Book Review: Mermaid Moon by Colleen Coble

Posted by Julie on January 19, 2016 in Book Review, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |
Mermaid Moon by Colleen Coble

Mermaid Moon by Colleen Coble

Book Description

Mallory’s mother died fifteen years ago. But her father’s last words on the phone were unmistakable: “Find . . . mother.”

Shame and confusion have kept Mallory Davis from her home for the last fifteen years, but when her dad mysteriously dies on his mail boat route, she doesn’t have any choice but to go back to Mermaid Point.

Mallory believes her father was murdered and childhood sweetheart Kevin O’Connor, game warden in Downeast Maine, confirms her suspicions. But Kevin is wary of helping Mallory in her search. She broke his heart—and left—without a word, years ago.

When Mallory begins receiving threats on her own life—and her beloved teenage daughter, Haylie—their search intensifies. There’s a tangled web within the supposed murder, and it involves much more than what meets the eye.

As answers begin to fall into place, Mallory realizes her search is about more than finding her father’s killer—it is also about finding herself again . . . and possibly about healing what was broken so long ago with Kevin. She just has to stay alive long enough to put all the pieces together.

Mermaid Moon starts strong with Mallory’s phone call with her dad and the mystery that surrounds his last words to her as he is found dead. Mallory comes back to town after a 15 year absence and right away runs into her first love, game warden Kevin O’Connor.

I loved the mystery and romance but I had trouble staying as invested as I have with her previous books. I think perhaps I was looking for the secondary characters to have a little more depth, especially the daughters. Still, the tension between Kevin and Mallory, added with the mystery of Mallory’s father’s death kept me turning pages.

I think you will turn the pages, too.

To purchase Mermaid Moon, click here.

I received a copy of Mermaid Moon from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Misstep by Deborah Dee Harper

Posted by Julie on September 8, 2015 in Book Review, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Road’s End is comprised entirely of senior citizens whose kids have grown and left for greener pastures. Hugh, Melanie, and Bristol (one of the few sane people in town) are faced with a crumbling church in desperate need of repair and renovation, a dwindling congregation of opinionated, ornery senior citizens, and a camel—yes, a camel. And if that’s not enough, the trio and the rest of the Road’s End residents, are soon mired in danger and intrigue when a group of gun-toting drug dealers arrive in town, bent on killing the church handyman, and conspiring to ruin the doggonedest record-breaking blizzard the town has ever seen.

Poor drug dealers.

Is it wrong to call a mystery “fun?” I don’t care. Deborah Dee Harper’s Misstep is a wonderful mystery that is laugh out loud fun to read. There’s Hugh and Melanie, a couple looking for a quiet retirement when they are called to the pastorate. Before they can process the news there’s a chicken. A blizzard. Vandalism at the church. People confessing murders. A camel. Bad guys holding the women hostage. And then there’s the oldest virgin Mary the church has ever seen.

I read this in an evening because Misstep is full of comical characters and a heartwarming story, wrapped in mystery. Deborah has a strong writing voice and an army of strong characters that make Road’s End. I can’t pick a favorite character because they were all rich.

As for the mystery and the Christmas miracle, I never saw any of it coming. I’m pretty good at figuring out mysteries, I’m rarely stumped. This plot twist was brilliant.

To purchase Misstep, click here.

I am one of the authors affiliated with the publisher and received this from Write Integrity Press. However, all thoughts are my own and the only expectation was that I read it and be honest.

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COTT: Plundered Christmas by Susan Lytekk

Posted by Julie on February 9, 2015 in Guest blogger |
Pirate legends, unexpected storms, murder.
Will Jeanine discover the truth before someone else winds up


About Plundered Christmas:

Compelled to spend Christmas on a private island with her father’s future
bride and family, Jeanine learns that Margo Banet is descended from a
pirate queen.

Relatives and friends all have their reasons for attending the
festivities—including the legendary treasure. But when Margo’s nephew winds
up dead and a violent storm cuts them off mainland, Jeanine has to wonder
if they will solve the mystery before someone else dies trying.

About the author:

Susan A. J. Lyttek, author of kids’ comedy, “Guzzy Goofball” and the
“Homeschool Play from Outer Space” and the cozy mystery trilogy by
Harbourlight Books which includes the recent Plundered Christmas, is
a wife and homeschool mother who writes early mornings in the shadow of our
nation’s capital. She also enjoys training up the next generation of
writers online through Write At Home, and by teaching middle and high
school co-op classes. Learn more about her and her projects at sajlyttek.com.
What COTT Voters Had to Say:

–Susan Lyttek, you are an amazing and talented writer.

–Susan, I can’t wait to read your new book!

–Looking forward to reading Plundered Christmas!

–Love Plundered Christmas.

–Susan, your work continues to thrive, all for the Glory of God! I’m proud
to know you, and can’t wait to read this one! A. Montgomery.

–Susan Lyttek, enjoy reading your books.

–I really enjoyed Plundered Christmas–between the character dynamics and
the plot twist I never saw coming–well done!

–Great series by Susan Lyttek!

Chat with Susan:Why do you write the kind of books you do? I homeschooled and am
homeschooling. These are the people I’ve been around for the last seventeen
years. That’s also why I weave history in. Every homeschool resource I know
targets multiple subjects and levels of learning.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your
My goal is for today, whatever day that is, to be the happiest.
It doesn’t always work, especially when I get a piece of bad news or
insufficient sleep, but it’s my goal. I want to live contentedly in what my
Lord hands me each day.

What is your favorite season of the year? Christmas. Hands down.
What’s special about it for you?? I love my heritage and the special
traditions that we have. Every Christmas creates new memories that adds to
the woven tapestry of what it is. I also love celebrating the arrival of
the son of God in human form!

What is something that very few people know about you? I like to
read my Bible in French. C’est vraiment la belle langue!

What three things about you would surprise readers? I have a second
degree black belt in tae kwon do. I like LOUD music. (I’m a quiet person,
so the music thing surprises most people.) I earned a marksman ribbon with
the M-16 when I was in the Air Force.

What can you tell us about your current project? I assume you mean
Plundered Christmas. In this mystery, we need to figure out why the
Banet family has hidden their heritage all these years, in addition to
learning who killed Margo’s nephew. Secrets can poison a family and damage
relationships. As the Talbotts uncover the truth about Anne Bonny/Banet, it
leads to healing for those who accept it.


Find more great reads at Clash of the

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Writers: Pens of Mystery Looking for Submissions

Posted by Julie on January 9, 2015 in encouragement, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Writing |

Pens of Mystery

Pix-N-Pens and Write Integrity Press are pleased to announce their newest line of books – Pens of Mystery. We are now accepting submissions for mystery novels between 60,000-90,000 words.

We are open to submissions for a wide range of mysteries, including:

  • Cozies
  • Procedurals
  • Contemporary PIs
  • YA Mysteries

We especially like series of three or more books.

Our books are clean and wholesome, but they can be written with or without a gospel message.
We do not accept horror, paranormal, erotic, or pornographic manuscripts.

Please follow these guidelines for submission:

You may submit your proposals to EITHER (both is not necessary or preferred – we provide two in case of technical difficulty) of the following e-mail addresses. Please replace words in brackets with symbols and delete any spaces:

editor [at] writeintegrity [dot] com
tracyruckman [at] pixnpens [dot] com

In the body of your original e-mail to us, please include

  • A brief cover letter, to introduce yourself and your book.
  • Full word count (using Word’s counter) if the manuscript is complete, or an estimated time of completion and anticipated word count.
  • A short bio.
  • Pitch – 30 words or less.
  • Long blurb – 150-200 words (think back cover blurb).

Then attach to the email in Word format:

  • The FIRST three chapters AND the LAST chapter. If the book has a prologue or epilogue, include those in addition to the required chapters.

Do NOT send full manuscripts unless we request them. Consideration will be given only to packages submitted as requested – full manuscripts that have not been requested will be discarded.

Please follow industry-standard formatting. This means:

  • Pages should have 1″ margins on all sides.
  • Lines should be double-spaced.
  • Font should be Times New Roman, size 12.
  • Use black ink only – do not use color fonts.

We will try to reply promptly to all submissions, but please allow up to 90 days to hear from us. If you haven’t heard from us by that time, please send a brief e-mail inquiry.

We do not accept submissions by snail mail.

Submissions to Pens of Mystery should not include the following:

  • Incest of any kind.
  • Murder of children; child abuse.
  • Vampires, witches, werewolves, paranormals, aliens, future realities, and New Age psychics as protagonists.

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Book Review: The Day She Died by Bill Garrison

Posted by Julie on December 10, 2014 in Book Review, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

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Book Description:

A mystery. In this clean time-travel whodunit, a middle-aged coffee-shop owner always wondered what his life would have been like if he’d stayed in town the day his college fiancee disappeared, the victim of an unsolved crime.

One morning he wakes up 20 years earlier and finds himself a student at the University of Oklahoma again on the day she died. In a journey that takes months, he stumbles over people connected to Kim’s disappearance and puzzles over connecting the dots.

Oddly enough, things are different when he relives sections of his life. For example, as a teen he plays baseball and as an adult he discovers what it’s like to be a Christian pastor, things he never did before.

Can he find some answers about Kim and about his own life? Or prevent Kim’s death? And if he succeeds in changing history, what happens to his wife and kids?


I’ll admit, when I learn a book contains time travel, I’m skeptical. Flashback scenes are difficult to write and very few authors do it well. Then when I read that the book is the first from the author, I’m not sure at all.

The Day She Died and Bill Garrison proved me wrong. This time travel mystery and romance is told well, flashbacks and all. I was able to keep track of the characters and the time frame. I loved that I truly didn’t know “the bad person” until the reveal, because I usually guess and am right. The Day She Died was full of surprises but they all made sense for the plot. The author didn’t have to make it work. He told the story well enough he didn’t have to force it.

I also enjoyed the references to the teen and college/young adult years. I was that age then and those were the movies I was going to. The author made these things authentic. I especially appreciate that it’s “clean,” no profanity. Mysteries don’t have to be profane, and I liked that The Day She Died isn’t.

If you’re a mystery and/or romance fan, you’re going to enjoy this story.

To purchase The Day She Died, click here.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.



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Book Review: Seagrass Pier by Colleen Coble

Posted by Julie on June 12, 2014 in Book Review, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |


Book Description:

In a secluded corner of Hope Beach, one woman must decipher a stranger’s memories . . . before they cost her everything.

Elin Summerall was one of the lucky ones. Not only did she get a heart transplant, but the donor was a perfect fit. A miraculously perfect fit.

But when Elin begins having violent flashbacks—and vivid dreams of being strangled—she realizes that she has been the recipient of more than just a new heart . . . Elin is remembering her donor’s murder.

Her strange affliction has attracted some unwanted attention: from the press, from the authorities . . . and from the killer himself. Now, living alone with her young daughter and aging mother, Elin is being stalked—by a man she’s only met in her nightmares.

The police are dubious of her story, but one off-duty FBI agent is eager to help her: Agent Marc Everton, the father of Elin’s daughter.

Of course, he doesn’t know about that. Yet.

Now, in a remote cottage on Hope Island, Elin and Marc must probe the secrets buried in her borrowed heart. And there’s no time to waste. One man is desperate to silence her—before she remembers too much.

I found the plot to Seagrass Pier intriguing. It’s not often I read about heart donors, but to add that the heroine remembers her donor’s last moments and who her killer is, that makes for some great suspense. Add that Elin’s paired with the one man she shares a past with and it’s a set up for great conflict and romance.

Seagrass Pier has all of this and more. I truly didn’t know who the bad guy was until the reveal. There was a beautiful secondary story about fear that I really enjoyed. There was a heartbreaking look at dementia and caregiving. Beyond the donor story there was also a treasure mystery. I thought maybe there would be too many things going on, but I don’t think that’s the case. I liked the diary/treasure story, too.

With the backdrop of the Outer Banks, I can’t think of a more entertaining summer read.

To purchase Seagrass Pier, click here.

I received a copy of Seagrass Pier from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.




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