Is Hope Beach Hopeless?

Libby’s friend and business partner was kidnapped before her horrified eyes from Hope Beach. The family she never knew she had until her father died doesn’t like her and is extremely antagonistic. The Inn she inherited requires a lot of work and capital. Is it hopeless? A dream come true has become a nightmare.

Colleen Coble’s first book in her Hope Beach series is a winner. The characters are believable and lovable. The mystery is daunting. The romance is intriguing. You’ll love every minute you spend on Hope Beach. This one gets 5 stars – can’t wait for the next book in the series to find out more!

When I interviewed Colleen about the Hope Beach series and this first book, Tidewater Inn, I was curious about how she came up with the location. She related that the history of a place pulls her in. She picks her location first; then researches the people in the area, their backgrounds, and where they came from.

The Outer Banks intrigued her because of their history of pirates, and shipwrecks, and the Wright Brothers’ flight at Kitty Hawk (she had one of the first planes in her book The Lightkeeper’s Ball).

Colleen told me that she was in St. Croix with her family, in front of a harbor cam – her parents could see her via an internet web cam service – she waved to them and the idea struck her, “What would happen if I were murdered or kidnapped right in front of them?” The idea for Tidewater Inn was born.

The heroine, Libby, is a historic preservationist who had an alcoholic mother (recently dead) and a father she never knew. Her mom had told her that he had abandoned them when Libby was five.

Libby’s partner calls her from Hope Island to tell her that her dad hadn’t been dead, but had been living there, and that she has a half-brother and sister, and that her dad has left her the Tidewater Inn.

As she is talking to and looking at Nicole, Nicole is kidnapped…

Libby immediately goes to Hope Island where she is given a letter from her dad – he had written to her repeatedly, but apparently her mom had intercepted the letters. Her dad was a Christian; Libby is a nominal Christian, but her dad had also left her a WWJD bracelet. She finds out what it means (What would Jesus do?) and starts to think about that concept as well as “what would Dad do?”

Of course, there is romance. She meets a Coast Guard officer who helps her search for Nicole – but neither the search nor the romance goes smoothly.

There is a real juxtaposition of greed and generosity in the story – as Libby learns to be more generous, she also learns small steps can lead you off the path to God – into greed and even into murder.

All of Colleen’s books are tied together by history, mystery, romance, and water – from the Pacific Northwest (Mercy Falls series) to Lake Superior (Rock Harbor series) to Hawaii (Aloha Reef series) to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Colleen’s first books were published by Barbour, but for the last ten years, she’s been with Thomas Nelson.

I asked Colleen what unusual thing she could tell me about herself that most readers wouldn’t know. She told me that before becoming a writer, she was a color consultant helping women find the most flattering colors/makeup for themselves. (I passed inspection, Whew!)

I’m so grateful she became a writer: I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all her books that I have read and will be on the lookout for the next one!

I received a free copy of this book for review purposes.

Has Marc Royce finally met an enemy he can’t beat?

Strait of HormuzStrait of Hormuz, the third in Davis Bunn’s Marc Royce series has all the elements of a good story: the beautiful woman, a mysterious older woman, a daunting enemy, and lots of action. Bunn squarely nails every element! Marc Royce has become one of my favorite characters. This time he’s in Switzerland with only sketchy information, no backup, and no weapon other than his wits. He arrives at the location for his “meet” and turns around to see an old love. Suddenly aware he rushes out with her and throws her in a nearby lake – then the building blows! What a way to rekindle a romance.

Davis is running a contest with the launch of this book – enter and enter often. These books are must haves – just don’t start them in the evening – you’ll be up all night!

Q & A with Davis Bunn

Q: The first two books in the Marc Royce series have been bestsellers and also won praise from the critics. Lion of Babylon won the Library Journal’s Best Book of 2011 award, and Rare Earth won the 2013 Christy Award for Suspense Fiction. What do you see is behind this success?

Davis Bunn: The stories have certainly resonated with readers. I have tried to develop a strong sense of unfolding drama, combined with a unique spiritual theme. This moral structure plays out both in the story and the characters. My aim is to create an inspirational challenge that remains with the reader long after the book has been set down.

Q: In what way is the setting important to this book?

DB: The Strait of Hormuz is one of the world’s most critical waterways. Stretching between Iran and the Gulf States, the strait us home to two US fleets. More than a third of all the oil consumed worldwide pass through these waters. But the story actually begins in Switzerland, before traveling to the Sinai and then into the hotly-contested Strait of Hormuz.

Q: What spiritual theme is the focus of this story?

DB: One growing area of the missionary church movement is with displaced persons. More than five million Iranians have been expelled from their homeland, or been forced to flee the current regime. This includes virtually the entire Christian population. The missionary church movement has made enormous strides in bringing peace to these families and introducing Christ into the world of Muslims fleeing a Muslim government.

Q: What drew you to the missionary church movement as a theme? 

DB: I came to faith in a missionary church. I was working as a consultant based in Germany. The year I accepted Christ, the Southern Baptist Mission Board founded a missionary church in Dusseldorf. I attended the church, I grew in the church, I studied under two amazing pastors, and one of them returned to Europe to marry us.

It was also where I learned to write. Two weeks after coming to faith, I felt called to writing. I wrote for nine years and completed seven books before my first was accepted for publication. The church, its members, and the elders all played a critical role in bringing me to where I am now. I am living testimony to the vital role played by the missionary church.

Q: All three of the books in this series have given significant insight into the Muslim world, something critics have picked up on. What experience do you have with this region?

DB: For the four years prior to moving to Germany, I lived and worked in the Middle East. I was the only non-Muslim in the management structure of a family-owned company. They had three major arms: construction equipment, shipping, and pharmaceuticals. I rose to become Marketing Manager of the pharmaceutical division.

One of the requirements of this job was to take instruction in the Koran and Islamic history from an imam who taught at the local university. I think this experience played a major role in my coming to Christ.

Q: How can readers find you on the Internet?

My website and blog are at

Subscribe to my blog’s feed (to get my latest posts via e-mail or through your feed reader) at

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Twitter: @davisbunn –


I received a complimentary copy of Strait of Hormuz from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Life Goes On

It’s been four months since my dearly loved mom went home to Jesus. The time has passed both slowly and rapidly. I still look into what had been her room half expecting to see her there even though we’ve turned it back into a guest room. Something happens and I say to myself, “Oh, I can’t wait to tell Mom!” and then realize she isn’t there for me to tell. A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate enough to complete something that was on my “bucket list.” I went sky-diving. Free fall and the subsequent floating by parachute were two of the most awe-inspiring events I’ve ever experienced. What joy!


I felt so close to Mom and Jesus and Glory – and marveled at His creation. We are so blessed with our lives and the world He has given us. This month my husband and I will be co-teaching a Bible Study on the Book of Romans – our church is doing this as a whole for the next few months. What a great book for me to study – the magnificent explication of God’s grace to us. For we are His solely because of His grace – what a blessing! “Amazing grace…that saved a wretch like me…was blind, but now I see.”

How wonderful to know that I am His – and to know that Mom is as well and that I’ll see her again in Heaven. Falling through the sky gave me a sense of the freedom we truly have in Jesus – that no matter the weight of life we may feel, in Him we are truly free.

Be blessed, dear ones, and be free through His grace!