Saturday, March 23, 2024

Thrilling Romantic Suspense -- Cold Pursuit and Cold Threat

Nancy Mehl is one of my go-to authors for great romantic suspense. Cold Pursuit and Cold Threat, the first two installments of her Ryland + St. Clair series, are great thrillers that are almost impossible to put down. From page one of each book to the very last sentence, the story is filled with gripping details that kept me wondering and guessing what was around the next corner. 

In Cold Pursuit, River Ryland and her former FBI partner, Tony St. Clair, open a private investigation firm and immediately find themselves involved in a tragic cold case that becomes more and more complicated and dangerous to anyone near the case. In Cold Threat, River and Tony work alongside police detective Ray St. Clair (Tony's dad), trying to help him put pieces together to solve a different set of murders and again find themselves in life-threatening situations.

The plot, pace, character development and well-researched background information make for riveting stories. A very tantalizing technique that the author scatters throughout the stories gives the reader some of the thoughts, words, and actions of the "bad guy" without revealing who that is. And a strong faith element that is an important part of the characters' development is woven into the story in a very unforced, natural way.

I highly recommend Cold Pursuit and Cold Threat to fans of great inspirational romantic suspense. The books need to be read in order to fully understand the flow of details. I am anxiously waiting to see how this series wraps up in Cold Vengeance, due to be released in summer of 2024.

About Cold Pursuit

Ex-FBI profiler River Ryland still suffers from PTSD after a case went horribly wrong. Needing a fresh start, she moves to St. Louis to be near her ailing mother and opens a private investigation firm with her friend and former FBI partner, Tony St. Clair. They're soon approached by a grieving mother who wants them to find out what happened to her teenaged son, who disappeared four years ago. River knows there's almost no hope the boy is still alive, but his mother needs closure, and River and Tony need a case, no matter how cold it might be.

But as they follow the boy's trail, which gets more complicated at every turn, they find themselves in the path of a murderer determined to punish anyone who gets in his way. As River and Tony race to stop him before he kills again, an even more dangerous threat emerges, stirring up the past that haunts River and plotting an end to her future.

About Cold Threat

Twenty years ago, several people were murdered in Des Moines, and the only evidence left behind was a snowman ornament hanging ominously on a tree in the victims' front lawns. With a suspect behind bars, the killings have come to an end--or so everyone thought. But now crimes with a similar MO are happening in a small Iowa town, and a local detective believes the killer is back and ready to strike again.

With little time left on the clock before they have another murder on their hands, private investigators River Ryland and Tony St. Clair must work alongside Tony's detective father to find evidence that will uncover an evil that has survived far too long. As the danger mounts and the suspect closes in, it will take all they have to catch a killer--before he catches one of them.

About the Author

Nancy Mehl ( is the author of more than fifty books, a Parable and ECPA bestseller, and the winner of an ACFW Book of the Year Award, a Carol Award, and the Daphne du Maurier Award. She has also been a finalist for the Christy Award. Nancy writes from her home in Missouri, where she lives with her husband, Norman, and their puggle, Watson.

Monday, March 11, 2024

Fun Amish Romance -- His Amish Sweetheart

Recently I picked up His Amish Sweetheart, a book that has been on my TBR (to-be-read) pile for a long time, because I was certain it would be a fun, light-hearted read to follow some heavier stories I had recently enjoyed. And of course, Jennifer Beckstrand delivered just what I was expecting! This book finishes up her delightful Petersheim Brothers series.

This book, like the first two in the series, has many of the common elements of Amish romance novels . . . but it also has an extra spark of fun in the form of a pair of young twin brothers who are usually about the business of creating and working out plans of matchmaking for their older brothers. Of course, the ultimate objective of those great plans is to get all the brothers married and moved out of the house so Alfie and Benji can move out of the basement and have a real room again. In this book, Austin, the last unattached brother, is their person of interest, and they are afraid he is about to make the wrong choice. The accounts of their shenanigans -- some successful and some not so much -- keep the story lively and entertaining. All the characters in the story are well developed and play their necessary roles very well.

I highly recommend His Amish Sweetheart to fans of Amish fiction or to those who might want to try the genre in a setting that will bring a smile!

About the Book

Fondly nicknamed “The Peanut Butter Brothers," Andrew, Abraham, and Austin Petersheim skillfully run one of Wisconsin's most cherished family businesses. But their mischievous younger twin siblings have a talent all their own—for matchmaking . . .

Between work and keeping his little brothers out of trouble, Austin Petersheim barely has time to think, much less court the most popular maidel in town. But if he can establish a local market to direct-sell his family's goods, he'll stand out as a potential husband. He's so grateful for the help of his longtime friend, Hannah Yutzy, who has such practical ideas—and is so easy to talk to . . .

While Austin embarks on his plan, his siblings have a plan of their own: to give Austin and Hannah a little nudge to show them they're made for each other. When their antics wreak havoc with a rival family emporium, Hannah must help Austin set things right. And as she does just that, Austin is stunned to realize his best friend could be his perfect wife. Now he'll just need the courage and faith to find out if she agrees . . .

About the Author

Jennifer Beckstrand
is the RITA-nominated and award-winning author of The Amish Quiltmakers Baby, the Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill, The Honeybee Sisters series, The Petersheim Brothers series, as well as a number of other novels and novellas. Novels in her Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series have been RITA® Award and RT Book Reviews Reviewer's Choice Award finalists. Huckleberry Hill won the 2014 LIME Award for inspirational fiction and Huckleberry Hearts was named a Booklist Top 10 Inspirational Fiction Book of the Year. Jennifer has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people. She and her husband have been married for thirty-six years, and she has four daughters, two sons, and seven adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten. Please visit her online at

Friday, March 8, 2024

Fascinating Biblical Fiction -- The Peasant King

I recently participated in a "Blind Date with a Book" activity at my local library which opened a door to a new-to-me author and a relatively new-to-me genre in Christian Fiction. The book I "dated" was Peasant King, by Tessa Afshar, and it was a fantastic encounter! I have to admit that it took me just a minute to get into it because it was pretty different from what I usually read. But after that little bit, I got caught up in the story and really enjoyed it! 

This is a story of Biblical fiction, set in the ancient world of the Persian Empire. Jemmah and other family and friends are involved in dangerous scenarios as they set out to rescue her mother, who has been kidnapped by the enemy, and then working their way back home to Persia. They find themselves struggling through those dangers alongside Asher, who turns out to be a “secret prince” with connections to the enemy Median king. As they fight one kind of battle after another, Jemmah and Asher find themselves sharing their deepest secrets with each other. Those experiences develop into an unexpected love and an understanding of how God is using them as small pieces in a great work He has promised for His people.

I really enjoyed the developing story of Asher’s and Jemmah’s growth in dealing with their own internal demons and how that made for a perfect, unrushed story of strength and love for both of them. The author’s use of verses of scripture at the beginning of each chapter was a meaningful way of weaving these individuals’ lives into God’s grand plan for His people. 

I highly recommend this book to readers who are interested in seeing the intersection of ancient history and Biblical accounts, as well as anyone who enjoys great inspirational stories. I plan to meet up with more of this author's work in the future.

About the Book

Jemmah has always thought of herself as perfectly ordinary . . . until she faces extraordinary circumstances.

When her mother, the Persian king’s famous senior scribe, is kidnapped, Jemmah and her sister must sneak undetected into enemy territory to rescue her. But infiltrating their adversary’s lands proves easier than escaping them. Fleeing through dangerous mountain passes, their survival depends on the skills of a stranger they free from prison: a mysterious prince named Asher.

Asher is not who the world believes he is. Despite his royal blood, he has had to climb his way out of poverty to forge success from nothing. A manufacturer of some of the best weaponry in the East, Asher has only one goal: to destroy his father. But following his escape from prison, Asher is irresistibly drawn to Jemmah, unaware that she guards her own secret.

Jemmah must convince Asher to give up everything he has worked for, all for the sake of a higher purpose he’s not sure he believes in. The fate of the Persian empire—and possibly the Judean people—hang in the balance and in the persuasive power of one ordinary woman.

About the Author

TESSA AFSHAR’s books have been on Publishers Weekly, CBA, and ECPA bestseller lists and have been translated into many languages. Her Bible study, The Way Home: God’s Invitation to New Beginnings, won the ECPA Christian Book of the Year in the Bible Study category. Tessa’s novels have been the recipient of the ECPA’s Bronze Milestone, Christy, and INSPY Awards. She holds a master of divinity from Yale, where she was elected to serve as co-chair of the Evangelical Fellowship for one year. Tessa is a devoted wife, a mediocre gardener, and an enthusiastic cook of biblical recipes. Learn more at

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Heart-Tugging WWII Dual Timeline Story -- What I Promise You

About the Book

Book: What I Promise You

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian Fiction / Romance / Historical Fiction

Release Date: February 1, 2024

A Family’s History Is Lost to the Ravages of WWII in Southwest France

Noémie Treves, a young, pregnant Jewish woman, had her entire world shattered when she is arrested and taken to the Camp de Rivesaltes transit camp in Southwest France. No sooner does she arrive, though, than she assists in helping two young girls scheduled for transport escape to a nearby maternity hospital. The matron there befriends her and changes her name to help hide her. But nothing goes according to plan, and Hannah finds herself doing the unimaginable to save one precious life.

Caitlyn Laurant is haunted by recent events in her life and hopes becoming a nurse on the mission field will help her forget. While in training, she and her friends travel to France where her grandfather was born. What should have been an easy search for his birthplace turns into anything but and reveals secrets that no one alive has ever heard.

Click here to get your copy! 

My Thoughts

Liz Tolsma has given us another great WWII novel in What I Promise You. This dual timeline story, with both current and WWII timelines has its share of heart-wrenching and heart-tugging elements.

As is usual in her historical fiction novels, the author has done a great deal of research and mixes factual elements with an intriguing fictional story. This story, set in and near a transit camp in France, delves into some of the terrible dangers and losses of WWII. But heroes also emerge directly in that camp and in a nearby maternity hospital where many children and young mothers are given chances at survival. Noémie Treves plays an important role in that part of the story. In the current timeline of the story, Caitlyn Laurent is searching for some answers in her life and finds a strong thread of connection to that fascinating story from WWII.

In both timelines, the characters are rich and well-developed, and their stories draw you in from the first page to the last. As I read the  story, it was easy to imagine myself in those various timelines and locations.

This is the second book in Liz's Echoes of the Past series. Although both stories have a WWII theme and setting, they are stand alones. I would recommend the first book, What I Would Tell You, as another great read.

I highly recommend What I Promise You to anyone who enjoys great inspirational stories set in the era of WWII. Thank you to Celebrate Lit for providing a copy of the book. I am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.

About the Author

Liz Tolsma is the author of several WWII novels, romantic suspense novels, prairie romance novellas, and an Amish romance. She is a popular speaker and an editor and resides next to a Wisconsin farm field with her husband and their youngest daughter. Her son is a US Marine, and her oldest daughter is a college student. Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping.

More from Liz

The Story behind the Cover of What I Promise You

In the late summer, I got the preliminary cover for What I Promise You. While Barbour Publishing always does a great job with their covers, and the one they sent was very nice, I wasn’t crazy about it because it didn’t tell the story at all. The mansion that plays such a big part in the novel was nowhere to be seen. Barbour is fantastic when it comes to working with me to get great covers, so I asked if we could include the real mansion that the story is based on. Turns out that they were having trouble getting copyright permission to use any image they could find of the maternity home.

That was disappointing. But I got brave and let them know that I took a picture of it when I was in France last year, and they could use it, but I’m not a very good photographer and I only used my iPhone. I attached the photo to the email and didn’t hear anything for a while.

Then in October, I wanted to include a preorder link to the book on social media or something and went to Amazon to grab it. And there was the cover. I went back and forth between the cover and my picture, and sure enough, it was the picture of the maternity home I had sent them! So I not only wrote What I Promise You, but some of my photography is on the front. I never thought that would happen. Am I in the wrong profession?? Just kidding!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, February 27

Life on Chickadee Lane, February 27

Lots of Helpers, February 28

Lighthouse Academy Blog, February 28 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 29

For Him and My Family, February 29

Betti Mace, March 1

Devoted To Hope, March 1

She Lives To Read, March 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 2

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 3

Texas Book-aholic, March 3

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 4

Blogging With Carol, March 4

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, March 5

Lily’s Corner, March 5

Bizwings Book Blog, March 5

lakesidelivingsite, March 6

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 6

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, March 7 (Author Interview)

Southern Gal Loves to Read, March 7

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 8

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, March 8

Cover Lover Book Review, March 8

Connie’s History Classroom, March 9

Holly’s Book Corner, March 9

Pause for Tales, March 10

Labor Not in Vain, March 10

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, March 11

Becca Hope: Book Obsessed, March 11

Lights in a Dark World, March 11


To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e-Gift card and print copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.