Girls of Summer by C. E. Hilbert

MY REVIEW:

C.E. Hilbert is a new author to me but after reading Girls of Summer, I will certainly be checking out more of her books. She managed to hold my attention until the very end with her riveting romantic suspense centered around organized crime.

This highly emotional book began with a bang and the danger and action continued to escalate from that point with a surprise or two along the way. Strained family relationships and an FBI investigation added to the tension. Characters were well rounded and relatable. Vivid descriptions brought me right into the center of the story and all the talk of southern food made me just a bit hungry. More than one developing romance was a bonus.

I loved the way the author gradually worked in Charlie’s journey to Christ as she described all the factors that led her to see the truth. Girls of Summer is a wonderful story of redemption and forgiveness. This is definitely a must read if you love happy endings.

I voluntarily reviewed a digital copy of this book provided by Celebrate Lit. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Book:  Girls of Summer

Author: C.E. Hilbert

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release date: March 19, 2021

Click here to get your copy!

When Charlotte receives the news that her estranged father has passed away, she finds herself in small-town South Carolina, forced to partner with her half-sister in running the baseball team and family business. If she can make it through 365 long days of running her daddy’s business, she’ll inherit half his multi-million dollar fortune—money she desperately needs to rectify the sins of her mother.

But can a big city girl overcome small-town sass and the unwelcome guidance of too-handsome-for-his-own-good general counsel Mac Taylor, or will this uptown girl discover she is truly a southern girl of summer at heart?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

C.E. Hilbert lives in sleepy town outside Columbus, OH in a 120-year-old fixer-upper with her Golden Retriever, Georgie. She believes that life goes best with Jesus, cookies made with real butter, summers watching baseball and winters filled with hockey.

MORE FROM C. E. HILBERT:

Did you ever have a fascination with an organization or an event? Maybe you are a World War II buff like my friend Nick or you have a deep appreciation (or obsession) for all things Star Wars like my nephew Alex? Maybe you were entranced with a book series or a television series? For me, I had a deep curiosity about organized crime in high school and college. I know, odd choice of interest, but my fascination was so deep I spent a semester being advised and mentored by a sitting federal judge and the head of our local FBI office on a school project about the impact of the Cosa Nostra in Ohio.

I, like so many people who have read Mario Puzo’s “The Godfather” or seen the movie adaptation, was infatuated with the romance the family drama told. I hadn’t really considered the destruction or lack of care for human life that actually existed within the American Mafia until I studied the organization. Although my curiosity continued, no longer did I see Michael Corleone’s story as a well-crafted work of fiction, but rather an overly romanticized view of a world of corruption and depravity. What I learned from those two mentors was simple – cut off the head of one organization and two more will rise in its place. The Cosa Nostra’s influence on America has waned in recent years, but organized crime is unfortunately alive and well.

In Girls of Summer, we see a glimpse of the impact of organized crime in America through the lens of one family so enmeshed in its web we are unsure if they will be able to survive to find freedom. Through telling this story, I not only wanted to share how the love of God can redeem even the most lost soul, but also give a window into the destruction that follows in the wake of those who do not value human life. Instead of romanticizing organized crime as books and movies have done for decades, my goal with integrating the Russian mafia into the fabric of Girls of Summer was to shine a light on the lack of decency and morality.

Girls of Summer is a suspenseful romance filled with the hope of redemption and reconciliation, but the story also gives a peek into a world most of us would prefer to believe lives only in fiction. Thankfully, we have dedicated men and women who are quietly fighting for justice with the hope of one day saying, organized crime is truly a thing of make believe.

BLOG STOPS:

 

GIVEAWAY:

To celebrate her tour, C.E. is giving away the grand prize package of a tote that contains four books (Girls of Summer, From Scratch, Life on the Porcelain Edge & The Wooing of Jane Grey) and some “surprise items”!!

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/112dd/girls-of-summer-celebration-tour-giveaway

Missing in the Desert by Dana Mentink

MY REVIEW:

From the very first chapter, Missing in the Desert grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let go until I reached the final page. Of course that it exactly what I’ve come to expect when I pick up a new book by Dana Mentink. Vivid scenery, a compelling mystery, loads of action, true-to-life characters, a believable romance, a subtle dose of faith, and often a unique dog work together to place this author’s books on my must read list.

A missing and presumed dead sister plus a strange text and postcard bring Mara back to Death Valley where her family once lived. It becomes obvious that someone wants her dead and she suspects it is connected with her sister’s disappearance. Her brother’s best friend Levi soon becomes her protector and she begins to remember why she was attracted to him during their high school days.

Danger and secrets abound in this exciting tale but the antics of Levi’s dog Banjo offer a bit of comic relief. Missing in the Desert is another great novel from Mentink and is not to be missed.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Celebrate Lit. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Book:  Missing in the Desert

Author: Dana Mentink

Genre: Inspy suspense

Release date: July 27, 2021

Click here to get your copy!

Five years ago, her sister disappeared…
Now someone is coming for her.

Who would believe that Mara Castillo’s sister—missing and presumed dead—suddenly sent a one-word text? Now Mara wants answers, even if it means stepping into a killer’s sights with her brother’s best friend, rancher Levi Duke, as her only protection. But with someone who has everything to lose after her, uncovering a long-buried secret could save her life…or claim it.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Dana Mentink is a two time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award and a Holt Medallion winner. She is a nationa and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author of over forty titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Harlequin Heartwarming and Poisoned Pen Press. You can connect with Dana via her website at danamentink.com, on Facebook, YouTube (Author Dana Mentink) and Instagram (dana_mentink.)

MORE FROM DANA:

Hello, readers! Boy am I excited! Since the virus-that-not-shall-be-named is being brought under control, I am cautiously venturing out again and our first vacation spot will be a return to Death Valley. Papa Bear and I love the amazing diversity of Death Valley, from the salt flats, to the sand dunes, mountains, and everything in between. Writing this book allowed me to relive the incredible topography, as well as let my mind run loose imagining a cold case that warms up to fiery levels in this ferocious climate. Part of this story revolves around “Camp Town Days” which was inspired by the Encampment Days, an event held in November by a volunteer group called the Death Valley 49ers that aims to capture the pioneer spirit with their wagon rides, parade, poetry readings, a vendor show, and historical talks. I hope you can feel the desert wind in your face and hear the distant howl of the coyote as you dive into the second book in the Death Valley Justice series.

BLOG STOPS:

 

GIVEAWAY:

To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card and a signed copy of the 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/110df/missing-in-the-desert-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

Survive the Night by Carol J. Post

MY REVIEW:

Carol J. Post is uniquely talented in the way she combines a nail-biting, edge-of-the seat, page turner with a sweet romance and a strong faith message. I always enjoy her books and eagerly look forward to the next one.

Survive the Night is a novel that will have the reader looking over her shoulder for awhile. The intensity builds as the heroine and hero work with other law enforcement to apprehend a serial killer before he can kill again. Lexi has been working on the case for awhile but this time it’s personal. The latest victim was a personal friend and it is quite possible that Lexi is in the killer’s sights as his next victim.

A second chance romance blends seamlessly into the plot as Lexi finds herself working with a man from her past. His strong faith is the encouragement that Lexi needs in order to keep going when circumstances seem virtually impossible.

Another riveting novel from this author, Survive the Night is filled with more than enough danger, action, and surprises to satisfy even the most discerning suspense fan. I give it two thumbs up.

I voluntarily reviewed a digital copy of this book provided by the author. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

She’s a shoo-in for a serial killer’s next target…

Tracking a serial killer in Harmony Grove turns personal for Detective Lexi Simmons when her cousin becomes a victim. The situation goes from bad to worse when she’s teamed up with Officer Alan White whose heart she broke seven years ago. But she is determined to find justice for Kayla and the other women brutally murdered and won’t let her and Alan’s shared past interfere.

Harmony Grove Police Officer Alan White has lost a good friend. He vows to help the Sheriff’s Department in any way he can, even if it means working alongside the woman who left him with a rejected ring and lots of excuses.
They fight the resurgence of long-buried emotions while working together to solve the case. The only connection between the victims is their approximate age and that they are beaten, strangled and left in the woods, with pictures mailed to the local newspaper shortly thereafter. Eventually, the investigation leads them to a decade-old incident on a college campus…and the realization that Lexi is a shoo-in for the killer’s next target.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

From medical secretary to court reporter to property manager to owner of a special events decorating company, Carol’s resume reads as if she doesn’t know what she wants to be when she grows up. But one thing that has remained constant through the years is her love for writing. She currently pens fun and fast-paced inspirational romance and romantic suspense stories. Her books have been nominated for a RITA® award and an RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Book Award.

Carol lives in sunshiny Central Florida with her husband, who is her own real-life hero, and writes her stories under the shade of the huge oaks in her yard. Besides writing, she works alongside her music minister husband singing and playing the piano. She enjoys sailing, hiking, camping—almost anything outdoors. Her two grown daughters and grandkids live too far away for her liking, so she now pours all that nurturing into taking care of a fat and sassy black cat and a highly spoiled dachshund.

To learn more about Carol, you may visit her web site at http://www.caroljpost.com.

Aftermath by Terri Blackstock

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Aftermath by Terri Blackstock, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

MY REVIEW:

Terri Blackstock has long been on my list of favorite suspense novelists and she far exceeded my expectations with Aftermath. Readers will want to carve out several hours of time for reading this one because they will not want to stop reading until they reach the very end.

This emotionally charged narrative included several different characters who each played an important role. It was easy to empathize with each of them although some of them made very poor choices. It is a story about friends who have your back and those who betray you, the desire for revenge and forgiveness. I could understand the desperation that drove one character but could not excuse the choices made.

A fast-paced tale with more than enough action, danger, and suspense to satisfy the most avid fan, Aftermath also includes excellent character development and the perfect touch of romance for those who like it.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and eagerly anticipate what Ms. Blackstock has in store for us next. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy for yourself.

I voluntarily reviewed a digital copy of this book provided by Just Read Tours. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Title: Aftermath

Author: Terri Blackstock

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: May 11, 2021

Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense/Thriller

This gripping new thriller from New York Times bestselling author Terri Blackstock will leave you on the edge of your seat.

A devastating explosion.

Three best friends are at the venue just to hear their favorite band . . . but only one of them makes it out alive.

A trunk full of planted evidence.

When police stop Dustin with a warrant to search his trunk, he knows it’s just a mistake. He’s former military and owns a security firm. But he’s horrified when they find explosives, and he can’t fathom how they got there.

An attorney who will risk it all for a friend.

Criminal attorney Jamie Powell was Dustin’s best friend growing up. They haven’t spoken since he left for basic training, but she’s the first one he thinks of when he’s arrested. Jamie knows she’s putting her career on the line by defending an accused terrorist, but she’d never abandon him. Someone is framing Dustin to take the fall for shocking acts of violence . . . but why?

PURCHASE LINKS:
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | Christianbook | Bookbub

EXCERPT:

AFTERMATH
Chapter One

Taylor Reid’s phone flashed as she snapped the selfie with her two friends, their heads touching and their backs to the stage. The shot from the third row, with the lead singer in the background and the three of them in the foreground, was perfect. No one would believe their seats were so close.

They turned around to face the band, dancing to the beat of the song they’d been listening to in the car on the way to Trudeau Hall.

Taylor quickly posted the pic, typing, “Ed Loran targets nonpoliticals for his rally with band Blue Fire. Worked on us!”

She put her phone on videotape and zoomed onto the stage.

“I don’t want it to end!” Desiree said in her ear.

“Me either!” Taylor yelled over the music.

“Maybe they’ll play again after his speech,” Mara shouted.

The song came to an end, and the crowd went crazy, begging for one more song before the band left the stage.

But an amplified voice filled the auditorium, cutting off the adulation. “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the next president of the United States, Ed Loran!”

The crowd sounded less enthusiastic as the band left the stage and Ed Loran, the Libertarian celebrity magnet, made his entrance. Taylor kept cheering and clapping, letting her enthusiasm for the band segue to him.

It happened just as the candidate took the stage. The deafening sound, like some confusing combination of gunshot and lightning bolt, a blast that blacked out the lights and knocked her to the ground. Smoke mushroomed. Screams crescendoed—shrieks of terror, wailing pain, shocking anguish . . . then sudden, gentle silence, as if she were underwater. A loud ringing in her ears filled the void.

She peered under the seats, choking for breath as dimmer lights flickered through the smoke. Even from here, she could see the fallout of whatever had happened. Blood pooling on the ground, people hunkering down as she was, feet running . . . What was happening? An explosion? A crash? She looked around and couldn’t see her friends.

She clawed her way up and looked over the seat. Smoke and fire billowed from the stage into the crowd, and heat wafted over her like some living force invading the room. Muffled, muted sounds competed with the ringing.

Get out! Now! She dropped back down and crawled under two rows of seats until she came to someone limp on the floor. She felt herself scream but couldn’t hear her own voice. Scrambling to her feet, she went to her left to get to the aisle, but her foot slipped on something wet. She grabbed the seat next to her to steady herself, then launched into the frantic crowd in the aisle. The room seemed to spin, people whizzing by, people under her, people above her, people broken and ripped and still . . . She stepped and fell, crawled and ran, tripped and kicked her way to the bottlenecked doorway, then fought her way through it.

The ringing in her ears faded as she tumbled downstairs, almost falling into the lobby below. The sound of crying, coughing, wretching, and the roaring sound of pounding feet turned up as if some divine finger had fiddled with the volume.
She set her sights on the glass doors to the outside and pushed forward, moving through people and past the security stations they’d stopped at on the way in. She made it to the door and burst out into the sunlight.

Fresh, cool air hit her like freedom, but at first her lungs rejected it like some poison meant to stop her. At the bottom of the steps, on the sidewalk, she bent over and coughed until she could breathe.

After a moment, the crowd pushed her along toward the parking garage until she remembered that her car wasn’t there. She had parked on the street, blocks away. She forced her way out of the flow of people and ran a block south. Where was it?
She turned the corner. Her car was here, on this block. Near the Atlanta Trust Bank. Wasn’t it? Or was it the next block?

Sweat slicked her skin until she found her silver Accord. There!

She ran to it and pulled her keys out of her pocket, wishing she hadn’t lost the key fob. Her hands trembled as she stuck the key into the passenger side lock and got the door open. She slipped inside on the driver’s side, locked it behind her. Instinctively, she slid down, her head hidden as if someone were coming after her.

What just happened?

One minute they’d been taking selfies and videotaping the band, and the next they were on the floor . . .

Where were Mara and Desiree? She hadn’t even looked for them! Should she go back for them?

No, that would be insane. She could smell the smoke and fire from here. They would know to come to the car when they got out.

Call the police!

She tried to steady her hands as she swiped her phone on.

“911, what is your—”

“An explosion!” she cut in, her voice hoarse. “At the Ed Loran rally at Trudeau Hall!”

“Where are you now?” the woman asked in a voice that was robotically calm.

“I got out. There’s fire . . . People are still in there. Please send ambulances!”

“Ma’am, did you see what exploded?”

“No . . . the stage area, I think. I don’t know where my friends are. Please . . . hurry!”

“We’ve already dispatched the fire department and police, ma’am.”

She heard sirens from a few blocks away and cut off the call. She raised up, looking over the dashboard for the flashing lights. She couldn’t see any, but the sirens grew louder.

She knelt on the floorboard, her knees on her floormat and her elbows on her seat, and texted Desiree.I’m at the car. Where are you?

No answer. She switched to a recent thread with Mara and texted again.

Got out. At car waiting. Where are you?

Nothing.

She dictated a group text to both of them.

Are you all right?

They were probably running or deaf, fighting their way out like she had. She tried calling them, but Mara’s phone rang to voicemail. When Desiree’s phone did the same, she yelled, “Call me! I’m waiting at the car and I’m scared. Where are you?” She was sobbing when she ended the call.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Terri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She has had over twenty-five years of success as a novelist. She’s the author of If I Run, If I’m Found, and If I Live, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, Moonlighters, and the Restoration series. Visit her website at www.terriblackstock.com.

CONNECT WITH TERRI:
Website | Facebook

TOUR GIVEAWAY:

(3) winners will receive a print copy of Aftermath by Terri Blackstock!

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight May 11, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on May 18, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE

 

 

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Cold Case Takedown by Jessica R. Patch

MY REVIEW:

Jessica Patch is back with a brand new series! Cold Case Takedown is book number one in her Cold Case Investigations series and if it comes even close to predicting the rest of the series, readers are in for some intense and suspense filled reads.

I’m not a football fan myself but those who are will get an extra bonus with this tale that also includes a second chance romance. Nearly every page is filled with action as the danger ramps up with surprises around every corner. I could easily identify with Georgia’s anxiety issues and was quite happy that I was not in her shoes.

This author is a master at creating realistic characters and placing them in virtually impossible situations yet somehow they manage to develop a believable romantic relationship in the midst of it all. That’s what I call talent. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next installment!

I voluntarily reviewed a digital copy of this book provided by the author. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Exposing a murderer is a deadly game.

When cold case podcast host Georgia Maxwell’s investigation into her friend’s decade-old murder unveils corruption in small-town football, she’s thrust into a deadly conspiracy. And it’s put her on the radar of Colt McCoy—cold case unit chief and her high school sweetheart—who wants her help solving the crime. But every clue brings them one step closer to someone who will kill to keep the truth hidden…

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jessica R. Patch is known for her dry wit and signature twists whether she’s penned a romantic suspense or small-town romance. When she’s not hunched over her laptop, you can find her cozy on the couch in her mid-south home reading books by some of her favorite authors, watching movies with her family, and collecting recipes to amazing dishes she’ll probably never cook. Sign up for her newsletter “Patched In” at www.jessicarpatch.com.

 

Pay the Price by Carol J. Post

MY REVIEW:

I have come to expect a suspense-filled page-turner each time I open a book by Carol J. Post. Pay the Price did not disappoint. From the very beginning it was evident that Jessica Parker had walked right into danger when she returned to Harmony Grove to take care of things after her sister’s sudden death. All signs pointed to murder rather than suicide as reported and Jessica had a bad girl reputation to live down and fat chance of that happening with a sheriff and judge who remembered her well.

Lately I have been hearing the term “meet cute” used to describe a popular romance novel trope. Jessica’s first meeting with undercover FBI agent Shane Dalton could not be described as cute by any means. Despite their somewhat explosive first encounter, Shane quickly surmised that Jessica was probably also in danger and made it a point to spend as much time as possible making sure she was protected.

With plenty of action, danger, and suspense, Pay the Price was one of those one session books that I couldn’t put down until I reached the end. The suspense grew with each chapter and although I had my suspicions about the guilty parties, I was never one hundred percent certain until it was actually revealed. I appreciated the subtle Christian message that was woven throughout the story and found the characters to be both realistic and likeable.

I have enjoyed the previous books in the Harmony Grove series and look forward to reading Survive the Night when it releases in May. I recommend the entire series as well as other books by this excellent author.

I voluntarily reviewed a digital copy of this book provided by the author. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Sometimes homecomings can be deadly…

Jessica Parker left Harmony Grove with bad memories and a vow to never return – until she is called back eight years later to deal with her sister’s suicide. When all the evidence points instead to murder, she is determined to find the killer and bring him to justice. Her handsome new neighbor is eager to help, but she is sure he’s hiding something.

Undercover FBI agent Shane Dalton is in Harmony Grove investigating the crash of a plane full of cocaine and gets more than he bargained for when he runs into Jessica. He’s not sure whether she’s involved or is just going to get in his way. Soon it becomes obvious that someone wants Jessica gone from Harmony Grove. As the threats intensify, Shane finds himself in a race against time to solve both cases. The closer they get to the truth, the closer the killer gets to making them his next victims.

Read an excerpt HERE.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

From medical secretary to court reporter to property manager to owner of a special events decorating company, Carol’s resume reads as if she doesn’t know what she wants to be when she grows up. But one thing that has remained constant through the years is her love for writing. She currently pens fun and fast-paced inspirational romance and romantic suspense stories. Her books have been nominated for a RITA® award and an RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Book Award.

Carol lives in sunshiny Central Florida with her husband, who is her own real-life hero, and writes her stories under the shade of the huge oaks in her yard. Besides writing, she works alongside her music minister husband singing and playing the piano. She enjoys sailing, hiking, camping—almost anything outdoors. Her two grown daughters and grandkids live too far away for her liking, so she now pours all that nurturing into taking care of a fat and sassy black cat and a highly spoiled dachshund.

To learn more about Carol, you may visit her web site at http://www.caroljpost.com.