Top 10 Tuesday — Favorite Audiobooks

1 Jun

Over the weekend a friend asked for audiobook recommendations. As a big fan, I had a few recommendations — I had to stop myself! 😉 Since this week’s Top 10 Tuesday is a Freebie, I thought I would share some of my favorite audiobooks. The stories are great and the readers are excellent, capturing just the right pacing and accents needed to make the experience enjoyable. Whether you have a road trip planned or need something to help while away the hours next to the pool or beach, or if you need something to help get thought an exercise routine or boring chores, all on my list will fit the bill.

Do you like listening to audiobooks?

For more Top 10 Tuesday fun, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Ten of My Favorite Audiobooks

A Bridge Across The Ocean by Susan Meissner

The Last Year of The War by Susan Meissner

Mountain Laurel by Lori Benton

The Number of Love by Roseanna White

Perennials by Julie Cantrell

State of Lies by Siri Mitchell

Stories That Bind Us by Susie Finkbeiner

The Summer House by Lauren K. Denton

An Uncommon Woman by Laura Frantz

When I Close My Eyes by Elizabeth Musser

June Book Club Selection — When Twilight Breaks

1 Jun

When Twilight Breaks, the WWII-era standalone novel by Sarah Sundin, is By The Book‘s June Selection. I read this novel a few months ago — loved it! Its look at the events leading up to WWII are informative, as well a cautionary tale for modern readers. Find out all the details below.

Munich, 1938. Evelyn Brand is an American foreign correspondent as determined to prove her worth in a male-dominated profession as she is to expose the growing tyranny in Nazi Germany. To do so, she must walk a thin line. If she offends the government, she could be expelled from the country — or worse. If she fails to truthfully report on major stories, she’ll never be able to give a voice to the oppressed — and wake up the folks back home.

In another part of the city, American graduate student Peter Lang is working on his PhD in German. Disillusioned with the chaos in the world due to the Great Depression, he is impressed with the prosperity and order of German society. But when the brutality of the regime hits close, he discovers a far better way to use his contacts within the Nazi party–to feed information to the shrewd reporter he can’t get off his mind.

This electric standalone novel from fan-favorite Sarah Sundin puts you right at the intersection of pulse-pounding suspense and heart-stopping romance.

Sarah Sundin enjoys writing about the drama and romance of the World War II era. She is the bestselling author of When Twilight Breaks (February 2, 2021), The Land Beneath Us (2020), The Sky Above Us (2019) and The Sea Before Us (2018), as well as the Waves of Freedom, Wings of the Nightingale, and Wings of Glory series. 

A mother of three, Sundin lives in northern 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.

Happy Release Day! — On The Cliffs of Foxglove Manor

1 Jun

Happy release day to Jaime Jo Wright! Her latest timeslip novel is now available. I started On The Cliffs of Foxglove Manor last night and I have to say that both the historical and contemporary story lines sucked me right in! This is going to be a great read. Check out all the details below.

1885

Adria Fontaine has been sent to recover goods her father pirated on the Great Lakes during the war. But when she arrives at Foxglove Manor–a stone house on a cliff overlooking Lake Superior–Adria senses wickedness hovering over the property. The mistress of Foxglove is an eccentric and seemingly cruel old woman who has filled her house with dangerous secrets, ones that may cost Adria her life. 

Present day. 

Kailey Gibson is a new nurse’s aide at a senior home in a renovated old stone manor. Kidnapped as a child, she has nothing but locked-up memories of secrets and death, overshadowed by the chilling promise from her abductors that they would return. When the residents of Foxglove start sharing stories of whispers in the night, hidden treasure, and a love willing to kill, it becomes clear this home is far from a haven. She’ll have to risk it all to banish the past’s demons, including her own.

Jaime Jo Wright loves to read — and write — fiction with elements of mystery, faith, and romance from her home in Wisconsin. She’s a coffee drinker by day and night, lives in dreamland, and exists in reality.

Happy Release Day! — Power Play

1 Jun

Happy release day to Rachel Dylan. The final book in her Capital Intrigue series is available today! I finished Power Play last night — I loved it! If you haven’t read this series yet, why not get all three. Perfect for binge reading!

When State Department attorney Vivian Steele witnesses two ambassadors collapse as if poisoned at a diplomatic dinner in Washington, DC, she is recruited to be a member of a joint FBI task force assigned to investigate. But she soon finds her by-the-book ways clashing with a special agent in the Diplomatic Security Service, Jacob Cruz. A former Navy SEAL and in charge of the event’s security, Jacob takes the attack personally and is driven to act quickly, even ahead of the rules and regulations. 

As Viv starts to work her diplomatic sources, her past as a State Department lawyer comes back to haunt her, and secrets held tightly by the government thrust her into a web of danger. Afraid, Viv turns to the one man bent on protecting others. But can she accept Jacob’s reckless ways as exactly what she needs to stay alive and to discover the truth behind the attacks?

Rachel Dylan is an award-winning and bestselling author of legal thrillers and romantic suspense. Rachel has practiced law for over a decade including being a litigator at one of the nation’s top law firms. Rachel lives in Michigan with her husband and five furkids — two dogs and three cats. Rachel loves to connect with readers. You can find Rachel athttp://www.racheldylan.com.

Other books in the series:

If You Liked . . . Night Fall

31 May

My book club read Night Fall by Nancy Mehl this month. It is a fast-paced suspense with some romantic elements. It featured a weird religious cult, Ebola and the threat of pandemic, and an FBI profiler with some baggage. While there were a few things we didn’t like, overall this book earns a recommended read from us. If you liked it too, I have some more reading recommendations.

The Mind of a Serial Killer

The Coming of Winter by Tom Threadgill

Catherine Mae Blackston is missing. She is not the first.

While investigating Blackston’s recent activities, FBI Agent Jeremy Winter stumbles upon a string of missing persons within state parks. Unable to convince his boss that Blackston’s disappearance is anything other than a lost hiker, Winter joins forces with a local police officer to continue the search. 

As the clues mount, a dark figure from Jeremy’s past emerges with an ultimatum — one that could force him out of the Bureau. Afraid that his girlfriend, fellow agent Maggie Keeley, will be dragged into a high-stakes political game, he delays his decision. But as the tally of missing persons increases, Winter closes in on the unlikeliest of suspects. 

The bodies are out there. 

He just has to find them before his past catches up with him.

Release of A Deadly Virus

Airborne by DiAnn Mills

Heather Lawrence’s long-awaited vacation to Salzburg wasn’t supposed to go like this. Mere hours into the transatlantic flight, the Houston FBI agent is awakened when passengers begin exhibiting horrific symptoms of an unknown infection. As the virus quickly spreads and dozens of passengers fall ill, Heather fears she’s witnessing an epidemic similar to ones her estranged husband studies for a living ― but this airborne contagion may have been deliberately released.

While Heather remains quarantined with other survivors, she works with her FBI colleagues to identify the person behind this attack. The prime suspect? Dr. Chad Lawrence, an expert in his field . . . and Heather’s husband. The Lawrences’ marriage has been on the rocks since Chad announced his career took precedence over his wife and future family and moved out.

As more victims fall prey days after the initial outbreak, time’s running out to hunt down the killer, one who may be closer to the victims than anyone ever expected.

FBI Profiler

The Pawn by Steven James

Special Agent Patrick Bowers had only met one man who made him truly afraid. Until now. When he’s called to North Carolina to consult on the case of an area serial killer, he finds himself in a deadly game. Cunning and lethal, the killer is always one step ahead of the law, and he’s about to strike again. 

It will take all of Bowers’s instincts and training to stop this man who calls himself the Illusionist. And just when the pieces start to come together, Bowers realizes they’re not quite adding up. Can he unravel the pattern and save the next victim? Or will the Illusionist win the game by taking one of his opponent’s pieces? 

Thrilling, chilling, and impossible to put down, The Pawn will hold suspense lovers in its iron grip until the very last page.

Book Review: Never Miss

31 May

I love reading debut novels. Discovering a new favorite author is always a treat. And in Never Miss by Melissa Koslin, I did just that! A debut? Wow, I never would have guessed. The plot is intriguing, the suspense non-stop, and the characters are wonderfully complex. I will definitely be on the lookout for more books by Koslin.

Former CIA sniper Kadance Tolle possesses a special set of skills and a rare pedigree. She comes from a family of assassins, and by saving Lyndon Vaile’s life she risks being found by them. Despite the danger, Kadance feels compelled to help Lyndon discover who is after him–and his research that seems to prove that the Ebola virus was manmade and is about to be weaponized.

With shadowy figures pursuing them and a Mastermind watching their every move, Kadance and Lyndon must scramble to stop an impending bioattack at the State of the Union address. But their warnings fall on deaf ears, and it becomes increasingly clear that there’s no one they can trust — except perhaps each other.

Strap in for a breakneck story that will have you up all night, hurtling toward the last page as the clock ticks and time runs out.

Melissa Koslin is a fourth-degree black belt in and certified instructor of Songahm Taekwondo. In her day job as a commercial property manager, she secretly notes personal quirks and funny situations, ready to tweak them into colorful additions for her books. She and Corey, her husband of twenty years, live in Florida, where they do their best not to melt in the sun.

My Impressions:

Never Miss by Melissa Koslin is an exceptional debut novel. This romantic suspense has all the requisite elements of the genre — engaging characters, a twisting plot, and an interesting premise. But there is nothing formulaic about this novel. What makes the book better is how the author handles the characters. I found them unique and wonderfully complex. While I enjoyed the race against time story line, I was more intrigued by the development of the characters — individually and in their relationship. Kadance is a woman with a past, a now retired sniper on the run from those who would exploit her skills. Lyndon is a deceptively geeky scientist who is determined to find answers to a deadly virus. Together they are an unstoppable team. The two are wonderfully quirky and dangerous making them my favorite couple this year. There is a pandemic aspect to the novel which some may not enjoy in light of the past year. But I didn’t have any trouble reading about the weaponization of a virus. In fact, the Covid info from the past year made the book very credible and chilling. Never Miss is Christian fiction and the faith message is strong. It is also fresh given the employment of the two characters — a dedicated scientist and a former assassin.

If you are a fan of the romantic suspense genre, Never Miss is a must-read. A fresh voice is always welcome, and I look forward to more great books by Koslin.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

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

First Line Friday — Power Play

28 May

Happy Friday! With a long weekend in front of me, I’m looking forward to a lot of good reading. First up on my list is Power Play by Rachel Dylan. I have been eagerly awaiting the final book of her Capital Intrigue series and snagged an early copy. But you don’t have to wait too long to get your hands on your own copy. Release day is June 1. Haven’t read the first two books? What are you waiting for? Get all 3 to jumpstart your summer reading. 🙂

Here’s the first line:

It’s going to be a long night.

When State Department attorney Vivian Steele witnesses two ambassadors collapse as if poisoned at a diplomatic dinner in Washington, DC, she is recruited to be a member of a joint FBI task force assigned to investigate. But she soon finds her by-the-book ways clashing with a special agent in the Diplomatic Security Service, Jacob Cruz. A former Navy SEAL and in charge of the event’s security, Jacob takes the attack personally and is driven to act quickly, even ahead of the rules and regulations. 

As Viv starts to work her diplomatic sources, her past as a State Department lawyer comes back to haunt her, and secrets held tightly by the government thrust her into a web of danger. Afraid, Viv turns to the one man bent on protecting others. But can she accept Jacob’s reckless ways as exactly what she needs to stay alive and to discover the truth behind the attacks?

Rachel Dylan is an award-winning and bestselling author of legal thrillers and romantic suspense. Rachel has practiced law for over a decade including being a litigator at one of the nation’s top law firms. Rachel lives in Michigan with her husband and five furkids — two dogs and three cats. Rachel loves to connect with readers. You can find Rachel at http://www.racheldylan.com.

For more First Line Friday fun, head over to Hoarding Books.

Blog Tour + Giveaway! — Crazy for You

27 May

Crazy For You JustRead Blog + Review Tour

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for Crazy for You by Michelle Sass Aleckson presented by Susan May Warren, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Crazy for YouTitle: Crazy for You
Series: Deep Haven Collection #3
Author: Michelle Sass Aleckson presented by Susan May Warren
Publisher: Sunrise Publishing
Release Date: May 25, 2021
Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

The problem with being related to everyone in town is that there is no one left to date…until now…but will this outsider survive his family?

Former soldier Veronica “Ronnie” Morales isn’t going to let her kid brother, Tiago, get pulled into the gangs of Minneapolis, so, seeking safety and a fresh start, she heads to sleepy Deep Haven on the north shore of Minnesota. She’s hoping to put down roots as the paramedic for the new Crisis Response Team, but it’s not easy to be the town outsider.

Fire Chief Peter Dahlquist is a peacemaker—he has to be. After he’s related to both of the Deep Haven dynasties – the Zimmermans and the Dahlquists, Deep Haven’s version of the Hatfields and the McCoys. Worse, Peter is the holdout vote for a landmark project, which also makes him the loneliest guy in town when both sides demand that he pick sides. The only one who seems to understand his plight is the newcomer in town…his pretty, street-tough paramedic.

When Tiago finds himself caught up in small town shenanigans and the town blames Ronnie for tragedy, Peter is forced to pick sides. But will his choice cost him the home—and the woman—he loves?

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

EXCERPT

CHAPTER ONE 

The plan was easy. Bring Oreos, kiss his mother, and skedaddle. 

No need to stick around and get caught in another fight. 

The last thing Peter Dahlquist needed this Memorial Day weekend was another fire to  put out. At least, the family relations type. A good old-fashioned barn blaze—he’d be all in. He stood on the apex of Zimmerman Mountain and looked out on the land that had been in his family for more than eight generations. Eighty acres, about half of it developed  now with log cabin and A-frame Zimmerman homes, all nestled in a valley of birch and pine  forest. And sprawling out at the foot of the acreage was the glorious blue of Lake Superior,  calm and barely frothy against a pebbled shore. 

For the annual family picnic, all seventy-two of his closest relatives were gathered in  the field behind him, in the yard of the family lodge, the first homestead—now remodeled— of Luther and Agnes Zimmerman. The fragrance of fresh cut fescue and other field grasses  mixed with the smoke from the usual bonfire. Uncle Martin held camp talking politics in his  grizzled voice with the dozens of other uncles and aunts, most of whom Peter didn’t know.

Okay, he knew them all. But sometimes, he wished he didn’t. Especially when it came  to local politics. 

“Uncle Pete, watch out!” 

He turned just as a football shot toward his head. But instead of ducking, he reached  out and nabbed it with one hand. 

He still had it. 

His second cousin, once removed, held up his hands and Peter chucked it back to  fourteen-year-old Ben. He’d heard the kid was hoping to make the Deep Haven Huskies  football team this fall. 

“Wanna play with us?” 

Toss around a ball and avoid getting roped into discussion? Definitely. 

He opened his mouth to say yes when Elton stepped up and dropped a heavy hand  on Peter’s shoulder. “Sorry, Ben, I’ve gotta steal Pete to help unload wood for the fire. As  soon as we get it going, we’ll eat. Tell the others, son.” 

Great. See, he should’ve made a run for the hills as soon as he was done stacking  wood for the fire. And running back to town for more ice. And after the game of hide-and seek with his younger cousins. 

Okay. Peter just couldn’t find the words to say no. 

Which was, of course, why he was in this mess. 

“No problem,” Peter said as he grabbed the wheelbarrow from Elton and followed his  older cousin to the wood pile behind the family lodge, a simple one-room cabin they used  for all the family events. 

“So. Pete, you know which way you’re voting, right? We could really use that  property.” 

Yep. Ambushed. He knew it was coming. 

If he kept his mouth shut, what were the chances of being struck by lightning? Peter  glanced at the wide expanse of clear blue sky stretching over Deep Haven and the 

glistening sapphire of Lake Superior down the hill. Not a hint of a storm. At least not the kind  he could appreciate. 

“I’m still researching all the options.” And a way to bring about a peaceful end to this  longstanding family feud. It all started with him. He had to find a way to end it. 

Copyright: Sunrise Media Group, LLC. 

ALSO AVAILABLE


ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Susan May Warren Michelle Sass Aleckson

Susan May Warren is the USA Today best-selling novelist of 80 books. With more than 1.5 million books in print, she is beloved by reviewers and readers around the world. Visit Susan at www.susanmaywarren.com.

CONNECT WITH SUSAN: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

After growing upon both the east and west coasts, Michelle Sass Aleckson now lives the country life in central Minnesota with her own hero and their four kids. She loves rocking out to 80’s music on a Saturday night, playing Balderdash with the fam, and getting lost in good stories. Especially stories that shine grace. And if you’re wondering, yes, Sass is her maiden name. Visit her at www.michellealeckson.com.

CONNECT WITH MICHELLE: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Merging the creative energies of best-selling authors Susan May Warren and Lindsay Harrel, Sunrise Publishing is the matchmaker for established authors who want to build on their current success for future growth and aspiring authors looking to break out, build an audience, and hone their writing skills.

CONNECT WITH SUNRISE: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | admin@sunrisepublishing.com


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a $15 Amazon gift card + 3 Crazy for You ebooks (one ebook for the winner and two to give to friends)!

Crazy for You JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight May 25, 2021 and lasts through 11:59 PM EST on June 1, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. 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.

Children’s Corner — Love You, Little Peanut

26 May

Love You, Little Peanut is a heartwarming padded board book about the deep bond between a parent, grandparent, or any loved one and their little one. The sweet rhymes and adorable illustrations help show all the wonderful moments shared with a child, reminding even the youngest readers how special they are and how much they are loved.

Little hands can comfortably hold this durable board book, and little fingers can point out pictures and follow along with the easy-to-read text. 

The adventures we’ll have

each day as you grow

just wait, Little Peanut —

there’s so much to know.

Whether you’re reading out loud, reading together, or being read to, Love You, Little Peanut will help you snuggle and hug your way through one cherished story time after another.

Annette Brashler Bourland has been writing books, poems, cards, cartoons, and jingles ever since she can remember. With more than 25 years in the publishing world, Annette has a love for creating entertaining, great content for children. She earned degrees in English and Business Administration from Hope College, and an MBA from the University of Colorado. Annette lives in Michigan with her husband and son, and runs her own publishing consultant business.

Website: http://www.bourlandstrategicadvisors.com

Instagram: annette.bourland

My Impressions:

My little granddaughter loves to be read to. I am so pleased that I will be able to share Love You, Little Peanut with her. The rhyming text talks about the love for a small child and the adventures that life together (whether with a grandparent or parent) will bring. I loved that each page features different animal pairs, adult and child — skunks, alligators, elephants, etc. — exploring the world. The pictures are detailed and boldly colored capturing a child’s attention as they listen to the narrative. And while Vivian loves to be read to, she also likes to look at her books independently. This sturdy board book will stand up to her perusal. 😉

A fun book to share with your little one, Love You, Little Peanut is recommended for your family library.

Recommended.

Audience: toddlers – preschoolers.

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

Top 10 Tuesday — Opening Lines

25 May

Happy Tuesday! This week Top 10 Tuesday is prompting bloggers to share book quotes. To me first lines are important. They set the tone of the book and in some cases suck a reader in. I have chosen suspense novels — some I have read, others that are on my TBR shelf. I hope these lines will intrigue you to pick one up.

For more book quotes, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top 10 Opening Lines

Active Defense by Lynette Eason

Dr. Heather Fontaine strapped her feet into the sandbar and pushed off. There was nothing like the feel of the wind in her face and that peace-filled stretch of time from the top of the mountain to the bottom.

Never Miss by Melissa Koslin

“Sarah Jeane Rogers,” she muttered. “Elizabeth Jeane Jones.” Which ID to use this time? “Eenie meenie minie moe . . .” She held up the license in her right hand. “Sarah Jane Rogers it is.”

Night Fall By Nancy Mehl

His mother sat in the chair next to his bed, reading from The Book. He was almost twelve now, and she’d been reading it to him ever since he was a little kid.

Adam hated it.

Obsession by Patricia Bradley

The January warm spell had definitely ended in South Mississippi. Emma Winters zipped her National Park Service jacket against the biting north wind as she hiked the quarter mile from the gate to the Mount Locust Visitor Center on the Natchez Trace.

On The Cliffs of Foxglove Manor by Jaime Jo Wright

He had ruined death for her, and the hope of it. Thwarted death on all sides, until the possibility of escape was removed entirely and she was left with breath, body, and the plaguing memories of many yesterdays.

The Paris Betrayal by James R. Hannibal

From a rooftop perch, Ben Calix watched the courier leave the Tiber and cross the piazza. He traced his scope from the man’s temple down to his forearm.

Point of Danger by Irene Hannon

The package was ticking.

Eve Reilly froze . . . sucked in a breath . . . and gaped at the FedEx box propped beside her front door.

Power Play by Rachel Dylan

It’s going to be a long night. Vivian Steele checked her glossy pink lipstick one final time before exiting the ladies’ room and entering into the shark tank — otherwise known as a diplomatic dinner in the Washington, DC, area.

Unknown Threat by Lynn H. Blackburn

Mondays were the worst. Luke Powell’s head throbbed as he parked his sedan in the empty lot and glared into the nearby trees. The darkness had just begun the slow fade toward dawn, and the US Secret Service special agent could barely make out the trailhead.

Visible Threat by Janice Cantore

Ivana and Villie sat close, heads together as they pored over the magazines — Glamour, Vogue, Self — oohing and aahing at the clothes and the stick-thin models. The sisters had been up for almost sixteen hours, unable to sleep as they anticipated their new adventure. Ivana could hardly believe their good fortune.

They were about to dock in America.