Guest Post: Cara Putnam – LETHAL INTENT

Good day, book people! I hope you’re having a good bookish January so far and that your reading is on goal for the year. If you’re seeking something new to read, then I hope you’ll add Lethal Intent by Cara Putnam to your 2021 TBR list. This romantic legal thriller might be just what you’ve been looking for and didn’t know it. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Ms. Putnam for visiting with us today and sharing her insight into character versus plot. Please see what she has to say, follow the blog tour to read some great reviews for her latest release, Lethal Intent, and enter the tour-wide giveaway. But for now, sit back, relax, and let’s visit with Ms. Cara Putnam.

 

 

Character or Plot? Which comes first?

 

There is a perennial debate among authors. Which comes first the characters or the plot?

As an attorney, my answer is a classic it depends.

In some of my books, the character is what drives the creation of the story. I know I want to write a book with the Monuments Men. Or I want my next series to feature strong heroines who are all attorneys, but in different ways.

Other times, the spark of the idea is a story or headline that I’ve seen or read. An event that happened somewhere else and I twist it into a new what if: what if the mom didn’t really kill her daughters in front of her husband on her birthday? What if he really did it, but set her up to take the fall? This was the idea spark for Imperfect Justice.

With Lethal Intent, the key question for the hero Brandon Lancaster had been established in fore-shadowing in other books. He had started a group foster home for sibling groups, and it was in danger of folding. What I didn’t anticipate was that between the idea and writing the book, the federal law governing these types of homes changed… completely. This created a whole new level of complexity as I was writing because though the law had changed in 2018, the regulations for how it would be applied in the state of Virginia were still unfinalized as late as July 2020 – and the final version of the book was turned in during May.

This is where having a great network of writing friends can help. My friend Tricia Goyer connected me with a man who ran a similar home in Arkansas. You can imagine my relief when his approach to the law mirrored what I had reasoned was the only way Brandon could handle the conundrum.

Each book is a little different. And even when you think the characters are driving the plot, some times life intervenes and changes the balance as you’re writing. Which do you think is more important to a good novel?

 

 

Lethal Intent

by Cara Putman

January 11 – February 5, 2021 Tour

 

Synopsis:

 

LETHAL INTENT - CPutnamIf they expected silence, they hired the wrong woman.

Caroline Bragg’s life has never been better. She and Brandon Lancaster are taking their relationship to the next level, and she has a new dream job as legal counsel for Praecursoria—a research lab that is making waves with its cutting-edge genetic therapies. The company’s leukemia treatments even promise to save desperately sick kids—kids like eleven-year-old Bethany, a critically ill foster child at Brandon’s foster home.

When Caroline’s enthusiastic boss wants to enroll Bethany in experimental trials prematurely, Caroline objects, putting her at odds with her colleagues. They claim the only goal at Praecursoria is to save lives. But does someone have another agenda?

Brandon faces his own crisis. As laws governing foster homes shift, he’s on the brink of losing the group home he’s worked so hard to build. When Caroline learns he’s a Praecursoria investor, it becomes legally impossible to confide in him. Will the secrets she keeps become a wedge that separates them forever? And can she save Bethany from the very treatments designed to heal her?

This latest romantic legal thriller by bestseller Cara Putman shines a light on the shadowy world of scientific secrets and corporate vendettas—and the ethical dilemmas that plague the place where science and commerce meet.

 

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Published by: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: January 12, 2021
Number of Pages: 336
ISBN: 0785233318 (ISBN13: 9780785233312)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | ChristianBook.com | Goodreads

 

Author Bio:

Author - Cara Putnam

Cara Putman is the author of more than twenty-five legal thrillers, historical romances, and romantic suspense novels. She has won or been a finalist for honors including the ACFW Book of the Year and the Christian Retailing’s BEST Award. Cara graduated high school at sixteen, college at twenty, completed her law degree at twenty-seven, and recently received her MBA. She is a practicing attorney, teaches undergraduate and graduate law courses at a Big Ten business school, and is a homeschooling mom of four. She lives with her husband and children in Indiana.

 

Visit Cara Putman:
CaraPutman.com
Goodreads: caraputman
BookBub: @CPutman
Instagram: caracputman
Twitter: @Cara_Putman
Facebook: Cara.Putman

 

 

Lethal Intent Tour Participants:

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


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Enter To Win!:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Cara Putman. There will be three (3) winners of one (1) physical copy of Lethal Intent by Cara Putman (US ONLY). The giveaway begins on January 11, 2021 and runs through February 7, 2021. Void where prohibited.

 

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Guest Post: Siri Mitchell – EVERYWHERE TO HIDE



Happy Saturday, my bookish peeps! Over the years, I’ve learned quite a bit from reading fiction. I’ve seen glimpses into the past, into other cultures, and learned to empathize with everyone, no matter their race, creed, religion, or ethnicity. If I’ve learned simply by being a reader over 55 years, it’s not a stretch to imagine that authors might learn from writing fiction as well. I’m pleased to welcome Siri Mitchell, author of Everywhere to Hide, to the blog. Ms. Mitchell will be sharing what she’s learned from her characters with us today. I hope you’ll enjoy her visit and perhaps add Everywhere to Hide to your TBR list. Without further adieu, I give you, Siri Mitchell.




What My Characters Have Taught Me


I started writing in 1994 and I haven’t stopped since. During that time, I’ve learned a lot from my characters. They’ve taught me to:


1. Let go of what used to be. One of the best lessons I learned as a writer was to use the first few pages of the book to kick the main character out of the life that used to be and then to lock the door behind her so she can’t get back in. In a story, as in life, momentum comes from living in the present, from moving forward. It doesn’t come from sitting around, longing for the past.

2. Make choices and then commit to them. The most engaging characters don’t dither when they’re faced with a decision. They don’t draw decision trees. They don’t even play rock-paper-scissors. (At least, not normally.) They make the best decisions they can with the information they have at the moment. Do they get it wrong? Sometimes. But at least they don’t let others make decisions for them and they don’t wait around to get rescued by someone else. 

3. Be the person you are. Every person, every character, has flaws. Magic happens in a story when a character, who has tried for so long to hide or compensate for a weakness, has to fall back on that very thing in order to survive. My characters have taught me that those things you hate about yourself, those things that make you different than everyone else, can also become your salvation. You just have to lean into who you are instead of trying to run away from it.

4. Keep on going. You don’t get to the end of a story by taking a breather, throwing a tantrum, or creating a fantasy world to live in where people aren’t out to get you. Characters who react to trouble by cowering tend to be secondary characters. Know why? Because they’re not likable. They might be pitiable, but they’re not courageous. When life gets hard, get harder. When things are tough? Be tougher. Meet the moment. Take the risk. The only way out of a story is to keep walking through it.


It’s funny: when I first started writing, I had so many things I wanted to tell people through the characters in my stories. But as I look back, I realize I wasn’t as smart as I thought. And my characters were much more clever than I knew. 






Everywhere to Hide

by Siri Mitchell

on Tour October 1-31, 2020


Synopsis:


Everywhere to Hide by Siri Mitchell



How can she protect herself from an enemy she can’t see?



Law school graduate Whitney Garrison is a survivor. She admirably deals with an abusive boyfriend, her mother’s death, mounting student debt, dwindling job opportunities, and a rare neurological condition that prevents her from recognizing human faces.

But witnessing a murder might be the crisis she can’t overcome.

The killer has every advantage. Though Whitney saw him, she has no idea what he looks like. He knows where she lives and works. He anticipates her every move. Worst of all, he’s hiding in plain sight and believes she has information he needs. Information worth killing for. Again.

As the hunter drives his prey into a net of terror and international intrigue, Whitney’s only ally, Detective Leo Baroni, is taken off the case. Stripped of all semblance of safety, Whitney must suspect everyone and trust no one—and hope to come out alive.




Book Details:


Genre: Suspense
Published by: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: October 6th 2020
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 0785228640 (ISBN13: 9780785228646)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Christianbook.com® | Goodreads




Siri Mitchell


Author Bio:


Siri Mitchell is the author of 16 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.


Visit her online:


www.SiriMitchell.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!


Tour Participants:

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






Giveaway!:



This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Siri Mitchell. There will be 3 winners.  Each winner will receive one (1) physical copy of Everywhere To Hide by Siri Mitchell (U.S. addresses only). The giveaway begins on October 1, 2020, and runs through November 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.


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Guest Post: Colleen Coble – TWO REASONS TO RUN

Two Reasons to Run

by Colleen Coble

on Tour September 21 – October 23, 2020



Good day, book people. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to participate with some lovely blog tour companies as I get to meet some wonderful authors and other bookish people. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ve probably noticed that I have a varied and eclectic reading style. I enjoy mysteries, thrillers, suspense, romance, YA, literary fiction, ChickLit, nonfiction, and more. If it’s well-written then there’s a pretty good chance I’m going to enjoy it. One author that I discovered through these blog tours is Colleen Coble. Needless to say, I jumped for joy (figuratively not literally), when offered the opportunity to host her on my blog for her latest book Two Reasons to Run. Without further adieu, I now turn my blog over to the USA Today best selling author, Colleen Coble. Thank you, Ms. Coble, for taking the time to stop by today and sharing some thoughts on what almost made you quit writing. May I say, I am so glad you didn’t quit and that I look forward to reading more of your writings in the future.


What made you almost quit?


It’s always been difficult to get published, and back in the 90s it was the same way. I’d sent off countless query letters with the first three chapters of Where Leads the Heart attached. And I got back rejection after rejection. Then finally a small publisher called Here’s Life wanted to publish it. Hooray!

But the next paragraph burst my happy bubble. The editor said the company was being acquired by Thomas Nelson, and the proposal would have to go before their pub board. I was hopeful and haunted by my mailbox for weeks. It didn’t pass pub board, and when that rejection came, I nearly gave up. My family encouraged me to keep going, and a sweet letter from the editor, Dan Benson, came at the right time. He told me he’d found real merit in the story and that I should keep submitting. His words were the impetus I needed, and I sent it out shortly after that to Barbour Publishing. An acceptance letter followed a few weeks later, and after revisions, I was off and running.

But it could have turned out so differently if I’d let that discouragement keep me from sending the proposal out again. I was blessed to get to work with Becky Germany at Barbour who let me really hone my voice without following the usual romance rules. I’ll always be grateful to her for giving me my start.

The really fun thing about that story is that when I wanted to switch to writing romantic mysteries, my agent sold Without a Trace to Thomas Nelson, the company that had rejected Where Leads the Heart, in 2002 and I’ve been there ever since. I’ve gotten the chance to learn from amazing editors and to work with a dream team that is second to none. Who would have thought it would come full circle? 



Synopsis:


Two Reasons to Run by Colleen Coble



Gripping romantic suspense from USA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble.



A lie changed her world.



Police Chief Jane Hardy is still reeling from the scandal that rocked her small-town department just as she took over for her retired father—the man who wrecked her life with one little lie. Now she’s finally been reunited with her presumed-dead fifteen-year-old son, Will, and his father, documentarian Reid Bechtol.

A crisis looms.



When a murder aboard the oil platform Zeus exposes an environmental terrorist’s plot to flood Mobile Bay with crude oil, Jane and Reid must put their feelings for each other behind them and work together to prevent the rig from being sabotaged.

A killer targets her son.



Then the terrorist puts her son Will’s life on the line. Protecting him could be the common ground they need . . . but then ghosts from the past threaten to ruin Jane and Reid for good.

She’s got plenty of reasons to run. But what if she stays?



Book Details:


Genre: Romantic Suspense
Published by: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: September 8, 2020
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 0785228489 (ISBN13: 9780785228486)
Series: Pelican Harbor #2
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | ChristianBook.com | Goodreads


Author Bio:


Colleen Coble



Colleen Coble is a USA TODAY bestselling author and RITA finalist best known for her coastal romantic suspense novels, including The Inn at Ocean’s Edge, Twilight at Blueberry Barrens, and the Lavender Tides, Sunset Cove, Hope Beach, and Rock Harbor series.



Catch Up With Colleen Coble:


ColleenCoble.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!


Tour Participants:

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






Giveway!!



This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Colleen Coble. There will be 3 winners, each winning One Little Lie by Colleen Coble (Print). The giveaway begins on September 21, 2020, and runs through October 25, 2020. Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited.


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Guest Post – Carrie Stuart Parks RELATIVE SILENCE



Good morning, my bookish peeps! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and that you got some reading in while enjoying your weekend activities. I am pleased to welcome today’s guest, an award-winning author and internationally known forensic artist, Carrie Stuart Parks to The Book Diva’s Reads. Many authors have to combine hours of research into an unknown area of expertise to write stories about an unknown subject, but Ms. Parks is a forensic artist that combines her unique background in that area with her writing for some wonderful scenarios. Ladies and Gentleman, I present to you Carrie Stuart Parks, author of Relative Silence




What If? and Forensic Art
by Carrie Stuart Parks



Like most authors, I start out with two simple words, what if? What if my character has her dog bring home a human skull? (The Bones Will Speak.) What if my character lies about her training as a forensic artist and stumbles upon a secret from World War Two? (Formula of Deception.) What if my character has the face of her long-dead daughter age-progressed and becomes convinced she’s actually alive? (Relative Silence.) What might set my what if questions in a different direction from most authors is that the what if usually includes forensics. Specifically forensic art. As a forensic artist myself, I know the field intimately, and I know the many applications of this skill. 

Before I go on, let me define forensic art. It’s any art used in law enforcement or legal proceedings. This includes composite drawings from witness descriptions, measuring and recording crime scenes, and doing the courtroom sketching for television or print media. Any image enhancement such as adding or removing beards and glasses, drawing video surveillance images, or age progression falls under the forensic art umbrella. Facial reconstruction, either two-dimensional (drawing) or three dimensional (clay) over a skull for identification would be considered forensic art. Even preparing charts and exhibits for court is a form of forensic art.

Because the field is so exciting and varied, I try to shine a spotlight on one particular area in each of my novels. In Relative Silence, I wanted to present child age progression. I first heard of this in 1986 at a forensic art symposium in New Orleans. Two men had sketched the face of some missing children that had led to their recovery. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, founded just a year earlier by John and Revé Walsh and other child advocates, was in its infancy. Although most of America had heard of Etan Patz (abducted in 1979) and Adam Walsh (abducted in 1981), this was the first I’d heard of a way in which I could use my art skills to help children. Thirty-three years later, I was able to write about it in my novel.

I still teach and practice forensic art, and as each case crosses my drafting table, I now look at the possibilities for a storyline. What if . . ?







Relative Silence

by Carrie Stuart Parks

on Tour July 13 – August 14, 2020


Synopsis:


Relative Silence by Carrie Stuart Parks


A powerful family with lots of secrets. A forensic artist with his own tragedies. And a hurricane drawing bearing down on their private island.

Fifteen years ago Piper Boone’s only child died in a boating accident, and Piper’s almost perfect life came to an end too. After living through a divorce and losing her job, she retreats to Curlew Island and her childhood home—a secluded mansion for the politically powerful Boone family, who are practically American royalty.

But Piper’s desire to become a recluse is shattered when a mass shooter opens fire and kills three women at a café where Piper is having lunch. The crisis puts her family in the spotlight by dredging up rumors of the so-called Curlew Island Curse, which whispers say has taken the lives of several members of the Boone family, including Piper’s father and sister.

Forensic artist Tucker Landry also survives the shooting and is tasked with the job of sketching a portrait of the shooter with Piper. They forge a bond over their shared love of movies and tragic pasts. But when police discover a connection between the shooting and two more murders on Curlew Island, they face a more terrible lineup of suspects than they could have imagined: Piper’s family.

Unraveling the family’s true history will be the key to Piper’s survival—or her certain death.




Book Details:


Genre: Suspense
Published by: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: July 14th 2020
Number of Pages: 336
ISBN: 0785226184 (ISBN13: 9780785226185)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads




Author Bio:


Carrie Stuart Parks

Carrie Stuart Parks is a Christy, Carol, and Inspy award-winning author, an award-winning fine artist, and internationally known forensic artist. Along with her husband, Rick, she travels across the US and Canada teaching courses in forensic art to law enforcement as well as civilian participants. She has won numerous awards for career excellence. Carrie is a popular platform speaker, presenting a variety of topics from crime to creativity.


Catch Up With Carrie Stuart Parks:


CarrieStuartParks.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, &  Facebook!


Tour Participants:


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




Enter To Win!!:



This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Carrie Stuart Parks. There will be 1 winner of one (1) print copy of Relative Silence by Carrie Stuart Parks. The giveaway begins on July 13, 2020 and runs through August 16, 2020. Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited.


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2020 Book 165: OF LITERATURE AND LATTES by Katherine Reay


Of Literature and Lattes by Katherine ReayISBN: 9780785222040 (trade paperback) ISBN: 9780785222057 (ebook) ISBN: 9780785222064 (digital audiobook) ISBN: 9781799732648 (audiobook on CD) ASIN: B07TSQFJSX (Audible audiobook) ASIN: B07TG7T3CV (Kindle edition) Publisher: Thomas NelsonPublication Date: May 12, 2020

Return to the cozy and delightful town of Winsome, where two people discover the grace of letting go and the joy found in unexpected change.

After fleeing her hometown three years earlier, Alyssa Harrison never planned to return. Then the Silicon Valley start-up she worked for collapsed and turned her world upside down. She is broke, under FBI investigation, and without a place to go. Having exhausted every option, she comes home to Winsome, Illinois, to regroup and move on as quickly as possible. Yet, as friends and family welcome her back, Alyssa begins to see a place for herself in this small Midwestern community.

Jeremy Mitchell moved from Seattle to Winsome to be near his daughter and to open the coffee shop he’s been dreaming of for years. Problem is, the business is bleeding money—and he’s not quite sure why. When he meets Alyssa, he senses an immediate connection, but what he needs most is someone to help him save his floundering business. After asking for her help, he wonders if something might grow between them—but forces beyond their control soon complicate their already complex lives, and the future they both hoped for is not at all what they anticipated.

With the help of Winsome’s small-town charm and quirky residents, Alyssa and Jeremy discover the beauty and romance of second chances.




Welcome back to the town of Winsome, Illinois. We were introduced to this small town, a bedroom community located less than one hour away from Chicago in The Printed Letter Bookshop. We met the new owner of the bookshop, Madeline Cullen, and the store’s two employees, Janet—a divorcee who is estranged from her adult children due to marital infidelity issues, and Claire—a married and working mom who appears to have lost touch with her teenage children. All three women work hard to make the bookshop a viable retail store as well as make amends for past actions and oversight. Fast forward a few months and Janet’s daughter, Alyssa, is returning to Winsome after her tech company was closed due to fraud on the part of the company’s owner. Alyssa is desperate for a new job but is fearful of her return “home” especially if that means a return to her mother’s house. Alyssa doesn’t want to renew her relationship with her mother, but she has nowhere else to go. Fortunately for Alyssa, she has mad tech skills and her childhood BFF hires Alyssa to help with her family-owned restaurant. She then refers Alyssa to several other local business owners and although this isn’t the career she dreamed of, Alyssa is finally working in her field.
Just as Alyssa struggles to find her place in the world and in her family, Jeremy Mitchell, the owner of the local coffee shop, is struggling to make his business a success and find his place in Winsome. Jeremy relocated to Winsome to be closer to his daughter, but his move may have been for naught because his ex-wife is seriously considering moving to Tennessee for her job. Jeremy’s business is floundering and he isn’t sure what he can do to stop his ex-wife from leaving with their daughter.

I read and thoroughly enjoyed The Printed Letter Bookshop and was thrilled when I found out Ms. Reay was writing another book set in this small town. To say I was pleased when approved to read an early reader copy of Of Literature and Lattes is a massive understatement. Of course I had to re-read The Printed Letter Bookshop before reading Of Literature and Lattes just to refamiliarize myself with the characters and the town. I read Of Literature and Lattes in one sitting over a few hours. I didn’t even get up to fix more tea, the story was so engrossing. Initially, Alyssa comes across as somewhat temperamental, but when you factor in losing her job, being investigated by the FBI, and then being robbed of all of her possessions on her drive from California to Illinois, her moodiness is understandable and even forgivable to a certain extent. One of the many things I enjoyed about this story was the multiple and intersecting storylines. In many ways, Alyssa’s story felt like a coming-of-age story primarily because of her insecurity and family drama issues. Jeremy’s story was a bit different, but he also seemed to experience a self-awakening and acceptance that he needed help from his friend and co-worker. Jeremy was also dealing with some major family drama issues. Of Literature and Lattes came across as a highly realistic story with believable characters and action. Major themes include self-realization, self-awareness, family and community drama, friendship and trust issues, as well as romance. I could rhapsodize about this story, but I’ll simply say that if you’re interested in realistic fiction you should definitely read Of Literature and Lattes. If you’ve read The Printed Letter Bookshop, I encourage you to grab a copy of Of Literature and Lattes. If you enjoy reading books about books and community, then you’ll want to get yourself a copy of Of Literature and Lattes. I also encourage you to read The Printed Letter Bookshop just in case you haven’t read it. I’ve read and adored everything that Katherine Reay has written and I’ll probably be re-reading Of Literature and Lattes while I await her next book.

Happy Reading y’all!



Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Showcase: SMOKE SCREEN by Terri Blackstock



Smoke Screen


by Terri Blackstock


on Tour October 28 – November 30, 2019



Synopsis:


Smoke Screen by Terri Blackstock

One father was murdered, and another convicted of his death. All because their children fell in love.

Nate Beckett has spent his life fighting wildfires instead of the lies and rumors that drove him from his Colorado home town. His mother begs him to come to Carlisle now that his father has been released from prison, but it isn’t until he’s sidelined by an injury that he’s forced to return and face his past. But that means facing Brenna too.

Fourteen years ago, Nate was in love with the preacher’s daughter. When Pastor Strickland discovered Brenna had defied him to sneak out with Nate, the fight between Strickland and Nate’s drunken dad was loud—and very public. Strickland was found murdered later that night, and everyone accused Roy Beckett. When the church burned down, people assumed it was Nate getting even for his father’s conviction. He let the rumors fly and left Carlisle without looking back.

Now, Brenna is stunned to learn that the man convicted of murdering her father has been pardoned. The events of that night set her life on a bad course, and she’s dealing with a brutal custody battle with her ex and his new wife where he’s using lies and his family’s money to sway the judge. She’s barely hanging on, and she’s turned to alcohol to cope. Shame and fear consume her.

As they deal with the present—including new information about that fateful night and a wildfire that’s threatening their town—their past keeps igniting. Nate is the steady force Brenna has so desperately needed. But she’ll have to learn to trust him again first.



Book Details:

Genre: Suspense (Christian)
Published by: HarperCollins-Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: November 5th 2019
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 0310332591 (ISBN13: 9780310332596)




Read an excerpt:


I woke up in a blinding bright room, my clothes off and something clamped to my face. I tried to reach it, but I couldn’t bend my right arm, and my hand stung. An IV was taped to my other hand, but I moved carefully and touched the thing over my face.

An oxygen mask. I tried to sit up. “What happened?”

T-bird came to my bedside, a sheen of smoky sweat still soiling his face. “Nate, lie back, man.”

“The fire,” I said. “Need to get back. My men.”

“They’re still there. Making progress. But you’re not going anywhere near a fire for a month or so.”

I took the mask off and coughed a little, but managed to catch my breath. “A month?”

“Yep. Second degree burns on 20 percent of your body. Some of the burns are deep.”

It came back to me, the event that had gotten me here.

“The family. Were they injured?”

“Not a scratch or burn. Turns out it was a U.S. Senator from Kansas. He says you’re a hero.”
“You know I had no choice. They were in the path—”
“Take the praise where you can get it, man. We don’t get that much.”
I looked at my right side. My right arm was bandaged, and so was my side and down my right leg to the point where my boots had stopped the flames. Second degree wasn’t so bad, I told myself. Third degree would have been brutal. I’d be able to leave the hospital soon. I’d heal.

“I won’t need a month,” I said.

“Yes, you will. They can’t let you go back. Doctor’s orders. You’re grounded until he releases you.”

I managed to sit up, but it was a bad idea. The burns pulling on my skin reminded me why I shouldn’t. “I can’t be grounded during fire season. Are you crazy? I need to be there. You don’t have enough men as it is.”

“Sorry, Nate. It is what it is. Why don’t you go home to Carlisle for a while? Take it easy.”

Go home? Pop had just been pardoned, and he and my mom were trying to navigate the reunion. Though she would love to have me home, I didn’t know if I was up to it. My father could be challenging, and fourteen years of prison hadn’t done him any favors.

***



Excerpt taken from Smoke Screen by Terri Blackstock. Copyright © 2019 by Terri Blackstock. Used with permission by Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved.



Terri Blackstock

Author Bio:

Terri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She is the award-winning author of Intervention, Vicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, and the Restoration Series.



Catch Up With Terri Blackstock On:




Tour Participants:


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





Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

2019 Book 145: THE PRINTED LETTER BOOKSHOP by Katherine Reay

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay
ISBN: 9780785222002 (trade paperback)
ISBN: 9780785222019 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780785222033 (audiobook)
ASIN: B07DT45N19 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: May 14, 2019


Love, friendship, and family find a home at the Printed Letter Bookshop

One of Madeline Cullen’s happiest childhood memories is of working with her Aunt Maddie in the quaint and cozy Printed Letter Bookshop. But by the time Madeline inherits the shop nearly twenty years later, family troubles and her own bitter losses have hardened Madeline’s heart toward her once-treasured aunt—and the now struggling bookshop left in her care.

While Madeline intends to sell the shop as quickly as possible, the Printed Letter’s two employees have other ideas. Reeling from a recent divorce, Janet finds sanctuary within the books and within the decadent window displays she creates. Claire, though quieter than the acerbic Janet, feels equally drawn to the daily rhythms of the shop and its loyal clientele, finding a renewed purpose within its walls. When Madeline’s professional life takes an unexpected turn, and when a handsome gardener upends all her preconceived notions, she questions her plans and her heart. She begins to envision a new path for herself and for her aunt’s beloved shop—provided the women’s best combined efforts are not too little, too late.

The Printed Letter Bookshop is a captivating story of good books, a testament to the beauty of new beginnings, and a sweet reminder of the power of friendship.






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Madeline Cullen is an only child. She’s currently working as a lawyer for a firm in Chicago and vying for partnership. She has fond memories of her namesake aunt, her father’s sister, but also recalls a family schism that occurred during her early teens. She always thought that her aunt and her husband blamed her father for the loss of monies during the tech market crash 20 years ago. Loyalty to her parents meant that after her father severed ties to his sister, Madeline also severed ties with her beloved aunt. Over the past few years, it didn’t matter that she was less than 50 miles away from her aunt, she always found some excuse to postpone a visit. Her aunt had even called her a few months before her death and Madeleine once again put her off. Sadly, her aunt’s death means no chance of repairing this familial relationship. On top of losing her aunt, Madeline is informed that she hasn’t been chosen for partnership at her law firm. Unsure of what to do with her life, Madeline grabs hold of the lifeline left to her by her aunt and takes over the ownership of The Printed Letter Bookshop miles away in Winsome. Little does Madeline know that ownership of a bookstore will come with a huge learning curve, built-in friends (if she’s only willing to accept their offers of friendship), and the possibility of a new start in life. Just when things are heading in the right direction, store sales are up, Madeline is getting along well with Janet and Claire – the two store employees, and she’s begun to date, she’s hit with a massive blow and this is one loss neither she nor the store may recover from.

I’ve always enjoyed reading books written by Katherine Reay and The Printed Letter Bookshop was no different. Okay, it was a little different. First, I read this book in one afternoon while sitting with my elderly mother. I read it cover to cover in less than five hours. I could not put it down. Second, I enjoyed all of the characters, the settings, the storyline, the action…basically, I enjoyed everything about this story! I enjoyed the complexity of each character, Madeline, Janet, Claire, Claire’s daughter Brittany, Chris, and Drew, and the struggles they face. I even enjoyed discovering more about Madeline’s deceased aunt Maddy (we learn a lot about her throughout the story from the viewpoint of various characters). I was initially intrigued about this story because it featured a bookstore, pardon me, a bookshop. But The Printed Letter Bookshop is much more than story about a bookshop, it’s about second chances, relationships, family, forgiveness, friendships, and being true to one’s self. It’s also about faith in one’s self, family, friendships, relationships, and learning to live in the present rather than wallow in the past. The Printed Letter Bookshop was a story that filled me with emotions as a read it, because I could empathize with all of the characters as well as the struggles and choices they faced. The Printed Letter Bookshop isn’t Women’s fiction, although it does have some aspects of Women’s fiction. It isn’t just Inspirational fiction although it includes an inspirational message. This story isn’t just a romance, but it does include romance. I don’t want to classify The Printed Letter Bookshop because I feel any classification other than contemporary fiction would be too limiting. I can say this, if you’re looking for a well-written story with realistic and well-developed characters dealing with realistic issues then you’ll definitely want to grab a copy of The Printed Letter Bookshop. If you’ve read anything by Ms. Reay in the past, then you probably already have The Printed Letter Bookshop on your TBR list. The Printed Letter Bookshop is going on my must read list for this year. I’ll be recommending it to all of my local fiction book groups with hopes that at least one of them will choose it so I can reread it. (Yeah, you already know I’m going to reread it whether a bookgroup chooses to read it or not. And yes, it is just that good! 😉)


Disclaimer: I received a free print review copy of this book from the author. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Guest Post: Elizabeth Byler Younts – THE SOLACE OF WATER

Good day, my bookish divas and divos. I am beyond excited to welcome today’s guest Elizabeth Byler Younts, author of The Solace of Water, a recently released coming-of-age historical fiction novel set in the 1950s. Today, Ms. Younts will be providing us a few character sketches to help whet our interest in The Solace of Water. I’ve already put this book on my TBR list and I hope you will as well. Without further adieu, I give you Ms. Elizabeth Byler Younts.





I’m so happy that The Solace of Water is highlighted today! This book has my heart and I’m so excited that it’s out there in your hot little hands now!

And now…meet the 3 leading ladies!

Delilah Evans…aka Deedee. The reader will meet Delilah in the midst of deeply grieving the loss of her young son, Carver. But she’s trying to keep it together for her husband, two daughters, and two more sons. She blames her oldest daughter, Sparrow, for Carver’s death. She has been born and bred in the Deep South but is moving North—oh, the culture shock! 

The reader will get a sense for Deedee’s anger and heartache. Her grief is heavy and she doesn’t mince words. You will get no shortage of her thoughts on how she feels about facing her new life. And when Emma becomes part of her story, she will tell you what she thinks about that!


Emma Mullet is a reclusive Amish woman who has never lived anywhere but the small secluded town of Sinking Creek, Pennsylvania. She has a husband who isn’t just a deacon in their Amish church but is also a closet alcoholic. They have a son, Johnny, and many years earlier lost a baby through a traumatic miscarriage. 

Emma not only is burdened with the secrets of her husband but also her own. You’ll have to read the book to find out what they are. 



Sparrow Evans—Deedee’s daughter. Sparrow was the last to see her brother Carver alive. The weight of the guilt that she feels and experiences is palpable and, without question, utterly heartbreaking. She feels she’s lost her mother’s love and begins to express her hurt and fears through self-harm. 

Sparrow and Emma develop a deep connection and they begin to fill a void that both of them need. You don’t want to miss Sparrow’s story.








The Solace of Water by ISBN: 9780718075668 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780718075675 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781978607156 (audiobook)
ASIN: B077CS7NL6 (Kindle version)
Publisher: Publication Date: June 5, 2018

After the loss of her young son, Carver, an African-American preacher’s wife named Delilah Evans moves with her family from Montgomery, Alabama, to Sinking Creek, Pennsylvania, for a fresh start. The last thing she could have imagined was becoming friends with Emma Mullet, a reclusive Amish woman.

Emma is fighting personal battles of her own and feels estranged from her small Amish community. The secrets that have kept her isolated from her own community serve to unite her in an unlikely friendship with Delilah.

Sparrow, Delilah’s eldest daughter, knows she is responsible for the death of her little brother. When tensions at home become unbearable, she seeks solace at Emma’s house, becoming the surrogate daughter Emma has always wanted. Sparrow, however, is hiding secrets of her own, secrets that could sever all ties to her safe refuge.

Life for these three gets harder when church and social issues confront them, causing rifts within Sinking Creek’s three distinct communities: whites, blacks, and Amish. When their carefully protected secrets come to light, there seems to be little hope for friendship, restoration, or even forgiveness. But when the unthinkable happens, Delilah and Emma find themselves looking into the mirror of their own self-deceptions and are forced to make a choice that will set the way of their future.



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Listen to a sound clip from the book here. 




Meet the author


Elizabeth Byler Younts gained a worldwide audience through her first book Seasons: A Real Story of an Amish Girl and is a RITA nominated writer. She is also the author of The Promise of Sunrise series. She has consulted on Amish lifestyle and the Pennsylvania Dutch dialect for two award-winning television shows. Elizabeth lives in Central Pennsylvania with her husband, two daughters, and a cockapoo named Fable.






Connect with Elizabeth

Website     |    Instagram    |    Facebook     |    Twitter     |    Goodreads 


This guest post and blog tour brought to you by TLC Book Tours



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The Solace of Water: A Novel

The Solace of Water: A Novel


The Solace of Water: A Novel

The Solace of Water

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The Solace of Water

  

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