A Haven on Orchard Lane by Lawana Blackwell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ This is my first book by Lawana Blackwell and she’s been added to my list of favorite authors. I was beaming with pleasure while reading A Haven on Orchard Lane. What a delightful historic tale it was, filled with characters of substance that I could envision so clearly; and beautiful, refreshing dialogue that made this book the epitome of comfort and warmth. To be honest, I had taken a break from historic novels because I was growing weary of the same plot lines and scenarios. This book has caused me to regain faith in the genre. The story was unique and unlike any other book I’ve read in this category, with writing that spoke to my heart and nourished my soul. I was always ready to pick up where I’d left off. Now a little of what it was about….
Mrs. Charlotte Fosberry was a highly respected actress in her former days. Now at 50, she’s no longer on stage, but married to Lord Fosberry who did not marry her for love. Presuming she possessed more wealth than was the case, he confessed his true motives for marrying her and has grown critical and mentally abusive to Charlotte; making off-color comments about her weight and such. She desperately needs a way out and it comes by way of a theater part that she is called upon to play. Knowing that Lord Fosberry won’t allow her to just walk away from their marriage, Charlotte must devise a scheme to make her exit. Things don’t turn out the way she expects regarding her big break on stage, and she finds herself at the mercy of her estranged daughter, Rosalind, who Charlotte did not raise. Forgiveness is the order of the day, and Rosalind will learn almost immediately that her mother isn’t the person she’s made her out to be. In fact, Charlotte has much to contribute to many secondary characters by way of wisdom, and even theatrical experience. There’s a little mystery and intrigue in the story, a love triangle and ultimately the most wonderfully fulfilling ending.
Ms. Blackwell does Christian Fiction right. There are a few brief scriptural references to bible passages and characters, and a mention here and there of the folks making their way to worship services. But happily it wasn’t a lesson in Christianity or didactic in any way (I attend my own worship services for that). Oftentimes when reading a Christian Fiction novel I find that the author’s views don’t align with my personal beliefs and ultimately upset my delicate sensibilities related to religion. Because of this I find it difficult to review these preachy books objectively. This was not so with A Haven on Orchard Lane. What little I didn’t agree with wasn’t enough to affect my enjoyment of the book. It was mainly just solid story-telling without profanity, violence or graphic sexual scenes. What I personally expect from a Christian Fiction novel. I loved it!! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Thank you Bethany House for a free copy of this book. I have not received any payment for my honest opinions about it.
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Seek and Find by Dana Mentink
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 Another great love-inspired suspense story by Dana Mentink. I was thoroughly entertained by Seek and Find – on the edge of my seat wondering who the perpetrator was. I always enjoy Dana Mentink’s suspense books. She writes them so skillfully. If I didn’t know better I’d think she was a cop.
Madison Coles is a reporter intent on finding out why there is a string of homicides being committed in the town of Desert Valley. With three attempts on her own life it’s clear that someone doesn’t appreciate her inquisitiveness. Rookie K-9 officer James Harrison, along with his lovable bloodhound Hawk, have to keep an eye on her, but that’s not easy when Madison prefers to be left alone to pursue her intentions, and James has little respect for reporters since they’ve more or less ruined his family’s life. Only, while both are annoyed by each others’ assigned duties, they can’t deny the attraction that’s forming between them. But both James and Madison have deeply-rooted trust issues that keep getting in the way. Will they learn to let down their guard and allow love to blossom while at the same time joining forces to catch a killer, or will their stubborn resolve interfere with the investigation and drive them apart?
Seek and Find is a great little suspense novel that will hold your attention through to the end. The characters were relatable, and I found myself sympathizing with their personal plights. This made the story even more engaging because I wanted to know how things would turn out for both the main characters and a few of the secondary ones. Hawk was a joy to envision and I loved his presence in the book. There were a couple of small parts within the story that I was left feeling a little curious about, but since this book is part of a mini-series written by several different authors, I presume some of my questions could be answered in the next installment. Other than that, Seek and Find was a great book, and if you like fast moving suspense novels, you’re sure to be pleased with this one.
Thank you Dana Mentink for an ARC of Seek and Find. In exchange I have provided an honest review.
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Seaside Secrets by Dana Mentink
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Dana Mentink has done it again. Whenever I read one of her romantic suspense books I know I’m about to be taken on a fast-paced, riveting, action-packed joyride. And that’s exactly what I got with Seaside Secrets.
Tank Guzman needs Angela Gallagher’s help, but not the help she’s accustomed to giving. As navy chaplain she’s assisted many to cope with their grief, but the pain of witnessing Tank’s brother’s death in Kandahar, Afghanistan has her wondering if she’s truly qualified to carry on that role. Julio Guzman, Tank’s brother, died while trying to protect her, and the guilt she carries, along with the PTSD, finds her stepping away from her duties as chaplain and into helping with her family’s detective agency in California, Pacific Coast Investigations. Tank Guzman contends that someone is trying to kill him, but his bitter attitude towards Angela because of his twin brother’s dying while trying to save her, along with his checkered past, makes Angela skeptical. Perhaps he’s setting her up to be harmed as revenge for his brother’s death. Nevertheless, she feels that Tank is telling the truth, and an obligation to help him because of Julio. Dan Blackwater, the heart doctor who served in Afghanistan with Angela and tried but failed to save Julio’s life, wants to help her get to the bottom of what’s going on with Tank, but Angela wants to keep Dan at arms length because of her attraction to him, unwilling to foster a relationship while she’s uncertain about her own life and future. But when a young woman, Lila Brown, narrowly escapes being blown to bits, and Angela’s life is eventually threatened, she concedes to a helping hand in Dan; one that might aid her in healing, and possibly in finding someone intent on murder.
Seaside Secrets starts off at a fast pace and keeps your heart pounding until the stunning conclusion. Dana Mentink is an excellent suspense writer. I was thoroughly impressed by the revelation of why Tank Guzman was running; very creative. I loved this book and recommend it highly.
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