Category: #ThrowbackThursday

Papa doesn't need buildings and potlucks and crowds. He just needs us and our ability to love on him.

#Throwback Thursday | Broken Like Glass by EJ McCay

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m resharing my review of Broken Like Glass by EJ McCay. This review was originally posted in May 2017.

There are not many novels that manage to grip me from the very first line, but this was one:

“Lillian. Lillian? Can you hear me, Lillian?” My therapist’s voice grates on my. I’d say like nails on a chalkboard, but that wouldn’t accurately describe just how much I hate her voice.

By the end of the first page, we know Lillian is in court-ordered therapy. By the end of the second page, we know why:

“Help me understand why you stabbed your dad with a knife in the middle of the grocery store, and then went home and smashed everything.”
“Some people deserve a little knifing every once in a while and his furniture was a hundred years past vintage. I’d say I did him a favor.”

So Lillian is stuck in her home town for six months until she can explain why … which isn’t so easy. As the novel progresses, we see more and more glimpses of Lillian’s broken past as she opens herself up to her teenage crush, to her therapist, and to Jesus—who she refers to as Papa. The title implies we’re going to see a broken person, and we do, but we also strength and character.

Lillian is a strong main character.

Some people won’t be able to related to the writing—first person present tense—but I thought it was the perfect choice. It gave us an insight into Lillian, and the present tense gave the story the necessary sense of immediacy.

Reading a first person story narrated by a character who has secrets and hides them from the reader can be frustrating. I always feel that if the character knows the truth about a matter, the reader should know that truth as well. And that’s why I think first person worked so well in Broken Like Glass, because Lillian didn’t know. Her secrets were so deep, she hid them from herself.

Broken Like Glass combined some of the freshest writing I’ve read in ages. The use of first person present tense was inspired. The plot was layered, complex, and never predictable (the couple of minor plot points I almost predicted were minor in comparison to the major twists I ever saw coming).

But the true triumph of Broken Like Glass is Lilly’s relationship with Papa, something her therapist, Chrissy, sees as Lilly’s strength:

“But this relationship you have. It’s so … tangible. I want that.”
“Then have it.”
Chrissy looks at me funny. “But how? How did you do it?”
“I clung to the only thing I could. He’s all I had. He’s all I ever had … my only friend was Papa.”

Lilly is the perfect embodiment of the Christian faith as a relationship with Jesus.

The scenes where Papa talks and Lilly listens remind me of God speaking in The Atonement Child by Francine Rivers. The themes and writing reminded me of Christa Allen and Varina Denman and Amy Matayo, and other newer writers in Christian fiction. But the most important thing is that Broken Like Glass makes me want to know Papa in the way Lilly does. And shouldn’t that be the aim of Christian fiction?

Recommended.

Thanks to the author for providing a free ebook for review.

About EJ McCay

EJ McCay grew up in Charleston, South Carolina and currently resides in Lubbock, Texas. She lives with her husband, two girls, and four cats.

Writing wasn’t always her dream. That came about when she was in her mid-twenties. Since then, it’s become more than a passion, it’s become part of what makes her tick. She writes in multiple genres from YA to Adult Romance.

When not writing, she’s a nerd-herding lover of Chuck, and enjoyer of good coffee. Some of her favorite books include Ender’s Game, The Percy Jackson Series, and the Alex Van Helsing trilogy–just to mention a few.

Find EJ McCay online at:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

About Broken Like Glass

How is Papa supposed to set me free when I don’t even know what I need to be freed from?

Lillian Louis James tried to live a good life but her father had a knack for bringing out the worst in her. When a quick weekend visit with him turned violent she found herself on the wrong end of the law. Stuck in the small town she would rather forget Lillian was forced to attend therapy and try to figure out where it all went wrong. Her high school crush showing up on the scene didn’t help either as unresolved feelings bubbled to the surface. Will Lillian let Jesus heal her broken past before her chance at love is gone?

Find Broken Like Glass online at:

Amazon | Goodreads

Read the introduction to Broken Like Glass below:

#ThrowbackThursday | A Song Unheard by Roseanna M White

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m sharing my review of A Song Unheard, the second book in Roseanna M White’s brilliant Shadows Over England series. It follows A Name Unknown, and An Hour Unspent, the third book in the series, releases in September (and I’ll review it then).

My Review

Violin virtuoso Lukas De Wilde has escaped war-torn Belgium with his life and his Stradivarius, but without his family. He has to find Mamman and Margot and get them safely to England before the Germans find them … and the valuable cypher key.

Willa Forsythe is one of London’s best thieves, and her latest assignment from the mysterious Mr V is to befriend Lukas De Wilde and find the cypher key. Which means a trip to Wales and playing best friends with the wealthy Davies sisters, benefactors to De Wilde and his fellow musicians.

It soon becomes apparent that Willa and V aren’t the only people interested in the cypher key … and that finding it isn’t going to be as easy as Willa first thought. Especially when Lukas begins to express his interest in her as a fellow musician, and romantically.

A Song Unheard is a brilliant combination of romance and suspense in a unique historical setting.

It is set in London and Aberystwyth. I lived in London for ten years, so I love reading books set there (perhaps this is why I like Regency romance, because most are set in and around central London). I haven’t read any other books set in Aberystwyth, which is where I was born (although I’ve never lived there). It was great to see the city through the eyes of Willa and Lukas.

I was especially impressed by the research. I’d never heard of the Davies sisters and their World War One Belgian orchestra, so this was a fascinating plot device (yes, they were a real thing. I wonder if any of my Welsh relatives attended their concerts?). I’ve always been fascinated by codes and cyphers, so this element intrigued me, especially the connection with mathematics. And who knew that Mozart encoded messages into his music with cyphers?

Overall, A Song Unheard was brilliant—Roseanna M White’s best book yet.

That’s saying something, because A Name Unknown, the first book in this Shadows Over England series, was excellent, as were her earlier books (especially The Culper Ring series). Recommended for fans of Edwardian romance, and romantic suspense.

Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Roseanna M White

Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna has a slew of historical novels available, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. She lives with her family in West Virginia.

Find Roseanna M White online at:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter | YouTube 

About A Song Unheard

Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and top-notch thief, which makes her the perfect choice for a crucial task at the outset of World War I—to steal a cypher from a famous violinist currently in Wales.

Lukas De Wilde has enjoyed the life of fame he’s won–until now, when being recognized nearly gets him killed. Everyone wants the key to his father’s work as a cryptologist. And Lukas fears that his mother and sister, who have vanished in the wake of the German invasion of Belgium, will pay the price. The only light he finds is meeting the intriguing Willa Forsythe.

But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn’t–that she must betray him and find that cypher, or her own family will pay the price as surely as his has.

Find A Song Unheard online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

You can read the introduction to A Song Unheard below:

And here’s the description of An Hour Unspent:

Once London’s top thief, Barclay Pearce has turned his back on his life of crime and now uses his skills for a nation at war. But not until he rescues a clockmaker’s daughter from a mugging does he begin to wonder what his future might hold.

Evelina Manning has constantly fought for independence, but she certainly never meant for it to inspire her fiancé to end the engagement and enlist in the army. When the intriguing man who saved her returns to the Manning residence to study clockwork repair with her father, she can’t help being interested. But she soon learns that nothing with Barclay Pearce is as simple as it seems.

As 1915 England plunges ever deeper into war, the work of an ingenious clockmaker may give England an unbeatable military edge–and Germany realizes it as well. Evelina’s father soon finds his whole family in danger–and it may just take a reformed thief to steal the time they need to escape.

The Two of Us by Victoria Bylin

#ThrowbackThursday | Book Review | The Two of Us

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m bringing you my review of The Two of Us by Victoria Bylin, one of my top reads of 2017. This review previously appeared at Australasian Christian Writers. Click here to read the discussion.

An intriguing combination of Romance, Women’s Fiction, and New Adult.

Mia isn’t in Las Vegas to check out the men—she’s here because Lucy, her baby sister, is pregnant at eighteen, and is about to marry.

Despite her Christian faith, Mia isn’t convinced that marrying Sam is the best solution. It might just add another whole layer of problems to her life, especially her plans to put her nursing skills to use as a full-time foreign medical missionary.

Jake Tanner is in Las Vegas to act as best man to Sam Waters, the son of his police partner, the boy Jake has mentored into manhood following the death of his mother. Now Jake is determined to support Sam and Lucy in any way necessary.

Mia and Jake are thrown together again after Mia moves to Jake’s hometown of Echo Falls, both to support Lucy and to prove to the missions board that she has what it takes to be a foreign missionary. She’s a great character—a strong and intelligent woman with a real desire to follow God, even when following Him means making the hard choices, and losing people she loves. Like her fiances. Both of them. So she’s through with love.

Until she meets Jake.

Jake is the one possible fault with The Two of Us. Sure, he’s got issues in his past he’s had to work through. But the present-day Jake is practically perfect. He’s the perfect gentleman, always looking out for other people, always selfless even when it means getting hurt. It’s possible that he’s perfect …

The other central character is Lucy, the pregnant teen bride.

I wasn’t as interested in her storyline at first—hey, I wanted to see Jake and Mia. But Lucy’s story was essential, as her ongoing pregnancy and relationship with Sam provided a lot of the background to the bigger story. It also introduced us to Jake’s parents, Frank and Claire. Claire suffers from early onset Alzheimer’s disease, and needed constant supervision.

The Two of Us by Victoria Bylin

It was good to see a Christian novel dealing with Alzheimer’s, and showing such a positive way of dealing with the disease. This was a real—if heartbreaking—strength of the novel. It was also refreshing to read a Christian novel where the character’s faith in God came through loud and clear, where seeking His will and serving Him were central plot points—even if the characters did get the details wrong on occasion. But that provided them with room to grow, and was one of the biggest strengths of the novel.

Recommended for fans of contemporary Christian romance, or those wanting a picture of Christ’s love in action in dealing with Alzheimer’s.

Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Victoria Bylin at her website.

#ThrowbackThursday | On the Edge by Theresa Santy

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m resharing my review of On The Edge, the debut novel from Teresa Santy, and winner of the FaithWriters 2013 Page Turner Contest. This review first appeared at Iola’s Christian reads in April 2016.

On the Edge is one of the best debut novels I’ve read in a long time.

 

Okay, it takes a while to find itself at the beginning and not everyone will enjoy the first person present tense narration (and that could by why I found the beginning difficult), but it’s worth the effort.

Kristen Craemer is an LA interior designer who is running. She can no longer run in real life, so now she runs in her dreams, and the dreams always turn into nightmares and they always lead her to water—the magnificent Pacific Ocean. Her life is slowly unravelling: she’s making mistakes at work, therapy isn’t helping, and nor is the liquid diet of drugs and alcohol.

Then she meets Jesus-freak Ethan Adams, and soon finds two awkward things: she likes him (as in, really likes him) even though he’s a Jesus-freak, and their mothers are in the same addiction therapy group. So this is a story of a woman whose messed-up childhood is still affecting her adult life, and meeting a guy with a messed-up childhood who seems to have it all together.

One of the difficult parts of writing a review of a book isn’t what you put in to the review, but what you leave out. Readers and authors, quite understandably, don’t want book reviews to include plot spoilers. But some readers also want to be warned about certain aspects of the book they might not want to read. Some reviewers call these trigger warnings: content that might act as a trigger for some readers.

And here’s the problem. I want (need?) to include some trigger warnings for On the Edge, but to tell you any more would act as a spoiler. So be warned: if you read reviews to find out if there’s anything in the book you want to avoid, you might be best avoiding On the Edge.

But you’d be missing out. The plot and characters are outstanding. The writing is outstanding—I loved lines like this:

Quote from On the Edge: This Kierkegaard writes so deep, he makes my brain ache.

On the Edge isn’t typical Christian fiction (too much alcohol, too many drugs), but I think this is what Christian fiction should be: real. Telling difficult stories, and showing Jesus in the lives of characters. Not preaching. Basically, the whole book was outstanding, and you should read it. Unless the triggers . . .

Thanks to Breath of Fresh Air Press for providing a free ebook for review. Although I’ve now bought the paperback as well. Yes, it was that good.

About Theresa Santy

Theresa writes and publishes e-newsletters for a women’s Bible study ministry, and for Beacon For Him Ministries, a multi-service center for the homeless, where she serves giant God-portions of love, offers connections to community and resources, and picks up trash. Theresa lives with her family on the sparkling coast of Southern California. She loves Jesus, laughter, long walks, flip-flops, and fiery sunsets. She’s a big fan of the written word and her favorite book ever written is the Bible.

You can find Theresa Santy online at:

Website

About On the Edge

For as long as she can remember, Kristen Craemer has been running from something. In high school and college, she ran competitively, until her Olympic dreams were shattered. Now, she runs to escape—from her past, from intimacy, from reality, and from the cold, black mist that haunts her nights.

Desperate to stop running, she turns to therapy, alcohol, and pills—anything to dull the fear—but her struggle intensifies with every passing night. Gradually, the nightmares encroach on her days, until everything she holds dear slips further away.

Kristen’s fears increase when she meets Ethan, a bronze-eyed Jesus freak. The claims he makes about God are too unbelievable to be true, and to Kristen they are more terrifying than her recurring dreams. She can’t open her heart to Ethan, and she won’t open her heart to his faith. Instead, Kristen keeps running, and every time she runs she finds herself standing at the shore of the Pacific Ocean, glaring into the crashing waves and fighting the urge to submerge herself beneath the turbulent water forever.

On the Edge is the powerful story of a “girl next door” who struggled to make it out of childhood alive, only to drown daily in shame and fear . . . until she finally dives over the edge and into redemption.

You can find On the Edge online at:

Amazon | Goodreads | Koorong

You can read the introduction to On the Edge below:

Quote from Winning Miss Winthrop by Carolyn Miller: While Italian arias were all very well, one's appreciation might be greater if one more fully comprehended Italian.

#ThrowbackThursday | Winning Miss Winthrop by Carolyn Miller

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m sharing my review of Winning Miss Winthrop, the first in the Regency Brides: A Promise of Hope series by Carolyn Miller. The sequel, Miss Serena’s Secret, is due out later this month, and you’ll want to read Winning Miss Winthrop first!

This review previously appeared at Australasian Christian Writers.

Persuasion is not my favourite Jane Austen novel.

I find it frustrating, because the problems faced by the hero and heroine could be solved by one simple conversation. Unfortunately, Jane Austen lived in a society where men and women were unable to speak plainly to each other. That meant her hero and heroine spent most of the book at odds, even though they had mutual feelings towards each other.

Quote from Winning Miss WInthrop by Carolyn Miller: A woman does not have many choices in this world, but she can still be the heroine in her own life, and not just idle in the wings.

Winning Miss Winthrop is loosely based on Persuasion, and has the same central plot problem. Two years ago, Miss Catherine Winthrop fell in love with her third cousin once removed, Jonathan Carlew. She thought the feeling was mutual, but he abandoned her. Now she is twenty-five years old, at home, and on the shelf. But things are about to get complicated.

Her father dies, and instead of the estate going to the expected heir, it goes to Jonathan Carlew. Catherine and her mother are forced to leave their home and move into the Dower House, with a much-reduced income.

What follows is a frustrating yet enaging read as Catherine and Jonathan have to face up to being in the company of the other, both believing the other to have been at fault in the demise of their earlier relationship. Matters are not helped by Catherine‘s mother, the Dowager Lady Winthrop, who makes Elizabeth Bennett’s mother appear intelligent and self sacrificing.

As usual, Carolyn Miller’s is writing is spot on for the period and location.

Her locations come alive, and she captures the manners of the Regency period perfectly, while introducing a rare spiritual depth. Miller’s writing is full of the wit and subtext present in other Regency novelists such as Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. And now I’m anxiously awaiting Miss Serena’s Secret, the second book in the series.

Quote from Winning Miss Winthrop by Carolyn MIller: Some people count the cost of things of eternal significance as too high, whilst others are simply blind.

Recommended for all Regency romance lovers. Thanks to Kregel and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Carolyn Miller

Carolyn MillerCarolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia. She is married, with four gorgeous children, who all love to read (and write!).

A longtime lover of Regency romance, Carolyn’s novels have won a number of Romance Writers of American (RWA) and American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) contests. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Australasian Christian Writers. Her favourite authors are classics like Jane Austen (of course!), Georgette Heyer, and Agatha Christie, but she also enjoys contemporary authors like Susan May Warren and Becky Wade.

Her stories are fun and witty, yet also deal with real issues, such as dealing with forgiveness, the nature of really loving versus ‘true love’, and other challenges we all face at different times.

Find Carolyn Miller online at:

Website | Facebook | Google+

Goodreads| Pinterest | Twitter

About Winning Miss Winthrop

Years ago, the man who stole Catherine Winthrop’s heart rejected her–and she’s never recovered from the grief. Now tragedy has brought him back into her life. This time it isn’t her heart he’s taking, it’s her home and her family’s good name.

Jonathan Carlew’s serious demeanor and connection to trade, not to mention the rumors surrounding his birth, have kept him from being a favorite of the ladies, or their parents. Now, suddenly landed and titled, he finds himself with plenty of prospects. But his demanding society responsibilities keep pressing him into service to the one woman who captured his heart long ago–and then ran off with it.

These two broken hearts must decide whether their painful past and bitter present will be all they can share, or if forgiveness can provide a path to freedom for the future.

Set in the sumptuous salons of Bath, Regency England’s royal breeding ground for gossip, Winning Miss Winthrop is the first volume in the Regency Brides: A Promise of Hope series. Fans of the wholesome and richly drawn first series won’t want to miss this new set of characters–or appearances by their old favorites.

You can find Winning Miss Winthrop online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

#ThrowbackThursday | Buried Memories by Carol J Post

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m resharing a review that previously appeared at Suspense Sisters Reviews (which is now defunct). It’s Buried Memories, a Love Inspired Suspense novel from one of my favourite LIS authors, Carol J Post.

About Buried Memories

After her broken engagement, Nicki Jackson hoped her move to Cedar Key would give her a fresh start—instead she quickly learns someone’s out to destroy her. Are the attacks tied to her mother’s recently reopened murder case…or to the nightmares Nicki’s beginning to suspect are actually hidden memories?

With the threats against her escalating, former soldier Tyler Brant vows to keep Nicki safe. He refuses to lose the woman who’s swiftly becoming more than a childhood crush. But when danger circles closer, is Nicki’s traumatic past better left forgotten…or are her memories the key to something far more sinister?

My Thoughts

So Nicki Jackson has settled in her new home of Cedar Key and thinks she’s got her life back on track: house, job, dog, hobby, nice neighbours … especially once she finds Tyler, her teenage best friend, is staying next door.
But this is a Love Inspired Suspense novel, so we know things aren’t going to stay on track for long … and they don’t. There’s plenty of suspense and several plot twists—one of which was kind of given away by the title, but the others certainly caught me unaware.
The characters were excellent. Nicki had a difficult early childhood before being adopted by a lovely couple, yet losing those parents as well. So she’s trying to make it on her own, but also wants to connect with the older sister she hasn’t seen in close to two decades. She’s a strong character who hasn’t had an easy life, but who has chosen to be purposeful and not fall into the same negative patterns her mother did.
We don’t find out as much about Tyler’s upbringing, but we get the impression it also had its low points. But his real issue is his PTSD, something which he’s still struggling to control, and something which gives him and Nicki even more in common … at the same time it could drive them apart (okay, so there was one point in reading Buried Memories where I start on my “men are stupid” rant. But he redeems himself.)
The plot and writing were excellent, and I resented each time I had to leave Nicki and Tyler and Cedar Key because life or children or work or food. Buried Memories is part of Carol Post’s Cedar Key series, but can easily be read as a standalone novel. Overall, an excellent suspense read.

Thanks to the author for providing a free ebook for review.

About Carol J Post

Carol J PostFrom medical secretary to court reporter to property manager to owner of a special events decorating company, Carol’s resume reads as if she doesn’t know what she wants to be when she grows up. But one thing that has remained constant through the years is her love for writing. She currently pens fun and fast-paced inspirational romance and romantic suspense stories. Her books have been nominated for a RITA® award and an RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Book Award.

Carol lives in sunshiny Central Florida with her husband, who is her own real-life hero, and writes her stories under the shade of the huge oaks in her yard. Besides writing, she works alongside her music minister husband singing and playing the piano. She enjoys sailing, hiking, camping—almost anything outdoors. Her two grown daughters and grandkids live too far away for her liking, so she now pours all that nurturing into taking care of a fat and sassy black cat and a highly spoiled dachshund.

You can find Carol J Post online at:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

You can find Buried Memories online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

You can read the introduction to Buried Memories below:

#Throwback Thursday | Five Days in Skye by Carla Laureano

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m resharing my review of Five Days in Skye, the debut novel from Carla Laureano. It’s being republished this week, with a beautiful new cover (and I’m hoping this time around we’ll get all three books in the trilogy!).

Romance in Scotland: What more could you want?

Andrea Sullivan may have sabotaged her career with that last potential client. Now, as punishment, she has to convince TV chef James MacDonald, owner of three Michelin-starred London restaurants, that her company is perfect to help him renovate and market the family hotel he has inherited on the Isle of Skye. She has just a few days, and her job is on the line.

There is an immediate attraction when Andrea and James meet, but Andrea wants nothing to do with men, and especially wants nothing to do with a client. James has his own problematic romantic history, not to mention an even more problematic relationship with his brother, who owns one-third of the hotel.

I found all the characters to be intelligent and likeable, and I was especially impressed by the research. I’ve not been to Skye but I’ve lived in London and visited Scotland, and Five Days in Skye made me feel I was there. I had to laugh Andrea’s reaction to James calling her ‘love’. It’s a common term, particularly in the hospitality industry.

Right, love?

This is a Christian novel, but the Christian element is somewhat understated. Both Andrea and James come from rural backgrounds where the Christian faith was an integral part of the family. But both have abandoned that faith, yet realise on Skye that perhaps they need to pursue God once more.

Five Days in Skye has it all: an excellent opening, a funny first meeting between Andrea and James, intelligent lead characters who are both successes in their chosen careers, excellent attention to detail, and the Isle of Skye, a beautiful and unique setting. And the last line is a beautiful illustration of the eternal romance between us and God. Recommended for romance lovers.

Thanks to David C Cook and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Carla Laureano at her website, and you can

About Carla Laureano

Carla LaureanoCarla Laureano is the RITA® Award-winning author of contemporary inspirational romance and Celtic fantasy (as C.E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons, where she writes during the day and cooks things at night.

You can find Carla Laureano online at:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

About Five Days in Skye

Andrea Sullivan is so consumed by her hospitality-consultant job that she’s forgotten what brings her joy. She dreads her new assignment—a last chance to snag a high-profile client in Scotland. Yet the lush Isle of Skye transcends her preconceptions. As does the man she must impress, the rugged, blue-eyed Scotsman James MacDonald.

He’s passionate about cooking, but after six restaurants, four cookbooks, and his own television show, he’s grown weary of the scrutiny that comes with living in the public eye.

Soon Andrea and James begin to sense these five days in Skye together may just be God’s wild invitation into deeper life . . . and truer love.

Find Five Days in Skye online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

Read the introduction here:

#ThrowbackThursday | Beneath Copper Falls by Colleen Coble

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m sharing my review of Beneath Copper Falls, another nailbiting romantic suspense novel from Colleen Coble. This review was first published at Suspense Sisters Reviews.

A woman is murdered—drowned—in the Prologue. Another woman is almost drowned in the first chapter. Is that creepy or what?

Dana, the almost-victim, escapes from her fiance and returns home to Rock Harbor.

She knows Garrett might track her home, but figures she’ll be surrounded by friends, and he’ll stick out in the small town. He’s determined to get her back—and she’s just as determined to stay away from him, to stay safe.

She has decided she doesn’t need a man to take care of her, but then she meets Boone Carter. That’s a first meeting that doesn’t go well! But they reconcile, and … but that would be telling. Suffice to say this is romantic suspense, and although the emphasis is largely on the suspense, there is still enough romance to keep romance lovers happy.

This was a great story, full of suspense and misdirection.

I thought I’d figured out the identity of the murderer, then something happened which meant I had to be wrong (and I was). We also saw more of the evildoer’s MO as the story progressed, and this just ramped up the tension as we saw him working to ensnare his next victim—another Rock Harbor woman.

At this point I hadn’t guessed the evildoer’s true identity, but that didn’t stop me yelling at the character to get away from the creep. I did eventually work out the real murderer (long before Dana, Bree and co worked it out), but that only added to the suspense. He’s behind you! Get out now!

This is the sixth novel in Colleen Coble’s Rock Harbor series. I think I’ve read one or two of the previous novels—Bree rang a bell, but that was all. It didn’t matter. Beneath Copper Falls can easily be read without having read the previous books. I’m sure fans of the series will be thrilled to read a new installment.

Recommended for thriller fans. Best read the day before your manicure appointment, not the day after.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Colleen Coble

Colleen CobleBest-selling author Colleen Coble’s novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, the ACFW Carol Award, the Romance Writers of America RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has over 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana.

 

Find Colleen Coble online at:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

About Beneath Copper Falls

Dana has already learned that love isn’t safe . . . but could it be different in Rock Harbor?

As a 911 dispatcher, Dana Newell takes pride in being calm in tough circumstances. In addition to her emotionally-charged career, she’s faced enough emergencies in her own life. She recently escaped her abusive fiancé to move to tranquil Rock Harbor where she hopes life will be more peaceful.

But the idyllic town hides more danger and secrets than it first appeared. Dana is continually drawn to her new friend Boone, who has scars inside and out. Then she answers a call at her job only to hear a friend’s desperate screams on the other end. Soon the pain in her past collides with the mysteries of her new home—and threatens to keep her from the future she’s always wanted.

Find Beneath Copper Falls online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

Read the introduction to Beneath Copper Falls below:

Take God out of the equation, and there is no meaning to what had happened with you.

#Throwback Thursday | Book Review | Lu by Beth Troy

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m resharing my review of Lu by Beth Troy. Lu is a great example of what I’d like to see more of in Christian fiction: great characters wrestling with the big issues of God and faith and love.

About Lu

“There’s great hope where the road meets the sky – maybe even an answer. But this road leads home. Just home. I thought I’d finished writing that story years ago, but then yesterday’s story happened – the one about the boy who cheats and the girl who leaves.”
Lu Sokolowski never planned to return to her small hometown of Dunlap’s Creek, but it’s the only place she can think of to go after her boyfriend cheats on her. Moving back in with her family lets her run away from her problems, but it also means suffering their attempts to reassemble her failed life, including arranging a job as the wedding beat writer at the local paper and setting her up with Jackson, the divorced pastor of her family’s church. Unexpected success and friendships restore Lu to the family and faith she’d left behind. But when the small-town life Lu never intended shakes up, will she run again?
Lu’s story is a journey of a woman back to her family, her faith, and herself. It’s about second chances and the unchosen circumstances that press the point of who we are and what we believe. Are we the sum of our successes and failures, or does our identity rest in a greater hope?

My Review

All the stories have been written, including mine.

It’s a great first line, because it’s a strong statement that sounds true, in the same way as the famous opening line to Pride and Prejudice sounds true … until you think about it. Because we’re all unique, so our stories are also unique.

Although our stories also have some common elements:

I thought I’d finished writing that story years ago, but then yesterday’s story happened—the one about the boy who cheats and the girl who leaves. You could dress it up and call it a journey. But there was nothing new in the story about the girl who went home because she had nowhere else to go.

I know not everyone enjoys novels written in first person, but I do—especially when the character has a strong and interesting voice, as Lu (short for Louisa) does.

So Lu is home, with a car that barely runs, a 1970’s crockpot, and no money. She finds a job at the local newspaper, where she is asked to write wedding features. And she befriends the young preacher, back in town after his divorce. Lu isn’t sure if she believes in God and she certainly isn’t following him, despite having been raised in church.

Jackson challenges Lu to come to church, and she does. He’s preaching a series on the Book of Ecclesiastes, which brought him through his own tough time when his wife left him. These sermons start Lu on her own faith journey, reading the Bible and trying to understand what Jackson sees in Jesus. At the same time, she’s developing feelings for Jackson … all the while knowing nothing can come of those feelings if they don’t share a faith, and Jackson isn’t going to change.

Lu isn’t typical Christian fiction.

The characters drink alcohol and swear. Lu has been living with her boyfriend, and Jackson is divorced. Yet there is a lot more Christian content than in most Christian novels I read, and it feels natural, not forced. I liked the way the novel showed Lu’s faith journey warts and all, and that the focus was on finding Jesus for herself.

My one complaint about Lu was that it ended too soon. There was a clear ending to the main plot—Lu’s faith journey—but not to the main subplot. This annoyed me at first, but in hindsight it was the right decision. I only hope that dangling thread means there is a sequel in the works.

Thanks to the author for providing a free ebook for review.

You can find Beth Troy online at:

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Find Lu online at:

Amazon US | Amazon AU | Amazon UKGoodreads

#ThrowbackThursday | Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m resharing my review of Heart on the Line the second novel (and third book) in Karen Witemeyer’s Ladies of Harper’s Station series. This review first appeared at Australasian Christian Writers in June 2017.

Heart on the Line is a standalone story, but you’ll probably understand the women’s colony and their attitude to men better if you at least read No Other Will Do first (and perhaps Worth the Wait as well).

Like No Other Will Do, Heart on the Line is a departure from Karen Witemeyer’s witty historical romances. It’s more of a witty romantic suspense.

It starts with a Prologue, which I found rather confusing—we were introduced to a lot of off-stage characters in short order, perhaps too many. The point was introducing the central conflict of the novel: that Herschel Mallory has discovered Chaucer Haversham isn’t the rightful heir of his father’s fortune, a discovery Mallory pays for with his life, leaving his daughter an orphan on the run.

Chapter One opens a year later. Grace Mallory is hiding in the women’s colony of Harper’s Station, and working as the local telegraph operator. After hours, she chats online (on the telegraph line, not our online!) with Mr A., the telegraph operator in a neighbouring town. All is well, until she receives a late-night coded message that might mean her hiding place has been found.

When Amos Bledsoe hears Miss G might be in danger, he travels to Harper’s Station to protect her—and to see if the chemistry between them sparks in real life the way it does over the lines. Of course, there is the obvious issue of a man turning up in a women’s colony after they’ve all been warned to expect bad men … but that’s sorted out in a most original manner.

Heart on the Line is an excellent novel.

Grace and Amos are both great characters, and their shared occupation made for some great moments. The writing was excellent, a perfect mix of humour, romance and suspense, with just the right injection of the Christian faith. There was also a subplot with the man-shy Helen, and I loved that as much as the main Grace/Amos romance plot.

And there was plenty of suspense. The identity of the evildoer was kind of obvious to the reader, but was equally obvious to Grace (yay for intelligent heroines!). That added to the fun—how would she keep him from knowing she was onto him? And who would find the missing documents first!

Recommended for all romantic suspense fans.

Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Heart on the Line

Grace Mallory is tired of running, of hiding. But when an old friend sends an after-hours telegraph transmission warning Grace that the man who has hunted her for nearly a year has discovered her location, she fears she has no choice. She can’t let the villain she believes responsible for her father’s death release his wrath in Harper’s Station, the town that has sheltered her and blessed her with the dearest friends she’s ever known.

Amos Bledsoe prefers bicycles to horses and private conversations over the telegraph wire to social gatherings with young ladies who see him as nothing more than an oddity. His telegraph companion, the mysterious Miss G, listens eagerly to his ramblings every night and delights him with tales all her own. For months, their friendship–dare he believe, courtship?–has fed his hope that he has finally found the woman God intended for him. Yet when he takes the next step to meet her in person, he discovers her life is in peril, and Amos must decide if he can shed the cocoon of his quiet nature to become the hero Grace requires.

Find Heart on the Line online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

About Karen Witemeyer

Author Photo: Karen WitemeyerFor those who love to smile as they read, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warm-hearted historical romances with a flair of humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. A transplant from California, Karen came to Texas for college, met a cowboy disguised as a computer nerd, married him, and never left the state that had become home.

Winner of the HOLT Medallion, ACFW Carol Award, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, National Reader’s Choice Award, and a finalist for both the RITA and Christy Awards, Karen is a firm believer in the power of happy endings. . . and ice cream. She also loves to reward her readers. Every month she gives away two inspirational historical novels to someone from her newsletter list and offers substantial bonus content on her website.

Find Karen Witemeyer online at:

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