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Thursday, May 21, 2015

How great are the reads in this month's issue of Five-Star Fiction?

All  of these books have garnered stellar ratings from readers -- among the top 10% of all books in the Kindle Store. The only exception is a brand new pre-order from HarperCollins, the latest in Denise Hunter's bestselling Chapel Springs romance series, and her first four books have an aggregate 5-star rating on hundreds of reviews!

Between the reviews and some great prices that will save you about half of what you would pay for the print editions, it's safe to say that we've hit the sweet spot with this selection, and we hope you'll agree.

Happy reading!

Pamela Fagan Hutchins
4.7 out of 5 stars 
47 customer reviews

“Heaven to Betsy is a gripping story with perfect pitch and pace. It has everything – romance, mystery, humor, grief, suspense, and spirituality. It grabs you by the throat from the get-go and takes you on a rollicking ride from Amarillo through the New Mexico desert to its exciting conclusion, all told with Hutchins’ unique writing style that handcuffs you to your reading lamp and keeps you laughing and crying at the same time. I didn’t think she could top Going for Kona, but I was wrong. This one is her best book, and that’s saying a lot.”
– Ken Oder, author of The Closing
“Heaven to Betsy kicks off a new series for Pamela Fagan Hutchins with even more heart and humor than her successful Katie & Annalise trilogy. Fagan has a talent for creating vivid characters that make us want to root for them from the start. Fans will love getting to know this new lineup of personalities, which includes Katie in a cameo role.
Emily is a former Dallas paralegal who finds herself newly separated and living back home with her mother in Amarillo. Forced to take the only viable job offer in town, she begrudgingly works for a cryptically mysterious and maddeningly sexy attorney, Jack Holden. When an open-and-shut murder case morphs into a search for a missing little girl, Emily is driven to find the child, and she risks her job, her health and almost everything else along the way. The settings in and around Amarillo and New Mexico make colorful backdrops for the exciting action as we follow Emily’s no-holds-barred quest. Heaven to Betsy is an entertaining read from start to finish.”
– Gay Yellen, author of The Body Business
From the author

Dear Reader,
They say you can’t go home again, but that’s where disgraced paralegal and former rodeo queen Emily ends up. Broke and desperate, she takes a job with a sexy criminal attorney, where she becomes obsessed with the disappearance of the six-year old daughter of his client. She hunts across two states for the girl, as bodies pile up and her own secrets become public fodder.
The reviews are great: “Master of tension,” “Intriguing,” ”Brilliant,” and “Captivating.”
I'm giving away 5 books. Write to me——to win!

Excerpt from the book 

He snorted. “You’re lying.”
I came to a full, rolling boil. “I most certainly am not.”
“You want to know how I know you’re lying?” He pointed his cigarette at me, and I fantasized briefly about smashing it back into his face. He continued: “Because Victoria Nunez in 1B only has two kids. She brings ’em with her everywhere.”
I stood motionless. If she only had two daughters, why had she told me all three girls were hers?
But before I’d even finished the thought a woman’s unearthly screams rent the air from the interior of the complex.

Tilia Klebenov Jacobs
4.6 out of 5 stars  
33 customer reviews


"The scones are warm, the tea is hot, and the characters jump off the page.  Tilia Klebenov Jacobs has served up a winner. Love this story."
—Ray Daniel, award-winning author of the Tucker Mysteries
"Tilia Klebenov Jacobs writes with a deep heart and sparkling wit about second chances and the power of friendship.  Her novel has it all: characters you’ll love spending time with; crackling, pitch-perfect dialog; and a plot that builds to a powerful conclusion.  A winning story from a writer to watch!"
—Elisabeth Elo, author of North of Boston
"Tilia is the author of Wrong Place, Wrong Time, "a tense debut action-thriller that hinges on a pair of related kidnappings."

From the author

I wrote Second Helpings because I had lots of unconnected stories I wanted to tell, but I couldn’t figure out how to combine them into a single narrative.  Then one day while driving in a small town I saw a sign for a coffee shop—and I realized I didn’t have to.  All I had to do was create a place for my characters to gather and talk.  The Serve You Right Café is where people go to tell their stories, even if they don’t know it.  It’s also where they get what they deserve, often in unexpected ways.

Excerpt from the book

“What was it like for you,” said Eden Rose, “when you got out?”
He drew a breath and let it out in little puffs, as if he did not want to laugh. “Like the air was made of color and I could breathe for the first time.”
There was another pause. Norah Jones came on the speaker and sang that she didn’t know why she hadn’t come. Eden Rose opened her hands. “I can’t imagine.”
“No,” he agreed. “I don’t suppose you can.”
Denise Hunter
Pre-order now for delivery June 9!

". . . an emotional and sometimes heartbreaking journey . . . leaves one knowing that love is worth fighting for."
- Romantic Times
"A beautiful story--poignant and heartwarming, filled with delightful characters and intense emotion. Chapel Springs is a place anyone would love to call home."
- RaeAnne Thayne, New York Times bestselling author, for THE WISHING SEASON
From the author

Dear Reader,
MARRIED 'TIL MONDAY is my first reconciliation story and my first road trip story. I was nervous about both, but Abby and Ryan's story turned out to be my favorite of the 26 books I've written. I was inspired to write MARRIED 'TIL MONDAY when I came across a very personal and poignant blog written by a divorced man. It detailed all the things he'd done wrong in his marriage, and his deep regret just grabbed hold of my heart. When I finished reading the blog I looked at my husband and said, "I'm going to write this man's story." And that's how MARRIED 'TIL MONDAY was born.

Excerpt from the book

"Life just goes on like this never happened, is that it, Abby?"
"Yes, that's it!"
He turned her face toward him. "Well, it did happen. I kissed you and I told you I love you. I spilled my guts. Didn't that mean anything to you?"
Her eyes went blank. "Is this where you call me cold and stonehearted?"
"I said I was sorry!"
She jerked away, anger tightening the corners of her mouth. "Get out of the car, Ryan."
His chest squeezed so tight he couldn't breathe. "Come on, Abby." The ache in his throat choked off his words.
"Get out." She turned away, looked out the passenger window, her hair a curtain over her face.
His heart beat up in his throat, his pulse pounding erratically. She frustrated him, she made him angry. But he still loved her. And he couldn't make her love him, not if she didn't want to.
"I'm not the same man who let you walk away before. I'll give you time, but it's not over, Abby. Not by a long shot."

7 out of 8 rave reviews

"You'll hear echoes of To Kill A Mockingbird in this haunting coming-of-age story. Beautifully written, atmospheric and intricately plotted, Richardson's debut novel will stay with you long after the last page is turned."
—#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs
"One of those rare books I wish I had written. Southern storytelling at its finest."
—Ann Hite, author of Ghost of Black Mountain and the award winning Black Mountain series

From the author
Dear Reader,
While writing Liar’s Bench, I experienced a lot of happenstance and deeper connections related to the work, which nudged me further. I’m not exactly superstitious, but I do enjoy feeling like the Universe is giving me a little nod of approval to keep me going.
One day I found myself needing to examine a Mason jar for a scene I was writing, but not just any Mason jar, I had to get my mitts on a special 100-year-old Mason jar with a rusted thumb latch and glass lid. That afternoon as I stood looking out my cottage window contemplating what it would look and feel like, my husband ambled came from the barn clutching two older-than-dirt Mason jars. He asked if I wanted them. Did I ever! By day’s end, he’d unearthed thirty-one identical ones behind our barn. The Universe was smiling down on me!

Excerpt from the book

These two powerful passages could lead to a wonderful discussion about human weakness, bad decisions gnawing away at souls, and why some have a guilty conscience and why other people don't:
Chapter 1
Frannie went outside to the old Osage orange tree, picked two of its fruits, and went about making a warm milky tea concoction for her mistress, a remedy her mammy had taught her.
Just hours later, Mrs. Anderson miscarried. She called to her husband, Bartholomew Anderson. Weeping, she exclaimed, “Frannie poisoned me.” Mr. Anderson reported the poisoning to the town marshal saying, “Our house slave did it. Frannie Crow.”
Chapter 14

O, but for the courage to confess my wrongdoing. I cannot. I cannot relinquish what little value I have to the world of the living to appease the world of the dead. But perhaps in penning this confession, I might be granted some level of atonement. Perhaps I might be free of Frannie’s ghost and be granted the Lord’s forgiveness.

4.7 stars on 11 straight rave reviews

"A topical, lively legal thriller.”
—Kirkus Reviews, on The Word 
“Get ready for a wild ride! In “The Word”… the writing is high caliber and the story is engaging and realistic, with memorable characters. Top notch.”
—Reader's Choice – 5 Star Readers Favorite

From the author

Dear Reader,
Today’s headlines can disturb and unsettle in ways that are often much stranger than fiction.
I wrote my newest novel, THE WORD, to explore of the complexities of the happenings of today's world. It’s a look at our heroes—and our villains—in order to entertain, enlighten, and provoke thought.
Excerpt from the book

The Tradewinds Motel was off Highway 287. It was a cheap little place, the swimming pool brown and half full, the blinking sign out front missing several bulbs. Room 8, on the back side of the motel, was sparsely furnished—unmade twin beds separated by a worn bedside table with a lone lamp on top, its shade torn and yellow from age. Gray carpet, stained in some places and in others frayed, covered the uneven floor. The walls were bare, the paint beginning to peel, cracks winding their way from the door corners to the water-marked acoustic-tiled ceiling above.
Room 8 was the classic $39.99-a-night fleabag, its usual clientele a sad collection of truckers, hookers, drifters, and addicts.
 But not on this day. On this day, room 8 was a sanctuary.

4.5 out of 5 stars 
27 customer review
“I could tell that these novels were resonating with men. And let’s be honest… it’s not often there are novels in the Christian market that men can really relate to (can I get an ‘amen?’).   I’m always encouraged when there are books like Cliff’s that men enjoy reading and sharing with their friends.”
–Rachel McRae, Lifeway buyer
“How do you connect the next generation with the scriptures? One Army chaplain believes bringing ancient Bible heroes to life with 21st century media can do the job. A cutting-edge series…The Lion of War, is introducing a new generation to the heroes of the Bible.”
CBN News on Graham’s The Lion of War series.

From the author

Dear Reader,
I spent many years seeing men lack interest in what it meant to be a man of God. The Bible, they thought, was boring. I realized no one had written about the gritty battles of the Bible, the epic adventures of the warriors that God used to do great things. Shadow of the Mountain: Exodus is the first book in a series recounting the life of Caleb from the Old Testament, from his early days as a mercenary in Egypt to the battle for the Promised Land.
Cliff Graham

Excerpt from the book

You will hear it said that I fight to live in peace. Nonsense. I fight so that our women and children can live in peace. You will always find me where there is battle.
Battle is what we are here for. It is all we should know as men while we have breath. Give the enemy battle all of your life, and when you die, chase him into the afterlife and give him battle there. Perhaps then the Lord will give us peace. But don’t expect it.
I will go to my grave with honor. It will be written that my woman loved me, my children admired me, and the enemy feared me. Tea Murder (Tea Shop Mysteries Book 16)
Laura Childs

4.3 stars on 19 reviews

“Humor, plenty of action, and a tantalizing array of teas and recipes.”
     - Publishers Weekly
“Childs puts sizzle in all her bestselling mysteries.”
     - St. Paul Pioneer Press
“Childs is a writer with a special talent for writing cozy mysteries paced like thrillers.”
    -  The Big Thrill – International Thriller Writers
“This sophisticated mystery is well-crafted, cleverly plotted, and proves to be one of the strongest installments in the series.
     - Romantic Times Book Review
“Charmingly rendered main characters, loving descriptions of Charleston.”
    -  Kirkus Reviews

From the author

Dear Reader,
 I’m thrilled to bring you Ming Tea Murder, the 16th book in my New York Times bestselling Tea Shop Mysteries. This is a book you can identify with – from my entrepreneurial main character, Theodosia, to the cozy environs of her tea shop. With pacing that moves like a thriller, highly relevant story lines, and a carefully crafted sense of place, many readers tell me that reading a Tea Shop Mystery is like taking a vacation in Charleston. And they’re just as enthusiastic about the tea lore and recipes. Please give this mystery your careful consideration – I think you’ll love it!
 Laura Childs

Excerpt from the book

     With barely a glance around, Theodosia leapt on board the second hay wagon.  Floundering through a foot of loose hay, she scrambled madly toward the front seat, and plopped down right next to Harlan Duke.
     “Follow that wagon!” Theodosia screamed.
     If it hadn’t been so dangerous, it would have been Keystone Cops meets the wild, wild west.
     The two wagons roared down Meeting Street, shuddering and rocking, scaring everyone silly and causing innocent bystanders to run for their lives.
     “You’ve got to catch him!” Theodosia shouted.  “He killed Edgar Webster!”
     Duke’s wagon was rolling fast and picking up speed.  “You serious?” he shouted back to her.
     Theodosia gritted her teeth and nodded.  “I think he stole a big chunk of money and Webster found out.”
     Now the hay wagon ahead of them turned onto South Battery, the horses running full tilt.  The wagon was changing lanes haphazardly, swaying so violently it even slammed into a couple of parked cars.
     “Ouch,” Theodosia said.  “I think he just creamed a Volvo.”
     “There goes a BMW,” Duke said.
     “Pull over!” Theodosia screamed at the runaway wagon ahead of them.  But the driver ignored her and just kept going on his wild, destructive ride.

Thanks for letting us be part of your month -- and of your reading community. We hope it will be another great month of Kindle reading for you and your friends!

Steve and Catherine

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