THE MARINE, by Cheryl Reavis: Another romance as refreshingly different as The First Boy I Loved. Ms. Reavis delved into the emotions of adults who felt uncared about as kids and how that changes their outlook on relationships and trust. I loved Josh - a devoted father and dedicated Marine, Grace, the new widow, her two daughters and especially Joseph - a retired Marine who's made it his job to care for other Marines who have been broken in spirit and body. The refreshing part of Reavis stories is that her heroines and heroes are not all fresh, young, innocents, but older, having been battered around a bit by life, yet strong, resilient and willing to put their hearts on the line again. I was so captivated by her characters I was not ready for the book to end and would have been happy to mingle with them for a while longer. DON'T miss this fabulous story.
by Sharla Lovelace
There aren't many books that will keep me up ALL night reading, but this one did. Ms Lovelace has created a wonderful cast of characters. I love the first person point of view, and I admire the incredibly wonderful way she lets the reader experience what the other characters are thinking and feeling as well. I also love that her heroines aren't all 20 something without serious issues. LOVE Noah more than I can say, too. Loved the boy he once was with all his youthful enthusiasm and joy, and the strong, caring man he grew up to be in spite of the pain and loss he ran from. Jules is a heroine with her heart in the right place, but her life in a mess. This book should definitely go on your MUST READ list. Amazon
If you enjoy a nail-biting, edge-of-your seat suspense, this book is for you. I was gifted the audio version of this book and listened to it in the car and on my daily walks. I sat in my driveway long after I got home from running errands and then ended up plugging in my earbuds so I could finish it sitting inside. And just when I thought I knew what was coming next at any point in the story, Ms. Clark threw me another curve ball. Carolina Slade is an intriguing character with all kinds of baggage and an irresistible urge to get to the bottom of things even when persisting might cost her everything; her job, her friends, her lover and even her life. And then there's Special Agent Wayne Largo, another compelling character, Slade's lover with agenda of his own that doesn't always match Slade's. There is mystery and misdeeds, all wrapped up with politics, drugs, greed and money and there's no telling who Slade can trust any more. Amazon - B & N
Having done a fair amount of research into what really happened in Vietnam rather than accept what screaming protestors and dishonest politicians were willing to reveal, I was most impressed with the roll the Dustoff pilots played in that war. Although helicopter evacuation of injured soldiers was introduced in Korea, it was still new to American warfare, and the heroics at times were beyond any expectation of possible. Therefore, when I heard about Dustoff-7-3, I was eager to learn how things had changed over the years. Erik Sabiston didn’t disappoint. We may have bigger, more sophisticated birds, better communications and world class medical intervention, but his personal account of one unbelievably harrowing operation put me totally in awe of these men and women who fly into dangerous places under conditions that would seem impossible pushing themselves and their machines to incredible lengths to bring our wounded soldiers back in time to make a difference. It wasn’t just the pilots who go boldly where most would never dare, but their crew and the medics as well. Sometimes learning on the job is a great way to gain experience, but for these indomitable men and women it appears to be away of life. No matter how much practicing they do back home, doing it in the crucible of war is mind-boggling. I guarantee, when you’ve read Dustoff 7-3, you will never see a wounded veteran without thinking about the utter heroism it took to bring him home. Download Dustoff 7-3 today – you won’t be disappointed. Amazon
Tracey Garvis Graves has done it again. Covet is a story that will touch your heart and stay with you long after you’ve finished reading it. In On The Island Ms. Garvis Graves took the reading world by storm turning a seemingly impossible social situation into a love story that will, I'm sure, endure the test of time, and set herself a pretty high standard to live up to, but Covet didn’t disappoint. Eschewing the usual selling plots of surprise babies, massive miscommunication and marriages of convenience, Ms. Garvis Graves tackles situations that more often than not in life, don’t have happy endings, and yet gives us that happy ending in a believable and satisfying way. Her characters, once again, command your respect and curl themselves around your heart, begging you to understand what drives them even when the things they do seem to set them on a path from which there will be no turning back and no happy resolution. Can a woman love two men at the same time? Can she keep her family together and not end up hurting the people she loves most? And what about the man she ends up not choosing? How is Garvis Graves going to reconcile this without breaking your heart now that she’s made you care so deeply? No spoilers here – you’re just going to have to read Covet for yourself.
Then there is Cherish - Another heart warming story about real people you can totally root for. This book satisfies this readers wish for a happy ending for the wonderful hero in covet. Clearly, Ms Garvis Graves likes to write outside the box and I am so pleased that she does. She brings stories and people to life that I really care about and love reading. Thanks Tracey.
Gable Fitzgerald is a man with many talents learned over a long career first with SEAL team six and then in black ops. But Gable is retired now and determined to take up the life of a retiree. He's considering buying fishing gear when he is informed that his mother, who he hasn't seen in over thirty years, has died in a freak accident. Filled with conflicted emotions, Gable returns to the county of his youth to settle things, but once there, he begins to suspect his mother did not die by accident and he is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. Thwarting him is a local police department who consider him just a little crazy and don't take him seriously. Then there's Kari Henderson, an attractive government agent currently assigned to the area to rout out a meth organization. She not only considers Gable a little crazy, but dangerous as well. Of course, coming out of the shower and finding him sitting in her bedroom in her home with a high tech security system tends to confirm her first impression. County Ops is a wonderful tale of good guys on the take and bad guys who are ruthless in the protection of their turf. It's just hard to know which is which. I loved Gable - he's a lot like one of my other favorite characters, Jack Reacher. He's got his own moral compass that guides him, and he's got shadows from his past that haunt him. He doesn't go looking for trouble, but when it finds him, he's willing to do whatever it takes to fix what's wrong. The ending of this book was perfect - Jurrens ties up all the loose ends with such a satisfactory, feel good ending, yet it wasn't over the top. Realistic with a sense of humor and a touch of emotion. This was my first Jurren's book, but it won't be my last.
Two compelling, real and unforgettable reads by Cheryl Reavis.
This is a brand new author for me, although she has an impressive list of books in print. I bought The First Boy I Loved because it was a deal of the day and downloaded it to my iPhone to read in odd moments while I waited here and there. But once I started, I couldn't put it down. It was 3:15 am when I finally turned my light out last night and my phone had about 3% of life left. So much for odd moments! And the first thing I did the next morning was head to Amazon.com to download The Long Way Home.
The First Boy I Loved is refreshingly different. The heroine isn't a sexy young innocent, nor a classy, career woman of the day. She is my age and she's on a quest to put a lifelong regret to rest. She goes on a pilgrimage, taking her troublesome and troubled teenage granddaughter with her. The people she meets are fascinating and the setting captivating in ways it's hard to explain. Perhaps this book touched me because I could have been this woman. Perhaps because I've been to some of the places she went. But I suspect mostly because Ms Reavis is a wonderful storyteller with a gift for reaching inside one and touching you in places you forgot you had. I loved Gilly and Donegan - you're never too old to fall in love. I loved Evan and Mae because they are our hope for the future. And the Dirty Boys, and all the rest of the cast. Bravo.
The Long Way Home makes me very glad Ms Reavis has a long list of books out there for me to catch up on. Two wonderfully flawed characters with enough baggage for an army meet under the least likely circumstances. He's throwing things and she throws them right back at him and basically tells him to get a life. Which, until Mac meets the fiery Rita, he's not sure he even wants. Ironically, it's Rita who's trying to get a new life, to bury the awful mistakes of her past and be the person her grandmother told her she was. With nothing better to do, trapped in a hospital bed recovering from extensive burns, Mac offers to tutor Rita in the Algebra she needs to complete her GED. But that's all. Except he can't seem to stop thinking about her when she's not around. Rita has already been burned and knows better than to let her heart get involved. So why does this angry, ornery man keep getting under her skin? Another wonderful cast of characters you won't want to miss.
All Jack Reacher wanted to do was meet the woman who'd been just a pleasant and intriguing voice on the phone. But when he got there, she was locked up, framed for something she hadn't done and Reacher was being threatened unless he left the way he'd come. Lee Child does it again! Another great Jack Reacher story filled with twists and turns. Reacher never backed down from a fight, not even when he was just a little kid and the fight much bigger than he. Recalled into the military where his adversaries thought they could keep a lid on him, he fought back as only Reacher can. Maybe Reacher can never back, but his fans will keep going back as long as Mr Child keeps rolling out the adventures.
Thankfully, many in our country today have begun to accept and respond to the devastation that war can wreak upon a warrior’s soul. Things our courageous young soldiers bring home with them and live with long after the battlefield has been left behind. We’ve also owned up to the senseless heartbreak of friendly fire. But how many of us have stopped to contemplate the shattering guilt and overwhelming sense of failure the “Other Soldier” lives with from the moment he or she realizes that their mistake has cost the life of a comrade in arms?
Ms. Altman tackled this tragedy head on. In a romance novel, no less. She created characters that felt very real in their reactions and motivations, in their heartbreak and grief. Even as I began to fall in love with Parker Dean and Corporal Reid Macfarland and desperately wanted these two very engaging people to find healing, I couldn’t envision a happy ending. Corporal Macfarland didn’t expect Parker Dean’s forgiveness. How could he? He couldn’t forgive himself. He only wanted to spend himself in an effort to make up for his horrible mistake. Parker couldn’t believe the audacity of this man who had taken her husband’s life. That he could come to Castle Creek wanting to buy some sort of redemption was outrageous beyond belief.
The supporting characters add depth and color to the story. The conflict between Harris Briggs and Eugenia echoes the theme of forgiveness. I loved getting to know the people of Castle Creek, Parker’s daughter, Natalie, and the gang at Snoozies. Like any really great book, I read fast, desperate to know how it ended and then, on reaching the last page, immediately wished there was more. I couldn’t wait to download Staying at Joe’s and I surely hope this is just the beginning of a wonderful, heartwarming series. Kathy Altman is now on my MUST BUY list. Thank you Ms. Altman, for a timely and heartwarming story of redemption, forgiveness and healing.
John Puller, a combat veteran and military investigator in the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigative Division, is one of the best. His father was once an Army fighting legend who is fading into end life forgetfulness, but still manages to influence his son. John's his brother is serving a life sentence for treason in a federal military prison (I really want to know more about that and hope it will come in a future book.) John's love of and faithfulness to his family are endearing and create a wonderful character I am happy to root for and follow.
In Zero Day, Puller is sent to remote, West Virginia to investigate a brutal crime scene where a military family has been slaughtered. The local homicide detective joins forces with Puller in the investigation and as they follow the trail of deception and greed, they realize they are facing a potential conspiracy that reaches far beyond the hills of West Virginia and the tangled web of relationships there.
Just as I was beginning this book, I read an unflattering review that suggested once one had read Lee Child's latest book, one might as well not bother with Zero Day. Fortunately, I ignored that review because the two books are very different in spite of the setting and set-up. Jack Reacher and John Puller are very different heroes, and both have my attention. Bring it on....
On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves ~ If you haven't read it yet, check it out. (Until now my favorite heroes were Jamie Fraser (Outlander) and Nils Sorenson (the Tide trilogy) but I've got a new hero to add to that list. T.J.Callahan might be young, but he grew up fast and he's got all the stuff heroes are made of.
Anna, the heroine of On the Island is an equally endearing character. They are both at a crossroads in their lives, TJ is just 16 and recently into remission after a lengthy battle with cancer and Anna is facing the end of a relationship that just isn't going where her heart wanted to go. They are thrown together by a twist of fate and forced to cope with trials most of us can't even begin to imagine. The story of their growing friendship and eventual love are compelling. You will cry with them, cheer with them and like me, I'm sure you will fall in love with them and ache with the difficulties the world presents to challenge all they have built together. The ending is wonderfully fulfilling. The next time I am sad, feeling adrift or just want a good read, I'm going to haul this book off my shelf and read it again.
DEPLOYED, by Mel Odom --
The first of a fantastic new trilogy.
"Lance Corporal Bekah Shaw joined the Marine Reserve to support herself and her young son when her ex-husband decided they were no longer his responsibility. Deployed to Somalia for her current tour of duty, she learns that her team must protect international humanitarian efforts and hunt down the factions responsible for the violence and carnage. The mission seems straightforward until the team encounters a renegade, a ghost who seems to be fighting against both sides. Rageh Daud once lived in contentment with his family in Mogadishu, Somalia. But when that life was torn from him by a terrorist attack, he vowed to avenge his loved ones whatever the cost. Raising an army of men from the displaced people groups scattered through the countryside, his only goal is destruction—until he encounters an orphan child he feels compelled to protect. When their worlds collide in a desperate situation, Bekah’s Marines and Daud’s militia realize that their only hope for defeating a common enemy—and their only chance at staying alive—may be to form an unthinkable alliance."
When I first picked this book up I had a lot going on in my family and the slow start to the book made it easy to put down. So many seemingly unconnected characters being introduced at once was confusing and disjointed, but then Mr Odom threw all these great characters into a boiling pot and the action took off. I found myself still reading at 3:00 am, unable to find a reasonable place to stop. Reasonable meaning a place to leave these folk and still be able to fall asleep not knowing what happened to them next. Odom creates characters you really care about and gives them challenges to grow into. Well described action, very timely theme, good people facing difficult decisions - there is a lot of meat on these bones. I can't wait for the next one in this new trilogy.
When PI Quint Mitchell volunteered to help with an archaeological survey in St. Augustine, he didn't count on digging up a murder victim. In the nation's oldest city, Mitchell discovers links to ancient sins, comes face to face with his own past, and unleashes powerful forces that will do anything to keep their secrets-even if it means taking his life.
As much as I enjoyed this author’s Carolina Slade mystery series, I somehow missed the Edisto one. But then I got lucky and was given a copy of Edisto Jinx. Another fantastic cast of characters set in a wonderful background of a small town, South Carolina island. You can almost smell the salt from the ocean just blocks from Callie Morgan’s beach home, and given the pace of life and laid back atmosphere it was as hard for me to believe there was a murderer on the loose as it was for the folk of Edisto Beach. But Callie Morgan smelled trouble even when the local chief of police did not. She’d come here to put her own life back together after the death of her husband and she thought she’d left the big city detective she’d once been behind, but apparently you can take the cop out of the city but you can’t take the cop out of the woman. This story is full of twists and quirky characters. Just when you figure you might know who done it, you discover you’re wrong again, almost to the very last page. If you love a good mystery, find a hammock, or a beach chair and settle in. Actually, a comfy chair a long way from the ocean will do just as well. Can’t wait for the next Callie Morgan mystery! Amazon
C Hope Clark has given us a fabulous, edge-of-your-seat ride in this lush, salt-tanged South Carolina beach novel. Callie Jean Morgan returns, somewhat reluctantly, to the beach home of her youth after she had moved far away to carve out a career for herself and a life that wasn’t ordained by her strong-willed mother. She was a top rate detective in Boston with a husband and son she loved fiercely when her life fell apart in one horrific night. Still adrift in grief and unable to pull her life together again, she accepts the gift of the home on Edisto from her parents hoping this new start is what she and her son Jeb need. But fear, suspicion and guilt continue to dog her along with an unknown killer intent on driving her over the edge. Edisto is filled with colorful characters starting with Callie’s quirky, perky neighbor who arrives to sage her home and rid it of bad karma and the handyman who lives out of his car. There’s a wealthy Canadian intent on wooing Callie and a bullying deputy who does everything to intimidate her. And then there’s the hunky local police chief with a mysterious background of his own.
Callie wants to be normal again and protect her son from any more mayhem, but someone is determined that isn’t going to happen. On her very first day in her new home Callie is driven to tearing down the beach in a panic trying to find her son with her Glock in her hand, gaining herself a reputation it’s going to be hard to fix. But the mayhem is just getting started. The twists and turns in this story will keep you glued to your seat until the final page. And when you finally do turn that last page, you’re going to hurry back to buy Edisto Jinx and dive into the next chapter of Callie’s life. Amazon
Before I fall, by Jessica Scott is a story full of heat and spice, but wonderfully told about two individuals who struggle with pain, injustice and frustration. Noah has been physically hurt and fights to find his way back to a new normal. Then he meets Beth, a woman he is powerfully drawn to, yet knows he doesn’t deserve. Beth is just fighting to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to get her father the care he needs and pay the bills. The last thing she needs in her life is another wounded veteran, but there’s something special about Noah she can’t turn away from. His unexpected gentleness and quiet concern for her touches her to the core of her being even though she knows there is something dark he’s not telling her. Once I started reading this book, I couldn’t put it down. I fell in love with Beth and Noah just as they were falling in love with each other and I wanted them to beat the demons that threatened to destroy the relationship neither dared to believe could last. Amazon
Once I started reading FROM THIS DAY FORWARD I simply could not put it down. (Very few books keep me up until the sun comes up. In fact the last time I read all night was Outlander almost 20 years ago.) Ms. Ransom grabbed me on page one and just wouldn’t let go. Kyle and Robyn are two very compelling characters that you love right from the start. Their pain and loss pierces your own heart, the façades they put up to keep the world from hurting them even more are so compelling and the desire for them to find healing and love just captures you with unyielding tension. Ransom’s cast of supporting characters were equally compelling and well drawn. I loved even the missing ones. If I could award six stars or even ten stars I would. Now I’m off to download my next Dana Ransom story. Amazon
Every time I read one of Cheryl Reavis' books, I am both eager to dig in and worried that it can't possibly be as good as the last one was. But I shouldn't worry. Promise Me A Rainbow touches the heart like so many books just can't. I love Joe and I wish he lived in my neighborhood. I'd like to give that selfish troubled daughter of his a good talking to. I loved Michael too, even when Joe felt he was letting him down, he struck me as a man in a hard place to be and doing the best he could. Another heartwarming read from Ms Reavis. Amazon
This book caught my attention with a car wreck and a cell phone eating goat. Clearly two people had so much to over come and so many reasons to give up, I felt like I could not put it down. It's filled with a cast of characters you so want to root for, whose lives become as important as your own while you're living in their world. This is a fantastic book. I also loved that it was written in first person, a format I love which is harder to write and possibly for that reason avoided by most authors, but Ms. Smith does it with compelling urgency and style. Loved it.
What a fun ride this book was. I love Slade - probably because there is so much in me that is mirrored in her, both good and bad. She is fiercely loyal, never goes at anything half way, but throws her heart into it full tilt. She's got her share of problems, being a single mom of a boy desperate for a man's touch and a daughter who desperately wants to be a teenager is only part of her personal challenge, she also has two men who have feelings for her, one she always considered a friend, the other her newest love and she's challenged by what she feels for both of them and the way they view her and treat her. In the midst of all this, she is called on to look into some questionable files and there is suspicion from her superiors that her friend and former mentor might be guilty. If that's not enough to cope with, it turns out someone wants her gone. A great roller-coaster ride. Ms. Clark does a superb job of evoking the area where this book is set, too. I feel like I'm there. If you like a good mystery, a hint of romance, a wonderfully vibrant heroine, this is your book. Now I've got to go check out the other two Carolina Slade books. Amazon
I've been blessed recently to have just happened upon a number of authors I'd not read before and found stories that touched me, made me laugh, made me smile and cry and wish for at least a dozen more chapters. There's a lot of competition out there, but books that grab you and hold on are exceptional. This book is one of those exceptions. I had a lot of things I meant to spend my day doing when I downloaded this book. Just one chapter, I promised myself. But in that one chapter Sam's whole world fell apart. When Sam begged Megan to give him 20 days to prove their love was the forever kind of love. 20 days to give her all he had and all he was and fix what was wrong, I was hooked and couldn't put the book down. I loved the small town and the supporting characters, but most of all I loved Sam and Megan and the magic that Sam managed to weave into each of those 20 days.
The most exciting thing about Vickie King’s debut novel CARLY’S RULE is that this is just the beginning. Ms. King is a talented author with a gift for creating a world the reader is bound to lose themselves in. Another fun thing about this book is Carly’s big, loving family and a cast of characters that move right into your heart and demand your attention. Her hero and heroine are well-drawn and very likeable, and it was so easy to get drawn into their conflicts and passions. I meant to read this book in my spare time, but once I got started, I couldn't put it down. I can’t believe I have to wait another six months to find out what happens in DUSTY’S FATE.
I downloaded this book because I've been doing research on military and police working dogs and it looked interesting. But WOW! If the rest of Mr. Crais' books are even half as riveting and well written, then I'm going to download them all. I love a good mystery and I enjoy edge of your seat suspense and this book has both. It also has two really wonderful characters you get drawn into caring about right from the start. The dog's pov was very well done and made the dog an equal player in the plot. Both the dog and the man are damaged goods, but together they prove to be a dynamic, heart-winning partnership. Thank you Mr. Crais for a wonderful story of healing and hope in the midst of a gritty, demanding, real-world setting.
UNTIL TUESDAY – by Former Captain Luis Carlos Montalván with Bret Witter
A highly decorated seventeen-year veteran returned from his second tour of Iraq with serious physical wounds that ended the career he had trained so hard for and had poured so much of himself into, heart soul and body. But even more crippling was the post traumatic stress disorder that even former Captain Luis Carlos Montalván and those he loved and trusted most didn’t fully understand or accept. Simply coping with a short trip to the corner deli to purchase a sandwich was a journey filled with landmines that threatened to bury him in a morass of migraine pain and overwhelming paranoia. Navigating the tortuous labyrinth to obtain treatment through the VA was a struggle on every level. The trip to get to the VA or to school on public transportation was often more than this wounded soldier could manage. Life and all hope for the future seemed pretty bleak for Captain Montalván. Until Tuesday.
Until Tuesday, a dog, bred for service work, but broken himself by circumstance, came into Luis Montalván’s life. Until Tuesday taught this broken warrior how to trust, how to cope and to have faith in himself and the future. Until Montalván found the healing power of a relationship with a very special dog.
In the last few decades, our military and medical fields have begun to accept the insidious and debilitating realities of PTSD and seek remedies, but it is fairly recently that the amazing healing power of a properly trained service dog has come on the scene. There is still an enormous amount of work to be done in educating, not just the medical field and the military, but the general public. Beyond being a fantastic read and a heartwarming story, Until Tuesday should be required reading for every American because until we, as a society, understand the cost our young men and women will pay when we send them into harm’s way, and until acceptance of these warriors and the dogs that are saving their lives is universal.
Until Tuesday is a courageously honest account of one man’s struggle with a disability most of us will never have to face and few understand. It is also the heartwarming story how the love between a broken warrior and a disillusioned canine healed them both. Read this book and the next time you see what appears to be a healthy, robust young man or woman escorted by a canine wearing a service vest, you will have a far better appreciation for the struggles that person is living with every day of their life.
Jack Reacher is the creation of Lee Child. He's an interesting hero: a loner who cares about people and justice and he isn't afraid to get involved. In some of my favorite stories, Child explores Reacher's past, the story behind the man who is physically large, totally confident, capable, intimidating and sometimes violent. Two short stories, Second Son and Deep Down, give a glimpse of Jack Reacher as a youth. All of the books are great but my favorites so far are: The Enemy and The Affair, are both set when Reacher was still an outstanding MP in the Army, when he still had family and before he became the loner the rest of the novels portray.
If this book is not the first of a series, I'm going to be seriously disappointed. Ms. Bain took me along for a fantastic ride and there just have to be more adventures for a colorful cast of characters that will keep you laughing and guessing right up to the last page. The chemistry between Trubleh and Mace sparkles and their families and friends are both funny and endearing. If you enjoy mystery, comedy and romance, you are going to love this book. Warning: Be sure you set aside a nice chunk of time because once you get started, you won't be able to put it down.
At our chapter's annual conference, I picked this book up on the freebie table and what a find. It's wonderful story of discovery, family and acceptance. I also had the pleasure of meeting the author herself and she is just as nice as her book. As soon as I finished this one, I began hunting for more -- Now I've downloaded A Place to Call Home on my Kindle and have a whole list of titles to check out after that.
Another fascinating and twisted mystery by a quartet of writers calling themselves the Rogues Gallery Writers.
Four would-be authors decide to take to heart the advice to "write what you know" by actually doing the things their characters do in the books they are writing. What starts out to be an experiment in realism very quickly lands all four of them in some seriously hot water. Can they get themselves out of trouble or not? You'll find yourself laughing out loud as you follow the capers of Dorian, David, Georgie Mae and Marty. Give yourself a treat . . . grab a mug of your favorite comfort brew and curl up with METHOD WRITERS.