Recent and Upcoming Review Books
“Hope Harbor” is an engaging inspirational romance about second chances in both faith and love. A stranger’s visit to Hope Harbor in an attempt to overcome his grief and guilt after his wife’s death results in some probably not so coincidental encounters that affect the lives of many in a positive way. It is a story of healed emotions and restored relationships as well as renewed faith in God.
I really enjoyed visiting the Oregon coastal town of Hope Harbor and getting to know some of its inhabitants. The love interests Michael and Tracy were well developed but other characters filled major roles. I particularly enjoyed Anna and Charley and Floyd the seagull added a nice touch of humor. I also found the details about cranberry farming to be quite interesting.
I always enjoy Irene Hannon’s novels – whether it is a romantic suspense or a contemporary romance. “Hope Harbor” did not disappoint.
This book was provided for review by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Come home to Hope Harbor–where hearts heal . . . and love blooms.
Tracy Campbell never wanted to leave Hope Harbor, Oregon, or the idyllic three-generation cranberry farm where she grew up. But life–and love–altered her plans. Now she’s home again–with a floundering farm to run . . . a tragic secret . . . and a wounded heart. Romance is not on her agenda. Nor is it on Michael Hunter’s. The visitor from Chicago has daunting secrets and devastating regrets of his own. But when Tracy recruits him to help with a project that is close to her heart, winds of change begin to sweep through Hope Harbor, bringing healing, hope, and love to countless lives–including their own.
Praise for Irene’s Contemporary Romances
“Captures the reader from the very first pages. Irene Hannon knows the power of words and the miracle of faith.”–New York Journal of Books on That Certain Summer
“Beautiful storytelling . . . a gem of a read.”–RT Book Reviews on That Certain Summer
“Hannon’s multithread plot is woven beautifully together to create a tapestry that will enchant romantics of all ages.”–Publishers Weekly on One Perfect Spring
“Irene Hannon is one great storyteller.”–#1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber on One Perfect Spring
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
I was uncertain what to expect when I agreed to review “Direct Hit” but what I got was a very readable and enjoyable detective mystery. Set during the London Blitz in the early 1940’s, the style is very reminiscent of detective novels I read years ago.
The plot is fairly slow-paced but for this book, that is a good thing. I liked the way I felt a part of Jago’s entire process of solving the crime and the methodical way he processed every bit of information. The author’s descriptions of life in London while the population was under constant threat of bombing by the Germans added extra depth to the story. His character development was awesome and I felt like I knew them well by the conclusion of the story. I especially liked the way the detectives carried on with their responsibilities even in the midst of the bombings. Insight into the thoughts of various characters gave me a better idea of the different viewpoints of each one and how their choices were influenced by them. I think I gained a new understanding about how the history of that era evolved.
The story concept is imaginative. I loved the idea of a murder victim whose body was destroyed by a direct bomb hit shortly after discovery by detectives, nevertheless those same detectives were determined to solve the crime. Several twists kept things interesting and a surprise or two were the icing on the cake.
I thoroughly enjoyed “Direct Hit” and hope other mystery fans will check it out. Looking forward to the next installment of Hollow’s The Blitz Detective series.
This book was provided for review by Kregel Publications.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
First in a crime series set in London during the Blitz in 1940-41
The jagged blast of high explosives rips through the evening air. In the sky over East London the searchlights criss-cross in search of the enemy.
On the first night of the Blitz, a corpse is discovered in a van in the back streets of West Ham. Detective Inspector John Jago recognizes the dead man as local Justice of the Peace Charles Villers. But then a German bomb obliterates all evidence.
Villers, not a popular man, was both powerful and feared. As the sirens wail, the detective must start matching motive to opportunity–and it doesn?t help when his boss foists an intrusive American journalist on him.
Jago soon discovers the dead man held many secrets, some reaching back to World War I. A lot of people wished Villers dead–and an air raid is a good time to conceal a murder.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mike Hollow was born in West Ham, on the eastern edge of London, and grew up in Romford, Essex. He studied Russian and French at the University of Cambridge and then worked for the BBC and later Tearfund. In 2002 he went freelance as a copywriter, journalist and editor. He’s a published poet, and nowadays when not writing about the Blitz Detective he makes his living as a translator.
Whether you want to call it sci-fi or a suspense/thriller, “Trial Run” is a tale that might leave the reader wondering just how close we might be to experiencing some of what takes place within its pages. It took me a bit to really get into the story – probably because of the vast array of characters and trying to wrap my mind around who was who and exactly what their role might be. It actually took me until at least halfway through to decide who were the good guys and who were the bad guys. At times I still was uncertain but it quickly became evident.
Locke deals with some concepts in “Trial Run” such as quantum physics, computer science, and other modern marvels that may be over many readers’ heads. It was over mine but I managed to enjoy the story without attempting to understand everything. The idea of out-of-body time travel and its potential are intriguing but the possibilities raised in this book make me hope it is not possible.
Although “Trial Run” is marketed as a mainstream novel, it is a clean read with no gratuitous sex or violence. There is plenty of action, espionage, suspense, and even a touch or two of romance. It is not the book for everyone but those who enjoy this genre should find it to their taste. It’s not my favorite type novel but I did find it interesting enough to want to learn the outcome. And I might just want to read the next installment of the series.
This book was provided for review by Blogging Bistro, LLC.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Where does perception end and reality begin?
Can your mind actually cause something to happen in the “real” world?
What happens when we throw out our conception of the limits of space and time?
When science, government, and big business clash, who will ultimately have control of our information, our privacy, and even our very thoughts?
One thing remains clear:
What you don’t know can kill you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Thomas Locke is an award-winning novelist with total worldwide sales of seven million copies.
His work has been published in twenty languages, and critical acclaim includes four Christy Awards for excellence in fiction and his 2014 induction into the Christy Hall of Fame.
Thomas divides his time between Florida and England, where he serves as Writer In Residence at Regent’s Park College at The University of Oxford. Visit Thomas at http://tlocke.com.
Q&A With Thomas Locke, author of Trial Run
Q: What reader did you have in mind when you were writing Trial Run?
Thomas Locke: I suspect there are a lot of readers out there like me, who love mainstream fiction in principle, but are dismayed by how dark it is becoming.
I love to read. I am happiest with a good book in my hands. And most of my purchases are mainstream fiction. Too often, however, I find myself skipping over bits that are just plain not necessary for a good story.
I wrote Trial Run for readers like me. Passionate about story, yearning for the thrill of a great tale, hoping for something that uplifts as well as ignites.
Here’s a video trailer for Trial Run, hot off the press:
Q: In Trial Run, you introduce several seemingly unrelated threads at the beginning of the story. By the end of the story, those threads have become woven together in an intricate tapestry. What’s your thought process behind this writing strategy?
Thomas Locke: This concept can best be summed up by the phrase you often hear a Hollywood producer say: “Where is the cut?”
By this, the producer means, what can you leave out of the script so that the audience must figure things out for themselves?
Instead of spoon-feeding the audience every item required to move to the climax, things are left unsaid. This sense of vacuum draws the audience into the action, and hurries them forward to the story’s close.
Q: Several settings in Trial Run (Santa Barbara, CA, the Italian/Swiss border site) depict real places. How do you select these real-life settings for your stories, and do you alter details of these places to suit your stories?
Thomas Locke: The core element of my placing a story is research. And the core element in my research is emotion. For many people, the ‘take’ that I finally use in the story does not jibe with what they like to see as valid for a particular setting, especially when that place is close to their heart and I have used a more negative perspective. But the facts have been carefully studied.
An example from Trial Run is Santa Barbara. For a lot of people who know and love California, this is their absolute favorite place in the SoCal region. And for good reason. It is a lovely town, one my wife and I really enjoy visiting.
For this story, I was granted an insider’s view into the University of California at Santa Barbara, or UCSB. And from the perspective of many students enrolled there, UCSB is filled with hyper-inflated SoCal egos.
The contrast I found between the students with money (and in SoCal, when I say they had money, I really mean they had money) and those who don’t is as sharp as anywhere I have ever been. The student who formed my core source and guide was on a scholarship. He was there to study. He was, to say the least, in a minority.
Everything I described about the school, the bicycle traffic and the events on the beach and the housing, are based on observation. But the perspective was based upon the humorous bafflement with which this student viewed many of his fellow classmates.
I personally love this aspect of building a story. The research at this emotional level grants me the opportunity to see the world through another person’s eyes and heart. Being trusted with this, time and again, is part of the miracle process that happens every time I start a new tale.
Q: I’ve heard there’s a free ebook prequel to Trial Run. How can I get a copy?
Thomas Locke: As I was writing the opening scenes of Trial Run, I found myself continually asking questions about what happened before that door opened and before the party started. I began sketching a sort of parallel story, laying out ideas that formed the story-before-the-story.
“Double Edge” is the result.
The publishers liked the short story prequel so much that they have asked me to write a complete novel based upon these concepts. This novel will form either book three or book four in the series.
You’ll find links on my website http://tlocke.com/fault-lines/ for downloading your free copy of “Double Edge” from your favorite online bookseller.
Q: Trial Run is book 1 in the three-volume Fault Lines series. Please give us a preview of what to expect in book 2.
Thomas Locke: This is a timely question, as I completed the first draft of book 2 on June 8. The working title is Flash Point.
In many respects, Flash Point is a true hybrid. By this I mean that the core themes are the same as in Trial Run. But everything is also very different. I had two key questions in mind when I started book two: How far can I take this? How much can I risk?
This whole concept of controlled out-of-body experiences opens up a completely new vista. I had to develop a new story framework for Trial Run, and everywhere I looked I found myself asking the same questions:
- Where does this take mankind?
- If this could actually happen, where do we go?
- Who are we as people?
- How would this remake us?
These questions are first asked in Flash Point. Where we go from here depends mostly upon you, the reader.
So let’s dance!
Get to know Thomas Locke at these online outlets:
Subscribe to Thomas’s e-newsletter and blog: http://eepurl.com/5cnH5
Receive Thomas’s latest blog posts via your feed reader: http://tlocke.com/blog/feed/
There’s quite a bit going on in “A Heart’s Promise”, the fifth installment of Coble’s Journey of the Heart series. Emmie returns Isaac’s interest but fears that the secrets of her past will make him hate her. She makes a promise to a friend that could change her life forever. Then as the old saying goes, a troublemaker turns up again “like a bad penny”. And then there are rumors that another troublemaker may still be alive.
So – with one more installment left in the series, “A Heart’s Promise” left me with several questions I would like to have answered and anxious to read the last book. This has been an interesting that has give me and other Coleen Coble fans a look back at her very first novels. How far she has come yet the indications of greatness were there from the start.
This book was provided for review by LitFuse Publicity.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Emmie makes a promise to her friend that, if fulfilled, could mean the end to her dreams of a future with Isaac.
Emmie Croftner let Isaac Liddle go to avoid telling him about her past. But Isaac remains determined to win Emmie’s heart and hand. Though Emmie resolves to keep her heart in check, it hurts when she sees that another woman has set her bonnet for Isaac.
Then Emmie’s dear friend extracts a costly promise: if anything happens to her in childbirth, Emmie will marry her widower and raise the baby herself. And it seems Emmie may have to fulfill that promise. But can she live happily without Isaac?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
USA Today bestselling author Colleen Coble has written several romantic suspense novels including “Tidewater Inn,” “Rosemary Cottage,” and the Mercy Falls, Lonestar, and Rock Harbor series.
Find out more about Colleen at http://www.colleencoble.com/.
Take it to the Beach with Colleen Coble’s ‘A Heart’s Promise’ and Tote Giveaway
Take a day off and head to the beach with a new giveaway from Colleen: five books (books one–five in Colleen’s A Journey of the Heart series) and a beach bag to tote your new books in!
One grand prize winner will receive:
- A copy of A Heart’s Promise
- A Lands’ End beach tote
- A copy of A Heart’s Betrayal
- A copy of A Heart’s Disguise
- A copy of A Heart’s Obsession
- A copy of A Heart’s Danger
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on July 31st. Winner will be announced August 3rd on Colleen’s website.