First Line Fridays # 20: “The Cost of Betrayal” Novella Collection

It’s time for a new edition of First Line Fridays hosted by the Hoarding Books blog!

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Happy weekend! Today’s First Line Friday feature is an almost-released (new as of next Tuesday) novella collection by three well-known authors: The Cost of Betrayal romantic suspense novella collection by Dee Henderson, Dani Pettrey, and Lynette Eason. This is a TBR title for me, one I think I will enjoy because I’m a fan of Dani and Lynette. I don’t think I’ve read anything be Dee just yet, but her books are highly read in the genre. Read on to see THREE first lines and share yours in the comments!

The Cost of Betrayal

First Lines:

Betrayal by Dee Henderson

Ann Falcon eased toward the front of the crowd.

Deadly Isle by Dani Pettrey

He waited, lurking against the buoy’s cold, rusty body, awaiting her.

Code of Ethics by Lynette Eason

“Get him to surgery, ASAP! OR number four.”

 

Your turn! Find the book closest to you and share your first line in the comments! Then, head over to Hoarding Books for the linky and visit other FLF posts!

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Book Review: “Dead Drift” by Dani Pettrey

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Today I’m getting to share my review of Dead Drift by Dani Pettrey — the whirlwind conclusion to the “Chesapeake Valor” series! This is the last book in a series following a special group of friends who happen to work in law enforcement at different investigative capacities. Though this book could be read alone, I highly recommend reading the series in order to get the most out of the character arcs and story events.

Book 1: Cold Shot | Book 2: Still Life | Book 3: Blind Spot

About the Book

Dead DriftPrivate Investigator Kate Maxwell never stopped loving Luke Gallagher after he disappeared. Now he’s back, and together they must unravel a twisting thread of secrets, lies, and betrayal while on the brink of a biological disaster that will shake America to its core. Will they and their love survive, or will Luke and Kate become the terrorist’s next target?

Goodreads | Amazon

Review

Dead Drift is romantic suspense at its best. All I have to say: FINALLY! I was highly anticipating this story, largely due to the investment I had in these characters and mystery after three previous books. This final installment was everything I wanted it to be: pulse-pounding ACTION, puzzles to solve, situations to escape, friendships that bring all the emotion and a romantic relationship built on history and attraction.

Readers of the whole series will be happy with the occasional perspectives of earlier lead characters and TWO serious plot lines — one involving a terrorist threat and Luke and another seeking to resolve a murder mystery important to Griffin. My favorite parts of this series, other than seeing the dynamic of this team, were the long-awaiting wrap up of ongoing plot threads and the romance between Luke and Katie. For Luke to not have been “on the scene” much in previous books, I still instantly liked him because of the way the rest of the team considered him. He had a LOT to go through in this story, seeking forgiveness being a big part of it, but his integrity and determination proved admirable — and the story was all the better for it.

Thank you to Bethany House for the review copy. This is my honest and unsolicited review.

Review: “Blind Spot” by Dani Pettrey (Chesapeake Valor #3)

Review: “Blind Spot” by Dani Pettrey (Chesapeake Valor #3)

Blind Spot by Dani Pettrey is the latest installment in the “Chesapeake Valor” series following a law enforcement friend-group as they solve crimes, deepen friendships, and find romance along the way. This is romantic suspense at its best, with mysteries, ACTION, and plenty of surprising twists!

About the Book

Blind SpotFBI agent Declan Grey is in the chase of his life–but isn’t sure exactly what he’s chasing after. Threatened by a terrorist that “the wrath is coming,” Grey fears something horrible is about to be unleashed on American soil. When his investigation leads him to a closed immigrant community, he turns to Tanner Shaw to help him. She’s sought justice for refugees and the hurting around the world, and if there’s anyone who can help him, it’s Tanner.

Tanner Shaw has joined the FBI as a crisis counselor . . . meaning she now has more opportunity to butt heads with Declan. But that tension also includes a spark she can’t deny, and she’s pretty sure Declan feels the same. But before anything can develop between them, they discover evidence of a terror cell–and soon are in a race against the clock to stop the coming “wrath” that could cost thousands their lives.

Review

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The series thus far…

Blind Spot continues the mystery of the Chesapeake Valor series, heightening the suspense and deepening the layers of secrets along the way. I think this series is best read in order because it carries forward an ongoing mystery that has to do with a friend and missing person, AND because it continues a terrorism/human trafficking story line that started in book 2.

I am continually impressed with Dani Pettrey’s ability to present a tangled puzzle of clues and hints and solve it a little at a time through the eyes of the characters. With edge-of-your-seat action, this is one book I didn’t want to put down for long! This book has two main threads of riveting mysteries, having Declan and Tanner focus on the terrorism storyline and familiar characters from the previous books (Griffin, Finley, Parker, and Avery) investigating an embezzling scheme that takes a few surprising twists.

While the intertwining investigations are fascinating, I was just as riveted with the puzzle that is Declan and Tanner’s relationship. Having previously “met” these two in the series, finally seeing their perspectives and growing mutual attraction firsthand was a treat. Amidst the action of this story, a wonderful relationship dynamic unfolds between these two as they learn from each other and reveal the secrets of their past (in particular, something I did NOT see coming from Tanner!). This romance, much like the personal faith thread of these characters, is naturally portrayed and serves as an anchor point in all of the drama and motion of the story.

One more thing I’ve really loved about this series as a whole is the differing roles/perspectives each main character has played in “investigating”: in Cold Shot, a park-ranger-turned-detective and a forensic anthropoligist; in Still Life, a crime scene analyst and a photographer; and now, book 3, an FBI agent and FBI crisis counselor.  I CANNOT WAIT for book 4, Dead Drift….like I need it now. I have a feeling it will be quite the interesting “Jason Bourne-esque” 🙂 thrill ride!

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for the complimentary review copy. This is my honest review.

 

 

Book Review: “Still Life” by Dani Pettrey

img_20170225_193923_755.jpgThis review is all about book #2 in Dani Pettrey’s “Chesapeake Valor” series, Still Life. It is a contemporary romantic suspense story continuing to focus on a group of crime-solving and law enforcement friends in the Baltimore area. This time, we get to witness crime scene investigator Parker Mitchell and professional photographer Avery Tate as they are thrown back together to solve a potential crime and confront their growing mutual attraction.

About the Book

Work hits too close to home for crime scene photographer Avery Tate when her best friend disappears. The only lead is a chilling photo of her–apparently dead. As Avery, her boss Parker, and his friends dig into the case, she’s forced to confront her feelings for Parker when they come face-to-face with a dangerous criminal.

Review

This novel is another GREAT work of romantic suspense from Dani. It’s action-packed and suspenseful, in the page-turning kind of way, the perfect blend of crime drama and slight thriller with a hint of romance.

still-lifeBook 1, Cold Shot, introduced us to this group of best friends with various accomplishments and roles in law enforcement, from FBI to forensics to homicide detectives. We glimpsed the working relationship between Parker and Avery in Cold Shot, and Still Life picks up a little after they have separated ways professionally. Circumstances out of their control force them to work together again to find Avery’s missing childhood friend. Confronting old acquaintances, however, causes Avery to begin a revealing journey back into a past she regrets — and fears will come between hers and Parker’s friendship with permanent ripples.

There are many things to love about Still Life, but my favorite thing is the relationship dynamic between Parker and Avery. The way both of them gradually realize the depths of connection they share; the way Parker is a very strong character (with quite the Irish brogue 🙂 ) but not above vulnerability; they way they are each encouraging and protective of the other, in different ways; and the way Avery is relatable and assertive. Most importantly, the story of forgiveness that unfolds a little at a time is a demonstration of how God can redeem your past and show you His unconditional love through the people close to you.

While the focus of this story is Parker and Avery, another criminal incident takes place that draws the whole group into the investigation. This adds even more suspense to the plot and sets up a few things to come in the next book, I think. Through this, we get to know the personalities of the next “couple” the series will focus on (Declan and Tanner). Also, a plot thread that will seemingly continue through the series, dealing with the group’s missing friend Luke, is developed further and is proving quite interesting.  I’m ready for more of this crew already!

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers and Netgalley for the review copy. This is my honest review.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 New-To-Me Authors I Read for the First Time in 2016

It’s another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by  The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Tuesday at The Green Mockingbird

At first consideration, I didn’t think I had read 10 NEW authors this year because I tend to gravitate to favorite authors I know I will enjoy. Upon looking through Goodreads, however, I found I had read more than 10 new authors in 2016. I’ve listed below my favorites, in alphabetical order (because who could ever rank them!!??), and my corresponding book(s) review(s).

Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read for the First Time in 2016

1. Pepper D. Basham

Pepper D. BashamLet me just tell you now: you need to read Pepper’s books. As of last week, I have read all 4 of her published works and cannot wait for more. She conquers both historical and contemporary romance with the same determination to communicate messages of God’s grace and Christ’s love with her characters.

The Thorn Bearer

The Thorn Keeper

A Twist of Faith

2. Rachelle Rea Cobb

Rachelle ReaWhile I might have been a little late in discovering fellow blogger Rachelle Rea Cobb’s historical series, I hope I made up for it by devouring her series this year. I was also privileged to participate on her special launch team for book 3. This is a series not to miss if you’re a fan of history, gripping drama, fantastic romance, or stories of redemption.

The Sound of Diamonds

The Sound of Silver

The Sound of Emeralds

3. Melanie Dickerson

The Beautiful PretenderAfter hearing about Melanie’s skill at transforming fairytales into clever retelllings with an inspirational bent, I had to try one of her stories for myself. Everyone was right! I will be reading more of her books in the future.

The Beautiful Pretender

4. Ruth Logan Herne

392151Ruth seems like such a sweet person! I enjoyed one of her recent releases for the first time this year in conjunction with SLB Tours.

More Than a Promise

5. Liz Johnson

where-two-hearts-meetLiz’s contemporary romance series set on the idyllic Prince Edward Island was a treat! It’s not to be missed. I’m anxious for book 3!

The Red Door Inn

Where Two Hearts Meet

6. Jenny B. Jones

I'll Be YoursAnother author I kept hearing about in the young adult genre, one I don’t visit very often. though that might be changing with such discoveries as Jenny (and the next on the list, Amy….)

I’ll Be Yours

7. Amy Matayo

the-thirteenth-chanceAmy is such fun! I reviewed her latest release and have since added a few more of her novels to my collection to be read soon, hopefully.

The Thirteenth Chance

8. Dani Pettrey

Cold Shot by Dani PettreyI know, I know, I haven’t read anything from Dani until this year. I *need* to read her Alaskan Courage series because it is totally my type of series. I just know I need some dedicated time because I have a feeling I’ll want to binge-read it. Anyway, I really loved the start of her new action/mystery/romance series and look forward to book 2 early next year!

Cold Shot

9. Kathleen Rouser

kathy-rouserKathleen contacted me concerning her new release from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, a small-time publisher, and I’m very glad she did! She is a delightful person, as evidenced in my interview post, and her novel is equally as delightful in depth of story and character.

Rumors and Promises (and interview)

10. James L. Rubart

the-long-journey-to-jake-palmerThe synopsis of James’s newest release, combined with the stunning cover and previous praise of his novels, made me eager to read this one. I knew it would be different than the norm, and I was happily correct. Fans of contemporary drama, stories of purpose, and even slight fantasy in a C.S. Lewis-like vein will enjoy James’s latest release.

The Long Journey to Jake Palmer

 

Well, have you read any of these books or authors before? Which is your favorite? What new authors have you discovered recently? I’d love to hear your comments and recommendations!

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Bookish People You Should Follow on Pinterest

It’s another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by  The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Tuesday at The Green Mockingbird

This week’s topic is Ten Bookish People You Should Follow on _____ (Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, other social media, blogs, etc.). I’ve chosen to adapt it to Pinterest because I’m obsessed with pinning.

Pinterest

Click to follow The Green Mockingbird on Pinterest

One awesome part of the reading experience in modern times, I think, is connecting with authors via social media. The Pinterest platform allows authors to share their story’s “world” with locations, character ideas, behind-the-scenes news, quotes, etc. I’ve chosen to share 10 of my favorite pinning-authors and my favorite of their book boards! I so appreciate these authors for taking the time to compile and share their inspirations and unique worlds this way.

Top 10 Favorite Pinterest Authors & my Favorite Book Boards

  1. Amber Stokes — click here to visit her board for How a Star Falls
  2. Dawn Crandall — click here to visit her board for The Hesitant Heiress
  3. Dani Pettrey — click here to visit her board for Cold Shot
  4. Hillary Lodge — click here to visit her board for Reservations for Two
  5. Laura Frantz — click here to visit her board for The Mistress of Tall Acre
  6. Lori Benton — click here to visit her board for The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn
  7. Pepper Basham — click here to visit her board for The Thorn Keeper
  8. Rachel McMillan — click here to visit her board for The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder
  9. Rachelle Rea — click here to visit her board for the “Steadfast Love” series
  10. Tamera Alexander — click here to visit her board for A Beauty So Rare

Honorable mentions: Melissa Tagg, Kristy Cambron, Lynne Gentry, Jessica Dotta, The Silver Petticoat Review, and this book quote board “Favorite Quotes from Christian Fiction”.

Do you follow any authors via Pinterest or other social media? I welcome your comments and recommendations!

Review: “Cold Shot” by Dani Pettrey (Chesapeake Valor #1)

Review: “Cold Shot” by Dani Pettrey (Chesapeake Valor #1)

“But she knew in her heart this case was going to be anything but straightforward. God seemed to think her way stronger than she was.” -pg81

This quote perfectly sums up the tumultuous position of the characters in Dani Pettrey’s latest release, Cold Shot.  It’s the first book in a new series, “Chesapeake Valor”, and it’s a promising start to a dynamic of characters I’m eager read about. Read on for more about the book and my happy review.

Side note: how is this my first book by Dani? I’ve been hearing of the skill and quality of her stories for a while now. I *really need* to go back and catch up on her Alaskan Courage series. That’s all.

About the Book

Cold Shot by Dani PettreyIn college, Griffin McCray and his four best friends had their lives planned out. Griffin and Luke Gallagher would join the Baltimore PD. Declan Gray would head to the FBI and Parker Mitchell would go on to graduate school as a crime scene analyst. But then Luke vanished before graduation and their world–and friendships–crumbled.

Now Griffin is a park ranger at Gettysburg, having left life as a SWAT-team sniper when a case went bad. The job is mostly quiet–until the day he captures two relic hunters uncovering skeletal remains near Little Round Top. Griffin just wants the case to go away, but charming forensic anthropologist Finley Scott determines that the body is modern–a young social justice lawyer missing since spring–and all evidence points to the work of an expert sniper. When FBI agent Declan Gray takes over the case, past and present collide. Griffin soon realizes he’ll need to confront some of the darkest days of his life if he–and those he cares about–are going to escape a downward spiral of murder that crosses continents.

Review

Romantic suspense at its best!

Here’s my take on the great points of this story:

  • Page-turning suspense. Plenty of action — just when you think the characters will have a “normal” scene, something unexpected happens to throw them (and you) into an adrenaline rush. The mystery of the villain was well-shrouded and encompassed in a bit of a twist.
  • Characters are already grounded in their faith in God. The story showed personal growth and emotion of the characters without a major life-changing spiritual experience, though there was a definite theme of trust and hope through the novel. The everyday life and walk with God depicted here lent to its realistic feel.
  • Ensemble cast –kind of. There were complicated histories and relationships between Griffin and his friends who become unlikely colleagues. This is the perfect setup for the series. Not all is revealed from the first few chapters, either, which kept the dynamic of the cast interesting.
  • Romantic chemistry. It’s already there from page 1! Griff & Fin know each other already, so a work-turned-serious relationship feels like a natural step. Though it’s more like protective Griff reacting to a crime threat that just happens to involve the attractive and independent Fin. But it’s fun to see them fight their mutual attraction along the way!
  • The way Griffin and Finley compliment each other. I was impressed by the way their personalities seem “written” for each other, though in some ways they are complete opposites. 🙂 Griff is a compassionate gentleman. Fin is a capable encourager. Both of them dealt with guilt, regrets, and were disturbed by other peoples’ actions. They were each able to support each other in different ways to move toward forgiveness and letting go of fears.

If you’re interested in Cold Shot, check out Dani’s website for fun extras, bonus materials, and a book club kit! Or, see her awesome Pinterest board for Cold Shot.

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for the review copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.