Considering that I had my fourth baby in January of 2019, I still managed to read a decent number of books. I may or may not have prolonged middle-of-the-night nursing snuggles a *little* longer than necessary because I wanted to finish a chapter…or a book.
I read a ton of romantic mystery/suspense, with a dash of historical fiction thrown in – two of my favorite genres. These five authors were new to me in 2019, but they’re all on my “read more” list for 2020!
Check out these authors and pick up a new title or two to read soon (bonus: most of these are available for free on Kindle Unlimited). Don’t forget to leave these authors a review on Amazon or Goodreads when you’re done 🙂
Genre(s): Christian Suspense/Mystery/Thriller
Topics: United States of America, domestic terrorism, Special Forces, patriotism, military, romance, high-action
Titles I’ve Read:
- Voice in the Wilderness (Against All Enemies Book #1)
- Voice of Freedom (Against All Enemies Book #2)
H.L. Wegley is an Air Force veteran, meteorologist, and Boeing Systems programmer turned award-winning author of suspense-filled, action-packed novels.
Wegley’s accounts of combat scenes, weapons, and warfare are highly technical and detailed (which makes sense given his experience and scientific bent). Not everyone will enjoy this, but I personally love because it adds to the realism of the book (plus I enjoy learning about all things military). He writes about places he is personally familiar with and succeeds in bringing the reader there in a vivid way without losing you in flowery, overdone descriptions.
I found the romance in the first book a little weak, but the love story takes a back seat to the story line anyway, so I didn’t mind. I found the romance in the second book better than the first. Both books kept me turning pages rapidly.
Wegley’s books are thought-provoking, and you know I love fiction that challenges and changes you. The Against All Enemies series is an end-of-the-USA story of courage, bravery, and patriotism to save the nation from threats against its core values of freedom and democracy on the part of a tyrannical president who is slowly dismantling the democratic process by subtle abuse of power (please don’t grammatically dissect that sentence). Wegley does an excellent job of painting a scenario that seems scarily possible, especially in our current political climate. If you want to just read the book, you absolutely could, but if you’re willing to think deeper, Wegley challenges the reader to think critically about the state of our democracy and wrestle with what our individual responses would be if placed in the same situations as the characters. In the second book, he grapples with the issue of the morality of violence and military action from a Christian perspective. I found his perspective on this (through the lens of two characters with very contrasting views) unique and provocative in a good way.
I’m only two books into this author, but he is definitely high on my “read more” list!
Next on my list: the prequel, Chasing Freedom (the Prequel to the other two)
Genre(s): Christian Suspense/Action Fiction/Romantic Suspense
Keywords: war hero, Navy SEAL, PTSD, Special Forces, military, high-action, terrorism, FBI, conspiracy,
Titles I’ve Read:
As an Army brat and now Army wife, Ronie Kendig has ample experience to draw from for her military action novels. Her “rapid-fire” fiction is just that – books fill with rapid sequences of action, suspense, drama, twists, and turns. Conspiracy of Silence felt like National Treasurer on Special Forces steroids mixed with some Indiana Jones. Her characters are raw and have believable human flaws.
I inhaled both books and honestly didn’t stop to read too critically, but I don’t have any critiques off hand. In Conspiracy of Silence, I loved how she incorporated the Biblical story of Korah in Numbers 16 (which, cool side note, I just studied last week in my Bible study). In both books, I felt like I was right there with the characters – experiencing the questions hanging in the air, the intrigue at each step, the danger right around the corner, and the heart-pounding adrenaline.
Next on my list: Crown of Souls (The Tox Files Book #2)
Linda Brooks Davis
Genre(s): Christian Historical Fiction/Inspirational Historic Fiction
Keywords: turn-of-the-century, inspirational, women’s suffrage, Great War, World War 1, domestic violence, abuse, heiress, Spanish Flu, female leads
Titles I’ve Read:
- The Calling of Ella McFarland (Women of Rock Creek Book #1)
- The Mending of Lilian Cathleen (Women of Rock Creek Book #2)
- The Awakening of Miss Adelaide (Women of Rock Creek Book #3)
Linda Brooks Davis, a true Texan and former special-needs educator, is a relatively new author to the historical Christian fiction scene with the release of her debut novel in 2015. Her books aren’t for the faint of heart – they are long books that cover large spans of time with multiple twists and turns to the plot, all of which allows for a great deal of character development. Each books include a love story, but the romance is more like a supporting character in an ensemble cast rather than a main player. Davis dives deep into difficult issues that may be triggers for some readers (such as physical and sexual abuse), but she also paints a beautiful picture of the redemptive power of God’s love.
The Women of Rock Creek series is set at the turn of the 20th century through World War 1. Davis brilliantly depicts the historical setting, tensions, and events that shaped that time, touching on the women’s suffrage, the Great War, The Spanish Flu, class distinctions, and more. She is not just a fiction author who sets her books in a historical time period because it’s fun; she is a true historical fiction author who takes the time to research the time period and craft a story that could have come right out of the diary of a real person. The historical context is as much a character as the characters themselves.
Next on my list: I’m honestly not sure, because her only other books are novellas, and I don’t like novellas! (I’m weird – I usually only read books that are over 300 pages). But, since the novellas expand on the Women of Rock Creek characters’ stories, I may concede and read her Rock Creek Christmas Collection.
Genre(s): Historical Christian Romance
Keywords: Jane Austen, period drama, period romance, dancing master, apothecary, intrigue, Cornwall, regency romance, friendship, class society
Titles I’ve Read:
- The Dancing Master
- The Apothecary’s Daughter
- The Tutor’s Daughter
- The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill (Tales from Ivy Hill Book #1)
- The Ladies of Ivy Cottage (Tales from Ivy Hill Book #2)
- The Bride of Ivy Green (Tales from Ivy Hill Book #3)
Julie Klassen is an award-winning author who gives fans of Jane Austen more books to read! Her historical romances with a touch of mystery are true period pieces in the vein of Pride & Prejudice and Jane Eyre. Also, if you are a Poldark fan, you will love these books, especially since some of them are set in Cornwall as Poldark is.
Though lengthy (which I like), her books are filled with just enough unanswered questions keep you turning pages long after you planned to go to bed. She unfolds her characters’ stories slowly while keeping interest and resolving the unanswered questions in the end. Her character development is well-thought out, her attention to historical details is spot on, and her plot twists keep the reader guessing.
True confession: The first book I read of hers was The Dancing Master. I could not get into this book. It took me almost a month to read; usually I will fly through a book like that in well under a week. I’m glad I did not give up on her though, because I absolutely loved the others of hers I read!
Next on my list: I don’t know yet! She has plenty more books for me to discover, but I haven’t picked one.
Genre(s): Christian Romantic Suspense/Mystery/Thriller
Keywords: police drama, undercover cop, law enforcement, strong female lead, Navy SEAL, veterans, war hero, beach mystery, North Carolina
Titles I’ve Read:
Another true confession? I read over 30 of Christy Barritt’s books in 2019. Instead of listing them all, I’ll list the first book in each series I read. You’ll definitely want to read her series in book order!
- Hidden Currents (Lantern Beach Mysteries Book #1)
- Tides of Deception (Lantern Beach Romantic Suspense Book #1)
- On the Lookout (Lantern Beach PD Book #1)
- Carolina Moon Series (3 Book Set)
- Hazardous Duty (Squeaky Clean Mysteries Book #1)
- Ready to Fumble (Worst Detective Ever Book #1)
Christy Barritt is a Publisher’s weekly bestseller and award-winning author who churns out thrilling mysteries with clean romances and underlying faith messages. She’s like the modern Christian version of Agatha Christie (but her faith messages are light enough you can enjoy her books even if you don’t subscribe to her faith views).
I don’t find her books particularly deep or thought-provoking (although she does deal with some nasty gang violence and a cult in the above series), but they are solid page-turning reads that kept me awake through many wee hours breastfeeding sessions last year. I read them far too fast (and in too sleep deprived a state) to analyze her mysteries and law enforcement procedures, but there weren’t any glaring loopholes. Her books are a little bit like a drug to me…I just can’t stop reading them! And clearly she can’t stop writing them.
Part of what makes her books so addictive that each series has a threaded mystery (except for the Carolina Moon series). Each book in a series is has its own mystery to solve but also unfolds more pieces of the overarching mystery. Much like episodes in TV show like Burn Notice, you enjoy the satisfying completion of a story line when you finish a book, but you’re left hungering for the next piece of the bigger mystery.
Her characters are definitely not boring and have endearing quirks. She overlaps characters from other series, which is always fun for the reader (though risky as an author). She does a good job of maintaining each character’s persona when you encounter them in another series.
Side note: I’ve tried reading a couple of her darker mysteries such as Dubiosity and the Fog Lake Suspense Series, but I personally do not like getting inside the twisted heads of serial killers and rapists. If that’s your thing, I’m sure they’re as good of reads as her other books, but they’re weren’t my thing.
Next on my list: Rains of Remorse (Lanter Beach Romantic Suspense Book #5) is currently waiting on my Kindle!
Bonus Author: Me!
Genre(s): Christian romantic suspense
Keywords: Maine, Ireland, dance, musician, domestic abuse, survivor, FBI, Navy SEAL, lighthouse, epic drama, romantic saga
Titles I’ve Written:
My Take: I’m a debut author, and I would be honored if you would read my book! I’ll let you read the description and reviews and decide for yourself 🙂
Next on my List: I’m in process writing the second book, Finding Forgiveness.
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