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Giveaway,  Hope-filled Fiction

Deena’s February and March 2024 Reads & a Giveaway

I Am In Here book cover

Genre: Suspense 

Format: Kindle

Stars: Three

This was my first read by this author. I have mixed feelings about the story. It was certainly unique, and I enjoyed the storyline about Hale, a teenage boy who almost everyone assumed was brain dead from a tragic accident but could see and hear everything going on around him. And the suspense element was a strength in the story as well.

The storyline revolving around his father and stepmother was a bit over the top and pushed the envelope of believability for me. 

I will definitely try another book by this author. Maybe this particular one just wasn’t my cup of tea so to speak.

Genre: Rom-Com 

Format: Audiobook

Stars: Four

My Review: I didn’t like Brynn or Sebastian until about the last 20% of the book, which is how long it took them to even remotely like each other, there was no spiritual thread, and the pop culture references were a little over the top, but for some crazy reason I still enjoyed listening to this story. The narrator did a great job, and I appreciated the author’s humor, which is why I chose the book to begin with.

Brynn and Sebastian Hate Each Other book cover
The Snake and the Spider book cover

Genre: True Crime

Format: Audiobook

Stars: Four

My Review: This was my first True Crime read. As an avid reader of inspirational and redemptive Christian Fiction, this book left me feeling sad. The story of the two teenage boys who disappeared after going on a trip together to Daytona Beach was heart-wrenching.

Definitely not like the many books by Karen Kingsbury I’ve read over the years. If you’re expecting her usual happy ending, you will be disappointed.

Genre: Contemporary/Magical Realism

Format: Audiobook

Stars: Five

My Review: Words can’t adequately express the beauty of this enchanting tale. I’m not sure I’ve ever used the words “enchanting tale” to describe a book before, but this one fits that description perfectly. 

The author penned a beautiful story that digs deep into the heart of creatives, no matter what they create, and addresses motive, imposter syndrome, comparison, and so much more. Along with all that, there’s an inspiring story of family and belonging, and a sweet thread of a budding romance.

As an aspiring author, this story left me encouraged, inspired, and motivated to create stories for the glory of God and in His power at work in me.

If you are a creative in any way, or know someone who is, you MUST read this book!

Nightfall in the Garden of Deep Time book cover
Emma's Hero book cover

Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction

Format: PDF Advance Reader Copy

Stars: Five

My Review: What a powerful debut by this author. The characters were so authentic and became like personal friends. From the hero and heroine to the minor characters, each drew me in and made me love them.

The author’s medical research was obvious as she described the process poor Emma had to follow to care for her son, Theo, through his multiple seizures and extensive needs. My heart went out to her and her adorable son, and several scenes brought me to tears as I envisioned what it must be like for a mom to navigate such a difficult diagnosis. This character did so with such deep love, grace, and strength. Very inspiring!

The male protagonist, Ben, was the perfect hero. His positive personality and the love and concern he showed for Emma and Theo grabbed me at the beginning and held on until the end. 

Teenage characters, Mason and Clare, added an extra layer of depth and meaning to this beautiful book. It was heartwarming to watch Mason grow from a lonely, broken, introverted video game geek to a kind, caring, and nurturing young man. I’m excited they will get their own story!

The storyline of Emma’s Hero was so well executed as we walked with Emma on her journey of healing from past mistakes, dealing with grief and loss, fear of losing her precious son, and into the beautiful life God had planned for her.

If you can’t tell from my review, the characters and their realness really stood out in this story. Definitely one of this author’s strengths.

If you enjoy books by Deborah Raney and Karen Kingsbury, give this one a try! I think you’ll love it.

*Thank you to the author/publisher for an advance copy of this book. A positive review was not required, and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Genre: Split-time Mystery/Suspense

Format: Audiobook

Stars: Five

My Review: Another great read by Jaime Jo Wright! This book wasn’t as creepy as some of hers, so if you’ve hesitated to read this author’s books because you “don’t do creepy,” this is your chance to give her a try! This story was more of a mystery. The writing is stellar, and the audio narrator is fantastic!

Echoes Among the Stones book cover
Cali's Hope book cover

This novella is free to the author’s newsletter subscribers.

Genre: Contemporary Suspense

Format: Kindle

Stars: Five

My Review: A heart-wrenching short story about a young girl forced into human trafficking. The author did a good job portraying this horrific reality without giving unnecessary details that might make the story too difficult to read. I appreciate John Matthew Walker taking on such a hard subject and doing so with grace.

This novella is free to the author’s newsletter subscribers.

Genre: Historical Suspense

Format: Kindle

Stars: Five

My Review: Excellent prequel by this author! Loved it. If you enjoy suspenseful historical fiction with light romance, this is for you!

Counterfeit Truth book cover
The Way of the Brave book cover

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format: Audiobook

Stars: Five

My Review: Fast-paced and full of danger, this kept me engaged throughout. I listened on audio and the narrator did an excellent job. Be aware, the last chapter dangles a carrot for the next book in the series, which I definitely want to read.

The only thing I didn’t really care for was how many times the author referred back to something a character had said earlier in the story. Ex. The narrator says a line of dialogue from earlier in the book and then says, “he had said.” It was used so many times, it became very noticeable and a distraction for me personally, but some may not have a problem with it.

That’s a very minor issue when considering the many great aspects of this book, including a strong faith thread. My heart rate increased while reading, which is a good thing in a high-impact, action-filled story, right? Highly recommend.

Genre: Historical

Format: Audiobook

Stars: Five

My Review: Great characters, books, a library, community-building, and stellar writing make this a historical to read for lovers of books and history.

The Blackout Book Club book cover
Double Indemnity book cover

Genre: Legal Suspense

Format: Audiobook

Stars: Four

My Review: I enjoyed this latest offering by Robert Whitlow. Nothing earth-shattering, but a slow, steady, and inspirational read. The highlight on the power of prayer in unimaginable hardship struck a cord with me, as well as the faith of the male protagonist and several other characters.

I listened on audio, and although a man trying to sound like a woman makes me laugh, the narrator did a fine job. If you enjoy legal suspense with strong spiritual elements, you’ll want to give this one a try.

Genre: Historical Romance

Format: Kindle

Stars: Five

My Review: I haven’t quite finished this book yet, (I’m at 85%) but wanted to include it in this post. I already know it’s a five-star read!

I love the premise of the hero and heroine connecting for years via letters left inside a tree at their local zoo, never knowing who the other was. They each find out the other’s identity at different times, but the reader gets the inside scoop along the way.

A bit of mystery and danger woven into the story, ramped up the non-rushed pace of this historical, keeping my attention throughout. And I really enjoyed the scenes at the zoo with the various animals.

I’ve enjoyed other books by this author and was happy to add this one to that list!

The Letter Tree book cover

Check out my February and March reads and comment on the post by March 26 for a chance to win your choice of the books listed. (US winner only) #bookreviews


As a Jesus girl for more than thirty years, Deena Adams understands how important hope is to daily life, which fuels her passion to inspire others through hope-filled fiction based on true to life stories. She is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency and is a multi-award-winning writer, an active ACFW member, and ACFW Virginia president. Connect with Deena through her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


  • Becky Lewis

    I have read a few of these. The Letter Tree by Rachel Fordham and Jaime Jo Wright’s Echoes Among the Stones. I have read a few of Crystal Caudill’s, but haven’t taken time for the prequel yet. Have read several of Cresting Mapes’ and loved the suspense. Hope to get to that one. Great list of books, to be sure!

  • Cherie J

    These sound like some great books. Echoes Among the Stones and Nightfall in the Garden of Deep Time especially stood out for me.

  • Elizabeth Litton

    The Blackout Book Club by Amy Lynn Gree is one of the three I’ve read from this list. I thought it was an excellent book too!

  • Lynn Moore

    Deena….P.S…… I can’t wait to read
    Nightfall In The Garden of Deep Time!
    That cover “SCREAMS READ ME'” 📚

  • Lynn Moore

    Deena……what great books! I was hoping only
    “1 or 2” would call my name from your latest list…….. but it’s more like “5 – 6!” And sooooo,
    My “TBR” grows yet again!
    Thanks my writing pal…..📚 ✍️ 📚

  • Perrianne Askew

    I have read everything Jaime Jo Wright and Rachel Fordham have published, but I haven’t read any if the others. Brynn and Sebastian has my curiosity because the word hate and a rom com just don’t really go together! I enjoyed the reviews!

    • Deena Adams

      Hi, Jayna. Don’t be too impressed. LOL. Without audiobooks, I wouldn’t get through very many, that’s for sure! Several ebooks in this list were short lead magnets, so that helped as well. I listen to audiobooks on Hoopla and our library only allows 5 Hoopla loans per month, so I almost always get through at least five audiobooks each month.

  • Jeanette Davis

    Thank you Deena for this opportunity. There were about 4 or 5 that I thought OHHHH I’d love to read that…will have to enter in my Goodreads! But if choosen, I would love a paperback copy of Emma’s Heroes !

    • Deena Adams

      You’re welcome, Jeanette. I’m so happy you’re interested in Emma’s Hero! Carrie is one of my critique partners and I had the privilege of critiquing her story multiple times through her edits, and I’m thrilled with the final product she produced.

  • Patty Rude

    I haven’t read any of these, but have read books by Bethany Turner, Crystal Caudill, and Rachel Fordham.

    • Deena Adams

      I’m so glad you’re interested in Emma’s Hero, Priscilla. Carrie Walker has been my critique partner since we both started writing in 2019, so I’ve walked with her through multiple edits of this story and I love how it turned out. I’ll be hosting her through a Zoom interview on my blog in April. I hope you’ll tune in!

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