Tag Archives: mystery fiction

Top 10 Tuesday — Bookish Bookshops

16 Oct

Ok, I know that the title of my Top Ten Tuesday post is a bit redundant, but I have a reason for this somewhat silly title. Today, bloggers are supposed to share the bookstores and/or libraries they would love to visit. A very bookish bucket list. 😉 There are a number of real life bookstores that I would absolutely love to visit. Powell’s in Portland comes to mind. But those destinations will have to wait. So I thought I would share the bookstores I have already visited, however fictionally. Yes, my list consists of bookstores that reside in books, hence bookish bookshops. Some of the books are cozies in which bookstore owners double as mystery solvers, while others share stories beyond the covers of books and walls of stores.  Have you visited any on my list? I’d love to know what you thought.

Be sure to head over to That Artsy Reader Girl to find out just where other bloggers want to visit.

 

Top Bookish Bookstores

 

Bay Books — Camino Island by John Grisham

The Book Depot — Strangled Prose by Joan Hess

Charming Books — Crime and Poetry by Amanda Flower

Death on Demand Bookstore — Death on Demand by Carolyn Hart

Island Books — The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Magic Balloon Bookshop — Hidden Among The Stars by Melanie Dobson

Oak Tree Bookstore — The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

 

What bookish location do you want to visit?

 

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Congratulations to The 2018 Christy Award Finalists!

19 Sep

Congratulations to all the talented authors who are now 2018 Christy Award Finalists. If you are on the hunt for some great books, here is an excellent place to start.

 

Contemporary Romance

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner

Troubled Waters by Susan May Warren

True to You by Becky Wade

 

First Novel

Freedom’s Ring by Heidi Chiavaroli

The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse

Turtles in The Road by Kaley Rhea and Rhonda Rhea

 

General Fiction 

A Time to Stand by Robert Whitlow

Life After by Katie Ganshert

The Space Between Words by Michele Phoenix

 

Historical

Catching The Wind by Melanie Dobson

Isaiah’s Daughter by Mesu Andrews

Many Sparrows by Lori Benton

 

Historical Romance

A Dangerous Legacy by Elizabeth Camden

The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz

To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander

 

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

Coldwater by Goldwater by Samuel Parker

The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

Rule of Law by Randy Singer

 

Short Form

Guilt by Association by Heather Day Gilbert

Her Secret Daughter by Ruth Logan Herne

12 Days at Bleakly Manor by Michelle Griep

 

Visionary

Awakened by Morgan Busse

The Day The Angels Fell by Shawn Smucker

The Man He Never Was by James Rubart

 

Young Adult 

The Delusion by Laura Gallier

Last Summer at Eden by Christina Hergenrader

Unraveling by Sara Ella

Top 10 Tuesday — What to binge-read when others are binge-watching.

4 Sep

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday topic is binge-worthy TV shows/movies. I am so out of the loop when it comes to TV watching. While my friends binge-watched Downton Abbey, I read books. While my kids binge-watched The Office or Portlandia, I read books. While my husband watched Lonesome Dove and its many sequels, I read books. Hmm, I am noticing a trend. So as not to be left out this week, I again changed the topic to Book Series to Binge-Read while Other Binge-Watch. I have included series from a variety of genres — I hope you find some new books to keep you busy!

Check out other bloggers’ recommendations at That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Book Series to Binge-Read

 

The Baxter Series by Kathy Herman (suspense and danger in small town America)

 

The Bowers Files by Steven James (high-octane suspense)

 

The Bright Empires by Stephen Lawhead (mind-bending time travel)

 

The Cape Refuge Series by Terri Blackstock (Southern suspense)

 

Hope Harbor by Irene Hannon (romance on the Oregon coast)

 

Lowlands of Scotland by Liz Curtis Higgs (the ultimate love triangle set in 1700s Scotland)

 

The Million Dollar Mysteries by Mindy Starns Clark (charitable mysterious doings)

 

The Price of Privilege by Jessica Dotta (mystery/intrigue in Victorian England)

 

What series would you binge-read?

Book Review: Darkwater Secrets

23 Aug

A murder investigation uncovers sordid secrets and haunting mistakes

The Darkwater Inn stands tall and proud in the French Quarter, the hub of New Orleans. Bourbon Street is bustling, and General Manager Adelaide Fountaine has her hands full with a hotel at capacity. She, along with everyone else, is shocked when a body is found: a hotel guest stabbed with a kitchen knife.

Detective Beau Savoie, Adelaide’s childhood friend, is on the case. As Beau digs into the victim’s past, he unearths a shocking connection between Adelaide and the murdered guest. Beau is hurt that his friend—the woman he’s quietly loved for years—kept the truth from him. To make matters worse, the stress of the investigation has sent Adelaide right into the comforting arms of her coworker Dimitri. But Beau can’t press Adelaide too hard . . . he’s keeping secrets of his own.

Can Adelaide and Beau afford to hide from the truth with a killer on the loose?

Born and raised in Louisiana, Robin Caroll is a southerner through and through. Her passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others. Robin’s mother, bless her heart, is a genealogist who instilled in Robin the deep love of family and pride of heritage — two aspects Robin weaves into each of her 30 published novels.

When she isn’t writing, Robin spends time with her husband of twenty+ years, her three beautiful daughters and two handsome grandsons, and their character-filled pets at home — in the South, where else?

She serves the writing community as Executive Director/Conference Director for ACFW.

Her books have finaled/placed in such contests as the Carol Award, Holt Medallion, RT Reviewer’s Choice Award, Bookseller’s Best, and Book of the Year.

On her faith, Robin says, “I love Jesus and will follow Him wherever He leads me.”

An avid reader herself, Robin loves hearing from and chatting with other readers. Although her favorite genre to read is mystery/suspense, of course, she’ll read just about any good story. Except historicals! To learn more about this author of deep South mysteries of suspense to inspire your heart, visit Robin’s website at http://www.robincaroll.com.

My Impressions:

New Orleans is one of my favorite cities to visit. Nothing beats the sultry atmosphere of the city that has seen its share of colorful citizens, historic events, and renewed hope after tragedy. Robin Caroll has set her newest series right in the heart of the French Quarter, and the first book, Darkwater Secrets, captures all the sights, smells, and tastes of New Orleans. The novel is a wonderful combo of mystery and suspense, romance and drama as good as a seafood gumbo. I give this book a recommended rating.

While the setting is so very satisfying — carnival season with scenes at the St. Louis cemetery, Cafe du Monde, and St. Louis Cathedral — I really, really liked the characters. At the center of the novel is Adelaide Fountaine, general manager of the historic (but fictional) Darkwater Inn. She along with junior hotel owner Dimitri Pampalon and Detective Beau Savoie fuel the story. Along with a murder, there are secrets galore — everyone seems to be hiding something. Add to the mix some voodoo and real life struggles, and you have an intriguing plot. The novel has a definite Christian worldview, yet only one character really lives out his faith. I found this very realistic. Within the faith thread is the complex issues of justice and revenge. At the heart is the question of whether real justice can be achieved and whether people can take that into their own hands when the system fails. I thought the author handled the argument expertly. The story certainly made me think.

Darkwater Secrets was a page turner. Don’t be surprised if you look at the clock to discover you’ve stayed up way too late! 😉 I think for those groups who enjoy intrigue and mystery, it is an excellent choice for a book club. Twisting and turning with plenty to discuss. The mystery is solved at the end of the novel, but there is plenty more to come. I am eagerly awaiting book 2. And for those of you who find themselves wishing for some of Dimitri’s delicious dishes, there is Recipes from The Darkwater Inn — free for Kindle. Yum!

Recommended.

Great for Book Clubs.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE

(Thanks to Gilead Publishing and JustRead Book Tours for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Top 10 Tuesday — In a reading slump? Read these books now!

21 Aug

Reading slumps, ugh. When you want to read, but you just can’t seem to get into the books you pull from your shelves. What to do? Read the books on my list! I recommend all these books, they are quick to capture the attention and keep it. I’ve divided them into categories (2 per genre) so that you can find exactly the book you want to read.

Want other book recs? Head over to That Artsy Reader Girl for more.

 

Top Books to Beat A Slump

 

Historical (with some romance)

Burning Sky by Lori Benton

A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green

 

Mystery

Miranda Warning by Heather Day Gilbert

Rules of Murder by Julianna Deering

 

Romance

The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano

The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

 

Romantic Suspense

Vanished by Irene Hannon

Vendetta by Lisa Harris

 

Small Town Contemporary Series (with romance)

Hope Harbor series by Irene Hannon

A Place to Call Home series by Cathleen Armstrong

 

Suspense

A Cry from The Dust by Carrie Stuart Parks

Fear Has A Name by Creston Mapes

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Book Title Mash Up

7 Aug

That Artsy Reader Girl is challenging bloggers to a Book Mash Up! We are supposed to take two books that combined together would make one awesome new book. I’m afraid my brain is a bit creativity-challenged, so I tweaked the topic this week to a Title Mash Up — two book titles combined to create a fun book with little in common to the originals. Won’t you join the fun by leaving a comment with some mashed together titles?

 

Top 10 Book Title Mash Up!

 

The Captured Bride Most Begrudging 

She really didn’t want to get married.

 

Carolina Reckoning at Gossamer Pond

Let’s move the action down South.

 

Chasing Secrets of A Charmed Life

Must discover that secret!

 

Dressed for Death in The Shadows

You have to look good!

An Endless Christmas Angel Project

A women’s project gone awry!

 

Imperfect Justice Betrayed

Justice just can’t catch a break.

 

Lead Me Home at Last

Can’t wait to get there.

 

Phoebe’s Light My Fire 

Sounds like a story of a racehorse.

 

A Rebel Heart Between Us

You just can’t trust the heart.

 

Rules of Murder at The Flamingo

Let’s make sure we follow the rules.

 

What are some more titles that make a good mash up?

 

Book Review: The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond

18 Jul

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!

 

My Impressions:

Have you ever read a book that captured your imagination through its beautiful prose while immersing you in a twisting turning story of secrets and mysteries, and filled you with the certainty of a profound message of God’s truth? I’m not certain I have until now. The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond, Jaime Jo Wright’s sophomore novel, has done just that. I really liked her debut, The House on Foster Hill, as did my book club. But this second novel exceeded my expectations. All I can say is wow! This one deserves a very highly recommended rating.

The midwestern town of Gossamer Grove is a place of welcoming people with long held and deeply buried secrets. I loved the small town vibe/creepy setting that Wright achieved. Told in dual storylines — present day and 1907 — the novel explores the impact of shame and guilt. Both the contemporary and historical stories are right on in their cultural feel. The reader never once mistakes the two. But the mystery of 1907 brought about by a tent revival bleeds into the present day bringing with it threats and danger. There are two very strong female characters — Libby and Annalise. Both have hidden guilt that they strive to make up for with good deeds and right-living. But secrets aren’t really secret at all in the small town of Gossamer Grove. The various male characters they interact with are intriguing and are a bit mysterious in their own rights. I loved how Wright kept this reader off-balance with the relationships that develop. As stated above there is a strong spiritual thread that runs in both stories. Grace, undeserved and freely and lovingly offered, is often difficult to accept. Many feel that this gift can’t actually be available, even as they profess to believe in the love of Jesus. Early in the story the seemingly all-knowing revivalist Jacobus Corbin states: “No amount of mystery in one’s soul can escape the ever-watchful eye of God. One may carry guilt and shame with them for years, only to discover that while they attempted to dodge God’s judgment, they instead cheated themselves of His forgiveness.” I read that line over and over. It spoke healing and love to my soul.

While the spiritual lessons are strong, The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond really is a very entertaining mystery. I puzzled and theorized and was totally blown away by the endings of each story. If you are a mystery fan you are going to love how this novel unfolds. And for fans of Poe, well, this one is a special treat. All I can say is run, don’t walk, to your nearest bookstore or computer to buy this book. You will not regret it! I am passing my copy on to my fellow book clubbers because I cannot wait to hear what they think. Grab a couple of books to hand out so you won’t be alone in this reading experience.

Very Highly Recommended.

Great for Book Clubs.

To purchase, click HERE.

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