Perfectly Placed by Liana George

 

About the Book

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Book: Perfectly Placed

Author: Liana George

Genre: Contemporary Christian Women’s Fiction

Release date: July 5, 2022

Nicki’s tasked with making New Hope the perfect place for orphaned children.

So why has everything gone wrong?

Six weeks after leaving China, Nicki Mayfield returns to complete two critical tasks: restore order at New Hope Orphanage and re-connect with the little girl who stole her heart. However, between a stubbornly stone walling supervisor, missing documents, and personal tragedy, Nicki faces challenges at every turn. Is she the best person to bring order – and longevity – to the place these children call home? Then, with the help of an unexpected ally, Nicki makes a life-altering decision that upends her well-planned life and the lives of those around her. Will she lose it all, or has she found the way to save what matters most?

 

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK 

I really had fun reading Perfectly Placed, book 2 in The Hopeful Heart Series. I read book one, Perfectly Arranged when it released and I fell in love with Nicki and New Hope Orphanage. I could not wait to read this one and it did not disappoint! When Nicki returns to China to restore order at New Hope Orphanage and re-connect with the little girl who stole her heart, things were not what she expected. With everything in an uproar, Nicki had more than she bargains for. 

With characters to bring the story to life, Nicki has challenges and twists and turns that were difficult for her to figure out. At time I felt like it was there alongside Nicki and the other characters trying to help them. Author Liana George, does a fabulous job writing this book. I think her  writing style is phenomenal, and I can’t wait for the next book. I love the details of China, and I think the fact that Liana George has lived in China gives her the perfect insite to explain each scene with such details. I also like that faith runs through the lives of the characters so well. If you love organizing or you need help with it, this book has a lot of tips that may help you, after all Nicki is a great  organizer . I sure need this part of the book. I encourage you to pick up a copy of this book and read it. I think you will find you love it! 

A special thanks to the author/publisher for a copy of this book. I am not required to write a positive review, the opinions here are mine alone. I am disclosing this with my review in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

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Liana George is a sought-after speaker, blogger, and author. Before pursuing a career in writing, she was a professional organizer and is the former owner of By George Organizing Solutions in Houston. Her debut novel, Perfectly Arranged, Book One in The Hopeful Heart Series, was released in October 2021 from Scrivenings Press. When she’s not putting things in order or scribbling away, you can find her reading, traveling, or watching tennis.

 

More from Liana

Have you ever eaten at a Chinese restaurant and taken a fortune cookie with you when you left? Yeah, me too. For the longest time, I always associated these Pac-Man shaped treats with Chinese food and by extension, Chinese culture.

I was wrong.

 

The tsujiura senbei,” or “fortune cracker,” actually originated in Japan and was brought over to the United States sometime between the late 1800s and early 1900s by immigrants. Japanese bakers first began selling and making these crackers in California and Hawaii. With their unique taste and finger-sized slip of paper printed with a pithy fortune or aphorism, they quickly became a hit.

 

Today, the fascination with these cookies is still at an all-time high, but the ingredients have changed. Originally, they were made with miso and sesame flavoring but now they use butter and vanilla to give it that sweet taste you and I are so familiar with.

 

So, why am I telling you all this?

 

Because my novel, Perfectly Placed, book 2 in The Hopeful Heart Series, begins with the main character, Nicki Mayfield, breaking into a fortune cookie and discovering a proverb that will motivate her and move her to action. What was written on that tiny slip of paper? There’s only one way to find out. Grab a copy of Perfectly Placed – and a cookie or two – and start reading!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 28

Texas Book-aholic, June 29

The Sacred Line, June 29

Inklings and notions, June 30

By the Book, July 1

Rebecca Tews, July 2

Splashes of Joy, July 2

For Him and My Family, July 3

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 4

deb’s Book Review, July 5

Pause for Tales, July 5

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, July 6

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 7

Spoken from the Heart, July 7

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, July 8

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, July 9

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, July 10 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, July 10

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Liana is giving away the grand prize package of a travel kit which includes a signed copy of Perfectly Placed, a travel cube, a travel/passport wallet, luggage tag, travel journal, packing checklist and tips, and a $25 Amazon gift card!!

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

enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1f45d/perfectly-placed-celebration-tour-giveaway More

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Among the Innocent

by Mary Alford

July 1-31, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Among the Innocent by Mary Alford

When Leah Miller’s entire Amish family was murdered ten years ago, the person believed responsible took his own life. Since then, Leah left the Amish and joined the police force. Now, after another Amish woman is found murdered with the same MO, it becomes clear that the wrong man may have been blamed for her family’s deaths.

As Leah and the new police chief, Dalton Cooper, work long hours struggling to fit the pieces together in order to catch the killer, they can’t help but grow closer. When secrets from both of their pasts begin to surface, an unexpected connection between them is revealed. But this is only the beginning. Could it be that the former police chief framed an innocent man to keep the biggest secret of all buried? And what will it mean for Leah–and Dalton–when the full truth comes to light?

USA Today bestselling author Mary Alford keeps you guessing as two determined souls plumb the dark depths of the past in order to forge a brighter future–together.

“Among the Innocent is no buggy ride BUT A RACE TO STOP A KILLER”
– DiAnn Mills, bestselling and award-winning author

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery

Published by: Fleming H. Revell Company

Publication Date: June 7th 2022

Number of Pages: 297

ISBN: 0800740262 (ISBN13: 9780800740269)

Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christianbook.com | Goodreads

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK 

Read an excerpt:

Prologue

He drove by the house again. The second time today. All because of her.

The sight of his car rolling down the dirt road in front of her isolated farm filled Beth Zook with thoughts not proper for an Amish girl. A cloud of dust followed the car, instantly covering the freshly washed sheet she’d hung out to dry minutes earlier. Despite the sweltering July heat, he’d put down the window. Was it because he wanted her to see him as he eased by?

He waved when he saw her looking, and she reacted like a moth drawn to a flame. Beth had never met anyone so unpredictable before. One minute he teased, the next his eyes smoldered with such intensity that it frightened her.

Looking at his handsome face sent the butterflies in her stomach scattering. A flash of a smile revealed white teeth, perfect like everything else about him.

Beth waved back, then glanced over her shoulder. What would Mamm and her sister say if they noticed? She covered her mouth to suppress the giggle. She’d been giggling a lot lately.

Too soon . . .

Her head warned it was too soon for these emotions, yet

her heart threatened to explode from her chest each time they were together.

Heat flooded her cheeks as she recalled his kisses from the night before. She’d been so afraid her parents would wake and hear her slipping out of her bedroom window. A sense of fear and adventure had followed her each step of the way as she’d crossed the yard in the pitch-black dark of night to the old Miller barn where he’d waited for her.

At first, she’d been afraid to go there after what had happened all those years ago. Four members of the Miller family had been found dead inside that barn. Leah Miller, the oldest daughter, was the only survivor. Whispers around the community about the unspeakable evil that had transpired that night could still be heard.

When Beth told her suitor about the murders, his eyes gleamed with excitement. While he seemed to enjoy envisioning what had happened back then, the barn gave Beth the creeps. But she kept that to herself because he made her feel special. Beautiful. Important. For the first time in her life, she longed for things not found among the Plain people of St. Ignatius. A life of pretty things. Like he promised.

Last night when they’d met, he’d asked her to run away with him. Her heart had overflowed with eagerness until reality tamped down her happiness, and Beth realized she wasn’t ready to leave her home. Her family. While she remained torn between staying Amish forever and leaving with him, he’d told her he would drive by her house every day until she said yes. Part of her was thrilled—intrigued at the consuming way he watched her. The other part was scared. Beth did not understand his almost feral wildness.

She took the dust-covered sheet down and reached for the next one, pinning it to the clothesline with unsteady hands. When Mamm wasn’t watching, she’d sneak inside and rewash the soiled one. That way there wouldn’t be questions to answer. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed the car slowing.

Brake lights flashed. She picked up the next sheet and hung it. When he honked, she whirled toward the sound while praying the family wouldn’t come to investigate. He slid out and leaned against the rotting fence post near the Miller property. Many times, Beth wished she could be as daring. He did not live by the same rules as the Amish. In his world, anything was possible. She still couldn’t imagine why he wanted her. A man so handsome could have his choice of any girl, Englisch or Plain. Why her?

When he realized he had her attention, he motioned her over. Beth felt obliged to shake her head, though she’d thought about him throughout the day. Was eager to see him again. She anticipated his kisses with every beat of her heart.

She touched her hands to her burning cheeks. Such thoughts were not gut, but she couldn’t help how she felt. With him, Beth felt truly alive. The hardest part was she had no one with whom to share how she felt. Her friend Eva listened, but Beth sensed she might be jealous.

She’d almost told her older sister Colette about him last Saturday night before the biweekly church service, but she’d lost her nerve. Married and ten years older, Colette had three kinner of her own.

Besides, her sister was always so serious. She would not understand this reckless feeling.

Until her sixteenth birthday, Beth hadn’t either. She’d loved everything about the Amish way of life. Then, she’d started her rumspringa and had gotten a taste of the freedom of the Englischer world. She liked it. Before him, she’d planned to join the church and eventually marry Caleb Wagler, but not before enjoying every minute of her running around. Now, Beth was not sure she wanted to spend the rest of her life in St. Ignatius, living on a farm like her sister with a house full of kinner pulling on her apron. He offered her excitement. Adventure. Love. How could she not accept those gifts?

She hung the last of the sheets and picked her way across the patches of grass in the bare yard to where he stood. The glint in his eyes as he watched her wasn’t anything like the way Caleb looked at her.

Beth stopped a few feet away. With the fence separating them, she snuck a peek over her shoulder. “You should not be here.” She tried to sound stern but failed miserably.

Without warning, he jumped the fence. Beth giggled as he grabbed her hands and tugged her closer. “Yes, I should. You belong to me, Beth Zook.”

Her heart skipped a beat at his proclamation, and she couldn’t help imagining what their life together would be like.

Foolishness, Beth. You waste the day with all your imprudent thoughts, she could almost hear Colette saying.

“Mamm will notice I’m gone soon. You must leave now.” She tried to tug her wrists free, but he tightened his grip to the point of pain, and a flash of anger glittered in those deep dark eyes. “You are hurting me,” she murmured, tears forming. This was a side of him she hadn’t seen before. A cruel side she didn’t much like.

He let her go. Smiled. Everything became right again with the curve of his lips. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you, Beth.” The gentleness in his tone soothed her worries away. “You’re just so pretty.”

“You are such a flatterer.” She playfully swatted at his arm but secretly loved the way he spoke.

He leaned close and planted a kiss on her lips right there in broad daylight. Her legs turned to gelatin. A sigh escaped as warmth coursed through her limbs. After another stolen kiss, he released her.

“It’s true. Don’t be coy. You know you’re pretty.” His gaze skirted past her to the house. “And you deserve more than this life. Come away with me now.”

More than anything she wanted to, but when she thought about her mamm’s pained reaction to her middle daughter forsaking their faith, she couldn’t do it. “I told you, I cannot run away with you. And I have to go back to my chores.” She turned. Then, emboldened by his claims, she swung around, framed his face with her hands, and kissed him earnestly.

He chuckled at her brazenness. He snatched her hand once more. Though she secretly relished his desire to be with her so badly, she pretended differently. “Please, you must let me go. Mamm will see.”

“I don’t care.” A second passed before he finally relented. “Only if you promise to meet me tonight at our place.”

The eagerness in his eyes sent a shiver through her body. It made her hesitate. This was the man she adored. Surely, there was nothing to fear.

“I have something special planned for you,” he added with a cajoling smile when she wavered. “Something you’ll like.”

“If I can,” she whispered and pulled her hand free. They both knew she’d be there. As she ran across the scorching earth, Beth peered over her shoulder. He still stood next to the fence, grinning when he noticed her looking. She stumbled over the uneven ground. Heard him laughing.

As she stepped up on the porch, the front door opened and Mamm stood in the doorway, hands on hips. Her wrinkled brow furrowed at her daughter’s labored breathing.

Komm, help your sister prepare supper.” Her mother studied Beth with narrowed eyes. Took in her flushed face. Her nervous hands. Had Mamm ever felt this way about Daed?

“Who is that out on the road?”

Beth struggled to keep her face blank. “Someone passing by, I suppose.” With one final glance his way and a secret smile, she hurried to go inside.

Her mother cast another disapproving stare at the car as Beth entered the house.

“I have something special planned for you.”

It was hard to keep the excitement to herself. She couldn’t wait to see the mysterious surprise he had in store.

ONE

Heat rose in waves off the blacktop where Leah Miller had parked her police cruiser. Recent statistics showed that the crime rate in St. Ignatius, Montana, was at an all-time low. Today, Leah shot radar at the occasional passing vehicle to occupy her shift until something more challenging came along.

Leah looped her raven hair into a bun at the nape of her neck, seeking relief from the record-breaking hot spell the county was suffering through this July. Her uniform clung uncomfortably to her skin while her thoughts wandered to the things she planned to do when her shift ended. She’d need to check in on Kitty before heading over to have dinner with Marge.

A few years back, Leah had bought her tiny house on Pope Lane. It had taken all her savings, but it was worth it because it represented a huge milestone: putting down roots for the first time since that horrific night. She’d even brought home the stray tabby cat that hung out behind the police station. They were still adjusting to each other, since Kitty had been on her own for a while. In the six months Kitty had lived at Leah’s house, Kitty mostly stayed in the laundry room except at night, when she preferred the foot of Leah’s bed.

Since Chief Ellis Petri’s death, Leah had been spending as much time as she could with her adoptive mother, Marge. Losing Ellis had been hard on both of them, but Marge had been struggling with health issues as well.

Marge and Ellis Petri had been Leah’s rock since that night ten years ago when her world changed forever. Several years earlier, Marge and Leah’s mother had struck up an unlikely friendship, and Marge had become a frequent visitor at Leah’s home. Sometimes Ellis came along. After what happened, Leah had left the Amish community, despite her neighbors offering to take her in. To survive, she’d had to let that part of her life go. Ellis and Marge had taken her in. They’d become her world.

And now Ellis was gone.

Let it go. The past is written and done, but you’re not.

In the distance, dark clouds gathered over the Mission Mountains. A storm was on its way. Despite the sweltering heat, a cold shiver sped down Leah’s spine. Something bad was approaching. She could feel it moving in.

It’s just the time of year, she told herself. The anniversary of what happened always churned up stuff.

She’d seen plenty of terrible things in her four years on the force. Yet, at sixteen, Leah had become personally acquainted with the devastating effects tragedy had on the living. Her grief had wrapped its spindly limbs around her and took up residence in her soul. That night in the barn—the things she’d witnessed—had imprinted itself in her DNA.

The woman staring back in the rearview mirror was an older version of that frightened Amish girl whose life had changed forever with a flick of a knife. The scar on her neck was a constant reminder of how close to death she’d come and of those who hadn’t been so lucky.

Leah dragged in a deep breath and dropped her eyes from the mirror. Better to keep that door closed. Too many bad things hid behind it. For Marge’s sake, she needed to stay strong.

Leah shoved her dark aviator sunglasses into place like a defensive shield against the world. She focused on the upcoming car cresting the hilltop.

“Leah? Are you there?” Dispatcher Sugar Wallace’s voice came through the police radio, immediately drawing Leah’s attention from the approaching vehicle.

“Yes, Sugar, I’m here. What’s up?” The car spotted Leah and crawled past. Its speed registered twenty on the radar’s screen. “Henry needs your help on a call out in the Amish community.”

Leah’s stomach knotted.

“Josiah Zook called from the Mission General Store. He said his daughter Beth is missing.”

At the mention of her former neighbor, Josiah Zook, Leah was immediately transported back to that barn again. Watching as a psychopath slaughtered her entire family.

Their deaths came at the hands of a masked stranger who had entered their house, tied everyone up, and forced Mamm and Daed, her sister Ruth, and brother Elijah into the barn. Then, he’d systematically slit each of their throats in front of Leah, saving her for last. She remembered him standing over her. His hot breath whispering against her ear, “You’ll always belong to me.” Even now, the words had the power to reduce her to that terrified young girl, so certain she’d die along with her family.

“Leah? Did you hear me?” Sugar repeated.

With her heart racing, Leah struggled for calm and failed. “Sorry, yes. I know the family.” She’d been friends with Josiah’s older daughter, Colette. “I’ll head over and assist.”

“Thanks, Leah. Let’s hope the girl shows up soon. I don’t want to think about something bad happening to one of those innocent people.”

Sugar’s words fell like knives in her heart. The Amish were peaceful, God-fearing folks. Violence in the community was a rare thing, yet not unheard of. Leah was living proof. Former police chief Ellis Petri had worked hard to help her achieve closure, yet the suspected killer’s end had been just as messed up as his heinous massacre of her family. Even to this day, Leah wondered if the wrong man had died in that fire.

She whipped the cruiser out onto the road and headed toward the Amish community.

The only time she went back there was on a call, and on those occasions, she did her best to avoid her family’s homestead. Yet there would be no avoiding it today. The Zook home was a stone’s throw from where she’d grown up.

Leah couldn’t imagine what her life would have been like without Ellis and Marge. They’d become her entire world. Marge would hold her and assure her everything was going to be okay when Leah woke up in the middle of the night screaming after reliving the nightmare. Yet despite Marge’s tender loving care, it was Ellis whom Leah chose to be like. She’d joined the St. Ignatius Police Department after college because she wanted to do good for people, like Ellis.

The sparse community spread out before her. A horse and buggy passed her on the road heading to town. The Amish man waved. Leah returned his greeting. Rolling hayfields spread out toward the stunning vistas of the Mission Mountains. Overwhelming memories came pouring from her heart. Most of them good. All contaminated by that day.

Leah slowed her speed out of respect for the buggy and others that might be traveling the road. A familiar darkness pressed in. Her breaths came quick. Straight ahead, her former house appeared through the haze of summer.

Leah couldn’t take her eyes off the old place. She’d lived there until a few months after her sixteenth birthday. In her head the house was as she’d left it that night. Yet the harsh reality was it had sat vacant all those years. Its white paint had faded to gray and was peeling from too many brutal Montana winters. The barn, some distance from the house, hovered over the place like some ancient gargoyle and just as frightening.

A lump formed in her throat that she couldn’t swallow. Tears scalded her eyes. Leah’s grip tightened on the steering wheel until her knuckles turned white. She wouldn’t cry. Hadn’t since the funeral. She’d built a wall of stone around her heart no person, including Ellis and Marge, had been able to fully penetrate. It was best that way. Her past had taught her stones could break apart and thrash her heart to pieces at a second’s notice.

She shifted her attention to the Zook farm and let the past return to its tenuous resting place.

Officer Henry Landry’s patrol vehicle was parked in front of the house beside a second cruiser. As soon as Leah turned onto the drive, another vehicle captured her attention. A familiar one. Ellis’s old police SUV. A glaring reminder of more change coming.

A new chief was scheduled to take over the helm of the St. Ignatius Police Department, though no one expected him so soon. Why was Chief Cooper on this call? She leaned forward and peered through the dusty windshield at the vehicles while resisting the desire to call Sugar for answers.

The small police department was still reeling from the intentional shooting of one of their own. Chief Ellis Petri had died on a deserted stretch of mountain road almost a year earlier to the date from a point-blank gunshot wound. With no leads, Ellis’s case was dangerously close to turning cold.

Now, someone else would sit at his desk. Drive his SUV. Take his place. Leah did her best to quell her resentment. It was bad enough they’d lost Ellis in such a violent way. That he could be replaced so easily was like twisting the knife in the wound. Henry had obviously been watching for her. He stepped out onto the porch as Leah pulled up alongside his patrol car. By the time she got out, Henry was standing by her door with a flustered expression on his face. Leah often wondered if a good strong wind might blow the Barney Fife–thin officer away. “Boy, am I glad to see you. They’ve been asking for you.”

Henry pointed to the house and lowered his voice. “He’s in there too.” He wiped sweat from his forehead and cast a nervous glance back to the Zook home.

“Why’s he here anyway? I thought Cooper wasn’t coming in until later in the week.” Leah didn’t even bother to hide her disapproval.

Henry shrugged. “He was at the station when I arrived. He heard the call come in.”

“What’s he like?” The question was out before she could stop it. Gossiping about the new chief was not her finest moment. “Kind of intense,” Henry said with the same amount of anxiety that had consumed Leah since the announcement came through from the mayor. “Sam sure was mad when he didn’t get the job, though you’re the one who’s practically run the force since Ellis passed. I’d hoped you’d take over as chief.”

Henry had been on the job only a few years and had made his fair share of rookie mistakes, but Leah had liked him from the beginning and had done her best to help him whenever possible. For that, Henry seemed determined to put her on a pedestal.

“I appreciate the compliment, but I’m just an officer like you. We’ll leave the big decisions to someone with a higher pay grade than us.”

“Yeah, right,” Henry confirmed with a nod. “We’d better get inside. I can’t explain it, Leah, but I have a bad feeling about this.”

Did he mean the case or the new chief? With those uneasy words hanging between them, Leah followed Henry into the simple Amish home that belonged to people she’d once loved like a second family.

As Leah stepped foot inside the living room, it was like going back to her youth. The simple furnishings hadn’t changed much. Same threadbare sofa. Same two functional rockers near the woodstove. A chest in the corner held the quilts Miriam and her daughters had crafted. Hooks adorned the walls near the door for coats and lanterns. A scenic calendar on one wall was turned to the current month. Behind the sofa, a framed picture of the Ten Commandments had been there for as long as Leah could remember.

Back then, she and Colette Zook had done everything together. They talked about what their lives might be like in the future. A husband. A houseful of kids. Their enduring friendship foremost in every part of their lives.

Regret seeped into Leah’s heart. She’d left the community and Colette and never looked back, even though her dear friend had tried to reach out to her many times. It wasn’t right, the way she’d cut Colette out of her life. In her defense, at the time it seemed like the only way to keep from losing her mind.

“Leah, oh Leah!” Miriam Zook spotted her and immediately pushed to her feet. “I am so glad you came.” Miriam sobbed inconsolably. “Our Beth is missing. Josiah checked the entire property, but there’s no sign of her. We’re afraid something has happened.” The show of emotion was out of character for the woman, who rarely expressed her feelings.

Leah patted Miriam’s arm. “We’re going to do everything we can to find your daughter and bring her home to you.” She did her best to comfort Miriam while praying her words wouldn’t come back to haunt her.

Miriam seemed to latch on to what Leah had said as if it were a lifeline. Her dark, red-rimmed eyes searched Leah’s face. She sniffed twice and squared her shoulders.

Leah guided the woman back to the sofa, where she sank beside her husband and a young girl who appeared to be around eight. The Zooks had another child. She hadn’t realized the family had expanded. Her last contact with the family had been at the funeral.

“This is our daughter Katie.” Josiah made the introductions. Katie was a younger version of Colette. Same silver-blond hair and deep blue eyes.

Josiah placed his arm around his weeping wife. He’d aged in the ten years since Leah had last seen him. The Amish way of life was not an easy one. His hair, now almost entirely white, matched his neatly trimmed beard. The worry on his face drove home the reason they were all here. Josiah was an honest, trusting man who kept his faith in Gott and his attention on hard work. Worry wasn’t part of his subsistence. Until now.

Another man who had been seated in a rocker near the woodstove had risen when Leah entered the room. Leah’s attention latched on to the new man in charge as he came her way. Tall and fit, he was probably former military if the way he carried himself was any indication. He wore his dark hair cut short. Brown eyes captured hers as he closed the space between them. Henry’s description of the man came to mind. “Intense” seemed fitting. He extended his hand. “I’m Dalton Cooper, the new chief.

Sorry to have to make the introductions this way.” He kept his voice low enough for only her to hear. “Sam and Ethan are searching the property and surrounding area.”

Leah shook his hand and forced words out. “It’s nice to meet you, Chief Cooper.”

“Dalton,” he said with a brief smile. He glanced past her to where Henry stood in the doorway still. “Why don’t you run through what we have for Leah?”

Henry snapped to attention and opened his notepad. “The call came in around 7:15 a.m. Mr. Zook phoned from the Mission General Store to say his daughter was missing from her room. She’d gone to bed at the same time as the rest of the family the night before, but when she didn’t come down for breakfast, Mr. and Mrs. Zook checked in on her and discovered her bed was empty. That was at 6:00 a.m.”

Around the time when the morning household chores were ending. Leah looked around the familiar room, mulling over Henry’s statement.

The stale aroma of that morning’s breakfast, probably still uneaten, wafted out from the kitchen. She remembered the many times she’d spent the night here growing up. At daybreak, the family gathered around the table. A flicker of a smile touched her lips as she recalled Miriam bustling about to make sure everyone was fed and ready for the day.

“Beth is around sixteen, correct?” Leah asked Josiah. No doubt going through her rumspringa, a period when Amish youth enjoyed more freedom to go out into the world and experience what it felt like to not be Plain. Most returned to join the faith. Some did not.

Images of Leah’s own rumspringa came to mind. She and Colette had committed only small acts of defiance. Colette did her best to keep Leah on the right path, but she didn’t know about him. He’d turned Leah’s head away from the path chosen for her and she’d regretted it ever since. Calling himself John, he’d induced her to do things she wouldn’t normally have done, like slipping away in the middle of the night to meet him in her family’s barn . . .

Jah, that is correct.” Josiah’s firm response intruded into Leah’s regrets. He adjusted his glasses on his nose, brows slanted together in a familiar frown. Josiah had always been a solemn man. Leah cleared her throat and posed the question she knew would not be well received. “Is it possible Beth may have gone out after everyone fell asleep? Maybe to a friend’s? Perhaps she spent the night there?”

Miriam’s head shot up. Anger ignited in her eyes. “Nay. It is not possible. Beth is a gut girl. She would not go sneaking out of the house. She is happy with the Plain life and is going to be baptized soon. She and Caleb Wagler will marry one day. Beth would not do such a thing.” Miriam collapsed against her husband, deep sobs racking her body.

Most Amish parents did not question their children about what they did during rumspringa. It stood to reason the Zooks wouldn’t know everything going on in Beth’s life, yet Leah had obviously touched a nerve. She let the matter drop.

“Would you mind if I checked Beth’s room?” She addressed Josiah again as Miriam continued to weep. The man stared at her blankly. Josiah’s simple world had been sent into a tailspin and he was clearly struggling to understand.

Leah focused on the little girl seated beside her mother. “Do you share a room with your sister?”

Katie nodded slightly while keeping her attention on her clasped hands.

“Would you mind showing me around your room?”

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Among the Innocence by Mary Alford

Among the Innocent

by Mary Alford

July 1-31, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Among the Innocent by Mary Alford

When Leah Miller’s entire Amish family was murdered ten years ago, the person believed responsible took his own life. Since then, Leah left the Amish and joined the police force. Now, after another Amish woman is found murdered with the same MO, it becomes clear that the wrong man may have been blamed for her family’s deaths.

As Leah and the new police chief, Dalton Cooper, work long hours struggling to fit the pieces together in order to catch the killer, they can’t help but grow closer. When secrets from both of their pasts begin to surface, an unexpected connection between them is revealed. But this is only the beginning. Could it be that the former police chief framed an innocent man to keep the biggest secret of all buried? And what will it mean for Leah–and Dalton–when the full truth comes to light?

USA Today bestselling author Mary Alford keeps you guessing as two determined souls plumb the dark depths of the past in order to forge a brighter future–together.

“Among the Innocent is no buggy ride BUT A RACE TO STOP A KILLER”
– DiAnn Mills, bestselling and award-winning author

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery

Published by: Fleming H. Revell Company

Publication Date: June 7th 2022

Number of Pages: 297

ISBN: 0800740262 (ISBN13: 9780800740269)

Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christianbook.com | Goodreads

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK 

Read an excerpt:

Prologue

He drove by the house again. The second time today. All because of her.

The sight of his car rolling down the dirt road in front of her isolated farm filled Beth Zook with thoughts not proper for an Amish girl. A cloud of dust followed the car, instantly covering the freshly washed sheet she’d hung out to dry minutes earlier. Despite the sweltering July heat, he’d put down the window. Was it because he wanted her to see him as he eased by?

He waved when he saw her looking, and she reacted like a moth drawn to a flame. Beth had never met anyone so unpredictable before. One minute he teased, the next his eyes smoldered with such intensity that it frightened her.

Looking at his handsome face sent the butterflies in her stomach scattering. A flash of a smile revealed white teeth, perfect like everything else about him.

Beth waved back, then glanced over her shoulder. What would Mamm and her sister say if they noticed? She covered her mouth to suppress the giggle. She’d been giggling a lot lately.

Too soon . . .

Her head warned it was too soon for these emotions, yet

her heart threatened to explode from her chest each time they were together.

Heat flooded her cheeks as she recalled his kisses from the night before. She’d been so afraid her parents would wake and hear her slipping out of her bedroom window. A sense of fear and adventure had followed her each step of the way as she’d crossed the yard in the pitch-black dark of night to the old Miller barn where he’d waited for her.

At first, she’d been afraid to go there after what had happened all those years ago. Four members of the Miller family had been found dead inside that barn. Leah Miller, the oldest daughter, was the only survivor. Whispers around the community about the unspeakable evil that had transpired that night could still be heard.

When Beth told her suitor about the murders, his eyes gleamed with excitement. While he seemed to enjoy envisioning what had happened back then, the barn gave Beth the creeps. But she kept that to herself because he made her feel special. Beautiful. Important. For the first time in her life, she longed for things not found among the Plain people of St. Ignatius. A life of pretty things. Like he promised.

Last night when they’d met, he’d asked her to run away with him. Her heart had overflowed with eagerness until reality tamped down her happiness, and Beth realized she wasn’t ready to leave her home. Her family. While she remained torn between staying Amish forever and leaving with him, he’d told her he would drive by her house every day until she said yes. Part of her was thrilled—intrigued at the consuming way he watched her. The other part was scared. Beth did not understand his almost feral wildness.

She took the dust-covered sheet down and reached for the next one, pinning it to the clothesline with unsteady hands. When Mamm wasn’t watching, she’d sneak inside and rewash the soiled one. That way there wouldn’t be questions to answer. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed the car slowing.

Brake lights flashed. She picked up the next sheet and hung it. When he honked, she whirled toward the sound while praying the family wouldn’t come to investigate. He slid out and leaned against the rotting fence post near the Miller property. Many times, Beth wished she could be as daring. He did not live by the same rules as the Amish. In his world, anything was possible. She still couldn’t imagine why he wanted her. A man so handsome could have his choice of any girl, Englisch or Plain. Why her?

When he realized he had her attention, he motioned her over. Beth felt obliged to shake her head, though she’d thought about him throughout the day. Was eager to see him again. She anticipated his kisses with every beat of her heart.

She touched her hands to her burning cheeks. Such thoughts were not gut, but she couldn’t help how she felt. With him, Beth felt truly alive. The hardest part was she had no one with whom to share how she felt. Her friend Eva listened, but Beth sensed she might be jealous.

She’d almost told her older sister Colette about him last Saturday night before the biweekly church service, but she’d lost her nerve. Married and ten years older, Colette had three kinner of her own.

Besides, her sister was always so serious. She would not understand this reckless feeling.

Until her sixteenth birthday, Beth hadn’t either. She’d loved everything about the Amish way of life. Then, she’d started her rumspringa and had gotten a taste of the freedom of the Englischer world. She liked it. Before him, she’d planned to join the church and eventually marry Caleb Wagler, but not before enjoying every minute of her running around. Now, Beth was not sure she wanted to spend the rest of her life in St. Ignatius, living on a farm like her sister with a house full of kinner pulling on her apron. He offered her excitement. Adventure. Love. How could she not accept those gifts?

She hung the last of the sheets and picked her way across the patches of grass in the bare yard to where he stood. The glint in his eyes as he watched her wasn’t anything like the way Caleb looked at her.

Beth stopped a few feet away. With the fence separating them, she snuck a peek over her shoulder. “You should not be here.” She tried to sound stern but failed miserably.

Without warning, he jumped the fence. Beth giggled as he grabbed her hands and tugged her closer. “Yes, I should. You belong to me, Beth Zook.”

Her heart skipped a beat at his proclamation, and she couldn’t help imagining what their life together would be like.

Foolishness, Beth. You waste the day with all your imprudent thoughts, she could almost hear Colette saying.

“Mamm will notice I’m gone soon. You must leave now.” She tried to tug her wrists free, but he tightened his grip to the point of pain, and a flash of anger glittered in those deep dark eyes. “You are hurting me,” she murmured, tears forming. This was a side of him she hadn’t seen before. A cruel side she didn’t much like.

He let her go. Smiled. Everything became right again with the curve of his lips. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you, Beth.” The gentleness in his tone soothed her worries away. “You’re just so pretty.”

“You are such a flatterer.” She playfully swatted at his arm but secretly loved the way he spoke.

He leaned close and planted a kiss on her lips right there in broad daylight. Her legs turned to gelatin. A sigh escaped as warmth coursed through her limbs. After another stolen kiss, he released her.

“It’s true. Don’t be coy. You know you’re pretty.” His gaze skirted past her to the house. “And you deserve more than this life. Come away with me now.”

More than anything she wanted to, but when she thought about her mamm’s pained reaction to her middle daughter forsaking their faith, she couldn’t do it. “I told you, I cannot run away with you. And I have to go back to my chores.” She turned. Then, emboldened by his claims, she swung around, framed his face with her hands, and kissed him earnestly.

He chuckled at her brazenness. He snatched her hand once more. Though she secretly relished his desire to be with her so badly, she pretended differently. “Please, you must let me go. Mamm will see.”

“I don’t care.” A second passed before he finally relented. “Only if you promise to meet me tonight at our place.”

The eagerness in his eyes sent a shiver through her body. It made her hesitate. This was the man she adored. Surely, there was nothing to fear.

“I have something special planned for you,” he added with a cajoling smile when she wavered. “Something you’ll like.”

“If I can,” she whispered and pulled her hand free. They both knew she’d be there. As she ran across the scorching earth, Beth peered over her shoulder. He still stood next to the fence, grinning when he noticed her looking. She stumbled over the uneven ground. Heard him laughing.

As she stepped up on the porch, the front door opened and Mamm stood in the doorway, hands on hips. Her wrinkled brow furrowed at her daughter’s labored breathing.

Komm, help your sister prepare supper.” Her mother studied Beth with narrowed eyes. Took in her flushed face. Her nervous hands. Had Mamm ever felt this way about Daed?

“Who is that out on the road?”

Beth struggled to keep her face blank. “Someone passing by, I suppose.” With one final glance his way and a secret smile, she hurried to go inside.

Her mother cast another disapproving stare at the car as Beth entered the house.

“I have something special planned for you.”

It was hard to keep the excitement to herself. She couldn’t wait to see the mysterious surprise he had in store.

ONE

Heat rose in waves off the blacktop where Leah Miller had parked her police cruiser. Recent statistics showed that the crime rate in St. Ignatius, Montana, was at an all-time low. Today, Leah shot radar at the occasional passing vehicle to occupy her shift until something more challenging came along.

Leah looped her raven hair into a bun at the nape of her neck, seeking relief from the record-breaking hot spell the county was suffering through this July. Her uniform clung uncomfortably to her skin while her thoughts wandered to the things she planned to do when her shift ended. She’d need to check in on Kitty before heading over to have dinner with Marge.

A few years back, Leah had bought her tiny house on Pope Lane. It had taken all her savings, but it was worth it because it represented a huge milestone: putting down roots for the first time since that horrific night. She’d even brought home the stray tabby cat that hung out behind the police station. They were still adjusting to each other, since Kitty had been on her own for a while. In the six months Kitty had lived at Leah’s house, Kitty mostly stayed in the laundry room except at night, when she preferred the foot of Leah’s bed.

Since Chief Ellis Petri’s death, Leah had been spending as much time as she could with her adoptive mother, Marge. Losing Ellis had been hard on both of them, but Marge had been struggling with health issues as well.

Marge and Ellis Petri had been Leah’s rock since that night ten years ago when her world changed forever. Several years earlier, Marge and Leah’s mother had struck up an unlikely friendship, and Marge had become a frequent visitor at Leah’s home. Sometimes Ellis came along. After what happened, Leah had left the Amish community, despite her neighbors offering to take her in. To survive, she’d had to let that part of her life go. Ellis and Marge had taken her in. They’d become her world.

And now Ellis was gone.

Let it go. The past is written and done, but you’re not.

In the distance, dark clouds gathered over the Mission Mountains. A storm was on its way. Despite the sweltering heat, a cold shiver sped down Leah’s spine. Something bad was approaching. She could feel it moving in.

It’s just the time of year, she told herself. The anniversary of what happened always churned up stuff.

She’d seen plenty of terrible things in her four years on the force. Yet, at sixteen, Leah had become personally acquainted with the devastating effects tragedy had on the living. Her grief had wrapped its spindly limbs around her and took up residence in her soul. That night in the barn—the things she’d witnessed—had imprinted itself in her DNA.

The woman staring back in the rearview mirror was an older version of that frightened Amish girl whose life had changed forever with a flick of a knife. The scar on her neck was a constant reminder of how close to death she’d come and of those who hadn’t been so lucky.

Leah dragged in a deep breath and dropped her eyes from the mirror. Better to keep that door closed. Too many bad things hid behind it. For Marge’s sake, she needed to stay strong.

Leah shoved her dark aviator sunglasses into place like a defensive shield against the world. She focused on the upcoming car cresting the hilltop.

“Leah? Are you there?” Dispatcher Sugar Wallace’s voice came through the police radio, immediately drawing Leah’s attention from the approaching vehicle.

“Yes, Sugar, I’m here. What’s up?” The car spotted Leah and crawled past. Its speed registered twenty on the radar’s screen. “Henry needs your help on a call out in the Amish community.”

Leah’s stomach knotted.

“Josiah Zook called from the Mission General Store. He said his daughter Beth is missing.”

At the mention of her former neighbor, Josiah Zook, Leah was immediately transported back to that barn again. Watching as a psychopath slaughtered her entire family.

Their deaths came at the hands of a masked stranger who had entered their house, tied everyone up, and forced Mamm and Daed, her sister Ruth, and brother Elijah into the barn. Then, he’d systematically slit each of their throats in front of Leah, saving her for last. She remembered him standing over her. His hot breath whispering against her ear, “You’ll always belong to me.” Even now, the words had the power to reduce her to that terrified young girl, so certain she’d die along with her family.

“Leah? Did you hear me?” Sugar repeated.

With her heart racing, Leah struggled for calm and failed. “Sorry, yes. I know the family.” She’d been friends with Josiah’s older daughter, Colette. “I’ll head over and assist.”

“Thanks, Leah. Let’s hope the girl shows up soon. I don’t want to think about something bad happening to one of those innocent people.”

Sugar’s words fell like knives in her heart. The Amish were peaceful, God-fearing folks. Violence in the community was a rare thing, yet not unheard of. Leah was living proof. Former police chief Ellis Petri had worked hard to help her achieve closure, yet the suspected killer’s end had been just as messed up as his heinous massacre of her family. Even to this day, Leah wondered if the wrong man had died in that fire.

She whipped the cruiser out onto the road and headed toward the Amish community.

The only time she went back there was on a call, and on those occasions, she did her best to avoid her family’s homestead. Yet there would be no avoiding it today. The Zook home was a stone’s throw from where she’d grown up.

Leah couldn’t imagine what her life would have been like without Ellis and Marge. They’d become her entire world. Marge would hold her and assure her everything was going to be okay when Leah woke up in the middle of the night screaming after reliving the nightmare. Yet despite Marge’s tender loving care, it was Ellis whom Leah chose to be like. She’d joined the St. Ignatius Police Department after college because she wanted to do good for people, like Ellis.

The sparse community spread out before her. A horse and buggy passed her on the road heading to town. The Amish man waved. Leah returned his greeting. Rolling hayfields spread out toward the stunning vistas of the Mission Mountains. Overwhelming memories came pouring from her heart. Most of them good. All contaminated by that day.

Leah slowed her speed out of respect for the buggy and others that might be traveling the road. A familiar darkness pressed in. Her breaths came quick. Straight ahead, her former house appeared through the haze of summer.

Leah couldn’t take her eyes off the old place. She’d lived there until a few months after her sixteenth birthday. In her head the house was as she’d left it that night. Yet the harsh reality was it had sat vacant all those years. Its white paint had faded to gray and was peeling from too many brutal Montana winters. The barn, some distance from the house, hovered over the place like some ancient gargoyle and just as frightening.

A lump formed in her throat that she couldn’t swallow. Tears scalded her eyes. Leah’s grip tightened on the steering wheel until her knuckles turned white. She wouldn’t cry. Hadn’t since the funeral. She’d built a wall of stone around her heart no person, including Ellis and Marge, had been able to fully penetrate. It was best that way. Her past had taught her stones could break apart and thrash her heart to pieces at a second’s notice.

She shifted her attention to the Zook farm and let the past return to its tenuous resting place.

Officer Henry Landry’s patrol vehicle was parked in front of the house beside a second cruiser. As soon as Leah turned onto the drive, another vehicle captured her attention. A familiar one. Ellis’s old police SUV. A glaring reminder of more change coming.

A new chief was scheduled to take over the helm of the St. Ignatius Police Department, though no one expected him so soon. Why was Chief Cooper on this call? She leaned forward and peered through the dusty windshield at the vehicles while resisting the desire to call Sugar for answers.

The small police department was still reeling from the intentional shooting of one of their own. Chief Ellis Petri had died on a deserted stretch of mountain road almost a year earlier to the date from a point-blank gunshot wound. With no leads, Ellis’s case was dangerously close to turning cold.

Now, someone else would sit at his desk. Drive his SUV. Take his place. Leah did her best to quell her resentment. It was bad enough they’d lost Ellis in such a violent way. That he could be replaced so easily was like twisting the knife in the wound. Henry had obviously been watching for her. He stepped out onto the porch as Leah pulled up alongside his patrol car. By the time she got out, Henry was standing by her door with a flustered expression on his face. Leah often wondered if a good strong wind might blow the Barney Fife–thin officer away. “Boy, am I glad to see you. They’ve been asking for you.”

Henry pointed to the house and lowered his voice. “He’s in there too.” He wiped sweat from his forehead and cast a nervous glance back to the Zook home.

“Why’s he here anyway? I thought Cooper wasn’t coming in until later in the week.” Leah didn’t even bother to hide her disapproval.

Henry shrugged. “He was at the station when I arrived. He heard the call come in.”

“What’s he like?” The question was out before she could stop it. Gossiping about the new chief was not her finest moment. “Kind of intense,” Henry said with the same amount of anxiety that had consumed Leah since the announcement came through from the mayor. “Sam sure was mad when he didn’t get the job, though you’re the one who’s practically run the force since Ellis passed. I’d hoped you’d take over as chief.”

Henry had been on the job only a few years and had made his fair share of rookie mistakes, but Leah had liked him from the beginning and had done her best to help him whenever possible. For that, Henry seemed determined to put her on a pedestal.

“I appreciate the compliment, but I’m just an officer like you. We’ll leave the big decisions to someone with a higher pay grade than us.”

“Yeah, right,” Henry confirmed with a nod. “We’d better get inside. I can’t explain it, Leah, but I have a bad feeling about this.”

Did he mean the case or the new chief? With those uneasy words hanging between them, Leah followed Henry into the simple Amish home that belonged to people she’d once loved like a second family.

As Leah stepped foot inside the living room, it was like going back to her youth. The simple furnishings hadn’t changed much. Same threadbare sofa. Same two functional rockers near the woodstove. A chest in the corner held the quilts Miriam and her daughters had crafted. Hooks adorned the walls near the door for coats and lanterns. A scenic calendar on one wall was turned to the current month. Behind the sofa, a framed picture of the Ten Commandments had been there for as long as Leah could remember.

Back then, she and Colette Zook had done everything together. They talked about what their lives might be like in the future. A husband. A houseful of kids. Their enduring friendship foremost in every part of their lives.

Regret seeped into Leah’s heart. She’d left the community and Colette and never looked back, even though her dear friend had tried to reach out to her many times. It wasn’t right, the way she’d cut Colette out of her life. In her defense, at the time it seemed like the only way to keep from losing her mind.

“Leah, oh Leah!” Miriam Zook spotted her and immediately pushed to her feet. “I am so glad you came.” Miriam sobbed inconsolably. “Our Beth is missing. Josiah checked the entire property, but there’s no sign of her. We’re afraid something has happened.” The show of emotion was out of character for the woman, who rarely expressed her feelings.

Leah patted Miriam’s arm. “We’re going to do everything we can to find your daughter and bring her home to you.” She did her best to comfort Miriam while praying her words wouldn’t come back to haunt her.

Miriam seemed to latch on to what Leah had said as if it were a lifeline. Her dark, red-rimmed eyes searched Leah’s face. She sniffed twice and squared her shoulders.

Leah guided the woman back to the sofa, where she sank beside her husband and a young girl who appeared to be around eight. The Zooks had another child. She hadn’t realized the family had expanded. Her last contact with the family had been at the funeral.

“This is our daughter Katie.” Josiah made the introductions. Katie was a younger version of Colette. Same silver-blond hair and deep blue eyes.

Josiah placed his arm around his weeping wife. He’d aged in the ten years since Leah had last seen him. The Amish way of life was not an easy one. His hair, now almost entirely white, matched his neatly trimmed beard. The worry on his face drove home the reason they were all here. Josiah was an honest, trusting man who kept his faith in Gott and his attention on hard work. Worry wasn’t part of his subsistence. Until now.

Another man who had been seated in a rocker near the woodstove had risen when Leah entered the room. Leah’s attention latched on to the new man in charge as he came her way. Tall and fit, he was probably former military if the way he carried himself was any indication. He wore his dark hair cut short. Brown eyes captured hers as he closed the space between them. Henry’s description of the man came to mind. “Intense” seemed fitting. He extended his hand. “I’m Dalton Cooper, the new chief.

Sorry to have to make the introductions this way.” He kept his voice low enough for only her to hear. “Sam and Ethan are searching the property and surrounding area.”

Leah shook his hand and forced words out. “It’s nice to meet you, Chief Cooper.”

“Dalton,” he said with a brief smile. He glanced past her to where Henry stood in the doorway still. “Why don’t you run through what we have for Leah?”

Henry snapped to attention and opened his notepad. “The call came in around 7:15 a.m. Mr. Zook phoned from the Mission General Store to say his daughter was missing from her room. She’d gone to bed at the same time as the rest of the family the night before, but when she didn’t come down for breakfast, Mr. and Mrs. Zook checked in on her and discovered her bed was empty. That was at 6:00 a.m.”

Around the time when the morning household chores were ending. Leah looked around the familiar room, mulling over Henry’s statement.

The stale aroma of that morning’s breakfast, probably still uneaten, wafted out from the kitchen. She remembered the many times she’d spent the night here growing up. At daybreak, the family gathered around the table. A flicker of a smile touched her lips as she recalled Miriam bustling about to make sure everyone was fed and ready for the day.

“Beth is around sixteen, correct?” Leah asked Josiah. No doubt going through her rumspringa, a period when Amish youth enjoyed more freedom to go out into the world and experience what it felt like to not be Plain. Most returned to join the faith. Some did not.

Images of Leah’s own rumspringa came to mind. She and Colette had committed only small acts of defiance. Colette did her best to keep Leah on the right path, but she didn’t know about him. He’d turned Leah’s head away from the path chosen for her and she’d regretted it ever since. Calling himself John, he’d induced her to do things she wouldn’t normally have done, like slipping away in the middle of the night to meet him in her family’s barn . . .

Jah, that is correct.” Josiah’s firm response intruded into Leah’s regrets. He adjusted his glasses on his nose, brows slanted together in a familiar frown. Josiah had always been a solemn man. Leah cleared her throat and posed the question she knew would not be well received. “Is it possible Beth may have gone out after everyone fell asleep? Maybe to a friend’s? Perhaps she spent the night there?”

Miriam’s head shot up. Anger ignited in her eyes. “Nay. It is not possible. Beth is a gut girl. She would not go sneaking out of the house. She is happy with the Plain life and is going to be baptized soon. She and Caleb Wagler will marry one day. Beth would not do such a thing.” Miriam collapsed against her husband, deep sobs racking her body.

Most Amish parents did not question their children about what they did during rumspringa. It stood to reason the Zooks wouldn’t know everything going on in Beth’s life, yet Leah had obviously touched a nerve. She let the matter drop.

“Would you mind if I checked Beth’s room?” She addressed Josiah again as Miriam continued to weep. The man stared at her blankly. Josiah’s simple world had been sent into a tailspin and he was clearly struggling to understand.

Leah focused on the little girl seated beside her mother. “Do you share a room with your sister?”

Katie nodded slightly while keeping her attention on her clasped hands.

“Would you mind showing me around your room?”

<

 

 

Mary Alford

Author Bio:

Mary Alford is a USA Today bestselling author who loves giving her readers the unexpected, combining unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots that result in stories the reader can’t put down. Her titles have been finalists for several awards, including the Daphne Du Maurier, the Beverly, the Maggie, and the Selah. She and her husband live in the heart of Texas in the middle of 70 acres with two cats and one dog.

Catch Up With Mary Alford:

MaryAlford.net

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Twitter – @maryalford13

Facebook – @MaryAlfordAuthor

 

 

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Mary Afford in Among the Innocent

Among the Innocent

by Mary Alford

July 1-31, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Among the Innocent by Mary Alford

When Leah Miller’s entire Amish family was murdered ten years ago, the person believed responsible took his own life. Since then, Leah left the Amish and joined the police force. Now, after another Amish woman is found murdered with the same MO, it becomes clear that the wrong man may have been blamed for her family’s deaths.

As Leah and the new police chief, Dalton Cooper, work long hours struggling to fit the pieces together in order to catch the killer, they can’t help but grow closer. When secrets from both of their pasts begin to surface, an unexpected connection between them is revealed. But this is only the beginning. Could it be that the former police chief framed an innocent man to keep the biggest secret of all buried? And what will it mean for Leah–and Dalton–when the full truth comes to light?

USA Today bestselling author Mary Alford keeps you guessing as two determined souls plumb the dark depths of the past in order to forge a brighter future–together.

“Among the Innocent is no buggy ride BUT A RACE TO STOP A KILLER”
– DiAnn Mills, bestselling and award-winning author

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery

Published by: Fleming H. Revell Company

Publication Date: June 7th 2022

Number of Pages: 297

ISBN: 0800740262 (ISBN13: 9780800740269)

Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christianbook.com | Goodreads

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK 

I have read a couple of Love Inspired books by Mary Alford and they were very good so I was excited about this one, and it didn’t disappoint. Alford is back with her heartstopping suspense that keeps you on the edge of your seats biting your nails. I was met with wonderful characters who’s development was spot on as the story unfolds. Leah lost her entire family 10 years ago and new murders in town brings up old memories she doesn’t want to think about. But she has the new sheriff to think about, Dalton, and he will hopefully take care of her. 

I felt bad for Leah, it was almost too much to go deep into her memories about her family. But it seems these new murders may be connected to her family, especially since a not was left for Leah. There are many twists and turns throughout the story that makes it more interesting to try and solve yourself. But that’s not an easy task. There’s much more to this story, which you will find when you read the book for yourself. If you love a good fast paced thriller, you really should give this one a try.

A special thanks to the author/publisher for a copy of this book. I am not required to write a positive review, the opinions here are mine alone. I am disclosing this with my review in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Read an excerpt:

Prologue

He drove by the house again. The second time today. All because of her.

The sight of his car rolling down the dirt road in front of her isolated farm filled Beth Zook with thoughts not proper for an Amish girl. A cloud of dust followed the car, instantly covering the freshly washed sheet she’d hung out to dry minutes earlier. Despite the sweltering July heat, he’d put down the window. Was it because he wanted her to see him as he eased by?

He waved when he saw her looking, and she reacted like a moth drawn to a flame. Beth had never met anyone so unpredictable before. One minute he teased, the next his eyes smoldered with such intensity that it frightened her.

Looking at his handsome face sent the butterflies in her stomach scattering. A flash of a smile revealed white teeth, perfect like everything else about him.

Beth waved back, then glanced over her shoulder. What would Mamm and her sister say if they noticed? She covered her mouth to suppress the giggle. She’d been giggling a lot lately.

Too soon . . .

Her head warned it was too soon for these emotions, yet

her heart threatened to explode from her chest each time they were together.

Heat flooded her cheeks as she recalled his kisses from the night before. She’d been so afraid her parents would wake and hear her slipping out of her bedroom window. A sense of fear and adventure had followed her each step of the way as she’d crossed the yard in the pitch-black dark of night to the old Miller barn where he’d waited for her.

At first, she’d been afraid to go there after what had happened all those years ago. Four members of the Miller family had been found dead inside that barn. Leah Miller, the oldest daughter, was the only survivor. Whispers around the community about the unspeakable evil that had transpired that night could still be heard.

When Beth told her suitor about the murders, his eyes gleamed with excitement. While he seemed to enjoy envisioning what had happened back then, the barn gave Beth the creeps. But she kept that to herself because he made her feel special. Beautiful. Important. For the first time in her life, she longed for things not found among the Plain people of St. Ignatius. A life of pretty things. Like he promised.

Last night when they’d met, he’d asked her to run away with him. Her heart had overflowed with eagerness until reality tamped down her happiness, and Beth realized she wasn’t ready to leave her home. Her family. While she remained torn between staying Amish forever and leaving with him, he’d told her he would drive by her house every day until she said yes. Part of her was thrilled—intrigued at the consuming way he watched her. The other part was scared. Beth did not understand his almost feral wildness.

She took the dust-covered sheet down and reached for the next one, pinning it to the clothesline with unsteady hands. When Mamm wasn’t watching, she’d sneak inside and rewash the soiled one. That way there wouldn’t be questions to answer. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed the car slowing.

Brake lights flashed. She picked up the next sheet and hung it. When he honked, she whirled toward the sound while praying the family wouldn’t come to investigate. He slid out and leaned against the rotting fence post near the Miller property. Many times, Beth wished she could be as daring. He did not live by the same rules as the Amish. In his world, anything was possible. She still couldn’t imagine why he wanted her. A man so handsome could have his choice of any girl, Englisch or Plain. Why her?

When he realized he had her attention, he motioned her over. Beth felt obliged to shake her head, though she’d thought about him throughout the day. Was eager to see him again. She anticipated his kisses with every beat of her heart.

She touched her hands to her burning cheeks. Such thoughts were not gut, but she couldn’t help how she felt. With him, Beth felt truly alive. The hardest part was she had no one with whom to share how she felt. Her friend Eva listened, but Beth sensed she might be jealous.

She’d almost told her older sister Colette about him last Saturday night before the biweekly church service, but she’d lost her nerve. Married and ten years older, Colette had three kinner of her own.

Besides, her sister was always so serious. She would not understand this reckless feeling.

Until her sixteenth birthday, Beth hadn’t either. She’d loved everything about the Amish way of life. Then, she’d started her rumspringa and had gotten a taste of the freedom of the Englischer world. She liked it. Before him, she’d planned to join the church and eventually marry Caleb Wagler, but not before enjoying every minute of her running around. Now, Beth was not sure she wanted to spend the rest of her life in St. Ignatius, living on a farm like her sister with a house full of kinner pulling on her apron. He offered her excitement. Adventure. Love. How could she not accept those gifts?

She hung the last of the sheets and picked her way across the patches of grass in the bare yard to where he stood. The glint in his eyes as he watched her wasn’t anything like the way Caleb looked at her.

Beth stopped a few feet away. With the fence separating them, she snuck a peek over her shoulder. “You should not be here.” She tried to sound stern but failed miserably.

Without warning, he jumped the fence. Beth giggled as he grabbed her hands and tugged her closer. “Yes, I should. You belong to me, Beth Zook.”

Her heart skipped a beat at his proclamation, and she couldn’t help imagining what their life together would be like.

Foolishness, Beth. You waste the day with all your imprudent thoughts, she could almost hear Colette saying.

“Mamm will notice I’m gone soon. You must leave now.” She tried to tug her wrists free, but he tightened his grip to the point of pain, and a flash of anger glittered in those deep dark eyes. “You are hurting me,” she murmured, tears forming. This was a side of him she hadn’t seen before. A cruel side she didn’t much like.

He let her go. Smiled. Everything became right again with the curve of his lips. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you, Beth.” The gentleness in his tone soothed her worries away. “You’re just so pretty.”

“You are such a flatterer.” She playfully swatted at his arm but secretly loved the way he spoke.

He leaned close and planted a kiss on her lips right there in broad daylight. Her legs turned to gelatin. A sigh escaped as warmth coursed through her limbs. After another stolen kiss, he released her.

“It’s true. Don’t be coy. You know you’re pretty.” His gaze skirted past her to the house. “And you deserve more than this life. Come away with me now.”

More than anything she wanted to, but when she thought about her mamm’s pained reaction to her middle daughter forsaking their faith, she couldn’t do it. “I told you, I cannot run away with you. And I have to go back to my chores.” She turned. Then, emboldened by his claims, she swung around, framed his face with her hands, and kissed him earnestly.

He chuckled at her brazenness. He snatched her hand once more. Though she secretly relished his desire to be with her so badly, she pretended differently. “Please, you must let me go. Mamm will see.”

“I don’t care.” A second passed before he finally relented. “Only if you promise to meet me tonight at our place.”

The eagerness in his eyes sent a shiver through her body. It made her hesitate. This was the man she adored. Surely, there was nothing to fear.

“I have something special planned for you,” he added with a cajoling smile when she wavered. “Something you’ll like.”

“If I can,” she whispered and pulled her hand free. They both knew she’d be there. As she ran across the scorching earth, Beth peered over her shoulder. He still stood next to the fence, grinning when he noticed her looking. She stumbled over the uneven ground. Heard him laughing.

As she stepped up on the porch, the front door opened and Mamm stood in the doorway, hands on hips. Her wrinkled brow furrowed at her daughter’s labored breathing.

Komm, help your sister prepare supper.” Her mother studied Beth with narrowed eyes. Took in her flushed face. Her nervous hands. Had Mamm ever felt this way about Daed?

“Who is that out on the road?”

Beth struggled to keep her face blank. “Someone passing by, I suppose.” With one final glance his way and a secret smile, she hurried to go inside.

Her mother cast another disapproving stare at the car as Beth entered the house.

“I have something special planned for you.”

It was hard to keep the excitement to herself. She couldn’t wait to see the mysterious surprise he had in store.

ONE

Heat rose in waves off the blacktop where Leah Miller had parked her police cruiser. Recent statistics showed that the crime rate in St. Ignatius, Montana, was at an all-time low. Today, Leah shot radar at the occasional passing vehicle to occupy her shift until something more challenging came along.

Leah looped her raven hair into a bun at the nape of her neck, seeking relief from the record-breaking hot spell the county was suffering through this July. Her uniform clung uncomfortably to her skin while her thoughts wandered to the things she planned to do when her shift ended. She’d need to check in on Kitty before heading over to have dinner with Marge.

A few years back, Leah had bought her tiny house on Pope Lane. It had taken all her savings, but it was worth it because it represented a huge milestone: putting down roots for the first time since that horrific night. She’d even brought home the stray tabby cat that hung out behind the police station. They were still adjusting to each other, since Kitty had been on her own for a while. In the six months Kitty had lived at Leah’s house, Kitty mostly stayed in the laundry room except at night, when she preferred the foot of Leah’s bed.

Since Chief Ellis Petri’s death, Leah had been spending as much time as she could with her adoptive mother, Marge. Losing Ellis had been hard on both of them, but Marge had been struggling with health issues as well.

Marge and Ellis Petri had been Leah’s rock since that night ten years ago when her world changed forever. Several years earlier, Marge and Leah’s mother had struck up an unlikely friendship, and Marge had become a frequent visitor at Leah’s home. Sometimes Ellis came along. After what happened, Leah had left the Amish community, despite her neighbors offering to take her in. To survive, she’d had to let that part of her life go. Ellis and Marge had taken her in. They’d become her world.

And now Ellis was gone.

Let it go. The past is written and done, but you’re not.

In the distance, dark clouds gathered over the Mission Mountains. A storm was on its way. Despite the sweltering heat, a cold shiver sped down Leah’s spine. Something bad was approaching. She could feel it moving in.

It’s just the time of year, she told herself. The anniversary of what happened always churned up stuff.

She’d seen plenty of terrible things in her four years on the force. Yet, at sixteen, Leah had become personally acquainted with the devastating effects tragedy had on the living. Her grief had wrapped its spindly limbs around her and took up residence in her soul. That night in the barn—the things she’d witnessed—had imprinted itself in her DNA.

The woman staring back in the rearview mirror was an older version of that frightened Amish girl whose life had changed forever with a flick of a knife. The scar on her neck was a constant reminder of how close to death she’d come and of those who hadn’t been so lucky.

Leah dragged in a deep breath and dropped her eyes from the mirror. Better to keep that door closed. Too many bad things hid behind it. For Marge’s sake, she needed to stay strong.

Leah shoved her dark aviator sunglasses into place like a defensive shield against the world. She focused on the upcoming car cresting the hilltop.

“Leah? Are you there?” Dispatcher Sugar Wallace’s voice came through the police radio, immediately drawing Leah’s attention from the approaching vehicle.

“Yes, Sugar, I’m here. What’s up?” The car spotted Leah and crawled past. Its speed registered twenty on the radar’s screen. “Henry needs your help on a call out in the Amish community.”

Leah’s stomach knotted.

“Josiah Zook called from the Mission General Store. He said his daughter Beth is missing.”

At the mention of her former neighbor, Josiah Zook, Leah was immediately transported back to that barn again. Watching as a psychopath slaughtered her entire family.

Their deaths came at the hands of a masked stranger who had entered their house, tied everyone up, and forced Mamm and Daed, her sister Ruth, and brother Elijah into the barn. Then, he’d systematically slit each of their throats in front of Leah, saving her for last. She remembered him standing over her. His hot breath whispering against her ear, “You’ll always belong to me.” Even now, the words had the power to reduce her to that terrified young girl, so certain she’d die along with her family.

“Leah? Did you hear me?” Sugar repeated.

With her heart racing, Leah struggled for calm and failed. “Sorry, yes. I know the family.” She’d been friends with Josiah’s older daughter, Colette. “I’ll head over and assist.”

“Thanks, Leah. Let’s hope the girl shows up soon. I don’t want to think about something bad happening to one of those innocent people.”

Sugar’s words fell like knives in her heart. The Amish were peaceful, God-fearing folks. Violence in the community was a rare thing, yet not unheard of. Leah was living proof. Former police chief Ellis Petri had worked hard to help her achieve closure, yet the suspected killer’s end had been just as messed up as his heinous massacre of her family. Even to this day, Leah wondered if the wrong man had died in that fire.

She whipped the cruiser out onto the road and headed toward the Amish community.

The only time she went back there was on a call, and on those occasions, she did her best to avoid her family’s homestead. Yet there would be no avoiding it today. The Zook home was a stone’s throw from where she’d grown up.

Leah couldn’t imagine what her life would have been like without Ellis and Marge. They’d become her entire world. Marge would hold her and assure her everything was going to be okay when Leah woke up in the middle of the night screaming after reliving the nightmare. Yet despite Marge’s tender loving care, it was Ellis whom Leah chose to be like. She’d joined the St. Ignatius Police Department after college because she wanted to do good for people, like Ellis.

The sparse community spread out before her. A horse and buggy passed her on the road heading to town. The Amish man waved. Leah returned his greeting. Rolling hayfields spread out toward the stunning vistas of the Mission Mountains. Overwhelming memories came pouring from her heart. Most of them good. All contaminated by that day.

Leah slowed her speed out of respect for the buggy and others that might be traveling the road. A familiar darkness pressed in. Her breaths came quick. Straight ahead, her former house appeared through the haze of summer.

Leah couldn’t take her eyes off the old place. She’d lived there until a few months after her sixteenth birthday. In her head the house was as she’d left it that night. Yet the harsh reality was it had sat vacant all those years. Its white paint had faded to gray and was peeling from too many brutal Montana winters. The barn, some distance from the house, hovered over the place like some ancient gargoyle and just as frightening.

A lump formed in her throat that she couldn’t swallow. Tears scalded her eyes. Leah’s grip tightened on the steering wheel until her knuckles turned white. She wouldn’t cry. Hadn’t since the funeral. She’d built a wall of stone around her heart no person, including Ellis and Marge, had been able to fully penetrate. It was best that way. Her past had taught her stones could break apart and thrash her heart to pieces at a second’s notice.

She shifted her attention to the Zook farm and let the past return to its tenuous resting place.

Officer Henry Landry’s patrol vehicle was parked in front of the house beside a second cruiser. As soon as Leah turned onto the drive, another vehicle captured her attention. A familiar one. Ellis’s old police SUV. A glaring reminder of more change coming.

A new chief was scheduled to take over the helm of the St. Ignatius Police Department, though no one expected him so soon. Why was Chief Cooper on this call? She leaned forward and peered through the dusty windshield at the vehicles while resisting the desire to call Sugar for answers.

The small police department was still reeling from the intentional shooting of one of their own. Chief Ellis Petri had died on a deserted stretch of mountain road almost a year earlier to the date from a point-blank gunshot wound. With no leads, Ellis’s case was dangerously close to turning cold.

Now, someone else would sit at his desk. Drive his SUV. Take his place. Leah did her best to quell her resentment. It was bad enough they’d lost Ellis in such a violent way. That he could be replaced so easily was like twisting the knife in the wound. Henry had obviously been watching for her. He stepped out onto the porch as Leah pulled up alongside his patrol car. By the time she got out, Henry was standing by her door with a flustered expression on his face. Leah often wondered if a good strong wind might blow the Barney Fife–thin officer away. “Boy, am I glad to see you. They’ve been asking for you.”

Henry pointed to the house and lowered his voice. “He’s in there too.” He wiped sweat from his forehead and cast a nervous glance back to the Zook home.

“Why’s he here anyway? I thought Cooper wasn’t coming in until later in the week.” Leah didn’t even bother to hide her disapproval.

Henry shrugged. “He was at the station when I arrived. He heard the call come in.”

“What’s he like?” The question was out before she could stop it. Gossiping about the new chief was not her finest moment. “Kind of intense,” Henry said with the same amount of anxiety that had consumed Leah since the announcement came through from the mayor. “Sam sure was mad when he didn’t get the job, though you’re the one who’s practically run the force since Ellis passed. I’d hoped you’d take over as chief.”

Henry had been on the job only a few years and had made his fair share of rookie mistakes, but Leah had liked him from the beginning and had done her best to help him whenever possible. For that, Henry seemed determined to put her on a pedestal.

“I appreciate the compliment, but I’m just an officer like you. We’ll leave the big decisions to someone with a higher pay grade than us.”

“Yeah, right,” Henry confirmed with a nod. “We’d better get inside. I can’t explain it, Leah, but I have a bad feeling about this.”

Did he mean the case or the new chief? With those uneasy words hanging between them, Leah followed Henry into the simple Amish home that belonged to people she’d once loved like a second family.

As Leah stepped foot inside the living room, it was like going back to her youth. The simple furnishings hadn’t changed much. Same threadbare sofa. Same two functional rockers near the woodstove. A chest in the corner held the quilts Miriam and her daughters had crafted. Hooks adorned the walls near the door for coats and lanterns. A scenic calendar on one wall was turned to the current month. Behind the sofa, a framed picture of the Ten Commandments had been there for as long as Leah could remember.

Back then, she and Colette Zook had done everything together. They talked about what their lives might be like in the future. A husband. A houseful of kids. Their enduring friendship foremost in every part of their lives.

Regret seeped into Leah’s heart. She’d left the community and Colette and never looked back, even though her dear friend had tried to reach out to her many times. It wasn’t right, the way she’d cut Colette out of her life. In her defense, at the time it seemed like the only way to keep from losing her mind.

“Leah, oh Leah!” Miriam Zook spotted her and immediately pushed to her feet. “I am so glad you came.” Miriam sobbed inconsolably. “Our Beth is missing. Josiah checked the entire property, but there’s no sign of her. We’re afraid something has happened.” The show of emotion was out of character for the woman, who rarely expressed her feelings.

Leah patted Miriam’s arm. “We’re going to do everything we can to find your daughter and bring her home to you.” She did her best to comfort Miriam while praying her words wouldn’t come back to haunt her.

Miriam seemed to latch on to what Leah had said as if it were a lifeline. Her dark, red-rimmed eyes searched Leah’s face. She sniffed twice and squared her shoulders.

Leah guided the woman back to the sofa, where she sank beside her husband and a young girl who appeared to be around eight. The Zooks had another child. She hadn’t realized the family had expanded. Her last contact with the family had been at the funeral.

“This is our daughter Katie.” Josiah made the introductions. Katie was a younger version of Colette. Same silver-blond hair and deep blue eyes.

Josiah placed his arm around his weeping wife. He’d aged in the ten years since Leah had last seen him. The Amish way of life was not an easy one. His hair, now almost entirely white, matched his neatly trimmed beard. The worry on his face drove home the reason they were all here. Josiah was an honest, trusting man who kept his faith in Gott and his attention on hard work. Worry wasn’t part of his subsistence. Until now.

Another man who had been seated in a rocker near the woodstove had risen when Leah entered the room. Leah’s attention latched on to the new man in charge as he came her way. Tall and fit, he was probably former military if the way he carried himself was any indication. He wore his dark hair cut short. Brown eyes captured hers as he closed the space between them. Henry’s description of the man came to mind. “Intense” seemed fitting. He extended his hand. “I’m Dalton Cooper, the new chief.

Sorry to have to make the introductions this way.” He kept his voice low enough for only her to hear. “Sam and Ethan are searching the property and surrounding area.”

Leah shook his hand and forced words out. “It’s nice to meet you, Chief Cooper.”

“Dalton,” he said with a brief smile. He glanced past her to where Henry stood in the doorway still. “Why don’t you run through what we have for Leah?”

Henry snapped to attention and opened his notepad. “The call came in around 7:15 a.m. Mr. Zook phoned from the Mission General Store to say his daughter was missing from her room. She’d gone to bed at the same time as the rest of the family the night before, but when she didn’t come down for breakfast, Mr. and Mrs. Zook checked in on her and discovered her bed was empty. That was at 6:00 a.m.”

Around the time when the morning household chores were ending. Leah looked around the familiar room, mulling over Henry’s statement.

The stale aroma of that morning’s breakfast, probably still uneaten, wafted out from the kitchen. She remembered the many times she’d spent the night here growing up. At daybreak, the family gathered around the table. A flicker of a smile touched her lips as she recalled Miriam bustling about to make sure everyone was fed and ready for the day.

“Beth is around sixteen, correct?” Leah asked Josiah. No doubt going through her rumspringa, a period when Amish youth enjoyed more freedom to go out into the world and experience what it felt like to not be Plain. Most returned to join the faith. Some did not.

Images of Leah’s own rumspringa came to mind. She and Colette had committed only small acts of defiance. Colette did her best to keep Leah on the right path, but she didn’t know about him. He’d turned Leah’s head away from the path chosen for her and she’d regretted it ever since. Calling himself John, he’d induced her to do things she wouldn’t normally have done, like slipping away in the middle of the night to meet him in her family’s barn . . .

Jah, that is correct.” Josiah’s firm response intruded into Leah’s regrets. He adjusted his glasses on his nose, brows slanted together in a familiar frown. Josiah had always been a solemn man. Leah cleared her throat and posed the question she knew would not be well received. “Is it possible Beth may have gone out after everyone fell asleep? Maybe to a friend’s? Perhaps she spent the night there?”

Miriam’s head shot up. Anger ignited in her eyes. “Nay. It is not possible. Beth is a gut girl. She would not go sneaking out of the house. She is happy with the Plain life and is going to be baptized soon. She and Caleb Wagler will marry one day. Beth would not do such a thing.” Miriam collapsed against her husband, deep sobs racking her body.

Most Amish parents did not question their children about what they did during rumspringa. It stood to reason the Zooks wouldn’t know everything going on in Beth’s life, yet Leah had obviously touched a nerve. She let the matter drop.

“Would you mind if I checked Beth’s room?” She addressed Josiah again as Miriam continued to weep. The man stared at her blankly. Josiah’s simple world had been sent into a tailspin and he was clearly struggling to understand.

Leah focused on the little girl seated beside her mother. “Do you share a room with your sister?”

Katie nodded slightly while keeping her attention on her clasped hands.

“Would you mind showing me around your room?”

<

 

 

Mary Alford

Author Bio:

Mary Alford is a USA Today bestselling author who loves giving her readers the unexpected, combining unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots that result in stories the reader can’t put down. Her titles have been finalists for several awards, including the Daphne Du Maurier, the Beverly, the Maggie, and the Selah. She and her husband live in the heart of Texas in the middle of 70 acres with two cats and one dog.

Catch Up With Mary Alford:

MaryAlford.net

Goodreads

BookBub – @MaryAlford

Twitter – @maryalford13

Facebook – @MaryAlfordAuthor

 

 

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Tour for Hope Beyond the Waves by Heidi Chiavaroli

BOOK DETAILS

Publisher‎Hope Creek Publishers LLC (June 8, 2022)Language‎English

Paperback‎446 pages

ISBN-10‎195766312X

ISBN-13‎978-1957663128

From award-winning author Heidi Chiavaroli comes a sweeping dual timeline story that explores hope and enduring love in the midst of the impossibleMassachusetts, 1993After making a grievous mistake that will change her life forever, Emily Robertson is sent away to live with her grandmother on Cape Cod. When Emily finds a timeworn photograph buried in a drawer, she realizes her grandmother has concealed a secret even bigger than her own. Will convincing Gram to reveal their family history help Emily make the most important decision of her life or will it prove her parents right—that family scandal is better off buried and forgotten?Massachusetts, 1916Atta Schaeffer plans to marry the man of her dreams and whisk her little sister away from their abusive father. But when she is diagnosed with a dreaded malady, Atta is forced into a life of exile, leaving her sister in harm’s way. On Penikese Island, Atta’s best hope lies with Harry Mayhew, a doctor who seeks a cure for his patients at any cost. But when experiments fail, Atta runs from Harry—and from God. Can she return to her sister before it’s too late? Or will her illness consume both her body and soul?A testament to faith and love, Hope Beyond the Waves is the raw account of the journey of two generations of women running from desperate situations toward irresistible hope. 2 Comments on “

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

Wow! Just Wow! Hope Beyond the Waves is an absolute amazing read! Heidi Chiavaroli digs deep into the most horrific situations in this dual timeline and writes a story that gripped my heart from the beginning and will stay with me for a long while. Emily and Atta are two young ladies, same family, different generations who loose their home and family by being carted off to the unknown because of family secrets that can no way show their ugly faces within the so called perfect families of these two young ladies. No way can these girls stay in their homes being exposed and left in an unclean state. In 1993 Emily lives with her grandmother to avoid trouble with her father, and in 1916 Atta suffers so much hurt, but is no longer wanted in her home. Will these two girls find the peace and contentment they need during this horrific time in their life?

This is my first historical fiction by Heidi Chiavaroli and it definitely will not be my last! I thoroughly enjoyed Hope Beyond the Waves and the phenomenal writing skills of Chiavaroli. These character fit the story so well with their deep growth throughout the story, creating wonderful personalities, in most, I should say. Emily was a little harder to get to know but I like how she grew to care more for her grandmother as she told Emily her story. I think Atta was a sweetheart, with a feisty personality. Which fit her quite well in dealing with the people there on Penikese island, especially one of the Drs. I learned a lot reading this book. I have never heard of Penikese island and what it was used for. Dr. and Mrs. Parker were special to the island, for the hard work in the healing of the patients. There are many more characters, so much more happening in this book, and that’s why you need to check out Hope Beyond the Waves by Heidi Chiavaroli. I always read everything in a book, the author’s notes, their thanks, etc, and I found in the authors notes that much of the story and some of the characters are indeed real. How cool is that! This makes this book more interesting and even more reason to check out this special book today. I am happy to give this book Five Stars, and it deserves so much more.

A special thanks to the author/publisher for a copy of this book. I am not required to write a positive review, the opinions here are mine alone. I am disclosing this with my review in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Heidi Chiavaroli is a writer, runner, and grace-clinger who could spend hours exploring places that whisper of historical secrets. Her debut novel, Freedom’s Ring, was a Carol Award winner and a Christy Award finalist, a Romantic Times Top Pick, and a Booklist Top Ten Romance Debut. Her dual timeline novel, The Orchard House, is inspired by the lesser-known events in Louisa May Alcott’s life and led her to write The Orchard House Bed and Breakfast series, a contemporary twist on Little Women. Heidi makes her home in Massachusetts with her husband and two sons.

Connect with Heidi online at her website (heidichiavaroli.com) or on either of these social media platforms:

Facebook.com/HeidiChiavaroliAuthor

https://www.instagram.com/heidichiavaroli/

Hey Charlie, You’re Next by Michael B. Judkins

Join Us For This Tour From:  June 20 to July 1 
 
Book Details:Book Title:  Hey Charlie, You’re Next!  by Michael B. Judkins
CategoryChildren’s Fiction (Ages 3-7), 30 pages
GenreChildren’s Fiction, Children’s Stories
Publisher: Oct14 Entertainment
Publication Date: August 2020
Content Rating: G: No bad language or explicit content

Book Description:

Charlie finds himself in the midst of bullying on Basketball day at school and is unsure of how to speak up for himself. With a little bit of advice from his teacher and some hope, there is nothing that can tear him down.

Hey Charlie, You’re Next offers readers a compelling story about overcoming negativity and gaining self confidence. It is the first book in the Hey Charlie series by Michael Judkins. Stay tune for
the next books!

BUY THE BOOK:
AMAZON 
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Meet the Author:

Michael B. Judkins, is a local creative residing in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania. He holds an Associate in Science in Journalism, Bachelor of Science in Human Services, and a Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling with over 20 years in the field of Human Services.

Michael self-published his first poetry collection titled, “Introduction to Sentimental Me”. After the release of this collection, Michael was signed to Aois 21 Media publishing house which published his second poetry collection released title, “Interlude to Sentimental Me.” In addition, to the “I Stand- Podcast” and “Interlude to Sentimental Book Tour (Maryland, Virginia, Washington D.C, Bethlehem Pa, and Allentown, PA) which also included a virtual book tour (blog sites).

During this time, Michael started his independent film career in 2016, as a script supervisor on a short film produced in the Lehigh Valley area of PA. This project opened the door for Michael in the local film industry in the Lehigh Valley. After this, Michael worked on several film projects throughout the next few years as production manager, production assistant, Key Grip, and Producer. Michael also has written, produced,
and directed his first stage play titled, “Interlude to Sentimental Me Stage Play.”

connect with the author: website ~ facebook ~ instagram ~ youtubegoodreads

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GUEST POST FROM Author Michael B. Judkins for Hey Charlie, You’re Next!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My favorite time of day to write 

My favorite time of the day to write is late at night into the early morning. For me, that time of the day is the quietest and most delicate time to be clear in your thoughts. If I had to say, most of the poetry collections that are published, the creation and writing all happened at night. When I look back at why I like to write at night the answer remains the same.

We all know the saying that the strangest things happen at night or the scariest things happen at night. How about we do the narrative as creators and visionaries, and use the night to find inspiration and motivation to inspire something that needs healing. Can we challenge ourselves to say, this paper, novel, short story, or poem I’m writing will bring strength and determination to someone. Just saying! Perception of the time of day for writing to me changes in feeling and thought.

When I write at night, I’m clear to focus on the subject, create the narrative, solve the problem and close the story in a calm and collected space and time. Now, that’s my favorite time of day to write.

 
Tour Schedule:

June 20 – Cover Lover Book Review – book spotlight / giveaway
June 21 – Library Lady’s Kid Lit – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
June 21 – My Reading Getaway – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
June 22 – Sandra’s Book Club – book spotlight
June 23 – Kam’s Place – book spotlight / author interview
June 23 – Amy’s Booket List – book spotlight / giveaway
June 23 – The Phantom Paragrapher – book spotlight / giveaway
June 24 – Hall Ways Blog – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
June 24 – Paws.Read.Repeat – book spotlight
June 27 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
June 28 – Book Zone Reviews – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
June 28 – Splashes of Joy – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
June 29 – Lisa’s Reading – book spotlight / giveaway
June 29 – fundinmental – book spotlight / giveaway
June 30 – Character Madness and Musing – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
June 30 – Literary Flits – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
July 1 – Chit Chat with Charity – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway

 

Enter the Giveaway:

 

HEY, CHARLIE, YOU’RE NEXT Book Tour Giveaway

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Where You Are & How to Get There Epic Book Launch

About the Book

Book: Where You Are & How to Get There

Author: Nolan Ryan Recker

Genre: Lifestyle

Release date: August 4, 2022

Have you ever had the thought or asked yourself the question, “How did I get here?”

You know, the kind of question examining the indirect decisions and circumstances that led you to the point life that you even need to ask such a question.

One of the oldest questions ever recorded in human history speaks to this very question we ask ourselves in moments of doubt. What if that ancient question was a question we ought to ask ourselves on a regular basis?

Journey with me as we wrestle with a question that if meant for us, today, would change everything about we view the life we choose to live.

BOOK EXCERPT

Where You Are & How to get There

Based on how we wrestle with certain questions will impact and influence the people we surround ourselves with, the characters/people we identify with in stories, the clothes we wear, the dreams we dream, the art we consume, the food we eat, and even the belief systems we form to give us a sense of purpose & meaning. 

Before we can answer the question “Who am I?” we need to look at some other frequently asked questions in order to find the right one. 

** * 

Have you ever been in a situation where you asked the question 

“How did I get here?” 

There have been a few times when I drove to some place, zoned out while driving, arrived at my destination and wondered, “I don’t remember some of my trip.” 

One time, I got lost in a corn maze. I stared at my phone, checking fantasy football while only taking right turns inside the maze. Before I knew it, I double backed twice and had no clue on where to go. Then it began to rain, and it got really muddy.

MISSED ANY EXCERPTS, GO HERE:

***INSERT LINKS HERE***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nolan’s toughest and rewarding opportunities are being a husband and a father. As a husband and a father, Nolan wants his family members to discover and live a flourishing life. Nolan’s life experience has covered the spectrum from being a camp counselor to a school teacher to a custodian to a Lead Pastor of a church. This, is why he writes. If he wrestles with the ideas he writes about, maybe others wrestle with the same things, and if they do, would they benefit from a different perspective? He’s honored to listen to anyone who graces him with their time to tell their story; especially if it involves coffee or pizza.

For Better & For Worse by Quint Emm Ellis

For Better & For Worse

by Quint Emm Ellis

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GENRE:   Christian Romance

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BLURB:

These ex-lovebirds are busy building a nest for one. But can she be convinced to make room for him, too?

Despite attending the same congregation and university, Ashe and Stephen’s circles had never seemed to cross.

One class project changed everything…for the better; until secrecy and youthful indiscretion pulled them apart.

Will an unexpectant reunion in their adult years allow Ashe and Stephen to rewrite a history riddled with regret and heartbreaking choices?

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Excerpt One:

“It’s open, Dear. Come on in. We’re all in the backyard,” she heard an unfamiliar woman’s voice say over the doorbell’s integrated camera and intercom system.

“Oh,” she responded, bending down a bit to look into the camera as she resettled the pan in both hands. Unsure if the ghost that’d just occupied the device was still there, she decided to err on the side of caution and manners. “Thank you.”

Rebalancing her offering on one hand, she wrapped her free hand around the cool, metal door knob. The scent of bar-b-que, the sound of laughter and an overwhelming sense of home and comfort greeted her as she took her first steps inside the cozy home. Her shoulders relaxed as she continued to follow the sounds of something sizzling on the grill and of voices that felt both familiar and foreign.

“Ashe?”

Though Ashe paused, the hairs on her skin slowly stood on end. 

That didn’t sound like Josiah or Liam. And yet, she recognized that man’s voice from somewhere. She tilted her head to one side, blinking through a fog of memory.

“Ashe,” the voice insisted.

Recognition rippled down Ashe’s spine; she knew who was standing just a few feet behind her.

And if she could have just kept walking, she would have; but her body betrayed her— turning of its own volition to meet the source.

The world became dull except for the man who carefully stood from his chair, tossing his book upon the seat’s cushion before striding toward Ashe. He stood in sharp contrast against the scenery that seemed to have become a blur. When he stopped, he was so close she could catch a faint whiff of soap intertwined with a husky, sweet aroma. 

He changed colognes, came the wayward thought in Ashe’s mind.

GUEST POST FROM AUTHOR

Where did you get your idea for this book?

“For Better & For Worse” is the third installment of my four-novellete series “The Sisterhood of the Tiny House Revolution”. The series came about because of my own interest in tiny houses. I used to watch youtube videos featuring tours and builds for hours. One of those days, I was surprised to see that the owner giving the tour was a black woman who was likely not too far from my own age. It was then that I realized how very rare it was to see any media related to tiny housing featuring black women. Since then, I’ve seen less than a handful of black women showcasing their tiny living spaces; but each time my spirit is buoyed. Given that there aren’t many romances featuring tiny houses, either, it seemed a good opportunity for me to introduce the story of four ladies and their Tiny House crew to the world.

Each of the ladies contributes their own voice and personality to one another’s stories. In “For Better & For Worse” I focus on Ashe, the most introspective and unflappable of the bunch. That personality trait is partly what inspired her and Stephen’s story, for me. Who wouldn’t want to see what–or who–could push this cool and calm lady’s buttons? And who better than someone who’s known her more closely than anyone else: a past love. I was also really looking forward to pairing two uber introverts together and watching how they interact around one another vs around others. It was a fun story to write, and I’m looking forward to getting to know these four ladies and their men even more as I work on completing the series’ final installment (due out before the end of summer).

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” 

– Toni Morrison

Quint Emm Ellis enjoys penning plots centering around unabashedly nerdy, introverted, cinnamon-roll mantic, passionate, fallible women who happen to be black, who happen to be Christian, and who happen to love an uplifting and, possibly, inspirational story. 

She enjoys listening to audio books, watching movies, finding great deals and spoiling her cat and dog rotten. Her dream is to be able to walk around in loose pajama pants all day and geek out while mastering niche crafts like music production, film editing and electro etching.

Website: https://QuintEmmEllis.com

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/quint-emm-ellis

Amazon Author Page: https://amazon.com/author/QuintEmmEllis

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/QuintEmmEllis/

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE:

Quint Emm Ellis will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Click on link below to enter giveaway

<a href=”http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f4225“>Enter to win a $10 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>

Deception by Patricia Bradley

Author:Patricia Bradley
Series:Natchez Trace Park Rangers, Bk 4
Genres:MysteryRomance
Tag:Natchez Trace
ASIN: B09LWXDKLT
ISBN: 9780800735760

About the Book

When ISB Ranger Madison Thorn arrives in Natchez to investigate a white-collar scheme, she has no idea she will be thrown back into the violent crimes division–or that it will get so personal. She’ll have to work with her childhood-enemy-turned-handsome-charmer to unravel the clues before it’s too late.

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

DECEPTION By Patricia Bradley
Review for Library Thing

I love Patricia Bradely’s books and I am so excited when I get I review one! Deception is amazing. This is Book Four in the Natchez Trace series and has everything I expected in a Patricia Bradley. In fact, I think she may have out done herself with Deception. From the opening scene, where Madison had to gun down her partner in self defense, this book grabbed me and wouldn’t let me go. Later when Madison was working a theft crime in Natchez, Mississippi, weird things started happening. An unconscious woman she’s up at the hospital looking exactly like Madison, someone shot her grandfather. What is really happening? Is someone after Madison or her when family?

Wow! I felt like I was on a roller coaster ride through the entire book. There is so much going on in this book. So many secrets come to surface that it’s hard to keep up with them at times. I love the spot on characters that play their parts so well and as with all of Bradley’s books, the writing is phenomenal. Each scene is so beautifully detailed I felt like I was immersed in the book with all of the characters. This book has everything I want in a book. Suspense, thrills, mystery, fast paced plot and nail bitting, drama that satisfies my heart for a long while. Love the exceptional ending to the wonderful series. If you love an amazing thrilling ride in a book, you must read Deception by Patrica Bradly

A special thanks to the publisher and Library0 Thing for a copy of this book. I am not required to write a positive review, the opinions here are mine alone. I am disclosing this with my review in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Meet Author Patricia Bradley


Honoring God through my writing is top priority for this Mississippi Writer.

Thank you so much for visiting my website today!

 I am a USA Today Best Selling Romantic Suspense writer living in the Deep South. My first published works were short stories published in Woman’s World Blood Kin is available on the website as a thank you for visiting my site!And now I’m the proud author of fourteen novels and five novellas. I am also proud to be represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Agency.

I have three series published by Revell, a division of Baker Books: The Logan Point Series, The Memphis Cold Case Novels, and The Natches Tracer Park Rangers. Learn more about all my books on the Books Page!

I’m working on book #15, the first book set in the Cumberland Plateau, just north of Chattanooga. When I have a title, I’ll be back and let you know.

I’ve also done the unthinkable–written a couple of romances with no suspense–who would’ve thought it’d be such fun? You can read more about them here.

I’m also co-founder of Aiming for Healthy Famillies, Inc. an abstinence/healthy relationship organization that offers youth the skills to make better choices.

I speak to audiences nationwide about writing and also teach writing courses at conferences  I would love to have the opportunity to speak to your group or teach at your conference. Feel free to contact me here.

When I’m not writing or speaking (Or playing with my rescue kitties), I throw mud on a wheel and try to make something beautiful.

All That is Hidden by Laura DeNooyer-Moore

All That is Hidden by Laura DeNooyer-Moore

Description

“All That Is Hidden is a beautiful novel, the kind of book that sweeps you up in its story, makes you fall in love with its characters, and breaks your heart along with theirs.” -- Writer’s Digest

Are secrets worth the price they cost to keep?

Ten-year-old Tina Hamilton finds out the hard way.

She always knew her father had a secret. But all of God’s earth to Tina are the streams for fishing, the fields for planting and harvesting–a world snugly enclosed by the blue-misted Smokies. Other than the seasons, nothing ever changed.

Until the summer of 1968.

Tina’s life changes forever. Trouble erupts when northern exploitation threatens her tiny southern Appalachian town.

Some folks blame the trouble on progress, some blame the space race and men meddling with the moon’s cycles, and some blame Tina’s father.

A past he has hidden catches up to him as his secret settles in like an unwelcome guest. The clash of progressive ideas and small town values escalates the collision of a father’s past and present.

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MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

All That is Hidden by Laura DeNooyer-Moore is a story told through the eyes of Ten year old Tina Hamilton. Set in the Appalachian Mountains during 1968 is a fun time for me to hear all of the happenings in this small town, and we get a glimpse of family and a different kind of fun because kids back then were doing activities outside such as fishing, running around with friends and usually getting into trouble. We have made many trips to the area and as I read about the lifestyle, food, young boys and their ways. But here in this book you will find secrets, and lots of them. I did however find several places in the first several parts of the book that was slow and difficult to connect to the characters. But it got better.

I enjoyed this book very much. All of the characters were interesting and seasoned well throughout the story. The flash back for me to the late 1960’s was a lot of fun for me, I always love reading things back in the day that I can relate to. The story has 5 parts, and it could be written as a book of novellas or short stories.

I mentioned the secrets earlier, and Tina’s dad was mentioned several times as having deep secrets but that didn’t come to pass until Part 5 in the story, which was my favorite part. The secrets were pretty much all from Tina’s dad, Drew. And Phil Kepler was in on the secrets as well. But it was so long ago. There wasn’t a lot of emotions from me in the first 4 parts but in part 5, I think I had tears during reading most of this when all of the secrets come to surface, both to the adults and the kids. It was a pretty interesting time. The beauty in this ending is the faith that ran through this entire book, including Tina giving her life to the Lord. And then there was grace, mercy, forgiveness and Redemption that will make your heart smile. I’m giving this book Four Stars.

A special thanks to the author/publisher for a copy of this book. I am not required to write a positive review, the opinions here are mine alone. I am disclosing this with my review in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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I Want to thank author Laura Laura DeNooyer-Moore for answering some questions for us to better get to know her and her writing.

1. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

First, when I have a premise and a couple of characters that compel me, with a rough idea of a plan, I’m surprised at how quickly I can put the story in motion. A couple of times, I finished a rough draft within a month or two, and that’s without even trying to do NaNoWriMo. Of course, it takes much longer to whip it into shape through many revisions.

The other surprising thing is, comparatively, how much time must be spent on either seeking publication or doing marketing activities. Without a schedule, it’s easy to get lost jumping through these hoops rather than spending time in actual writing. But when you want to share your story with others, both are essential. The key is balance.

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2. If I write a review of your book, what do you want to hear?

My hope is that readers will be moved in some way—not merely entertained. I want them to be engaged with the characters and caught up in the story, but also to be moved to reflection after the last page. Either think about things differently, understand something better, or empathize with someone they never considered much before.  

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3. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Great question! I would tell her to hang in there, it’s going to be a long haul. Life takes priority over writing, and life spills over into your writing, so seize the day to wring as much as possible from each experience—the ups and downs, the joys, the pain, even the confusion of the journey. If writing is your passion, learn the craft and keep moving toward the goal. Find mentors, accept constructive criticism, and don’t give up. 

Also, never compare your progress (or lack of it) to others. Every author has different opportunities and circumstances. Follow your own pace. 

These are things I had the good fortune to grasp back in my younger days—because I took to heart the advice of well-established authors. Now, looking back, I still concur. However, the comparison game is always a challenge to overcome.

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4. What would the main character in your book have to say about you?

Though I’m very fond of ten-year-old Tina, my protagonist, she’s very different from me as a child. She’s a tomboy, while I enjoyed playing with dolls and making dollhouses. She’s unafraid to speak her mind, while I was more of a quiet observer. If we’d grown up in the same neighborhood, I’d admire her spunk and would want to try all the things she does—in hopes that her pluck would rub off on me. But how much she’d want to hang out with me is definitely in question.

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5. How did you go about developing the setting for this story?

The setting is based on my visit to the Smokies and western North Carolina during college. The town of Currie Hill is a composite of rural small towns in that area. Fleshing out the setting required several visits and understanding the people living there as well as generations prior. The Foxfire books helped tremendously in grasping the customs, crafts, music, legends, tall tales, farming practices, and superstitions that constitute the backbone of southern Appalachia people. 

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6. Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?

I’ve definitely been highjacked by my characters. It happens when I least expect it, after I’ve been deluded into thinking I was actually in charge!

I prefer to have a plan in mind when I write, but if I wait for that to happen, I’d never write at all. Writing is often a process of discovery—more akin to brainstorming, even. I don’t know what’s going to happen until it happens. Or I aim for one thing, and get blindsided by another. There’s an element of risk, which can be unsettling. Crafting stories means riding the wave of whatever comes while trying not to topple over. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

As a Michigan native, Laura earned a BA in Education and Fine Arts at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, then taught school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for nine years. She pioneered the middle school and high school art program, wrote curriculum, taught creative writing, and coached volleyball.

Over twenty years later, Laura started her own teaching and tutoring business from home, working with home schoolers the past sixteen years. Between these two teaching jobs, she and her husband raised four children. In her spare time, Laura wrote and published her first novel and received awards for other stories.

Storytelling through novels is her passion, especially character-driven stories featuring complex relationships, whether historical fiction or a fairy tale setting.

Laura has contributed to The Baum Bugle periodical and hosts a blog to encourage creativity and spur imagination, wherever they are found. https://lauradenooyer.com

Critical Acclaim for 2012 novel All That Is Hidden:

“This novel captures a vivid sense of life in a family-bonded community in the Appalachian mountains, one in which many readers will see themselves growing up through Little League baseball and major league heroes at a time and place when children spent more time out ranging in the fields and woods than in front of electronic gadgets. The story gives such a strong sense of family interactions that you’ll feel you’ve been invited to a reunion, rich in good food and conversation that often makes you laugh–but also presses on some deep wounds. Central is the clash of progress with a small tight-knit community in which people can be deeply concerned with the work and interests of their neighbors.”

–Dr. Steve Eberly, Western Carolina University

“All That Is Hidden is a beautiful novel, the kind of book that sweeps you up in its story, makes you fall in love with its characters, and breaks your heart along with theirs when they go through suffering. The “secret,” or, more accurately, secrets, of the first line of this book are artfully hidden throughout the novel, making their ultimate revelation both truly shocking and truly poignant. Tina is a very good narrator, but it is her father and his character who steals the novel–his life story is both original and compelling, and the pain and grace he experiences drew tears to this reader’s eyes.”

–Writer’s Digest

“This richly layered story is a most rewarding read . . . The gentle power of this book gains momentum until it reaches a dramatic and moving end.”

–Ann Emanuel, Commuter Week

The Chasm by Branwen OShea

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Branwen OShea will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

They thought the biggest problem they faced was each other.

After Bleu, Rana, and their new friends narrowly prevent war between the star beings and humans, they hope the upcoming negotiation will secure the peace. Newly emerged from their subterranean haven, the Northern Haven humans are clearly not suited to Earth’s ice age, and require assistance from the enlightened star beings to survive long term on the Surface. But Commander Savas doesn’t trust the suspiciously kind star beings and their unexplainable abilities. When both sides reluctantly negotiate a joint mission to find the other Havens, Bleu must somehow cooperate with the manipulative commander to keep his friends safe.

As their team confronts unexpected dangers, Bleu and his teammates begin to suspect the star beings don’t know as much about the Surface as they claimed, while Rana is torn between remaining true to her nonviolent ways or becoming more human to survive. When an unnatural predator attacks, even the nearly all-knowing Kalakanya can’t explain it. Now the team must pull together or their new discovery will pull them apart, limb by limb.

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Read an Excerpt

As the sun descended behind the mountain and darkness crept across the frozen field, a strange dread seeped into Bleu’s bones. It felt like a warning, an alarm that danger lurked nearby.

He had known safety in Rana’s village, and he’d lost the spatial anxiety caused by the wide-open spaces of the Surface that differed so much from the cozy walls and tunnels of home. No, this unease wasn’t spatial anxiety to the openness of the sky and horizon.

This was different, and perhaps a bit similar to what Kahali feared. Bleu had never faced the possibility of other humans with guns. His team sat out in the open, exposed. The meager light from the cooking fire did nothing against the shroud of blackness surrounding them. No safe walls protected them from physical attacks or bullets. And then, there were the unknown predators of the region.

His earlier excitement of finding the footprints evaporated, leaving behind a gnawing awareness of their vulnerability. The darkness beyond the campfire could be punctured any moment by monstrous claws or gunfire. Childhood tales of the evil Undescended crowded his mind with images so ludicrously terrible that he wanted to laugh at himself.

Instead, he checked that they were all armed and sent Savas and Neviah to make sure the helicopters were locked. Animal calls and crunching footsteps drifted down the mountains as if something were encircling them. Even the confident star beings kept glancing out into the night. They should be comfortable in such wilderness, right?

About the Author:

As a young girl, Branwen wanted to become an ambassador for aliens. Since the aliens never hired her, she now writes about them.

Branwen OShea has a Bachelors in Biology from Colgate University, a Bachelors in Psychology, and a Masters in Social Work. She lives in Connecticut with her family and a menagerie of pets, and enjoys hiking, meditating, and star-gazing. Her published works include Silence of the Song Trees, The Calling, The Cords That Bind, and The Chasm.

Website
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Buy The Calling (Book 1) on Amazon
The Cords That Bind (Book 1.1) on Amazon
The Chasm (Book 2) on Amazon

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How Did I Get Here by Christine Caine

Bestselling author, speaker, and activist Christine Caine helps readers who are feeling weary and like things somehow aren’t quite right to identify how they ended up where they are and what they need to do to course-correct and anchor themselves in the only One who does not change or shift with the currents. We’ve all at some point looked up from the daily grind and realized we had somehow drifted off course. Maybe we’ve been doing all the right Christian things and saying all the right Christian words, but inside we know something is just a bit off. Like we’ve run out of energy, vision, passion, and feel unable to move forward. The question we’re pondering is not only How did I get here? but also What do I do now? In this new book, Caine meets us all in that place of weariness and uncertainty, sharing her own journey of discovery with vulnerability, candor, and self-deprecating humor. She lays out what she has learned about staying the course when you’re feeling untethered and guides us each to learn the questions to ask about our relationships with God, with others, and with our own hearts to stay continually anchored despite the world’s shifting currents; discover how to trust God more deeply by moving from a “what if?” kind of faith to an “even if” kind of faith; identify nine signs we are drifting off course and learn how to reposition ourselves to get back on track; and wrestle honestly with life’s hard questions so we can respond faithfully to all the ways God answers, including the times when it feels like he doesn’t. Christine offers up deeply personal stories, scriptural insights, and an eye-opening admonition to start paying closer attention, helping us to stop drifting and start thriving as we place our anchor on our unchanging, trustworthy God.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christine Caine is an Australian born, Greek blooded, love of Jesus, a sought-after international speaker, author and activist. Known for her ability to effectively communicate a message of hope, Christine has a heart for reaching the lost, strengthening leadership, and championing the cause of justice. Together with her husband, Nick, she founded the anti-human trafficking organization, The A21 Campaign – a recipient of the Mother Theresa Memorial Award for their work combating human trafficking among refugees. They also founded Propel Women, an organization designed to celebrate every woman’s passion, purpose, and potential. Christine and Nick make their home in Southern California with their daughters, Catherine and Sophia. See more at https://christinecaine.com/.

Move Devotional by Brian Tome

THE BOOK:

Propel your life forward with this devotional just for men as you dig into Scripture, strengthen your prayer life, and take practical challenges designed to get you off your spiritual couch and into a more fulfilling life.

Move Devotional by pastor, husband, and dad Brian Tome is perfect for any man who is tired of the status quo and wants to live a life of greater spiritual strength and power. This inspiring, accessible book includes:

•            Practical strategies for the everyday man to make positive changes in his life

•            Guidance on how to deal with real-life struggles

•            Motivation to get moving

•            Scripture, prayer prompts, and authentic stories from the author

With 70 entries about work, rest, family, purpose, prayer, spiritual growth, and more, Move Devotional is fitting for men in any season of life. Move Devotional is ideal for high school and college graduations, Father’s Day, birthdays, and New Year’s, and is an excellent gift for men who:

•            want a deeper spiritual life but don’t know where to start.

•            are facing a time of transition or looking for change in their lives.

•            are in a men’s small group and want to take practical steps together.

•            want straight talk about real life, not sugar-coated religious cliches.

So get real. Get moving. Take ownership of your spiritual life and find lasting fulfillment like never before.

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

MOVE is a Devotional written for men. As I read through the book, I found the Devotions were well written with subjects that are interesting to the man in your life. There are 70 different Devotions with topics such as work, REST (this one is interesting), prayer, spiritual growth, a deeper relationship with the Lord, and so much more. I also like the way the Devotions are laid out on each page. The outside of the book is hardcover, black with orange accents and makes this a striking cover that men will enjoy carrying

I really want to encourage you to pick up a copy of this book. You can take your time going through this each day, looking up a scripture and enjoying your time with the Lord.

A special thanks to the author/publisher for a copy of this book. I am not required to write a positive review, the opinions here are mine alone. I am disclosing this with my review in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

To See a Sample of What is In the Book Click the Link Below

ABOUT THE AUTHOR…

Brian Tome is the founding and senior pastor of Crossroads Church, 2017’s fastest-growing church in America. Brian has authored four books including his best-seller, The Five Marks of a Man. He also hosts The Aggressive Life podcast. As an entrepreneur, Brian has opened several other non-profits and started Man Camp, a primitive weekend camping experience that has helped tens of thousands of men reclaim the code of manhood. An avid adventure motorcyclist, Brian rides tens of thousands of miles and camps more than 30 nights a year. Brian has also released an adventure ride TV show called Phantom Lake, available on Amazon Prime. He is married with three children and lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Giveaway and Spotlight The Beached Ones by Colleen M. Story

Join us for this tour from June 14 to July 11, 2022!

Book Details:

Book Title:  The Beached Ones by Colleen M. Story
Category:  Adult Fiction (18+),  354 pages
GenreParanormal, Literary, Ghost, Fantasy
Publisher:  CamCat Books
Release date:  June 14, 2022
Content Rating: PG-13 + M: The
book does explore suicide, and there is one scene indicating potential
sexual abuse (that is stopped before it starts). There is the occasional
swear word, but they are not frequent.

Book Description:

HE CAME BACK, DETERMINED TO KEEP HIS PROMISE.

Daniel and his younger brother grew up in an abusive home. Daniel escaped. Now an established stunt rider, he intends to go back to rescue his brother. But then one jump goes horribly wrong . . .

He recovers to find himself in Iowa, unscathed, yet his life has drastically changed. His best friend won’t answer his calls. Even his
girlfriend is hiding something. Increasingly terrified, he clings to the one thing he knows: He must pick up his brother in San Francisco. In five days.

​From the isolating fields of Iowa to the crowded streets of San Francisco, Daniel must fight his way through a fog of disjointed
memories and supernatural encounters to face the truth and pay a debt he didn’t know he owed.

BUY THE BOOK:
CAMCAT BOOKS
AMAZON ~ B&N ~ Nook
IndieBound ~ Kobo ~ Book Depository 

 

Meet the Author:

Colleen M. Story is a novelist, freelance writer, writing coach, and speaker who loves animals, music, and the great Pacific Northwest.

Her novel, Loreena’s Gift, was a Foreword Reviews’ INDIES Book of the Year Awards winner, among others. Her next novel, The Beached Ones is forthcoming from CamCat Books on June 14, 2022.

Colleen has written three books to help writers succeed. “Your Writing Matters” helps writers overcome self-doubt and determine once and for all where writing fits in their lives.

Her previous release, Writer Get Noticed!, was a gold-medal winner in the Reader’s Favorite Book Awards and a first-place winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards. Overwhelmed Writer Rescue was named Book by Book Publicity’s Best Writing/Publishing Book in 2018 and was an Amazon best seller.

With over 20 years as a professional in the creative industry, Colleen has authored thousands of articles for publications like “Healthline” and “Women’s Health;” worked with high-profile clients like Gerber Baby Products and Kellogg’s; and ghostwritten books on back pain, nutrition, and cancer recovery. She continues to work as a full-time freelance writer, helping clients create informative and inspiring communications in a variety of media formats.

Colleen frequently serves as a workshop leader, writing coach, and motivational speaker, where she helps attendees remove mental and
emotional blocks and tap into their unique creative powers.

Go to Colleen’s website for free chapters of her books.

connect with the author: website ~twitter ~ goodreads ~ bookbub

 
Tour Schedule:

June 14 – Cover Lover Book Review – book spotlight / giveaway
June 14 – Viviana MacKade – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
June 14 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book review / giveaway
June 15 – Celticlady’s Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
June 15 – Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews – book review
June 15 – The Official Blog of Amy Shannon – book spotlight / author interview
June 16 –  Working Mommy Journal – book review / giveaway
June 17 – @twilight_reader – book review
June 20 – Review Thick And Thin – book review / author interview / giveaway
June 21 – Gina Rae Mitchell – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
June 21 – Ravenz Reviewz – book review / giveaway
June 22 – Kam’s Place – book review
June 23 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book review / giveaway
June 24 – Splashes of Joy – book spotlight / giveaway
June 27 – Mostly Mystery Reviews – book review / author interview / giveaway
June 27 – My Reading Getaway – book review / giveaway
June 28 – Olio by Marilyn – book review / giveaway
June 29 – The Momma Spot – book review / giveaway
June 30 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review / giveaway
July 1 – fundinmental – book spotlight / giveaway
July 5 – My Fictional Oasis – book review
July 6 – Bigreadersite – book review / giveaway
July 7 – Deborah-Zenha Adams – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
July 7 – From the Book Reviewer’s Desk – book review / author interview
July 8 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
July 8 – Literary Flits – book review / giveaway
July 11 – Sadie’s Spotlight – book spotlight / author interview

 

Enter the Giveaway:

THE BEACHED ONES Book Tour Giveaway

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Love in Disguise by Penny Zeller

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About the Book

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Book: Love in Disguise

Author: Penny Zeller

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: February 22, 2022

My Rating: Five Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Who knew concealing one’s true identity could be so disastrous?

Who knew asserting one’s independence would cause such embarrassment? If only Almira “Emilie” Crawford Wheeler hadn’t insisted upon carrying her own stack of parcels, she wouldn’t have landed in an unladylike heap on the boardwalk. And what about the half-truth she told the handsome stranger who came to her aid? The stranger she never expected to see again?

Thad Alexander Evanson should have been paying closer attention to the boardwalk, rather than the newfangled automobile motoring down the street. Had he been more astute, a collision with the beautiful parcel-laden stranger might never have happened. And if it never had happened, he wouldn’t have told a partial-truth he figured wouldn’t matter.

Before long, Emilie and Thad are arranging to meet for a noonday meal each weekend in Missoula under the guise of different names. But what happens when their true identities are revealed? When half-truths are exposed? Could God have a plan even in the midst of a tangled web of lies?

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Click here to get your copy!

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My THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

It’s been a while since I read a Penny Zeller book and I was so glad to be able to read and review this one. Thad Alexander Evanson and Emilie Crawford Wheeler both had side by side Ranches, but they have never met. Until one day in town when Thad bumped into Emilie, knocking her prize hat to the grown, never to be worn again because of its condition. Why oh why hadn’t Thad been watching the boardwalk instead of that new shinny Model T he wanted so bad, because now he has to buy this pretty lady a new hat. Emilie was frustrated at herself because now her beautiful new hat was ruined.

I’ve always loved the humor in Zeller’s books, and this one is no different. From Emilie’s anger about the Rancher next door and his cows trampling her prize flowers to Thads trips to Miss Julia Mathilda’s Fine Dresses to replace Emilie’s hat, Penny Zeller had me chuckling many times. I did get frustrated at Emilie though because she didn’t make it a priority to go meet the neighbor and confront him. Instead she was easy to assume a ranch hand was the owner.

I love these fun energetic characters! Their development throughout the story make the story so realistic and encouraging. I couldn’t help but think back to the days when the first cars were being purchased and what it would be like as well as imagining the people and the little towns and Ranches and what fun it would be living in that era. Except for the electricity, I like my flow of lights and everything else that comes with it.

There is much to be desired throughout this book. The trips to Missoula for Emilie and Thad to meet, because each thought the other lived there. The new Model T’s that were just newly hitting the country, mostly for those with money. And Thad’s troublesome cows and Emilie’s beautiful flowers. If you enjoy a good clean Christian fiction, you will love Love in Disguise by Penny Zeller. I love that Penny always weaves faith in the lives of her characters and makes sure she tells the way to Jesus in her stories. And she does it in a nice subtle way. I gladly give Love in Disguise Five Stars.

A special thanks to the author/publisher for a copy of this book. I am not required to write a positive review, the opinions here are mine alone. I am disclosing this with my review in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

About the Author

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Penny Zeller is known for her heartfelt stories of faith and her passion to impact lives for Christ through fiction. While she has had a love for writing since childhood, she began her adult writing career penning articles for national and regional publications on a wide variety of topics.

Today Penny is a multi-published author of several inspirational books. She is also a homeschool mom and a fitness instructor.

When Penny is not dreaming up new characters, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters, camping, hiking, canoeing, reading, running, cycling, gardening, and playing volleyball.

She is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency and loves to hear from her readers at her website www.pennyzeller.com and her blog, random thoughts from a day in the life of a wife, mom, and author, at www.pennyzeller.wordpress.com.

More from Penny

In Love in Disguise, the two main characters, Emilie and Thad, are both fond of pie a la mode. It plays a prominent part in the book, especially during Emilie and Thad’s courtship. My inspiration behind the dessert? My aunt’s famous, old-fashioned pie a la mode recipe, which is a family favorite.

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Blog Stops

lakesidelivingsite, June 8

Labor Not in Vain, June 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 9

Texas Book-aholic, June 10

Inklings and notions, June 11

Of Blades and Thorns, June 11

For Him and My Family, June 12

deb’s Book Review, June 13

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 14

Mary Hake, June 14

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 15

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 16

Connie’s History Classroom, June 17

Pause for Tales, June 17

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 18

Bizwings Blog, June 19

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 20

Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, June 20

Splashes of Joy, June 21

Giveaway

Giveaway

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

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/1eb77/love-in-disguise-celebration-tour-giveaway

Cinderella Didn’t Live Happily Ever After by Anne E. Beall

Join us for this tour from June 13 to July 1, 2022!Book Details:
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 Book Title:  Cinderella Didn’t Live Happily Ever After: The Hidden Messages in Fairy Tales by Anne E. Beall
Category:  Adult Non-Fiction (18+),  126 pages
Genre: Feminist, Fairy Tales, Literary Criticism
Publisher:  Independent Publishing
Release date:  November 17, 2018
Content Rating:  PG + M. Some fairy tales are a bit gruesome but there is no bad language
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My Rating Four Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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Book Description:

​Did Cinderella live happily ever after? You might think so until you look more closely at the hidden messages in beloved fairy tales. In this book, fairy tales are analyzed in terms of the underlying messages about marriage, agency, power, suffering, and good versus evil, with a focus on how male and female characters differ in each of these areas. The analysis is a data-driven approach that provides clear evidence for the hidden messages in these beloved tales. The end conclusion is not whether fairy tales are good or bad but rather what messages they deliver about life, even if unintentionally.

Buy the Book:
Amazon
add to Goodreads

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MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

Cinderella Didn’t Live Happily Ever After: The Hidden Messages in Fairy Tales by Anne E. Beall is an interesting book about the inter sights of fairy tales. I’ve never really been a fan of fairy tales. Some are ok but explore the goods and evils in a way that is not realistic at all. I’m glad this author explored the story of Hansel and Gretel. Though I had this book when I was young and read it many time, I cringed at the evil taking place in the book. The same with Cinderella, where good is looked at as being beautiful and evil is ugly and full of hatred, as in the stepsisters. And there are many more the author mentions that doesn’t really go well with reading them to children.

This book certainly takes on a Feminist outlook, and it is a great book to read to open ones eyes about books that have been written for and read to children over the many years they have been in print. This is a book I highly recommend, especially for those that have wondered about the good verses evil in so many of our children’s books.

A special thanks to the author/publisher for a copy of this book. I am not required to write a positive review, the opinions here are mine alone. I am disclosing this with my review in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

 

Meet the Author:

​A leader in the field of market research and one of the few female CEOs in the industry, Anne E. Beall is the author of 10 books in business, gender studies, and mindfulness, including Cinderella Didn’t Live Happily Ever After: The Hidden Messages in Fairy Tales and The Psychology of Gender. Her book Heartfelt Connections was named one of the top 100 Notable Indie books in 2016 by Shelf Unbound, and she has published nearly a dozen business articles in noted journals. Her books have been featured in People Magazine, Toronto Sun, Hers Magazine, and Ms. Career Girl, and she has been interviewed by NBC, NPR, and WGN. Having received her PhD in social psychology from Yale University, Anne resides in Evanston, Illinois and is the founder of the market consultancy company Beall Research.

connect with the author:   website ~ facebook twitter ~ goodreads


Tour Schedule:

June 13 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book review / guest post / giveaway
June 13 – Literary Flits – book review / giveaway
June 15 – Deborah-Zenha Adams – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
June 15 – Viviana MacKade – book review / giveaway
June 16 – Cheryl’s Book Nook – book review / giveaway
June 16 – Sadie’s Spotlight – book spotlight / giveaway
June 17 – Confessions of the Perfect Mom – book review
June 17 – Kam’s Place – book review
June 20 – Mostly Mystery Reviews – book review / author interview / giveaway
June 20 – A Mama’s Corner of the World – book review / giveaway
June 21 – Splashes of Joy – book review / giveaway
June 21 – Lamon Reviews – book review / author interview / giveaway
June 22 – Novels Alive – book review / giveaway
June 22 – The Girl Who Reads – book review / author interview / giveaway
June 23 – fundinmental – book spotlight / giveaway
June 24 – Chit Chat With Charity – book review / author interview / giveaway
June 24 – Gina Rae Mitchell – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
June 27 – My Fictional Oasis – book review
June 27 – Books for Books – book spotlight
June 28 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review / giveaway
June 28 – My Reading Getaway – book review / author interview / giveaway
June 29 – Lisa’s Reading – book spotlight / giveaway
June 29 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book review / guest post / giveaway
June 30 – Lynchburg Reads – book review / giveaway
June 30 – Library Lady’s Kid Lit – book review / guest post / giveaway
July 1 – Cover Lover Book Review – book review / giveaway
July 1 – Celticlady’s Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
July 1 – Adventurous Jessy – book review / giveaway

Enter the Giveaway:

CINDERELLA DID NOT LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER Book Tour Giveaway

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The RISE OF THE LAST BEAST KINGDOM Book Blast

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Loves GOD will be awarding a $75 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Enslaved by a system of its own creation, humankind desperately seeks to free itself from the Beast. Lacking the knowledge, having refused the truth, all hope is gone…or is it?

Examining our history from creation to the present, this book provides insight as to why we are where we are today. Using the Hebrew Scriptures as its guide, we are taken from the cause of our plight to the ultimate ending. Although the Hebrew Scriptures are used, this is not a book supporting any major religion. There are only a few people in the world today who actually follow and obey the WORD of God – YeHoVaH. Most of the world follows man made religious practices. This book explains how this came about and how the present day systems evolved. This book provides a means for hope for the world, something surely needed now and especially in the coming days.

Read an Excerpt

The archeological evidence which is currently being discovered support what we are told in the Bible. The site Tel Eridu currently known as Abu Shahrain has been identified as the ancient site of Eridu. The findings in chronological order are consistent with the biblical narrative – Founded by the strong leader of the period who introduced the worship of a new god, came to dominate the region, began the building of large temple-Tower of Babel-to a new deity which was abandoned, as was the area and surrounding areas were afterwards abandoned. Archeologists have noted these facts.

It has also been noted by the archeological studies that what is known as “the Uruk expansion” began at the time Eridu was abandoned – at the time YeHoVaH confused the Language and spread the peoples out of the areas they had settled before the confusion. Archeological findings indicate a period of rapid decay occurring after the Late Uruk expansion and the rise of the cities throughout the Mesopotamian region.

After the Confusion of Language, Eridu was abandoned for hundreds of years.

This coincided with the Uruk expansion. Archeologists have found the spread of the Uruk and its successor culture Jemdet Nasr spreading from lower Mesopotamia (Shinar) to areas throughout Mesopotamia and beyond.

The descendents of Noah continued to spread out across the globe after the Confusion of Language, spreading and developing various cultures as they went. As we are told in the Bible, the sons of Noah and their descendants each spread in different directions, although it must be understood that there was mixing of the various clans from the beginning. Erudu was later reestablished after the 750 years absence.

About the Author:

As a child in elementary school, only attending church on Easter, the author did not feel strange when getting down on their knees and praying to GOD. Entering high school, the pull to understand GOD became greater and greater. A study of various religious books began – the Bible, Islam, eastern religions and thoughts were all examined. After reading the Hebrew Bible and particularly Isaiah 56:7 – “I will bring them to my holy mountain and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”

The author determined that the GOD of the Hebrew Bible was in fact GOD. The author then began following the Hebrew traditions.

After earning an undergraduate degree from an Ivy League University and a law degree, the author began a successful law practice, joining the ranks of the millionaire’s club while living in Brentwood, CA near Beverly Hills. Life continued with marriage by a Rabbi and a family – until disaster hit. Business fell apart and bankruptcy left the author with nothing except faith in GOD which continued. A period of moving back and forth across the USA, 6 times in 8 years, finally resulted in settlement in the eastern USA. Upon finally deciding to stay in the east, one last trip was needed to the west by the author. During this trip, GOD brought an understanding to the author which changed everything and led to the writing of this book.

Goodreads

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2022 ACFW Carol Award Finalists   

A big shout out to all of the 2022 ACFW Carol Award Finalists   

Contemporary

Where Grace Appears by Heidi Chiavaroli 

ACFW QIP (Qualified Independently Published)

Editor: Melissa Jagears 

A Piece of the Moon by Chris Fabry

Tyndale House

Editor: Sarah Rische  

Roots of Wood and Stone by Amanda Wen

Kregel Publications

Editors: Janyre Tromp and Joel Armstrong 

Historical 

The Orchard House by Heidi Chiavaroli

Tyndale House

Editors: Caleb Sjogren and Jan Stob 

A Tapestry of Light by Kimberly Duffy

Bethany House (Baker) Publishing

Editor: Jessica Sharpe

Rain by Dana McNeely

Mountain Brook Ink

Editor: Miralee Ferrell

Historical Romance

The Paris Dressmaker by Kristy Cambron

HarperCollins Christian Publishing

Editors: Becky Monds and Laura Wheeler

The Prince of Spies by Elizabeth Camden

Bethany House (Baker) Publishing 

Editors: Raela Schoenherr and Jessica Sharpe

The Thief of Blackfriars Lane by Michelle Griep

Barbour Publishing

Editors: Reagen Reed and Annie Tipton 

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

Right Cross by Andrew Huff

Kregel Publications

Editors: Janyre Tromp and Dori Harrell

Manna Reign by Neena Roth

ACFW QIP (Qualified Independently Published) 

Editors: Judy DeVries and Alice Shepherd

Dark Intercept by Andrews and Wilson (Brian Andrews and Jeffrey Wilson)

Tyndale House

Editor: Karen Watson

Novella 

Star Light (part of The Heart of Christmas Anthology) by Sara Davison

Independent Author

Editor: Deb Elkink

Believing the Hero by Tara Grace Ericson

ACFW QIP (Qualified Independently Published) 

Editor: Brandi Aquino

A Texas Christmas Carol (from Under the Texas Mistletoe) by Karen Witemeyer

Bethany House (Baker) Publishing

Editors: Dave Long and Jessica Sharpe 

Romance

The Amish Quiltmaker’s Unexpected Baby by Jennifer Beckstrand

Kensington Books

Editor: John Scognamiglio

All That Really Matters by Nicole Deese

Bethany House (Baker) Publishing

Editors: Sarah Long and Raela Schoenherr

Provenance by Carla Laureno

Tyndale House

Editors: Sarah Rische and Jan Stob 

Romantic Suspense

Driven by Sara Davison

Mountain Brook Ink

Editors: Miralee Ferrell and Alyssa Roat

Danger on the Loch by Paige Edwards

Covenant Communications Inc.

Editor: Ashley Gebert

Labyrinth of Lies by Irene Hannon

Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group

Editors: Kristin Kornoelje and Jennifer Leep 

Short Novel

Choosing His Family by Jill Lynn

Love Inspired (Harlequin)

Editor: Shana Asaro

 A Mother’s Strength by Allie Pleiter

Love Inspired (Harlequin)

Editor: Melissa Endlich

Texas Baby Cover-up by Virginia Vaughn

Love Inspired (Harlequin)

Editor: Shana Asaro 

Speculative

Secrets in the Mist by Morgan L. Busse

Enclave Publishing

Editors: Lisa Laube and Steve Laube

Windward Shore by Sharon Hinck

Enclave Publishing

Editors: Lindsay Franklin and Reagen Reed

Cast the First Stone by David James Warren 

(aka Susan May Warren, James L. Rubart, and David C. Warren)

Tristone Media Group

Editor: Rel Mollett 

Young Adult

Traitor by Laurie Lucking

Love2Read Love2Write Publishing

Editor: Michele Israel Harper

Realms of Light by Sandra Fernandez Rhoads

Enclave Publishing

Editors: Lisa Laube and Steve Laube

Mountain of Flame by Diane E. Samson

ACFW QIP (Qualified Independently Published) 

Editors: Rebecca Jaycox and Kathy McKinsey 

Debut Author

Sugar Birds by Cheryl Grey Bostrom

She Writes Press

Editors: Sandra Byrd and Alexandra Shelley  

Solomon’s Porch by Janet Morris Grimes

Elk Lake Publishing

Editors: Sue Fairchild and Deb Haggerty

Into the Room by Steven Rogers

Elk Lake Publishing

Editor: Michele Chynoweth and Deb Haggerty

Shadow of Murder Audio Book Review by Lauren Carter Narrated by Mike Alger

Join us for this tour from Mar 28 to June 24, 2022!

Book Details:

Book Title: Shadow of Murder by Lauren Carr
Series:  A Mac Faraday Mystery (Volume 14)

Category:  Adult fiction, 496 pages
Genre:  Murder Mystery / Police Procedural / Crime Fiction
Publisher:  Acorn Book Services
Release date:  Mar 30, 2022
Content Rating: PG-13.
Lauren Carr’s mysteries are murder mysteries. Sometimes, the murder does happen on-stage. There is no graphic violence or explicit sex.There is some very mild language (hell or damn, very few and far between) No
F-Bombs!


“Five Stars for Lauren Carr’s 14th book of the Mac Faraday Murder Mysteries, Shadow of Murder!
In this new release, she has recaptured the fun of cute “creatures” with the fast-moving, suspenseful, and captivating mystery, along with her usual touch of romance.” – review by Lu Ann Worley, Rockin’ Book Reviews
“This newest title in the author’s Mac Faraday cozy murder mystery series offers Lauren Carr’s most intricate plot to date – full of twists and turns guaranteed to keep readers up until the wee hours. While still full of the humor, fun critters and touch of romance that are her trademark, the author has also woven in a dark supernatural element that
whispers through to the startling ending.”
– review by Marilyn R. Wilson, bestselling author, freelance writer, editor, and speaker at Olio by Marilyn.

Book Description:

You can’t move to the next chapter of your life, without tying up loose ends in the previous.

True crime blogger, Erica Hart starts a new chapter in her life with a bang when a dark shadow darts into the mountain road to send her SUV off a cliff and to the bottom of Deep Creek Lake. Spencer’s newest addition to the police force, Dusty O’Meara assumes it was a bear. Erica is not so sure.

Soon afterwards, contractors discover Konnor Langston’s body at the bottom of an abandoned swimming pool at the new summer home of Mac Faraday’s son.

With Police Chief David O’Callaghan away on paternity leave, Deputy Chief Dusty O’Meara must lead the investigation in his first murder case since moving to Spencer. Not only does Dusty have to work under the shadow of the legendary Mac Faraday, but he also has to match wits with Erica, who is determined to find justice for Konnor, her childhood friend.

Mac isn’t so difficult. Even Gnarly, the town’s canine mayor, is manageable if his authority is well-respected and he is kept entertained.

Erica Hart, Dusty finds, is more of a challenge. It wouldn’t be so difficult if she wasn’t so irresistible.

MY THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

<span;>Shadow of Murder by Lauren Carr is another book in the Mac Faraday Series. It is Book Number Fourteen in fact. Once you read one if Lauren’s cozy stories you gotta come back for more. As with all of the Faraday series, Shadow of Murder is filled with entertaining yet somewhat strange characters at times. And always my favorite is Gnarly, the interesting and smart K-9 belonging to Mac Faraday. I enjoyed yet another investigation with these guys and Gnarly, and look forward for more. If you love a good cozy mystery, try Shadow of Murder, you might love it as others do.

<span;>I so much enjoyed listening to the audio version of this book, though I’ll give a shout out for it’s unbelievable 17 hours long. But it’s a fun book full of so many twists and turns you head will be spinning as you try to figure out where the author is going with this new twist.

<span;>Mike Alger does another wonderful job with the narration. His voice is pleasant and I didn’t get tired of listening to him at all. I encourage you to pick up a copy of this audiobook and listen for yourself. Not use to listening to books? I wasn’t either but the more I listen to them the more I like it. Give this one a try. I think you will enjoy it.

<span;>A special thanks to the author/publisher for a copy of this book. I am not required to write a positive review, the opinions here are mine alone. I am disclosing this with my review in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

BUY THE BOOK:
Amazon

Coming Soon to Audible and other Marketplaces! 


Also Available for Your Mystery Loving Pleasure:

“Lauren’s dialogue is brisk, her setting beautiful and the addition of Gnarly is very clever…It’s Murder, My Son is a delightful read and I look forward to more of Carr’s Mac Faraday mysteries.” – review by Connie Gregory, Connie’s Reviews

Book Details:

Book Title: It’s Murder, My Son by Lauren Carr
Series:  A Mac Faraday Mystery (Volume 1)

Category:  Adult fiction (18+), 288 pages
Genre:  Murder Mystery
Publisher:  Acorn Book Services
Release date:  June 23, 2010


Book Description:

What started out as the worst day of Mac Faraday’s life would end up being a new beginning. After a messy divorce hearing, the last person that Mac wanted to see was another lawyer. Yet, this lawyer wore the expression of a child bursting to tell his secret. This confidence would reveal Mac as heir to undreamed of fortunes, and lead him to the birthplace of America’s Queen of Mystery and an investigation that will unfold like one of her famous
mystery novels.

Soon after she moves to Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, Katrina Singleton learns that life in an exclusive community is not all good. For some unknown reason, a strange man calling himself “Pay Back” begins stalking her. When Katrina is found strangled all evidence points to her terrorist, who is nowhere to be found.

Three months later, the file on her murder is still open when Mac Faraday, sole heir to his unknown birth mother’s home and fortune, moves into the estate next door. Little does he know as he drives up to Spencer Manor that he is driving into a closed gate community that is hiding more suspicious deaths than his DC workload as a homicide
detective. With the help of his late mother’s journal, this retired cop puts all his detective skills to work to pick up where the local investigators have left off to follow the clues to Katrina’s killer.

Buy the Book:  
Audible ~ Amazon
B&NBookBub
Add to Goodreads


“As in any good who-done-it, there are red herrings and plot complications in Old Loves Die Hard and fans of mysteries and police procedurals will get a kick out of Lauren Carr’s books.” – review by David M. Kinchen, Huntington News

 
Book Details:

Book Title: Old Loves Die Hard by Lauren Carr
Series:  A Mac Faraday Mystery (Volume 2)

Category:  Adult fiction (18+), 318 pages
Genre:  Murder Mystery
Publisher:  Acorn Book Services
Release date:  April 23, 2011

 
 Book Description:
 
In Old Loves Die Hard, Carr picks up where she left off in It’s Murder, My Son.
Mac Faraday is settling nicely into his new life at Spencer Manor when his ex-wife Christine shows up—and she wants him back! Before Mac can send her packing, Christine and her estranged lover are murdered in Mac’s private penthouse suite at the Spencer Inn, the five-star resort built by his ancestors.

The investigation leads to the discovery of cases files for some of Mac’s murder cases in the room of the man responsible for destroying his marriage. Why would his ex-wife’s lover come to Spencer to dig into Mac’s old cases?

With the help of his new friends on Deep Creek Lake, Mac must use all of his detective skills to clear his name and the Spencer Inn’s reputation, before its five-stars—and more bodies—start dropping.

Buy the Book:  
Audible ~ Amazon
B&N ~ BookBub
Add to Goodreads

Shades of Murder is a fascinating, intricately woven mystery that has a number of engaging characters looking into two cases that would seem to have
nothing in common. …This is a most entertaining entry in this series, made all the more so by the wonderful inclusion of Gnarly and Irving, Mac’s dog and Gates’s black and white cat, who meet during the course of
the story.”
– review by Mysterious Reviews
 

Book Details:

Book Title: Shades of Murder by Lauren Carr
Series:  A Mac Faraday Mystery (Volume 3)

Category:  Adult fiction (18+), 232 pages
Genre:  Murder Mystery
Publisher:  Acorn Book Services
Release date:  May 7, 2012

 
Book Description:
 
In Shades of Murder,
Mac Faraday is once again the heir to an unbelievable fortune. This time the benefactor is a stolen art collector. But this isn’t just any stolen work-of-art–it’s a masterpiece with a murder attached to it.

Ilysa Ramsay was in the midst of taking the art world by storm with her artistic genius. Hours after unveiling her latest masterpiece–she is found dead in her Deep Creek Lake studio–and her painting is nowhere to be found. Almost a decade later, the long-lost Ilysa Ramsay masterpiece has found its way into Mac Faraday’s hands and he can’t resist the urge to delve into the case.

A world away, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; former JAG lawyer Joshua Thornton agrees to do a favor for the last person he would ever expect to do a favor–a convicted serial killer.

The Favor: Solve the one murder wrongly attributed to him.

Joshua finds an unexpected ally in Cameron Gates, a spunky detective who has reason to believe the young woman known to the media only as Jane Doe, Victim Number Four, was the victim of a copycat. Together, Joshua and Cameron (*) set out to light a flame under the cold case only to find that someone behind the scenes wants the case to remain cold, and is willing to kill to keep it that way.

Little do these detectives know that the paths of their respective cases are on a collision course when they follow the clues to bring them together in a showdown with a killer who’s got a talent for
murder!

Buy the Book:  
Audible Amazon
B&N ~ BookBub
Add to Goodreads

  


“I must
say, I truly enjoyed reading this book! I found myself waking up
slightly early for work just to finish a couple chapters! Not only was
this book captivating, I found myself laughing at Gnarly, the ever so
lovable and rambunctious German Shepherd! I look forward to reading the
next book by Lauren Carr!”
 – Review by Debbie Hill, Miss Book Lovers

 
Book Details:

Book Title: Blast from the Past by Lauren Carr
Series:  A Mac Faraday Mystery (Volume 4)

Category:  Adult fiction (18+), 301 pages
Genre:  Murder Mystery
Publisher:  Acorn Book Services
Release date:  January 2, 2013

 
Book Description:

A woman is killed when she
falls down the stairs. Men die writhing, in a little coffee shop.  Death
may not be that unusual these days in Deep Creek Lake, but then someone
tries to kill Archie, the woman Mac Faraday loves.

When she tells Mac the reason behind it and her secret is
exposed, Mac and the entire police department will go to extremes to
keep Archie safe.

That raises rather a lot of questions:

Who exactly are they protecting her from?
Could it be warring crime lords? Hit men?
Why does one particular couple keep showing up around town?
Just how many killers are there, anyway?
Is anyone who they say they are?

Buy the Book:  
 Audible Amazon
BookBub
Add to Goodreads


“So much fun to read!  The
castle seemed foreboding. The rumors of the ghost dog, werewolves, and
more made more plausible in light of the murders. Is it enough to make
even detectives reconsider?  Is it all about the missing book or is the
real motive money?”
 – review by Mystery Suspense Reviews

 
Book Details:

Book Title: The Murders at Astaire Castle by Lauren Carr
Series:  A Mac Faraday Mystery (Volume 5)

Category:  Adult fiction (18+), 281 pages
Genre:  Murder Mystery
Publisher:  Acorn Book Services
Release date:  July 18, 2013
Content Rating:
PG-13 – Lauren Carr’s mysteries are murder mysteries. Sometimes, the
murder does happen on-stage. There is no graphic violence or explicit
sex.There is some very mild language (hell or damn, very few and far
between) No F-Bombs!

 
 Book Description:
 

Never tell Mac Faraday not to go someplace.

Spencer’s police chief, David O’Callaghan, learns this lesson
the hard way when he orders Mac to not go to the south end of Spencer’s
mountaintop —even though he owns the property. It doesn’t take long for
Mac to find out what lies on the other side of a stone wall
and locked gate with a warning for visitors to keep out.

Topping the list of the ten top haunted places in America,
Astaire Castle is associated with two suicides, three mysterious
disappearances, and four murders since it was built almost a century
ago—and Mac Faraday owns it!

In spite of David’s warning to keep out, Mac can’t resist
unlocking the gate to see the castle that supposedly hasn’t seen a
living soul since his late mother had ordered it closed up after the
double homicide and disappearance of Damian Wagner, a world-famous
master of horror novels.

What was supposed to be a quick tour of a dusty old castle
turns into another Mac Faraday adventure when Astaire Castle becomes the
scene of even more murders. Mac is going to need to put all of his
investigative talents to work to sort out this case that involves the
strangest characters he has run into yet—including a wolfman. No, we’re
not talking about Gnarly.

Buy the Book:  
 Audible Amazon
B&NBookBub
Add to Goodreads

I recommend this book to all mystery lovers! The Lady Who Cried Murder was another heart-stopping thriller! While the mystery and the road to
it’s solution was amazing, I truly enjoyed the cast and characters (they feel like family)! Another great hit and I look forward to reading the next installment of Mac Faraday and his gang and what kind of drama they
end up in!”
– review by Debbie Hill, Miss Book Lovers

 
Book Details:

Book Title: The Lady Who Cried Murder by Lauren Carr
Series:  A Mac Faraday Mystery (Volume 6)

Category:  Adult fiction (18+), 286 pages
Genre:  Murder Mystery
Publisher:  Acorn Book Services
Release date:  January 2, 2014
 
 Book Description:
 
Determined to get her pretty
face in front of the cameras, Khloe Everest fakes an abduction only to make a grand entrance in the midst of a press conference held by Spencer’s Police Chief David O’Callaghan.

Three years later, after failing to catapult her notoriety into a long-lasting celebrity, Khloe Everest returns to Spencer upon her mother’s sudden death and seemingly finds another weapon to propel her into the spotlight. Unfortunately, someone kills her before she can make this entrance.

In Lauren Carr’s sixth mystery, Mac Faraday and his friends come up against reality stars, politicians, has-beens, and wannabes. Mac also finds himself face-to-face with an old foe from his past who had managed to escape arrest during their last encounter. Now, Mac sees that his adversary has only become more powerful, and dangerous, with the
passage of time.

Intent to not let this killer escape again, Mac and his friends need to put all of their talents together to put a stop to a cold-blooded lady killer.

 

 

Twelve To Murder is a clever blend of comedy,
mystery, and sappy love story. Lauren Carr does a good job of moving the
quirky storyline along nicely with an abundance of witty dialogue.  And
you have no idea who the good guys are and who the bad guys are until
the end.”
– Review by Every Free Chance Book Reviews.

 
Book Details:

Book Title: Twelve to Murder by Lauren Carr
Series:  A Mac Faraday Mystery (Volume 7)

Category:  Adult fiction (18+), 266 pages
Genre:  Murder Mystery
Publisher:  Acorn Book Services
Release date:  February 9, 2014
 
Book Description:

Mac Faraday’s plan to spend a quiet weekend home alone with his lady love, Archie Monday, is shattered by murder.

A middle-aged couple are brutally murdered in their summer place on Deep Creek Lake. To any other detective, the case would be considered open and shut when it appears as if one of the victims has written her killer’s name in her blood—not so for Mac Faraday, who believes there is more to this case than meets the eye.

In Lauren Carr’s latest Mac Faraday Mystery former child-star and teen-idol Lenny Frost steps into a pub in Deep Creek Lake to see his face on the television over the bar with the announcement that he’s wanted for the murder of his agent and her husband!

How does Lenny Frost react to this sudden comeback into the headlines? He takes everyone hostage and gives Mac Faraday twelve hours to find the real killer or he’s going to kill everyone in the bar.

Will it be a fatal last call at midnight?

Buy the Book:  
Audible ~ Amazon
B&N ~ BookBub
Add to Goodreads
 

“There is actually a mystery
within a mystery in Carr’s new book. It’s a tangled, twisting adventure
that adds more dead bodies along the way. Carr’s characters are lively,
her plots complex, there is always just enough humor to set a lighter
tone.”
 – 
Review by Allene Reynolds, Mystery and Me
 
Book Details:

Book Title: A Wedding and a Killing by Lauren Carr
Series:  A Mac Faraday Mystery (Volume 8)

Category:  Adult fiction (18+), 275 pages
Genre:  Murder Mystery
Publisher:  Acorn Book Services
Release date:  September 13, 2014

 
 
Book Description:
 
Not wanting to wait until
their big day to start their life of wedded bliss, Mac Faraday and his
lady love, Archie Monday, decide to elope to the little church where his
ancestors had all married—along the tranquil shore of Deep Creek Lake.
However, before they can say, “I do,” the sanctuary erupts into chaos
when Gnarly finds a body in the church office.

In A Wedding and a Killing, Mac
and his team discover more questions than answers. What kind of person
walks into a church and shoots a man for no apparent reason? How do you
solve the murder of a man who has no enemies in the world? Which of the
seemingly kind-hearted church members is really a cold-blooded killer?

Then, there is the all-important question, how long do Mac Faraday and his lady love have to wait to get married?

Buy the Book:  
 Audible ~ Amazon
B&N ~ BookBub
Add to Goodreads
 

“I am, bottom line, amazed at the giant step that places Carr
comparable to significant authors whose name slips off our tongues like,
for instance, Nora Roberts. Watch this author–she’s moving quickly to
where her goals are headed… Three Days to Forever has to be, in my opinion, the best of her best! Get it!”
– review by Glenda Bixler, Book Readers Heaven

Book Details:

Book Title: Three Days to Forever by Lauren Carr
Series:  A Mac Faraday Mystery (Volume 9)

Category:  Adult fiction (18+), 366 pages
Genre:  Murder Mystery
Publisher:  Acorn Book Services
Release date:  January 19, 2015

Book Description:
 

In one of the most critically-acclaimed Mac
Faraday Mysteries from best-selling mystery author Lauren Carr, readers
embark on a roller-coaster adventure with old friends (including
the Lovers in Crime team of Prosecutor Joshua Thornton and Homicide
Detective Cameron Gates), but also meet new ones as Mac Faraday’s
daughter Jessica Faraday and Joshua Thornton’s son Murphy Thornton join
the team in the race to get the lovebirds to the altar!*

With three days left to the year, Deep Creek Lake is hopping
with holiday vacationers and wedding guests pouring into the Spencer Inn
for Mac Faraday and Archie Monday’s huge wedding ceremony which is
being touted as the social event of the year.

But droopy flowers and guests who failed to RSVP are the least
of Mac’s and Archie’s problems when a professional hit squad hits
Spencer Manor to send the groom, Joshua Thornton, Archie’s mother, and
Gnarly running for their lives.

With time running out to the big day, Mac Faraday and Spencer’s
small police force have to sort through the clues to figure out not
only who has been targeted for assassination, but also who is determined
to stop everything … FOREVER!

 
Buy the Book:  
 Audible ~ Amazon
B&N ~ BookBub
Add to Goodreads


“There’s lots of drama, crimes, murder, and laughter that surrounds
the Diablo Ball. As usual, Gnarly is in the middle of everything. Hated
to have to keep putting this down. I loved reading Open Season for Murder.”
– review by Rhonda Laney, readalot

 

Book Details:

Book Title: Open Season for Murder by Lauren Carr
Series:  A Mac Faraday Mystery (Volume 10)

Category:  Adult fiction (18+), 318 pages
Genre:  Murder Mystery
Publisher:  Acorn Book Services
Release date:  June 1, 2015

Book Description:

“Robin, it’s me, Ashton.”

Spring is in the air. In Deep Creek Lake, the burst of blossoms on the trees has the effect of a starting pistol in the race to get the resort area ready in time for the seasonal residents return to Spencer,
Maryland.

​This year, the Spencer Inn, Mac Faraday’s five-star resort, has the added duty of preparing for the Diablo Ball, an annual benefit event that used to kick off Deep Creek Lake’s summer season. The exclusive gala has drawn in A-listers from across the country—including suspects and witnesses connected to Ashton Piedmont, a young woman who
had disappeared while skinny dipping in Deep Creek Lake five years earlier—days after the last Diablo Ball.

Intrigued by a mysterious phone call from a young woman claiming to be Ashton, retired homicide detective Mac Faraday can’t resist diving head first into the cold case. But he’s not the only one. Someone behind the scenes has gone to a lot of trouble to bring Ashton Piedmont’s friends and enemies to the Diablo Ball—which promises to be a gala event to die for!

Buy the Book:  
  Audible ~ Amazon
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Add to Goodreads
 

“The story moves at a rapid pace
and has a bit of everything – romance, humor, and suspense with several
other murders after the body is discovered. A few surprises along with
the tension both at home and in New York. Carr does an excellent job of
developing her characters and providing backstory while maintaining a
quick pace. Well worth the sleep I gave up to get to the end.”
– review by 
Christa Nardi, Christa Reads and Writes.

 
Book Details:

Book Title: Cancelled Vows by Lauren Carr
Series:  A Mac Faraday Mystery (Volume 11)

Category:  Adult fiction (18+), 320 pages
Genre:  Murder Mystery
Publisher:  Acorn Book Services
Release date:  January 28, 2016
 Book Description:

Police Chief David O’Callaghan and Chelsea Adams’ wedding day
is fast approaching. Unfortunately, at the last minute, David discovers
that there is one small problem to be taken care of before he can walk
down the aisle—divorce his first wife!

Lauren Carr takes fans of the Mac Faraday mysteries to the Big Apple in this nail-biting adventure. In Cancelled Vows,
David, Mac, and Gnarly, too, rush to New York City to dissolve David’s
marriage to an old girlfriend—and he’s got five days to get it done.
When murder throws up a roadblock, it is up to David’s best man, Mac
Faraday, and Gnarly, K9-in-waiting, to sort through the clues to get
David to the church in time!

Buy the Book:  
Audible ~ Amazon
B&N ~ BookBub
Add to Goodreads


“OMG! Carr is over the top and giving us an easy “10”  with her latest, Candidate for Murder!…Don’t
just sit there thinking that this might be the book to try for Lauren
Carr! I’m telling you right now it’s a must-read for daring, adventure,
crime-busting, high-level government criminal elimination.” – 
reviewer by Glenda Bixler, Book Readers Heaven

 
Book Details:

Book Title: Candidate for Murder by Lauren Carr
Series:  A Mac Faraday Mystery (Volume 12)

Category:  Adult fiction (18+), 410 pages
Genre:  Murder Mystery
Publisher:  Acorn Book Services
Release date:  June 16, 2016

 
Book Description: 
 
It’s election time in
Spencer, Maryland, and the race for mayor is not a pretty one. In recent
years, the small resort town has become divided between the local
year-round residents who have enjoyed their rural way of life and the
city dwellers moving into their mansions, taking over the town council,
and proceeding to turn Deep Creek Lake into a closed gate
community—complete with a host of regulations for everything from speed
limits to clotheslines.

When the political parties force-feed two unsavory mayoral
nominees on the town residents, Police Chief David O’Callaghan decides
to make a statement—by nominating Gnarly, Mac Faraday’s German shepherd,
to run as mayor of Spencer!

What starts out as a joke turns into a disaster when overnight
Gnarly becomes the front-runner—at which point his political enemies
take a page straight out of Politics 101. What do you do when you’re
behind in a race? Dig up dirt on the front-runner, of course.

Seemingly, someone is not content to rest with simply
embarrassing the front-runner by publicizing his dishonorable discharge
from the United States Army but to throw in a murder for good measure.

With murder on the ballot, Mac Faraday and the gang—including
old friends from past cases—dive in to clear Gnarly’s name, catch a
killer, and save Spencer!

Buy the Book:  
 Audible ~ Amazon
B&N ~ BookBub
Add to Goodreads


“With her usual panache, Lauren Carr blends the grittiness of
murder(s) with a good deal of humor, the latter revolving largely around Gnarly and David’s Belgian shepherd, Storm, who would much rather be couch potato-ing than anything involving exertion.” – 
review by Lelia Taylor, Buried Under Books

 

Book Details:

Book Title: Crimes Past by Lauren Carr
Series:  A Mac Faraday Mystery (Volume 13)

Category:  Adult fiction (18+), 245 pages
Genre:  Murder Mystery
Publisher:  Acorn Book Services
Release date:  October 16, 2018

Book Description:

It’s a bittersweet reunion for Mac Faraday when members of his
former homicide squad arrive at the Spencer Inn. While it is sweet to
attend the wedding of a late colleague’s daughter, it is a bitter
reminder that the mother of the bride had been the victim of a double
homicide.

The brutal slaying weighing heavy on his mind, Mac is anxious
to explore every avenue for a break in the cold case—even a suggestion
from disgraced former detective Louis Gannon that one of their former
friends is the killer.

When the investigator is brutally slain, Mac Faraday rips open
the cold case with a ruthless determination to reveal which of his
friends is a cold-blooded murderer.

Buy the Book:  
  Audible ~ Amazon
B&N ~ BookBub
Add to Goodreads
 

Meet the Author:

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday,
Lovers in Crime, Thorny Rose, Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries, and
Nikki Bryant Cozy Mysteries—over twenty-five titles across five
fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr seamlessly
crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police
procedurals, romance, and humor.

The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager,
consultant, and virtual book tour coordinator for independent authors.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions.

She lives with her husband, and two spoiled rotten German shepherds on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

connect with the author: website  ~  facebook  ~  instagram ~ pinterest ~ bookbub ~ goodreads


Tour Schedule:

March 28 – Mystery Review Crew – book series spotlight / guest post / giveaway
March 28 – Cover Lover Book Review – book series spotlight / giveaway
March 29 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book review of SHADOW OF MURDER / guest post / giveaway
March 29 – Olio by Marilyn – book review of IT’S MURDER, MY SON / giveaway
March 30 – Literary Flits – book review of SHADOW OF MURDER / giveaway
Mar 30 – Olio by Marilyn – book review of SHADOW OF MURDER / giveaway
Mar 30 – Olio by Marilyn – book spotlight of SHADOW OF MURDER / author interview / giveaway
March 31 – My Reading Journeys – book review of SHADOW OF MURDER / giveaway
April 1 –  Kam’s Place – book spotlight of SHADOW OF MURDER
April 4 –  Kam’s Place – book spotlight of IT’S MURDER, MY SON
April 4 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – audiobook review of IT’S MURDER, MY SON / giveaway
April 5 – Literary Flits – book review of SHADES OF MURDER / giveaway
April 6 – Leels Loves Books – book review of SHADOW OF MURDER / giveaway
April 7 –  Kam’s Place – book spotlight of OLD LOVES DIE HARD, SHADES OF MURDER, BLAST FROM THE PAST
April 7 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – audiobook review of OLD LOVES DIE HARD / giveaway
April 8 – Nighttime Reading Center – audiobook review of SHADES OF MURDER / giveaway
April 11 – Kam’s Place – book spotlight of THE MURDERS AT ASTAIRE CASTLE, THE LADY WHO CRIED MURDER, TWELVE TO MURDER
April 12 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book series spotlight / giveaway
April 13 –Rockin’ Book Reviews – audiobook review of SHADES OF MURDER / giveaway
April 14 – My Reading Journeys – book review of TWELVE TO MURDER / giveaway
April 15 – Library of Clean Reads – book review of SHADOW OF MURDER / giveaway
April 15 – Kam’s Place – book spotlight of A WEDDING AND A KILLING, OPEN SEASON FOR MURDER 
April 19 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – audiobook review of BLAST FROM THE PASST / giveaway
April 20 – Bound 4 Escape – book review of OLD LOVES DIE HARD / giveaway
April 21 – My Reading Journeys – book review of A WEDDING AND A KILLING / giveaway
April 21 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book review of THE MURDERS AT ASTAIRE CASTLE / giveaway
April 22 –Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of SHADOW OF MURDER / guest post / giveaway
April 26 –Literary Flits – book review of THE MURDERS AT ASTAIRE CASTLE / giveaway
April 27 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – audiobook review of THE LADY WHO CRIED MURDER / giveaway
April 29 – Nighttime Reading Center – audiobook review of THE LADY WHO CRIED MURDER / giveaway
May 3 – Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews – audiobook review of A WEDDING AND A KILLING / giveaway
May 4 – Kam’s Place – book spotlight of THREE DAYS TO FOREVER
May 4 – Literary Flits – book review of TWELVE TO MURDER / giveaway
May 5 –Kam’s Place – book spotlight of CANCELLED VOWS 
May 6 – Kam’s Place – book spotlight of CANDIDATE FOR MURDER and CRIMES PAST
May 9 – Splashes of Joy – audiobook review of OLD LOVES DIE HARD / giveaway
May 10 – Celticlady’s Reviews – book series spotlight / giveaway
May 11 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review of THE MURDERS AT ASTAIRE CASTLE / giveaway
May 12 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – audiobook review of TWELVE TO MURDER / giveaway
May 16 – Hall Ways Blog – audiobook review of SHADOW OF MURDER / giveaway
May 17 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review of A WEDDING AND A KILLING / giveaway
May 18 – Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews – audiobook review of OPEN SEASON FOR MURDER / giveaway
May 19 – Deborah-Zenha Adams – book series spotlight / author interview / giveaway
May 19 – Library of Clean Reads – book review of OLD LOVES DIE HARD / giveaway
May 20 – Nighttime Reading Center – audiobook review of A WEDDING AND A KILLING / giveaway
May 20 – Bound 4 Escape – book review of BLAST FROM THE PAST / giveaway
May 23 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book review of A WEDDING AND A KILLING / giveaway
May 24 – Mostly Mystery Reviews – book review of IT’S MURDER, MY SON / giveaway
May 25 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review of SHADOW OF MURDER / giveaway
May 26 – Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews – audiobook review of CANCELLED VOWS / giveaway
May 27 –Bound 4 Escape – book review of THE LADY WHO CRIED MURDER / giveaway
May 31 –Jazzy Book Reviews – book series spotlight / guest post / giveaway
June 1 – fundinmental – book review of SHADOW OF MURDER / giveaway
June 2 – Mostly Mystery Reviews – book review of SHADOW OF MURDER / guest posts / giveaway
June 3 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – audiobook review of OPEN SEASON FOR MURDER / giveaway
June 6 –Bound 4 Escape – book review of  TWELVE TO MURDER / giveaway
June 7 – Splashes of Joy – audiobook review of SHADES OF MURDER / giveaway
June 8 – The Page Ladies – audiobook review of SHADOW OF MURDER / giveaway
June 9 – Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews – audiobook review of SHADOW OF MURDER / giveaway
June 9 – Bound 4 Escape – book review of  A WEDDING AND A KILLING / giveaway
June 10 – Nighttime Reading Center – audiobook review of SHADOW OF MURDER / giveaway
June 13 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book review of CANDIDATE FOR MURDER / giveaway
June 14 – Bound 4 Escape – book review of  OPEN SEASON FOR MURDER / giveaway
June 15 – Bound 4 Escape – book review of SHADOW OF MURDER / giveaway
June 16 –Literary Flits – book review of THREE DAYS TO FOREVER / giveaway
June 20 – Splashes of Joy – audiobook review of SHADOW OF MURDER / giveaway
June 24 – Adventurous Jessy – book review of SHADOW OF MURDER / giveaway
June 24 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book review of CRIMES PAST / giveaway

 

Enter the Giveaway:

SHADOW OF MURDER (Mac Faraday Mysteries) Tour Giveaway

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For Better & For Worse by Quint Emm Ellis

For Better & For Worse

by Quint Emm Ellis

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GENRE:   Christian Romance

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

These ex-lovebirds are busy building a nest for one. But can she be convinced to make room for him, too?

Despite attending the same congregation and university, Ashe and Stephen’s circles had never seemed to cross.

One class project changed everything…for the better; until secrecy and youthful indiscretion pulled them apart.

Will an unexpectant reunion in their adult years allow Ashe and Stephen to rewrite a history riddled with regret and heartbreaking choices?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

EXCERPTS

“It’s open, Dear. Come on in. We’re all in the backyard,” she heard an unfamiliar woman’s voice say over the doorbell’s integrated camera and intercom system.

“Oh,” she responded, bending down a bit to look into the camera as she resettled the pan in both hands. Unsure if the ghost that’d just occupied the device was still there, she decided to err on the side of caution and manners. “Thank you.”

Rebalancing her offering on one hand, she wrapped her free hand around the cool, metal door knob. The scent of bar-b-que, the sound of laughter and an overwhelming sense of home and comfort greeted her as she took her first steps inside the cozy home. Her shoulders relaxed as she continued to follow the sounds of something sizzling on the grill and of voices that felt both familiar and foreign.

“Ashe?”

Though Ashe paused, the hairs on her skin slowly stood on end. 

That didn’t sound like Josiah or Liam. And yet, she recognized that man’s voice from somewhere. She tilted her head to one side, blinking through a fog of memory.

“Ashe,” the voice insisted.

Recognition rippled down Ashe’s spine; she knew who was standing just a few feet behind her.

And if she could have just kept walking, she would have; but her body betrayed her— turning of its own volition to meet the source.

The world became dull except for the man who carefully stood from his chair, tossing his book upon the seat’s cushion before striding toward Ashe. He stood in sharp contrast against the scenery that seemed to have become a blur. When he stopped, he was so close she could catch a faint whiff of soap intertwined with a husky, sweet aroma. 

He changed colognes, came the wayward thought in Ashe’s mind.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” 

– Toni Morrison

Quint Emm Ellis enjoys penning plots centering around unabashedly nerdy, introverted, cinnamon-roll mantic, passionate, fallible women who happen to be black, who happen to be Christian, and who happen to love an uplifting and, possibly, inspirational story. 

She enjoys listening to audio books, watching movies, finding great deals and spoiling her cat and dog rotten. Her dream is to be able to walk around in loose pajama pants all day and geek out while mastering niche crafts like music production, film editing and electro etching.

Website: https://QuintEmmEllis.com

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/quint-emm-ellis

Amazon Author Page: https://amazon.com/author/QuintEmmEllis

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/QuintEmmEllis/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE:

Quint Emm Ellis will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

<a href=”http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f4224“>Enter to win a $10 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>

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