A Look At Books For You

Looking for a good book to read?

Here’s a few I’ve read.

a novel by Jaime Jo WrightThe House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

If you like stories about spooky houses, you’ll enjoy this book. The heroine, Kaine Prescott, is a widow who has tried unsuccessfully to convince California authorities that her husband’s death was murder. Hoping for a fresh start, she buys a house sight unseen in her grandfather’s Wisconsin hometown. But the house’s dark history intrudes on the present, prompting Kaine to dig into past owners of the house.

The story is told on two levels, Kaine’s present-day point of view and Ivy, a woman who lived a century earlier. In Ivy’s story, we see her determination to unravel the mystery behind a woman found dead near the house. But her search for answers draw her into peril by forces that are not so different than what Kaine is fighting. Although there are sections that make your heart pound a little faster, I wouldn’t say the book is “creepy.” I found it a clever exposition of a long-term problem.


novel by Janet Davidson NapolitanoLady Jayne Disappears by Janet Davidson Napolitano

In Victorian England, Aurelie Harcourt is raised by her father while he’s imprisoned in debtor’s prison. Before his death, he anonymously wrote a serialized story of Aurelie’s mother, Lady Jayne, who disappeared shortly after Aurelie’s birth. The story becomes so popular that when he dies, Aurelie is left to finish the story to earn what she can. Left at the mercy of her father’s family, she attempts to uncover the mystery of her mother while trying to understand and fit in with this family that is so unlike her father.

The writing style of this novel is almost poetical. Indeed, more than once, I grabbed a pen and paper to copy down a phrase or sentence I didn’t want to forget. At one point, when asked why she writes, Aurelie expresses perfectly the reason I too write. “I do not write to escape the world, but to untangle and understand it.”

In another scene, Aurelie utters “the perfect prayer. God, give me exactly what I would ask for if I knew everything You know.”

This is a book to read slowly, taking your time to enjoy and the writing style. It even includes several unexpected twists that enhance the reading experience. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.


by Glenn HaggertyEscape: Intense, Book 1 by Glenn Haggerty

Like most kids in middle grade, Tyler Higgins wants to be accepted by the cool kids at school. But his desperation to be cool leads him to diss a real friend, and do other things he knows he shouldn’t. Which leads to all kinds of trouble, including being a witness to the disposal of a dead body, not to mention several other life-threatening situations.

Although this book is intended for middle grade readers, it kept my attention throughout. Glenn Haggerty knows how to torture his characters to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. With adventure that appeals particularly to tween boys, this is the first book in the Intense series. It’s followed by Run: Intense, Book 2 and the soon-to-be-released Chase: Intense Book 3. I hope to have Glenn as a guest in the next month or two to tell you more about Chase. If you have, or know of any middle-grade boys, be sure they check out Glenn’s first two books to get ready for the release of Book 3 in April.



Loose Ends mystery thrillerLoose Ends by Jennifer M. Haynie

Alex Thornton is a contractor agent with the U.S. government. Fresh off a successful mission, she and her boyfriend, Jabir al-Omri, are called on to find the murderers of a shipping executive. But Alex demands honesty in their relationship. And Jabir is sworn to keep a secret that could destroy both Alex and the people she loves. Their investigation brings them to the attention of Hashim al-Hassan, a man set on bringing vengeance to Alex for deceiving him ten years earlier.

I generally don’t read spy-type thrillers because I can’t handle the tension. This book is no exception, but if you like Tom Clancy without all the monotonous details, I highly recommend Loose Ends. It is well-written with tension that often made me afraid to read the next chapter. The violence is there, but not too graphic, nor is it exploited. The main characters are likable and we see them trying to live out their Christian faith in jobs and situations that require lying and deceit. The villain(s) are worthy of our disgust and hatred, and some of the secondary characters provoke ambivalent feelings as the reader tries to decide whether to cheer them or boo them. The author also does a great job of creating sexual heat without being explicit.

So, if you like sweet romance, this is not the book for you. But if you enjoy a clean story with high tension, threat of danger and intrigue, you’ll want to read this book.


What books are you reading? Leave your recommendations in the comments.


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Journey of a Thousand Steps (Or Words) Begins Here

I don’t write historical novels, but I find history fascinating. Unfortunately, I’m generally not a detailed person, and if I letters from Civil Warwrote historicals, I’d always be afraid of missing some important fact.

But last summer, my husband and I started a historical journey that has led us down an interesting path. Each month, I’ll share a bit more about our travels and how they relate to the next book I’m working on.

How It All Started

Wayne’s great-grandfather, Robert Martin Hamilton (called Mart), left a family farm in Iowa to join the Union Army during the Civil War. His brother-in-law, Robert Dihel, joined him. Robert seems to have been well-educated, judging by the 250 letters he wrote home to his wife, detailing where they were and what was happening. He also demonstrates a strong Christian faith during a very difficult time. The letters were saved and, as each generation died off, the letters were divided up between family members for safekeeping. We were given several of the letters, but had no idea of their value until a distant cousin collected all of them, transcribed them and put them into a book.

The Journey Begins

possible site of Hamilton family farmWhile visiting with his cousins, Wayne commented that it would be interesting to follow the trail of their ancestors as they left Iowa and joined the army, visiting some of the battlegrounds that are mentioned in the letters. One cousin, Mike, jumped at the idea and last summer, we began our journey with Mike and his wife Ruth in Iowa.

They took us to the site of the family farm in Sunbeam, Iowa. It occupied land where two roads intersect, but Mike wasn’tchurch at Sunbeam, IA certain which corner comprised the Hamilton farmstead. A small country church with white siding and a tall steeple still stands on one corner, though it’s not the original building. Fires were a constant hazard back then.

Another stop at the county courthouse rewarded us with the names of both men on a plaque honoring local citizens and their military unit. We also found a record of Great-Grandpa Hamilton’s final pay when he mustered out.

Next Stop: Springfield, IL where the men were mustered in and trained.


Do you enjoy reading historical novels? If so, do you have a favorite time period?





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Sweepstakes for Fans of Amateur Sleuth Mysteries

Do you enjoy mysteries?

Like to read about amateur sleuths solving cases through their own efforts?

Then here’s an opportunity for you to win 10 free mystery novels (including my recent novel, Pendant).

Just click here to participate.

You’ll be directed to the sweepstakes page where you’ll earn points toward the sweepstakes by following the various author pages.  

This offer is only good for one week.

Remember, don’t click on the image.

Click here to join the sweepstakes!

And I hope I see you on my author page!


P.S. Remember, click here!

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