Tag Archives: mystery fiction

Top 10 Tuesday — Summer Reading from My NetGalley Shelf

25 Jun

Summer is supposed to bring more time for reading. And while that is generally the case, I have lots of obligations this summer that are cramping my reading style. 😉 Because of that, my NetGalley shelf is overflowing. This summer I am going to try to catch up on all those great titles. Let me know which book I should start with first.

For more Summer TBR Lists, make sure to visit That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Books From My NetGalley Shelf

Cold, Cold Heart by Christine Poulson

Death of A Jester by Deb Richardson-Moore

The Express Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse

The Golden Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse

The Lady of Tarpon Springs by Judith Miller

Mending Fences by Suzanne Woods Fisher

A Reluctant Bride by Jody Hedlund

Tell Her No Lies by Kelly Irvin

Verity by Lisa T. Bergen

 

What’s on your summer TBR list?

Reading Road Trip — South Carolina

22 May

To start the summer traveling season off right, I am headed to South Carolina in my Reading Road Trip. The Palmetto State stretches from the sandy beaches and marshes of the Low Country to the edges of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Known for its Southern hospitality, the state is rich in history. I have included women’s fiction, romance, mystery, suspense, and historical fiction on my list. I hope you will find the perfect read for the lazy days of summer.

Carolina Gold by Dorothy Love

The war is over, but at Fairhaven Plantation, Charlotte’s struggle has just begun.

Following her father’s death, Charlotte Fraser returns to Fairhaven, her family’s rice plantation in the South Carolina Lowcountry. With no one else to rely upon, smart, independent Charlotte is determined to resume cultivating the superior strain of rice called Carolina Gold.  But the war has left the plantation in ruins, her father’s former bondsmen are free, and workers and equipment are in short supply.

To make ends meet, Charlotte reluctantly agrees to tutor the two young daughters of her widowed neighbor and heir to Willowood Plantation, Nicholas Betancourt.  Just as her friendship with Nick deepens, he embarks upon a quest to prove his claim to Willowood and sends Charlotte on a dangerous journey that uncovers a long-held family secret, and threatens everything she holds dear.

Inspired by the life of a 19th-century woman rice farmer, Carolina Gold pays tribute to the hauntingly beautiful Lowcountry and weaves together  mystery, romance, and historical detail, bringing to life the story of one young woman’s struggle to restore her ruined world.

Beguiled by Deeanne Gist and Mark Bertrand

In the shadows of Charleston, someone is watching her

Rylee Monroe, a dogwalker in Charleston’s wealthiest neighborhood, never feared the streets at night. But now a thief is terrorizing the area and worse, someone seems to be targeting her.

Reporter Logan Woods is covering the break-ins with the hope of publishing them as a true-crime book. The more he digs, the more he realizes this beguiling dogwalker seems to be at the center of everything.

As danger draws ever closer, Logan must choose: Chase the girl, the story, or plunge into the shadows after the villain who threatens everything?

Called to Protect by Lynette Eason

For the past year, Chloe St. John has been working as a K-9 cop with her German shepherd partner, Hank. After being dumped by her fiancé for another woman, Chloe has decided that Hank is just about the only male she likes. She’s over the whole romance thing and focuses her attention on doing her job. Because a serious case of human trafficking with connections to her missing cousin just landed in her lap.

When US Marshall Blake MacCallum’s daughter goes missing, he’s ordered to kill the judge he’s protecting and tell no one about his daughter’s disappearance or she will die. Blake races against the clock to rescue his daughter while Chloe and Hank are asked to be a part of the task force assembled to bring down the traffickers. Chloe finds herself attracted to the silent, suffering man, but thanks to her previous bad judgment, she wonders if she can trust him. And can Blake trust himself around this firecracker of a woman?

Flies on The Butter by Denise Hildreth Jones

Can you ever really go home again?

Rose Fletcher’s come a long way from her South Carolina up-bringing of Sunday church and Mamaw’s fried chicken. As a high-powered lobbyist in Washington, D.C., Rose has put the South behind her. But the peace and happiness she has sought eludes her. With her marriage on the brink of disaster, her mind races with the chaos her life has become.

Now Rose must head south for home. She’ll face her demons, relive her coming-of-age, and confront the issues that have kept her away all these years. It’ll take the intervention of strangers and a painful miracle of grace to help her find that place called “home” once again.

Still Waters by Lindsey Brackett

Cora Anne Halloway has a history degree and a plan: avoid her own past — despite being wait-listed for graduate school. Then her beloved grandmother requests — and her dispassionate mother insists — that she spend the summer at Still Waters, the family cottage on Edisto Beach, South Carolina.

Despite its picturesque setting, Still Waters haunts Cora Anne with loss. At Still Waters her grandfather died, her parents’ marriage disintegrated, and as a child, she caused a tragic drowning. But lingering among the oak canopies and gentle tides, this place also tempts her with forgiveness — especially since Nan hired Tennessee Watson to oversee cottage repairs. A local contractor, but dedicated to the island’s preservation from development, Tennessee offers her friendship and more, if she can move beyond her guilt.

When a family reunion reveals Nan’s failing health, Cora Anne discovers how far Tennessee will go to protect her — and Edisto — from more desolation. Will Cora Anne choose between a life driven by guilt, or one washed clean by the tides of grace?

Sunrise on The Battery by Beth Webb Hart

She wanted her husband to attend the town’s society-driven church. God answered her prayer in a radical way.

An emptiness dogs Mary Lynn Scoville. But it shouldn’t. After all, she’s achieved what few believed possible. Born in the rural south, she has reached the pinnacle of worldly success in Charleston, South Carolina. Married to a handsome real estate developer and mother to three accomplished daughters, Mary Lynn is one Debutante Society invitation away from truly having it all. And yet, it remains—an emptiness that no shopping trip, European vacation, or social calendar can fill.

While her husband commits social suicide and the life they worked so hard for crumbles around them, Mary Lynn wonders if their marriage can survive. Or if perhaps there really is a more abundant life that Jackson has discovered, richer than any she’s ever dreamed of.

 

2019 Inspy Awards Shortlists!

4 May

A big congratulations to all the talented authors whose books are represented on the 2019 Inspy Award Shortlists! So many great books Now you have your summer reading list! 😉

 

Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense

All Made Up by Kara Isaac

Falling for You by Becky Wade

The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano

Debut Fiction

Among The Poppies by J’Nell Ciesielski

Engraved on The Heart by Tara Johnson

The Hope of Azure Springs by Rachel Fordham

General Fiction

No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert

Things Left Unsaid by Courtney Walsh

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West

Historical Romance

Romancing The Bride by Melissa Jagears

The Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof

The Thief of Corinth by Tessa Afshar

Literature for Young Adults

The Edge Over There by Shawn Smucker

Olivia Twist by Lorie Langdon

A Worthy Rebel by Jody Hedlund

Mystery/Thriller

Delayed Justice by Cara Putman

The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright

Thirst of Steel by Ronie Kendig

Speculative Fiction

Fierian by Ronie Kendig

Mark of The Raven by Morgan L. Busse

The Story Peddler by Lindsay A. Franklin

Book Review (+Giveaway!): The Watch on The Fencepost

14 Mar

About the Book

The watch on the fencepost

Book: The Watch on the Fencepost

Author: Kay DiBianca

Genre: Christian Mystery / Suspense/ Romance

A WATCH THAT REVEALS MORE THAN JUST THE TIME . . .

A mysterious gold watch propels 27-year-old Kathryn Frasier into a quest to prove her parents’ recent deaths were not an accident. Following a trail of cryptic clues, she encounters a remarkable cast of characters, including an actress with a talent for disguises, a politician with a dark secret, and a handsome businessman who shows a sudden romantic interest in Kathryn. Can she solve the mystery before she becomes the next victim?

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

 

About the Author

Kay DiBiancaKay DiBianca holds an MS degree in computer science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has worked in the IT departments of several major organizations, including IBM, UNC Chapel Hill, International Paper, and FedEx. She has an instrument rating in single-engine aircraft and competes in the Senior Olympics track events. She is a U.S. representative for Bridges for Peace, an international organization whose mission is to serve the people of Israel. She and her husband, Frank, live in Memphis, Tennessee. For more information, visit kaydibianca.com.

 

Guest post from Kay

WHY I WROTE THE WATCH ON THE FENCEPOST

I’m a runner. I spend a lot of time on the treadmill, at a local track, or running in a park near my home. When I’m outdoors, I usually listen to podcasts or audio books to keep my mind occupied.

Several years ago, I was listening to a mystery novel while running on a trail, and I began to put together a story in my own mind. Over the following weeks and months, I had created the characters of Kathryn and Cece, and I could see them in my mind’s eye.

On another long run, I passed an old fence post and a plot began to form itself. Other characters seemed to materialize out of nowhere, and soon I had the basic outline of the book in my head. Before long I was ignoring the audio book voices coming through my earbuds and just adding to my own story. That’s when I decided to write it down.

In the next few months, my story grew from a general outline to a narrative that stretched to over 60,000 words, and I loved the little surprises that popped up along the way. Although I had intended the book to be a straight mystery, I found some of the characters writing their own scenes, and soon there was romance!

As I chiseled away the extraneous parts and added detail and nuance, the important story elements of love, faith, and family rose to the surface. I delighted in Kathryn’s discovering more about herself and Cece’s unfailing wisdom and humor.

I spent over a year working with an editor to revise and strengthen the book. With every change in a word or addition of a plot twist, the story got better. It’s been three years since that first run in the park that got me thinking about the story. Now Kathryn, Cece, Phil, Mike, Tommy, and all the others are ready to tell their stories to the world.

I think I’ll go for a run tomorrow to see what Kathryn and Cece are going to be up to next.

 

My Impressions:

Kay DiBianca’s debut novel, The Watch on The Fencepost, will appeal to readers who like clue-based mysteries. Main character, Kate, is adrift following the untimely deaths of her parents in an auto accident. Running has become her outlet, and it is on one of her training runs that she finds a mysterious writstwatch. From that beginning, Kate finds herself investigating a number of puzzles involving family secrets, political campaigns, and high tech projects. Not everyone is as they seem. The author kept me guessing as Kate and her friends uncovered clues to what her parents’ deaths may indicate. Although faith and prayer are mentioned and several of the characters have a deep relationship with God, the book never comes off as preachy. I did find the characters to be a little flat and the dialogue a bit stiff, but I still enjoyed the twisting route Kate takes to get to the truth.

A quick read, The Watch on The Fencepost resolves the main mystery, but the ending leaves open more from Kate and her friends.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Celebrate Lit for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, March 2

Through the Fire Blogs, March 2

Blogging With Carol, March 3

Godly Book Reviews, March 3

Josephine’s Bookshelf, March 4

Mary Hake, March 4

Girls Living For God’s Glory, March 5

Christian Author, J.E.Grace, March 5

For Him and My Family, March 6

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 6

Maureen’s Musings, March 7

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 7

Emily Yager, March 8

Andrea Christenson, March 8

Pause for Tales, March 9

Ashley’s Bookshelf, March 9

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 10

Texas Book-aholic, March 10

janicesbookreviews, March 11

A Reader’s Brain, March 11

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, March 12

Inklings and notions, March 12

Real World Bible Study, March 13

Older & Smarter?, March 14

By The Book, March 14

Bigreadersite, March 15

The Becca Files, March 15

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kay is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/dcb1/the-watch-on-the-fencepost-celebration-tour-giveaway

Audiobook Mini-Review: Taken at The Flood

4 Mar

In Agatha Christie’s classic puzzler Taken at the Flood, the indefatigable Hercule Poiroit investigates the troubling case of a twice-widowed woman.

A few weeks after marrying an attractive widow, Gordon Cloade is tragically killed by a bomb blast in the London blitz. Overnight, the former Mrs. Underhay finds herself in sole possession of the Cloade family fortune.

Shortly afterward, Hercule Poirot receives a visit from the dead man’s sister-in-law who claims she has been warned by “spirits” that Mrs. Underhay’s first husband is still alive. Poirot has his suspicions when he is asked to find a missing person guided only by the spirit world. Yet what mystifies Poirot most is the woman’s true motive for approaching him . . . 

 

Agatha Christie was born in 1890 and created the detective Hercule Poirot in her debut novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920). She achieved wide popularity with The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926) and produced a total of eighty novels and short-story collections over six decades.

 

My Impressions:

In my house a road trip is synonymous with Agatha Christie and a classic Hercule Poirot novel read by Hugh Fraser. My husband and I listened to Taken at The Flood during our one week trip around the southeast. We had actually tried to listen to this book in December as part of our bowl game excursion, but it just didn’t catch our attention. So we tried again to much greater success. In fact, this twisting mystery took both of us by surprise! Recommended.

Hercule Poirot makes a brief appearance in the beginning of Taken at The Flood, but does not play a major role in the story until way past the halfway point. Christie uses the majority of the book to set up the backstory of the Cloade family — their relationships, personalities, and varied motives. I actually liked this quite a bit. My husband was, however, impatient for the mystery-solving to begin. The mystery takes quite a few turns, and more than one dead person shows up. The ending is tied up in classic Poirot style, and we were pleasantly surprised. We did not see it coming!

If you are a fan of classic mysteries, I recommend Taken at The Flood. Just be patient for the amazing Poirot’s appearance.

Recommended. 

Audience: adults. 

To purchase, click HERE.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Reading Roadtrip — Florida!

27 Feb

Today I am headed to my home state of Florida. While I haven’t lived in my birth state for a long while, this Florida native has enjoyed visiting via some wonderful books. Hope you find one to pique your interest!

The Sunshine State is home to over 21 million people. The southernmost of the 48 contiguous states, Florida is surrounded by water to its east, west, and south, and is bordered to the north by Georgia and Alabama. Divided into 8 regions, the state is certainly diverse — both ecologically and demographically! And here is a bit of trivia for you — Central Florida (where I grew up) is the lightning capital of the US, having more lightning strikes than anywhere in the country!

This trip, I’ve included books that take place all over the state of Florida and encompass a number of genres — historical, women’s fiction, romance, suspense, and mystery. Enjoy!

Chasing Sunsets by Eva Marie Everson (the Gulf coast)

Kimberly Tucker’s life hasn’t turned out the way she thought it would. A divorced mother of two, Kim resents her ex-husband for moving on with his life and living it up while she struggles to understand what went wrong. When her sons end up spending five weeks of summer vacation with their father, Kim’s own father suggests a respite in the family vacation home on tiny Cedar Key Island. As Kim revisits her childhood memories and loves, she soon discovers that treasures in life are often buried, and mistakes both past and present become redeemable in God’s hand. Readers will be swept away to an island retreat where they walk alongside Kim as she discovers that God’s answers may not come easily, but they do come.

The Discovery by Dan Walsh (Atlantic coast)

Gerard Warner was not only a literary giant whose suspense novels sold in the millions, he was also a man devoted to his family, especially his wife of nearly 60 years. When he dies he leaves his Charleston estate to his grandson, Michael, an aspiring writer himself. Michael settles in to write his own first novel and discovers an unpublished manuscript his grandfather had written, something he’d kept hidden from everyone but clearly intended Michael to find. Michael begins to read an exciting tale about Nazi spies and sabotage, but something about this story is different from all of Gerard Warner’s other books. It’s actually a love story. As Michael delves deeper into the story he discovers something that has the power to change not only his future but his past as well.

Five Miles South of Peculiar by Angela Hunt (the panhandle)

Darlene Caldwell has spent a lifetime tending Sycamores, an estate located five miles south of a small town called Peculiar. She raised a family in the spacious home that was her grandfather’s legacy, and she enjoys being a pillar of the community. Sycamores is the kingdom where she reigns as queen . . . until her limelight-stealing twin sister unexpectedly returns.

Carlene Caldwell, veteran of the Broadway stage, is devastated when she realizes that an unsuccessful throat surgery has spelled the end of her musical career. Searching for a new purpose in life, she retreats to Sycamores, her childhood home. She may not be able to sing, but she hopes to use her knowledge and experience to fashion a new life in Peculiar, the little town she left behind.

Haunted by a tragic romance, Magnolia Caldwell is the youngest of the Caldwell girls. Nolie has never wanted to live anywhere but Sycamores. She spends her days caring for her dogs and the magnificent gardens she’s created on the estate, but when she meets a man haunted by his own tragedy, she must find the courage to either deny her heart or cut the apron strings that tie her to a dear and familiar place.

Can these sisters discover who they are meant to be when life takes an unforeseen detour? In a season of destiny, three unique women reunite and take unexpected journeys of the heart.

Freedom’s Kiss by Sarah Monzon (south Florida)

Olivia Arroyo knows who she is and where she’s going — her sense of family responsibility a stepping-stone to her dream of becoming a chef. When her employer refuses her the chance to move from server to the kitchen, she makes another opportunity for herself with the owner of a new food truck. But her life derails when a hidden piece of her past suddenly comes to light, and she discovers everything she thought she knew about herself has been a lie.

A single decision can have innumerable consequences — a truth that has changed Adam Carrington’s life. A criminal defense attorney turned food truck owner, he is haunted by his role in an unpardonable act and driven by his need to make restitution. Unexpected help comes in the form of a feisty, raven-haired beauty, but she soon begins challenging his kitchen as well as his heart.

Florida, 1816
Propelled by a fleeting hope of freedom, Winnie and her family escape slavery and find refuge and new life with the Seminole Indians of Florida. But their future is still uncertain as threats of war, a return to slavery, and removal to the West shake their tentative grasp on freedom. Will they ever step out of the shadow of fear to leave a legacy of deliverance?

The Key to The Kingdom by Jeff Dixon (Disney World!)

Grayson Hawkes learns how imaginative and elaborate Walt Disney World is when he accepts an invitation one sunny day from a trusted friend landing him in a world he never knew existed. Barely escaping a late night encounter, he finds himself desperately trying to solve a mysterious disappearance while trying to stay ahead of those who are chasing him. He navigates through the kingdom where knowledge of seemingly unimportant Disney facts and some divine help are the only way he can discover the lock that can only be opened by an ancient key. His world becomes even more complicated when he is captivated by mysterious woman, causing him to make a series of choices that takes his faith to the brink. Within the walls of Walt Disney World is more mystery than one imagination can contain. Here Disney Trivia is not a game; and the ancient key is the only way out!

The Night Watchman by Mark Mynheir (central Florida)

Eleven months ago, Ray Quinn was a tough, quick-witted Orlando homicide detective at the top of his game–until a barrage of bullets ended his career…and his partner’ s life.

Now medically retired with a painful handicap, Ray battles the haunting guilt for his partner’s death. Numbing the pain with alcohol and attitude, Ray takes a job as a night watchman at a swanky Orlando condo.

But when a pastor and an exotic dancer are found dead in one of the condos in an apparent murder-suicide, Ray can no longer linger in the shadows. The pastor’s sister is convinced her brother was framed and begs Ray to take on an impossible case — to challenge the evidence and clear her brother’s name.

Ray reluctantly pulls the threads of this supposedly dead-end case only to unravel a murder investigation so deep that it threatens to turn the Orlando political landscape upside down and transform old friends into new enemies. As Ray chases down leads and interrogates suspects, someone is watching his every move, someone determined to keep him from ever finding out the truth — at any cost.

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Married Couples

12 Feb

Today is the Valentine’s edition of Top 10 Tuesday — favorite couples. While there are plenty of books that feature the romantic beginnings for couples, there are fewer that detail the good and the bad of marriage relationships. So instead of featuring my favorite young lovers, I am sharing books with old married couples. Old is in italics because that’s how many see a couple who has settled in, but the books I share today show the trials and victories of married life no matter how long the couple has been blissfully wed. A variety of genres are shared to appeal to all reading preferences. I’ve even included a Christmas novella.

For more favorite couples, head over to That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Books Featuring Married Couples

The Breath of Peace by Penelope Wilcock

Dressed for Death by Julianna Deering

Emergency Case by Richard Mabry

Home to Chicory Lane by Deborah Raney

A Fragile Hope by Cynthia Ruchti

Miles from Where We Started by Cynthia Ruchti

No One to Trust by Lynette Eason

The Ornament Keeper by Eva Marie Everson

When Sings The Heart by Liz Tolsma