Book Review: Undercut

15 Mar

Marine sniper Isaiah (“Zane”) Boone is home from Afghanistan with more than a few ghosts. Try as he might to settle back into civilian life in small-town West Virginia, he can’t escape the conviction he’s being followed. Both Zane’s ex-wife and his psychologist claim he’s paranoid, and he can’t prove he’s not. Hoping to outrun his misery, he sets his romantic sights on the irresistible Molly McClure. A successful wedding coordinator at the illustrious Greenbrier Resort, Molly has had plenty of wealthy men willing to open their wallets and hearts for her. But when Zane strides into the upscale Greenbrier lobby with his lumberjack boots and his troubled eyes, the attraction she’s felt since high school reawakens — and she’s willing to go way out of her comfort zone to pursue it. When Molly becomes an innocent target, Zane realizes too late that his malevolent stalkers are very real. As a net of vengeance tightens around them, Zane gears up for a fight to the death…and Molly has just one chance to prove she can be far more than a pretty face. Book 2 in the Hemlock Creek Suspense series by Grace award-winning, INSPY-longlist nominated author Heather Day Gilbert.

Heather Day Gilbert, a Grace Award winner and bestselling author, writes novels that capture life in all its messy, bittersweet, hope-filled glory. Born and raised in the West Virginia mountains, generational story-telling runs in her blood. Heather writes Viking historicals and contemporary mystery/suspense. Publisher’s Weekly gave Heather’s Viking historical Forest Child a starred review, saying it is “an engaging story depicting timeless human struggles with faith, love, loyalty, and leadership.”

Find Heather on Pinterest (heatherdgilbert), Instagram (@heatherdaygilbert), Twitter (@heatherdgilbert), and Facebook (heatherdaygilbert). You can find all her books at


My Impressions:

If you are in need of some high-octane action, Undercut by Heather Day Gilbert is the book for you. This novella may be short on pages but not short on breath-holding suspense and chemistry-laden romance. I finished this book in record time not just because of its length, but because it is unputdownable! Recommended.

Molly McClure and Zane Boone have known each other for years. But despite Molly’s high school crush and Zane’s definite attraction, they have not connected because, well, major issues on Zane’s part. But that’s about to change as they work through their many differences and join forces to combat the danger that has followed Zane from his Marine days.

Opposites really do attract in Undercut. Gilbert creates a good relationship for the lumberjack and the glamor girl. While they don’t have a lot of common interests, they do share values and faith. Zane and Molly are fun characters that are real and relatable, at least in their normal interactions. When it comes to the dangerous aspects of the book, things are far from normal. 😉 They face knife attacks, gun fights, and extreme winter weather. Yep, just another day at the office for Gilbert’s characters! The intense suspense is what kept me engaged and flipping the pages. The setting added depth to the book. I really liked the contrast of the opulent Greenbrier Resort and the untamed West Virginia mountains.

Undercut is the second book in the Hemlock Creek Suspense series (how did I miss book 1!), but is easily read as a standalone. I’ve already got Out of Circulation (book 1) on the Kindle ready and waiting for another lazy afternoon or evening reading opportunity. Heather Day Gilbert is already my go-to author for mystery. Now she is a must-read romantic suspense author as well.


Audience: adults

To purchase, click HERE. (only $2.99 on Kindle)

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


Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop!

14 Mar

Do you have the luck of the Irish? Then you need to enter my Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway. I am giving away a Surprise Box of Books that includes fiction from a variety of genres. Just leave a comment. That’s it! After you leave a comment head over to BookHounds to find more bloggers giving away books and bookish stuff! The giveaway runs through March 28. Give luck!

Children’s Corner — 1, 2, 3 God Made Me

14 Mar

Count along and you will see how wonderfully God made me!

Freckles, fingers, toes, and nose—this delightful counting board book helps toddlers recognize parts of the wonderful bodies God gave us. Count from 1 to 10, and then start over again, thanking God along the way! 

In the Little Words Matter™ board books, it only takes a few words to tell a big story. Crafted especially for toddlers, these books make biblical truths easily understandable and enjoyable for little ones and their parents too!

To purchase, click HERE.

My Impressions:

1,2,3 God Made Me is more than a preschool counting book or a book to help kids recognize parts of their body. Its colorful illustrations that include a diverse group of kids and the message that God is our creator make this board book a perfect way to introduce God’s love. I loved the inclusion of complimentary Bible verses — it’s never to early to introduce scripture memorization! This one is apt to become a favorite read for your toddler, so get ready to enjoy this one over and over!


Audience: toddlers.

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


Top 10 Tuesday — Surprise Endings

13 Mar

This week That Artsy Reader Girl is challenging bloggers to list books that surprised them. There are so many options for this theme, but I chose a few books that had endings I never saw coming. Those that changed my perspective on all that went before. These were endings that prompt the reader to go back and explore the book again. If you are looking for a wonderful novel, then I highly recommend all of these.

Find out what surprised other bloggers HERE.


Top Books That Surprised Me


The Curse of Crow Hollow by Billy Coffey

Everyone in Crow Hollow knows of Alvaretta Graves, the old widow who lives in the mountain. Many call her a witch; others whisper she’s insane. Everyone agrees the vengeance Alvaretta swore at her husband’s death hovers over them all. That vengeance awakens when teenagers stumble upon Alvaretta’s cabin, incurring her curse. Now a sickness moves through the Hollow. Rumors swirl that Stu Graves has risen for revenge. And the people of Crow Hollow are left to confront not only the darkness that lives on the mountain, but the darkness that lives within themselves.

Dogwood by Chris Fabry

In the small town of Dogwood, West Virginia, Karin has buried her shattered dreams by settling for a faithful husband whose emotional distance from her deep passions and conflicts leaves her isolated. Loaded with guilt, she tries to raise three small children and “do life” the best she can. Will returns to Dogwood intent on pursuing the only woman he has ever loved―only to find there is far more standing in his way than lost years in prison. The secrets of Will and Karin’s past begin to emerge through Danny Boyd, a young boy who wishes he hadn’t survived the tragedy that knit those two together as well as tore them apart. The trigger that will lay their pain bare and force them to face it rather than flee is the unlikely figure of Ruthie Bowles, a withered, wiry old woman who leads Karin so deep into her anger against God that it forces unexpected consequences.

The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin

When a blizzard strands them in Salt Lake City, two strangers agree to charter a plane together, hoping to return home; Ben Payne is a gifted surgeon returning from a conference, and Ashley Knox, a magazine writer, is en route to her wedding. But when unthinkable tragedy strikes, the pair find themselves stranded in Utah’s most remote wilderness in the dead of winter, badly injured and miles from civilization. Without food or shelter, and only Ben’s mountain climbing gear to protect themselves, Ashley and Ben’s chances for survival look bleak, but their reliance on each other sparks an immediate connection, which soon evolves into something more.

Days in the mountains become weeks, as their hope for rescue dwindles. How will they make it out of the wilderness and if they do, how will this experience change them forever? Heart-wrenching and unputdownable, The Mountain Between Us will reaffirm your belief in the power of love to sustain us.

Not in The Heart by Chris Fabry

Truman Wiley used to report news stories from around the world, but now the most troubling headlines are his own. He’s out of work, out of touch with his family, out of his home. But nothing dogs him more than his son’s failing heart.

With mounting hospital bills and Truman’s penchant for gambling his savings, the situation seems hopeless . . . until his estranged wife throws him a lifeline—the chance to write the story of a death row inmate, a man convicted of murder who wants to donate his heart to Truman’s son.

As the execution clock ticks down, Truman uncovers disturbing evidence that points to a different killer. For his son to live, must an innocent man die? Truman’s investigation draws him down a path that will change his life, his family, and the destinies of two men forever.

Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer

For ten year-old Jeremiah Prins, a life of privilege as the son of a school headmaster in the Dutch East Indies comes crashing to a halt in 1942. When the Japanese Imperialist army invades the Southeast Pacific, and his father and older stepbrothers are separated from the rest of the family, Jeremiah takes on the responsibility of caring for his younger siblings. But he is surprised by what life in the camp reveals about his frail, troubled mother—a woman he barely knows.

Amidst starvation, brutality, sacrifice and generosity, Jeremiah draws on all of his courage and cunning to fill in the gap his father and brothers left behind. Life in the camps is made more tolerable as Jeremiah’s boyhood infatuation with his close friend Laura deepens into a friendship from which they both draw strength.

When the darkest sides of humanity threaten to overwhelm Jeremiah and Laura, they reach for God’s light and grace, shining through his people. Time and war will test their fortitude and the only thing that will bring them safely to the other side is the most enduring bond of all.

Velma Stil Cooks in Leeway by Vinita Hampton Wright

As the town’s chief cook and part-time janitor for Jerusalem Baptist church, Velma Brendle has never done anything more outstanding than putting on a good meal at Velma’s Place, the one restaurant in Leeway, Kansas, but she takes good care of her customers, neighbors, and friends. However, in the midst of these two jobs, Velma’s husband stops talking, Cousin Albert comes to live with her, and she finds herself dealing with the town’s problems. As memories of past troubles plague her, she grows weary from even the tasks she loves the most. Old Sunday School lessons take on new meanings, and new problems illuminate trials Velma thought were long over. In sudden leaps of faith and moments of tragedy, Velma and all those she loves journey toward facing their sins and finding forgiveness.


What book surprised you?


Book Review (+Giveaway!): Keturah

12 Mar

In 1772 England, Lady Keturah Banning Tomlinson and her sisters find themselves the heiresses of their father’s estates and know they have one option: Go to the West Indies to save what is left of their heritage.

Although it flies against all the conventions, they’re determined to make their own way in the world. But once they arrive in the Caribbean, conventions are the least of their concerns. On the infamous island of Nevis, the sisters discover the legacy of the legendary sugar barons has vastly declined–and that’s just the start of what their eyes are opened to in this harsh and unfamiliar world.

Keturah never intends to put herself at the mercy of a man again, but every man on the island seems to be trying to win her hand and, with it, the ownership of her plantation. She could desperately use an ally, but even an unexpected reunion with a childhood friend leaves her questioning his motives.

To keep her family together and save the plantation that is her last chance at providing for them, can Keturah ever surrender her stubbornness and guarded heart to God and find the healing and love awaiting her?


To keep her family together and save the plantation that is her last chance at providing for them, can Keturah ever surrender her stubbornness and guarded heart to God and find the healing and love awaiting her?

Lisa T. Bergren has published more than 40 books with more than 3 million books sold combined. She’s the author of the Christy Award-winning Waterfall, RITA®-finalist Firestorm, bestselling God Gave Us You, and popular historical series like Homeward, Grand Tour, and more. She’s also a recipient of the RT Lifetime Achievement Award. She lives in Colorado Springs with her husband and three teen-and-older children.

Find out more about Lisa at

My Impressions:

With its exotic locale, interesting time period, and relatable characters, Keturah by Lisa T. Bergren is a good choice for fans of historical fiction. The first book in The Sugar Baron’s Daughters series set on the Caribbean colonial island of Nevis, this novel doesn’t cover up the hardships or moral dilemmas facing the planters that sought to subdue nature and provide sugar to England. I can recommend this well-researched and richly detailed novel.

Lady Keturah Banning Tomlinson is a determined woman who is facing down her fears by journeying to Nevis to reclaim her family’s fortunes. But while determination is a fine attribute, she soon finds that it alone will not make her plantation successful, nor prevent disasters that endanger its prospects. Along with her sisters Verity and Selah, Keturah must learn to trust in others for help and in God to provide.

Bergren does a great job of bringing the world of the late 1770s alive in Keturah. I loved the attention to detail — from the ship journeying to Nevis to the sights and smells that awaited the characters on-island. Nothing is prettied-up. It was a tough time that called for men and women to put aside sensibilities and manners to survive. The main characters are well-drawn. I could relate to Keturah as she sought to provide for and protect her sisters. Her childhood friend, Gray Covington was a wonderful character as well. A reformed playboy, Gray’s reliance on God’s providence proved an effective influence on Keturah. There are a few hard issues explored in Keturah — slavery and abuse. While I appreciate the author’s willingness to include subject matter that was commonplace in that time period, I would have liked her to delve a bit deeper. The main characters are much opposed to the ill-treatment of slaves, but justify owning them. Slavery is seen as an economic necessity even as they abhorred the practice. While modern readers can easily see the fallacy of their views, it would be good to remember that in our contemporary lives we too often tolerate sin for the sake of economics. Keturah struggles with her personal abuse at the hands of her deceased husband. I liked that she was able to overcome its hold on her life, but felt that it occurred a bit too quickly.

All in all, Keturah proved to be a fascinating look into a mostly unknown (at least to me 🙂 ) time and place. If you like historical fiction set in the colonial period of the New World, then this one is a definite must-read. There are two more books promised in this series — Verity and Selah; those are definitely on my TBR radar!


Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE

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



Travel back in time to 1772 England and meet Lady Keturah Banning Tomlinson, who has to go to the West Indies to save what is left of her family’s heritage in Lisa T. Bergren’s new book, Keturah. Keturah never intends to put herself at the mercy of a man again, but every man on the island seems to be trying to win her hand and, with it, the ownership of her plantation. To keep her family together and save the plantation that is her last chance at providing for them, can Keturah ever surrender her stubbornness and guarded heart to God and find the healing and love awaiting her?

Enter to win a copy of Keturah. Five winners will be chosen! Click HERE to enter to win. The winners will be announced March 13 on the Litfuse blog!

First Line Friday — Beneath The Surface by Lynn H. Blackburn

9 Mar

Welcome to another First Line Friday! This week I am spotlighting a new novel in my favorite genre — suspense! Lynn H. Blackburn has just released the first book in the Dive Team Investigations series, Beneath The Surface. The reviews so far have been raves! I can’t wait to dive into this one myself (sorry 😉 ) in a few days.

To join the First Line Friday fun, leave a comment with the first sentence of the closest book and then head over to Hoarding Books to check out other bloggers’ first lines.



After a harrowing experience with an obsessed patient, oncology nurse practitioner Leigh Weston needed a change. She thought she’d left her troubles behind when she moved home to Carrington, North Carolina, and took a job in the emergency department of the local hospital. But when someone tampers with her brakes, she fears the past has chased her into the present. She reaches out to her high school friend turned homicide investigator, Ryan Parker, for help.

Ryan finds satisfaction in his career, but his favorite way to use his skills is as a volunteer underwater investigator with the Carrington County Sheriff’s Office dive team. When the body of a wealthy businessman is discovered in Lake Porter, the investigation uncovers a possible serial killer–one with a terrifying connection to Leigh Weston and deadly implications for them all.

Dive into the depths of fear with an exciting new voice in romantic suspense. Award-winning author Lynn H. Blackburn grabs readers by the throat and doesn’t let go until the final heart-pounding page.

To order, click HERE.

Lynn H. Blackburn believes in the power of stories, especially those that remind us that true love exists, a gift from the Truest Love. She’s passionate about CrossFit, coffee, and chocolate (don’t make her choose) and experimenting with recipes that feed both body and soul. She lives in South Carolina with her true love, Brian, and their three children. Her first book, Covert Justice, won the 2016 Selah Award for Mystery/Suspense and the 2016 Carol Award for Short Novel. Her second book, Hidden Legacy, released June 2017. She begins a new series, Dive Team Investigations with Beneath The Surface in March of 2018.

Book Review: Madman

8 Mar

If there is a way into madness, logic says there is a way out. Logic says. Tallis, a philosopher’s servant, is sent to a Greek academy in Palestine only to discover that it has silently, ominously, disappeared. No one will tell him what happened, but he learns what has become of four of its scholars. One was murdered. One committed suicide. One worships in the temple of Dionysus. And one . . . one is a madman.

From Christy Award–winning author Tracy Groot comes a tale of mystery, horror, and hope in the midst of unimaginable darkness: the story behind the Gerasene demoniac of the Gospels of Mark and Luke.


Tracy Groot is the critically acclaimed and Christy Award-winning author of several works of historical fiction. Her books have received starred Booklist and Publishers Weekly reviews and have been called “beautifully written” and “page-turning” by Publishers Weekly, and “gripping” with “exquisitely drawn” characters by Library Journal.

Tracy and her husband have three sons, one daughter (in-law) and live in Hudsonville, Michigan.

Connect with Tracy at her website (, or follow her on Facebook (@tracy.groot).


My Impressions:

I lead a combo Bible study/book club at my church. Our Faith And Fiction group was concentrating on the healing miracles of Jesus and chose Madman by Tracy Groot as the complimentary novel. The book is based on the Biblical account of the Gerasene demoniac. While the book received mixed reviews from the members of the study, I found it a challenging and viewpoint-expanding read. Complex in structure as well as characterization, Madman is a book that must be read slowly to experience all that it has to offer. It is Biblical fiction like no other I have encountered. Told from the perspective of a servant of a Greek philosopher, a student in his own right, Madman gives the reader a look into the Gentile life of Palestine. Should you read it? This one is not for someone who wants a quick, easy, or even light read. Its subject matter is madness and demonic possession and the power of Jesus to reach into both and set the captive free. If you are up for a challenge, then I urge you to give this one a look.

Tallis has been sent by his master, Calimachus, to the Decapolis in Palestine to find out what has happened to the philosophical school that had been founded in his name. What Tallis finds is mystery and danger and a tormented man who lives in the tombs.

The story is told from the third person point of view of Tallis and letters to his master back in Athens. Tallis has scars from a childhood trauma that make him vulnerable to both human and spiritual attack. But as he receives warning after warning to go home, Tallis is determined to find the truth. Supporting characters are interesting and unlike what I am used to in traditional Biblical fiction. Part of that may stem from the fact that all of the characters are Gentiles, descendants of Greek colonists that now make the Decapolis their home. The Decapolis is very definitely not a Jewish enclave. Its cultural life is based upon its Greek origins and includes the pagan rites and worship foreign to their Jewish neighbors. It is this paganism that I found the most interesting. While the Greeks prided themselves on rational thought and discourse, parts of their society clung to worship of gods that demanded much from their adherents. Tallis must deal with the whys of the man’s demonic possession, something that is missing from the Biblical record. The reader soon discovers that pride, arrogance, and the search for god-like power and knowledge leave more than the man in the tombs vulnerable to demonic attack. The entrance of Jesus into the story comes late in the book, but there is a great anticipation of his arrival that is felt throughout. I found the portrayal of the demoniac’s torment and his ultimate deliverance especially powerful.

Madman is an early book by Tracy Groot. This Christy Award winner for historical fiction has just been recently re-released. While I am not sure my reading experience was one of enjoyment, I am glad I read this riveting novel.


Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

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