State of Lies – Spotlight

State of Lies by Siri Mitchell

Released: August 13, 2019

Months after her husband, Sean, is killed by a hit-and-run driver, physicist Georgie Brennan discovers he lied to her about where he had been going that day. A cryptic notebook, a missing computer, and strange noises under her house soon have her questioning everything she thought she knew.

With her job hanging by a thread, her son struggling to cope with his father’s death, and her four-star general father up for confirmation as the next Secretary of Defense, Georgie quickly finds herself tangled in a political intrigue that has no clear agenda and dozens of likely villains. Only one thing is clear: someone wants her dead too.

The more she digs for the truth, the fewer people she can trust.

Not her friends.

Not her parents.

Maybe not even herself.

Spotlight

Due to a mistake, I have not got to read this book yet. But I want to. A lot. It’s on my list to read soon! Hopefully, I can get a review up, once I read the book!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, August 20

Among the Reads, August 20

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 20

Blogging With Carol, August 21

CarpeDiem, August 21

Josephine Anne Writes, August 21

Fiction Aficionado, August 22

All-of-a-kind Mom, August 22

Genesis 5020, August 22

Andrea Christenson, August 23

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 23

Pause for Tales, August 23

Through the Fire Blogs, August 24

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 24

Inspired by fiction, August 25

Because I said so and other adventures in parenting. , August 25

Adventures of a Traveler’s Wife, August 25

For Him and My Family, August 26

Rebekah Jones, August 26

Betti Mace, August 26

As He Leads is Joy, August 27

Wishful Endings, August 27

Reflections From My Bookshelves, August 27

Moments, August 28

Mary Hake, August 28

Remembrancy, August 28

Just the Write Escape, August 29

Simple Harvest Reads, August 29

Hallie Reads, August 30

Bigreadersite , August 30

Living Life Free in Christ, August 30

Connect in Fiction, August 31

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 31

Texas Book-aholic, August 31

janicesbookreviews, September 1

A Reader’s Brain, September 1

Inklings and notions , September 1

Life of Literature, September 2

Real World Bible Study, September 2

About the Author

Siri Mitchell is the author of 14 novels. She has also written 2 novels under the pseudonym of Iris Anthony. She graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree and has worked in various levels of government. As a military spouse, she lived all over the world, including Paris and Tokyo. Siri is a big fan of the semi-colon but thinks the Oxford comma is irritatingly redundant. Visit her online at sirimitchell.com; Facebook: SiriMitchell; Twitter: @SiriMitchell.

To the KING be all the glory!

Murder in the City of Liberty – A Review

Murder in the City of Liberty by Rachel McMillan

Released May 21, 2019

Hamish DeLuca and Regina “Reggie” Van Buren have a new case—and this one brings the war in Europe dangerously close to home.

Determined to make a life for herself, Regina “Reggie” Van Buren bid goodbye to fine china and the man her parents expected her to marry and escaped to Boston. What she never expected to discover was that an unknown talent for sleuthing would develop into a business partnership with the handsome, yet shy, Hamish DeLuca.

Their latest case arrives when Errol Parker, the leading base stealer in the Boston farm leagues, hires Hamish and Reggie to investigate what the Boston police shove off as a series of harmless pranks. Errol believes these are hate crimes linked to the outbreak of war in Europe, and he’s afraid for his life. Hamish and Reggie quickly find themselves in the midst of an escalating series of crimes that seem to link Boston to Hamish’s hometown of Toronto.

When an act of violence hits too close to home, Hamish is driven to a decision that may sever him from Reggie forever . . . even more than her engagement to wealthy architect Vaughan Vanderlaan.

My Review

Murder in the City of Liberty fulfilled my hopes of a good mystery. The twists and turns kept my attention, and while I did solve it before the protagonists, I didn’t get bored or tired of the story.

I enjoyed the main characters, especially Hamish, but I found a few of the relationship bits annoying. Particularly, the love triangle. But I never care for those; they annoy me. I may also state here that I did not read Book I of this series, but the book did well as a standalone. I do think a few things with Hamish and his cousin would have been fleshed out, as well as Regina and Vaughan, if I had, but I never really felt at a loss. The author added just enough backstory to make things clear without overdoing it or making the story boring.

The author did an impressive job at writing a character with a tendency toward anxiety and panic attacks, while not portraying them as merely weak. Hamish is a likable character, very good at reading others, capable of doing his job, and he struggles through his physical difficulties bravely.

My biggest disappointment with this book is that I went into it expecting a Christian book. The publisher is a Christian one and when I picked up the book, I had the impression that the book would be Christian as well. I read the entire mystery waiting for the Christianity to appear in an obvious fashion, but it never did. There were subtle hints – Hamish goes to the North Church when he is upset and there is a reference to his father speaking a sentence about God – but nothing obvious enough to be clear. Now, Nate, Hamish and Regina’s best friend, has a strong and obvious Jewish faith. We see that played out without being overdone, but it is very clear what he believes. Anything Christian, however, I found too subtle to really know anything certain about it.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the book. A lot. I’ll probably even read the first one. The lack of obvious faith or any reference to Christ disappointed me the most out of anything. I can hope that, perhaps, in future books of this series that element will be fleshed out and become stronger. I don’t know. We’ll have to see.

Overall, I would recommend this book, but wouldn’t promote it as a Christian one, but a well-written, clean mystery.

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away a grand prize of both book in the series!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e513/murder-in-the-city-of-liberty-celebration-tour-giveaway

Blog Stop

Just the Write Escape, June 11

Simple Harvest Reads, June 11

The Power of Words, June 12

amandainpa, June 12

As He Leads is Joy, June 13

Fiction Aficionado, June 13

Through the Fire Blogs, June 14

Carpe Diem, June 14

Moments, June 15

The Christian Fiction Girl, June 16

Have A Wonderful Day, June 16

Cordially Barbara, June 17

Rebekah’s Quill, June 17

All-of-a-kind Mom, June 18

Hallie Reads, June 18

Bigreadersite, June 19

Connect in Fiction, June 19

Blogging With Carol, June 20

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 20

For Him and My Family, June 21

Remembrancy, June 21

Pause for Tales, June 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 22

Godly Book Reviews, June 23

Texas Book-aholic, June 23

janicesbookreviews, June 24

A Reader’s Brain, June 24

Inklings and notions, June 24

About the Author

Rachel McMillan is a keen history enthusiast and a lifelong bibliophile. When not writing or reading, she can most often be found drinking tea and watching British miniseries. Rachel lives in bustling Toronto, where she works in educational publishing and pursues her passion for art, literature, music, and theater.

To the KING be all the glory!

Past Forward – A Review

Past Forward by Chautona Havig
April 19, 201

Alone without friends or family to comfort her after the death of her mother, Willow Finley’s idyllic life is over—and just beginning.

The Finley women’s lives, while rich and full, aren’t easy. Rejecting electricity and many other modern conveniences, they live purposefully and intentionally–alone and isolated from the world around them.

When Willow Finley awakes on a hot summer morning, she is unprepared for the grief that awaits her. Jerked from a life of isolation with her mother, Willow learns what alone really means when she finds her mother dead.

From the moment Willow arrives in the police station with her startling announcement, Chad Tesdall fights the friendship he knows he can’t avoid.

The Past Forward series opens with Willow’s life-changing discovery and gently guides the reader through aspects of her life–the past weaving through the present and into the future. Experience her first morning in church, her first movie, and the culture shock of her first trips to the city. A birthday party and a street faire add welcome diversion from butchering, canning, and the beating of area rugs. Disaster strikes. Will she choose to continue her simple life, or will an offer in the city change it all? Find out in this first volume.

My Review

Past Forward begins rather startling. When Willow Finlay walks into the police station, you don’t really expect her reason for being there. Not exactly. The story continues on with rapt attention from there.

This is another book that I have read more then once. Actually, I’ve read every volume. I first read it years ago and parts of it are ingrained into me, like any other good book.

I like Willow. She’s different, but that’s one of the things that keeps you wanting to find out what she’s going to do next. There are times that I find the reactions of the people around her to be a bit tiresome, but not enough to make me want to put the book down.

Chad, I quite liked, though there are a few times I want to shake him. But, since I want to do the same to Willow at times, I suppose that’s not much of a complaint. I do like his character development a good deal – though I shall never reconcile my mental picture of him to the buzz cut that he apparently has.

Overall, I found the first volume of Past Forward well written, filled with interesting characters, and worth a reread. You will likely find your interest peaked to move onto Volume 2. I would recommend this book.

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a grand prize that includes a complete paperback set of Past Forward & a custom Past Forward Lavender Lemonade candle!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e319/past-forward-celebration-tour-giveaway

Blog Stops

Through the Fire Blogs, May 15

A Reader’s Brain, May 15

Godly Book Reviews, May 16

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 17

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 17

Blogging With Carol, May 18

Inklings and notions, May 18

Bigreadersite, May 19

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 19

All-Of-a-kind Mom, May 20

Texas Book-aholic, May 20

Aryn The Libraryan, May 21

Quiet Workings, May 22

Retrospective Spines, May 22

Inspired by Fiction, May 23

Carpe Diem, May 24

For Him and My Family, May 25

janicesbookreviews, May 25

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, May 26

Rebekah’s Quill, May 27

Inspiration Clothesline, May 28

About the Author

Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her on the web and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

Tot the KING be all the glory!

War in the Wasteland – A Review

War in the Wasteland by Douglas Bond
Released 2016

“Full-scale assault,” said Sergeant Ayres.

“Another one?” said Nigel. “Boche learned nothing from the last one?”

“Not them.” Ayres shook his head soberly. “It’s a counter attack. Tomorrow morning, first light. It’s us over the top.”

Nigel Hopkins finds himself in the trenches of World War I under the command of teenage atheist 2/Lt C.S. Lewis. Nigel and his war dog must learn the source of true courage while facing a desperate enemy in No Man’s Land in the final offensive of the war.

Meanwhile, underage WAAC Elsie Fleming, working at the field hospital in Étaples, will have her idealism about war challenged by the brutal realities she sees in the broken men who return from the Front—and the many who never return.

My Review

I went into reading War in the Wasteland with very little knowledge of WWI. Not the battlefront. I had studied how the people at home coped, at least, in the United States, but I hadn’t really read much about the actual war.

War in the Wasteland kept close to Nigel as he shipped out, joined his platoon on the Front, landed in the hospital, fought battles, got to know his comrades, faced the harrows of killing the enemy… I could almost feel the mud and filth, hear the guns and explosions, see the destruction of land and the death of men. I know that my imagination still falls far short of the reality, but I left the book with a far deeper perspective and appreciation for what so many soldiers fighting in the Great War went through. Just how much those left at home lost.

I really also enjoyed Nigel, the young eighteen-year-old, shipped out to war so soon after his birthday. Courageous, yet very human, seeing the war through his eyes, listening to the debates of his senior officers, and taking care of his loyal terrier.

Reading about an atheist C.S. Lewis, I found to be fascinating. In many ways, Mr. Bond kept the “voice” that I have come to recognize from reading works by C.S. Lewis intact, though his verbalized opinions were certainly not those I tend to associate with him. Knowing that the author well-researched the man, before attempting to write him into a historical fiction novel, it is truly amazing to think of the change the LORD wrought in C.S. Lewis’ life and thoughts. I knew much of this before, but seeing it in dialogue form proved to be fascinating and memorable.

I can honestly say that I never figured out for certain if a few characters were fictional or truly from history. I would have loved a complete list of historical characters, such as Mr. Bond included in the back of Duncan’s War. I can’t say that the lack affected my enjoyment of the story, but it would have satisfied my historical curiosity.

I would certainly recommend this book.

About the Author
Douglas Bond, father of six, is the author of a number of successful books. He directs the Oxford Creative Writing Master Class, speaks at conferences, and leads historical tours. Visit his website at: www.bondbooks.net

To the KING be all glory!

What I Learned in Oxford – Part I

The view from atop St. Mary’s Tower

My love of telling stories began almost in babyhood, coursing on through childhood, high school age, and my early twenties. However, as adulthood lengthened to my late twenties, I became increasingly disillusioned. My published books, though received fairly well when they were actually read, didn’t sell particularly well. I struggled with marketing and building an audience, and as I tried to begin learning it, so many voices began to clamor at me.

Write more. Change your style. Change what you write about. Change how you write. Change your writing speed. Publish more often.  

And I started to shift with the voices. Every time I sat with my pen, I thought of the reader. The market. Could I get this book done fast enough? Would it be well received? Would it fit within my brand? Could I publish quickly enough? Would it sell?

The more I tried to push speed, the more I tried to listen to the clamoring voices, the less I enjoyed my craft. I rewrote and rewrote, trying to like my manuscript and only partially succeeding. I would learn to love my characters, but never reached a proper level of satisfaction with how I told their stories. Then, the other questions started. Should I dial back on the message of the book? Write books that might sell better? My books weren’t selling; almost subconsciously, I began to shift with the clamor. I still enjoyed writing, but it wasn’t the same as it used to be. Perhaps, it wasn’t supposed to be. Maybe writing should change when you become an author with six books published.

Then, the LORD sent me to Oxford.

I say sent, because every single step of my heading off to the Oxford Creative Writing Master Class, I could see orchestrated by God. When the year began, I had no plans of heading to Britain this Spring, but He did and I never had any doubts that the LORD sent me there.

As I spent a week walking the same streets as C.S. Lewis, hearing and nearly seeming to witness the fiery end of the three martyrs, singing hymns by Newton and Cowper, listening to C.S. Lewis’ written thoughts on writing, becoming immersed in church and literary history, Scripture and hymns, a light seemed to break in my mind. Listening to Douglas Bond speak on writing, read from those gone before, and lay out the meaning and the joy of being a Christian Writer, the passion that I could remember, the excitement that I all but rarely experienced anymore, began to burn brightly again.

I had come with the hope of improving my craft – I left with so much more.

In that week, I re-analyzed my reasons for writing, helped on by discussions with Mr. Bond and my fellow students, who soon became my friends. Long ago, I chose my writing motto; what I wanted all of my books, no matter what they were, to reflect. I spent much time and thought coming up with a sentence that would remind me of it. I wanted to write Bible Centered, Modern Literature.

During my week in Oxford, I regained that vision.

I want to write stories, so well told, that God willing, they will stand the test of time. That, if our LORD tarries, in one hundred, two hundred years, my books might be read and seen as literature, crafted with words and cadence, characters and story-lines that still draw people in.

I want them to have a depth beyond a good story. A richness. I don’t want to merely tickle the fancy of the reader; I want to reach them.

Ultimately, at the end of everything, I want to point my reader to Christ. I want His followers to leave my stories encouraged and blessed in their walk. I want the rest to leave convicted or, at the least, with some knowledge of my LORD and His words. I don’t ever want anyone to question whether I could be called a Christian Writer, because that is exactly what I am.

That does not mean that I won’t still try to navigate the confusing world of marketing. I can’t reach anyone if my books are never read. I’ll still learn what I can, hopefully implement it, and, LORD willing, both gain a growing readership and not lose my sanity completely. It really just means, that I’ve re-shifted my focus.

It also doesn’t mean that I have nothing else to learn about writing. Goodness, do I! I don’t believe the day will ever come when I don’t have something to learn about writing. I shall always be learning.

Since returning home, despite jet lag, getting back into a nannying schedule, and a few others things, I have written more then I did in the two months previous. I began my current manuscript over again and have passed the previous point that I stopped at, and it is better then it ever could claim to be before. I have not had this much joy and inspiration to write in some time, and the LORD used my trip to Oxford to bring that about.

To the KING be all the glory!