First Line Friday — Tidewater Bride

15 Jan

Happy Friday! It’s been a bit chilly in the sunny South this week, but I have been snuggling with a good book! Tidewater Bride by Laura Frantz has whisked me back in time to the 1630s and James Towne in the Virginia Colony. Frantz always does a great job of bringing the past to life for her readers. The historical detail is excellent.

Here’s the first line:

Alas, she was not a tobacco  bride, but she had been given charge of them.

 

Selah Hopewell seems to be the only woman in the Virginia colony who has no wish to wed. True, there are too many men and far too few women in James Towne. But Selah already has her hands full assisting her father in the family’s shop. And now she is in charge of an incoming ship of tobacco brides who must be looked after as they sort through their many suitors.

Xander Renick is perhaps the most eligible tobacco lord in the settlement. His lands are vast, his crops are prized, and his position as a mediator between the colonists and the powerful Powhatan nation surrounding them makes him indispensable. But Xander is already wedded to his business and still grieves the loss of his wife, daughter of the Powhatan chief.

Can two fiercely independent people find happiness and fulfillment on their own? Or will they discover that what they’ve been missing in life has been right in front of them all along?

Bestselling and award-winning author Laura Frantz takes you to the salty shores of seventeenth-century Virginia in this exploration of pride, honor, and the restorative power of true love.

Christy Award-winning author, Laura Frantz, is passionate about all things historical, particularly the 18th-century, and writes her manuscripts in longhand first. Her stories often incorporate Scottish themes that reflect her family heritage. She is a direct descendant of George Hume, Wedderburn Castle, Berwickshire, Scotland, who was exiled to the American colonies for his role in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, settled in Virginia, and is credited with teaching George Washington surveying in the years 1748-1750. When she’s not at home in Kentucky, she and her husband live in Washington State.

Readers can find Laura Frantz at http://www.laurafrantz.net

 

For more First Line Friday fun, head over to Hoarding Books.

 

 

Audiobook Mini-Review — The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

14 Jan

I had heard so much about The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson, that I thought I would give it a try on my daily walks. The subject matter was very interesting — the WPA packhorse librarians and the blue people of Kentucky — as was the description of the time and place. Main characters were intriguing as well. But I am still not sure how I feel about this book. Check out my review below.

 

The hardscrabble folks of Troublesome Creek have to scrap for everything — everything except books, that is. Thanks to Roosevelt’s Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, Troublesome’s got its very own traveling librarian, Cussy Mary Carter.

Cussy’s not only a book woman, however, she’s also the last of her kind, her skin a shade of blue unlike most anyone else. Not everyone is keen on Cussy’s family or the Library Project, and a Blue is often blamed for any whiff of trouble. If Cussy wants to bring the joy of books to the hill folks, she’s going to have to confront prejudice as old as the Appalachias and suspicion as deep as the holler.

Inspired by the true blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service of the 1930s, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a story of raw courage, fierce strength, and one woman’s belief that books can carry us anywhere — even back home.

NYT and USA TODAY and L. A. TIMES bestselling author, Kim Michele Richardson resides in her home state of Kentucky. She is the author of the bestselling memoir The Unbreakable Child, and a book critic for the New York Journal of Books. Her novels include Liar’s Bench, GodPretty in the Tobacco Field and The Sisters of Glass Ferry. Kim Michele latest novel is The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, a NYT bestseller about the fierce and brave Kentucky Packhorse librarians of Kentucky.

You can visit her websites and learn more at: http://www.kimmichelerichardson.com

 

My Impressions:

I had heard a lot of buzz about The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek on social media, so I decided to download the audiobook to accompany my morning walks. While I was familiar with the WPA packhorse librarian program that serviced mountainous Kentucky during the Depression (I read the excellent Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin), I was unfamiliar with the blue people of Kentucky. Either of those subjects would have made an interesting novel, but the combination was hard to resist. Main character Cussy Mary is determined to bring hope and education to the people on her route. While they are open and welcoming for the most part, the majority of the community in which Cussy lives has long held prejudices, superstitions, and hostility towards Cussy’s family. The theme of prejudicial treatment of those deemed other was very interesting. But Cussy’s life is very hard and she endures a lot of abuse and trauma. That was hard to read, or in my case, listen to. There is some hope shared in the novel, but it comes with a big cost. The narration is excellent, and Cussy’s first person voice rings true.

For those readers who prefer Christian fiction, this book is probably not for you. Wonderland Creek is a better option to explore the packhorse librarian program. However, if you don’t mind some adult language and situations, and an especially despicable preacher, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek might be a good place to find out more about the program and the life and times of a little known place and people.

Audience: adults.

(I downloaded the audiobook from Audible — it was included in my subscription. All opinion expressed are mine alone.)

 

Book Review: For The Love of Joy

13 Jan

For The Love of Joy by Janet W. Ferguson returns the reader to lovely St. Simons Island in the 5th book of the Coastal Hearts contemporary romance series. Favorite characters from previous books join in as Davis and Joy navigate past hurts and present obstacles to find joy and love and forgiveness.

Is he married or isn’t he?

Years ago, a Dear John letter and then an IED explosion overseas rocked Davis Donnelly’s world and left him unclear about his marital status. He’d signed divorce papers, but broken mentally and physically, he’d never bothered to find out if his marriage actually ended. Now that he’s about to start a new position as an outreach minister, it’s time to settle things once and for all. At the moment he tracks down his wife — or former wife? — she takes a tumble while chasing a little boy. Her son. And that’s when life flips upside down.

Joy Jennings Donnelly made her share of mistakes. But one thing she never considered a mistake was her child, and she’ll do anything to protect him. Even keep his paternity a secret.

When she’s suddenly injured with not a soul to help her or her son, Joy is forced to rely on the man who has the most reasons to hate her.

Janet W. Ferguson is a Grace Award winner and a Christy Award finalist. She grew up in Mississippi and received a degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Mississippi. She has served as a children’s minister and a church youth volunteer. An avid reader, she worked as a librarian at a large public high school. She writes humorous inspirational fiction for people with real lives and real problems. Janet and her husband have two grown children, one really smart dog, and a cat that allows them to share the space.

 

My Impressions:

Janet Ferguson writes contemporary romance with endearing characters who navigate serious issues. In previous books, addiction and overwhelming anxiety are just two of the timely themes explored. For The Love of Joy brings together Joy and Davis who both have enough baggage to fill a cargo bay. Trust issues along with feelings of worthlessness separate them from each other and God. Tough emotions and situations, but Ferguson has a light hand as she includes much needed humor. I really enjoyed my return trip to St. Simons Island and rate this a recommended read.

Davis Donnelly believes his marriage to Joy has been over for a long time. At the beginning of a new ministry, he seeks to put the past squarely in the past. What he finds is not an ex but a wife and a child he knows nothing about. The two clash from the get-go, yet the sparks that first brought them together continue to kindle. I loved the interactions between the two even as they frustrated me — so real! Their relationship is colored by their own misconceptions, misunderstandings, and the false talk that they and others have repeated over and over. These two need a lot of work. But God reaches in and brings coincidences together to bring healing. While that is the main story, I was delighted with 2 year old Hank who steals the scene over and over. And that humor that Ferguson injects? It comes from not only events in the novel, but the hokey idioms that abound. I married a Mississippi boy and live in Georgia. We both laughed at the sayings both Joy and Davis spout. My favorite actually comes from another character who mocks Davis’ redneck sayings — Not my pig. Not my waller. Classic! The faith message is strong as the story of the woman at the well becomes real in Joy’s life.

Sweet romance, humor, and a hope-filled message, For The Love of Joy is one you don’t want to miss.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(I purchased the ebook from Amazon. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

What I’m Reading — Genre Variety

13 Jan

In an effort to stay away from social media, but still engage in bookish conversations, I am kicking off a What I’m Reading post that I hope will become a regular thing here at By The Book. Today I am talking genres.

I am a very eclectic reader, loving a wide variety of genres and subjects. I do seem to read a preponderance of mystery/suspense, but find myself designating other genres as my yearly favorites. (See my best of the best of 2020 HERE.) As per my reading resolutions, I want to expand my reading horizons this year, especially getting back to my TBR and checking out international and classic literature.

This week I stepped out of the box and read a YA mystery/thriller. I have been reluctant to read YA, because, well, I am a woman of a certain age and not sure I can relate. But because a FB group I am in is reading The June Boys by Courtney C. Stevens this month, I downloaded the audiobook and dove in. I’m not going to review the book here — you’ll have to come back later for that 😉 — but I am going to say that Stevens’ opened up a new genre for me. Yes, the book has a definite YA vibe, but with a complex plot and format and thought-provoking themes, this book was a 5-star!

 

Do you read outside your comfort zone?

The June Boys really took me away from my regular reading. It is intense and in some places made me cringe and force myself to continue. But I appreciate the stretching this book did to my attitude and thinking. And I need stretching. I never want to quit learning about the world and myself.

 

As I said mystery/suspense is my regular go to, but I do enjoy historical fiction as well. I love learning how people of the past lived, especially how they lived without the conveniences a modern world offers. This week I am also reading Tidewater Bride by Laura Frantz. I discovered Frantz in 2020. The Lacemaker and An Uncommon Woman were two great books I read last year. Set in the 1630s in the Virginia colony, this novel has already given me information and insight into a world I thought I knew pretty well.

When reading historical fiction, I keep an eye out for social and cultural differences. A woman’s place is one of the things that Frantz explored. Main character, Selah, is a very independent woman, as defined by the 17th century. I think that helps the modern reader identify with her story.

 

Do you find new things to love in your favorite genres?

 

 

 

 

Now it’s your turn.

What are you reading?

What’s your go-to genre?

And do you have any plans to stretch your bookish horizons?

Let’s talk!

Top 10 Tuesday — Reading Resolutions

12 Jan

A new year with new hopes, that’s what 2021 represents to me. If I can pick a word to describe 2020, it would be distraction. Anxious about many things described this Martha very well. Distraction over health issues, the lockdowns and other restrictions, civil unrest, the unrelenting political squabbling — you name it and I was everything but focused. Of course, 2020 also brought reasons to celebrate. My daughter got engaged, my son’s family was able to spend weeks at a time visiting due to work at home, and my cancer prognosis is excellent! But my reading life suffered the most. Now to most non-bookworms that would earn a shrug. But I know you know what I mean. 😉

This year I aim to be more intentional and that goes for my reading resolutions as well. I am joining other bloggers for a Top 10 Tuesday list of resolutions. I certainly don’t have 10, but I do have a few that I hope ramp up my reading enjoyment. For more bloggers’ lists, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

 

2021 Reading Resolutions

 

Read More

This actually doesn’t mean more books, although I would like to beat the number of books I read last year (103). What I need to do is put down the time wasters — FB, Instagram, and Twitter come to mind — and pick up a book. My time wasted while staying at home more is astronomical. I’m hoping by intentionally getting off social media, I will spend more time in reading pursuits.

 

Read Intentionally

There’s that word again. I have a hard time turning down bright and shiny new books. Hence my towering TBR stack. Part of the problem comes from saying yes to a lot of review requests. I pared that down some last year. This year I resolve to think and think again before accepting reviews.

 

Read from The TBR Pile

All those bright and shiny books get a bit dusty waiting impatiently on the shelf. I recently downloaded Libby and can access lots of audiobooks. I have been reluctant to use Audible credits for books I already own, but with Libby I can check off some worthy reads without feeling guilty. My husband and my budget will be happy! (Below are two notables from my TBR shelf that I want to have read this year.)

 

Read More Widely

I plan to look for books that I would not generally choose either because they are general market or a genre I don’t usually read. I am part of a FB book club that reads mystery/suspense and have been introduced to books I have never heard of, yet enjoyed immensely. This month I am listening to The June Boys by Courtney C. Stevens. It is a YA mystery/thriller. I have found it intriguing even as I have cringed at some of the scenes. This novel is really expanding my horizons.

 

I would also like to add international and classic novels to my reading this year. Libby is a great resource for this extracurricular reading. I also have many physical copies that I need to read.

 

What are some of your reading resolutions?

 

 

 

First Line Friday — Illusion

8 Jan

I absolutely loved Invisible by Ginny Yttrup! Now there’s a book that returns the reader to Mendocino Village and all the wonderful characters that live there. Illusion is available now, and I cannot wait to dig in! See all the details below.

 

But first, here’s the first line:

I lean against the side wall of Ellyn’s Cafe, alone. 

 

 

Four women in love. Four fractured romances. Through their friendships with one another will they uncover the illusion that’s keeping them from their hearts’ desires?

Ellyn — chef, café owner, and newlywed — loves her life as Mrs. Miles Becker, but does her husband love their life together? Ellyn isn’t sure. Doesn’t it make sense that he may still have feelings for his first wife, the woman he lost to cancer after nearly thirty years of marriage? And what about Nerissa, Miles’s closest friend? Why didn’t he marry her?

After her divorce, Nerissa committed to live as the bride of Christ. But her commitment is challenged when her financial security is threatened. Sensing trouble, her daughter, Twila, returns home to stand by her mom, leaving her fiancé behind. Yet Nerissa’s sense of aloneness persists, leading her into dangerous waters.

Pia, at nineteen, in the throes of love and passion, has her dreams shattered when her boyfriend reveals a truth he’s withheld. And when her mother, Rosa, learns that truth? She’ll do everything in her power to keep Pia and Manuel apart. Only Pia’s Auntie Ellyn understands the level of her mother’s control.

As Ellyn, Nerissa, Twila, Pia, and Rosa struggle together, will they, through the friendships they share with one another, uncover the illusion that’s keeping each of them bound?

Ginny L. Yttrup is the award-winning author of five novels including Home, which released April 2017. She writes contemporary women’s fiction and enjoys exploring the issues everyday women face. Publishers Weekly dubbed Ginny’s work “as inspiring as it is entertaining.” When not writing, Ginny coaches writers, critiques manuscripts, and makes vintage-style jewelry for her Esty shop, Storied Jewelry. She loves dining with friends, hanging out with her adult children, gardening, or spending a day reading a great novel. Ginny lives in northern California. To learn more about Ginny and her work, visit http://www.ginnyyttrup.com.

 

For more First Line Friday fun, head over to Hoarding Books.

 

Book Review: The Dress Shop on King Street

7 Jan

I love it when the new year starts out with an excellent book! The Dress Shop on King Street by Ashley Clark checked all the boxes — lovely characters, interesting historical details, a plot that kept me engaged. It is a 5-star if ever I have read one!

 

Harper Dupree has pinned all her hopes on a future in fashion design. But when it comes crashing down around her, she returns home to Fairhope, Alabama, and to Millie, the woman who first taught her how to sew. As Harper rethinks her own future, long-hidden secrets about Millie’s past are brought to light.

In 1946, Millie Middleton — the daughter of an Italian man and a Black woman —  boarded a train and left Charleston to keep half of her heritage hidden. She carried with her two heirloom buttons and the dream of owning a dress store. She never expected to meet a charming train jumper who changed her life forever . . . and led her yet again to a heartbreaking choice about which heritage would define her future.

Now, together, Harper and Millie return to Charleston to find the man who may hold the answers they seek . . . and a chance at the dress shop they’ve both dreamed of. But it’s not until all appears lost that they see the unexpected ways to mend what frayed between the seams.

Ashley Clark in her own words:

I write romantic women’s fiction set in the South, and The Dress Shop on King Street is my debut novel. I have a Master’s degree in Creative Writing and enjoy teaching literature and writing courses as an adjunct. I’ve been an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers for almost decade! When I’m not writing, I’m re-watching You’ve Got Mail, dreaming of Charleston, and drinking all the English Breakfast tea I can get my hands on.

My journey to publication took ten years, so I am a huge believer that sometimes God-dreams can take a while to grow, and that’s really what The Dress Shop on King Street is all about. If you, too, are holding a dream that feels invisible or altogether gone, I hope you’ll come away encouraged that perhaps you are simply in a mending season, where God is still strengthening your dream at the seams.

 

My Impressions:

It is a rare occurrence to find a debut novel that gives the impression that the author has been published for decades, but The Dress Shop on King Street is just such a book. Complexly plotted with settings that came alive for this reader, its characterization is what won me over. I could not get enough of Millie and Franklin and Harper and Peter. Set against the backdrop of the American South in the 1940s to the present, the book grabbed me from the get-go and refused to let me go after the last page was turned. What a great way to start 2021!

The Dress Shop on King Street is a dual timeline novel. It follows Millie Middleton a biracial woman who passes for white. Clark does an admirable job of re-creating the racial tensions/violence that followed Millie from the 1940s to the present. Stuck between two heritages, Millie does her best to live up to the promises she makes to her mother when she leaves Charleston for the safety of Fairhope, Alabama. I loved Millie’s character so much. Clark made her experiences personal for this white woman of 2021. All of the main characters are wonderful, though, with each having very endearing qualities and very real flaws. Charleston and Fairhope were vividly described in their past beauty and ugliness and their present-day reality. Identity is a big theme — what makes us who we are and our response to our heritage. Dreams and aspirations are also explored, as characters grapple with going ahead and letting go. A faith message is subtly woven throughout the narrative. One passage late in the book really grabbed me. Millie has a hard time believing that God is more capable of managing her life than she is. I can really relate to that!

If you are looking for an excellent way to start out your new year reading, then consider The Dress Shop on King Street. I loved that 2021 started out with a 5-star novel!

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishers. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

 

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Anticipated Books of 2021

5 Jan

2020 was a bust in so many ways, but one bright spot was the great books I had the pleasure of reading! Looking forward, there is some uncertainty of what 2021 will bring, but one thing I can continue to count on is wonderful reading ahead. This week’s Top 10 Tuesday prompts us to list the books we are eagerly anticipating in the first half of 2021. It was hard to limit to just 10! (It helped that I already have a lot of January releases 😉 .) I hope my list helps you to find a book you will love.

For more great new books, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Anticipated Books of January-June 2021

 

January

Night Bird Calling by Cathy Gohlke

When Lilliana Swope’s beloved mother dies, Lilliana gathers her last ounce of courage and flees her abusive husband for the home of her only living relative in the foothills of No Creek, North Carolina. Though Hyacinth Belvidere hasn’t seen Lilliana since she was five, she offers her cherished great-niece a safe harbor. Their joyful reunion inspires plans to revive Aunt Hyacinth’s estate and open a public library where everyone is welcome, no matter the color of their skin.

Slowly Lilliana finds revival and friendship in No Creek—with precocious eleven-year-old Celia Percy, with kindhearted Reverend Jesse Willard, and with Ruby Lynne Wishon, a young woman whose secrets could destroy both them and the town. When the plans for the library also incite the wrath of the Klan, the dangers of Lilliana’s past and present threaten to topple her before she’s learned to stand.

With war brewing for the nation and for her newfound community, Lilliana must overcome a hard truth voiced by her young friend Celia: Wishing comes easy. Change don’t.

 

February

Trial And Error by Robert Whitlow

Buddy Smith built his law practice around tracking down missing children. After all, he knows the agony of being separated from a child. Not long after his daughter’s birth, her mother ran away and Buddy never saw either one again.

Gracie Blaylock has known Buddy her entire life, and now that she is clerk of court for the county, their paths cross frequently. When Gracie hears that a teenager in town has gone missing, she knows Buddy is the one for the case.

The girl’s parents are desperate for answers. Together with Gracie and Mayleah—the new detective in town—Buddy chases all leads, hoping to reach the missing teen before it’s too late. And as he pursues one girl, he uncovers clues that could bring him closer to the girl he thought he lost forever: his own daughter.

Master legal writer Robert Whitlow will keep you guessing in this gripping legal drama while reminding you of the power of God’s restoration.

 

When Twilight Breaks by Sarah Sundin

Munich, 1938. Evelyn Brand is an American foreign correspondent as determined to prove her worth in a male-dominated profession as she is to expose the growing tyranny in Nazi Germany. To do so, she must walk a thin line. If she offends the government, she could be expelled from the country — or worse. If she fails to truthfully report on major stories, she’ll never be able to give a voice to the oppressed — and wake up the folks back home.

In another part of the city, American graduate student Peter Lang is working on his PhD in German. Disillusioned with the chaos in the world due to the Great Depression, he is impressed with the prosperity and order of German society. But when the brutality of the regime hits close, he discovers a far better way to use his contacts within the Nazi party–to feed information to the shrewd reporter he can’t get off his mind.

This electric standalone novel from fan-favorite Sarah Sundin puts you right at the intersection of pulse-pounding suspense and heart-stopping romance.

 

March

The Curator’s Daughter by Melanie Dobson

1940. Hanna Tillich cherishes her work as an archaeologist for the Third Reich, searching for the Holy Grail and other artifacts to bolster evidence of a master Aryan race. But when she is reassigned to work as a museum curator in Nuremberg, then forced to marry an SS officer and adopt a young girl, Hanna begins to see behind the Nazi facade. A prayer labyrinth becomes a storehouse for Hanna’s secrets, but as she comes to love Lilly as her own daughter, she fears that what she’s hiding—and what she begins to uncover—could put them both in mortal danger.

Eighty years later, Ember Ellis is a Holocaust researcher intent on confronting hatred toward the Jewish people and other minorities. She reconnects with a former teacher on Martha’s Vineyard after she learns that Mrs. Kiehl’s mother once worked with the Nazi Ahnenerbe. And yet, Mrs. Kiehl describes her mother as “a friend to the Jewish people.” Wondering how both could be true, Ember helps Mrs. Kiehl regain her fractured childhood memories of World War II while at the same time confronting the heartache of her own secret past—and the person who wants to silence Ember forever.

Facing The Dawn by Cynthia Ruchti

While her humanitarian husband Liam has been digging wells in Africa, Mara Jacobs has been struggling. She knows she’s supposed to feel a warm glow that her husband is nine time zones away, caring for widows and orphans. But the reality is that she is exhausted, working a demanding yet unrewarding job, trying to manage their three detention-prone kids, failing at her to-repair list, and fading like a garment left too long in the sun.

Then Liam’s three-year absence turns into something more, changing everything and plunging her into a sunless grief. As Mara struggles to find her footing, she discovers that even when hope is tenuous, faith is fragile, and the future is unknown, we can be sure we are not forgotten . . . or unloved

 

Tapestry of Light by Kimberly Duffy

Calcutta, 1886.

Ottilie Russell is adrift between two cultures, British and Indian, belonging to both and neither. In order to support her little brother, Thaddeus, and her grandmother, she relies upon her skills in beetle-wing embroidery that have been passed down to her through generations of Indian women.

When a stranger appears with the news that Thaddeus is now Baron Sunderson and must travel to England to take his place as a nobleman, Ottilie is shattered by the secrets that come to light. Despite her growing friendship with Everett Scott, friend to Ottilie’s English grandmother and aunt, she refuses to give up her brother. Then tragedy strikes, and she is forced to make a decision that will take Thaddeus far from death and herself far from home.

But betrayal and loss lurk in England, too, and soon Ottilie must fight to ensure Thaddeus doesn’t forget who he is, as well as find a way to stitch a place for herself in this foreign land.

Unknown Threat by Lynn H. Blackburn

US Secret Service Special Agent Luke Powell is lucky to be alive. Three of his fellow agents have died in unusual circumstances in the past ten weeks. Luke is devastated by the loss of his friends and colleagues, and his inability to locate the killer feels like a personal failure. He’s an expert at shielding others, but now the protectors are in need of protection.

FBI Special Agent Faith Malone is driven to succeed and confident in her ability to solve every case she’s assigned. She’s been put in charge of the investigation into the unprecedented attacks, and with Luke’s life in danger, the stakes have never been higher. But it’s hard to know how to fight back when you don’t know who the enemy is.

As more agents are targeted, Luke and Faith will have to work together to bring a killer to justice and prevent any more names from joining their fallen brothers and sisters on the Secret Service Wall of Honor.

Award-winning author Lynn H. Blackburn pulls out all the stops in this brand-new romantic suspense series that will have you holding your breath one minute and swooning the next.

 

April

Blackberry Beach by Irene Hannon

Katherine Parker is on the cusp of having everything she ever wanted–fame, money, and acclaim. So why isn’t she happy? In search of answers, she comes incognito to Hope Harbor on the Oregon coast for some R&R. Maybe in her secluded rental house overlooking the serene Pacific she’ll be able to calm the storm inside.

Coffee shop owner Zach Garrett has found his niche after a traumatic loss–and he has no plans to change the life he’s created. Nor does he want to get involved with his reticent new neighbor, whose past is shrouded in mystery. He’s had enough drama to last a lifetime. But when Katherine and Zach are recruited to help rehab a home for foster children, sparks fly. And as their lives begin to intersect, might they find more common ground than they expected . . . and discover that, with love, all things are possible?

Bestselling and award-winning author Irene Hannon invites you to come home to Hope Harbor — where hearts heal . . . and love blooms.

 

May

Let It Be Me by Becky Wade

Having graduated college at 18, Sebastian Grant has continued to leverage his intelligence and determination to become a pediatric heart surgeon. The more accolades he receives, the more he’s driven to pursue. Then he meets high school math teacher Leah Montgomery, and his fast-spinning world comes to a sudden stop.

Solving advanced math equations by the age of five, Leah has always wanted to pursue a PhD in mathematics. She willingly put that dream on hold to raise her brother. Now that he is of age, she’s set on avoiding any obstacles to her goal–including romance. 

When Leah receives surprising news in the process of taking a test for tracking her ancestry, she asks Sebastian to help her comb through aged hospital records to learn more. Soon his presence isn’t so easily ignored. But when Sebastian learns his best friend also has feelings for Leah, he begins to question his resolve to win her. Attaining their deepest desires may require more sacrifices than they ever imagined.

 

June

Power Play by Rachel Dylan

When State Department attorney Vivian Steele witnesses two ambassadors collapse as if poisoned at a diplomatic dinner in Washington, DC, she is recruited to be a member of a joint FBI task force assigned to investigate. But she soon finds her by-the-book ways clashing with a special agent in the Diplomatic Security Service, Jacob Cruz. A former Navy SEAL and in charge of the event’s security, Jacob takes the attack personally and is driven to act quickly, even ahead of the rules and regulations. 

As Viv starts to work her diplomatic sources, her past as a State Department lawyer comes back to haunt her, and secrets held tightly by the government thrust her into a web of danger. Afraid, Viv turns to the one man bent on protecting others. But can she accept Jacob’s reckless ways as exactly what she needs to stay alive and to discover the truth behind the attacks?

 

January Book Club Pick — Burden of Proof

3 Jan

Happy New Year! I am excited about my book club’s 2021 reading list. Although it is heavy on suspense, it features some wonderful authors that we love, plus a couple of new-to-us writers. We would love for you to join us. Visit our FB Page.

January’s pick is Burden of Proof by Davis Bunn. Although we have read this author before, it was years ago. I can’t wait for everyone to read this thought-provoking novel. All the details are below.

 

Three weeks after his twenty-third birthday, Ethan missed the chance to save his brother’s life when he was murdered on the steps of the courthouse in Jacksonville, Florida. Ever since that fateful day, Ethan has sensed a deep disconnect between the man he should have been and the one he has become. His days play out a beat too slow, his mind replaying the scene of his failure again and again.

But when his brother’s widow appears, asking for his help in uncovering what was really behind his brother’s death, Ethan is stunned to hear that she and her late husband were involved in a much larger case than he knew–one that threatens the global power structure. As Ethan joins the search for answers, he will enter into his own past–and discover a means of redeeming his future.

Bestselling and award-winning author Davis Bunn invites you into a world of intrigue as a man held captive by his failure learns how to move forward with hope.

Davis Bunn is a four-time Christy Award-winning, best-selling author who serves as writer-in-residence at Regent’s Park College, the University of Oxford, in the United Kingdom.

Defined by readers and reviewers as a “wise teacher,” “gentleman adventurer,” “consummate writer,” and “Renaissance man,” his work in business took him to over 40 countries around the world, and his books have sold more than seven million copies in sixteen languages.

 

Happy New Year And Happy New Release! — For The Love of Joy

1 Jan

Happy New Year! I know many of you have been anxious to write 2021. Me too. 2020 could not be over quick enough for me. So today we have a brand new year, and Janet Ferguson has a brand new release! Woo hoo! For The Love of Joy is now available on Kindle. I can’t wait to read this newest contemporary romance in the Coastal Hearts series. In fact, it will be the first book I will begin in 2021. I all the details are below.

And because it is also Friday, here is the first line:

 

Weddings — the best of times, the worst of times, depending on one’s vantage point. 

 

Is he married or isn’t he?

Years ago, a Dear John letter and then an IED explosion overseas rocked Davis Donnelly’s world and left him unclear about his marital status. He’d signed divorce papers, but broken mentally and physically, he’d never bothered to find out if his marriage actually ended. Now that he’s about to start a new position as an outreach minister, it’s time to settle things once and for all. At the moment he tracks down his wife — or former wife? — she takes a tumble while chasing a little boy. Her son. And that’s when life flips upside down.

Joy Jennings Donnelly made her share of mistakes. But one thing she never considered a mistake was her child, and she’ll do anything to protect him. Even keep his paternity a secret.

When she’s suddenly injured with not a soul to help her or her son, Joy is forced to rely on the man who has the most reasons to hate her.

Janet W. Ferguson is a Grace Award winner and a Christy Award finalist. She grew up in Mississippi and received a degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Mississippi. She has served as a children’s minister and a church youth volunteer. An avid reader, she worked as a librarian at a large public high school. She writes humorous inspirational fiction for people with real lives and real problems. Janet and her husband have two grown children, one really smart dog, and a cat that allows them to share the space.

 

For more First Line Friday fun, check out Hoarding Books.