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review 2020-06-05 06:30
Shattered by Death Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  Shattered by Death

Author: Catherine Finger

Genre:  Thriller/Suspense/Mystery

Release Date: June 2016

When Josie’s abusive soon-to-be-ex-husband had an affair with another woman, Josie could have murdered them. When someone does, Jo is the prime suspect and the only one who can solve the case.



Click HERE to get your copy!
 

 

About the Author

 


Catherine Finger loves to dream, write, and tell stories. Recently retired from a wonderful career in public education, she celebrates the ability to choose how to spend her time in a new way during the second half of life. So far, she chooses to write books, ride horses, serve others, and generally find her way into and out of trouble both on the road and at home.  She lives in the Midwest with a warm and wonderful combination of family and friends.

Capsized by Death, the fourth novel in her Jo Oliver Thriller series, will be released by Elk Lake Publishing in November 2019. Anchored by Death, the third of her Jo Oliver novels, was a Bronze Medal winner at the 2018 Independent Publisher Book Awards; a 2018 Selah Awards finalist; and a finalist for the National Indie Excellence Awards. Her second Jo Oliver Thriller, Shattered by Death, was a finalist in the International Book Awards and the National Indie Excellence Awards. Catherine and her novels have been featured on radio stations, blogs, and in numerous articles—all posted at www.CatherineFinger.com.

Catherine loves to interact with her readers at www.CatherineFinger.com. Follow her on Facebook at Catherine Finger, Author, and on Twitter at CatherineFinger@FingerCatherine.
 

More from Catherine

 

“If you could kill someone and get away with it, what would you do? How would you do it?”

Having posed this question over dessert during a really good first date several years ago—to my surprise and delight my date proceeded to share a story about an international cosmetic gone badly awry. I was so taken with this story, that I couldn’t wait to get home and start writing. And I did. That night I sat down to write a scene between two powerful women, intending one to toy with the other by playing with a jar of deadly moisturizer as they interacted.

As I wrote that night, an unexpected scene involving spiritual warfare popped into my head and onto the screen. The edgy, scary, lock-your-doors-before reading story I called Shattered by Death was born.

While the moisturizer scene didn’t ultimately stay in the book, the idea of powerful women pitted against each other did. I strive to create antagonists that are as strong—or stronger—than Jo Oliver. When I feel the tension of wondering whether or not Josie is going to make it out alive—that’s when I know I’m in the middle of a great story.

I hope you think so too.

Enjoy the read!

Catherine
 
 

My Review

 

“I was playing centerfield in a murder investigation, and I didn’t like standing up alone in the heat.”

As I’ve mentioned in my reviews of books three and four, the blog tours for the Jo Oliver Thrillers series are in reverse publication order. Normally I would never read a series out of order, but due to time constraints I did not have a choice in this case. As a result, I went into “Shattered by Death” with a basic overview of the plot and the identity of the murderer. Strangely enough, I actually found this to be an advantage, because I would not have guessed who it was. I was thus able to look beyond the person I would have incorrectly pegged as the perpetrator and follow the evidence in a different direction. I would still highly recommend beginning with book one and reading them in their proper order, though. There are also discussion questions at the end of the novel to facilitate personal or group analysis and reflection.

In this second book of Catherine Finger’s Jo Oliver series, “Shattered by Death,” the story starts off with a shock when Jo finds her ex-husband and his mistress murdered and herself the prime suspect because of the divorce proceedings. What follows is a tangled web of deception and confusion as she wonders whom she can trust at her own police department and in her personal life. As it becomes obvious that she is being framed, the first-person narration lends itself admirably to the tension and suspense that Finger evokes. This is the most frightening book of the series so far, in my opinion, because of how easily Jo slips from respected Chief of Police to murder suspect. It demonstrates how tenuous our earthly lives are, and it makes the hope of eternal life with the Lord even more precious.

One defining storyline of the novel is Jo’s fledgling faith. In my opinion, Finger has done well in demonstrating the struggles of being a new Christian, and the fact that turning one’s life over to Christ is not a free pass over hardships and trials. By interleaving Jo’s internal dialogue with the narrative, readers get a glimpse into the depths of her turmoil and how she still struggles at times with seeking the Lord’s will. This is something that we all, I’m sure, contend with at one time or another, and probably multiple times throughout our lives. As Jo realizes, though, the Lord is always with us, even when things seem to be imploding. This is such a timely message with the chaos going on in our nation right now, and because of the Lord, we do not have to fear being “Shattered by Death.”   

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

 

Blog Stops

 

 
 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Catherine is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

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text 2020-06-05 05:00
Valley of Shadows Author Interview and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  Valley of Shadows

Author: Candace West

Genre:  Christian Historical Fiction

Release Date: March 17, 2020

Forgiving is far from forgetting.

Lorena Steen gave up on love years ago. After arriving at Valley Creek to visit her daughters, she stumbles first thing into Earl, the husband who abandoned her.

As for Earl, facing Lorena while fighting his own demons tempts him to flee town. How can he rebuild a relationship with his daughters and cynical neighbors when guilt shadows every step?

While the storm brews between them, another storm descends on Valley Creek. Will a ghost town stand in its wake?

But then the townsfolk devise a plan. All they need is a former concert pianist and violinist. A wife and husband estranged.

Can Lorena and Earl set aside their feelings to rescue a community? Even though it sweeps them back through valleys best forgotten? Especially when a forbidden love claims his right to win Lorena’s heart?



Click HERE to get your copy!
 

About the Author

 


Candace West was born in the Mississippi delta to a young minister and his wife. She grew up in small-town Arkansas and is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Monticello. When she was twelve years old, she wrote her first story, “Following Prairie River.” In 2018, she published her debut novel Lane Steen. By weaving hope-filled, page-turning stories, Candace shares the Gospel and encourages her readers. She currently lives in her beloved Arkansas with her husband and their son along with two dogs and three cats.
 

 

 

 

 

 

More from Candace

 

Why I Wrote Valley of Shadows

Can a villain become a hero? When I ended my debut novel Lane Steen, I knew someday I had to discover if a kidnapper and alcoholic was worth saving. Could that same person save a town after tragedy strikes while wrestling with his own demons?

Earl Steen had a dark valley to cross.

With a destroyed reputation, Earl must prove in Valley of Shadows that God has not wasted His efforts on him. Also, Lorena, his estranged wife, has her own score to settle. How can she when the villain no longer exists?

Nothing tugs at my heart more than lost, unrequited love. My second book focuses on their lost relationship. Earl and Lorena had haunted one another long enough. Could God mend what Earl had shattered?

Sitting down to write, I returned to Valley Creek and uncovered places within Earl’s heart that I never knew existed. Lorena’s struggles became mine as she grappled with understanding and forgiving. The dark places of their past somehow had to merge with the light of a hopeful future.

Getting Earl and Lorena to rediscover their love was a journey fraught with tension, grief, frustration, and hope. Was it worth every rewrite, every long hour staring at my computer screen waiting for my characters’ next move?

You bet!
 
 

Author Interview

 

 

Is there a particular literary period that you’re drawn to (Regency, Victorian, Romantic, Modernism, etc.)? Why?

Of all genres, I’m drawn to historical the most. Regency and Victorian. While I enjoy reading contemporary romances, I love traveling back in time to places around the world, particularly early American and British places. The events of those times, the customs, the clothes, and the way of life are just a few reasons I’m drawn to them. When it comes to writing, though, I set my stories near the turn of the 20th century. Though it’s still historical, a touch of the modern world emerges.

 

 

Describe your book in five words.

 

My book in five words: A villain becomes a hero.

 

 

Which one of your characters speaks most to your heart? Why?

Earl Steen speaks most to my heart, and I certainly didn’t plan it to happen. In book one of my Valley Creek Redemption series, I hated him as much as everyone else in the book. By the end, however, I had discovered something deeper within him. Valley of Shadows is Earl’s second chance.

 

 

Do you prefer traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks?

 

I prefer traditional books. Holding a book between my hands is the best therapy at the end of a long, exhausting day. My house, however, isn’t big enough to hold all the books I would love to have. For the sake of space, I also have a Kindle. (Yes, I have more books on there that I can read in a year!) Now, I have keeper shelves. Books that have won my heart and soul belong there. The rest are in my Kindle.

 

 

If you could live inside a book, which one would it be?

That’s almost impossible to answer! There are so many books I would love to live in. Can I choose one for every day of the week? Just kidding. I’ll pick a series instead. If it were possible, I’d live in the Anne of Green Gables books. Prince Edward Island is on my “someday” list.

 

Blog Stops

 

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 3

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 4

For the Love of Literature, June 5 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, June 6

Texas Book-aholic, June 7

Older & Smarter?, June 8

Betti Mace, June 9

Artistic Nobody, June 10 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, June 10

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 11

Through the Fire Blogs, June 12

For Him and My Family, June 13

Blossoms and Blessings, June 14 (Author Interview)

Pause for Tales, June 15

By The Book, June 16 (Author Interview)

 
 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Candace is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card, one signed paperback copy of Lane Steen and Valley of Shadows!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

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review 2020-06-04 06:25
Relentless Love Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 

Book:  Relentless Love

Author: Heather Greer

Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance

Release Date: June 2, 2020

Without passion, there is no love. Without love, is she even living?

Living with limits protects a heart from hurt. After unexpectedly losing her husband, it’s a lesson Katie Blake has learned well. From moving in with her elderly father to staying at home with her son, Sammy, Katie’s life has been arranged to avoid further pain.

After three years, life feels stagnant. It’s time to carefully venture into the world once again. Sammy needs friends his age, and Katie needs a project to focus on.

As Sammy adjusts to preschool, Katie finds her perfect job. Her position even allows her to befriend Anna, a young mother who needs encouragement. Events also bring Nathan Phillips, a childhood friend, back into her life. Each successful step forward encourages Katie to continue opening her heart. By the time her friendship with Nathan begins to deepen, Katie is ready to pursue the relationship.

Nathan’s encouragement gives Katie strength to make tough decisions regarding her father’s care as his dementia progresses. But when Sammy is injured while in Nathan’s care, Katie knows she’s made a mistake. It won’t happen again. Abandoning their relationship in favor of safety is only the beginning. Katie has felt God calling her to help change Anna’s situation, but the risk is too great. God will have to find another way to help.

It takes a strange message from her father for Katie to understand God’s relentless love and desire for her life to reflect His love. But will Katie take the risk or continue limiting love in favor of a life without hurt?



Click HERE to get your copy!


About the Author

 



Heather Greer is a pastor’s kid and pastor’s wife from southern Illinois. Though her nest is quickly approaching the empty stage, with three of her four children out on their own, she enjoys the times she gets to spend with all her children, husband, and grandson. Equal mix geek and romantic, you could as easily find Heather watching an episode of Doctor Who as the latest Hallmark movie. Of course, you may find her baking, reading, or crafting too!

Heather’s writing and teaching ministries revolve around a passion to see believers grow in their faith. Though God has used her most often with teens and adults, she has worked in ministries reaching all age groups through the years. It is Heather’s prayer for God to use what she writes in her books and on her blog to challenge and encourage readers in their faith walks.


More from Heather

 

Authors leave a bit of themselves on the pages of what they write. Whether it comes out in a name or character’s special interest or a faith lesson the author had to learn themselves before they could put in on paper, somewhere in what is written readers will find a hint of the author in the story. This glimpse into the author’s world add a feeling of authenticity to the story.

My family and friends will quickly recognize at least one of these windows into my world as they read Relentless Love. Though I didn’t intend it, my personal experiences with dementia and Alzheimer’s care are woven into the story. While the exact details are different, I was a full-time caregiver to my grandmother through the middle and late stages of her life with dementia. Dealing with the confusion, illogical thinking, obsessing, and paranoia that are portrayed in the story is part of everyday life for a caregiver.

In including Katie’s experience with her father’s deteriorating mental health, I pray others facing the same struggle find encouragement and strength. And because my time with my grandma was blessed with sweet memories, in spite of the struggles, I’d like to share a recipe she passed down to me in high school. I cannot make this cookie without thinking of the one who made it first and all the lessons she taught me about what it means to love God, our families, and others.


Lace Cookies  – from the kitchen of Sue Ellen Forby

Ingredients:

1 cup oats                                            3Tbs. flour

¼ tsp. salt                                            1 stick butter

1 cup sugar                                          1 tsp. vanilla

½ tsp. baking powder                         1 egg

Directions: Mix oats, salt, sugar, baking powder, and flour. Melt butter and pour over dry ingredients. Add vanilla and egg. Mix well. Refrigerate at least one hour, until set.

Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into marble sized balls and place at least 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes. Edges of cookies will be golden brown. Remove from oven and carefully slide parchment from pan to let cookies cool completely before removing them from paper. These cookies puff during cooking but flatten out completely as they cool.
 
 

My Review

 

This is my 100th book review of 2020! I love being able to read and share wholesome books, thanks to God’s abundant blessings and the privilege of being a part of several wonderful review groups. This week also happens to be the celebration of Celebrate Lit’s 5-Year birthday! It is so wonderful to observe this milestone, and I am so delighted to be able to be a part of the team!

With these special moments, it seems fitting that the books I am reviewing this week are each part of a series. Heather Greer’s “Relentless Love” is the final book in her trilogy about fictional character Katie, a young woman facing the heartache of both past and present while also being a single mom to a toddler and living with her elderly father. Due to her previous devastating losses, Katie is cautious and wary. And lonely. Perhaps what drew me to empathize with her so much is the fact that we all deal with loneliness sometimes, and even more so these days with the coronavirus pandemic. When Nathan correlates Katie’s own loneliness with that of her father (for very similar reasons that I will not detail to avoid potential spoilers), I appreciated his insight. I also loved his response to Katie’s question: “How does a mother teach her son to become a man?” He tells her, “You teach him about the man his father was.” This advice , upon contemplation, actually has a double meaning: teaching little Sammy to emulate not only his dad’s actions, but also his Heavenly Father’s.

This story deals with some heavy themes, to a greater extent than I was expecting, but Greer achieves a laudable balance between them and lighter scenes. “Relentless Love” explores dementia and the crushing blow that it can strike to families. My grandpap had Alzheimer’s, and thus, having firsthand knowledge of how heartrending the condition and others like it can be, I again felt like I connected with the characters more than I may have otherwise. Nevertheless, I believe that this book series needs to be read because it does broach difficult subjects of the body and spirit. It lets us know that it is ok to cry, but that we also need to trust the Lord with every difficult circumstance because His love truly is relentless. He will pursue us to the ends of the earth when we are His, so that we in turn can share His unyielding love with others. When we do, even in the midst of our own storms and trials, we realize that the Lord blesses us through this.

Contemporary romance readers, and those who have been following this trilogy, will definitely not want to miss out on “Relentless Love”! For sensitive readers: In addition to having a part of the story  about dementia, infertility is also a topic that is discussed, although very cleanly and well within the bounds of propriety. For horse and ranch lovers, there is some of that as well!

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.




Blog Stops

 

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 2

Andrea Christenson, June 3 (Author Interview)

For the Love of Literature, June 4

Rebecca Tews, June 5

Batya’s Bits, June 6

My Devotional Thoughts, June 7 (Author Interview)

Writing from the Heart Land, June 7

For Him and My Family, June 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 9

By The Book, June 10 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, June 11

Quiet Quilter, June 12

Artistic Nobody, June 13 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Inklings and notions, June 14

deb’s Book Review, June 15

 
 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Heather is giving away  the grand prize of $30 Amazon gift card!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

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review 2020-06-03 06:00
The Story Hunter Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  The Story Hunter

Author: Lindsay A. Franklin

Genre:  Christian Fantasy, Action & Adventure

Release Date: May 19, 2020

Redeeming the past is a fatal quest.

In the wake of a deadly coup, the capital city of Urian has descended into chaos. Heartbreak and bloodshed await Tanwen and her friends as they discover the unlikeliest leader now rules Tir.

If they want to save the realm, Tannie and the Corsyth weavers must rescue Queen Braith and unmask the Master, ending the strife once and for all. But the success of their hunt depends upon an ally no one trusts.

The Master has a new target in sight: fragile, trauma-scarred Digwyn, whose unique weaving ability could turn the tide of any war. When the desire for vengeance proves too powerful for Digwyn to resist, Tanwen must face a terrifying truth: the fate of Tir rests in the hands of a volatile, shattered girl.




Click HERE to get your copy!


About the Author

 


Lindsay A. Franklin is a Carol Award–winning author, freelance editor, and homeschooling mom of three. She would wear pajama pants all the time if it were socially acceptable. Lindsay lives in her native San Diego with her scruffy-looking nerf-herder husband, their precious geeklings, three demanding thunder pillows (a.k.a. cats), and a stuffed marsupial named Wombatman.
 

More from Lindsay

 

Someone asked me recently where my story ideas come from. In fact, that’s one of the author questions I get asked most often. Honestly, the answer is different for every single project I’ve worked on, every single thing I’ve written. I’ve gotten ideas from news headlines, from dreams, from random musings while washing dishes. I even got an idea for a novel from a throwaway remark made by an editor teaching a workshop (that’s how The Story Peddler started).

The idea for The Story Hunter started with a title that turned into a girl.

After The Weaver Trilogy was acquired, my publisher and I brainstormed a list of titles for books two and three in the series. My editor loved the title The Story Peddler and wanted to keep that format for subsequent books. On his brainstorming list was the title The Story Thief. Obviously, this title did not make it all the way to publication. The middle-grade best-selling series Story Thieves wasn’t on our radar at the time, and once it was, I knew we would have to work with a different title (and I absolutely love the title The Story Hunter, so there’s no lingering sadness over here). But the moment I saw that phrase, The Story Thief, a new character popped into my head. It was one of those rare instances when a complete person arrives in my imagination all at once. I knew who she was, what she wanted, and what her unique gift would be. She was Diggy, my story thief, and I knew book three would belong to her.

There were many things I loved about writing this final installment of The Weaver Trilogy but none more than getting to write my story thief’s journey. That’s her hand on the cover of the book, stealing lightning and battling her inner monsters. Though I knew who Diggy was the moment I imagined her, I wasn’t sure how her story was going to end until I wrote it. I can recall saying to my best friend during Hunter’s writing process, “I don’t know if Diggy is going to be okay.” Her backstory is very difficult and deeply personal to me. When we’re facing the kind of odds Diggy is facing, sometimes we don’t win. And even if we do, rarely do we come out unscathed. So I built the book around that question: is Diggy going to be okay? And I didn’t know the answer until I scribbled it down on my outline.

When readers reach The End for the final time in this series, I hope they will feel I’ve done Diggy’s story—and the stories of all my beloved Weaver characters— justice.
 
 

My Review

 

“And the dream of a safe, quiet life tucked away in the Corsyth with tomorrows stretching before me and Mor and the others shattered.”

Oh my heart! This book has evoked so many emotions, and I hate to see it end and to have to bid farewell to these characters. If ever there was a book to win me over to the fantasy genre, this trilogy would be it! In endeavoring to explore stories in genres outside my comfort zone, I have come to the realization that part of the reason why I tend to shy away from fantasy (and sci-fi, for that matter) is that I enjoy rural, pastoral settings. So I appreciate that The Weaver Trilogy incorporates a bit of both rural and urban life. Likewise, I enjoyed that there was still a strong element of realism, despite the clear fantasy components. Although I did not get a chance to read book two yet, there is enough backstory provided from it to clue the reader in to the major events. I would still recommend reading them in order, though, and reading book one first is essential.

Lindsay Franklin brings The Weaver Trilogy to an epic finale with “The Story Hunter.” Despite how seemingly straightforward her titles are, I love the fact that they end up meaning something different after reading the story than what I took them to mean at face value. When it comes to books, I enjoy surprises! There is no shortage of them here, as readers learn some surprising things about the events from the previous two books and how everything ties together. “The Story Hunter” opens with the aftermath of an uprising and a new and completely unexpected leader on the throne, and at no point does the action relent. This is truly a page-turner!

As with the other books in the series, this one contains multiple narrators, noted by their name in the chapter title. In many cases, this tends to be an issue for me, leading to confusion and information overload, but Franklin uses it so well here that I can’t imagine the series any other way. The varying viewpoints offer valuable insight into some of the main characters without becoming overwhelming for the reader. Digwyn, or Diggy, stole my heart in this book as I cheered for her and as my heart broke for her. I will miss these characters and the spiritual insight that they offer.

There are some caveats I would offer to potential readers: this third book in the series has violent scenes (fighting and the aftermath of battle) and does deal with post-traumatic stress involving sexual abuse. All of this is handled very well but could be disturbing or triggering to some, so I recommend this for older teen readers and above.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

 

Blog Stops

 

 
 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Lindsay is giving away the grand prize package of a signed set of The Weaver Trilogy paperbacks, set of four character cards with art by Laura Hollingsworth, set of three Weaver-themed Novelly Yours candles (The Corsyth, The Cethorelle, and The Craigyl), an “I Ship It Mor” enamel pin designed by Dust & Pages, Custom tea tins from Adagio Tea (Braith’s Blend and Diggy’s Spikefruit), and an assortment of bookmarks, stickers, and art prints!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

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review 2020-05-30 05:00
When I Meet You Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  When I Meet You

Author: Olivia Newport

Genre:  Christian fiction

Release Date: May, 2020

Book 3 in the Tree of Life Series: A Father-Daughter Genealogy Team Link Faith Journeys on Family Trees

A trunk abandoned at Denver’s Union Station more than a century ago leads Jillian and Nolan to untangle the mystery of its contents—including correspondence with the head of Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency Denver office. While Nolan digs into the legalities of the findings, Jillian searches for the descendants of a stolen identity who might not be who they think they are on Colorado ranch land. When Drew seems anxious to hear what Jillian has to say but his Great Aunt Min slams the subject closed—twice—Jillian is all the more determined to find out what happened to the woman who never claimed her luggage, why Min doesn’t want to talk about it, and what will happen for Drew if he gets the answers he seeks.

When I Meet You is the third book in the Tree of Life series by Olivia Newport. You’ll want to return to the lovely Colorado mountain town of Canyon Mines again and again to explore and celebrate unforgettable family stories that will inspire you to connect with your own family histories and unique faith journeys.



Click HERE to get your copy!


About the Author

 


Olivia Newport’s novels twist through time to find where faith and passions meet. Her husband and twentysomething children provide welcome distraction from the people stomping through her head on their way into her books. She chases joy in stunning Colorado at the foot of Pikes Peak.
 

More from Olivia

 

Stolen Identity or Stolen Secrets?

Years ago I made a business trip to a country in Asia. Somehow I managed to pack for two weeks in carry-on luggage. This was before everyone started carrying electronic devices that required a bag of their own, and the impoverished area I visited had only intermittent electricity anyway.

When it was time to come home, my luggage met the requirements to keep it with me as I traveled halfway around the world through several airports. But at the boarding gate, a woman pushed a cart stacked with six oversized and overstuffed suitcases, insisting she had to take all of them on the plane. Her argument was that she couldn’t risk losing her personal belongings. She was moving back to the States, this was everything she owned, and she just wasn’t having this nonsense about abiding by the same limitations as the other 300 people in line or that none of those bags would fit in an overhead compartment anyway. The airline staff began waving people around her to get the large aircraft boarded on time for an international flight. She was one of the last people to take her seat—without her bags.

I admit I prefer keeping my bags with me and getting in and out of airports quickly. And once my bags didn’t come off the same plane I did, and it took a few hours for them to be delivered to me.

But what happens to truly unclaimed baggage? One-half to one percent of baggage that goes through American airports is never claimed. Airlines will try for ninety days to find the owners. If they can’t, they have to do something with it. Generally it’s sold, sight unseen, to the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Alabama. There it is opened and sorted into what can be cleaned and sold in their store, what might be donated, and what has no value and is disposed of as trash. They find some pretty interesting things!

But my brain goes back to the curious question of why the baggage is unclaimed in the first place.

It’s not just because the airline lost it. We’ve all seen the lines of suitcases that baggage handlers remove from the circling conveyer belt because they’ve been around enough times that it’s obvious no one is there to pick them up after the flight. People got off the plane and left the airport without their bags. Why?

My new book, When I Meet You, raises the same question about travel in the railroad era. A trunk abandoned at Denver’s Union Station more than a century ago surfaces, leading genealogist Jillian and her lawyer father, Nolan, to untangle the mystery of its contents—including correspondence with the head of Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency Denver office. While Nolan digs into the legalities of the findings, Jillian searches for the descendants of a stolen identity who might not be who they think they are on Colorado ranch land. When Drew seems anxious to hear what Jillian has to say but his Great Aunt Min slams the subject closed—twice—Jillian is all the more determined to find out what happened to the woman who never claimed her luggage, why Min doesn’t want to talk about it, and what will happen for Drew if he gets the answers he seeks.

When I Meet You is the third book in the Tree of Life series. Return to the lovely Colorado mountain town of Canyon Mines again and again to explore and celebrate unforgettable family stories that will inspire you to connect with your own family histories and unique faith journeys.
 
 

My Review

 

As someone interested in genealogy, even though I’ve never really pursued it, the Tree of Life series intrigued me from the very beginning. I love reading about Jillian’s work and research because, although it is fictional, it is also based on the real efforts of contemporary genealogists, and it speaks to that desire in all of us to know where we come from and who our ancestors are. That is also where the faith element fits in so perfectly, because ultimately we are all children of our Father God, and He has given us such a glorious legacy through Jesus!

Of the three books in this series thus far, “When I Meet You” is my favorite. Author Olivia Newport is now, by book three, really settling us in to Canyon Mines, Colorado, and I feel like a part of this small but bustling town. This book is also the most personal for the characters, who are becoming more dynamic. I have enjoyed them from the outset, but I realized while reading this latest addition to the series that they are growing in their relationships with each other. For the first time, Jillian’s past grief comes to the forefront, making her very vulnerable and resulting in some uncharacteristic behavior. Her relationship with Nolan, her dad, hits a few poignant patches, making it much more credible and relatable than the sweet but perhaps too-perfect connection that we have seen prior. I can relate to Jillian’s perseverance and nearly obsessive doggedness in solving the mystery, and I would find it difficult to set aside also.

This is also my favorite mystery of the three. Each book is a split-time story, with the primary story occurring in the present, but also with part of the plot worked out through scenes from the past. The personal connection that the characters have to this story truly enhances it and adds a great deal of dimension. To me, it seems as though they moved from being on the periphery and being drawn into the story to having the story revolve around them and having the other characters become more peripheral. Without giving any spoilers, I will just say that the issues that they contend with in this novel are ones that are very prevalent today. And, if you ever happen to come across an old trunk in your attic, or at a yard sale, open it; you never know what life-changing surprises might await you!

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

 

 

Blog Stops

 

Through the Fire Blogs, May 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 28

Texas Book-aholic, May 29

deb’s Book Review, May 29

For the Love of Literature, May 30

Lighthouse Academy Blog, May 30 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

A Reader’s Brain, May 31

Blogging With Carol, May 31

Older & Smarter?, June 1

CarpeDiem, June 1

Inklings and notions, June 2

All-of-a-kind Mom, June 2

Hallie Reads, June 2

Betti Mace, June 3

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 3

For Him and My Family, June 4

Bigreadersite, June 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 5

Worthy2Read, June 5

Pause for Tales, June 5

Just the Write Escape, June 6

Inside the Wong Mind, June 6

Tell Tale Book Reviews, June 7

Connect in Fiction, June 7

Daysong Reflections, June 7

She Lives To Read, June 8

Read Review Rejoice, June 8

A Baker’s Perspective, June 9

Mary Hake, June 9

Remembrancy, June 9

Moments, June 10

With a Joyful Noise, June 10

 
 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Olivia is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a copy of the book!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

 

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