Monday, January 27, 2020

Collateral Damage By Lynette Eason

Collateral Damage
by Lynette Eason
Publisher: Revell Books
ISBN: 9780800729349

Thanks to Revell Books for the copy of Collateral Damage that I received for review. Excited to get started on the Danger Never Sleeps series!

Summary:

They thought they left the fight behind on the battlefield.
But their greatest struggles are just beginning.

Honorably discharged from the Army after an explosion nearly killed her, former military psychiatrist Brooke Adams has set up shop to help others, but her days of helping military personnel are over. She's got her own battles to fight from her time overseas, and she's not equipped to take on more. 

Former Army Special Ops Sergeant First Class Asher James could handle anything that war sent his way. The only thing that scares him now is sleep. As the shadows close in, the nightmares begin.

Finally convinced that he needs help, Asher makes an appointment with a counselor. When he arrives at her office, she isn't there--but a dead body is. When it becomes clear that Brooke was the real target of the attack--and that her secrets go even deeper than his own--Asher vows to protect her no matter what. 

My Review:

Talk about a story starting off with a bang! I have to admit, after having recently read several suspense/thriller/military novels, I wasn't sure if I had it in me to get through another one. hahahaha Oh, my, I have no idea what I was thinking as I'm pretty sure this is the fastest I've read through a novel in a LONG time!

Collateral Damage is a non-stop action story that nearly has the reader ducking for cover! Initially I wasn't exactly sure what was going on and it took me until chapters 2 & 3 to really decide I was in it for the long haul. There's just a lot going on in chapter 1 and it's all over the place. When you look back after you're into the story, you're able to make sense of the chaos.

Stories like this often make me realize how little I know what's going on around me, and I'm surrounded by military simply because of where I live. It also gives me a new appreciation for how much our military men and women need our support while they're active and after. We all realize on some level that PTSD can be debilitating to our military, but reading it through these characters certainly brings it to life with fresh words.

Like I said, this story is fast, and keeps the reader on their toes. I was more than ready to lose sleep over the book last night just to keep reading, that's how invested I was. I really liked Brooke. She's a strong, yet vulnerable character. She has military training, and thankfully that helps keep her alive AFTER she comes home and has retired from serving. Asher is a pretty complex fella. He comes from money and being in the military is scene as a scourge to several of his family members.

The twists and turns in the story really surprised me as it will anyone who reads it. The answers are unexpected, and as always I didn't start connecting the dots until nearly the end. Pretty typical for me, but I did peg one person sooner than I normally do, which I had to hi-5 myself for. HA!

I can't wait for the rest of this series, especially if it was as riveting and intense as this one was. Bring it on Lynette Eason. I'm ready for you!

About the Author:

Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of Protecting Tanner Hollow, as well as the Blue Justice, Women of Justice, Deadly Reunions, Hidden Identity, and Elite Guardians series. She is the winner of three ACFW Carol Awards, the Selah Award, and the Inspirational Reader's Choice Award, among others. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and has a master's degree in education from Converse College. Eason lives in South Carolina with her husband and two children. Learn more at www.lynetteeason.com.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

End Game By Rachel Dylan

End Game
by Rachel Dylan
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 9780764234309

One of the reasons I wanted to review End Game is because I now live only about 30 minutes from Washington D.C. In fact, we just did a Capitol tour last week with our friends. I already had the book, but because we always venture down there with people who visit, I figured it would be fun to know the general area. On top of that, this is a new author for me to ready.

Summary:

Each New Clue . . .
Every Crime Scene . . .
Brings Them Closer to Discovering the End Game

When elite members of the military are murdered on the streets of Washington, DC, FBI Special Agent Bailey Ryan and NCIS Special Agent Marco Agostini must work together to bring the perpetrator to justice. Unfortunately, all evidence points to a Navy SEAL sniper who Bailey refuses to believe is guilty. 

When Bailey and Marco start to connect the dots between the victims, they wonder if there's a deeper cover-up at play. After Bailey is targeted, it becomes clear that someone is willing to kill to keep their dark secrets. 

With the stakes getting higher by the moment, Bailey and Marco rush against the clock to determine whom they can really trust in this twisted conspiracy. As allies turn to enemies, the biggest secret yet to be uncovered could be the end of them all.

My Review:

If I had to give suspense and intrigue authors a system of how I'd rate their books, it would have to be the nail biter instead of stars. This was a 4 out of 5 nail biter. That's the actual truth of it! Now, I don't really have much in the way of nails, but as I finished the book I realized I had done nail biting on 4 fingers on my right hand.

That being said, what an incredible read! End Game is absolutely edge-of-your-seat reading. It's fast paced and keeps you on your reading toes.

While the book centers mostly around Bailey and Marco, we also get to know the supporting characters almost as well. It was surprising to me how easily I was able to keep track of who everyone was and what their roles were in the storyline.

Not only that, but then people come and go throughout the story as the team tries to solve the murders that are happening. What I actually loved about that is, I felt like I was with Bailey, Marco, and the rest of the team trying to solve the case. Every time they'd regroup I had visions of boards with strings tying people and events together and whiteboards. Seriously, NCIS tv show kind of moments.

I don't think I've ever read a book where a character's life is on the line so many times. How Bailey makes it through the book alive is beyond me. lol She's basically the human version of the Timex watch; takes a lickin' but keeps on tickin'.

I really enjoyed getting to know Marco and Bailey. Bailey is a kick butt kind of gal who gets the job done. So is Marco, but he seems to be more willing to show his emotions. They have a rocky start when they meet each other, but hey, Marco's bravado wasn't much help. As the story picks up its pace, it turns out they make a very strong team. As for the other team players, I felt like they were onions being peeled back as we got to know them better. My hope is that they'll continue to show up in future stories now that I have an investment in them as well.

Looking forward to the continuation of the series and I'm hoping the person who shows up a bit more is the character we see more towards the end of this book!

About the Author:

Rachel Dylan (www.racheldylan.com) was a litigator in one of Atlanta's most elite law firms for over eight years and now works as an attorney at one of the Big Three automobile manufacturers. She is the author of Deadly Proof and four Love Inspired Suspense novels and lives in Michigan with her husband.

Friday, January 24, 2020

A Promise To Keep By Melony Teague & Giveaway

A Promise to Keep JustRead Blog + Quote Tour 
I was so happy to be introduced to a new-to-me author, Melony Teague. JustRead sent me her ebook for review! So thankful they did. Welcome to the Blog + Quote Tour (and Giveaway!) for A Promise to Keep by Melony Teague, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

A Promise to Keep by Melony Teague
A Promise to Keep 
Author: Melony Teague 
Publisher: Anaiah Press 
Release Date: January 21, 2020 
Genre: Inspirational Contemporary Romance

Research librarian Savannah Sanderson wants nothing more than to escape into her happily-ever-after novels with their larger-than-life fictional heroes. But a promise to her late husband has her attending her dreaded twenty-year high school reunion, drinking ghastly punch, and taking desperate measures just to keep her vow, even if she has to hide behind the décor to do it.

Once a reckless troublemaker, Michael McCann fled town after graduation. Now a professional technical rescuer, he’s back for the reunion, but on his trip down memory lane, he soon comes face to face with unresolved issues, namely Savannah.

Before the night is over, a pact between these two old friends will lead them on an adventure into uncharted emotional territory where Michael must confront his past regrets and find the courage to reveal the truth. But can Savannah fly from her sheltered nest and risk her heart on a real-life hero?

My Review:

This was my first Melony Teague book and I'll be back for me. This was such a delightful story! Savannah was a character I could relate to slightly. Who wants to go to their high school reunion? I'd definitely be hiding behind plants.

Then there's Michael who is the wallflower turned rescuer guy. lol Isn't that how guys hope things will turn out after high school? Especially if they didn't have it so great back then? He's a terrific contrast to our scheduled, straight and narrow leading lady.

I was surprised at the directions this story took and was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed them. The adventures they go on kept me wondering what they'd do next. Would Savannah be willing? Would Michael be understanding? How would they find a middle ground?

Believe me I'm ready for more Melony Teague novels!

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Melony Teague

Melony Teague writes contemporary romance with a dash of humor, she loves to inspire and motivate others through her written words, and she believes everyone has a story to tell. Melony is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and she is the co-author of As the Ink Flows, a devotional for authors. Her fiction debut, A Promise to Keep releases, Jan 21, 2020. Melony was born in South Africa and now lives in Toronto with her handsome husband, their two teenagers, and does the bidding of her two adorable cats.

CONNECT WITH MELONY:  Website | FacebookTwitter | Instagram

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a prize package including Mocktails book, 4 pins: 2 x Embrace Life, 2x Be Original, 1 large pretty napkin (tropical flowers), 1 small cocktail napkins (with maple leaves on them), A Promise to Keep bookmarks and an Amazon gift card $10 value!

A Promise to Keep JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule shown below. Giveaway will begin at midnight January 20, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on January 27, 2020. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Open to US/CAN only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

 

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
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*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil On Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital & Activity Sheets

When Maleficent: Mistress of Evil came out in the theater we were so busy that we weren't able to get there to see it! We loved Maleficent so much we couldn't want to see the 2nd one. When I had the opportunity to review Maleficent: Mistress of Evil on Blu-Ray and DVD, I jumped at the chance.

As expected, this was quite the movie! Angelina Jolie reprises her role as Maleficent perfectly. Adding in Michelle Pfeiffer was the right move. She can play a nasty role with ease and I loved it! We had friends here for a little over a week and had movie night with Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. After it was over we talked about it for the rest of the evening. So glad to have this movie on our shelves. We'll definitely be watching this more than once!


on Digital 4K Ultra HD™ and Movies Anywhere Dec. 31
and on 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray™ Jan. 14

Go beyond the fairy tale with bonus features highlighting the film’s stunning visuals and all-star cast, along with extended scenes, outtakes and a Digital exclusive


Ring in the new year with Disney’s most iconic villain: “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” — which soared to No. 1 worldwide opening weekend and earned an A CinemaScore and a 95% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes — releases on Digital in HD and 4K Ultra HD™ and Movies Anywhere on New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, and physically on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray™ and DVD on Jan. 14, 2020. The thrilling sequel to 2014’s “Maleficent,” starring Angelina Jolie as Maleficent and Elle Fanning as her goddaughter Aurora, arrives home with brand-new bonus features, extended scenes, outtakes and an exclusive extra for Digital consumers.

Bonus features take viewers behind-the-scenes with the all-star cast to explore the making of “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.” Extended scenes reveal how Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer) manipulates Aurora into questioning Maleficient and accelerating her wedding plans. Featurettes include interviews with Jolie, who discusses Maleficent’s origins and the cast who portray the Fey, and Fanning, who gushes over Aurora’s fairytale wedding. Filmmakers showcase the visual effects behind the film’s stunning landscapes and the seemingly effortless flight of the Fey. Additional extras include “You Can’t Stop The Girl,” a music video performed by Bebe Rexha, and hilarious outtakes, ranging from uncooperative cats to uncontrollable giggles on set.

Fans who purchase “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” on Digital will gain access to an exclusive extra in which fantasy-film veteran Warwick Davis divulges the backstory for his character, Lickspittle.

Directed by Joachim Rønning, “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” carries on the story of Disney's most iconic villain. The years have been kind to Maleficent and Aurora. Their relationship, born of heartbreak, revenge and ultimately love, has flourished. Yet hatred between man and the fairies still exists. Aurora's impending marriage to Prince Philip is cause for celebration as the wedding serves to unite the Kingdom of Ulstead and the neighboring Moors. But, when an unexpected encounter introduces a powerful new alliance, Maleficent and Aurora are pulled apart to opposing sides in a Great War, testing their loyalties and causing them to question whether they can truly be a family.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” will be packaged and released in several different formats, ensuring each member of your family can enjoy it on a variety of different devices. Viewers can watch the film in Digital 4K Ultra HD, HD and SD, and bring home a physical copy of the film which will be released as an Ultimate Collector’s Edition (4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and Digital Code), a Multi-Screen Edition (Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Code) and a single DVD. A Digital bundle with both “Maleficent” and “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” will be available at preorder.

Bonus features include*:

DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE:


  • Lickspittle – Fantasy-film veteran Warwick Davis considers how every aspect of the film's design inspired his tragic character.
BLU-RAY & DIGITAL BONUS:
  • Extended Scenes
    • The Queen Comforts Aurora - Queen Ingrith takes advantage of Aurora’s fragile state to gain her confidence and accelerate the wedding plans.
    • Philip and Aurora Dance - Aurora struggles to gain Queen Ingrith’s approval when she realizes how she is viewed among aristocracy.
  • Featurettes
    • Origins of the Fey - Angelina Jolie discusses Maleficent’s lore, her newly discovered origins, and the diversity of the cast who portray the Fey.
    • Aurora’s Wedding - Elle Fanning gushes over Aurora’s fairytale wedding; plus, hear from some special guests as they give their best to the bride and groom.
    • If You Had Wings - Get a glimpse of the elaborate visual effects that allow the Fey to take to the skies.
    • “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” VFX Reel – Discover how a perfect blend of practical and visual effects were used to create the stunning landscapes in “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.”
  • Outtakes - Uncooperative cats, a serious case of the giggles and even the “floss dance” found their way into Ulstead.
  • “You Can’t Stop The Girl” - Music video performed by Bebe Rexha

SOCIAL MEDIA:
Facebook: Facebook.com/DisneyMaleficent
Twitter: Twitter.com/Maleficent
Instagram: Instagram.com/DisneyMaleficent
Website: movies.disney.com/maleficent-mistress-of-evil

Try out these activity sheets for family movie night! You can make Pie Pops and a Flower Crown!


Saturday, January 11, 2020

An Uncommon Woman By Laura Frantz

An Uncommon Woman
by Laura Frantz
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 9780800734954

I'm always excited to meet a new author. I had the chance to do that with Laura Frantz thanks to Revell Books. This is also my first read of 2020!

Summary:

Unflinching and plainspoken, Tessa Swan is not your typical 18th-century woman. Born and bred on the western Virginia frontier along with her five brothers, she is a force to be reckoned with. 

Quiet and courageous, Clay Tygart is not your typical 18th-century man. Raised by Lenape Indians, he returns a hero from the French and Indian War to the fort that bears his name, bringing with him Tessa's long-lost friend, Keturah, a redeemed Indian captive like himself.

Determined to avoid any romantic entanglements as fort commander, Clay remains aloof whenever he encounters the lovely Tessa. But when she is taken captive by the tribe Clay left, his hand--and heart--are forced, leading to one very private and one very public reckoning.

Intense, evocative, and laced with intricate historical details that bring the past to life, An Uncommon Woman will transport you to the picturesque and dangerous western Virginia mountains of 1770.

My Review:

An Uncommon Woman takes me back to reading historical fiction. I feel like it's been forever since I read anything historical so diving in to 1770 Western Virginia was a treat. It's also been quite a while since I've read anything from the frontier days.

First I have to say how incredibly impressed I was at the amount of research that was evident as I started to read the story. Reading the complex language of the Lenape was a vital part of the story for me and it brought in an element of authenticity that drew me further into the story.

I enjoyed the speed at which the story progressed. Sometimes I have that rushed feeling while An Uncommon Woman wound its way along like the Monongahela River. I was able to grow invested in the characters. Speaking of which, Tessa was a character who I appreciated her strength and tenacity. As we got to know her recently-returned friend, Keturah, I wished there was a prequel so that I could've gotten to know her during her time with the Lenape.

The way the author told the story, I could see the fort in my mind, picture the surroundings, and imagine how hard life must've been. I haven't read many novels in this time period or setting, but now I want to read more, learn more.

Then we meet Clay Tygart. He's a strong, steady presence as he comes to the fort that bears his name. His history helps him come alongside Keturah and help her through the changes life has brought her. I appreciated that he wasn't all business and could see the fort through the trees. hahaha

Now, there were a couple of things that made me twitchy. I'm pretty sure I've never read the word "mayhap" in all of the books I've read combined as I did in this one. lol Don't kill me. I get that it lends to the authenticity of the time period, but I actually read the word 3x in one small paragraph.

I'm going to add this to my review for now, but will also reach out to the publisher as well. I think the 3rd paragraph on the back cover isn't accurate to the story. More than 3/4 of the story and the relationship between Tessa and Clay are solidified by the time she's taken captive. I also didn't feel like there was a public reckoning that the reader experienced. It was mostly in the background, but we don't get to read much of that. Personally, with all of the anticipation of the Lenape encounter, I would've liked to read more of that in the story. That last part is personal preference, but I felt like the whole story was leading up to an encounter we'd read more about in detail.

That being said, neither of those points would deter me from reading more of the author's books and I still really enjoyed the story. If you have any recommendations for her next book I should read, please let me know on Instagram!

About the Author:

Laura Frantz is a Christy Award winner and the ECPA bestselling author of eleven novels, including The Frontiersman's DaughterCourting Morrow LittleThe Colonel's LadyThe Lacemaker, and A Bound Heart. Learn more at www.laurafrantz.net.

 
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