Threads of Suspicion (Evie Blackwell Cold Case #2) by Dee Henderson | Romantic Suspense Review

Threads of Suspicion (Evie Blackwell Cold Case #2) by Dee Henderson

Book review disclosure.

Evie Blackwell Cold Case #2
Romantic Suspense

WILL HER LATEST COLD CASE UNRAVEL BEFORE 
JUSTICE IS SERVED?

Evie Blackwell's reputation as a top investigator for the Illinois State Police has landed her an appointment to the governor's Missing Persons Task Force. With so much public fanfare surrounding the launch of this elite investigative team, the political stakes are high, and the team will have to produce results--and quickly.

Evie and her new partner, David Marshal, are assigned to a pair of unrelated cases in suburban Chicago, and while both involve persons now missing for several years, the cases couldn't be more different. As Evie opens old wounds in a close-knit neighborhood over the disappearance of a college student, David searches for a private investigator whose last case involved a high-powered client.

With a deep conviction that "justice for all" truly matters, Evie and David are unrelenting in their search for the truth. But the questions that lie just beneath the surface in Evie's personal life are also begging for answers.

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My Thoughts

With this second Evie Blackwell Cold Case book I am even more enthralled with this new series. With the governor's Missing Persons Task Force up and running Evie finds herself in the outskirts of Chicago on her next case. This time around she has a new partner, David Marshal.

David and Evie have two completely different cases but use their skills to help each other out on their assigned missing person. We also get to catch up a little with some of the other members of the team as they pop in and out of the storyline. 

I love a good mystery and that includes cozy mysteries. This series is definitely not cozy and does lean heavily towards suspense. Evie is very thoughtful and thorough in her approach to solving the mystery of the missing person. I enjoy reading about how she methodically plots out the case and then dives in to hunt down each piece seeing if it fits or not. Evie's new partner, David, takes a very different approach to solving his missing person case and it is fascinating to watch the two use their skills to help the other one out.

There's also a secondary ongoing storyline that involves Evie and her past. She's seriously involved with Rob, who is seemingly the perfect match for Evie, but something just won't let her commit. With this second book a bit more of her past is revealed so we get a bit more information on her commitment issues. I'm looking forward to future books to find out what all has happened to mold her into who she is.

If you like a story that builds in intensity right up to the very end you'll get it in Threads of Suspicion. I thought it was a fast read because the plot just kept uncovering more and more details that lead further and further down a sinister road. By the end I was reading and flipping pages as fast as I could. It was a completely satisfying read and I'm anxiously awaiting the next installment.

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The Sacrament of Happy: What a Smiling God Brings to a Wounded World by Lisa Harper | Christian Living Review

The Sacrament of Happy: What a Smiling God Brings to a Wounded World by Lisa Harper

Book review disclosure.

Lisa Harper
Christian Living

Imagine hearing your physician tell you that chips and queso contain more nutritional benefits than kale and quinoa.

In her new book, The Sacrament of Happy: What a Smiling God Brings to a Wounded World, Lisa Harper unveils a similarly extravagant, unexpected surprise, declaring that happiness is a gift from God that we can unashamedly enjoy.

Wearing the twin hats of both seminarian and belly-laughing adoptive mom, Harper builds upon solid theological scaffolding for happiness in a warm, vignette style. She dismantles the old-school idea that joy, not happiness, is the truly spiritual emotion of the Christian family and asserts that Christ-followers are actually called to happiness . . . to such a deep conviction in the unmitigated goodness of our Creator-Redeemer that we are free to feel and express genuine joy, fulfillment and contentment, regardless of personal and global tumult.

Harper’s personal story includes such happiness killers as sexual abuse, the death of loved ones, and heartbreaking failed adoptions. Yet she writes on themes like:
“The lost sacrament of laughter”
“Happiness is not the absence of sadness”
“Tuning out the Pharisees who try to mute your happiness in the context of spiritual maturity”

This book goes well beneath most people’s surface understanding of happiness, gently guiding readers closer to the heart of God . . . with naturally a few genuine guffaws to enjoy along the way.




My Thoughts

In her newest book, The Sacrament of Happy, Lisa Harper reminds us that happiness isn't the absence of sadness. That thought is kind of mind boggling. How in the world can I be happy in the midst of great sorrow? It has the tendency to seem foreign to us, yet we've all met that rare person that seems to be happy and content in the midst of a great tragedy or an overwhelming sorrow.

As I read through the book and absorbed Lisa's thoughts that are backed up with Scripture it began to make sense. Not only did it make sense but it seemed achievable. Lisa goes on to tell us that happiness can be ours when we remember the fundamental truth that God is and does good. It's what He desires for us. It's what He gives us in the midst of tragedy if we will let Him.

This is a short book, only 10 chapters, but it will make a huge impact on how you think about happiness and where it originates from. We live in a society that tells us that happiness comes from things and experiences. The truth is it comes from the One who made us.

I think this would make a wonderful small group read. Each chapter ends with very thought provoking questions that relate to the chapter's topic. While most of the personal stories obviously have a female feel to them I still think the subject matter would go over well in a mixed small group. 

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Lisa Harper



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Hello Stars (Lena In the Spotlight #1) by Alena Pitts | Juvenile Fiction Review

Hello Stars (Lena In the Spotlight #1) by Alena Pitts

Book review disclosure.

Lena in the Spotlight #1
Juvenile Fiction

FOLLOW THE RISE OF LENA DANIELS.

With her little sisters Ansley, Ashton, and Amber and her mischievous pup Austin, constantly at her side, Lena must face the challenges of everyday life while chasing her newfound dream of being an actress on the big screen. Keeping her hopes high and her feet on the ground, Lena tackles life's tough choices, learns the value of perseverance, and holds her faith and family in her heart while making her way to the stars.

From a sleepover with her best friends, Savannah and Emma, that turns into a disaster, to making time for her three younger sisters, to balancing stardom with "real" life, Lena wonders if she'll ever feel normal again.




My Thoughts

If you've had the opportunity to watch the movie War Room then you are already acquainted with the talented author Alena Pitts. Alena played the part of Danielle Jordan, the darling daughter in the movie. She has taken that amazing experience and turned it into a delightful read for tween girls.
There is so much that I liked about this book, but the one thing that stands out is the over-riding theme of God being a central part of every decision in this family. Lena's character has an authentic feel to it, most likely because it is written by a young girl that experienced very similar situations.
I also liked how the story related to the every day girl that would be reading it. Not every girl is going to have an opportunity to be in a movie but they will have an opportunity to live out their faith in whatever area God has for them. Lena presents an opportunity to look at what it's like to have faith in God even in unknown circumstances. It's a great story of learning the wisdom from Proverbs 16:9 that we make our plans but God directs our steps.
This would be a wonderful read for tween girls. I can't think of a single drawback that would keep me from recommending it to you. The characters are well rounded and the dialogue is snappy. The situations are real and vulnerable and uplifting. If you've got a tween girl in your life get this book and this series for her!
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Alena and Wynter Pitts



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Fatal Mistake (White Knights #1) by Susan Sleeman | Romantic Suspense Review

Fatal Mistake (White Knight #1) by Susan Sleeman

Book review disclosure.

White Knights #1
Romantic Suspence

An FBI agent must protect the woman who can 
identify a terrorist bomber in bestselling author 
Susan Sleeman's riveting romantic suspense novel.


Each day could be her last...but not if he can help it.

Tara Parrish is the only person ever to survive an attack by the Lone Wolf bomber. Scared and emotionally scarred by her near death, she goes into hiding with only one plan--to stay alive for another day. She knows he's coming after her, and if he finds her, he will finish what he started.

Agent Cal Riggins has had only one goal for the past six months--to save lives by ending the Lone Wolf's bombing spree. To succeed, he needs the help of Tara Parrish, the one person who can lead them to the bomber. Cal puts his all into finding Tara, but once he locates her, he realizes if he can find her, the Lone Wolf can, too. He must protect Tara at all costs, and they'll both need to resist the mutual attraction growing between them to focus on hunting down the bomber, because one wrong move could be fatal.

My Thoughts

Susan Sleeman isn't a new author but she is a new-to-me author. Fatal Mistake was a wonderful introduction to her work. I enjoyed the fast pace of the plot and the detailed descriptions of the tactics used to intercept the Lone Wolf serial killer. 

This is the first book in the White Knights series that will revolve around a group of FBI special response agents. This novel features agent Cal Riggins. Cal and his team are on the hunt for the Lone Wolf bomber. They are tipped off by Tara Parrish who discovered the missing link to the killer's identity. It soon becomes evident that Tara is in grave danger and she is put into protective custody.

As I said earlier this is a fast read. It's one of those that you keep saying, just one more chapter and then I'll put it down. But before you know it you've devoured the entire book. I enjoyed the seemingly accurate drama and was fascinated by the tactics used to find and apprehend the killer. For the most part I enjoyed getting to know the characters and I look forward to reading the rest of the series to see how the team continues on. 

The only part that I found a bit irritating was the character of Cal. His angry outbursts don't seem to fit with a highly trained former Navy SEAL and a current FBI agent. I would think that his undisciplined actions would get him disciplined and or kicked out of the team. Even with that hesitation I still enjoyed the book immensely. 

This would be a good pick for your reading group. There are some great discussion questions in the back of the book that would make for interesting interactions within your group. There's also a teaser for the next book. According to the reading the next book is called Kill Shot and the featured agent will be Rick Cannon. It doesn't come out until early 2018 so the waiting is going to be torture.

Brio: My First Take Along Set | Toy Review

Brio: My First Take Along Set

Product review disclosure.

Ages: 18 months +

  • Practical, plastic take along storage case
  • Includes My First Engine with bell wagon, train tracks and two patented ramps
  • Additional curved tracks are built into the carrying case and are compatible with all BRIO railway sets and engines
  • Size: 17.75" x 9.5" x 3"
Brio My First Take Along Train Set opened up.


Brio My First Take Along Train Set storage.


My Thoughts

Our kids are crazy about trains. In fact when we are going on a trip they always want to take their trains with them. We wind up tossing them into the bottom of the backpack and hoping that they make it back to the house.

I was asked to review the Brio: My First Take Along Set and I am so pleased with it. In fact I'm wondering where it's been all my parenting life. The set comes with a couple of ramps and two train cars but it has room to add additional tracks and trains. It's so lightweight and compact that the two-year-old can easily carry it himself. 

We've been taking it everywhere and it's been a hit. Before we leave my little one grabs a couple of his favorite train cars and some tracks. We stow them away and then we're off. This has been a bonus going to grandma's house or when he has to accompany me to a meeting. He'll literally play quietly with this for hours. I highly recommend it to anyone with littles that love trains!


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