Tag Archives: mystery fiction

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?

 

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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.)

 

Happy Book Birthday! The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright

3 Jul

Happy book birthday to Jaime Jo Wright! It’s release day for The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond. I cannot wait to dig into this book!

 

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.

To purchase, click HERE

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!

2018 Carol Award Nominees

2 Jul

Congratulations to the 2018 Carol Award shortlist authors! The Carol Awards are sponsored by the American Christian Fiction Writers. If you are looking for a good book to read, this list is a great start!

 

Contemporary

Maybe It’s You by Candace Calvert
The Long Highway Home by Elizabeth Musser
A Fragile Hope by Cynthia Ruchti

 

Historical

Catching the Wind by Melanie Dobson
A Plain Leaving by Leslie Gould
Liar’s Winter by Cindy Sproles

 

Historical Romance

A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander
The Road to Paradise by Karen Barnett
Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer

 

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

Four Months in Cuba by Luana Ehrlich
Ghost Heart by Lisa Harris and Lynne Gentry
Portrait of Vengeance by Carrie Stuart Parks

 

Novella

Puzzle House by Lillian Duncan
An Awakened Heart by Jody Hedlund
One Enchanted Noel from Enchanted: A Christmas Collection by Melissa Tagg

 

Romance

A New Shade of Summer by Nicole Deese
Then There Was You by Kara Isaac
A Matter of Trust by Susan May Warren

 

Romantic Suspense

Justice Buried by Patricia Bradley, Revell
Fatal Mistake by Susan Sleeman
The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

 

Short Novel

Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander
A Sweetwater River Romance by Misty M. Beller
Claiming Her Cowboy by Tina Radcliffe

 

Speculative

Awakened by Morgan L. Busse
Huntress by Julie Hall
King’s Blood by Jill Williamson

 

Young Adult

For Love & Honor by Jody Hedlund
Playing by Heart by Carmela Martino
Betrayal of the Band by Sarah Tipton

 

Debut

Freedom’s Ring by Heidi Chiavaroli
If We Make It Home by Christina Suzann Nelson
Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano

Congratulations 2018 Inspy Award Winners!

2 Jul

Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 Inspy Awards! This blogger-based award seeks to honor the best in Inspirational fiction, both in the Christian and secular markets. The Inspy Awards are unique in that books are nominated by readers and judged by book bloggers, insuring that not only are these books highly readable, but demonstrate excellence in faith-based writing. If you are looking for a great reading experience, you definitely need to check these out!

2018 Inspy Award Winners 

 

Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense

True to You by Becky Wade 

After a devastating heartbreak three years ago, genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford has decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now.

Unlike Nora, former Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. But when he’s diagnosed with an inherited condition, he’s forced to dig into the secrets of his past and his adoption as an infant, enlisting Nora to help him uncover the identity of his birth mother.

The more time they spend together, the more this pair of opposites suspects they just might be a perfect match. However, John’s already dating someone and Nora’s not sure she’s ready to trade her crushes on fictional heroes for the risks of a real relationship. Finding the answers they’re seeking will test the limits of their identity, their faith, and their devotion to one another.

 

Debut Fiction

Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano 

When Aurelie Harcourt’s father dies in debtor’s prison, he leaves her just two things: his wealthy family, whom she has never met, and his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll. Her new family greets her with apathy and even resentment. Only the quiet houseguest, Silas Rotherham, welcomes her company.When Aurelie decides to complete her father’s unfinished serial novel, writing the family into the story as unflattering characters, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for the truth about her mother’s disappearance – and perhaps even her father’s death.

 

General Fiction

A Trail of Crumbs by Susie Finkbeiner

“I believed it would have been a sin to stay inside when God had sent us such fine weather. According to Pastor Ezra Anderson, sin was the reason we’d got in the dusty mess we were in. The way I saw it, that day was God’s way of letting us know He wasn’t mad at us anymore. Just maybe He’d seen fit to forgive us.”

Pearl Spence has been through more in her young life than most folks could handle. But through it all, her family has been by her side. They may not be perfect, but they love her and they all love each other, come what may. That’s one thing Pearl no longer questions.

But the end of her beautiful day signals the beginning of the end of her secure life.

Now her family is fleeing their Oklahoma wasteland. Pearl isn’t sure she’ll ever see home or happiness again. Are there any crumbs powerful enough to guide her back to the dependable life she once knew?

 

Historical Romance

Many Sparrows by Lori Benton

In 1774, the Ohio-Kentucky frontier pulses with rising tension and brutal conflicts as Colonists push westward and encroach upon Native American territories. The young Inglesby family is making the perilous journey west when an accident sends Philip back to Redstone Fort for help, forcing him to leave his pregnant wife Clare and their four-year old son Jacob on a remote mountain trail.

When Philip does not return and Jacob disappears from the wagon under the cover of darkness, Clare awakens the next morning to find herself utterly alone, in labor and wondering how she can to recover her son . . . especially when her second child is moments away from being born.

Clare will face the greatest fight of her life, as she struggles to reclaim her son from the Shawnee Indians now holding him captive. But with the battle lines sharply drawn, Jacob’s life might not be the only one at stake. When frontiersman Jeremiah Ring comes to her aid, can the stranger convince Clare that recovering her son will require the very thing her anguished heart is unwilling to do — be still, wait and let God fight this battle for them?

 

Literature for Young Adults

Unraveling by Sara Ella

Eliyana Ember doesn’t believe in true love. Not anymore. After defeating her grandfather and saving the Second Reflection, El only trusts what’s right in front of her. The tangible. The real. Not some unexplained Kiss of Infinity she once shared with the ghost of a boy she’s trying to forget. She has more important things to worry about —l ike becoming queen of the Second Reflection, a role she is so not prepared to fill.

Now that the Verity is intertwined with her soul and Joshua’s finally by her side, El is ready to learn more about her mysterious birth land, the land she now rules. So why does she feel like something — or someone — is missing?

When the thresholds begin to drain and the Callings, those powerful magical gifts, begin to fail, El wonders if her link to Ky Rhyen may have something to do with it. For light and darkness cannot coexist. She needs answers before the Callings disappear altogether. Can El find a way to sever her connection to Ky and save the Reflections — and keep herself from falling for him in the process?

 

Mystery/Thriller

Portrait of Vengeance by Carrie Stuart Parks

Gwen Marcey has done a good job keeping the pain of her past boxed up. But as she investigates the case of a missing child in Lapwai, Idaho, details keep surfacing that are eerily similar to her childhood traumas. She doesn’t believe in coincidences. So what’s going on here?

No one knows more about the impact of the past than the Nez Perce people of Lapwai. Gwen finds herself an unwelcome visitor to some, making her investigation even more difficult. The questions keep piling up, but answers are slow in coming — and the clock is ticking for a missing little girl. Meanwhile, Gwen’s ex-husband is threatening to take sole custody of their daughter.

As Gwen’s past and present collide, she’s in a desperate race for the truth. Because only truth will ensure she still has a future.

 

Speculative Fiction

The Divide by Jolina Petersheim

In this gripping conclusion to The Alliance, nearly six months have passed since Leora Ebersole’s Old Order Mennonite community fled to the mountains for refuge after an attack destroyed the power grid and altered life as they knew it. Since then, Leora has watched and waited for news of Moses Hughes, the young Englischer pilot who held off invading looters long enough for everyone to escape. Unsure Moses even survived, Leora has begun to warm to the affections of Jabil Snyder, who has courted her patiently. But she struggles to see herself as the bishop’s wife, especially when she learns that Moses is alive and has now joined a local militia.

An unexpected encounter in the woods deepens Leora’s crisis, as does a terrifying new threat that brings Moses’ militia into the community’s shaky alliance with the few Englischers left among them. When long-held beliefs are once again put to the test, Leora wrestles with the divide between having faith and taking action. Just how much will her shifting landscape change her?

 

 

 

 

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Summer TBR

19 Jun

It is definitely summer here in the sunny South. The humidity and temps are up and the bugs are out. But I can’t complain because I have some great summer reading — history, mystery, romance, and suspense all in varying combinations! What about you? What are you reading this summer?

Make sure to check out other bloggers’ summer reading lists at That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top 10 Books on My Summer Reading List

 

Cold, Cold Heart by Christine Poulson

Dead Drift by Dani Pettrey

The Death Beat by Fiona Veitch Smith

Falling for You by Becky Wade

The Linen God by Jim O’Shea

The Love Letter by Rachel Hauck

Murder at The Flamingo by Rachel McMillan

A Rebel Heart by Beth White

The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright

Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof

 

What’s on your Summer TBR?

 

Book Review: Threads of Suspicion

3 May

Evie Blackwell’s reputation as a top investigator for the Illinois State Police has landed her an appointment to the governor’s new Missing Persons Task Force. This elite investigative team is launched with plenty of public fanfare. The governor has made this initiative a high priority, so they will have to produce results–and quickly.

Evie and her new partner, David Marshal, are assigned to a pair of unrelated cases in suburban Chicago, and while both involve persons now missing for several years, the cases couldn’t be more different. While Evie opens old wounds in a close-knit neighborhood to find a missing college student, David searches for a private investigator working for a high-powered client.

With a deep conviction that “justice for all” truly matters, Evie and David are unrelenting in their search for the truth. But Evie must also find answers to the questions that lie just beneath the surface in her personal life.

Dee Henderson is the author of 14 best-selling novels, including the acclaimed O’Malley series and the Uncommon Heroes series. As a leader in the inspirational romantic suspense category, her books have won or been nominated for several prestigious industry awards, including the RWA’s RITA Award, the Christy Award, the ECPA Gold Medallion, the Holt Medallion, the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the Golden Quill. Dee is a lifelong resident of Illinois and is active online. Visit her at http://www.deehenderson.com.

 

My Impressions:

Dee Henderson is a favorite with lots of readers. Her beloved O’Malley series tops the lists of many romantic suspense fans. As with many authors, her writing has evolved over the years featuring more depth in character development and in relationship dynamics. The suspense element has waned a bit, and mystery has become more the norm. That is what I have found in her Evie Blackwell Cold Case series and in Threads of Suspicion, specifically. For the most part I like this turn in Henderson’s writing, though I have found some long-time fans do not. If you are looking for fast-paced, breath-holding suspense, this book is not for you. It is a slowly unfolding story featuring painstaking police work. I liked it, but if you are expecting another book a la the OMalley’s you may be disappointed.

Evie Blackwell, a detective with the Illinois State Police, has been assigned to the Missing Person Task Force, a multi-jurisdictional team tasked with solving the most difficult of cold cases. Evie and team member David Marshall share an office while investigating separate cases. But soon their individual cases intersect in interesting ways. Just what happened to a private investigator? And what did he have to do with a missing college student?

As stated above, Threads of Suspicion is more mystery than thriller. There is one instance of suspense late in the book, but much of that happens off page. Evie and David are dogged investigators exploring every thread no matter how obscure. I found the way they went about their individual cases interesting and their unique modes of operation intriguing. If the novel had just been about the cases, I would have liked the book fine. But Henderson includes a lot of character development, especially when it comes to their love relationships. I have to say that a little of that would have gone a long way. The characters really think — a lot — about the direction their love lives are going. Yes it’s realistic, but for me it became a bit tedious to read. I found myself skimming over those scenes to get back to the mystery. The characters are dedicated Christians, and their choices are influenced heavily by their faith. That’s a plus for fans of inspirational fiction.

All in all, I liked Threads of Suspicion. But I didn’t love it.  I will definitely read any sequel that may come in the future, but I am hoping for more mystery.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

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