Strategem by Robin Caroll Review and Giveaway

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About the Book

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Book: Stratagem

Author: Robin Caroll

Genre: Christian Suspense

Release Date: November, 2018

A High-Stakes Simulation Adventure Leaves Grayson Thibodeaux the Prime Suspect. . .for Murder

Deep in the gritty underbelly of New Orleans, psychologist Grayson Thibodeaux loses everything when his wife leaves him to climb her company’s corporate ladder. He buries himself in his job of creating mind-bending adventure games for businesses as team-building explorations. When his ex-wife’s company hires Grayson’s to create an elaborate game, he doesn’t see how things can get worse. Until she dies during the course of the game he created…making him the prime suspect for murder.

 

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts:

I love a good mystery and this one was great. Set in the historical city of New Orleans, the story was very atmospheric and the pacing was brisk.

The story focused on a murder that occurred during a team building simulation adventure in a creepy mansion. There are many characters (suspects) and as the crime is unfolded through police interrogations, there are more questions than answers. The story reminded me several times of the movie “Clue” as there were many characters and the setting was dark and creepy.

I found the story to be original and fun and although I guessed the culprit ahead of time, I was guessing throughout the story.

Overall, this was a very fun mystery that I highly recommend!

I received this book from the author/publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

About the Author

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“I love boxing. I love Hallmark movies. I love fishing. I love scrapbooking. Nope, I’ve never fit into the boxes people have wanted to put me in.” Robin Caroll is definitely a contradiction, but one that beckons you to get to know her better. Robin’s passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others and come alongside them on their faith journey—aspects Robin weaves into each of her twenty-five-plus published novels. When she isn’t writing, Robin spends quality time with her husband of nearly three decades, her three beautiful daughters and two handsome grandsons, and their character-filled pets at home. Robin gives back to the writing community by serving as executive director/conference director for ACFW. Her books have been recognized in such contests as the Carol Award, Holt Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, RT Reviewer’s Choice Award, Bookseller’s Best, and Book of the Year.

You can find out more about Robin by visiting www.robincaroll.com.

 

Guest post from Robin

Behind the Scenes: Robin Caroll Shares Her Inspiration for Writing Stratagem

Dear Reader,

Thank you for journeying to New Orleans in a web of deceit and confusion with me. Sharing a place that has such connection for me was a pure joy. South Louisiana offers such a laid-back attitude that I often miss “home.” I hope you’ll enjoy sampling a taste of the flavor of Louisiana.

Years ago I watched the movie The Game with Michael Douglas and Sean Penn and was enthralled. There’s just something grabbing about messing with a person’s mind and life by using their own feelings and instincts against them. When this story of Stratagem first began forming, I wanted to use all that intrigue to mess up the game master’s life. The end result is quite the ride!

As the characters came alive to me, I found the theme of forgiveness and acceptance coming out in the story. Some of the emotions within this story are very personal to me, and I’m honored I was able to share them with you. It is my wish that you may be touched by Grayson’s faith journey as well.

Until next time. . .

-Robin

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 17

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 17

Midnight Bookaholic, November 17

Back Porch Reads, November 18

Rebekah’s Quill, November 18

Real World Bible Study, November 18

By The Book, November 19

Reading Is My SuperPower, November 19

Genesis 5020, November 19

All-of-a-kind Mom, November 19

Lighthouse Academy, November 20

Inklings and notionsNovember 20

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 21

Splashes of JoyNovember 21

Moments, November 21

Just the Write Escape, November 22

Mary Hake, November 22

Simple Harvest Reads, November 22 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Bigreadersite, November 22

Aryn The Libraryan , November 23

Multifarious, November 23

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 23

Bibliophile Reviews, November 24

Remembrancy, November 24

amandainpaNovember 24

Margaret Kazmierczak, November 25

Pause for Tales, November 25

Book by Book, November 25

Livin Lit, November 26

Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 26

Baker kella, November 26

Daysong ReflectionsNovember 27

Texas Book-aholic, November 27

Painting with Words, November 28

Maureen’s Musings, November 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 28

Janices book reviews, November 29

Carpe Diem, November 29

A Baker’s Perspective, November 29

Godly Book Reviews, November 30

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 30

Reader’s Cozy Corner, November 30

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Robin is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of Stratagem!!

 

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d629/stratagem-celebration-tour-giveaway

Aaru by David Meredith Review

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Synopsis:

Rose is dying. Her body is wasted and skeletal. She is too sick and weak to move. Every day is an agony and her only hope is that death will find her swiftly before the pain grows too great to bear.

She is sixteen years old.

Rose has made peace with her fate, but her younger sister, Koren, certainly has not. Though all hope appears lost Koren convinces Rose to make one final attempt at saving her life after a mysterious man in a white lab coat approaches their family about an unorthodox and experimental procedure. A copy of Rose’s radiant mind is uploaded to a massive super computer called Aaru – a virtual paradise where the great and the righteous might live forever in an arcadian world free from pain, illness, and death. Elysian Industries is set to begin offering the service to those who can afford it and hires Koren to be their spokes-model.

Within a matter of weeks, the sisters’ faces are nationally ubiquitous, but they soon discover that neither celebrity nor immortality is as utopian as they think. Not everyone is pleased with the idea of life everlasting for sale.
What unfolds is a whirlwind of controversy, sabotage, obsession, and danger. Rose and Koren must struggle to find meaning in their chaotic new lives and at the same time hold true to each other as Aaru challenges all they ever knew about life, love, and death and everything they thought they really believed.

My Thoughts:

The synopsis of this book piqued my interest and it definitely did not disappoint. Immortality is something that I think everyone thinks about from time to time and this book explores this possibility in a unique way of downloading your persona onto a massive super computer called “Aaru”.

The story was very well done…the writing flowed very smoothly and I was engaged from the first page to the last. It had some unexpected moments and ended in a way that would satisfy but also leaves me wanting more (book 2, Aaru, Halls of Hel is advertised to be released in 2018).

The characters were interesting. I did find it difficult to be on board with Koren being  only 13 or 14 years old, based on the lack of parental supervision and some of the things that happened to her (although I realize that this does happen).

Rose was a sweet character and I loved seeing the virtual world through her eyes. I did find some of the concepts of Aaru to be a bit confusing at times but overall the world building was solid.

This is not a Christian fiction book, so there was some cursing and some references to Heaven and God that I didn’t agree with.

Overall, this was a nice change from the contemporary stories I’ve been immersed in lately. It had a mixture of many genres…fantasy, thriller, horror, mystery, and romance.

My Rating:

4 stars

I received this book from the author to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Falling for You by Becky Wade Review

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Synopsis:

Willow Bradford is content taking a break from modeling to run her family’s inn until she comes face-to-face with NFL quarterback Corbin Stewart, the man who broke her heart–and wants to win her back. When a decades-old missing-persons case brings them together, they’re forced to decide whether they can risk falling for one another all over again.

My Thoughts:

I read the first book in this series and although I enjoyed the setting and the writing style, the main character drove me crazy and I had a few issues with her decisions.

This book was much better than the first in my opinion.I really loved Willow and related to her compulsion to shop when she felt stressed. I also loved the relationship she had with Corbin.

Willow works through issues of her past and finding forgiveness. This was a wonderful lesson as many Christian women struggle with looking perfect to the world.

Willow’s grandmother was one of my favorite characters because she wasn’t the cliche’d image of a loving, doting grandmother. She was grumpy and not afraid to share her opinions.

There was a great mystery included in the story that really added to my enjoyment of the book.

I’m eager for the next book in the series as I love Britt and can’t wait to see her story.

My Rating: 4 stars

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my review. All thoughts and opinion are my own.

 

Justice Betrayed by Patricia Bradley Review

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Synopsis:

It’s Elvis Week in Memphis, and homicide Detective Rachel Sloan isn’t sure her day could get any stranger when aging Elvis impersonator Vic Vegas asks to see her. But when he produces a photo of her murdered mother with four Elvis impersonators–one of whom had also been murdered soon after the photo was taken–she’s forced to reevaluate. Is there some connection between the two unsolved cases? And could the recent break-in at Vic’s home be tied to his obsession with finding his friend’s killer?

When yet another person in the photo is murdered, Rachel suddenly has her hands full investigating three cases. Lieutenant Boone Callahan offers his help, but their checkered romantic past threatens to get in the way. Can they solve the cases before the murderer makes Rachel victim number four?

My Thoughts:

This is the third book in the Memphis Cold Case series and the second book I’ve read in the series. Although the stories are slightly connected, the books work fine as standalone novels. One thing that stood out in both books I’ve read by Patricia Bradley were the first chapters…they both started out with a bang and let me know that I was in for a wild and adventurous ride.

This story is a murder mystery that involves Elvis impersonators and takes place in Memphis Tennessee. The book is Christian fiction but is still gritty and disturbing, which I strangely enjoy.

I liked that this story was light on the romance…it’s there but it’s subtle.

There were a lot of characters to keep track of, which became a bit confusing at times and I was able to guess the culprit pretty early on but I still found the story to be a lot of fun.

Overall, this was another winner from Patricia Bradley. I now consider her one of my favorite Christian Fiction author.

My Rating:

4.5 stars

I received this book from the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Primary Suspect by Laura Scott…a Love Inspired Review and Giveaway!

LI Blog Tour

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Synopsis:

Framed for the murder of his ex-girlfriend—and then attacked at the crime scene—fire investigator Mitch Callahan turns to ER nurse Dana Petrie for help. As they fight for their lives, can she be convinced of his innocence—and in his promise of love?

Feel comforted and at peace when you read these uplifting romances of faith, forgiveness and hope from Love Inspired. There are 12 new books each month! 6 from Love Inspired for those who love contemporary romance and 6 from Love Inspired Suspense who like some danger with their romance stories

My Thoughts:

This was my first experience with reading a Love Inspired Book. I’ve heard great things about them so I was very excited to pick one up. I received 4 books to review and chose the suspense title as suspense is one of my favorite genres.

The story focuses on Mitch, who is being framed for murder and struggles to clear his name and solve the crime before he’s caught. I found this story to be very fast paced and action packed. I was able to read it in 2 days that were full of other activities. The author was good at hooking the reader at the end of the chapters in a way that makes them keep reading (with cliffhangers).

The story-line was interesting but felt a bit familiar. I also felt like the characters lacked depth and substance.

Overall, this was a fast, fun mystery that was enjoyable to read. I would definitely pick up more Love Inspired books in the future.

My Rating: 3 stars

I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

LI Blog Tour Sweeps Image

Enter to Win a $100 Visa Gift Card!

 Love Inspired Blog Tour Sweepstakes!

Beneath the Surface by Lynn H. Blackburn Review

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Synopsis:

After a harrowing experience with an obsessed patient, oncology nurse practitioner Leigh Weston needed a change. She thought she’d left her troubles behind when she moved home to Carrington, North Carolina, and took a job in the emergency department of the local hospital. But when someone tampers with her brakes, she fears the past has chased her into the present. She reaches out to her high school friend turned homicide investigator, Ryan Parker, for help.

Ryan finds satisfaction in his career, but his favorite way to use his skills is as a volunteer underwater investigator with the Carrington County Sheriff’s Office dive team. When the body of a wealthy businessman is discovered in Lake Porter, the investigation uncovers a possible serial killer–one with a terrifying connection to Leigh Weston and deadly implications for them all.

Dive into the depths of fear with an exciting new voice in romantic suspense. Award-winning author Lynn H. Blackburn grabs readers by the throat and doesn’t let go until the final heart-pounding page.

My Thoughts:

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much that I enjoyed about this book. It started into the story rather abruptly, and almost felt as if it was a continuation of a series (at one point I even double checked to see if it was a continuation, but it’s book 1 of a series) because a lot of past events are referred to and the characters are introduced as if the reader already should know them.

A major plot of the book is the romance between the two main characters and to me it felt very immature, almost as if I was reading a YA book about Junior High or middle school aged characters who had crushes on each other. (At one point, the female character, Leigh is upset that Ryan hasn’t called her, when he was busy investigating a murder…) I am not a fan of romance unless it is done very well and this romance was definitely not my favorite and took up too much of the story for my liking.

I did find the serial killer plot point interesting and was surprised by who the culprit was but I wished the focus would have been more on the investigation and less on the romance.

I think some people would enjoy this story if they enjoy romance with mystery thrown in but it definitely wasn’t my cup of tea.

My Rating: 1.5 stars

I received this book from Baker Publishing Group to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

12 Days at Bleakly Manor by Michelle Griep Review and Giveaway!

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About the Book:

Name of book: 12 Days at Bleakly Manor                              bm1

 

Author: Michelle Griep

Genre: Historical Christmas

Release Date: September 1, 2017

England, 1851: When Clara Chapman receives an intriguing invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home, she is hesitant yet feels compelled to attend—for if she remains the duration of the twelve-day celebration, she is promised a sum of five hundred pounds.

But is she walking into danger? It appears so, especially when she comes face to face with one of the other guests—her former fiancé, Benjamin Lane.

Imprisoned unjustly, Ben wants revenge on whoever stole his honor. When he’s given the chance to gain his freedom, he jumps at it—and is faced with the anger of the woman he stood up at the altar. Brought together under mysterious circumstances, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters.

What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love.

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

 

About the Author

unnamedMichelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of both Regency and Colonial historical romances but also leaped the writerly fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. Keep up with her escapades at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on FacebookInstagramTwitter, or Pinterest.

My Thoughts: 

This was such a fun book! It was very atmospheric, portraying a Victorian Christmas in a slightly creepy mansion. It had an “And then There were None” by Agatha Christie feel as several strangers are brought together under mysterious circumstances with dangers lurking around the corner.

There were some very fun surprises that I didn’t expect. The story is full of colorful, quirky characters, each with a very defined personality.

I adore atmospheric books and the author was very gifted at creating the setting. I was in the story with the characters, walking the drafty halls of Bleakly Manor and trudging through the woods to gather the yule log.

This book also explains some Victorian Christmas traditions that I hadn’t known about…I found these very interesting, particularly the origins of The Coventry Carol.

I highly recommend this book…it’s a nice change from the typical Christmas stories that are out there.

My Rating: 4 stars

I received this book from Celebrate Lit to review. All opinions are my own.

Blog Stops

By The Book, December 14

Bukwurmzzz, December 14

Faery Tales Are Real, December 14

A Baker’s Perspective, December 15

A Reader’s Brain, December 15

Have A Wonderful Day, December 15

Texas Book-aholic, December 16

Carpe Diem, December 16

Cafinated ReadsDecember 16

Just the Write Escape, December 17

A Greater YesDecember 17

Remembrancy, December 17

AllofakindmomDecember 18

History, Mystery & Faith, December 18

Simple Harvest Reads, December 18

amandainpa, December 19

Kat’s Corner Books, December 19

Mommynificent, December 19

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 20

Bookworm Mama, December 20

Vicky Sluiter, December 20

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, December 21

Christian Author, J.E.Grace, December 21

To Everything A Season, December 21

Reader’s Cozy Corner, December 22

The Fizzy Pop Collection, December 22

Reading Is My SuperPower, December 22 (Interview)

My Writer’s Life, December 23

Janices book reviews, December 23

For The Love of Books, December 23

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 24

Red Headed Book Lady, December 25

Raining Butterfly Kisses, December 25

Bibliophile Reviews, December 26

Blogging With Carol,December 26

Mary Hake, December 26

Reflections From my Bookshelves, December 27

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Barnes & Noble Gift card and a signed copy of 12 Days of Bleakly Manor!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c5b8