Tag Archives: Erin Bartels

Top 10 Tuesday — If You Like …

28 Mar

Happy Tuesday! I regularly include an If You Liked . . . post on my blog with suggestions for further reading if you like my book club’s monthly selection. I love connecting readers to new-to-them authors. For today’s TTT prompt I decided to pull from those list to compile a If You Like X Author, Then Try … . While many of these authors will already be on your radar, I hope you find a new favorite!

For more fun, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Authors To Try If You Like . . .

If you like Lynette Eason, especially her Danger Never Sleeps series, then try Hallee Bridgeman.

Captain Rick Norton and his Army Special Forces are on a mission to subdue Chukuwereije, a warlord terrorizing the villages in the jungles of Katangela, Africa, when their mission is interrupted to extract the daughter of America’s vice president.

Dr. Cynthia Myers has used her medical mission in a remote village in Katangela to escape a shallow life of unearned wealth, a philandering fiancé, and a father now square in the public eye. 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 Chukuwereije’s mortally wounded son and becomes a target for the warlord’s revenge.

Rick 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 hang on to her anger–but an unexpected 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.

If you like Elizabeth Goddard, then try Melissa 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.

If You like Patricia Bradley, especially her Natchez Trace Park Rangers series, then try Janice Cantore.

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.

If you like Sarah Sundin‘s WWII fiction, then try Mario Escobar.

Saint-Malo, France: August 1938. Jocelyn and Antoine are childhood sweethearts, but just after they marry and are hoping for a child, Antoine is called up to fight against Germany. As the war rages, Jocelyn focuses on comforting and encouraging the local population by recommending books from her beloved library in Saint-Malo. She herself finds hope in her letters to a famous author.

After the French capitulation, the s occupy the town and turn it into a fortress to control the north of French Brittany. Residents try passive resistance, but the German commander ruthlessly purges part of the city’s libraries to destroy any potentially subversive writings. At great risk to herself, Jocelyn manages to hide some of the books while waiting to receive news from Antoine, who has been taken to a German prison camp.

What unfolds in her letters is Jocelyn’s description of her mission: to protect the people of Saint-Malo and the books they hold so dear. With prose both sweeping and romantic, Mario Escobar brings to life the occupied city and re-creates the history of those who sacrificed all to care for the people they loved.

If you like Nancy Mehl, especially her creepier novels 😉 , then try 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.

If You like Amanda Cox, then try Susie Finkbeiner.

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.

If you like Courtney Walsh, then try Janet W. Ferguson.

Animals always made more sense than humans did to marine biologist Skye Youngblood. After her mother’s tragic death, she left Alabama and never looked back. These days, she pours her heart into protecting nature’s sea creatures. When she returns to Dauphin Island, Alabama, for a temporary manatee migration study, her dark past is much too close. She can’t let her guard down. But how can she keep her heart hidden when a kind man with a genuine smile makes her want a fresh start?

Charter fishing pays the bills for widower Pete Thompson and his little girl, but like his father, a pastor, Pete can’t help but fish for men. Only, after growing up under constant scrutiny as a preacher’s kid, Pete’s ways are a bit more unconventional. And the bulk of his life revolves around raising his precious daughter.

When he witnesses the car wreck of a new marine biologist on the island, it doesn’t take a genius to see that more than just her physical pain needs tending. Pete feels called to help Skye find true healing, but he’s navigating dangerous waters. And he’s not at all sure he’ll walk away unscathed.

If you like Lisa Harris, then try Susan Sleeman.

When cybercriminals hack into the US Marshals’ Witness Protection database and auction off witnesses’ personal details to the highest bidders, the RED Team led by FBI Agent Sean Nichols begins a high-stakes chase to find the hacker. But before he can even get started, the first witness is targeted and barely escapes with her life. Sean believes Phantom, an obsessed hacker who previously outwitted the top minds in the field, is behind the attack, and Sean needs this witness’s help, as she’s the person who has come closest to discovering Phantom’s identity. 

Trouble is, she’s a witness under the care of US Marshal Taylor Mills, and Sean is reluctant to work with the captivating marshal who knows his deepest secrets. But Phantom claims he knows where the witness is hiding and will kill her, so to stop the hacker, Sean and Taylor must work through their personal pain and learn to trust each other . . . . The seconds are ticking down before someone dies.

If you like Lynn H. Blackburn, then try Lisa Carter.

Secrets and danger hide deep in the canyons and arroyos of the Navajo Nation When federal agent Aaron Yazzie is assigned to protect the only witness to a drug cartel execution, he hides Kailyn Eudailey in the safest place he knows . . . the vast, untamed wilderness of the Navajo Reservation. Transporting Kailyn to New Mexico may not be as easy as Aaron would like. Kailyn is a high-maintenance Southern belle who is determined to assert her independence at every step. Though Aaron works to protect her from the dangers that could get them both killed, Kailyn is getting to him. Although, she doesn’t know the real him. As an undercover agent, Aaron has grown adept at playing many roles. But will he be able to embrace his true identity and God’s plan for his life in order to keep Kailyn alive?

If you like Erin Bartels, then try Catherine West.

Sometimes we’re allowed to glimpse the beauty within the brokenness . . .

Savannah Barrington has always found solace at her parents’ lake house in the Berkshires, and it’s the place that she runs to when her husband of over twenty years leaves her. Though her world is shaken, and the future uncertain, she finds hope through an old woman’s wisdom, a little girl’s laughter, and a man who’s willing to risk his own heart to prove to Savannah that she is worthy of love.

But soon Savannah is given a challenge she can’t run away from: Forgiving the unforgivable. Amidst the ancient gardens and musty bookstores of the small town she’s sought refuge in, she must reconcile with the grief that haunts her, the God pursuing her, and the wounds of the past that might be healed after all.

Where Hope Begins is the story of grace in the midst of brokenness, pointing us to the miracles that await when we look beyond our own expectations.

Top 10 Tuesday — 5-Star General Fiction

28 Feb

Today’s Top 10 Tuesday topic is a Genre Freebie. As I always do, I am tweaking the prompt. 😉 I’m not featuring genre fiction, but 5-star general fiction. According to languagehumanities.org, general fiction is —

General fiction is the catch all term for novels and other literature that don’t fit into a particular genre. Romance, Western, mystery, science fiction and other genres each have a particular theme that is fitting to its classification. General works, on the other hand, don’t have enough elements of any one theme to be classified within a certain genre. The story and plot of general fiction is no less strong, and in many cases even stronger, than that of genre works.

General fiction offerings, in my experience, are well-told stories and are some of my favorite books. I hope you like my list and find a book to love!

For more genre favorites, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top 5-Star General Fiction

Before I Saw You by Amy K. Sorrells

The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox

The Nature of Small Birds by Susie Finkbeiner

No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert

The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery by Amanda Cox

Stories That Bind Us by Susie Finkbeiner

Water from My Heart by Charles Martin

We Hope for Better Things by Erin Bartels

When I Close My Eyes by Elizabeth Musser

Where The Blue Sky Begins by Katie Powner

Book Review: Everything Is Just Beginning

31 Jan

I don’t usually look at other reviews before writing my own. I don’t want to cloud my thoughts or inadvertently steal other’s ideas. You know like writing a song and using a sitcom jingle. 😉 Does that last statement intrigue you? Now you know you have to read Everything Is Just Beginning. The newest novel by Erin Bartels is a mix, just like the musical styles of the band main characters Natalie and Michael put together. It took me a bit to get into, but I sure am glad I read this book. It will be with me for a while.


Michael Sullivan is a talented lyricist and a decent guitarist, but since he was kicked out of his band (and his apartment), he’s not sure he’ll ever get a record deal. Living with his loser uncle in a beat-up trailer and working a dead-end job, Michael has little reason to hope for a better future. Until the invitation for a swanky New Year’s Eve party shows up in the mailbox. It’s for his uncle, with whom he shares his name, but his uncle is going out of town . . . 

On the effervescent night of December 31, 1989–as the Berlin Wall is coming down, the Soviet Union is inching toward democracy, and anything seems possible–Michael will cross paths with the accomplished and enigmatic young heir to a fading musical dynasty, forever altering both of their futures. 

Award-winning novelist Erin Bartels enchants with this story of two lonely souls who have exactly what the other one needs–if they could simply turn their focus from what is ending to what is just beginning.

ERIN BARTELS is the award-winning author of We Hope for Better Things, The Words Between Us, All That We Carried, and The Girl Who Could Breathe Under Water. Her short story “This Elegant Ruin” was a finalist in The Saturday Evening Post 2014 Great American Fiction Contest and her poetry has been published by The Lyric. She lives in the capital city of a state that is 40% water, nestled somewhere between angry protesters on the Capitol lawn and couch-burning frat boys at Michigan State University. And yet, she claims it is really quite peaceful.

You can find her on Instagram @erinbartelswrites and Facebook @ErinBartelsAuthor.

My Impressions:

Everything Is Just Beginning by Erin Bartels kind of defies definition. Set in 1989, it could technically be an historical novel, yet while there are plenty of references to the era, it’s more supportive than a main part of the book. It could be a coming of age story, since Michael, the voice of the book is young and certainly grows up a lot. It could be a love story as Michael and Natalie go from friendship to maybe something more. But I think above all it is a good story well-told. Music is the central core — Michael wants to be a rock star and takes advantage of a party invitation to get gain connections. What he actually gets is connectedness. The relationships in the book are beautifully spotlighted in the quest for getting a band together. But it’s not a novel about the band. It’s a novel about lives lived with purpose or not. Brokenness in many forms is discussed, along with the grace extended to give those who are broken a place to heal and grow. To offer up forgiveness when none is deserving. Now, I am not really a music person — I can’t carry a tune or read music. I often listen to talk radio over the music channels. But Bartels pours so much of the emotions found in music into this book. Including the lyrics of the songs within the narrative exposes the depths of Michael’s soul, of Natalie’s grief, and gave me an understanding of their stories, that prose could not convey. It really, really works, creating a touching story to think about long after it is finished. And if you are a music person, you will be thrilled with the QR codes in the back of the book that let you in on some playlists and the music played by the band. I’m even going to check it out 😉 .

While Everything Is Just Beginning started out a bit slow for me, I am so glad I kept at it. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough towards the end. Complex characters and beautifully fleshed out themes make this one a highly recommended read.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: Adults.

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

First Line Friday — Everything Is Just Beginning

20 Jan

Happy Friday! I am having an excellent reading year! Next up for me is Everything Is Just Beginning by Erin Bartels. I haven’t read all of her books, but the ones I have are excellent. This looks to be no exception!

Here’s the first line:

I never wanted to live at my Uncle Mike’s.

Michael Sullivan is a talented lyricist and a decent guitarist, but since he was kicked out of his band (and his apartment), he’s not sure he’ll ever get a record deal. Living with his loser uncle in a beat-up trailer and working a dead-end job, Michael has little reason to hope for a better future. Until the invitation for a swanky New Year’s Eve party shows up in the mailbox. It’s for his uncle, with whom he shares his name, but his uncle is going out of town . . . 

On the effervescent night of December 31, 1989–as the Berlin Wall is coming down, the Soviet Union is inching toward democracy, and anything seems possible–Michael will cross paths with the accomplished and enigmatic young heir to a fading musical dynasty, forever altering both of their futures. 

Award-winning novelist Erin Bartels enchants with this story of two lonely souls who have exactly what the other one needs–if they could simply turn their focus from what is ending to what is just beginning.

Top 10 Tuesday — Books With All The Feels

15 Nov

Happy Tuesday! Today I am sharing books that have ALL the feels. You know, the kind of book that grabs your heart and won’t let go. The kind of book it is sometimes awkward to read out in public. 😉 There was a particularly heart-rending Christmas book I listened to on my morning walks. If any of my neighbors happened to look out their windows as I walked by, they witnessed me laughing hysterically and crying uncontrollably all in one circuit of the neighborhood. Embarrassing! If you want a book that will create emotional havoc in your life (kidding, not kidding), take a look at my list. (It’s cool how the covers and titles compliment each other in a completely random fashion.)

For more bloggers with emotional reactions to their reading choices, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Books With ALL The Feels

Before I Called You Mine by Nicole Deese

Before I Saw You by Amy K. Sorrells

The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox

The Librarian of Saint-Malo by Mario Escobar

The London House by Katherine Reay

The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery by Amanda Cox

The Stories That Bind Us by Susie Finkbeiner

We Hope for Better Things by Erin Bartels

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West

Where The Blue Sky Begins by Katie Powner

2020 Christy Award Nominees!

8 Oct

Well, my TBR list just got bigger! So excited for the 2020 Christy Award nominees. I have read some of these books (and they are great), and now have many more to get on with. A big congratulations to all the talented authors!

Contemporary Romance

Just One Kiss by Courtney Walsh

Now And Then And Always by Melissa Tagg

Sweet on You by Becky Wade

First Novel

A Long Time Comin’ by Robin W. Pearson

The Means That Make Us Strangers by Christine Kindberg

Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes

General Fiction

All Manner of Things By Susie Finkbeiner

Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes

The Words Between Us by Erin Bartels

Historical

The Bright Unknown by Elizabeth Byler Younts

The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke

Memories of Glass by Melanie Dobson

My Dearest Dietrich by Amanda Barratt

Historical Romance

The Land Beneath Us by Sarah Sundin

The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White

The Painted Castle by Kristy Cambron

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

Echoes Among The Stones by Jaime Jo Wright

The Girl Behind The Red Rope by Ted Dekker and Rachelle Dekker

Smokescreen by Terri Blackstock

Short Form

A Christmas Haven by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall

A Flood of Love by Tracie Peterson

Intrigue A La Mode by Regina Jennings

Visionary

Cry of The Raven by Morgan L. Busse

Hidden Current by Sharon Hinck

The Story Raider by Lindsay A. Franklin

Young Adult

The Means That Make Us Strangers by Christine Kindberg

The Piper’s Pursuit by Melanie Dickerson

The Winter King by Christine Cohen

Top 10 Tuesday — Kindle Deals

7 Apr

Today’s Top 10 Tuesday prompt is Books I Bought Because . . . . Books come into my house in a variety of ways — shopping bags from local bookstores, Amazon delivery, NetGalley, and book mail from publishers and PR groups. Yes I am at risk of a book landslide, but I still request and buy. Because of this I look for deals as well. That’s where my Kindle comes into play. Ebooks come on sale (or for FREE) for a number of reasons, and I am quick to jump on them. It may be a favorite author’s book that I have missed, or an author I have wanted to try, or it might be a book club selection that is currently on sale. That’s why my Amazon cloud is full too. 😉 Below are the last 10 books that came into my house because of deals on Kindle ebooks. Since I am an eclectic reader they represent a number of genres.

Do you search for book deals?

To find out why other bloggers beg, borrow, and steal buy books, head over to That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

The Last 10 Book Deals for My Kindle

Carry Me Home by Dorothy Adamek

A Dangerous Legacy by Elizabeth Camden

The Esther Paradigm by Sarah Monzon

Irish Encounter by Hope Dougherty

Living Lies by Natalie Walters

Nobody by Creston Makes

A Scarlet Cord by Deborah Raney

A Search for Refuge by Kristi Ann Hunter

The Wind Will Howl by Sibella Giorello

The Words Between Us by Erin Bartels

 

Top 10 Tuesday — New to Me Authors

14 Jan

2019 was a great year for reading! I discovered a number of new and exciting authors. Discovered, as in I read them for the first time. Some of the authors had been published before and some had debut releases. (Some I met in person last year — squee!) You may be familiar with some or all of them, but in case you aren’t, they are all recommended by me. I look forward to more great books to discover from these authors.

 Hope you discover a new author too!

 

For more bookish discoveries across the blogosphere, visit That Artsy Reader Girl.

Amanda Barratt — My Dearest Dietrich

Erin Bartels — We Hope for Better Things

Victoria Bylin — When He Found Me

Cathy Gohlke — The Medallion

Janet Ferguson — The Art of Rivers

Lindsay Franklin — The Story Peddler

James Hannibal — The Gryphon Heist

Kristi Ann Hunter — A Defense of Honor

Tara Johnson — Engraved on The Heart

David Rawlings — The Baggage Handler

Linda Thompson — The Plum Blooms in Winter

Abigail Wilson — In The Shadows of Croft Towers

 

What new author did you discover last year?

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Top Books Read in 2019

31 Dec

It is always hard to compile a best of list every year. I read a lot of really good books in 2019. A. Lot. But in going back through the archives, I found the following eleven that captured my imagination, touched my emotions, and made me think about my world and myself long after I closed the cover. The books are a mixed bag of genres — speculative, allegory, dual timeline, contemporary, and historical — so basically something for every taste. I hope one grabs your interest and you find a great read! (The links are to my reviews.)

For more Best Books of 2019 lists, visit That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Best Books Read in 2019

All Manner of Things by Susie Finkbeiner

The Baggage Handler by David Rawlings

Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green

The King’s Mercy by Lori Benton

 

The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke

The Plum Blooms in Winter by Linda Thompson

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay

The Secrets of Paper And Ink by Lindsay Harrel

 

A Silver Willow by The Shore by Kelli Stuart

The Story Peddler by Lindsay Franklin

We Hope for Better Things by Erin Bartels

Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green

 

 

 

2019 Christy Award Finalists

19 Sep

Here are the finalists for the 2019 Christy Awards. A top honor in Christian fiction, you can be sure of an excellent read when choosing one of these books. Congrats to all the talented authors!

 

Contemporary Romance

Brunch at Bittersweet Cafe by Carla Laureano

Falling for You by Becky Wade

Wait for Me by Susan May Warren

 

First Novel

The Baggage Handler by David Rawlings

Engraved on The Heart by Tara Johnson

The Plum Blooms in Winter by Linda Thompson

 

General Fiction

No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert

Send Down The Rain by Charles Martin

We Hope for Better Things by Erin Bartels

 

 

Historical

A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano

Of Fire And Lions by Mesu Andrews

The Seamstress by Allison Pitman

Shelter of The Most High by Connilyn Cossette

 

Historical Romance

A Defense of Honor by Kristi Ann Hunter

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan

With This Pledge by Tamera Alexander

 

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

Called to Protect by Lynette Eason

Every Wicked Man by Steven James

Mind Games by Nancy Mehl

 

 

Short Form

A Shot at Love by Sarah Loudin Thomas

Catching Christmas by Terri Blackstock

Falling for Grace by Janet Ferguson

Legacy of Love by Kristi Ann Hunter

 

Visionary

Mark of The Raven by Morgan L. Busse

Shivering World by Kathy Tyers

The Story Peddler by Lindsay A. Franklin

The Wounded Shadow by Patrick W. Carr

 

Young Adult

The Crescent Stone by Matt Mikalatos

Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

The Warrior Maiden by Melanie Dickerson