Echoes Among the Stones

echoesAuthor: Jaime Jo Wright

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: December 3, 2019

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Wright continues to deliver intriguing time slip mysteries, but goes a little different this time.

Aggie Dunkirk reluctantly agrees to return to live with her grandmother after she receives a letter that she broke her hip. Of course, once she is there, she finds that her grandmother lied just to get her to come. Even so, after losing her job in real estate because her team didn’t keep up their licenses, she doesn’t have much of an option. She takes a job as a secretary at the town cemetery where she will work alongside an archaeologist to remap the burial plots after a heavy rain has disturbed several areas. But as they begin work, strange things begin to happen. Files at the cemetery go missing. A skeleton appears in her grandmother’s yard. Bone fragments are delivered to both her and the archaeologist. And maybe most mysteriously of all, a pink rose continues to appear on the grave for a woman named Hazel Grayson. She wishes she could talk about it to her grandmother, but she has been acting even stranger than usual.

Decades prior in 1946, Imogene Grayson’s world is turned upside down when her sister Hazel is murdered. She worked in a beauty salon, but always dreamed of being a glam girl in Hollywood. Hazel’s death shatters her core and devastates her. Her brother is a deputy sheriff in charge of the investigation but isn’t making much progress. Genie decides to begin her own investigation and starts working at the artillery powder plant where Hazel used to work. Shortly after, the post office is bombed. Then the town hall is burned down. One day on her walk home, she is almost run over by a black pickup truck. It seems that someone is out to make sure she doesn’t find out the truth about her sister’s killer.

Having read all of Wright’s books, there were some comforting similarities that I’ve found in her previous writing. She always manages to reveal a twist that occurs in the past setting that completely shifts the train of thought about what happened. However, this particular book had something a little different too. One of the main characters is common to both time periods. She is young in the past and elderly in the present, but it is her story. This subtle change really brought the story out a little more.

A common theme in this book is learning to put your faith in God and not in a relationship. Both Aggie and Genie had such strong relationships with someone that was taken from them and it utterly devastates them both. Only when they finally manage to let God have control are they actually able to move forward. This is a hard truth to accept, but many will find this book useful.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Every Stolen Breath

Every Stolen Breath_Rd3

Author: Kimberly Gabriel

Publisher: Blink YA Books

Release Date: November 5, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

An intense, electrifying YA novel that will leave readers holding their breath until the very last page!

The Swarm, a mob that leaves no trace, no evidence and no way to know when they will strike next, has left everyone in the city scared to go out in public. Lia Finch lost her father to the swarm two years ago and they haven’t attacked since. Since her father’s death, Lia has been working to uncover the truth behind the swarm and stop anyone else from being beaten to death. What she is trying to do is no easy task as she is still suffering from PTSD from her father’s murder and the asthma she has lived with all her life can cripple her at any moment. She learns the date of the next attack and puts her life in danger with the swarm when a stranger comes to her rescue. He knows the swarm better than anyone because he is a part of it. They must work together to find out what the swarm is planning and stop it from happening without getting either of them killed.

If you are a fan of Young Adult books that read quickly, have an intriguing plot (that is partly based on a true story,) and characters that pull you in from the very beginning, you are not going to want to miss this one. I loved Every Stolen Breath. This was such an amazing book to start the year with. Lia and her search for the truth behind the murder of her father makes for such a solid protagonist. I loved her flaws and her troubles that made her such a relatable character. All she wanted was to be able to bring down the swarm and find out who is truly behind the death of father, but by doing so she puts herself in danger. She isn’t afraid of the danger but is afraid of more of her loved ones getting hurt because of what she is looking into. The more she digs into things, the more those around her are targeted and this is where the story really got good for me, seeing how she is affected by those around her being targeted had me so much more invested in the story and the characters. When I, as a reader, am more invested in the characters the story is taken to a whole new level, which happened with Every Stolen Breath. It is hard to find a YA book today that is clean, has a good story line, and characters that will draw you in. Thankfully this is a book that has all of that and more. I recommend this book to readers, young and old that enjoy a great read that will keep them reading way past their bedtime.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

What’s in Store for 2020?

As we close out another decade of fantastic books, we know that the future promises even better!  We will discover new talent as well as have some of our favorite authors rekindle characters we’ve grown to love.  Below is just a sample of what to look forward to in the new year!

Collateral Damage

 

Collateral Damage by Lynette Eason

Releases January 7th.  Eason has become one our favorite romantic suspense authors and this new series has us lurking for danger.  If you find you like it, be sure to pickup the next in the series, Acceptable Risk, that releases in August.

Find out more about the book here.

 

 

 

 

Way of the brave

 

The Way of the Brave by Susan May Warren

Releases January 7th.  Susan May Warren has developed a knack for romantic suspense coupled with high stress search and rescue operations.  We expect this series to be just as good, if not better, than anything we’ve read by her before.  Be sure to nab the second book, The Heart of a Hero, in June.

Find out more about the book here.

 

 

 

Promised land

 

Promised Land by Robert Whitlow

Releases January 14th.  We’ve been dying to know what happened to both Hannah and Jakob’s relationship after the last book left such an opening.

Find out more about the book here.

 

 

 

 

 

a cold trail

 

A Cold Trail by Robert Dugoni

Releases February 4th.  It’s been far too long since we’ve read a Tracy Crosswhite novel.  This is truly one of the best series on the market.

Find out more about the book here.

 

 

 

 

chasing the white lion

 

Chasing the White Lion by James R. Hannibal

Releases March 3rd.  The first book in this series hooked us.  The second looks to reel us in.

Find out more about the book here.

 

 

 

 

 

kings falling

 

Kings Falling by Ronie Kendig

Releases March 31st.  Kendig always manages to bring about great stories that can tie in history to current events.  The first in this series had crossover characters and we can’t wait to see who shows up in this one!

Find out more about the book here.

 

 

 

 

The book of lost friends

 

The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate

Releases April 7th.  Wingate’s last novel had a tremendous impact on thousands of people.  She brought multiple stories to light with a single story based on true events.  Can she make a repeat performance?

Find out more about the book here.

 

 

 

 

side trip

 

Side Trip by Kerry Lonsdale

Releases July 7th.  Lonsdale creates relatable characters that stick with us for years after we cross their path.  If this is anything like her last book, we’ll be talking about the ending this time next year.

Find out more about the book here.

 

 

 

 

The lost jewels

 

The Lost Jewels by Kirsty Manning

Releases August 4th. Manning became our newest favorite author for time slip novels.  Based on the description, this one is going to blow us away.

Find out more about the book here.

Top Books for 2019

Can readers ever really narrow down a list?  This has been a year filled with great stories by great authors.  We look forward to what the new year will bring and hope that you have a chance to read what we thought were the best books of 2019!

all manner of things

 

All Manner of Things by Susie Finkbeiner

This story really struck a chord with everyone who read it.  It made us yearn for simpler times and reminded us of the importance of family.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

the line between

 

The Line Between by Tosca Lee

This was on our watch list for the year as soon as we heard about it.  Lee’s ability to bind suspense and tension into a story full of unforgettable characters is why she keeps appearing on this list year after year.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

single light

 

A Single Light by Tosca Lee

We didn’t think any other thriller was going to top A Line Between, but Lee managed to do just that with her follow-up in A Single Light.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

how the light gets in

How the Light Gets In by Jolina Petersheim

Petersheim’s display of raw emotion throughout the pages coupled with her storytelling ability made this modern version of the story of Ruth a shoe-in for a top spot.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

snyapse

 

Synapse by Steven James

James has a masters degree in story telling and he puts it to good use in this supernatural thriller.  If you’ve never picked up one of his books, grab one today.  You’ll be in for an awesome treat.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

Recursion

 

Recursion by Blake Crouch

Crouch has the ability to bring the future to his readers.  His stories are mind blowing and may cause you to put the book down to actually think about what was just read.  This story is no exception.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

curse of misty wayfair

 

The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright

This story drew us in from the beginning.  Wright has the ability to unearth her character’s secrets and bring along her readers for a ride.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

Vow of Justice

 

Vow of Justice by Lynette Eason

Stories with strong empathy always resonate with us.  The fact that a supporting character connected so strongly to us as well made us choose this for a top spot.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

the eighth sister

 

The Eighth Sister by Robert Dugoni

Dugoni’s style of writing always impresses us, which is why he continually shows up for the top of the year picks.  This new series gives us something to look forward to in the coming years.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

Silence between us

 

The Silence Between Us by Alison Gervais

This may be a young adult novel, but the message can be applied to everyone!

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sins of the Father

 

Sins of the Father by Vincent B. Davis II

It’s been a while since a new series that we weren’t expecting captivate our attention.  Such a rare treat deserves to be included in our top picks.

Read the full review here.

Top Suspense/Thriller for 2019

Quite possibly our favorite category and genre.  Who doesn’t love a good thrill ride?  This year’s top selections will keep you in suspense for the entire book!

 

the line between

 

1. The Line Between and A Single Light by Tosca Lee

Both of these books should be at the top of every thriller readers list!  Tosca Lee has become such a master connecting readers to her characters so that the suspense becomes personal.  Both books were published in 2019 and to get the full effect, readers will need to devour both!

Read the review of The Line Between here.

Read the review of A Single Light here.

 

 

single light

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

persian

 

2. The Persian Gamble by Joel C. Rosenberg

Rosenberg continues to dazzle us with his current event political thrillers that seem like they could come true tomorrow. The second book in this series continues the tension between the United States and Russia, but left us wondering how the third is going to wrap it up.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

Storm rising

 

3. Storm Rising by Ronie Kendig

Readers will stay engaged with this new series and fans of Kendig will be love that characters from the Tox files cross over.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

The String

 

4. The String by Caleb Breakey

It has been a long time since we’ve read a debut novel that reminded us of the writing of seasoned writers that is a thrilling, elaborate, intricately woven story and deeply twisted all at the same time.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

Never look back

 

5. Never Look Back by Alison Gaylin

With the back and forth writing style between the present and past, the story is told in a way that gives readers a full understanding of what is happening and how things played out.

Read the full review here.

Top Romantic Suspense for 2019

Another popular category centers on blending a budding romance between two characters while keeping a reader engaged with suspenseful action.  It was a crazy good year for romantic/suspense books, but only the best made the top of our list, even if it did exceed five!

Vow of Justice

 

1. Vow of Justice by Lynette Eason

One of the supporting characters helped nabbed the top spot.  The way her empathy was displayed and even used against her made this story what it is!

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

Smoke Screen

 

2. Smoke Screen by Terri Blackstock

Terri Blackstock brings a different type of suspense with Smoke Screen. This is a mystery with a romantic suspense angle, but the suspense here comes more from the drama within the families.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

seconds to live

 

3. Seconds to Live by Susan Sleeman

The action and suspense gripped us so tightly we couldn’t put the book down.  Add that the US Marshals are showcased in this book and it easily made the top of the list.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

Killing tide

 

4. The Killing Tide by Dani Pettrey

In this fast paced and energetic thriller, Dani Pettrey delivers her best book yet!  Readers will not want to miss this one!

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

One final breath

 

5. One Final Breath by Lynn H. Blackburn

With each book in this series readers have seen Blackburn come alive in her writing. One Final Breath brings the best of the series and gives readers even more to love. The suspense is top notch, the romance is right on point and the story flows without even trying.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

Knox

 

6. Knox by Susan May Warren

Susan May Warren is one of the very best romantic suspense writers on the market. Blending characters in this new series with a past series makes it a sure thing!

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

Cold aim

 

7. Cold Aim by Janice Cantore

The third installment in the Line of Duty series gives readers the best yet with more drama, action, adventure and romance than anything Cantore has written to date!

Read the full review here.

Seconds to Live

seconds to liveAuthor: Susan Sleeman

Series: Homeland Heroes #1

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: December 3, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

An exciting, top notch read that kept me up late turning the pages to find out what was going to happen next. Romantic suspense fans will not want to miss this one.

After the US Marshals’ Witness Protection database is compromised and personal information of the witnesses is set to be auctioned off, FBI Agent Sean Nichols and his RED team are called in to investigate and find the hacker. One of the witnesses is already a target and barely makes it out alive before the RED team gets involved. Sean believes a hacker named Phantom is involved, but this is no ordinary hacker as he has outwitted many before and to crack this case Sean is going to need the help of the attacked witness.

Taylor Mills, the US Marshal in charge of protecting this witness, and Sean have a history. They have never met in person but have been talking online and gotten to know each other very well. Sean and Taylor must work with each other to stop Phantom before he takes out their witness and many others.

Sean and Taylor are both strong characters that are devoted to their jobs, which leaves little room for anything else. Even though they have gotten to know each other chatting online, working together is an entirely different ball game. I read through this incredibly fast and enjoyed it so much, especially the ending. The action and suspense gripped me so tightly I couldn’t put the book down. I loved all the bad and good guys throughout this book, each one had all the right qualities to make them believable and help carry the story along. The end does have a great twist to keep readers guessing and involved with the characters. Having a character in the US Marshals office was a nice change of pace, it’s not as common as seeing an FBI Agent or someone in another branch of law enforcement. Sean and Taylor are both experts in their fields and want to do their very best for the people they are trying to protect and help making them characters that are easy to root for and want to succeed. It may be one of the last books I’ve read this year, but it is going to make its way to my best of the year list. This is the first in a new series and I for one can’t wait to see what comes next. I recommend this book to readers that enjoy a great romantic suspense books with wonderful twists and intriguing characters.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Top Time-Slip for 2019

This is a new category added for the year because it is becoming such a popular genre.  All of these stories could easily fall into the historical fiction category, but it takes a good blend of past and present to make the time slip possible.

Castle on the Rise

 

1.  Castle on the Rise and The Painted Castle by Kristy Cambron

These two books closed out the Lost Castle series and released in 2019.  Kambron weaves three simultaneous stories in each book: one set in the 1700s, one set in World War II, and one set in the present.  Readers will find it difficult to pick their favorite!

Read the full review of Castle on the Rise here.

Read the full review of The Painted Castle here.

 

Painted castle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

curse of misty wayfair

 

2. The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright

It’s easy to see why Wright recently picked up a Christy award.  Her ability to blend timelines is nothing less than spectacular.  While this is a bit dark, it’s the mystery that won us over!

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

Woman in the white kimono

 

3. Woman in the White Kimono by Ana Johns

Based on real events in post occupation Japan, this story played out beautifully.  We’re huge fans of literature set in Japan and this title has been one of the best we’ve ever read.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

Lost Vintage

 

4. The Lost Vintage by Ann Mah

This book takes place in a French vineyard in both World War II and present day.  It’s sort of a Cinderella story of the Resistance, but not all endings are happy.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

Jade lily

 

5. The Song of the Jade Lily by Kirsty Manning

Many time slip novels are based on actual events for the historical aspect.  This was no exception as Manning brought to light the Jewish immigration to Shanghai after Kristallnacht as well as the Japanese Occupation shortly thereafter.  Combine this with a young female trying to figure out her heritage, you’ve got a fantastic book!

Read the full review here.

Top Historical Fiction for 2019

Historical fiction is always hard to nail down because there are so many amazing books taking place a different times.  This year proved to be extremely difficult (as always) and there was no easy way to narrow it down to five.  So we didn’t!

all manner of things

 

1.  All Manner of Things by Susie Finkbeiner

Finkbeiner is a master at pulling readers into her settings.  We felt so connected with this family that we yearned for simpler times throughout the entire book.  The book has such raw emotion throughout that readers may find themselves shedding a tear or two.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

Hyde-Stay-27325-CV-JK-v3.indd

 

2. Stay by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Each time we pick up a Catherine Ryan Hyde book we think  it can’t possibly be better than the last, but she proves us wrong every single time. Stay is a perfectly crafted tale of what it means to care for someone and love them enough to want them to stay in this world.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

The Noise of War

 

3. The Noise of War by Vincent B. Davis II

The next installment in the Sertoris novels takes things to a new level.  The continuation of his progression into politics makes history come alive.  We can’t wait for the next book!

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

Within these lines

 

4. Within these Lines by Stephanie Morrill

A heart wrenching story about the Japanese internment in California as told through the eyes of a young Italian female in San Francisco.  This book will be great to explain history to today’s younger generation.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

Number of Love

 

5. The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White

This book was like a new take on A Beautiful Mind.  We fell in love with the main character’s naivete and her ability to break coded messages.  This is one of our top picks to be make into a film!

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

Sins of the Father

 

6. Sins of the Father by Vincent B. Davis II

Who doesn’t love a good mafia story?  Davis’s ability to create worlds based on historical events is evident with this new series!

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

The Sky Above Us

 

7. The Sky Above Us by Sara Sundin

The second book in the Sunrise at Normandy series really progressed the story along.  Each book focuses on a brother who all become estranged because of one ill fated event.  Each went their own way and each entered a separate branch of the service.  Masterfully done!

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

Far side of the sea

 

8. The Far Side of the Sea by Kate Breslin

Heartbreaking, yet triumphant!  This story is a master of deception as well as a historical masterpiece.

Read the full review here.

Top Mystery Fiction for 2019

Merry Christmas to all our followers!  We have a special gift for everyone today in sharing what we think are the top picks for Mystery Fiction this year!  Everyone have a safe and happy holiday!

Girl behind red rope

 

1.  The Girl Behind the Red Rope by Ted Dekker and Rachelle Dekker

Teaming up for the first time, father and daughter Ted and Rachelle Dekker deliver an intense and fascinating read that will leave fans thirsting for them to team up again and again and again.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

the eighth sister

 

2. The Eighth Sister by Robert Dugoni

Robert Dugoni’s newest series starts off with a stellar story that will hook readers and keep them guessing until the very end. Another well-crafted story by one of the very best.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

Gryphon Heist

 

3. The Gryphon Heist by James R. Hannibal

Readers are set up for a thrill ride full of suspense, danger, mystery and so many twists and turns they won’t be able to stop until the very last page!

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

alistar ainsworth

 

4. The Disappearance of Alistair Ainsworth by Leonard Goldberg

This series has quickly become a crowd favorite.  If you are a regular sleuth, these will keep you guessing till the final reveal!

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

a bitter feast

 

5. A Bitter Feast by Deborah Cromble

Don’t let the fact that this is the 18th book in a series deter you from selecting this title, because it may hook you to go back and read a few of the previous novels.

Read the full review here.