Tag Archives: mountains

Review: Queen of Hearts, by Heather Day Gilbert

Queen of Hearts, by Heather Day Gilbert (WoodHaven Press, 2024)

Her readers love her…
but one has gotten a little too attached.

Queen of Hearts is a deliciously twisty, engaging read that keeps readers guessing.

Recovering from a messy divorce and struggling to meet the deadline for the final book in her bestselling suspense series, author Alexandra Dubois receives a threatening letter from a “Highly Invested Reader.”

Determined not to give in to the demands—or to let the stalker’s escalating activity sabotage the focus she needs to finish her novel, Alex escapes to a private hideaway in the West Virginia mountains. As events make her fear the stalker has followed her, she doesn’t know who to trust.

I so enjoyed this novel. The swift-running plot. The mountain scenery—complete with a storm! The small-town characters. The clues that kept me guessing.

Alex as a first-person narrator drew me in and revealed how her autism shapes her perspective and her reactions. It’s hard to understand what look like foibles when they’re only seen externally, but in Alex’s head it all makes sense.

Writers, experienced or novice, will appreciate this book, either nodding in agreement with Alex’s observations about writing or picking up tips to help their own work.

Mostly, it’s the voice or tone of the story that leaves me refreshed like I’ve had a drink from a clear mountain spring. It’s deeper, more energetic than the author’s lighter series (Belinda Blake and Barks ‘n Beans—both of which are good too.) It feels more like her A Murder in the Mountains suspense novels.

Highly recommended for fans of clean psychological suspense, Queen of Hearts is first in a new series.

West Virginia author Heather Day Gilbert is known for her strong characters, frequent mountain settings, and stories where friendship and loyalty play a key role. From Viking historicals to cozy mysteries to suspense and romantic suspense, from clean reads to Christian fiction, her books are sure to engage readers. To find out about the author and her books, visit heatherdaygilbert.com.

[Advance review copy provided via #Netgalley. My opinions are my own.]

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The Invisible Made Visible

The Invisible Made Visible

by Steph Beth Nickel

In the English Standard Version of the Bible, Romans 1:19-20 says, “What can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.”

I journeyed across the Pond this month to attend my son’s wedding in Scotland, the homeland of both my ancestors and my husband’s. It was a truly amazing trip. Neither Dave nor I had traveled internationally before except for the occasional trip to the US.

We arrived in Glasgow on Thursday and the wedding took place in St. Fillans by Loch Earn on Saturday. Our son and daughter-in-law were married outside, beside the loch. The scenery was breathtaking.

There is an Arrogant Worms song about Canada titled “Rocks and Trees.” Most of the lyrics are as follows: “Rocks and trees. And trees and rocks. And water.” The Scottish version could go like this: “Mounts and lochs. And lochs and mounts. And castles.”


[photo credit: Steph Beth Nickel]

On Sunday, the newlyweds began their married life by driving us north to the Isle of Skye, where we all stayed for three days. Nathanial drove his sister and me while Laura chauffeured her brand new father- and brother-in-law. Nathanial had recently earned his full license and this was the first long journey he had taken as the sole driver. (If you’ve ever driven in Scotland, especially in the Highlands, you will realize what an accomplishment this is.)

I live in Southwestern Ontario and though I am very thankful for our home—and the fact that we experience very few natural disasters—“it really is flat,” as Dave observed when we flew home.

But traveling to the Highlands of Scotland . . . around almost every corner was a spectacular vista. I was snapping pictures like crazy through the windshield.  And Nathanial was so excited to share the wonders with me. He had only been to Skye once since moving to Scotland, but he loves it.


[photo credit: Steph Beth Nickel]

There were many reasons for my mama heart to overflow with joy, but there was also a heaviness known to Christians whose children are not walking with the Lord. I was experiencing the awe of observing God’s eternal power, His creation. My son marveled at the beauty but attributes it to millions of years of chance happenings.

While I acknowledged God as the Creator of all the beauty I witnessed, I must confess that I didn’t take time to consciously think about what it revealed about Him. What did it say about His eternal power and divine nature? As I review the pictures I took, this would be a great question to ask myself.

I often pray that the Lord will give me eyes to see and ears to hear. I must start praying this prayer for others as well.

What do you see when you look at the beauty all around? Do you take the time to look for the invisible in what is visible?


[photo credit: Steph Beth Nickel]

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Steph Beth Nickel

Steph Beth Nickel
(Photo by Stephen G. Woo Photography)

Stephanie (Steph Beth) Nickel is an award-winning co-author, a freelance editor and writer, a labour doula, and a former personal trainer. She also loves to speak, teach, and take slice-of-life photos. She would love to connect with you on Facebook or Twitter, on her website or blog.