Tag: Romantic Suspense

Over the Line by Kelly Irvin

Book Review | Over the Line by Kelly Irvin

I really enjoyed Tell Her No Lies, Kelly Irvin’s first foray out of Amish into romantic suspense.

Over the Line? Not so much. The writing was excellent. There was an action-filled plot with plenty of suspense. There were two romances (although I was more interested in the secondary romance than the primary romance).

One of my problems was the sheer number of characters. There were a lot, and I found that confusing at times. But my main problem was the political focus. I don’t mind Christian fiction that debates current issues, but I want Christian fiction to focus on universal issues, not US-centric issues like gun control. It’s a deeply divisive political football, and I see nothing in the debate (from either side) that brings people closer to God—surely the purpose of Christian fiction.

But let’s get back to the actual story and the actual characters.

It was apparent early on that Gabriella and Eli had broken up because Gabriella thought she’d caught Eli being unfaithful. It was equally apparent that this is one of those conflicts that could have been solved in half a paragraph if Gabriella had been adult enough to listen to Eli’s explanation. In this, she behaved more like a rebellious Amish teenager than successful attorney-turned-chef.

Perhaps that’s what made the conflict so annoying: as an attorney, Gabriella was trained to consider both sides of an argument. Yet she didn’t.

Eli wasn’t any better. He was an odd mix of get-in-there-and-shoot-the-baddies and too-scared-to-confront-his-girlfriend. It was as though he was simply there to be Gabriella’s love interest … That’s why I found the secondary romance more interesting.

On the other hand, Natalie and Deacon were excellent characters. I would have liked to have seen more of them and to see their developing relationship. It has challenges, to be sure (as Natalie is a widowed paraplegic with two children), but I’d like to see how a couple overcomes those challenges.

I found the actual suspense side of the plot confusing, and I found it hard to divorce the plot from the wider politics of the situation. That affected my enjoyment. However, I’m sure Americans who live in border states will have a different view.

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

About Kelly Irvin

Author Photo: Kelly IrvinKelly Irvin is the bestselling author of the Every Amish Season and Amish of Bee County series. The Beekeeper’s Son received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, who called it a “beautifully woven masterpiece.” The two-time Carol Award finalist is a  former newspaper reporter and retired public relations professional. Kelly lives in Texas with her husband, photographer Tim Irvin. They have two children, two grandchildren, and two cats. In her spare time, she likes to read books by her favorite authors.

Find Kelly Irvin online at:

Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter

About Over the Line

“You have something we want. We have something you want.”

Gabriella has never forgiven her former fiancé, homicide detective Eli Cavazos, for breaking her heart. Then a man she’s never met shows up at her restaurant, a bullet in his chest and her brother’s name on his lips. Gabby soon realizes this man is connected to a powerful ring of criminals who know far too much about her.

Against her better judgment, Gabby turns to Eli for help in finding her brother. When she receives a cryptic text from her brother’s cell phone, she realizes she is in deep and may be dragging Eli down with her. With her brother nowhere to be found and pain from her past threatening to overwhelm her, Gabby wonders how she will make it through this unexpected quest unscathed—or alive.

Taking us into the heat of Laredo, Texas, the secrets of a gun-smuggling ring, and the tensions on both sides of the border, Over the Line will keep you guessing until the last page.

Find Over the Line online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koboicon | Koorong

Author Interview - Erin Unger

Author Interview | Introducing Erin Unger and Desolate Paths

Today I’m interviewing Christian romantic suspense author Erin Unger about life, writing, and her new release, Desolate Paths. Welcome, Erin!

About You

First, please you tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from?

Hi! Thanks for having me. I’m from the hills of Virginia, where farms flourish and people are kind.

It’s said that authors should write the kind of book they like to read. What is your favourite genre? Who are your favourite authors?

My favorite genre does happen to be the genre I write. There’s nothing like a great romantic suspense. And I love to read. My favorite authors are Harlan Coben, Irene Hannon, and Erynn Newman.

What was the last book you read? Would you recommend it? Why/why not?

I just finished Julie B Cosgrove’s book called Dumpster Dicing and it was such a fun cozy mystery. I would most definitely recommend it to others because it was well-written and had a neat perspective. The main characters were Bunco partners who lived in a retirement community. I can’t wait to read the next one.

I see Bunco mentioned often in novels, but had to look up what it is.

About your book

What kind of books do you write? Where and when are they set?

I write contemporary romantic suspense for the Christian market. Some of my novels are set in the Virginia mountains while others are in tight-knit urban communities.

Tell us about your latest book. Who will enjoy it?

My book, Desolate Paths, which is coming out on January 11, 2019, is for women who love suspense driven by real life issues, with a love story wrapped in too.

What was your motivation for writing Desolate Paths?

When I was growing up, a wagon caravan of teens came through my small town every summer. These teens were troubled and working through hard life issues most people never have to face. They had to survive the whole summer in tents with no electricity and no running water as they received counselling. I always wondered what it would be like to live the way they did. This spurred my imagination into action for years and led to the creation of Desolate Paths.

Where did the characters and story come from? What were your influences?

One summer, our church had a singing group from a rehab center visit. Once again, the same kind of treatment that the wagon caravan used was put into action with these girls. I began talking to one of them and I just knew she was meant to be my main character. I wish I could see how she’s doing today. And I hope I did her justice in my story.

Who is your favourite character and why? Do you have anything in common with him/her?

My favorite character is Kyle Reston. He is such a complex character who is still working his way through rehab. If only he could do right when he should… I’m not sure I have much in common with him but I do love the depth he adds to the story.

What are you working on at the moment? What other books do you plan to write?

I’m glad you asked! I am getting ready to start the second book in a series about a tight-knit urban community. This is an eight-book series where all of the characters will win my readers over, and they’ll have the hardest time deciding who’s their favorite.

I love a great series!

About your writing

What motivated you to start writing?

I’ve always had a story brewing in the back of my mind. But it wasn’t until I was in my late twenties before I actually started a writing. It’s been years of learning and waiting, but I’m so glad to finally be on the cusp of seeing my dreams of being a published author a reality.

What made you choose to write for the Christian market?

I’d never consider doing it any other way. I know this gift God gave me is meant to glorify Him and help others through my stories.

Amen! It’s important that some Christians write for the general market—but it’s even more important that we all use our gifts as God would have us use them.

Do your novels have an overt faith element?

Yes. My faith and how I can show God’s unfathomable love is most important to me.

About your publishing journey

This book is self-published, but you also have a book coming out from Pelican Book Group in March next year. What made you choose to self-publish this title and seek traditional publication for this next novel?

Pelican is such a great house to publish through, and I’m so glad to have the opportunity to work with them, but I like the autonomy of self-publishing also. I think I get the best of both worlds by going both ways.

What advice do you have for someone seeking to write and publish a novel?

An author should take the time to learn how to write first! Be willing to make changes and be easy to work with. Seek the help of other writers and take their advice.

I agree! We can’t learn to write in a vacuum, and the best stories are brought to life by great writing. Thanks for joining us today, Erin!

About Erin Unger

Erin Unger was raised in the hills of Virginia, exploring abandoned houses and reading the scariest books she could find. After marrying so young it would make a great romance novel, she has enjoyed an exciting life with her hubby. But her fast-paced life sometimes rivals the suspense in her books thanks to all her mostly grown children and a couple grandkids. Her novel, Desolate Paths, releases January 11, 2019.

You can find Erin online at:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Do you enjoy Christian romantic suspense? If so, check out this interview with author Erin Unger about life, writing, and her new release, Desolate Paths. #ChristianFiction Click To Tweet

About Desolate Paths

When rehab is Brooke Hollen’s only chance at redemption, she runs straight to it. But can she survive the serial killer who hides amongst the damaged and healing? And can she trust Kyle Reston, another rehab resident, who wants to take her under his wing? Or is he responsible for the residents who keep disappearing?

You can buy Desolate Paths at Amazon.

Book Review | Tell Her No Lies by Kelly Irvin

Nina Fischer and her sister were adopted by her uncle after their deadbeat mother abandoned them as children. Now she’s an adult and an aspiring photographer … and a person of interest when her uncle is murdered in his study in the wee hours of the morning and she’s the only other person in the house.

It’s a great start to an excellent murder mystery.

We know Nina wasn’t the culprit, as she was on the telephone to her not-boyfriend at the time (hey, this is important. I’ve recently read a romantic suspense where the hero said he didn’t do it, but I didn’t know whether to believe him or not).

There is also the tension between Nina and the two men who are interested in her: Rick Zavala, the poor boy turned rising young lawyer, and Aaron McClure, a photojournalist with his own reasons for following her case.

This is the first novel I’ve read from Kelly Irvin, because her previous novels have all been Amish romance—not a genre I read. Tell Me No Lies has the distinction of being one of the few novels I’ve read from an Amish fiction author I’ve actually enjoyed (along with Vanetta Chapman and Shelley Shepherd Grey). The others have been lacking in research rigour, writing craft, or both.

I hope this isn’t Kelly Irvin’s only foray outside Amish fiction, as I’d like to read more of her writing.

The plot has plenty of twists and turns and red herrings. The writing is funny and smart, as were the characters. There’s plenty of suspense, a sweet romance, and a solid Christian thread. All in all, Tell Her No Lies is a great read.

Recommended for fans of Christian thrillers and romantic suspense from authors such as Robyn Caroll, Lisa Harris, and Diann Mills.

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

About Kelly Irvin

Author Photo: Kelly IrvinKelly Irvin is the bestselling author of the Every Amish Season and Amish of Bee County series. The Beekeeper’s Son received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, who called it a “beautifully woven masterpiece.” The two-time Carol Award finalist is a  former newspaper reporter and retired public relations professional. Kelly lives in Texas with her husband, photographer Tim Irvin. They have two children, two grandchildren, and two cats. In her spare time, she likes to read books by her favorite authors.

Find Kelly Irvin online at:

Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter

About Tell Her No Lies:

Even the most admired families have secrets to hide . . .

Nina Fischer carries a camera wherever she goes—so she can view life through a filter. Safely. After her mother abandoned her to the streets, Nina has kept people at a distance, including her uncle, who adopted Nina and her sister. Wealthy and proud, he is a good man, a fair judge, and someone many in San Antonio admire.

But when he is murdered, and the detective assigned to the case accuses Nina of the crime, she knows she must act. She’s determined to use her journalism background to find the real killer. The two men in her life want to help, but can she trust them? She’s known Rick since they were children, but now he’s an attorney whose political aspirations seem more important than Nina’s tragic loss. And then there’s Aaron, a news videographer; using their friendship could break the biggest story of his career.

Following the evidence leads Nina on a journey of discovery into her father’s shocking masquerade as a law-abiding, family-loving Christian. Unlocking these secrets could prove fatal, but it’s the only way Nina will ever be able to trust love again.

Combining romance and suspense, bestselling author Kelly Irvin’s Tell Her No Lies is a high-stakes race for the truth.

You can find Tell Her No Lies online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

Click here to find Tell Her No Lies and other great Christian fiction at my Amazon shop!

Quote from A Secret to Die For: My name's Grace Callahan and someone's just broken into my house.

Book Review | A Secret to Die For by Lisa Harris

Another Gripping Thriller from Lisa Harris

Psychologist Grace Callahan suspected her client Stephen Shaw might be suffering from paranoia … but she reconsiders after a masked man breaks into her house looking for the key Shaw supposedly gave her.

It’s Detective Nathaniel Quinn’s first day back on the job when he’s assigned a suicide case that turns out to be murder. The victim is Stephen Shaw, and Grace’s business card is in Shaw’s pocket. It turns out that Nate used to be friends with Grace and her ex-husband.

Shaw worked in computer security and was also contracted to the FBI … or was he? A cryptic telephone message leads Grace and Nate on a chase to find the killer before the killer finds her.

A Secret to Die for is Christian romantic suspense at its best. The suspense starts on page one and doesn’t let up, while the the romantic thread takes a little longer to get going (which is appropriate. I’m always suspect of the relationships that begin in a high-stress situation, because I’m not convinced they’ll last). The Christian element is an underlying theme that gets more and more pronounced as the story progresses.

Overall, A Secret to Die for is another great romantic suspense novel from Lisa Harris. Recommended for fans of Irene Hannon and Diann Mills.

As an aside, I’m seeing a lot of suspense titles with these pink/purple covers with white text, and I love the effect!

Thanks to Baker Publishing and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Lisa Harris

Lisa HarrisI’m a wife, mom, teacher, author, dreamer, photographer, world explorer, but most importantly a follower of Christ Jesus.

I currently live with my husband near the Indian Ocean in Mozambique where we work as church-planting missionaries. We’ve started the empty next stage with two children spread around the globe and a third—thankfully—still at home.

As a homeschooling mom, life is busy, but I see my writing as an extension of my ministry which also includes running a non-profit organization.

The ECHO Project works in southern Africa promoting Education, Compassion, Health, and Opportunity and is a way for us to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves…the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.” (Proverbs 31:8)

When I’m not working l love hanging out with my family at the beach, playing games, cooking different ethnic dishes, and heading into the African bush on safari.

Find Lisa Harris online at:

Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter

About A Secret to Die For

Psychologist Grace Callahan has no idea that she has a secret–one worth killing for. But when she finds out one of her clients has been murdered, she quickly realizes that the computer security specialist wasn’t simply suffering from paranoia.

Detective Nate Quinn has just been cleared for active duty after a bombing killed eighteen people, including his partner, and left him dealing with PTSD. His first case back on the job involves the murder of Stephen Shaw, and his only lead turns out to be an old friend, Grace Callahan–and her life is in grave danger. Someone believes Shaw gave his psychologist information before he died. Information they are willing to kill for.

With her signature pulse-pounding suspense, Lisa Harris takes readers deep into the heart of fear in this race against the clock.

Find A Secret to Die For online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

Read the introduction to A Secret to Die For below:

Click here to check out A Secret to Die For and other great Christian fiction at my Amazon shop!

What’s your favourite Christian book genre?

Bookish Question #47 | What’s your favourite Christian book genre?

Asking a keen reader their favourite genre is like asking any addict about their favourite fix. Well, I assume it is. I haven’t spent a lot of time around addicts!

My favourite genre is romance, which shouldn’t come as any surpirse to anyone who reads my reviews on a regular basis. But romance is a huge genre, so what are my favourite novels within romance? I have three:

Regency Romance

Regency Romance is set in England during the period of the British Regency—when King George III was deemed mentally unfit to rule, so his son (the future King George IV) was named Prince Regent in his place. A lot of Georgette Heyer’s novels are set in the Regency period, and it’s also the time when Jane Austen was writing and publishing. Regency Romance characters are often members of the aristocracy, so the stories are complete fantasy when compared to my way of life!

My favourite Christian Regency Romance authors are Julie Klassen, Kristi Ann Hunter, and Carolyn Miller.

Romantic Suspense

I also enjoy romance with a suspense or thriller element. The mix of romance and suspense provides the classic mix of internal and external conflict, and provides plenty of opportunity for the hero and heroine to get to know each other as they work together to solve the crime (or stop one happenning).

My favourite Christian romantic suspense authors are DiAnn Mills, Lynette Eason, Terri Blackstock, and similar authors.

Contemporary Romance

My absolute favourite genre is contemporary romance. But not just any contemporary romance. I like stories that are a realistic and even a little gritty, that show life like it is but still show the hope of Jesus. And a little comedy doesn’t hurt, as a way of diffusing tension.

My favourite contemporary Christian romance authors are whichever book I’ve read most recently. Kara Isaac, Bethany Turner, Jennifer Rodewald, Brandy Bruce, Carla Laureano, Tammy L Gray, Courtney Walsh, Amy Matayo … the list goes on.

What about you? What’s your favourite Christian book genre?

Let me know in the comments, then pop over to Australasian Christian Writers and share there!

Book Review | Oath of Honor by Lynette Eason

Oath of Honor is the first book in Lynette Easons new Blue Justice series. At first glace it looks similar to the O’Malley series by Dee Henderson or the Alaskan Courage series by Dani Pettrey, in that it centres on a large family, most of whom are involved in law enforcement or other service occupations.

And it delivers. I fully expect stories about Brady, Lincoln, Ruthie, Chloe, and Derek St. John in the future. But this story focuses on Isabelle—Izzy—Derek’s twin.

The story was a little confusing at first, as there were a lot of characters to introduce—the six St. John siblings, as well as Izzy’s police partner, Kevin, his family, and other members of the police force … and the criminal classes.

But once I worked out who was who (and that Kevin was the victim, not the hero—oops) … Then the story really got going. This is not one of those books where I have a heap of quotes to share, because it was a pageturner. I was so engrossed in what was happening and in the growing relationship between Izzy and Ryan that I barely paused for breath.

Oath of Honor was great. A perfect Christian romantic suspense novel.

The suspense plot was excellent, with plenty of tension and twists, and the ongoing question of what Derek was doing. The romance was excellent, as Izzy and Ryan took tentative steps towards transitioning from friends and neighbours to something more. And there was a definite Christian aspect to it, which was good because I like my Christian fiction to have a discernable but not overbearing faith element.

In short, Oath of Honor was everything I look for in a Christian romantic suspense novel.

I’m looking forward to the next in the series. Recommended for romantic suspense fans. Thanks to Revell and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Lynette Eason

Lynette EasonLynette Eason is the bestselling author of the Women of Justice series, the Deadly Reunions series, and the Hidden Identity series, as well as Always Watching, Without Warning, Moving Target, and Chasing Secrets in the Elite Guardians series. She is the winner of two ACFW Carol Awards, the Selah Award, and the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award. She has a master’s degree in education from Converse College and lives in South Carolina.

Find Lynette Eason online at:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

About Oath of Honor

Police officer Isabelle St. John loves her crazy, loud, law-enforcement family. With three brothers and two sisters, she’s never without someone to hang out with–or fight with. And she knows they’ll be there for her when things get tough. Like when her partner is murdered and she barely escapes with her own life.

Determined to discover exactly what happened, Izzy’s investigation sends her headfirst into a criminal organization, possibly with cops on the payroll–including someone from her own family. With her dead partner’s handsome homicide detective brother Ryan shadowing her every move, Izzy’s head is spinning. How can she secure justice for her partner when doing so could mean sending someone she loves to prison? And how will she guard her heart when the man she’s had a secret crush on for years won’t leave her side?

With her signature fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat action, Lynette Eason invites readers into a captivating new series where justice is a family affair.

You can find Oath of Honor online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

You can read the introduction to Oath of Honor below:

Click here to find Oath of Honor and other great Christian fiction at my Amazon store!