Tag Archives: mystery fiction

Book Review: Murder, Forgotten

1 Dec

I love a good mystery, one I can lose myself in as I puzzle along with the main character. I found exactly this in Murder, Forgotten by Deb Richardson-Moore. I really liked this one — recommended!

Julianna Burke, bestselling mystery novelist, has a secret that those closest to her are hiding from the world. Julianna is losing her memory, and with it her powerful gift for storytelling that propelled her to fame. 

A further devastating blow comes when Connor, Julianna’s beloved husband, is murdered. Even this is not something Julianna’s mind can hold on to, and every day her assistant has to break the heart-wrenching news all over again. 

Julianna is desperate to know what happened to her husband. As she battles her failing mind to investigate, a detail of the murder surfaces that makes Julianna question everything she’s ever known. Somehow she must fight to find the truth, even though her grip on reality is fading . . .

Deb Richardson-Moore was a reporter for The Greenville (SC) News for 27 years before earning a Master of Divinity degree and becoming pastor of the Triune Mercy Center, a non-denominational mission church with outreach to Greenville’s homeless population.

Her first book, The Weight of Mercy, chronicled her first three turbulent years among her homeless congregants.
When her publisher (Lion Hudson LLC in England) asked for a second book, Deb pivoted to fiction and wrote a murder mystery that has a homeless encampment as a backdrop. The Cantaloupe Thief is a puzzling whodunit that explores what happens when an entire group of people is unseen, unheard, unrecognized.

Deb is a graduate of Wake Forest University and Erskine Theological Seminary. She and her husband, Vince, have three grown children, and live in Greenville, SC.

My Impressions:

Murder, Forgotten is a complex murder mystery featuring a best-selling murder mystery author. The premise is great — can or would a mystery author murder someone and get away with it? Or even remember it — Juliana is suffering from some form of dementia. Most of the story is told from the author’s daughter’s POV and has all the second-guessing and mixed feelings you would expect. I had my suspicions from the start, but this book has so many twists and unexpected turns that they often got thrown out the window. The cast of characters are well-developed, you just don’t know whom to trust! 😉 Besides the puzzling mystery, Murder, Forgotten has a wonderful setting — actually two wonderful settings. The rugged coast of Scotland has a short-lived presence, but it made me want to jump on a plane! The warmer beach house setting makes up the bulk of the book and is a powerful presence as it represents the family dynamics.

Murder, Forgotten was all I could hope for in a murder mystery. It’s a great choice for a long weekend read.

Recommended.

Audience: Adults.

(Thanks to NetGalley for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own.)

Book Review: The Inn on Hanging Hill

15 Nov

Ever since I discovered Nancy Drew, I have loved a good mystery. Author Christy Barritt ranks right up there in my favorites — her mysteries are varied and plentiful. I recently read The Inn on Hanging Hill, book 2 in the Beach House Mystery series and thoroughly enjoyed it. Find out all the details below.

Lindsey Waters never wanted to return to the seaside inn where she grew up. Too many traumatic memories haunt the place, both from her childhood and from days gone by. But with guilt relentlessly chasing her after a tragic choice, she’s desperate for a fresh start.

Mysterious incidents begin plaguing the inn—dangerous incidents—that make it clear someone wants to scare Lindsey away. But why? Does it have anything to do with the two weeks missing from her memory when she was abducted at age twelve?

Childhood friend Benjamin Newsom seems like an answer to prayer when he shows up to work as a handyman. But something is different about him, something Lindsey can’t put her finger on. She’s certain Benjamin harbors secrets.

As peril continues to close in, Lindsey must decide if she wants to face her past or run. She doesn’t know whom she can trust, and whatever choices she makes will determine if she lives or if she becomes part of the inn’s tragic legacy.

Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub

USA Today has called Christy Barritt‘s books “scary, funny, passionate, and quirky.”

A USA Today and Publishers Weekly best-seller, Christy writes both mystery and romantic suspense novels that are clean with underlying messages of faith. Her books have sold more than three million copies, one has been made into a TV movie, and another is being developed for a TV series. 

Christy’s books have won the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Suspense and Mystery, have been twice nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, and have finaled for both a Carol Award and Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year.

She’s married to her prince charming, a man who thinks she’s hilarious–but only when she’s not trying to be. Christy’s a self-proclaimed klutz, an avid music lover who’s known for spontaneously bursting into song, and a road trip aficionado. 

Christy currently splits her time between the Virginia suburbs and Hatteras Island, North Carolina. She loves spending time with her husband, her two sons, and her four dogs. 

For more information, visit her website: http://www.christybarritt.com.

My Impressions:

When I need a mystery fix, I know I can rely on Christy Barritt to deliver. Her books can be funny or deadly serious, but are always page turners. Her latest in the Beach House Mystery series is definitely one I would recommend. She has the creepy house vibe down with The Inn on Hanging Hill. (Even the title promises a shivery reading experience.) The story takes place on the Eastern Shore of Virginia at a long neglected inn with history. It’s been 15 years since Lindsey has been there — after her abduction and mysterious return, her parents and she left, never to return. Now Lindsey has taken on the task of rehabbing the building and finding answers to just who was responsible for her kidnapping. Joining her is her long lost friend from those years at the inn, Benjamin. But as threats surface, things are not what they seem. I loved the two main characters. Each were very likable. They faced each danger with determination to get to the bottom of all that was happening. There is no shortage of suspects, but Barritt surprised me. Everyone, it seems, has a motive for the unsolved abduction and the present-day threats. The creepy/beach-y setting was fun and the romance between Lindsey and Benjamin was sweet, but it was the puzzle that kept me engaged. I did not see the ending coming!

I gather from the description of book one in the series, The Cottage on Ghost Lane, that The Inn on Hanging Hill is a standalone novel. But I had so much fun reading it, that the previous book is now on my TBR list. 🙂

Recommended.

Audience: Adults.

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

Top 10 Tuesday — First Character Lines

9 Nov

The last 2+ weeks have been a whirlwind around here with both expected and unexpected travel. I have been out of town many more days than at home — lots of catching up to do! All that to say I have chosen the easy way out with my TTT list. Memorable character quotes is being twisted to a variation on first lines — the first sentence uttered by a character. All the books featured today are on my near future TBR list. I hope you find a book that piques your interest.

For more memorable character quotes, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Character First Lines

“And King David, a warrior poet, cried out to God, ‘Out of my distress I called upon the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.'”

“You’ll never believe it, but I discovered two more diaries!” Miss Cora’s voice wavered, but even at ninety-two it had not lost its cultured tone.

“Thanks for coming with me today. I needed this.”

“What are you doing, Miss Travers?”

“We shouldn’t be doing this.” Lindsey Waters whispered as she stood in the dark hallway next to her sometimes friend, sometimes enemy, and all-the-time troublemaker.

“I’m green with envy! Paris is the most beautiful city in Europe!”

“It will be over soon, little Hebrew,” said the man with painted lips, blood-red and curving with false tenderness.

“Seif, you will send your child to this school?”

The last child, a girl with wide brown eyes and a riot of red curls trailed her hand over the robe. “It’s softer than I thought it’d be.”

“You’ve got manure in your hair, Gerrit,” Luisa whispered, her Italian accent still strong even after thirty years in the States.

Book Review: A Noble Calling

8 Nov

A Noble Calling by Rhona Weaver was a Christy Award nominee for First Novel. Since it is a mystery (my favorite genre) and set in Yellowstone (I visited in September), I said yes please to reading it. It was a great book to read in preparation for my Yellowstone vacation. Check out all the details and my thoughts below.

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.

Rhona Weaver is a retired swamp and farmland appraiser who had a thirty-five-year career in agricultural real estate and founded a program for at-risk children in Arkansas. She is a graduate of the University of Arkansas, a Sunday School teacher, and an avid gardener. Growing up on a cattle farm in the Ozarks gave her a deep appreciation of the outdoors and wildlife. Her ideal vacation spot is a state or national park. Her novel draws on her love of the land and her deep admiration for the men and women in our law enforcement community who truly share a noble calling. Those park rangers, FBI agents, and other first responders are her heroes. Rhona’s husband, Bill Temple, is a retired Special Agent in Charge and Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI; he helped immeasurably with researching the book. Rhona and Bill live in Arkansas on a ridge with a view with three contented rescue cats. A Noble Calling is Rhona’s debut novel and the first in the FBI Yellowstone Adventure series. Please visit her website, http://www.rhonaweaver.com.

My Impressions:

I love a good mystery, and Noble Calling by Rhona Weaver is that. FBI agent Win Tyler has been posted to Yellowstone National Park as punishment for being part of an investigation gone wrong. While others have left the FBI, Win knows he should be happy he still has a career, but Yellowstone is a dead end job. What should have been a road to obscurity turns out to be one of his biggest cases.

Win is a very likable character. He is charming, smart, and determined. He is also not very careful. I found that to be a flaw in his development. Although it allowed progression of the story, I found it a bit unbelievable that he gets caught without a weapon so often. Did it take away from my enjoyment of the book? No. But it did make it a little less credible. Win gets into a lot of interesting situations in which he proves himself resourceful and savvy. He is truly the hero of this story. I did find Win’s spiritual journey very credible. He has past regrets for turning away from God, but through this new chapter in his life he seeks to restore his connection with God. I liked that his family relationships helped to bring him back to faith. There are other characters who are also a big part of breaking the case in question, and I liked how Weaver developed them. The Yellowstone setting was wonderful. I read this book prior to a trip there and found Weaver’s descriptions spot-on. When I drove into Mammoth Hot Springs, I felt like I would see Win strolling the sidewalks along with the tourists. The mystery is puzzling, although the reader knows who the bad guys are early on. You just don’t know how its all going to turn out. The book is long (500+ pages), which is unusual for a mystery. While it did slow down in the middle, at the end I was furiously turning the pages.

Overall, I really liked Noble Calling. I hope Weaver has a few more adventures for Win Tyler. I really would like to tag along. 😉

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

2021 Christy Award Finalists

5 Oct

Congratulations to the 2021 Christy Award Finalists! So many books to add to your TBR list! 😉

Contemporary Romance

Just Like Home by Courtney Walsh

Some Bright Someday by Melissa Tagg

Stay with Me by Becky Wade

First Novel

A Noble Calling by Rhona Weaver

The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox

Rain by Dana McNeely

Roots of Wood And Stone by Amanda Wen

General Fiction

Set The Stars Alight by Amanda Dykes

The Water Keeper by Charles Martin

The Way It Should Be by Christina Suzann Nelson

Historical

Like Flames in The Night by Connilyn Cossette

Under The Tulip Tree by Michelle Shocklee

The White Rose Resists by Amanda Barratt

Historical Romance

A Portrait of Loyalty by Roseanna M. White

Prince of Spies by Elizabeth Camden

When Twilight Breaks by Sarah Sundin

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

Point of Origin by Lisa Harris and Lynne Gentry

Relative Silence by Carrie Stuart Parks

Unknown Threat by Lynn H. Blackburn

Short Form

A Match Made at Christmas by Courtney Walsh

Joy to The World: Far As The Curse Is Found by Amanda Barratt

Joy to The World: Wonders of His Love by Erica Vetsch

Speculative

Extinction Island by Janice Boekhoff

Forsaken Island by Sharon Hinck

The Story Hunter by Lindsay A. Franklin

Young Adult

Dust by Kara Swanson

Moral Sight by Sandra Fernandez Rhoads

Rebel Daughter by Lori Banov Kaufmann

Top 10 Tuesday — Book World Problems

5 Oct

My husband and I often joke that many of our frustrations, annoyances, and irritations are First World Problems. In that spirit, I have decided to twist the TTT prompt of Bookish Pet Peeves to Book World Problems. In a world with so many book options and the reality of not enough time to read All The Books, I cringe at the number of books I have to leave on the shelf. But I am determined to whittle down the TBR, and with this list, increase yours! LOL!

For more bookish pet peeves be sure to check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Book World Problems

Finding a debut author I love and acknowledging I have to read all her subsequent books!

Kimberly Duffy

Finding a new-to-me author, and discovering he has a backlist.

Tom Threadgill

Having just one more book in a series to read, yet can’t find time to read it!

Maybe It’s You by Candace Calvert

The Solid Grounds Coffee Company by Carla Laureano

Portrait of Vengeance by Carrie Stuart Parks

Waiting on an author to finish a series. Yes, I am looking at you, Heather Day Gilbert! 😉

Heather Day Gilbert

What are some of your Book World Problems?

Spotlight — Circumvent

27 Sep

Circumvent JustRead Blog + Review Tour

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for Circumvent by S. K. Derban, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Circumvent

Title: Circumvent
Author: S. K. Derban
Publisher: TouchPoint Press
Release Date: November 9, 2017
Genre: Clean Read Mystery

When perfection turns to panic an isolated couple must learn:

“For we walk by faith, not by sight…”

Imagine living in a quaint, beach-front cottage on the Hawaiian island of Maui. You have an amazing job, combined with the pleasure of working from home. Lunch breaks become a daily picnic on the sand. Dessert is always included because of your marriage to a famous pastry chef. Life could not be any better. Or so it seems…

French-born, Nikki Sabine Moueix travels to Hawaii for a special work assignment, but the job of writing an article about a famous Swiss pastry chef generates more than a magazine piece. They fall in love, get married, and Nikki Moueix becomes Mrs. Ruggiero Delémont.

When another assignment calls for Nikki to spend three weeks in France, Ruggiero’s schedule prevents him from joining her. She travels alone, advancing straight into danger. After a threatening confrontation, Nikki wakes up in a French hospital with no knowledge of her past. After she fails to check in, Ruggiero panics and pushes for an immediate investigation. But as he closes in, Nikki’s new found friend moves her to another city. It becomes a game of hide and seek with Nikki as the prize.

CIRCUMVENT allows readers to form a bond with Nikki as they yearn for her to remember. They will cheer for Ruggiero and his relentless determination to locate his beloved wife. This is a story about two people who never lose their faith in God, and find amazing friends to help them along the way.

EXCERPT

Nikki never expected her route to be void of people, and yet, surprisingly her neck hairs bristled when she heard footsteps from behind. While keeping her pace constant, she glanced over her shoulder and spotted a man who looked vaguely family. I know him from somewhere. Still not certain, and feeling a strange vulnerability, she increased her stride. From the sound of his footsteps Nikki could tell the man had also sped, and was gaining on her. Fear galvanized her when she suddenly heard him break into a run.

Nikki gathered her inner strength, then stopped, and turned to confront the man. She focused on his features and finally remembered. “It’s you! You’re from Maui,” she accused. “You drove the airport shuttle. What are you doing here in France, and why are you following me?”

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


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

S.K. Derban

S.K. Derban resides with her husband in Southern California. Although born in the United States she moved to London within the first three months, and remained in England until the age of five. Her father, an American citizen, was a decorated veteran of the Second World War. Her British mother was involved with the London Royal Ballet Company, and a great fan of the arts. After returning to the United States, Derban’s life remained filled with a love of the theatre, and a passion for British murder mysteries.

S.K. Derban’s personal travel and missionary escapades are readily apparent as they shine through into her characters. Readers are often transported virtually across the globe. She has traveled to Hong Kong on five separate occasions to smuggle Bibles into China, and has been to Israel on seven missionary trips. Derban’s other adventures include visits to Bangkok, Greece, Egypt, Italy, and the Caribbean.

Beginning with her faith in the Lord, S.K. Derban relies on all aspects of her life when writing. She hopes her books will allow readers to go on holiday without having to pack!

CONNECT WITH S. K.: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(4) winners will receive a signed copy of Circumvent and a $25 Amazon gift card!

Circumvent 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 September 27, 2021 and lasts through 11:59 PM EST on October 4, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


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

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

2021 Carol Award Winners!

11 Sep

Congratulations to the talented authors who are this year’s winners of the ACFW Carol Award. I hope your TBR wishlist just got longer! 😉

2021 Carol Award Winners

Contemporary

The Promised Land by Elizabeth Musser; Bethany House (Baker) Publishing; Editor: L. B. Norton

Historical

Things We Didn’t Say by Amy Lynn Green; Bethany House (Baker) Publishing; Editors: Dave Horton and Rochelle Gloege

Historical Romance

Like Flames in the Night by Connilyn Cossette; Bethany House (Baker) Publishing; Editors: Raela Schoenherr and Jennifer Veilleux

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

Dead End by Nancy Mehl; Bethany House (Baker) Publishing; Editors: Raela Schoenherr and Jean Bloom

Novella

Far as the Curse is Found (from The Joy to the World Collection) by Amanda Barratt; Kregel Publications; Editors: Janyre Tromp and Dori De Vries Harrell

Romance

Love and A Little White Lie by Tammy L. Gray; Bethany House (Baker) Publishing; Editor: Raela Schoenherr

Romantic Suspense

Lost Down Deep by Sara Davison; ACFW QIP (Qualified Independently Published); Editors: Ines Jimenez and Deb Elkink

Short Novel

The Christmas Bargain by Lisa Carter; Love Inspired (Harlequin); Editor: Melissa Endlich

Speculative

Stealing Embers by Julie Hall; ACFW QIP (Qualified Independently Published); Editors: Rebecca Heyman and Janelle Leonard

Young Adult

Mortal Sight by Sandra Fernandez Rhoads; Enclave Publishing; Editors: Steve Laube and Lisa Laube

Debut Author

Things We Didn’t Say by Amy Lynn Green; Bethany House (Baker) Publishing; Editors: Dave Horton and Rochelle Gloege

If You Liked . . . Surviving Savannah

31 Aug

My book club liked Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan. Some said they liked it more than they expected. It has a good mix of historical detail and modern-day mystery and the strong female characters appealed to us. Its southern setting didn’t hurt 😉 . If you liked it too, here are a few more reading recommendations.

The Dress Shop on King Street by Ashley Clark

Harper Dupree has pinned all her hopes on a future in fashion design. But when it comes crashing down around her, she returns home to Fairhope, Alabama, and to Millie, the woman who first taught her how to sew. As Harper rethinks her own future, long-hidden secrets about Millie’s past are brought to light.

In 1946, Millie Middleton — the daughter of an Italian man and a Black woman — boarded a train and left Charleston to keep half of her heritage hidden. She carried with her two heirloom buttons and the dream of owning a dress store. She never expected to meet a charming train jumper who changed her life forever . . . and led her yet again to a heartbreaking choice about which heritage would define her future.

Now, together, Harper and Millie return to Charleston to find the man who may hold the answers they seek . . . and a chance at the dress shop they’ve both dreamed of. But it’s not until all appears lost that they see the unexpected ways to mend what frayed between the seams.

Hope Between The Pages by Pepper Basham

Uncover the Story Behind a One-Hundred-Year-Old Love Letter

Clara Blackwell helps her mother manage a struggling one-hundred-year old family bookshop in Asheville, North Carolina, but the discovery of a forgotten letter opens a mystery of a long-lost romance and undiscovered inheritance which could save its future. Forced to step outside of her predictable world, Clara embarks on an adventure with only the name Oliver as a hint of the man’s identity in her great-great-grandmother’s letter. From the nearby grand estate of the Vanderbilts, to a hamlet in Derbyshire, England, Clara seeks to uncover truth about family and love that may lead to her own unexpected romance.

The Lady in Residence by Allison Pittman

Can a Legacy of Sadness be Broken at the Menger Hotel?

Young widow Hedda Krause checks into the Menger Hotel in 1915 with a trunk full of dresses, a case full of jewels, and enough cash to pay for a two-month stay, which she hopes will be long enough to meet, charm, and attach herself to a new, rich husband. Her plans are derailed when a ghostly apparition lures her into a long, dark hallway, and Hedda returns to her room to find her precious jewelry has been stolen. She falls immediately under a cloud of suspicion with her haunting tale, but true ghost enthusiasts bring her expensive pieces of jewelry in an attempt to lure the ghost to appear again.

In 2017, Dini Blackstone is a fifth-generation magician, who performs at private parties, but she also gives ghost walk tours, narrating the more tragic historical events of San Antonio with familial affection. Above all, her favorite is the tale of Hedda Krause who, in Dini’s estimation, succeeded in perpetrating the world’s longest con, dying old and wealthy from her ghost story. But then Dini meets Quinn Carmichael, great-great-grandson of the detective who originally investigated Hedda’s case, who’s come to the Alamo City with a box full of clues that might lead to Hedda’s exoneration. Can Dini see another side of the story that is worthy of God’s grace?

Top 10 Tuesday — Hunky Heroes

31 Aug

Happy Tuesday! Today’s Top 10 topic is fictional crushes. I rarely have a crush on a character, but I can recognize a hunky hero a mile away. 😉 My definition of a hunkster may differ from yours, but generally they are brave, all in, easy on the eyes kinds of guys. They usually have a sensitive side too. As in real life, it is the heart that matters. To come up with my list I put hunky in the search bar of the blog and chose the first 10 books in which I used hunky in the review — it’s all very scientific over here! Hunky is definitely in the eye of the beholder, but you will find them in a variety of genres — romance, suspense, historical, cozy mystery — and with a variety of occupations — farmer, 19th century naval officer, author, and tech geek, to name a few. I hope you find a hunk and a book to love!

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

Top Hunky Heroes

Before I Called You Mine by Nicole Deese

The Christmas Swap by Melody Carlson

Flood Watch by Christy Barritt

The Forgotten Life of Evelyn Lewis by Jane Rubietta

The Liberty Bride by MaryLu Tyndall

Living Lies by Natalie Walters

No Safe Place by Sherri Shackleford

Prose And Cons by Amanda Flower

The Red Ribbon by Pepper Basham

Sweet on You by Becky Wade