Page-turning suspense to come

Gwen’s Picks. Book Recommendations.

A Woman’s Place

By Lynn Austin

They watched their sons, their brothers, and their husbands enlist to fight a growing menace across the seas. And when their nation asked, they answered the call as well. Virginia longs to find a purpose beyond others’ expectations. Helen is driven by a loneliness money can’t fulfill. Rosa is desperate to flee her in-laws’ rules. Jean hopes to prove herself in a man’s world. Under the storm clouds of destruction that threaten America during the early 1940s, this unlikely gathering of women will experience life in sometimes starling new ways as their beliefs are challenged and they struggle toward a new understanding of what love and sacrifice truly mean.


I couldn’t stop turning the pages wanting to read more of this wonderful story that sets back in time of World War II.  Women are so versatile and strong and, in this novel, when it came time to serve their country, they stepped in where the men usually worked.  During this period, I think women set a new standard on what a woman could accomplish outside the home.  So, check it out!

Recently I was invited to join the Chasing Shadows Launch Team for Lynn Austin’s new novel.  I have never done something like this before, so I am anxiously waiting to receive her new book in the mail.  I can’t wait to read it.  When I’m done, I will add it in my book recommendations.  Watch for Chasing Shadows by Lynn Austin!

To Whisper Her Name

by Tamera Alexander

Olivia Aberdeen, destitute widow of a man shot as a traitor to the South, is shunned by proper society and gratefully accepts an invitation from Elizabeth Harding, mistress of Belle Meade Plantation. Expecting to be the Hardings’ head housekeeper, Olivia is disillusioned when she learns the real reason Elizabeth’s husband, Confederate General William Giles Harding, agreed to her coming. Not finding the safe haven she expects, Olivia is caught off guard by her feelings for Ridley Adam Cooper, a man who seems anything but a Southern gentleman.

Branded a traitor by some, Ridley Cooper, a Southern son who chose to fight for the Union, is a man desperate to end the war still raging inside him. Determined to learn “the gift” that Belle Meade’s head horse trainer and former slave, Bob Green, possesses, Ridley harbors secrets that threaten both their lives. 

 As Ridley seeks to make peace within himself for fighting against the South he loved, Olivia is determined to never be betrayed again.


Recently our area if Oregon was hit with a vicious ice storm that knocked out the power for many days.  My bookcase became a resource for something to do in the dark with a headlamp.  I found a book by Tamera Alexander who wrote a wonderful story about the struggles of people of the post-Civil War in the South.  You will enjoy this story of two people from different parts of the wreckage of the war who meet at a plantation and find love for each other.

Check it out!

Holy Ghost Stories

Podcast By Justin Gerhardt

Justin created the Holy Ghost Stories to help people experience the Bible in a way that honors its weirdness and wonder, its mystery and power.  He believes the narrative portions of Scripture—especially those of the Old Testament—possess a dark luminescence, showing us who God is and who we are and what kind of chemistry we can expect when we come into contact with Him.

In the Middle Ages, artists employed by the Catholic Church would paint pictures to familiarize non-readers with the stories of Scripture.  That’s what Justin wants to accomplish with Holy Ghost Stories.  To share the stories of the Bible in a way that 1) engages Biblically illiterate people and 2) adds new dimensions to the understanding of those already familiar with the narrative portions of Scripture.

Justin hopes people will love Holy Ghost Stories. But much more than that, he hopes they discover (or rediscover) how much they love the Bible and the God we encounter in its pages.

Justin puts out a new podcast every other week, so check out this awesome storyteller.  If you enjoy his podcast, let him know.  


The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder

by Rachel McMillan

In 1910 Toronto, while other bachelor girls perfect their domestic skills and find husbands, two friends perfect their sleuthing skills and find a murderer.

Inspired by their fascination with all things Sherlock Holmes, best friends and flatmates Merinda and Jem launch a consulting detective business. The deaths of young Irish women lead Merinda and Jem deeper into the mire of the city’s underbelly, where the high hopes of those dreaming to make a new life in Canada are met with prejudice and squalor.

While searching for answers, donning disguises, and sneaking around where no proper ladies would ever go, they pair with Jasper Forth, a police constable, and Ray DeLuca, a reporter in whom Jem takes a more than professional interest. Merinda could well be Toronto’s premiere consulting detective, and Jem may just find a way to put her bachelor girlhood behind her forever—if they can stay alive long enough to do so.


Another great book to add to my list.  Author, Rachel McMillan, kept me engaged in this story.  Two fascinating characters that are like Holmes and Watts but are female amateur detectives making their way in a male dominate world.  I’m already in the third book of this series but Rachel has a bunch more books that I haven’t gotten to read yet.  I think you will enjoy these books!

Check it out!

Pandemic Moments

Stories Of The 2020 COVID-19 Outbreak

Compiled and Edited by Yvonne Lehman

No one expected things to change drastically with the beginning of a new decade. Yet that’s exactly what happened.

Within a few weeks, the world shut down, life came to a halt, fear permeated the population, existence was threatened, churches closed, social distance and hiding faces behind masks became an everyday experience, and for many, their faith was challenged.

Join these 40 Christian authors as they share personal experiences and what they learned during this historic period when life became different for everyone.


Jamin Christian Baldwin, Bob Blundell, Patricia Butler, Rebecca Carpenter, Alexis Conrad, Karen Cook, Jenny L. Cote, Laura Craft, Diana Derringer, Cathy D. Dudley, Loretta Eidson, Carolyn Fisher, Mindy Gallagher, L.C. Helms, Melissa Henderson, Gwen Hinkle, Helen L. Hoover, Penny L. Hunt, Martha Hynson, Lily Jenkins, Sherry Diane Kitts, Alice Klies, Yvonne Lehman, Cynthia A. Lovely, Evelyn Mann, Diana Leagh Matthews, Jeri McBryde, Fran Braga Meininger, Andrea Merrell, Terri R. Miller, Marilyn Nutter, Stephanie Pavlantos, Heather Roberts, Odell Sauls, Joanne DiRienzo Schloeman, Ann Peachman Stewart, Gina Stinson, Laura Sweeney, Carrie Vinnedge, Becca Wierwille


I am happy to announce that the Pandemic Moments Stories Of The 2020 COVID-19 Outbreak is out and for sale. You can find it on Amazon. It is compiled and edited by Yvonne Lehman of several stories of how COVID-19 affected peoples lives. Yes, mine is in there too. All royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to Samaritan’s Purse.

S0, check it out!


by Varina Denman

As a child, Ruthie was shunned by the local congregation. Thirteen years later, Ruthie’s heart begins to stir when an attractive single preacher arrives. But their relationship is bitterly opposed—unearthing a string of secrets which threaten to turn the church, the town, and her world upside-down.

Jaded is the rare novel that is both love story between a woman and man … and God and His church. Plunging deep into the waters of shame, forgiveness and restoration, it will resonate with every woman who’s experienced a loss of heart … and a thirst for hope.

Varina Denman writes stories about the unique struggles women face. She teaches creative writing and literature, volunteers in her local cooperative, and is a home educator to her five children. She resides with her family in North Texas. This is her first novel. 

This book kept me up late at night.  I was enthralled with the story and wanted to keep reading more.  Jaded is Book one of the Mended Heart Series and I think you will enjoy reading this beautiful story about a young woman who struggles with her and her mother’s past with the local church and at the same time learns about love and forgiveness.

Check it out!

Start With Me

by Kara Isaac

Lacey O’Connor is finally a sure thing for the promotion she’s spent ten years working for. But when a scandal rocks her firm she finds herself on a collision course with the one person she has spent five years trying to forget. Only to discover he doesn’t even remember her…

Victor Carlisle has spent the last three years trying to convince his family he’s no longer the playboy alcoholic who tore their life apart. When a company merger is announced with a US sister firm, he’s presented with the perfect opportunity to prove he’s changed. Only to find himself falling for his competition and the one woman his family will never accept.

As the competition intensifies the choice looms between the professional and the personal. Can they find a way beyond their past decisions and present aspirations to take a chance on the one thing they’re not looking for?


My sister called one day wanting to pass on a book recommendation to me, but it was difficult understanding her as she tried to explain the story between fits of uncontrollable laughter.  I figured if my sister was laughing this hard about a book then for sure I was going to check it out.  I wasn’t disappointed.  The book has its funny moments, but the story also reminds me that despite our past, there is forgiveness and God does have a plan for our lives. 

I think you will enjoy this one!

The Runaway Pastor’s Wife

by Diane Moody

What could possibly drive a pastor’s wife to run away from home?

After years of frustration from life in a church fishbowl, Annie McGregor walks away from it all and bords a plane for Colorado.  She has no way of knowing her college sweetheart is headed to the same cabin in the Rockies, terrified and gravely wounded.  Their unexpected reunion couldn’t have come at a worse time.  Or could it?  Bewildered that God would allow Michael Dean to walk back into her life, Annie pleads with Him to keep her heart true to her husband and her family.  God answers her prayer, but in a way she would never expect. 

This story had suspense, drama, good vs evil and spiritual challenges.  A peek into what our pastors and their families today go through at times.  Author, Diane Moody reminds the reader that there is always redemption and love which completed the story beautifully.

Squeaky Clean Mysteries: Hazardous Duty

by Christy Barritt

Buying a gun to kill your wife: $3,000. Hiring Trauma Care to clean afterward: $1,500. Having that same cleaner uncover evidence that frames you: priceless.

On her way to completing a degree in forensic science, Gabby St. Claire who drops out of school and starts her own crime scene cleaning business. When a routine cleaning job uncovers a murder weapon the police overlooked, she realizes that the wrong person is in jail. But the owner of the weapon is a powerful foe…and willing to do anything to keep Gabby quiet.

Murder, mystery, suspense and funny. I enjoyed this book and ended up reading all the books that make up the Squeaky Clean Mysteries. You will find it hard to put this book down. I know, I ended up losing some sleep because I needed to turn the page to read on to the next chapter..

Check it out!

Fancy Pants
(Only In Gooding #1)

by Cathy Marie Hake

Humorous Romance.

When Britisher Lady Sydney Hathwell’s father dies, the American who planned to wed her suddenly reneges. Stranded in America and penniless, Sydney contracts a relative in Texas who, mistaking her male-sounding name, invites his “nephew” to join him on his ranch.

“Big Tim” Creighton, however, is appalled when this mincing fop arrives at Forsaken. He determines -he’ll turn Fancy Pants Hathwell into a man before the boss returns home. From the get-go, he has “the kid” mucking stalls, clearing and plowing a field, and assisting with a difficult calving. But when Sydney’s true identity is uncovered, Tim resents being deceived. Yet in time, he also finds that he doesn’t like all the attention Sydney garners now that she’s wearing pretty gowns…

Together Sydney and Tim will discover the importance of family and what it means to be a man—and a woman—of God.

This book was fun to read with some romance. It kept me enticed to the end.

The Rose Legacy
(Diamond of the Rockies #1)

by Kristen Heitzmann

Driven by hope and vengeance, Carina Maria DiGratia leaves her idyllic home in Sonoma, California, for a new life in the mining town of Crystal, Colorado. Though the town has a rough element, Carina is determined that it is the place her dreams will come true. Early on, two men vie for her trust, but neither is what he seems. Will Carina discern the truth in time to prevent tragedy?

Do you feel like you’re in a mood for a romance story? The first book is the beginning of a well written series? The story draws you in wanting to help this young woman who travels far away from home to succeed with her dream.

Kristen Heitzmann is another favorite author of mine and has many books out that all are enjoyable to read.

The Telegraph Proposal (A Montana Brides Romance Book 3)

by Gina Welborn and Becca Whitham

Fall 1888 // Helena, Montana

In the rough and rugged Montana Territory, the journey to true love is filled with unexpected twists—and sweet rewards—for daring frontier women who faithfully believe every heart has a home . . .

With the help of the Archer Matrimonial Company, Yancey Palmer has finally put

Hale Adams, the man she’s loved for ten years—sometimes not wisely or well—behind her. Yancey is so sure of her love for the man the agency matched her with, she readily promises a friend that she’ll help Hale with his mayoral campaign without chasing him.

Hale has also engaged the services of the matrimonial agency. He’s so pleased with one lady, he requests that she join him in Helena to commence a sixty-day courtship. But instead, the Archer ladies arrive in town to reveal the true identities of both

Hale’s and Yancey’s matches: each other. Can they look past their misunderstandings and hurt to see that they are still a perfect match?

An enjoyable read about grace and forgiveness.  Both authors have a flare for words.  There are two other books that complete the A Montana Brides Romance saga.  Check them out.

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