Tag Archives: romantic suspense fiction

December Book Club Selection

2 Dec

This month is combining our love of romantic suspense and Christmas in the 2-volume novella selection — Silent Night, Holy Night by Colleen Coble. Fans of Coble’s Aloha Reef and Rock Harbor series will like these offerings. Won’t you join our discussion?

‘Tis the season for mystery and romance featuring characters from two of Colleen Coble’s most popular series!

Silent Night

As Christmas day nears, Bree Matthews and her faithful search-and-rescue dog Samson follow the trail of a troubling mystery into the snowy forests of Rock Harbor.

Newlywed Bree Matthews and her husband Kade are preparing for Christmas guests when word arrives that a parachuter has disappeared in the North Woods, along Lake Superior’s icy shore. Bree and Samson plunge into the search.

Will this snowy, silent night search lead Bree and Samson to the missing girl?

Holy Night

One sinister phone call has derailed their Christmas wedding. Will it keep them apart forever?

Leia and Bane are looking forward to their long-awaited Christmas wedding on the beach. Everything is going as planned—until Leia’s phone rings and her world skids out of control. A muffled voice informs Leia that her sister has been kidnapped and will be killed unless Leia calls off the wedding without explanation—and no police. If she disobeys instructions and tells Bane, she’ll risk her beloved sister’s life. But can she handle this trauma without his help? And will he ever trust her again if she lies to him now?

Irresistible romance meets thrilling suspense in this holiday update to USA Today best-selling author Colleen Coble’s Aloha Reef series.

Best-selling author Colleen Coble’s novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, the ACFW Carol Award, the Romance Writers of America RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has over 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana. Visit her website at http://colleencoble.com.

 

If You Liked Crisis Shot . . .

30 Nov

My book club gave Crisis Shot by Janice Cantore a unanimous approval! We loved it so much, book 2 in the series, Lethal Target, is on our selection list for early 2020. If you like suspense novels with strong female law enforcement leads, then check out the books below. They all got my approval too! 😉

 

Buried Secrets by Irene Hannon

After seven years as a Chicago homicide detective, Lisa Grant has hit a wall. Ready for a kinder, gentler life, she takes a job as a small-town police chief. But the discovery of a human skeleton by a construction crew at the edge of town taxes the resources of her department. A call for assistance brings detective Mac McGregor, an ex-Navy SEAL, to her doorstep. As they work to solve the mystery behind the unmarked grave, danger begins to shadow them. Someone doesn’t want this dead person telling any tales–and will stop at nothing to make certain a life-shattering secret stays buried.

The Real Enemy by Kathy Herman

Brill Jessup would rather work than deal with the bitterness she feels about her husband Kurt’s infidelity. They’ve made a fresh start with Brill taking a job as the new police chief in a small East Tennessee town. Kurt is genuinely contrite and making every effort to show his commitment to Brill. Meanwhile Emily, their nine-year-old, is being the perfect little girl, as if she can make everything okay again. So why can’t Brill get over this anger? Work presents the perfect distraction as rumors and superstition are running rampant in the wake of the disappearances of seven people in seven days. As fear rises in the community, Brill works desperately to solve the mystery . . . until it threatens her family and she is forced to confront the real enemy.

Vendetta by Lisa Harris

No one needs to push Nikki Boyd to excel on the Tennessee Missing Person Task Force. The case of her own missing sister, still unsolved after ten years, is the driving force in her work. When a Polaroid photo of a missing girl shows up at a crime scene, Nikki quickly recognizes similarities to the past. The closer she gets to the abductor, the more she feels that this case is getting personal, and that she is not the hunter at all – but actually the one being

 

Book Review: Smoke Screen

14 Nov

About The Book

Book: Smoke Screen

Author: Terri Blackstock

Genre:  Christian Suspense

Release Date: November 5, 2019

Smoke ScreenOne father was murdered, and another convicted of his death. All because their children fell in love.

Nate Beckett has spent his life fighting wildfires instead of the lies and rumors that drove him from his Colorado home town. His mother begs him to come to Carlisle now that his father has been released from prison, but it isn’t until he’s sidelined by an injury that he’s forced to return and face his past. But that means facing Brenna too.

Fourteen years ago, Nate was in love with the preacher’s daughter. When Pastor Strickland discovered Brenna had defied him to sneak out with Nate, the fight between Strickland and Nate’s drunken dad was loud—and very public. Strickland was found murdered later that night, and everyone accused Roy Beckett. When the church burned down, people assumed it was Nate getting even for his father’s conviction. He let the rumors fly and left Carlisle without looking back.

Now, Brenna is stunned to learn that the man convicted of murdering her father has been pardoned. The events of that night set her life on a bad course, and she’s dealing with a brutal custody battle with her ex and his new wife where he’s using lies and his family’s money to sway the judge. She’s barely hanging on, and she’s turned to alcohol to cope. Shame and fear consume her.

As they deal with the present — including new information about that fateful night and a wildfire that’s threatening their town — their past keeps igniting. Nate is the steady force Brenna has so desperately needed. But she’ll have to learn to trust him again first.

 

Click here to get your copy.

My Impressions:

Terri Blackstock is a go-to author for me. Her suspense-filled novels always touch on the personal struggles of the characters while providing a mystery to solve for the reader. Smoke Screen is a little different from the usual Blackstock novels. There is definitely a mystery — the long ago murder of a pastor everyone thought was a closed case — but the tension, which is palpable from the first page, is mostly from the train wreck life of main character, Brenna. The suspense doesn’t come from car chases, sniper fire, or explosions, but from the very real and bad choices made by the characters. Years before, Brenna and Nate had a high school romance that had to be hidden from her family. When it was finally revealed, tragedy overshadowed the relationship. Brenna’s family was devastated, Nate’s father was convicted of murder, and Nate left town seeking to escape the stigma of his father’s crime and the whispers about alleged wrongdoing on his part. Years later, the two are reunited despite the odds of years apart and the objections of both families. Nate is determined to discover just who the real killer is while seeking to help Brenna battle alcoholism.

Brenna is a complex character — a good and loving mother, who turns to alcohol to numb the pain of a custody battle. I didn’t like her very much at first, but Blackstock allowed me to get into the head of this character. I began to appreciate the very real struggles she faced. Nate is a hero’s hero, although he never seeks the limelight. On the job as a smoke jumper and in his personal life as a friend, he goes above and beyond — you will love him! I didn’t have any trouble figuring out who was behind the murder, but there were a few twists on how it happened.

Not action-packed, but filled with raw emotion and tension, Smoke Screen will appeal to Blackstock fans as well as those looking for a story filled with real life situations.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

About The Author

Terri BlackstockTerri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author. She is the award-winning author of InterventionVicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, and the Restoration Series. Visit her website at www.terriblackstock.com; Facebook: tblackstock; Twitter: @terriblackstock

 

Excerpt from Smoke Screen

I woke up in a blinding bright room, my clothes off and something clamped to my face. I tried to reach it, but I couldn’t bend my right arm, and my hand stung. An IV was taped to my other hand, but I moved carefully and touched the thing over my face.

An oxygen mask. I tried to sit up. “What happened?”

T-bird came to my bedside, a sheen of smoky sweat still soiling his face. “Nate, lie back, man.”

“The fire,” I said. “Need to get back. My men.”

“They’re still there. Making progress. But you’re not going anywhere near a fire for a month or so.”

I took the mask off and coughed a little, but managed to catch my breath. “A month?”

“Yep. Second degree burns on 20 percent of your body. Some of the burns are deep.”

It came back to me, the event that had gotten me here.

“The family. Were they injured?”

“Not a scratch or burn. Turns out it was a U.S. Senator from Kansas. He says you’re a hero.”

“You know I had no choice. They were in the path—”

“Take the praise where you can get it, man. We don’t get that much.”

I looked at my right side. My right arm was bandaged, and so was my side and down my right leg to the point where my boots had stopped the flames. Second degree wasn’t so bad, I told myself. Third degree would have been brutal. I’d be able to leave the hospital soon. I’d heal.

“I won’t need a month,” I said.

“Yes, you will. They can’t let you go back. Doctor’s orders. You’re grounded until he releases you.”

I managed to sit up, but it was a bad idea. The burns pulling on my skin reminded me why I shouldn’t. “I can’t be grounded during fire season. Are you crazy? I need to be there. You don’t have enough men as it is.”

“Sorry, Nate. It is what it is. Why don’t you go home to Carlisle for a while? Take it easy.”

Go home? Pop had just been pardoned, and he and my mom were trying to navigate the reunion. Though she would love to have me home, I didn’t know if I was up to it. My father could be challenging, and fourteen years of prison hadn’t done him any favors.

 

Taken from “Smoke Screen” by Terri Blackstock. Copyright © 2019 by Terri Blackstock. Used by permission of http://www.thomasnelson.com/

Blog Stops

As He Leads is Joy, November 9

Sara Jane Jacobs, November 9

CarpeDiem, November 9

Christian Bookaholic , November 9

Fiction Aficionado, November 10

KarenSueHadley, November 10

Quiet quilter, November 10

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 10

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 11

Among the Reads, November 11

Genesis 5020, November 11

A Reader’s Brain, November 11

Robin’s Nest, November 12

All-of-a-kind Mom, November 12

Bigreadersite , November 12

Blogging With Carol , November 12

Betti Mace, November 13

Spoken from the Heart, November 13

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 13

Emily Yager, November 13

By The Book, November 14

For Him and My Family, November 14

A Baker’s Perspective, November 14

Splashes of Joy , November 14

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 15

Through the Fire Blogs, November 15

Andrea Christenson, November 15

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 16

The Christian Fiction Girl, November 16

Just the Write Escape, November 16

Mary Hake, November 16

Remembrancy, November 17

Simple Harvest Reads, November 17 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

EmpowerMoms, November 17

Bloggin’ ’bout Books, November 17

Blessed & Bookish, November 18

Older & Smarter, November 18

For the Love of Literature, November 18

Inklings and notions, November 18

Lights in a Dark World, November 19

amandainpa , November 19

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 19

Pause for Tales, November 19

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 20

For The Love of Books , November 20

Hallie Reads, November 20

Cathe Swanson, November 21

Christian Bookshelf Reviews, November 21

All 4 and About Books, November 21

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 21

Batya’s Bits, November 22

Livin’ Lit, November 22

Texas Book-aholic, November 22

janicesbookreviews, November 22

Guest Post — Rachel Dylan, Author of The Atlanta Justice Series

6 Nov

Bookish friends are some of the best! Rachel Dylan and I go back quite a few years. We first connected when I reviewed her indie published Windy Ridge series. (My review of book 1, Trials And Tribulations, can be found HERE.) I think I have read every book Rachel has published, including her Love Inspired Suspense books, the Danger in The Deep South series and the Atlanta Justice series. She is definitely a must-read author! If you like romantic suspense, you really need to read her books. Now, if we could only meet in person. I keep pestering her to have a book signing here in middle Georgia. 😉

Rachel has another series set to debut next year. Today she is telling us all about the Capital Intrigue series. Thanks, Rachel for sharing with us!

(The link to my 10 Year Blogiversary Giveaway is at the bottom of this post. Check it out!)

New Beginnings . . . by Rachel Dylan

Wrapping up a series is difficult. You become so connected to the characters and their stories. Sometimes it’s hard to let go because you want to keep following all of the characters in their journey. But as they say, all good things come to an end. 

I finished up the Atlanta Justice series this year, and it was bittersweet. I loved writing about three women attorneys in Atlanta, and seeing how their lives would unfold amidst the dangers and tribulations they faced inside and out of the courtroom. Writing the Atlanta Justice series was also special because I’m a Georgia girl, and enjoyed writing about home.

But today is a new day, and I’m super excited to launch a new series called Capital Intrigue! This series is set in Washington, DC, and it focuses on three women who graduated from Georgetown Law but all took different career paths. They are an FBI agent, a CIA analyst, and a State Department Attorney. 

I think my readers will still get to see some of the elements they enjoyed from Atlanta Justice, but I get to branch out and explore some of my other interests as well. Before I went to law school, I actually spent two summers working in Washington, DC. I actually thought I was going to end up working in intelligence or foreign policy. Even though I ultimately ended up a lawyer, I still love engaging in those other topics, and I hope you’ll feel my genuine excitement coming through on the pages! This series will also include the legal elements my readers have come to love, but there will be lots of other law enforcement action as well. One thing I’m super excited about is being able to include the military in this series, including my personal favorite — Navy SEALs.

Check out the blurb for END GAME and let me know what you think. Do you like jumping into a new series? 

I hope you’re excited to start this new journey with me. You can pre-order END GAME from your favorite retailer now! It releases on January 7, 2020. 

Each New Clue . . .
Every Crime Scene . . .
Brings Them Closer to Discovering the End Game

When elite members of the military are murdered on the streets of Washington, DC, FBI Special Agent Bailey Ryan and NCIS Special Agent Marco Agostini must work together to bring the perpetrator to justice. Unfortunately, all evidence points to a Navy SEAL sniper who Bailey refuses to believe is guilty.

When Bailey and Marco start to connect the dots between the victims, they wonder if there’s a deeper cover-up at play. After Bailey is targeted, it becomes clear that someone is willing to kill to keep their dark secrets.

With the stakes getting higher by the moment, Bailey and Marco rush against the clock to determine whom they can really trust in this twisted conspiracy. As allies turn to enemies, the biggest secret yet to be uncovered could be the end of them all.

Rachel Dylan is an award-winning and bestselling author of legal thrillers and romantic suspense. Rachel has practiced law for over a decade including being a litigator at one of the nation’s top law firms. Rachel writes the Atlanta Justice Series which features strong, female attorneys in Atlanta. Deadly Proof, the first book in the Atlanta Justice series, is a CBA bestseller, an FHL Reader’s Choice Award winner, a Daphne du Maurier Finalist, and a Holt Medallion Finalist. Lone Witness is the winner of a Holt Medallion, the Maggie Award, and is a Selah Finalist. Rachel lives in Michigan with her husband and five furkids — two dogs and three cats. Rachel loves to connect with readers. You can find Rachel at racheldylan.com.

Top 10 Tuesday — Ruin A Book Title with Just One Letter

22 Oct

First, I need to apologize to all the wonderful authors I may offend with today’s Top 10 Tuesday post. I promise it is all in fun 😉 . Bloggers were directed to give novels new titles, so I am playing the fun game of ruining a book with just one letter. Who knew changing just one little letter could impact the whole trajectory of a story. (Be sure to look at the images for the real titles!) Please play along and leave a comment with your ruined book title.

For more title changes, visit That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top 10 Ruined Book Titles

 

Bark Ambitions by Irene Hannon

Dogs shouldn’t be involved in politics.

Between Two Snores by Jocelyn Green

Can two people get past their sleeping difficulties in old Canada?

A Christmas Raven by Erin and Cindy Woodsmall

Quoth the raven “December 25th nevermore”.

 

Far Side of The Pea by Kate Breslin

It’s WWI and peas are on the menu.

Glory Toad by Lauren K. Denton

Amphibians in the garden.

If I’m Round by Terri Blackstock

Too much fast food on the run.

Never Faithful by Karen Barnett

Fickle lovers and geysers at Yellowstone National Park.

 

The Purse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright

Searching for a mysterious pocketbook.

A Sale of Two Hearts by Michelle Griep

Transplants gone awry in Dickensian England.

Sweat on You by Becky Wade

Can two friends find love despite their personal hygiene?

 

 

Book Review: Dark Ambitions

17 Oct

Former Army Night Stalker Rick Jordan usually has his camp for foster children to himself during the winter months. But someone has visited recently — leaving a trail of blood. One of the two clues left behind tips Rick off to the identity of his visitor, who soon turns up dead. The police deem it an accident, but Rick isn’t convinced. With the help of private investigator Heather Shields, he sets out to decipher the remaining clue. Except someone doesn’t want them to succeed–and will stop at nothing to keep them from finding the truth.

With her trademark psychological suspense ratcheting up the tension on every page, bestselling and award-winning author Irene Hannon takes you on a search for a cold-blooded killer with an ambitious goal and deadly intent.

Irene Hannon is a bestselling, award-winning author who took the publishing world by storm at the tender age of 10 with a sparkling piece of fiction that received national attention.

Okay . . . maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. But she was one of the honorees in a complete-the-story contest conducted by a national children’s magazine. And she likes to think of that as her “official” fiction-writing debut!

Since then, she has written more than 50 romantic suspense and contemporary romance/women’s fiction novels. She is a seven-time finalist for and three-time winner of the RITA award — the “Oscar” of romance fiction — and a member of the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. She has also received a Career Achievement award from RT Book Reviews for her entire body of work. In addition, her books have won a Daphne du Maurier award, two Carol awards, three HOLT Medallions, a National Readers’ Choice award, a Retailers Choice award, three Booksellers’ Best awards and two Reviewers’ Choice awards from RT Book Reviews. She is also a two-time Christy award finalist.

Irene, who holds a B.A. in psychology and an M.A. in journalism, juggled two careers for many years until she gave up her executive corporate communications position with a Fortune 500 company to write full time. She is happy to say she has no regrets!

In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, gardening and singing.  A trained vocalist, she has sung the leading role in numerous musicals, including “South Pacific,” “Brigadoon,” “Oklahoma” “The King and I” and “Anything Goes.” She is also a soloist at her church.

When not otherwise occupied, Irene and her husband enjoy traveling, Saturday mornings at their favorite coffee shop and spending time with family. They make their home in Missouri.

My Impressions:

Irene Hannon is my go-to author for romantic suspense, and her latest book, Dark Ambitions, vaulted to the top of my favorites by her. In the third book of the Code of Honor series, Hannon adds a hefty dose of sizzle to the suspense. With the perfect blend of romance and mystery, this book was unputdownable. I give it a highly recommended rating.

Rick Jordan, ex-Army Night Stalker and the third member of the Treehouse Gang introduced in the first two books of the series, is the focus of Dark Ambitions. Determined to help a missing friend from his service days, Rick employs Heather Shields, a PI with the Phoenix group. (If you are a fan of Hannon’s Private Justice series, you will love seeing those characters again.) The mystery is very complex, and there are a number of suspicious characters to choose from. Various secrets and private agendas add to the twists and turns this novel takes.  I loved reading the first person POV of the unnamed bad guy hoping to ferret out clues to just whodunit. Rick and Heather join forces in the case, and their attraction begins right at the start. Kudos on the chemistry that Hannon created. Both characters are believers and place their trust in God’s sovereignty.

Dark Ambitions can easily be read as a standalone novel, but the whole series is excellent. I suggest you begin at the beginning  — perfect for binge-reading goodness!

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

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

Book Review: Always Look Twice

14 Oct

At the advice of her therapist, homicide survivor Harper Reynolds has traded her job as a crime scene photographer for a more peaceful life taking photographs of the natural world. But her hopes for a life surrounded by the serenity of the outdoors are dashed when she inadvertently captures a murder being committed in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She flees the scene in fear — and loses the camera.

Former Green Beret Heath McKade is a reserve deputy in an understaffed county who has been called in to protect Harper, a childhood friend he is surprised to see back in the area. When Harper learns that the sheriff’s department can’t find any evidence of the murder she witnessed, she is determined to do what she can to see that justice is done. What neither Harper nor Heath could know is how many explosive secrets from the past will be exposed–or how deeply they will fall for each other.

In this suspenseful page-turner, bestselling author Elizabeth Goddard keeps you on the edge of your seat as you discover that uncommon justice lies just on the other side of fear.

 

Elizabeth Goddard is the bestselling, award-winning author of forty romance novels and counting, including the romantic mystery, The Camera Never Lies — a 2011 Carol Award winner. Four of her six Mountain Cove books have been contest finalists. Buried, Backfire, and Deception are finalists in the Daphne Du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense, and Submerged is a Carol Award finalist. A 7th generation Texan, Elizabeth graduated from North Texas State University with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and worked in high-level software sales for several years before retiring to home school her children and fulfill her dreams of writing full-time.

To get book news sign up for her newsletter at her website: http://elizabethgoddard.com
Follow her on Bookbub! https://www.bookbub.com/authors/elizabeth-goddard
You can connect with Elizabeth on Facebook:http://facebook.com/elizabethgoddardauthor
or Twitter: http://twitter.com/bethgoddard

 

My Impressions:

Elizabeth Goddard takes the reader back to the breathtakingly beautiful wilderness of the Bridger-Teton National Forest of Wyoming in Always Look Twice, book 2 in her Uncommon Justice series. This book focuses on McKade brother Heath, introduced in book 1, Never Let Go, and Harper Reynolds, the best friend who disappeared from his life 20 years before. As the two reconnect under extreme circumstances, their past and present collide providing plenty of mystery, danger, and sparks for fans of the romantic suspense genre.

Heath and Harper are wounded characters who have worked hard to overcome their pasts. Former military, Heath still has a strong need to protect, but doubts his abilities to do just that. Harper has chosen the emotionally challenging career of crime scene photographer in an attempt to bring justice to others that she did not have as a child. Goddard lets the reader into the thoughts and emotions of both characters allowing for a complete look at their struggles. Guilt over past mistakes and the actions of others they could not control have contributed to the wariness the two have in entering romantic relationships. But for fans of romance, there is definite chemistry between the two. In this intriguing mystery, danger is never far off, with bombings and sniper fire just two of the threats the characters face. Twists and turns take the reader and the characters on a bumpy ride. As they endure one challenge after another, they learn to trust God more and more.

If you like your suspense with a heavy dose of romance, then consider Always Look Twice. Athough it is book 2 in a series, it can be read as a standalone. But nothing is keeping you from diving into the entire series. 😉 (The Kindle version of book 1 is on sale for 79 cents!)

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

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