Tag Archives: Nancy Mehl

Book Review: Dark Deception

4 Jan

Kate O’Brien’s quiet life in small-town Shelter Cove, Arkansas is shaken when her past suddenly comes roaring back to life. Four years ago, she and her twin sister were attacked by an elusive serial killer. Only Kate survived, and she’s been in witness protection ever since.

When new evidence arises to suggest the convicted man wasn’t the murderer, she’s subpoenaed to testify in the new trial. Afraid to go back into that world, Kate only agrees if Tony DeLuca, the deputy Marshal who protected her during the original trial, escorts her to St. Louis.

 

Nancy Mehl lives in Missouri, with her husband Norman, and her very active puggle, Watson. She’s authored thirty books and is currently at work on a new FBI suspense series for Bethany House Publishing.

All of Nancy’s novels have an added touch – something for your spirit as well as your soul. “I welcome the opportunity to share my faith through my writing,” Nancy says. “It’s a part of me and of everything I think or do. God is number one in my life. I wouldn’t be writing at all if I didn’t believe that this is what He’s called me to do. I hope everyone who reads my books will walk away with the most important message I can give them: God is good, and He loves you more than you can imagine. He has a good plan especially for your life, and there is nothing you can’t overcome with His help.”

You can find out more about Nancy by visiting her Web site at: http://www.nancymehl.com. She also is active on the Suspense Sisters: http://www.suspensesisters.blogspot.com and on FaceBook!

 

My Impressions:

Nancy Mehl is a favorite of mine. She always delivers heart-pounding suspense paired with sweet romance. In Dark Deception, the second book in her Defenders of Justice series, Mehl has upped the ante. This novel is one of the more twisting, turning books I have read in a long time. If you like non-stop action, this one is for you. Recommended!

As the only survivor of a serial killer, Kate O’Brien is in witness protection. Still reeling from her ordeal, new DNA evidence has cleared her sister’s murderer. Deputy US Marshall Tony DeLuca was Kate’s protector during the trial and now, six years later, he vows to protect her again. But danger awaits the pair as they struggle to survive.

The action starts at page one and continues for one long breath-holding read. Chilling and creepy are apt words to describe the crimes and the killer. But Dark Deception never lapses into graphic detail. Mehl does a great job of engaging the imagination of the reader without lurid details. I for one was glad of that. There was enough to keep the pages turning without causing nightmares when I finally put it down. 😉 Main characters Kate and Tony have good chemistry, but the romance never seemed rushed or unbelievable. Secondary characters kept this reader guessing — just what are their motives? There are a number of seemingly random threads that the author ties together to provide some good aha moments. I especially liked the secondary plot involving a policeman named Leon. I won’t spoil anything, but that storyline really added depth to the novel. While the bad guys truly are bad, the good guys are on varying faith journeys — very realistic.

Dark Deception is book 2 in a series, but is easily read as a standalone. I have not read book 1, Fatal Frost, but need to get on that ASAP. Especially since book 3, Blind Betrayal, will be released in April 2018!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

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

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Top 10 Tuesday — Small Town Reads

1 Mar

This week the folks over at The Broke And The Bookish are hosting The Top 10 Tuesday theme, What to Read if You Are in The Mood for X. To find out all the great book recommendations bloggers are making, click HERE.

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I am a small town girl. I was born and raised in the city, but I got out as soon as I could! I have lived in small towns for the past 30 years. Although I’ll read just about any genre with any setting, I do enjoy a small town read. The slow pace, the intimate feel, the close-knit relationships, and, yes, the quirky personalities appeal to me. So here are some Small Town Reads that I recommend when you get in that mood too.

Top Small Town Reads

The Quintessential Small Town

Charlene Baumbich has created the quintessential small town in her Welcome to Partonville series. Eighty-something Dorothy Jean Wetstra rides around Partonville, Illinois in her 1976 Lincoln bringing readers fun, laughter and touching moments. There are 6 books in the series, so plenty of reading enjoyment! Dearest Dorothy, Are We There Yet is book 1.

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Small Town Romance

Cathleen Armstrong creates contemporary romance novels with a small town setting in her Place to Call Home series. Set in the small New Mexico town of Last Chance, this series features real life situations with a strong faith message. Welcome to Last Chance is book one in this 4-book series.

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The Dear Daphne series by Melody Carlson follows the up and down love life of Daphne Ballinger. Daphne moves back to her hometown following her Aunt Dee’s death. Finding out that she will inherit all of her aunt’s estate, if she marries within a year, creates a bit of havoc in Daphne’s life. This is a fun series that has a serious side too as Daphne comes to understand Aunt Dee and herself. The concluding book in the series is due out in April. I can’t wait! Lock, Stock And over A Barrel is book 1.

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Small Town Suspense

Kathy Herman has several wonderful series that feature small towns, but her Baxter series is my favorite and great place to start with this talented author. A lot of mystery and mayhem happens in this small Tennessee town. Recurring characters, such as newspaper editor Ellen Jones, create a cohesive and continuing story line. This is a five book series. Tested by Fire is book 1.

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Small Town Cozy Mysteries

Nancy Mehl has a long list of mystery/suspense novels set in small towns. All are excellent, but if you are looking for a cozy mystery, check out The Ivy Towers Mystery series. Featuring a small town bookstore owner, this series is often laugh out loud funny. In the Dead of Winter is the first book in the 4-book series.

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Mary Conneally is known for her historical romance novels featuring hunky cowboys, but under the name of Mary Nealy she writes mysteries. In the Historical Society Murders series, Carrie Evans is back in her hometown editing the town’s paper and dodging dead bodies and a stuffed mouse. This series is also LOL funny. Book 1 is Bury The Lead.

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Small Town Quirky

While all of the novels listed above have their fair share of quirky characters, it’s hard to find normal within the pages of Joyce Magnin’s Bright’s Pond series. Joyce’s mostly off-kilter world is fun to visit and perfect for those who want a funny and unique small town read. Five books make up this series. Book 1 is The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow.

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So there you have my recommendations for small town reads?

What are some of your favorites?

 

 

Book Review: Deadly Echoes

28 Apr

211582After years of upheaval, Sarah Miller’s life is finally settled with all echoes of the past stilled and silent at last. She spends her time teaching the children of Sanctuary, a town she is happy to call home.

When the sister Sarah hasn’t seen in years reappears, it stirs up hard memories of the past and their parents’ murder. Even so, Sarah’s joy at being reunited with Hannah and meeting the niece she didn’t know she had is too soon interrupted when Deputy Sheriff Paul Gleason informs Sarah her sister has been killed.

As Sarah learns more about Hannah’s death, the circumstances seem eerily similar to her parents’ death. She enlists Paul’s help in digging deeper into these murders the police are dismissing as burglaries gone wrong. Paul’s concern encourages Sarah’s growing feelings for him, but as their investigation peels back the layers of lies almost twenty years old, they get close to uncovering the truth one man will do anything to hide–even if he must do away with the last remaining members of the Miller family.

nmehl-62Nancy Mehl lives in Festus, Missouri with her husband Norman and her very active puggle, Watson. She’s authored over twenty-one books and is currently at work on her newest series for Bethany House Publishing.

All of Nancy’s novels have an added touch – something for your spirit as well as your soul. “I welcome the opportunity to share my faith through my writing,” Nancy says. “God is number one in my life. I wouldn’t be writing at all if I didn’t believe that this is what He’s called me to do. I hope everyone who reads my books will walk away with the most important message I can give them: God is good, and He loves you more than you can imagine. He has a good plan for your life, and there is nothing you can’t overcome with His help.”

 

My Impressions:

The tight-knit, conservative community of Sanctuary, Missouri is just the place for Sarah Miller. With a childhood filled with tragedy, loss and upheaval, Sarah has found peace and security. But in Nancy Mehl’s second book in the Finding Sanctuary series, Deadly Echoes, the larger world intrudes and presents dangers that Sarah is not ready for.

Nancy Mehl has become a favorite of mine. Her romantic suspense keeps faith at its center. I like that she creates communities in which faith in Christ is important and His love is lived out. Characters are not perfect — just like in real life — but are certainly real and relatable. In Deadly Echoes, Mehl keeps the reader on her toes with the twists and turns of past and present murder cases. Sarah is an interesting character — private and a bit aloof, she endeavors to keep her heart from more hurt. But when she opens her home to her ten year old niece, Cicely, she must confront old wounds and lies to reach true healing. Mehl creates a great cast of major and supporting characters. The town and lives of the people of Sanctuary really come to life. And if you like page-turning suspense and a puzzling mystery, Deadly Echoes is a great pick for you.

In Deadly Echoes, Mehl explores what it means to be a unique creation in God. Sarah’s past has created deep insecurities that only God can resolve. Mehl does a great job in showing how careless words can wound and haunt for years to come.

Deadly Echoes is book 2 in this series, but can be read as a standalone. I haven’t read book 1, Gathering Shadows, but I certainly intend to so I can revisit Sanctuary.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE

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

 

 

Book Review: Unforeseeable

15 Dec

209291Callie Hoffman has a good life in Kingdom, Kansas. She’s engaged to Levi Housler, the new pastor of Kingdom Mennonite Church, and she spends her days working with Lizzie Housler, her friend and soon-to-be sister-in-law, at the town cafe. 

When a body is discovered on the road outside Kingdom and the deceased turns out to be the victim of a serial killer, the new county sheriff begins questioning Kingdom residents. Unsettled at the prospect of a killer in Kingdom, Callie is desperate to find answers for herself, especially when her own fiance seems to know more about the murder than he’s telling. 

As the town battles an entirely unforeseen danger and Callie’s very life is threatened, the stakes are as high as they’ve ever been and the people of Kingdom must learn anew to put their trust in God alone.

nmehl-62Nancy Mehl lives in Wichita, Kansas, with her husband Norman and her very active puggle, Watson. She’s authored fourteen books and is currently at work on a new series for Bethany House Publishing. All of Nancy’s novels have an added touch – something for your spirit as well as your soul. “I welcome the opportunity to share my faith through my writing,” Nancy says. “God is number one in my life. I wouldn’t be writing at all if I didn’t believe that this is what He’s called me to do. I hope everyone who reads my books will walk away with the most important message I can give them: God is good, and He loves you more than you can imagine. He has a good plan for your life, and there is nothing you can’t overcome with His help.” Readers can learn more about Nancy through her blog.

My Impressions:

Unforeseeable is the third book in Nancy Mehl’s Road to Kingdom series. And while there is definitely an element of suspense, the novel concentrates mostly on one character’s journey of discovery. There is also a romantic thread in the novel, but both the suspense and the romance are secondary to the character’s quest for truth and freedom.

Callie is a young Mennonite woman living in Kingdom, Kansas, a town that strives to keep the world out. Dedicated to a pure faith and simple living, Kingdom had at one time been immersed in legalism and obedience to church rule. But many people in the community yearn to worship God in more personal ways. In the midst of changes within the church and town, a serial killer starts to kill again after a twenty year hiatus. Now, strangers and long time friends come under suspicion.

Written in first person, Unforeseeable concentrates on Callie and her search for identity within her community and in her relationship with God. Many of the characters in the series struggle with feelings of value due to upbringing and church restrictions. It is interesting that even those who follow a God who promises freedom, love and peace believe the lies that their worth comes through what they do. Mehl does a good job of exploring this theme.

Unforeseeable can be read as a standalone novel, but the other books in the series are really good. So go check them out as well. (See my reviews of Inescapable and Unbreakable.)

(Thanks to Bethany House for a review copy. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase a copy of this book, click on the image below.

Book Review: Unbreakable

12 Feb

209284_w185Gentle and unassuming, Hope Kauffman has never been one to question the traditions of her Mennonite upbringing. She quietly helps her father run Kingdom Quilts and has agreed to the betrothal he arranged for her with the devout but shy Ebbie Miller.

Despite the attempts of Hope and other Kingdom residents to maintain the status quo, changes have already begun to stir in the small Mennonite town. The handsome and charismatic Jonathon Wiese is the leader of the move to reform, while Ebbie insists Kingdom must remain true to its foundation. When Hope’s safety is threatened by a mysterious outsider, she can’t help but question what she’s always been taught about the Mennonite tradition of nonviolence.

As it swiftly becomes apparent the threat Hope faced is only the beginning, the town that’s always stood so strong finds itself divided. With tensions high and their lives endangered by an unknown enemy, will Hope and the people of Kingdom allow fear and division to break them or will they draw on the strength of the God they serve?

Excerpt

NMehl-62Nancy Mehl lives in Wichita, Kansas, with her husband Norman and her very active puggle, Watson. She’s authored fourteen books and is currently at work on a new series for Bethany House Publishing. All of Nancy’s novels have an added touch – something for your spirit as well as your soul. “I welcome the opportunity to share my faith through my writing,” Nancy says. “God is number one in my life. I wouldn’t be writing at all if I didn’t believe that this is what He’s called me to do. I hope everyone who reads my books will walk away with the most important message I can give them: God is good, and He loves you more than you can imagine. He has a good plan for your life, and there is nothing you can’t overcome with His help.” Readers can learn more about Nancy through her Web site: www.nancymehl.com or her blog.

My Impressions:

If February finds you yearning for some romance, pick up Nancy Mehl’s latest in the Road to Kingdom series, Unbreakable. Though it is book 2 in the series, it can definitely be read as a standalone. The residents of the small Kansas town of Kingdom  strive to live a separate life. The Mennonite community keeps itself separate from its more worldly neighbors. But a recent outbreak of violence against churches inserts itself into its midst. The Mennonite tradition of non-violent resistance to evil is put to the test.

Hope Kaufman’s normally quiet life is upset when she is attacked not once, but twice. A good friend is murdered and she has two men who profess to love her. Hope’s predictable and ordered life is soon replaced by confusion and doubt. Struggling to make sense of what she believes and God’s direction for her life, Hope prays for God’s wisdom in all facets of her life.

I found Unbreakable a little slow at first. There is a great deal of discussion between characters on the most prudent course to take in the threats against town’s people. But towards the middle the action heats up and the suspense takes off. I liked the characters, although I was frustrated with Hope, a twenty-six year old woman who lets her father make many of her decisions. The frustration with her character subsided as she grew and decided to take charge of her own life.

If you like romantic suspense or novels involving an Amish theme you will like Unbreakable. (Although the town’s residents are Mennonites, they have succeeded in separating themselves from worldly influence, much like the Amish.)

Recommended.

To read more reviews, please click HERE.

(I received Unbreakable from Bethany and LitFuse in return for a review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

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Celebrate with Nancy Mehl by entering her Kindle Fire Giveaway and RSVPing to the March 5th Author Chat Party on Facebook!

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One fortunate winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire
  • Books 1 & 2 in the Road to Kingdom series by Nancy Mehl

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on March 4th. Winner will be announced at The Unbreakable Author Chat Party on March 5th. Connect with Nancy, get a sneak peek of her next book, try your hand at the trivia contest, and chat with readers just like you. There will also be gift certificates, books, and fun Mennonite-themed giveaways

Grab your copy of Unbreakable and join Nancy on the evening of the March 5th for a chance to connect with Nancy and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)

DON’T MISS A MOMENT OF THE FUN, RSVP TODAY. TELL YOUR FRIENDS VIA FACEBOOK OR TWITTER AND INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING.

Book Review: Inescapable

8 Jul

Lizzie Engel is used to running away. At eighteen, she left her Mennonite hometown, her family, and her faith with plans never to return. Five years later, Lizzie finds she’ll have to run again. False accusations at her job, a stalker, and a string of anonymous threatening letters have left her with no other options. This time, however, her escape is back to Kingdom, her hometown.

As Lizzie becomes reacquainted with Kingdom, she realizes she may not have left her Mennonite roots and her faith as firmly in the past as she thought. She draws on the support of Noah Housler, an old friend, as she hides out and attempts to plan her next steps. When it becomes painfully clear that the danger has followed Lizzie to Kingdom, suspicions and tensions run high, and she no longer knows who to trust. With her life and the lives of those she loves at risk, Lizzie will have to run one last time — to a Father whose love is inescapable.

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Nancy Mehl lives in Wichita, Kansas with her husband Norman and their dog, Watson. She’s authored thirteen books and is currently at work on her newest series for Bethany House Publishing.

All of Nancy’s novels have an added touch – something for your spirit as well as your soul. “I welcome the opportunity to share my faith through my writing,” Nancy says. “It’s a part of me and of everything I think or do. God is number one in my life. I wouldn’t be writing at all if I didn’t believe that this is what He’s called me to do. I hope everyone who reads my books will walk away with the most important message I can give them: God is good, and He loves you more than you can imagine. He has a good plan especially for your life, and there is nothing you can’t overcome with His help.”

She and her husband attend Believer’s Tabernacle in Wichita.

My Impressions:

I was first introduced to Nancy Mehl by her Ivy Towers cozy mystery series.  I liked them very much, so was interested in reading her newest mystery/romantic suspense novel, Inescapable.  Inescapable is first and foremost a mystery.  It happens to be set in a small, remote Mennonite town reminiscent of Amish communities depicted in books and on TV.  The town of Kingdom is the home to some very legalistic Christians as well as some very compassionate and caring Christians.  Unfortunately the main character, Lizzie, was born into a family governed by severe rules and harshness.  After becoming pregnant, the strain of living with disapproval and censure, proved too much, and Lizzie escaped to Kansas City.  Now she finds herself back in Kingdom, again running away from her problems and the threats of a stalker.

I found the characters to be mostly realistic in their responses to situations and other characters.  Lizzie’s father is a little over the top in his adherence to rules, but generally believable.  The tension and suspense kept me turning the pages.  It was a bit ironic that some of the major scenes were set with a backdrop of a snow storm.  I finished the book on the beach in 90+ degree heat!  But I didn’t notice the heat; Mehl’s narrative pulled me into the story including the wintry feel.

If you like mystery/suspense with a hint of romance, try Inescapable.

Recommended.

(I received Inescapable in conjunction with Library Thing’s Early Reviewer program.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.)