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Two Reasons to Run–fast-paced thriller

Two Reasons to Run

by Colleen Coble

I have to admit that in the middle of a complicated transition (i.e. I moved), I had forgotten that One Little Lie was Colleen Coble’s first book in The Pelican Harbor Series, and I had read it. Going into the second book of the series, Two Reasons to Run, was indeed like reading it as a standalone. I had a few confused moments along the way, but the plot is compelling and Coble is a good storyteller. I was able and motivated to push through my mental rough spots.

Jane Hardy, Pelican Harbor’s police chief, has reunited with her teenage son Will. Will’s father Reid had escaped from a cult with him many years ago, but Jane had been told her son was dead. The plot involves Jane’s and Reid’s efforts to overcome the past and re-establish relationships with various family members. Meanwhile, Jane is asked by a grieving mother to investigate her son’s death on an oil rig. Can Jane avert a terrorist plot without losing her life or risking the safety of those she loves?

The pace is quick, the characters are believable, and the oil rig setting in the Gulf is interesting. The cult background and a hired killer make the intrigue even more complicated. The questions center around who is behind the plot, what motivates the terrorist, and how he tries to achieve his goal. The answers rest in Jane’s strength and determination and Reid’s love for Will and Jane and his faith in God.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery & Thriller, Christian

Notes: #2 in The Pelican Harbor Series, but can be read as a standalone.

Publication:   September 8, 2020—Thomas Nelson

Memorable Lines:

No excuses, no rationalizations. His naked sorrow over his behavior touched the sore places of her heart with a soothing balm.

White pickups were as plentiful as shrimp here…

“I know, I know. I’m struggling with it too. But God doesn’t want us to live in fear, honey. At some point you have to have some faith in God’s provision.”

Better Watch Out–all’s well that ends well

Better Watch Out

by Christina Freeburn

Better Watch OutIf you want a sweet, Christmasy read, then choose another book. In Christina Freeburn’s  Better Watch Out, Merry is the main character; her business is handcrafting. As she specializes in Christmas items, her focus as well as the town’s is the same. The town is even named Season’s Greetings. With several murders and embezzlement happening in their town, lots of people are feeling more Grinchy and Scroogey than normal. Even the parishioners of Harmony Baptist are displaying a very mean spirit. 

Better Watch Out has a complicated plot. Merry tries to do the right things, but just makes situations more convoluted. She is also dealing with personal issues. Possibly her divorce from her second ex-husband was not finalized. She is still sorting through feelings for her first ex-husband, the father of her grown children. Lottery money is at stake, and trust and friendship fall victim to greed.

I should have liked her guinea pig, Ebenezer, but he just seems to be a squeaky irritation rather than the rescue from loneliness that Merry desires. My favorite part of the book is the ending with a resolution worthy of people with good intents.

I would like to extend my thanks to Edelweiss and to Henery Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: #2 in the Merry and Bright Handcrafted Mystery Series

Publication:   October 15, 2019—Henery Press

Memorable Lines:

Now, I felt like I was in a snow globe. Every time the world settled, it got shook up and all the pieces swirled around and all I could do was remain frozen until everything settled back down.

I was thankful the pastor didn’t follow me inside, though his words had come with me, shoving out the Christmas joy from my heart. Nope. I wasn’t going to let it happen. No one would put a damper on my happiness of spending the morning teaching my mom and her friends a new craft.

The first year after a loss was gut-wrenching. It was hard enough to remember to breathe, trying to celebrate something—anything—could make you feel like your lungs were being crushed.

Not a Creature Was Stirring–A Christmas cozy for any time of year

Not a Creature Was Stirring

by Christina Freeburn

not a creature was stirringCozy mysteries are often thematic, and Not a Creature Was Stirring by Christina Freeburn is no exception. Freeburn’s first series was centered around scrapbooking, but her new series focuses on crafting in general. Look for an emphasis on Christmas in this book and possibly in other books in the series since the main character, Merry, is captivated by all things Christmas. 

There are many complications, but the basic plot is that Merry Winters discovers her ex-husband dead in the RV she purchased from her stepdaughter. This RV was supposed to be a wonderful bonus to her life to help her with her new handcrafting business as she travels to various craft fairs.

Merry is under suspicion for the murder, but she, in turn, wonders who would have killed her ex-husband and why. Her maiden voyage in the RV, when the discovery of the body is made, is of course, a disaster. It does draw in a host of characters who try to help Merry or are in pursuit for something they think Merry has.

My favorite characters are Ebenezer, a squeaky guinea pig, and Abraham, the young adult son of another crafter. Abraham will always mentally be a child and is easily frustrated by changes in his routines. He is a gentle giant who will always need help in life. Watching him interact with others is touching.

Bright is the other half of Merry’s crafting business, but we only meet her through texts. Perhaps her supportive role to Merry is the only one she will have in this series. She could also be cast as the main character in a future book in the series.

Not a Creature Was Stirring is a fast-paced mystery. There is a lot of action as well as investigative work. Numerous suspects come to light and there are lots of family relationships that play an important role. When the going gets tough, who will save the day—Merry’s Grinchy neighbor, the  curmudgeon Cornelius, or her adorable Ebenezer?

I would like to extend my thanks to Edelweiss and to Henery Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: #1 in The Merry and Bright Handcrafted Mystery Series

Publication:   January 22, 2019—Henery Press

Memorable Lines:

I swore the weather app on my iPhone worked like a Magic Eight Ball. If I didn’t like the forecast, check again in a few minutes and it changed.

Never take advice from a man who puts money in front of people.

I fled upstairs before any of the questions in her eyes came out her mouth.

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