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Mar 17, 2019

She Lies in Wait by Gytha Lodge

Sunday, March 17, 2019

She Lies in Wait by Gytha Lodge
Random House Publishing Group, January 2019
General Fiction (Adult), Mystery & Thrillers
Review copy via NetGalley

Six friends. One killer. Who do you trust? A teen girl is missing after a night of partying; thirty years later, the discovery of her body reopens a cold case in an absorbing novel featuring a small-town cop determined to finally get to the truth—for fans of Tana French and Kate Atkinson.

On a scorching July night in 1983, a group of teenagers goes camping in the forest. Bright and brilliant, they are destined for great things, and the youngest of the group—Aurora Jackson—is delighted to be allowed to tag along. The evening starts like any other—they drink, they dance, they fight, they kiss. Some of them slip off into the woods in pairs, others are left jealous and heartbroken. But by morning, Aurora has disappeared. Her friends claim that she was safe the last time they saw her, right before she went to sleep. An exhaustive investigation is launched, but no trace of the teenager is ever found.

Thirty years later, Aurora’s body is unearthed in a hideaway that only the six friends knew about, and Jonah Sheens is put in charge of solving the long-cold case. Back in 1983, as a young cop in their small town, he had known the teenagers—including Aurora—personally, even before taking part in the search. Now he’s determined to finally get to the truth of what happened that night. Sheens’s investigation brings the members of the camping party back to the forest, where they will be confronted once again with the events that left one of them dead, and all of them profoundly changed forever.
This searing, psychologically captivating novel marks the arrival of a dazzling new talent, and the start of a new series featuring Detective Chief Inspector Jonah Sheens.


I've always been a fan of the crime shows from anything like Law & Order to Murder She Wrote and I figure myself a pretty keen judge of character and can figure out angles of mysteries fairly quickly. This novel is definitely one that kept me guessing even though the obvious fact is that the murderer had to be one of the six friends who were camping with Aurora when she had died. The fact that this was a cold case adds a whole new level of fact checking thirty years later and determining what a motive could be to murder the ethereal young beauty that Aurora was.

There are many characters to set up this mystery whose traits were revealed slowly throughout the novel which helped draw out the suspense. There were nuances of foul play between all the friends, and then add in those who knew the friends and weave in possible corruption of the police to a cover up at a higher level at the school that all sets up a captivating web of leads to follow.

 I appreciated the level of attention given to all the suspects and enjoyed learning more about the detectives themselves, setting up background for another novel in the author's future featuring the group headed by Jonah Sheens (which is assumed will occur based upon the Goodreads' subtitle). The setting in Scotland adds another check mark of a cool setting to the overall effort that was very well done for a debut writer and this one even made me tear up!




I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.

Feb 26, 2019

A Dangerous Collaboration (A Veronica Speedwell Mystery Book 4) by Deanna Raybourn

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

A Dangerous Collaboration (A Veronica Speedwell Mystery Book 4) by Deanna Raybourn
Berkley Publishing Group, March 12 2019
Review copy via NetGalley, thank you!



A bride mysteriously disappears on her wedding day in the newest Veronica Speedwell adventure by the New York Times bestselling author of the Lady Julia Grey series.

Lured by the promise of a rare and elusive butterfly, the intrepid Veronica Speedwell is persuaded by Lord Templeton-Vane, the brother of her colleague Stoker, to pose as his fiancée at a house party on a Cornish isle owned by his oldest friend, Malcolm Romilly.

But Veronica soon learns that one question hangs over the party: What happened to Rosamund? Three years ago, Malcolm Romilly’s bride vanished on their wedding day, and no trace of her has ever been found. Now those who were closest to her have gathered, each a possible suspect in her disappearance.

From the poison garden kept by Malcolm’s sister to the high towers of the family castle, the island’s atmosphere is full of shadows, and danger lurks around every corner.

Determined to discover Rosamund’s fate, Veronica and Stoker match wits with a murderer who has already struck once and will not hesitate to kill again.…


I have read a few of Deanna Raybourn's Lady Julia Grey titles but this is my first Veronica Speedwell novel. I knew I would be able to jump right into this book four as they are styled as stand-alones. I would love to go back to read the rest of the titles by Raybourn but there is just so much time in my day that I will settle with a current read so that I may offer a review.

The series features a spunky heroine who enjoys being a woman ahead of her time and not caring that she is fast approaching spinsterhood. This book opens up to Veronica and Stoker on a bit of a tightrope between friends and romance and they don't know quite how to handle that. Meanwhile they are set off on an adventure to a castle complete with ghosts and tall tales when they are tasked with finding out what why a friend's bride had disappeared on their wedding day three years prior.

The setting was one of the better characters of the novel, featuring deadly gardens, hidden priest holes and woeful little islands. The supporting cast of the devoted housekeeper, various family members and the cat help to add confusion to the mystery at hand.

The murder/disappearance of Rosamund was intriguing and I didn't have it all figured out though just slightly grasped at the possibility of of her demise. I enjoyed the banter of the two brothers who were Veronica's traveling companions but certainly hope the next book would finally address the romance of Veronica and Stoker. Overall it was an enjoyable experience for someone stepping into the middle of the series and engaging for a cozy mystery.


I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.

Feb 24, 2019

A Cloud by Day, a Fire by Night: Finding and Following God's Will for You by A.W. Tozer

Sunday, February 24, 2019

A Cloud by Day, a Fire by Night: Finding and Following God's Will for You by A.W. Tozer, edited by James L Snyder
176 pages; Bethany House Publishers, March 2019
review copy via NetGalley, thank you

How can I know God's will for me, personally? It's a question that haunts us all at times--maybe when we're looking for the right job, thinking about moving to a new city, or deciding whether or not to get married. At every stage we have difficult decisions to make, and we long for God's direction and his warm reassurance that we're heading the right way.

A Cloud by Day, a Fire by Night captures Tozer's teaching on the will of God taken from sermons he preached just before he left his successful church in Chicago. Tozer was no stranger to facing difficult decisions, and his wisdom and biblical insight will help guide you in decisions of your own. The title comes from the story of God leading his people out of Egypt into the promised land. In the same way, let this book help reveal where he is leading and reassure you that he will be by your side every step of the way.

I have heard my pastor quote from A. W. Tozer a few times in the last year so when I was given the opportunity to review this book that is coming out Spring of 2019 I was excited to try it. While Tozer himself is no longer on this earth his classic and encouraging words remain. The book is actually set up so that it could be read a chapter a day similar to a devotional. It is a quick 176 pages (paperback version) divided into 23 chapters, each beginning with a simple but relevant prayer or poem.

In today's modern world of distractions and endless responsibilities dragging us farther and farther away from how God wishes we would live, Tozer's message remains clear and focused, reminding us of the truths of God's love for us through His almighty power and attributes. Sample chapter titles are "Coming against our enemy", "Blessings and Battles" and "The Curse of Delayed Blessings".

A favorite and timely quote: "There are weeds of unbelief choking our belief. Our job is to find them and uproot them from our lives. The Angel before me will faithfully lead me away from all elements of unbelief hiding within my life."

The way in which Tozer reminded myself of the many enemies I have (myself being the greatest) but recognizing the enemies such as temper, inferiority complexes and of course facets of other people in general is a valuable reminder of obedience and turning those into weapons for the kingdom of God.

As you go throughout your day making your simple decisions and then perhaps your tougher decisions, are you remembering God's will? Do you struggle with finding what God's will means for you? Through Tozer's own inspired words in A Cloud by Day, a Fire by Night you may find a little more clarity in recognizing paths of rebellion and ambition and instead better yourself by leading in the path of graciousness. Tozer himself writes "I am where I am today because of the wisdom of God in opening up the right doors at the right time."

I really enjoyed this book and will continue to do so. Its message is timeless and can be used as a daily tool to remind yourself which binoculars to use as you are choosing paths all the while cultivating the presence of God.

I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.

Jan 13, 2019

Searching For You by Jody Hedlund

Sunday, January 13, 2019



Searching For You by Jody Hedlund
Orphan Train #3
Bethany House, December 2018
eGalley from NetGalley

(Public Service Announcement: Please read book one and two before reading Book Three, this is not a stand alone novel)


Despite years on the run, Sophie Neumann is determined to care for two young children. She won't abandon them the way she thinks her older sisters abandoned her. But times are growing desperate, and when she falls in with the wrong crowd and witnesses a crime, she realizes fleeing 1850s New York is her only option.


Disappearing with her two young charges into a group of orphans heading west by train, Sophie hopes to find safety and a happy life. When the train stops in Illinois for the first placement of orphans, Sophie faces the most difficult choice of her life.

Reinhold Weiss has finally purchased his own small farm. With mounting debts, a harvest to bring in, and past scars that haunt him, he's in no position to give his heart away . . . but can he say no when his long-lost friend shows up on a nearby train pleading for his help?
I previously reviewed books one and two from the Orphan Train Series by Jody Hedlund on my blog at this link.
I really enjoyed this entire series from Jody Hedlund. I love her writing as a combination of several things I look for in a novel: clean romance without seeming silly, characters that are hard to let go of, historical settings and an underlying storyline regarding one's faith.

This novel picks up where the second book left off and I wrote in that review that I was perturbed that the search for Sophie was not a predominant theme. And so voila here is book three devoted to Sophie at last! Elise and Marianne are not featured very much at all this time as the story focuses on Sophie's struggle to hang on to Olivia and Nicholas. Sophie is wild at heart but a good person through and through making it so easy to love her, even when you want to strangle her due to her wild nature. She is still young and impetuous but lucky for us we witness her transformation with the help of a genuinely good soul who takes her in.

The setting of 1850's is portrayed as simple, quaint and close-knit on the farm, with nuances of the crimes and poverty prevalent in the cities. I absolutely adored Reinhold and would definitely see him as a super sexy cross of Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth kind of guy. Sophie could be young sweet combinations of Reese Witherspoon (she has that wild side!) with a dash of Nicole Kidman. Would love to see this as a PBS special or mini-series.

The romance angle was so perfect for Sophie and sitting here thinking in hindsight that it all wrapped up nicely in a pretty bow yet the steps we took with Sophie to get there was a blessing of a story. I have read a few of Hedlund's other novels before and have truly enjoyed each of them and I could gush copiously about the masterful storytelling of Jody Hedlund but I just want you to see for yourself.

Fans of Christian Fiction and historical romance will definitely enjoy the Orphan Train Series, but will be very sad to see the end of the stories of the Neumann sisters. If you're not open to scripture and His promises of love and healing then these stories would not be recommended for you.


Dec 20, 2018

Rise of the Mystics (Beyond the Circle Book #2) by Ted Dekker

Thursday, December 20, 2018



Rise of the Mystics (Beyond the Circle Book #2) by Ted Dekker
read my earlier review of the first book The 49th Mystic by Ted Dekker
Revell publication October 2018

Some say the great mystery of how one can live in two worlds at once died with Thomas Hunter many years ago. Still others that the gateway to that greater reality was and is only the stuff of dreams. They are all wrong.

Rachelle Matthews, who grew up in the small town of Eden, Utah, discovered just how wrong when she dreamed and awoke in another world. There she learned that she was the 49th Mystic, the prophesied one, tasked with finding five ancient seals before powerful enemies destroy her. If Rachelle succeeds in her quest, peace will reign. If she fails, the world will forever be locked in darkness.

In The 49th Mystic, Rachelle found the first three of those five seals through great peril and mind-altering adventure. But two seals remain hidden and the fate of both worlds hangs in their balance.

As Rachelle Matthews sits deep in a dungeon, Vlad Smith is just getting started. Thomas Hunter's world is about to be turned inside out. The mystics say that there is no defense against the Fifth Seal--but finding it will cost Rachelle everything.

So begins the final volume of high stakes in one girl's quest to find an ancient path that will save humanity. The clock is ticking; the end rushes forward. Ready? Set? Dream.


I was so excited to get to this novel as a sequel to The 49th Mystic so I could see if Rachelle saved all that was left of the world. While the first book set up a lot of what Rachelle knew as Eden, this sequel focuses on how Rachelle needs to fulfill her destiny by finding the hidden clues (seals) that will help her. The story is set on its own plane - knowing that technically this is Christian Fiction yet there are so many truths that it has that sort of that heretical quality as it doesn't outright name Jesus/Lord but yet there are characteristics and allusions to give off the same nuance. And this causes many issues with those who want a theological study because this is actually allegorical to help open up your mind, to give you that nudge to the perception that you may have ignored. Which it did for me - I know that there is more to this life than the day to day drudgery of work and home therefore I am quite eager to learn that there is a reason behind my existence. (Looking forward to my upcoming Christmas gift of The Way Of Love books!)

Ted Dekker's previous series The Circle has a character Thomas Hunter and he is mentioned in The 49th Mystic and is featured more in this sequel. I have not read the previous series but plan on it, and you do not need to read any others of Dekker's works except for The 49th Mystic before this one. This is a fantasy tale of elyon, horde and albinos facing off as we hope for the Rise of The Mystics; the best spin you've seen on that epic battle of good versus evil. Dekker will have you believing that you too are meant for more than this. Challenge your mind. Prove your worth. This story of Rachelle and her quest will make you want to.

I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.

Dec 19, 2018

What Blooms From Dust by James Markert

Wednesday, December 19, 2018





What Blooms From Dust by James Markert
HarperCollins/Thomas Nelson June 2018
borrowed from the library

Just as Jeremiah Goodbye is set to meet his fate in the electric chair, a tornado tears down the prison walls, and he is given a second chance at life. With the flip of a coin, he decides to return to his home town of Nowhere, Oklahoma, to settle the score with his twin brother Josiah. But upon his escape, he enters a world he doesn’t recognize—one that has been overtaken by the Dust Bowl. And the gift he once relied on to guide him is as unrecognizable as the path back to Nowhere.

After one jolt in Old Sparky, Jeremiah sees things more clearly and begins to question the mysterious circumstances surrounding the murders he was accused of. On his journey home, he accidentally rescues a young boy who follows him the rest of the way, and the pair arrive at their destination where they are greeted by fearful townspeople. When the Black Sunday storm hits the very next day, the residents of Nowhere finally begin to let the past few years of hardship bury them under the weight of all that dust.

Unlikely heroes, Jeremiah and his new companion, Peter Cotton, try to protect the townspeople from themselves, but Jeremiah must face his nightmares and free himself from the guilt of flipping the coin on those men who died.

Filled with mystery and magic, What Blooms from Dust is the story of finding hope in the midst of darkness and discovering the beauty of unexpected kindness.


I had seen this novel a few places online but it really caught my eye at the library and even though I had a zillion other books that I "was supposed to review" this won. What Blooms From Dust is such a wonderful story - a bit of magic, a lot of sadness but so much goodness that proves it is okay to hope for something for better. The synopsis here is a long one and it is really hard to explain the nuance of the book without writing another synopsis, so go read that description.

Jeremiah the Coin Flip Killer is not all he is cracked up to be - turns out he is not a killer at all and as luck would have it instead of being executed a tornado rips through and saves his life. He recklessly returns home, manages to not get shot (well, not get killed..), and finds himself a boy and they rescue each other. They each end up rescuing an entire town, one that was once Majestic but is now Nowhere. What a fantastic setting the dusty town is, so reclusive yet so dependent on each other to survive.  Is it possible for roses to bloom from mere dust? Well of course this story says it is possible. Go ahead and read this and I dare you to not shed a tear for all of humanity.

Favorite part in the book "Kindness had made roses bloom from dust."

A definite gem, so glad this one jumped into my hands while I was waiting on my dawdling boy to finish wasting my time! I am looking forward to reading more of James Markert's wonderful writings. OH and the cover art was perfect, I loved it enough that it made me want to read it, well done!


I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.

Dec 18, 2018

A Bound Heart by Laura Frantz

Tuesday, December 18, 2018




A Bound Heart by Laura Frantz
Revell Publications January 2019
review copy from the publisher



Though Magnus MacLeish and Lark MacDougall grew up on the same castle grounds, Magnus is now laird of the great house and the Isle of Kerrera. Lark is but the keeper of his bees and the woman he is hoping will provide a tincture that might help his ailing wife conceive and bear him an heir. But when his wife dies suddenly, Magnus and Lark find themselves caught up in a whirlwind of accusations, expelled from their beloved island, and sold as indentured servants across the Atlantic. Yet even when all hope seems dashed against the rocky coastline of the Virginia colony, it may be that in this New World the two of them could make a new beginning--together.

Laura Frantz's prose sparkles with authenticity and deep feeling as she digs into her own family history to share this breathless tale of love, exile, and courage in Colonial America.


I have a few of Laura Frantz's works but many are just gathering dust, so when I was surprised with this novel in my hands I decided well HECK I think I am gonna just read this sweet thing right now! And I am so glad I did, the characters of Lark and Magnus are unforgettable and while they are perhaps a bit too perfect for reality they are perfect for each other. The problem is that in 1700s Scotland Magnus is one of those titled lords also known as 'laird' and the heroine Lark is a servant girl who mixes herbs for medicinal purposes. But these two characters knew each other as they were tutored together as children and they have remained respected friends. Lots of comings and goings at Magnus' castle and pirate booty and dangerous cliffs lead to crazy accusations which then lead these two off on a not so great adventure as indentured servants and then you just have to read the book to see what happens next because you deserve the blessing to have so much love and goodness that will fill your soul as you reach the conclusion. Scotland, British America and Jamaica are all part of this story -- not to mention the long ocean trek, themes of slavery and politics but, most of all, redemption.

I loved the Scottish dialect that was part of the story and how the author took her time with the setting of the story-- even though I was a tad impatient to get to the heart of the action I am glad it was not rushed as the lingering pace really helped me fall in love with the characters. I am a little anxious about the next 'chapter' because I cannot tell if there really is one (a sequel); I really would love to see what could happen next. There could be a lot more to tell! A Bound Heart by Laura Frantz is a fantastic novel for those who like their sweet historical romances with a dash of scripture themed conflicts.

I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.

Nov 3, 2018

Praying With Jane: 31 days through the prayers of Jane Austen by Rachel Dodge

Saturday, November 03, 2018




Bethany House, a div. of Baker Publishing October 2018


The charm of Jane Austen and her novels has been enjoyed for over 200 years by readers around the world. Much has been written about her fascinating life, yet little is known about Jane's spiritual side. In this lovely 31-day devotional, you will get an in-depth look at Miss Austen's vibrant, steadfast prayer and faith life. Her intimate relationship with the Father comes to life through her exquisite prayers, touching biographical anecdotes, intimate excerpts from family letters and memoirs, and illuminating scenes from her novels.

Spiritual insights and Scripture references shed light on the profound meaning behind Miss Austen's prayers and the enduring truths they contain. Each day ends with a key Bible verse and invitation to "pray with Jane," helping to ignite and deepen your own vibrant relationship with the Father.



This 5"x7" devotional comes packed with biblical insights all while using favorite regency author Jane Austen's own prayers. Jane Austen fans will love the tie-in from Austen's novels as she examines Jane's inspirations for writings as they relate to God's word. The author of this devotional book, Rachel Dodge, expertly arranges each day by a topic with several references to both scripture and also Jane's prayers. It will examine the thought process that Jane had and presents a small biographical context to each topic and then tie in Jane's prayer with how you can pray for yourself with room to add in your own petitions.

a sneak peek!


It was a true marvel at how so much can be included in each page and how it offers a better understanding of both Jane Austen and God's word together. Especially wonderful is that readers of Jane Austen will be completely delighted with this new facet of Jane's spirituality and yet those unfamiliar with Austen will be made instant fans without reading any of her classics! The daily intentions are so easy to respond to with the invitation to prayer. Each "day" is about four pages long which is a perfect length for our busy days of distractions. Starting off a day on the right foot with the daily encouragement through Rachel Dodge's devotional featuring Jane Austen is definitely a recommendation, but the devotions can be read at any spare time you may have such as lunch breaks or after dinner. With the holidays coming up, this would be a great gift for a co-worker or friend who you feel would appreciate the nostalgia of Austen blending with a daily biblical truth. A link to the publisher page is here.


Thank you to Bethany House for sending me this devotional, if you follow along the other book review sites you may even find a giveaway post!


November 2 –Review and Giveaway at Laura’s Reviews, Laura Gerold
November 3 – Burton Book Review, Marie Burton
November 4 – Sophia Rose's Place, Sophia Rose
November 5 – Jane Austen in Vermont, Deborah Barnum
November 6 – Calico Critic, Laura Hartness
November 7 – A Bookish Way of Life, Nadia Anguiano
November 8 – Diary of an Eccentric,  Anna Horner
November 9 – Becoming, Nichole Parks
November 10 – My Jane Austen Book Club, Maria Grazia
November 11 – My Love for Jane Austen, Sylvia Chan
November 13 – Faith, Science, Joy … and Jane Austen,  Brenda Cox



I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.

Oct 22, 2018

Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks

Monday, October 22, 2018
Every Breath


Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks
UK Publisher: Sphere (16 Oct. 2018) £18.99
US Publisher: Grand Central (October 16 2018)$28.00
Review copy from the publisher, thank you!

In the romantic tradition of
The Notebook and Nights in Rodanthe, #1 New York Times bestselling author Nicholas Sparks returns with a story about a chance encounter that becomes a touchstone for two vastly different individuals -- transcending decades, continents, and the bittersweet workings of fate.

Hope Anderson is at a crossroads. At thirty-six, she's been dating her boyfriend, an orthopedic surgeon, for six years. With no wedding plans in sight, and her father recently diagnosed with ALS, she decides to use a week at her family's cottage in Sunset Beach, North Carolina, to ready the house for sale and mull over some difficult decisions about her future.

Tru Walls has never visited North Carolina but is summoned to Sunset Beach by a letter from a man claiming to be his father. A safari guide, born and raised in Zimbabwe, Tru hopes to unravel some of the mysteries surrounding his mother's early life and recapture memories lost with her death. When the two strangers cross paths, their connection is as electric as it is unfathomable . . . but in the immersive days that follow, their feelings for each other will give way to choices that pit family duty against personal happiness in devastating ways.

Illuminating life's heartbreaking regrets and enduring hope,
Every Breath explores the many facets of love that lay claim to our deepest loyalties -- and asks the question, How long can a dream survive?

I have heard about Nicholas Sparks' books for quite a long time but this one knocked on my door, so Every Breath is the first of his that I've read. It was impressive; something that makes you want to reach out and hug your loved ones as Every Breath is one of those emotive love stories that gets your eyes watery and your nose all red and sniffly. The story of these two souls of Tru and Hope colliding is a poignant one and seems improbable that a love so deep can blossom from a simple weekend of a chance encounter. It is a fictional story of course, but the writing sets it up so that you are unconsciously pulling for these two characters as if they are as real as you and I.

Kindred Spirit is the name of a mailbox that is located near a resort community that inspires both the story and our characters, and I will always (incorrectly) associate this book with that title. It perfectly described the connection between Tru and Hope. Have you ever met your own kindred spirit and selflessly let them go? Have you always wondered what would happen if you met again, perhaps in a different time, a different circumstance? Have you loved two people at the same time, but maybe in a different way? It's a romance novel yet so poignant and touching that you really could not forget these two characters. Go ahead and give Nicholas Sparks a try.. I am so glad I did!


I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.

Oct 3, 2018

Join me for Sarah Koontz's bible study BEFORE I GO (giveaway!)

Wednesday, October 03, 2018



Sarah Koontz
Sarah Koontz, Living By Design
BEFORE I GO is the name of an upcoming bible study presented by a very inspiring lady Sarah Koontz that I wanted to share with you. Some of you may or may not know that at some point over the last year I have found a new hobby for bible journaling and it was through online sharing on Facebook that I found the loveliest of ladies Sarah Koontz. Someone had posted about a bible study coming from Sarah focusing on Solomon's Wisdom  which I was able to focus on during my lunch breaks (in the car!). That study was so eye opening for me and perhaps it was because I felt she was talking to me! Her audio commentary spoke to my heart in such an exceptional way I could not help but want to follow more of her devotionals. I've studied each of her studies after that and recently participated as a launch team member for the brand new study Before I Go through the Living By Design Ministries.


And while the name of this blog is Burton Book Review I realize the book in question here, the bible, may not be your thing for so many personal reasons. I want to say that I respect you for that. I also implore to try out this study of Jesus's last words from the book of John. A fun fact I learned through this study is that John uses the word BELIEVE ninety-eight times in his gospel. One simple action, believe! Why should you follow Jesus? This study will show you how worth it it is!

All you need to complete this free online Bible study is 15 minutes per day, an open mind and your mobile device (or your computer).

The Before I Go study will offer you an email full of engaging content each morning including a few days of rest on the weekend with an emailed goodie like a cellphone wallpaper to keep your mind creatively inspired, continually aiding in your reflection. Perhaps you will be inspired to create in your bible journal!

The 21 day study will focus on John 14-17. You may have been told Jesus is the way and you doubtfully ponder this context for our modern lives. Let Sarah help you apply Jesus's teachings found in these three very important chapters of John's gospel. There are so many ways this study will help you apply some of Jesus's teachings to your everyday life. This could help you deal with work issues, your relationships and bring you to a greater understanding of God's truth.

This is an invitation to show you who Jesus really is! What a glorious opportunity to see Jesus Christ through the eyes of one of His closest friends, John.

Won't you join me?
visit this site to enter your email address and you're in!

Each day will focus on a key verse from the scripture alongside the commentary from Sarah to help put things in a new perspective.
There will be action points. Things to ponder.
There is a discussion question if you choose to follow along on the daily facebook thread.
There are references to other resources to help us find more truths because even Sarah knows that even she can use some back up.

My favorite feature is the link that will be in each emailed devotional to her Audio Commentary! You can listen to her devotional at any time by just clicking on her link to the audio. The Bible can be confusing and Sarah really hones in on the scripture and examines what God really wants us to do, and you don't need to do anything but sit back and listen (or read)! You do need to register with your email address so that she can send you her goodies starting on October 15th. I do hope you will join me using the #BeforeIGo hashtag for discussions.

We are celebrating the release of this powerful new study with weekly giveaways at LivingbyDesign.org and other collaborating blogs. Each handcrafted giveaway item is inspired by the beautiful truths in John 14-17 and we are so grateful for our talented creative partners who have donated these items to support the study.

This week’s giveaway bundle is worth more than $122. It features handcrafted items from Drift Design Co, AE Lettering Co, Evy Letters, and Copperhead Jewelry. Enter below for your chance to win!


In addition to this fantastic giveaway, everyone who pre-registers for the study by October 14 will be entered to win a custom handpainted Bible from Wheat and Honey Co.

THIS STUDY IS FREE! There is no reason you cannot pre-register today! Please feel free to reach out to me to ask any questions.

I turned off commenting long ago on the blog but I welcome comments at the Facebook page here.

Oct 2, 2018

Shelter of the Most High (Cities of Refuge #2) by Connilyn Cossette

Tuesday, October 02, 2018


Shelter of the Most High (Cities of Refuge #2) by Connilyn Cossette
Published by Bethany House October 2 2018
eGalley from NetGalley, thank you!

The daughter of a pagan high priest, Sofea finds solace from her troubles in the freedom of the ocean. But when marauders attack her village on the island of Sicily, she and her cousin are taken across the sea to the shores of Canaan.
Eitan has lived in Kedesh, a City of Refuge, for the last eleven years, haunted by a tragedy in his childhood and chafing at the boundaries placed on him. He is immediately captivated by Sofea, but revealing his most guarded secret could mean drawing her into the danger of his past.
As threats from outside the walls loom and traitors are uncovered within, Sofea and Eitan are plunged into the midst of a murder plot. Will they break free from the shackles of the past in time to uncover the betrayal and save their lives and the lives of those they love?



This was an intriguing story set long ago before the times of Christians but a time when there are villages devoted to serving a 'god' of their choosing. Sofea was brought up in such a way that her father was a bit of a 'god' himself, and while she thought he was a terrible person she just accepted that sacrifices and violence was okay as long as it was for her father's purposes. When a tragedy strikes her village Sofea and her cousin soon find themselves on a new land with new customs and a language she did not understand.

While this is book two of a series, I did not read book one and is not necessary to enjoy this story. In fact, it wasn't until others had started talking about this book did I realize it was part of a planned trilogy. This novel continues with Eitan and Moriyah's family and now it includes Sofea and Prezi for this installment. Eitan is smitten with the wild haired Sofea but she has seen the evil ways of man and trusts no one. It takes time and patience to trust; since this is told as a historical romance we learn a lot of the history behind the customs of the earlier generations of Yahweh believers.

Love, patience, service, forgiveness are just a few of the themes covered in this story. I most appreciated the way Sofea was wary at first of the new (to her) God of Israel and rightly asked questions first before letting herself jump in blindly. The spiritual growth was wonderful to watch yet it is not told in that preachy way that turns more secular readers off. The other fantastic part was the way the historical context was presented; I could easily imagine the settings that were portrayed. There was even a plot to kill the high priest underfoot as part of the scandalous intrigue! I am definitely looking forward to reading more from Connilyn Cossette. Another great historical and inspirational novel from Bethany House.



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Sep 12, 2018

The Other Woman by Sandie Jones

Wednesday, September 12, 2018



The Other Woman by Sandie Jones
Publisher: Minotaur Books August 21, 2018
Review copy from publisher, thank you!

A deliciously disturbing, compulsively readable debut domestic suspense--prepare to meet The Other Woman: there’s nothing she won’t do to keep you away from her son ...

Emily thinks Adam’s perfect; the man she thought she’d never meet. But lurking in the shadows is a rival; a woman who shares a deep bond with the man she loves.

Emily chose Adam, but she didn’t choose his mother Pammie. There’s nothing a mother wouldn’t do for her son, and now Emily is about to find out just how far Pammie will go to get what she wants: Emily gone forever.

The Other Woman is an addictive, fast-paced psychological thriller about the destructive relationship between Emily, her boyfriend Adam, and his manipulative mother Pammie.

When I first read the blurb for this novel I was already thinking it was another girl after her man, but it is really about a psychopathically over protective mom. Everything that Emily does just perturbs the heck out of the mom-in-law-to-be, but Adam doesn't ever witness any of the sabotage that his mom does to his girlfriend. It is a basic storyline that builds up to a diabolic ending ~ another fast yet suspenseful read that really helped get me out of the reading slump after some tedious books. I stayed up late one night so I finished it within 24 hours :0

This is a book that really helped boost the number of books read for the Goodreads reading challenge, as of now I am at number 32!



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Her Pretty Face by Robyn Harding

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


Her Pretty Face by Robyn Harding
352 pages Gallery/Scout Press (July 10, 2018)
review copy via Goodreads giveaway

The author of the bestselling novel The Party—lauded as “tense and riveting” by New York Times bestselling author Megan Miranda—returns with a chilling new domestic drama about two women whose deep friendship is threatened by dark, long-buried secrets.
Frances Metcalfe is struggling to stay afloat.
A stay-at-home mom whose troubled son is her full-time job, she thought that the day he got accepted into the elite Forrester Academy would be the day she started living her life. Overweight, insecure, and lonely, she is desperate to fit into Forrester’s world. But after a disturbing incident at the school leads the other children and their families to ostracize the Metcalfes, she feels more alone than ever before.
Until she meets Kate Randolph.
Kate is everything Frances is not: beautiful, wealthy, powerful, and confident. And for some reason, she’s not interested in being friends with any of the other Forrester moms—only Frances. As the two bond over their disdain of the Forrester snobs and the fierce love they have for their sons, a startling secret threatens to tear them apart.
Because one of these women is not who she seems. Her real name is Amber Kunik. And she’s a murderer.
In her masterful follow-up to The Party, Robyn Harding spins a web of lies, deceit, and betrayal, asking the question: Can people ever change? And even if they can, is it possible to forgive the past?



I won this one via Goodreads so I put it on my to-review list of reads for the summer and it did the trick as a interesting but quick read. Read in one day it was an intriguing storyline with multiple points of view. The main character Frances just wants to belong in a world of catty moms and loves that the beautiful newcomer Kate pays attention to her. Two families become intertwined as their children become close friends, and then the parents.

The summary does not set the tone properly as it feels like it is more of a dark creepy read channeling the undertone of a Law & Order SUV episode as we try and decipher all the deep dark secrets everyone seems to have. When Kate's daughter doesn't mind meeting up with a stalker things get exciting and the secrets start to reveal themselves and then Frances is scared for her life when she discovers how twisted Kate really is. But is she really twisted or was her past transgressions just a mistake? Can she change? Who can Frances trust? Can Kate be forgiven for things she has done years ago? Good storyline, quick read recommended to fans of the suspense genre.


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Lies by T.M. Logan

Wednesday, September 12, 2018



Lies by T M Logan
Published September 11 2018 St. Martin's Press MacMillan
review copy provided by the publisher, thank you!


What if you have the perfect life, the perfect wife and the perfect child--then, in one shattering moment, you discover nothing is as it seems? Now you are in the sights of a ruthless killer determined to destroy everything you treasure.

It's the evening drive home from work on a route Joe Lynch has taken a hundred times with his young son. But today, Joe sees his wife meet another man--an encounter that will rip two families apart. Raising the question: Can we ever really trust those closest to us?
Joe will do whatever it takes to protect his family, but as the deception unravels, so does his life. A life played out without any rules. And a cunning opponent who's always one step ahead.
T. M. Logan's Lies is an unputdownable thriller that will keep readers guessing until the jaw-dropping finale.



This was a well-written thriller that kept me guessing until the end. When Joe Lynch happened to see his wife where she was unexpected, things unravel all around him and his mundane life of being a teacher is never the same. He suspects his wife of cheating on him but doesn't have real proof and one confrontation with her supposed boyfriend spins completely out of control and social media wreaks havoc on his life.

Aptly titled Lies there is no way to know if the wife is telling the truth and the reader has no idea either. Joe follows along on a path of one mistake to another however as the boyfriend disappears but yet continues to contact Joe. Then Joe is suspected of murdering the boyfriend. With a small cast of characters it is pretty easy to think you know what is going on behind the scenes but the story unravels slowly until the surprise at the end that was wicked but amazingly fun.

An intriguing read and I am looking forward to the next book from T.M Logan.


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Sep 3, 2018

The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton

Monday, September 03, 2018



The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton
Review copy via netgalley
Atria Books, October 2018


From the bestselling author of The House at Riverton and The Secret Keeper, Kate Morton brings us her dazzling sixth novel, The Clockmaker's Daughter. 
My real name, no one remembers.
The truth about that summer, no one else knows.



In the summer of 1862, a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor on the banks of the Upper Thames. Their plan: to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared; a priceless heirloom is missing, and Edward Radcliffe’s life is in ruins. 
Over one hundred and fifty years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London, uncovers a leather satchel containing two seemingly unrelated items: a sepia photograph of an arresting-looking woman in Victorian clothing, and an artist’s sketchbook containing a drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river. 
Why does Birchwood Manor feel so familiar to Elodie? And who is the beautiful woman in the photograph? Will she ever give up her secrets?

Told by multiple voices across time, The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a story of murder, mystery, and thievery, of art, love, and loss. And flowing through its pages like a river is the voice of a woman who stands outside time, whose name has been forgotten by history, but who has watched it all unfold: Birdie Bell, the clockmaker’s daughter.
It took me a month to read this book. July 17th I was enthralled with the amazing lyrical first sentences and I was so excited to begin another adventure from Kate Morton's mind! The writing style is definitely something to be envious of, but this actual story was so long and slow going that I was so relieved when I was done with it. I definitely could have lived without this cobweb of forgettable characters and not to mention the fact that the house was a character, too...

In a nutshell as I understood it is that a few artists meet at the spooky house and something crazy happens and the artist's lives are never the same and now the current generation tries to unravel what happened. Schoolgirls, siblings, parents,  and lovers' lives all intermingle into this story of a house and a rare blue stone.

My status updates on Goodreads while reading this reminded me of how I kept falling asleep while reading it. I think if the main character Elodie was an actual main character instead of disappearing from the plot for chapters on end it may have helped with the transitional periods but I don't know. Somehow it was all supposed to come together but it never did for me and it seemed that the author was so tired of the story that she finally just ended it, the end. Definitely a novel you're going to really get, or really hate.

I adored The Lake House and The Forgotten Garden, so all hope is not lost as I still have some others from Morton's backlist to read.


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Aug 20, 2018

My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

Monday, August 20, 2018

My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton: Wife, Widow, and Warrior in Alexander Hamilton’s Quest for a More Perfect Union by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie
William Morrow, April 2018 paperback edition
eBook from library
Link to BurtonBookReview of authors' last work



From the New York Times bestselling authors of America’s First Daughter comes the epic story of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton—a revolutionary woman who, like her new nation, struggled to define herself in the wake of war, betrayal, and tragedy. Haunting, moving, and beautifully written, Dray and Kamoie used thousands of letters and original sources to tell Eliza’s story as it’s never been told before—not just as the wronged wife at the center of a political sex scandal—but also as a founding mother who shaped an American legacy in her own right. 

A general’s daughter… 
Coming of age on the perilous frontier of revolutionary New York, Elizabeth Schuyler champions the fight for independence. And when she meets Alexander Hamilton, Washington’s penniless but passionate aide-de-camp, she’s captivated by the young officer’s charisma and brilliance. They fall in love, despite Hamilton’s bastard birth and the uncertainties of war. 
A founding father’s wife... 
But the union they create—in their marriage and the new nation—is far from perfect. From glittering inaugural balls to bloody street riots, the Hamiltons are at the center of it all—including the political treachery of America’s first sex scandal, which forces Eliza to struggle through heartbreak and betrayal to find forgiveness. 
The last surviving light of the Revolution… 
When a duel destroys Eliza’s hard-won peace, the grieving widow fights her husband’s enemies to preserve Alexander’s legacy. But long-buried secrets threaten everything Eliza believes about her marriage and her own legacy. Questioning her tireless devotion to the man and country that have broken her heart, she’s left with one last battle—to understand the flawed man she married and imperfect union he could never have created without her…

I thoroughly enjoyed this writing teams' last novel based on Thomas Jefferson and family, and I could not wait until the library loan became available for this novel based on Eliza Hamilton, wife to Alexander Hamilton. Most of what I remember from grade school history studies is more on place names and the colonies themselves along with important dates. What I had not gathered was how my country was born divided and really still is, despite its "united" moniker. The founding fathers were not all that super special but were certainly intelligent and eager to get their opinions out there. This novel delves into the behind the scenes as it happened during the revolutionary times to the Schuyler family but shows us a flawed but devoted marriage of Eliza and Alexander Hamilton.

"Worse than that, he made me despair of the traitor in him, too. For though Alexander Hamilton did not betray his country, he did betray me. And now, I struggle with whether love or hate burns more intensely inside me."

The character of Alexander Hamilton is fleshed out as much as possible given the history that is available to us, and there are a lot of letters. Through the tenacity and sheer will of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton is how Hamilton's legacy has not been thoroughly erased. The ways in which we see the mainstream media at work today is not much different than centuries before as we may never know what really is true or not. We are lucky to have the letters that Hamilton liked to write regarding his opinions on how an economy should work and how a country should be run.

The fact that Alexander Hamilton could have been gay is something I never came across until now .. and the novel does address it some.  Again this is through Eliza's eyes however -- so what is truth and fiction is fit for the tabloids. There are many intriguing angles to the novel which made for fast reading and I felt like I learned so much more than a year of grade school could have ever provided. The character of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton is one that forces you to admire her and wish you could have known her, and wish that there were that same caliber of women survivors around for today's generation:
"Silence is often the only weapon available to ladies. And I wield mine expertly."



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Jul 24, 2018

The Boy at the Door by Alex Dahl (release day giveaway)

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Boy at the Door by Alex Dahl
Berkley Publishing Group, July 24 2018
review copy via NetGalley


Set against a stunning Scandinavian backdrop, a gritty novel of psychological suspense that asks the question how far would you go to hold onto what you have?

Cecilia Wilborg has it all--a loving husband, two beautiful daughters and a gorgeous home in the affluent Norwegian town of Sandefjord. And she works hard to keep it all together. Too hard. Because one mistake from her past could bring it all crashing down around her.

Annika Lucasson lives a dark life with her abusive, drug-dealing boyfriend. She's lost everything one too many times and now she's got one last chance to save herself, thanks to Cecilia. Annika knows her secret--and just how much she's willing to do to make it all go away...

When someone forgets to pick up their little boy at the local pool, Cecilia agrees to take him home, only to find an abandoned, empty house. It's the first step in the unraveling of her meticulously crafted life, as her and Annika's worlds collide...


The Boy At The Door is such an intriguing read that makes it hard to categorize. Marketed as a thriller it's more of a psychological twisted read as we try and figure out if Cecelia is really bonkers or not. The theme is centered on the fact that absolutely nothing may be out of place in Cecelia's idyllic life in Norway as she lives a farce of happiness as a rich wife and mom in Norway. Her zeal for perfection is thwarted as she finds herself as a temporary guardian of a small boy who seemingly appears out of nowhere.

Upsetting Cecelia's natural order of things she copes through alcohol and medicinal concoctions and yet she is still losing control of the changes this boy brings to her family life. Small fractures in her perfection are actual beginnings of an earthquake and questions how far will one lady go to promote herself in the ideal image?

And then we sit back and wonder -who the heck is this boy? And why is Cecelia freaking out when she is questioned about her relationships to those she and the boy both know? And is society so fickle as to not allow a person's past be forgiven if it was hidden?

I really enjoyed the novel and the meandering way we eventually tie it all together. A story that will keep you guessing till the very end!

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Jul 9, 2018

A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan

Monday, July 09, 2018



A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan
496 pages, Redhook/Hachette September 2017
Personal kindle copy bought for a secret read along


Discover a magical historical saga of mothers, daughters, and the power of witchcraft - perfect for fans of Alice Hoffman.
Brittany, 1821. After Grand-mère Ursule gives her life to save her family, their magic seems to die with her.
Even so, the Orchires fight to keep the old ways alive, practicing half-remembered spells and arcane rites in hopes of a revival. And when their youngest daughter comes of age, magic flows anew.
The lineage continues, though new generations struggle not only to master their power, but also to keep it hidden.
But when World War II looms on the horizon, magic is needed more urgently than ever - not for simple potions or visions, but to change the entire course of history.

This novel was an intriguing saga of generations of women all who passed down the gift of witchcraft. The gift comes in the form of being able to see into a crystal ball but is called a scrying stone in the novel. The settings change as each generation passes, which is a succession of strong willed women but all with changing characteristics. It was enjoyable to read of their traditions of invoking the goddess which was the tradition of their ancestresses but I most appreciated the historical aspect of how the craft evolved over time.

With so many generations, it is hard to pick out the favorite characters but ending with Veronica who is married to someone with so much possibility for a sequel though I can imagine it being difficult to recreate the same tone when there isn't many years left to cover, and the historical context would be lost. Something to ponder though for the author as I am sure she has been asked about the possibility.

This is a great novel for those who enjoy any type of mystical/magical paranormal type read that actually doesn't seem too far-fetched. It would be a good YA novel read as well as the romance was tame. Thanks to my reading buddy who read along with me, always makes it for a fun ride!

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Jul 8, 2018

Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley

Sunday, July 08, 2018

August 07 2018 USA edition 
Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley
August 07 2018 Sourcebook Landmark
448 pages HistFic/Sci fi/Fantasy
egalley provided via NetGalley from the publisher, thank you!


"The house, when I first saw it, seemed intent on guarding what it knew; but we all learned, by the end of it, that secrets aren't such easy things to keep."

It's late summer, war is raging, and families are torn apart by divided loyalties and deadly secrets. In this complex and dangerous time, a young French Canadian lieutenant is captured and billeted with a Long Island family, an unwilling and unwelcome guest. As he begins to pitch in with the never-ending household tasks and farm chores, Jean-Philippe de Sabran finds himself drawn to the daughter of the house. Slowly, Lydia Wilde comes to lean on Jean-Philippe, true soldier and gentleman, until their lives become inextricably intertwined. Legend has it that the forbidden love between Jean-Philippe and Lydia ended tragically, but centuries later, the clues they left behind slowly unveil the true story. Part history, part romance, and all kinds of magic, Susanna Kearsley's latest masterpiece will draw you in and never let you go, even long after you've closed the last page.


I do like this cover as a departure from their previous covers but I think there are a few different covers depending on region. I have to sadly state that this was not my favorite Susanna Kearsley novel. No matter how much I tried to enjoy it there were times I just could not talk myself into picking it up again. I spent 20 plus years on Long Island and I thought I would feel a special connection to the setting but it was not very atmospheric for me. I love ghost stories and the novel was unsuccessful in trying to be a creepy ghostly goose bumps thing. Being told in the same style of dual time period that Susanna Kearsley is known for writing the ghosts were in the form of the occasional unplugged lamp in the house, or the spark of a lantern in the woods and the modern day characters would imagine that they were there in the house of the Wilde family.

The historical time period story was very interesting:  the Wilde family (all fictitious unfortunately) hosting prisoners of war while keeping a slave that they called a cook. The modern day story of Charley dealing with her restless/depressed niece as Charley discovers clues of the Wilde family is very slow but I did appreciate the slavery issue and how the descendants of the family were saddened that their family did indeed have slaves which was a no-no for the northern half of the country at the time. (The time being when there was a war going on so when the Canadian prisoner falls in love with the young daughter Lydia all drama is supposed to ensue.)

The house is a character in itself, since the spook factor is the fact that some things just don't work right when Charley is around but the best part of the story was the thread of romantic tension between Charley and the guy who was working on renovations. There were a lot of loose threads for Charley to tie together as she learned more about the Wilde house and the people who lived there. The ending did actually make up a bit for the slow start and I appreciated the happier than expected conclusion.

The one thing that set me off on the wrong foot altogether was the dividing line of Canada and USA. Canada readers were treated to an April publication date while Long Island and the rest of the USA had to wait until an August publication date. BOOOO

Maybe since it was my eighth Susanna Kearsley it was just destined to be boring all the way around, but this one just wasn't all there for me as much as some of her others were:

http://www.burtonbookreview.com/2016/03/mariana-by-susanna-kearsley.html
http://www.burtonbookreview.com/2015/09/named-of-dragon-by-susanna-kearsley.html
http://www.burtonbookreview.com/2013/12/the-splendour-falls-by-susanna-kearsley.html
http://www.burtonbookreview.com/2015/04/a-desperate-fortune-by-susanna-kearsley.html
http://www.burtonbookreview.com/2013/06/the-firebird-by-susanna-kearsley.html
http://www.burtonbookreview.com/2015/03/season-of-storms-by-susanna-kearsley.html
http://www.burtonbookreview.com/2012/10/the-shadowy-horses-by-susanna-kearsley.html


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Jun 23, 2018

Announcing the 2018 Reader Survey

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Discovering reader preferences, habits and attitudes
by M.K. Tod, Heather Burch and Patricia Sands

It has been really fascinating to see what makes readers read. M.K. Tod is an author who really wanted to find out the nitty gritty of our likes and dislikes and started running annual surveys geared towards historical fiction readers. Results from previous years can be found at M.K. Tod's site here and here (just a sample).


Readers and writers – a symbiotic relationship. Ideas spark writers to create stories and build worlds and characters for readers’ consumption. Readers add imagination and thought to interpret those stories, deriving meaning and enjoyment in the process. A story is incomplete without both reader and writer.

What then do readers want? What constitutes a compelling story? How do men and women differ in their preferences? Where do readers find recommendations? How do readers share their book experiences?

ANNOUNCING A 2018 READER SURVEY designed to solicit input on these topics and others.

with friends and family via email or your favourite social media. Robust participation across age groups, genders, and countries will make this year’s survey – the 4th – even more significant.

Participate by clicking this link. Those who take the survey will be able to sign up to receive a summary report when it becomes available.


M.K. (Mary) Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, Time and Regret was published by Lake Union. Fellow authors Patricia Sands and Heather Burch helped design and plan the survey. Mary can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her blog A Writer of History. 

Jun 21, 2018

Somebody's Daughter by David Bell

Thursday, June 21, 2018




Somebody's Daughter by David Bell
Berkley Publishing Group/New American Library, July 10 2018
Psychological suspense/Thriller
Review copy via NetGalley, thank you!
My review of author's work Somebody I Used to Know by David Bell (2015, 5 stars)


In this pulse-pounding novel of psychological suspense from the USA Today bestselling author of Bring Her Home and Since She Went Away, a man must save the life of a little girl who just might be his daughter....
When Michael Frazier's ex-wife, Erica, unexpectedly shows up on his doorstep, she drops a bombshell that threatens to rip his family apart: Her ten-year-old daughter is missing--and Michael is the father. Unsure whether this is the truth but unwilling to leave the girl's fate to chance, Michael has no choice but to follow the elusive trail of the child he has always wanted but never knew he had.
After Michael departs, his wife, Angela, learns shocking news about Erica and fears for the safety of both her husband and the endangered girl. When a stranger, a man who claims a connection to Erica and her missing daughter, knocks on the door, Angela is drawn out into the night--and deep into the tangled web of Michael's past....
Over the course of one night, lies that span a decade come bubbling to the surface, putting Michael, his wife, and his whole family in jeopardy. And as the window for a little girl's safe return closes, Michael will have to decide who can be trusted and who is hiding the truth....

I really enjoyed reading David Bell's novel in 2015 (my review of Somebody I Used To Know) and I was eager to see what 2018 brought with the novelist's first hardcover published. Full of twist and turns, Somebody's Daughter does not disappoint as one night unfolds for over 400 pages. Isn't that crazy?! I thought that was wild, and it was so well done I had not even noticed that until I started writing this review.

The story revolves around that of a young girl's disappearance. On the outside it looks that Michael and Angela Frazier are living their perfect life with their perfect house and their squeaky-clean routines until the ex-wife shows up asking for help about her missing daughter. At that point everything Angela thought she knew about Michael goes out the window because this is the first time Angela hears about the existence of the pre-teen daughter Felicity. We kind of sort of don't know if Michael knew about Felicity either as the story progresses so that was a good twist.

 'Who is the bad guy here?' is the obvious thread, and quite surpisingly it could have been the sister, the mom, the ex-wife, the music teacher and the ex-wife's ex-boyfriend. Throw in a babysitter or a neighbor and we've got ourselves a twisted tangle of a hot mess. I loved the fast paced writing and how it truly kept me guessing. The part played by the lead detective was also well written-- so many angles and this is how we get that one crazy night spilling into over 400 pages. Oh and there's a dog, too. Every aspect you expect from a thriller is here for our enjoyment - five stars all the way to the bank.

If you like Ruth Ware, Gillian Flynn, Mary Kubica then add David Bell to your want-to-read list.
The absolute best part is that David Bell has several other titles for me to investigate. Sad though that my local library owns just one. Get with the program, Rockwall!


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