March Book Club Selection

1 Mar

How can it be March already?! My book club will be discussing our 3rd book of 2021 this month. January’s selection was a miss for us, and February’s was just what we needed. This month we are reading The Escape by Lisa Harris, one of our favorite authors. We would love for you to join us! See all the details below.

US Marshals Madison James and Jonas Quinn are thrust into a high-profile case when they are called on to transport two prisoners across the country on a private plane. But when the plane experiences engine trouble en route from the Pacific Northwest to Colorado, the pilots crash-land the aircraft deep in the heart of the sprawling Salmon-Challis National Forest. 

When Madison and Jonas regain consciousness, they find both pilots and one prisoner dead–and one fugitive on the run. They’ll have to negotiate the rugged and remote backcountry through Idaho, Wyoming, and Colorado while tracking a murderer who is desperate to disappear–and will do anything to stop them.

This high-octane game of cat-and-mouse from bestselling and award-winning author Lisa Harris will have your heart pumping as you try to catch a fugitive with nothing to lose.

Bestselling author Lisa Harris is a Christy Award finalist for Blood Ransom and Vendetta, Christy Award winner for Dangerous Passage, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2011 (Blood Covenant) and 2015 (Vendetta) from Romantic Times. She has over thirty novels and novella collections in print. She and her family have spent almost fourteen years working as missionaries in Africa where she runs a small non-profit organization that works alongside their church-planting ministry. The ECHO Project promotes Education, Compassion, Health, and Opportunity and is a way to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves . . . the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.” (Proverbs 31:8)

 

Spotlight, Author Interview, and Giveaway! — Dream Again

1 Mar

Dream Again

About The Book

Book:  Dream Again

Author: Ann Marie Bryan

Genre: Christian Fiction

Release date: August 20, 2020

Ann Marie Bryan - Dream Again - Front CoverOne random day. One burst of laughter. One perfect moment. That’s all it takes for Gianna Barrett to capture Carter McIntosh’s attention—and his heart. His whole life has been a series of miracles, so this falls right in line. If only it were that simple. The object of his desire refuses to give him the time of day. Not deterred, Carter is sure he’s ready to put his heart on the line for love. Big mistake. He isn’t quite prepared and finds himself wrestling a soul-deep hurt into submission.

“There has been an accident….”

That devastating revelation shattered Gianna’s life, and in that one chaotic moment, everything she had was taken away. She has spent years carefully crafting her new normal, so there is no way Carter can just insert himself into her life. The fight is on but not for long. Their attraction is instant, and before she knows it, all her cynicism goes out the door.

When Gianna learns more about Carter’s life, she gets a better understanding of her beginning. As she starts her journey to healing, she uncovers Carter’s startling secret. In the days that follow, she struggles with feelings of regret, fueling her natural tendency to retreat. But the flames of desire burn hot and it’s not easy to break their unexpected connection. As the past reaches for them, they soon realize that to move forward, they must look back. Will they allow God to be the anchor they so desperately need — before it’s too late? For all they ever wanted was to be loved.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About The Author

Ann Marie Bryan - Author PhotoAnn Marie Bryan is a dedicated multi-talented leader with a passion for excellence. She is the CEO and Founder of Victorious By Design, an organization committed to providing top quality professional writing services, comprehensive personal and professional development programs and exceptional performing arts services to meet the unique needs of individuals and organizations.

A Christian Fiction author, Ann Marie writes to educate, inspire, and empower others. She desires to tell great stories with fascinating characters to show the awesome power of God in the lives of people and places. Her celebrated bestselling Encounters of the Heart series, blend faith and romance that test the resilience of love.

Ann Marie’s greatest passion is to empower others to succeed by tapping into their God-given potential. She enjoys writing, reading, dancing, teaching, meeting people and traveling. With all the knowledge and experiences that God has so graciously blessed her with, Ann Marie is determined to make her life a ministry for the Lord.

 

More from Ann Marie

I am super excited that you are a part of this amazing Dream Again tour. I use the words — emotional, inspirational, compelling, and romantic—to describe my writing style. I love to put readers in the heart of the story to give them a chance to think how they would react in similar situations.

It was therapeutic for me to write Dream Again. Last year, my mom passed, so it was a year of grieving and adjusting for me. While I was going through, I decided to write a story about someone who suffered the loss of a parent. I wrapped that experience into a beautiful love story, Dream Again, which gives hope while showing the awesome power of God in the lives of two hurting people.

I hope you will enjoy reading Dream Again as much as I have enjoyed writing it. In this novel, you will witness the incredible transformative power of love in the lives of Carter McIntosh and Gianna Barrett as they lift their faith and develop the courage and tenacity to leave the past behind. Dream Again is laced with love, faith, friendship, and a sense of community, while demonstrating God’s desire to free people from life-altering events. I pray that you will catch a glimpse of God moving through time to secure the future of those He loves.

Thank you for touring with me and for taking the time to read Dream Again. Stay victorious!

 

Q & A with Ann Marie Bryan

Many authors say that they have always been a writer — making up stories as a child. When did you first become a writer?

I’m an author but writing a book was nowhere on my list of things to do. Becoming an author never crossed my mind. However, after I got married, several of my friends and relatives (some living miles away) wanted to know how I met my husband. They knew that I had been single for some time. So, I had to share my love story, repeatedly. Of course, no one wanted to hear the short version of the story.

Six months later, I was stretched out on the sofa at home on a Sunday afternoon, still recounting my love story. After hanging up from my call, it hit me – write a book!

A long deafening pause ensued.

A book! A book!

Every reason not to write this book came to mind. But I knew that I had a story to tell. I also knew that if God called me to write this book, He would equip me and surround me with wonderful Godly helpers. So, like any well-thinking Christian woman, I took the matter to the Lord and felt the peace to proceed with this mission. 

It took me two years to write and publish my first novel, Unforgettable, My Love Has Come Along.

Why did you choose Christian Fiction genre?

Currently, I write Christian Fiction Romance. It is a natural fit for me because I’m a Christian and I enjoy reading romantic stories. Above all, I get the wonderful opportunity to show the awesome power of God in the lives of my characters.

Can you tell us a little about what inspired your latest novel?

Last year, my mom passed, so it was a year of grieving and adjusting. For me, writing tends to be therapeutic, so I wanted to write a story about someone who suffered the loss of a parent. I wrapped that experience in a beautiful love story, Dream Again, which gives hope while showing the awesome power of God in the lives of two hurting people.

In this novel, readers will witness the incredible transformative power of love in the lives of Carter McIntosh and Gianna Barrett as they lift their faith and develop the courage and tenacity to leave the past behind. Will love bloom? Let the adventure begin.

What do you want your readers to take away with them after finishing one of your novels?

Dream Again is laced with faith, friendship, and a sense of community, while demonstrating God’s desire to free people from life-altering events. So, I hope readers will be inspired to trust God’s heart.

Importantly, I hope readers will be reminded that love is a beautiful emotion, and it is okay to love passionately, very passionately. However, loving someone is never as easy as we would like it to be. Keep in mind that, “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 (NKJV)

Above all, I pray that readers will recognize that having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ makes a great difference. I’m hoping that this story will encourage readers, not to put God in a box.  God will come through in due season. Sometimes, God takes us out of our comfort zone to stretch us and show us that we can accomplish far more than we think.   

Readers always want to know what is next for an author. Do you have any works in progress you can share about?

On August 20, 2020, I released Dream Again, Book 1 in the McIntosh Brothers series. I’m now writing Book 2 – Love Again. In Love Again, readers will meet Rylan (Ry) McIntosh and Savannah McKenzie, his love interest who disappeared years ago for no good reason. Well, none that Ry could think of. The two reconnected in a bizarre situation that could only have been divinely orchestrated. In a season that would bring many changes, they long for peace… and yearn for love. Will they trust God to overcome the past and find the strength to take a chance at life and love with each other? Stay tuned, Love Again will be available in 2021.

 

 

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, February 18

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, February 19

Through the Fire Blogs, February 20

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 21

Susan K. Beatty, Author, February 22 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 23

Inklings and notions, February 24

For Him and My Family, February 25

deb’s Book Review, February 26

Artistic Nobody, February 27 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 28

By The Book, March 1 (Author Interview)

Spoken from the Heart, March 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 2

Pause for Tales, March 3

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Ann Marie is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of Dream Again!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10868/dream-again-celebration-tour-giveaway

Happy Release Day! — The Earl’s Lady Geologist

28 Feb

Unconventional is how I would describe Alissa Baxter’s main character, Cassandra Linfield, in her newest Regency romance, The Earl’s Lady Geologist. If you like this genre and want a fresh take, then check it out! All the details below.

 

Cassandra Linfield is a lady fossil collector who declares she will never marry as no man will ever take her studies seriously. When circumstances force her to travel to Town for the Season, Cassy infiltrates the hallowed portals of the Geological Society from which she has been banned. She is horrified when she comes face to face with her nemesis, the infuriating Earl of Rothbury.

Lord Rothbury is a gentleman-geologist with a turbulent romantic past. After a youthful disappointment he vows never to fall in love again, and makes the decision, instead, to seek out a convenient wife when he returns to England from his geological travels abroad.

Brought together by their close family ties, Cassy and Rothbury collaborate on a geological paper and discover a powerful attraction. Marriage, however, is the one subject they cannot agree upon. But when Cassy’s life is threatened, the two realize that love matters more than their objections.

Alissa Baxter wrote her first Regency romance, The Dashing Debutante, during her long university holidays. After travelling the world, she settled down to write her second Regency romance, Lord Fenmore’s Wager, which was inspired by her time living on a country estate in England. A Marchioness Below Stairs, her third Regency romance, is the sequel to Lord Fenmore’s Wager.

Alissa’s upcoming Regency romance, The Earl’s Lady Geologist (#1 in the Linfield Ladies Series) will be released by Vinspire Publishing in February 2021.

Also the author of two chick lit novels, The Truth About Clicking Send and Receive (previously published as Send and Receive) and The Truth About Cats and Bees (previously published as The Blog Affair), Alissa currently lives in Johannesburg with her husband and two sons.

 

If You Liked . . . The Cedar Key

26 Feb

The Cedar Key by Stephenia McGee was just what my book club needed — a sweet romance, a bit of humor, great characters, and a great spiritual message. This novel focuses on second chances and has a wonderful small town setting. If you liked it too, I have a few more recommendations of books that have some of the same elements.

 

The Dandelion Field by Kathryn Springer

After Raine’s dad walked out, Ginevieve Lightly never lived in one place too long, a rambling lifestyle that defined her daughter’s youth. When their car dies in Banister Falls, Wisconsin, Gin promises Raine they can stay until she finishes her senior year of high school. Gin will do anything to make sure her daughter has a bright future . . . a future that’s compromised when Raine reveals she’s pregnant.

Dan Moretti has only ever called Banister Falls home. After losing his best friend in a tragic accident, Dan devoted himself to responding to fires, rescuing the helpless, and guiding Cody Bennett, his best friend’s son, through life. With Cody being the epitome of the good kid, it was an easy job. Until he says four little words: “The baby is mine.”

Knowing gossip of Raine’s pregnancy will erupt sooner or later in the small town, Gin’s reflex is to grab the suitcase and escape to a new city, a new life. But with each passing day, Gin’s feet stay rooted in Banister Falls, and she falls a little more for this local firefighter who shows her not all men abandon women at the first sign of smoke.

As Gin and Dan do the best they can to guide the two teenagers through their early entry into adulthood, they discover together that romance can bloom in the rockiest of situations. And God can turn the pieces of a broken past into a beautiful new beginning.

 

Secrets over Sweet Tea by Denise Hildreth Jones

Secrets can be funny things. We think they keep us safe, but more often than not, they spill out when we least expect and make a mess out of everything. It’s a truth Scarlett Jo Newberry knows all too well ― a truth Grace Shepherd and Zach Craig are about to learn the hard way. As the lives of this boisterous pastor’s wife, polished news anchor, and beleaguered divorce attorney intersect in the tree-lined streets of Franklin, Tennessee, scandal threatens to topple their carefully constructed worlds. Grasping at survival, they embark on a journey of friendship and courage, desperate to find a way back to laughter, love, and life.

 

Star Rising by Janet Ferguson

Star Youngblood has always been a fighter — a necessity after her mother married a monster of a man. Now, she’s finally on the path to the stable life she’s always wanted. Her employer, Priscilla Kelly, is a sweet woman ravaged by rheumatoid arthritis, and Star will do anything to help her. Even if that means going toe to toe with Mrs. Kelly’s neglectful son. After being betrayed on the mission field and devastated by the tragic death of his father, Paul Kelly gave up on God. He lives life on his own terms, biding his time as a corporate pilot until he can save enough money to begin his own flight school closer to home. His mother is all he has left, and he wants to be near her. He just didn’t expect her health to decline so quickly. When he discovers his mother has taken in a stray—a woman he’s not at all sure can be trusted—his protective instincts kick into high gear. Paul’s handled a lot of turbulence, but he’s never gone up against a force like Star.As Paul and Star strive to protect his mother in their own ways, they soon find their own hearts are at the greatest risk.

 

What I’m Reading — Backlists

24 Feb

Have you ever discovered a new author that has been around for a while unbeknownst to you? Isn’t it wonderful when you find an author you just love and then find out there are all these other books to read? Of course, that is, until it sets your TBR pile to teetering. But that’s a topic for another time.

I discovered two new-to-me authors last year. Tom Threadgill writes mystery/suspense. I read Collision of Lies thinking it was a debut. Nope. He has three thrillers published before Collision of Lies. And of course Roseanna M. White is a new novelist only to me. She has several series under her belt and more books to be published. So what to do?

I generally have a very full reading schedule between review books and book club selections. Working in an author’s backlist is almost impossible, but I am trying my best to get caught up. That’s where audiobooks come in. I am on book 2 of Threadgill’s Jeremy Winter Thriller series. Fortunately for me the first two books in the series are included in my Audible membership. These books are decidedly different from my first foray into Threadgill’s writing. Darker — they involve serial killers — they are still riveting reads (or listens).

So that leads to my first question:

 

What do you think about an author’s writing evolution? Change of tone, structure, or subject matter.

 

I had only read 2 of Threadgill’s novels, Collision of Lies and Network of Deceit, before heading to his backlist. I think that helped in becoming comfortable with the change in style and tone. Although comfortable is probably not the word I would describe while reading one of his thrillers. Think Steven James and Criminal Minds.

 

With Roseanna White, I read The Number of Love first because it was a Christy Award nominee in 2020. Although it is the first book in a series, it has secondary characters that had their own books in a previous series. (I have the first book of two of her other series already on my shelves.)

Hence question #2:

 

After discovering a new author, do you immediately go back and read their backlist in chronological order or do you just proceed forward?

 

With White, I haven’t done either. I’m still trying to decide if I want to go all the way back to her first book or finish The Codebreakers series first. Oh what hard reading dilemmas! 😉

 

So what do you think about authors’ backlists?

 

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Books That Made Me Laugh

23 Feb

Happy Tuesday! This week’s Top 10 Tuesday challenge is Books That Made Me Laugh Out Loud. Are you in the mood for a good laugh, a chuckle, a snicker, or a guffaw? Then I have a list of books for you! I’m not sure any of the books can be labeled humor, but they have elements that are just plain funny. What I love about them is their balance — a good story that provides insight with enough levity to even out the hard things of life. I laughed out loud (and sometimes cried) while reading these books because of quirky characters or the predicaments that characters find themselves in. I hope you get a good laugh and a great reading experience from them.

 

For more funny books, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Books That Made Me Laugh

 

The Cedar Key by Stephenia McGee

The Christmas Table by Donna VanLiere

Darcy by Any Other Name by Laura Hile

 

For The Love of Joy by Janet Ferguson

The Moonlight School by Suzanne Woods Fisher

On A Coastal Breeze by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Star Rising by Janet Ferguson

 

Stay with Me by Becky Wade

The Summer House by Lauren K. Denton

Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin

 

What book has made you LOL?

Book Review: When Twilight Breaks

22 Feb

Sarah Sundin is a go-to author for me. Her WWII-era novels are always well-researched and filled with relatable characters. When Twilight Breaks is an exceptionally good book — I found the pre-war Germany setting to be a chilling reminder to modern-day readers. It is highly recommended!

 

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.

Sarah Sundin enjoys writing about the drama and romance of the World War II era. She is the bestselling author of When Twilight Breaks (February 2, 2021), The Land Beneath Us (2020), The Sky Above Us (2019) and The Sea Before Us (2018), as well as the Waves of Freedom, Wings of the Nightingale, and Wings of Glory series.

A mother of three, Sundin lives in northern California and enjoys speaking to community, church, and writers’ groups. Her novel The Land Beneath Us was a finalist for the 2020 Christy Award, The Sky Above Us won the 2020 Carol Award, The Sea Before Uswon the 2019 Reader’s Choice Award from Faith, Hope, and Love, and When Tides Turn and Through Waters Deep were both named to Booklist’s 101 Best Romance Novels of the Past 10 Years. Sarah serves as Co-Director for the West Coast Christian Writers Conference. Please visit Sarah at http://www.sarahsundin.com, on Facebook at SarahSundinAuthor, on Twitter at @sarahsundin, and on Instagram at @sarahsundinauthor.

 

My Impressions:

When Twilight Breaks, Sarah Sundin’s newest historical novel, is a page-turner! Sundin does an excellent job of creating characters that you not only come to love, but hold your breath and bite your nails over as they navigate the dangers of pre-WWII Germany! Well-researched, this book will get you thinking as you experience the race to war by Hitler and his regime. I could not put this one down!

When Twilight Breaks revolves around two main characters — Evelyn Brand, an American journalist assigned to Munich in 1938 and Peter Lang, an American doctoral candidate doing research at the university in the same city. At the beginning of the novel the two have very decidedly different views of Nazi Germany. They are repeatedly thrown together and become somewhat of a team, as Evelyn seeks to report on the true happenings in the Nazi regime. I was fascinated by the contrasting views Americans had of what was happening in Europe. While most readers are familiar with the war years, this perspective on how Hitler achieved power and exerted control over the citizens is eye-opening. There are a great many parallels to modern events, and the novel will make you think. You’ll also want to talk about it — When Twilight Breaks is an excellent choice for book clubs. (I can’t wait to discuss it with my book club later this year.) Concepts of justice, order, mercy, and freedom become concrete in the scenes depicted by Sundin. The book builds slowly as it prepares the characters and the readers for what is to come, but towards the end, I could not read fast enough. No spoilers, but this one will keep you on the edge of your seat. Romance also grows slowly, but when the two finally admit their true feelings? — there’s an awe moment. 😉

When Twilight Breaks has it all and has gone to the top of my favorites by Sarah Sundin. Grab a copy and some friends and jump in! You will love it too!

Highly recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Revell for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Cover Reveal! — Shiloh by Lori Benton

22 Feb

Oh. My. Goodness! I cannot get over how gorgeous the cover is for Shiloh, Lori Benton‘s second installment in the Kindred duology releasing in the fall. If you haven’t yet read Mountain Laurel (Kindred #1) be sure to grab a copy before Shiloh releases on 10/5/21. Shiloh also revisits several key characters from Lori’s debut novel, Burning Sky. If you’ve yet to make their acquaintance, good news! There’s plenty of time to meet the frontier denizens of Shiloh, New York in the pages of Burning Sky before Shiloh’s October release. 

 

December 1795

A year has passed since Ian Cameron reluctantly sent his uncle’s former slave, Seona, and their son, Gabriel, north to his kin in Boston. Determined to fully release them, Ian strives to make a life at Mountain Laurel, his inherited plantation, along with Judith, the wife he’s vowed to love and cherish. But when tragedy leaves him alone with his daughter, Mandy, and his three remaining slaves, he decides to return north. An act of kindness on the journey provides Ian the chance to obtain land near the frontier settlement of Shiloh, New York. Perhaps even the hope for a new life with those he still holds dear.

In Boston, Seona has taken her first tentative steps as a freewoman, while trying to banish Ian from her heart. The Cameron family thinks she and Gabriel should remain under their protection. Seona’s mother, Lily, thinks it’s time they strike out on their own. Then Ian arrives, offering a second chance Seona hadn’t dared imagine. But the wide-open frontier of Shiloh feels as boundless and terrifying as her newfound freedom — a place of new friends and new enemies, where deep bonds are renewed but old hurts stand ready to rear their heads. It will take every ounce of faith and courage Ian and Seona can muster to fight for their family and their future . . . together.

Available for pre-order on March 1, 2021.

Lori Benton was raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American history going back three hundred years. Her novels transport readers to the eighteenth century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history. When she isn’t writing, reading, or researching, Lori enjoys exploring and photographing the Oregon wilderness with her husband. She is the author of Burning Sky, recipient of three Christy Awards, The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn; Christy nominee The Wood’s Edge; A Flight of Arrows; and Many Sparrows.

 

 

First Line Friday — When Twilight Breaks

19 Feb

Happy Friday! I am reading When Twilight Breaks by Sarah Sundin and loving it! I can always depend on Sundin to provide a well-researched historical novel with just the right balance of suspense, drama, and romance. My book club is reading this novel later this year — can’t wait to talk about it with them!

Here’s the first line:

Evelyn Brand had done a crack bit of journalism, and she hadn’t even had to dress like a man to do so.

 

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.

Sarah Sundin enjoys writing about the drama and romance of the World War II era. She is the bestselling author of When Twilight Breaks (February 2, 2021), The Land Beneath Us (2020), The Sky Above Us (2019) and The Sea Before Us (2018), as well as the Waves of Freedom, Wings of the Nightingale, and Wings of Glory series.

A mother of three, Sundin lives in northern California and enjoys speaking to community, church, and writers’ groups. Her novel The Land Beneath Us was a finalist for the 2020 Christy Award, The Sky Above Us won the 2020 Carol Award, The Sea Before Us won the 2019 Reader’s Choice Award from Faith, Hope, and Love, and When Tides Turn and Through Waters Deep were both named to Booklist’s 101 Best Romance Novels of the Past 10 Years. Sarah serves as Co-Director for the West Coast Christian Writers Conference. Please visit Sarah at http://www.sarahsundin.com, on Facebook at SarahSundinAuthor, on Twitter at @sarahsundin, and on Instagram at @sarahsundinauthor.

 

For more first line fun, head over to Hoarding Books.

 

Book Review: The Cedar Key

18 Feb

My book club read The Cedar Key, Stephenia McGee‘s contemporary small-town novel, for our February meeting. This combination women’s fiction/light romance by a new-to-us author was just what we needed! We liked it!

 

Could the key to Casey’s future be hidden in someone else’s past?

Casey Adams unexpectedly inherits an old Victorian house full of other people’s memories. Stuck in a quirky little Mississippi town, Casey’s hope for a fresh start died as soon she had to lay the grandmother she’d just met to rest

But Grandma Ida carried secrets beyond the grave.

Before her death Ida carefully planned a trail of clues to help Casey unlock the Macintyre family secrets and finally explain why they abandoned her. But each of Ida’s letters will only come from Casey’s handsome — and often frustrating — new neighbor. As Casey pieces together the stories behind the objects filling her grandmother’s house, she embarks on a heart-stirring journey that rattles her foundations, ignites her faith, and leads her to a startling discovery that will reshape her future. But only if she can face the lies that have been slowly tearing her apart.

 

 

Best-selling author of Christian novels, Stephenia H. McGee writes stories of faith, hope, and healing set in the Deep South. When she’s not twirling around in hoop skirts, reading, or sipping sweet tea on the front porch, she’s a homeschool mom of two boys, writer, dreamer, and husband spoiler. Visit her at http://www.StepheniaMcGee.comfor books and updates.

 

My Impressions:

I have to admit that I had no preconceived notions before beginning The Cedar Key. I knew McGee’s reputation for quality historical fiction, but had never read anything by her. I discovered a true gem. This novel combines women’s fiction and romance with a small southern town setting. I really liked it — recommended!

Main character Casey has had a difficult life full of abandonment. Shortly after finding her biological grandmother, she is again hit with loss. Desperate for some stories of the family she never knew, she prepares for a short stay in Maryvillle, MS and a bit of discovery of where she came from. What she finds is a new sense of who she is in God’s eyes. I loved this message — no matter who people say you are, you are loved and valuable to God. I read an interview by McGee in which she said that her target audience is Christian women and she desires to tell stories that reinforce their worth in Jesus. The Cedar Key achieves this in a natural way — no preachiness here. I found Casey very relatable and many of the other characters charming. All except one. McGee is good at making a reader dislike the bad guy. LOL! Of course the author also had me feeling sorry for that person and desiring a little redemption for them as well. The main story centers on Casey and her journey of discovery, but there is some sweet romance as well. Casey and next-door neighbor, Ryan, have a relationship that develops naturally. My book club wanted more after the final page was turned. Could there be a return visit to Maryville? We all hope so.

Endearing characters, a wonderful setting, a bit of humor, and a thoughtful message make The Cedar Key a recommended read!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(I purchased this book from Amazon. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)