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Friday, July 29, 2022
Vanished Without a Trace Kick-Off Package
About the Book
Book: Vanished Without a Trace
Author: Sarah Hamaker
Genre: Romantic Suspence
Release date: June 28, 2022
A missing person case. A new clue. And a fight for survival.
After nine years searching for his missing sister, attorney Henderson Parker uncovers a clue that leads him to Twin Oaks, Virginia—and podcaster Elle Updike investigating the case. Partnering with the journalist is the last thing Henderson wants, until mysterious thugs make multiple attacks on both their lives. Now they’ll have to trust each other…before the suspected kidnappers make them disappear for good.
Sarah Hamaker loves writing books “where the hero and heroine fall in love while running for their lives.” She’s written romantic suspense novels and nonfiction books, as well as stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul volumes. As a writers coach, her heart is encouraging writers. She’s a member of ACFW; ACFW Virginia Chapter; and Faith, Hope and Love, as well as the president of Capital Christian Writers Fellowship. Her podcast, “The Romantic Side of Suspense,” can be found wherever you listen to podcasts. Sarah lives in Virginia with her husband, four teenagers, a preschool foster child and three cats. Visit her online at sarahhamakerfiction.com.
More from Sarah
As a podcaster myself, I’ve listened to many true crime podcasts, such as “Up and Vanished” and “Accused,” so when I was thinking about the plot for Vanished Without a Trace, I decided to have my heroine be a true crime podcaster investigating cold missing persons cases. I also am fascinated by unsolved mysteries, probably because I love history, and have a strong sense of justice—I want those who commit crimes to be caught. Of course, as a Christian, I do rest in the assurance of God as the ultimate and only truly righteous Judge, but I do find myself rooting for cold cases to be solved and criminals brought to justice. Thus the book combines my two of my interests—cold cases and true crime.
Personally, I can’t imagine anything more difficult than to have a loved one go missing and never be found or heard from again. The uncertainty of their fate must weigh very heavily on the family members left behind. I wanted to capture some of that with Henderson’s strong desire to find his missing sister, Helena, and reunite her with their mother. He’s seen how much Helena’s absence has taken a toll on their mother’s health and mental well-being, and when he has a chance to chase down the first real lead in years, he jumps at it.
Elle’s motives are no less personal than Henderson’s—her own heart aches for these grieving families. Having distant parents, she wants to help families heal by discovering what happened to a loved one if possible. But Henderson doesn’t trust her motives and the two clash more often than not over her podcast.
I hope you enjoy seeing how Elle and Henderson learn to work together to find Helena…and perhaps, their own happy ending.
I love a story that is filled with action, suspense and characters that are intriguing. This book checks all those boxes for me. The opening sets the stage for a puzzle that keeps readers glued to the edge of their seat. Missing people are probably one of the hardest investigations to be part of. With little clues the police have to rely on evidence that is hard to track down. In this story we find someone who won’t give up his search for his missing sister even after nine long years.
Henderson goes to Twin Oaks, Virginia to retrace his sisters steps. He has hopes of finding her and bringing her home. I can’t imagine not knowing where a loved love disappeared to and the hopelessness you would feel. Henderson and his sister were very close so he can’t understand how she would just disappear without a trace.
Elle is also in town hoping to interview Henderson for her podcast. She convinces Henderson to join with her in hopes of finding answers to what happened to his sister. I wasn’t quite sure if Elle was trusting and had to follow closely to see why she was so interested in Henderson’s case. When they join forces that is when danger starts for them. A snake in Elle’s bathroom, an attack on their lives and a strange encounter at a clinic gives them reason to believe they are on to something.
The story takes on a dark and dangerous turn of events. I didn’t expect the outcome of the story at all. The author does a sharp turn into the world of drugs and power which leads to a secret place that has been on the FBI’s radar for awhile. I liked how the author gives us a trail of what is coming up with glances of a person Henderson recognizes. I won’t say anything else about the story because it is best for readers to discover the truth themselves.
I did notice that there was not much of a faith element in the story and I didn’t care for the forced relationship between Henderson and Elle. It just seemed was to fast without much chemistry between them. I would have liked to seen more character development so the characters could be more relatable to the story. It is a nice story but the ending was rushed and almost too perfectly wrapped up.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
To celebrate her tour, Sarah is giving away the grand prize package of a Vanished Without a Trace branded tote bag, Vanished Without a Trace pin, a print copy of the book, plus a $75 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
They promised Jesus would be with her through everything, but is that enough?
Free-spirited vintage thrift shop owner, Carol Scape, wallowed in grief after her boyfriend’s murder. However, with newfound faith, she’s finding out what it means to die-to-self and put others first. Even if it could cost her life.
Carol is on a mission to save a runaway teen and an at-risk girl from Will Boudreaux, the man just released from jail for running a prostitution ring. The same man who previously terrorized Bay Town residents. Can’t the town get a break? Can’t she?
She’s up for the challenge, but when sparks ignite between her and the town mayor, it muddles things. Having sworn off men, he’s getting in the way of what she feels she must do. Or is he?
Restored Grace is the second book of the Bay Town Series, continuing one year after Shattered Guilt. It’s a stand-alone, amped-up, romantic suspense. Buckle your seat belt. You’re in for a ride.
Kathleen J. Robison is an Okinawan-American, born in Okinawa, and raised in California, Florida, Mississippi, and Singapore. Her travels and her family are the sources of her inspiration for her books. Kathleen and her Pastor husband have eight adult children. Seven are married, blessing them with eighteen grandchildren and counting. Her ethnically diverse background extends to her family of currently thirty-five personalities which provide many opportunities to share God’s amazing love amidst the challenges of real life.
More from Kathleen
I love writing inspirational romantic suspense featuring heroic women. In Restored Grace, Carol Scape embodies my efforts. She’s impulsive, she’s wild, she’s crazy…and she’s back. With a newfound faith in Christ, she tackles the bad guy with a style all her own.
The main character in Restored Grace is a favorite of mine. In fact, I brought her back from Book One because my Library Critique Group loved her so much. When I read a chapter from Shattered Guilt, where Carol plays a minor role, the Branch Manager Librarian laughed and quipped, “I know women just like her, and you nailed her perfectly!”
Perhaps in some ways, I secretly (I guess it’s not a secret now) wish I was her. Impulsive, the life of the party, indifferent to what people think about her, and confident in her skin. Carol is 50ish, pleasantly curvy, a boho-chic hippie with long wavy, graying, red hair that constantly tangles in her arms, and others because she moves so quickly. She wears lots of loud, jingly jewelry, and always puts on her prettiest face (with light makeup but tempted to use a heavy hand). And I love her fashion style. Colorful swirling, tiered skirts, cowboy boots, peasant tops, and fringed shawls. If I was taller, I’d love to carry that off, so I let my alter ego, Carol Scape do it for me.
Yet, in some ways, women like her used to drive me crazy. They walk into a room, and in minutes their larger-than-life personalities can’t help but draw attention. But I’m so thankful the Lord has humbled me, and if someone drives me crazy … I look at myself and see what I need to work on. Still, call it envy, expectations, or too much energy, but people like her exist, don’t they? And we must admit, they’re a lot of fun. Are you a Carol, or do you know a Carol? Either way, we’re called to love everyone. And the most important thing is caring about all people enough to be concerned for their eternity. I don’t mean judging, but sharing, encouraging, and pointing them to Jesus, whoever they may be and wherever they are in their walk.
Three particular things that I hope you’ll identify in the new Carol are her struggle with God’s grace, her selfless desire to help others, and her discovered confidence in Christ. The beauty of writing inspirational romantic suspense is bringing to life how real people, with real problems, struggle with their faith just like us, as we trust that the victory belongs to the Lord.
I hope you enjoy reading Restored Grace, and I hope you’re encouraged and inspired to receive and extend the precious grace of our Savior, Jesus, to all those whom God puts in your path…much like Carol.
The second installment in this series is just as good as the first one. The author focuses on a minor character from the first book and gives her own story in this fast paced book. The subject is hard to read about but with her gift of writing about sensitive issues with compassion, the author delivers a powerful look at trafficking. It is sad to think that people disappear every day in our country from an epidemic like human trafficking.
Carol is an instant hit with her free spirit, outspoken and questionable fashion. Her past is somewhat tainted but with God’s help she has changed into someone who trusts God with her life. Her suspicions grow when she witnesses a scene at a drugstore. I like her instincts and how she knew something was off about the teen girl she saw on the toothpaste aisle. She was frightened and jumpy which made Carol notice. The man who addresses the scared teen makes Carol very uncomfortable. When she finds out later who he is, she goes full force trying to prove the man is up to no good.
I did think that Carol reacted to things without thinking through her actions. She is almost like a madwoman determined to catch the bad guy, that she puts herself in harms way. I loved how one of her friends describe her as, “a boulder rolling down a mountain with rocks flying out around her.” Carol is so set in doing the right thing and trying to overcome her past that she sometimes seems abrasive and kinda crazy. She has a big heart though and wants to help when she knows someone is in danger. I sure hope she keeps her wit about her because she may have several people wanting to do harm to her.
The author keeps the action going with a suspicious fire, threats of harm to several people and a blossoming romance that I am rooting for. Carol is hesitant to allow her heart to find love since she stills believe she isn’t worthy at times. I do like how she continues to read her Bible and seeks counsel during her struggles. The intrigue in the story is good and I did have my suspicions about one man in particular.
The story is fast paced and full of surprises. Danger follows Carol as she tries to prove that a certain man is dangerous and needs to be arrested before more people turn up injured. Although this story does deal with trafficking it also deals with letting go of the past. Her friend Melanie reminds Carol that , “ your new life doesn’t include suffering and grieving over your past.”
The story comes to an end in a very surprising way. I was so sure of the outcome but the author flipped the story in another direction. I think how she handled it was perfect because it shows how Carol found grace and now needs to walk through grace to find happiness and restoration.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion
Can their hearts overcome the darkness of the mountains?
To escape a forced marriage, Cora Taylor travels from England to the Blue Ridge Mountains in search of her brother, who is working as a teacher in a mission school. She hopes to find a place where her nursing skills and independent ideas will be accepted and appreciated, but nothing prepares her for the wild mixture of isolation, community, brokenness, and hope within these mountains…or in the person of Jeb McAdams.
Returning from the devastation of World War 1 emotionally damaged, Jeb McAdams struggles against the rampant mountain alcoholism to soothe his nightmares. It’s easy to hide within the mountains, or it was, before Cora Taylor arrived. Now, she seems to show up at every turn, bringing her modern ideas, curiosity, and beautiful eyes with her.
Bound by their shared war history, the pair develop an unlikely friendship, which unexpectedly hints to something more. But when Cora’s desire to help the women of the mountains crosses an unspoken line, will Jeb be able to protect this feisty flatlander from the wrath of the mountain men or will he end up losing much more than his heart?
Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor with southern Appalachian flair. Both her historical and contemporary novels have garnered recognition in the Grace Awards, Inspys, and ACFW Carol Awards. Her historical romance, The Thorn Healer, was a finalist in the 2018 RT Awards. Her historical romance novels, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge and The Red Ribbon, and her contemporary novels, the Mitchell’s Crossroadsand Pleasant Gap series, showcase her Appalachian heritage, as well as her love for humor and family. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of five great kids, a speech-language pathologist to about fifty more, and a lover of chocolate, jazz, hats, and Jesus.
You can learn more about Pepper at her website http://www.pepperdbasham.com or connect with her on FB, IG, or Twitter.
More from Pepper
It’s so interesting how one idea can influence an entire series, or…how one person’s story can.
The idea for The Heart of the Mountains started in Laurel’s Dream with a hint of a family history story about a girl named Kizzie. (Someday, I hope to bring Kizzie’s story to the pages of a book). From there, the idea began to grow out of a love for my Appalachian culture into a series of books which highlighted (and fictionalized) stories from my family history.
The main story in The Heart of the Mountains is about Jeb and Cora, two different people with similar servant hearts, but the secondary story that touched me so much was the one based on my great grandfather’s life. I write about it in the Author’s Note at the end of the novel, so I won’t go into detail about it. However, what I loved getting to do is bring the truth of God’s redemption in my great grandfather’s life…to life again.
I never knew “Papa Rat”. I only knew the stories handed down to me by my granny and my mama, but in writing this story, I feel as though I had a tiny opportunity to “meet” him in these pages. He was a gruff mountain man with a broken past which led him to make a whole lot of broken choices, but his story is incredibly encouraging, because it points to the God of broken people. My great grandpa wasn’t left in his brokenness, but, after years of running away from God, he would later recount that God pursued him. The beauty of Sam McAdams’ journey in The Heart of the Mountains is only a little glimpse into what I imagine my great grandpa’s redemption story looked like.
Because my great grandpa was forever changed when Jesus saved him (as any of us should be).
I think that’s what my granny and her siblings (and even “Papa Rat” himself) would want most -that his story would point to Jesus. I hope that’s what you see when you read about Sam McAdams in The Heart of the Mountains.
Have you ever read a book based on family history? One of my favorites is Catherine Marshall’s Christy.
This story is one that I will remember for a long time. The author draws readers in with vividness and anticipation. Without leaving my home I traveled to the mountains where wild animals roamed and met people who lived a life of hardship.Their ways were very different but gave insight into a world where many kept to themselves. It must have been a culture shock to those who traveled beyond their comfort zone.
Cora was someone I admired because she stepped out of her safe life into a world where strangers were hard to befriend and danger was close as she traveled in the mountains where many liked their privacy. Running away so she would not be forced to marry someone she didn’t love , she travels to her brother’s place. She was not prepared for the journey ahead and found herself in an environment that would teach her to trust, forgiveness and never give up. Her skills as a nurse are valuable but not everyone welcomed her into their home.
Jeb has a tender heart but also has a past that haunts him at times. Being in the war made him witness death in a brutal way. He likes to keep to himself but a certain woman has piqued his interest. It’s not everyday a refined woman is heard screaming on the side of a cliff. I liked how he came to Cora’s rescue and treated her with respect. I couldn’t wait to see how these two would interact with each other.
It is a hard journey to witness as Cora tries to adjust to mountain life. The people that live there have their own ways about them. They don’t take kindly to outsiders and are very protective of their secrets. It is evident that Cora wants to be accepted but Jeb warns her that not everyone will trust her. I enjoyed watching Cora start to understand why God had directed her path to this place where comfort and peace was not always visible.
The illustration of how God loves us no matter what we have done was well written. I think we all have felt like we can’t be forgiven but God shows us grace and loves us unconditionally. Witnessing how women are treated wrongly, alcoholism that turns people into dangerous threats to others, to learning the ways of the mountain people, Cora realizes that God is teaching her to love others without judgment. With Jeb close by to protect her they find a connection that will see them through hard times. The author is so gifted in telling a story that digs deep into your heart that it helps you remember that we are never alone.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
Who knew a bank robbery could show a girl that good guys still exist?
Tim Franklin. Quiet, shy, almost incapable of speaking to a girl, and a budding horticulturist. Oh, and he survived a bank robbery five years ago, not to mention its resulting trauma.
Bookworm Bella Dwyer just wants to feel safe, and Tim’s actions during the robbery made her believe there might be guys who live up to her fictional heroes. Trouble is, a chance with Tim seems as remote as this year’s celebrity heartthrob.
Instead, she settled for a relationship with a guy who’s commitment-phobic.
So when Bella encounters Tim on tiny Sparrow Island, the challenges of her past and present collide, and she questions whether there really is a future with a man who can’t commit.
In a leap of faith, Bella dumps her boyfriend, even before shy-guy Tim can make a move. But in wanting to live by faith and conquer fear, has she made the right choice, or are her hopes for freedom and a future destined to fail?
Read the next Sparrow Island novel in the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.
The Independence Islands Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.
Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. Together with her husband she has pastored a church for ten years, and worked as a public high school English and Learning and Support teacher. She loves reading, music, films, gardens, art, travel and international food, and really enjoy creating worlds where flawed people can grow in faith, hope and love. A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives.
Her novels include The Elusive Miss Ellison, The Captivating Lady Charlotte, The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey, Winning Miss Winthrop, Miss Serena’s Secret, The Making of Mrs. Hale, A Hero for Miss Hatherleigh, and Underestimating Miss Cecilia, all available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Koorong, etc
More from Carolyn
Who doesn’t love to read a book about a bookworm?
Many avid readers I know love the idea of working in a library – so imagine working in a library on a tiny island! And then to encounter a handsome borrower of books with arms of Thor, well, it’d be like a fictional hero come to life. Except maybe this hero isn’t so fictional…
For Rebuilding Hearts, my next book in the Independence Islands series, I loved turning the spotlight onto Tim Franklin, Greener Gardens’ strong, silent employee with secret dreams, and exploring what happens when two opposites attract over a shared love of books and movies.
Rebuilding Hearts explores some bigger questions concerning family, identity and whether God’s plans can be considered good when things go wrong. I love writing fiction that’s grounded in truth, with realistic, flawed characters who are on God journeys to find faith, freedom, and love.
I’m so thankful people are enjoying my contemporary books, where I can share my love of gardens (& my horticulturalist hubby’s expertise!) to a new audience. Please check out my website www.carolynmillerauthor.com to see what’s growing in my garden here in my corner of Australia.
If you enjoy stories of hope, heart and humor, then you’ll be sure to enjoy this novel about a librarian and a Hemsworthy hero as together they find restoration for their hearts.
It is always a special moment for me when I read a book from this series. Like a breath of fresh air, it fills you with warmth and joy. I couldn’t wait to see who we would meet on this journey. I love the setting of this series and how all the characters are able to connect with each other in some way. It is a special talent that we are fortunate to be part of as the authors mesh their stories together to bring us a feeling of faith, hope, reconnections and new beginnings.
Bella is a sweet character who has this way of always saying sorry even when it isn’t necessary. It is like she wants to please others and never wants to let anyone down. I sure wish her boyfriend was as kind as she was. Why does he keep standing her up and making her feel so insecure? I love how her landlady has taken her under her wing. Her encouraging words to Bella about trusting God and letting him direct her path is just what she needs to hear.
Tim is well I have to say it. He is a hero. We find out at the beginning of the book that he stepped in during a bank robbery and saved someone’s life a few years ago. Not everyone is brave enough to face a gun pointed at them but he doesn’t hesitate to put himself in harms way. Tim has closed himself off from the world which causes him to rethink about where his life is heading. I loved how his heart was so tender and yearned for a deeper relationship with God.
I enjoyed learning more about gardens and how designs are made to landscape. Tim’s eyes light up every time he talks about his new position working with plants and designs. His heart is full when he thinks of all the beautiful creations God has made. Maybe he has finally found his calling and will feel more settled as he takes on new responsibilities.
Bella’s job at the library just warms my heart. I worked at a library for fifteen years and it was my dream job. Bella is very gifted in reading to the children and coming up with new ideas to bring in more books. It may be a little library but within the walls are stories to be enjoyed. It gave me such good memories as I followed Bella in the library. Someday that little library will hold previous memories for many.
Getting to discover that Bella and Tim are similar in how they treat people was nice to observe. The author reminds us of how important it is to trust God and never give up. As Tim and Bella grow closer they seem to be able to share more about themselves. I loved how this story didn’t focus so much on romance but more about finding out that God has a plan for our lives. The two main characters are easy to identify with and are genuine in their faith.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit.The review is my own opinion.