I can hardly believe that summer vacation is over, kids are back in school, and fall is nearly upon us. I’m looking forward to cooler temperatures and the crunch of leaves under my feet, as well as all the books that are set to be released! This month I have two books I’d like to recommend.
The first one is The Trespassers by Stephanie Black. Stephanie is one of my favorite mystery suspense authors. She walks the line between tension and intrigue so well, writing mysteries that make me think, with just the right amount of toe-curling suspense. Her new book is a little different from her previous books, blending a suspenseful murder mystery with paranormal elements.
Rayna Kirkpatrick has always known she is different from everyone else. Her parents have urged her to keep her special powers a secret, but in a weak moment, she uses the internet to try and find out more information about them. That action attracts the attention of a government agency who monitors people with her abilities—those who are called Trespassers. Damon Hale is sent to Rayna’s hometown to observe her and see if she’ll cooperate with them or become an enemy that needs to be terminated. As Damon inserts himself into Rayna’s life, people around her begin to die in suspicious ways. Could Rayna be the killer? Or will she be the next victim?
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading, but I was quickly immersed in Rayna’s world and the people she knows and loves. She’s been faced with a lot of trials in her life, including a broken marriage, and has come home to start fresh. Damon seems like a new friend she can trust, but she soon finds out he isn’t who he claims to be. The interactions between Damon and Rayna are emotional and at times, tense and confrontational. Rayna is torn between her responsibilities and her special abilities and readers will identify with her struggles to find where she belongs and how she deals with her past. Damon has a hard path in trying to do his duty and protect the people that need him—though deciding who he should be protecting exactly becomes more challenging with every page.
The murder mystery is difficult to solve with several viable red herrings. Readers will not want to set this one down for any reason and will be racing to the end to see who the murderer is. The Trespassers is one of Stephanie Black’s best books and I hope it’s the start of a new series. Be careful not to start this book before bed because it will be tempting to stay up all night and read just one more chapter. The Trespassers releases on September 5th and paranormal suspense fans won’t want to miss it!
The Trespassers by Stephanie Black, published by Covenant Communications, 288 pages, available in ebook and paperback.
My second recommendation is Educating Elizabeth, the next book in Jennifer Moore’s Blue Orchid Society series. Each book highlights a member of the society and while they can be read standalone, readers will get a richer experience by reading them in order.
In Educating Elizabeth, Elizabeth Miller has opened a school for underprivileged girls in Spitalfields, a poorer part of London. Unfortunately, despite her best efforts, the donations she’s received aren’t going to cover the taxes and expenses. With nowhere else to turn, Elizabeth strikes a bargain with Lord Charles Chatsworth, a man with a rakish reputation whom she tries to avoid if possible. The bargain gives them a chance to see beyond first impressions, but Charles has learned to never let anyone in the ton see his true personality. The problem is, Elizabeth is so different from anyone he knows and he’s not sure how to handle the feelings he has toward her. He’s drawn to her compassion for the poor and her spiritedness in going toe-to-toe with the men who have the power to change the laws and help those who need it most. Elizabeth’s feelings toward Charles also become more complex since she believed Charles to be nothing more than a flirt, but now sees how deeply he loves his family and those in his care. Can they surmount the obstacles between them and perhaps find love?
Ms. Moore has a wonderful writing style that perfectly sets the reader in the time period and helps them truly experience the story. Elizabeth is a complicated character. She has a difficult past, but has been able to rise above it, while reaching back to lift others out of the effects of poverty. The author expertly weaves in how difficult it was for girls to get an education in that time period and the struggle it was to change the laws governing the poor. As an earl, Charles is aware that laws regarding education and poverty aren’t a black and white issue, but he listens to Elizabeth and tries to see her perspective. Readers will love their interactions and banter that start out as adversarial and soon become something more friendly, then romantic. This slow burn romance highlights Charles and Elizabeth’s growth as their feelings develop and they come to see into each other’s heart and what is truly important. It was also a nice touch to read how different approaches to conflict in family as well as business made a difference in building bridges and finding resolutions. Fans of this series will enjoy seeing all the couples from previous Blue Orchid books and get a glimpse of where they are now.
This Victorian romance is perfect for a fall afternoon spent in a comfy chair with soft blankets and yummy snacks nearby and will be released on September 12th.
Educating Elizabeth by Jennifer Moore, published by Covenant Communications 224 pages, available in ebook, paperback, and audiobook.
After winning $10 in a second-grade writing contest, Julie Coulter Bellon knew she wanted to be a published author someday. That dream came true and she is now an award-winning author of thirty books. She is also a podcast host for Authors Off the Page and Book Chat with Julie.