Children’s Corner — The Berenstain Bears Bless Our Gramps and Grans

20 Jul

In The Berenstain Bears Bless Our Gramps and Gran, the newest title in The Berenstain Bears Living Lights series, Mama, Papa, and the cubs decide it’s high time they honor Grizzly Gramps and Gran.

It’s almost Grandparents Day and the Bear family has never celebrated this special day before. So working as a team, the cubs, with a little help from Mama and Papa, come up with a fun and creative way to show Gramps and Gran just how much they are loved and appreciated.

To purchase, click HERE.

 

My Impressions: 

The first Sunday after Labor Day has been designated Grandparents Day, and the Berenstain Bears will help you celebrate with Bless Our Gramps And Gran. In this book, the Bear Family shows their appreciation for their grandparents as well as sharing a favorite Bible story with a new perspective. Colorful and fun illustrations accompany the read-along text. Vocabulary is challenging enough for developing readers as they learn about Noah and his family while thinking of ways grandparents add to our lives. Kids will find the story engaging, and adults will have a chuckle or two as the Bear cubs put their own twist on Noah’s family. The book includes ways to celebrate Grandparents Day in your own family or church — love that!

Just in time for Grandparents Day, Bless Our Gramps And Gran is a great addition to your family’s library.

Recommended.

Audience: preschool — 3rd grade and their parents/grandparents.

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

Top 10 Tuesday — Summer Reading Lists

18 Jul

When my children were in High School they had summer reading assignments. I was all —  I wish we had that when I was in school! They were all — meh! LOL! The problem really wasn’t that they were expected to read; I had made forced urged them to do that every summer of their school years. It was more the books that were on the list.

Summer is about to close for kids here in middle Georgia. My home county’s schools start in just 3 short weeks. At this point, my children would just now be cracking open their assigned books. And I would be threatening urging them to get to it. Would it have been different if I could have created the list with books that are entertaining, suspenseful, full of action and passion?  I like to think so.

So here are the books I would put on a summer reading list for High School-aged kids. My list is a mix of Classics and Christian fiction. What do you think?

Top Books for Summer Reading

American History — The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara

“My favorite historical novel . . . a superb re-creation of the Battle of Gettysburg, but its real importance is its insight into what the war was about, and what it meant.”—James M. McPherson
 
In the four most bloody and courageous days of our nation’s history, two armies fought for two conflicting dreams. One dreamed of freedom, the other of a way of life. Far more than rifles and bullets were carried into battle. There were memories. There were promises. There was love. And far more than men fell on those Pennsylvania fields. Bright futures, untested innocence, and pristine beauty were also the casualties of war. Michael Shaara’s Pulitzer Prize – winning masterpiece is unique, sweeping, unforgettable — the dramatic story of the battleground for America’s destiny.

American Literature — A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

The American classic about a young girl’s coming-of-age at the turn of the century.

From the moment she entered the world, Francie needed to be made of stern stuff, for the often harsh life of Williamsburg demanded fortitude, precocity, and strength of spirit. Often scorned by neighbors for her family’s erratic and eccentric behavior-such as her father Johnny’s taste for alcohol and Aunt Sissy’s habit of marrying serially without the formality of divorce-no one, least of all Francie, could say that the Nolans’ life lacked drama. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the Nolans’ daily experiences are tenderly threaded with family connectedness and raw with honesty. Betty Smith has, in the pages of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, captured the joys of humble Williamsburg life-from “junk day” on Saturdays, when the children of Francie’s neighborhood traded their weekly take for pennies, to the special excitement of holidays, bringing cause for celebration and revelry. Betty Smith has artfully caught this sense of exciting life in a novel of childhood, replete with incredibly rich moments of universal experiences — a truly remarkable achievement for any writer.

British History — The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

“One of the best mysteries of all time” (The New York Times)—Josephine Tey recreates one of history’s most famous — and vicious —crimes in her classic bestselling novel, a must read for connoisseurs of fiction, now with a new introduction by Robert Barnard.

Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard, recuperating from a broken leg, becomes fascinated with a contemporary portrait of Richard III that bears no resemblance to the Wicked Uncle of history. Could such a sensitive, noble face actually belong to one of the world’s most heinous villains—a venomous hunchback who may have killed his brother’s children to make his crown secure? Or could Richard have been the victim, turned into a monster by the usurpers of England’s throne? Grant determines to find out once and for all, with the help of the British Museum and an American scholar, what kind of man Richard Plantagenet really was and who killed the Little Princes in the Tower.

The Daughter of Time is an ingeniously plotted, beautifully written, and suspenseful tale, a supreme achievement from one of mystery writing’s most gifted masters.

British Literature — The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

The novel that T. S. Eliot called “the first, the longest, and the best of the modern English detective novels”

Guarded by three Brahmin priests, the Moonstone is a religious relic, the centerpiece in a sacred statue of the Hindu god of the moon. It is also a giant yellow diamond of enormous value, and its temptation is irresistible to the corrupt John Herncastle, a colonel in the British Army in India. After murdering the three guardian priests and bringing the diamond back to England with him, Herncastle bequeaths it to his niece, Rachel, knowing full well that danger will follow. True to its enigmatic nature, the Moonstone disappears from Rachel’s room on the night of her eighteenth birthday, igniting a mystery so intricate and thrilling it has set the standard for every crime novel of the past one hundred fifty years.

Widely recognized, alongside the stories of Edgar Allan Poe, as establishing many of the most enduring conventions of detective fiction, The Moonstone is Wilkie Collins’s masterwork and one of the greatest novels of the nineteenth century.

Current Events — The Beloved Daughter by Alana Terry

In a small North Korean village, a young girl struggles to survive. Catastrophic floods have ravaged her countryside. But it is her father’s faith, not the famine of North Hamyong Province, that most threatens Chung-Cha’s well-being. Is Chung-Cha’s father right to be such a vocal believer? Or is he a fool to bring danger on the head of his only daughter? Chung-Cha is only a girl of twelve and is too young to answer such questions. Yet, she is not too young to face a life of imprisonment and forced labor. Her crime? Being the daughter of a political dissident.

The Beloved Daughter follows Chung-Cha into one of the most notorious prison camps the contemporary free world has known. Will Chung-Cha survive the horrors of Camp 22? And if she does survive, will her faith remain intact?

The Beloved Daughter is Alana Terry’s debut Christian novel and has won awards from Readers’ Favorite, Grace Awards, Women of Faith, The Book Club Network, and others.

Philosophy — The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce is a classic Christian allegorical tale about a bus ride from hell to heaven. An extraordinary meditation upon good and evil, grace and judgment, Lewis’s revolutionary idea in the The Great Divorce is that the gates of Hell are locked from the inside. Using his extraordinary descriptive powers, Lewis’ The Great Divorce will change the way we think about good and evil.

 

 

 

Physics — The Skin Map by Stephen Lawhead

It is the ultimate quest for the ultimate treasure. Chasing a map tattooed on human skin. Across an omniverse of intersecting realities. To unravel the future of the future.

Kit Livingstone’s great-grandfather appears to him in a deserted alley during a tumultuous storm. He reveals an unbelievable story: that the ley lines throughout Britain are not merely the stuff of legend or the weekend hobby of deluded cranks, but pathways to other worlds. To those who know how to use them, they grant the ability to travel the multi-layered universe of which we ordinarily inhabit only a tiny part.

One explorer knew more than most. Braving every danger, he toured both time and space on voyages of heroic discovery. Ever on his guard and fearful of becoming lost in the cosmos, he developed an intricate code—a roadmap of symbols—that he tattooed onto his own body. This Skin Map has since been lost in time. Now the race is on to recover all the pieces and discover its secrets.

But the Skin Map itself is not the ultimate goal. It is merely the beginning of a vast and marvelous quest for a prize beyond imagining.

The Bright Empires series—from acclaimed author Stephen R. Lawhead—is a unique blend of epic treasure hunt, ancient history, alternate realities, cutting-edge physics, philosophy, and mystery. The result is a page-turning, adventure like no other.

Psychology — Strangers on A Train by Patricia Highsmith

“For eliciting the menace that lurks in familiar surroundings, there’s no one like Patricia Highsmith.” ―Time

The world of Patricia Highsmith has always been filled with ordinary people, all of whom are capable of very ordinary crimes. This theme was present from the beginning, when her debut, Strangers on a Train, galvanized the reading public. Here we encounter Guy Haines and Charles Anthony Bruno, passengers on the same train. But while Guy is a successful architect in the midst of a divorce, Bruno turns out to be a sadistic psychopath who manipulates Guy into swapping murders with him. “Some people are better off dead,” Bruno remarks, “like your wife and my father, for instance.” As Bruno carries out his twisted plan, Guy is trapped in Highsmith’s perilous world, where, under the right circumstances, anybody is capable of murder.

The inspiration for Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1951 film, Strangers on a Train launched Highsmith on a prolific career of noir fiction, proving her a master at depicting the unsettling forces that tremble beneath the surface of everyday contemporary life.

World History — Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton

A work of searing beauty, Cry, the Beloved Country is the deeply moving story of Stephen Kumalo, a Zulu pastor, and his son, Absalom. It is also the story of a land and a people riven by racial injustice, reflecting the troubled and changing South Africa of the 1940s. The book is written with such keen compassion and understanding that the listener shares fully in the gravity of the characters situations. Alan Paton said of his book: “It is a song of love for one’s far distant country….” Thus, it is a tale that is passionately African while also being timeless and universal. But ultimately, Cry, the Beloved Country is a work of love and hope, of courage and tragedy, born of the dignity of man.

All School Read — The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Set against the turbulent years of the Napoleonic  era, Alexandre Dumas’s thrilling adventure story  is one of the most widely read romantic novels of  all time. In it the dashing young hero, Edmond  Dantès, is betrayed by his enemies and thrown  into a secret dungeon in the Chateau d’If — doomed  to spend his life in a dank prison cell. The story  of his long, intolerable years in captivity, his  miraculous escape, and his carefully wrought  revenge creates a dramatic tale of mystery and intrigue  and paints a vision of France — a dazzling,  dueling, exuberant France — that has become immortal.  

 

 

What books would you include on a Summer Reading List?

Book Review: The Cover Story

17 Jul

A bizarre hit-and-run brings Branigan Powers back to the crime-solving beat.

A fatal crash involving two college students heading home for the holidays seems like an unfortunate accident. But when the surviving girl wakens, she tells a curious story of the vehicle that forced them off the road–an old-fashioned, 1950s-style hearse.

Reporter Branigan Powers delves into the mystery that takes her to the college campus, and leads her into dangerous fraternity and sorority pledge parties.

Reunited with the homeless Malachi Martin, who is so adept at seeing what isn’t there rather than what is, Branigan must uncover what is really going on at the college before other students are put in danger.

This second installment in the author’s first cozy mystery series delves into the world of newspapers and life on the streets — both of which the author knows well.

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:

The Cover Story is the second installment in Deb Richardson-Moore’s Braningan Powers Mystery series. Combining a small town setting with real-life issues of homelessness, this novel has a depth that is not always found in the cozy genre. It is, of course, first and foremost a mystery, and a puzzling one at that. I did not see the ending coming despite the clues revealed by the author. An investigative reporter and a police detective are two characters on the case, something fairly standard in a mystery novel. But the addition of a homeless man as investigator, someone invisible to most regular people, is genius. The Cover Story is a great addition to your mystery library, and one I can recommend.

The story opens with a hit and run that leaves one college coed dead and another seriously injured. The facts of the case seem unbelievable, until the vague memories of the surviving victim are revealed over time. There are suspects galore, and the questions concerning the case are seemingly unanswerable. But with the main characters investigating in their specific worlds — newspaper reporter, policeman, and homeless man — they, and the readers discover just whodunit. Appearances are truely deceiving.

Author Richardson-Moore has vast experience with the homeless, and her passion and compassion are revealed within the pages of The Cover Story. Malachi Martin, a veteran living on the streets, is a very intriguing character. Street smart and intelligent, he is able to uncover things because of his invisibility. Either inadvertently or by choice, those living a normal life don’t see him. But his unique position allows for him to see things many wish to hide.

I really enjoyed this unusual and engaging mystery. It is the second in a series, but can be read as a standalone. But I recommend starting at the beginning with The Cantaloupe Thief, another excellent mystery novel.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to Kregel and Lion Hudson for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

 

Book Review: The Welcome Committee of Butternut Creek

13 Jul

Upon his arrival, Butternut Creek Christian Church’s newly-minted minister is met by a welcome committee led by Miss Birdie and her friend Mercedes, a.k.a. “the Widows.” Their first order of business, to educate him on how things should be done, quickly gives way to a campaign to find him a wife.

When their matchmaking efforts fizzle, the Widows turn to another new bachelor. Amputee and Afghan vet Sam simply wants to be left alone– a desire that’s as good as a red flag to the Widows! Soon they’re scheming to pair him up with Willow, his beautiful physical therapist, a divorced mother of two who is afraid of commitment, Perrine’s small-town tale is a big-time triumph of gentle humor, fast-paced plot, and wonderfully engaging characters.

 

Jane Myers Perrine started writing while in grade school. Although her spelling was terrible — she blames that on dyslexia — her third-grade teacher predicted she’d be an author. Jane attended Kansas State University. Majoring in both English and Spanish, she read the best literature in both languages. After years as a Spanish teacher and minister, she began writing. Her novels include Regency settings and Western historicals as well as stories which take place in the beautiful Hill Country of Texas where she now resides. An award-winning author, she writes about a young minister, Adam Jordan, and his life in Butternut Creek, TX as well as humorous mysteries.

 

My Impressions:

I am a sucker for a small town book. You know, the kind that Jan Karon made famous. I sort of collect them — they reside in stacks on my TBR shelf. With a little bit of time between must-reads for reviews, I picked up The Welcome Committee of Butternut Creek. This book is the first in a 3-book series and has been out a few years. Its hometown flavor, quirky and endearing characters, and sometimes tough subject matter, made this a surprisingly good read. Surprising because I wasn’t expecting depth, but a fun bit of fluff. While it often made me chuckle, it also grabbed my heartstrings. I can recommend this one.

There is an ensemble cast in The Welcome Committee of Butternut Creek — the Widows (self-proclaimed helpers of the church and community), pastor Adam Jordan (newly minted seminary graduate), Sam (a wounded Marine), and Willow (a physical therapist). These characters interact as only those living in a small town can. Everyone knows your business and everyone cares. Struggles are real: finding a niche in a new community, dealing with PTSD, overcoming divorce, and raising grandkids. The small community of Butternut Creek is not a cliche, but a slice of real life. Although published by FaithWords, it does not have an overt spiritual message. Rather, many of the characters live out their faith in natural ways. Other characters are very worldly (sexual innuendo and drinking are their MO) and don’t have any time or patience for the God thing. Many have not come around to the ways of church at the end of the book, but a lot of progress has been made. There are 2 more books to tie up all the ends.

All in all a quick read with a great deal of depth.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE. (It is currently $2.23 for the paperback on Amazon!)

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

Children’s Corner — The Berenstain Bears 5-Minute Inspirational Stories

12 Jul

The Berenstain Bears 5-Minute Read-Along Stories is the perfect companion for young readers at bedtime or anytime. With classic stories from the Berenstain Bears Living Lights series, join the Bear family and all their friends in Bear Country as they learn how to be good friends, how to play fairly, where to find courage, and much more. This oversize padded storybook is sure to become a lap time favorite for Berenstain fans, both young and old, as they read these stories in 5 minutes.

Stories included are:

The Berenstain Bears and the Forgiving Tree, The Berenstain Bears God Loves You, The Berenstain Bears Say Their Prayers, The Berenstain Bears Love Their Neighbors, The Berenstain Bears’ Faithful Friends, The Berenstain Bears’ Biggest Brag, The Berenstain Bears and the Gift of Courage, The Berenstain Bears Blessed are the Peacemakers, The Berenstain Bears Get Involved, The Berenstain Bears’ Gossip Gang, The Berenstain Bears God Bless Our Home, and The Berenstain Bears Here’s the Church, Here’s the Steeple.

 

My Impressions:

Reading is very important to a child’s development and helps a child understand themselves and the world around them. I love when children’s stories are entertaining and teach valuable life lessons, including God’s love and purposes. In The Berenstain Bears 5-Minute Inspirational Stories, you and your child can share in the joy of reading with stories that speak right to the heart of a child’s life, especially their place in God’s world. There are 12 colorfully illustrated stories featuring the beloved Bear family. The text is challenging for developing readers and works well with parent-child read-along times. Children will have fun practicing their skills, and parents can use the stories as a springboard for more discussion. The book bills itself as a 5-minute read along, but it will probably take kids longer if they are doing the reading themselves. Depending on the age and skill level of your child, you can use this book to fit your needs and goals.

I really liked The Berenstain Bears 5-Minute Inspirational Stories and recommend it!

Recommended. 

Audience: preschool through 3rd grade.

To purchase, click HERE.

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

Top 10 Tuesday — Mystery And Suspense Made In The South

11 Jul

I have lived my entire life in the American South (Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi), and I love a story set here. I also love mystery and suspense and have found a lot of  wonderful books in that genre set in the South. I don’t know if it’s the heat, humidity, or gnats that inspires the murder and mayhem! LOL! Whatever the reason, I am featuring one book per state. Oh yes, there are many more, but my list would be way too long for one post. Some of the authors featured base all their books in the South. Others spread villainy across the country. And . . .  to stave off any rebellion, I’ve included those states that some consider the South as well (although not Delaware, because I don’t know of a book set there 😉 ). I hope one of them will make it onto your TBR list.

Top Mystery/Suspense Made in The South

Annabel Lee by Mike Nappa

Fourteen miles east of Peachtree, Alabama, a secret is hidden. That secret’s name is Annabel Lee Truckson, and even she doesn’t know why her mysterious uncle has stowed her deep underground in a military-style bunker. He’s left her with a few German words, a barely-controlled guard dog, and a single command: “Don’t open that door for anybody, you got it? Not even me.”

Above ground, a former Army sniper called The Mute and an enigmatic “Dr. Smith” know about the girl. As the race begins to find her, the tension builds. Who wants to set her free? Why does the other want to keep her captive forever? Who will reach her first?

Farraday Road by Ace Collins

A quiet evening ends in murder on a muddy mountain road. Local attorney Lije Evans and his beautiful wife, Kaitlyn, are gunned down. But the killers don’t expect one of their victims to live. After burying Kaitlyn, Lije is on a mission to find her killer ― and solve a mystery that has more twists and turns than an Ozark-mountain back road. When the trail of evidence goes cold, complicated by the disappearance of the deputy who found Kaitlyn’s body at the scene of the crime, Lije is driven to find out why he and his wife were hunted down and left for dead along Farraday Road. He begins his dangerous investigation with no clues and little help from the police. As he struggles to uncover evidence, will he learn the truth before the killers strike again?

The Night Watchman by Mark Mynheir

Eleven months ago, Ray Quinn was a tough, quick-witted Orlando homicide detective at the top of his game — until a barrage of bullets ended his career . . . and his partner’ s life.

Now medically retired with a painful handicap, Ray battles the haunting guilt for his partner’s death. Numbing the pain with alcohol and attitude, Ray takes a job as a night watchman at a swanky Orlando condo.

But when a pastor and an exotic dancer are found dead in one of the condos in an apparent murder-suicide, Ray can no longer linger in the shadows. The pastor’s sister is convinced her brother was framed and begs Ray to take on an impossible case–to challenge the evidence and clear her brother’s name.

Ray reluctantly pulls the threads of this supposedly dead-end case only to unravel a murder investigation so deep that it threatens to turn the Orlando political landscape upside down and transform old friends into new enemies. As Ray chases down leads and interrogates suspects, someone is watching his every move, someone determined to keep him from ever finding out the truth — at any cost.

Dangerous Passage by Lisa Harris

When two Jane Does are killed on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia, detective and behavioral specialist Avery North discovers they share something in common — a tattoo of a magnolia on their shoulders. Suspecting a serial killer, Avery joins forces with medical examiner Jackson Bryant to solve the crimes and prevent another murder. But it doesn’t take long for them to realize that there is much more to the case than meets the eye. As they venture deep into the sinister world of human trafficking, Avery and Jackson are taken to the very edge of their abilities — and their hearts.

When Death Draws Near by Carrie Stuart Parks

Forensic artist Gwen Marcey is between jobs when she accepts temporary work in Pikeville, Kentucky — a small town facing big-city crime. But before Gwen can finish her first drawing of the serial rapist who is on the loose, the latest witness vanishes. Just like all the others.

Gwen suspects a connection between the rapist and the “accidental” deaths that are happening around town, but the local sheriff has little interest in her theories. When her digitally-obsessed teenage daughter joins her, Gwen turns her attention to a second assignment: going undercover in a serpent-handling church. She could get a handsome reward for uncovering illegal activity — a reward she desperately needs, as it seems her breast cancer has returned. But snakes aren’t the only ones ready to kill. Can Gwen uncover the truth—and convince anyone to believe her — before she becomes a victim herself?

In a thrilling race against time, When Death Draws Near plunges us into cold-case murders, shady politics, and a den of venomous suspects.

Whispers of The Bayou by Mindy Starns Clark

Miranda Miller wasn’t looking for the news the day the letter came. But, trying to survive in troubled circumstances, she welcomes the chance to change her location for a period of time. The letter informs her that her grandparents’ estate is finally about to become hers. She immediately heads down to Louisiana and the old house by the bayou. There Miranda finds secrets that lead to life–changing revelations.

This suspenseful story reminiscent of old Gothic tales has a complex mystery and a vivid sense of the Deep South. It shows how God can take the darkest circumstances and use them to light a bright path leading to the future.

Still Life by Dani Pettrey

Blacklisted in the photography business over a controversial shot, Avery Tate answered an ad for a crime scene photographer. She expected to be laughed at, but crime scene analyst Parker Mitchell hired her outright–and changed her life. But six months ago, when her feelings for Parker became too strong, she left his employ to sort out her heart.

Now, for the first time, Avery is facing the world that rejected her to attend the gallery opening of a photography exhibit and support her best friend, who modeled for the show. But the only image of her friend is a chilling photo of her posing as if dead–and the photographer insists he didn’t take the shot. Worse, her friend can’t be found. She immediately calls Parker for help. As Avery, Parker, and his friends in law enforcement dig into the mystery, they find themselves face-to-face with a relentless and deadly threat.

Buried Secrets by Irene Hannon

After seven years as a Chicago homicide detective, Lisa Grant has hit a wall. Ready for a kinder, gentler life, she takes a job as a small-town police chief. But the discovery of a human skeleton by a construction crew at the edge of town taxes the resources of her department. A call for assistance brings detective Mac McGregor, an ex-Navy SEAL, to her doorstep. As they work to solve the mystery behind the unmarked grave, danger begins to shadow them. Someone doesn’t want this dead person telling any tales–and will stop at nothing to make certain a life-shattering secret stays buried.

A Promise to Protect by Patricia Bradley

Acting Sheriff Ben Logan hasn’t heard from Leigh Somerall in a very long time, but it doesn’t mean he can get her–or their whirlwind romance of ten years ago — out of his head. When she calls out of the blue, it is with a strange request to protect her brother, Tony. When Tony dies just days later, Ben is charged with a different task — protecting Leigh and her nine-year-old son, TJ, from the killers. But how can Ben keep an eye on Leigh if she’s doing everything in her power to avoid him? And could the secret that Leigh is keeping change Ben’s life forever?

Suspense, intrigue, and a touch of romance make A Promise to Protect perfect for readers who like their stories with a hearty dose of mystery.

The Pawn by Steven James

Special Agent Patrick Bowers had only met one man who made him truly afraid. Until now. When he’s called to North Carolina to consult on the case of an area serial killer, he finds himself in a deadly game. Cunning and lethal, the killer is always one step ahead of the law, and he’s about to strike again. 

It will take all of Bowers’s instincts and training to stop this man who calls himself the Illusionist. And just when the pieces start to come together, Bowers realizes they’re not quite adding up. Can he unravel the pattern and save the next victim? Or will the Illusionist win the game by taking one of his opponent’s pieces? 

 

The Real Enemy by Kathy Herman

Brill Jessup would rather work than deal with the bitterness she feels about her husband Kurt’s infidelity. They’ve made a fresh start with Brill taking a job as the new police chief in a small East Tennessee town. Kurt is genuinely contrite and making every effort to show his commitment to Brill. Meanwhile Emily, their nine-year-old, is being the perfect little girl, as if she can make everything okay again. So why can’t Brill get over this anger? Work presents the perfect distraction as rumors and superstition are running rampant in the wake of the disappearances of seven people in seven days. As fear rises in the community, Brill works desperately to solve the mystery… until it threatens her family and she is forced to confront the real enemy.

Firewall by DiAnn Mills

After a whirlwind romance, Taryn Young is preparing to board a plane at Houston International Airport, bound for a dream honeymoon, when a bomb decimates the terminal. Injured but still alive, she awakens to discover her husband is missing and they’re both considered prime suspects in the attack. Further, the FBI is convinced her husband isn’t who he appears to be.

Agent Grayson Hall’s number-one priority is to catch those responsible for the day’s act of terror. All evidence is pointing to Taryn and her new husband. But his instinct tells him her pleas of innocence are genuine. Is her naiveté just for show, or could she truly be another victim of a master scheme, possibly linked to the software she recently developed for her company?

With both their lives and reputations on the line, and the media outcry for justice increasing with each passing minute, Taryn and Grayson have no choice but to trust one another . . . and pray they can uncover the truth before they become two more casualties.

Always Watching by Lynette Eason

The bodyguards of Elite Guardians Agency have more than just skill and prowess in common–they’re also all women. When it becomes clear that popular psychiatrist and radio personality Wade Savage has a stalker, his father secretly hires Elite Guardians in order to protect his son.

But when Wade’s bodyguard is attacked and nearly killed, agency owner Olivia Edwards must step in and fill the gap. Olivia’s skills are about to be tested to the limit as Wade’s stalker moves from leaving innocent gifts at his door to threatening those closest to him. Olivia has the feeling that she’s next on the list. And to complicate things even further, she realizes that her heart may be in as much danger as her client.

The Stones Cry Out by Sibella Giorello

When nobody talks, the stones cry out.

In the searing heat of a Virginia summer, two men plummet from a roof top to their deaths on the sidewalk below. One of them was a white police officer. The other, a black man with a murky past. Hundreds of people stood on the sidewalk below, yet nobody will say what happened.

The FBI wants a quick verdict — with or without the truth — and sends in rookie agent Raleigh Harmon.

Between the tight-lipped witnesses and the secrets hidden among the city’s most powerful families, Raleigh’s forced to use her forensic geology skills to uncover the truth.  But can she solve this case before the city’s simmering rage burns out of control?

And will her choices bring down everyone involved — including Raleigh herself?

Miranda Warning by Heather Day Gilbert

Child of the Appalachian mountains, Tess Spencer has experienced more than her share of heartache. The Glock-wielding, knife-carrying housewife knows how to survive whatever life throws at her. But when an anonymous warning note shows up in her best friend Miranda’s mailbox — a note written in a dead woman’s handwriting — Tess quickly discovers that ghosts are alive and well in Buckneck, West Virginia. Hot on a cold trail, she must use limited clues and her keen insight into human nature to unmask the killer . . . or the next victim might be Tess herself. Tinged with the supernatural and overshadowed by the mountains’ lush, protective presence, this twisting psychological mystery is the first in A Murder in the Mountains series.

 

How about you?

What state or region is your favorite?

 

 

Book Spotlight + Author Interview (And A Giveaway!) — My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island by Carrie Fancett Pagels

11 Jul

 

Series: My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island
Genre: Adult, Christian, Fiction, Historical, Romance
Publisher: Barbour
Publication date: July 1

Journey now to Mackinac Island where . . . . A Tangled Gilded Age Love Story Unfolds. Although the Winds of Mackinac Inn has been in her mother’s family for generations, Maude Welling’s father refuses to let her run it without the guidance of a husband. So she seeks to prove her worth and independence by working incognito as a maid at the Grand Hotel.

Undercover journalist Ben Steffans, posing as a wealthy industrialist, pursues a story about impoverished men chasing heiresses at the famed hotel. While undercover, he becomes attracted to an intriguing maid. By an act of heroism Ben endears himself to the closed-mouthed islanders — including Maude — and he digs deep for his story. But when scandal threatens, will the growing love between Maude and Ben be scuttled when truths are revealed?

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ECPA-bestselling author Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of a dozen Christian historical romances. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn’t “cure” her overactive imagination! A self-professed “history geek,” she resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia but grew up as a “Yooper.” Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time! You can connect with her at http://www.CarrieFancettPagels.com.

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COLONIAL QUILLS

 

 

Do you have any funny stories from fans meeting you for the first time?

I don’t think funny stories but I have been so blessed by the readers I’ve met, especially last year in Shepherd Michigan when Joyce Noyes brought her absolutely adorable granddaughters with her!

What did your writing process for My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island look like?

Ohmygoodnessgraciousmeohmy! This was like having a problem child who needed a lot of therapy and rehab!

What type of research did you do for My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island? Did you do any traveling for this research?

I actually lived on and worked on the island as a teenager and grew up in the area. And I’ve been there often visiting. One of my close friends has family from the island and she inspired that aspect of the story. We specifically stayed at both the Grand Hotel for research and at the Windermere, which is the inspiration for my heroine’s inn.

What inspired the idea for My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island?

I wondered what an independent miss, brought up by the strong women of the island, would do if her father resisted her becoming a business manager/inn manager which is her birthright but is at a time when young women were sheltered.

What do you want readers to take away from reading My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island?

The only inheritance you need to concern yourself with is that of being a child of the living God.

Do you have any advice you would give to other potential authors?

Don’t give up if you have a manuscript that is giving you fits, not if the Lord tells you to keep working on it. Hire the best freelance editors that you can and pray! This problem child became an RT Book Reviews Top Pick for July PTL!

 

 

Grand Prize Giveaway – Kindle Fire + Mackinac Gift Pack Set: postcards from Mackinac Island, bookmarks, hand-made earrings, winner’s choice of a signed paperback of this novel (or an upcoming release or other book if you already have read My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island), and a Mackinac Island mug.
Enter the giveaway HERE.