Tag Archives: Billy Coffey

Top 10 Tuesday — Surprise Endings

13 Mar

This week That Artsy Reader Girl is challenging bloggers to list books that surprised them. There are so many options for this theme, but I chose a few books that had endings I never saw coming. Those that changed my perspective on all that went before. These were endings that prompt the reader to go back and explore the book again. If you are looking for a wonderful novel, then I highly recommend all of these.

Find out what surprised other bloggers HERE.


Top Books That Surprised Me


The Curse of Crow Hollow by Billy Coffey

Everyone in Crow Hollow knows of Alvaretta Graves, the old widow who lives in the mountain. Many call her a witch; others whisper she’s insane. Everyone agrees the vengeance Alvaretta swore at her husband’s death hovers over them all. That vengeance awakens when teenagers stumble upon Alvaretta’s cabin, incurring her curse. Now a sickness moves through the Hollow. Rumors swirl that Stu Graves has risen for revenge. And the people of Crow Hollow are left to confront not only the darkness that lives on the mountain, but the darkness that lives within themselves.

Dogwood by Chris Fabry

In the small town of Dogwood, West Virginia, Karin has buried her shattered dreams by settling for a faithful husband whose emotional distance from her deep passions and conflicts leaves her isolated. Loaded with guilt, she tries to raise three small children and “do life” the best she can. Will returns to Dogwood intent on pursuing the only woman he has ever loved―only to find there is far more standing in his way than lost years in prison. The secrets of Will and Karin’s past begin to emerge through Danny Boyd, a young boy who wishes he hadn’t survived the tragedy that knit those two together as well as tore them apart. The trigger that will lay their pain bare and force them to face it rather than flee is the unlikely figure of Ruthie Bowles, a withered, wiry old woman who leads Karin so deep into her anger against God that it forces unexpected consequences.

The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin

When a blizzard strands them in Salt Lake City, two strangers agree to charter a plane together, hoping to return home; Ben Payne is a gifted surgeon returning from a conference, and Ashley Knox, a magazine writer, is en route to her wedding. But when unthinkable tragedy strikes, the pair find themselves stranded in Utah’s most remote wilderness in the dead of winter, badly injured and miles from civilization. Without food or shelter, and only Ben’s mountain climbing gear to protect themselves, Ashley and Ben’s chances for survival look bleak, but their reliance on each other sparks an immediate connection, which soon evolves into something more.

Days in the mountains become weeks, as their hope for rescue dwindles. How will they make it out of the wilderness and if they do, how will this experience change them forever? Heart-wrenching and unputdownable, The Mountain Between Us will reaffirm your belief in the power of love to sustain us.

Not in The Heart by Chris Fabry

Truman Wiley used to report news stories from around the world, but now the most troubling headlines are his own. He’s out of work, out of touch with his family, out of his home. But nothing dogs him more than his son’s failing heart.

With mounting hospital bills and Truman’s penchant for gambling his savings, the situation seems hopeless . . . until his estranged wife throws him a lifeline—the chance to write the story of a death row inmate, a man convicted of murder who wants to donate his heart to Truman’s son.

As the execution clock ticks down, Truman uncovers disturbing evidence that points to a different killer. For his son to live, must an innocent man die? Truman’s investigation draws him down a path that will change his life, his family, and the destinies of two men forever.

Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer

For ten year-old Jeremiah Prins, a life of privilege as the son of a school headmaster in the Dutch East Indies comes crashing to a halt in 1942. When the Japanese Imperialist army invades the Southeast Pacific, and his father and older stepbrothers are separated from the rest of the family, Jeremiah takes on the responsibility of caring for his younger siblings. But he is surprised by what life in the camp reveals about his frail, troubled mother—a woman he barely knows.

Amidst starvation, brutality, sacrifice and generosity, Jeremiah draws on all of his courage and cunning to fill in the gap his father and brothers left behind. Life in the camps is made more tolerable as Jeremiah’s boyhood infatuation with his close friend Laura deepens into a friendship from which they both draw strength.

When the darkest sides of humanity threaten to overwhelm Jeremiah and Laura, they reach for God’s light and grace, shining through his people. Time and war will test their fortitude and the only thing that will bring them safely to the other side is the most enduring bond of all.

Velma Stil Cooks in Leeway by Vinita Hampton Wright

As the town’s chief cook and part-time janitor for Jerusalem Baptist church, Velma Brendle has never done anything more outstanding than putting on a good meal at Velma’s Place, the one restaurant in Leeway, Kansas, but she takes good care of her customers, neighbors, and friends. However, in the midst of these two jobs, Velma’s husband stops talking, Cousin Albert comes to live with her, and she finds herself dealing with the town’s problems. As memories of past troubles plague her, she grows weary from even the tasks she loves the most. Old Sunday School lessons take on new meanings, and new problems illuminate trials Velma thought were long over. In sudden leaps of faith and moments of tragedy, Velma and all those she loves journey toward facing their sins and finding forgiveness.


What book surprised you?



Top 10 Tuesday — Do You Re-Read?

27 Feb

Once upon a time I re-read books. You know those books that speak to the heart, that make their way deep inside a reader. But once I became a book blogger, I rarely had time for anything other than the latest shiny book that made its way into my mailbox or Kindle. I can’t say no to the new books, so I have no time to savor yet again the old. But that doesn’t mean I don’t take them out and look at them. So here is a short list of Books That Should Be Re-read (this list is not exhaustive; we are limited to 10, don’t you know). Do you agree? If you haven’t read them yet, put them on top of your TBR List. That way they’ll make their way to your Re-Read List quicker. 😉

To find out what books other bloggers re-read, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 10 Books That Should Be Re-Read

(or read as the case may be)

Burning Sky by Lori Benton

Christy by Catherine Marshall

The City of Tranquil Light by Bo Caldwell

The Curse of Crow Hollow by Billy Coffey

Dogwood by Chris Fabry

The Girl from The Train by Irma Joubert

Long Way Gone by Charles Martin

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

Watching The Tree Limbs by Mary DeMuth

Water From My Heart by Charles Martin

What books do you re-read?

Book Review: Steal Away Home

21 Feb

Owen Cross grew up with two loves: one a game, the other a girl. One of his loves ruined him. Now he’s counting on the other to save him.

Owen Cross’s father is a hard man, proud in his brokenness, who wants nothing more than for Owen to succeed where he failed. With his innate talents and his father’s firm hand guiding him, Owen goes to college with dreams of the major leagues—and an emptiness full of a girl named Micky Dullahan.

Owen loved Micky from the first time they met on the hill between their two worlds: his middle-class home and her troubled Shantytown. Years later he leaves her for the dugouts and the autographs, but their days together follow him. When he finally returns home, he discovers that even peace comes at a cost. And that the hardest things to say are to the ones we love the most.

From bestselling author Billy Coffey comes a haunting story of small-town love, blinding ambition, and the risk of giving it all for one last chance.

Billy Coffey and his wife, Joanne, live with their two children in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. A product of his small-town locale, Billy counts as assets his rural authenticity, unwavering sense of purpose, and insatiable curiosity — all of which tend to make his front porch a comfortably crowded place.


My Impressions:

Billy Coffey sucked me into Steal Away Home with his description of baseball and small town romance. I found myself immersed in the life of Camden, Virginia and what I thought was a coming-of-age tale. But like all of Coffey’s books, this one has a twist, a bit of magic, and a message that made me stop and ponder. Steal Away Home is a book to be savored and is definitely a recommended read.

Steal Away Home is told from the first person perspective of former high school baseball star Owen Cross. The book’s framework is wonderfully creative, as it shifts from the action of a major league baseball game to recollections of his life. Each chapter is an inning of the game and a look back at what formed Owen’s life. Owen’s life was ordained by his father, and no one had doubts that he would one day be a major league player. But one night of mystery and wonder changes that forever.

Characterization is strong in Steal Away Home. Owen’s narrative allows the reader to know first hand his hopes, dreams, and motivations, but also gives a clear picture of the other characters. Owen’s pure Virginia mountain cadence is a joy to read and adds greatly to the reading experience. As I said, the story itself takes over the reader’s imagination — first with its small-town charm and promise of young love between Owen and Micky Dullahan, and then with an abrupt spiritual journey for the characters. There is a definite supernatural element in this book, but with different effects. It sets Micky free and paralyzes Owen with fear. A number of parallels can be drawn between Camden and the message Micky brings to both the shanties and the townspeople and the ministry of Christ. But as one character puts it, Micky is not Christ come back to life. But she does ask the same question — what do you love? This is the question the reader ponders for himself as well.

Steal Away Home is a complex novel in characterization, structure, and message and would make a good choice for a book club. It is not a book to be hurried through, so make sure you have ample time to pause and think. Another winner from Coffey, it gets a highly recommended rating from me.

Highly Recommended.

Great for Book Clubs.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to Thomas Nelson and TLC Book Tours for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Top 10 Tuesday — Books of 2018

26 Dec

2018 is just around the corner! And with it comes exciting new book releases. Yay! Although my shelves overflow and the TBR pile teeters towards the sky, I am always on the look out for another great book. This week the folks at The Broke And The Bookish want to know the books that will soon release that we are looking forward to reading. I have more than 10 on the radar, but I will limit this list to those that will release in the first 3 months of the New Year. Let me know which books you are looking forward to.

To discover what books other bloggers are looking forward to in the new year, click HERE.





Cold Water by Samuel Parker

Oath of Honor by Lynette Eason

Steal Away Home by Billy Coffey


The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers

The Mayflower Bride by Kimberly Woodhouse 

A Passionate Hope by Jill Eileen Smith

The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano

The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin


Beneath The Surface by Lynn Blackburn

If I Live by Terri Blackstock

Which 2018 book releases are you looking forward to?

Top 10 Tuesday — Unique Books

11 Apr


This week bloggers have been challenged by the folks at The Broke And The Bookish to identify books we find unique. Hmmm. This took a bit of thinking on my part, but I came up with some books that are unique in characters, setting, and perspective. The most unique feature of these books is that they are all Christian. I often hear people say they don’t read CF because the books are all alike — well here are some that will challenge that presumption.


Top Unique Books

Vikings! Heather Day Gilbert writes books about Vikings. Strong female Vikings! Her Vikings of The New World series is currently 2 books strong, but there are more on the way promising great storytelling. The saga begins with God’s Daughter.


Gypsies! Brandy Vallance’s novel, Within The Veil, takes a look at the gypsy culture against the backdrop of Victorian England. There are some other unique elements that make this novel not your run of the mill CF historical romance.

The Circus! I know there have been other books with the circus as their setting, but The Lady And The Lionheart by Joanne Bischof goes much deeper. The two main characters are unique as well.

Judas. Tosca Lee‘s novel, Iscariot, is a powerful look at Jesus through the eyes of the disciple who betrayed him. With Easter around the corner, you cannot go wrong with this book.

LOTS of Jesus. In Imaginary Jesus, Matt Mikalatos looks at the question Jesus asks His disciples: Who do you say I am?

Werewolves, Zombies and Vampires, oh my! Matt Mikalatos is back with another novel looking at the Christian life. Night of the Living Dead Christian is a very unique read.

Witches and a very unique narrator. All of Billy Coffey‘s novels can be categorized as unique, but The Curse of Crow Hollow takes the designation up a notch. There is a witch, but it is the narrator that provides the most unique feature.

Island Destination. Ok, everyone likes a book with an island setting, but Uncharted by Angela Hunt offers a destination most would do anything to avoid.

Travel through space and time. Perhaps the most unique series of books I have read comes from the very talented Stephen Lawhead. The adventure in this 5-book series starts in The Skin Map. This one has it all — unique settings, characters, and mind-bending themes.

What unique books have you read?

Top Ten Tuesday! — Audiobooks

28 Jun

It’s Freebie Day at Top Ten Tuesday! Thanks to the gals at The Broke And The Bookish who host every week. To find out what other bloggers are sharing today, click HERE.



I love audiobooks! I started listening about 6 years ago when I traveled 4+ hours to my daughter’s college soccer games. They filled the tedious hours of driving alone. I got my husband hooked on audiobooks when we would go on road trips for football games. With Summer in full swing now, I thought it would be good to share my favorites. Audiobooks are perfect for car or plane trips or when you just want to relax and have someone read to you. 🙂 I also listen while exercising and doing chores, basically anytime when it is too cumbersome to hold a book! I went a bit over the top with my list — 20+ books! But I really liked them and just had to share.



While it is important to have a good story, a good reader/narrator is also important for a quality audiobook — timing and voices/accents are key. My husband and I got hooked on Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot mysteries. But just any old narrator will not do; we have to have Hugh Fraser! Lucky for us, a ton of Poirot audiobooks featuring Fraser are available. He does an excellent job in making Poirot come to life. Here are a few of our favorites.


The Christie audiobooks run about 6+ hours, making them a perfect choice for listening with others.

Along with the Christie mysteries, I have listened to some other excellent books. They vary in length, but have a two things in common: excellent stories and excellent narrators. The following have something for everyone — suspense, mystery, history. There is even a classic! Check them out!

The Advocate by Randy Singer, narrated by David Cochran Heath

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, narrated by Zach Appleman

Center of Gravity by Laura McNeill, narrated by Lisa Larsen

A Cry from The Dust by Carrie Stuart Parks, narrated by Teri Clark Linden


The Curse of Crow Hollow by Billy Coffey, narrated by Gabe Wicks

Cuts Like A Knife by M.K. Gilroy, narrated by Coleen Marlo

Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales by Randy Singer, narrated by Joey Collins

Dubiosity by Christy Barritt, narrated by Joyce Bean


Fear Has A Name by Creston Mapes, narrated by Paul Michael

Longbourn by Jo Baker, narrated by Emma Fielding

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline, narrated by Jessica Almasy/Suzanne Toren

The Outcast by Jolina Petersheim, narrated by Tavia Gilbert


The Price of Privilege by Jessica Dotta, narrated by Amanda McKnight

The Racketeer by John Grisham, narrated by J.D. Jackson

Sycamore Row by John Grisham, narrated by Michael Beck

Though Waters Roar by Lynn Austin, narrated by Alyssa Bresnahan


To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, narrated by Sissy Spacek

The Traitor’s Wife by Allison Pataki, narrated by Madeleine Maby

Vanished by Irene Hannon, narrated by Celeste Ciulla

Water from My Heart by Charles Martin, narrated by Kevin Stilwell


What about you?

Do you listen to audiobooks?


Aduiobook Review: The Curse of Crow Hollow

23 Oct

51zref80qGL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Everyone in Crow Hollow knows of Alvaretta Graves, the old widow who lives in the mountain. Many call her a witch; others whisper she’s insane. Everyone agrees the vengeance Alvaretta swore at her husband’s death hovers over them all. That vengeance awakens when teenagers stumble upon Alvaretta’s cabin, incurring her curse. Now a sickness moves through the Hollow. Rumors swirl that Stu Graves has risen for revenge. And the people of Crow Hollow are left to confront not only the darkness that lives on the mountain, but the darkness that lives within themselves.


bcoffey-209Billy Coffey‘s critically-acclaimed books combine rural Southern charm with a vision far beyond the ordinary. He is a regular contributor to several publications, where he writes about faith and life. Billy lives with his wife and two children in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.


My Impressions:

I was looking for a spooky read for October and I got more than I bargained for in Billy Coffey’s latest novel, The Curse of Crow Hollow. It is indeed a spooky and chill-inducing read, but it is so much more. With its Southern gothic style, its impeccable characterization and Billy’s trademark story-telling, this is a book that will do more than give you the creeps. It’s going to make you think and continue to think long after the last word is shared.

Crow Hollow, Virginia is a small town on the way out. Not many are left in the Hollow — jobs are scarce and its back-woods atmosphere is not likely to attract people or industry. It does have a close-knit community full of gossip, resentment and past sins. And there is a witch on the mountain that overlooks the town. This town is trouble just waiting to happen.

The Curse of Crow Hollow has a first person narrator who is not identified until the end of the book. He is down-home friendly and candid in his description of his fellow citizens. He describes to a visitor what has led up to the current state of the town — burned down buildings and few remaining residents. It’s a ghost story of sorts that begins when four teenagers tangle with the witch and unleash the curse on the whole town. As the story unfolds, the reader is made aware of hidden sins and secrets, deals struck and promises broken. Jealousy and prejudice abounds, though no one wants to acknowledge it, let alone confront it. The whole persona of the town and its people is a mask hiding the ugliness of those determined to go their own way. The town has embraced its isolation from the outside world and from God, although they would never admit that. The curse that takes hold of the town is of their own making, and the evil that has taken hold is not likely to let go any time soon. A few townspeople are determined to make a change and in the end, the reader knows the fight continues, and a sliver of hope remains. The Curse of Crow Hollow is definitely fiction, but completely on the mark for the hypocrisy of a religion without true faith and lives full of sin without repentance. It is riveting and soul-convicting.

I listened to the audiobook version and have to say, if possible, that is the way to read this book. The voice of the narrator is perfect. The last few words spoken made chills run down my spine for quite a long time. Just don’t listen to or read this one after dark, unless you have a very powerful lamp! 😉

Very Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults

Great for Book Clubs.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)


Do you like scary books? Why or why not?