First Line Friday — When The Day Comes

10 Jun

A time-traveling novel? Yes, please! Today’s First Line Friday features When The Day Comes by Gabrielle Meyer. Set in 1774 Colonial Williamsburg and 1914 Gilded Age New York City, this book is beyond intriguing. Find out all about it below.

But first, here’s the first line:

For as long as I could remember, my mama had told me that my life was a gift.

How will she choose, knowing all she must sacrifice?

Libby has been given a powerful gift: to live one life in 1774 Colonial Williamsburg and the other in 1914 Gilded Age New York City. When she falls asleep in one life, she wakes up in the other. While she’s the same person at her core in both times, she’s leading two vastly different lives.

In Colonial Williamsburg, Libby is a public printer for the House of Burgesses and the Royal Governor, trying to provide for her family and support the Patriot cause. The man she loves, Henry Montgomery, has his own secrets. As the revolution draws near, both their lives–and any hope of love–are put in jeopardy.

Libby’s life in 1914 New York is filled with wealth, drawing room conversations, and bachelors. But the only work she cares about–women’s suffrage–is discouraged, and her mother is intent on marrying her off to an English marquess. The growing talk of war in Europe only complicates matters.

But Libby knows she’s not destined to live two lives forever. On her twenty-first birthday, she must choose one path and forfeit the other–but how can she choose when she has so much to lose in each life?

Gabrielle Meyer lives in central Minnesota on the banks of the upper Mississippi River with her husband and four children. As an employee of the Minnesota Historical Society, she fell in love with the rich history of her state and enjoys writing fictional stories inspired by real people, places, and events. You can learn more about Gabrielle and her books at http://www.gabriellemeyer.com.

Find Gabrielle on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/AuthorGabrielleMeyer, Pinterest at http://www.Pinterest.com/gabriellemeyer/, Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/MeyerGabrielle, Goodreads, and her Website at http://www.gabriellemeyer.com.

Book Review — Among The Innocent

9 Jun

Although Mary Alford is a new-to-me author, she has a long list of books to her credit. Among The Innocent, her latest release, is my first by her, but won’t be the last! I devoured this book! Find out all the details and my thoughts below.

When Leah Miller’s entire Amish family was murdered ten years ago, the person believed responsible took his own life. Since then, Leah left the Amish and joined the police force. Now, after another Amish woman is found murdered with the same MO, it becomes clear that the wrong man may have been blamed for her family’s deaths.

As Leah and the new police chief, Dalton Cooper, work long hours struggling to fit the pieces together in order to catch the killer, they can’t help but grow closer. When secrets from both of their pasts begin to surface, an unexpected connection between them is revealed. But this is only the beginning. Could it be that the former police chief framed an innocent man to keep the biggest secret of all buried? And what will it mean for Leah–and Dalton–when the full truth comes to light?

USA Today bestselling author Mary Alford keeps you guessing as two determined souls plumb the dark depths of the past in order to forge a brighter future–together.

Mary Alford is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of more than fifty novels. Her books have been finalists in the Selah Award, the Daphne du Maurier Award, and the HOLT Medallion Contest. As a writer, Mary is an avid reader. She loves to cook and can’t face the day with-out coffee. She and her husband live in the heart of Texas in the middle of 70 acres with two very spoiled cats and one adorable rescue dog. Mary is very active online and would love to connect with readers on Facebook and Twitter or any social platforms listed at http://www.maryalford.net.

My Impressions:

Among The Innocent is a fast-paced romantic suspense novel that left me guessing. The small Idaho town where Leah Miller lives was devastated by the events 10 years in the past when Leah was the sole survivor of the murder of her family. Now nearing the anniversary of the horror, young women are found killed in the same manner. Leah, now a police officer, joins forces with the new police chief, to discover if there’s a copycat or the murderer has in fact returned. The murders, while gruesome, are not depicted in an overly graphic manner by Alford, but there is blood — just an FYI for the squeamish. The case is a puzzler that had me and the characters seemingly one step behind the killer. I loved all the twists and turns. Within the small community is a group of Amish, and they are the first ones targeted, hence the title. While not an Amish novel, it was interesting to see the interplay between the Englisch and the Amish in this tough situation. Leah is a vulnerable character, yet is determined to find justice for her family. Dalton Cooper, the new police chief also is personally invested in the case. Not sure either of them would have been involved in real life, but I liked their interactions and their budding relationship. Leah lost her connection with God when she left the Amish, but Dalton expresses the importance of faith. He lives out his faith in a natural way that drew Leah in. I liked that too.

If you are looking for a romantic suspense to take along to the pool or beach (or even the back porch), I recommend Among The Innocent. It was a quick read for me that I very much enjoyed.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

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

Top 10 Tuesday — Time-ly Titles

7 Jun

Today’s TTT challenge is to list books with time in their titles. My first search yielded few books, so I included anything that spoke of time passing. I have lots of different genres — you should be able to find your favorite.

For more time-ly books, check out That Artsy Reader Girl

Top Time-ly Titles

As Dawn Breaks by Kate Breslin

Facing The Dawn by Cynthia Ruchti

Jane And The Year with No Summer by Stephanie Barron

The June Boys by Courtney C. Stevens

The Last Year of The War by Susan Meissner

Night Fall by Nancy Mehl

Present Danger by Elizabeth Goddard

A Season on The Wind by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Seconds to Live by Susan Sleeman

When The Day Comes by Gabrielle Meyer

Happy Release Day — Among The Innocent

7 Jun

Happy release day to Mary Alford. Her latest romantic suspense, Among The Innocent, is now available. I devoured this page-turner and am betting you will too. Find out all the details below.

When Leah Miller’s entire Amish family was murdered ten years ago, the person believed responsible took his own life. Since then, Leah left the Amish and joined the police force. Now, after another Amish woman is found murdered with the same MO, it becomes clear that the wrong man may have been blamed for her family’s deaths.

As Leah and the new police chief, Dalton Cooper, work long hours struggling to fit the pieces together in order to catch the killer, they can’t help but grow closer. When secrets from both of their pasts begin to surface, an unexpected connection between them is revealed. But this is only the beginning. Could it be that the former police chief framed an innocent man to keep the biggest secret of all buried? And what will it mean for Leah–and Dalton–when the full truth comes to light?

USA Today bestselling author Mary Alford keeps you guessing as two determined souls plumb the dark depths of the past in order to forge a brighter future–together.

Mary Alford is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of more than fifty novels. Her books have been finalists in the Selah Award, the Daphne du Maurier Award, and the HOLT Medallion Contest. As a writer, Mary is an avid reader. She loves to cook and can’t face the day with-out coffee. She and her husband live in the heart of Texas in the middle of 70 acres with two very spoiled cats and one adorable rescue dog. Mary is very active online and would love to connect with readers on Facebook and Twitter or any social platforms listed at http://www.maryalford.net.

Book Review — When The Day Comes

6 Jun

I knew that When The Day Comes by Gabrielle Meyer was a time travel book, but I had no idea how much I was going to love it. This novel is not about people blithely hopping from one time period to another, but a complexly written novel with deep spiritual themes. Don’t hesitate to pick this one up — you won’t be sorry!

How will she choose, knowing all she must sacrifice?

Libby has been given a powerful gift: to live one life in 1774 Colonial Williamsburg and the other in 1914 Gilded Age New York City. When she falls asleep in one life, she wakes up in the other. While she’s the same person at her core in both times, she’s leading two vastly different lives.

In Colonial Williamsburg, Libby is a public printer for the House of Burgesses and the Royal Governor, trying to provide for her family and support the Patriot cause. The man she loves, Henry Montgomery, has his own secrets. As the revolution draws near, both their lives–and any hope of love–are put in jeopardy.

Libby’s life in 1914 New York is filled with wealth, drawing room conversations, and bachelors. But the only work she cares about–women’s suffrage–is discouraged, and her mother is intent on marrying her off to an English marquess. The growing talk of war in Europe only complicates matters.

But Libby knows she’s not destined to live two lives forever. On her twenty-first birthday, she must choose one path and forfeit the other–but how can she choose when she has so much to lose in each life?

Gabrielle Meyer lives in central Minnesota on the banks of the upper Mississippi River with her husband and four children. As an employee of the Minnesota Historical Society, she fell in love with the rich history of her state and enjoys writing fictional stories inspired by real people, places, and events. You can learn more about Gabrielle and her books at http://www.gabriellemeyer.com.

Find Gabrielle on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/AuthorGabrielleMeyerPinterest at http://www.Pinterest.com/gabriellemeyer/Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/MeyerGabrielleGoodreads, and her Website athttp://www.gabriellemeyer.com.

My Impressions:

Libby Conant/Fairhaven is a time-crosser. That’s the main premise of Meyer’s novel, When The Day Comes. With that distinction comes a good bit of responsibility, sacrifice, and reliance on God’s provision. As her 21st birthday draws near, Libby knows she must make a choice. Will she spend the rest of her life in Williamsburg in the 1770s, or will she choose a life in 1915? I thought that would be a know-brainer given the lack of indoor plumbing during the American Revolution, but I was certainly wrong. 😉 When The Day Comes, along with being very well-researched for not one time period, but two, explores the themes of identity, our place in the world, and the necessity of letting God direct our paths. The storyline was excellently written — I bought all the time-crossing Libby had to endure. I never felt lost, although Libby did at many points in her journey. She knew her decisions had consequences and was very deliberate. I think this is something that we all should be aware of. Can our actions change history? Maybe not in the ways Libby’s could have, but every choice we make should be examined for the impact on our and others’ lives. Deep themes aside, I loved all the historical detail Meyer added to make the reader’s journey feel authentic. The romantic thread isn’t a slouch either. It’s just what any lover of romance fiction could want.

I could sing the praises of When The Day Comes for a long while, but just know this is a book you will love while reading and will think about long after the last page is turned. I think it would make an excellent book club selection — so much to talk about. I very highly recommend it. It will definitely be on my best of the best list this year.

Very Highly Recommended.

Great for Book Clubs.

Audience: adults.

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

First Line Friday — Among The Innocent

3 Jun

Happy Friday! Mary Alford is a new-to-me author, but Among The Innocent will not be the last book I will read by her. This supense novel immediately sucked me in! I received an early copy 😉 , but you can get your hands on it on June 7. Here’s the link to pre-order.

Here’s the first line:

He drove by the house again.

When Leah Miller’s entire Amish family was murdered ten years ago, the person believed responsible took his own life. Since then, Leah left the Amish and joined the police force. Now, after another Amish woman is found murdered with the same MO, it becomes clear that the wrong man may have been blamed for her family’s deaths.

As Leah and the new police chief, Dalton Cooper, work long hours struggling to fit the pieces together in order to catch the killer, they can’t help but grow closer. When secrets from both of their pasts begin to surface, an unexpected connection between them is revealed. But this is only the beginning. Could it be that the former police chief framed an innocent man to keep the biggest secret of all buried? And what will it mean for Leah–and Dalton–when the full truth comes to light?

USA Today bestselling author Mary Alford keeps you guessing as two determined souls plumb the dark depths of the past in order to forge a brighter future–together.

Mary Alford is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of more than fifty novels. Her books have been finalists in the Selah Award, the Daphne du Maurier Award, and the HOLT Medallion Contest. As a writer, Mary is an avid reader. She loves to cook and can’t face the day with-out coffee. She and her husband live in the heart of Texas in the middle of 70 acres with two very spoiled cats and one adorable rescue dog. Mary is very active online and would love to connect with readers on Facebook and Twitter or any social platforms listed at http://www.maryalford.net.

Book Review — Woman in Shadow

2 Jun

I love Carrie Stuart Parks’ books! Woman in Shadow, a 2021 release, has been calling my name since it was available. I am so glad I finally took the time to read it. If you are a fan of romantic suspense this one is a must read!

A woman off the grid.

Darby Graham thinks she’s on a much-needed vacation in remote Idaho to relax. But before she even arrives at the ranch, an earthquake strikes. Then a barn on the edge of town is engulfed in flames and strange problems at the ranch begin to escalate, and Darby finds herself immersed in a chilling mystery.

A town on fire.

More fires erupt around town, and a serial arsonist sends taunting letters to the press after each. As a forensic linguist, this is Darby’s area of expertise . . . but the scars her work has caused her are also the reason she’s trying to escape her life.

A growing darkness.

As the shadows continue moving in, pieces of the town around her come into sharper focus. To make it out alive, Darby must decide if she can trust the one man who sees her clearly.

Carrie Stuart Parks is an award winning artist, writer, speaker, and law enforcement instructor. A Certified Forensic Artist, she met her husband, Rick, in the romantic hallways of the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Together they formed a dynamic and successful team in their fine and forensic art, working on major national and international cases and creating exquisite watercolors and stone carvings. They travel internationally, teaching forensic art to a variety of participants: from the Secret Service to the FBI, from large law enforcement agencies to the smallest two-man departments in their one-week classes. They are the largest instructors of forensic art in the world. Carrie has won numerous awards for her innovative teaching methods and general career excellence and is a signature member of the Idaho Watercolor Society.

My Impressions:

Woman in Shadow kept me guessing! This twisting romantic suspense had it all — a mysterious disappearance, earthquakes, dramatic rescues, and dangers around every turn. But the best thing about the novel is the main character, Darby Graham. Most of the story is told through Darby’s first person voice. I loved her perspective on the goings on, complete with wit to lighten all the bad things happening. Darby is a forensic linguist — a fascinating occupation — who has been trying to overcome her past and past mistakes. Sent to the remote Idaho ranch, she is tasked with determining why odd and dangerous things seem to be occurring. She gets much more than she expects when the danger ratchets up putting her in harms way. I like that Parks created a vulnerable, yet resourceful character in Darby. Her faith has faltered along the way, but she learns to rely on God, as well as her own instincts. There is also a great love interest for Darby that will have you cheering them on. As I stated, I did not solve this whodunit — to my delight I was completely surprised! Although there is a reference to an organization first mentioned in Relative Silence, Woman in Shadow is a standalone. Good news for all those who want to dive into this book right away. And I highly recommend you do!

Highly recommended.

Audience: adults.

(I received an ebook version from NetGalley. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

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.

Audiobook Mini-Review — The Kennedy Debutante

1 Jun

My book club, the IWBC (the interesting women’s book club — because we are and they are 😉 ) read The Kennedy Debutante by Kerri Maher. I found it to be an interesting look into not only a very famous American family, but of the time in which it was set. Kick Kennedy was the second daughter of Joe and Rose Kennedy. She is portrayed as vivacious and a bit rebellious, especially defiant to her mother’s strict parenting tactics. Kick falls in love with England and an English lord during her father’s posting as ambassador in London. British society, the run-up to WWII, and America’s stance on the war serve as a backdrop to this star-crossed romance. In the afterword, the author states that the book was originally supposed to be YA fiction, and I can see the influences of the genre on the final product. It was entertaining and educational, but I found it dragged on. Kick’s dithering may have played a role in the slowness of the final third of the book, but I think the author could have done a better job of portraying that part of the story. Despite that criticism, I found the book a good read, especially if you are looking for a biographical novel of a little known person who was indeed very famous in her own time. A good beach read!

(I purchased this book from Amazon. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

The captivating novel following the exploits of Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy, the forgotten and rebellious daughter of one of America’s greatest political dynasties.

London, 1938. The effervescent “It girl” of London society since her father was named the ambassador, Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy moves in rarefied circles, rubbing satin-covered elbows with some of the twentieth century’s most powerful figures. Eager to escape the watchful eye of her strict mother, Rose; the antics of her older brothers, Jack and Joe; and the erratic behavior of her sister Rosemary, Kick is ready to strike out on her own and is soon swept off her feet by Billy Hartington, the future Duke of Devonshire.
 
But their love is forbidden, as Kick’s devout Catholic family and Billy’s staunchly Protestant one would never approve their match. And when war breaks like a tidal wave across her world, Billy is ripped from her arms as the Kennedys are forced to return to the States. Kick finds work as a journalist and joins the Red Cross to get back to England, where she will have to decide where her true loyalties liewith family or with love . . . .

Kerri Maher is also the author of This Is Not A Writing Manual: Notes for the Young Writer in the Real World under the name Kerri Majors. She holds an MFA from Columbia University and founded YARN, an award-winning literary journal of short-form YA writing. For many years a professor of writing, she now writes full time and lives with her daughter in Massachusetts where apple picking and long walks in the woods are especially fine. She is a budding Instagrammer at @kerrimaherwriter, and you can also find her on Facebook at @kerrimaherwriter and on her website, http://www.kerrimaher.com

Top 10 Tuesday — Comfort Reads

31 May

I have always loved mysteries! From the moment I read that first Nancy Drew I was hooked. They are my go-to when I need a little escape. And though I read all kinds of mysteries, I find my comfort reads in cozies. Today’s TTT list includes cozy mystery series that I lost myself in. They are so much fun with main characters that I love. There are lots of books in these series — I have finished some, but have more to grab when I need that comfort fix. I hope you find a series to love (and binge 😉 ).

For more of bloggers’ comfort reads, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Cozy Mystery Series

Claire Malloy by Joan Hess

College town bookseller with a snarky teenager and a hunky police detective boyfriend.

MacLaren Yarbrough by Patricia Sprinkle

Small town Georgia nursery owner who knows every-body.

Miss Zukas by Jo Dereske

Completely serious librarian who is unknowingly hilarious.

Sarah Booth Delaney by Carolyn Haines

Former southern belle from the Mississippi Delta with a ghost for a sidekick.

Southern Sisters — Anne George

Birmingham Alabama sisters get into one funny scrape after another.