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February Book Club Selection — The Brilliance of Stars

1 Feb

I am so looking forward to reading The Brilliance of Stars by J’nell Ciesielski. An historical novel with lots of intrigue and suspense plus romance? My book club is going to love it! Have you read it? We would love to know your thoughts.

Amid the chaos of the Great War, two elite assassins learn precisely how dangerous it is to have something—or someone—worth losing.

Washington, DC, 1914. Ivy Olwen knows how to survive on the streets without two coins to rub together. Then destiny thrusts her into the nest of a covert agency of assassins sworn to drive back the world’s darkness, and she acquires a new set of lethal skills. Her education—from explosives to etiquette, sharpshooting to sabotage—is as far reaching as the organization’s missions. But it’s the hours she spends among the towering bookshelves in the library and stargazing on the roof with Agent Jack Vale that make her heart fly.

Jack knew plenty of hardship before the agency refined his rough edges, transforming him into the man who never misses. But he didn’t know the feeling of home until Ivy entered his world. Now Jack’s heart drums with a singular purpose: he will fight for her, fight alongside her. No matter the cost.

When the pair is sent on a seemingly simple mission to take down Russia’s newest and most dangerous arms dealer—a soulless man using the Great War as an opportunity to further his own depraved agenda—they discover that no amount of training could have prepared them for a manhunt that takes them across the frozen tundra, to the Crimean Peninsula, and along the Trans-Siberian Railway . . . only to discover that there is evil in the world they will never understand.

The first book of an epic duology from bestselling author J’nell Ciesielski, The Brilliance of Stars incorporates her signature blend of thrilling adventure, glamorous espionage, and sweeping romance.

Bestselling author and with a passion for heart-stopping adventure and sweeping love stories, J’nell Ciesielski weaves fresh takes into romances of times gone by. When not creating dashing heroes and daring heroines, she can be found dreaming of Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. She is a Florida native who now lives in Virginia with her husband, daughter, and lazy beagle. Learn more at http://www.jnellciesielski.com.

January Book Club Selection — Honor Bound

1 Jan

Happy New Year! In January my book club will be reading a new-to-us author, Hallee Bridgeman. We love romantic suspense so Honor Bound, the first book in her Love And Honor series, is a great way to kick off a new reading year. It will grab you from the first page! Have you read it yet? We would love to know your thoughts. Or if you haven’t, consider joining us!

Here are all the details:

It may seem odd to seek peace by moving to a war-torn African country, but for medical missionary Dr. Cynthia Myers, it provided a way to escape a shallow life of unearned wealth, a philandering fiancé, and a father now square in the public eye as vice president of the United States. At least here she knows her work and life have meaning. But all that is thrown into chaos when she fails to save the life of a local warlord’s mortally wounded son.

As part of the Army Special Forces “A-Team” on a mission to capture and subdue the warlord, Captain Rick Norton is compelled to use deadly force to save Cynthia’s life. Enraged at the violence she witnessed and riddled with guilt that men died because of her, Cynthia tries to hold on to her anger–but an unwanted attraction is taking hold.

With two members of his team badly injured and rebels in hot pursuit, Rick will have to draw upon all his strength and cunning to get her out alive . . . because he’s beginning to think they just might overcome their differences and be able to make a life together.

Hallee Bridgeman is the award winning and USA TODAY bestselling author of several action-packed romantic suspense books and series. An Army brat turned Floridian, Hallee settled with her husband in central Kentucky, where they have raised their three children. When she’s not writing, Hallee pursues her passion for cooking, coffee, campy action movies, and regular date nights with her husband. Above all else, she loves God with all of her heart, soul, mind, and strength; has been redeemed by the blood of Christ; and relies on the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide her.

December Book Club Pick/First Line Friday — The Mistletoe Countess

2 Dec

Happy first Friday in December! Wow, where did the year go? I am so behind on my Christmas prep partly due to having my 3 year old granddaughter with us for 2 weeks. We are half way through the visit, and I know why God designed people to have their children young. LOL. I’m old and she doesn’t nap — interesting combo. 😉 But seriously, I wouldn’t trade this time of endless pleas of Oma, read me a book, painting projects, and baking forays. This time has been a real Christmas treat.

Because of the busyness of this week, I am combining two posts — BTB’s December book club pick and First Line Friday. My book club tries to read a Christmas book every December and we chose a historical romance, The Mistletoe Countess by Pepper Basham. If you have read it, we would love to know your thoughts.

Here’s the first line:

Gracelynn Ferguson gripped the Model T’s window frame and leaned forward, breath caught in a suppressed gasp.

Will the magic of Christmas bring these two newlyweds closer together, or will the ghosts of the past lead them into a destructive discovery from which not even a Dickens’s Christmas can save them?

Mistletoe is beautiful and dangerous, much like the woman from Lord Frederick’s Percy’s past, so when he turns over a new leaf and arranges to marry for his estate, instead of his heart, he never expects the wrong bride to be the right choice. Gracelynn Ferguson never expected to take her elder sister’s place as a Christmas bride, but when she’s thrust into the choice, she will trust in her faithful novels and overactive imagination to help her not only win Frederick’s heart but also to solve the murder mystery of Havensbrook Hall before the ghosts from Frederick’s past ruin her fairytale future. 

November Book Club Pick — A Stranger’s Game

1 Nov

This month finds my book club reading its favorite genre — suspense. I love the twists and turns of a puzzling whodunit. Add in some threat of danger to life and limb and I am in! November’s selection is A Stranger’s Game by Colleen Coble, one of my favorite authors. Find out all about it below. Have you read it? We would love to know your thoughts.

Wealthy hotel heiress Torie Bergstrom comes to Jekyll Island certain her friend Lisbeth’s death wasn’t an accident—but Torie gets more than she bargained for when the killer begins to play mind games with her in this gripping new novel from USA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble.

Even though Torie Bergstrom hasn’t been back to Georgia since she was ten, she was happy to arrange a job for her best friend at one of the family properties on Jekyll Island. But when Torie learns that Lisbeth has drowned, she knows it is more than a tragic accident: Lisbeth was terrified of water and wouldn’t have gone swimming by choice.

Torie goes to the hotel under an alias, desperate to find answers. When she meets Joe Abbott and his daughter while they are rescuing baby sea turtles, she can only hope they are as trustworthy as they seem. And when someone begins to play mind games with her, proving they know her real identity, Torie couldn’t be more grateful to have an ally.

The more Torie and Joe dig, the more elusive the truth seems. But one thing is clear: someone will risk anything—even another murder—to keep their secrets buried.

Best-selling author Colleen Coble‘s novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, the ACFW Carol Award, the Romance Writers of America RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has over 4 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana. Visit her website at http://colleencoble.com.

October Book Club Selection

7 Oct

Better late than never! I just realized I had not posted about my book club’s October selection. After a week and a half of travel and then a week of Covid (ugh!), I am still struggling to catch up with everything. This month we return to a favorite author, Francine Rivers. Her latest novel, The Lady’s Mine, is our reading choice. I’ve already heard good things. Have you read it? We would love to know what you thought.

1875. When Kathryn Walsh arrives in tiny Calvada, a mining town nestled in the Sierra Nevadas, falling in love is the farthest thing from her mind. Banished from Boston by her wealthy stepfather, she has come to claim an inheritance from the uncle she never knew: a defunct newspaper office on a main street overflowing with brothels and saloons, and a seemingly worthless mine. Moved by the oppression of the local miners and their families, Kathryn decides to relaunch her uncle’s newspaper—and then finds herself in the middle of a maelstrom, pitted against Calvada’s most powerful men. But Kathryn intends to continue to say—and publish—whatever she pleases, especially when she knows she’s right.

Matthias Beck, owner of a local saloon and hotel, has a special interest in the new lady in town. He instantly recognizes C. T. Walsh’s same tenacity in the beautiful and outspoken redhead—and knows all too well how dangerous that family trait can be. While Kathryn may be right about Calvada’s problems, her righteousness could also get her killed. But when the handsome hotelier keeps finding himself on the same side of the issues as the opinionated Miss Walsh, Matthias’s restless search for purpose becomes all about answering the call of his heart.

Everyone may be looking to strike it rich in this lawless boomtown, but it’s a love more precious than gold that will ultimately save them all.

New York Times bestselling author Francine Rivers continues to win both industry acclaim and reader loyalty around the globe. Her numerous bestsellers include Redeeming Love, A Voice in the Wind, and Bridge to Haven, and her work has been translated into more than thirty different languages. She is a member of Romance Writers of America’s coveted Hall of Fame as well as a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). Visit Francine online at http://www.francinerivers.com and connect with her on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/FrancineRivers) and Twitter (@FrancineRivers).

September Book Club Selection — Relative Justice

1 Sep

How can it be September already!? One silver lining to the year flying by is that Robert Whitlow has released another novel! This month By The Book is reading Relative Justice. A favorite of ours, Whitlow always delivers an interesting and get-you-thinking read. Won’t you join us? We would love to know what you think about this book.

David Cobb is not a typical lawyer—he’s more interested in dispensing God’s wisdom than pertinent legal advice. High-stakes litigation is way outside his comfort zone.

For many years Zeke Caldwell has been concocting home remedies made from natural ingredients found in the coastal marshes near Wilmington, North Carolina. One of his remedies proved so effective that he patented it with the help of David’s father. Now he suspects a big drug company has stolen his formula. What he doesn’t know is that the theft has deeper, more evil roots.

When Zeke asks David to help fight the drug company, David knows the suit is beyond his expertise and experience. But his sister-in-law, Katelyn Cobb, is a rising star attorney in a prestigious Washington, DC, law firm. The courtroom is her second home. Could she help? Would she even consider it?

Life’s circumstances compel the lawyers to face, not only patent piracy, but personal obstacles and struggles that threaten to rip apart the fabric of the family. The fight for Zeke requires all the relatives to unite for justice.

Book Club Pick — Bookshop by The Sea

1 Aug

This month’s book club selection is Bookshop by The Sea by Denise Hunter. A good choice for an end of summer read, this romance novel features a beach setting with a storm looming on the horizon. Is that an actual hurricane or the tumultuous relationship between the main characters? 😉 If you have read this book, we’d love to know what you thought of it.

Sophie Lawson should be enjoying her sister’s wedding day. But nothing could have prepared her to see the best man again.

After her mother became bedridden and her father bailed on the family, Sophie found herself serving as a second mother to her twin brother, Seth, and younger sister, Jenna. Sophie supported her siblings through their college years, putting aside her own dream of opening a bookshop in Piper’s Cove—the quaint North Carolina beach town they frequented as children.

Now it’s finally time for Sophie to follow her own pursuits. Seth has a new job, and Jenna is set to marry her college beau in Piper’s Cove. But the destination wedding reunites Sophie with best man Aiden Maddox, her high school sweetheart who left her without a backward glance.

When an advancing hurricane strands Aiden in Piper’s Cove after the wedding, he finds the hotels booked to capacity and has to ask Sophie to put him up until the storm passes. As the two ride out the weather, old feelings rise to the surface. The delay also leaves Sophie with mere days to get her bookshop up and running. Can she trust Aiden to stick around? And will he find the courage to risk his heart?

Denise Hunter is the internationally published bestselling author of more than forty novels, three of which have been adapted into Hallmark movies. She has appeared on the The 700 Club and been featured in Southern Living and Woman’s World.

Denise writes heartwarming, small-town love stories, peopled with layered characters who have real-life issues. Her readers enjoy the vicarious thrill of falling in love and the promise of a happily-ever-after sigh as they savor the final pages of her books. 

In 1996, inspired by the death of her grandfather, Denise began her first book, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she’s been writing ever since. Her husband says he inspires all her romantic stories, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!

When Denise isn’t orchestrating love lives on the written page, she enjoys traveling, drinking chai lattes, hiking, and playing drums. Denise makes her home in Indiana where she and her husband raised three boys and are currently enjoying an empty nest and two beautiful granddaughters. 

You can learn more about Denise through her website http://www.DeniseHunterBooks.com or by visiting her FaceBook page at https://www.facebook.com/authordenisehunter.

July Book Club Pick — Sunrise

1 Jul

This month’s book club pick is perfect for the hot days of summer. Whether you need a book to take along to the beach or a cool treat for a hot staycation, Sunrise, book 1 in the Sky King Ranch series by Susan May Warren, is the book for you. It’s filled with romance, suspense, action, adventure, and plenty of snow for a vicarious shiver. 😉 If you haven’t read it yet, please join us. If you have, I’d love for you to share your thoughts. Visit the book club’s FB page HERE.

Pilot Dodge Kingston has always been the heir to Sky King Ranch. But after a terrible family fight, he left to become a pararescue jumper. A decade later, he’s headed home to the destiny that awaits him. 

That’s not all that’s waiting for Dodge. His childhood best friend and former flame, Echo Yazzie, is a true Alaskan–a homesteader, dogsledder, and research guide for the DNR. Most of all, she’s living a life Dodge knows could get her killed. One of these days she’s going to get lost in the woods again, and his worst fear is that he won’t be there to find her.
 
When one of Echo’s fellow researchers goes missing, Echo sets out to find her, despite a blizzard, a rogue grizzly haunting the woods, and the biting cold. Plus, there’s more than just the regular dangers of the Alaskan forests stalking her . . .

Will Dodge be able to find her in time? And if he does, is there still room for him in her heart?

Sunrise is the first explosive volume in a new nail-biting series from USA Today bestselling author Susan May Warren.

June Book Club Selection — Breach of Honor

1 Jun

It is no secret that my book club loves romantic suspense. There are many authors to choose from, but a recently added favorite of ours is Janice Cantore. Her background in law enforcement shows through in her novels. This month we are reading Breach of Honor. Have you read it? We would love to know your thoughts.

As a police officer in Table Rock, Oregon, Leah Radcliff puts her life on the line to help others every day. But at home, Leah’s battling her own personal nightmare: Brad, her abusive husband, a fellow officer, celebrated hero, and beloved son of a powerful prominent family. Brad’s violent outbursts and suspicious activities have left Leah physically and emotionally scarred, until one desperate action to put a stop to his abuse results in deadly consequences.

Though public opinion seems ready to convict Leah, Officer Clint Tanner is one of the few to believe she acted in self-defense. As he works with Leah’s attorney to produce the evidence they need, new truths about Brad’s dark side come to light—and reveal a deep-rooted problem in Table Rock. There are some who have breached their sworn duty to serve and protect . . . and they’ll do anything to keep their secret safe.

A former Long Beach, California, police officer of twenty-two years, Janice Cantore worked a variety of assignments, including patrol, administration, juvenile investigations, and training. She’s always enjoyed writing and published two short articles on faith at work for Cop and Christ and Today’s Christian Woman before tackling novels. She now lives in a small town in southern Oregon, where she enjoys exploring the forests, rivers, and lakes with her Labrador retrievers, Abbie and Tilly.

Janice writes suspense novels designed to keep readers engrossed and leave them inspired.

Visit Janice’s website at http://www.janicecantore.com and connect with her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/JaniceCantore.

May Book Club Selection — Until Leaves Fall in Paris

2 May

I am excited to discuss Until Leaves Fall in Paris by Sarah Sundin with my book club this month. I read it a while ago and am anxious to talk about all the great things I found in this WWII-era novel. Have you read it too? We would love to know your thoughts!

As the Nazis march toward Paris in 1940, American ballerina Lucie Girard buys her favorite English-language bookstore to allow the Jewish owners to escape. Lucie struggles to run Green Leaf Books due to oppressive German laws and harsh conditions, but she finds a way to aid the resistance by passing secret messages between the pages of her books.

Widower Paul Aubrey wants nothing more than to return to the States with his little girl, but the US Army convinces him to keep his factory running and obtain military information from his German customers. As the war rages on, Paul offers his own resistance by sabotaging his product and hiding British airmen in his factory. After they meet in the bookstore, Paul and Lucie are drawn to each other, but she rejects him when she discovers he sells to the Germans. And for Paul to win her trust would mean betraying his mission.

Master of WWII-era fiction Sarah Sundin invites you onto the streets of occupied Paris to discover whether love or duty will prevail.

Sarah Sundin enjoys writing about the drama and romance of the World War II era. She is the bestselling author of Until Leaves Fall in Paris (February 2022), When Twilight Breaks (2021), the Sunrise at Normandy series, and three more World War II series. 

A mother of three, Sundin lives in California and enjoys speaking to community, church, and writers’ groups. Sarah serves as Co-Director for the West Coast Christian Writers Conference. Please visit Sarah at http://www.sarahsundin.com, on Facebook at SarahSundinAuthor, on Twitter at @sarahsundin, and on Instagram at @sarahsundinauthor.