The Key to Everything by Valerie Fraser Luesse | Contemporary Fiction Review

The Key to Everything
Valerie Fraser Luesse
Contemporary Fiction

"Promise me you'll never come back here, Peyton. It's too much--it's just way too much."

Peyton Cabot's fifteenth year will be a painful and transformative one. His father, the heroic but reluctant head of a moneyed Savannah family, has come home from World War II a troubled vet, drowning his demons in bourbon and distancing himself from his son. A tragic accident shows Peyton the depths of his parents' devotion to each other but interrupts his own budding romance with the girl of his dreams.

Struggling to cope with a young life upended, Peyton makes a daring decision: He will retrace a journey his father took at fifteen, riding his bicycle from St. Augustine, Florida, all the way to Key West. Part declaration of independence, part search for self, Peyton's journey will bring him more than he ever could have imagined--namely, the key to his unknowable father, a longed-for reunion, and a calling that will shape the rest of his life.

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Stories That Bind Us by Susie Finkbeiner | Contemporary Fiction Review

Stories That Bind Us by Susie Finkbeiner

Stories That Bind Us
Susie Finkbeiner
Contemporary Fiction

Rediscover the power of story to open the doors of our hearts

Betty Sweet never expected to be a widow at forty. With so much life still in front of her, she tries to figure out what's next, never imagining what God had in mind.

When her estranged sister returns to town, Betty finds herself taking on the care of a five-year-old nephew she never knew she had. In 1960s small-town Michigan, they make an odd pair. Betty with her pink button nose and bouffant hair. Hugo with his light brown skin and large brown eyes. But more powerful than what makes them different is what they share: the heartache of an empty space in their lives. Slowly, they will learn to trust one another as they discover common ground and healing through the magic of storytelling.

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Standoff (Natchez Trace Park Rangers #1) by Patricia Bradley | Romantic Suspense Review

Standoff (Natchez Trace Park Rangers #1) by Patricia Bradley

Natchez Trace Park Rangers #1
Patricia Bradley
Romantic Suspense

The Natchez Trace National Parkway stretches 444 miles from Nashville to Natchez, the oldest town on the Mississippi River. It's the perfect road for a relaxed pleasure drive. Unfortunately for Luke Fereday, it's also perfect for moving drugs.

Sent to Natchez to infiltrate the organization at the center of the drug ring, Luke arrives too late to a stakeout and discovers the body of his friend, park ranger John Danvers. John's daughter Brooke is determined to investigate her father's murder but soon finds herself the target of a killer who will do anything to silence her.

Luke will have his hands full keeping her safe. But who's going to keep him safe when he realizes he's falling--hard--for the daughter of the man he failed to save?

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Hadley Beckett's Next Dish by Bethany Turner | Contemporary Romance Review

Hadley Beckett's Next Dish by Bethany Turner

Bethany Turner
Contemporary Romance

Get ready for a heaping helping of humor, romance, and second chances

Celebrity chef Maxwell Cavanagh is known for many things: his multiple Michelin stars, his top-rated Culinary Channel show, To the Max, and most of all his horrible temper. Hadley Beckett, host of the Culinary Channel's other top-rated show, At Home with Hadley, is beloved for her Southern charm and for making her viewers feel like family.

When Max experiences a very public temper tantrum and is sent packing, his only chance to get back on TV and in the public's good graces is to work alongside Hadley. As these polar-opposite celeb chefs begin to peel away the layers of public persona and reputation, they will not only discover the key ingredients for getting along but also learn the secret recipe for unexpected forgiveness . . . and maybe even love.

In the meantime, hide the knives.

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My Thoughts

This story sizzles like frying bacon! I am not a foodie and I don't tend to watch reality TV but I absolutely adored this book. It is very character driven and the two main characters, Hadley Beckett and Maxwell Cavanagh have chemistry.

That chemistry is pretty explosive in the beginning. The two chefs are appearing in a reality TV celebrity chef cooking competition. Hadley drips Southern charm and Max radiates his bad boy persona. The camera loves the tension but behind the scenes it's just ugly.

If you are looking for a good summer read put this at the top of your list. I enjoyed the exploration that actions have consequences. Max is just volatile but what if he decides to change? Is it possible? And if it is how do you overcome other people's expectations? The story also looks at the hurts from the opposite side. Hadley knows that forgiveness is expected when you are a believer. But what does that look like and how to you go forward once you make the decision to forgive?

I've read several of Bethany Turner's books and they just seem to get better and better. If you have the opportunity to read any of her other books, do it! But by all means get this one . . . I think it's her best yet.

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Bethany Turner

I received a copy of this book from Revell Books to facilitate my review. 

Collision of Lies by Tom Threadgill | Suspense Book Review

Collision of Lies by Tom Threadgill

Collision of Lies
Tom Threadgill

The case was tragic. But it was an accident. Right?

Three years ago, a collision between a fast-moving freight train and a school bus full of kids led to devastation and grief on an unimaginable scale. But a fresh clue leads San Antonio police detective Amara Alvarez to the unlikely conclusion that one of the children may still be alive. If she's correct, everything law enforcement believes about the accident is a lie.

With time running out, Amara must convince others--and herself--that despite all evidence to the contrary, the boy is alive. And she will do everything in her power to bring him home.

A fresh voice in suspense, Tom Threadgill will have you questioning everything as you fly through the pages of this enthralling story.

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