Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Memory of You


The Memory of You
Catherine West
(Harper Collins/Thomas Nelson)
ISBN: 978-0718078768
March 2017/320 pages/$15.99

Thirteen years ago, Natalie lost a part of herself when her twin sister died. Will traveling back to the family winery finally put the memory to rest, or will it completely destroy her?

When Natalie Mitchell learns her beloved grandfather has had a heart attack, she’s forced to return to their family-owned winery in Sonoma, something she never intended to do. She’s avoided her grandparents’ sprawling home and all its memories since the summer her sister died—the awful summer Natalie’s nightmares began. But the winery is failing, and Natalie’s father wants her to shut it down. As the majority shareholder, she has the power to do so.

And Natalie never says no to her father.

Tanner Collins, the vintner on Maoilios, is trying to salvage a bad season and put the Mitchell family’s winery back in business. When Natalie Mitchell shows up, Tanner sees his future about to be crushed. Natalie intends to close the gates, unless he can convince her otherwise. But the Natalie he remembers from childhood is long gone, and he’s not so sure he likes the woman she’s become. Still, the haunted look she wears hints at secrets he wants to unearth. He soon discovers that on the night her sister died, the real Natalie died too. And Tanner must do whatever it takes to resurrect her.

But finding freedom from the past means facing it.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Catherine West is an award-winning author who writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. Her first novel, Yesterday’s Tomorrow, released in 2011 and won the INSPY for Romance, a Silver Medal in the Reader’s Favorite Awards, and was a finalist in the Grace Awards. Catherine’s second novel, Hidden in the Heart, released in September 2012, was long listed in the 2012 INSPY’s and was a finalist in the 2013 Grace Awards. Catherine’s third novel, Bridge of Faith, is available on Amazon.

When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or tending to her roses and orchids. She and her husband have two grown children. Catherine’s latest novel, The Things We Knew, released July 2016, through Harper Collins Christian Publishing. Catherine loves to connect with her readers and can be reached at Catherine@catherinejwest.com.


MY THOUGHTS

Set aside a good chunk of time when you open this book, for you will be engrossed in the story and won't be able tear yourself away. Catherine West has crafted a poignant story that grabs the heart. Natalie's struggles are authentic and heart-wrenching as she battles nightmares and desperately tries to avoid confronting the heinous memories of the night her thierteen-year-old sister died in a tragic accident. Her desperate attempt for unconditional love and acceptance from her father broke my heart. Tanner is a likable and relatable character as well. I particularly like his devotion to his nephew and niece, although West wisely shows his struggles to balance work and family commitments. Multiple threads and themes interweave in this novel including trauma, forgiveness, parental relationships, faith, and more. And don't forget romance! Don't miss The Memory of You.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Harper Collins/Thomas Nelson's Fiction Guild. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Monday, April 24, 2017

The Illusionist's Apprentice

The Illusionist's Apprentice
Kristy Cambron
(Harper Collins/Thomas Nelson)
ISBN: 978-0718041502
March 2017/368 pages/$15.99


Harry Houdini’s one-time apprentice holds fantastic secrets about the greatest illusionist in the world. But someone wants to claim them . . . or silence her before she can reveal them on her own.

Boston, 1926. Jenny “Wren” Lockhart is a bold eccentric—even for a female vaudevillian. As notorious for her inherited wealth and gentleman’s dress as she is for her unsavory upbringing in the back halls of a vaudeville theater, Wren lives in a world that challenges all manner of conventions.

In the months following Houdini’s death, Wren is drawn into a web of mystery surrounding a spiritualist by the name of Horace Stapleton, a man defamed by Houdini’s ardent debunking of fraudulent mystics in the years leading up to his death. But in a public illusion that goes terribly wrong, one man is dead and another stands charged with his murder. Though he’s known as one of her teacher’s greatest critics, Wren must decide to become the one thing she never wanted to be: Stapleton’s defender.

Forced to team up with the newly formed FBI, Wren races against time and an unknown enemy, all to prove the innocence of a hated man. In a world of illusion, of the vaudeville halls that showcase the flamboyant and the strange, Wren’s carefully constructed world threatens to collapse around her. Layered with mystery, illusion, and the artistry of the Jazz Age’s bygone vaudeville era, The Illusionist’s Apprentice is a journey through love and loss and the underpinnings of faith on each life’s stage.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

KRISTY CAMBRON has a background in art and design, but she fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. She is the bestselling author of The Ringmaster’s Wife, named to Publishers Weekly Spring 2016 Religion & Spirituality TOP 10. Her novels have been named to Library Journal Reviews’ Best Books and RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards Best lists for 2014 & 2015, and received a 2015 INSPY Awards nomination for best debut novel. The Illusionist’s Apprentice (HarperCollins, 2017) is her fourth novel. Her first Bible study (DVD and study guides), The Verse Mapping series, will release in 2018.

Kristy holds a degree in Art History from Indiana University and has 15 years experience in education and leadership development for a Fortune-100 Corporation. She loves storytelling from the stage and travels to speak about her love for Bible Verse-Mapping throughout the year. Kristy lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons, where she can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good read.

The last and most important thing? Jesus Christ is everything — let her tell you about Him sometime.

Learn more at her website and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.


MY THOUGHTS

Kristy Cambron writes compelling stories, and The Illusionnist's Apprentice is another spell-binding tale. I was drawn in from the opening pages and mesmerized until the closing scene. I have always been uncomfortable with so-called "magic shows," and was fascinated by and appreciative of the distinction between illusion and magic. Cambron deftly combines history, intrigue, and a hint of romance in this captivating novel, with faith a subtle but sure thread woven into the fabric of the story. Don't miss this gifted author's latest offeringing. Grab your copy of The Illusionist's Apprentice before it vanishes!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Harper Collins/Thomas Nelson and Fiction Guild. I was not required to write a review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



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Monday, April 17, 2017

Sandpiper Cove


Sandpiper Cover
A Hope Harbor Novel, #3
Irene Hannon
(Revell)
ISBN: 978-0800727680
April 2017/352 pages/$15.99

Wishing for things that can never be is foolish . . . or is it?

Hope Harbor police chief and single mom Lexie Graham has zero time for extracurricular activities--including romance. Ex-con Adam Stone isn't looking for love either--but how ironic is it that the first woman to catch his eye is a police chief?

When Lexie enlists Adam's help to keep a troubled young man from heading down the wrong path, sparks begin to fly. Could it be that God may have a different--and better--future planned for them than either could imagine?

Lauded by Library Journal as "a master at character development," Irene Hannon welcomes you back to this charming Oregon seaside village.

Come home to Hope Harbor
where hearts heal--and love blooms


Read an excerpt.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Irene Hannon is the bestselling and award-winningauthor of more than fifty romantic suspense and contemporary romance novels, including One Perfect Spring, Hope Harbor, Sea Rose Lane, and the Heroes of Quantico, Guardians of Justice, and Private Justice series. Her books have garnered dozens of honors, including three coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America. She is also a member of RWA's elite Hall of Fame. In addition, she has received a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews for her entire body of work.


MY THOUGHTS

After thoroughtly enjoying Sea Rose Lane (reviewed here), I loved returning to Hope Harbor with this charming novel! Irene Hannon always crafts such endearing stories with likable characters, and Lexie, Adam, and his reluctant protege immediately grabbed my heart. And what's not to love about Charley and his taco truck? Charley's keen discernment and wisdom makes me wonder if he isn't really an "angel unawares" referred to in the Bible. Hannon expertly weaves together multiple threads into this story, such as regrets, peer pressure, fresh starts, restoration, and a bit of romance. Although I've always been a big city girl, I'd be proud to call Hope Harbor home. Don't miss Sandpiper Cover!.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Baker/Revell Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Titanis


Titanis: A Quiet Professionals Novella
(The Quiet Professionals, Book 4)
Ronie Kendig
Task Force Press
ASIN: B06Y1HW35V
April 2017/143 pages/$3.99 ebook
COMING SOON TO PAPERBACK!

Never Again.
A vow written in the blood of the fallen is threatened in Australia’s rugged Top End.


Eamon “Titanis” Straider left the military and civilization behind after betrayal cost the life of a teammate. Living on this super yacht, the ViCross, Eamon reluctantly agrees to host an event for his parents, who are part of the Australian political machine. When an attractive woman arrives with his mother, Eamon is furious—and determined to find out what she is hiding.

Lady Ellis Rostov-Leclair has never felt so threatened as she does by the infamous “Beast of Cape York,” a man notorious for removing people—by force if necessary—from his yacht. His uncanny perception endangers not only her reason for being aboard the ship, but a secret she’s held for twenty years.

When the yacht is seized by a man with one goal: make those responsible for his brother’s death pay—the Beast of Cape York must live up to his name and protect those under his charge, or die trying.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author who grew up an Army brat. She's penned over a dozen novels, including The Quiet Professionals series and the A Breed Apart series. She and her hunky hero hubby have a fun, crazy life with their children and a retired military working dog in Northern Virginia. Learn more about Ronie at her website and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.


MY THOUGHTS

Ronie Kendig revisits her Quiet Professionals series with a novella that focuses on another member of that amazing team. I loved that series, so I zipped right over to Amazon and bought this book for my Kindle as soon as I heard it was available! Wow. Although the term novella obviously puts constraints on the length of the story, don't confuse brevity with superficiality. Kendig doesn't waste a word and packs this tale chock-full of all that her fans have come to expect and love in one of her novels--a hunky hero bearing scars from a past betrayal and determined never to trust again, a brilliant woman with secrets whom he doesn't dare accept but can't ignore, and an enemy who is playing for keeps. Brimming with action, suspense, and a somewhat reluctant romance, Titanis ignites the senses as it transports the reader aboard the ViCross yacht. Available as an ebook and coming soon in paperback, Titanis is a must-read!


THE QUIET PROFESSIONALS - MY REVIEWS

Raptor 6

Hawk
Falcon



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Monday, April 10, 2017

Behind the Scenes


Behind the Scenes
Apart from the Crowd, Book 1
Jen Turano
(Bethany House Publishers
ISBN: 978-0764217944
April 2017/352 pages/$15.99

After spending the last six years banished to the wallflower section of the ballroom, Miss Permilia Griswold has finally figured out a way to pass the time at all the New York high-society events she attends. Under the pseudonym "Miss Quill," she is the author of society gossip columns filled with tidbits only an insider in society--albeit one on the fringes--would know.

When she overhears a threat against Mr. Asher Rutherford, the owner of one of the most up-and-coming department stores in the city, she's determined to warn him. But the irritatingly handsome man doesn't believe her, leaving her no choice but to take matters into her own hands. What she doesn't anticipate is that she'll end up putting herself at risk in the process--or that she and Mr. Rutherford, a man with secrets of his own, just might end up joining forces after all.


Read an excerpt.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jen Turano, author of eight books and two novellas, is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in clothing and textiles. She is a member of ACFW and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Visit her website at www.jenturano.com.


MY THOUGHTS

Jen Turano writes the best books! Her original, clever plots and fresh, creative articulation make reading a delight. What a fun idea to create a series focusing on the overlooked wallflowers of society. (It fascinates me that these young women were essentially ignored by their peers yet still received invitations to such notable events as the Vanderbilt Ball.) I was transfixed from the opening pages until the final paragraph. Turano manages to inject humor into even the most nerve-wracking moments with her inimitable character depictions that would seem over the top in any other novel but which fit perfectly in this setting. And what's not to love about the excesses of an upper-crust ball in 1883 New York, where the most outlandish costume might entail hats fashioned from taxidermied animals and where dances bear names such as The Go-As-You-Please Quadrille (That dance scene ranks among the best in the entire novel and is worth the purchase price on its own!) Trust me: you do not want to be the one standing Apart from the Crowd when everyone is talking about this book. Grab your copy of Behind the Scenes (as well as the free prequel novella) today!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Baker/Bethany House Publishing. I was not required to write a review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


APART FROM THE CROWD - MY REVIEWS

At Your Request (free prequel novella!)
Behind the Scenes
Out of the Ordinary - coming in November 2017!


Q&A with JEN TURANO


1. Why did you decide to open this story during Alva Vanderbilt’s famed costume ball of 1883?
I’ve been fascinated with Alva Vanderbilt’s ball ever since I stumbled on photographs from that event taken by the famed photographer Jose Maria Mora. Some of those pictures can still be viewed in the digital archives at the Museum of the City of New York, and after I saw a guest wearing a stuffed cat on her head, I knew this was a ball I needed to research. Once I realized the Vanderbilt event was a catalyst in changing New York High Society, since this was when new money began getting a foot in society doors, I decided I needed to include this ball in one of my stories, and Behind the Scenes worked well because I’d planned to set it toward the beginning of 1883.

2. Miss Permilia Griswold has an unusual occupation. How did you come up with that idea?
When I decided to write a series about wallflowers, I wanted to write them, not as victims, but as unseen ladies possessing talents no one seemed to notice. Because wallflowers are known to fade into the walls they languish against, I decided it would be a hoot to have one of my characters offered an opportunity to use her status as a wallflower to gather information for a society column. Then, to add additional mystery to the storyline, I made a list of What Ifs. Halfway down that list, a most intriguing thought sprang to mind: What if an anonymous society columnist was collecting information for her column and overheard a plot surrounding murder?

Well, after that idea, the book just seemed to take on a life of its own, and months later I can present Miss Permilia’s story to the world.

3. Mr. Asher Rutherford owns a department store. Was there a reason you gave him that occupation?
I got my very first job in a department store the day I turned 16. It was at L.S. Good & Company, based in Wheeling, West Virgina, although the store I took a job at was located in the Ohio Valley Mall. From that first day, which was Black Friday in case anyone was wondering, I’ve had a love of department stores, especially those located in the heart of downtowns throughout the eastern states. There’s just something delightful about old-fashioned tea rooms, elevators with grated doors, and gilded mirrors hanging on the walls that makes me sigh in delight. There’s also a scent I’ve only experienced in these old stores, a mix of lemon polish, old wood, and new fabric. Because of the love I have for department stores, I wanted to create a character who opened his own store, adding innovations for the day such as tea rooms and bargain basements. I also have a love of old amusements parks, which means, well, one of those might show up in a book someday.

4. What was the most interesting historical tidbit you uncovered in your research for this book?
The photo album of the actual guests and their costumes was astonishing, but some of those pictures directed me to investigate the quadrille dances that were to be performed during the ball, and that’s when I learned I never understood what the quadrille dances during the Gilded Age entailed. I didn’t know that these dances were danced by only a select few—young ladies and gentlemen who’d been specifically chosen for each dance. They’d then practice at places like Family Circle Dancing Class—founded by Mr. Ward McAllister—or at Allen Dodworth’s Dancing Academy. On the night of the Vanderbilt ball, there were six quadrilles performed: The Hobby Horse
Quadrille, The Mother Goose Quadrille, The Opera Quadrille, The Star Quadrille, The Dresden Quadrille, and then, my favorite, The Go-As-You-Please Quadrille. Now, all the quadrilles except for this last one demanded the
participants dress in specific costumes and perform specific steps, my favorite being the ivory costumes and powdered white wigs the dancers in The Dresden Quadrille wore white, chosen to allow them to resemble pieces of
porcelain. I took the liberty of adding a little drama to The Go-As-You-Please Quadrille, but you’ll have to read the book to see exactly what type of liberty I took.

5. Where did you come up with the unusual names of your characters?
I peruse a lot of old census data, as well as obituaries. I found Permilia in an old obituary, but I got the name Gertrude from a hamster my sister used to have years ago. She was a weird hamster, or maybe she was a guinea pig, but she could escape her cage no matter how well secured she was, and when she was on the loose, she would chew up electrical cords. One can’t help but notice that Miss Gertrude Cadwalader is a little odd, although I did refrain from giving her an unusual habit, such as munching on anything electric. As for Miss Temperance Flowerdew, I got her name from a high school friend of mine who was working on her family tree and uncovered an honest-to-goodness Temperance Flowerdew. As soon as I heard that name, I had to use it, because who wouldn’t want to use a name like Temperance Flowerdew?


Thanks to Bethany House Publishers and Jen Turano for providing the fascinating information above!



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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Expedition: Still Life Blog Tour & Giveaway!

UPDATED 5/10/17
WINNER!

Congrats to Laura Waltz! You will be receiving a Lifeway gift card from Dani Pettrey. An email is on its way!

Random Number: 49

Congrats to kim hansen! You will be receiving a Lifeway gift card from Dani Pettrey. Please email me your contact info. Please respond by 11:59 pm CDT Friday, 5/5/17, or another winner will be chosen. Thanks to everyone for entering!

* * * * *

I am thrilled to welcome author Dani Pettrey to guest blog today and to be part of her Expedition: Still Life blog tour, which began Tuesday! Read about today's special location from Dani's recent release, Still Life, enter the giveaway on this page, and then be sure to click the special link to get your passport stamp. The tour happens each Tuesday and Thursday until May 1, when the winner will be announced via Rafflecopter. And now, grab a cup of your favorite brew and join me in welcoming Dani Pettrey!




Canton


Welcome to the Expedition: Still Life blog tour! Today we’re visiting Canton, a charming waterfront neighborhood founded in the late 19th century.


If you aren't familiar with this exciting blog tour, or the fabulous grand prize you can win by taking part in it, please visit Expedition: Still Life's main contest page for all the details.


Parker Mitchell, the crime scene investigation hero from my latest release, Still Life, lives in Canton. This Baltimore neighborhood includes a quaint village square full of restaurants, pubs, and unique gift shops.


Traditional Baltimore brick row homes with classic marble stoops and painted screens line the main thoroughfare of O’Donnell Street, where you’ll often see people running along the waterfront path or walking their dogs in the fresh harbor air. Boats bob in the two main marinas. While researching my book series, my husband and I spent a long weekend on a boat in one of Canton’s marinas.


Traditional Baltimore brick row homes with classic marble stoops and painted screens line the main thoroughfare of O’Donnell Street, where you’ll often see people running along the waterfront path or walking their dogs in the fresh harbor air. Boats bob in the two main marinas. While researching my book series, my husband and I spent a long weekend on a boat in one of Canton’s marinas.




The video below is an interview I filmed during that weekend of research.





Parker Mitchell lives off the beaten path in the heart of Canton’s industrial area in a renovated brick warehouse where his loft apartment resides on the top two floors. He loves listening to the rhythmic sound of a ship’s wake and the crabby scent of the harbor. Growing up less than an hour away in a small harbor front town, Canton is a perfect fit for him.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Parker’s loft here.


I hope you enjoyed your insider’s peek at Parker’s neighborhood. This is the second stop on the Expedition: Still Life Tour. Be sure to collect your passport stamp to be entered to win the Grand Prize here.


Collect
The Canton Stamp!

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Thanks so much to Linda for hosting me. To also be entered to win a LifeWay gift card, just answer the question below in the comments by midnight PDT April 30. (The randomly drawn winner will be announced on this post on May 1.) After answering the question, visit http://danipettrey.com/stilllife-contest/ to see all the other stops and giveaways on this tour.

What’s your favorite hometown spot and why?


Praised by New York Times bestselling author Dee Henderson as “a name to look for in romantic suspense,” Dani Pettrey combines the page-turning adrenaline of a thriller with the chemistry and happy-ever-after of a sigh-worthy romance novel. Her novels stand out for their “wicked pace, snappy dialogue, and likable characters” (Publishers Weekly), “gripping storyline[s],” (RT Book Reviews), and “sizzling undercurrent” of romance (USA Today).

Dani’s adventure-focused Alaskan Courage series climbed the CBA bestseller lists, with Submerged staying in the top twenty for five consecutive months. The five-book series also won multiple awards, including the Daphne du Maurier award, two HOLT Medallions, and Christian Retailing’s Best Award, among others. She turns her attention to crime and law enforcement in her home state of Maryland in her new Chesapeake Courage series, starting with Cold Shot, which Library Journal called, “a harrowing and thrilling ride.” For more information about her novels, visit www.danipettrey.com.


* * * * *

Readers, click on the links below for my reviews of Still Life and the first book in Dani's Chesapeake Courage series, Cold Shot!

Still Life
Cold Shot



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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Deep Extraction


Deep Extraction
FBI Task Force, Book 2
DiAnn Mills
(Tyndale House Publishers)
ISBN: 978-1496410986
April 2017/416 pages/$14.99

A pacemaker should have saved oil and gas magnate Nathan Moore’s life. Instead, it provided his killer with a seemingly perfect means of execution.

A bombing at one of Nathan’s oil rigs days earlier indicates his death could be part of a bigger conspiracy, a web Special Agent Tori Templeton must untangle. But her first order of business is separating the personal from the professional—the victim’s wife, her best friend, is one of the FBI’s prime suspects.

Clearing Sally’s name may be the biggest challenge of her career, but Tori finds an unexpected ally in the newest member of the task force, recently reinstated Deputy US Marshal Cole Jeffers. As Tori and Cole dig deeper into Nathan’s personal and business affairs, they uncover more than they bargained for. And the closer they get to finding the real killer—and to each other—the more intent someone is on silencing them for good.


Read an excerpt.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne du Maurier, Inspirational Reader's Choice, and Carol Award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian fiction category for Firewall.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, International Thriller Writers, and the Faith, Hope, and Love chapter of Romance Writers of America. She is the co-director of The Author Roadmap with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She also speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own beans. She's an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at www.diannmills.com.


MY THOUGHTS

I don't know how DiAnn Mills does it! Just when I think she's at the top of her game, she releases a new novel that manages to surpass her previous one. Chilling and heart-pounding without being morbid or graphic, this novel kept me on the edge of my seat, reluctant to set it aside until I had finished it. Clever lines add to the enjoyment and bring a smile to ease the tension. Perfectly crafted characters bring authenticity to this novel, and I would certainly want Tori and Cole in my corner if I were falsely accused of a crime! Mills peppers in just the right amount of romance, making the heart pound in a different sort of way! What a great book and series. Don't miss Deep Extraction!



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from DiAnn Mills and Tyndale House Publishing. I was not required to write a review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”




FBI TASK FORCE SERIES - MY REVIEWS

Deadly Encounter
Deep Extraction



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Monday, April 3, 2017

A Fragile Hope


A Fragile Hope
Cynthia Ruchti
(Abingdon Press)
ISBN: 978-1426791505
April 2017/320 pages/$14.99

Hope grows when seeds are planted—even in the muddy middle of life.

Josiah Chamberlain's life's work revolves around repairing other people's marriages. When his own is threatened by his wife's unexplained distance, and then threatened further when she's unexpectedly plunged into an unending fog, Josiah finds his expertise, quick wit and clever quips are no match for a relationship that is clearly broken.

Feeling betrayed, confused, and ill-equipped for a crisis this crippling, he reexamines everything he knows about the fragility of hope and the strength of his faith and love. Love seems to have failed him. Will what’s left of his faith fail him, too? Or will it be the one thing that holds him together and sears through the impenetrable wall that separates them?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed in hope. She’s the award-winning author of 16 books and a frequent speaker for women’s ministry events. She serves as the Professional Relations Liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers, where she helps retailers, libraries, and book clubs connect with the authors and books they love. She lives with her husband in Central Wisconsin. Visit her online at CynthiaRuchti.com and on Facebook and Twitter.


MY THOUGHTS

Every time I read a book by Cynthia Ruchti, I am awed by the gift God has bestowed on her...the ability to craft a story and communicate hope in such a beautiful and powerful manner. There are so many things to love about this novel, beginning with the exquisite cover and irresistible title. And oh, the story! Though her brushstrokes are made typing on a computer, Ruchti transforms mere words into a work of art. Josiah and Karin are easy to relate to, which makes the story that much more compelling and touching. While most of the story is written from Josiah's perspective, Karin's voice and thoughts are included throughout, and my heart ached for both of them. Although it was initially easy to be annoyed with Josiah, Ruchti wisely avoids making him a caricature, and I empathized with his struggles. Read this one with the tissue box nearby, although wry and humorous moments lighten the story, just as smiles and sorrow often intertwine in real life. Though a tenuous thread is all that separates our everyday routines from the unexpected, A Fragile Hope reminds us that just a tiny seed of faith can make a mountain of difference. Anyone familiar with Cynthia Ruchti's books know that this is a must-read. For those just discovering this gifted author, this may be the first you read of her work, but it won't be the last!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Abingdon Press. I was not required to write a review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



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Sunday, April 2, 2017

ACFW New Releases - April 2017

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary Romance:

Sandpiper Cove by Irene Hannon -- When a police chief and an ex-con join forces to keep a young man from falling into a life of crime, sparks fly. Given their backgrounds, it's not a promising match—but in Hope Harbor, anything is possible. (Contemporary Romance from Revell [Baker])


Oh Baby by Delia Latham -- Dawni Manors seeks peace in Angel Falls, Texas. What she finds is a cowboy, an abandoned infant, and emotional chaos. If the Heart's Haven angels really are there, what in the world are they thinking? (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])


General:

A Fragile Hope by Cynthia Ruchti -- Where does a relationship expert turn when his wife leaves him and carries a tiny heartbeat with her? (General from Abingdon Press)


Waiting for Butterflies by Karen Sargent -- When tragedy strikes, Maggie discovers a mother's love never ends--not even when her life does. Longing for her family after her sudden death, she becomes a lingering spirit and returns home where she helplessly witnesses her family's downward spiral in the aftermath of her passing. Her husband is haunted by past mistakes and struggles to redeem himself. Her teenage daughter silently drowns in her own guilt, secretly believing she caused her mother's death. Only her five-year-old, full of innocence, can sense her presence. Although limited by her family's grief and lack of faith, Maggie is determined to keep a sacred promise and save her family before her second chance runs out. (General from Walrus Publishing [Amphorae Publishing Group])


Mystery:


Sunset in Old Savannah by Mary Ellis -- When a philandering husband turns up dead, two crack detectives find more suspects than moss-draped oaks in charming old Savannah, including a scheming business partner, a resentful mistress, and a ne'er-do-well brother. (Mystery from Harvest House Publishers)


Historical:

Above Rubies by Keely Brooke Keith -- In 1863, young teacher Olivia Owens establishes the first school in the remote settlement of Good Springs while finding love. (Historical, Independently Published)



Historical Romance:



A Rose So Fair by Myra Johnson -- Caleb Wieland would give anything to win farm girl Rose Linwood's heart, but Rose's stubborn independence is proving as thorny as the flower for which she's named. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)


Under the Same Sky by Cynthia Roemer -- In 1854 Illinois, Becky Hollister wants nothing more than to live out her days on the prairie, building a life for herself alongside her future husband. But when a tornado rips through her parents' farm, killing her mother and sister, she must leave the only home she's ever known and the man she's begun to love to accompany her injured father to St. Louis.
Catapulted into a world of unknowns, Becky finds solace in corresponding with Matthew Brody, the handsome pastor back home. But when word comes that he is all but engaged to someone else, she must call upon her faith to decipher her future. (Historical Romance from Mantle Rock Publishing)


The Pony Express Romance Collection by Barbara Tifft Blakey, Mary Davis, Darlene Franklin, Cynthia Hickey, Maureen Lang, Debby Lee, Donna Schlachter, Connie Stevens and Pegg Thomas -- Nine historical romances revive the brief era of the Pony Express. Join the race from Missouri, across the plains and mountains to California and back again as brave Pony Express riders and their supporters along the route work to get mail across country in just ten days. It is an outstanding task in the years 1860 to 1861, and only a few are up to the job. Faced with challenges of terrain, weather, hostile natives, sickness, and more, can these adventurous pioneers hold fast, and can they also find lasting love in the midst of daily trials? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)


Romantic Suspense:

Plain Target by Dana R. Lynn -- Horse trainer Jess McGrath only wants to clear her disgraced brother's name, but enemies keep coming out of the woodwork and danger only gets closer. Jess soon learns that no place is safe—and no one can be trusted…except for the last white knight she'd ever expect to ride to her rescue. Paramedic Seth Travis was the boy behind her high school humiliation, but he's also the man keeping her alive. When they find sanctuary in the Amish community, can they uncover answers in time to stop a killer—and resolve their past in time to build a future together? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


Dangerous Testimony by Dana Mentink -- Four weeks before she's set to testify at a gang murder trial, someone is determined to make sure that Candace Gallagher Andrews never takes the stand. When nowhere is safe for the private investigator or her little girl, Candace turns to the only person she can trust—longtime friend and former navy SEAL Marco Quidel. For Marco, protecting Candace is not just another duty. As the trial date nears and the killer stalks ever closer, Marco knows fear for the first time—the fear of losing Candace and her daughter. But while Marco begins seeing Candace as more than just a friend, her late husband's memory is never far from her mind. So he must keep Candace alive—and not get emotionally involved—long enough to put away a killer. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


Deep Extraction by DiAnn Mills -- Special Agent Tori Templeton is determined to find who killed her best friend's husband. Tori finds an unexpected ally in the newest member of the task force, recently reinstated Deputy US Marshal Cole Jeffers. As Tori and Cole dig deeper into Nathan's personal and business affairs, they uncover more than they bargained for. And the closer they get to finding the real killer?and to each other?the more intent someone is on silencing them for good. (Romantic Suspense from Tyndale House)


Final Verdict by Jessica R. Patch -- When Aurora Daniels becomes the target of someone seeking their own twisted justice, Sheriff Beckett Marsh is the only one who can rescue her. As a public defender, Aurora has angered plenty of people in town—and in her past. And while Beckett constantly clashes with the feisty lawyer professionally, it's his duty to protect and serve. Guarding her 24/7 is now his sole assignment. He may not have been able to save his fiancĂ©e from a dangerous felon, but he'll do whatever it takes to keep Aurora alive. Even if working with her to catch and convict this ruthless killer puts his heart in the crosshairs. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


Guardian by Terri Reed -- When a fellow FBI agent is kidnapped and a protected witness vanishes, Leo Gallagher will stop at nothing to find them both. So when he discovers a link between the case and a single mother in Wyoming, Leo and his trusty K-9 partner rush to question Alicia Duncan. Could she be the key to locating the missing persons? Not if a killer has anything to say about it. Someone is determined to keep Alicia from talking, so Leo and his chocolate Lab must keep her and her little boy safe on their family ranch. With danger lurking around every corner, Leo must work overtime to not lose another person who's important to him. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


Witch by Denise Weimer -- Having restored Michael Johnson's ancestors' house and apothecary shop and begun applying the lessons of family and forgiveness unearthed from the past, Jennifer Rushmore expects to complete her first preservation job with the simple relocation of a log home. But as her crew reconstructs the 1787 cabin, home to the first Dunham doctor, attacks on those involved throw suspicion on neighbors and friends alike. And while Jennifer has trusted God and Michael with the pain of her past, it appears Michael's been keeping his own secrets. Will she use a dream job offer from Savannah as an escape, or will a haunting tale from a Colonial diary convince her to rely on the faithfulness of his love? (Romantic Suspense from Canterbury House Publishing)


Speculative Romance/Fantasy:

The Fairetellings Series (Books 1 through 3) by Kristen Reed -- Discover a trio of enchanting novellas inspired by three beloved fairy tales: Cinderella, Snow White, and Beauty and the Beast. (Speculative Romance/Fantasy, Independently Published)




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