Over the Line

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 08 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

Laredo, Texas.
A border town, like my native San Diego.  But not so much like my native San Diego.  (Actually, I’m from North County SD, but who’s counting?)  I first heard of Laredo from my work in the supply chain field; Laredo is a major import/export location.  For one of my customers, all shipments to Mexico went through two cities, and Laredo was one of them.  It’s a city that has been in my vocabulary and geographical knowledge for several years, but I didn’t know much more about it until I read Over the Line.

Actually, getting the feel of Laredo was one of my favorite things about this book.  Authors who create their own fictional towns get to have a lot of fun with world-building, but there’s something about a book that feels really authentic.  Now, I have never lived there.  But Kelly Irvin has, and while she creates some parts of the city to suit her needs (as she tells us in the afterword), it felt real to me!

The suspense element: I was successfully “suspended.”  Haha.  The theme of forgiveness was pretty powerful too, but I’ll admit I got more out of “mom and dad’s” story towards the end than out of Daniella and Eli’s.  I enjoyed getting to know this “ragtag band” that sets out to save Daniella’s brother and make a dent in the gunrunner business at the same time.  These different skill sets come together for a common goal, and even the journalists set aside (sometimes, haha!) their need to break a story to protect loved ones.  And a cop and a journalist who despise each other, working together? Recipe for something interesting.

I can’t really imagine any police officer allowing civilians to become that involved in the hands-on portion of an investigation unless you were in a situation where the government had completely fallen apart.  Although, getting journalists involved might make sense due to the corruption issues addressed here.

Some of the characters in this story bugged me, too.  Eli keeps smoking in secret and just seems to avoid getting caught because he wants to please Daniella.  I don’t know if that’s a good reason to quit smoking – but lying about smoking?  He just rubbed me the wrong way.  He wants so badly for Daniella to forgive him, but he isn’t willing to tell her the truth until the end.  Not much to build trust on.  More generally, I had some questions about these characters that weren’t successfully answered.

Yes.  This story drew me into gun wars, corruption, and a search for truth.  I enjoyed it.  Will you?
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This book is filled with twists and turns, a mystery with an edge of suspense to keep the pages turning. Well drafted characters and a plot that engages. I enjoyed every page.
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Over the Line brings to light mainstream topics and real life struggles. It includes gun smuggling, murder, immigration, border control and more. I appreciated the variety of people as well,  from Natalie (the main character's sister) being in a wheelchair to Eli (the main male character) who is trying to stay clear of old habits. The author weaves these topics into the storyline well and develops the backstory throughout. There are two romances that are developing, which is a good contrast and keeps you coming back. 

Overall it did move a bit slow for me and took a bit to get into. The relationship between the main characters was a bit frustrating at times. If you are looking for a suspenseful romance with mainstream headlines, you will enjoy Over the Line.
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Gabrielle is the owner of a restaurant, and a former DA. As she's leaving work late one evening, a man who has been shot approaches her. In his dying moments, he says 'Jake'. Jake is Gabrielle's brother. Then, here is Eli, her ex-fiance', who desperately wishes to reconcile.
Jake is missing, and in desperation, Gabrielle turns to Eli, who works in homicide, for help. Soon, she learns that her own life is in danger, and it all revolves around the cartel, and guns and ammo being sent illegally to Mexico.
This book will keep you on edge while Gabby's loved ones are put at risk, as well as Eli's.
Great story, although I didn't feel all the heavy kissing at the end was appropriate for Christian fiction, or for the eight year old observer.
I was given a free copy to read by the publisher, Thomas Nelson and Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
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If you are looking for a book filled with intrigue and heart pounding action, look no further. The author has really outdone herself with this story that could easily be front page news. I really liked the locations of the story since I live in Texas. It was easy to picture the characters in Laredo or San Antonio with ease by the descriptions. 

What I liked about the book was the intensity of who was the bad guys and who were the good guys. There is some back history between Gabriella and Eli that did take a while to get to.  I liked that because it gave readers time to know each one and see where their flaws were. I loved how they each were a bit stubborn and neither one was willing to give in. Eli certainly tried but Gabriella was harboring unforgiveness which was obvious by her sass and attitude towards Eli.

The story centers around a gun smuggling ring and at the forefront is Jake, Gabriella's brother. With him working undercover it became dangerous for the entire family when he comes up missing. I liked the investigation into his disappearance and the author gave us just enough to suspect many people. There was definitely some shady people in the story. At times I wasn't sure who was behind everything.  There are many secrets throughout the book and the best part of the book for me was between Eli and his father. It is worth reading just for this part because it deals with forgiveness in a way that humbles both characters.

Overall the story is good and definitely action packed. Finding Jake will put lives in danger and I was surprised at who was the head of the gun running operation. Fans of intrigue will not be disappointed in this story that has twists that put you on the edge of your seat.

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
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The action starts fast and furious in Kelly Irvin’s romantic suspense novel, Over The Line, and does not let up until the very end. Set primarily in the border city of Laredo, Texas, this book is full of all the things to get your heart racing — drive-by shootings, fire bombs, home invasions, and the perfect chemistry between main characters Gabriella Benoit and Eli Cavazos. The two ex-fiances are brought together when Gabriella discovers a gun-shot victim with ties to her missing ATF agent brother. I enjoyed the non-stop suspense and the romantic tension between the two main characters. They are joined in their hunt by secondary characters who are just as endearing and have a romantic sup-plot as well. Is there a sequel in the making? I hope so! Laredo and the issues of the border are presented in a relevant manner — from the author’s depiction, I felt I was right in the middle of things. Bad guys are very bad; you just aren’t sure who they are! Forgiveness is the main theme and more than one character struggles with letting go of past hurts and self-recriminations. Irwin is a new-to-me author who I will definitely be on the look out for. I already have another of her novels, Tell Her No Lies, waiting impatiently on the TBR shelf.


Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Celebrate Lit for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)
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Wow! Just try to put this book down before you finish! The author has done an incredible job of detailing Laredo and the surrounding areas, giving one the feeling that you are in the midst of all the excitement. Try to imagine dealing with kidnapping, murder, arson as well as gun smuggling and hoping to come out of it all without further death or injury. Eli - a homicide detective, Gabby - a pastry chef, Deacon - a reporter, Natalie - a psychologist and various other personages make up the ragtag team of investigators that are attempting to unravel this scenario. Intertwined in all of this is the hurt and betrayal that will only be resolved through forgiveness. 

I must admit I sat on the edge of my seat wondering how this story would end. Was it possible that they would finally learn to trust the Lord enough to put everything in His hands?

I received an ARC through NetGalley and CelebrateLit. The impressions and opinions are my own.
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My Thoughts on Over the Line:
I wasn’t sure what to think of this book at first.  It seemed to be slow.  I wasn’t sure I was going to connect with the characters.  But the more I read the more I wanted to read and the more invested in the story I became.  This is one of those books where I say to give it two or three chapters before you decide it’s not for you.

Gabriella is a baker.  She specializes in desserts.  I could definitely be her best friend as I love to bake!  But unlike her, I also like to eat the treats I bake when I’m stressed out.

Eli has a history and a past that he’s not willing to share with anyone.  Not even his once fiancee Gabriella.  That’s why they’re no longer engaged.  Or at least that’s what she says.  He has a different theory.

But right now the only thing that matters is keeping her safe after a man dies in front of her after saying her name.  Was he trying to tell her something?  Where is her brother?  Is he in danger?  Is she in danger?

Gabriella has another sister Natalie who is in a wheelchair.  Natalie has two children.  Gabriella blames herself for Natalie being in a wheelchair and with her being a widow.  She shoulders all the blame internally and tries to make it better at every turn.

Natalie just wants freedom.  She wants to be herself without everyone just seeing her chair.

Maybe they’ll both get a second chance.  But first, they have to find their brother Jake. Well, maybe first they have to stay alive.  Someone knows where Jake is and someone wants something that they don’t have.

Lots of actions and lots of characters in this story.  Occasionally I had to go back to figure out which character we were talking about.  The characters are relatable.  Writing is clear and clean, easy to read, flows well. A good read that I recommend.  

I have voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from Celebrate Lit. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  All opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC regulations.
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Late last year I was introduced to Kelly Irvin's writing through her book Tell Her No Lies which I thoroughly enjoyed, so I was excited to get the chance to read this one. I really liked that the romance thread to this was complicated with a past instead of strangers meeting through circumstance. I would have liked to see more of the details surrounding their conflict earlier on though so that I didn't feel like I was missing something for most of the book. Although I was highly interested in the premise, this was a very hard book for me to get into. It was far too easy to put down and walk away from. I desperately struggled to connect even though I really wanted to know how everything was going to turn out. I wish I could pinpoint the reason why, but to be fully honest I don't know exactly what it was. The beginning drew my attention, the characters were likable, it had an intriguing premise, and there was steady movement in the storyline. I still plan on reading more from this author in the future especially from her other book that I read, but sadly I can't mark this one as a favorite.

*I received a copy of this book through CelebrateLit. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.
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What happens when a former DA is forced to rely on her homicide detective ex-boyfriend? Well, for one, you get tons of tension and drama. Gabriella doesn’t trust Eli with her heart but she can trust him to keep her safe. Sounds like movie material to me.

Kelly Irvin brings current issues to life in Eli and Gabby’s gun-trafficking world of corrupt politics and border walls. I had a momentary ‘uh oh’ moment where I feared Over the Line might drop too deeply into politics, but it passed quickly enough while staying relevant to current society.

Eli stated my thoughts almost word for word when he says that if you outlaw guns, the only thing you do is leave law-abiding citizens defenseless. Criminals don’t obey the law to begin with so why would anyone think they would stop buying guns just because the law says so. That earned a fist pump which led to a raised eyebrow from my husband…he should be used to it by now, but I continue to surprise him.

Anyway, back to the book. Now, there’s an interesting twist to the romance roller coaster. Not only do we have Eli and Gabby struggling to overcome their romantic angst, but we have Natalie and Deacon in the beginning stages of romance, which is different and added some much needed lovey dovey moments while Gabby and Eli continued to circle one another snarling like starving dogs.

Speaking of Eli and Gabby, I do wish their resolution had come about sooner. After over three hundred pages of anger and resentment, I prefer more than a single chapter where all the bad comes pouring out and ta-daa! everyone forgives everyone for happily ever after. Personal preference, nothing against the author or the book.

I feel like I’m rambling and not providing a true book review…so here’s the skinny. Kelly Irvin has written a romantic suspense that will leave you clutching the couch cushions and staring out into the darkness of night for fear of what has happened to Jake. You’ll want to alternately shake sense into Gabby and Eli then applaud them for learning they must lean on God for shelter and forgiveness.

Her characters are rough-around-the-edges and could walk off the page into real life at any moment. I couldn’t put the book down and I anxiously await Kelly Irvin’s next page-turner.

I recommend this book for anyone who’s a fan of romantic suspense, particularly those who enjoy Rachel Dylan, Colleen Coble, or Nancy Mehl.

I requested a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. I was not required to leave a review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
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In this high-stakes romantic suspense novel where tensions mount on both sides of the border, bestselling author Kelly Irvin explores what happens when the past explodes against the present and the only person you can turn to is the one who broke your heart.

When a college student dies at Gabriella’s feet after muttering her brother’s name, vicious gun smugglers believe she knows too much. And they’re determined to make sure she suffers the same fate. With no one else to turn to, Gabriella reunites with her former fiancé, homicide detective Eli Cavazos, to investigate the dead man’s murder and her brother’s disappearance. In a desperate race against time, Gabriella and Eli are determined to clear her brother and find him before the gun smugglers can kill them both. Bit by bit, they tear away the masks worn by men masquerading as law-abiding citizens. No one can be trusted. Working as a team forces Gabriella and Eli to face the problems that ended their relationship. She realizes she’s the one who needs to learn to forgive, but Eli must also learn to trust her with his secrets. This ragtag team must fight a powerful ring of criminals protected by the very institutions that should prosecute them in an all-out battle that may cost them their lives.

My Thoughts: Author Kelly Irvin’s Over the Line is an action-packed suspense novel that is filled with murder, weapons trafficking and a strained relationship and romance. 

A well written fast-paced novel that readers will enjoy, as the author Kelly Irvin does a great job of keeping the reader's interest in this fast-paced suspense.

The novel is based on a missing ATF agent Jack Benoit and a gun trafficking ring in Texas.  The novel has a great base for a murder mystery, but as I was reading it felt like I was reading a sequel to a previous novel, but this is a stand-alone book.   I just felt like I was missing something in the beginning with Gabriella and Eli, and what happened with Natalie and the rest of the family; and how Eli was shot.  

This is a wonderful story well worth the reading, the reader will not be disappointed.  Great for those that love a combination of suspense and romance.   

Click here to grab your copy.  

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This was a good mystery/romance.  I really liked the twists and the turns.  Both Gabriella and Eli had some problems when they originally dated and now they are working through what happened to them.  They both had problems and I liked how they got through everything that happens to them.  I received a copy of this book from Celebratelit for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
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**Book received for consideration. All thoughts are 100% my own. 

Several months ago, I had the chance to read known Amish fiction author Kelly Irvin's first novel in the romantic suspense genre, Tell Her No Lies. While I had not read any of her previous Amish works at that time, I absolutely loved this particular book. So when I saw she'd released this one- another in that same suspense genre, I could not wait to read it. Over the Line did not disappoint, keeping me captivated from page one. 

First let's talk about the romantic aspect of the story. Those who love a great romance will be happy to hear that there are actually TWO romances rolled into this one story. Both had me rooting for the happy ending for the couples... and I must admit I would LOVE to see a follow up based around the secondary romance featured in this story! I feel like there is still much story to hear there and while I loved both romances, I definitely wanted more of that one. The romances between these two couples is quite different: our main leads were previously engaged and learning to trust again whereas the others are just meeting... in less than ideal circumstances. Isn't that how love usually finds us? When and where we least expect it? 

As much as I love the romance there, I loved the suspense aspect of this story even more. This story had me guessing all the way through to the very end. There were a LOT of characters to keep up with, which I'll admit made things a little confusing at times... but it also kept you guessing. Who was good? Who was bad? Who could we trust? Because we were introduced to so many players, it was hard to really pin down the inevitable whodunit. Just when you think you've figured it out, something else is thrown out there that makes you second guess yourself. I love that in a mystery! 

This story does deal with two hot topic issues--- gun and boarder control. While it is noted in the end that the story is JUST a work of fiction and not meant to take a political stance on any side, I could see how this could be a little off putting for some. Personally, I didn't feel like it was overly political or bothersome myself, but it is something worth noting before reading regardless.

Overall, I thought it was a great read that will keep you reading through to the very end.
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This is one of those mysteries that grabs you from the very beginning and hold you until the end. 

This action packed, contemporary romantic suspense has a lot going for it. There were a lot of characters in this book which made it difficult at times trying to keep all of them straight. The secondary romance with Natalie and Deacon was much more interesting and realistic then the main characters. 

While I didn’t love this book as much as I loved Tell Her No Lies, I did enjoy this one and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good romantic suspense.
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Over the Line was written by Kelly Irvin, and is a modern-day fictional novel.
Summary: Chef Gabriella’s life is wrapped up in her restaurant, and her family. But when an acquaintance of her brother shows up with a bullet in his chest, her whole world turns upside down. She finds her brother is now missing, and the one person that can help her find him, is her ex-fiancé homicide detective Eli Cavazos.
Will she find her brother? And how can she possibly trust Eli when he betrayed her so cruelly in the past? It’s a race against time to save the ones she loves-before it’s too late.
My Thoughts: This story is filled with non-stop action and lots of suspense. I think just because of the topic though, it didn’t end up being my favorite. It was primarily about drugs coming into the United States, as well as the violence that comes with it. It seemed to have a bit of a darker feel to it, and some politics as well (even though the author does state that it isn’t a political book.) There was nothing wrong with the book-there are interesting characters, and lots of plot twists and turns, it just wasn’t the book for me. 
I would like to thank Thomas Nelson for providing me with a free digital copy of this book in exchange for my review. Thank you!
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I enjoyed this novel with its good balance of suspense and romantic tension. Irvin's writing style is good and her plot kept me interested. I liked reading about the conditions in a town on the Texas-Mexico border, although the author notes the writing of this novel before the current border problems arose. I liked learning some about weapons trafficking too.

Irvin included a few thought provoking issues in the novel. One was the conflicting opinions about journalists. What is more important, a hurting family's privacy or the need for people to know what is happening? Irvin's journalist background informs this tension. Another issue deals with honesty and forgiveness in relationships. Another issue revolves around guns, their use and control. Irvin says in her Author's Note that she is not making any statements with the novel and is just reflecting character opinions. Nonetheless, it is a good area of discussion for a book group.

I would have appreciated more back story early on. Natalie is in a wheelchair and it seemed to take a long time to find out why. Gabriella and Eli have had lots of prior experience, such as a broken engagement. I almost felt at times I had missed an earlier novel featuring these characters.

I liked this novel and will be looking for more suspense novels from this author.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review.
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Over the Line was intense and gripping. The story line engages the reader and keeps them in suspense and at the same time tells a beautiful story of forgiveness. There is both pure entertainment to be gained from reading the book as well as life lessons on forgiveness. I would definitely read another book by Kelly Irvin.  #overtheline  #netgalley
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I really enjoyed Tell Her No Lies, Kelly Irvin’s first foray out of Amish into romantic suspense. Over the Line? Not so much. The writing was excellent. There was an action-filled plot with plenty of suspense. There were two romances (although I was more interested in the secondary romance than the primary romance). But I didn't love it.

One of my problems was the sheer number of characters. There were a lot, and I found that confusing at times. But my main problem was the political focus. I don’t mind Christian fiction that debates current issues, but I want Christian fiction to focus on universal issues, not US-centric issues like border walls and gun control. These are divisive political footballs, and I see nothing in the debate (from either side) that brings people closer to God—surely the purpose of Christian fiction.

But let’s get back to the actual story and the actual characters. It was apparent early on that Gabriella and Eli had broken up because Gabriella thought she’d caught Eli being unfaithful. It was equally apparent that this is one of those conflicts that could have been solved in half a paragraph if Gabriella had been adult enough to listen to Eli’s explanation. In this, she behaved more like a rebellious Amish teenager than successful attorney-turned-chef.

Perhaps that’s what made the conflict so annoying: as an attorney, Gabriella was trained to consider both sides of an argument. Yet she didn’t. Eli wasn’t any better. He was an odd mix of get-in-there-and-shoot-the-baddies and too-scared-to-confront-his-girlfriend. It was as though he was simply there to be Gabriella’s love interest … 

That’s why I found the secondary romance more interesting. Natalie and Deacon were excellent characters. I would have liked to have seen more of them and to see their developing relationship. It has challenges, to be sure (as Natalie is a widowed paraplegic with two children), but I’d like to see how a couple overcomes those challenges.

I found the actual suspense side of the plot confusing, and I found it hard to divorce the plot from the wider politics of the situation. That affected my enjoyment. However, I’m sure Americans who live in border states will have a different view.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
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Over the Line is a romantic suspense with likeable characters with a storyline that could be plucked from today's headlines. I especially enjoyed Deacon. He is an endearing character. This had two sweet romances with an inspirational message of forgiveness.  
I enjoyed it and thank Thomas Nelson for an advanced reader copy. This is my honest opinion.
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I have read many books by this author, and have never been disappointed, and I will say that my previous reads have mostly been about the Amish. This read did not leave me wanting, and it quickly became a page turner.
If you enjoy non-stop action this is a book for you, you will travel around Texas with your heart in your throat, and really not know what is around the next corner.

I received this book through NetGalley and the Publisher Thomas Nelson, and was not required to give a positive review.
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