The String by Caleb Breakey Review

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Synopsis

A sociopath is running a deadly social experiment on a university campus. Markus Haas is the first to refuse to play the game. What unravels is a sequence of impossible decisions and a race against time to stop the sociopath before others pay the ultimate price.

My Thoughts

The synopsis of this book made me so excited. This definitely sounded like my kind of story. Unfortunately, this one didn’t quite hit the mark for me.

The story started out very promising…the first few chapters had me extremely intrigued and the plot is very interesting and unique. I was enjoying it until about the middle of the book and then I started to become confused with the amount of characters and all of the various “knots” in the string. It became difficult for me to follow and I also began to lose interest and felt that it was a bit long.

The content is clean and I definitely think we need more clean or Christian thrillers out there. There was violence but it wasn’t descriptive.

Overall, this was an average thriller. I enjoyed it for the most part but I don’t feel that it will be memorable.

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

My Rating

3 stars

Fragments of Fear by Carrie Stuart Parks Review and Giveaway!

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About the Book

Book: Fragments of Fear

Author: Carrie Stuart Parks

Genre: Suspense

Release date: July 23, 2019

Fragments of FearFrom award-winning author Carrie Stuart Parks comes a new novel with danger that reaches from a New Mexico Anasazi archaeological dig to micro- and nano-chip technology.

Evelyn Yvonne McTavish-Tavish to her friends-had her almost perfect world in Albuquerque, New Mexico, come to a crashing end with the suicide of her fiancé. As she struggles to put her life back together and make a living from her art, she’s given the news that her dog is about to be destroyed at the dog pound. Except she doesn’t own a dog. The shelter is adamant that the microchip embedded in the canine-with her name and address-makes it hers.

Tavish recognizes the dog as one owned by an archaeologist named Pat Caron because she did a commissioned drawing of the two of them months earlier. The simple solution is to return the dog to his owner, but she arrives only to discover Caron’s murdered body.

After meeting undercover FBI agent Sawyer Price the mystery deepens as more people start disappearing and Tavish becomes a target as well. Her only solution is to find the links between microchip technology, an Anasazi site in the desert, her fiancé’s death, a late-night radio show, and the dog. And the clock is ticking.

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Thoughts

I have read one other book by Carrie Stuart Parks and I enjoyed it so I was looking forward to reading this one as well.

I enjoyed many things about this story. Tavish, the main character was enjoyable to read about and I adored her relationship with Marley, the dog in the book. The setting of the story was also great and unique to me…it takes place in Albuquerque, New Mexico and there are several scenes in the deserts and canyons that were described very well.

There was no shortage of action in this book. The plot moves very briskly and there were no moments when I felt that the story lagged or was slow. The content was very clean and appropriate and the faith message was presented well.

The plot was a bit complicated and full of many characters that I found difficult to keep track of at times. I also found that romance was definitely an instalove situation.

Overall, the mystery was interesting and kept me guessing and there were a few twists that I didn’t see coming. I highly recommend this one to fans of suspense and action.

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

About the Author

Parks Carrie StuartCarrie Stuart Parks is a Christy finalist as well as a Carol Award-winning author. She has won numerous awards for her fine art as well. An internationally known forensic artist, she travels with her husband, Rick, across the US and Canada teaching courses in forensic art to law-enforcement professionals. The author/illustrator of numerous books on drawing and painting, Carrie continues to create dramatic watercolors from her studio in the mountains of Idaho.

 

More from Carrie

Using Art to Solve Crime: Techniques Used by Forensic Artists

 

Since 1981, I’ve been a forensic artist—an amazing feat since I’m only . . .um. . . well, younger than that. In those years, I’ve seen some shifts and trends, but some things have never changed. Despite the overwhelming prevalence of computers in almost every other field, they have never been able to replace a trained forensic artist. Artists have an amazing toolbox of techniques we use to gather the information we need to help solve crime.

  1. The pencil. Any forensic artist worth her weight in graphite knows the power of the lowly pencil and a sketchpad. Law enforcement would love a photographic image of the suspect, but all we have to work with is memory…and memory is faulty. The more the image looks perfect, the more imperfect it is for helping to identify a suspect. We want the drawing to just suggest a likeness and eliminate those not similar.
  2. Now that we brought up the subject of memory, a forensic artist needs to understand how memory works. The average witness will remember between four and five facial features. When they describe the person they saw, they will do so from their strongest memory to their weakest memory, from most important to least important. We listen carefully to the order of facial features.
  3. Whole vs Parts. We don’t look at faces as individual parts, although a particularly outstanding nose or Marty Feldman eyes might catch our attention. We will remember the face as a whole, with the proportions of the face an unacknowledged part of that. Forensic artist prefer to use reference photographs where the whole face is viewed.

Want more? Check out the rest of my article at The Strand Magazine

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, July 23

All-of-a-kind Mom, July 23

Blogging With Carol, July 23

A Reader’s Brain, July 23

A Baker’s Perspective, July 24

The Avid Reader, July 24

CarpeDiem, July 24

Fiction Aficionado, July 25

Christian Bookaholic, July 25

Godly Book Reviews, July 25

Through the Fire Blogs, July 26

Livin’ Lit, July 26

The Becca Files, July 26

Inklings and notions , July 26

Real World Bible Study, July 27

Cathe Swanson, July 27

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, July 27

For Him and My Family, July 28

Lights in a Dark World, July 28

Retrospective Spines, July 28

Bigreadersite, July 29

Simple Harvest Reads, July 29 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Mary Hake, July 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Acdemy, July 30

Blossoms and Blessings, July 30

EmpowerMoms, July 30

Aryn The Libraryan, July 31

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, July 31

For the Love of Literature, July 31

Inspired by fiction, August 1

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 1

By The Book, August 1

Tell Tale Book Reviews, August 2

Remembrancy, August 2

amandainpa, August 2

Pause for Tales, August 3

For the Love of Books, August 3

Just Your Average reviews, August 3

Hallie Reads, August 4

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, August 4

Daysong Reflections, August 4

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, August 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 5

Texas Book-aholic, August 5

janicesbookreviews, August 5

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Carrie is giving away a grand prize of her book!!

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/e592/fragments-of-fear-celebration-tour-giveaway

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.

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.

Vanishing Point by Lisa Harris Review

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Synopsis: During Garrett Addison’s first week on the job as a criminal investigator for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, his team is called out to a murder scene of a young girl. She’s the third victim in a string of disappearances with one thing in common–a Polaroid photo of each victim left behind at the crime scene.

The FBI is pulled into the case to help, and Garrett finds himself working with Special Agent Jordan Lambert, the woman he once loved. When yet another girl dies–number six–Garrett blames himself and believes he doesn’t have what it takes to be an agent. What he’ll discover is that, while he may be done with the killer, the killer is not done with him–or Jordan.

Bestselling and award-winning author Lisa Harris unveils an unforgettable story of a case that has haunted the public and law enforcement for more than a decade. Fans of the Nikki Boyd Files will thrill to finally discover what actually happened to Nikki’s sister, Sarah. New readers will become instant fans after devouring this chilling tale.

My Thoughts: This is book 4 in the Nikki Boyd Files Series but it definitely works as a standalone. This story was gripping from beginning to the end. It is a clean police-procedural that follows Garrett and Jordan, who are working tirelessly over a period of many years to track down a serial killer who is targeting young girls.

Garrett and Jordan were great characters…both smart but not robotic or heartless, they gave the reader a glimpse of the emotional toll that one goes through when searching for a murderer. Their relationship was also sweet, although frustrating at times.

Lisa Harris is very gifted as an author and definitely has a way with words. It was always easy for me to get lost in the story and the pacing was fast.

There are some sad moments but I appreciated that the age-old question of “why does God allow bad things to happen to people?” is addressed, and addressed well.

Overall, this was a great thrill-ride. I was never bored and would definitely pick up another book from this author!

My Rating: 4 stars

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

Beneath Copper Falls by Colleen Coble Review

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Synopsis: Dana has already learned that love isn’t safe . . . but could it be different in Rock Harbor?

As a 911 dispatcher, Dana Newell takes pride in being calm in tough circumstances. In addition to her emotionally-charged career, she’s faced enough emergencies in her own life. She recently escaped her abusive fiancé to move to tranquil Rock Harbor where she hopes life will be more peaceful.

But the idyllic town hides more danger and secrets than it first appeared. Dana is continually drawn to her new friend Boone, who has scars inside and out. Then she answers a call at her job only to hear a friend’s desperate screams on the other end. Soon the pain in her past collides with the mysteries of her new home—and threatens to keep her from the future she’s always wanted.

My Thoughts: This book kept me guessing. The story was fast paced and intense. It follows Dana, who has just left an abusive relationship and returns to her hometown for refuge. A series of murders of women are occurring that are all similar in nature and the suspense continues throughout the book until the final boiling point at the end.

I enjoy Colleen Coble’s writing style, it’s very descriptive and always keeps me turning the pages. The twist of the story was slightly unexpected and surprising but a bit far-fetched. I enjoyed the character of Bree, who trains search and rescue dogs. I also loved the small town feel of the setting. The author did a good job at building suspense throughout the story.

Unfortunately, it felt very over-dramatic at times. These characters had experienced a lot of drama in their lives (so much so that it gave me a soap opera feel at times). It made the book feel a bit unrealistic to read all the things one character had experienced. I also felt that the way murders were handled didn’t seem accurate, given the fact that they were possibly committed by a serial killer (the small town sheriff probably wouldn’t be the one in charge of these murders).

Overall, I was very entertained by this book but I wasn’t extremely impressed with it. I would recommend it for anyone who likes a fun murder mystery with a little bit of grit and some twists.

My Rating: 3 and a half stars

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

 

When Death Draws Near by Carrie Stuart Parks Review

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Synopsis: Forensic artist Gwen Marcey is between jobs when she accepts temporary work in Pikeville, Kentucky—a small town facing big-city crime. But before Gwen can finish her first drawing of the serial rapist who is on the loose, the latest witness vanishes. Just like all the others.

Gwen suspects a connection between the rapist and the “accidental” deaths that are happening around town, but the local sheriff has little interest in her theories. When her digitally-obsessed teenage daughter joins her, Gwen turns her attention to a second assignment: going undercover in a sepent-handling church. She could get a handsome reward for uncovering illegal activity-a reward she desperately needs, as it seems her breast cancer has returned. But snakes aren’t the only ones ready to kill. Can Gwen uncover the truth-and convince anyone to believe her-before she becomes a victim herself?

My Thoughts: This book provided some very interesting insight into some unusual practices involving snakes in church. I had never heard of this practice and was fascinated and kind of horrified to read about this. I despise snakes, they are my least favorite animal and the thought of them makes me cringe, so this book was difficult to read at parts. There are many scenes that are gruesome and creepy but also kept me on the edge of my seat.

Throughout the book you are with Gwen, a forensic artist, who was called in to help with finding a serial rapist. When she arrives, she is rebuffed by the sheriff and begins to receive threats. She then is presented with an opportunity to look into a mystery involving a church that uses snakes and drinks poisons as well as refuse medical treatment.

There was a lot going on in the book and it became a bit confusing at times. I did find the story to be very unique and liked the main characters profession…as a forensic artist (which the author also is), Gwen is skilled at interview skills as well as knowing when people are lying.

When I finished the book, I still felt like some things were left open…a few things didn’t seem to be addressed to the point that I expected them to.

I didn’t expect the culprit at all! I loved this part of the story, it was very clever and unexpected but also a little bit far fetched.

I requested this without realizing that it is the 3rd book in a series but it still can be read as a standalone as the author explains some of the characters’ backstories.

Overall, this was an enjoyable Christian mystery.

My Rating:

3 stars

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