adult

Review: Dangerous Reunion by Sandra Robbins

Series: Ocracoke Island #1

dangerous reunion -sandra robbinsA murderer on tiny, safe Ocracoke Island?

Deputy Sheriff Kate Michaels doesn’t want to believe it—until someone at the crime scene starts shooting at her. Then Nashville detective Brock Gentry shows up.

Brock broke her heart years ago when he called off their engagement. Now, torn apart by a case, Brock seeks sanctuary on the island. Yet as the threats against Kate escalate—and Kate’s sisters are targeted—she turns to the man she’s never stopped loving.

Even if their reunion is more dangerous than it ever was before.


 

3.5 Drink Me Potion


It’s been a long while since I’ve read a Love Inspired Suspense book, but I think it was fortuitous that I picked up a Sandra Robbins book as my first. In Dangerous Reunion, we get to see and experience Ocracoke Island off the shores of North Carolina. I’ve never been there, but from the beautiful descriptions of this place, it makes me wish that I could someday visit it.

There’s someone out to make life difficult for Deputy Kate Michaels. On such a beautiful little island that mainly attracts tourists in the summer season, they don’t expect to have a murder, let alone multiple incidents, in the span of several days. To make things worse, the culprit seems to be targeting Kate, leaving messages for her specifically at the scene of different crimes. With many red herrings thrown our way, it took me a while to try to guess who may be the antagonist. But when the identity finally came out, Robbins wrote it in such a way that this reveal made sense to me and that there were enough hints that justified choosing this character.

The romance wasn’t very strong in this one. I think the highlight of the relationship between Kate and Brock was that they wanted to rebuild a strong foundational friendship first before it can ever amount to more. I appreciated this. As such, the focus wasn’t on the potential romance between them but on how Brock could find peace on this lovely stretch of land called Ocracoke Island. Personally, I think this book came at the right moment. Finding peace isn’t easy; life gets way too busy and noisy for most to sit still enough to hear God’s voice. Sometimes His message doesn’t come flashing on crashing thunder. Sometimes, it’s written in the soft brush of the wind or the cries of a bird in the silence. I want to thank Sandra Robbins for inputting such a sweet message in the midst of a fun mystery.

All in all, this is a great taste of what the Love Inspired Suspense line brings. I suggest you give this book and others a try.

Overall Recommendation:
Dangerous Reunion is set in the beautiful island of Ocracoke, a place that feels so real to me although I’ve never stepped foot in North Carolina. The mystery was en par as the actions of the culprit escalates, all the while targeting Deputy Kate as she tries to keep everyone on her island safe. With the additional stress of seeing her ex-fiance, this story revolves around friendship, forgiveness and finding that peace that only comes from God. I can’t wait to come back to Ocracoke Island with more from Sandra Robbins.

adult

Review: Safe in His Arms by Colleen Coble

Series: Under Texas Stars #2

safe in his arms -colleen cobleSometimes it takes a stranger to see you as you really are.

Born and raised on sprawling Texas land, Margaret O’Brien prides herself on her competence as a rancher. But her father believes she’s made for more than just dawn-to-dusk work. He wants her to have the love of a good man, to raise children, to build a life. But Margaret gave up such dreams years ago. She’s convinced no man would have her, that the ranch is her life now.

So when Margaret’s father hires Daniel Cutler as a new foreman, she’s frustrated and suspicious. Then an overheard conversation links him with a gang of bank robbers, and she’s downright worried. Daniel swears he’s not involved, but Margaret’s not convinced. She knows the man still has secrets. But would a criminal be so kind and talk so convincingly of his faith? As a series of tragic “accidents” threatens all she holds dear, Margaret must decide what to trust: her own ears, her best judgment . . . or what her heart keeps telling her.


 

4 Drink Me Potions


Stuck on a bus for 12+ hours, Safe in His Arms quickly turned from a wondrous distraction to a novel that I just couldn’t put down even when I should have used the time to sleep a little.

Following Margaret as our protagonist was initially hard to swallow as she wasn’t portrayed as the nicest gals in the previous novel, Blue Moon Promise. However, under that tall and strong skin was a woman who thought she was unloveable, even to God, and only wished to gain others’ approval, in particular her father’s.

As a teenage girl once myself, I understood and immediately bonded with her over her insecurities, especially with her feminine attractiveness. She just couldn’t believe that any man would ever want her, and the only guy she thought would even consider marriage to her had fallen in love with a beautiful, dainty girl whom Margaret now called a best friend.

In came Daniel. It was hard to determine what he was up to in the beginning. The way Coble described his secretive plans for being in the town of Larson made him seem very sketchy indeed. I wasn’t certain if he was fully a good guy or not, or if his past was truly catching up to him.

Their attraction to each other felt natural. It may have started off as admiring the others’ outlook, but it became over time a product of mutual respect and reliance on one another. I loved the way Daniel got under Margaret’s defenses and tried to show her that she was a beautiful woman, inside and out. At the same time, the string of robberies around Larson and the secretive nature of Daniel’s ties to them were brewing and had me on the edge of my bus seat to determine how it could possibly end well for all of them.

The mystery wasn’t a huge highlight in the novel, and it did take a drastic turn that became predictable right before the end. However, I have to say that Colleen Coble’s done it again with amazing me with her amazing storytelling skills. I don’t really enjoy historical novels all that much, but with her? I absolutely adore them. That in itself already says a lot about this book.

Overall Recommendation:
Margaret was immediately a well-rounded character that I could easily connect with on her insecurities and wish to be loved and respected by the predominantly male characters in her life. Daniel was the perfect mix of a gentleman and mystery, with a dangerous past linked to his reasons for being at Margaret’s ranch. I loved the setting of Safe in His Arms and the overall lessons that Margaret had to learn about herself. The romance was absolutely a delight, and well-loved characters from the previous novel definitely make an appearance here too. I would most definitely recommend this cute duo series.

adult

Review: Bluebonnet Bride by Colleen Coble

Series: Butterfly Palace #1.5

bluebonnet bride -colleen cobleAt the turn of the 20th century, Elli Korpela boards The Baltic with hundreds of eager women, all seeking new beginnings and brighter futures in America . . . as mail order brides.

Escaping a forced engagement, Elli seeks refuge in a faraway marriage, desperately needing her new life with a Texan named Nathan White to be safer than the one she left behind in Finland. And as she glimpses her future husband and his darling niece at the train station, she instantly knows her risk will prove the best decision she’s ever made.

Until he became the guardian of four-year-old Hannah, Nathan White never took an interest in marriage, arranging a mail order wife to simply love and care for his orphaned niece. That is, he never took an interest until he laid eyes on the beautiful Elli Korpela.

After a fairytale ceremony in the gardens of the grandest estate Elli’s ever seen, a place called Butterfly Palace, their peaceful beginning takes a disquieting turn as an intruder brutally attacks Elli in the middle of the night. Nathan intervenes, but the devil escapes unidentified, leaving Elli to face two chilling possibilities: either the attack was arranged by strike workers in Nathan’s employ or her shadowy past followed her into the present – and across the sea.

As the danger mounts, Elli and Nathan must face their enemy together, fighting to stay alive – and fighting to stay man and wife. 


 

2.5 Drink Me Potions


After gobbling up the previous novel, Butterfly Palace, I was desperate for more of these characters and in that time period. So frankly, I went out in a crazed search for the next book.

Bluebonnet Bride was mediocre at best. I had wanted to like this novella, but it was so short and the romance between Nathan and Elli was so fast and quick. I knew that it was gonna be fast since this was an extremely short story but I had wanted more.

Coble took on too much by trying to make it into a little mystery as well surrounding Elli’s past that may have come across the seas with her. It just didn’t bode well when the “attacks” on Elli happened so shortly after she just got settled in with Nathan and his little girl.

I loved the glimpses I got to see of the characters from Butterfly Palace but it wasn’t completely worth it. This book may have focused on a secondary character from that novel, Nathan White, but really, I feel Coble could’ve made it into a full novel quite easily if she fleshed out the “mystery” more.

Or you know, write one based on another of my favourite characters from that book. *crosses fingers tightly*

There’s not much more to say considering the story itself had little substance. Nathan and Elli made for a cute enough couple, but I didn’t have enough time to care for either of them deeply in that way. It was just another romp through a familiar setting that I wasn’t quite willing to say goodbye to yet.

Overall Recommendation:
After the glorious finish to its predecessor, Bluebonnet Bride lacked in so many ways, most probably due to its very short length. Coble could’ve extended the mystery and romance in this novella into a very full length novel and I may be able to push up my rating a little bit. But as it stands with how short it was, the mystery and its resolution felt harried due to its shortness, and the romance built too quickly for me to feel anything beyond a small contentment that all is well with this time period I’ve come to love.