29 Seconds by T.M. Logan

About the book: “Give me one name. One person. And I will make them disappear.”

Sarah is a young professor struggling to prove herself in a workplace controlled by the charming and manipulative Alan Hawthorne, a renowned scholar and television host. The beloved professor rakes in million-dollar grants for the university where Sarah works—so his inappropriate treatment of female colleagues behind closed doors has gone unchallenged for years. And Sarah is his newest target.

When Hawthorne’s advances become threatening, she’s left with nowhere to turn. Until the night she witnesses an attempted kidnapping of a young child on her drive home, and impulsively jumps in to intervene. The child’s father turns out to be a successful businessman with dangerous connections—and her act of bravery has put this powerful man in her debt. He lives by his own brutal code, and all debts must be repaid. In the only way he knows how. The man gives Sarah a burner phone and an unbelievable offer. A once-in-a-lifetime deal that can make all her problems disappear.

No consequences. No traces. No chance of being found out. All it takes is a 29-second phone call.

Because everyone has a name to give. Don’t they?

Publication Date: September 10, 2019

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Genre: Thriller

**Does contain some language and adult situations**

My thoughts: 29 Seconds is the second novel by T.M. Logan that I’ve had the chance to read. While I enjoyed it just as much as his debut novel, Lies, the book is quite different. In Lies, the main event of the story takes place at the beginning of the book and there is a cat and mouse chase throughout the rest of the story leaving the readers on the edge of their seats. In 29 Seconds there’s quite the buildup to the main event. The phone call that the story receives its title from doesn’t take place until approximately halfway through the book. But the first half of that book isn’t just wasted space or words thrown on a page. Uh-huh. The first half of this book builds up to the main event, that 29-second phone call, that may or may not change Sarah’s life. For me, the author did a fantastic job of building up to the phone call. We get to know Sarah as a person and what her life is like with her husband who has left her for someone else. While we hear much about him we never really get to know him as a person, which is fine. Readers also get to know Sarah’s father and the relationship between him and Sarah. And there’s a great deal of time spent getting to know and thus despising the one and only Professor Alan Hawthorne. I’m not quite sure I’ve ever hated a character as much as I did this guy. He’s a bully who uses sexual harassment to get what he wants. He’s narcissistic and creepy and just plain nasty. T.M. Logan did a great job of creating the perfect character for readers to love to hate. I wanted every single bad thing that could have happened to this character to happen to him. I despised him and wanted to make that phone call myself.

One character in the book has a pretty important role though we don’t see him much. That’s James Grosvenor, the father of the child Sarah rescues. I enjoyed the short time spent with this character. He exuded wealth and power. It was effortless to picture this guy sitting in an office talking to Sarah and offering up his services to her. There was just something about this character that was so interesting and I was drawn to him. I would have actually liked for him to have had a bigger role in the story so I could read more about him.

While this book wasn’t as fast-paced as Lies I enjoyed it just as much. I liked the way the story played out letting readers get to know the characters and build attachments to them. T.M. Logan does a phenomenal job of telling stories that capture the reader’s attention and doesn’t let go until the end. T.M. Logan is on my must-read author list and I can’t wait to read more by this talented author.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and wasn’t required to write a review. All opinions are mine

About the author: Tim was born in Berkshire and studied in London and Cardiff before becoming a national newspaper journalist. He currently writes full-time and lives in Nottinghamshire with his wife and two children.

His debut thriller Lies (2017) sold more than 350,000 copies and was one of Amazon’s biggest selling e-books of 2017. Together with his second standalone thriller, 29 Seconds (2018), his books are now published in a dozen countries around the world including the USA, South Korea, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Hungary, Serbia, Romania and the Netherlands.

His next thriller takes place over a sweltering summer week in the south of France, as four best friends see the holiday of a lifetime turn into a nightmare of suspicion, betrayal and murder… The Holiday is due to be published in the UK by Bonnier Zaffre on 13 June 2019.

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A Family for Gracie by Amy Lillard

About the book: Gracie Glick is known for being the helpful one, always available for a relative in need. But now that she’s longing for a home and family of her own, it’s time to help herself. With few eligible men in Pontotoc, Gracie’s choices, and her time, are limited. So she takes a bold leap of faith: she proposes to Matthew Byler, a handsome, recently widowed, father of five. It’s not until after they’re married that Gracie learns Matthew doesn’t want more children . . .
 
With his grief still fresh, and his children needing care while he tends to his farm, Gracie is the answer to Matthew’s prayers. But a marriage in name only suits him fine. And when he finally tells Gracie the dismaying reason why, they must decide whether to continue
together—or apart. It’s a choice that will force them both to look deeper into their hearts than ever before . . .

Publication Date: July 30, 2019

Publisher: Zebra

Genre: Amish fiction

Series: Amish of Pontotoc #3

My thoughts: During the first two books of this series readers have watched with Gracie as her cousins, twin sisters Leah and Hannah, have found love and families of their own. Finally, Gracie gets her turn in a somewhat unusual way, especially for an Amish woman. Gracie may be in for more than she bargained for as life with Matthew isn’t the easiest. Taking on a ready-made family, a fussy baby, and a husband who doesn’t communicate with her could prove to be more than Gracie is prepared for.

This book was an enjoyable read and I liked the realness of the story. From the unique personalities of the children to Gracie’s struggles and Matthew’s reluctance at taking on a new wife, this story was so full of real-life aspects that it made for a quick and easy read. Amy Lillard does an excellent job of bringing stories to life through her characters and descriptions.

While this book is the third in the series it could be read as a standalone. It is sure to be a favorite of fans of Amish fiction. It is a book I highly recommend.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a review. All opinions are mine.

About the author: During the first two books of this series readers have watched with Gracie as her cousins, twin sisters Leah and Hannah, have found love and families of their own. Finally, Gracie gets her turn in a somewhat unusual way, especially for an Amish woman. Gracie may be in for more than she bargained for as life with Matthew isn’t the easiest. Taking on a ready-made family, a fussy baby, and a husband who doesn’t communicate with her could prove to be more than Gracie is prepared for.

This book was an enjoyable read and I liked the realness of the story. From the unique personalities of the children to Gracie’s struggles and Matthew’s reluctance at taking on a new wife, this story was so full of real-life aspects that it made for a quick and easy read. Amy Lillard does an excellent job of bringing stories to life through her characters and descriptions.

While this book is the third in the series it could be read as a standalone. It is sure to be a favorite of fans of Amish fiction. It is a book I highly recommend.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a review. All opinions are mine.

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Cowboy Christmas Guardian by Dana Mentink

About the book:  

UNDER THE RANCHER’S PROTECTION

Someone is dead set on stopping Shelby Arroyo from doing her job: assessing mineral rights in a mine in gold country. But after rancher Barrett Thorn rescues her from an attack, the handsome widowed cowboy seems to feel responsible for her. That is, until he discovers she’s from the family that he’ll never forgive for his wife’s death. As the threats against Shelby escalate, cowboy honor and an unexpected attraction keep Barrett by her side, even at his own risk. And since Shelby won’t back down, Barrett must protect the brave, loyal woman he has no business falling for…a woman someone wants to kill by Christmas.

Publication Date:  November 7, 2017

Publisher:  Love Inspired Suspense

Genre: Suspense, Christmas

Series: Gold Country Cowboys #1

My thoughts:  

The first book in Dana Mentink’s new series is a fast-paced, action-packed story full of edge-of-your-seat scenes that will have your heart racing. I have no doubt she’ll be able to top these scenes in the future books of the series. It will be so fun to see how.

This story captured my attention from the very beginning. The opening scene creates the tone for the rest of the story with a dark, stormy night full of danger for Shelby Arroyo, the leading lady of the story. This woman can manage to get herself into a lot of dangerous situations and it’s a good thing she has Barrett Thorn there to rescue her. Barrett may come across as a brooding cowboy but there is so much more to him. Oh, and I absolutely adored Evie Thorn, the matriarch of the Thorn family! Is it possible for her to adopt me?

Reading this story it’s hard to believe that it’s written by a third grade teacher who is mom to Junie the dog and posts funny videos on social media. This book is dark, mysterious, and so good. It really shows her ability as an author to write a wide range of stories. I enjoy the fact that she can make me laugh or, in this case, keep me on the edge of my seat and turning pages long into the afternoon or night.

This is a book you don’t want to miss out on reading. I’m already anxious to read the next book in the series and see what’s in store next for the Thorn family. This is one for the keeper shelf.

I received a free copy of this book and was not required to write a review. All opinions are mine.

About the author:

 Dana Mentink enjoys writing in many different capacities. She currently writes for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Harlequin Heartwarming and Harvest House Publishers.

Dana is the recipient of a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award, two ACFW Carol Awards as well as a Holt Medallion.

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An Amish Family Christmas by Murray Pura

About the book:

After tragedy strikes the family of young Naomi Miller, her friend Rebecca Bachman does all she can to help. But things get complicated when Rebecca’s brother, Micah, returns from a combat tour in Afghanistan. For one thing, he chose to serve in the military even though he served as a medic and never picked up a gun. For another, he is under the Meidung—the shunning— because of that and none of the Amish are permitted to speak to him or eat with him. And finally, he is not only Rebecca’s brother, he is Naomi’s husband! But how can Naomi pick up where their marriage left off after he turned away from her and his people to enlist in the army? How can Naomi and Micah even begin the process of healing their relationship when he will not repent of what he has done and the Amish will not forgive him for what he has done? Naomi despairs of ever again having a happy married life with her husband.

But God has a way of working on the hearts of His people—especially at Christmas time. When an unexpected turn of events sets things right, miracles happen to the Amish community, to the Miller family, and to Naomi and Micah, miracles that transform everyone.

Here is warm and tender story of faithfulness, love, and reconciliation at the most wonderful time of the year.

Publication Date: October 1, 2013

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers

Genre: Amish fiction, Christmas

My thoughts:

This book was my introduction to Murry Pura. To be completely honest, I didn’t pay attention to the author’s name and had no idea that the book was written by a man until the end. Before reading this book, I had only read Amish fiction written by women. Murray won me over with this book. His writing style is wonderful and he gently pulls you into the story and keeps you there until the last word.

This book was wonderfully written and realistic. The characters are genuine and complex. They have problems and aren’t living the perfect stress-free life so many people think the Amish live.

The storyline of this book was different from any I had read in the Amish fiction genre. I found this unique and refreshing. It added to the authenticity of the characters are made for a wonderful read. In fact, there is a lot packed into this 146-page book but it is so well written that I finished the book quickly.

This book will leave you with a happy heart. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys Amish fiction.

About the author:

Murray Pura was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, just north of the Dakotas and Minnesota. His first novel was released in Toronto and was a finalist for the Dartmouth Book Award. He has been a finalist for several awards in the US and Canada and in 2012 won the Word Award of Toronto for Best Historical Novel. Murray lives and writes in Alberta and is currently published by Barbour, Baker, Harper One, Zondervan, Harvest House, Harper Collins and Harlequin. His diverse writing spans many genres including: historical fiction, contemporary fiction, literary fiction, romance, adventure, western, suspense, fantasy, Amish, and inspirational. His most recent releases include Petals (2016); Beautiful Skin (2016); All My Beautiful Tomorrows (2017); Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (2018). Murray has traveled extensively and lived abroad including such places as: Scotland and the UK; Ireland; France; Belgium; Holland; Germany; Switzerland; Austria; Czech Republic; Slovenia; Italy; Greece; Israel; Egypt; Iran; Afghanistan; Pakistan; Nepal; India; California; New Mexico.

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The Secrets of Paper and Ink by Lindsay Harrel

About the book: A year after the death of her abusive fiancé, domestic violence counselor Sophia Barrett finds returning to work too painful. She escapes to Cornwall, England–a place she’s learned to love through the words of her favorite author–and finds a place to stay with the requirement that she help out in the bookstore underneath the room she’s renting. Given her love of all things literary, it seems like the perfect place to find peace.

Ginny Rose is an American living in Cornwall, sure that if she saves the bookstore she co-owns with her husband then she can save her marriage as well. Fighting to keep the first place she feels like she belongs, she brainstorms with her brother-in-law, William, and Sophia to try to keep the charming bookstore afloat.

Two hundred years before, governess Emily Fairfax knew two things for certain: she wanted to be a published author, and she was in love with her childhood best friend. But he was a wealthy heir and well out of her league. Sophia discovers Emily’s journals, and she and William embark on a mission to find out more about this mysterious and determined woman, all the while getting closer to each other as they get closer to the truth.

The lives of the three women intertwine as each learns the power she has over the story of her life.

Publication Date: February 26, 2019

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Genre: Fiction, Romance, Timeslip

My thoughts: After reading The Heart Between Us by Lindsay Harrel I knew I had to read whatever she released next. That just so happened to be The Secrets of Paper and Ink. I didn’t even read the description of what the book was about. I just knew that I loved her writing and wanted to read whatever she wrote. I wasn’t disappointed.

This book was everything I was expecting it to be and more. The story centers on two modern-day women who meet when Sophia decides to get away and go to England. She has just faced the death of her fiance but readers soon learn that there’s more to her story than just the grief she is going through. In England, she meets Ginny, who has been left by her husband with a bookstore that is on the verge of closing. Sophia rents a room from Ginny and works in the bookstore. There she comes across a notebook in which there is a fascinating story about Emily Fairfax. Sophia isn’t sure if Emily is real or just a character but she is drawn to her story and it was a story that I was drawn to as well. It was so easy to like and relate to each of these three women. The author does an excellent job of writing three original characters that worked well in the same story.

The chapters in the book jump from character to character but that was something that I really enjoyed. I liked learning Emily’s story in bits and pieces and slowly over the course of the book. I (correctly!) guessed some of the events in Emily’s story and how she would be connected to the main story fairly early into the book but that didn’t bother me at all. In fact, I found that I enjoyed learning that my guesses were correct as the story unfolded.

Whether reading about modern-day Cornwall or the 1860s Cornwall the author does an excellent job of describing the scenes and transporting readers to England and letting them go on a journey with three very unique women who are facing difficult times in their lives. The author does an excellent job of writing a timeslip novel that gives readers two complete stories to enjoy as they combine into one fantastic read!

With her YA-leaning The Heart Between Us and now The Secrets of Paper and Ink this author has earned a spot on my must-read list. It doesn’t matter what genre or era she is writing, I will be reading it. I highly recommend this book which is quite possibly my favorite read of the year.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a review. All opinions are mine.

About the author: Lindsay Harrel is a lifelong book nerd with a B.A. in journalism and M.A. in English. She lives in Arizona with her young family and two golden retrievers in serious need of training. Lindsay has held a variety of jobs, including curriculum editor for two universities, medical and business writer, and copywriter for a digital marketing agency. Now she juggles stay-at-home mommyhood with working freelance jobs, teaching college English courses online, and—of course—writing novels.

When she actually has time to do other things, she loves to sing, read, and sip passion iced teas from Starbucks. She loves to watch God work in ordinary lives to create something extraordinary, and she writes to bring hope to those who may have lost it along the way.

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The Express Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse

About the book: The Wilderness Is a Great Place to Hide
Jacqueline Rivers manages a Pony Express station in 1860 Utah territory after her father’s death. There are daily stresses placed on her in this unconventional role—and now a government official is asking her to sniff out counterfeiters. When Elijah Johnson passes through on the stage while on an exhausting quest to find his boss’s heir, he doesn’t want to leave the beguiling station manager. In fact, he may never leave when caught in the crossfire of the territory’s criminal activities. Can she remain strong when secrets of the past and present are finally unearthed?

Publication Date: July 1, 2019

Publisher: Barbour Books

Genre: Historical Fiction

Series: The Daughters of the Mayflower, #9

Can Be Read As Standalone: Yes

My thoughts: Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres and I love when they take place in the unsettled West. Add in an independent woman and men willing to protect her if needed and you have a story that I can become engrossed in and enjoy from start to finish. The Express Bride was everything I was looking forward to and more.

From the very beginning, I was hooked by this storyline. I enjoyed learning about the Pony Express and reading about the unsettled Utah Territory. I also enjoyed the cast of characters in the story. Each had a unique personality and was in the story for a purpose which, for me, made the story so much more enjoyable. The author did a fantastic job of bringing the story to life through her descriptions of the area.

This is a must-read for fans of America historical fiction. While it is book number nine in the series it completely stands on its own. I’m sure that, like me, once you read this book you will be adding the author to your must-read list. Happy reading!!!

About the author: Kimberley Woodhouse is the best-selling author of more than twenty books who loves the JOY of story. A lover of history and research, she often gets sucked into the past and then her husband has to lure her out with chocolate. She’s spoken to more than 800,000 people at more than 2,000 venues and has taught the craft of writing around the country. Married to the love of her life for twenty-five plus years, she makes her home in Montana.

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Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber

About the book

Merry Knight is pretty busy these days. She’s taking care of her family, baking cookies, decorating for the holidays, and hoping to stay out of the crosshairs of her stressed and by-the-book boss at the consulting firm where she temps. Her own social life is the last thing she has in mind, much less a man. Without her knowledge, Merry’s well-meaning mom and brother create an online dating profile for her—minus her photo—and the matches start rolling in. Initially, Merry is incredulous, but she reluctantly decides to give it a whirl.

Soon Merry finds herself chatting with a charming stranger, a man with similar interests and an unmistakably kind soul. Their online exchanges become the brightest part of her day. But meeting face-to-face is altogether different, and her special friend is the last person Merry expects—or desires. Still, sometimes hearts can see what our eyes cannot. In this satisfying seasonal tale, unanticipated love is only a click away.

Publication Date:  October 3, 2017

Publisher:  Ballantine Books

Genre: Contemporary fiction, Christmas

My review

This book is classic Debbie Macomber! After not really enjoying the past couple of books by her I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this story. It was a quick and easy read.

Everything about this story was perfect. The characters, the situation they found themselves in, and the pace of the story were just excellent. Once I started reading this story I really didn’t want to put it down to go to bed. The story pulled me in and I just couldn’t get enough of these characters. There were moments that made me smile and even chuckle out loud. This book is a perfect Christmas read.

Fans of Debbie Macomber will enjoy this book. This would also be a great introduction to those not familiar with her work. This is a fun read and one that could easily be read more than once without becoming boring. Definitely one for the keeper shelf.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a review. All opinions are mine.

About the author

Debbie Macomber is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and one of today’s most popular writers with more than 200 million copies of her books in print worldwide. In her novels, Macomber brings to life compelling relationships that embrace family and enduring friendships, uplifting her readers with stories of connection and hope. Macomber’s novels have spent over 1,000 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Thirteen of these novels hit the number one spot.

In 2017, Macomber’s all-new hardcover publications include If Not for You (March), Any Dream Will Do (August), and Merry and Bright (October). In addition to fiction, Macomber has also published two bestselling cookbooks, an adult coloring book, numerous inspirational and nonfiction works, and two acclaimed children’s books.

Celebrated as “the official storyteller of Christmas”, Macomber’s annual Christmas books are beloved and five have been crafted into original Hallmark Channel movies. Macomber is also the author of the bestselling Cedar Cove Series which the Hallmark Channel chose as the basis for its first dramatic scripted television series. Debuting in 2013, Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove was a ratings favorite for three seasons.

Macomber owns The Grey House Café, which also features a gift shop and a Hallmark Gold Crown store inside. It is located in the Village Square campus, which also serves as Debbie’s corporate headquarters.

She serves on the Guideposts National Advisory Cabinet, is a YFC National Ambassador, and is World Vision’s international spokesperson for their Knit for Kids charity initiative. A devoted grandmother, Debbie and Wayne live in Port Orchard, Washington, the town which inspired the Cedar Cove series.

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