing by Lisa Harris Review

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Plot according to Goodreads: Nikki Boyd Enters the Deadly World of Counterfeit Drugs to Find a Missing Woman.
Nikki Boyd isn’t usually called in on homicides; her forte is missing persons. But when a case with two murdered and two missing pops up on a quiet suburban street, she’s ready to start the investigation and find missing homeowners Mac and Lucy Hudson. When the first clues lead her to the boat of her friend Tyler Grant–and another dead body–Nikki must untangle what ties Tyler to the Hudsons. The clues pull her into a deadly maze of counterfeit drugs and a killer who will stop at nothing to silence anyone who threatens his business–including Nikki.
Christy Award-winning and bestselling author Lisa Harris puts readers right into the action in this fast-paced thriller that will have them turning pages long into the night.

My Thoughts: The cover of this book really intrigued me so I was excited to read it. This was an enjoyable thriller/ police procedural story with some big surprises. The story read like a movie, it was very easy to picture and kept me turning pages to see what would happen next. I had a few problems with the story though…there were a lot of characters and it was difficult to keep everyone straight. I also didn’t like that there is the story line of the main character’s missing sister that ran parallel to the main plot. I hadn’t read the first book so I was a bit in the dark when it came to that story line. I also didn’t find that story line particularly interesting. The author gave a bit of new information as far as that part of the plot went but it was left open for the next book.

Overall, this was an average thriller worth reading but it didn’t stand out.

My Rating: 3 stars

I received this book from Baker Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.

 

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The Things we Knew by Catherine West Review

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Goodreads Synopsis: After her mother’s death twelve years ago, Lynette Carlisle watched her close-knit family unravel. One by one, her four older siblings left their Nantucket home and never returned. All seem to harbor animosity toward their father, silently blaming him for their mother’s death. Nobody will talk about that dreadful day, and Lynette can’t remember a bit of it.

But when next-door neighbor Nicholas Cooper returns to Nantucket, he brings the past with him. Once her brother’s best friend and Lynette’s first crush, Nick seems to hiding things from her. Lynette wonders what he knows about the day her mother died and hopes he might help her remember the things she can’t.

But Nick has no intention of telling Lynette the truth. Besides the damage it might cause his own family, he doesn’t want to risk harming the fragile friendship between him and the woman he once thought of as a kid sister.

As their father’s failing health and financial concerns bring the Carlisle siblings home, secrets begin to surface—secrets that will either restore their shattered relationships or separate the siblings forever. But pulling up anchor on the past propels them into the perfect storm, powerful enough to make them question all they ever believed in.

My Thoughts: This book had mystery and romance as well as some coming of age aspects to it. Set on Nantucket, the story centers around a family with secrets and some skeletons that are coming out of the closet.

I connected a lot to the main character, Lynette…she is the youngest sibling and is treated as such…her siblings left her to take care of her ailing father and they sometimes treat her as though she is still a child. As the “baby of the family”, I found myself agreeing wholeheartedly with some of the feelings Lynette was experiencing.

The secrets are slowly revealed as the story progresses. The pacing is good, the story progressed at a pace that made me want to keep reading.

I love the setting of Nantucket, it’s a very unique place and the type of small community where word gets around fast.

The romance in this book was done very well…there was no inst-love. It was presented in a very realistic way and was very sweet.

Overall, this was a great book. I was surprised by how gritty it was, but in a good way. It would make a great beach read.

My Rating: 4 stars

I received this book from Booklook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

The Drawing Lesson by Mark Crilley Review

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Goodreads Synopsis: An instructional art book in narrative graphic novel form that uses the tale of one aspiring young artist and his reluctant mentor to impart easy-to-follow lessons on the fundamentals of drawing.

With over 10 million views and growing, Mark Crilley’s YouTube drawing instruction videos have an enormous worldwide legion of fans and have been featured on sites such as Yahoo News and Reddit. In addition, Crilley is an accomplished graphic novelist. Now for the first time, he pairs both strengths resulting in a one-of-a-kind art instruction experience. Through the story of aspiring, overeager young artist-in-the-making David and his helpful, but often flustered mentor, Becky, readers gain a grounding in the basics of drawing and rendering, along with a helping of laughs and poignant entertainment. Each lesson builds off the previous, with sidebars at the end of each chapter that direct readers to tackle some of the very same drawing exercises that David has just completed. The sequential art format provides the perfect vehicle for these step-by-step lessons, and the Pixar-esque approach to the surrounding characters and story ensures an enjoyable experience that readers will want to revisit again and again.

My Thoughts: I am not always a fan of graphic novels but this one sounded intriguing to me. I have never been good at drawing…I often draw pictures for my students to cut out at work and they are quick to point this out to me 😉  I have always wished that I could draw well but had come to the conclusion that it was something you were either good at or you weren’t. After reading this book I realized that there are some important things to know to help you be a better artist.

The lessons in this book are taught in a very fun way…the reader is learning along with David, the young boy in the book who wants to learn how to draw. He meets a woman named Becky who, reluctantly at first, teaches him some important things about being a good artist.

The story is very informative but also very touching and humorous. The artwork is gorgeous, presented in sepia tones.

Overall, this is a great book for all ages…my 10 year old daughter and I read it together and we both enjoyed it. I definitely recommend it to anyone who would like to get past drawing stick figures (like me).

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Taste and See by John Piper Review

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Synopsis: Taste and see…The Lord is good. Psalm 34:8

The soul tastes truth like the lips taste food. Spiritual hunger cries out for rich, substantial nourishment. It is remarkable how much meat these daily portions contain.

Skillfully presented by pastor John Piper, this devotional of contemporary meditations on biblical reality will whet your appetite for more of God Himself and refresh you in your daily communion with Christ.

This revision of the follow-up to the popular A Godward Life adds twenty fresh entries to the original 120 daily meditations that are solid meat and sweet milk from God’s Word. The new entries broach current and controversial subject matter, such as partial-birth abortion and gay marriage. Piper asks the hardest questions and finds wonderfully poignant but practical and applicable truths from the Bible. These 350 pages of substantive spiritual nourishment will brace readers’ minds with truth and nourish their hearts with God’s sovereign grace. Pastors and lay leaders particularly will appreciate the three indexes included. They don’t need to look any further to find a pertinent illustration or tidbit of inspiration!

My Thoughts: I have been in search of a good devotional for a while. This book is just what I was looking for. The devotions tend to range from 2-4 pages but instead of skimming the surface, they go deep into the meat of God’s word.

There is a very helpful subject index in the back of the book that allows the reader to search for various topics such as anxiety, poverty, suffering, and many more. It also has a person and scripture index.

This would be a great resource for pastors and Biblical teachers but it’s also written in terms that anyone could understand and benefit from.

Each devotion references one or various Bible verses that go with the application from the author. This is extremely important to me in this day and age, as devotions need to be backed by the Bible.

I like that I can read a devotional in 3-5 minutes and then meditate on it throughout the day. It will be very handy in the morning before work.

Overall, this is a very great devotional that will help Christians grow in their walk with Christ.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review.

There Will Be Stars by Billy Coffey Review

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Goodreads Synopsis: No one in Mattingly ever believed Bobby Barnes would live to see old age. Drink would either rot Bobby from the inside out or dull his senses just enough to send his truck off the mountain on one of his nightly rides. Although Bobby believes such an end possible—and even likely—it doesn’t stop him from taking his twin sons Matthew and Mark into the mountains one Saturday night. A sharp curve, blinding headlights, metal on metal, his sons’ screams. Bobby’s final thought as he sinks into blackness is a curious one—there will be stars.

Yet it is not death that greets him beyond the veil. Instead, he returns to the day he has just lived and finds he is not alone in this strange new world. Six others are trapped there with him.

Bobby soon discovers that rather than the place of peace he had been led to believe he was in, it’s actually a place of secrets and hidden dangers. Along with three others, he seeks to escape, even as the world around him begins to crumble. The escape will lead some to greater life, others to endless death . . . and Bobby Barnes to understand the deepest nature of love.


My Thoughts: I wasn’t sure if I would like this book because the plot seemed a bit “out there”…the parallel world or alternate heaven story line isn’t something I’ve read much about and haven’t had much interest in. But this book was impossible for me to put down. This was a very deep story that delves into the choices we make and the effects of those choices.

This book was packed with twists and turns, I never knew what to expect with each turn of the page. The story was very unpredictable, but in a good way. The characters were richly developed. I really felt like I knew each person in the book. They each had their own issues…they were gritty, very flawed, and dimensional.

The author is very gifted at story telling…while reading this book, I was in the town of Mattingly, walking beside Bobby, Dorothea, George, and all the other characters. I will definitely be picking up more of his books in the future.

The plot is very clever and thought provoking and the pacing was great. I flew through this nearly 400 page book in 2 days which is very rare for me.

Overall, this was a very unique story that kept me interested from the first page to the last. I would highly recommend it!

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Booklook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

The Ringmaster’s Wife by Kristy Cambron Review

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About the book:

The Ringmaster’s Wife (Thomas Nelson, June 2016)

An ounce of courage. A split-second leap of faith. Together, they propel two young women to chase a new life—one that’s reimagined from what they might have become.

In turn-of-the-century America, a young girl dreams of a world that stretches beyond the confines of a quiet life on the family farm. With little more than her wit and a cigar box of treasures to call her own, Mable steps away from all she knows, seeking the limitless marvels of the Chicago World’s Fair. There, a chance encounter triggers her destiny—a life with a famed showman by the name of John Ringling.

A quarter of a century later, Lady Rosamund Easling of Yorkshire, England, boards a ship to America as a last adventure before her life is planned out for her. There, the twenties are roaring, and the rich and famous gather at opulent, Gatsby-esque parties in the grandest ballrooms the country has to offer. The Jazz Age has arrived, and with it, the golden era of the American circus, whose queen is none other than the enigmatic Mable Ringling.

When Rosamund’s path crosses with Mable’s and the Ringlings’ glittering world, she makes the life-altering decision to leave behind a comfortable future of estates and propriety, instead choosing the nomadic life of a trick rider in the Ringling Brothers’ circus.

A novel that is at once captivating, deeply poignant, and swirling with exquisite historical details of a bygone world, The Ringmaster’s Wife will escort readers into the center ring, with its bright lights, exotic animals, and a dazzling performance that can only be described as the greatest show on earth!

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/28JxcaK

About the author:
 
 

Kristy Cambron fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. Her second novel, A Sparrow in Terezin, was named Library Journal Reviews’ “Pick of the Month (Christian Fiction)” for February 2015.

Cambron is an art/design manager at TheGROVEstory.com storytelling ministry. She holds a degree in art history from Indiana University and has nearly 15 years of experience in instructional design and communications for a Fortune-100 company. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three football-loving sons, where she can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good Christian fiction read.

My Thoughts: I have always been a fan of circus stories…something about the circus setting is a lot of fun to read about. This story is loosely based around Mabel Ringling’s life but the main focus is on the fictional characters of Rosamund Easling and Caleb, a worker at the Ringling Brothers circus. The author paints the picture of the story very vividly. I felt like I was transported to the circus while I was reading…this is definitely a great book to escape into.

The characters were well developed. I liked learning about the real people of Mabel and John Ringling but the fictional characters also felt very real. There was some mystery and suspense to the story that added to my enjoyment. There was a moment in the story that really warmed my heart. The pacing was great, it was hard to put down.

My only problem with the story was that the plot was very similar to a movie that I’ve seen. I can’t mention the movie as it would give a lot away. I was a bit disappointed by the similarities because it became a bit predictable.

Overall, this was a great story, definitely one that I’ll revisit in the future when I’m in the mood for a trip to the circus.

My Rating: 4 stars

I received this book from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for an honest review.