Traces of Guilt

I love Dee Henderson’s books.  This was my third, and I haven’t changed my mind yet!  Traces of Guilt has been a very interesting read for me.

Evie Blackwell loves her life as an Illinois State Police Detective . . . mostly. She’s very skilled at investigations and has steadily moved up through the ranks. She would like to find Mr. Right, but she has a hard time imagining how marriage could work, considering the demands of her job.

Gabriel Thane is a lifetime resident of Carin County and now its sheriff, a job he loves. Gabe is committed to upholding the law and cares deeply for the residents he’s sworn to protect. He too would like to find a lifetime companion, a marriage like his parents have. . . .

When Evie arrives in Carin, Illinois, it’s to help launch a new task force dedicated to reexamining unsolved crimes across the state.

Spearheading this trial run, Evie will work with the sheriff’s department on a couple of its most troubling missing-persons cases. As she reexamines old evidence to pull out a few tenuous new leads, she unearths a surprising connection . . . possibly to a third cold case. Evie’s determined to solve the cases before she leaves Carin County, and Sheriff Thane, along with his family, will be key to those answers.

First of all, I have to say that even though I knew when I got this book it would be a romantic suspense, I’m pleased that the romantic side of it wasn’t played out how it could have been.  Sometimes, a romantic plot line in an otherwise very intriguing story can be a distraction, and I’m glad that Henderson opted not to go that route here.

Another thing I liked was that I would just get to a point (and this happened several times) where I thought I had figured out what would be coming next.  I thought I had the story figured out.  I thought I had the cold cases solved.  I should have known better for most of the times, as I often wasn’t even halfway through the book yet, so I’m not sure what there would have been to write about if the cases were solved halfway through.  Each time I thought I had it figured out, I’d get confident, and then my theory would be blown out of the water.  I loved it!

I also loved how Dee Henderson is able to weave characters from previous books into the plot of a totally separate book, but without distracting from the arc of the main characters.  I was thrilled to see Paul and Ann Falcon back, as I’d first encountered them when I read Unspoken this summer.  They’re not in all of her books — they weren’t present in Missing, but it was nice to “see familiar faces” as much as one can when reading a book.  I enjoy the Thane brothers as characters as well, and hope to find them in future books as I read more and more from Henderson.

I highly recommend this book!  It’s long, but it’s a good read and worth every page 🙂


Book was provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.


The Domino Effect

In a world that clearly remembers recessions and housing market bubbles that we still see the effects of today, I thought that this book by Davis Bunn, The Domino Effect, would be an interesting read.  The premise sounded like a good, thrilling movie — in fact, I vaguely remember seeing a movie that the book’s description reminded me of, but… I can’t remember the name of the movie, haha.

I don’t know much about this world — the world of finances, investment banking, stock market decisions, and the like.  But I do appreciate that Davis Bunn is able to deliver a plot that isn’t hard to find through the technical jargon.  I’ve found that with some books — it’ll be on a topic I don’t really understand, and then it ruins the book, but that was not the case here.  An author who can sell me on a topic where I’m clueless is good in my books!

This is a suspenseful and intriguing book, and it keeps readers going — needing to find out what Esther’s next move will be, and how that will play out on the pages as you turn them.

I own another Davis Bunn book, it’s just been buried in my piles of books for a long time.  I think it’s about time it finds its way to the surface of the pile!


Book was provided courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications, Inc., and Baker Publishing Group.

If I Could… (this book lover’s dream book conference)

If I could choose a panel of my favourite authors, and I got to invite them to speak at a conference that I designed, oh the fun that I could have…


I had to mull this one over, because there are a few ways I could spin this, but I think I’ve nailed it down….

My ideal book conference would be two days long, and there would be vendors and publishers everywhere at the conference centre for the two days.  We’d be at some big, fancy hotel in Toronto, or even somewhere nicer (which wouldn’t be hard).  During each day of the conference, there would be workshops that you could sign up for in advance, on many, many topics.

Some such topics might include:  Publishing your first novel; How to create meaningful character arcs; Narrative nonfiction; How to Write an Engaging Travel Essay; Blogging; Creative Writing; The Autobiography; The Biography; Editing; Self Publishing; Networking and Making Good Contacts; What To Do When Someone Says No; Poetry… and the opportunities here are endless.

It would likely have to be marketed as a women’s conference, as you’ll find when I get to the end of this day-dreamy post that all the authors are women, and gear their writing toward women, but if men wanted to join, they’d be more than welcome.

Mixed in with the vendors, there would also be publishers kicking around who are looking for fresh talent.  They’d be at booths, accepting manuscripts for review.  There would be contests to enter manuscripts into, in all sorts of genres.  Book lovers would be in their glory.

Scattered around the Conference Grounds would be “Reading Nooks” where you could take one of the many books you’d bought at the conference, and curl up in a big, comfy chair that enveloped your entire body, and read for an hour or two.  Meals would even have a brown bag option, so that you could take it to go, and go curl up with a book while you ate.

Keynote conference panels would happen on Friday night, and on Saturday night.  And the vendors and publishers’ booths, which were open Friday afternoon, all day Saturday, and until noon on Sunday, would all close down to encourage people to go listen.

My two panels would be these:

  1. Jen Hatmaker, Sarah Bessey, Ann Voskamp, Lysa TerKeurst, Holley Gerth would all unite to talk about being women in the church.  Each woman has a unique twist and spin to their views, but they all have very valuable things to say, and an audience of Christian women who needs to be encouraged.  Especially by Sarah Bessey.  In fact, I might let her speak on being a woman in the church on Sunday morning, before I sent everyone back to their homes, their lives, and their families.
  2. Irene Hannon, Sarah Sundin, Lisa Harris, Dani Pettrey, Dee Henderson, Lynette Eason, and Sandra Orchard would each explain their path to being successful romantic suspense writers, and they’d talk about the elements necessary in a suspenseful novel that keeps you craving the end of the book, but yet hooked enough on the journey that you would never DARE look to the end of the book to find out what happens.  They would talk about how to research your characters and your storylines well, particularly in the context of historical fiction like Sarah Sundin’s, so that a reader with knowledge on the time period or the topic, even on the setting, wouldn’t be able to find major holes in your story.  Attendees would be able to submit questions online ahead of time, maybe via Twitter, or something a little less instantaneous like a Google Form.  It would be included in the registration process — if you had a question, you could ask it, and it might be answered by one of the panel members.

Finally, and we mustn’t forget this…… the Meet and Greets!  Each author from each of the two panels would have booths, and upon registration you could select your top 4 authors, and be scheduled a meet and greet with two of them at some point during the conference.  To pick the brain of Ann Voskamp and find out what it really means to be living a life full of thankfulness… or of Jen Hatmaker, and talk about what it really means to live out love in your community… or of Sarah Bessey, to find out more about the journey this fellow Canadian took on the road to embracing her Biblical womanhood.  In the sense that it was intended.  You could chat with Dee Henderson, and find out how to weave a character’s story through several novels, without that character being the primary focus of a book.  Or you could have coffee with Irene Hannon, and discover how to switch from straight up romance to romantic suspense, without leaving your readers wishing you’d just stuck to what you were really good at.

OH!  And the conference would be small-ish, because in order to guarantee the meet and greet schedule it would have to be.  It would probably be outlandishly expensive, and not profitable for all those vendors and publishers, but hey…. a girl can dream, right?



I was approached to write this post by a contact from Eventbrite, “the largest self-service ticketing platform in the world that helps people find and plan events and conferences.”  (Her description).  I was asked who my favourite author was.  If I could choose a few to put on a panel and have them talk to a crowd, who would I choose?  What would we talk about?

I was given free rein over the post, and all ideas are my own.

Your Powerful Prayers

I must admit, I’ve pretty much blazed through this book.  My first book for October’s reviews was so emotionally charged, and so challenging for me, that it took the bulk of the month, and I did not get to this one until the last couple days.

This book is brilliant.  There is so much beautifully interwoven scripture in here, and there are so many challenges to really take your prayer life seriously, laying everything out for God, and to pray boldly and courageously.  There are so many practical suggestions on how to achieve this, and so many well-integrated promises, breathed by God, written in scriptures for us to cherish and pray through…

The reflection questions are deep.  I haven’t had a chance to go through them and answer them, but I’ve read them.  Rest assured though, that I am going to take my time journaling through those questions and really praying through them.  I want to harness the power of prayer in a way I never have before.

If I’m honest, I never feel worthy of big, bold prayers.  I feel as though they almost have no place coming from me.  This book resonated with me on so many levels and challenged me to throw that thinking away.  I won’t be able to do it alone, but through prayer, I’m hoping to find the me that God intended.

I recommend you give this book a read.  I also recommend, though, that while it may be tiny, it is mighty, and you’ll want to give it time so you can be reflective with it.  What I probably should have done is worked through this one while I was taking breaks from the heaviness of the first one I read this month.  Lesson learned 😉


Book provided courtesy of Baker Publishing and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.