Tag Archives: Betsy St. Amant

Reading Road Trip — Louisiana

27 Mar

The next stop on my reading road trip is Louisiana. I love to visit this state. It is a big gumbo of people seasoned with history, mystery, and romance. Louisiana is unique from the rest of the 50 states. Its local government is organized by parishes rather than counties, a throwback to when the French owned this part of the US. Louisiana’s beginnings spice up their language, culture, and cuisine. And don’t forget Mardi Gras, celebrated not just in New Orleans.

I’ve chosen a variety of books set in Louisiana. They include historicals, romances, women’s fiction, and mystery/suspense. It was hard to keep my list under control, so look for a future road trip back to the Pelican State. Enjoy the reading road trip!

The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo

Can a former privateer and a determined heiress find lost treasure in 1725?
 A brand new series for fans of all things related to history, romance, adventure, faith, and family trees.



Pasts Collide in New Orleans when a Treasure Goes Missing
. The last time New Orleans attorney Jean-Luc Valmont saw Maribel Cordoba, a Spanish nobleman’s daughter, she was an eleven-year-old orphan perched in the riggings of his privateering vessel proving herself as the best lookout on his crew. Until the day his infamy caught up with them all and innocent lives were lost. Unsure why he survived but vowing to make something of the chance he was given, Jean-Luc has buried his past life so deep that no living person will ever find it—until a very much alive and very grown up Maribel Cordoba arrives on his doorstep and threatens all he now holds dear. 



What The Bayou Saw by Patti Lacy

The past can’t stay buried forever Rising author Patti Lacy’s second novel exposes the life of Sally, set amid the shadows of prejudice in Louisiana. Since leaving her home in the South, Sally Stevens has held the secrets of her past at bay, smothering them in a sunny disposition and sugar-coated lies. No one, not even her husband, has heard the truth about her childhood. But when one of her students is violently raped, Sally’s memories quickly bubble to the surface unbidden, like a dead body in a bayou. As Sally’s story comes to light, the lies she’s told begin to catch up with her. And as her web of deceit unravels, she resolves to face the truth at last, whatever the consequences.

All’s Fair in Love And Cupcakes by Betsy St. Amant

Kat Varland has had enough of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.

At twenty-six years old, Kat is still living in the shadows of her family in Bayou Bend, Louisiana. Still working shifts at her Aunt Maggie’s bakery. Still wondering what to do with her passion for baking and her business degree. And still single.But when Lucas Brannen, Kat’s best friend, signs her up for a reality TV bake-off on Cupcake Combat, everything Kat ever wanted is suddenly dangled in front of her: creative license as a baker, recognition as a visionary . . . and a job at a famous bakery in New York.

As the competition heats up, Lucas realizes he might have made a huge mistake. As much as he wants the best for Kat, the only thing he wants for himself — her — is suddenly in danger of slipping away.

The bright lights of reality cooking wars and the chance at a successful career dazzle Kat’s senses and Lucas is faced with a difficult choice: help his friend achieve her dreams . . . or sabotage her chances to keep her in Louisiana.

Test of Faith by Christa Allan

Elle Butler has managed to hold on to her politically-driven husband and her secrets until the unexpected happens. When one phone call rips her world apart, Elle will have to decide if the truth is worth the consequences. Especially when it threatens to destroy the world she’s so carefully built around her life and her marriage.

 

 

 

 

Darkwater Secrets by Robin Caroll

A murder investigation uncovers sordid secrets and haunting mistakes

The Darkwater Inn stands tall and proud in the French Quarter, the hub of New Orleans. Bourbon Street is bustling, and General Manager Adelaide Fountaine has her hands full with a hotel at capacity. She, along with everyone else, is shocked when a body is found: a hotel guest stabbed with a kitchen knife.

Detective Beau Savoie, Adelaide’s childhood friend, is on the case. As Beau digs into the victim’s past, he unearths a shocking connection between Adelaide and the murdered guest. Beau is hurt that his friend—the woman he’s quietly loved for years—kept the truth from him. To make matters worse, the stress of the investigation has sent Adelaide right into the comforting arms of her coworker Dimitri. But Beau can’t press Adelaide too hard . . . he’s keeping secrets of his own.

Can Adelaide and Beau afford to hide from the truth with a killer on the loose?

Whispers of The Bayou by Mindy Starns Clark

Miranda Miller wasn’t looking for the news the day the letter came. But, trying to survive in troubled circumstances, she welcomes the chance to change her location for a period of time. The letter informs her that her grandparents’ estate is finally about to become hers. She immediately heads down to Louisiana and the old house by the bayou. There Miranda finds secrets that lead to life-changing revelations.

This suspenseful story reminiscent of old Gothic tales has a complex mystery and a vivid sense of the Deep South. It shows how God can take the darkest circumstances and use them to light a bright path leading to the future.

 

 

Where do you want to read next?

 

Book Review: Love Arrives in Pieces

6 Jul

UnknownFor so long, Stella was known for her beauty. Now, with her heart stripped bare, she must discover who she really is.

Former pageant queen Stella Varland doesn’t trust beauty anymore after her divorce. Her appearance betrayed her and led to brokenness, so instead of being beautiful, now she tries to make beautiful things, but she always falls short. So she keeps her passion for art to herself and focuses on her interior design work. But if she doesn’t get another job soon, she’ll be stuck living with her parents.

Contractor Chase Taylor is determined to live a life of no regrets after losing his fiancée. Now he lives life at full speed, striving to see how much he can accomplish. He knows if he slows down, he’ll fall apart. So he returns home to Bayou Bend to renovate the town’s old theater and is shocked to discover that the designer for the project is his old flame, Stella.

Forced to work together, Chase and Stella battle their chemistry and past as they struggle to compromise and work together on a vision for the theater. Their wills clash as they attempt to hide their brokenness—and their unresolved feelings for each other—until Chase discovers the hidden parts of Stella, while losing her trust in the process.

A near catastrophe, a fire, and a small-town gossip mill finally force Stella and Chase to realize that they have a choice—to hold on to the shards of their pasts, or surrender their fragmented pieces to the One who makes a beautiful masterpiece from their brokenness.

 

BStAmant-257Betsy St. Amant lives in Louisiana with her young daughter and has a heart for sharing the amazing news of God’s grace through her novels. A freelance journalist, Betsy is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. When she’s not reading, writing, or singing along to a Disney soundtrack with her daughter, Betsy enjoys inspirational speaking and teaching on the craft of writing.

 

My Impressions:

Betsy St. Amant takes her readers back to Bayou Bend, Louisiana in her second book, Love Arrives in Pieces. You can read my review of All’s Fair in Love And Cupcakes HERE. It is obvious that the subject of this novel — how God uses brokenness — is close to the author’s heart. Written with a depth of feeling not always seen in contemporary romance, Love Arrives in Pieces is perfect for those looking for a little more than just happily-ever-after.

Stella Varland feels like a failure in everything she thinks counts. Her looks once wowed the pageant judges, but wasn’t enough to keep her husband around. Broken and bruised she wants a new start, but sometimes staying broken is safer than becoming whole. Chase Taylor left town years ago but is back to prove he can be trusted, something he desperately wants to believe himself. Together Stella and Chase navigate the broken pieces of their lives to find hope and romance.

Love Arrives in Pieces has true-to-life characters and a good writing style, but its underlying theme is what makes it a really good read. Through Stella, St. Amant explores what true beauty is, a beauty that God can make timeless with broken pieces when His people surrender. Divorce is treated with grace and mercy, something that those who struggle with rejection and failure really need. She really opened this reader’s eyes to the emotions that many hide or that those on the outside dismiss.

Love Arrives in Pieces is sure to appeal to the contemporary romance fan looking for heart in the midst of love.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE

(Thanks to LitFuse for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

 

Book Review: All’s Fair in Love And Cupcakes

19 Sep

338450Kat inspected rows of the same old cupcakes. They seemed to blink back at her, as if they knew she was capable of so much more.

Kat Varland has had enough of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.

At twenty-six years old, Kat is still living in the shadows of her family in Bayou Bend, Louisiana. Still working shifts at her Aunt Maggie’s bakery. Still wondering what to do with her passion for baking and her business degree. And still single.
But when Lucas Brannen, Kat’s best friend, signs her up for a reality TV bake-off on Cupcake Combat, everything Kat ever wanted is suddenly dangled in front of her: creative license as a baker, recognition as a visionary . . . and a job at a famous bakery in New York.

As the competition heats up, Lucas realizes he might have made a huge mistake. As much as he wants the best for Kat, the only thing he wants for himself—her—is suddenly in danger of slipping away.

The bright lights of reality cooking wars and the chance at a successful career dazzle Kat’s senses and Lucas is faced with a difficult choice: help his friend achieve her dreams . . . or sabotage her chances to keep her in Louisiana.

BStAmant-257Betsy St. Amant lives in Louisiana with her young daughter and has a heart for sharing the amazing news of God’s grace through her novels. A freelance journalist, Betsy is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. When she’s not reading, writing, or singing along to a Disney soundtrack with her daughter, Betsy enjoys inspirational speaking and teaching on the craft of writing.

Find out more about Betsy at http://www.betsystamant.com/.

 

My Impressions:

Football and cupcakes? Football and cupcakes! Yes, All’s Fair in Love And Cupcakes is a perfect combination for those who want a sweet romantic escape. Filled with endearing characters, a behind the scenes look at reality TV and a romance that you can root for, Betsy St. Amant has written a novel that 20-somethings (and beyond) will love. So put up your feet, grab a sweet and dig in to All’s Fair in Love And Cupcakes.

Kat Varland is stuck in her hometown of Bayou Bend, Louisiana. Stuck baking ordinary cupcakes that reflect her ordinary life. But best friend, football coach Lucas Brannen, believes in more for Kat. When he enters her in Cupcake Combat, a reality TV cooking show, Kat has a chance to realize her dreams. But is it all she or Lucas hoped for? And what do they really want?

Overall, I liked All’s Fair in Love And Cupcakes. Kat and Lucas are two fun and endearing characters. Kat’s insecurities and family tension are realistically portrayed. There is a lot of soul-searching for both characters, which allowed a good look into their heads, but I felt slowed the action in the first third of the book. The cooking competition, which was my favorite part of the book, included varied and colorful contestants and was a good vehicle for Kat and Lucas’ evolving feelings. And those who require a happily ever after will be satisfied, but not without a last twist!

So if you are in the mood for a fun romance to sweeten your day, check out All’s Fair in Love And Cupcakes.

Recommended.

Audience: Older Teens to Adults.

(Thanks to Zondervan and LitFuse for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.