First Line Friday — Mending Fences

23 Aug

Happy Friday, everyone! Today I am featuring Mending Fences, book 1 in the The Deacon’s Family series, by Suzanne Woods Fisher. Fisher is one of my favorite authors and is tops with Amish fiction. This novel has been on my TBR shelf way too long, and I am determined to get it read soon. Have you read this book? Let me know why I need to move it up to the top of the pile! And while you’re at it, make sure to include the first line from the nearest book.

For more fabulous first line fun, head over to Hoarding Books.

 

Every saint has a past. Every sinner has a future.

Luke Schrock is a new and improved man after a stint in rehab, though everyone in Stoney Ridge only remembers the old Luke. They might have forgiven him, but nobody trusts him.

Amos and Fern Lapp allow Luke to live at Windmill Farm under two conditions. First, Luke must make a sincere apology to each person he’s hurt–a four-page, single-spaced list. Second, he must ask each victim of mischief to describe the damage he caused.

Simple, Luke thinks. Offering apologies is easy. But discovering the lasting effects his careless actions have caused . . . that isn’t so simple. It’s gut-wrenching.

And his list keeps growing. Izzy Miller, beautiful and frustratingly aloof, also boards at Windmill Farm. Luke’s clumsy efforts to befriend Izzy only insult and annoy her. Eager to impress, Luke sets out to prove himself to her by locating her mother. When he does, her identity sends shock waves through Stoney Ridge.

Bestselling and award-winning author Suzanne Woods Fisher returns to her beloved Stoney Ridge for this brand-new series featuring some of her readers’ favorite characters.

Suzanne Woods Fisher has a specialty: she writes about real people living in faith-based communities. With over 750,000 copies of books sold worldwide, she is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than twenty-five books, ranging from children’s books (The Adventures of Lily Lapp series) to novels (The Choice) to non-fiction books (Amish Peace: Simple Living for a Complicated World).

When Suzanne isn’t writing, she’s probably playing with puppies. She’s been involved with Guide Dogs for the Blind for over fifteen years. Raising puppies, she says, is like eating a potato chip. You just can’t stop at one.

Readers are invited to stop by Suzanne’s website at: http://www.suzannewoodsfisher.com

Audiobook Mini-Review: The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes

22 Aug

1914. Joanna Blalock’s keen mind and incredible insight lead her to become a highly-skilled nurse, one of the few professions that allow her to use her finely-tuned brain. But when she and her ten-year-old son witness a man fall to his death, apparently by suicide, they are visited by the elderly Dr. John Watson and his charming, handsome son, Dr. John Watson Jr. Impressed by her forensic skills, they invite her to become the third member of their investigative team.

Caught up in a Holmesian mystery that spans from hidden treasure to the Second Afghan War of 1878-1880, Joanna and her companions must devise an ingenious plan to catch a murderer in the act while dodging familiar culprits, Scotland Yard, and members of the British aristocracy. Unbeknownst to her, Joanna harbors a mystery of her own. The product of a one-time assignation between the now dead Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler, the only woman to ever outwit the famous detective, Joanna has unwittingly inherited her parents’ deductive genius.

Leonard Goldberg is the USA Today bestselling author of the Joanna Blalock medical thrillers. His novels have been translated into a dozen languages and were selections of the Book of the Month Club, French and Czech book clubs, and The Mystery Guild. They were featured as People’s “Page-Turner of the Week” and at the International Book Fair. After a long career affiliated with the UCLA Medical Center as a Clinical Professor of Medicine, he now lives on an island off the coast of Charleston, SC.

My Impressions:

I joined a FB book discussion group to expand my reading horizons and to connect with a wider group of people who love a good story. The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes by Leonard Goldberg was the chosen book. Now, I had never heard of this book, but who doesn’t like a mystery, especially if it features Sherlock even in a passing way? My husband, the real Conan Doyle fan, joined me in listening to the audiobook, and that was definitely an added bonus — discussing books with other book nerds and my husband! I enjoyed the historical references, the shout-outs to the original Holmes’ stories, and the puzzling case. My favorite thing, though, was the characterization of Joanna Blalock and the Dr. Watsons, both junior and senior. Their interactions were a treat as they worked together to uncover the why and how of the death of a member of the British aristocracy. I haven’t read any of Conan Doyle’s novels (my knowledge comes from watching the BBC series with Jeremy Brett), but my hubs has.  While he didn’t find the complex deductions that are a hallmark of the originals, he did enjoy The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes, as did I. In fact, book 2 was downloaded immediately following the conclusion of book 1.

We recommend The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes for those who like a thinking-man’s mystery. The novel is not CF, but is definitely clean — no language or adult situations. The narrator was spot-on in his pacing and accents. All in all this was a very enjoyable listening experience!

Recommended.

Audience: Adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Spotlight — Tasting Grace

21 Aug

I love books — the more the merrier! Unfortunately, I have come to the conclusion that I cannot actually read all the books. Books often show up at my house that, to no fault of their own, I simply cannot read, at least not yet. That’s where spotlights come in. Tasting Grace by Melissa d’Arabian looks at the role food plays in bringing people together. Take a look at the blurb and author info to decide if this book is for you.

The winner of The Next Food Network Star season five and New York Times best-selling author of Ten Dollar Dinners shares how God used food to invite her into His love.

It wasn’t until Melissa d’Arabian evaluated her relationship with food in light of her relationship with God that she began to appreciate food as not only a gift from him but also as a deeper invitation into his love. As she prayed, studied Scripture, and reflected on the stories from her own life, Melissa saw how God had used food to draw her into community, to redeem her moments of greatest tragedy, and ultimately to connect her more to him.

In Tasting Grace, Melissa shares sixteen invitations that will transform your perception of food and the role it plays in your own life, from equality to connection to hospitality to stewardship and more. She explains how through her experiences, she learned to trust the ingredients — in recipes and in life — and join God in the act of creation.

Whether you are a mom struggling to throw together a healthy meal for your family each night or a single woman longing for fellowship around your table, you will draw encouragement and inspiration from Melissa’s reminder that all food, first and foremost, is a gift from God. When you return to him as the source, you will find the freedom to enjoy his beautiful and delicious creation.

To purchase, click HERE.

Melissa d’Arabian was a corporate finance executive before becoming the host of Food Network’s Ten Dollar Dinners and Cooking Channel’s Drop 5 Lbs with Good Housekeeping. She also developed the FoodNetwork.com seriesThe Picky Eaters Project, serves as lead judge on Guy’s Grocery Games, and is the author of the New York Times bestselling cookbook Ten Dollar Dinners. Melissa has an MBA from Georgetown University, and lives with her husband and their four daughters in San Diego.

Top 10 Tuesday — Tropes Are Tops!

20 Aug

This week Top 10 Tuesday is all about the tropes — common themes or devices used in literature. My list is all about plot devices that define a story line, such as rags to riches. While many turn their noses up at tropes, terming them cliches, there is a reason they are used over and over — they are stories readers want to read! My list contains the very common (and popular) tropes that were excellently used in the books mentioned. And as you can see, tropes can be used in any genre — romance, suspense, historical, and fantasy. Hope you find a book you will love!

For more bloggers and their favorite tropes, please visit That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Tropes

Amnesia — Forget Me Not by Vicki Hinze

Cold Case — Traces of Guilt by Dee Henderson

Best Friends to Lovers — Sweet on You by Becky Wade

Long-Lost Heir — Princess Ever After by Rachel Hauck

Love Triangle — The Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof

Marriage of Convenience — More Than Words Can Say by Karen Witemeyer

Missing Person — Threads of Suspicion by Dee Henderson

Second Chance at Love — Falling for You by Becky Wade

Unlikely Hero —A Cast of Stones by Patrick Carr

 

What’s your favorite trope?

 

Book Review: The Killing Tide

19 Aug

When one Coast Guard officer is found dead and another goes missing, Coast Guard Investigative Service special agent Finn Walker faces his most dangerous crime yet. His only clues are what little evidence remains aboard the dead officer’s boat, and the direction the clues point to will test Finn and the Guard to their limits.

When investigative reporter — and Finn’s boss’s sister — Gabby Rowley arrives, her unrelenting questions complicate an already volatile situation. Now that she’s back, the tug on Finn’s heart is strong, but with the risks she’s taking for her next big story, he fears she might not live through it.

Thrown together by the heinous crime, Finn and Gabby can’t ignore the sparks or judgments flying between them. But will they be able to see past their preconceptions long enough to track down an elusive killer, or will they become his next mark?

Praised by New York Times best-selling author Dee Henderson as “a name to look for in romantic suspense,” Dani Pettrey has sold more than half a million copies of her novels to readers eagerly awaiting the next release. Dani combines the page-turning adrenaline of a thriller with the chemistry and happy-ever-after of a romance. Her novels stand out for their “wicked pace, snappy dialogue, and likable characters” (Publishers Weekly), “gripping storyline[s],” (RT Book Reviews), and “sizzling undercurrent of romance” (USA Today).

Her Alaskan Courage series and Chesapeake Valor series have received praise from readers and critics alike and spent multiple months topping the CBA bestseller lists. Dani has also been honored with multiple awards, including the Daphne du Maurier Award, two HOLT Medallions, a Christy Award finalist, two National Readers’ Choice Awards, the Gail Wilson Award of Excellence, and Christian Retailing’s Best Award.

From her early years eagerly reading Nancy Drew mysteries, to paging through Agatha Christie novels or watching on-the-edge-of-her-seat adventure movies, Dani has always enjoyed mystery and suspense. She considers herself blessed to be able to write the kind of stories she loves–full of plot twists and peril, love, and longing for hope and redemption. Her greatest joy as an author is sharing the stories God lays on her heart. She researches murder and mayhem from her home in Maryland, where she lives with her husband. Their two daughters, a son-in-law, and two adorable grandsons also reside in Maryland. For more information about her novels, click here.

 

My Impressions:

The Killing Tide, the first book in Dani Pettrey’s new romantic suspense series, is just what fans of Pettrey have come to expect — fast-paced action, complex characters, an ensemble cast, and spark-filled romance. From the opening chapter to the last page, the reader is fully engaged in this twisting, turning novel. I never knew what to expect as the author kept me and the characters on edge. This one is definitely a recommended read!

The North Carolina coast is the setting of The Killing Tide. Many of the characters are members of a US Coast Guard investigative team that participates in ocean rescues, retrieval dives, and investigations of criminal cases. Among the investigators is Finn Walker who is enlisted to keep journalist Gabby Rowley safe following an attempted hit by a drug dealer. Gabby is good at her job, and soon inserts herself into the CGIS investigations. She is not, however, good at keeping out of trouble! 😉 Finn and Gabby have a past and unresolved relationship issues, and their chemistry is still firmly in place. Fans of romantic suspense will love their interactions and the tough spots in which they find themselves. The cases being investigated seem unrelated, but soon a common thread emerges. I liked the ways the group worked together to piece the puzzle together. I also liked that I was kept guessing and was surprised by just whodunit. The faith element in The Killing Tide is strong. Main characters Gabby and Finn are believers, yet have struggles common to the Christian life — guilt, feelings of not being good enough, and superimposing desires over God’s will. The two encourage each other to silence the accusing voices in their heads and find God’s truth and purposes.

The Killing Tide is a great start to the Coastal Guardians series. I can’t wait for more!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

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

First Line Friday — Reunited in The Rockies

16 Aug

Happy Friday! Today my first line comes from an upcoming release from Love InspiredReunited in The Rockies by Mindy Obenhaus. That line makes you want to know just happened to change everything.

If you are looking for a sweet romance set in the very cool Colorado Rockies, this one is definitely for you! It releases next Tuesday, just in time for your Labor Day weekend reading!

What is your first line?

Leave a comment, then head over to Hoarding Books for more fabulous first line fun!

 

A fresh start . . .  and an old love reignited?
A Rocky Mountain Heroes
romance

For widow Kayla Bradshaw, restoring a historic Colorado hotel means a better life for her and her soon-to-arrive baby. But she needs construction help from Jude Stephens, the love she lost through a misunderstanding. Working with Kayla, the police officer finds himself forgiving her—and longing to rebuild her shattered confidence. But can they trust each other enough to forge a future together?

Three-time Carol Award finalist, Mindy Obenhaus lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, the youngest of her five children and two dogs. She’s passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her grandchildren. Learn more at http://www.MindyObenhaus.com

Children’s Corner — Great And Small Prayers for Babies

15 Aug

Thank You, God, for great and small animal friends!

Join these adorable animal pairs in a board book that’s meant for little hands to hold and explore. Each spread features a large animal and his little friend, who is hiding under the flap. A short thank-You prayer on each spread models simple thankfulness, and the text includes animal sounds to make the reading even more fun.

Six pairs of great-and-small friends to meet, six chunky flaps to lift and discover, and six simple prayers to pray— all to delight little hands and hearts.

To purchase, click HERE.

My Impressions:

I am going to be a grandmother for the first time in a few months. Woo hoo! So I am on the look out for books to share with my grand-blessing. Great And Small Prayers for Babies is a wonderful book for the smallest of children. Its sturdy board book construction will take any over-reading 😉 , while its sweet illustrations, simple rhyme, and multiple surprises will delight a toddler. I loved the contrasts that appear within the pages — a great way to engage young readers. I can’t wait to read this one with my grandchild!

Recommended.

Audience: toddlers.

(Thanks to B&H Publishing for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)