book reviews

3 More Great Books from NetGalley

Here are three more great NetGalley books I am thrilled I didn’t miss reading:

  1. Champion — the true story of the challenges faced by one family when raising their special child–with a surprise ending
  2. Burning Ridge–Robo the working dog helps his handler solve another murder, this one too close to home
  3. Jack Frost–Next in the Jack Stratton series, this time Jack is stuck on a dangerous mountain during a thousand-year storm–with a murderer


by Craig Johnson


Champion (Thomas Nelson 2018) is the story of one man’s journey into parenthood. It started out like everyone else but suddenly for no reason things changed:

“…The best way I can describe it is like a sudden car wreck.”

His beautiful child who seemed exactly like every other child, until he stopped talking, stopped interacting. No one could explain it but Johnson and his wife accepted this as God’s will and learned to live with a special child.

That is the heart of this story–learning to accept and cherish what comes your way, even the unexpected. What they weren’t ready for was what happened next. Throughout the story, Johnson weaves the strength he derives from his faith. How that above all else helps him accept his son as he is and com tiniest forward.

“… the fight of our lives. We were about to discover that we can’t plan our lives.”

“You are not a victim; you are a victor!”

Craig Johnson is an excellent writer with a worthy story to tell, one of patience, perseverance, respect, and ultimately the surprise ending. Anyone who likes stories of overcoming hardship will enjoy this book.

–free from NetGalley for an honest review

Burning Ridge (Timber Creek K-9 Mystery #4)Burning Ridge

Margaret Mizushima


In Burning Ridge, Margaret Mizushima’s 4th in the Timber Creek K-9 Mystery series (Crooked Lane Books 2018), Mattie Cobb, K9 deputy in the small mountain town of Timber Creek Colorado, and her working German Shepherd Robo are tasked with tracking bodies and associated evidence that are showing up in remote areas and in strange configurations. But this time, it quickly becomes less like the work she loves and more like unraveling clues that hit too close to home, so close, they could endanger Mattie’s life.

I’ve read every book in this series and have come to expect a tightly-woven plot, well-developed characters, believable plot lines, a fast pace, high tension, and lots of information about working police dogs. Again, Mizushima delivers in Burning Ridge as she skillfully weaves a variety of subplots into the main action in ways that don’t detract and always nicely enhance the main storyline. For example, there’s Mattie’s growing love interest with the local vet despite Mattie’s trust issues, difficulties rooted deeply in her childhood. Then there’s her effort to re-establish a relationship with her drug-afflicted brother just released from prison. As if that isn’t enough, Mattie becomes a role model for a local teen who wants to spend time with Mattie, so much so that Mattie gets suspicious. By the end of the story, Mizushima has carefully woven all of these plotlines together so there is no wasted time, words, or pages that could be skipped.

If you aren’t convinced yet that you want to travel with these characters, here’s the story’s description of Mattie:

“…a small package of dynamite with twice the power”

–and she is, always, throughout the story. Here’s a description of Robo relaxing:

“Robo circled and then flopped down on his dog bed beside her desk, heaving a sigh. He looked up at her as if to ask what they were waiting for.”

And finally, Mizushima is an all-around talented wordsmith. See if you don’t agree:

“The sharp edge of a half-buried rock caught the toe of her shoe and sent her sprawling, the hard ground knocking the wind out of her. Spent, she lay still, heaving for breath. Her world gradually stopped swaying and she spotted the shadow of bushes off to her right. Staying low, she crawled into them, sharp thorns from prickly rose snagging her clothing and piercing her skin. She huddled inside the shrub like a rabbit brought to ground. Burning thirst made her yearn for water.

I’ve read every book in this series and they just keep getting better. I’m looking forward to the next.

–received a free ARC through NetGalley in return for my honest review

Jack Frost (Detective Jack Stratton Mystery-Thriller Series)Jack Frost

by Christopher Greyson
4 of 5 stars

Christopher Greyson’s Jack Frost (Greyson Media 2018) is the next in the Jack Stratton Mystery Thriller series, is a fast-moving story about murder in the movie industry. Jack Stratton, working for the insurance company that’s ensuring the TV production, goes undercover to ferret out if the death of two show people was a coincidence–nothing more than bad luck–or murder. The setting is a treacherous mountain, setting for an extreme survival show, that gets even more treacherous when a deadly storm hits the mountain while the filming takes place. The crew can’t simply hunker down and wait out the bad weather because someone is trying to kill people on this show and they don’t care how dangerous the weather is.

Stratton is a clever investigator and co-owner of a security company. While he tries to uncover the murderer from the inside, his girlfriend and company partner uses serious tech skills to unravel the mystery from their office. They make a great team, digging up clues, connecting the dots, and ultimately being the only ones either can rely on.

This is a delightful story, fast-moving, filled with ski jargon and details for those who love that, with the type of character development that makes readers keep turning pages. Why did Jack Frost lose one star? It got a little light at times, a touch above an airport read. That’s not bad, just not what I expected. And, I will be reading the next one!

–free from NetGalley for an honest review

View all my reviews

More from NetGalley

2 Winners from NetGalley

2 Thrillers from NetGalley

4 Great Western Reads from NetGalley

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and Born in a Treacherous Timefirst in the Man vs. Nature collection. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for TeachHUB and NEA Today, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Survival of the Fittest, Spring 2019, first in the Crossroads Trilogy. You can find her tech ed books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

30 thoughts on “3 More Great Books from NetGalley

  1. Pingback: Top 10 Book Reviews in 2018 | WordDreams...

  2. You pique my interest with all these reviews, Jacqui, especially the way you describe the characters and the focus of each story without giving anything away. I can still read each book and be surprised. Congrats to all the writers on stories well crafted, especially Mizushima and Greyson who maintain their skills through series, and to Johnson who managed to tell a deeply personal story about parenting a special needs child.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jacqui, would you mind doing a post on NetGalley? Many, many years ago I won a book from an author and had to claim it through NetGalley. I’ve been receiving their emails since but have no idea what they are.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. These sound excellent, Jacqui. Champion made me wonder what happened to the little boy that stopped talking. 🤔
    And when I read your review of Burning Ridge the first thought I had was I can’t resist a book with a German Shepherd named Robo. I love German Shepherds so much!!
    Thanks for sharing. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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