The Bright Unknown

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About the Book

Book: The Bright Unknown

Author: Elizabeth Byler Younts

Genre:  Historical Romance

Release Date: October 22, 2019

cover Bright Unkown

Two young friends embark upon an epic journey across 1940s middle America in search of answers, a family, and a place to call home.

The only kind of life Brighton Turner understands is the one she has endured within the dreary walls of a rural Pennsylvania asylum. A nurse has thoughtfully educated and raised Brighton, but she has also kept vital information from her in order to keep her close. Brighton befriends a boy whom she calls Angel—he doesn’t know his name—and as the two of them learn more about what lies beyond the walls they call home, they fight for their release and eventually escape.

However, the world outside the only place they’ve ever known is not what they expect. They have no real names, no money, and no help—and they must rely upon the kindness of strangers as they walk and hitchhike from Pennsylvania to Michigan to find their last hope of a home.

This heartbreaking journey, narrated in gorgeous prose, explores what it means to belong—and to scour the universe with fresh eyes for the brightness within.

Click here to grab your copy!

My Thoughts

When I found out Elizabeth Byler Younts had written another book, I knew I had to read it. Her book The Solace of Water was phenomenal; it’s the one I recommend to everyone who asks for a book recommendation. In comes The Bright Unknown. Sign me up! I know it’s going to be great. And oh my goodness was I right. This book is a sensory experience. The words come alive. They dance through your senses in every way possible. The “xylophone of sounds” create a rhythm you can’t help but dance to. The depth of the characters, their attunement to the deepest parts of their soul, is both horrifyingly painful and beautiful at the same time. Ms. Younts has a way of writing chapter endings that entices you to read just one more before returning to life as you know it. The story pulls you like a dog pulls its owner on a leash, unwilling to let you slow down, begging you to hold on for dear life. You find yourself in the pages of this book; in between the lines, inside the characters’ hearts and souls. Younts beautifully incapsulates humanity and our depravity, our brokenness and our longing for wholeness, relationship, and to be seen. Rarely do I underline anything in a fiction book. But I sat reading this book with a pen in my hand. This is a book to keep on the shelf, to revisit, to find pieces of your lost or hiding self in. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. I’d give it 10 if I could. Younts is an author to follow. I received a copy of this book from CelebrateLit. I was in no way required to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.

About the Author

Elizabeth Younts

Elizabeth Byler Younts gained a worldwide audience through her first book, Seasons: A Real Story of an Amish Girl. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed novel The Solace of Water and the Promise of Sunrise series. Elizabeth lives in Central Pennsylvania with her husband, her two daughters, and a small menagerie of well-loved pets.

More from Elizabeth

The Bright Unknown was born out of a seed of a true story that my husband’s grandmother, Gigi, shared with me. Gigi told me that when she was a young girl living in Oklahoma her mom had a friend who was a nurse. During one of her visits over coffee she would occasionally talk about her patients at the local asylum. One particular story really intrigued Gigi and even decades later she still remembered it. The story was about a patient who had a baby while at the hospital and while Gigi remembers nothing about the patient or the child, she knew that when she moved out of Oklahoma several years later that asylum-born girl was around eighteen and still living within the walls of that hospital along with her patient-mother.

That story stuck with me. This trapped girl and her mother wouldn’t let me go. I began to wonder over her and ask all sorts of unanswered questions. Slowly but surely my imagined story for her came to life. Layer after layer I learned about Brighton, my name for her. I also named two characters after Gigi, her first and middle, as an honor to her. This story was born from a memory but now these characters feel real and present in my life today and I hope you will journey with them in The Bright Unknown.

Blog Stops

The Power of Words, November 2

A Reader’s Brain, November 2

Living Life Free in Christ, November 2

The Christian Fiction Girl, November 3

Inspired by fiction, November 3

Fiction Aficionado, November 4

Genesis 5020, November 4

janicesbookreviews, November 5

Blogging With Carol , November 5

All-of-a-kind Mom, November 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 6

To Everything A Season, November 6

The Becca Files, November 7

Bigreadersite, November 7

A Baker’s Perspective, November 8

Connect in Fiction, November 8

Moments, November 9

Bloggin’ ’bout Books, November 9

Simple Harvest Reads, November 10

Betti Mace, November 10

Pause for Tales, November 11

Inklings and notions, November 11

Mary Hake, November 11

Texas Book-aholic, November 12

Hallie Reads, November 12

For the Love of Literature, November 12

Through the Fire Blogs, November 13

For Him and My Family, November 13

Remembrancy, November 14

mpbooks, November 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 15

Godly Book Reviews, November 15

Strong Brave Loved

About the Book

You want to be a woman who looks life in the face and says, “You can’t beat me.” A woman who knows love is a risk and reaches out anyways. A woman who understands kindness takes real courage. Who doesn’t fake it or try to hide her scars. Who fights to believe she is who God says she is and helps others do the same.

In Strong, Brave, Loved, bestselling author Holly Gerth offers you sixty short devotions to empower you to be that kind of woman. It’s simple, personal, and practical, with room for you to journal your own responses and reflections as you learn to live in freedom, hope, and holy courage.

My Thoughts

THIS BOOK IS BEAUTIFUL!!! The gold is just gorgeous with the red flowers. I know we shouldn’t judge books by their cover but how can you not when it’s that gorgeous. It’s simple and feminine and just excellently designed. Then you open the book and the “devotionals” are so good too! Now I put devotionals in quotes because they’re not full devotionals in my mind. They’re more encouragement with a little scripture and a prayer thrown in with each passage. I don’t know if I would type this book as a devotional. That said, I love the writing. It’s encouraging. It’s motivating. It’s empowering. I love it. It’s very practical, which is awesome. And it’s relevant. The topics covered are ones women today are hit with from all sides. The questions at the end of each passage are great for reflection and processing where you can apply what you just read to your own life. I found many things I wanted to underline. Many moments where I found myself saying, “YES!” “I need this!” One of my favorite lines came in passage Sixteen. It says, “What we really need from each other is not a pared-down version of ourselves that’s been polished and carefully presented. We need to be true to who we are, to show up as is, because that’s the only way we actually feel less alone.” I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. It’s great. Pick it up and read it often. Your life will be better for it. I received a copy of this book from Revell. I was in no way required to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.

For more information about the author visit her website https://holleygerth.com/

the words between us

About the Book

Robin Windsor has spent much of her life under an assumed name to avoid association with her infamous parents. She thought she’d finally found sanctuary running her used bookstore in quiet River City, Michigan. But when she receives an eerily familiar book in the mail on the morning of her father’s scheduled execution, Robin is thrown back to the summer she met Peter Flynt, the perfect boy who ruined everything. Why would Peter be making contact now? And why does she have a sinking feeling that she’s about to be exposed all over again?
With evocative prose that recalls the classic novels we love, Erin Bartels pens a story that shows that words — the ones we say, the ones we read, and the ones we write — have more power than we imagine.

My Thoughts

After reading Ms. Bartels debut novel and being completely blown away, I had high hopes for this second novel. And it was amazing! The writing is superb, beautiful, and flows so smoothly. There’s none of that going back to reread because you didn’t quite get what the author is trying to say. It’s not overly wordy either. Just the perfect amount of words beautifully strung together to make the story dance off the page into real life. The setting is so charming and homey. Being from the midwest, I feel like I’m at home in the book. I also love all the reference to great literary works. I loved the characters. Love how Bartels slowly draws the reader into the life of the character, with some comic relief and tugs at the heart strings. The characters deal with real life, big issues, and respond in such normal ways. The story doesn’t feel rushed, or over dramatized and cheesy. Erin Bartels is quickly becoming one of my favorite new authors. I recommend her books to all my friends. I give this story 5 stars. I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was in no way required to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.

Deadly Intentions

About the Book

Detective Josh Solomon always believed his wife’s death was the result of a home invasion. But when he is pulled into a case with striking similarities, it doesn’t take long for him to realize the chilling truth the attack that took his wife’s life was far from random. (From Goodreads)

My Thoughts

I love action books such as this! They take you on a wild ride and leave you feeling like you need a nap after you read them. Love the bioterrorism storyline with a little romance too. It’s a common theme in these books, which, I’m not sure if I feel it’s overdone or not. It’s just predictable. I still like reading them but sometimes I just wish the story would go a little differently from all the other books just like it! I feel like some parts of the storyline are overly predictable and unrealistic. Like when does it ever happen that way? All of a sudden? What! Some parts of the story move super quick and are on point. Others come out of nowhere and are like what just happened? How did we get from this point to this point? Did a few pages get ripped out of my book? Overall, the story is good and will keep you interested for sure. I give this book 3 stars. I received a copy of this book from Revell. I was under no requirement to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.

A Glitter of Gold

About the Book

Anne Norris moved to Savannah, Georgia, for a fresh start. Now her pirate-tour business is flagging and paying the rent requires more than wishful thinking. When she discovers evidence of a shipwreck off the coast of Tybee Island, she knows it could be just the boon she needs to stay afloat. She takes her findings to local museum director Carter Hale for confirmation, but things do not go as planned.

Carter is fascinated with the wreck, the discovery of which could open the door to his dream job at a prestigious museum. But convincing Anne to help him fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle is no easy task. And working with Carter means Anne will have to do the one thing she swore she’d never do again: trust a man.

My Thoughts

Liz Johnson writes such beautiful stories. They always have such interesting and unique storylines. This one follows suit. I mean who doesn’t like a book about a sunken ship, treasure floating to shore, plus some mild romance? Mystery and history! It’s a perfect combination. The story clips along nicely, it kept my interest well. I felt like the characters were likable and relatable. Themes of forgiveness, restoration, love, grace, and family ties were evident throughout the story. I love the way Ms. Johnson writes these themes into her stories. They are parts of real life and she handles them beautifully. I also liked that Anne wasn’t a spoiled rich kid. She was struggling financially. This is something most people can relate to at some point in their life. I love that it was part of this story. This book is great for a day at the beach, an afternoon in your favorite chair, or a cold winter night wrapped in a blanket. You’ll soak up every part of the story and learn a little bit about pirate history too! What’s not to love? I recommend this book and gave it 4 stars. I received a copy from Revell. I was in no way required to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.

back roads to belonging

About the Book

At one time or another, shifting seasons in family, friendships, employment, and communities will bring each of us face-to-face with the feeling of being on the outside looking in. Because we are made for connection, this will often lead us down one of two roads. Either we will hop on the popular but crowded highway that asks us to do whatever it takes to get noticed or we’ll stand still, paralyzed by the fear that we’re not important, lovable, or worth other people’s time and attention.

But there is another way — the back road to belonging — and Kristen Strong is ready to walk it with you. With compassion and encouragement, she shows you how to remain in Christ and relax into the unique role God has for you. Along the way, you will learn simple, doable actions that will not only help you know that you belong but welcome others in as well.

My Thoughts

I was drawn to the tag line of this book: “Unexpected paths to finding your place and your people.” I wasn’t sure what I expected to find inside but I liked the wording. Sometimes the strangest things catch your eye and intrigue you. The best part of this book was how relational the author is. She tells her story. I feel like I know so much about her. It’s like we sat together for hours, her telling her story, and me listening in with a cup of coffee in my hand getting cold as I listened. She makes some great points throughout the book. Real life things that anyone can do to help them find their path towards where they belong. Ms. Strong’s story is a great example for this book. I cannot imagine a life as a military family having to move all the time. But even though that’s not my life, I know what it’s like to feel like I don’t belong. So these principles are applicable to anyone.

I did struggle a bit with how much story there is. The scripture content was rather low in my opinion. There was a lot of talk of scripture though which is nice but I want more meat. I feel like the content got clouded a bit by all the stories. I felt like the stories jumped around a lot and I had trouble picking through the stories for the message. The book could have been much shorter and packed a bigger punch.

I gave this book 3 stars. I received a copy from Revell. I was in no way required to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.

Over The Line

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About the Book

Book: Over the Line

Author: Kelly Irvin

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release date: June 11, 2019

Over the LIne

In this high-stakes romantic suspense novel where tensions mount on both sides of the border, bestselling author Kelly Irvin explores what happens when the past explodes against the present and the only person you can turn to is the one who broke your heart.

When a college student dies at Gabriella’s feet after muttering her brother’s name, vicious gun smugglers believe she knows too much. And they’re determined to make sure she suffers the same fate. With no one else to turn to, Gabriella reunites with her former fiancé, homicide detective Eli Cavazos, to investigate the dead man’s murder and her brother’s disappearance.

In a desperate race against time, Gabriella and Eli are determined to clear her brother and find him before the gun smugglers can kill them both. Bit by bit, they tear away the masks worn by men masquerading as law-abiding citizens. No one can be trusted.

Working as a team forces Gabriella and Eli to face the problems that ended their relationship. She realizes she’s the one who needs to learn to forgive, but Eli must also learn to trust her with his secrets.

This ragtag team must fight a powerful ring of criminals protected by the very institutions that should prosecute them in an all-out battle that may cost them their lives.

Click here to grab your copy.

My Thoughts

Want to go on a wild ride? Check out this book! Just when I thought there would be some relief, some answers, more questions came and the action got crazier. This is an intense book. The pages practically turn themselves. I had a bit of trouble with the relationship between Eli and Gabriella. It just didn’t have a realistic feel to it. It felt written instead of lived. I also noticed quite a bit of repeat information throughout the story. It was written into the story well but I was like I just read this! I remember it from back there. Why do you need to retell? But that’s not a major issue. Overall I really liked the plot line. The characters were ok. It clipped along at a good pace and was really interesting. I gave the book 3.5 stars.

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. I was in no way required to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.

About the Author

Kelly Irvin

Kelly Irvin is the bestselling author of the Every Amish Season and Amish of Bee County series. The Beekeepers Son received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, who called it a “beautifully woven masterpiece.” The two-time Carol Award finalist is a former newspaper reporter and retired public relations professional. Kelly lives in Texas with her husband, photographer Tim Irvin. They have two children, two grandchildren, and two cats. In her spare time, she likes to read books by her favorite authors. Visit her online at KellyIrvin.com; Instagram: kelly_irvin; Facebook: Kelly.Irvin.Author; Twitter: @Kelly_S_Irvin.

More from Kelly

Over the Line by Kelly Irvin turns the heat up on suspense with a setting in Laredo, Texas. Here’s a spicy chili to pair with the book while you’re reading.

(adapted from 1979 World’s Fair Chili Recipe)

3 lbs. round steak, chopped
3 lbs. chuck roast, chopped
6 T. vegetable oil
6 T. chili Powder
6 T. cumin
6 garlic cloves minced
2 whole onions, chopped
1 T. oregano
2 T. paprika
2 T. cider vinegar
4 ounces green chilies, diced
14 oz. stewed tomatoes (one can)
1 T. Tabasco sauce
2 T. cornmeal
3 c. beef broth
Pepper to taste
Brown meat in oil. Pepper to taste. Drain oil from meat, add chili pepper, cumin, garlic, and onion. Cook for 30 to 45 minutes. Stir often.
Add oregano, paprika, vinegar, 2 c. broth, green chilies, stewed tomatoes, and Tabasco sauce. Simmer 30 to 45 minutes. Stir often.
Dissolve cornmeal in one cup of beef broth. Pour into chili. Simmer another 30 minutes, stirring often. (Chili is done when meat is tender.)

Serves 8.

Kelly’s Note: My husband loves his chili with saltine crackers. I like Fritos. We all agree that chili should NOT have beans in it. My mom always made homemade cinnamon rolls to have for dessert when she made her chili. Hmmm. That sounds good. I’m off to the kitchen! Enjoy!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, July 9

A Baker’s Perspective, July 9

Emily Yager, July 10

Godly Book Reviews, July 10

Genesis 5020, July 11

Bigreadersite, July 11

Through the Fire Blogs, July 12

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, July 12

The Becca Files, July 13

For Him and My Family, July 13

Inklings and notions, July 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 14

Living Life Free in Christ,  July 14

Moments, July 15

Daysong Reflections, July 15

All-of-a-kind Mom, July 16

Hallie Reads, July 16

Remembrancy, July 17

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, July 17

By The Book, July 18

For the Love of Books, July 18

Real World Bible Study, July 19

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 19

Simple Harvest Reads, July 20

Texas Book-aholic, July 20

Pause for Tales, July 21

janicesbookreviews, July 21

Ashley’s Bookshelf, July 22

A Reader’s Brain, July 22

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kelly is giving away the grand prize of a copy of her book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra enemies into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/e5a9/over-the-line-celebration-tour-giveaway

all manner of things

by Susie Finkbeiner

About the Book

When Annie Jacobson’s brother Mike enlists as a medic in the Army in 1967, he hands her a piece of paper with the address of their long-estranged father. If anything should happen to him in Vietnam, Mike says, Annie must let their father know. 

In Mike’s absence, their father returns to face tragedy at home, adding an extra measure of complication to an already tense time. As they work toward healing and pray fervently for Mike’s safety overseas, letter by letter the Jacobsons must find a way to pull together as a family, regardless of past hurts. In the tumult of this time, Annie and her family grapple with the tension of holding both hope and grief in the same hand, even as they learn to turn to the One who binds the wounds of the brokenhearted.

Author Susie Finkbeiner invites you into the Jacobson family’s home and hearts during a time in which the chaos of the outside world touched their small community in ways they never imagined.

My Thoughts

I feel like I just spent a weekend with a family who on Friday I hardly knew. Now it’s Sunday and I feel like they’re my own family. This book goes on the shelf of books that tug your heart to new places, the shelf of books that captivate you, the shelf of books that don’t let you forget them. All Manner of Things, is not filled with high action, suspense and mystery, instead, it’s filled with family. The normal kind of things families deal with, the hard things families deal with and the happy things families deal with. And because of that, the story is unforgettable. I really do feel like I spent time with some people who have become like family. 
The author writes in such a beautiful way. The words dance and come to life. The pages fly past. I could not stop reading. It was a relaxing but emotional read. I put this up next to All The Light We Cannot See (Doerr) How the Light Gets In (Petersheim) And We Hope for Better Things (Bartels). If you like those you will love this story. There wasn’t much in the way of strong Christian content in the storyline, which is just fine. I would rather it be a little than too much and in your face.
This is my first read from Susie Finkbeiner and it definitely won’t be my last. I’m going to hunt down her other books right now! I gave this book 5 stars.
I received a copy of this book from Revell. I was in no way required to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.

For more information about the author visit her website at https://susiefinkbeiner.com/

Living Lies

By Natalie Walters

About the Book

In the little town of Walton, Georgia, everybody knows your name — but no one knows your secret. At least that’s what Lane Kent is counting on when she returns to her hometown with her five-year-old son. Dangerously depressed after the death of her husband, Lane is looking for hope. What she finds instead is a dead body.

Lane must work with Walton’s newest deputy, Charlie Lynch, to uncover the truth behind the murder. But when that truth hits too close to home, she’ll have to decide if saving the life of another is worth the cost of revealing her darkest secret.

My Thoughts

Let’s start from the cover. We all know we shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover but look at that cover! It’s so captivating. I love the misty green look. It makes me want to find out what’s inside. The start of the book is great. I want to know more. I’m drawn in to the mystery. But then sadly, I quickly began to loose interest. I did love the inclusion of depression. This is a little talked about topic in Christian fiction but it is a huge problem in the lives of many Christians. We don’t talk about it enough. I’m glad the author chose to include it in her story. But, I don’t want that to define a person the entire story. I felt like Lane was more than her depression but I didn’t know much else. I wanted a deeper understanding of this character. I was left wanting. And there was something about her name. It would get lost in the story and I would forget that it was her name. I would find myself thinking, “Wait? Who is this Lane person?” I became more easily distracted. The details were nicely written but kind of irrelevant. I found they detracted from the central story. I had a hard time floating from page to page. I had to go back and reread quite a bit. Charlie’s character was really likable. I feel like his character had more depth. Unfortunately that wasn’t enough for me. I couldn’t sink into this story and get carried away. I was disappointed by that because typically this genre is one where I can sit down and not get up til the book is done. This was not the case for this book, sad to say. I’m interested to read future books by this author. This just wasn’t one for me. I gave it 3 stars.

I received a copy of this book from Revell. I was in no way required to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.

Summer By the Tides

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About the Book

Book: Summer by The Tides

Author: Denise Hunter

Genre: Christian Fiction, Contemporary Romance

Release Date: May 21, 2019

Summer by the Tides

From the bestselling author of The Convenient Groom (now a beloved Hallmark Original movie) comes a heartfelt story of family secrets, forgiveness, and unexpected romance.

Following a painful betrayal, Maddy Monroe’s love life is a wreck, and her restaurant career is in shambles. When her grandmother goes missing, she and her estranged sisters converge at the family beach house in Sea Haven, North Carolina. Being with uptight Nora and free-spirited Emma at the place where their family broke apart is a struggle, and undercurrents of jealousy and resentment threaten to pull the sisters under. In the midst of the storm, sparks begin to fly between Maddy and Gram’s maddening neighbor, Connor Murphy.

As the sisters pack up the family belongings, memories of idyllic, slow-paced summers are resurrected. But long-buried secrets also come to light as Maddy discovers that all was not as it appeared that last summer in Sea Haven—nor today in the seemingly perfect lives of her sisters.

As family tensions rise and Connor causes tumult in Maddy’s heart, the sisters must find a way to accept each other for the women they’ve become before the bitterness of the past destroys their hope for a future.

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Thoughts

Denise Hunter is the author I go to when I’m kind of burnt out from reading. Her stories are dependably good and typically on the lighter side. I love that about her stories. They don’t disappoint. Summer By the Tides fell right into my expectations. A great story, written in an interesting location, with interesting characters and a storyline that has depth but doesn’t leave you feel weighed down when you’re done. I love how she brings back bits from other stories. I believe the Crab Shack, now renamed, was in one of her other series? I love it when authors do that. It’s like a little present for fans who have read a lot of an authors books.

The issues and challenges the characters deal with are real. They aren’t carbon copies of other books I’ve read. They are unique and well thought through. I love the slow budding romance between Maddy & Connor. It’s so sweet. I really love the grandma even though she’s not a huge character in the book. I love how she cares for her granddaughters. I never had a close grandma so anytime there are grandma/granddaughter relationships in books I really love them.

That being said, I did struggle a little bit with the way the 3 sisters were written. I loved the storyline behind their animosity towards one another but I found some of the ways it was written was a little catty and whiny. I was rather annoyed at them. I don’t know if this was intentional but I just felt like it could have been much better had they been written a little differently. But on the other hand, sisters are like that. So it’s normal. It’s natural. I’m just not a fan of seemingly petty drama-filled interactions in books.

Otherwise the story was great. I loved it. I gave it 4 stars! I can’t wait for Ms. Hunter’s next book. She is my go to author! Love her writing. I received a copy of this book from CelebrateLit. I was in no way required to write a positive review. All thoughts are my own.

About the Author

Hunter Denise

Denise Hunter is the internationally published bestselling author of more than 25 books, including A December Bride and The Convenient Groom, which have been adapted into original Hallmark Channel movies. She has won The Holt Medallion Award, The Reader’s Choice Award, The Carol Award, The Foreword Book of the Year Award, and is a RITA finalist. When Denise isn’t orchestrating love lives on the written page, she enjoys traveling with her family, drinking green tea, and playing drums. Denise makes her home in Indiana where she and her husband are rapidly approaching an empty nest. To learn more about Denise, visit her website DeniseHunterBooks.com; Facebook: AuthorDeniseHunter; Twitter: @DeniseAHunter; Instagram: deniseahunter.

Read an Excerpt from Summer by the Tides

MADDY MONROE WAS COWERING behind a ficus tree near the hostess station when her cell phone rang. Her hands shook as she silenced the phone before it drew the attention of the staff.

She jabbed the elevator button for the third time. “Come on, come on.” A star could be born in interstellar space, a polar valley carved by a glacier in the time it took the elevator to reach this floor. Stairs were not an option, as she was on the twentieth floor of the Waterford building and sporting heels.

She sniffled. Drat. She seemed to be crying. She swiped a hand under her eyes, heedless of her makeup.

She heard voices, Nick’s boisterous laugh. Maddy shrank deeper into the ficus and finally, finally, the elevator dinged its arrival.

“Maddy?” Noelle’s concerned voice tunneled down the hall. “Maddy, wait.”

“Oh, come on,” she muttered, tapping her fingers against her leg until the gold doors crept open. As soon as she could fit, she squeezed inside and punched the ground-floor button.

She didn’t draw a breath until the doors sealed and the elevator began to drop. She placed a palm over a heart that was threatening to beat its way out of her chest. Her white blouse clung to her back, and her skin prickled beneath her arms.

She closed her eyes, the scene that had just transpired playing out in fast-forward in her mind. And then, as if that montage weren’t painful enough, the image of Nick’s face appeared. The look on his face just before he’d kissed her good-bye last night.

Nick. She clamped her teeth together until her jaw ached.

There had been signs. Many of them, really, she was realizing now. They ranged from whisper-subtle to neon-sign obvious. But like so many other walking clichés before her, she was only seeing them in retrospect.

Maddy opened her eyes to the buttery sunlight streaming through her blinds. She scrambled for her iPhone to check the time. But as she did so, the events of yesterday washed over her like a tsunami. She didn’t have to get up at all, because she didn’t have a job anymore.

Her cell buzzed with an incoming call, and she squinted bleary-eyed at the unfamiliar number on the screen before declining it.

She drooped against her pillow, only now aware of how fat and swollen her eyes felt. Of the persistent achy lump pushing at the back of her throat. Her heartbeat made the bed quake. Her eyes burned with tears. Yesterday’s anger had faded, and something worse had filled its spot.

Yesterday she’d come home, changed into yoga pants, and worked in her little garden until she was too exhausted to do anything but flop on the sofa. She hadn’t fallen asleep until after three o’clock in the morning.

She didn’t want to talk to anyone, didn’t want to see anyone. She didn’t even want to be awake today. She pulled the covers over her head and prayed for oblivion.

Required text: Taken from “Summer by the Tides” by Denise Hunter. Copyright © 2019 by Denise Hunter. Used by permission of http://www.thomasnelson.com/.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 4

The Power of Words, June 4

Back Porch Reads, June 4

The Morning Chapter, June 5

A Baker’s Perspective, June 5

Worthy2Read, June 5

Carla Loves To Read, June 6

Genesis 5020, June 6

Through the Fire Blogs, June 6

Among the Reads, June 7

Quiet Quilter, June 7

For Him and My Family, June 7

The Christian Fiction Girl, June 8

cultivating us, June 8

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, June 8

Girls Living For God’s Glory, June 9

Moments, June 9

Inklings and notions, June 9

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 10

Coast and anchor, June 10

amandainpa, June 10

Lighthouse Academy, June 11

EmpowerMoms, June 11

Pause for Tales, June 11

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, June 12

For The Love of Books, June 12

Just the Write Escape, June 12

All-of-a-kind Mom, June 13

Texas Book-aholic, June 13

Hallie Reads, June 13

2014 and Beyond, June 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 14

Simple Harvest Reads, June 14

Living Life Free In Christ, June 15

janicesbookreviews, June 15

Vicky Sluiter, June 15

Have A Wonderful Day, June 16

A Reader’s Brain, June 16

To Everything A Season, June 16

Lukewarm Tea, June 17

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 17

Daysong Reflections, June 17

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Denise is giving away a finished copy of Summer by the Tides!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e541/summer-by-the-tides-celebration-tour-giveaway