Saturday, January 30, 2016

UPDATED POST (with giveaway) Engaging southern fiction -- White

 A few weeks ago I received an email from Denise Weimer asking if I would be interested in reading and reviewing a new book she had coming out soon, White.  I read the book blurb, and since I enjoy learning about new authors decided I would give it a try.  Good new is, I'm glad I did.

White is set in modern times, but has a back story and rich history set much further back in time.  The book moves at a comfortable pace as the modern-day characters learn more about themselves and about each other while digging into the history of the property they are restoring.  Many questions arise and resolve as the story progresses.  Faith is an important element of the journey the characters travel.

Even though the characters are fictional, there is a historical basis to the story,  This book fits into a category I have come to really enjoy, one where I can learn history lessons in the setting of an engaging novel.

And I noticed one little tidbit only we true southerners who have moved a little ways north can fully appreciate:  at WalMart the characters put their purchases in "buggies," not "carts."  That was written by a bona fide southerner!

The restoration project and characters around which White is set provide the material for two more stories.  I am anxious to get the chance to read the rest of the story as those books are published.

Thanks to Denise and her publisher for providing a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

See what other readers think about White here.

About the Book:

As historic preservationist Jennifer and brooding bachelor Michael restore his ancestors’ historic doctor’s residence in a rural Georgia community, they uncover the 1920s-era prejudice and secrets that caused Michael’s branch to fall off the family tree. Reserved recent graduate Jennifer’s determined to fulfill her first professional position with integrity even if her employer lacks a proper appreciation of history. Far more challenging – and sinister – than the social landscape of Hermon are the strange accidents hinting that someone doesn’t want them on the Dunham property. Yet Michael’s and Jennifer’s owns pasts pose the biggest obstacles to laying a fresh foundation of family and community.

You can order White either as a paperback or an ebook.

About the Author:

Denise Weimer is a native Georgia resident, writer and history lover. Her four-book, mid-1800s Georgia Gold Series with Canterbury House Publishing (SAUTEE SHADOWS, THE GRAY DIVIDE, THE CRIMSON BLOOM, and BRIGHT AS GOLD) combines historical romance with a touch of mystery. BRIGHT AS GOLD won the 2015 John Esten Cooke award for Southern literature. New in 2016, the Restoration Trilogy (WHITE, WIDOW, and WITCH) features a modern, suspenseful romantic over-story of a historical preservation grad helping a brooding bachelor restore his family property (house, apothecary and log cabin) with three historical back stories they uncover from three different centuries. She is also the author of historical novella REDEEMING GRACE and numerous magazine articles set in Northeast Georgia. Denise is a wife, swim mom of two daughters, and for many years directed a vintage dance group.  Visit Denise at

A Terri Blackstock page turner! -- If I Run

There is one thing you can always count on in a Terri Blackstock book -- page-turning suspense from beginning to end.  And that is just what I found in If I Run!  It was a story that I definitely hated to put down when I finally had to give up and go to bed.

The story grabs you from the very beginning at the scene of a murder, inside the mind of the obvious suspect.  First person is sometimes a little tricky, but Terri does a great job of developing the story and the all-important back stories from the perspectives of Casey and Dylan, the military veteran who has been hired to find her.

Of course, there are lots of twists and turns to the story as you turn the pages of the book, events that keep you on the edge of your seat as Casey and Dylan both search for the truth.  And other characters you meet along the way, like Miss Lucy and others, add lots of dimension as the story builds momentum.  I was blown away by the end of the book and not ready for the story to end!

In other words, this is just what you would expect from Terri Blackstock -- a five-star story of suspense with a rich undercurrent of faith!  I highly recommend If I Run and look forward to the continuing story.
Thanks to Litfuse Publicity Group for providing a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

See what others have to say about If I Run here.

About the Book:

Casey Cox’s DNA is all over the crime scene. There’s no use talking to police; they have failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she’s arrested . . . or worse. The truth doesn’t matter anymore.

But what is the truth? That’s the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren’t adding up. Casey Cox doesn’t fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan’s skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn’t guilty, why did she run?

Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than he has, but as Dylan’s damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices. The girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer . . . or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet.

Purchase a copy:


About the Author:

Terri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times bestselling author. She is the award-winning author of “Intervention,” “Vicious Cycle,” and “Downfall,” as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, and the Restoration Series.

Find out more about Terri at

Join Terri in celebrating her new book with a Fitbit giveaway and a special $4.99 digital pre-order deal!

if i run-400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry! The giveaway ends on February 16th. The winner will be announced February 17th on the Litfuse blog.

Plus don't miss out on the special $4.99 digital pre-order pricing, now through February 15. Pre-order the book through your favorite e-book retailer; details here.

if i run - enterbanner

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Chilling Suspense! -- Thin Ice

There are lots of questions in an Irene Hannon romantic suspense novel -- but never a question about how great it will be.  As I have come to expect in her stories, Thin Ice grabbed me from the very beginning and gripped tighter and tighter to the very end!

Irene Hannon once again writes with class and style.  Her characters and plot are complex and intriguing. She does not tidy up all the problems in quick, unrealistic ways but carries the suspense out to a riveting resolution. Her characters, no matter how good, have realistic flaws that add interest to the story. The romantic element is important and presented in a way that is both exciting and tasteful. In her comments at the end of the book, Irene mentions the experts she has gone to for research, and the benefits of that research show through in her story. And she weaves faith into the story in a very comfortable manner.

In other words, "Wow!"  This is another hit, and I highly recommend Thin Ice for anyone looking for a great story.  I am looking forward to the next book in this series where the third McGregor brother will apparently be the focus.

Thanks to Revell Publishing for providing a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

About the Book:

If Ginny Reed is still alive--who is the woman buried in her grave?

After losing her parents and her sister, Christy Reed has been mired in grief. Now, life is finally starting to feel normal again--until an envelope addressed in her sister's handwriting arrives in the mail. And the note inside claims she is still alive.

FBI Special Agent Lance McGregor, a former Delta Force operator, is assigned to reopen the case . . . but he's coming up with more questions than answers. Is Christy a pawn in a twisted cat-and-mouse game--or the target of a sinister plot? As Lance digs deeper, one thing becomes clear: someone in the shadows has a deadly agenda.

Bestselling author and three-time RITA Award winner Irene Hannon pulls out all the stops in this high-stakes thriller that races to a bone-chilling finish.

About the Author: 

Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than forty-five novels, including That Certain Summer, One Perfect Spring, and the Heroes of Quantico, Guardians of Justice, and Private Justice series. Her books have been honored with three coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, a Carol Award, three HOLT Medallions, a Daphne du Maurier Award, two Reviewers' Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews magazine, a Retailers' Choice Award, a Booksellers' Best Award, and a National Readers' Choice Award. In addition, she is a two-time Christy Award finalist, and Booklist included one of her novels in its "Top 10 Inspirational Fiction" list for 2011. She lives in Missouri. Learn more at

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Hope and Healing -- A Son's Vow

If the first book is any indication, Shelley Shepard Gray's Charmed Amish Life series is certain to be one of her very best!

From the very beginning of A Son's Vow Shelley draws you into the lives of people who are dealing with loss, hurt, anger, and fear because of a tragic accident that affected several families in the idyllic little town of Charm.  Some have begun to move on from their loss, while others can't let go of the anger that continues to touch everyone around them.

Shelley fills the story with realistic emotion that causes you to care about the characters and look for them to find healing and hope for their lives.

I highly recommend A Son's Vow to fans of great Amish fiction or anyone interested in a story of faith that leads from loss and hurt to hope and healing.

Thanks to Shelley and her publisher for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the Book:

Three months ago, everything changed for Darla Kurtz and her family. Darla’s father was responsible for a terrible fire at Charm’s lumber mill which killed five Amish men. And though he, too, lost his life, the town of Charm hasn’t looked at her family the same since. Even Lukas Kinsinger—with whom Darla used to have a close friendship.

Now her brother’s anger at the town is spilling over onto Darla, and she has the bruises to prove it. The accident already cost five lives, but if something doesn’t change soon, Darla fears it will cost her—and her family—even more.

Lukas Kinsinger wants to mourn the loss of his father, but he can hardly find the time to breathe. Suddenly the head of his father’s lumber mill and responsible for taking care of his three siblings, he’s feeling the pressure. He has also never felt more alone—especially with the new tension between he and Darla. But when he learns of her troubles at home, Lukas knows he can’t simply stand by and watch. Someone has to help her before another tragedy occurs.

As Lukas and Darla attempt to repair their families, they discover something deeper than friendship growing between them. But will Lukas and Darla’s love be accepted after so much loss? Or will the pain of the past overcome any chance of future happiness?

About the Author:

Shelley Shepard Gray is a two-time New York Times bestseller, a two-time USA Today bestseller, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time Holt Medallion winner. She lives in Southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.

Find Shelley online:
website, Facebook, Twitter

Sunday, January 17, 2016

More great suspense -- Mermaid Moon

Colleen Coble has given us another great romantic mystery in her second Sunset Cove novel, Mermaid Moon.

As is expected in Colleen's stories, she keeps you guessing through the twists and turns of the story.  You know there is more to the characters than meets the eye, but exactly how they all fit together is what keeps you turning the pages. Answers to some of the biggest questions take you by surprise, providing resolution in unexpected ways through unexpected people.

As Mallory fights for her very life, she and Keven also find themselves fighting for answers to brokenness from the past and how to forgive themselves and others.  An element of faith, although not the biggest theme of the book, shows through in their search.

Fans of good clean romantic suspense should enjoy Mermaid Moon.  If you have read The Inn At Ocean's Edge, the first Sunset Cove novel, you will recognize the setting and some of the characters.  But if you haven't, Mermaid Moon can work well as a stand-alone story.

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity Group for providing a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

See what other reviewers think about Mermaid Moon here.

About the book:

Mallory's mother died fifteen years ago. But her father's last words on the phone were unmistakable: "Find . . . mother."

Shame and confusion have kept Mallory Davis from her home for the last fifteen years, but when her dad mysteriously dies on his mail boat route, she doesn't have any choice but to go back to Mermaid Point.

Mallory believes her father was murdered and childhood sweetheart Kevin O'Connor, game warden in Downeast Maine, confirms her suspicions. But Kevin is wary of helping Mallory in her search. She broke his heart---and left---without a word, years ago.

When Mallory begins receiving threats on her own life---and her beloved teenage daughter, Haylie---their search intensifies. There's a tangled web within the supposed murder, and it involves much more than what meets the eye.

As answers begin to fall into place, Mallory realizes her search is about more than finding her father's killer---it is also about finding herself again . . . and possibly about healing what was broken so long ago with Kevin. She just has to stay alive long enough to put all the pieces together.

Purchase a copy:

About the author:

USA Today bestselling author Colleen Coble has written several romantic suspense novels including Tidewater Inn, Rosemary Cottage, and the Mercy Falls, Lonestar, and Rock Harbor series. Her books have sold more than 3 million copies.

Connect with Coble: website, Twitter, Facebook

Friday, January 8, 2016

Nancy's best yet! -- Rising Darkness

Rising Darkness, book 3 in Nancy Mehl's Finding Sanctuary series, is the sixth book that I've read of hers -- and it's definitely the best yet! 

Set once again in the fictional Missouri Mennonite town of Sanctuary, "old friends" show up to interact with new characters -- and there is a significant connection to Nancy's three Road to Kingdom stories.  There is a Mennonite "flavor" to the story, but readers who have no particular interest in that genre can find plenty to enjoy in this book.

This story has the perfect mix of romance, suspense and faith. The characters' stories are revealed at just the right pace to keep the interest level high.  This was a story where I had a hard time finding a place to stop; the end of each chapter enticed me to read "just one more."

I highly recommend Rising Darkness to fans of great Christian fiction.  It is not necessary to read this series in order, but I would recommend the first two as well worth your time.

Thanks to Nancy and her publisher for providing a copy in exchange for my honest review.

About the Book:

Sophie Wittenbauer left her strict Mennonite hometown under a cloud of shame and regret. Certain she's left her past far behind her, she's now focused on her job at a newspaper and is shocked when she stumbles upon the name of someone she knew in her old life. But when she learns the man--a prisoner--claims a suspect from a decades-old unsolved crime is hiding out in the small town of Sanctuary, Missouri, she can't resist following the lead in hopes of furthering her career.

Almost immediately upon her arrival, Sophie's confronted with a face from her past and fears her intention of using a false identity to investigate is doomed. But with the help of Sanctuary's charismatic young pastor, Sophie knows she's getting close. Will she be able to conceal the truth of her own past long enough to find the suspect before someone puts a stop--fatal or otherwise--to her investigation?

About the Author:
Nancy Mehl is the author of twenty-one books, including the Road to Kingdom and Finding Sanctuary series. Nancy writes from her home in Missouri, where she lives with her husband, Norman, and their puggle, Watson. Visit to learn more.

Light Amish Christmas story -- The Lopsided Christmas Cake

If you are looking for a sweet, light, Amish Christmas story, The Lopsided Christmas Cake might be just what you need.  Twins Elma and Thelma find challenges and potential of love as they move to a new community to take over their grandparents' home and store.  Much of the story is predictable, but sweet, fun, and quick to read.

Thanks to the authors and publisher for providing a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

About the Book:

Join the Hochstetler twin sisters on stage as they bumble their way through baking a cake for a charity auction in front of a live audience. The take-charge Elma and the klutzy optimist Thelma manage to entertain their audience—and attract the admiration of two bachelors, an outspoken woodworker and a shy harness maker from a neighboring Amish community. As fall leads into the Christmas season, could romance be blossoming for one or more of the Hochstetler twins? Find out in this brand new romance from New York Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter, writing with her daughter-in-law Jean Brunstetter.

About the Authors:

Wanda Brunstetter is an award-winning romance novelist who has led millions of readers to lose their heart in the Amish life. She is the author of nearly 70 books with more than 8 million copies sold. Many of her books have landed on the top bestseller lists, including the New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, USA Today, CBA, ECPA, and CBD. Wanda is considered one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre, and her work has been covered by national publications, including Time Magazine, USA Today, Newsweek, Good Housekeeping, and Country Woman. Wanda’s books have been translated into four foreign languages.  For the writing of The Lopsided Christmas Cake, Wanda is joined by her daughter-in-law Jean.

An Amish story with unexpected twists -- Ties That Bind

Cindy Woodsmall's new Amish of Summer Grove series gets off to an intriguing start with Ties That Bind.

In addition to including many elements that are familiar in Amish fiction, this story deals with some topics not often included.  Quill is an ex-Amish young man who now spends his time helping others who struggling with the choice to leave their community.  How and why he does that is one of the big uncertainties throughout the story.  Ariana and her family discover they have connections to the English world that could have far-reaching impacts on many people.

Cindy has created characters who are interesting to get to know, whose lives and struggles are easy to care about.  There are questions and crises, twists and turns, that keep the story moving and interesting.  And the ending leaves things hanging in a way that guarantees a need to look forward to the second book in the series!

Ties That Bind is a great read for fans of Amish fiction, just as you would expect from Cindy Woodsmall.

Thanks to Blogging for Books for providing a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

You can read a excerpt from Ties That Bind here.

About the Book:

Ariana’s comfortable Old Order Amish world is about to unravel. Will holding tightly to the cords of family keep them together—or simply tear them apart?

Twenty-year-old Ariana Brenneman loves her family and the Old Ways. She has two aspirations: open a café in historic Summer Grove to help support her family’s ever-expanding brood and to keep any other Amish from being lured into the Englisch life by Quill Schlabach.

Five years ago Quill, along with her dear friend Frieda, ran off together, and Ariana still carries the wounds of that betrayal. When she unexpectedly encounters him, she soon realizes he has plans to help someone else she loves leave the Amish. 

Despite how things look, Quill’s goal has always been to protect Ariana from anything that may hurt her, including the reasons he left. After returning to Summer Grove on another matter, he unearths secrets about Ariana and her family that she is unaware of. His love and loyalty to her beckons him to try to win her trust and help her find a way to buy the café—because when she learns the truth that connects her and a stranger named Skylar Nash, Quill knows it may upend her life forever.     

Ties That Bind is the first novel in the Amish of Summer Grove series.
About the Author:
Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times, CBA, ECPA, and USA Today best-selling author who has written over a dozen works of fiction and one of nonfiction book. Her connection with the Amish community has been widely featured in national media outlets. She's been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year, and Christian Retailers Choice Awards. Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains.