Who Done It?

rules of murder cover

I am a fan of Downton Abbey and Sherlock Holmes so while this particular book wasn’t really in my chick lit genre wheelhouse, I thought I’d give it a try. Rules of Murder by Julianna Deering is an engaging mystery. With lots of back and forth conversation (I found it very reminiscent of the kind of dialogue in Gilmore Girls and lots of plot twists and turns, you think you have things figured out but are continuously surprised to find a different outcome.

Drew Farthering enjoys a good mystery. When there is a murder at his estate home in England during a party, he and his best friend, Nick decide they are going to try and solve the mystery following the rules of a popular mystery novelist. Together, with the help of a plucky young American woman visiting her uncle, Drew and Nick try and put the pieces together in the puzzle of who murdered the guest. As the questions and bodies pile up, the three detectives question the truth of who is behind all of the mayhem.

It looks like this may just possibly the the first book in a series with the Drew Farthering Mystery title, it could be an engaging series. I was a little put off at first because there is no reference to the decade in which this book is set (I concluded 1930s since the only mention of the year was that of a car) and until I realized the book was set in England, I thought the dialogue was a strange cadence but once I concluded those two things, I was drawn into the mystery. After all, I thought I knew who committed the murders. But, in the end, I was wrong and I love it when books throw me for a loop like that.

Overall, I would give the book four out of five stars.

*****Bethany House Publishing provided me with a complimentary eCopy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I was not compensated in any way for either a positive or a negative review.

We’re All Human

As a transplant to Nashville, I have experienced the cultural Christian phenomenon. Living in the buckle of the Bible belt, you find those people who put on the outward appearances of being Christian: the right clothes, the Bible and Bible cover and the church attendance that is simply to see and be seen. I know the meaning behind the phrase, “Bless his/her heart.” It’s these Christians who haven’t experienced the true grace of God. While all Christians are human and have problems and failures in their lives, those who know that grace push through those trials and come out stronger on the other side. Faking Grace by Tamara Leigh explores all of this and then some.

Maizy Grace Stewart has moved to Nashville to start over but working at a local paper only part time is not paying the bills. In attempt to land a job at as an Editorial Assistant at a local publishing company that only hires Christians, Maizy picks up a book and creates a five step plan to becoming a Christian (which includes going by her middle name, Grace). This five step plan is all about the appearances. On the day of her interview, Maizy meets Jack, a man who seems to see right through her charade. What Maizy Grace doesn’t expect are the friendships and the deeper faith that she is gaining through her new job. When the paper asks Maizy to do a full time investigative piece on the hypocrisy of her coworkers, she is torn between her newfound faith and friends and the promise of a full time job and a return to what she believes is her dream. Will her faith help her make the right decision?

I love Tamara Leigh’s male characters. They are strong, honest and know what they want from the start. Where are these men in my life? While they have their own struggles, they are open and honest about them. The focus is really on the female characters and their transformation but you can’t help but fall in love with the hero. Leigh is becoming a favorite of mine.

I give this book four and a half out of five stars.

****Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing has provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I have not been compensated in any way for either a negative or a positive review.

Summer Romance

barefoot summer cover

I have always been a fan of Chick Lit. There is something about reading about two people who you know are meant to be together but have their misunderstandings and trials. Eventually, they work through it all to find their happy ending. Barefoot Summer by Denise Hunter does not disappoint in this area.

Madison McKinley still mourns the loss of her twin brother, Michael, who had a tragic accident when he was a teenager. His dream was to be the youngest winner of the local Regatta. Madison figures that if she can realize Michael’s dream despite her fear of the water, her mourning and nightmares will stop. Beckett O’Reilly is a good man with a troubled past who cannot say no to Madison McKinley. He agrees to help her learn to sail and try to realize her dream. Will Madison be able to win the Regatta and let go of her brother’s death? Will Beckett be able to guard his heart spending so much time with Madison? And what about the secret he has kept to himself about Michael’s death?

Hunter paints a wonderful picture of the small town of Chapel Springs, Indian. The characters are engaging and you are rooting for a happy ending for everyone from the first chapter. As the title would suggest, this is a great summer beach read. I look forward to the next Chapel Springs installment next spring.

Overall, it gets four and a half out of five stars

****Thomas Nelson Publishing provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I was not compensated in any way for either a negative or a positive review.

The Faith of a Child

when mockingbirds sing

We grow up and we lose that wonder of childhood, the innocence and the ability to believe in magic and the unseen. In When Mockingbirds Sing by Billy Coffey, the belief of a child and unbelief of others is explored.

Leah Norcross is a shy little girl who stutters. At her birthday party, she sees the Rainbow Man. He is a man she can’t really describe to others and he sings songs to her, songs she can’t explain to others. Leah’s friend Allie believes her and a few other people when Leah paints a beautiful picture that helps one of the down-on-his luck townspeople. But the small-minded town quickly turns on Leah when another picture doesn’t produce the same results. Who is the Rainbow Man and will the town believe this little girl? Will her parents believe her?

Billy Coffey paints a wonderful picture of being an outsider in a small town. When things are new and exciting and seem to be in their favor, the town welcomes the Norcross family but when they don’t get what they believe is coming, they turn their backs on the family and a little girl. Throughout the story, Coffey weaves the importance of faith (in believing in things unseen).

Overall, I would give the book three and a half out of five stars.

****Thomas Nelson Publishing provided me with a free eCopy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I was not compensated in any way for either a negative or a positive review.