Tag Archives: mystery fiction

Top 10 Tuesday — Shelf-ish Organization

31 Jan

Happy Tuesday! Today is a Freebie day for Top 10 Tuesday. I am going completely random today with fiction chosen from the shelves in my house — as opposed to those on my NetGalley shelf and Kindle. 😉 I organize my shelves in a way that makes sense to me. Fiction is organized by genre and then alphabetically by author. I keep series in order of publication. If it’s Biblical or historical fiction, I organize chronologically and by location (example: European vs American. Old Testament and then New Testament). And then there is my Austen knock-off shelf which contains a variety of genres, but all tie into one of Austen’s novels. That’s alphabetically by author. I even have a shelf for signed books. So if I am in the mood for a mystery, I know which shelf to head to.

Confusing? Probably, but it works for me. At least I don’t divide my mystery into historical or cozy, etc. I’m not that obsessive or am I?

I am.

In the spirit of transparency, the books represented today are on shelves at my primary residence. We have a house in the woods that boasts a very small library. That’s where it really gets tick-y. That’s where the mass market cozy mysteries reside. Likewise, all the Grishams. Then there’s my husband’s western fiction, the American historical fiction/non-fiction that revolve around major events. Think Revolutionary War, Pearl Harbor, etc. I have a shelf for veterinary fiction. Yes that’s a thing. Small town fiction like Jan Karon. A shelf where humorous fiction (P.G. Wodehouse) coexists with short story collections. And last but not least, the shelf with North Georgia authors. Too much? LOL!

Enjoy my random and complicated system!

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

Top Random Books from My Shelves

Austen Variations (or knock-offs) Jane Fairfax by Joan Aiken

Autographed Books — The White Rose Resists by Amanda Barratt

Biblical Fiction/OT — Journey by Angela Hunt

Biblical Fiction/NT — Three from Galilee by Marjorie Holmes

Christmas Fiction — A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg

Classical Fiction — Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Contemporary Fiction (including romance) — Dearest Dorothy, If Not Now, Then When by Charlene Baumbich

Historical Fiction/European — To Love A Viking by Heather Gilbert and Jen Cudmore

Historical Fiction/American — A Flight of Arrows by Lori Benton

Mystery — Suspicious Minds by Christy Barritt

Suspense — Shadow of Doubt by Terri Blackstock

Speculative — The Ishbane Conspiracy by Randy Alcorn

Top 10 Tuesday — Top Anticipated Books From New-To-Me Authors

10 Jan

Happy Tuesday! I was a bit stumped with today’s TTT prompt. Not that I don’t have plenty of books that I am anticipating. But I have already covered this topic in some form or fashion in the past month or so. I don’t want to bore everyone by repeating myself again and again. So I decided to look for books that are from new-to-me authors, those whose books I have yet to read for one reason or another, but that I need to read if you know what I mean! Some are upcoming releases; some have been in the book world for a little while. Some are from never before discovered authors; others from authors I know I need to read. I was astounded by the book choices that now populate my gargantuan TBR list. Help me now!

For more bloggers’ anticipatory lists, go to That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Anticipated Books from New-To-Me Authors

The Antiquity Affair by Lee Kelly and Jennifer Thorne

Two estranged sisters must band together to solve a puzzle three millennia in the making in this female-heroine take on Indiana Jones.

1907: The dawn of Egyptology is a time of imperialism and plunder, opulence and unrest, and Dr. Warren Ford, esteemed archaeologist, is the man of the hour. His daughters—prim intellectual Lila, on the eve of her debut as a Manhattan socialite, and doting nonconformist Tess, who dreams of following in his footsteps—have always lived their lives in the shadow of their famous father’s exploits. But when a secretive organization becomes intent on finding a lost artifact legendary for its dangerous power, it isn’t Dr. Ford they turn their sights on—it’s his two remarkable daughters.

Tess and Lila called themselves The Fearless Fords in their childhood, dreaming of daring international adventures together, but the sisters have barely spoken for years. Presented now with a grand adventure and a puzzle that will require all their wits, the two women face a choice. Will they follow the clues fast enough to win the ultimate prize? Or will they prove clever enough to change the game entirely?

The Antiquity Affair is a high stakes trans-Atlantic thrill ride, with the page-turning excitement and romance of classic adventure novels and a poignant story of sisterhood at its core—all the messy and beautiful truths of what it means to be family.

Bastille Day by Gregory Garrett

Veteran TV journalist Calvin Jones travels to Paris, where he negotiates love, friendship, and despair in award-winning novelist Greg Garrett’s Bastille Day.

With brilliant pacing and gorgeous prose, acclaimed novelist Greg Garrett tells the story of American TV journalist Calvin Jones, who travels to Paris to work with a producer friend he knows from their dark days covering the war in Iraq.

Cal Jones has had a quiet ten years, by design. After surviving the loss of two people he loved in the Iraq war, which he covered as a national correspondent, he fell apart and retreated to a local news job in Texas. Cal is still wrestling with those old demons when he goes to Paris to work with an old friend and encounters Nadia, a brilliant, lovely, and sad Saudi Muslim woman in Paris with plans to wed a Saudi sheikh in a family-arranged marriage.

Against his own better judgment, Cal falls for Nadia, even dragging her from the Seine when she attempts to solve her insoluble problem by taking her own life. He begins to risk a heart he thought was too badly broken to ever love again, and as the wedding ticks closer, to hope that perhaps Nadia can make a choice that includes him. Then their time rescuing each other is interrupted by the terror attack in Nice, which Cal is called out to cover. Back in that setting, Cal is thrown back into the memories of senseless violence and extremism that shattered him in Iraq—and that threaten to shatter him and his hopes now.

Garrett’s characters wrestle with the ghosts of their pasts, as they long for love, friendship, and faith in the present. Bastille Day is a gloriously-affecting novel about how our histories can damage us, but hope can heal us.

Beneath His Silence by Hannah Linder

Will Seeking Justice Lead to Her Own Demise?
 
A Gothic-Style Regency Romance from a Promising Young Author
 
Second daughter of a baron—and a little on the mischievous side—Ella Pemberton is no governess. But the pretense is a necessity if she ever wishes to get inside of Wyckhorn Manor and attain the truth. Exposing the man who killed her sister is all that matters.
 
Lord Sedgewick knows there’s blood on his hands. Lies have been conceived, then more lies, but the price of truth would be too great. All he has left now is his son—and his hatred. Yet as the charming governess invades his home, his safe cocoon of bitterness begins to tear away.
 
Could Ella, despite the lingering questions of his guilt, fall in love with such a man? Or is she falling prey to him—just as her dead sister?

Bless Your Heart, Rae Sutton by Susannah Lewis

Sometimes what your life is missing is an eccentric group of older ladies to take you under their wing?.?.?. 

When Rae Sutton’s mama passes away and leaves her the house where she grew up, Rae can’t imagine how the little old place might restore her broken life. Mourning the recent loss of her marriage, she takes the house and settles back into her tiny hometown with her fourteen-year-old daughter, Molly Margaret, and their overweight dog. 

There she’s embraced by her mother’s close-knit circle of friends, the Third Thursday ladies. Though almost half their age and far less confident of positive outcomes, Rae joins their ministry-slash-book-club-slash-gossip circle and allows the women to speak wry honesty and witty humor into her tired heart. As a new career and a new romance bring their own complications, Rae relies on the unlikely family she’s found and begins to wonder if her future holds more hope than she ever could have imagined. 

The Call of The Wrens by Jenni L. Walsh

The Call of the Wrens introduces the little-known story of the daring women who rode through war-torn Europe carrying secrets on their shoulders.

An orphan who spent her youth without a true home, Marion Hoxton found in the Great War something other than destruction. She discovered a chance to belong. As a member of the Women’s Royal Naval Service—the Wrens—Marion gained sisters. She found purpose in her work as a motorcycle dispatch rider assigned to train and deliver carrier pigeons to the front line. And despite the constant threat of danger, she and her childhood friend Eddie began to dream of a future together. Until the battle that changed everything.

Now twenty years later, another war has broken out across Europe, calling Marion to return to the fight. Meanwhile others, like twenty-year-old society girl Evelyn Fairchild, hear the call for the first time. For Evelyn, serving in the war is a way to prove herself after a childhood fraught with surgeries and limitations from a disability. The re-formation of the Wrens as World War II rages is the perfect opportunity to make a difference in the world at seventy miles per hour.

Told in alternating narratives that converge in a single life-changing moment, The Call of the Wrens is a vivid, emotional saga of love, secrets, and resilience—and the knowledge that the future will always belong to the brave souls who fight for it.

A Cry in The Dark by Jessica Patch

Deep in the Kentucky hills, three women have been found brutalized and murdered.
But the folks in Night Holler have their own ways and their own laws.
And they’re not talking…

Led to an isolated Appalachian Mountain town by a trail of disturbing murders, FBI special agent Violet Rainwater’s determined to catch a serial killer with a twisted agenda. With locals refusing to reveal their secrets, Violet’s only ally is Detective John Orlando. But even John has an ulterior motive—he’s convinced this case is connected to his wife’s murder. 

As they dig deeper, Violet uncovers a link to her own unresolved past. For years she’s worked the cold case of her mother’s abduction, which had led to her birth. The need to look into the eyes of the sinful man who fathered her consumes Violet. Until she can, she’ll never have peace. Because she’s terrified she might be exactly like him.

In this chilling novel, when the present collides with Violet’s mysterious past and John’s tragic loss, they must unravel the warped, sinuous connections before the killer strikes again. But solving the case might not be nearly as terrifying as the possibility that Violet’s finally found her roots…

Hardly Any Shooting Stars Left by B. K. Froman

A captivating tale of humor and mystery by an award-winning author.

After her father’s death, a creative, free-spirited young woman plans to leave her Oregon ranch and hometown of busybodies. But she didn’t count on a corpse in her shop—or murder. Forced to create friendships with strange, crabby, or too-helpful neighbors, she must face a murder charge and confront aching childhood memories in a town and a life stuck in the past.

Lexi DePriest has always been a loner with a sharp wit and lack of concern about fitting in. If she could quickly sell the family ranch—her father’s life’s work—she’d get out of the Oregon valley, but life has never been easy.

When her crackpot neighbor shoots the drone she uses to check fences and cattle, a battle begins. Nosy eyes in the tiny community are watching, some malevolent—and dangerously nearby.

With no explanation,a man is found murdered in her shop, and the trust she’s built in herself and with a few townsfolk unravels. It takes a crabby school secretary and a Scottish welder to secretly examine murder suspects. The investigation gives her a rare choice to fit in to the home where she’s always lived—but will she choose community, family, or herself?

Indigo Isle by T. I. Lowe

“Storms show up and there ain’t a thing we can do to stop them.”

Sonny Bates left South Carolina fifteen years ago and never looked back. Now she’s a successful Hollywood location scout who travels the world, finding perfect places for movie shoots. Home is wherever she lands, and between her busy schedule and dealing with her boss’s demands, she has little time to think about the past . . . until her latest gig lands her a stone’s throw from everything she left behind.

Searching off the coast of Charleston for a secluded site to film a key scene, Sonny wanders onto a private barrier island and encounters its reclusive owner, known by locals as the Monster of Indigo Isle. What she finds is a man much more complex than the myth.

Once a successful New York attorney, Hudson Renfrow’s grief has exiled him to his island for several years. He spends his days alone, tending his fields of indigo, then making indigo dye―and he has no interest in serving the intrusive needs of a film company or yielding to Sonny’s determined curiosity. But when a hurricane makes landfall on the Carolina coast, stranding them together, an unlikely friendship forms between the two damaged souls. Soon the gruff exterior Hudson has long hidden behind crumbles―exposing the tender part of him that’s desperate for forgiveness and a second chance.

A story of hanging on and letting go, of redemption and reconciliation, and of a love that heals the deepest wounds, from the author of the breakout Southern fiction bestseller Under the Magnolias.

The Unhiding of Elijah Campbell by Kelly Flanagan

Elijah Campbell is on the verge of losing his writing career, his faith, and his marriage when a recurring childhood nightmare drives him back to his hometown, Bradford’s Ferry. There, his encounters with loved ones both past and present shed light on the reason his wife left him—and the meaning of his nightmare. However, beyond the light he begins to glimpse something even more terrifying—a decision he must make either to continue hiding the secrets of his past or unhide the only thing that can save his marriage: himself.

In psychologist Kelly Flanagan’s nonfiction works (Loveable, True Companions), he drew from clinical insight to explore the spiritual depths of identity and relationships. Now, in this debut novel, he weaves a compelling and plot-twisting tale that brings new life to those insights, along with fresh revelations about personal growth, spiritual transformation, and the dynamics of interpersonal relationships.

Spotlight On Mystery — Death on A Winter Stroll

12 Dec

Death on A Winter Stroll by Francine Mathews is a general market contemporary mystery set on picturesque Nantucket Island during the Christmas holidays. This twisting whodunit features now police chief Merry Folger. All the details, including an excerpt, are below.

No-nonsense Nantucket detective Merry Folger grapples with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and two murders as the island is overtaken by Hollywood stars and DC suits.

Nantucket Police Chief Meredith Folger is acutely conscious of the stress COVID-19 has placed on the community she loves. Although the island has proved a refuge for many during the pandemic, the cost to Nantucket has been high. Merry hopes that the Christmas Stroll, one of Nantucket’s favorite traditions, in which Main Street is transformed into a winter wonderland, will lift the island’s spirits. But the arrival of a large-scale TV production, and the Secretary of State and her family, complicates matters significantly.
 
The TV shoot is plagued with problems from within, as a shady, power-hungry producer clashes with strong-willed actors. Across Nantucket, the Secretary’s troubled stepson keeps shaking off his security detail to visit a dilapidated house near conservation land, where an intriguing recluse guards secrets of her own. With all parties overly conscious of spending too much time in the public eye and secrets swirling around both camps, it is difficult to parse what behavior is suspicious or not—until the bodies turn up.
 
Now, it’s up to Merry and Detective Howie Seitz to find a connection between two seemingly unconnected murders and catch the killer. But when everyone has a motive, and half of the suspects are politicians and actors, how can Merry and Howie tell fact from fiction?
 
This latest installment in critically acclaimed author Francine Mathews’ Merry Folger series is an immersive escape to festive Nantucket, a poignant exploration of grief as a result of parental absence, and a delicious new mystery to keep you guessing. 

ADVANCE PRAISE

  • “This fast-moving mystery packs in a lot, but never too much, and will work for fans of coming-of-age stories, police procedurals, and romance.” —First Clue
  • “Fresh, well-wrought prose brings the setting of Nantucket to life. Mathews consistently entertains.” —Publishers Weekly
  • “Christmas and death come to Nantucket . . . Plenty of fascinating characters and myriad motives make for an exciting read.” —Kirkus Reviews 
  • “Mathews consistently places relationships at the forefront of her mysteries, and Merry’s unique blend of tenacity and humanity makes her a heroine to root for.”—USA Today bestselling author Karen Odden, author of the Inspector Corravan mysteries

PURCHASE LINKS

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSHOP | GOODREADS

EXCERPT

One of the perks of being police chief was the ringside seat Merry Folger commanded for certain critical moments. For instance, this Saturday morning—the first weekend in December, with the sun high in the sky and a brisk, cold wind driving whitecaps across the water as a Coast Guard cutter sailed toward Straight Wharf. 

Her white SUV with the distinctive navy and gray police markings was parked where no cars were allowed, within the Christmas Market barricades that blocked the wharf’s access to town. She and Peter were lounging against the bumper in their most festive winter gear. Merry’s father, John, was inside the car staying warm. They were waiting for Santa Claus to dock. 

Nearby was the Town Crier and some of the town’s Select- persons who would escort the Man in Red to his island sleigh, a vintage firetruck owned by the Nantucket Hotel. Santa would stand in the back, waving, while the Town Crier walked ahead, ringing his bell, announcing the glad tidings of great joy. 

“Look at that guy,” Peter muttered in her ear as a man roughly their age walked by, natty in sunglasses, a suit, and a knotted Stroll scarf. Nothing abnormal about that, except that the suit had red and green stripes with white death’s-heads and fists stamped all over it. 

“Kind of like North-Pole-meets-Venice-Beach-tattoo-parlor,” Merry suggested. “You prefer the blonde, I take it?” 

The blonde wore a minidress covered in hot pink sequins and thigh-high boots made of fake mink. She had a jingle bell on each boob. 

Every third person in the crowd—and there were about ten thousand people in town, jockeying for the best viewing spots— was dressed in ways bizarre or wonderful. The color and noise and exuberance were thrilling after the cheerless quarantine holidays, and Merry was grinning helplessly. She glanced over her shoulder and gave her dad a thumbs-up. John was drinking coffee laced with peppermint schnapps in his passenger seat. He saluted her with his mug. 

The sight of him sitting alone jolted her suddenly, as it did whenever she looked for her grandfather, Ralph Waldo Folger, and remembered he’s gone now. The freshness of loss stunned her each time like a blow to the face. 

Merry had known her eighty-nine-year-old grandfather was vulnerable in the pandemic. She and John had talked by phone daily about ways to keep Ralph safe. As a frontline worker exposed for the duration to a germ-laden public, Merry had stayed scrupulously away from her childhood home on Tattle Court throughout the first waves of sickness. Peter arranged for grocery deliveries twice a week and dropped supplies from Marine Home at John’s front door. And Ralph was healthy for nearly a year: social distancing on his daily walks, wearing a mask when he ventured into town. He contracted Covid nine days before he was scheduled for his first vaccine. 

Nantucket Cottage Hospital had five ventilators; Ralph never made it to one of them. Sickening on a Friday, he was delirious by Sunday and medevacked to Boston in the wee hours of Monday. Intubated, he lingered in a medically induced coma for four days. 

What dropped Merry to the floor when they got the news, sobbing and hugging her knees as though she’d been sucker punched, was the fact that her careful distance hadn’t mattered a darn. Ralph was alone when he died. And she hadn’t seen or touched him for a year before that. Of all the pandemic’s cruelties, this was the coldest. 

Her father thrust open the car door and stepped out to the paving beside her. “Boat’s in,” he said. 

She linked her arm through his as the cutter drew along- side. A couple of ensigns jumped off with sheets in their hands and moored the steel-gray vessel to the wharf’s stanchions. The Town Crier hailed the boat, Santa waved, horns blared, the drum corps drummed. Merry and Peter and John whooped along with everyone else. Despite the logistics and the responsibilities, she was nominally handling, despite her underlying grief, joy shot through Merry as she fell into step behind the Selectpersons and jauntered after Santa’s firetruck. For the length of Main Street at least, she was uncomplicatedly happy. 

It felt like the whole island celebrated with her. 

Chapter 10, pg. 69-71

From Death on a Winter Stroll © 2022, Francine Mathews, published by Soho Crime

Francine Mathews was born in Binghamton, New York, the last of six girls. She attended Princeton and Stanford Universities, where she studied history, before going on to work as an intelligence analyst at the CIA. She wrote her first book in 1992 and left the Agency a year later. Since then, she has written thirty books, including six previous novels in the Merry Folger series (Death in the Off-SeasonDeath in Rough WaterDeath in a Mood IndigoDeath in a Cold Hard Light, Death on Nantucket, and Death on Tuckernuck) as well as the nationally bestselling Being a Jane Austen mystery series, which she writes under the pen name Stephanie Barron. She lives and works in Denver, Colorado.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | BOOKBUB | GOODREADS

Top 10 Tuesday — Series Finished And Unfinished

8 Nov

Happy Tuesday! This week’s TTT topic is book series we need to finish. Unfortunately, I have more than a few and have featured this topic on more than one occasion. So, I decided along with the remaining books in series that deserve to be read, I would feature a couple of series that I completed recently. Not sure which is better — to have the satisfaction of finally reading that last book or to have one more to look forward to. 😉 As an aside, don’t you love how the book covers within each series coordinate?

For more from other bloggers, please visit That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Series Finished And Unfinished

Recently Finished

A Murder in The Mountains by Heather Day Gilbert

I finished False Pretense on the last day of my UK vacation in September. It was a fun book to take along on the planes, trains and automobiles in England and Scotland.

Natchez Park Rangers by Patricia Bradley.

Deception was the last book in this series, and it provided a lot of twists and turns. It definitely was a good finish to an excellent series.

Unfinished

Triple Threat by Irene Hannon

I have the last book of this series, Body of Evidence, yet to read. Hannon is one of my favorites, and I hope to get to it in the next few weeks.

The Snap Agency by Natalie Walters

I am actually up to date with this series — Blind Trust is set to release in April of 2023. I feel good about myself with this one. LOL!

Extreme Measures by Lynette Eason

I am only one book down in this series, since Critical Threat won’t release until January 2023. I better get a move on! Crossfire is in my Audible queue.

Missing in Alaska by Elizabeth Goddard

With this series I am in really good stead because book one doesn’t release until February 2023. So I haven’t finished yet, because it hasn’t started! 🙂 Seriously, I never want to miss a book by Elizabeth Goddard!

Spotlight On The 2022 Christy Awards!

3 Nov

The Christy Award Finalists 2022 JustRead Blog Blitz

Welcome to the Blog Blitz for The Christy Award Finalists organized by ECPA and hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours! We extend our sincere and enthusiastic congratulations to The Christy Award 2022 Finalists!

The Christy Award Finalists 2022

CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

All That Really Matters Bookshop by the Sea Husband Auditions

All That Really Matters by Nicole Deese (Bethany House/ Baker Publishing Group)
Bookshop by the Sea by Denise Hunter (Thomas Nelson Publishers)
Husband Auditions by Angela Ruth Strong (Kregel Publications)

FIRST NOVEL

All That Is Secret Recorder Sugar Birds

All That Is Secret by Patricia Raybon (Tyndale House Publishers)
Recorder by Cathy McCrumb (Enclave Publishing, a division of Oasis Family Media)
Sugar Birds by Cheryl Grey Bostrom (She Writes Press)

GENERAL FICTION

The Letter Keeper The Secret Keepers Old Depot Grocery Under the Magnolias

The Letter Keeper by Charles Martin (Thomas Nelson Publishers)
The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery by Amanda Cox (Revell/ Baker Publishing Group)
Under the Magnolias by T. I. Lowe (Tyndale House Publishers)

HISTORICAL

Between The Wild Branches Drawn By The Current The Widows Of Champagne Yours Is The Night

Between the Wild Branches by Connilyn Cossette (Bethany House/ Baker Publishing Group)
Drawn by The Current by Jocelyn Green (Bethany House/ Baker Publishing Group)
The Widows of Champagne by Renee Ryan (Love Inspired)
Yours is the Night by Amanda Dykes (Bethany House/ Baker Publishing Group)

HISTORICAL ROMANCE

As Dawn Breaks Hope Between The Pages Shadows Of Swanford Abbey Until Leaves Fall in Paris

As Dawn Breaks by Kate Breslin (Bethany House/ Baker Publishing Group)
Hope Between the Pages by Pepper Basham (Barbour Publishing)
Shadows of Swanford Abbey by Julie Klassen (Bethany House/ Baker Publishing Group)
Until Leaves Fall in Paris by Sarah Sundin (Revell/ Baker Publishing Group)

MYSTERY/SUSPENSE/THRILLER

Aftermath On The Cliffs Of Foxglove Manor The Barrister And Letter Marque

Aftermath by Terri Blackstock (Thomas Nelson Publishers)
The Barrister and the Letter of Marque by Todd M. Johnson (Bethany House/ Baker Publishing Group)
On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor by Jaime Jo Wright (Bethany House/ Baker Publishing Group)

SHORT FORM

A Texas Christmas Carol False Pretense Mr Nicholas

A Texas Christmas Carol (in Under the Texas Mistletoe) by Karen Witemeyer (Bethany House/ Baker Publishing Group)
Mr. Nicholas: A Magical Christmas Tale by Christopher de Vinck (Paraclete Press)
False Pretense by Heather Day Gilbert (WoodHaven Press)

SPECULATIVE

A Time To Seek Dark Intercept Recorder Windward Shore

A Time to Seek by Tracy Higley (Stonewater Books LLC)
Dark Intercept by Brian Andrews & Jeffrey Wilson (Tyndale House Publishers)
Recorder by Cathy McCrumb (Enclave Publishing, a division of Oasis Family Media)
Windward Shore by Sharon Hinck (Enclave Publishing, a division of Oasis Family Media)

YOUNG ADULT

A Gentle Tyranny Realms of Light Shadow

A Gentle Tyranny by Jess Corban (Wander, an imprint of Tyndale House Publishers)
Realms of Light by Sandra Fernandez Rhoads (Enclave Publishing, a division of Oasis Family Media)
Shadow by Kara Swanson (Enclave Publishing, a division of Oasis Family Media)


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive print copies of The Christy Award finalist titles from one category of their choice!

The Christy Award 2021 Finalists 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 November 3, 2022 and lasts through 11:59 PM EST on November 10, 2022. 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


REGISTER FOR THE CHRISTY AWARD 2022 EVENTS

Art of Writing on November 17, 12:30-5 pm at Lipscomb University in Nashville $99
A conference for writers, storytellers, and publishing curators.

The Christy Award Gala on November 17, 7-9 pm at Lipscomb University in Nashville $89
Celebrate this year’s finalists and winners with authors, editors, publishers, and readers!

Bundle the Art of Writing Conference & The Christy Award Gala $139

REGISTER

The Christy Award® is a program of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) and is the foremost award honoring and promoting excellence in Christian fiction since 1999. For more information about ECPA, visit ECPA.org. For more information about the Christy Awards and Art of Writing conferences, visit ChristyAwards.com or email TheChristyAward@ecpa.org


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

JustRead Publicity Tours

Book Review: False Pretense

24 Oct

I loved, loved, loved Heather Day Gilbert‘s Murder in The Mountains series. Alas, I finished the last book, False Pretense, while on vacation a few weeks ago. I’ve been assured that Gilbert’s working on a new mystery series with a main character in the same vein as Tess Spenser. I sure hope so! I miss Tess already. 😉 If you haven’t read this small town mystery series set in West Virginia, I urge you to do so NOW. LOL! It’s a 2022 Christy Award finalist for Short Form — I don’t need to say more.

Beloved amateur sleuth Tess Spencer returns in this fourth and final Murder in the Mountains mystery.

Tess has her work cut out for her—from her day job at the police station to her nights on the campaign trail with her husband, she’s stretched thin. Her two young children also keep her busy, but thankfully she has a supportive mother-in-law who lives just next door.

When the legendary Mothman makes a terrifying appearance and a local librarian goes missing, Tess feels compelled to get involved, convinced something evil has been unleashed on her little town. Then another woman disappears—this one bearing an eerie resemblance to Tess—and the police receive a cryptic message hinting that a serial killer is on the prowl.

After a nightmarish turn of events completely upends the Spencer family, Tess musters her courage to hunt for the monstrous murderer in the woods…even if she has to walk straight into the Mothman’s lair to do it.

False Pretense brings a stunning and memorable conclusion to the award-winning Murder in the Mountains series.

Award-winning novelist Heather Day Gilbert enjoys writing mysteries and Viking historicals. She brings authentic family relationships to the page, and she particularly delights in heroines who take a stand to protect those they love. Avid readers say Heather’s realistic characters–no matter what century–feel like best friends. When she’s not plotting stories, this native West Virginian can often be found hanging out with her husband and four children, playing video games, or reading Agatha Christie novels.

Find all her books and her newsletter signup at heatherdaygilbert.com.

My Impressions:

False Pretense takes the reader back to West Virginia and Tess Spenser for the last time. While I hate that I will no longer be able to join Tess in her sleuthing, I really did love the finale to the Murder in The Mountains series. Tess’ husband is running for District Attorney and facing a daunting opponent who won’t stop at anything. That, the reappearance of the mythical Moth Man, and two missing women adds additional stress to Tess’ life. The wife and mother who helps at the police station bears a striking resemblance to those missing. Could Tess be in danger too? The mystery is a puzzler keeping me on my reading toes. While False Pretense is a small-town mystery, I’m reluctant to call it a “cozy” — there are some darkish elements that add some creepy goodness to it. 😉 One of its strengths is the exploration of family dynamics. Tess and her mother-in-law, in particular, have an envied relationship. Many characters from previous books in the series make an appearance, and the reader is given some closure with ongoing threads, plus a glimpse at the Spenser family in the years to come. One character, Axel, has intrigued me since I read book 1, Miranda Warning. While I was so wrong on just who Axel is, I loved his reveal.

Closing the cover on False Pretense was bittersweet. I am going to miss Tess, but Gilbert has many more stories and characters ready to go. If you haven’t read any of this series, be sure to get them all and enjoy the binge-reading ride!

Recommended.

Audience: Adults.

(I purchased the ebook from Amazon. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Top 10 Tuesday — Vacation Reading

11 Oct

Happy Tuesday! Today’s TTT topic is books read on vacation. While I make sure my Kindle is loaded and the audiobook queue is full on my Audible app, the actual amount of time reading while I am on vacation is rather low. My husband is not one to sit around, so our vacations never include soaking up the sun around a pool or on a beach, or sitting on a porch swing gazing at the mountains. My vacation reading time is usually confined to the few minutes between the time I fall into bed exhausted and falling asleep. 😉 I did manage to read one book front to back on our 10 day trip to the UK last month. I finished False Pretense by Heather Day Gilbert and then set my alarm for a very early rising to make a 6am flight home.

*****

False Pretense by Heather Day Gilbert

Tess has her work cut out for her—from her day job at the police station to her nights on the campaign trail with her husband, she’s stretched thin. Her two young children also keep her busy, but thankfully she has a supportive mother-in-law who lives just next door.

When the legendary Mothman makes a terrifying appearance and a local librarian goes missing, Tess feels compelled to get involved, convinced something evil has been unleashed on her little town. Then another woman disappears—this one bearing an eerie resemblance to Tess—and the police receive a cryptic message hinting that a serial killer is on the prowl.

After a nightmarish turn of events completely upends the Spencer family, Tess musters her courage to hunt for the monstrous murderer in the woods…even if she has to walk straight into the Mothman’s lair to do it.

False Pretense brings a stunning and memorable conclusion to the award-winning Murder in the Mountains series.

*****

One thing I do is read about the places I will be visiting before I leave for a trip. My husband does the itinerary research and I soak up the setting with novels. Here are a few books that I read prior to our trips to Alaska and Yellowstone.

*****

Alaska Twilight by Colleen Coble

For some people, Alaska is a breathtaking wilderness adventure, full of light and beauty. For Haley, it is a dangerous world of dark dreams and tortured memories. On the surface, she’s here to document wildlife activist Kipp Nowak’s bear encounters. But her real reason is to unearth the truth about a past murder. The suspense mounts when another body turns up, and Haley begins to wonder if the tragedies she experienced in the past are connected to the dangers and mysterious incidents of the present.

From behind her camera, Haley observes it all, including Tank Lassiter, the wildlife biologist who has been forced to lead Kipp and his team into the Alaskan backcountry. As she watches him with his work, she feels a growing attraction. It will take great courage and faith to confront the truth she once ran away from. Before it’s over, Haley may be viewing herself from an entirely new angle.

In The Shadow of Denali by Tracie Peterson and Kimberly Woodhouse

Cassidy Ivanoff and her father, John, work at the new and prestigious Curry Hotel outside Mt. McKinley. While John will be expedition and wilderness exploration guide for the wealthy tourists, Cassidy has signed on as a cook’s assistant. Both are busy as the hotel prepares to welcome the president of the United States on his way to drive in the golden spike to officially complete the railroad.

Allan Brennan travels to the Curry Hotel to be an apprentice of a seasoned Alaska mountain guide. Ever since his father’s death climbing Mt. McKinley, he’s worked to earn enough money to make the trek to the Alaska territory himself. His father’s partner blames their guide for the death of his father, but Allan wants to find the truth for himself. He finds an unlikely ally in Cassidy, and as the two begin to look into the mystery, they suddenly find that things are much less clear, and much more dangerous, than either could ever imagine.

A Noble Calling by Rhona Weaver

A Southern farm boy who loves God and family, college football and America, rookie FBI agent Win Tyler lives in pursuit of making the world a better place. But when he becomes embroiled in a major political corruption case on the East Coast that takes a bad turn, he is exiled by the Bureau to a do-nothing post in Yellowstone National Park. Dejected by the demotion, and with his heart heavy from the sting of a bad breakup, Win arrives in Yellowstone deeply conflicted as to his true calling in life.

Win quickly finds himself confronting pure evil when anti-government militiamen attempt to violently disrupt the park’s dedication of a Jewish monument. The militia leader, a self-styled prophet, exploits the day’s mayhem to advance an even more sinister agenda. The demands of Win’s job test his courage and faith as he is faced with hazardous river rescues, dangerous wildlife, and hostile terrain. Feeling desperate and alone, he strives to build partnerships with park rangers and with one of the most enigmatic and dangerous militiamen, who may or may not be an ally in the Bureau’s fight against domestic terrorism. But within this increasingly tangled web of deceit, violence, and revenge, everyone’s motives are questioned.

Set amid the stunning landscape of Yellowstone National Park, A Noble Calling is a story of suspense and intrigue about a young man seeking redemption and his true identity. It is the first book in the FBI Yellowstone Adventure series.

Ever Faithful by Karen Barnett

A man who can’t read will never amount to anything–or so Nate Webber believes. But he takes a chance to help his family by signing up for the new Civilian Conservation Corps, skirting the truth about certain “requirements.” Nate exchanges the harsh Brooklyn streets for the wilds of Yellowstone National Park, curious if the Eden-like wonderland can transform him as well.

 Elsie Brookes was proud to grow up as a ranger’s daughter, but she longs for a future of her own. After four years serving as a maid in the park’s hotels, she still hasn’t saved enough money for her college tuition. A second job, teaching a crowd of rowdy men in the CCC camp, might be the answer, but when Elsie discovers Nate’s secret, it puts his job as camp foreman in jeopardy. Tutoring leads to friendship and romance, until a string of suspicious fires casts a dark shadow over their relationship. Can they find answers before all of their dreams go up in smoke?

*****

Two books on my TBR shelf (The Cottage and The Legacy by Michael Phillips) did not get read before we headed to the Shetland Islands a month ago. I regret not reading them, but my trip has inspired me to move them closer to the top of the pile of the have-to-reads. They are part of a series, and if you haven’t read book 1, The Inheritance, I urge you to do so.

*****

The Inheritance by Michael Phillips

The death of the clan patriarch has thrown the tiny Shetland Islands community of Whales Reef into turmoil. Everyone assumed MacGregor Tulloch’s heir to be his grand-nephew David, a local favorite, but when it is discovered that MacGregor left no will, David’s grasping cousin Hardy submits his own claim to the inheritance, an estate that controls most of the island’s land. And while Hardy doesn’t enjoy much popular support, he has the backing of a shadowy group of North Sea oil investors. The courts have frozen the estate’s assets while the competing claims are investigated, leaving many of the residents in financial limbo. The future of the island–and its traditional way of life–hangs in the balance.

Loni Ford is enjoying her rising career in a large investment firm in Washington, DC. Yet in spite of her outward success, she is privately plagued by questions of identity. Orphaned as a young child, she was raised by her paternal grandparents, and while she loves them dearly, she feels completely detached from her roots. That is until a mysterious letter arrives from a Scottish solicitor. . . .

Past and present collide in master storyteller Phillips’s dramatic new saga of loss and discovery, of grasping and grace, and of the dreams of men and women everywhere.

*****

I’m not sure where our next adventure will take us. There’s been some talk about Iceland in the late winter to see the northern lights and maybe a return to Alaska next summer. We do have a shorter, less ambitious trip planned in a few days. We are headed to Kentucky for a football game and a visit to The Ark Encounter and Creation Museum. I’m glad I did some advance reading years ago! 😉

*****

The Heavens Before by Kacy Barnett-Gramckow

Marginalized by society and mistreated by her own family, Annah befriends a young man she’s never seen before. Shem is captivated by Annah’s courage, and he risks everything to help her gain her freedom. Trusting in the Most High, Annah marries Shem and joins her strange new family in their solitary faith that will ultimately separate them from an ancient world of amazing beauty and appalling violence–a world fast approaching the unimaginable catastrophe of the Great Flood. Out of this chaos, only eight people will survive. Their world is our world. Their future is our own. 

For more great vacation reading, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Series Spotlight — Faith Valley by Betsy Ramsey

10 Oct

I love an indie bookstore! Book Bound Bookstore in Blairsville, Georgia has it going on! With adult and kids book clubs, fun events for readers, and book signings, it is the perfect place for all your bookish dreams to come true! About a month ago I had the pleasure of attending a book signing for Shadowy Past, book 2 in the Faith Valley series by Betsy Ramsey. Not only did I get a signed copy of a book, I came home with lunch! Featured in the book are recipes that were re-created by The Bean Pod Shoppe, another fabulous small town gem.

Two books are available in this small town mystery series — Shadowy Love and Shadowy Past. Find out all the details below. And if you are ever in Blairsville, Georgia, make sure to put Book Bound Bookstore and The Bean Pod Shoppe on you itinerary!

Living in a small town can be sad, funny, educational and inspiring. Faith Valley is a peaceful community in the North Georgia mountains. Identical twins and their husbands appear to have taken early retirement from federal jobs. They are actually agents who work undercover when called out on assignments. Their code name is MC4. Trying to keep a secret in a small town is a challenge, but so far their true identities are safe. The first crime involves a break in and a cast iron skillet. Then, a woman and her children relocate to escape an obsessed stalker. Other crimes occur and a 40 year old cold case is solved using a different technique. Before it is over, all will be tested. Love may also be in the air as the local church has hired a young, handsome and single Music Minister. The casserole brigade is in full swing. Between waiting to see if the stalker will appear, the MC4 team going on assignments, possible romances, and other crimes, the locals are trying to understand what is happening to their town. When it is all over, will peace reign once more?

Welcome back to Faith Valley. The small, North Georgia town recovered from all that happened last fall and now spring is on the way. Amelia and Celia, identical twins, and their husbands Ryan and Mac, are secret federal agents known as the MC4 team. The retirees continue to go on ‘vacations’ to work undercover and catch criminals. Who is the Mystery Angel who is providing needed funds to the community and individuals? Live is in the air but an abusive ex-husband returns to the area with a dangerous plan to get his ex-wife back. Other criminals plan to disturb the peaceful town. Will they succeed?

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

Betsy Ramsey did not realize that she had been blessed with a criminal mind until she began assisting victims of crime. Through divine intervention she has an amazing career that includes becoming a founder of a domestic violence program, traveling across America and to Canada to train law enforcement and other professionals on stalking, responding to provide crisis intervention at the Olympic Bomb in Atlanta in 1996, to Washington, DC after 9/11 and to other acts of violence. She is part of a team that meets with representatives of other countries as they prepare for an International event and/or the possibility of terrorist attacks. She is also an expert with The Cold Case Investigative Research Institute (CCIRI), a non-profit that is based at Argosy University in Atlanta, GA and is comprised of colleges across the United States. She co-authored a college textbook entitled Cold Case – Pathways to Justice with Sheryl McCollum. 

Betsy has developed a danger radar and talks about signs of danger in her stalking training. An attendee at a conference said that if she dropped her napkin at lunch and reached down to pick it up, half the room would dive under the table because they would think she was taking cover. She developed a stalking protocol for the State of Georgia and is the recipient of numerous local, state and national awards and recognition.

Top 10 Tuesday — Fall TBR

20 Sep

I can’t wait until it is Fall here in the sunny South. High temperatures are still in the mid-80s where I live, but we have had a hint of cool-ish air in the mornings. Not enough to declare it is sweater weather, but it’s promising. 😉 I have a lot of great books on my TBR list spanning a number of genres. There should be something on my list to pique everyone’s interest!

For more Fall TBR Lists, head to That Artsy Reader Girl.

Fall TBR List

Concrete Evidence by DiAnn Mills

Crossfire by Lynette Eason

Dangerous Beauty by Melissa Koslin

Deception by Patricia Bradley

The Lady’s Mine by Francine Rivers

A Night to Remember by Danny and Wanda Pelfrey

The Premonition at Withers Farm by Jaime Jo Wright

A Stranger’s Game by Colleen Coble

Turn to Me by Becky Wade

Where The Blue Sky Begins by Katie Powner

Happy Release Day! — A Night to Remember

14 Sep

Happy release day to Danny and Wanda Pelfrey. The first book in the new Adairsville Heritage Mystery series, A Night to Remember, is now available. If you are a fan of mysteries set in small towns, then you need to check this one out! Note: the book’s setting is real life Adairsville, Georgia!

Riley Gordan is back in Adairsville, Georgia anticipating a leisurely vacation from the rigors of law school with her college friend, Trish. Then, as part of a political plot, one of her Sunday School girls is kidnapped. Stumbling upon the abduction, Riley and her friends are drawn headfirst into a search for the girl.

Their probe leads them into a fast paced and dangerous string of encounters that include a Neanderthal named Houston, searches in some of the most hazardous places in North Georgia, a green Kia Soul, an old man with a big gun, and ultimately murder.

It is an adventure that provides some unusual twists and turns and is highlighted by a beautiful relationship between an old baseball player entering politics and a spunky adolescent who are jointly known around town as “Nate and The Kid.”

Danny along with his wife, Wanda, is currently writing mysteries with a message set in Adairsville, Georgia. Four volumes in the Davis Morgan Mystery series are available. A new series, The Adairsville Heritage mystery series, now occupies much of his time. He is also active in the areas of inspiration and Georgia history. Danny is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Recently released, WHATEVER HAPPENED TO EVANGELISM?, is creating a significant stir.