Tag Archives: romantic suspense fiction

Top 10 Tuesday — Summer TBR

15 Jun

It is definitely summer here in the sunny South. High temps are in the 90s, and I am melting on my morning walks! But that’s what I signed up for! We endure in the air conditioning and under the umbrella next to the pool. And a good book to take you away is always welcome.

Today’s Top 10 Tuesday list includes some of the books I am reading this summer. My TBR list is short, but I will be reading more than is on my current list — I am keeping my options flexible this summer. For more fun summer reading, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Books on My Summer TBR

The August surprise selection for By The Book is Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan. We are excited to read this dual timeline novel set in one of our favorite cities.

When Savannah history professor Everly Winthrop is asked to guest-curate a new museum collection focusing on artifacts recovered from the steamship Pulaski, she’s shocked. The ship sank after a boiler explosion in 1838, and the wreckage was just discovered, 180 years later. Everly can’t resist the opportunity to try to solve some of the mysteries and myths surrounding the devastating night of its sinking.

Everly’s research leads her to the astounding history of a family of eleven who boarded the Pulaskitogether, and the extraordinary stories of two women from this family: a known survivor, Augusta Longstreet, and her niece, Lilly Forsyth, who was never found, along with her child. These aristocratic women were part of Savannah’s society, but when the ship exploded, each was faced with difficult and heartbreaking decisions. This is a moving and powerful exploration of what women will do to endure in the face of tragedy, the role fate plays, and the myriad ways we survive the surviving.

A small group of my friends formed IWBC (Interesting Women Book Club — for the books were are reading and of course us 😉 . The Only Woman in The Room by Marie Benedict fits that bill. I am going to lobby hard to read it, but if I get outvoted, I am still going to read this intriguing book.

Her beauty almost certainly saved her from the rising Nazi party and led to marriage with an Austrian arms dealer. Underestimated in everything else, she overheard the Third Reich’s plans while at her husband’s side and understood more than anyone would guess. She devised a plan to flee in disguise from their castle, and the whirlwind escape landed her in Hollywood. She became Hedy Lamarr, screen star.

But she kept a secret more shocking than her heritage or her marriage: she was a scientist. And she had an idea that might help the country fight the Nazis and revolutionize modern communication . . . if anyone would listen to her.

A powerful book based on the incredible true story of the glamour icon and scientist, The Only Woman in the Room is a masterpiece that celebrates the many women in science that history has overlooked.

My daughter is reading C. S. LewisSpace Trilogy. She gave book 1, Out of The Silent Planet to my husband, and I downloaded it from Audible (it was included in my subscription). I am hoping our 4th of July celebration will include the 1st Family Book Club. Wish me luck! I had a hard enough time getting my kids to read certain books when they were kids. Now that they are adults . . . .

Out of the Silent Planet is the first novel of the Cosmic Trilogy, considered to be C.S. Lewis’ chief contribution to the science fiction genre. The trilogy concerns Dr. Ransom, a linguist, who, like Christ, was offered a ransom for mankind. The first two novels are planetary romances with elements of medieval mythology. Each planet is seen as having a tutelary spirit; those of the other planets are both good and accessible, while that of Earth is fallen, twisted, and not known directly by most humans. The story is powerfully imagined, and the effects of lesser gravity on Martian planet and animal life is vividly rendered.

Two review books are up for July — The Nature of Small Birds by Susie Finkbeiner and The Chase by Lisa Harris. I can’t wait to dig into both of those books.

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.

US Marshal Madison James may not be sure who shot her three months ago, but she does know one thing — it’s time to get back out into the field. When her partner, Jonas Quinn, receives a message that a federal warrant just came in on a man connected to a string of bank robberies, Madison jumps at the chance to get back to work. What she and Jonas find is a bank robbery in progress that’s gone wrong — and things are about to get worse.

For these bank robbers, it’s never been just about the money. It’s about taking risks and adrenaline rushes, and getting caught is not part of the game. When the suspects escape, Madison and Jonas must hunt them down and bring them to justice before someone else — someone close to them — gets hurt . . . or worse.

From Seattle to the San Juan Islands, bestselling author Lisa Harris takes you on a nonstop chase where feelings are complicated and failure isn’t an option.

What are you reading this summer?

Top 10 Tuesday — I Want More!

8 Jun

This week’s Top 10 Challenge is books that made us want more. For my list I went to my past If You Liked . . . posts. Every month I take my book club’s selection and list more novels that feature some of the same elements as the book we just read. For today’s list I have chosen a variety of genres — something for every reading taste. I hope you find some books to love. (And for more reading recommendations, you can find past posts by clicking on the If You Liked . . . link in the side bar.)

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

If You Liked . . .

The Escape by Lisa Harris


US Marshals Madison James and Jonas Quinn are thrust into a high-profile case when they are called on to transport two prisoners across the country on a private plane. But when the plane experiences engine trouble en route from the Pacific Northwest to Colorado, the pilots crash-land the aircraft deep in the heart of the sprawling Salmon-Challis National Forest. 

When Madison and Jonas regain consciousness, they find both pilots and one prisoner dead–and one fugitive on the run. They’ll have to negotiate the rugged and remote backcountry through Idaho, Wyoming, and Colorado while tracking a murderer who is desperate to disappear–and will do anything to stop them.

This high-octane game of cat-and-mouse from bestselling and award-winning author Lisa Harris will have your heart pumping as you try to catch a fugitive with nothing to lose.

US Marshall Service — Seconds to Live by Susan Sleeman

Strong Female Character — Network of Deceit by Tom Threadgill

Edge of Seat Suspense – Fatal Strike by DiAnn Mills

The Woman in The Green Dress by Tea Cooper

A cursed opal, a gnarled family tree, and a sinister woman in a green dress emerge in the aftermath of World War I.

After a whirlwind romance, London teashop waitress Fleur Richards can’t wait for her new husband, Hugh, to return from the Great War. But when word of his death arrives on Armistice Day, Fleur learns he has left her a sizable family fortune. Refusing to accept the inheritance, she heads to his beloved home country of Australia in search of the relatives who deserve it more.

In spite of her reluctance, she soon finds herself the sole owner of a remote farm and a dilapidated curio shop full of long-forgotten artifacts, remarkable preserved creatures, and a mystery that began more than sixty-five years ago. With the help of Kip, a repatriated soldier dealing with the sobering aftereffects of war, Fleur finds herself unable to resist pulling on the threads of the past. What she finds is a shocking story surrounding an opal and a woman in a green dress. . . a story that, nevertheless, offers hope and healing for the future.

Exotic Locale — A Mosaic of Wings by Kimberly Duffy

Curiosities and Mystery — Lady of A Thousand Treasures by Sandra Byrd

Interwoven Dual Timelines — The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright

Living Lies by Natalie Walters

In the little town of Walton, Georgia, everybody knows your name — but no one knows your secret. At least that’s what Lane Kent is counting on when she returns to her hometown with her five-year-old son. Dangerously depressed after the death of her husband, Lane is looking for hope. What she finds instead is a dead body.

Lane must work with Walton’s newest deputy, Charlie Lynch, to uncover the truth behind the murder. But when that truth hits too close to home, she’ll have to decide if saving the life of another is worth the cost of revealing her darkest secret.

Debut novelist Natalie Walters pulls you to the edge of your seat on the first page and keeps you there until the last in this riveting story that will have you believing no one is defined by their past.

Suspense in A Small Town — Trial by Fire by Kathy Herman

Heroine with Struggles — Fragments of Fear by Carrie Stuart Parks

PTSD — Without Warning by Lynette Eason

Magnolia Storms by Janet W. Ferguson

Maggie Marovich couldn’t save her father or her home from Hurricane Katrina, but she’s dedicated her life to meteorology so she can warn others when the monster storms approach. Except . . . she works three hours inland and rarely risks returning to her childhood hometown of Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Both her single-parent sister and the ship pilot Maggie once loved refused to leave the Coast, despite Maggie’s requests. Now a hurricane’s headed toward Mississippi, and Maggie’s sister is seriously injured, leaving Maggie little choice but to head south — into the storm.

The water and tides flow through Josh Bergeron’s veins, and he can’t imagine giving up piloting — even for the love of his life, the infuriating Magnolia Marovich. He tried to move on without her, marrying and having a child. But after his wife abandons him and his little boy, his career choice is threatened by the weight of his parental responsibilities. Moving next door to Maggie’s sister and sharing their child care seems like the perfect set-up. Until Maggie blows back into town.

Being forced to lean on Josh for help washes up the wreckage in Maggie’s faith. Where was God during the destruction of Katrina? Why do some prayers seem to go unanswered? Between the hurricane looming in the Gulf and another gale raging in her heart, can Maggie overcome her past and find the trust to truly live?

Importance of Family — Practically Married by Karin Beery

Overcoming Fears — When You Look At Me by Pepper Basham

Past Impacts Present — Hometown Girl by Courtney Walsh

Egypt’s Sister by Angela Hunt

Five decades before the birth of Christ, Chava, daughter of the royal tutor, grows up with Urbi, a princess in Alexandria’s royal palace. When Urbi becomes Queen Cleopatra, Chava vows to be a faithful friend no matter what — but after she and Cleopatra have an argument, she finds herself imprisoned and sold into slavery. 

Torn from her family, her community, and her elevated place in Alexandrian society, Chava finds herself cast off and alone in Rome. Forced to learn difficult lessons, she struggles to trust a promise HaShem has given her. After experiencing the best and worst of Roman society, Chava must choose between love and honor, between her own desires and God’s will for her life. 

The Hebrew People in Egypt — Miriam by Mesu Andrews

More on Cleopatra — The Queen’s Handmaid by Tracy Higley

Remaining Faithful — A Passionate Hope by Jill Eileen Smith

Book Review: Power Play

3 Jun

Wow! What a great ending to the Capital Intrigue series. With Power Play, Rachel Dylan hits it out of the park with non-stop action, sparks aplenty, and a twisting, keep-you-guessing plot. The only downside? The series is finished. Haven’t read this romantic suspense series yet? Now you can get all three books for some wonderful book bingeing!

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

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

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

My Impressions:

When I want romantic suspense, I go to Rachel Dylan. Her Capital Intrigue series has been one of the best in the genre. With the release of Power Play, the series comes to an end. I loved the book — engaging characters that are real and relatable, a twisting plot with lots of suspects, wonderful supporting characters, and non-stop action that kept the characters (and the reader 😉 ) on their toes. The book features not one, but two murders, and the task force made up of members from a variety of agencies are tasked with finding out the connections and whodunit. I have really enjoyed that aspect in this series. In this case we have State Department, FBI, and CIA personnel working the case. It was interesting to see how each went about their investigations. Main characters Vivian and Jacob don’t like each other at first, but the sparks begin to fly as they are assigned to work the case together. The romance in this book is a good counterpoint to all the nefarious goings on. The action increases with the danger, and I could not stop turning the pages. I devoured this book in record time. As always, Dylan interjects a faith element that is natural, not preachy. The ending to the book left me wanting more — more from secondary characters and more great books from Dylan. Not sure I will get my wish on the first, but from experience, I know that my second wish will be granted.

If you haven’t read the first two books in the Capital Intrigue series, let me encourage you to get all three. I guarantee once you have read the first, you won’t want to wait to on the second and third. Look at it this way, you are in for a great book-binge time! 😉

Recommended.

Audience: adults

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

Happy Release Day! — Power Play

1 Jun

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

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

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

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

Other books in the series:

First Line Friday — Power Play

28 May

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

Here’s the first line:

It’s going to be a long night.

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

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

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

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

Top 10 Tuesday — Opening Lines

25 May

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

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

Top 10 Opening Lines

Active Defense by Lynette Eason

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

Never Miss by Melissa Koslin

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

Night Fall By Nancy Mehl

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

Adam hated it.

Obsession by Patricia Bradley

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

On The Cliffs of Foxglove Manor by Jaime Jo Wright

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

The Paris Betrayal by James R. Hannibal

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

Point of Danger by Irene Hannon

The package was ticking.

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

Power Play by Rachel Dylan

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

Unknown Threat by Lynn H. Blackburn

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

Visible Threat by Janice Cantore

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

They were about to dock in America.

Top 10 Tuesday — Nature Covers

11 May

This week Top 10 Tuesday posts are featuring book covers that depict nature. As I was looking for books to include, I was surprised that I could find as many as I did. Most covers feature people. I chose books that depict a setting or key element of the story (some have people, others not). They span genres too.

Do you like book covers that feature nature?

For more Top Ten Tuesday fun, head over to That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top 10 Book Covers Featuring Nature

Blackberry Beach by Irene Hannon

Collision of Lies by Tom Threadgill

The Earl’s Lady Geologist by Alissa Baxter

The Escape by Lisa Harris

For The Love of Joy by Janet Ferguson

Mountain Laurel by Lori Benton

The Nature of Small Birds by Susie Finkbeiner

Present Danger by Elizabeth Goddard

Tidewater Bride by Laura Frantz

Under a Turquoise Sky by Lisa Carter

Top 10 Tuesday — Recent Reads

4 May

After a slow reading year in 2020 and a busy wedding schedule this year, I am trying to get my reading groove back. It’s been a slow process, but I think I am hitting my stride again. That being said, I’m sharing my most recent reads for Top Ten Tuesday this week. Have you read any of these books?

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

Top 10 Recent Reads

Blackberry Beach by Irene Hannon

Code Name Helene by Ariel Lawhon

Facing The Dawn by Cynthia Ruchti

Hope Between The Pages by Pepper Basham

The Lady in Residence by Allison Pittman

More Than Meets The Eye by Karen Witemeyer

Present Danger by Elizabeth Goddard

The Secret Place by Camille Eide

A Tapestry of Light by Kimberly Duffy

Trial And Error by Robert Whitlow

Currently reading:

Aftermath by Terri Blackstock

Circling The Sun by Paula McLain

Whispers in The Branches by Brandy Heineman

If You Liked . . . Trial And Error

30 Apr

While I liked Trial And Error by Robert Whitlow (and so did my husband), my book club had mixed reviews. Some found it slow; others thought its ending was a bit too tidy. For some there just wasn’t enough action. I loved the characters and felt that Whitlow presented them in a realistic manner. For those of you who did like Trial And Error, I have some more reading recommendations. All of these books deal with with missing persons and/or human trafficking as does the main plot of Trial And Error.

Called to Protect by Lynnette Eason

For the past year, Chloe St. John has been working as a K-9 cop with her German shepherd partner, Hank. After being dumped by her fiancé for another woman, Chloe has decided that Hank is just about the only male she likes. She’s over the whole romance thing and focuses her attention on doing her job. Because a serious case of human trafficking with connections to her missing cousin just landed in her lap.

When US Marshall Blake MacCallum’s daughter goes missing, he’s ordered to kill the judge he’s protecting and tell no one about his daughter’s disappearance or she will die. Blake races against the clock to rescue his daughter while Chloe and Hank are asked to be a part of the task force assembled to bring down the traffickers. Chloe finds herself attracted to the silent, suffering man, but thanks to her previous bad judgment, she wonders if she can trust him. And can Blake trust himself around this firecracker of a woman?

Don’t Keep Silent by Elizabeth Goddard

Investigative reporter Rae Burke will do anything to find her missing sister-in-law, even if it means facing Liam McKade, a man who almost lost his life saving hers. A former DEA agent, Liam thought he could find peace at his Wyoming ranch, but he just doesn’t feel at home anywhere anymore. When the reporter who blew his cover on an important investigation inserts herself back into his life, he’s less than thrilled. But Rae’s keen investigative skills have led her down the right path–and directly into the dragon’s mouth–leaving Liam no choice but to protect her. As the danger increases, the past they both tried to flee catches up to them, along with the feelings they once had for each other.

Bestselling and award-winning author Elizabeth Goddard plunges you into a fast-paced, high-stakes story of honor, forgiveness, and justice.

Taken by Dee Henderson

An investigator who knows tragic loss firsthand, and his new client, missing far too long . . .

Abducted at the age of sixteen and coerced into assisting the Jacoby crime family, Shannon Bliss has finally found a way out. She desperately wants to resume some semblance of normal life, but she also knows she has some unfinished business to attend to. She might have enough evidence to put her captors behind bars for a very long time. 

When Shannon contacts private investigator Matthew Dane, a former cop, to help her navigate her reentry into society, he quickly discovers that gaining her freedom doesn’t mean her troubles are over. If the Jacoby family learns she is still alive, they’ll stop at nothing to silence her.

If justice is to be done, and if Shannon’s life is ever to get on track again, Matthew will need to discover exactly what happened to her — even if it means stirring up a hornet’s nest of secrets.

First Line Friday — Never Miss

30 Apr

Happy Friday! After all the months of wedding prep, I am finally getting back my reading rhythm! It’s a struggle, but I have so many great books to finally dig into. One of those is by new-to-me author Melissa Koslin. I received Never Miss a few days ago — it looks so, so good! Here’s the first line(s):

“Sarah Jeane Rogers,” she muttered. “Elizabeth Jeane Jones.” Which ID to use this time?

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

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

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

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

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