First Line Friday — The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond

13 Jul

Happy Friday! As you read this post, I am gazing out on the Gulf of Mexico (or I’m sleeping in 😉 ). Whatever, I am definitely at the beach, and I have brought along Jaime Jo Wright‘s latest novel, The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond.  There are a lot of mysterious goings on in this book — perfect to keep me occupied while my husband enjoys his continuing education.

What’s the first line of the closest book to you? Leave me a comment, then head over to Hoarding Books for more great lines from great authors!

 

 

For over a century, the town of Gossamer Grove has thrived on its charm and midwestern values, but Annalise Forsythe knows painful secrets, including her own, hover just beneath the pleasant faade. When a man is found dead in his run-down trailer home, Annalise inherits the trailer, along with the pictures, vintage obituaries, and old revival posters covering its walls. As she sorts through the collection, she’s wholly unprepared for the ramifications of the dark and deadly secrets she’ll uncover.

A century earlier, Gossamer Grove has been stirred into chaos by the arrival of controversial and charismatic twin revivalists. The chaos takes a murderous turn when Libby Sheffield, working at her father’s newspaper, receives an obituary for a reputable church deacon hours before his death. As she works with the deacon’s son to unravel the mystery behind the crime, it becomes undeniably clear that a reckoning has come to town–but it isn’t until another obituary arrives that they realize the true depths of the danger they’ve waded into.

Two women, separated by a hundred years, must uncover the secrets within the borders of their own town before it’s too late and they lose their future — or their very souls.

Professional coffee drinker & ECPA/Publisher’s Weekly best-selling author, Jaime Jo Wright resides in the hills of Wisconsin writing spirited turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Coffee fuels her snarky personality. She lives in Neverland with her Cap’n Hook who stole her heart and will not give it back, their little fairy TinkerBell, and a very mischievous Peter Pan. The foursome embark on scores of adventure that only make her fall more wildly in love with romance and intrigue.

Jaime lives in dreamland, exists in reality, and invites you to join her adventures at jaimejowright.com!

 

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Book Spotlight, Guest Post, + A Giveaway!: Made Like Martha by Katie M. Reid

12 Jul

An invitation for overachievers to discover what it means to rest as God’s daughters without compromising their God-given design as doers.

Though she didn’t sit at Jesus’s feet like her sister Mary, biblical Martha was loved just as she was — and you are too. This practical resource invites modern-day Marthas to sit down spiritually as they exchange try-hard striving for hope-filled freedom without abandoning their doer’s heart in the process. Doers need to be affirmed in their innate design to do rather than sit, yet also be reminded that they don’t have to overdo it in order to be worthy. This book is not an exhortation to add or subtract things off your to-do list, but it is an invitation to embrace the “good” of the Good News. Here is an offer to step into your position as a daughter of God and to enjoy life as a doer.

Katie M. Reid is an author, speaker, and singer who encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life at katiemreid.com. Her first book, Made Like Martha: Good News for the Woman Who Gets Things Done, released on July 10, 2018 (published by WaterBrook). Katie’s writing style is transparent, poetic, and reflective. She has published articles through: Focus on the Family, HuffPost, MOPS, LifeLines, iBelieve, and LightWorkers and is a contributor in Tales of Our Lives: Reflection Pond and the Five Minute Friday book. Her album, Echoes of My Heart, is also available for purchase. Katie delights in her hubby, five children, and their life in ministry. Hot or iced tea and cut-to-the-chase conversations are a few of her favorite things.

 

Guest Post by Katie M. Reid

While we don’t know for sure, there is speculation that Martha and Mary, the famous sisters from Bethany (see Luke 10:38-42), were either orphaned (and not yet married), widowed (and not yet remarried), or a part of a celibate Jewish sect. (1)

Regardless, in Luke 10:40, it seems that Martha exhibited a mindset that is often associated with the orphan spirit, when she talks about feeling like she has been left alone to do the work. 

But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

I don’t know about you, but as a women who identifies with Martha, I can relate to feeling like it’s all up to me to get things done. I can be resentful of others when they don’t help out in the way I think they should. Sometimes, I even get frustrated with God when He doesn’t show up in the way or timing that I think is best. 

Another characteristic of the orphan spirit (or the hired help mentality as I like to call it) is that you serve to earn the Father’s love. But the good news is that Jesus offers us grace — a gift to be received, not a prize to be earned. His love for us is settled on the cross, and it is not dependent on how many items we cross off our to-do list.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. — Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV) 

Martha was designed to be a doer (which is a good thing) yet she did not have to work from a place of striving and anxiousness. And the same is true for us. Yes, there are good works prepared for us to do, but those works are not what make us worthy. 

We exchange our hired help mentality for a beloved daughter’s mentality, when we realize who we are in light of who God is: accepted, forgiven, and delighted in. Then, we serve — not from a place of striving and fret — but from a place of strength and peace; knowing that Jesus has not left us alone but adopted us forever. 

Learn how your soul can be at rest, even when your hands are busy, in Katie’s new book, Made Like Martha: Good News for the Woman Who Gets Things Done. A bonus 5-week bible study (for individuals and groups) is included. 

 (1) Source: https://margmowczko.com/martha-mary-and-lazarus-of-bethany/

 

Giveaway!

Thanks to Waterbrook, I have a copy of Made Like Martha to give away! Just leave a comment to enter. (US only.) The winner will be randomly selected July 19, 2018.

Book Review and Giveaway! — Dead Drift

11 Jul

Burning debris littering the ground . . . smoke pluming in the acrid air . . . this is just the beginning if he fails.

Seven years ago, operative Luke Gallagher vanished to become part of an elite team set on capturing a deadly terrorist. When Luke returns to face those he left behind, their help becomes his only hope of stopping his target’s latest threat of an attack that would shake America to its core.

Private investigator Kate Maxwell never stopped loving or looking for Luke after he disappeared. But she also never imagined he left her or his life by choice. Now he’s back, and together they must unravel a twisting thread of secrets, lies, and betrayal, all while on the brink of a biological disaster. 

Will they and their love survive, or will Luke and Kate become the terrorist’s 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 400,000 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, visit http://www.danipettrey.com.

My Impressions:

For fans who have been eagerly awaiting the last installment in Dani Pettrey’s Chesapeake Valor series, Dead Drift will not disappoint. Full of the action-packed suspense and sizzling romance Pettrey is known for, this novel also offers a satisfying conclusion to several mysteries that have been teased throughout the series. Recommended!

All of the characters who have made up the ensemble cast of this series are present in Dead Drift, but this is really Luke and Kate’s story. Separated by years and circumstances beyond their control, they are back together as they hunt down terrorists with deadly intent. In the midst of danger, their love again blooms. I really liked the chemistry between these two characters. But it isn’t just the bad guys that threatens their future — they have to overcome guilt and distrust. They both need to learn that what they really need is to depend more on God. The second plot line that was introduced in book 1 is brought to a very satisfying end, bringing needed closure to more than one family. Both the terrorism thread and the cold case mystery kept this reader guessing and puzzling along with the characters. I felt invested in both stories and could not wait to get to the end. This one is a real page turner!

Dead Drift brings to an end the Chesapeake Valor series, and I am a bit sad. It was a great way to get my suspense-fix! For those of you who haven’t yet read it, don’t be surprised if you are spending a few days binge-reading.

Recommended.

Audience: adults

To purchase, click HERE.

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

 

Giveaway!

I have a copy of Dead Drift and a bit of book swag to give away. Leave me a comment for a chance to win. (US only, please.) The winner will be randomly selected on July 27, 2018.

Top 10 Tuesday — Best of 2018, Part 2

10 Jul

A couple of months ago, I took advantage of a TTT Freebie week to post the best books I had read so far this year. (Check out that list HERE.) But that’s okay, because I have another 10 novels to add to the list. 2018 has been a great reading year! The books on my list vary in genre and include new-to-me authors as well as time-tested favorites. What about you? What are some your favs from this year?

Head over to That Artsy Reader Girl to discover other bloggers’ favorite books.

 

Top 10 Favorite Books of 2018, Part 2!

 

The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer

Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh

Land of Silence by Tessa Afshar

The Love Letter by Rachel Hauck

The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers

A Rebel Heart by Beth White

A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green

Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof

A Vast And Gracious Tide by Lisa Carter

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West

What are some favorite books you have read this year?

Book Review: The Fashion Designer

9 Jul

The American Dream thrives in 1912 New York City
 
Annie Wood, the housemaid-turned-pattern designer in The Pattern Artist, jumps at the chance to design her own clothing line when a wealthy New York couple offers to finance her endeavor. Joining the project is Annie’s new husband, Sean Culver, her best friend at Butterick, Maude Nascato, and a mother figure, Edna Holmquist.
 
Annie and her colleagues give up their careers, risking everything to follow a shared passion: clothes that are both fashionable and functional for modern, busy women in 1912.
 
Personal and financial setbacks test old relationships and new romances while threatening to keep the business from ever selling a single dress. No one said it would be easy. But the promise of the American Dream holds a deep hope for those who work hard, trust God, and never give up.

Nancy Moser is the award-winning author of thirty-two inspirational novels and novellas that focus on discovering our unique purpose. Her genres include both contemporary and historical stories.

Nancy and her husband live in the Midwest. She’s earned a degree in architecture, traveled extensively in Europe, and has performed in numerous theaters, symphonies, and choirs. She knits voraciously, kills all her houseplants, and can wire an electrical fixture without getting shocked. She is a fan of anything antique — humans included.

Website: http://www.nancymoser.com

 

My Impressions:

The Fashion Designer, by Nancy Moser, completes the American Dream story of Annie Wood Culver that was begun in The Pattern Artist. Seeking to escape a life of service, Annie daringly leaves the only life she has known and sets out on a course to discover God’s plan for her life. This is not a story of a rise to fame and fortune, but a personal quest to follow the purposes God has. Rich in the detail of the early 1900s — customs, manners, and fashions — The Fashion Designer is an interesting read perfect for those who love historical novels. And it is a very satisfying ending to the series! Recommended.

Previous characters from The Pattern Artist are joined by new as Annie endeavors to set up a fashion house geared to the everyday woman. Annie’s story is the main focus, but this novel has a wonderful ensemble cast of women who are seeking to make a new way in the New York of 1912. The characters come from all backgrounds, aristocratic, immigrant, rich and desperately poor, making The Fashion Designer a slice of American life of that time. The author includes familiar New York landmarks, and even an historical figure in the fashion industry to bolster the book’s authenticity.  The plot revolves around a woman’s fashion workshop, but the story expands to include the changing roles of women and their search for independence of thought and action. The novel’s male characters are varied as well, with some very supportive of their wives’ endeavors; others not so much. And speaking of male characters, although Annie and Sean are now happily married, there is some sweet romance afoot for some of Annie’s partners. The faith message is strongly woven throughout the narrative. In spite of obstacles and setbacks (and there are plenty!), the characters set their sights on God and His provision. As they struggle with maintaining faith, God shows them He is indeed in control.

While it is not necessary to read book 1 of the series to enjoy The Fashion Designer, I recommend that you do. You will want to get Annie’s whole story. A quick and easy read, this one is a great addition to your summer reading list.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

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

 

 

First Line Friday — Freedom’s Ring

6 Jul

Welcome to the Patriotic Edition of First Line Friday. Today I am sharing the first line from a book that is whispering to me from my TBR pile, Freedom’s Ring, the debut novel by Heidi Chiavaroli. I have got to read this book! If you’ve read it, tell me what you thought.

Meanwhile head over to Hoarding Books for more patriotic first lines!

 

 

Boston, 2015
Two years after nearly losing her life in the Boston Marathon bombing, Annie David is still far from “Boston strong.” Instead she remains isolated and defeated ― plagued by guilt over her niece, crippled in the blast, and by an antique ring alongside a hazy hero’s face. But when she learns the identity of her rescuer, will he be the hero she’s imagined? And can the long-past history of the woman behind the ring set her free from the guilt and fears of the present?

Boston, 1770
As a woman alone in a rebellious town, Liberty Caldwell finds herself in a dangerous predicament. When a British lieutenant, Alexander Smythe, comes to her rescue and offers her employment, Liberty accepts. As months go by, Alexander not only begins to share his love of poetry with her, but protects Liberty from the advances of a lecherous captain living in the officers’ house where she works.

Mounting tensions explode in the Boston Massacre, and Liberty’s world is shattered as her brother, with whom she has just reunited, is killed in the fray. Desperate and alone, she returns home, only to be assaulted by the captain. Afraid and furious toward redcoats, Liberty leaves the officers’ home, taking with her a ring that belonged to Alexander.

Two women, separated by centuries, must learn to face their fears. And when they feel they must be strong, they learn that sometimes true strength is found in surrender.

 

Heidi Chiavaroli is a writer, runner, and grace-clinger who could spend hours exploring Boston’s Freedom Trail. She writes Women’s Fiction and won the 2014 ACFW Genesis contest in the historical category. Both her debut novel, Freedom’s Ring and her sophomore novel, The Hidden Side are Romantic Times Top Picks. Freedom’s Ring was also a BOOKLIST Top Ten Romance Debut, 2017. She makes her home in Massachusetts with her husband, two sons, and Howie, her standard poodle.

Connect with Heidi online at her website (heidichiavaroli.com) or on either of these social media platforms:

Facebook.com/HeidiChiavaroliAuthor
Twitter.com/HeidiChiavaroli

Book Review (+Giveaway!): The Linen God

6 Jul

the linen god blog and review tour

Welcome to The Linen God blog & review tour and GIVEAWAY, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

the linen godTitle: The Linen God
Author: Jim O’Shea
Publisher: Ambassador International
Release Date: March 31, 2018
Genre: Inspirational Suspense/Thriller

The Shroud of Turin is the most studied and controversial religious relic in human history.

The ancient linen cloth bears the image of a man, alleged to be that of Jesus of Nazareth. What if it were real? What if it contained a secret powerful enough to alter the course of human history? And what if it fell into the wrong hands?

Manny Lusum is convinced the Shroud is the genuine article and obsessed with proving it scientifically. Grace Barden is not only Manny’s best friend, but also secretly in love with the physics student and soon-to-be Catholic priest. Across the globe, three grisly murders and the theft of a secret manuscript thrust Grace and Manny into a generations-old conspiracy of biblical proportions. From New York to Rome to the inner sanctum of the Vatican, they struggle to untangle a bizarre mystery surrounding the controversial artifact.

In a dramatic confrontation between faith and the ultimate evil on the world stage, Grace and Manny are pushed to the edge of an abyss, balanced on the brink between heaven and hell.

This suspenseful and captivating thriller is perfect for fans of Dan Brown, John Grisham, Robert Ludlum, and David Baldacci. Order your copy today and experience a unique blend of history, science, conscience, religion and a battle of good versus evil that will keep you reading into the early morning hours!

“ . . . a wonderfully engaging, page-turning thriller.”
—Doug Peterson, Award Winning Author
of The Vanishing Woman and The Puzzle People

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Ambassador | Book Depository


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

jim o'shea

Jim is a long-time resident of Chesterfield, Missouri…“The City of Sculptures”. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri in Columbia and now spends his time crafting novels of suspense that tackle the complex relationship between science and religion, stories designed to take the reader places he or she may not have previously considered.

CONNECT: website | Facebook | Ambassador International

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

MY IMPRESSIONS:

The Linen God by Jim O’Shea is a supernatural thriller based on the Shroud of Turin. With action from the busy streets of New York to the hallowed halls of Vatican City, it combines obscure prophesies and modern technology to provide a fast-paced read. Cover-ups, conspiracies, spiritual warfare, and end-times references make this novel perfect for fans of both The DaVinci Code and the Left Behind series. The style is edgier than most CF; something I don’t have a problem with. Twists, turns, and unforeseen surprises keep this one interesting, but I would have liked a bit more character development and backstory. I was unfamiliar with many of the Catholic traditions and rituals, but the author does a good job of keeping the reader up to speed. However, I found some of the theological doctrine a bit off the mark. I can’t elaborate — spoilers — but I felt the novel strayed from scripture in some scenes.

Be sure to visit other blogs on this tour to find out what others think.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to JustRead Blog Tours for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 


The Linen God blog tour giveaway

GIVEAWAY

Ambassador International is giving away:

5 winners will receive an ebook copy of The Linen God (open internationally, except where prohibited by law)

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight July 2, 2018 and last through 11:59pm July 9, 2018. Winners will be notified within a week 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.

Click HERE to enter!

tour schedule

See FULL SCHEDULE at JustRead landing page

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