Tag Archives: suspense fiction

Book Spotlight — My Hands Came Away Red

13 Sep

 

I am excited to spotlight My Hands Came Away Red by Lisa McKay. Lisa is re-releasing her debut novel this month. A product of her passion, this was a novel that Lisa says she needed to write. Check it out! Lisa has some more exciting news to share, so make sure you visit her sites (links below).

Right up until the day they burned the church, I thought I understood things. You know… God, people, myself. Life. Then, suddenly, I understood nothing except that we had to run. And that we might never make it home.

When eighteen-year-old Cori signed up for a mission trip to Indonesia she was mostly thinking about escaping her complicated love life, making new friends, and having fun on the beach.

She never expected a civil war to flare up on the nearby island of Ambon.

She never expected violence to find them.

And she never expected that seven teenagers would be forced to flee into the hazardous refuge of the mountains on their own.

Now, haunted by blood and fire, Cori and her teammates must rely on each other to survive.

Praised by Publishers Weekly as “fast-paced,” “thought-provoking,” and one of the “best novels of the year,” My Hands Came Away Red will take you deep into the jungle with Cori as she desperately searches for answers and a safe way home.

Lisa McKay is an author and psychologist specializing in stress, trauma, and resilience. She is currently living in Laos. You can connect with Lisa at LisaMcKayWriting, FB, Twitter, and Goodreads.

 

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Book Review: Formula of Deception

6 Sep

After the murder of her twin sister, Murphy Anderson changed her name and appearance and moved to Kodiak, Alaska, to avoid the press and publicity. But when local authorities discover she’s an artist and request her help in drawing a dying man’s memories, she unintentionally ends up in the limelight again—and back in the killer’s crosshairs.

The deathbed confessions of an Alaskan hunter have Murphy drawing the five bodies he discovered on remote Ruuwaq Island ten years ago. But what investigators find has them mystified. Evidence suggests that the bodies were deliberately destroyed, and what they uncover in an abandoned Quonset hut from World War II only brings more questions.

As one by one the investigators who were at the hut die, Murphy knows there is something much darker at stake. What happened on this island during the war? And who is willing to kill to keep its secrets buried?

Carrie Stuart Parks is an ECPA Christy Award and multiple ACFW Carol and Inspy Award–winning author. An internationally known forensic artist, Carrie draws on her extensive experience with actual criminal investigations to write authentic, true-to-life fictional suspense. Carrie lives in Idaho and travels with her husband, Rick, across the US and Canada, teaching courses in forensic art to law enforcement professionals. She has won numerous awards for her fine art and is the author/illustrator of numerous books on drawing and painting.

Connect with Carrie

Website | Facebook | Twitter

 

My Impressions: 

Carrie Stuart Parks has given her wonderful character Gwen Marcey a break from mayhem and has written a novel with a totally different feel, characters, and setting, yet with all the wonderful suspense that readers have come to expect from Parks. Formula of Deception takes the reader on a wild ride into remote Alaska. So strap on your seatbelt, you will never know where this trip is going to take you. I loved this book and highly recommend it.

Kodiak, Alaska is the setting for Formula of Deception. I’ve never been, but Parks descriptions of the town and its environs and the uninhabited islands nearby vividly filled my imagination. Main character Murphy Andersen is a wounded soul searching for her missing sister while dodging a serial killer. She finds herself in the middle of a crime investigation when she lies about her experience as a forensic artist. And she continues to lie her way through all the attacks and murders that cross her path. It’s not a coincident that deception is part of the book’s title. This novel confronts the reader with lies others tell us, lies we tell others, and lies we tell ourselves. While I loved the action and danger of the twisting plot, I was intrigued with the inner workings of Murphy’s mind. Be prepared to question every characters’ words and motives. Things are definitely not what they seem. But don’t worry about figuring it all out — this one provided surprise after surprise, even up to the end. I loved that! Parks incorporates Alaskan culture and history into the book to great effect. Her references to little known events from the WWII-era will have you scrambling for Google. The combination of historical fact and fictional conspiracy works very well.

While Formula of Deception is described as a standalone novel, I really hope Parks will revisit Kodiak along with Murphy. This could be the start of a great, great series. Sorry, Gwen! 😉

Highly recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to TLC Book Tours and Thomas Nelson for the complimentary copy of this book. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

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

4 Sep

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

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

 

Top Book Series to Binge-Read

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The Cape Refuge Series by Terri Blackstock (Southern suspense)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

What series would you binge-read?

Book Review: Darkwater Secrets

23 Aug

A murder investigation uncovers sordid secrets and haunting mistakes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Impressions:

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

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

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

Recommended.

Great for Book Clubs.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE

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

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

21 Aug

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

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

 

Top Books to Beat A Slump

 

Historical (with some romance)

Burning Sky by Lori Benton

A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green

 

Mystery

Miranda Warning by Heather Day Gilbert

Rules of Murder by Julianna Deering

 

Romance

The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano

The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

 

Romantic Suspense

Vanished by Irene Hannon

Vendetta by Lisa Harris

 

Small Town Contemporary Series (with romance)

Hope Harbor series by Irene Hannon

A Place to Call Home series by Cathleen Armstrong

 

Suspense

A Cry from The Dust by Carrie Stuart Parks

Fear Has A Name by Creston Mapes

 

First Line Friday — Darkwater Secrets

17 Aug

Happy Friday! My first line today comes from the novel I am reading this weekend, Darkwater Secrets by Robin Caroll, the first book in the Christian suspense Darkwater Inn series. Intriguing isn’t it?

What’s your first line? Leave a comment, then head over to Hoarding Books to find more fabulous first lines.

 

A murder investigation uncovers sordid secrets and haunting mistakes

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top 10 Tuesday — Book Buzz

31 Jul

All over the social media world you can find book buzz on FB pages/groups, book blogs, the tweeterverse, bookstagram, etc. So do books stand up to all the hype? I have a list of 10 recent reads that not only lived up to all the hoopla, but exceeded it.  I highly recommend the following books; they are the Real Deal!

Find out what other bloggers are saying at That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top 10 Books That Exceeded Their Buzz

 

Before I Saw You by Amy K. Sorrells

The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh

Land of Silence by Tessa Afshar

The Love Letter by Rachel Hauck

The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers 

The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright

A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green

Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West