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If You Liked Mind Games . . .

31 May

My book club discussed Mind Games by Nancy Mehl this month. We really liked this unique book — a profiler who is the daughter of a serial killer who has to track down a serial killer! We had all kinds of questions about the character and are definitely looking forward to getting to know her better in book 2, Fire Storm, due out in August.

In the meantime, I have a few recommendations for unique Christian suspense. They are a bit creepy, if you like that sort of thing! 😉 Hope you enjoy!

Fear Has A Name by Creston Mapes

It was more than a break-in. More than a stalking. It was personal. When a stalker targets his family, journalist Jack Crittendon must uncover who the person is and what his motives are–if he is to protect the ones he loves. It will lead Crittendon into a world of behind-closed-door secrets and faith gone awry, as does his investigation of a missing pastor, whose apparent suicide is more than it appears.

Each move Crittendon makes weaves him tighter and tighter into a web of lies, greed, hypocrisy, sin, and danger. He believed he’d never give in to fear. But that was before. And holding on to his faith won’t be easy. Nor will keeping his family safe, and ending the terror. Because that might require him to step over lines he never dared to cross.

Indivisible by Kristen Heitzmann

An inseparable bond.
An insatiable force.

Battling his own personal demons, Police Chief Jonah Westfall knows the dark side of life and has committed himself to eradicating it. When a pair of raccoons are found mutilated in Redford, Colorado, Jonah investigates the gruesome act, knowing the strange event could escalate and destroy the tranquility of his small mountain town. With a rising drug threat and never-ending conflict with Tia Manning, a formidable childhood friend with whom he has more than a passing history, Jonah fights for answers — and his fragile sobriety.

But he can’t penetrate every wound or secret.

Placebo by Steven James

While covertly investigating a controversial neurological research program, exposé filmmaker Jevin Banks is drawn into a far-reaching conspiracy involving one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical firms. After giving up his career as an escape artist and illusionist in the wake of his wife and sons’ tragic death, Jevin is seeking not only answers about the questionable mind-to-mind communication program, but also answers to why his family suffered as they did. 

Rooted in ground-breaking science and inspired by actual research, Placebo explores the far reaches of science, consciousness, and faith. 

Proof by Jordyn Redwood (This is book 1 of the outstanding Bloodline Trilogy)

Dr. Lilly Reeves is a young, accomplished ER physician with her whole life ahead of her. But that life instantly changes when she becomes the fifth victim of a serial rapist. Believing it’s the only way to recover her reputation and secure peace for herself, Lilly sets out to find–and punish–her assailant. Sporting a mysterious tattoo and unusually colored eyes, the rapist should be easy to identify. He even leaves what police would consider solid evidence. But when Lilly believes she has found him, DNA testing clears him as a suspect. How can she prove he is guilty, if science says he is not?

Book Spotlight + Giveaway! — Libby’s Cuppa Joe

29 May

Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for Libby’s Cuppa Joe by Rebecca Waters with JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: Libby’s Cuppa Joe
Author: Rebecca Waters
Publisher: Ambassador International
Release Date: March 8, 2018
Genre: Women’s Fiction

Can grace and love be found amongst coffee grounds?

Sonja Parker is about to find out.

Excited to leave her stale life in the big city behind, Sonja takes the money her grandmother left her and purchases Libby’s Cuppa Joe, a thriving coffee shop in a small community in Wisconsin’s Door County. Sonja may have business sense, but is she ready to face the world on her own?

Sonja soon discovers owning a business requires more than offering a good cup of coffee. She must make major repairs to the building as well as major repairs to her heart. Do the former owners, Libby and Joe hold the answer? As Sonja seeks to make Libby’s Cuppa Joe a viable business, can she also find herself and the God she has abandoned?

Libby’s Cuppa Joe is a riveting tale of second chances, forgiveness, and not living on borrowed faith.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | ChristianBook

 

EXCERPT

Sonja stared at the check in her hand. Attached was a letter from the attorney handling her grandmother’s estate. Not much by California standards, but a fortune back home. Home. Wisconsin. The thought of returning to her roots had been rolling in and out of her mind like the waves of the beach at La Jolla for the last few months. Ever since her grandmother fell ill. Instead of improving as the doctor predicted, Grandma Grace died peacefully in her sleep a mere three months after the debilitating stroke took her speech and left her limbs useless. The four days Sonja spent with her mother planning the funeral, reliving memories of Grandma Grace and sorting through a few of her things, created in Sonja a hunger for home. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rebecca Waters has been a writer most of her life. Her first published work was a story in the school newspaper she wrote in second grade. For many years Rebecca used her stories as illustrations in church settings and to entertain her own three daughters. Her professional writing included educational articles and research.

Following her retirement as a professor of education from Cincinnati Christian University, Rebecca turned her pen to the world of fiction. She has also published several articles in Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Lookout Magazine, and Home Health Aide Digest. Her first novel, Breathing on Her Own, was released in 2014.

CONNECT WITH REBECCA: Website | Facebook | Twitter


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a print copy of Libby’s Cuppa Joe and (1) winner will receive an ebook copy.

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight May 28, 2019 and last through 11:59 pm June 4, 2019. US only. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE

JustRead Tours

Top 10 Tuesday — Favorite Books Over The Blogging Years

28 May

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday challenge from That Artsy Reader Girl is a list of favorite books from the past ten years. Only 1 per year!? That really is a challenge. My  10 year blogging anniversary is coming up in October, and in the course of reading 1000+ books, I have read many that were truly excellent. Whittling the list down was a daunting task, but here is my list. I hope you find one that you too must read.

Top Books from Each Year I Have Been Blogging

 

 

2010

Almost Heaven by Chris Fabry

Billy Allman is a hillbilly genius. People in Dogwood, West Virginia, say he was born with a second helping of brains and a gift for playing the mandolin but was cut short on social skills. Though he’d gladly give you the shirt off his back, they were right. Billy longs to use his life as an ode to God, a lyrical, beautiful bluegrass song played with a finely tuned heart. So with spare parts from a lifetime of collecting, he builds a radio station in his own home. People in town laugh. But Billy carries a brutal secret that keeps him from significance and purpose. Things always seem to go wrong for him.

However small his life seems, from a different perspective Billy’s song reaches far beyond the hills and hollers he calls home. Malachi is an angel sent to observe Billy. Though it is not his dream assignment, Malachi follows the man and begins to see the bigger picture of how each painful step Billy takes is a note added to a beautiful symphony that will forever change the lives of those who hear it.

2011

The City of Tranquil Light by Bo Caldwell

Will Kiehn is seemingly destined for life as a humble farmer in the Midwest when, having felt a call from God, he travels to the vast North China Plain in the early twentieth-century. There he is surprised by love and weds a strong and determined fellow missionary, Katherine. They soon find themselves witnesses to the crumbling of a more than two-thousand-year-old dynasty that plunges the country into decades of civil war. As the couple works to improve the lives of the people of Kuang P’ing Ch’eng– City of Tranquil Light, a place they come to love–and face incredible hardship, will their faith and relationship be enough to sustain them?

Told through Will and Katherine’s alternating viewpoints–and inspired by the lives of the author’s maternal grandparents–City of Tranquil Light is a tender and elegiac portrait of a young marriage set against the backdrop of the shifting face of a beautiful but torn nation. A deeply spiritual book, it shows how those who work to teach others often have the most to learn, and is further evidence that Bo Caldwell writes “vividly and with great historical perspective” (San Jose Mercury News).

2012

The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

Charlotte Malone is getting married. Yet all is not settled in the heart of Birmingham’s chic bridal boutique owner. Charlotte can dress any bride to perfection-except herself. When she discovers a vintage mint-condition wedding gown in a battered old trunk, Charlotte embarks on a passionate journey to discover the women who wore the gown before her.

Emily in 1912. Mary in 1939. And Hillary in 1968. Each woman teaches Charlotte something about love in her own unique way. Woven within the threads of the beautiful hundred-year-old gown is the truth about Charlotte’s heritage, the power of faith, and the beauty of finding true love.

2013

Invisible by Ginny Ytrrup

Ellyn  chef, cafe owner, and lover of butter–is hiding something behind her extra weight. While she sees the good in others, she has only condemnation for herself. So when a handsome widower claims he’s attracted to Ellyn, she’s certain there’s something wrong with him.


Sabina  tall, slender, and exotic–left her husband, young adult daughters, and a thriving counseling practice to spend a year in Northern California where she says she’s come to heal. But it seems to Ellyn that Sabina’s doing more hiding than healing. Why? 


Twila has come out of hiding and is working to gain back the pounds she lost when her only goal was to disappear. When her eating disorder is triggered again, though she longs to hide, she instead follows God and fights for her own survival.


As these women’s lives intertwine, their eyes will open to the glory within each of them as they begin to recognize themselves as being created n God’s image.



2014

Burning Sky by Lori Benton

Abducted by Mohawk Indians at fourteen and renamed Burning Sky, Willa Obenchain is driven to return to her family’s New York frontier homestead after many years building a life with the People. At the boundary of her father’s property, Willa discovers a wounded Scotsman lying in her path. Feeling obliged to nurse his injuries, the two quickly find much has changed during her twelve-year absence—her childhood home is in disrepair, her missing parents are rumored to be Tories, and the young Richard Waring she once admired is now grown into a man twisted by the horrors of war and claiming ownership of the Obenchain land.

When her Mohawk brother arrives and questions her place in the white world, the cultural divide blurs Willa’s vision. Can she follow Tames-His-Horse back to the People now that she is no longer Burning Sky? And what about Neil MacGregor, the kind and loyal botanist who does not fit into in her plan for a solitary life, yet is now helping her revive her farm? In the aftermath of the Revolutionary War, strong feelings against “savages” abound in the nearby village of Shiloh, leaving Willa’s safety unsure.

Willa is a woman caught between two worlds. As tensions rise, challenging her shielded heart, the woman called Burning Sky must find a new courage–the courage to again risk embracing the blessings the Almighty wants to bestow. Is she brave enough to love again?

2015

The Girl from The Train by Irma Joubert

As World War II draws to a close, Jakób fights with the Polish resistance against the crushing forces of Germany and Russia. They intend to destroy a German troop transport, but Gretl’s unscheduled train reaches the bomb first.

Gretl is the only survivor. Though spared from the concentration camp, the orphaned German Jew finds herself lost in a country hostile to her people. When Jakób discovers her, guilt and fatherly compassion prompt him to take her in. For three years, the young man and little girl form a bond over the secrets they must hide from his Catholic family.

But she can’t stay with him forever. Jakób sends Gretl to South Africa, where German war orphans are promised bright futures with adoptive Protestant families—so long as Gretl’s Jewish roots, Catholic education, and connections to communist Poland are never discovered.

Separated by continents, politics, religion, language, and years, Jakób and Gretl will likely never see each other again. But the events they have both survived and their belief that the human spirit can triumph over the ravages of war have formed a bond of love that no circumstances can overcome.

2016

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?

Private investigators Trudi Coffey and Samuel Hill need to piece together the clues and stay alive long enough to retrieve the girl – before it’s too late.

2017

Long Way Gone by Charles Martin

At the age of eighteen, musician and songwriter Cooper O’Connor took everything his father held dear and drove 1,200 miles from home to Nashville, his life riding on a six-string guitar and the bold wager that he had talent. But his wager soon proved foolish.

Five years after losing everything, he falls in love with Daley Cross, an angelic voice in need of a song. But just as he realizes his love for Daley, Cooper faces a tragedy that threatens his life as well as his career. With nowhere else to go, he returns home to the remote Colorado mountains, searching for answers about his father and his faith.

When Daley shows up on his street corner twenty years later, he wonders if it’s too late to tell her the truth about his past—and if he is ready to face it himself.

A radical retelling of the prodigal son story, Long Way Gone takes us from tent revivals to the Ryman Auditorium to the tender relationship between a broken man and the father who never stopped calling him home.

2018

Hidden Among The Stars by Melanie Dobson

The year is 1938, and as Hitler’s troops sweep into Vienna, Austrian Max Dornbach promises to help his Jewish friends hide their most valuable possessions from the Nazis, smuggling them to his family’s summer estate near the picturesque village of Hallstatt. He enlists the help of Annika Knopf, his childhood friend and the caretaker’s daughter, who is eager to help the man she’s loved her entire life. But when Max also brings Luzia Weiss, a young Jewish woman, to hide at the castle, it complicates Annika’s feelings and puts their entire plan—even their very lives—in jeopardy. Especially when the Nazis come to scour the estate and find both Luzia and the treasure gone.

Eighty years later, Callie Randall is mostly content with her quiet life, running a bookstore with her sister and reaching out into the world through her blog. Then she finds a cryptic list in an old edition of Bambithat connects her to Annika’s story . . . and maybe to the long-buried story of a dear friend. As she digs into the past, Callie must risk venturing outside the safe world she’s built for a chance at answers, adventure, and maybe even new love.

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Don’t Touch That Book!

21 May

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday is all about valuable books. Books readers won’t loan or, in some cases, even allow others to breathe on 😉 . At first I didn’t think I could come up with anything on this subject. I generally loan all the books I read with the understanding that they may not return. And that’s mostly what happens, although I did have one book returned after it fell in the sink while my friend was washing dishes. And I rescued a long ago loaned book from a relative’s guest room closet. *no words*

So I hold my books loosely, preferring to risk never seeing them again because the insides of the book are too important not to share. (Sounds so noble doesn’t it! 😉 )

I have 2 types of books that will not leave my home: signed copies with personal inscriptions and childhood favorites. These really only have sentimental value. None are signed by famous dead authors, and the books from my youth are generally in fair to poor condition. But they would be hard or impossible to replace.

If you are one of those people, people who borrow books, here are 13 Simple Rules to Follow When Borrowing Books.

And the graphic below is a good rule of thumb for the next time you ask to read a friend’s book.

 

 

Book Spotlight (+Giveaway!) — The Heart Changer

21 May

 

Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for Heart Changer by Jarm Del Boccio with JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: The Heart Changer
Author: Jarm Del Boccio
Publisher: Ambassador International
Release Date: April 26, 2019
Genre: Middle Grade Biblical Fiction

Can an Israelite captive, wrenched from all she loves, serve the very man who destroyed her village? Miriam is asked to do the impossible: serve the wife of Naaman, commander of the Syrian army. Clinging to treasured memories of home and faith, Miriam faces captivity with worry and bitterness. Little does she know the Heart Changer is wooing and preparing her for a greater mission far beyond what she could imagine.

This middle-grade historical novel reflects the heartache and angst of a young refugee in a foreign land where all hope seems lost.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Christian Book

 

EXCERPT

“RUN! RUN, MY DAUGHTER! DON’T let them see you!” Miriam’s mother cried in alarm, shielding baby Zacchaeus in her long robes. She watched, helpless, as her precious child ran to escape the oncoming invasion.

Picking up her skirts, the young girl fled down the center of the Shunem town market, following the frantic path of others, terror- stricken by the billowing clouds of dust gathering in the distance. As the villagers ran for their lives, baskets of fruits and vegetables, nuts and spices were carelessly scattered on the parched ground. Carts of fish and goat’s cheese were upset, the sound of splintering and cracking adding to the mayhem as striped awnings ripped from their doorframes. Goats and sheep scattered, and those who could not be freed from their leads bleated in fear. Shouts of the Syrian army, and the sound of clomping horse’s hooves on the stone pavement signaled the enemy’s advance. Cries and screams escaped from the villagers as they dropped a trail of precious belongings in their flight. A keepsake and a fresh loaf of bread meant nothing. Only their lives mattered now.

Miriam eyed another overturned cart, its sweets scattered in the dust, and swiftly darted behind it to evade the soldiers’ haunting advances. She covered her face with the cloth from her head covering, tucking it in to hide her maturing face. Heart pounding, she took a deep breath, pressing her head against the rugged wood, praying no one had seen her. At twelve, who knew what the enemy would do if they caught her? Miriam shuddered as she heard the screams of women and children running past. She wiped her palms and forehead with the hem of her skirts, and shut her eyes tightly, trying to block out the horrifying scene.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jarm  Del Boccio (‘J’ pronounced as a ‘Y’) finds her inspiration in everyday life, but in particular, when she travels the globe, observing the quirky things that happen along the way. Focusing on lives of characters from the past, Jarm is devoted to breathing new life into the pages of history.

Jarm has a background in elementary and high school education, and served for seven years as a school librarian. Grateful for the opportunity, she taught three missionary kids in an isolated area of Papua New Guinea. She is part of SCBWI and American Christian Fiction Writers, and has published articles in “The Old Schoolhouse” magazine.

“The Heart Changer,” her debut MG historical/biblical fiction, released with Ambassador International April 26th 2019. Jarm is content with the journey God has placed her on, and lives with her husband and adult son and daughter (when they are not away) in a tree-lined suburb of Chicago.

CONNECT WITH JARM: Website | Facebook | Twitter


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive 1 print (US only)
AND
(1) winner will receive 1 ebook (open internationally except where prohibited by law)

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight May 20, 2019 and last through 11:59 pm May 27, 2019. US only. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

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

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Book Spotlight + Giveaway! — A Welcome at Our Door

15 May

 

Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for A Welcome At Our Door by Amy Clipston with JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: A Welcome At Our Door
Series: Amish Homestead, Book 4
Author: Amy Clipston
Publisher: Zondervan
Release Date: May 7, 2018
Genre: Amish Fiction

After a devastating loss, Cindy Riehl is still searching for peace. Will she find it in the community she calls home—or will love send her down a new path?

Over the last few years, Cindy Riehl — the youngest of the Riehl children — has watched her siblings find love and happiness in Lancaster County. But as her family has settled down and grown, Cindy has continued to grieve her mother, whose death left an enormous hole in her heart. Since that haunting day, Cindy has struggled to find peace and wonders if the community is the place for her—and if her faith in God will ever feel the same as it once did.

When a handsome and kind Englisher named Drew crosses Cindy’s path one surprising day, the two of them become fast and easy friends. Drew dreams of starting a family after some losses of his own, and before long, he and Cindy discover that their feelings for each other are romantic. As they spend more time together — often in secret — Cindy is drawn further and further away from the Amish community and the family she loves. In time, she is faced with a difficult choice that threatens to upend her world.

Will Cindy find contentment and love, and will she ever find restored comfort in God and her beloved community? In this final installment of the Amish Homestead series, we return to the charming town of Bird-in-Hand for a story of healing, family, and God’s perfect provision.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | ChristianBook

To read an excerpt, click HERE.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amy Clipston is the award-winning and bestselling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery, Hearts of Lancaster Grand Hotel, Amish Heirloom, and Amish Homestead series. Her novels have hit multiple bestseller lists including CBD, CBA, and ECPA. Amy holds a degree in communication from Virginia Wesleyan University and works full-time for the City of Charlotte, NC. Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, and four spoiled rotten cats.

CONNECT WITH AMY: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

 

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a print copy of A Welcome At Our Door.

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight May 13, 2019 and last through 11:59 pm May 20, 2019. US only. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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

Top 10 Tuesday — Characters Like Me, Because It Really Is All About The Books

7 May

I found this week’s Top 10 Tuesday prompt — Characters That Remind Me of Myself — a bit daunting. I lead such a boring life, that it would never make it as a book. 😉 I really struggled to come up with the requisite 10 to fill this post, until I started thinking about what consumes a lot of my thoughts — books! I read them, talk about them, blog about them, sniff them . . . . Anyway, I came up with a list of characters that are surrounded by books too. I really wouldn’t want to trade places with any of them because of their issues, and the fact that some regularly stumble on dead bodies or engage in nefarious activities! And while my husband may say our home is starting to look a lot like a bookstore or library, I do not work at either. But I am a book pusher  enthusiast who makes sure everyone has the opportunity to get their hands on the story that is just right for them. Whether you like cozy mysteries, suspense, romance, women’s fiction, or time-slip novels, I hope you find a book you just need to read!

For more fun with doppleganger characters, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

A Dozen Book Pushing Characters

(aka booksellers or librarians)

Bruce Cable — Camino Island by John Grisham

Violet and Daisy Waverly —Crime And Poetry by Amanda Flower

Annie Laurance Darling — Death on Demand by Carolyn Hart

Callie Randall — Hidden Among The Stars by Melanie Dobson

Helma Zukas — Miss Zukas And The Library Murders by Jo Dereske

Madeline, Janet, and Carrie — The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay

Rick Denton — Remembering Christmas by Dan Walsh

A. J. Fickry — The Storied Life of A. J. Fickry by Gabrielle Zevin

Claire Malloy — Strangled Prose by Joan Hess

 

Which character is like you?