Tag Archives: clean reads

Review: Set the Stars Alight, by Amanda Dykes

Set the Stars Alight, by Amanda Dykes

Set the Stars Alight, by Amanda Dykes (Bethany House, 2020)

Lyrical, beautiful, heart-warming and satisfying, Set the Stars Alight is a must-read.

Page one welcomed me in like I was coming home.

Before I even reached that page, the dedication spoke to me—the part about wonder:

Hang on to it, brave ones.
And more—hang on to the Giver of it.
Though darkness may fall and times grow hard,
hold fast to this given light. [Kindle location 45]

Timely words for a hard year like 2020.

The novel follows two timelines: 1987 – 2020 and the 1800s during the Napoleonic wars, each revealing what’s needed to understand the other. It’s not choppy, switching timelines each chapter; instead, the story flows in segments with time enough to settle in place and care about the people involved.

In the contemporary thread, childhood friends Lucy and Dashel reunite as adults in a quest to locate a legendary shipwreck in the English Channel. The historical thread follows Frederick, a landowner’s son, and the young lovers Juliette and Elias.

Some of the many lines I highlighted in the book are sparks of light to hold close:

Taking note of the good, the true, the just, the miracles hidden at every turn is like…a deliberate act of defiance against the darkness. [Lucy’s father, Kindle location 431]

Such freedom, to know our limits. And to know the God who has none. [Clara, Kindle location 3347]

Others are just beautiful:

The woman had a way of almost gliding—not in the graceful, practiced way of the ladies of gothic novels, but rather more like an apparition gliding over ice. [Kindle location 1625]

Set the Stars Alight is a novel of love and loyalty, friendship and faith, that encourages wonder and affirms the value of everyday actions and individual lives. As an added bonus, readers who loved Amanda Dykes’ debut novel, Whose Waves These Are, will welcome the quiet nod to that book in chapter 25.

For more about author Amanda Dykes, visit amandadykes.com.

[Review copy provided by the publisher via #NetGalley.]

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New Releases in Christian Fiction (June 2020)

June 2020 New Releases from members of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW):

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.


Contemporary Romance:

 

Forever Home by Amy Grochowski — A Canadian Amish farmer proposes a convenient marriage to a Lancaster Amish businesswoman so they can join a new community welcoming married couples only. They are both surprised when a Prince Edward Island foster child finds her way to them in need of a home. Yet what will happen when the English world and the Amish world collide? (Romance from Ambassador International)

Start With Me by Kara Isaac — A professional woman and her old flame, who doesn’t remember her, are forced to work together when the companies they work for merge. (Romance, Independently Published)

A Father’s Promise by Mindy Obenhaus — Is he ready for fatherhood? He doesn’t think he deserves a family… But now he has a daughter. Stunned to discover he has a child, Wes Bishop isn’t sure he’s father material. But his adorable daughter needs him, and he can’t help feeling drawn to her mother, Laurel Donovan—a woman he’s finally getting to know. But can this sudden dad overcome a past tragedy that has him convinced he’s not meant to be a husband or a father…and make a promise of forever? (Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Historical:

 

Until June by Barbara M. Britton — When a young seamstress agrees to take care of a WWI amputee in a remote Alaskan lodge, there’s enough friction to melt a glacier. (Historical from Inspired [Prism Book Group])

A Cord of Three Strands by Christy Distler — As 1756 dawns, Isaac Lukens is torn between loyalty to his Lenape heritage and a childhood friend who needs to marry in order to raise her siblings after her father was killed by his people. (Historical from Avodah Books)

Persuaded: The Story of Nicodemus by David Harder — From the prison colony on Patmos, the Apostle John entrusts Nicodemus with manuscripts for the Christian fellowships increasing throughout the Roman Empire. While transcribing the manuscript, Nicodemus is prompted to recall his former life and his encounter with Yeshua – a man of mystery, a healer, a teacher, and a prophet. An encounter that changed everything. Under the cover of darkness, risking his reputation and endangering his life even further, it is here that Nicodemus realizes the world-changing power of the Good News . . . and what being a follower of Yeshua truly means. (Historical from Ambassador International)

Historical Romance:

 

Love’s Mountain Quest by Misty M. Beller — When a Rocky Mountain widow returns home from work to find her son and the woman watching him missing–and the sheriff dead–she enlists a man she prays has enough experience in this rugged country to help. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

The Damsel’s Intent by Mary Davis — Washington State 1893. Nicole Waterby has lived her whole life in the hills away from town due to her grandfather’s mistrust of people. But now he’s passed away, and Nicole is left to care for her two younger cousins. Feeling inadequate to handle the responsibility, she heads down the mountain to fetch herself a husband. She doesn’t realize women don’t wear trousers, buckskins, or carry a gun. She has a lot to learn about being a lady if she’s going to catch a husband. And the quilting circle is just the group of women to help her. Rancher Shane Keegan has drifted from one location to another to find a place to belong. He longs to have a family of his own but feels doomed to live a life alone. When Nicole crosses his path, he wonders if he can have love, but he soon realizes she’s destined for someone better than a saddle tramp. Even though he knows there’s no future for him with the intriguing mountain girl, he still steps in to help her at every opportunity. Will love stand a chance while both Nicole and Shane try to be people they are not? (Historical Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

Line By Line by Jennifer Delamere — Since she was young, Alice McNeil has seen success as a telegrapher as the best use for her keen and curious mind. Years later, she has yet to regret her freedom and foregoing love and marriage, especially when she acquires a coveted position at an important trading firm. But when the company’s ambitious junior director returns to London, things begin to change in ways Alice could never have imagined. For Douglas Shaw, years of hard work and ingenuity enabled him to escape a life of grinding poverty. He’s also determined to marry into high society—a step that will ensure he never returns to the conditions of his past. He immediately earns Alice’s respect by judging her based on her skills and not her gender, and a fast camaraderie forms. However, when Alice accidentally angers a jealous coworker and his revenge threatens both their reputations, Alice and Douglas are forced to confront what is truly important in their lives. Will their growing bond give them the courage to see the future in a different light? (Historical Romance from Bethany [Baker])

An Appalachian Summer by Ann H Gabhart — After the market crash of 1933, the last thing Piper Danson wants is to flaunt her family’s fortune while so many suffer. Although she reluctantly agrees to a debut party at her parents’ insistence, she still craves a meaningful life over the emptiness of an advantageous marriage. When an opportunity to volunteer with the Frontier Nursing Service arises, Piper jumps at the chance. But, her spontaneous jaunt turns into something unexpected when she falls in love with more than just the breathtaking Appalachian Mountains. (Historical Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

The Widow & The War Correspondent by Linda Shenton Matchett — Are a new life and new love possible in a country devastated by war? Barely married before she was widowed after Pearl Harbor three years ago, journalist Cora Strealer travels to England where she’s assigned to work with United Press’s top reporter who thinks the last place for a woman is on the front lines. Can she change his opinion before D-Day? Or will she have to choose her job over her heart? A sought-after journalist, Van Toppel deserves his pick of assignments, which is why he can’t determine the bureau chief’s motive for saddling him with a cub reporter. Unfortunately, the beautiful rookie is no puff piece. Can he get her off his beat without making headlines…or losing his heart? (Historical Romance from Shortwave Press)

An Impossible Price by Davalynn Spencer — With no husband of her own, midwife Sophie Price lives to keep others calm in their hour of need. But when a handsome horse handler steps off the train with a fiery stallion, he brings anything but calm as he looks her dead in the eye and clear through to her soul. Clay Ferguson returns to the place he once called home, hunting a fresh start and the one woman who could draw him back. If he can hide his battered heart and the brutality of his past, maybe she’ll take another look and give him a second chance. Both bear scars from their fathers. Both fight for life. Together, they may learn that love is worth its impossible price. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Mystery:

 

Pride and Pettiness by Elizabeth Ludwig — A hairdresser fears she may lose her business when appointments go terribly wrong. (Mystery from Guidepost Publications)

 

Romantic Suspense:

 

Don’t Keep Silent by Elizabeth Goddard — Investigative reporter Rae Burke will do anything to find her missing sister-in-law, even if it means facing Liam McKade, a man who almost lost his life saving hers. (Romantic Suspense from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Closer Than She Knows by Kelly Irvin — Court reporter Teagan O’Rourke thinks her job taught her everything she needed to know about murder until a serial killer decides to teach her a new lesson–up and personal. (Romantic Suspense from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Direct Threat by Kimberly Rose Johnson — One little girl. Two bodyguards. Only one chance to guard their hearts. Protection Inc. co-owner, Carissa Jones, an ex-cop turned bodyguard, has one goal—keep her young client safe. When her business partner brings in a new guy to help, she discovers her heart desires more. Can she still do her job and follow her heart without compromising her client’s safety? Marc Olsen, a former Military Police officer, struggles to find his way as a civilian. He agrees to help out an old friend for the summer. He gets more than he bargained for when he’s assigned to work with the feisty co-owner of Protection Inc. When sparks fly faster than bullets, will the bodyguards be distracted from their task, or will they work together as an even stronger team? (Romantic Mystery, Independently Published)

Imminent Threat by Kimberly Rose Johnson — The Protection Inc. team is growing, and so is their client list. Former cop and new team member, Peter King, seeks to solve the mystery surrounding threatening notes being sent to Jenna Walsh. Facing an uncertain future, Jenna is afraid for her life. Will the team at Protection Inc., specifically Peter, be able to stop the threats before things escalate, or will tragedy strike before Peter is willing to face his growing attraction to Jenna? The team must divide and conquer when two big cases present themselves at the same time. Carissa Jones and Marc Olsen work to protect a young college student who is staying in the home of a federal judge. All work and no play has put a strain on their relationship. Can they find balance or will their fragile bond be extinguished? (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)

Plain Refuge by Dana R. Lynn — On the run from hired gunmen, can she find safety in Amish country? After overhearing an illegal weapons deal, Sophie Larson knows two things: her uncle’s a dangerous criminal…and he wants her dead. Now undercover cop Aiden Forster has no choice but to blow his cover and protect Sophie by hiding her and her deaf sister in Amish country. But with a mole in the police force, danger isn’t far behind. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Speculative:

 

Evocatus by Burke Speed — Jamie is a young veteran with a painful history. He’s done battling for others…until the whole “fight for your life in a mini-mart” thing. Without warning, Jamie is attacked by a sword-wielding man and warned to stay away. From what, he’s not sure. Unexpectedly, he is invited to join a covert band of brothers that fights to keep these evil beings, called Malum, at bay. To accept their invitation is to add death matches against evil to his resume. To decline is to live . . . at least for a while. Kate is a beautiful barista and an important member of this undercover organization. She just might have the key to victory over the Malum but is kidnapped before she can tell what she knows. Everything hinges on a timely rescue of Kate as Jamie’s past and present collide. Now an Evocatus, a veteran called again to duty, Jamie must decide how far he’s willing to go to fight-and love-again. (Speculative from Ambassador International)

Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:


Three Steps Away
by Luana Ehrlich, Romantic Suspense
Perfect in His Eyes by Linda Goodnight, Contemporary Romance
Cross Shadow by Andrew Huff, Thriller/Suspense
That Place Called Home by D. L. Lane, Romance
Then There Was You by D. L. Lane, Romantic Suspense
The Same River Twice by Mark Medley, Adventure
Fade to White by Tara Ross, Young Adult
Doubly Dead by Lisa Wessel, Cozy Mystery

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Hidden Secrets: Sale Pricing + You’re Invited!

I posted earlier how happy I am that Hidden Secrets (Green Dory Inn Mystery #2) is one of three suspense novels short-listed for The 2020 Word Awards. Here’s a link to that post, which tells you more about the other two finalists: )

In celebration, the ebook version of Hidden Secrets is on sale for 99 cents this week (ends June 14, 2020). This link will take you to international links for Amazon, Apple, Kobo, and Nook: books2read.com/hidden-secrets.

One unexpected side benefit of The Word Awards ceremony not being held in a conventional venue is that readers can join the live-stream and enjoy the action! 

Winners will be announced Saturday, June 13, at 7pm EDT (that’s 8pm here in Nova Scotia). Here’s a link to a time zone converter if you, like me, struggle with doing time conversion in your head. 

You are invited to join in if you can. You might find some good new summer reads! 

The livestream will be available on Facebook and YouTube. A little before start time, head to The Word Guild Facebook page or The Word Guild YouTube page.  Can’t stay for the whole celebration? Check out the schedule to see when you’d most like to join in: 2020 TWA Celebration Program.

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Review: When Mountains Sing, by Stacy Monson

Wen Mountains Sing, by Stacy Monson

When Mountains Sing, by Stacy Monson (His Image Publications, 2019)

Mikayla Gordon’s discovery of a family secret sets her on a quest to find answers. In the process she may find herself—and find God. 

Mikayla is the outdoor, adventurous type, thriving from childhood on fishing with her father. Her journey takes her away from her magazine-writer job on a cross-country trek, with a tiny dog as her travel buddy.

From her native Minnesota, Mikayla ends up Colorado, where the mountains capture her heart. Camp director Dawson Dunne, who offers her a temporary job, may claim her heart too, although Mikayla’s committed to returning home in time for her sister’s wedding.

The scenery in this novel makes it a beautiful place to linger, and I enjoyed hanging out with the characters. Mikayla’s anger and hurt takes time to work through, but the kind people she meets are a balm to her and to readers as well.

Favourite lines:

“No use hurrying through life when all we have is what’s here in front of us.” [Kindle edition, page 75]

Layers of jagged mountain peaks surrounded them, from green and detailed in front to a hazy blue in the distance. Thick forests spread like carpeting, a river winding through the valley. [Kindle edition, page 178]

Recommended for nature lovers, this gentle story of self-discovery and romance includes themes of disappointment, family secrets, forgiveness, faith, and relationships. The bond between Mikayla and her two sisters is warm and strong, despite their very different personalities.

When Mountains Sing is book 1 in the My Father’s House Series, and it’s one of the books in The Mosaic Collection. Visit stacymonson.com to learn more about author Stacy Monson and her books.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

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Review: The Traitor’s Pawn, by Lisa Harris

The Traitor's Pawn, by Lisa Harris | #romanticsuspense #Christianfiction

The Traitor’s Pawn, by Lisa Harris (Revell, 2020)

Shootings, abduction, traitors, and national security risks in Corpus Christi, Texas. The danger in The Traitor’s Pawn starts almost immediately and doesn’t let up.

Somehow the abduction of Detective Bree Grayson is linked with FBI agent Jack Shannon’s investigation. The crisis reunites these two former best friends, and as they work together they discover romantic feelings that have lain dormant since college. Bree finds herself again dealing with her father’s abandonment, pain she thought she’d left behind.

The stakes in this novel are high, but the characters’ introspection allows readers chances to breathe. Along with the romance thread, there’s a theme of anger and forgiveness as Bree processes her lack of relationship with her father.

One thing I found a little disappointing was the resolution of the conflict with a particular antagonist. This person will remain nameless, to avoid spoilers, but was introduced as a worthy villain in a way that had me expecting far more involvement in the final crisis.

Overall, though, The Traitor’s Pawn is an enjoyable romantic suspense with a strong thread of faith.

Favourite line:

My father always told me that God is about the long game. That he’s more interested in who you become, even if the actual process is difficult. [Jack speaking about his own father, Kindle location 2933]

Visit lisaharriswrites.com to learn about author Lisa Harris and her books and ministry.

[Review copy provided by the publisher via #NetGalley. My opinions are my own.]

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Review: No Filter, by Heather Day Gilbert

No Filter,by Heather Day Gilbert  Barks & Beans Cafe Mystery Series, Book 1 | #cleanreads #cozymystery

No Filter, by Heather Day Gilbert (WoodHaven Press, 2020)

Mystery readers will love the sister and brother duo—and Coal, the Great Dane—in Heather Day Gilbert’s new Barks & Beans Café Mystery Series.

Newly-single Macy Hatfield is lured home to the West Virginia town of Lewisburg when her brother Bo moves back to open his own business—The Barks & Beans Café. It’s a trendy, upscale coffee shop with a difference: there’s an attached space where patrons can get their pet fix by visiting with dogs from the local shelter.

Bo’s the coffee guy, and Macy’s the dog lover. Together, they run this business in what was their beloved Aunt Athaleen’s home. Bo is ex-military, which will come in handy when the mystery part of the story starts.

Apparently cafés like this do exist, and I think they sound fun (for dogs or for cats). The café staff are an eclectic and interesting group, as are the clientele, and the café treats sound tempting.

When Macy adopts a Great Dane after his owner’s murder, she’s drawn into the mystery surrounding the death.

No Filter is a clean cozy mystery and a fun read, and I’m fond of Coal, the Great Dane. Macy and Bo have a really strong sibling relationship. It’s good to see support instead of bickering. I like their banter and the way each has the other’s back. They need to, since otherwise they’re on their own. Each one carries wounds from previous relationships as well as the longer-standing trauma of their parents’ deaths many years earlier.

Favourite line (Macy talking to Bo):

I rolled my eyes. “I can take care of myself. Case in point, I was at the scene of a murder tonight and I didn’t get killed.” [Kindle location 1834]

No Filter is book 1 in the Barks & Beans Café Mystery Series. The novel is complete on its own, with some suspense and relationship threads that lead into later books. Readers who enjoy No Filter will want to order the sequel, Iced Over, releasing July 2020. For more about author Heather Day Gilbert and her other books (mysteries, suspense, and Viking historicals) visit heatherdaygilbert.com.

[Review copy provided by the publisher; opinions are my own.]

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Review: Collateral Damage, by Lynette Eason

Collateral Damage, by Lynette Eason | Danger Never Sleeps, book 1 | #romanticsuspense #Christianfiction

Collateral Damage, by Lynette Eason (Revell, 2020)

From the dusty danger of war-torn Kabul to the relative safety of South Carolina, Lynette Eason weaves a taut tale of greed, intrigue, and secrets worth killing for.

Army psychiatrist Brooke Adams and Special Ops Sergeant First-Class Asher James return from Afghanistan with painful memories and the faint hope of rebuilding normal lives. Instead, they find themselves targets in a deadly, globe-spanning plot.

Amid the flying bullets and PTSD flashbacks, the sprinkles of humour and the developing bond between Brooke and Asher kept it from being too intense for me. This is the sort of romantic suspense I like best. No syrupy thoughts, just two people trying to stay alive and realizing that they somehow understand and complete each other.

I also enjoyed the friendship between Brooke, Heather, Kat, and Sarah, especially in the first part of the book. I’m hoping the other women will have their turns to shine as the series unfolds (although Sarah definitely has a key role here, too.) And I appreciated the faith element as a natural part of the story.

Favourite line:

God may not have blessed her with the kind of family she’d always yearned for growing up, but he’d made up for that in the kind of friends he’d placed in her life. [Kindle location 1708]

Collateral Damage is Book 1 in the Danger Never Sleeps series. Book 2, Acceptable Risk, releases August 2020. For more about author Lynette Eason and her books, visit lynetteeason.com.

[Review copy provided by the publisher via #NetGalley. My opinions are my own.]

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New Releases in Christian Fiction: May 2020

May 2020 New Releases from Members of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). 

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

 


Children’s:


 

The Edge of Everywhen by A.S. Mackey — Begin with an ancient, mysterious, self-aware book. Add two heartbroken children, reeling from the loss of their mother. Mix in a cantankerous aunt, dreams that see the future, and a father trying to make his way home and you get “The Edge of Everywhen,” a captivating tale of loss, hope, revelation, and unexplained mystery. “The Edge of Everywhen” is a book-lover’s book, a story of intrigue in which two children embark upon a life-changing journey of faith. (Middle Grade from B & H Publishing)

 


Contemporary Romance:


 

A Mother’s Homecoming by Lisa Carter — Charmed by the two-year-old twins in her toddler tumbling class, Maggie Arledge is shocked to learn they’re the children she gave up for adoption. And when Bridger Hollingsworth—the uncle caring for the boys—needs an emergency nanny, she fits the bill. But with sparks flying between her and Bridger, can she let herself get attached…and risk exposing secrets from her past? (Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Love is in the Air by Tanya Eavenson, Candee Fick, Kathleen Friesen, Laura V. Hilton, and Kathleen Rouser — This collection of five brand new Christian romances is sure to send your heart soaring. Journey from Canada to Georgia and Colorado to Paris by way of Michigan as these couples find love is in the air. All they had to do was look up. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

The Trouble With Love by Toni Shiloh — I, Holiday Brown, have it all. A platinum record. Multi-million dollar home in Manhattan that I share with my two best friends. Life is looking fantastic until my roommate’s brother decides to bunk in our guestroom while his house gets renovated. W. Emmett Bell has always been the bane of my existence. He’s annoying, stubborn, a know it all, and just might be the most gorgeous man I’ve ever laid eyes on. But I refuse to fall for him. But when his sister’s threatened by a stalker, dynamics change. His unwavering faith isn’t quite as self-righteous as I’d always thought, and maybe he has a good side I’ve overlooked all these years. Or maybe it’s all too much trouble. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish by Bethany Turner — Hadley Beckett became the star of the Culinary Channel following hot-tempered celebrity chef Max Cavanagh’s public fall from grace. But when Max returns, career in shambles, his only chance for redemption is to work alongside the beloved host of “At Home with Hadley.” Will these two polar opposites burn down the kitchen—or fall in love? (Contemporary Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Stay with Me by Becky Wade — When acclaimed Bible study author Genevieve Woodward receives an anonymous letter referencing her parents’ past, she returns to her hometown in the Blue Ridge mountains to chase down her family’s secret. However, it’s Genevieve’s own secret that catches up to her when Sam Turner, owner of an historic farm, uncovers the source of shame she’s worked so hard to hide. (Contemporary Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

 


General:


 

Within Golden Bands by Norma Gail — Newly married Bonny MacDonell finds the transition from American college professor to Scottish sheep farmer’s wife more difficult than she expected. When her miracle pregnancy ends in a devastating miscarriage, she fears her husband’s reaction will hurt more than the loss of their child. But Kieran never shows up at the hospital. When found, he is beaten and unconscious. The only memory of his attacker is the words, “Get off my land.” Reeling from the threat to her husband and the loss of their child, Bonny struggles to hold her marriage together. When faith in love is not enough, where do you turn? (Contemporary, Independently Published)

The Society of Second Chances by Deborah Raney — The Society of Second Chances faces a real challenge, as they try to uncover a way to help Harmoni Branaham—a young woman just released from prison. (Women’s Fiction from Guideposts Publications)

Unveiling the Past by Kim Vogel Sawyer — Newlywed cold-case detectives Sean Eagle and Meghan DeFord struggle between past wounds and their desire for a family when one of them takes on a case involving parental abandonment. (Women’s Fiction from Waterbrook/Multnomah [Random House])

 


Historical:


 

Moondrop Miracle by Jennifer Lamont Leo — Chicago, 1928. Pampered socialite Connie Shepherd lives the kind of glossy life other women read about in the society pages. Engaged to a handsome financier, she spends her days and nights in a dizzying social round. When eccentric Aunt Pearl, an amateur chemist, offers her an unusual wedding present—the formula for a home-brewed skin tonic—Connie laughs it off. But when the Great Depression flings her privileged world into chaos and rocks her marriage to the core, will Aunt Pearl’s strange gift provide the key to survival for Connie and her baby? (Historical from Mountain Majesty Media)

Tranquility Point by Pamela S. Meyers — Hannah’s life couldn’t be sweeter—a marriage proposal and law school. Then the Great War intrudes and everything sours. (Historical from Mantle Rock Publishing)

 


Historical Romance:


 

A Mosaic of Wings by Kimberly Duffy — A driven entomologist travels to India in an attempt to win a coveted scholarship and save her late father’s scientific journal. But in this enchanting land, she discovers that there are some things more important than success. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

Rocky Mountain Redemption by Lisa J. Flickinger — Fleeing a broken engagement, Isabelle Franklin joins her aunt to feed a camp of lumberjacks in the Rocky Mountains. She doesn’t expect to fall for camp foreman Charles Bailey, nicknamed “Preach,” who is struggling between his hard past and his newfound faith. When the ghosts from her past return to haunt her, the choices she will make change the course of her life forever—and that of the man she’s come to love. (Historical Romance from Wild Heart Books)

Pretending to Wed by Melissa Jagears — It’s a match made in heaven…as long as they don’t fall in love! The ranch Nolan Key has spent decades working for, even lost a leg for, is now his—or at least it should be. But an absurd clause in his father’s will means he’s in danger of losing the place to his lazy, undeserving cousin. Nolan finds himself scrambling to save his home—by proposing marriage to the town laundress. Corinne Stillwater’s hands have betrayed her. Numb from hours of doing the same work over and over, her hands will only heal, according to the town doctor, if she gives up the laundry and marries. But she’s been stung repeatedly by love before, so that is one remedy she can’t swallow. When Nolan offers Corinne a marriage in name only, how can she refuse? Such a partnership could give them the security they seek, but what if the ranch isn’t as secure as they believe, and their lives—and dreams—aren’t quite as compatible as they thought? (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

The Sinner in Mississippi by D.L. Lane — The story of Mississippi Singletary, born to a fearful mother and an abusive father in a rundown shack outside of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Historical Romance from By Faith Publishing)

The Mechanic & The MD by Linda Shenton Matchett — Woman mechanic Doris Strealer has a hard time finding love until she joins the Red Cross Motor Corps and comes face to face with her past in the form of Van Toppel, an old classmate. On the brink of a successful career as a surgeon, Van’s plans crumble when he’s drafted and assigned to an evacuation hospital in England, the last place he expects to run into a former schoolmate. The gangly tomboy who was four years behind him in high school has transformed into a statuesque beauty, but a broken engagement in college leaves him with no desire to risk his heart ever again. Will the hazards of war make or break a romance between this unlikely couple? (Historical Romance from Shortwave Press)

Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey by Abigail Wilson — In this new Regency romance, Elizabeth knows she must protect her heart from the charm of her new husband, Lord Torrington. She is not, however, prepared to protect her life. (Historical Mystery from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

 


Romantic Suspense:


 

Standoff (Natchez Trace Park Rangers) by Patricia Bradley — The Natchez Trace National Parkway stretches 444 miles from Nashville to Natchez, the oldest town on the Mississippi River. It’s the perfect road for a relaxed pleasure drive. Unfortunately for park ranger Luke Fereday, lately it’s being used to move drugs. Sent to Natchez to infiltrate the organization at the center of the drug ring, Luke arrives too late to a stakeout and discovers the body of his friend, park ranger John Danvers. John’s daughter Brooke is determined to investigate her father’s murder, but things are more complicated than they first appear, and Brooke soon finds herself the target of a killer who will do anything to silence her. Luke will have his hands full keeping her safe. But who’s going to keep him safe when he realizes he’s falling–hard–for the daughter of the man he failed to save? (Romantic Suspense from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

Untraceable Evidence by Sharee Stover — Someone’s after a deadly weapon…and only she can stop them. It’s undercover ATF agent Randee Jareau’s job to make sure the government’s 3-D printed “ghost gun” doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. So when someone goes after scientist Ace Steele, she must protect him…before she loses the undetectable weapon and its creator. But with a mole inside Ace’s company and everyone a suspect, this assignment could become Randee’s last. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

 


Medieval Fantasy:


 

The Story Hunter by Lindsay A. Franklin — In this epic conclusion to The Weaver Trilogy, Tanwen and the Corsyth weavers must rescue the queen and rid Tir of the Master once and for all, but the success of their hunt depends upon an ally no one trusts, and the fate of the kingdom rests in the hands of a volatile, shattered girl. (Medieval Fantasy from Enclave Publishing)

 


Suspense:


 

Purgatory, A Progeny’s Quest by T. M. Brown — A teenage girl arrives in Shiloh seeking to reconnect with her estranged mother, the only remaining family member she has ever known, only to learn she too has died, but she learns of family she never knew about. All the while a limo with a dark past arrives in town along with unwanted interest by a stranger that puts lives at risk. (Thriller from Southern Fried Karma LLC/Hearthstone Press)

 


Young Adult:


 

You’re Brilliant by Julie Arduini — Amazing things happen when a group of high school students and women discover they are more than competent. (Young Adult from Surrendered Scribe Media)

 

 

Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:

Lost Down Deep by Sara Davidson, Romantic Suspense
Son of Mary by R.S. Ingermanson, Biblical
Then There Was You by D. L. Lane, Romantic Suspense
Love’s Silver Bullet by Julie Lessman, Historical Romance
Tug of War by Brenda C. Poulos, Thriller/Suspense
The Scholar’s Quest: The Way by Brad Rucker, Adventure
Illusions by Jennifer Sienes, General Contemporary
The Lost Lieutenant by Erica Vetsch, Historical Romance
A Beautiful Arrangement by Beth Wiseman, Amish Romance

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Review: A Legacy of Murder, by Connie Berry

A Legacy of Murder, by Connie Berry

A Legacy of Murder, by Connie Berry (Crooked Lane Books, 2019)

My new favourite mystery series!

A Legacy of Murder is one of those books I don’t want to end: a clean and satisfying mystery, an engaging protagonist, quiet humour, complicated characters, charming English-village setting, evocative description, food, family dynamics, romance … and the promise of more books to come.

American antiques expert Kate Hamilton has an eye for details and patterns that helps her notice clues. She’s in Suffolk, England, to visit her daughter, Christina, who’s interning at historic Finchley Hall. When another intern is found dead, Kate has more than curiosity prompting her to look for suspects—she wants to protect her daughter from becoming the next victim.

Kate’s other reason to visit the area is to see Detective Inspector Tom Mallory, who she met in Scotland in the previous book. Who’s she kidding, though? What chance does a trans-Atlantic romance have when both parties love their jobs and are rooted in their communities? Not to mention having family members who disapprove.

As much as I enjoyed the story and the characters, it’s the descriptive language that encouraged me to linger on each page. I want to write like Connie Berry when I grow up.

Some samples:

The scent of beeswax polish mingled with the mustiness of old wood, the dust of the ages, and a hint of mildew—an antique dealer’s perfume. [page 15]

His hair, shaved at the sides, fell in a mop over his eyes. He looked like someone who might bring a manual typewriter to a coffee shop for the effect. [page 22]

In a time when current cozy mysteries often feel like light snacks, A Legacy of Murder is a full-course meal. Highly recommended!

A Legacy of Murder is Book 2 in the Kate Hamilton Mystery series. For more about Connie Berry and her work, including book discussion questions, visit connieberry.com.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

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Review: The Printed Letter Bookshop, by Katherine Reay

The Printed Letter Bookshop, by Katherine Reay (Thomas Nelson, 2019)

Friendship, self-discovery, love, and a celebration of reading—and of independent bookstores.

Maddie Cullen had a knack for engaging with her customers and knowing the right book to suggest. When she died, she left envelopes for her two employees and her estranged niece. Each woman’s letter included a Bible passage and a list of books.

Madeline, her niece, inherited the store but doesn’t want to keep it. Claire and Janet, Maddie’s employees who supported her through her final days, wish the new owner would just let them carry on the business as usual. As the three women work together, each also reading the books Maddie’s letter “assigned,” they develop a strong friendship and each grow toward the potential Maddie had seen in them.

Each woman’s point of view is written in a different tense: first-person past, third-person past, and third-person present. I always find that sort of delivery jarring, and I confess I also had a hard time connecting with the characters. All three were a bit of a mess at first.

I’m glad I stuck with it, because it’s a heartwarming story. As it progressed I grew to care for each of them. And I wish I could visit the bookstore!

For more about Katherine Reay and her books, and for book club resources, visit katherinereay.com.

[Review copy from the public library.]

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