Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Meant To Read In 2017

No matter how many books I read, the list of ones I don’t get to is even longer. For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday post, I will share ten books I wanted to read in 2017, but didn’t. Thankfully, I still can in 2018.

(1) If I’m Found (If I Run #2) by Terri Blackstock

Casey Cox is still on the run, fleeing prosecution for a murder she didn’t commit. Dylan Roberts—her most relentless pursuer—is still on her trail, but his secret emails insist that he knows the truth and wants to help her. He’s let her escape before when he had her in his grasp, but trust doesn’t come easily.

As Casey works to collect evidence about the real murderers, she stumbles on another unbearable injustice: an abused child and a suicidal man who’s also been falsely accused. Casey risks her own safety to right this wrong and protect the little girl from her tormentors. But doing so is risky and just may result in her capture—and if she’s captured, she has no doubt she’ll be murdered before she ever steps foot in a jail.

(2) Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge—until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents—but they quickly realize that the truth is much darker. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together—in a world of danger and uncertainty.

Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions—and compels her to take a journey through her family’s long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or redemption.

(3) The Esther Paradigm by Sarah Monzon

Hannah Pratt dreams of starting a school for the Bedouin clan she grew up with as a missionary kid, and finally her hopes are coming true. But shortly after she returns to the desert from her college years in the U.S., she discovers her parents have received threats from their Muslim neighbors. As the danger escalates, Hannah finds she’s in the middle of a battle no one seems to understand. She must decide to what lengths she’ll go to stay faithful to the mission to which God has called her. Even if it costs her everything.

As sheikh, Karim Al-Amir feels the weight of responsibility as the leader of his people. When a mysterious illness ravishes the clan’s flocks and threatens to destroy their centuries-old way of life, locals believe the American doctors and their daughter, his childhood friend, Hannah, are to blame. Karim must do something to keep them safe—even if the only solution can be found within marriage vows.

In a society where the line is drawn between us and them, Christianity is outlawed, and foreigners are mistrusted, will their union heal wounds or inflict the final fatal blow?

(4) Out of Darkness by Erynn Newman

Bride and a widow in the same day, Elisabeth’s prayers are about to be answered . . . if the CIA, international arms dealers, and her best friend don’t stand in the way.

Elisabeth Allen gave her heart to Jesus as a little girl and to Drew Marek as a teenager. When their wedding day finally arrives, it’s the happiest day of her life—until a bomb transforms her dream come true into a living nightmare.

As Best Man at the wedding, Gabriel Di Salvo promises Drew—his best friend and CIA partner—he’ll look after Elisabeth, but he never dreams it will become necessary so soon. As Elisabeth struggles to put the pieces of her life back together without Drew, Gabe becomes her rock, and as they share their grief and begin to heal, their friendship gradually deepens into something more.

Three years later, Gabe and Elisabeth are planning a future together when he receives a shocking call from the one man who can upend his happiness: Drew. Suspecting someone at the CIA is behind his abduction, Drew refuses to come home. Instead, he asks Gabe to bring Elisabeth to him. Now Gabe just has to figure out how to let her go.

Drew and Elisabeth race across Europe, dodging international arms dealers and attempting to reclaim what was stolen from them. But years of captivity and torture have left their mark on Drew. He is no longer the same boy Elisabeth fell in love with, but he is still Elisabeth’s husband, and she is determined to build something new and not allow her relationship with Gabe to come between them.

When their enemies close in and the threat of a terrorist attack escalates, Gabe may be the only person they can trust. Drew, Elisabeth, and Gabe are thrown into a fight for their lives—one that will test their loyalties to God, country . . . and each other.

(5) A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander

Despite her training as a master violinist, Rebekah Carrington was denied entry into the Nashville Philharmonic by young conductor Nathaniel Whitcomb, who bowed to public opinion. Now, with a reluctant muse and a recurring pain in his head, he needs her help to finish his symphony. But how can he win back her trust when he’s robbed her of her dream?

(6) Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter

When Noah and Josephine Mitchell discover their divorce was never actually finalized, their lives are turned upside down.

Following his divorce, Noah gave up his dream job, settling at a remote horse ranch in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia, putting much-needed distance between himself and the former love of his life. But then Noah gets a letter from the IRS claiming he and Josephine are still married. When he confronts Josephine for the first time in months, they discover that she missed the final step in filing the paperwork and they are, in fact, still married.

Josephine is no happier about the news than Noah. Maybe the failed marriage—and okay, the botched divorce—was her fault, but her heart was shattered right alongside his, more than he would ever believe. The sooner they put this marriage behind them, the better for both of their sakes.

But when Josephine delivers the final paperwork to his ranch, the two become stranded in his cottage during the worst spring snowstorm in a decade. Being trapped with Josephine is a test of Noah’s endurance. He wrestles with resentment and an unmistakable pull to his wife—still beautiful, still brave, and still more intriguing than any woman he’s ever known.

As they find themselves confronted with each other and their shared past, old wounds surface and tempers flare. But when they are forced out into the storm, they must rely on each other in a way they never have before. Josephine finally opens up about her tragic past, and Noah realizes she’s never been loved unconditionally by anyone—including him. Will Noah accept the challenge to pursue Josephine’s heart? And can she finally find the courage to trust Noah?

(7) The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck

Tenley Roth’s first book was a runaway bestseller. Now that her second book is due, she’s locked in fear. Can she repeat her earlier success or is she a fraud who has run out of inspiration?

With pressure mounting from her publisher, Tenley is weighted with writer’s block. But when her estranged mother calls asking Tenley to help her through chemotherapy, she packs up for Florida where she meets handsome furniture designer Jonas Sullivan and discovers the story her heart’s been missing.

A century earlier, another woman wrote at the same desk with hopes and fears of her own. Born during the Gilded Age, Birdie Shehorn is the daughter of the old money Knickerbockers. Under the strict control of her mother, her every move is decided ahead of time, even whom she’ll marry. But Birdie has dreams she doesn’t know how to realize. She wants to tell stories, write novels, make an impact on the world. When she discovers her mother has taken extreme measures to manipulate her future, she must choose between submission and security or forging a brand new way all on her own.

Tenley and Birdie are from two very different worlds, but fate has bound them together in a way time cannot erase.

(8) The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

Kaine Prescott is no stranger to death. When her husband died two years ago, her pleas for further investigation into his suspicious death fell on deaf ears. In desperate need of a fresh start, Kaine purchases an old house sight unseen in her grandfather’s Wisconsin hometown. But one look at the eerie, abandoned house immediately leaves her questioning her rash decision. And when the house’s dark history comes back with a vengeance, Kaine is forced to face the terrifying realization she has nowhere left to hide.
A century earlier, the house on Foster Hill holds nothing but painful memories for Ivy Thorpe. When an unidentified woman is found dead on the property, Ivy is compelled to discover her identity. Ivy’s search leads her into dangerous waters and, even as she works together with a man from her past, can she unravel the mystery before any other lives–
including her own–are lost?

(9) Never Forget (Beacons of Hope #5) by Jody Hedlund

Rose Island Lighthouse, Rhode Island
June 1880

Will she betray his trust to stay on the island she loves?

Abbie Watson is content to spend her days clamming, crabbing, and tending Rose Island Lighthouse. Her grandpa is the head light keeper, but his senility may lead to their eviction. Since leaving the island would kill her beloved Gramps, Abbie will do anything to keep him in the one place he knows and loves.

Wealthy Nathaniel Winthrop III’s wild living has gained him a reputation as the ‘bad boy’ among the elite social circles of Newport. After a blow to the head in a yachting accident washes him up on Rose Island, Nathaniel has no memories of his past.

Abbie tends the wounded stranger in her home only to realize he assumes they’re married. Although she knows she needs to correct Nathaniel’s mistake, his presence calms Gramps and provides a way to prevent eviction from the lighthouse.

The longer the charade continues, the harder it gets for Abbie to tell Nathaniel the truth, more so as she begins to fall in love. Everyone she’s ever loved has abandoned her. Will Nathaniel leave her too, once he discovers he’s not really her husband?

(10) The Engagement Plot by Krista Phillips

Six months ago, William stole Hanna’s heart and shattered it in front of millions of people on a reality TV dating show. And now the big-wig CEO is back on Hanna’s home turf in Minnesota and wants her to forgive him? Fat chance of that. But life is swirling around faster than snow in a blizzard, and despite her objections, teaming up with William seems like the only option to rescue her reputation.

William has never regretted anything more than the day he gave that ill-fated interview for the reality show, The Price of Love. But while he can’t change the past, he’s determined to fix the future. He just needs to convince Hanna to forgive him—and pretend to be engaged with him. Simple, right?

When the media erupts with even worse accusations, teaming up and pretending to be engaged seems to be the only way to salvage their reputations.  Despite the media frenzy that swirls around them, an attraction neither of them can fight off begins to surface. Could this love run deeper than a scandal, or will old wounds tear them apart once and for all?  When all seems lost, it’s only with help from above that Hanna and Will may find their happily-ever-after.

What book(s) did you mean to read in 2017 but didn’t?


Character Spotlight + Giveaway: Sarah Monzon’s Henry and Alice

Yesterday, we had an exciting day with Michael and Jack stopping by and learning about Sarah Monzon’s latest release, All of You. (Read all about it here.) Today, Henry and Alice have traveled all the way from 1944 ( 😉 ) to tell us a bit about themselves.

Meet Henry

Image Credit: Pinterest

Resembles: Dan Stevens

Physical description: Slightly curly blond hair and sky-blue eyes. He’s average height, but his ever-present fedora adds a few inches. The tell-tale ink stains on his fingers only slightly distract from the smart way he dresses.

Age: 24

Loves: Is observing a hobby? Whether it’s through the lens of his camera or just from a park bench, there is a lot one can learn…about people and events. He also has an affinity for sweeping Alice off her feet.

Hates: Haggis. Seriously. Why would the Scottish think cooking a lamb’s heart, lungs, and liver into a pudding and encasing it in the sheep’s stomach would be appetizing?

Biggest struggle: Balancing everything. Especially now that a certain lady has intrigued him.

Background: He’s the oldest child of a well-known family and as such has a lot of responsibilities and expectations to live up to. He tends to keep his family connections on the down low.

Work: He’s most well-known for his articles and photographs that are printed on the front pages of the newspaper. His other job? Well, he prefers not to talk about that one. Secrecy is key, you know.

Meet Alice

Image Credit: Pinterest

Resembles: A young Carole Landis

Physical description: Soft blonde hair that is often styled in finger waves or victory curls. She’s taller than most women and used to standing at eye-level with men. Slender, but not delicate.

Age: 21

Loves: A bit rebellious, she loves anything that her father would frown upon. That includes climbing trees, racing her horse across a Tennessee meadow, and doing her part in the war effort.

Hates: That bombings and U-boats and the rising death toll is the new norm for all the citizens of the world.

Biggest struggle: Knowing who she is now that she’s escaped her father’s restrictions. But, maybe even more than that, coming to terms that their relationship will never be what she wishes…and that his calling her a disappointment doesn’t define her.

Background: Trying to stay within the confines of her father’s expectations was stifling growing up. Smile just so, wear that, befriend those people. She dreamed of wings to fly free of her elegant cage and found them behind the controls of Jimmie’s bi-plane.

Work: A pilot with the Air Transport Auxiliary in England. She ferries all types of airplanes from factories to Royal Air Force pilots at the front lines.


Click on the image or Rafflecopter link to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Disclaimer: I will be traveling this week, so I will announce the winner next week.)

Explore the world of All of You:

About the Author:

Sarah Monzon is a Navy chaplain’s wife and a stay at home mom to the two cutest littles in the world. Playing pretend all day with them isn’t enough, she spends the evenings after their heads hit the pillow to create her own imaginary characters. When she isn’t in the world of make believe, she can be found in the pine forests of western Washington taking care of her family, fostering friendships, and enjoying all the adventures each day brings.

Her debut novel, The Isaac Project, skyrocketed to Amazon bestseller status while her Sophomore book, Finders Keepers, has finaled in contests such as the Inspy Awards and received a 4 star review from Romantic Times.

Connect with Sarah through her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

About the Author:Save


Character Spotlight + Giveaway: Sarah Monzon’s Michael and Jack

About the Story:

Maryland, Present Day

Jacquelyn Rogers can rebuild anything…except the shambles of her past. A restorer of vintage planes, she’s worked hard to earn the reputation of being one of the guys. The last thing she needs is a former Navy pilot fighting his own inner demons stepping in to defend her from dangers she thought she’d outrun long ago. Some battles must be fought alone.

After a freak accident severs Lieutenant Michael “Finch” Carrington’s dreams, as well as two limbs, he’s left with nothing but a fragile faith and a duty-bound promise to watch out for his friend’s baby sister. A promise she insists is as unnecessary as it is unappreciated. But when she turns the tables and begins to weld together the broken parts of his life, it may be his heart that is in need of protection.

England, 1944

With the world at war yet again, Alice Galloway rejects her father’s traditional expectations and offers her piloting expertise to the Air Transport Auxiliary. She may be a woman in a man’s world, but when she overhears key intelligence, she must find the strength to transcend boundaries and her own fears. Or countless people may die.

Sometimes the past reaches forward to bring hope to the future.

Meet Michael Carrington

Image Credit: Pinterest

Resembles: Chris O’Donnell

Physical description: Dark brown hair cut military length. Ocean-blue eyes. Clean-shaven. Muscles well-toned from a regimented Navy workout schedule. Amputated right arm and leg.

Age: 28

Loves: The Navy and flying is his life. Or was. He’s still getting used to his new normal.

Hates: Being called a hero.

Biggest struggle: Accepting what his life looks like now. Being okay with not knowing what the future holds.                                      

Background: He comes from a strong Christian family and used to win prizes at memorizing scripture. He’s really close to his family and has two older brothers and a younger sister.

Work: He’s in between jobs. After the freak accident that left him an amputee, learning how to walk again with a prosthetic and looking after his best friend’s sister pretty much takes up all his time. Doubt Jackie would like to be called work though. 😉

Meet Jacquelyn (Jack) Rogers

Image Credit: Pinterest

Resembles: Emma Watson

Physical description: Petite with long brunette hair that is usually pulled back in a ponytail and hazel eyes that look almost golden. She can usually be found in mechanic coveralls with grease under her fingernails.

Age: 26

Loves: Everything vintage, be it airplanes or cars. And if she can get a look at the engine, even better. Follow that up with a large pizza and a game of air hockey and it would be a gold star day.

Hates: Abusive and controlling men. Feeling out of control. Being looked down upon because of her size and gender.

Biggest struggle: Trusting herself.

Background: Her mother died when she was very young and was raised by her single dad and two older brothers. Maybe that’s why she’s always been “one of the guys,” and more at home with a blow torch than a tube of lipstick.

Work: She restores vintage aircraft. Both engine and body work. She’d love to work with real war planes for museums.


Click on the image or Rafflecopter link to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Disclaimer: I will be traveling this week, so I will announce the winner next week.)

All of You is a dual timeline story. Come back tomorrow to meet Henry and Alice the 1944 characters, and to explore the world behind this novel.

About the Author:

Sarah Monzon is a Navy chaplain’s wife and a stay at home mom to the two cutest littles in the world. Playing pretend all day with them isn’t enough, she spends the evenings after their heads hit the pillow to create her own imaginary characters. When she isn’t in the world of make believe, she can be found in the pine forests of western Washington taking care of her family, fostering friendships, and enjoying all the adventures each day brings.

Her debut novel, The Isaac Project, skyrocketed to Amazon bestseller status while her Sophomore book, Finders Keepers, has finaled in contests such as the Inspy Awards and received a 4 star review from Romantic Times.

Connect with Sarah through her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.





The Isaac Project by Sarah Monzon

the-isaac-projectGenre: Romance
Publisher: Radiant Publications
Publication Date: August 2015

Becky Sawyer catches her boyfriend lip-locked with another woman and receives the devastating news that her grandfather doesn’t have long to live all in the same day. The dying man holds one last wish — to see her happily married. Inspired by the Biblical account of Isaac and Rebekah, and desperate to grant the man who raised her his final wish, Becky embarks on an unconventional journey to find a husband.

Love failed his parents, leading Luke Masterson to believe that a lasting marriage requires something more. Determined to not repeat their mistakes, Luke resolves to stay away from women — especially a crazy one who gives her best friend the task of finding her a husband. However, unable to shake the sense that the Lord is nudging him toward Becky, Luke agrees to move across the country to marry the complete stranger. But danger and miscommunications threaten the unusual marriage almost before it has a chance to start.

The Isaac Project delivers a fun, modern-day twist to the story of Isaac and Rebekah. Sarah Monzon weaves a tale of hope, faith, and forgiveness in her debut novel. Inspired by one of my favorite Bible stories, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to read this. While it offers an interesting premise and a nice story, it fails to achieve its full potential — namely in regard to the female protagonist.

Once they married, Becky came across as selfish and immature with a personality that shifted between hot and cold faster than a traffic light changing colors. Becky’s horrid and unfair treatment of Luke made her difficult to like. The man gave up everything to move to another state, marry her, and help grant her grandfather’s final wish, and still she treated him poorly. After all he did for her, one would expect Becky to try harder and be nicer instead of making the man jump through all her ridiculous and unreasonable hoops.

I loved Luke and have to commend his commitment to making their unlikely marriage work. Nonetheless, I never saw what made him fall in love with Becky in the first place. Feelings might have surged once she matured and quit being self-absorbed, but as is, it didn’t come across as believable.

At one point, something occurs (don’t want to give away spoilers) that threatens to tear the couple apart for good. While the issues could have been easily resolved had Becky just opened her mouth and talked, I could understand why she felt upset. Unfortunately, her constant mood swings up until that point took away any punch that event might have had, making it difficult to empathize with her.

I liked Becky’s relationship with her grandfather and her care of animals — if only some of that had transferred to her interactions with Luke. The ranch setting drew me in as well and I could see myself right there alongside her.

All this being said, The Isaac Project offered a quick and entertaining read that I would recommend to romance fans. The reader must simply keep in mind that this is Monzon’s debut novel. I have high hopes for this author and am eager to see what she sends our way next as I believe the issues mentioned above are kinks that will work themselves out as Monzon grows and gains experience as a writer.

Review copy provided by the author.


Spotlight + Free ebook: The Isaac Project by Sarah Monzon

The Biblical account of Isaac and Rebekah perches among my favorites. The story shows that beautiful things happen when we trust God explicitly and let Him take the reins. So when I came across Sarah Monzon’s The Isaac Project, my heart skipped a beat and I immediately added this modern-day retelling to my TBR (to be read) pile.

Knowing how much you love books as well, I am thrilled to share that you download the ebook for free on Amazon. Don’t miss your chance to snag a copy!


the-isaac-projectBecky Sawyer’s life unravels in a single day. Not only does she catch her boyfriend, the man she hoped to marry, lip-locked with another woman, she also receives the gut-wrenching news that her grandfather, the man who raised her, is dying. His last wish? To see her happily married. Heartbroken, Becky seeks inspiration in the pages of the Holy Scriptures. And finds it in the story of Isaac and Rebekah.

If love couldn’t keep his parents together, Luke Masterson wonders what will make a marriage last. He decides to steer clear of all women—especially crazy ones like Becky Sawyer, who employs a friend to find her a husband. But when he feels the dogged promptings of the Holy Spirit to move across the country and marry a complete stranger, it seems love has little to do with it anyway.

With commitment their only foundation, and love constantly thwarted, can an arranged marriage find happiness in the twenty-first century?


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