Friday, May 14, 2021

First Line Fridays: Let It Be Me by Becky Wade

Happy Friday!

First Line Fridays is hosted by Hoarding Books and participants share the first line from a nearby book.

Today, I'm sharing the first line from Let It Be Me by Becky Wade.

"Mom and Dad are not my biological parents."

Have you read Let It Be Me? If not, check out the book blurb below and read my review here.

What are you reading this weekend? I'd love for you to share your book's first line!

Happy reading!



About the Book:

The one woman he wants is the one he cannot have.

Former foster kid Sebastian Grant has leveraged his intelligence and hard work to become a pediatric heart surgeon. But not even his career success can erase the void he's tried so hard to fill. Then he meets high school teacher Leah Montgomery and his fast-spinning world comes to a sudden stop. He falls hard, only to make a devastating discovery--Leah is the woman his best friend set his heart on months before.

Leah's a math prodigy who's only ever had one big dream--to earn her PhD. Raising her little brother put that dream on hold. Now that her brother will soon be college bound, she's not going to let anything stand in her way. Especially romance . . . which is far less dependable than algebra.

When Leah receives surprising results from the DNA test she submitted to a genealogy site, she solicits Sebastian's help. Together, they comb through hospital records to uncover the secrets of her history. The more powerfully they're drawn to each other, the more strongly Sebastian must resist, and the more Leah must admit that some things in life--like love--can't be explained with numbers.

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Book Review: Aftermath by Terri Blackstock

Aftermath
By Terri Blackstock
May 10 - June 4, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:


This gripping new thriller from New York Times bestselling author Terri Blackstock will leave you on the edge of your seat.

A devastating explosion.

Three best friends are at the venue just to hear their favorite band . . . but only one of them makes it out alive.

A trunk full of planted evidence.

When police stop Dustin with a warrant to search his trunk, he knows it’s just a mistake. He’s former military and owns a security firm. But he’s horrified when they find explosives, and he can’t fathom how they got there.

An attorney who will risk it all for a friend.

Criminal attorney Jamie Powell was Dustin’s best friend growing up. They haven’t spoken since he left for basic training, but she’s the first one he thinks of when he’s arrested. Jamie knows she’s putting her career on the line by defending an accused terrorist, but she’d never abandon him. Someone is framing Dustin to take the fall for shocking acts of violence . . . but why?

Praise for Aftermath:

“In Aftermath, Terri Blackstock plumbs the depth of human emotion in the face of devastating tragedy, grief, and loss. Yet, she still manages to give readers her trademark suspenseful story, sweet romance, and hope for the future. From gut wrenching scenes in a cancer patient’s hospital room to seeing the world through the eyes of a young woman with a debilitating mental health disorder, Blackstock pulls no punches about human frailties. Does the end justify the means? Romantic suspense lovers won’t want to miss Aftermath.”
—Kelly Irvin, bestselling author

“Justice may be blind but that doesn’t keep it from facing mortal danger. In Aftermath, expert storyteller Terri Blackstock ratchets up the suspense in a novel that delivers on every level. Conflicts rage and loyalties are tested to the ultimate limit. Set aside plenty of time when you pick up this book—you’ll not to want to take a break.”
—Robert Whitlow, bestselling author


Book Details:

Genre: Suspense
Published by: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: May 11th 2021
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN: 0310348587 (ISBN13: 9780310348580)
Series: Aftermath is a stand-alone novel
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christianbook | Goodreads


Read an Excerpt:

Aftermath

Chapter One

Taylor Reid’s phone flashed as she snapped the selfie with her two friends, their heads touching and their backs to the stage. The shot from the third row, with the lead singer in the background and the three of them in the foreground, was perfect. No one would believe their seats were so close.

They turned around to face the band, dancing to the beat of the song they’d been listening to in the car on the way to Trudeau Hall.

Taylor quickly posted the pic, typing, “Ed Loran targets nonpoliticals for his rally with band Blue Fire. Worked on us!”

She put her phone on videotape and zoomed onto the stage.

“I don’t want it to end!” Desiree said in her ear.

“Me either!” Taylor yelled over the music.

“Maybe they’ll play again after his speech,” Mara shouted.

The song came to an end, and the crowd went crazy, begging for one more song before the band left the stage.

But an amplified voice filled the auditorium, cutting off the adulation. “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the next president of the United States, Ed Loran!”

The crowd sounded less enthusiastic as the band left the stage and Ed Loran, the Libertarian celebrity magnet, made his entrance. Taylor kept cheering and clapping, letting her enthusiasm for the band segue to him.

It happened just as the candidate took the stage. The deafening sound, like some confusing combination of gunshot and lightning bolt, a blast that blacked out the lights and knocked her to the ground. Smoke mushroomed. Screams crescendoed—shrieks of terror, wailing pain, shocking anguish . . . then sudden, gentle silence, as if she were underwater. A loud ringing in her ears filled the void.

She peered under the seats, choking for breath as dimmer lights flickered through the smoke. Even from here, she could see the fallout of whatever had happened. Blood pooling on the ground, people hunkering down as she was, feet running . . . What was happening? An explosion? A crash? She looked around and couldn’t see her friends.

She clawed her way up and looked over the seat. Smoke and fire billowed from the stage into the crowd, and heat wafted over her like some living force invading the room. Muffled, muted sounds competed with the ringing.

Get out! Now! She dropped back down and crawled under two rows of seats until she came to someone limp on the floor. She felt herself scream but couldn’t hear her own voice. Scrambling to her feet, she went to her left to get to the aisle, but her foot slipped on something wet. She grabbed the seat next to her to steady herself, then launched into the frantic crowd in the aisle. The room seemed to spin, people whizzing by, people under her, people above her, people broken and ripped and still . . . She stepped and fell, crawled and ran, tripped and kicked her way to the bottlenecked doorway, then fought her way through it.

The ringing in her ears faded as she tumbled downstairs, almost falling into the lobby below. The sound of crying, coughing, wretching, and the roaring sound of pounding feet turned up as if some divine finger had fiddled with the volume.

She set her sights on the glass doors to the outside and pushed forward, moving through people and past the security stations they’d stopped at on the way in. She made it to the door and burst out into the sunlight.

Fresh, cool air hit her like freedom, but at first her lungs rejected it like some poison meant to stop her. At the bottom of the steps, on the sidewalk, she bent over and coughed until she could breathe.

After a moment, the crowd pushed her along toward the parking garage until she remembered that her car wasn’t there. She had parked on the street, blocks away. She forced her way out of the flow of people and ran a block south. Where was it?

She turned the corner. Her car was here, on this block. Near the Atlanta Trust Bank. Wasn’t it? Or was it the next block?

Sweat slicked her skin until she found her silver Accord. There!

She ran to it and pulled her keys out of her pocket, wishing she hadn’t lost the key fob. Her hands trembled as she stuck the key into the passenger side lock and got the door open. She slipped inside on the driver’s side, locked it behind her. Instinctively, she slid down, her head hidden as if someone were coming after her.

What just happened?

One minute they’d been taking selfies and videotaping the band, and the next they were on the floor . . .

Where were Mara and Desiree? She hadn’t even looked for them! Should she go back for them?

No, that would be insane. She could smell the smoke and fire from here. They would know to come to the car when they got out.

Call the police!

She tried to steady her hands as she swiped her phone on.

“911, what is your—”

“An explosion!” she cut in, her voice hoarse. “At the Ed Loran rally at Trudeau Hall!”

“Where are you now?” the woman asked in a voice that was robotically calm.

“I got out. There’s fire . . . People are still in there. Please send ambulances!”

“Ma’am, did you see what exploded?”

“No . . . the stage area, I think. I don’t know where my friends are. Please . . . hurry!”

“We’ve already dispatched the fire department and police, ma’am.”

She heard sirens from a few blocks away and cut off the call. She raised up, looking over the dashboard for the flashing lights. She couldn’t see any, but the sirens grew louder.

She knelt on the floorboard, her knees on her floormat and her elbows on her seat, and texted Desiree.

I’m at the car. Where are you?

No answer. She switched to a recent thread with Mara and texted again.

Got out. At car waiting. Where are you?

Nothing.

She dictated a group text to both of them.

Are you all right?

They were probably running or deaf, fighting their way out like she had. She tried calling them, but Mara’s phone rang to voicemail. When Desiree’s phone did the same, she yelled, “Call me! I’m waiting at the car and I’m scared. Where are you?” She was sobbing when she ended the call.

***

Excerpt from Aftermath by Terri Blackstock. Copyright 2021 by Terri Blackstock. Reproduced with permission from Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved.

 


My Thoughts:

I read Aftermath by Terri Blackstock in three sittings. This fast-paced mystery/suspense novel captured my attention on page two and kept me turning the pages, wanting to know what would happen next and who did the crime. I especially liked Jamie and Dustin’s connection despite many years of separation. Their youthful friendship laid a believable foundation for trust despite their years of separation. Observing the renewal of their friendship as they worked to discover the truth was thoroughly satisfying.

Though I have only read two books by Terri Blackstock, her book list shows she is a seasoned writer, and her expertise displays in Aftermath. I recommend this novel to Christian fiction readers who enjoy a good suspense novel.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.


Author Bio:

Terri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She has had over twenty-five years of success as a novelist. She’s the author of If I Run, If I’m Found, and If I Live, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, Moonlighters, and the Restoration series.

Visit her at:

www.TerriBlackstock.com
Goodreads
BookBub
Instagram - #terriblackstock
Twitter - #terriblackstock
Facebook - @tblackstock

 

 


Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!


Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Terri Blackstock & Thomas Nelson. There will be ONE (1) winner of one (1) physical copy of Aftermath (US Addresses only). The giveaway begins on May 10, 2021 and ends on June 5, 2021. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours



Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Danger on the Loch by Paige Edwards

Danger on the Loch JustRead Blog Tour

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Danger on the Loch by Paige Edwards, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK


Danger on the Loch

Title: Danger on the Loch
Author: Paige Edwards
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Release Date: April 5, 2021
Genre: Clean, Romantic Suspense

Raised by a cold and distant mother, photographer Paisley Clark has spent her life daydreaming about the father she doesn’t remember. Paisley’s dream turns to reality when a DNA test brings her in contact with the mysterious man. With her financial situation a disaster and her childhood friend James Pressley-Coombes working across the pond in Scotland, Paisley is emboldened to accept her father’s invitation to visit him. 

She arrives in the Highlands only to discover that she isn’t Paisley Clark at all but a titled lady, the daughter of a Scottish duke. Despite the warm welcome and the comfort of James’s presence, dangerous undercurrents surround Castle Rannoch, her father’s estate. Overwhelmed, Paisley takes refuge in her camera and James’s steady presence to provide a sense of normalcy in her rags-to-riches transformation. But her once-easy relationship with James is changing, deepening beyond friendship in a surprising twist of events. Before they have time to examine their feelings, Paisley inadvertently captures a shocking image in one of her photographs—a picture worth killing for.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & NobleBookbub


EXCERPT 

 Nora opened a case on the dressing table and placed a handful of brilliant hairpins strategically in Paisley’s hair.

“A furrow formed between Granny’s eyes as she examined the overall effect. “It’s too bad you aren’t married, Paisley. One of my tiaras would look smashing with that gown.”

“I have to be married to wear a tiara?”

Granny raised a brow. “How did you get to be so old and not know the basics of proper etiquette? No unmarried female should ever wear a tiara. You’ve been watching too much Disney.”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Paige Edwards 

Born and raised in Southern California, Paige Edwards is an award-winning author who thinks the color turquoise is almost as great, but not quite, as See’s Candy. A BYU-I alumna, she went back to school and graduated summa cum laude from NOVA with a degree in interior design. Her husband’s job transferred their family to the mid-Atlantic states where they have lived ever since. When she needs a break from writing, you can find her shooing deer out of her garden, biking battlefields, or kayaking on the lake.

CONNECT WITH PAIGE: Website | Facebook | Instagram

TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a print copy of Danger on the Loch by Paige Edwards and a $25 Amazon gift card!

Danger on the Loch JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight May 10, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on May 17, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours 

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Book Review: A Captain for Caroline Gray by Julie Wright

About the Book:

Caroline Gray would rather be daring and intelligent than demure and insipid, which is why she is still unmatched after her third season in London. Her family’s threadbare finances leave Caroline with only one choice to secure her future: sail with the Fishing Fleet to India, where the son of a family friend is willing to consider an engagement to her.

Captain Thomas Scott loves the open sea as much as he despises the three-month, twice-yearly trip his ship makes as he ferries young English girls across the ocean. He can’t imagine what family would allow an innocent young woman to be matched up with the Englishmen of questionable reputation who work and live in India.

But when Miss Gray boards the HMS Persistence, all of Captain Scott’s plans are upended. Miss Gray’s fiery spirit can’t be contained, and he is shocked and secretly delighted at her boldness—and her beauty. But the rest of his passengers aren’t so kind.

Caroline finds herself an outcast among her peers, but Captain Scott becomes an unlikely ally. They share the same passions and interests, creating an undeniable attraction. But they both know any relationship between them is impossible. After all, Caroline has obligations to fulfill in India.

Caroline has until the end of the voyage to decide if she is going to marry a man she has never met or be brave enough to love a sea captain who just might break her heart.


My Thoughts:

I enjoyed reading A Captain for Caroline Gray by Julie Wright. This well-written, historical romance novel held my attention from start to finish, largely due to Caroline, an intelligent, plucky, young woman who finds herself in need of a husband and unable to live within society’s expectations for women. I loved her passion and wit as well as her personal journey throughout the story.

I found the romance in A Captain for Caroline Gray wonderfully entertaining. A steady romantic tension between Caroline and Thomas (Captain Scott) kept their relationship at the forefront of the story. Their clever banter, their attraction, and even their disagreements amused me.

A Captain for Caroline Gray by Julie Wright possessed both depth and tension, but never felt heavy, even as it addressed themes of forgiveness and truth.  I recommend this novel to readers who enjoy clean historical romances.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this product via the Amazon Vine program. All opinions in this review are my own.


Friday, May 7, 2021

Book Review: Let It Be Me by Becky Wade

About the Book:

The one woman he wants is the one he cannot have.

Former foster kid Sebastian Grant has leveraged his intelligence and hard work to become a pediatric heart surgeon. But not even his career success can erase the void he's tried so hard to fill. Then he meets high school teacher Leah Montgomery and his fast-spinning world comes to a sudden stop. He falls hard, only to make a devastating discovery--Leah is the woman his best friend set his heart on months before.

Leah's a math prodigy who's only ever had one big dream--to earn her PhD. Raising her little brother put that dream on hold. Now that her brother will soon be college bound, she's not going to let anything stand in her way. Especially romance . . . which is far less dependable than algebra.

When Leah receives surprising results from the DNA test she submitted to a genealogy site, she solicits Sebastian's help. Together, they comb through hospital records to uncover the secrets of her history. The more powerfully they're drawn to each other, the more strongly Sebastian must resist, and the more Leah must admit that some things in life--like love--can't be explained with numbers.


My Thoughts:

Let It Be Me by Becky Wade mixes spiritual themes, a love triangle, a family mystery, and fabulous C. S. Lewis quotes. I appreciated that the author designed a believable love triangle without a villain and created fulfilling depth in the story as the characters experienced emotional and spiritual wrestling.

Sebastian, a determined pediatric heart surgeon, and Leah, a math genius, have unique personalities. At times I found it hard to relate to either of them, especially when Sebastian’s pining for Leah turned a bit angsty. However, Leah and Sebastian complemented each other perfectly. They communicated openly, if not bluntly, with honesty and humor. Their romantic tension and chemistry led to swoony kissing scenes that pleased my romance-loving heart.

Let It Be Me stands as the second novel in Becky Wade’s Misty River Romance series. This contemporary romance works as a stand-alone, but I recommend reading the novels in order as characters do reappear. I look forward to reading Luke’s story in the final novel.



Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.


First Line Fridays: A Stage for Harriet by Mary-Celeste Ricks

Happy Friday!

First Line Fridays is hosted by Hoarding Books and participants share the first line from a nearby book.

Today, I'm sharing the first line from A Stage for Harriet by Mary-Celeste Ricks.

"Virginia wrestled the carriage window open and took a gasping breath of fresh air."

Have you read A Stage for Harriet? If not, check out the book blurb below. As it happens, this novel is currently sitting in my TBR stack, but I look forward to reading it soon.

What are you reading this weekend? I'd love for you to share your book's first line!

Happy reading!



About the Book:

When farmer's daughter Harriet Shore flees her small seaside town to accept a position as a governess in London, attending lavish balls and parties is the last thing on her mind. She long ago gave up her childish notion of acting, but when the Duchess of Dorset notices Harriet's uncanny resemblance to her own daughter, Virginia, the duchess offers Harriet the role of a lifetime.

Befriending and impersonating Virginia is easy enough at first, but Harriet's double life quickly becomes complicated. When her childhood sweetheart, Stephan Grimsby, arrives on the scene, along with some unwanted suitors, the entire charade threatens to unravel.

If Harriet maintains the illusion and pleases the duchess, her dreamed-of happy ending would be within reach, but her new friend Virginia might suffer a terrible fate.


First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books