Ten years ago Lukio fled Kiryat-Yearim, where he’d been adopted by the Levite family who guarded the Ark of the Covenant. Feeling betrayed by everyone, he returned to his birthplace in Philistia to become a famous fighter. Now the champion of Ashdod, Lukio has achieved every goal with the help of his ruthless cousin. But just as he is set to claim the biggest prize of all, the daughter of the king, his past collides with his present in the form of Shoshana.
After a heartbreaking end to her secret friendship with Lukio, Shoshana thought to never see the boy with the dual-colored eyes and the troubled soul again. But when she is captured in a Philistine raid and enslaved in Ashdod, she is surprised to find that the brutal fighter known as Demon-Eyes is Lukio himself.
With explosive secrets and unbreakable vows standing between them, finding a way to freedom for both may cost them everything.
“I had run away like a spoiled child all the way to Ashdod, wounded by my perceptions…I’d run away instead of standing strong and acting like the man I’d insisted I was back then.” What an incredible Biblical fiction novel Connilyn Cossette brings to us in Between the Wild Branches, #2, The Covenant House. Lukio, who scorned the love of his adopted Israeli family has returned to his native Philistia . There, he rises to prominence as “Demon-Eyes,” and “The Champion of Ashdod,” a pugilist who is wealthy, popular, and can have any woman he desires.
Unfortunately, he wants the one, Shoshana, he cannot have. Lukio attracts the notice of Ashdod’s power-hungry king, Nicaro. The action ramps up from here and never lets up. First things first: read book one, To Dwell Among Cedars, before reading Between the Wild Branches. The novel will be enhanced greatly. Just as the covers fit together into one picture, so the novels fit seamlessly together and one is not complete without the other. Cossette is a fabulous storyteller, researcher, suspense artist, and Biblical scholar. I couldn’t bear to put this book down. I felt like I had opened a treasure chest when I opened this book. So many truth nuggets burst forth.
A clean romance builds as it winds through the tale, achingly beautiful as Cossette feeds us only snippets of the past interwoven sporadically with the present. Biblical times customs and culture of both Israel and Philistia are explored, and the reader’s eyes are opened to what life in those countries was truly like. Strategy, intrigue, and suspense will keep either male or female readers flipping through pages as fast as their fingers and eyes can move. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. My thanks to the author and publisher for a copy of this book. No positive review was required. All thoughts are my own, voluntarily submitted.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Magnificent!! Blown Away!!!
About the Author
Connilyn Cossette is a Christy Award and Carol Award winning author whose books have been found on both ECPA and CBA bestseller lists. When she is not engulfed in the happy chaos of homeschooling two teenagers, devouring books whole, or avoiding housework, she can be found digging into the rich ancient world of the Bible to discover gems of grace that point to Jesus and weaving them into an immersive fiction experience. Although she and her husband have lived all over the country in their twenty-plus years of marriage, they currently call a little town south of Dallas, Texas their home. Connect with her at www.ConnilynCossette.com
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?
“The mystery and legend of the Lucky Martha just got a lot more complicated. Because they weren’t just dealing with an excavation. Now he was pretty certain they were dealing with murder. “ Travel back in time to the building of the Golden Gate Bridge, the years before as San Francisco is being formed, and again forward to present-day San Fran. Bridge of Gold by Kimberley Woodhouse is certainly one of Woodhouse’s best! The third in the Doors of the Past series, each book is a standalone novel, involving a dual timeline. Woodhouse has masterfully built so much suspense into this story of two couples, Luke and Margo, and Kayla and Steven. Generations apart, 3 of the four individuals are divers, working on or around the Golden Gate Bridge. I love dual timelines, and this one is no exception, extremely well-done. Woodhouse alternately hands us various “jigsaw puzzle pieces” of the story, challenging the reader to put together the mystery (and there are several!) before it(they) are revealed.
Fear, Trust, Letting Go, Greed, Entitlement, and Forgiveness (of the most heinous crimes) are all themes.) I loved being inside so many different characters’ minds. I could feel each person’s need to keep secrets or respond in the way they did (mostly). Woodhouse pulls out all the stops with some great twisted thinking on the part of her criminals, great story twists, and even the fact that the author’s notes came in the beginning, as opposed to the end of the story. That alone really whetted my appetite for this great historical fiction novel! I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher via Celebrate Lit. No positive review was required. My thoughts are voluntarily submitted, and all opinions are my own.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Magnificent! Another Winner for Barbour and Woodhouse!
About the Author
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: http://www.kimberleywoodhouse.com and http://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
Five years in a New York state reformatory have left a blemish on Hazel’s real name. So when she takes a job as Doctor Gilbert Watts’s lady in attendance in 1898, she does so under an alias. In the presence of her quiet and pious employer, Hazel finds more than an income. She finds a friend and a hope that if she can set her tarnished past in order, she might have a future after all.
As Gilbert becomes accustomed to the pleasant chatter of his new dental assistant, he can’t help but sense something secretive about her. Perhaps there is more to this woman than meets the eye. Can the questions that loom between them ever be answered? Or will the deeds of days gone by forever rob the future of its possibilities?
Rachel Fordham pens a tender tale of a soft-spoken man, a hardened woman, and the friends that stand by them as they work toward a common purpose–to expunge the record of someone society deemed beyond saving–and perhaps find love along the way.
Reading the author’s “why” behind one of the main characters made me love this story all the more. Rachel Fordham certainly accomplishes what she set out to do… make a quiet, unassuming, often brunt-of-jokes character into a sympathetic, greatly caring, and deep personality! How I loved him, and I believe most readers will connect well with Gil as he slowly emerges from his self-made cocoon. The leading lady that is so opposite Gil and draws him out? Readers won’t be able to help but love Hazel, either, as we gradually are able to compare the amazing person she is, with the persona she exhibited for so many years.
Fordham fleshes out the story with some friends of Gil and Hazel I grew to love. They showed more depth than I would have credited them. Which, by the way, was one of the major themes of the novel- judging people based on looks, their pasts, or societal relegations. And, oh, that we could all learn the forgiveness that would set us free. Several characters must choose what degree of forgiveness they will offer-or receive- and that will make ALL the difference. Loved the inclusion of art, corn harvest, dental practice, reformatory life, and more. Just a powerful story. I received a copy of the book through Revell Reads. I was not obligated to leave a positive review. All opinions are my own, voluntarily submitted.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Magnificent!! Powerful Story!!
About the Author
Rachel Fordham has long been fascinated by all things historical or in the words of her children “old stuff”. Often the historical trivia she discovers is woven into her children’s bedtime tales. Despite her love for good stories she didn’t attempt writing a novel until her husband challenged her to do so (and now she’s so glad he did). Since that time she’s often been found typing or researching while her youngest child naps or frantically writing plot twists while she waits in the school pick-up line. In addition to her passion for storytelling she enjoys reading, being outdoors and seeing new places. Rachel lives with her husband and children on an island in Washington state.
Learn more about current projects at rachelfordham.com
The first in new dessert cozy mystery series! A murder in town is bound to shake things up…
After her divorce from her thrice-married embezzler husband, Trinidad Jones is finally ready for a fresh start. So when she’s left one of ex’s businesses in Upper Sprocket, Oregon, she decides to pack up her dog, cash in her settlement, and open her dream business: the Shimmy and Shake Shop, introducing the world to her monster milkshakes. And even with a couple sticky situations underway, namely that the other two ex-wives also call Sprocket home, Trinidad’s life seems to be churning along smoothly.
That is, until she discovers her neighbor, the Popcorn King, head down in his giant popcorn kettle. When one of Trinidad’s fellow ex-wives is accused of the murder and Upper Sprocket descends into mayhem, it’s going to take a supersized scoop of courage to flush out the killer.
“Sometimes I feel like damaged goods, like I have to pay a price forever just because I believed the wrong man.” Unfortunately, not only has Trinidad Jones been married to a cheater and a liar, but life has also now forced her to start her new shake business in the same town where her ex’s other two exes live. Ooh, the gossip this starts. And the connections just get better or worse, depending on who you ask. First, Trinidad’s first friend is an unbelievable person. Then she has barely gotten settled when she finds a dead body. When she investigates with the help of the few friends she makes, the police chief is not a fan. “I am still more than annoyed to find you popping up in this investigation at every turn. You’re like a human-sized whack-a-mole.”
I loved Trinidad’s special dog, Noodles. He is such an important part of the novel. And the relationship between brothers Doug and Quinn. What a joy to see that play out. Plus, Papa Luiz. Everyone needs a Papa Luiz in her life. Fortunately for us, we get to see more of Papa Luiz in the next book. Clean, no bad language, cute, prominent dog, quirky characters, special needs character, plus an amateur sleuth who honestly works her yummy business. Get Pint of No Return, #1 Shake Shop Mystery by Dana Mentink, now.
I wish to thank the author for a copy of this book via Celebrate Lit. I also purchased my own copy. No positive review was required. All thoughts were left voluntarily, and are solely mine.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Magnificent! — All the Great Cozy Elements
About the Author
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 the 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, Harvest House, and Poisoned Pen Press. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, teen bear cubs affectionately nicknamed Yogi and Boo Boo, Junie, the nutty terrier, and a chubby box turtle. You can connect with Dana via her website at danamentink.com, on Facebook, YouTube (Author Dana Mentink) and Instagram (dana_mentink.)
More from Dana
Freakshakes. The name says it all, right? Allow me to explain. A freakshake is a milkshake festooned with so many extras (sprinkles, cookies, candy, donuts, cake, slabs of pie) that it is hardly liftable. It is the stuff my sugar fantasy dreams are made of! Now picture a freakshake shop called the Shimmy and Shake in the quaint and quirky town of Upper Sprocket in Eastern Oregon. Known as the “Swiss Alps” of Oregon, this fictional place is the new home to a woman named Trinidad Jones, a lady starting out on the second phase of her life after her husband’s betrayal. Sprinkle in a dose of Papa Luis, her darling Cuban grandfather (inspired by my own Cuban grandfather) who drives a classic Buick, and a devoted service dog flunk out named Noodles. You know what’s missing? A murder, of course! That happens shortly after Trinidad opens her new shop, and from there on out it’s a sticky, spine tingling, sweet and satisfying and slightly funny adventure in mystery land. I had an absolute blast writing the first installment in this series, and I’m knee deep in the second as I write this. Thank you for coming along on the adventure and I hope it’s as satisfying as a monster milkshake!
Reporter Trinity Lockhart pursues a story but then unwittingly becomes the story.
Acting on a tip from an anonymous source, Trinity investigates an art trafficking ring at a high-end Seattle gallery. She turns to handsome FBI agent Kyle Richards for help after being spotted by the crooks.
Kyle is drawn to the feisty reporter, but he can’t afford a beautiful distraction when lives are at stake. He must trust his friends at Protection Inc. to watch over Trinity while he investigates the gallery.
Will this couple overcome the impossible odds threatening to keep them apart?
Trouble with a capital T. Nobody on the right side of the law much cares for TV news reporter Trinity Lockhart of KXB News in Seattle. So when this thief’s daughter gets an anonymous tip about stolen art at a prestigious art gallery in Seattle and turns to FBI Special Agent Kyle Richards for help, he balks. As does Protection, Inc, the ex-police group he recruits to protect her and the police (did I mention Trinity greatly distrusts the police?!). At first, I had a hard time caring about Trinity and Kyle. But by 40% the way through, the action begins to build and I was thoroughly invested, skillfully drawn in by Kimberly Rose Johnson’s slow build romance and carefully unpeeling of Trinity’s real personality. Just like Kyle, I found myself unable to resist the gradual appeal of this deepening, dangerous mystery.
It was fun to see characters from previous books and feel the great family camaraderie established between members of the Protection, Inc. group. Read these books, Protection, Inc, in order to get the full effect. You will really enjoy this novel, Dark Threat, book four, by the time you reach it. Recommended. I gratefully thank the author and publisher for a copy of this book via Celebrate Lit. No positive thoughts were required, and all opinions are voluntarily left and solely my own.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Magnificent! I love the Protection, Inc, team and their camaraderie!!
About the Author
Award winning author Kimberly Rose Johnson married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child Kimberly has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing. She especially loves romance and writes romantic suspense and mystery with a heart.
Kimberly holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.
Dark Threat features FBI agent Kyle Richards. We first met Kyle in book one of the Protection Inc. series where he joined the team while working undercover for the FBI. He has since become an honorary member of the team and has been in every book since.
When I set out to write this series I planned to only feature the team members, but Kyle is practically part of the team, so he needed his own story too. I thoroughly enjoyed getting into Kyle’s head for this book.
As with most books, this one took research. Through the years I’ve done all kinds of research to understand the occupations of my characters. For the characters occupations in Dark Threat I did some different kind of research than I’ve done in the past.
I really wanted to understand how FBI agents think and operate so I listened to an audio book written by a former agent. The man was rough around the edges but it really helped me understand the atmosphere in which agents work. Then I read a book written by a female, former CIA as well as FBI agent. It was fascinating to see the differences between the agencies from a former agent’s point of view.
Trinity, the female lead in Dark Threat is a crime beat reporter. I pretty much knew nothing about the life of a television reporter, so I watched You Tube videos filmed by actual reporters about a day in their lives as reporters. One young woman did a series of videos, which I found extremely helpful. Another had the camera following her on the job. From her I learned about what it’s like to go out on location and how meal times during her day on the job were never guaranteed. She’d grab a bite when she could and sometimes she wouldn’t even be able to finish it because she had to rush to a breaking story.
Finally, I needed to better understand the art world. I have a college friend who is an amazing artist. She has a gallery in Boise, Idaho. I contacted her and picked her brain about art and art galleries.
As for anything related to law enforcement I asked my uncle who is a retired police officer.
The thing I loved most about talking to people about their professions is that one question often snowballed into a deeper conversation about the topic. My friend and my uncle would tell me things I didn’t even know I needed to know.
I think Dark Threat required the most research of all the books I’ve written. I’m not a huge fan of doing research, but I truly enjoyed every minutes of it for this book.
I hope you will enjoy reading Dark Threat even more than I enjoyed writing it!
While most stories set in Regency England focus on the rich, the young, and the beautiful, award-winning author Carolyn Miller decided she wanted to give readers something different for a change. Her new Regency Wallflowers series follows the commoners, away from the hustle and bustle of 1810s London, out in the Lake District of England. She tells the stories of women who are slightly older and have few prospects for marriage, women who might be considered “wallflowers.”
About the Book
How can a meek wallflower help a returning war hero whose dreams are plunged into darkness?
Mary Bloomfield has no illusions. Her chances for matrimony have long since passed her by. Still, her circumstances are pleasant enough, especially now that she has found purpose in assisting her father with his medical practice in England’s beautiful Lake District. Even without love, it’s a peaceful life.
That is until Adam Edgerton returns to the sleepy district. This decorated war hero did not arrive home to acclaim and rest, but to a new battle against the repercussions of an insidious disease. Mary’s caring nature cannot stand to see someone suffer–but how can she help this man see any brightness in his future when he’s plunged into melancholic darkness, his dreams laid waste by his condition?
Adam wants no charity, but he’s also no coward. If this gentle woman can work hard, how can he do less? Together they struggle to find a way forward for him. Frustration and antipathy slowly develop into friendship and esteem. Then a summer storm atop a mountain peak leads to scandal–and both Mary and Adam must search the depths of their closed hearts for answers if they hope to find any future path with happiness at its end.
Best-selling author Carolyn Miller is back with a fresh series that will not only thrill readers eager for more of her work, but bring in new fans looking for beautiful writing, fascinating research, deftly woven love stories, and real faith lived out in the Regency period.
“God’s goodness did not fade away simply because she did not perceive it. Circumstances were not a faithful prism through which to see God’s love. God’s love, like the sun, always remained.” Englishman Adam Edgerton, a local hero, and favored son has yet to learn this as he feels God has deserted him. In 1811, he returns from war, injured and broken. Can sweet, positive, wallflower Mary Bloomfield nurse back to health not only his body but his soul? These two are brought together by unusual circumstances. Miller kept me spell-bound as I watched each of them transform the other. Miller weaves a compelling regency with a strong faith message. It isn’t overbearing, but it is prominent, part of the necessary fabric.
“What if God did want people to trust Him to act in miraculous ways today? Was it presumptuous to believe in healing miracles? Or was it faith?” So many questions for God as Emily and Adam each work out their own faith. I loved seeing the family dynamics play out in Emily’s family, Adam’s family, and Susan’s. Sometimes one wonders if a character’s family had been different, would that have altered his or her personality? An animal is recognized as being an important part of Adam’s healing. I love this concept and the way it is integrated into the story. Why does God answer some prayers and not others? At the end of the novel, I still grapple with this main question. But, like Mary and Adam, I’m willing to trust God to make the plans and to lean hard into His ways. I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher via Read with Audra. No positive recommendation was required, and all thoughts are solely my own. Because of content, recommended for adults and mature teens.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Magnificent! A Regency to Remember
About the Author
Carolyn Miller is an inspirational romance author who lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children.
A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English literature and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. She enjoys music, films, gardens, art, travel, and food.
Miller’s novels have won a number of RWA and ACFW contests. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Australasian Christian Writers.
Enter to win a fun prize pack inspired by the book and its English setting that includes:
– a copy of Dusk’s Darkest Shores – a canvas bag to carry your latest reads – a fun pair of Jane Austen socks – Novel Teas’ English Breakfast tea – “Drink tea, read books, and be happy” tea spoon – “Let your faith be bigger than your fear” mug – Black currant preserves from England – Wax Lyrical candle from England
“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.
How can people even do such horrible things, Katrina wonders. “Sin doesn’t just show itself in actions: it has a deluding influence, too. It makes people rationalize unimaginable things, and makes them call evil good and good, evil.” So goes part of the discussion between professor Katrina Peters and her detective fiancé Todd Mason. They are trying to puzzle out the “extra story” case from Katrina’s Writing Detective Fiction Class. The class gets deeper and deeper involved as hate crimes are committed, a community member is killed, and worse.
I have really enjoyed the development of Todd and Katrina’s relationship over this three-book series. I would highly recommend reading all three books in the order written to get the most from the series. The tapestry of the storyline is made beautifully solid by threads of other friends who are foster parents and their very real daily struggles. A second possible romantic thread strengthens the depth of the novel as does the inclusion of Todd and Katrina’s wedding plans and first-home preparations. Very satisfying. My thanks to the author and publisher for a copy of this book, provided by Celebrate Lit. No positive feedback was expected, and all opinions are solely my own.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Magnificent! Very Satisfying Conclusion.
About the Author
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!
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?
“God had given him the job to bring order to the world again. And that’s just what he would do.” Every crime has a motive, but when the perpetrator sees his motive as heaven-blessed, watch out world! The year is 1900, and women have begun the fight for the right to vote. Many men feel that a woman’s place is in the home, either under her husband or her father’s protection and jurisdiction.
Polly Blythe is trying hard to disprove her father of that notion as she struggles for a place in the newsroom of the Denver Post. Can she succeed against the odds in a man’s world, as an evil force begins to target people surrounding her and finally Polly herself? I think the wonderful unfolding of the relationship between Polly and police detective Edwin Price held me captive from the first. I loved the whole Price family. And villains? Tolsma gives us plenty to dislike heartily, and I just couldn’t put the book down no matter how late the hour. Be ready for unexpected twists and one thrilling chill of a ride! I received a copy of the book from the author and publisher via Celebrate Lit and NetGalley. No remuneration was received and no positive review was required. All thoughts are my own.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Magnificent! A Fave!
About the Author
Liz Tolsma is the author of several WWII novels, romantic suspense novels, prairie romance novellas, and an Amish romance. She is a popular speaker and an editor and resides next to a Wisconsin farm field with her husband and their youngest daughter. Her son is a US Marine, and her oldest daughter is a college student. Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. Please visit her website at http://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.
Seeking refuge in Amish country puts everyone she loves in danger.
On the run after discovering her brother-in-law was behind her husband’s murder, Faith Cooper can think of only one safe place—her Amish grandmother’s home. But when danger follows Faith to the quiet Amish community, her childhood friend Eli Shetler is her only protection. And their survival depends on outlasting a relentless killer…one who has nothing left to lose.
“Faith appeared to be one more bad thing away from falling apart.” Oh, the tension here!! Why you might enjoy Shielding the Amish Witness by Mary Alford. First, the action is immediate. Faith Cooper St. Claire has just discovered her deceased husband’s note implicating both himself and his brother as crooked cops working for a ruthless drug dealer. When Faith shows her sister-in-law, Cheryl, this evidence, Cheryl is ruthlessly killed by said brother-in-law, Vince, and Faith must flee for her life. Secondly, Faith, Eli, and Sarah, the main protagonists, are not unbelievably intelligent people with whiz computer hacking skills. They are normal people, with extraordinary circumstances to be overcome, set against what should be a very peaceful Amish background. That juxtaposition helps lessen a little of the intensity of the high-octane suspense. If you are looking for true romantic suspense one or two notches below bordering on terror, this fits the bill nicely.
I love secondary characters who are the kind I would love to have in my life. Grossmammi Sarah is one of these, with “Never a negative word. Not even for the man who had torn apart their family.” She also fully embraces Faith’s return, loving her and waiting patiently for Faith to be ready to talk without pushing for answers. And so much peace, wisdom, and faith in Gott that can only come with years of practice, exercising our trust muscle. Eli, I love because he is also broken and flawed, but he is faithful to his dear friend Sarah. Will that extend to Sarah’s beloved granddaughter, Faith? Highly recommended! I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher via Celebrate Lit. No positive review was required andall opinions are my own.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Magnificent!! Highly Recommended!!
About the Author
USA Today Bestselling Author, Mary Alford, loves giving her readers the un-expected, whether it be in a rugged mountain setting or a peaceful Amish community.
Her titles have appeared on the USA Today Bestselling List, Publisher’s Weekly Bestselling List, and have been finalists in the Daphne Du Maurier award of excellence, The Beverly, The Maggie, and The Selah Awards.
Mary lives in Texas with her husband, two very spoiled cats, and a sweet rescue dog name Cody. Mary is very active online and would love to connect with readers on Face-book and Twitter or any social platforms listed at www.maryalford.net.
More from Mary
As a reader, I love books that are part of a series. There’s something comforting about being able to revisit characters that are special to me and meet new ones along the way. You get to go back to your favorite place and hang out with the people who make you smile.
It’s like coming home.
When I set out to write a series about five Amish brothers, I knew exactly where I wanted to set the series. The West Kootenai Amish community in Montana. West Kootenai is a remote community with sweeping mountain views surrounded by vast wilderness spaces. The perfect setting for suspense, along with a chance at redemption and a second chance for the hero and heroine. I love that.
In November, I introduced Covert Amish Christmas, the first book in the series that featured Aaron Shetler, the oldest of the five brothers.
In Shielding the Amish Witness, we meet Eli Shetler, a widower who has returned to West Kootenai to try to start over after his wife’s death two years earlier.
Eli is reunited with his childhood friend, Faith Cooper, who is running from a relentless killer who was once part of her family.
The book takes the reader through the breathtaking countryside of West Kootenai and into the homes of the Shelter family. We get to catch up on what Aaron and Victoria have been up since last we met and are introduced to some new family members. That’s the wonderful thing about series.
So, come with me on a trip to the beautiful community of West Kootenai, Montana where I hope my characters will make you feel right at home.
In writing about the Amish, I’ve come to love preparing their dishes. I’ve tried many recipes, from Amish Pizza to Friendship soup. But one of my all-time favorites is Amish Fry Pies. They are SO good!
Today, I thought I’d share the recipe for Amish Apple Fry Pies. I love this delicious desert and I hope you will as well.
To make the filling, combine the apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla in a small saucepan. Cook on medium heat until juices start to form, about 3 minutes. Make a slurry by whisking together the cider and cornstarch. Stir this into the pan, turn the heat up to high, and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened, about 3 minutes longer. Remove from heat and set aside.
For the dough, cut the butter into cubes then use a pastry cutter to work it into the flour. Continue to cut in the butter until it’s in small pea-sized lumps. In a small mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks and salt together. Slowly pour in hot milk, stirring constantly. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture. Stir together until a dough begins to form. Turn the dough out onto parchment or wax paper, and knead it until it smooths out, about 1 minute.
Divide the dough into 6 equal sized pieces and roll them each into a ball. Use a rolling pin to roll them out to about 6-inch circles. Fill each circle with 2 Tablespoons of apple mixture. Fold the dough in half over the filling and pinch the edges together to seal. You can flute the edges or use a fork to crimp them. If the edges aren’t sealing properly, wet them with a little water.
Heat the oil in a deep saucepan to 350 degrees. You can test to see if the oil is ready by sticking a wooden spoon into the center of the pot. If small bubbles form around the handle, you’re ready to go.
Place the pies in the hot oil one at a time and fry until golden brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to dry.
Repeat with remaining pies.
While the pies fry, make the glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk until smooth. It’s best to glaze the pies while they’re still warm. I use a pastry brush to brush the glaze on one side then let it dry, flip them over, and glaze the other side. You can put two coats of glaze on for extra sweetness if you like but wait for the glaze to harden in between coats.
Pies can be stored uncovered for 2-3 days. If you want the glaze to remain hard, do not place the pies in a plastic bag or sealed container. Just leave them on a wire rack or pan.
Blaine Grayson returns to Three Sisters Island with a grand plan–to take Camp Kicking Moose to the next level. Her dream starts to unravel when she discovers Moose Manor’s kitchen has been badly remodeled by her sister, Cam, who doesn’t know how to cook. Added to that blow is the cold shoulder given by her best friend, Artie Lotosky, now a doctor to the unbridged Maine islands.
As old wounds are opened, Blaine starts to wonder if she made a mistake by coming home. Little by little, she must let go of one dream to discover a new one, opening her heart to a purpose and a future she had never imagined.
Welcome back to Three Sisters Island, ME, and another visit with Paul Grayson and his three grown daughters. (I was thankful for the character list at beginning of this book. With the books in the series a year apart, it can be hard to remember who’s who.) At Lighthouse Point, #3 Three Sisters Island, by Suzanne Woods Fisher is very enjoyable as it focuses especially on Blaine’s return to the island, yet we see Cam and Maddie maturing in their marriages and the dynamics of the family as a whole. There are so many character developments or relationships examined, that the flow of the storyline is wonderfully robust and busy from every angle. With healthy doses of faith that are spoken in Woods’ trademark profound but easy-to-understand style, this book is the perfect conclusion to The Three Sisters’ Island series. Woods even surprised me a few times with her twists and turns.
I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit via Net Galley and LibraryThing Early Reviewers. No positive review was required and all thoughts are my own.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Magnificent!! A fave for its truths and tightly woven storyline.
About the Author
Award winning author Suzanne Woods Fisher writes for readers who have learned to expect the unexpected. With more than one million copies of her books sold worldwide, she is the bestselling author of more than 30 works, ranging from novels to non-fiction books to children’s books. Currently, she lives with her very big family in the East Bay.
More from Suzanne
10 Curious Facts about Lighthouses
People love lighthouses. There’s just something special about those sturdy sentinels with their beacons of light, patiently sweeping the water, their mournful and haunting wail of a foghorn. Longfollow’s poem, The Lighthouse, written in 1850, captured the allure so well:
And as the evening darkens, lo! how bright, Through the deep purple of the twilight air, Beams forth the sudden radiance of its light, With strange, unearthly splendor in the glare!
“Unearthly splendor.” Wow, doesn’t that hit the nail on the head? A lighthouse, to me, represents a spiritual truth: Someone’s watching out for us, looking out for the dangers ahead, and always glad to welcome us home.
Here are 10 facts about lighthouses that you might not know:
THE FIRST KNOWN LIGHTHOUSE was Egypt’s Pharos of Alexandria, Egypt, built in the third century B.C. The lighthouse was made from a fire on a platform to warn sailors of the port’s entrance. This lighthouse was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
THE OLDEST EXISTING LIGHTHOUSE IN THE WORLD is considered to be La Coruna in Spain that dates from ca. 20 B.C. A Roman lighthouse is located on the Cliffs of Dover in the UK that was constructed in 40 A.D.
THE UNITED STATES IS HOME to more lighthouses than any other country.
THE FIRST LIGHTHOUSE IN AMERICA was at Boston on Little Brewster Island (1716). The first keeper was George Worthylake who, sadly, was drowned, along with his wife and daughter, when returning to the island in 1718.
THE TALLEST LIGHTHOUSE is on Cape Hatteras, NC. Built in 1872, it reached 196 feet tall.
THE FIRST WEST COAST LIGHTHOUSE was built on Alcatraz Island in 1854.
DAYMARKS are the painted colors and patterns (diamonds, spirals and stripes) on lighthouse towers to distinguish them from each other.
LIGHTHOUSE KEEPING was one of the first U.S. government jobs available to women, as far back as the 19th century. Most obtained their position when their husband died or became incapacitated.
THE RANGE OF THE LIGHTHOUSE LIGHT produces a light seen 25 miles at sea.
ABOUT 700 LIGHTHOUSES are still in active use in the United States.
As I wrote the third book in the ‘Three Sisters island’ series, I just had to give that little charred lighthouse its day in the sun. It had patiently played a role in the first two books, waiting for its turn on center stage. Not only did its setting provide a very unexpected “WHAT? How did that happen?” conclusion to the series, it even stole the headline! The undisputed title: At Lighthouse Point.
Do you have a favorite lighthouse? If so, please add your picture in the comments below. Don’t forget to include its location.
Thanks for reading! Stay well, stay home, and read.