Kate’s Case Files by Sarah Holman // Mini Reviews

Kate’s Case Files by Sarah Holman // Mini Reviews

(prepare yourself for infite fangirl mode) (are you ready?) (I love this series)

This series fits the perfect balance of clean fiction, hard topics, intense action, Christian themes, and entirely lovable-to-the-max characters. I read the first few in a row, and then have been reading the others as they come out. My siblings helped me complete the series in paperback, just in time for the new release. 😉

Here are my mini reviews…

1.

Started off with a literal BANG and catapulted me into a world I never want to leave. I loved the characters from the beginning, and their quirks made them memorable and lovable. Also, SPY STUFF.

2.

All the political details were insanely interesting and the ship (you have to ship them, sorry, I don’t make the rules) gets even cuter. Pretty insane climax too…

3.

A big one for character arcs and a more subtle but interesting case. 👏 I also love how each book brings a city I don’t know much about to life.

4.

(Can we appreciate the gorgeous colors of this cover??!) This one is set in my home state, which was absolutely fabulous and made me connect to the high stakes of this one a lot more. Some tougher life topics are handled in this one, but with so much grace.

5.

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT, yessssss. Also some scenes that made me declare this probably a favorite of the series, though I probably say that about each one at some point in time, so my fangirlness cannot be trusted. 😛

6.

Another gorgeous cover, and they look absolutely adorable, arrrghhh. (Sorry, the shipping just gets worse.) This one was a gamechanger, for better or worse, depending on what you think of some bold story choices. It was so tragic but so healing, and I’m happy to have read it.

7.

Better come soon!!! *does fangirl grabby hands*

Have you read this series? Which book is your favorite?


Enter the giveaway, booknerds! It ends soon.

Kate’s Informant by Sarah Holman // A Review

Kate’s Informant by Sarah Holman // A Review

I pre-ordered this book and gobbled it up just days after it released. It was definitely worth waiting for. 😍

Kate and the team head to Maine to assess the possibility of a terrorist cell operating near a college campus. She has to help decide whom to trust, who’s a danger, and who’s just spouting empty threats. Of course, things are never as easy as they look, including the battles she’s facing in her own heart.

Struggling to untangle the threads of this case, Patrick finds his personal feelings clouding his judgment. With the stakes so high, he can’t get it wrong. But when the case takes a sudden turn, he knows he and the team will never be the same. (from Goodreads)

My Review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

It’s been a bit since the last book, so I was over the moon excited for this one! I just completed my collection of the first five in paperback, and I can’t wait to add this one to the shelves. ❤️

I slipped back in easily to this world and the characters, and any important details I forgot were included seamlessly. The team was quite lovable, as always. I enjoyed the further character development of Brian and Logan especially, and my boys Thomas and Patrick have some big things to work through. I’m looking forward to seeing what shakes out with Kim too.

Kate was so great undercover in this one! She’s getting to be quite the natural. 👏👏 I’ve heard there’s ten books confirmed for the series in all, so I’m very excited to see where the story continues to take her.

This book had even more gravity and emotional depth than I’ve previously seen from the author, and I could feel that she poured her heart into it. I especially loved how the characters and readers were given space to feel the impact of some pretty big changes. Definitely good writing there. 😭👏

Best quotes: Thomas cleared his throat. “Brian, you’re going to play the part of a college dropout, a bum, a purposeless nobody who has just arrived to Orono.” “And with cutting words like that,” Brian said, putting a hand to his head, “I’ll have very low self-esteem when I get there.”

Maybe, this time, evil had won.

CW: terrorism, injuries (some descriptions of blood, not detailed), death. A nuanced discussion of Islamophobia.

Altogether, I will be reading book 7 the very second it comes out, because #cliffhanger 😳


Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

Interview with Sarah Holman

Interview with Sarah Holman

UPDATE: Congratulations to Amelia S. for winning the giveaway! Thank you everyone who entered.

Today we get to catch up with one of my absolute favorite indie authors, Sarah Holman, and I couldn’t be more excited. 💛

Welcome back, Sarah! Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hi Kate! It’s so fun to be back here! 

Nine months ago, I married my best friend and moved to the big city. I’m loving married life more than words can say. It’s pretty amazing to be married to Scott, who’s been my best friend for years. It’s worth it even if I do miss living in the middle of nowhere.

(Look at these precious people!)

I’ve been an avid reader from a young age and started writing down my own stories around eleven. I love writing and sharing the truths God teaches me in a story form. I’m passionate about encouraging my fellow believers, especially my sisters in Christ, through stories and in my life.

When not reading or writing. I can often be found hiking at Texas State Parks with my husband, hanging out with my awesome family (both the one I was born into and the one I married into), or working on some sort of craft project.

Congrats on your latest release, Kate’s Informant! May we have a brief introduction?

Of course! In this story, the team members are trying to determine if the threat of terrorism is real or just talk. As in real life, they struggle with sorting who is telling the truth and who is telling lies – who’s a friend and who’s a foe.

As a loyal fan of the Kate’s Case Files series, I’m always excited to hear more about the series. What is your inspiration for it, and what are your long-term plans?

The original inspiration was Sue Thomas FBEye, which was a pretty cool show based on a true story of a deaf woman who went to work for the FBI. I also wanted to write a series that delved into how complicated friendships and relationships can be, but still be good. 

My long-term plans are to get the next book out ASAP (I’m working on a rewrite at the moment). I have a total of 10 books planned in the series and my hope is to have the last book come out in late 2023 sometime. We shall see if life cooperates with that goal. 

What other projects, writing or otherwise can you share about right now?

I have a lot of fun projects in the works. I’m currently editing my epistolary novella I wrote for my newsletter readers and plan to put it on Kindle Vella. I’m also hoping to release my 4th of July story that was part of A Very Bookish 4th of July last year on its own in the next couple of weeks. Also in the works is the next A Very Bookish collection and a new story for my newsletter subscribers. 

How long have you been an author? What advice would you give to newer/breakout authors?

I started writing when I was 11 which was twenty-one years ago. I published my first book in 2011.  Time flies! 

Here are my best pieces of advice for writers:

  1. Read all the time – both fiction and non-fiction
  2. Be willing to see some of your work as unpublishable stepping stones. You probably won’t write an amazing story on the first try (or maybe even the 5th time). Keep writing and improving.
  3. Find people who will be encouraging and honest with you about your stories. You want people to both build you up, but also help you improve.
  4. Most of all, stay connected to The Author. God is writing your life story. You want to make sure you are listening to Him.

What is your favorite way you’ve seen God work in a seemingly ordinary moment?

Ooo, what an awesome question, but a hard one. It happens so often. I think maybe it’s when someone finishes one of my stories and then tells me how God used it in their life. Or maybe it’s when I share something God has been working on in my life and it impacts someone else. Or maybe it’s the conversations I’ve been able to have with others just because of a simple act of kindness. 

I love this answer. Thank you so much for coming!

Thank you for having me. This has been so much fun!

Follow Sarah on her Blog // Instagram // Goodreads

In honor of her newest release, Sarah is giving away two (2) signed paperback copies from her Kate’s Case Files series! Winner gets to choose from books 1 – 5. (Alternate international prize is audiobook codes.)

ENTER HERE

Stay tuned for my reviews of the series and more from Sarah. 💛

(All images and cover mockups provided by Sarah Holman)

Speaking Of…

Speaking Of…

Hello again! I think I needed a little break after all the excitement of the cover reveal (you all are amazing), but I’m back again. 😉

I’ve been reading a lot more this year than in the past two, so much so that I’m ahead on my Goodreads challenge for once. *happy dance* Challenge aside, though, it’s been delightful to be experiencing new worlds again. My picks have been ranging from new indie releases to adorable middle-grades (currently reading a cupcake-themed one and yes, child Kate would have been obsessed) to even a highly clever, adult mystery.

Such a wild mix 😂 #moodreader

Speaking of books, I got some delightful new ones for my birthday. 😍 My siblings gave me the latest two Kate’s Case Files in paperback (eep, thanks!), and Joshua took me on a trip to Barnes and Noble. It was so much fun browsing new releases and iconic classics that I ended up with quite the hefty “maybe” stack. I ended up getting The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen and The List by Patricia Forde (will report back). And my shopping buddy was the best ever. 😉 (Thanks, J! ❤️)

My pre-bookstore happy face 😁
My favorite ❤️

Speaking of birthday, I experimented with flavors and made a chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting and raspberry filling. It was absolutely delicious. 🤤 I just got to make another cake with the same flavors (I have three cake orders in four days, send help) and this time I went all out on the classy decorating. 😉 Such brilliant fun, and after I finish this post, I’ll be mixing up more batches for the next order…

(I promise I fixed that weird flat spot.)

Speaking of “send help”, editing gives me anxiety, y’all. Not a ton usually, since I know my professional editor and proofreading rounds will catch what I missed, but this time is a little different. I’m making *minor* changes to an already edited, formatted book and the terror of “what if I add new typos to this?” is real. 😂😂 I eventually came up with a system to run the new material through Grammarly just to double-check and that eased my mind enough that I could finish it up this weekend. I sent the files to my formatter, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with. 😍

Time to make some more cake. Talk with you all again soon!

My January Bookhaul <3

My January Bookhaul <3

January was one for the books, and I mean that literally. An accidental preorder (yes, truly 😂😂), thriftstore finds, favorite indies, and a highly anticipated read… They’re mine and I couldn’t be happier. ❤️

1. The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd is one I’ve already mentioned in my reading goals for this year. When I recognized it at a thriftstore I couldn’t pass it up. 🤩

2. Kate’s Capitol and Kate’s Dilemma by Sarah Holman (Larkin) are from one of my absolute favorite series. I’ve read them all in ebook, and I’m slowly collecting them in paperback. ❤️

3. The second I had moolah, I ran to Target and picked up Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant. I’d been eyeing it and the sequel for a while, and I can’t wait to read it. Seriously looks like fluff of the best kind. 😍😍

4. In Search of a Prince by Toni Shiloh wins the prize for my longest anticipated book. Back in June/July of 2021 when I heard she was releasing it, I scrambled to preorder the ebook aaaaand apparently bought the paperback instead and DIDN’T KNOW IT UNTIL IT HAD SHIPPED?!! 😂😂😂 Like, I was still eyeing the paperback and turns out I’d already bought it. One of the best surprises of the year so far, lol.

5. The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall is another I mentioned in my reading goals. I’ve heard great things about it, and scrumptious hardbacks are impossible to ignore at the thriftstore.

There you go! That’s the rundown on my new happy books. ❤️

Book Review: Kate’s Christmas

Book Review: Kate’s Christmas

“Can they save Christmas for a town?

Kate and the team couldn’t be spending the holiday season in a more picturesque town. They are in Franklin, Tennessee to find the person setting off bombs at random. Or could it be that the explosions aren’t as random as it appears? Can the team stop the bomber in time for Franklin’s big holiday festival? Kate herself is having a hard time dealing with the fact she can’t go home for Christmas… or can she?

Patrick is finding this case difficult. Promising leads just end up leading into dead ends, and Brian is getting on his nerves. On top of his own problems, Kate asks for his help to get home for Christmas, and it isn’t going to be easy. Can they solve the crime in time for everyone to have a merry Christmas?” (from Goodreads)

I have been eagerly awaiting this book, and it has the honored privilege of being the first one I’ve ever preordered. 😀 You have no idea how happy of a surprise it was when it appeared on my Kindle. XD

The book started of a *little* bumpy for me, but it quickly grew to be amazing, and I think it’s probably now a favorite in the series. One of my favorite aspects of this case was how much they were undercover. Brian and Patrick were a hilarious, dangerous duo. (Brian’s teenager hair. XD ) I also loved Patrick and Kim’s double-talk while they were on their “date”. So clever. Thomas broke me again in this one. I feel for him and love his honesty, but I’m also rooting for him to come home.

As always, the message in this one was something I needed to hear; I just didn’t know it beforehand. XD Making close friends isn’t something I’m naturally good at, but the reminders of how God uses friends in our lives and our need for that input was convicting.

The case in this one was very tragic/sobering, given that it’s heavily inspired by recent events, but I loved the “half-case”. It wasn’t perfect, but it was soooo perfect. Did I mention? I love character growth. 😀

Just a note, there were mentions of deaths from explosions SPOILER! including a child. 😭

Best quotes: “There are always spies in the church,” Logan said, grabbing her jacket from the back seat. “There are people who come, wondering if Christianity is really all it claims to be—if the followers of Jesus really have love and grace for others. We have to remember that we might be the very best example of Christianity that anyone might meet.”

“Must be time to watch all the Captain America movies,” Patrick said. “There is no way I’m letting Jamie’s movies stick around in your head for long.” “You’re a good friend.” “Anything for you, buddy. Any word from Thomas?”

Altogether, I loved this book, and I’m already excited for the next. ❤

A little note… in the past books, a historically racist word was used to describe an Asian woman’s eyes. I am sure it was not the author’s intent to be offensive, and I was pleased to see the absence of that word in this book with a positive clue to the character’s heritage instead.

O, Christmas Tree!

O, Christmas Tree!

I just ate an ice cream sandwich in December, yes. But I put crushed peppermint on it, so I think it counts as Christmas food, right? 

Speaking of Christmas food, there have already been a few rounds of hot chocolate and some cookies for our nightly celebration of Advent. Advent is my favorite part of Christmas. I love how it helps us focus on Christ as we countdown to Christmas, draws the whole family together, and stretches out the celebration. (Also, the candles and cookies and carols are so lovely and fun.) 😉 Our church is celebrating Advent as well which is a special treat.

Choir practice is getting even more intense and challenging as we learn and polish Christmas songs. And I love it. 😀 Last Sunday we sang “The Journey”, a beautiful Christmas song I’d never heard before, and this upcoming one is “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”. (You can pray for us. It’s complicated. XD) 

I went Christmas shopping today, and it was so overwhelming! Everything is at double speed and there are so many things to keep track of. xD I did find some good things though, and I’m excited to put some presents under our tree soon. 😉

Our TREE! This is the earliest we’ve ever put it up, I think, and right now it only has white lights on it. It’s so lovely and shiny, and I can’t wait to put our special ornaments on it. 

I read Sarah Holman’s new Christmas book Kate’s Christmas in like a day and a half and loved it so much. It is definitely full of Christmas spirit (when it’s not sobering and exciting), and with some Christmas songs and our cooler weather, I think I’m really starting to feel Christmas coming. ❤

It looks like we’re going to make some Christmas cards this evening, so… 😉

Merry Christmas season!

Book Review: Kate’s Conundrum

Book Review: Kate’s Conundrum

“When the seventeen-year-old Samantha Hardgrave disappears, Kate is sent to take her place at the college to follow up on leads. What she finds is a girl more complicated than most people thought with plenty of her own secrets. Samantha’s parents painted a picture of an upstanding girl who never hides anything, but that isn’t what Kate hears from Samantha’s roommate. Who is telling the truth?

Patrick doesn’t even feel like they should be on the Hardgrave case. It is clear to everyone except her family what happened: she ran off with a visiting professor. Yet, as he learns more about her from her friends and family, he begins to doubt. Would Samantha have done something like that? And how come Kate is getting such a different picture of who Samantha was?” (from Goodreads)

The notes for this review were on an ill-fated piece of paper that went missing, so, alas! This will be a mini-review of sorts. 😉

Thoughts…

-It was set in Oregon, yay! A lot farther south than I lived, but it was still fun to have “my” state featured. 😉
-We got more backstory on Thomas, and while I felt for him, I found him to be the perfect example of how we can’t use others’ sin as an excuse for our own. (That’s been reeeeallly important for me lately.) I really can’t wait to see what happens with this character. 😉
-His advice to Samantha’s younger brother was SOLID. 
-The entire gang was awesome as usual. I loved Kate’s pictures of them in her college dorm. *smirks*
-Forgiveness. ❤
-I’m sorry, but Patrick’s hair.
-The twisty mystery. 😀
-More character growth and backstory on Kate. 😀 I’m so happy.

Due to the crime the team was covering, there were some very unsavory possibilities of fornication that were mentioned and sometimes assumed. 😦 Also, there were mentions of a suicide and a helicopter crash.

Best quote: “True freedom. Freedom from being at the mercy of your own passions and whims. Peace in knowing that ultimately every wrong will be made right.”

Altogether, I enjoyed this fourth book, and I’m looking forward to the next one–a Christmas story which is fantastic. 😀

Book Review: Kate’s Capitol

Book Review: Kate’s Capitol

30064076“Do the small compromises we make daily really hurt anyone or matter to God?

Kate’s first case as an FBI agent is nothing like she expected. Posing as an intern at the Texas Capitol, she finds herself spending more time behind the computer than she does figuring out the case. Is Representative Jason Ashbury guilty of a third degree felony or is one of his staff to blame? And how is she supposed to handle the effect Patrick has on her?

Patrick was looking forward to guiding Kate through her first case, instead he was assigned to Ashbruy’s home office in Tyler. He cannot figure out either the case or his relationship to Kate. Are Ashbury’s dedicated employees covering for him, or the instigators? Will Kate ever let him be her friend, or will she continue to push him away?” (from Goodreads)

Well, it didn’t take me long to devour the second book. 😉 It seems like when I need a light but satisfying read, I always pick up something by this author…

I don’t know if I’ve ever read a sequel so different from the first book but so lovable in its own right. This one was less exciting and a lot slower in some ways, and I figured out parts of the mystery pretty early on, but it was still so neat to see them build a solid case. And they were UNDERCOVER! ❤ *grins hugely and happily* (Kim was so funny pushing her Asian accent…)

I liked all the “snooping”, the GPS tracking stuff, and when SPOILER ALERT! Kate’s cover is nearly blown. 😉 The party was extra fun too, and I thought it was hilarious and adorable how Patrick and Kate had to pretend not to know each other. 😉 (Can we talk about how accidentally cute their emails are?)

I’ll admit I was pretty sad when I found out who the villain was, but the overall spiritual message (and slight warning, even) of the book was really good. (Also, it was really neat to see who was the one to give them the tip. Don’t judge books by their covers!!)

Just a note that the main character is in MAJOR SPOILER ALERT! danger of being murdered at one point which got pretty intense and a little disturbing. END OF SPOILER

Best quote: Patrick nodded. “You did remember to get the security videos shut off, didn’t you?” “Yes, Mum,” Thomas said sarcastically, as he bent over Laura’s locked door.

Altogether, this was a great sequel, and I’m impatiently waiting for the third book. 😀

Book Review: Kate’s Innocence

Book Review: Kate’s Innocence

(So apparently my blog had a Thanksgiving break and I forgot to tell myself. Between a fantastic weekend–off school, with family, expressing gratefulness, and eating cheesecake–and some technical difficulties, I took a break. 😉 But I’m back now!)

27670663“What would you do if you were accused of a crime you didn’t commit?

Kate watched as her campus was torn apart by bombs and now is being accused of perpetrating the crime. As the evidence quickly stacks up against her, she begins to lose hope that the truth will come to light. Even though the handsome FBI Agent, Patrick, has taken up her cause, will they be able to prove her innocence? Will God, who she neglected for so long, listen to her prayers for help?

Patrick is an agent with a very special team of agents. He wants to help Kate prove she is innocent, but as each new piece of evidence is revealed, that goal seems harder. He wonders why he feels so compelled to help her and so sure she is innocent despite the evidence. Will he be willing to put his job on the line to help her? Can he trust in God to make sure the truth will come out in the end?” (from Goodreads)

This book by Sarah Holman literally started off with a bang. I galloped through the pages, enjoying every moment and racking my brains along with the characters about just whodunnit. I kept thinking I had everything figured out and then new information made my jaw drop and sent me flipping those pages even faster. 😉 (MAJOR SPOILER ALERT! I had a serious “crisis” when they found the gun in her closet! END OF SPOILER)

I liked everyone, except maybe Thomas, and it was easy to keep them straight with all their special little quirks. Logan is so endearing and annoying with her ball! 😀 Patrick was pretty awesome. I liked how his struggle was one of the more subtle ones we as Christians face–wanting to be in control so we can make everything turn out “just right”. I really related to him on that one. Kate was nice and realistic, and I’m very curious to know more about her past. (She’s got some cool skills!) It also cracked me up way too much whenever she freaked them out by taking a run. 😉 *laughs evilly*

My favorite parts were when Kate first helped someone medically (SPOILER ALERT! and all the Patrick sweetness there, ya know); they discover “a string of numbers” (EEEK!); and all the investigation work of gathering information, checking timelines, and interviewing suspects. *rubs hands together* Spy stuff!

Just a note that the concept of women in the military is portrayed and there is one description of SPOILER ALERT! a violent murder.

Best quote: “You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart,” he quoted. “God rarely forces His way into our lives. We have to invite Him into every situation and seek Him with our whole hearts.” Patrick spoke passionately, a touch of a smile on his lips and a glimmer in his eye.

Altogether… happy sigh. I read this entire book in one day, and I regret nothing. 😉