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Top 10 Tuesday — Most Read Authors

7 Jul

The week’s Top 10 Tuesday prompt is authors I have read the most books by. I am tweaking a bit with a list of the authors my book club loves — the ones we always read whenever they have a new book release. I have included two of my favorites from each author. I hope you find one to love from our list.

For more favorite author recommendations, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Book Club Favorite Authors

 

Terri Blackstock

 

Elizabeth Musser

 

Francine Rivers

 

Dan Walsh

 

Robert Whitlow

 

Cindy Woodsmall

 

 

Who is your favorite author?

 

 

 

 

 

Congrats to The 2020 Inspy Award Winners!

29 Jun

Congratulations to the winners of this year’s Inspy Awards! The Inspy’s hold a special place in my heart — I judged for them for several years. But it is the Inspys’ continued high standards in seeking to identify the best in inspirational fiction that distinguishes this award. This year’s winners are truly deserving. If you need a great book to read, this list should fit the bill.

2020 Inspy Award Winners

 

Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense

Brunch at Bittersweet Cafe by Carla Laureano

 

Debut Fiction

Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes

 

General Fiction

How The Light Gets In by Jolina Petersheim

 

Historical Romance

A Bound Heart by Laura Frantz

 

Literature for Young Adults

Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan

 

Mystery/Thriller

The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright

 

Speculative Fiction

Light from Distant Stars by Shawn Smucker

Top 10 Tuesday Throwback — Summer of 2010

23 Jun

Congrats to Top Ten Tuesday on their 10th Anniversary! It all started with The Broke And The Bookish and continues with That Artsy Reader Girl. Every week bloggers are challenged with great bookish memes. This week is a 10th Anniversary freebie. As I thought about what to post, I perused my book lists and decided to do a throwback post to the Summer of 2010. Things have really changed in those 10 years around here, but I still am reading wonderful books. Here are some of the books I was reading that summer. Are any of your favorites on my list?

Head over to That Artsy Reader Girl for more bookish goodness!

 

Top 10 Books of The Summer of 2010

 

Almost Forever by Deborah Raney

Distant Echoes by Colleen Coble

Greater Love by Robert Whitlow

Her Mother’s Hope by Francine Rivers

The Influenza Bomb by Paul McCusker and Walt Larrimore

Licensed for Trouble by Susan May Warren

Missing Max by Karen Young

Predator by Terri Blackstock

She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell

Sixteen Brides by Stephanie Grace Whitson

Congrats to The 2020 ACFW Carol Award Finalists!

22 Jun

A big congratulations to the talented authors who make up this year’s Carol Award Finalists. No matter what genre you prefer, you will find a winner of a read! I have read a few of these books — more are on the TBR list. Hope you find an award winning book to enjoy!

Contemporary

The Death of Mungo Blackwell by Lauren H. Brandenburg
On a Summer Tide by Suzanne Woods Fisher, Revell 
The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay

 

Historical

Memories of Glass by Melanie Dobson
The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke
The Seamstress by Allison Pittman

 

Historical Romance

A Reluctant Bride by Jody Hedlund
A Pursuit of Home by Kristi Ann Hunter
The Sky Above Us by Sarah Sundin

 

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

The Gryphon Heist by James R. Hannibal
Laynie Portland, Retired Spy by Vikki Kestell
Midnight on the River Grey by Abigail Wilson

 

Novella

Always by Jody Hedlund
The Groom She’d Thought She Left Behind from The Runaway Brides Collection by Darlene Panzera
The Baggage Handler by David Rawlings

 

Romance

Driftwood Bay by Irene Hannon
A Glitter of Gold by Liz Johnson
Love You, Truly by Susan L. Tuttle

 

Romantic Suspense

The Killing Tide by Dani Pettrey
Living Lies by Natalie Walters
Knox by Susan May Warren

 

Short Novel

A Rancher to Trust by Laurel Blount
The Rancher’s Unexpected Baby by Jill Lynn
Lioness: Mahlah’s Journey by Barbara M. Britton

 

Speculative

Flight of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse
The Story Raider by Lindsay A. Franklin
Brand of Light by Ronie Kendig

 

Young Adult

Romanov by Nadine Brandes
Coral by Sara Ella
Something I Am Not by Cher Gatto

 

Debut

A Cross to Kill by Andrew Huff
Above the Fold by Rachel Scott McDaniel
Shadow Among Sheaves by Naomi Stephens

 

Top Ten Tuesday — Forgotten TBR

9 Jun

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday prompt is books you have added to the TBR, but can’t remember why. I remember why I have purchased a book, I just don’t always remember it is on my shelf! 😉 Last week I got new carpeting in my office/library which caused me to move a whole lot of books off the shelves. This made me reorganize all the shelves that fill rooms all through my house. A big, but enjoyable, task. The double parked books kept many hidden from view. It was like Christmas finding gems I didn’t remember I had. I limited the list to the proscribed 10 — yes I had more than that!

Do you have any books on your shelves and don’t know why?

 

For more TBR confessions, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

10 Forgotten Gems on the TBR Shelves

 

Blood Sisters by Melody Carlson

After losing her family, Judith Blackwell seriously considers ending her life … until a mysterious letter captures her attention. Opening the envelope, she is shocked to discover the obituary of Jasmine, her childhood friend. Shaken out of her valley of darkness, Judith journeys to her hometown and uncovers more than she bargained for. When she confides the truth to a handsome detective, they form a plan that will save the community … or trap them in the heart of danger.

A riveting novel, Blood Sisters demonstrates how God brings His own from the edge of darkness into His incredible light.

The Cairo Brief by Fiona Veitch Smith

Intrepid reporter sleuth Poppy Denby is invited to attend the auction of the Death Mask of Nefertiti. The auction is to be held on the country estate of Sir James Maddox, a famous explorer and Egyptologist. Representatives of the world’s leading museums will be bidding on the mask which was found, in Egypt, under murderous circumstances. Poppy and her colleagues from The Daily Globe, who are trying to stay one step ahead of their rivals from The London Courier, dismiss rumours of an ancient curse. But when one of the auction party is murdered, and someone starts stalking Poppy, the race is on to find the killer before ‘the curse’ can strike again.

Death at Thorburn Hall by Julianna Deering

Drew Farthering arrives in idyllic Scotland for the 1935 British Open at Muirfield hoping for a relaxing holiday, but he soon finds a mystery on his hands. Lord Rainsby, his host at Thorburn Hall, fears his business partner may be embezzling and asks Drew to quietly investigate. Before Drew can uncover anything, Rainsby is killed in a suspicious riding accident.

Thorburn Hall is filled with guests, and as Drew continues to dig, he realizes that each might have had a motive to put Raisnby out of the way. Together with Madeline and Nick, he must sort through shady business dealings, international intrigue, and family tensions to find a killer who always seems to be one step ahead.

The First Gift by Ruth Logan Herne

Kindergarten teacher Kerry McHenry is nobody’s fool. She sees her own tough upbringing in the face of a poverty stricken child and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to make things better.

At the same time, she finds herself torn between a commitment-phobic doctor and Phillipsburg’s widowed deputy sheriff, a complicated man who is still angry with God.

As the stakes grow higher and the characters’ lives intersect in unexpected ways, each will face a true test of faith—and come face to face with indisputable evidence of God’s love.

The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club by Wanda E. Brunstetter

As Amish widow Emma Yoder contemplates the task ahead, her thoughts center on one: What if she fails? Longing to remove a burden from her family by becoming self-sufficient, Emma has offered to hold quilting classes in her home. But when she sees the patchwork of faces assembled for the first lesson, her confidence dwindles as doubt takes hold.
 
There’s Star Stephens, a young woman yearning for stability; Pam and Stuart Johnston, a struggling couple at odds in their marriage; Paul Ramirez, a widower hoping to find solace in finishing a quilt; Jan Sweet, a rough and tough biker doing creative community service; and Ruby Lee Williams, a preacher’s wife looking for relaxation amid mounting parish problems.
 
While Emma grows to realize her ability to share her passion for quilting and her faith, the beginning quilters learn to transform scraps of fabric into beauty. And slowly, their fragmented lives begin to take new shape — some in unexpected ways — with the helping hands of each other and the healing hand of God.

An Irishwoman’s Tale by Patti Lacy

Far away from her Irish home, Mary Freeman begins to adapt to life in Midwest America, but family turmoil and her own haunting memories threaten to ruin her future. It takes a crisis in her daughter’s life — and the encouragement of Sally, a plucky Southern transplant — to propel Mary back to the rocky cliffs of her home in County Clare, Ireland.

 

 

Light from Distant Stars by Shawn Smucker

When Cohen Marah steps over his father’s body in the basement embalming room of the family’s funeral home, he has no idea that he is stepping into a labyrinth of memory. As the last one to see his father, Cohen is the primary suspect.

Over the next week, Cohen’s childhood memories come back in living color. The dramatic events that led to his father being asked to leave his pastoral position. The game of baseball that somehow kept them together. And the two children in the forest who became his friends–and enlisted him in a dark and dangerous undertaking. As the lines blur between what was real and what was imaginary, Cohen is faced with the question he’s been avoiding: Did he kill his father?

In Light from Distant Stars, master story weaver Shawn Smucker relays a tale both eerie and enchanting, one that will have you questioning reality and reaching out for what is true, good, and genuine.

The Long Journey Home by Sharlene MacLaren

After divorcing her abusive husband, single mother Callie May is still nursing the scars of a
painful past. The last thing she needs in her life is another man, so she’s less than thrilled
when a handsome but brooding stranger moves into the apartment across the hall.
Dan Mattson may be attractive, but his circumstances certainly aren’t: a former church
pastor, he abandoned his flock in Michigan and fled to the Chicago suburbs after the death
of his beloved wife and baby daughter in a tragic automobile accident. Embittered by his
loss, Dan turns his back on God.

Callie mistrusts men, and the angry Dan often gives her good reason to. Both are weighed
down by the scars and disappointment in their pasts. When Callie’s ex–husband shows up to
wreak more havoc in her life, Dan finds himself coming to her defense—and facing his own
demons in the process. Will Dan and Callie be able to get past their baggage and give love
another chance? Can they come to see life’s apparent tragedies as part of God’s perfect plan?
Can the power of God change their hearts and mend their hurts?

Sidney Chambers And The Shadow of Death by James Runcie

It is 1953, the coronation year of Queen Elizabeth II . Sidney Chambers, vicar of Grantchester and honorary canon of Ely Cathedral, is a thirty-two-year-old bachelor. Tall, with dark brown hair, eyes the color of hazelnuts, and a reassuringly gentle manner, Sidney is an unconventional clerical detective. He can go where the police cannot.

Together with his roguish friend, inspector Geordie Keating, Sidney inquires into the suspect suicide of a Cambridge solicitor, a scandalous jewelry theft at a New Year’s Eve dinner party, the unexplained death of a jazz promoter’s daughter, and a shocking art forgery that puts a close friend in danger. Sidney discovers that being a detective, like being a clergyman, means that you are never off duty, but he nonetheless manages to find time for a keen interest in cricket, warm beer, and hot jazz-as well as a curious fondness for a German widow three years his junior.

With a whiff of Agatha Christie and a touch of G. K. Chesterton’s Father Brown, The Grantchester Mysteries introduces a wonderful new hero into the world of detective fiction.

The Unquiet Bones by Mel Starr

Hugh of Singleton, fourth son of a minor knight, has been educated as a clerk, usually a prelude to taking holy orders. However, feeling no certain calling despite a lively faith, he turns to the profession of surgeon, training in Paris and then hanging out his sign in Oxford. A local lord asks him to track the killer of a young woman whose bones have been found in the castle cess pit. She is identified as the impetuous missing daughter of a local blacksmith, and her young man, whom she had provoked very publicly, is in due course arrested and sentenced at the Oxford assizes. From there the tale unfolds, with graphic medical procedures, droll medieval wit, misdirection, ambition, romantic distractions and a consistent underlying Christian compassion.

 

Which of these books would you read next?

 

Blog Tour — The Trouble with Love

4 Jun

The Trouble with Love Blog Tour
Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for The Trouble with Love by Toni Shiloh, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Trouble with Love by Toni ShilohTitle: The Trouble with Love
Series: Faith & Fortune #1
Author: Toni Shiloh
Release Date: May 26, 2020
Genre: Christian Chick Lit

I, Holiday Brown, have it all. A platinum record. Multi-million dollar home in Manhattan that I share with my two best friends. Life is looking fantastic until my roommate’s brother decides to bunk in our guestroom while his house gets renovated.

W. Emmett Bell has always been the bane of my existence. He’s annoying, stubborn, a know it all, and just might be the most gorgeous man I’ve ever laid eyes on. But I refuse to fall for him. Then his sister’s threatened by a stalker and dynamics change. His unwavering faith isn’t quite as self-righteous as I’d always thought, and maybe he has a good side I’ve overlooked all these years.

Or maybe it’s all too much trouble.

The Trouble With Love is the first book in the Christian Chick Lit series: Faith & Fortune.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon

 

EXCERPT

I strolled down the path through Central Park and exhaled. My tour was over and I was now free to be me, Holiday Brown, lover of all things Manhattan and self-proclaimed foodie. Not that I necessarily placed labels on myself. I spent the majority of my life trying to shed the ones the world affixed to me. Rick Brown’s daughter. Platinum-selling pop singer. Heiress to the Brown fortune.

But here on the streets of Manhattan, I was just another dot from a bird’s eye view. One of the throng, heading to a destination only I knew.

As if I actually had a clue. I was living one day at a time, filling it with music and friendship. Life was more than I expected but lacking in ways I couldn’t seem to pinpoint. 

My best friends and roommates would say I was burned out. They’d be right. My music career had already gone on longer than most artists dared hope for. My fuse had lit at an early age thanks to my dad’s ambition. He swears up and down I came out of the womb singing. No nonsense babbling for Rick Brown’s child. He’d groomed me, hiring a vocal coach before I’d even entered formal education. He also taught me how to play the guitar and piano, delegating lessons to professionals whenever he left to tour the world for his own career.

At seventeen, I landed my first record deal—without my father’s help, despite what the press believed. Honestly, my last name probably did help in that arena, but I worked my tail off to prove I was more than just Rick Brown’s daughter. 

Still, every time my name was printed in the press, Dad’s was always attached. I couldn’t shake him or the expectations that came with his legacy, and I was so very tired of it all.

I shook my head, tilting my chin and letting my hair fall away from my face. Now wasn’t the time to sink into the exhaustion that threatened to drown me. A stroll through Central Park would clear my head and hopefully, by the time I made it back to my Upper East Side townhouse, give some direction.

The summer humidity cast a sheen of perspiration across my brown skin, making my arms glow beneath my tank top. The urge to stop in the middle of the walkway, fling my arms out wide, and swing around in a circle tempted me for a startling moment. Of course, I’d totally look like a tourist or the opening credits for a rom com set in New York. I snorted and continued walking.

As much as I wanted to find happiness again, that elusive feeling wouldn’t be discovered twirling in Central Park. I needed to get back to songwriting. I hadn’t penned a single word in six months.

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Toni Shiloh

Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and multi-published Christian contemporary romance author. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness. Her novel, Grace Restored, was a 2019 Holt Medallion finalist and Risking Love is a 2020 Selah Award finalist. A member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and of the Virginia Chapter, Toni seeks to help readers find authors. She loves connecting with readers and authors alike via social media. You can learn more about her writing at http://tonishiloh.com.

CONNECT WITH TONI: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card!

The Trouble with Love JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway will begin at midnight June 2, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on June 9, 2020. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

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

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*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Top 10 Tuesday — Summer Cover Love

2 Jun

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday challenge is summer vibes. I don’t know about where you live, but here in the Sunny South, summer has arrived — temps in the 90s and lots of sun. I decided to head to my shelves to find book covers that just say summer to me — June weddings, lush vegetable gardens, special visitors to the bird feeder, 4th of July celebrations, and travel to new places, or just the title. As I looked at the covers of these books — some I have read and others I have not — I thought ahh, that’s summer.

Do you have a summery read awaiting you?

 

For more summer vibes, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top 10 Summer Vibe Covers

 

Blossom Street Brides by Debbie Macomber

Lauren Elliott has waited years for her long-term boyfriend, Todd, to propose, yet he seems more focused on his career than their relationship. When Lauren learns that her younger sister is pregnant before she herself even has an engagement ring, she feels overjoyed yet disheartened. Knowing she can’t put her future on hold, Lauren prepares to make a bold choice — one that leads her to a man she never dreamed she’d meet.
 
Newly married to her second husband, Max, Bethanne Scranton is blissfully in love. But with Max’s job in California and Bethanne’s in Seattle, their long-distance marriage is becoming difficult to maintain. To complicate matters, Bethanne’s cunning ex will do anything to win her back.
 
Lydia Goetz, too, is wonderfully happy with her husband, Brad, though lately she worries about the future of A Good Yarn. As she considers how to bring in business, she discovers that someone has beaten her to the punch. Baskets of yarn are mysteriously popping up all over town, with instructions to knit a scarf for charity and bring it into Lydia’s store. Never before has her shop received so much attention, but who hatched this brilliant plan?
 
As three women’s lives intersect in unexpected ways, Lydia, Lauren, and Bethanne realize that love heals every heart, and the best surprises still lay ahead.

Hope Springs by Lynne Hinton

Pull up a chair and discover the strength and sustenance of friendship with Jessie, Margaret, Louise, Beatrice, and Charlotte, as the unique bond forged between these five remarkable women is put to the test when one of their own is stricken with a deadly illness. Filled with the mystery and wonder that make life worthwhile, Hope Springs will lift your spirits and warm your heart.

 

 

Lemon Jelly Cake by Madeline Smith

A surefire cure for the headaches and stomach upsets of the twenty-first century, The Lemon Jelly Cake carries readers back to kinder, gentler times in a small town at the turn of the last century. Evoking a forgotten America of lush lawns, bountiful summer picnics, and shady front porches, the tale is set when the day’s toughest decision might have been what to serve for dinner or which suit or dress to wear.

 

‘Mater Biscuit by Julie Cannon

It is summer in Euharlee, Georgia, and Imogene Lavender’s garden is bursting with snap beans, okra, and tomatoes. The household — made up of Imo; her daughter Jeanette and her new baby; and Lou, Imo’s niece — is about to grow as well. Imo’s estranged mother, Mama Jewell, has begun to show signs of senility, and Imo has decided that it is her duty to take her mother in. Mama Jewell brings with her some secrets from the past, including the story of Lou’s mother, a revelation that sends Lou in search of her ne’er-do-well father. For Imo, who is feeling the squeeze of being in the middle of the generations, Mama Jewell’s temperamental nature stirs up long-buried memories of a difficult childhood. And much to everyone’s surprise, wild Jeanette is so determined to find a husband that she joins the church choir to be closer to the handsome and enigmatic young reverend.

‘Mater Biscuit is a wonderful evocation of small-town life in the South, a world where hard work and prayers unite the community. Life isn’t always easy for Imo and her girls, but they have only to look as far as Imo’s beloved garden to be reminded that all things change with the seasons.

Magnolia Storms by Janet 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?

On Hummingbird Wings by Lauraine Snelling

“But Mother is always dying,” is Gillian Ormsby’s sarcastic response when her younger, favored sister tells her that she has to go take care of their hypochondriac mother. Much against her will, since she and her mother never have gotten along, Gillian arrives in California to find the garden and yard dead, the blinds all drawn, and her mother indeed in bed–waiting to die. But when Gillian talks with the doctor, he assures her there’s no medical reason behind her mother’s state.

Now on a mission to restore her mother to health, Gillian insists Mother get out of bed, eat, exercise and hopefully, choose to live. She also sets about reviving the garden to its former glory, enlisting the help of Adam, a handsome man who owns a family gardening business with his father. Gillian is delighted when a pair of hummingbirds appear, and her friendship with Adam grows.

Soon, Mother’s health improves, and one day she announces she and her friend Enzio are going on a cruise. Before Gillian has time to turn around, her mother is gone and she is left high and dry again, and wondering, what is she going to do with the rest of her own life?

Quaker Summer by Lisa Samson

Sometimes you have to go a little bit crazy to discover the life you were meant to live.

Heather Curridge is coming unhinged. And people are starting to notice. What’s wrong with a woman who has everything — a mansion on a lake, a loving son, a heart-surgeon husband — yet still feels miserable inside?

When Heather spends the summer with two ancient Quaker sisters and a crusty nun running a downtown homeless shelter, she finds herself at a crossroads.

Sandpiper Drift by Vanessa Del Fabbro

When journalist Monica Brunetti enters the town of Lady Helen, she is awed by its beauty. A tiny jewel on the west coast of South Africa, its bright tin roofs and swaying palms seem made for picture postcards, not the real-world problems that have led her there. But the village takes hold of her heart, especially the beleaguered residents of Sandpiper Drift, who are threatened with eviction from their tranquil neighborhood beside the lagoon. And so Monica packs up her laptop, her adopted sons and housekeeper Francina, who’s wrestling with a major decision of her own, for the journey of a lifetime.

Still Waters by Lindsey Brackett

Cora Anne Halloway has a history degree and a plan: avoid her own past despite being wait-listed for graduate school. Then her beloved grandmother requests — and her dispassionate mother insists — that she spend the summer at Still Waters, the family cottage on Edisto Beach, South Carolina.

Despite its picturesque setting, Still Waters haunts Cora Anne with loss. At Still Waters her grandfather died, her parents’ marriage disintegrated, and as a child, she caused a tragic drowning. But lingering among the oak canopies and gentle tides, this place also tempts her with forgiveness—especially since Nan hired Tennessee Watson to oversee cottage repairs. A local contractor, but dedicated to the island’s preservation from development, Tennessee offers her friendship and more, if she can move beyond her guilt.

When a family reunion reveals Nan’s failing health, Cora Anne discovers how far Tennessee will go to protect her and — Edisto — from more desolation. Will Cora Anne choose between a life driven by guilt, or one washed clean by the tides of grace?

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Opening Lines

26 May

Today’s Top 10 Tuesday challenge was kind of a snap for me since I also participate in First Line Friday hosted by Hoarding Books. I just went through the archives and selected some of the most attention getting opening lines. I hope you find one that grabs you!

For more opening line fun, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

 

Top 10 Opening Lines

Top 10 Tuesday — Reasons to Love Speculative Fiction

19 May

I am a very eclectic reader. I will read just about any genre. I do have some exceptions, but since I read Christian fiction almost exclusively, I don’t have to worry about some of the more explicit scenes/language that can crop up. 😉 While my time is spent mostly in reading real life stuff, whether contemporary or historical, I do like a good speculative novel as well. So what is speculative fiction?

Speculative fiction: a genre of fiction that encompasses works in which the setting is other than the real world, involving supernatural, futuristic, or other imagined elements.

The speculative fiction genre includes allegory, sci-fi, horror, fantasy, time travel, alternate history, dystopian fiction, etc. While the general market has lots of speculative fiction, there is not as much published in the Christian market, so you have to look for it. Enclave Publishing is one imprint that publishes spec fiction exclusively and is a good place to go to get your fix or to get you started on a new adventure in reading. Note: while the definition of spec fic states that the settings of the book are other than real world, I think some of the best examples of the genre take the real world and pull back a curtain that keeps us from seeing the whole picture. Those books use creative elements to help us process and imagine those things we just can’t see.

For my Top 10 Tuesday post, I have included the reasons I like spec fiction, as well as some suggested books for you to check out. Hope you enjoy!

Top Reasons to Love Speculative Fiction

 

Takes you to another world.

Prophet by R. J. Larson 

Ela Roeh of Parne doesn’t understand why her beloved Creator, the Infinite, wants her to become His prophet. She’s undignified and bad-tempered, and at age seventeen she’s much too young. In addition, no prophet of Parne has ever been a girl. Worst of all, as Parne’s elders often warn, if she agrees to become the Infinite’s prophet, Ela knows she will die young.

Yet she can’t imagine living without Him. Determined to hear the Infinite’s voice, Ela accepts the sacred vinewood branch and is sent to bring the Infinite’s word to a nation torn apart by war. There she meets a young ambassador determined to bring his own justice for his oppressed people. As they form an unlikely partnership, Ela battles how to balance the leading of her heart with the leading of the Infinite.

The Story Peddler by Lindsay Franklin

Selling stories is a deadly business

Tanwen doesn’t just tell stories—she weaves them into crystallized sculptures that sell for more than a few bits. But the only way to escape the control of her cruel mentor and claw her way from poverty is to set her sights on something grander: becoming Royal Storyteller to the king.

During her final story peddling tour, a tale of treason spills from her hands, threatening the king himself. Tanwen goes from peddler to prey as the king’s guard hunts her down . . . and they’re not known for their mercy. As Tanwen flees for her life, she unearths long-buried secrets and discovers she’s not the only outlaw in the empire. There’s a rebel group of weavers . . . and they’re after her too.

Allows you to travel in time and space.

The Bright Empires Series (5 books) 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.

Makes you think about the supernatural world.

The Chair by James Rubart

When an elderly lady shows up in Corin Roscoe’s antiques store and gives him a chair she claims was built by Christ, he scoffs. But when a young boy is miraculously healed after sitting in the chair, he stops laughing and starts to wonder. Could the chair heal the person whose life he destroyed twelve years ago?

As word spreads of the boy’s healing, a mega-church pastor is determined to manipulate Corin into turning over the chair. And that mysterious woman who gave him the piece says it’s Corin’s destiny to guard the chair above everything else. But why?

Desperate, he turns to the one person he can trust, a college history professor who knows more about the legend of the chair than he reveals.

Searching for the truth about the artifact, and the unexplained phenomena surrounding it, Corin soon realizes he isn’t the only one willing to do anything to possess the power that surrounds The Chair.

Gives fresh perspective on everyday life.

The Baggage Handler by David Rawlings

Lost luggage can ruin any trip. But what if it could change your life?

A mother of three hoping to survive the days at her perfect sister’s perfect house before her niece’s wedding.

A hothead businessman coming to the city for a showdown meeting to save his job.

And a young artist pursuing his father’s sports dream so he can keep his own alive.

When Gillian, David, and Michael each take the wrong suitcase from baggage claim, the airline directs them to retrieve their bags at a mysterious facility in a deserted part of the city. There they meet the enigmatic Baggage Handler, who shows them there is more in their baggage than what they have packed, and carrying it with them is slowing them down in ways they can’t imagine. And they must deal with it before they can leave.

 

Gives you a little (or a lot) of thrills and chills!

The Devil Walks in Mattingly by Billy Coffey

For the three people tortured by their secret complicity in a young man’s untimely death, redemption is what they most long for . . . and the last thing they expect to receive.

It has been twenty years since Philip McBride’s body was found along the riverbank in the dark woods known as Happy Hollow. His death was ruled a suicide. But three people have carried the truth ever since—Philip didn’t kill himself that day. He was murdered.

Each of the three have wilted in the shadow of their sins. Jake Barnett is Mattingly’s sheriff, where he spends his days polishing the fragile shell of the man he pretends to be. His wife, Kate, has convinced herself the good she does for the poor will someday wash the blood from her hands. And high in the mountains, Taylor Hathcock lives in seclusion and fear, fueled by madness and hatred.

Yet what cannot be laid to rest is bound to rise again. Philip McBride has haunted Jake’s dreams for weeks, warning that he is coming back for them all. When Taylor finds mysterious footprints leading from the Hollow, he believes his redemption has come. His actions will plunge the quiet town of Mattingly into darkness. These three will be drawn together for a final confrontation between life and death . . . between truth and lies.

House by Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker

Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker—two of the most acclaimed writers of supernatural thrillers—have joined forces for the first time to craft a story unlike any you’ve ever read. Enter House — where you’ll find yourself thrown into a killer’s deadly game in which the only way to win is to lose . . . and the only way out is in. The stakes of the game become clear when a tin can is tossed into the house with rules scrawled on it. Rules that only a madman — or worse — could have written. Rules that make no sense yet must be followed. One game. Seven players. Three rules. Game ends at dawn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2020 Inspy Award Nominees

13 May

Congratulations to the 2020 Inspy Award Nominees! What a great bunch of authors and books. So if you are wondering what to read next, here’s your list!

Recognizing the need for a new kind of book award, the INSPYs were created by bloggers to discover and highlight the very best in literature that grapples with expressions of the Christian faith. (Inspy.com)

 

Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense

Brunch at Bittersweet Cafe by Carla Laureano 

Sweet on You by Becky Wade

Just One Kiss by Courtney Walsh

 

Debut Fiction

Heart of a Royal by Hannah Currie 

Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes

Shadow Among Sheaves by Naomi Stephens 

 

General Fiction

All Manner of Things by Susie Finkbeiner 

How the Light Gets In by Jolina Petersheim 

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay 

 

Historical Fiction

The King’s Mercy by Lori Benton

Until the Mountains Fall by Connilyn Cossette

A Bound Heart by Laura Frantz

 

Literature for Young Adults

Evermore by Jody Hedlund

Within These Lines by Stephanie Morrill

Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan

 

Mystery/Thriller

The Wind Will Howl by Sibella Giorello

Storm Rising by Ronie Kendig

The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright

 

Speculative Fiction

Flight of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse

Brand of Light by Ronie Kendig

Light from Distant Stars by Shawn Smucker