Tag Archives: suspense

A Giant Murder Review and GIVEAWAY!

About the Book

Book: A Giant Murder

Author: Marji Laine

Genre: Christian Historical Mystery, Fairytale retelling

Release date: August 3, 2021

Would you like a shot of… death with that, sir?

Josephine Jacobs was just doing her job, serving at an exclusive party, so why is she now being accused of shooting TG Taggert?

At a party full of suspects in the murder of Taggert, Josie served the food giant everything but an eternally “parting shot.” Who really killed TG Taggert? His wife? His son, Jack? What about Harper Davis? Rumor has it, she was having an affair with him—motive for her or Taggert’s wife! The list of those who seemed to hate him keeps growing, including a chemist and a chef!

With her long-time friend, Office Porter O’Brien, Josie sets out to find out who really killed “the giant,” and clear her name.

Find out in this next book in the Ever After Mysteries, combining beloved fairy tales and mysteries. A Giant Murder offers a retelling of “Jack and the Beanstalk” with enough clues and suspects to keep you looking over your shoulder. We’d recommend Kevlar… but it hasn’t been invented yet!

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

Marji Laine is a graduated home-schooling mom of four with two college students staying in the nest for a little longer. She and her hubby of 34 years also share their North Texas home with a rescue pup named Rosie. When Marji isn’t editing or publishing the books for her authors at Write Integrity Press, she indulges in penning her own mystery, suspense, and romance novels. She loves acting in musical comedy, has directed many stage productions, leads a high school Bible study and sings in her church choir. She prefers mountains to beaches, dogs to cats, NASCAR to football, Magnolia pie, white roses, green, and Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. You can find her at her website: MarjiLaine.com

More from Marji

I so enjoyed researching the history of downtown Dallas as I crafted my story, A GIANT MURDER. The house that I chose for Josie and her mom is actually still there on Haskell Avenue. The photo with the wrought iron is about twenty years old, but the house was built circa 1914. The photo with the wooden fence is from last year, after a big remodel. This house was also the setting of another of my books. It and the field that used to be next to it was an after-school child care center in AIN’T MISBEHAVING.

Thinking about what life might have been like in this house in the twenties, I can’t
help but think about my grandparents. They were teenagers at the time of my story – 1926 – and while my grandfather grew up in, what was then, a little farming town called Paris, Texas, my grandmother grew up in Oak Cliff, just across the bridge over the Trinity River from this house in downtown Dallas.

Makes the research that I did on this era even that much more special. Having come through COVID, I realize that my great-grandparents had to nurture their preteens and teenagers through the Spanish Flu that devastated whole communities. The more things change, the more they stay the same?

All of this reminiscing sent me to an old recipe book that had been a wedding present for me from my mom almost thirty-five years ago. In the dessert section near the back, I found a precious recipe for Date Candy that had come by way of my great-grandmother, Carrie Ethel Leatherwood Morin. I never met her, but I do remember hearing from my mom that she was a woman of faith, and I have a poem she wrote late in life, about growing up in the country.

I would say this is a 1920s recipe, but who could tell? She was a middle-aged mom at that point, so it’s a good bet.

Date Candy

1 box – light brown sugar

4 T – corn syrup

½ pt – whipping cream

1 cup – dates

1 cup – pecans

1 t – vanilla

Mix sugar, syrup, and cream. Cook until almost a hard ball. Just before removing from pan, put in dates and stir until they melt. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Beat until almost hard – then add pecans. Wet a cup towel. Pour mixture onto cup towel and roll into a roll. Let it cool – firm – then slice.

Let me know if you decide to make my great-grandmother’s candy. I’d love to find out how it turned out!

My Review

My review will be appearing in the September issue of #BecauseFiction magazine, and when it does, I will post the direct link to it here. In the meantime, do yourself a favor and get a copy of A Giant Murder!

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, September 17

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 18

For the Love of Literature, September 18

Inklings and notions, September 19

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, September 19 (Author Interview)

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 20

For Him and My Family, September 20

deb’s Book Review, September 21

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 22

A Reader’s Brain, September 23

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 23

Connie’s History Classroom, September 24

Simple Harvest Reads, September 24 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 25

Mary Hake, September 25

Rebecca Tews, September 26

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 26

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 27

Connect in Fiction, September 28

Bigreadersite, September 28

Through the fire blogs, September 29

Blogging With Carol, September 30

Back Porch Reads, September 30

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Marji is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a 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.

https://promosimple.com/ps/119f5/a-giant-murder-celebration-tour-giveaway

Promises Broken, Promises Kept: A Book Review of Lynette Eason’s “Hostile Intent”

Bestselling Christian fiction author Lynette Eason brings her Danger Never Sleeps tetralogy to an electrifying finale with Hostile Intent. As with the previous three books in this series, this one can be read as a standalone, although there is strong character overlap and therefore spoilers; having previously read only the first book so far myself, I still encourage everyone to read all of them for the pleasure of the plot intricacies and the obvious research that has gone into them. Even as someone who typically shies away from contemporary military stories, I could not put this book down, and it definitely increased my heart rate a time or two!

From the first page, Hostile Intent ratchets up the suspense and lays the foundation for an intense romantic thriller. A caveat is necessary for those who are profoundly disturbed by the murder of children, as well as violence and torture because they are integral to the plot, but Eason handles these sensitive issues with grace and leaves out graphic details. As such, while this may not be a light read, it does take on the all-too-real brutality and antagonism that fuels so many in modern society, offering some insight into how this type of behavior comes about and where it can lead when left unchecked: “Just two more families and his mission would be complete, his promise kept. His grandmother was wrong. Vengeance didn’t belong to God. It belonged to him. And it tasted sweet.” However, teaching someone to hate another person or group of people for any transgression, perceived or real, will never lead to a positive outcome for anyone.

Amidst this backdrop of reprisal, Ava Jackson, who recently left the Navy to care for her dying mother, finds herself somehow involved in a case of several murdered families, of which hers might be next. Working with FBI Special Agent Caden Denning to put the puzzle pieces together before time runs out, the duo uncover secrets that someone went to great lengths to conceal—and keep that way. Just as revenge can be a powerful motivator, so too the desire to protect the ones you love, even at the cost of personal sacrifice. After all, Jesus Himself showed us that sometimes the most unpleasant situations can lead to the most blessed destinations. As Caden remarks, “It’s funny how life can throw you a curve ball when you least expect it—or how God can change your perspective.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Buy your copy HERE

Lethal Cover-Up Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Lethal Cover-Up

Author: Darlene L. Turner

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release date: July 27, 2021

Some secrets are dangerous…

But uncovering the truth could be deadly.

Border patrol officer Madison Steele knows her sister Leah’s fatal car crash was no accident. Someone’s willing to kill to cover up a pharmaceutical company’s deadly crime of distributing tainted drugs. Now they are after Madison to tie off loose ends. But with her high school sweetheart, Canadian police constable Tucker Reed, at her side, can Madison expose the company’s deadly plan before she becomes the next victim?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Darlene L. Turner is an award-winning author and lives with her husband, Jeff in Ontario, Canada. Her love of suspense began when she read her first Nancy Drew book. She’s turned that passion into her writing and believes readers will be captured by her plots, inspired by her strong characters, and moved by her inspirational message. You can connect with Darlene at www.darlenelturner.com where there’s suspense beyond borders.

More from Darlene

The Hidden Staircase, The Secret of the Old Clock, The Sign of the Twisted Candles—these were just some of my favorite Nancy Drew books. I couldn’t get enough of them growing up! My family often saw me with my nose stuck in one of Nancy’s many tales. When I was finished with those, I’d sneak my brother’s Hardy Boy books and devour them too. This is where my love of writing and of a good mystery/suspense began.

Creating stories in the romantic suspense genre was a natural journey for me. I had always wanted to be a policewoman after watching Charlie’s Angels (they even kicked butt while wearing high heels…what could be better than that?!), Cagney and Lacey, Police woman, Murder She Wrote, etc. My love for all-things-mystery carried into my adult life. Who doesn’t love Sydney Bristow and Kate Beckett?

I enjoy creating strong female characters in a law enforcement role. Madison Steele fits the bill head on as she works to bring down a ruthless pharmaceutical company. While she has nerves of steel, I also wanted to make her vulnerable. In the beginning Madison loses her long-lost sister in a heart-wrenching crash. One she knows was not an accident. This thrusts her into a deadly pursuit of the perpetrators with her estranged high school sweetheart, Tucker Reed, by her side.

I wrote this book during the tough year our world faced living in the unknown. Madison and Tucker are stuck in their own fears but eventually find hope. Hope in the unknown and hope in knowing God is in control and with us—no matter the circumstances. We just need to know where to look.

I hope you enjoy reading Madison and Tucker’s story as much as I loved crafting it. I’d love to hear from you. You can contact me through my website www.darlenelturner.com and also sign up for Darlene’s Diary newsletter to receive exclusive subscriber giveaways.

My Review

Review to come.

My rating:

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, August 18

Lighthouse-Academy, August 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 19

Genesis 5020, August 19

Simply Susan, August 19

Texas Book-aholic, August 20

Bizwings Blog, August 20

She Lives To Read, August 21

HookMeInABook, August 21

Inklings and notions, August 22

Reviewingbooksplusmore, August 22

Mary Hake, August 22

Betti Mace, August 23

Daysong Reflections, August 23

For the Love of Literature, August 24

deb’s Book Review, August 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 25

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 25

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 26

Pause for Tales, August 26

Blogging With Carol, August 26

For Him and My Family, August 27

Simple Harvest Reads, August 27 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, August 28

Batya’s Bits, August 28

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, August 29

Kayem Reads, August 29

Little Homeschool on the Prairie , August 30

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 30, August 30

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, August 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 31

Labor Not in Vain, August 31

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Darlene is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback copy of Lethal Cover-Up!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/1141b/lethal-cover-up-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Scarlet Pen Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: The Scarlet Pen

Author: Jennifer Uhlarik

Genre: Christian Historical Suspense

Release date: July 2021

Engaged to a Monster

Book 12 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

Enjoy a tale of true but forgotten history of a 19th century serial killer whose silver-tongued ways almost trap a young woman into a nightmarish marriage.

In 1876, Emma Draycott is charmed into a quick engagement with childhood friend Stephen Dee Richards after reconnecting with him at a church event in Mount Pleasant, Ohio. But within the week, Stephen leaves to “make his fame and fortune.” The heartbroken Emma gives him a special pen to write to her, and he does with tales of grand adventures. Secret Service agent Clay Timmons arrives in Mount Pleasant to track purchases made with fake currency. Every trail leads back to Stephen—and therefore, Emma. Can he convince the naive woman she is engaged to a charlatan who is being linked a string of deaths in Nebraska?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Jennifer Uhlarik discovered the western genre as a preteen, when she swiped the only “horse” book she found on her older brother’s bookshelf. A new love was born. Across the next ten years, she devoured Louis L’Amour westerns and fell in love with the genre. In college at the University of Tampa, she began penning her own story of the Old West. Armed with a BA in writing, she has won five writing competitions and was a finalist in two others. In addition to writing, she has held jobs as a private business owner, a schoolteacher, a marketing director, and her favorite—a full-time homemaker. Jennifer is active in American Christian Fiction Writers and is a lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, teenage son, and four fur children.

More from Jennifer

Hello, Readers! For all who might never have read one of my stories or come across me, it’s great to meet you! I’m a wife, a mom, a (young!) grandma, and an author—among many other things. My author tagline is “Where Grit Meets Grace.” If you’re familiar with my writing at all, you’ll know that most of my stories at least touch on a bit of the difficult side of life. Death, abandonment, war, addiction, or who knows what else you might find. The Scarlet Pen is no different.

Given that this novel is the final installment in Barbour’s True Colors series, the story revolves around a true crime from history—in this case, the murders of serial killer Stephen Dee Richards—AKA the Nebraska Fiend. Anytime you’re dealing with someone so depraved as he, you’ll find plenty of “grit” to write about. But that’s only half of my tagline. Remember, it’s “Where Grit Meets Grace.

While I love a story that delves into difficult topics and, in some cases, pushes the characters right to the edge of what they can handle, I also love a truly redemptive story. When I was asked to write for this series, the ideas that drew me the most were the ones that had something redeeming in the actual history. There were plenty of interesting historical killers I could’ve chosen where I could have manufactured a positive, even happy ending through the fictional characters in the book. In the case of Stephen Dee Richards, there was no manufacturing needed. The “grace” part was already written. The end of Stephen’s story is precisely why I chose to write about him. I hope you’ll find it as though-provoking and compelling as I did. Happy reading!

My Review

Review coming soon!

My rating:

Blog Stops

lakesidelivingsite, July 29

Genesis 5020, July 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 29

For Him and My Family, July 30

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, July 30 (Author Interview)

Christian Bookaholic, July 30

Southern Gal Loves to Read, July 31

Inklings and notions, July 31

Britt Reads Fiction, July 31

Remembrancy, August 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 1

Betti Mace, August 2

Rebecca Tews, August 2

deb’s Book Review, August 2

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 3

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 3

Blogging With Carol , August 3

Older & Smarter?, August 4

Connie’s History Classroom, August 4

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, August 4

Tell Tale Book Reviews, August 5

Bigreadersite, August 5

Godly Book Reviews, August 6

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 6

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 6

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, August 7

Back Porch Reads, August 7

Mary Hake, August 7

Through the fire blogs, August 8

sodbuster living, August 8

Connect in Fiction, August 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 9

Texas Book-aholic, August 9

KarenSueHadley, August 9

Pause for Tales, August 10

For the Love of Literature, August 10

Blossoms and Blessings, August 10

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, August 11

Spoken from the Heart, August 11

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of The Scarlet Pen!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/110e0/the-scarlet-pen-celebration-tour-giveaway

Missing in the Desert Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Missing in the Desert

Author: Dana Mentink

Genre: Inspy suspense

Release date: July 27, 2021

Five years ago, her sister disappeared…
Now someone is coming for her.

Who would believe that Mara Castillo’s sister—missing and presumed dead—suddenly sent a one-word text? Now Mara wants answers, even if it means stepping into a killer’s sights with her brother’s best friend, rancher Levi Duke, as her only protection. But with someone who has everything to lose after her, uncovering a long-buried secret could save her life…or claim it.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Dana Mentink is a two time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award and a Holt Medallion winner. She is a national and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author of over forty titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Harlequin Heartwarming and Poisoned Pen Press. You can connect with Dana via her website at danamentink.com, on Facebook, YouTube (Author Dana Mentink) and Instagram (dana_mentink.)

More from Dana

Hello, readers! Boy am I excited! Since the virus-that-not-shall-be-named is being brought under control, I am cautiously venturing out again and our first vacation spot will be a return to Death Valley. Papa Bear and I love the amazing diversity of Death Valley, from the salt flats, to the sand dunes, mountains, and everything in between. Writing this book allowed me to relive the incredible topography, as well as let my mind run loose imagining a cold case that warms up to fiery levels in this ferocious climate. Part of this story revolves around “Camp Town Days” which was inspired by the Encampment Days, an event held in November by a volunteer group called the Death Valley 49ers that aims to capture the pioneer spirit with their wagon rides, parade, poetry readings, a vendor show, and historical talks. I hope you can feel the desert wind in your face and hear the distant howl of the coyote as you dive into the second book in the Death Valley Justice series.

My Review

Was this real? Was she in the grip of a heinous nightmare?

The second Desert Justice story by Dana Mentink, Missing in the Desert, shoots out of the gate with a gripping first chapter that sets the pace for the rest of this Love-Inspired Suspense installation. While technically it could be a stand-alone, I recommend reading Framed in Death Valley first; I did not have a chance to do so, and I think that if I had, I would have had a richer understanding of the relationships between the characters. Nevertheless, this did not at all detract from my enjoyment of this novel.

Suspense relies, naturally, on action and plot, but carefully developing the characters and how they interact with one another is likewise imperative. Mentink introduces them here in a rapid-fire style and then proceeds to explore them throughout the narrative, an effective technique that underscores the power of first impressions and demonstrates that people are not always as they appear. Everyone has something in their past that they regret, and for some, the past becomes the present. Five years after her younger sister Corinne disappears and is presumed dead, Mara Castillo reluctantly steps in to help Levi Duke on his ranch, only to find herself in the crosshairs of a killer. Her name stood out to me immediately, and as Naomi called herself Mara in Ruth 1:20, the forename is fitting here, also; Mara Castillo is bitter and sad about her circumstances at the beginning of the story, but as she begins to see things differently, her heart changes.

As a dog and horse lover, this cover caught my eye before I knew anything about the story itself. I enjoy the inclusion of the ranch animals in the narrative, often offering a bit of comic relief during or after tense scenes. For instance, in an amusing twist, Banjo the dog goes from stalwart guard to unlikely mother. The animals also signify the importance of home as a place of belonging, refuge, and freedom to pursue dreams. Even when those dreams end up looking differently than expected, which is when faith must truly believe that the Lord will keep His promise to “make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19).

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, July 28

Simply Susan, July 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 28

Remembrancy, July 29

Inklings and notions, July 29

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 30

For the Love of Literature, July 30

deb’s Book Review, July 31

Through the Fire Blogs, July 31

She Lives To Read, August 1

Batya’s Bits, August 1

For Him and My Family, August 1

Pause for Tales, August 2

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 2

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, August 3

Genesis 5020, August 3

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, August 4

Bigreadersite, August 4

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 5

Blossoms and Blessings, August 5

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 6

Reviewingbooksplusmore, August 6

Older & Smarter?, August 7

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 7

Labor Not in Vain , August 7

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, August 8 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, August 8

Life, Love, Writing, August 8

Simple Harvest Reads, August 9 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Betti Mace, August 9

Daysong Reflections, August 10

Splashes of Joy , August 10

Blogging With Carol, August 10

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card and a signed 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.

https://promosimple.com/ps/110df/missing-in-the-desert-celebration-tour-giveaway

Bridge of Gold Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Bridge of Gold

Author: Kimberley Woodhouse

Genre: Christian Historical

Release date: June 2021

Repairs on the Golden Gate Bridge Uncover a Century-Old Murder

Walk through Doors to the Past via a new series of historical stories of romance and adventure.

Underwater archaeologist Kayla Richardson is called to the Golden Gate Bridge where repairs to one of the towers uncovers two human remains from the late 1800s and the 1930s. The head of the bridge restoration is Steven Michaels, who dives with Kayla, and a friendship develops between them. But as the investigation heats up and gold is found that dates back to the gold rush, more complications come into play that threaten them both. Could clues leading to a Gold Rush era mystery that was first discovered during the building of the bridge still ignite an obsession worth killing for?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Kimberley Woodhouse is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than twenty fiction and nonfiction books. A popular speaker and teacher, she’s shared her theme of “Joy Through Trials” with more than half a million people across the country at more than 2,000 events. Kim and her incredible husband of twenty-five-plus years have two adult children. She’s passionate about music and Bible study and loves the gift of story.
You can connect with Kimberley at: www.kimberleywoodhouse.com and www.facebook.com/KimberleyWoodhouseAuthor

More from Kimberley

BRIDGE OF GOLD was a blast for me to write. Not only do I love writing dual-timeline stories, but the present-day hero and heroine are named after my daughter and her husband. Steven and Kayla in the book are fictitious, but there are a few things in the book that do mimic their real-life namesakes.

One of them is food.

My son-in-law Steven in real life is six-foot-four and active military. The man can eat. It’s amazing to me how many calories it takes just for him to survive! Then there’s my daughter, Kayla. She was an elite swimmer for many years along with her brother. I could never keep them fed when they were at the height of their swimming careers. In fact, I joked that all I did was cook and load the dishwasher during those years.

To celebrate the release of BRIDGE OF GOLD, I’m going to give out a recipe that I created almost thirty years ago. It went through many revisions the first few months as I perfected it and now you get a special treat because I do not give this recipe out. In fact, one of my dearest friends begged for it when our kids were little. I gave in but made her promise to close her eyes while she made it (LOL) and to never, ever give it to anyone else.

Enjoy! And thanks for joining us on the tour for BRIDGE OF GOLD. I hope you love it.

Kim’s Chocolate Chunk Cookies – recipe by Kimberley Woodhouse

2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. kosher salt

¾ cup melted/browned butter (this is important! Don’t skip this step)

2 Tb. Hot chocolate mix

1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

½ cup white sugar

1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk

1 – 12 ounce package mega morsels (I use Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips)

Directions: combine the first three dry ingredients and mix well. In a small saucepan on the stove, melt and brown the butter. Medium heat is recommended but you’ve got to watch it so it doesn’t burn. You want a beautiful caramel color. Set aside and allow to cool to around 100 degrees F before continuing. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Once the browned butter is cool, add the hot chocolate mix to it. Transfer to a stand mixer and blend the butter mixture with the sugar. Whip it until well combined and frothy about 2 mins. Gradually add eggs and flour mixture, beating on low just until blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Using a cookie scoop, drop heaping TB scoops 2 inches apart on parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Bake at 325 degrees for 12-14 minutes, watching carefully. Allow to cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes and then transfer to cooling racks. Enjoy!

For other fun tidbits about BRIDGE OF GOLD make sure you check out my blog at – kimberleywoodhouse.com

My Review

Barbour has been knocking it out of the park lately with their historical series, including Doors to the Past. Each book is noteworthy in its own right, and unique due to the variety of authors. Because the uniting theme is historical monuments, each story provides a journey between the past and the present, combining fact and fiction amidst a backdrop of romance. This most recent addition, Bridge of Gold by Kimberley Woodhouse, proves to be the most suspenseful thus far, and I often found myself holding my breath in anticipation, which I did not expect but which thrilled me!

Never having visited anywhere west of the Mississippi, Bridge of Gold introduced me to life in San Francisco and to the Golden Gate Bridge. As a bona fide country girl with no interest in cities of any size, I honestly did not expect to enjoy this book nearly as much as I did, but I can say without hesitation that it is the most suspenseful novel that I’ve read in the first half of this year. Better yet, Woodhouse employs a creeping sense of dread rather than gruesome horror, evoking a psychological response that resonates with me more than would a visceral one. Although I did have the opportunity of riding in a submarine once, I have never been diving, and it is incredibly fascinating to read about the more primitive techniques utilized in the 1930s and to wonder how anyone survived in such tricky waters as those in the area of the Golden Gate Bridge!

Woodhouse deftly relates this dual-timeline narrative in the third-person, through the perspectives of six different characters. Yet not once did I find myself confused or wondering which character I was reading about, which is a genuine testimony to the author’s skill because I am terrible at remembering names and keeping track of storylines with multiple main characters. The two stories, one occurring in 1933 and one in the present day, synchronize beautifully and retain the plot resolutions to the end. The romance is sweet and tender, but to my delight, the mystery and suspense receive most of the spotlight. Foreshadowing plays heavily into the narrative from the opening chapter, and I could sense the turbulence coming as soon as Margo thought that “It was the perfect ending to a perfect day. The first day of the rest of their lives.” As events unfold for Luke and Margo in the midst of the Great Depression in 1933, Luke tells Margo, “Let us make a promise to one another at this moment that we will seek to keep God first, our marriage relationship next, then our children and family—all of those above the priority of job or money or anything else.” To which Margo agrees that “As long as they kept God first, the rest would fall into place.

Indeed, the Bible verse that echoes throughout the generations of this story is 1 Timothy 6:10: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” Nearly 90 years later, underwater archaeologist Kayla Richardson and head of restoration Steven Michaels find themselves entangled in the same legend, brought to light during repairs to the Bridge’s south tower, and Kayla points out an issue that has become prominent today: the loss of our history. She tells Steven: “History has always been a love of mine. That’s what got me into the field in the first place. I know a lot of people are purely after making a buck. But to me, I think we need to save as much of our history as possible so that future generations can learn about it and from it.” There is so much more at stake than financial gain. In the words of Jesus, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” (Matthew 16:26) Regardless of the time period, these words remain true. Our witness to others about the Lord is a treasure with benefits reaped both here and in eternity.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 24

The Sacred Line, June 24

The Write Escape, June 24

lakesidelivingsite, June 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 25

HappyWhenReading, June 25

Reflections From My Bookshelves, June 25

Through the Fire Blogs, June 25

Texas Book-aholic, June 26

Bigreadersite, June 26

Pause for Tales, June 26

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, June 26 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, June 27

Christian Bookaholic , June 27

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 27

For the Love of Literature, June 28

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, June 28

All-of-a-kind Mom, June 28

Where Faith and Books Meet, June 28

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 29

Bliss Books and Jewels, June 29

Lis Loves Reading, June 29

For Him and My Family, June 29

deb’s Book Review, June 30

Simple Harvest Reads, June 30 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Livin’ Lit, June 30

Remembrancy, June 30

Older & Smarter?, July 1

Lighthouse-Academy, July 1

Tell Tale Book Reviews, July 1

Genesis 5020, July 1

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 2

Betti Mace, July 2

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, July 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 3

Inspiration Clothesline, July 3

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, July 3

Live.Love.Read., July 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 4

Mamma Loves Books, July 4

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, July 4

Mary Hake, July 4

Blossoms and Blessings, July 5

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, July 5

Blogging With Carol, July 5

Connie’s History Classroom, July 6

Life of Literature, July 6

A Baker’s Perspective, July 6

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, July 7

To Everything There Is A Season , July 7

KarenSueHadley, July 7

Splashes of Joy, July 7

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Kimberley is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and 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.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10e03/bridge-of-gold-celebration-tour-giveaway

Written Off Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: Written Off

Author: Barbara Cornthwaite

Genre: Christian Cozy Mystery

Release date: May 2021

“Break a leg?” They’ll be lucky if they don’t all break their necks!

After years of waiting, Katrina finally has her happily ever after. All is right with her world . . . until hate crimes begin happening in the charming college town of Wilkester. Even more disturbing is the fact that the perpetrator seems to be connected with the writing class Katrina teaches. How can she prevent her rosy visions of the future from turning into broken dreams?

Find out in this third book of the Wilkester Mysteries.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Barbara Cornthwaite lives in the middle of Ireland with her husband and children. She taught college English before “retiring” to do something she loves far more; her days are now filled with homeschooling her six children, trying to keep the house tidy (a losing battle), and trying to stay warm in the damp Irish climate (also a losing battle). She is surrounded by medieval castles, picturesque flocks of sheep, and ancient stone monuments. These things are unappreciated by her children, who are more impressed by traffic jams, skyscrapers, and hot weather.

More from Barbara

What Kind of Lessons Could a Mystery Possibly Teach Me?

It’s been a couple decades since I taught a college English class, and writing the Wilkester Mysteries with Professor Katrina Peters as the main character brought back happy memories of teaching. Not enough to want to go back to it—homeschooling my own kids is much more rewarding—but enough that I had to stop myself from writing much longer lectures into the stories! These are my first contemporary novels, and it was nice to write a story without the hours and hours of historical research I usually have to do. But whatever time period stories are set in, people feel the same emotions and have to learn the same spiritual lessons.

Katrina loves literature and can’t help seeing her own life as a story. The only problem is that she keeps thinking she knows what the Author is doing, and she has definite ideas about what the plot should be. She is not unlike myself: over and over I’ve thought I knew what God was doing in my life. And if He was short on ideas, I had quite a few that He was free to use! But He has rarely been doing what I thought He was, and for some reason He never seems to use my ideas about what could happen in my story. Both Katrina and I need to learn the lesson that God’s wisdom is beyond ours, His storytelling is much deeper and richer than ours, and His plots are never predictable!

My Review

The third and concluding book of the Wilkester Mysteries, Written Off finds Katrina Peters preparing for her upcoming wedding to police detective Todd Mason. Because this trilogy follows the same character arc, it is best read in order, but the mystery plot in each stands independently. My favorite aspect of these stories is author Barbara Cornthwaite’s literary allusions; the witticisms that she employs stem from Katrina’s work as an adjunct English professor, the details of which are imparted in Brought to Book. I was an English major myself, so I get a particular glee from the quotations and references.

Given the subject matter of Written Off, this book is very germane to current events in the news. Hate crimes seemingly fueled by racism incite the otherwise quiet college town of Wilkester, and the flashpoint may be Katrina’s Writing Detective Fiction class. In an example of Cornthwaite’s clever humor, Katrina considers this and exclaims to herself, “I’d been unwittingly training a cohort of felons!” Of course, as with any mystery worth its red herrings, the solution is not so straightforward. Add in wedding planning and house hunting, and this is a fast-reading cozy that demonstrates a realistic approach to the challenges that everyone faces at some point, whether single or married.

As such, I recommend this trilogy to those who enjoy cozy literary mysteries combined with Christian romance and contemporary societal issues. I personally enjoyed the first two books the most; I prefer mystery over romance, and if I’m being completely honest, Katrina annoyed me a bit in the lead-up to the wedding. I definitely appreciate Cornthwaite’s insight into the nature of criminal activity, as evinced by Katrina’s friend Kim: “Trying to stop other people’s sin—how overwhelming. Although I don’t think they would call it sin. They would probably call it evil, which for some reason calls for destruction rather than repentance.” As Dr. Martin Luther King said, “Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” Ultimately the message of the Gospel comes down to this, too, as Jesus tells the Pharisees in Matthew 22: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. Love your neighbor as yourself.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 4 stars ♥♥♥♥

See my review of Brought to Book HERE and Snuffed Out HERE

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 31

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 31

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 1

April Hayman, Author, June 1

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, June 2

Losing the Busyness, June 2

Texas Book-aholic, June 3

CarpeDiem, June 3

Remembrancy, June 4

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, June 4

She Lives To Read, June 5

For Him and My Family, June 5

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, June 6

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 6

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 7

Inklings and notions, June 7

Labor Not in Vain, June 8

Genesis 5020, June 8

Aryn The Libraryan 📚, June 9

Blogging With Carol, June 9

For the Love of Literature, June 10

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 10

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 11

Joanne Markey, June 11

Through the Fire blogs, June 12

Mary Hake, June 12

deb’s Book Review, June 13

Daysong Reflections, June 13

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Barbara is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a paperback of the book!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/10ca5/written-off-celebration-tour-giveaway

Dynamic Duo: A Book Review of Melissa Koslin’s “Never Miss”

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Like always, she pretended the pain wasn’t there, hadn’t ever been there. If she didn’t pretend, she’d never survive. And if her training had taught her anything other than how to kill, it was how to survive.

Categorizing this novel proves to be challenging, as it has an amalgamation of elements that all blend together into one taut thriller. It is equal parts suspense and romance, with intrigue, a military component, and psychological twists thrown in to make things even more interesting. I would be hard-pressed to recall another book like it that I have read, and I am planning to read the author’s next book, a sneak peek of which appears at the end of this one.

For a debut, Never Miss aims high and hits the mark. Melissa Koslin demonstrates an impressive ability not only to craft an exhilarating plot, but also to create quirky, sympathetic characters that in most settings would seem aloof yet fit ideally into their roles here. In fact, despite not being much of a romance fan and accustomed to glossing over those scenes, in this novel I found my heartstrings tugged and at times outright wrenched. I felt able to identify with the characters, Kadance Tolle and Lyndon Vaile, on the basis of being the odd one out most of the time, not really fitting in with any groups of people, and living a solitary life. I appreciate how Koslin writes them as complements to each other but does not make their relationship a completely linear journey. Their complexity and neurodivergence is what sets them on the path of preventing a bioweapons attack, and as the plot unfolds and they learn more about each other, the story only becomes more compelling.

Admittedly, reading about the lethal Ebola virus as a synthetically-produced bioweapon while the Covid-19 pandemic is ongoing may seem like overkill, but, in my opinion at least, Never Miss does not concentrate on the biological or medical details as much as it does on the personal development of the characters and their interactions. Theirs is the storyline that dominated my attention, and Koslin digs deeply into the psyche of each, unearthing their unconventional childhoods and their skill-honing years since. I thought that both Kadance and Lyndon were fascinating, despite how improbable their characters were with regard to abilities. Mac the Maine Coon fit in perfectly, and while I am a dog person, I loved Mac’s character, especially since it was often more canine than feline.

As for the faith element, it exists largely in the background, a “show-don’t-tell” aspect of the story that I might have been disappointed by had Koslin not already set up the framework for why it is this way. Without giving anything away, I will say that it again comes down to the characters. I do love that the author is not afraid to take on the fact that science and Christianity are not mutually exclusive, and that the Bible confirms this. Lyndon sums it up when he says, “For me, Jesus is more than logical. His teachings do make the world a better place—you can find empirical evidence for that. But even stronger than that, for me, is that his teachings reflect who I want to be. I probably fail more than I succeed, but I keep trying.

Readers who enjoy high-octane adventures full of twists and clean romance, with at times questionable plausibility that makes the story all the more entertaining will devour this debut novel from Melissa Koslin.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All opinions are my own.

My rating: 5 stars ♥♥♥♥♥

Buy your copy HERE

The Silver Shadow Review and GIVEAWAY!

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About the Book

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Book: The Silver Shadow

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian Historical/Suspense

Release date: May 2021

A Shadowy Figure Is Intent on Harming Denver’s Women

Book 11 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

Denver of 1900 is still a dangerous place to be following the silver crash of 1893. And of out of the dark comes a shadow intent on harming women. Ambitious young Denver newspaper reporter Polly Blythe is searching for the big story that’s going to launch her career. On Friday evening, August 24, 1900, she gets her break when two women are cracked over the head within a two-minute walk of each other. But policeman Edwin Timmer thwarts Polly’s ideas of a serial criminal. . .until the shadowy figure strikes again. Will the reporter and the policeman team up to find the culprit before he strikes too close for comfort?

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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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. Please visit her website at www.liztolsma.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter (@LizTolsma), Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. She is also the host of the Christian Historical Fiction Talk podcast.

More from Liz

One of the most popular questions I’ve gotten from many readers of the True Colors Crime series is how do I come up with the ideas for the books? For the first two, Becky Germany, acquisitions editor at Barbour Publishing, had the ideas. That made my life easy. I just had to fictionalize it, and I had a book. But when I was putting together the proposals for The Gold Digger and The Silver Shadow, it was up to me to find the true crimes I wanted to use.

I went online and scoured historical crime blogs and books for ideas. I wanted crimes that I could work easily with, that made for compelling stories. As I was doing this, my husband and two daughters and I were driving home from Georgia. We were somewhere in Indiana. Don’t ask me why I remember this when I can’t remember what I had for dinner last night, but I do.

And then on Google Books, I discovered a book about crimes the world had forgotten. The first one in there sounded so good. Not too grisly, something that no one would be able to guess the culprit very easily. It was perfect. Imagine my excitement when Becky told me they would be publishing The Silver Shadow.

Then I sat down to research it more. And I could hardly find anything! What? Where was all the information on this? There had to be more. That chapter in the one book couldn’t be all there was. He had to get his information from somewhere.

Eventually I did come across some articles from various Colorado newspapers with a few details. Not many at all. None from any of the Denver papers, even though that’s where the crimes were committed.

In the end, that’s all the information I discovered. In a way, it was freeing. I could write whatever I wanted, and no one would be the wiser. Even if they did some research and some digging, there wasn’t much to find. I was able to take the facts that I did have, combine that with what I found out about Denver in 1900, and put it together in a story. I tried to use historical details wherever I could, but of my four True Colors Crimes books, this is the most fictional of them all.

My Review

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?

This is the most unusual book of the True Colors series thus far, in my opinion, which only makes it all the more intriguing. I purposely avoid book summaries, except for perhaps a very bare-bones version, when choosing which books to read, and in the case of this series, I usually recognize the case very early on. As The Silver Shadow progressed, however, and I still remained clueless, I really had to fight the urge to peek ahead!

Something that struck me from the beginning is that this case reminded me of Jack the Ripper, albeit less gruesome, due to the female targets and the nocturnal timing of the crimes, as well as the fact that the perpetrator was able to strike and escape each time. Liz Tolsma, as she details in her author’s note, takes artistic liberty with The Silver Shadow because little is known about the crimes themselves. So little, in fact, that only one text appears to mention them: Famous Crimes the World Forgot by Jason Lucky Morrow. A quick Internet search of my own turned up only one article, which also references this text. I won’t spoil the story by revealing the ultimate outcome; suffice it to say that this historic crime spree offers plenty of fodder for the imagination.

Tolsma provides some of the specifics of the crimes of The Silver Shadow committed between August 1900 and March 1901 in Denver, Colorado, crafting a fictionalized storyline around a young female reporter named Polly Blythe and police detective Edwin Price. Tapping into the mindset of the time period, Tolsma writes Polly as a burgeoning careerwoman fighting against the patriarchy in order to prove herself and achieve success. Polly opines: “It’s not that I’m after fame and fortune. I want recognition of hard work. Acceptance as a capable, intelligent reporter. That’s what I would like.” Which puts her directly at odds with the Silver Shadow, who believes that women “had to learn how to stay home and put their husbands and their families first.” Polly’s dogged determination challenges Detective Price to not only solve the case and protect the women of Denver, but also to come to terms with an old burden.

An absorbing combination of psychology, romance, and mystery make The Silver Shadow a must-read for fans of the genre while simultaneously demonstrating the emergence and subsequent repercussions of women’s rights in society. The insights into the perpetrator’s mind keep readers guessing and offer a speculated motive. A summary of the victims in the author’s note at the end of the story is very helpful for gaining perspective on the case as a whole. I do wonder about one of the fictional characters in the novel, whose story I don’t feel is fully resolved. Also, a pedantic point that is very likely no fault of the author but has niggled my senses: on the back cover, the detective’s name is given as Edwin Timmer, but his surname throughout the book is Price.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

Blog Stops

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, May 25

lakesidelivingsite, May 25

Reviewingbooksplusmore, May 25

For the Love of Literature, May 26

Bigreadersite, May 26

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, May 26

Texas Book-aholic, May 27

Genesis 5020, May 27

Christian Bookaholic, May 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 28

Vicky Sluiter, May 28

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 28

The Write Escape, May 29

Betti Mace, May 29

Inklings and notions, May 29

Southern Gal Loves to Read, May 30

For Him and My Family, May 30

Rebecca Tews, May 30

Older & Smarter?, May 31

deb’s Book Review, May 31

Blogging With Carol, May 31

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 1

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 1

Remembrancy, June 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 2

Pick a Good Book, June 2

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, June 2

Connie’s History Classroom, June 3

Godly Book Reviews, June 3

Mary Hake, June 3

Through the Fire Blogs, June 4

Melissa Wardwells Back Porch Reads, June 4

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 4

KarenSueHadley, June 5

Amanda Tero, Blog, June 5

Tell Tale Book Reviews, June 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 6

Grace-Filled Writer, June 6

Pause for Tales, June 6

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, June 7

Blossoms and Blessings, June 7

Daysong Reflections, June 7

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and copy of The Silver Shadow!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/10c96/the-silver-shadow-celebration-tour-giveaway

Shattered Guilt Epic Book Launch

About the Book

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Book: Shattered Guilt

Author: Kathleen J. Robison

Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense

Release date: June 15, 2021

When they told her about Southern hospitality, no one mentioned human trafficking.

The move to Bay Town, Mississippi was supposed to be a fresh start for single-mom Melanie and her daughter, Lacy. The quiet Southern town offers a nice relief after the frenetic-paced life of Los Angeles, but something sinister lurks beneath the surface.

Her bridal business struggles to take off, and instead of turning to the Lord, Melanie makes a desperate plea for help–from her ex-husband. Lacey is attacked, and while she is hospitalized, her friend goes missing—a victim of human trafficking out of New Orleans.

With her ex-husband showing true signs of repentance, the pastor she’d begun to fall for is taking a step back, and her daughter’s friend lost to the animals who stole her, Melanie goes on a desperate, dangerous mission to rescue the girl and get their lives back.

And she’ll do it with or without the Lord’s help.

How can Melanie find the girls and rescue them without getting caught herself? Why can’t she trust the Lord to keep them all safe, and which man in her life is the right one–if either?

Read this heart-gripping, pulse-racing novel and see how the Lord’s hand is on us, even when He seems so very far away.

Click HERE to get your copy!

About the Author

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Kathleen J. Robison is an Okinawan-American. Born in Okinawa, raised in California, Florida, Mississippi, and Singapore. Her travels are the inspirational settings for her stories. She and her Pastor husband have eight adult children. Seven are married, blessing them with fourteen grandchildren and counting. The diversity of their 31 family members provide the inspiration for more lively characters than can be imagined. Her husband grew up in the streets of Los Angeles raised by a single working mom, and that life provides fodder for many of the conflicts of her characters.

Tackling difficult life’s trials with God’s strength are the central theme of Kathleen’s stories. She hopes to inspire her readers to trust God and with His strength, weather through and rise above trials and tragedies. If you like suspenseful stories with a thread of romance, you will enjoy Kathleen’s Bay Town Series!

Book Excerpt

Melanie felt terrible for putting the poor man on the defensive. “Oh, you didn’t. I’m fine with it. My daughter, Lacey, and I started out living with my parents, and they helped me out. It was my father that pushed me into getting this business going.”

He seemed to be interested.

“So, Lacey’s father and I were married for barely a year. He wasn’t even there when she was born. He came back once, but we got divorced before her first birthday.”

“Doesn’t sound like such a great guy.” His eyes grew wide. “Oh. I’m sorry again. I didn’t mean to judge. I don’t even know the guy.” He removed the sunglasses resting on the top of his head and attempted to shove them in his front shirt pocket. Twice.

Melanie laughed. “Actually, he was a great guy, just a terrible husband. I made some foolish choices back then. But God blessed me with a wonderful daughter.”

“Yes, Lacey’s pretty special. She sure brightens up the church on Sunday mornings.”

Hearing him say her daughter’s name warmed her heart and made something spark. A sigh escaped. “So, let’s make an appointment for this couple.”

Missed Any Excerpts? Go Here