Escape March Madness with a Good Book

With all the madness going on these days (and not just the basketball kind), you may not think picking up a book and reading isn’t the way to solve the world’s problems.

Or is it?

Sometimes a few minutes spent escaping into a futuristic world or to an exotic location may be what you need to keep going when life seems to be spinning out of control. Whether it’s a romance, a comedy, or a compilation of stories, books are a great way to put reality aside for a while and just enjoy yourself.

And of course, if you’re needing some book ideas for your great escape or your monthly 2022 Reading Challenge, here are a few I’ve curated for you!

Escape from Paradise by D. Richard Ferguson

He thought it was paradise. Was he wrong? Torn from his family, Adam lands in a world of giants, wild animals, and marauding mountain people. Unable to find his way home, he discovers an alluring paradise—a golden city where he builds a new life, safe from the terrors outside the walls. But when the city begins to crumble, a chance encounter with a strange little girl changes everything. She claims to know why he was brought into this world and the way back to his family, but insists he leave the doomed city and follow her to the high country to join the mountain people. Is she one of the many spies, sent to lure him into a trap? Or should he risk everything to follow her? With plenty of action, mystery, and suspense, Escape from Paradise will take you places you’ve never been and open windows of insight into life in the kingdom of God. Order your copy today and prepare to be thrilled, inspired, and changed.

The Never List by Diane J. Wilson

A grieving daughter, her ex-best friend & a truckload of secrets Isla-Skye Whittaker knows exactly what she doesn’t want. Years of caring for a reclusive, terminally-ill mother will do that for you. But when packing up Ma’s things after the funeral, Isla finds a laptop with emails that paint a very different picture. She begins to wonder how well she actually knew her staid-old mom. Driven by a strong sense of curiosity, um … duty, she sets out on a quest to find Ma’s odd collection of friends and personally deliver the news of her passing. ~*~Griffin Stewart used to be the boy-next-door. He was also Isla’s best friend until a momentously awkward moment shredded their friendship at the age of 12. They ditched each other and moved on. Now, Isla’s travels take her back to the old neighborhood, and right into Griffin’s backyard. Literally.~*~What starts as a simple road trip soon escalates into an adventure that pushes Isla to the edge of all her never’s.

Jewel of the Nile by Tessa Afshar

Raised as an orphan by her aunt, Chariline has only been told a few pieces of her parents’ tragic love story. Her beautiful dark skin is proof that her father was Cushite, but she knows nothing else. While visiting her grandfather before his retirement as the Roman official in the queen’s court, Chariline overhears that her father is still alive, and discovering his identity becomes her obsession. Both her grandfather and the queen have reasons for keeping this secret, however, and forbid her quest. So when her only clues lead to Rome, Chariline sneaks on the ship of a merchant trusted by friends. Theo is shocked to discover a stowaway on board his vessel and determines to be rid of her as soon as possible. But drawn in by Chariline’s story, he feels honor-bound to see her safely to shore, especially when it appears someone may be willing to kill for the truth she seeks. In this transformative tale of historical fiction, bestselling author Tessa Afshar brings to life the kingdom of Cush and the Roman Empire, introducing readers to a fascinating world filled with gripping adventure, touching romance, and a host of lovable characters―including some they may recognize from the biblical book of Acts.

A Secret in the Keys by Hope Holloway

All she wants is a second chance at life and love…and a beach house in the Keys.
The last thing Beck Foster wants to do is attend a party for her estranged aunt in the Florida Keys. One month earlier, Beck’s seemingly ideal existence imploded when her husband of thirty-four years announced he was leaving her. Now, so she has to sell her house, get a job, and somehow put her broken heart and life back together. She can’t do all that if she runs off to visit a woman she barely remembers.

Or can she?

Accompanied by her grown daughter who also longs for an escape, Beck heads to Coconut Key, where she’d lived the earliest years of her life. There, she forges a life-changing relationship with a woman she never really understood, dips her toes into the waters of a new romance, and begins the process of starting over.

But when a secret kept for nearly fifty years comes crashing down on them, all of Beck’s dreams are once again threatened. Can she forgive the lies that have shaped her life, or will the past ruin her chance at a new beginning in Coconut Key?

Perfectly Arranged by Liana George

Short on clients and money, professional organizer Nicki Mayfield is hanging up her label maker. That is until the eccentric socialite Katherine O’Connor offers Nicki one last job. Working together, the pair discovers an unusual business card among Ms. O’Connor’s family belongings that leads them on a journey to China. There the women embark on an adventure of faith and self-discovery as they uncover secrets, truths, and ultimately, God’s perfectly arranged plans.

Murder at the Spring Ball by Benedict Brown

A little music, a little dancing, a little murder at the spring ball. England, 1925. After years shut away from the world, former detective Lord Edgington of Cranley Hall plans a grand ball to celebrate his seventy-fifth birthday. But when someone starts bumping off members of his scheming family, the old man enlists his teenage grandson to help find the killer, before one of them is next. The mismatched duo must pick the culprit from a gaggle of preening playboys, scatter-brained spinsters and irate inspectors in this Agatha-Christie-style whodunnit that will have you racing to spot the killer. With a cast of eccentric suspects (both upstairs and down) and an adorable golden retriever along for the ride, “Murder at the Spring Ball” is a warm-hearted murder mystery full of intrigue, humor, and adventure.

Candy Cane Wishes and Saltwater Dreams by Amy R. Anguish, Hope Toler Dougherty, Linda Fulkerson, Regina Rudd Merrick, Shannon Taylor Vannatter

A collection of Christmas romances by five multi-published authors. Mistletoe Make-believe by Amy Anguish – Charlie Hill’s family thinks his daughter Hailey needs a mom–to the point they won’t get off his back until he finds her one. Desperate to be free from their nagging, he asks a stranger to pretend she’s his girlfriend during the holidays. When romance author Samantha Arwine takes a working vacation to St. Simons Island over Christmas, she never dreamed she’d be involved in a real-life romance. Are the sparks between her and Charlie real? Or is her imagination over-acting … again? A Hatteras Surprise by Hope Toler Dougherty – Ginny Stowe spent years tending a childhood hurt that dictated her college study and work. Can time with an island visitor with ties to her past heal lingering wounds and lead her toward a happy Christmas … and more? Ben Daniels intends to hire a new branch manager for a Hatteras Island bank, then hurry back to his promotion and Christmas in Charlotte. Spending time with a beautiful local, however, might force him to adjust his sails. A Pennie for Your Thoughts by Linda Fulkerson – When the Lakeshore Homeowner’s Association threatens to condemn the cabin Pennie Vaughn inherited from her foster mother, her only hope of funding the needed repairs lies in winning a travel blog contest. Trouble is, Pennie never goes anywhere. Should she use the all-expenses paid Hawaiian vacation offered to her by her ex-fiancé? The trip that would have been their honeymoon? Mr. Sandman by Regina Rudd Merrick – Events manager Taylor Fordham’s happily-ever-after was snatched from her, and she’s saying no to romance and Christmas. When she meets two new friends—the cute new chef at Pilot Oaks and a contributor on a sci-fi fan fiction website who enjoys debate—her resolve begins to waver. Just when she thinks she can loosen her grip on thoughts of love, a crisis pulls her back. There’s no way she’s going to risk her heart again. Coastal Christmas by Shannon Taylor Vannatter – Lark Pendleton is banking on a high-society wedding to make her grandparent’s inn at Surfside Beach, Texas the venue to attract buyers. Tasked with sprucing up the inn, she hires Jace Wilder, whose heart she once broke. When the bride and groom turn out to be Lark’s high school nemesis and ex-boyfriend, she and Jace embark on a pretend romance to save the wedding. But when real feelings emerge, can they overcome past hurts?

Pottery Town Blues by Karen Korbra

The short stories in Karen Kotrba’s collection Pottery Town Blues take readers into the lives of characters who exist at the intersection of Appalachia and the Rust Belt, people who survive on their own wits and wisdom. Each selection offers the intimacy of living rooms and kitchens to which we are made privy to by the narrators. Kotrba knows, respects, and values these people and relates their collective episodes with empathy and humor so that their stories resonate and remain with us.

Happy reading!

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