If You Liked . . . Relative Silence

30 Jul

My book club all liked Carrie Stuart Parks‘ suspense novel, Relative Silence. In fact, many are headed back to this new-to-us author’s previous novels for more reading pleasure. 🙂 If you were a fan as well, I have a few more recommendations.

Suspense Set on An Island

Tidewater Inn by Colleen Coble

Welcome to Hope Beach. A place of intoxicating beauty . . . where trouble hits with the force of a hurricane.

Inheriting a beautiful old hotel on the Outer Banks could be a dream come true for Libby. The inn cries out for her restorer’s talent and love of history. She’s delighted to learn of the family she never knew she had. And the handsome Coast Guard lieutenant she’s met there on the island could definitely be the man of her dreams.

But Libby soon realizes that the only way she can afford the upkeep on the inn is to sell it to developers who are stalking the island. The father who willed her the inn has died before she could meet him, and her newfound brother and sister are convinced she’s there to steal their birthright. Worst of all, her best friend and business partner has been kidnapped before her eyes, and Libby’s under suspicion for the crime.

Libby’s dream come true is becoming a nightmare. Her only option is to find her friend and prove her innocence, or lose everything on the shores of Hope Island.

Forensic Artist

Formula of Deception by Carrie Stuart Parks

After the murder of her twin sister, Murphy Anderson changed her name and appearance and moved to Kodiak, Alaska, to avoid the press and publicity. But when local authorities discover she’s an artist and request her help in drawing a dying man’s memories, she unintentionally ends up in the limelight again—and back in the killer’s crosshairs.

The deathbed confessions of an Alaskan hunter have Murphy drawing the five bodies he discovered on remote Ruuwaq Island ten years ago. But what investigators find has them mystified. Evidence suggests that the bodies were deliberately destroyed, and what they uncover in an abandoned Quonset hut from World War II only brings more questions.

As one by one the investigators who were at the hut die, Murphy knows there is something much darker at stake. What happened on this island during the war? And who is willing to kill to keep its secrets buried?

Family Secrets

Present Danger by Elizabeth Goddard

Former FBI Special Agent Jack Tanner is working as a detective in Montana when he comes across a body in the national forest during a search and rescue mission. He’s committed to finding the killer, even if it means working alongside his old flame, US Forest Service Special Agent Terra Connors.

When Terra discovers that the murder victim had ties to a powerful and dangerous trafficker of archaeological artifacts, the investigation takes a deadly turn — one that hits too close to home. As Terra fears she lacks the courage to face what comes next, Jack is more determined than ever to protect her. But he’s failed her before. And if he fails this time, it will cost them far more than just their hearts.

Join bestselling and award-winning author Elizabeth Goddard as she plunges you into a web of deceit made of hidden crimes, open threats, and long-buried family secrets in this gripping first book of an explosive new series.

First Line Friday — The Messenger of Magnolia Street

30 Jul

Happy Friday! Today I am featuring a relatively old book (2006), but one I just acquired. I read The Miracle of Mercy Land by River Jordan about 10 years ago and loved it! I recently became aware another of her novels, The Messenger of Magnolia Street, in one of my FB reader groups. Intrigued, I quickly ordered a copy. And wonder of wonders, what arrived in my book mail was a signed edition! Woo hoo! So now it resides on my shelf with 2 distinctions — TBR and author signed. Have you read this novel? I’d love to know what you thought.

Here are the first two lines:

God is walking through Shibboleth, rummaging through the pockets of his memory, the distant past and the near future. The people of Shibboleth are sleeping, unaware of his presence or that he is considering them and their present circumstances.

The Messenger of Magnolia Street tells the haunting story of three childhood friends who reunite to fight the unnamed presence that is slowly draining their beloved town of goodness and light. Nehemiah Trust fled his hometown of Shibboleth twelve years ago, after the death of his mother. Now chief of staff for a powerful senator, Nehemiah has washed his hands of Shibboleth. But one night his older brother Billy and childhood friend Trice appear at his front door. Something is wrong, they tell him. Nehemiah is needed back home.

This mesmerizing novel of love awakened, purpose abandoned, and legacy reclaimed begins as slow and easy as a southern Sunday, but as the town of Shibboleth begins to sense the approaching darkness, the three friends must race against time to save the lifeblood of the place they call home. The solution requires a willingness to sacrifice everything.


River Jordan began her writing career as a playwright. Ms. Jordan’s first novel, The Gin Girl (Livingston Press, 2003), has garnered such high praise as “This author writes with a hard bitten confidence comparable to Ernest Hemingway. And yet, in the Southern tradition of William Faulkner, she can knit together sentences that can take your breath.” Kirkus Reviews described her second novel, The Messenger of Magnolia Street, as “a beautifully written atmospheric tale.” It was applauded as “a tale of wonder” by Southern Living, who chose the novel as their Selects feature for March 2006, and described by other reviewers as ” a riveting, magical mystery” and “a remarkable book.” Her third novel, Saints In Limbo has been painted by some of the finest fiction voices of today as “a lyrical and relentlessly beautiful book,” and “a wise, funny, joyful and deadly serious book, written with a poet’s multilayered sense of metaphor and meter and a page-turning sense of urgency,” and reported by Paste Magazine as “a southern gothic masterpiece.” 

Her fourth novel, The Miracle of Mercy Land, arrives on September 7, 2010. Her first non-fiction work, Praying for Strangers, An Adventure of the Human Spirit was published by Penguin/Berkley April 5, 2011.  Her latest work, Confessions of a Christian Mystic arrived from Faith Words/Hachette April 2, 2019. 

Ms. Jordan teaches and speaks around the country on “The Power of Story”, an hosts Clearstory Radio from Nashville. She is currently at work completing a new mystery novel set in Nashville. When not traveling, speaking or teaching River watches the stars come out from her front porch on the hill, and wonders about all things mystically, divine.

Book Review: Out of The Silent Planet

29 Jul

I listened to the audiobook of Out of The Silent Planet, book 1 in C. S. LewisSpace Trilogy about a month ago. Science fiction written by a renowned Christian apologist sounds a bit strange, but as always Lewis manages to reveal truth in the most unlikely places. 😉 It certainly made me think. Written between WWI and WWII, its science seems a bit old fashioned, but the mechanics of space travel are really not the focus of the book. Malacandria (or Mars) is a very foreign place for the reluctant space traveler, Dr. Ransom. His terror in finding himself among the strange terrain and beings is soon overcome by his interest in the linguistics of the planet’s inhabitants. Through his study of their language, he learns things that make him question his pre-conceived notions of God and faith. Scholars have many takes on this novel and its themes. I came away with two — our ability to know God is limited by what we have decided is truth and people tend to view themselves as superior in regards to others based on their perceived intellect and experiences. If you keep in mind the time period in which this novel was written, you can see Lewis’ concerns for the future. If you also read it with the viewpoint of what has transpired since WWII and our most recent history, it will challenge you to go deeper in understanding mankind and God himself.

There are two more books in the series, and I will eventually get to them. The delay will mostly be due to other reading commitments/preferences than desire to see how Lewis plays out the rest of Dr. Ransom’s adventures.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Out of the Silent Planet is the first novel of the Cosmic Trilogy, considered to be C.S. Lewis’ chief contribution to the science fiction genre. The trilogy concerns Dr. Ransom, a linguist, who, like Christ, was offered a ransom for mankind. The first two novels are planetary romances with elements of medieval mythology. Each planet is seen as having a tutelary spirit; those of the other planets are both good and accessible, while that of Earth is fallen, twisted, and not known directly by most humans. The story is powerfully imagined, and the effects of lesser gravity on Martian planet and animal life is vividly rendered.

Children’s Corner — Learn Your Numbers

28 Jul

The Beginner’s Bible Learn Your Numbers is a great resource for parents of preschoolers and early learners. This sturdy book comes with a dry erase marker to allow your child to directly practice writing letters and numbers. I love that each number — 1-12 — includes references to scripture too! The illustrations are colorful, and the book is a great accompaniment to your family’s Bible reading time. Whether you use it to supplement what they learn at school or as part of a homeschool curriculum, your chiId is going to love it! I look forward to sharing this book with my grandchild.

Recommended.

Audience: preschool — 1st grade

(Thanks to Zonderkidz for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

The Beginner’s Bible Learn Your Numbers offers early readers (and early writers) a fun, interactive way to learn their numbers. Children will practice writing numbers alongside the signature illustration style found in The Beginner’s Bible using the wipe clean format.

Children ages 3-7 will enjoy:

  • The fun, cartoon-style illustrations–lions and wise men and pigs, oh my!
  • The chunky, easy-to-hold dry-erase pen, included with the book
  • Traceable numbers to build confidence

Parents will enjoy:

  • The easy-to-read, biblical concepts
  • The easy-to-clean, board book pages
  • The small and light-weight size, easy-to-pack for errands and vacations

The Beginner’s Bible Learn Your Numbers is perfect for:

  • Birthdays, Easter baskets, Children’s Baptism and holiday gifting
  • Road trips, boredom busters, and activity time
  • Home school and Children’s Ministry (Sunday school) use

Giveaway! — The Nature of Small Birds

28 Jul

Not sure how it happened, but I ended up with TWO copies of The Nature of Small Birds by Susie Finkbeiner. The mix-up is now your gain, because I am giving one copy away to one of my readers. Just leave a comment to be entered. (US only please.) The winner will be randomly picked August 18. Good luck!

In 1975, three thousand children were airlifted out of Saigon to be adopted into Western homes. When Mindy, one of those children, announces her plans to return to Vietnam to find her birth mother, her loving adopted family is suddenly thrown back to the events surrounding her unconventional arrival in their lives.

Though her father supports Mindy’s desire to meet her family of origin, he struggles privately with an unsettling fear that he’ll lose the daughter he’s poured his heart into. Mindy’s mother undergoes the emotional rollercoaster inherent in the adoption of a child from a war-torn country, discovering the joy hidden amid the difficulties. And Mindy’s sister helps her sort through relics that whisper of the effect the trauma of war has had on their family–but also speak of the beauty of overcoming.

Told through three strong voices in three compelling timelines, The Nature of Small Birds is a hopeful story that explores the meaning of family far beyond genetic code.

Susie Finkbeiner is a story junkie. Always has been and always will be. It seems it’s a congenital condition, one she’s quite fond of.

After decades of reading everything she could get her hands on (except for See the Eel, a book assigned to her while in first grade, a book she declared was unfit for her book-snob eyes), Susie realized that she wanted to write stories of her own. She began with epics about horses and kittens (but never, ever eels). 

It takes years to grow a writer and after decades of work, Susie realized (with much gnashing of teeth and tears) that she was a novelist. In order to learn how to write novels, she read eclectically and adventurously (she may never swim with sharks, but the lady will jump into nearly any story). After reading the work of Lisa Samson, Patti Hill, and Bonnie Grove she realized that there was room for a writer like her in Christian fiction.

Her first novels Paint Chips (2013) and My Mother’s Chamomile (2014) have contemporary settings. While she loved those stories and especially the characters, Susie felt the pull toward historical fiction.

When she read Into the Free by Julie Cantrell she knew she wanted to write historical stories with a side of spunk, grit, and vulnerability. Susie is also greatly inspired by the work of Jocelyn Green, Rachel McMillan, and Tracy Groot.

A Cup of Dust: A Novel of the Dust Bowl (2015), Finkbeiner’s bestselling historical set in 1930s Oklahoma, has been compared to the work of John Steinbeck and Harper Lee (which flatters Susie’s socks off). Pearl’s story continues with A Trail of Crumbs: A Novel of the Great Depression (2017) and A Song of Home: A Novel of the Swing Era (2018). 

What does she have planned after that? More stories, of course. She’s a junkie. She couldn’t quit if she wanted to.

Top 10 Tuesday — Island Reading

27 Jul

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday theme is books to read on a deserted island. Since it’s mid-summer and you may still need a getaway that doesn’t involve fending off island predators and/or those stranded with you 😉 , I am going another direction and listing books set on islands, real and fictional. There’s women’s fiction, history, romance, suspense, and mystery included, so there should be something for every reading taste. And don’t those covers give you the necessary island vibe!

For more island fun, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Island Reads

The Art of Rivers by Janet Ferguson

As The Tide Comes In by Cindy Woodsmall

As The Light Fades by Catherine West

Hidden Currents by Christy Barritt

Keturah by Lisa T. Bergren

On A Summer Tide by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Phoebe’s Light by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Still Waters by Lindsey Brackett

Tidewater Inn by Colleen Coble

To Have And To Hold by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller

Northshire Heritage Series Blog Tour + Giveaway!

26 Jul

Northshire Heritage JustRead Blog Tour
Welcome to the Blog Tour for Northshire Heritage series by JP Robinson, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOKS

In the Shadow of Your WingsTitle: In the Shadow of Your Wings
Series: Northshire Heritage #1
Author: JP Robinson
Publisher: Logos Publications, LLC
Release Date: November 6, 2018
Genre: Christian Historical Suspense

The shadow of the Great War looms over Europe, affecting everyone in its path.

Leila Durand, an elite German spy charged with infiltrating the home of British icon Thomas Steele, sees the war as a chance to move beyond the pain of her shattered past. But everything changes when she falls in love with Thomas’s son, Malcolm. Is there a way to reconcile her love for Germany and her love for the enemy?

Thomas Steele sees the war as an opportunity for his profligate son, Malcolm, to find a purpose greater than himself. But when Malcolm rebels, it falls to Thomas to make tough decisions.

The war’s reach extends to the heart. Eleanor Thompson finds her faith is pushed to the breaking point when her husband disappears on the battlefront and her daughter is killed in a German air raid. Where is God in the midst of her pain? In the Shadow of Your Wings presents inescapable truth that resonates across the past century. Then as now, the struggle for faith is real. Then as now, there is a refuge for all who will come beneath the shadow of God’s wings.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | Christianbook | BookBub

EXCERPT

Leila slipped her shoes back on, held her breath to still her racing heart, then plastered  on a sedate smile. “Oh, there you are darling!” She minced toward him, eyes wide. “So, did you  conquer the old dragon?” 

He caught sight of her and paused, standing before the three paintings of his ancestors.  His face was worn, creased by lines that hadn’t been there only a few minutes earlier. Something  was wrong. Terribly wrong.  

“Malcolm?” Her voice quavered. “Malcolm, what is it?” His eyes had never been so dull.  Whatever had happened in that room seemed to have sucked the life out of his blood. 

“We… we have to leave, Leila. Now.” 

Her blood ran cold. “He’s done it, hasn’t he? He’s disinherited you.” 

Malcolm nodded, averting his eyes. “He’s kicked me out of my home.” 

“It’s my fault.” Leila touched his chest as guilt washed over her. “Malcolm, I’m to blame.  Were it not for me…” 

He stepped closer and cupped her cheek with his hand. 

“No, Leila.” His blue eyes roamed over her face. “I made my choice. I love you.” 

Tears stung the back of her eyelids and she looked away. What have I done? If he only  knew the truth… 

“You don’t understand.” 

“Shh…” He pressed her to him and she listened to the rhythm of his heart. She had been  sent to use him, not fall in love with him. But she did love him. And he loved her enough to walk  away from his father and all that he knew—for her. 

She took his hand. “Leave me Malcolm. Only your father knows about our marriage. Tell  him you’re sorry and you’ve made a mistake. Tell him—” 

He crushed her lips against his own. For a long moment, he just held her, ignoring the  tears that slipped down her cheeks. At length, he pulled away. “That’s a no, in case you were  wondering.” A faint smile touched his lips as he fingered a few strands of her blonde hair. 

She hesitated, her heart splitting with guilt and concern. “I have a flat in London,” she  said. “We’ll go there and sort out what we’ll do next.” 

In the Midst of the FlamesTitle: In the Midst of the Flames
Series: Northshire Heritage #2
Author: JP Robinson
Publisher: Logos Publications, LLC
Release Date: November 8, 2019
Genre: Christian Historical Suspense

Divided by a lie. Haunted by the past. Bonded by their love.

As the fires of the Great War rage across the European continent, the Steele family is caught in the midst of the inferno.

Estranged from his wife Malcolm wonders if he can ever find forgiveness for his betrayal as he begins the long journey home.

Leila desperately searches for a way to escape her past life as a spy—and the German agent who has been sent to kill her—as she struggles to prove her innocence.

Determined to save his family, Thomas risks everything in a high-stakes political gamble, bringing Britain to the brink of obliteration, as spymaster Robert Hughes plots his downfall.

Will everything be reduced to ashes?Or does God still walk with those who, through faith, step out into the midst of the flames?

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | Christianbook | BookBub

EXCERPT

Malcolm rolled onto his back, folded his hands behind his head, and stared up at the  brothel’s ceiling. So, Leila, I’ve kept my word.

His mind flitted to the last time he had seen his wife. After hearing about the severity of his  wounds, Leila had travelled with his father, Thomas Steele, to visit him at a hospital at Etaples.  The reunion had been anything but happy. 

Malcom’s lips curled back in a sneer. At that fateful encounter, Leila had revealed that she  was a former German spy, recruited by Abteilung 3B to elicit secrets from the son of Sir Thomas  Steele. As a personal friend to both the Prime Minister of England and the head of British  Intelligence, Thomas was too tempting a target for Germany to ignore.  

And I was the gullible errand boy.  

He slammed his eyelids shut. Eight months after he had learned the truth, he was still unsure  of what hurt worse—the fact that he had just been a necessary tool to get to Thomas, or the fact  that Leila had deceived him at all.  

With a groan, Malcolm buried his face in his sweaty palms. After learning of their marriage,  Thomas had banished the pair from his home at Northshire. Too late, Malcolm had discovered  a duplicitous side to his golden-haired beauty. Furious at her betrayal, he had fled to the Front  where the battles were physical and not of the heart.  

Leila betrayed me. She deserves no better.  

Why then did he feel sick with shame? 

In the Dead of NightTitle: In the Dead of Night
Series: Northshire Heritage #3
Author: JP Robinson
Publisher: Logos Publications, LLC
Release Date: March 9, 2021
Genre: Christian Historical Suspense

The smallest flame can conquer the darkest night

Darkness gathers in the final days of the Great War as the Germans plot to unleash a weapon that will plunge the Allied world into obscurity.

For the Steele family, the stakes have never been higher.

Leila is forced back into the shadows when the leader of a German spy ring kidnaps her child, jeopardizing Europe’s fragile bid for peace.

Meanwhile, Malcolm fights to keep Northshire Estate as his father stands trial for treason against the British empire.

Confronted with overwhelming circumstances from their past, the Steeles must rely on their grit and faith to conquer the night.

But will it be enough?

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | BookBub

EXCERPT

Bending down, Leila scooped her son into a protective embrace and kissed the fuzz on top  of his head. His tufts of hair were a mixture of her own mane of gold and Malcolm’s shaggy  brown, but his eyes were the same shade of green as her own.  

He’s perfect, Malcolm. I want you to see him. To hold him. To love him as I love him. 

Leila let out a deep sigh. “Did I make a mistake, Jenny? Am I wrong to love Malcolm as I  do?” Life was complicated. God had forgiven her past, but it seemed that those made in His  image would not. One mistake had spawned a litany of consequences that she couldn’t outrun  no matter how hard she tried. 

Leila rubbed her cheek against the soft top of her son’s head, savoring the fragrant mixture  of life, hope, and new beginnings. She would not—could not—allow him to pay for her sins.  Which had led her to this point. 

“Against all odds, I became a mother. Against all odds, I’ll ensure my son has a future.” “What will you do?” Jenny took a step back as though she feared the next words that would  leave her mistress’s lips. 

Lifting her chin, Leila met her gaze. “Change everything.”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

JP Robinson

JP Robinson is an award-winning author of historical/political suspense, a full-time minister, and the president of Lancaster Christian Writers Association. With a tagline of “Unforgettable drama, Undeniable Truth, ” JP’s high-adrenaline novels often mesh real-world marriage and parenting scenarios with vivid fiction. His books have been praised by industry leaders such as Publishers Weekly.

JP often speaks to writers and church groups within the United States and internationally. He has been happily married for over fifteen years to his high school sweetheart.

CONNECT WITH JP: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a Grand Prize of a signed complete set of the Northshire Heritage series (all three books)

PLUS (5) additional winners of digital copies of the complete Northshire Heritage set (PDFs)!

Northshire Heritage JustRead Blog Tour Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight July 26, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on August 2, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Print copy US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Rocky Mountain Restoration Blog Tour + Author Interview

24 Jul

About The Book

Book:  Rocky Mountain Restoration

Author: Lisa J. Flickinger

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: June 29, 2021

Josephine Thorebourne doesn’t deserve happiness. Not after the mess she’s made. 

Mid-voyage, on the steamship Jameson, she learns of the tragic loss of her family’s money. Money she stole with the hopes of turning a profit. What should be a delightful voyage up the Canadian coast turns into a journey of regret. Josephine seeks the solace of the man she loves, only to find out he’s an imposter. Left with no other choice, she must return to her home town of Stony Creek and face the anger of those she’s betrayed.

Owen Kelly was given the opportunity of a lifetime to steward on the SS Jameson. The work meant he could escape his difficult upbringing along the wharves of Chicago. When his heart falls for the woman in cabin eight, Owen must decide if he will continue his work on the ship or follow the love of his life to her Rocky Mountain home.

As Josephine faces the repercussions of her decisions, the future becomes uncertain. Owen is the one person who knows everything and yet still sees the good in her. Will their love survive the challenges the Rocky Mountain town throws in their path?

Click here to get your copy!

About The Author

Lisa J. Flickinger lives and writes from the cliff of a river along the majestic Rocky Mountains. When not writing or reading, you will find her scouring antique shops or sipping a maple latte with friends and family. To learn more about her other books, visit www.lisajflickinger.com.

************

More from Lisa

Have you ever smelled a whale’s breath? I have. The experience sparked the idea of taking the characters in Rocky Mountain Restoration on a pleasure cruise up the Canadian coast.

My husband and I vacationed in Ucluelet one summer, a quaint fishing village on the west coast of Vancouver Island. While there, we boarded a cabin cruiser with other adventure seekers to go whale watching.

Not long after leaving the rocky shore, our experienced captain spotted the flick of a tale in the rolling waves, and guided the boat to a position hundreds of yards away.  Within moments, to our delight and awe, a massive humpback breached mere feet from the boat. Its knobbed head rose before us, mouth wide open, hundreds of baleen plates dripping a murky red. The smell was one of the worst in my memory, a vulgar mixture of rotten fish, old road kill, and something indescribable. But what a privilege to encounter one of God’s magnificent creatures up close!

A logging camp, high in the Rockies, is a long way from the pacific coast. That’s the very reason our nefarious antagonists from book one of the Rocky Mountain Revival Series, Josephine and Snoop, have chosen to board the SS Jameson under assumed names

While I can’t promise you whale’s breath in the novel, I can promise you gorgeous scenery and other wildlife encounters as a backdrop for betrayal, thievery, and—of course—romance. Hop aboard!

Q&A with Lisa Flickinger

Was there a special someone, such as a teacher, parent, or other relative, who encouraged you to pursue writing?

I’ve always loved to write, and my teachers were kind enough to encourage my efforts. In an English course I took in my thirties, I caught one of the secretaries reading my latest assignment. She blushed and told me every week she looked forward to reading my work. Her enthusiasm helped give me the confidence to finally finish the novel languishing in my closet.

What does a typical writing day look like? Are you structured or informal in your writing schedule?

When I buckle down to write, I use a structured schedule. If I didn’t, I would never complete my novels. Typically, I will write or do research from 9:00 am until 1:00 pm. five days a week. After a delicious latte, I usually work on editing or handle communications.

How long does it usually take to craft your books? (from outlines/first drafts to final edits)

I’m a painfully slow writer. I usually plan on three thousand words a week and about twenty weeks to finish a novel. It usually ends up being thirty-five weeks to completion and another six or so weeks to finish editing.  It takes me around nine months to finish a book, much like having a baby.

Can you tell us a little about what inspired your latest novel?

I needed the nefarious couple from the first novel in the series to make a getaway, by water seemed the most expedient. The stories of early steam ship travel I read were fascinating and inspired the escapades in Rocky Mountain Restoration

What do you want your readers to take away with them after finishing one of your novels?

I hope my readers will have escaped from the chaos of everyday life and enjoyed a clean story laced with encouragement from God’s word.

Blog Stops

Inklings and notions, July 20

Artistic Nobody, July 21 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 21

For Him and My Family, July 22

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 23

By The Book, July 24 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, July 24

deb’s Book Review, July 25

Connie’s History Classroom, July 26

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, July 27

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, July 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 29

Tell Tale Book Reviews, July 30 (Author Interview)

Blossoms and Blessings, July 31

Life of Literature, August 1

Texas Book-aholic, August 2

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 2

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Lisa is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

First Line Friday — The Nature of Small Birds

23 Jul

Happy Friday everyone! I am so excited to share the first line of Susie Finkbeiner‘s newest novel, The Nature of Small Birds. I have never met a Finkbeiner book I haven’t loved and am sure this one will be just as great. Have you read it yet? I’d love to know your thoughts.

Here’s the first line:

No matter how the world has changed over the course of my life, somehow crayons still smell the way they did when I was a kid.

In 1975, three thousand children were airlifted out of Saigon to be adopted into Western homes. When Mindy, one of those children, announces her plans to return to Vietnam to find her birth mother, her loving adopted family is suddenly thrown back to the events surrounding her unconventional arrival in their lives.

Though her father supports Mindy’s desire to meet her family of origin, he struggles privately with an unsettling fear that he’ll lose the daughter he’s poured his heart into. Mindy’s mother undergoes the emotional rollercoaster inherent in the adoption of a child from a war-torn country, discovering the joy hidden amid the difficulties. And Mindy’s sister helps her sort through relics that whisper of the effect the trauma of war has had on their family–but also speak of the beauty of overcoming.

Told through three strong voices in three compelling timelines, The Nature of Small Birds is a hopeful story that explores the meaning of family far beyond genetic code.

Susie Finkbeiner is a story junkie. Always has been and always will be. It seems it’s a congenital condition, one she’s quite fond of.

After decades of reading everything she could get her hands on (except for See the Eel, a book assigned to her while in first grade, a book she declared was unfit for her book-snob eyes), Susie realized that she wanted to write stories of her own. She began with epics about horses and kittens (but never, ever eels). 

It takes years to grow a writer and after decades of work, Susie realized (with much gnashing of teeth and tears) that she was a novelist. In order to learn how to write novels, she read eclectically and adventurously (she may never swim with sharks, but the lady will jump into nearly any story). After reading the work of Lisa Samson, Patti Hill, and Bonnie Grove she realized that there was room for a writer like her in Christian fiction.

Her first novels Paint Chips (2013) and My Mother’s Chamomile (2014) have contemporary settings. While she loved those stories and especially the characters, Susie felt the pull toward historical fiction.

When she read Into the Free by Julie Cantrell she knew she wanted to write historical stories with a side of spunk, grit, and vulnerability. Susie is also greatly inspired by the work of Jocelyn Green, Rachel McMillan, and Tracy Groot.

A Cup of Dust: A Novel of the Dust Bowl (2015), Finkbeiner’s bestselling historical set in 1930s Oklahoma, has been compared to the work of John Steinbeck and Harper Lee (which flatters Susie’s socks off). Pearl’s story continues with A Trail of Crumbs: A Novel of the Great Depression (2017) and A Song of Home: A Novel of the Swing Era (2018). 

What does she have planned after that? More stories, of course. She’s a junkie. She couldn’t quit if she wanted to.

Book Review: Let It Be Me

22 Jul

I was thoroughly charmed by Becky Wade‘s newest contemporary romance, Let It Be Me. In true Becky Wade style a compelling story was told with wit and wisdom. I highly recommend this novel!

The one woman he wants is the one he cannot have.

Former foster kid Sebastian Grant has leveraged his intelligence and hard work to become a pediatric heart surgeon. But not even his career success can erase the void he’s tried so hard to fill. Then he meets high school teacher Leah Montgomery and his fast-spinning world comes to a sudden stop. He falls hard, only to make a devastating discovery–Leah is the woman his best friend set his heart on months before.

Leah’s a math prodigy who’s only ever had one big dream–to earn her PhD. Raising her little brother put that dream on hold. Now that her brother will soon be college bound, she’s not going to let anything stand in her way. Especially romance . . . which is far less dependable than algebra.

When Leah receives surprising results from the DNA test she submitted to a genealogy site, she solicits Sebastian’s help. Together, they comb through hospital records to uncover the secrets of her history. The more powerfully they’re drawn to each other, the more strongly Sebastian must resist, and the more Leah must admit that some things in life–like love–can’t be explained with numbers.

Becky Wade is the Carol and Christy award winning author of swoon-worthy contemporary inspirational romances. 

She loves to connect with readers via her web site at http://www.beckywade.com, via her Facebook author page at http://www.Facebook.com/AuthorBeckyWade, or via Instagram at http://www.Instagram/BeckyWadeWriter 

During her childhood in California, Becky frequently produced homemade plays starring her sisters, friends, and cousins. These plays almost always featured a heroine, a prince, and a love story with a happy ending. She’s been a fan of all things romantic ever since!

Beckylives in Dallas, Texas with her husband and three children. You’ll find her power-walking her neighborhood while dictating scenes, reading, chatting with friends on Voxer, planning her next trip, watching TV with her Cavalier spaniels on her lap, or rummaging in her pantry for chocolate.

My Impressions:

Becky Wade has been a favorite of mine for a while now. While her contemporary romances often feature characters my children’s ages, I never feel like I cannot connect with them. Their stories always touch my heart. Let It Be Me returns to the north Georgia town of Misty River. I have a vacation home in north Georgia, so I especially love this setting. The story features Sebastian, a pediatric cardiac surgeon and Leah, a math prodigy turned high school teacher. They are first brought together when Sebastian is in a car accident, but neither knows the other one’s name. A second meeting reignites the sparks Sebastian felt, but Leah is a bit slow to agree to a relationship. See, she has plans. (We know what God sometimes thinks of our plans 😉 .)

Let It Be Me is a romance, but the themes of true identity and family connections are strong. The search for Leah’s birth parents takes both characters on an emotional and spiritual journey. I love the mystery that Wade develops for them to work on together. And the ultimate reveal, well I gasped out loud. LOL! I listened to the audiobook, and the narrator was perfect, capturing Leah’s voice beautifully. The humor Wade injects translated well into that format.

Let It Be Me can be read as a standalone, but I highly recommend you begin with book 1, Stay with Me. It provides crucial backstory for many of the characters in the series. So now you have 2 wonderful books to read. You are welcome!

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)