Tag Archives: Christmas fiction

Top Ten Tuesday — Women of A Certain Age

28 Jul

I had a tough time coming up with this week’s Top Ten Tuesday Freebie topic. There were so many things to choose from — exotic locales, TBR pile, fun titles, etc. Truly unlimited list options. So, I began thinking about the main characters of the books I have recently read, and discovered that almost all were in their 20s or 30s. It has been a while since I saw those numbers, having entered my golden years. Ouch! Where are the characters that are closer to my age that aren’t the cookie-baking, supportive, and supporting grandma characters? If you are like me and need a few more relatable mature characters, my list includes books that feature one main character that is a woman of a certain age. Hope you find one to love!

 

For more great bookish lists, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

 

Top 10 Books Featuring Women of A Certain Age

 

Dearest Dorothy, Are We There Yet by Charlene Baumbich

On the outskirts of the pastoral Illinois town of Partonville, Illinois, eighty-seven-year-old Dorothy Wetstra lives on her farm, venturing out to drive around in her 1976 Lincoln Continental — affectionately dubbed “The Tank”—play bunco with her pals, or grab a stool at Harry’s counter, where she can stay on top of the town’s latest shenanigans (most of which she is responsible for).
 
But when a visitor comes to town with a proposition, Dorothy finds herself faced with a decision that could change her beloved town, and her life. Before long, her gift for shaking things up may come in handy . . .

Harriet Beamer Takes The Bus by Joyce Magnin

Aging and recent widow Harriet Beamer insists she’s getting along fine with her dog Humphrey in Philadelphia … until she falls for the fourth time, injuring her ankle, and causing her son and daughter-in-law to cry foul. Insisting Harriet move in with them in California, they make a bet that her ankle is broken, and she foolishly promises to move if they’re right. Four x-rays later, Harriet’s ankle ― and her heart ― are broken. She packs up, ships her huge salt and pepper collection to California, and prepares to move away from the only life she knows. The only catch? She’s doing it her way. Just wait till her daughter-in-law hears Harriet will travel cross country only by public transportation and alternate means. What follows is a hilarious, heartwarming journey by train, metro bus, ferry, and motorcycle. Along the way, Harriet discovers that although her family thinks it’s time for her to be put out to pasture ― God has a different plan.

Home to Chicory Lane by Deborah Raney

Audrey Whitman’s dreams are coming true. Now that their five kids are grown, she and her husband Grant are turning their beloved family home into a cozy bed and breakfast, just a mile outside of Langhorne, Missouri. Opening weekend makes Audrey anxious, with family and friends coming from all over to help celebrate the occasion. But when Audrey’s daughter, Landyn, arrives, the U-Haul she’s pulling makes it clear she’s not just here for a few days. Audrey immediately has questions. What happened in New York that sent Landyn running home? Where was Landyn’s husband, Chase? And what else was her daughter not telling her? One thing was for sure, the Chicory Inn was off to a rocky start. Can Audrey still realize her dream and at the same time provide the comfort of home her daughter so desperately needs?

Invisible by Lorena McCourtney

She’s not your average crime fighter! Ivy Malone has a curiosity that sometimes gets her into trouble, and it’s only aggravated by her discovery that she can easily escape the public eye. So when vandals romp through the local cemetery, she takes advantage of her newfound anonymity and its unforeseen advantages as she launches her own unofficial investigation. Despite her oddball humor and unconventional snooping, Ivy soon becomes discouraged by her failure to turn up any solid clues. And after Ivy witnesses something ominous and unexplained, she can’t resist putting her investigative powers to work again. Even the authorities’ attempts to keep Ivy out of danger and her nosy neighbor’s match-making schemes can’t slow her down. But will the determination that fuels this persistent, quirky sleuth threaten her very safety?

Keeping Christmas by Dan Walsh

For the first time since their children were born, empty nesters Judith and Stan Winters spent Thanksgiving without the kids and grandkids. It’s looking like Christmas will be the same. Judith can’t bring herself to even start decorating for the holiday; her children always hung the first ornaments on the tree, ornaments they’d made each year when they were kids. Stan had nicknamed them the “ugly ornaments” but Judith adored them. Now she can barely look at them. Can this box of ugly ornaments be the key to saving their family Christmas this year?

Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind by Ann B. Ross

Miss Julia, a recently bereaved and newly wealthy widow, is only slightly bemused when one Hazel Marie Puckett appears at her door with a youngster in tow and unceremoniously announces that the child is the bastard son of Miss Julia’s late husband. Suddenly, this longtime church member and pillar of her small Southern community finds herself in the center of an unseemly scandal — and the guardian of a wan nine-year-old whose mere presence turns her life upside down.

With razor-sharp wit and perfect “Steel Magnolia” poise, Miss Julia speaks her mind indeed — about a robbery, a kidnapping, and the other disgraceful events precipitated by her husband’s death. Fast-paced and charming, with a sure sense of comic drama, a cast of crazy characters, and a strong Southern cadence, Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind will delight readers from first page to last.

Seeing Things by Patti Hill

Birdie Wainwright, 72, isn’t concerned about seeing things that others can’t. For a woman who still climbs mountains with her dog (Miss Bee Haven) and likes to tango, the impractical visions brought on by macular degeneration are just another gift from God, adding more adventure to life. But when a tumble down the stairs breaks her ankle and leads back to her son’s home in Denver where she must convalesce, Birdie’s imagination really takes flight. Following a conversation with her grandson about The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, she begins to see and speak with the unkempt literary character himself on a regular basis. As the line between reality and whimsy turns brittle, faith is tested among friends and loved ones, and hope is reborn.

Seeing Things is a story about family, reconciliation, and hearing from God in unexpected ways.

Song of Silence by Cynthia Ruchti

Charlie and Lucy Tuttle are committed to each other for life, but that life isn’t turning out quite like they expected. Charlie retired early, but Lucy planned to continue in her position as a music educator in a small Midwestern K-8 school indefinitely. And then the day came when she was forced to retire. Lucy was devoted to the program her father started years ago and now she can only watch as it disintegrates before her eyes. The longer she is separated from the passion of her heart, the more the music fades from her life and she wonders if her faith’s song is fading too. When a simple misstep threatens to silence Lucy forever, a young boy and his soundless mother change the way she sees — and hears — everything.

The Summer House by Lauren K. Denton

Lily Bishop wakes up one morning to find a good-bye note and divorce papers from her husband on the kitchen counter. Having moved to Alabama for his job only weeks before, Lily is devastated, but a flyer at the grocery store for a hair stylist position in a local retirement community provides a refuge while she contemplates her next steps.

Rose Carrigan built the small retirement village of Safe Harbor years ago — just before her husband ran off with his assistant. Now she runs a tight ship, making sure the residents follow her strict rules. Rose keeps everyone at arm’s length, including her own family. But when Lily shows up asking for a job and a place to live, Rose’s cold exterior begins to thaw.

Lily and Rose form an unlikely friendship, and Lily’s salon soon becomes the place where residents share town gossip, as well as a few secrets. Lily soon finds herself drawn to Rose’s nephew, Rawlins — a single dad and shrimper who’s had some practice at starting over — and one of the residents may be carrying a torch for Rose as well.

Neither Lily nor Rose is where she expected to be, but the summer makes them both wonder if there’s more to life and love than what they’ve experienced so far.

Your Chariot Awaits by Lorena McCourtney

Downsized from her job.
Dumped by her boyfriend.
Depressed about that upcoming 6-0 birthday.
Not a good week for Andi McConnell.

But now there’s good news: She’s just inherited a limousine, a long, sleek, black limousine, from an eccentric uncle.

There’s also bad news: The dead body that soon turns up in the trunk. And Andi is the top suspect in the murder.

Enter Keegan “Fitz” Fitzpatrick, former TV detective, very interested in the case — and in Andi. As they work together to solve the crime, a big question looms: when the bullets start flying, are the windows in Andi’s limo really bullet proof?

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Book Parties

5 May

Parties of more than 10 people won’t be happening for many of us in the near future. It is sad that the things that bring us together — celebrations large and small, somber or silly — are prohibited during these days of social distancing. Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is all about bookish parties. I have gone in a different direction this week than was probably intended in order to bring you books that feature gatherings that violate safer options. It doesn’t hurt that several of these books are also set at Christmas — the ultimate gathering time. I am hopeful that soon we will all be able to crowd together to laugh, cry, dance, sing, and just party!

For more bookish party fun, head over to That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Parties Found in Books

 

Balls

A Defense of Honor by Kristi Ann Hunter

The Thief of Lanwyn Manor by Sarah Ladd

 

Family Gatherings

An Endless Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti

High Cotton by Debby Mayne

Still Waters by Lindsey Brackett

 

Festivals

Christmas in Winter Hill by Melody Carlson

Hometown Girl by Courtney Walsh

 

Parades

More Than Words Can Say by Karen Witemeyer

The Most Famous Illegal Goose Creek Parade by Virginia Smith

 

Weddings

Glory Road by Lauren Denton

The Wedding Dress Christmas by Rachel Hauck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review + Giveaway! — The Wedding Dress Christmas

19 Dec

About The Book

Book: The Wedding Dress Christmas

Author: Rachel Hauck

Genre: Romance, Christmas

Release Date: October 22, 2019

December covers quaint Heart’s Bend, Tennessee with a blanket of white and the glitter of Christmas lights.

For JoJo Castle there’s no place like home. It’s her safe place. Her one-time love of adventure ended when life in the big city shattered her hopes and dreams. Now that she’s returned to Hearts Bend, she never wants to leave again.

Buck Mathews, the biggest country singing sensation in decades, has the world on a string – his guitar strings, to be exact. However, when news of his mother’s illness sends him back to Hearts Bend for the holiday season, he remembers how good it can be to live among family and friends.

Working with her cousin Haley in The Wedding Shop, JoJo has no aspirations of love. Leaving home, surrendering her heart again, is just too risky.

When she runs into her friend and high school crush Buck Mathews, she discovers Love might have other plans for her[BV1] .

Buck’s career is on the verge of an momentous leap. But seeing JoJo awakens feelings he’d buried long ago. Falling in love is easy, but winning her heart will take more than one of his melodic tunes and clever lyrics.

JoJo and Buck want opposite things for their lives, leaving no room for compromise. Can love, especially the kind that touches hearts at Christmastime, overcome her fears andhis quest for greatness?

When a very special gown – the wedding dress – begins to make its presence known, JoJo and Buck’s hearts bend in a way neither ever thought possible.

Click here to get your copy.

My Impressions:

I am a big fan of Rachel Hauck’s The Wedding Dress. A perfect mix of spiritual truths set in a contemporary setting with fairy tale elements — what’s not to love? So when I heard she had written a Christmas-themed novella featuring that divine gown, I knew I had to read it. Wow! What a truly lovely story with a message that resonated with me after the last page was turned. The story takes place in small town Heart’s Bend, Tennessee (the setting of The Wedding Chapel). A more charming town to visit at Christmas cannot be found. Right downtown is a shop full of wedding dreams, and locked away is the dress waiting to find its next bride. And at the center of the story are main characters Jojo Castle and Buck Mathews, high school friends who long for more. On the surface, The Wedding Dress Christmas is a heartwarming story of true love found, yet it has deeper truths that apply to all — the constant love and care of a Savior and the love that casts out all fears. I quickly devoured this book, but it really deserves a more thoughtful reading to uncover the gems inside.

If you can only read one Christmas book this season, I highly recommend you choose The Wedding Dress Christmas. I really, really loved this book and believe you will too.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

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

 

About The Author

Rachel Hauck is an award winning, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author.

Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times Book Reviews. She is a double RITA finalist, and a Christy and Carol Award Winner.

Her book, Once Upon A Prince, first in the Royal Wedding Series, was filmed for an Original Hallmark movie.

Rachel has been awarded the prestigious Career Achievement Award for her body of original work by Romantic Times Book Reviews.

A member of the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers, she teaches workshops and leads worship at the annual conference. She is a past Mentor of The Year.

At home, she’s a wife, writer, worship leader and works out at the gym semi-enthusiastically.

A graduate of Ohio State University (Go Bucks!) with a degree in Journalism, she’s a former sorority girl and a devoted Ohio State football fan. Her bucket list is to stand on the sidelines with Ryan Day.

She lives in sunny central Florida with her husband and ornery cat.

More from Rachel

Hello Royal Rockstar Readers!

I’m thrilled to share The Wedding Dress Christmas with you. I’ve heard from so many how much The Wedding Dress has touched them, and as I noodled over new story ideas, my thoughts drifted toward the wedding dress and Christmas. What’s more romantic than a Christmas wedding?

This novella is set in Hearts Bend, Tennessee, the fictional town ofThe Wedding Chapel and The Wedding Shop. Even if you’ve never read one of books inThe Wedding Collection, you’ll enjoy this story, the mystery of the dress, and the women whose lives it changed.

I love weddings. They remind us of the purity and the hope of love, the power of commitment. Something powerful is released when two people pledge to spend their lives together, loving and serving one another in both good and bad times. Every wedding I attend reminds me of the vows I made to my husband and I sign up all over again.

Stories are a powerful reflection of life. Yes, fictional stories are often told with wild hyperbole, but that’s what makes them fun to read.

I also love wedding stories because they remind us of God’s love for us, and that one day there will be the grandest wedding of them all. Isn’t it wonderful that God planned a wedding before He created the earth?

In The Wedding Dress Christmas, JoJo and Buck have their issues, but love proves strong enough to conquer them all.

Thanks for going on this little tour with me and The Wedding Dress Christmas.

Yours,

Rachel

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, December 18

Through the Fire Blogs, December 18

Livin’ Lit, December 18

Robin’s Nest, December 18

Reading Is My SuperPower, December 19

By The Book, December 19

Wishful Endings, December 19

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 19

Among the Reads, December 20

Genesis 5020, December 20

Life as Lanhams, December 20

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 21

Daysong Reflections, December 21

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, December 21

Bigreadersite, December 21

Simple Harvest Reads, December 22 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Remembrancy, December 22

Britt Reads Fiction, December 22

She Lives to Read, December 23

Empowermoms, December 23

Inside the Wong Mind, December 23

Mia Reads Blog, December 23

Splashes of Joy, December 24

Christian Bookaholic, December 24

Hallie Reads, December 24

Jeanette’s Thoughts, December 25

Where Faith and Books Meet, December 25

Blogging With Carol, December 25

For Him and My Family, December 26

Hebrews 12 Endurance, December 26

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, December 26

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 26

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 27

My Devotional Thoughts, December 27

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 27

Mamma Loves Books, December 27

Betti Mace, December 28

Batya’s Bits, December 28

The Christian Fiction Girl, December 28

Quiet Quilter, December 29

mypreciousbitsandmusings, December 29

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 29

janicesbookreviews, December 29

A Reader’s Brain, December 30

Inklings and notions, December 30

Texas Book-aholic, December 30

Carla Loves to Read, December 30

Back Porch Reads, December 31

CarpeDiem, December 31

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, December 31

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away a print copy of the book and a Visa gift card for $25. Swag!!

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

 

If You Liked Silent Night, Holy Night . . .

18 Dec

My book club’s preferred genre is suspense. And we always read a Christmas book in December. So combining the two, we chose Silent Night, Holy Night by Colleen Coble, 2-novellas-in-1 featuring beloved characters from two of Coble’s series. If you would like to return to Coble’s Rock Harbor or Aloha Reef series, then this is a good choice for your holiday reading.

For more mystery and suspense set during the Christmas season, I recommend to you the following:

The Advent of Murder by Martha Ockley

Faith Morgan, former policewoman and vicar of Little Worthy, visits Oliver Markham’s farm in the run up to Christmas, only to discover the house surrounded by police cars. A body has been found in the local River Itchen, which turns out to be that of Lucas Kemp, a local boy and chorister. Markham is charged with his murder. Through her connections with Winchester Cathedral Faith is drawn into the investigation, discovering that Lucas had dropped out of college and that his mother had died a few months previously. There is a question of drugs, and a rivalry over Lucas’s distraught girlfriend – the choir is a hotbed of tensions. Lucas’s unsavoury uncle, and a local drug dealer, both come under suspicion, and Ben, Faith’s police inspector ex-boyfriend, has to rescue her when the drug dealer turns nasty. But the actual murderer is none of the above …

The Fruitcake Murders by Ace Collins

As Christmas 1946 draws near, thirty-something marine officer-turned-homicide detective Lane Walker has his hands full. Three men with seemingly no relationship to each other have been murdered, including the powerful District Attorney. The only connection between the crimes? The weapons: twenty-year-old unopened fruitcake tins manufactured by a company that is no longer in business.

While some foods may be to die for, fruitcake isn’t one of them! This heaping helping of murder will be no easy task for Walker, and he certainly doesn’t need the determined and feisty Tiffany Clayton, the political reporter for The Chicago Star, getting in the way.

Employing witty dialogue and historical accuracy, The Fruitcake Murders offers equal parts murder, mystery, and mayhem in a perplexing whodunit set in the days just after World War II.

Silent Night, Deadly Night by Richard Mabry

The colored lights on the snow gave it a holiday appearance, but the dead woman’s body in the yard added a grisly touch. How did Ina Bell Patrick die?
Who killed her? And why?

The dead woman had no direct heirs, so two nephews and a niece stood to inherit. Dr. Laura Morris was left to make all the arrangements, attorney Roger Morris could certainly use the money, and Zack Morris had disappeared two years earlier. Then there was neighbor and “best friend” Fay Autrey, who was certain the woman intended to leave her some money—a great deal of money.

The police were still looking for the killer who left the frozen body in the snow when it became apparent someone was trying to pick off the heirs, one by one. Who would win the race — the police or the killer?

 

 

Book Review: A Christmas Haven

2 Dec

Old Order Amish Ivy Zook is wrestling with her need to shed her community’s ways so she can grow the business of her dreams: planning parties. As long as she’s stuck living without modernization, she can barely get her business on its feet. But if she leaves too soon, she’d cause trouble for her sister, Holly, who is planning her wedding to Joshua Smucker. All of their plans become twice as complicated when an old car crashes into the storefront of Greene’s Pharmacy, carrying a Swartzentruber (ultra-conservative sect) Amish man, Arlan, and his very ill sister.

The Zooks take in Arlan and Madga, tending to the woman’s illness and Arlan begins helping around the family farm. Ivy and Arlan are on different tracks, one wanting to leave her community and the other to return to his. But both young people are trying to discover what God has in store for their futures and what miracles might lie around the corner this Christmas season.

Cindy Woodsmall is the “New York Times” and CBA best-selling author of eighteen works of fiction. She’s been featured in national media outlets such as ABC’s “Nightline” and the “Wall Street Journal”. Cindy has won numerous awards and has been finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards. Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in Flowery Branch, GA.

Erin Woodsmall is a writer, musician, wife, and mom of three. She has edited, brainstormed, and researched books with Cindy for almost a decade. She is very excited about their first coauthored book.

Find out more about Cindy and Erin at http://www.cindywoodsmall.com.

 

My Impressions:

Cindy and Erin Woodsmall return to Raysburg, Pennsylvania and the Zook family with A Christmas Haven. (The Christmas Remedy introduced readers to the quaint town and its Amish/English community.) This novella-length book features Ivy Zook, a young woman who identifies more with glitter and tulle than the Plain community in which she was born. But her plans to join the English world are put on hold when an unexpected crash into the Green Pharmacy front window brings new people and new perspectives into her life.

As always, Cindy and Erin Woodsmall created a community that resonates with all faith traditions. In A Christmas Haven the rules of the Old Order Amish actually seem pretty lenient against the extreme legalism that Arlan and Magda Keim experienced in their Swartzentruber Amish family. Readers may be surprised with the differences between Plain communities that the Woodsmalls describe. But the true message is that of mercy and grace and being true to what God has designed for your life. I liked the easy pace of this novel and the true-to-life characters. While the book is billed as a Christmas novella, most of the action takes place before the holiday season, so this book can be enjoyed at any time of the year.

Likable characters, charming setting, and a relevant faith message makes this a good choice for your Christmas reading.

Recommended.

Audience: YA to adults.

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

 

 

Reading Road Trip — The Christmas Edition!

27 Nov

With Christmas right around the corner, I though it would be fun to travel to some fun settings that feature Christmas — A Merry Christmas Road Trip! The books I have chosen are novella length — perfect for the busy holiday season — and feature actual Christmas road trips or are set in towns with a definite Christmas-vibe. I hope you enjoy the journey!

 

Christmas in Winter Hill by Melody Carlson

Krista Galloway is not a fan of Christmas. After her rough childhood in multiple foster homes, the holiday season just brings too many bad memories to the surface. But when she accepts a job as a city manager in the mountain town of Winter Hill, Washington, Christmas is part of the deal. The small town is famous for its Christmasville celebration, something that the city manager . . . well, manages.

As she tries to make her tiny new apartment feel like home for her and her eight-year-old daughter, Emily, Krista begins to wonder if this move was a mistake. She doesn’t always feel welcomed in the close-knit town, and Emily continually wonders, “Where’s the snow?” Can a friendly stranger and his family help restore Krista’s Christmas spirit before the big day?

The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson

Miranda did not put adventure on her Christmas list, but thanks to her eighty-five-year-old neighbor Joy, that’s exactly what she’s getting this year. When Joy tells Miranda that she plans to drive an old RV decked out in Christmas decorations from their Chicago neighborhood to her new retirement digs in Phoenix — in the dead of winter, no less — the much younger Miranda insists that Joy cannot make such a trip by herself. Besides, a crazy trip with Joy would be more interesting than another Christmas home alone. Unemployed and facing foreclosure, Miranda feels she has nothing to lose by packing a bag and heading off to Route 66. But Joy has a hidden agenda for their Christmas joyride — and a hidden problem that could derail the whole venture.

No one captures the heartwarming fun of the Christmas season quite like Melody Carlson. Fasten your seat belt, because it’s going to be an exciting ride!

The Christmas Town by Donna VanLiere

Lauren Gabriel spent many years of her childhood in foster homes, wishing her mother would come back for her and be the family she needs. Now twenty-years-old, she still longs for a place that she can truly call home. Her work as a cashier is unfulfilling, and at Christmas it’s unbearable with the songs and carols and chatter of Christmas that she hears throughout the day.

When Lauren ends her shift one night, she finds herself driving aimlessly in order to avoid returning to her lonely apartment. And when she witnesses a car accident she is suddenly pulled into the small town of Grandon, first as a witness but then as a volunteer for the annual fundraiser for Glory’s Place, a center for single mothers and families who need assistance. Could this town and its people be the home she has always longed for?

An Endless Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti

On the way to Christmas with his family, Micah asks Katie to marry him. She says no, but there is no getting out of Christmas now. The Binder family celebrates every Christmas as if it were their last. Too many people, too much snow, and too little room should be a recipe for disaster. But sometimes too much is just enough. Especially when it’s Christmas.

 

 

 

An Irish Christmas by Melody Carlson

For Colleen, life is spinning out of control. She just lost her husband, and her relationship with her young adult son Jamie is crumbling. Should she confess to him the secret that has been haunting her for twenty years? Jamie has a few secrets of his own. When he announces his plans to join the military, Colleen decides it’s time for the two of them to take a trip together — to Ireland. The truth they discover there could fulfill both their dreams in a way neither ever thought possible.

 

A Royal Christmas Wedding by Rachel Hauck

College volleyball star Avery Truitt has not seen her former flame, Prince Colin of Brighton Kingdom, since he suddenly pushed her away five years ago. But now, the sadness of losing her father and the joy of her sister Susanna’s pregnancy have brought Avery back to Brighton just in time for Cathedral City’s enchanting Christmas season.

Avery knows she can’t avoid seeing Colin — now the Kingdom’s most eligible bachelor — whether or not her heart is ready to relive the pain. But seeing him again might bring her the closure she needs after all this time.

When Colin finds himself at the center of a centuries-old Brighton tradition, he must decide whether to follow the path laid out before him or follow his heart to the only woman for whom he would ring the Pembroke Chapel Bell.

Can Colin convince Avery to meet him at the chapel on Christmas morning — as tradition dictates — or will Avery run back to her St. Simons home and pursue a coaching career as planned?

A Wreath of Snow by Liz Curtis Higgs

Reluctantly returning home for the holidays, Meg Campbell receives a frosty reception from her family and decides to leave for Edinburgh. Delayed by a snowstorm, she pours out her heart to a secretly hurting traveler named Gordon, who asks all the right questions. Can they find healing in each other—and perhaps something more?

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Ruin A Book Title with Just One Letter

22 Oct

First, I need to apologize to all the wonderful authors I may offend with today’s Top 10 Tuesday post. I promise it is all in fun 😉 . Bloggers were directed to give novels new titles, so I am playing the fun game of ruining a book with just one letter. Who knew changing just one little letter could impact the whole trajectory of a story. (Be sure to look at the images for the real titles!) Please play along and leave a comment with your ruined book title.

For more title changes, visit That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top 10 Ruined Book Titles

 

Bark Ambitions by Irene Hannon

Dogs shouldn’t be involved in politics.

Between Two Snores by Jocelyn Green

Can two people get past their sleeping difficulties in old Canada?

A Christmas Raven by Erin and Cindy Woodsmall

Quoth the raven “December 25th nevermore”.

 

Far Side of The Pea by Kate Breslin

It’s WWI and peas are on the menu.

Glory Toad by Lauren K. Denton

Amphibians in the garden.

If I’m Round by Terri Blackstock

Too much fast food on the run.

Never Faithful by Karen Barnett

Fickle lovers and geysers at Yellowstone National Park.

 

The Purse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright

Searching for a mysterious pocketbook.

A Sale of Two Hearts by Michelle Griep

Transplants gone awry in Dickensian England.

Sweat on You by Becky Wade

Can two friends find love despite their personal hygiene?

 

 

Book Review: Christmas in Winter Hill

3 Oct

Krista Galloway is not a fan of Christmas. After her rough childhood in multiple foster homes, the holiday season just brings too many bad memories to the surface. But when she accepts a job as a city manager in the mountain town of Winter Hill, Washington, Christmas is part of the deal. The small town is famous for its Christmasville celebration, something that the city manager . . . well, manages.

As she tries to make her tiny new apartment feel like home for her and her eight-year-old daughter, Emily, Krista begins to wonder if this move was a mistake. She doesn’t always feel welcomed in the close-knit town, and Emily continually wonders, “Where’s the snow?” Can a friendly stranger and his family help restore Krista’s Christmas spirit before the big day?

Bestselling author Melody Carlson invites you to spend this holiday season in a town you’ll never forget — and never want to leave.

Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books (with sales around 6.5 million) for teens, women, and children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller”. Her novels range from serious issues like schizophrenia (Finding Alice) to lighter topics like house-flipping (A Mile in My Flip-Flops) but most of the inspiration behind her fiction comes right out of real life. Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, TrueColors, etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She’s won a number of awards (including Romantic Time’s Career Achievement Award, the Rita and the Gold Medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog. To find out more about Melody Carlson, visit her website at http://www.melodycarlson.com/

 

My Impressions:

Melody Carlson is the queen of Christmas fiction. I look forward to a new novella every year to start the season off right. Christmas in Winter Hill is another winner from this talented author. With endearing characters, including an adorable little girl, a wonderful hometown feel, and a message of hope, this book cannot be beat. Recommended.

Let me first say if you are looking for a book with an all over Christmas-y feel, Christmas in Winter Hill is the one for you. The town of Winter Hill is over-the-top in its embrace of the Christmas spirit, something main character Krista finds hard to resist. Although she doesn’t like Christmas due to the many disappointments surrounding past holidays, she does try very hard to preserve the town’s traditions and her daughter’s dreams. With fits and starts in her new job as Winter Hill’s city manager, Krista learns about community and real family. I loved that though there is a promise of romance in Krista’s future, the story revolves around Krista’s emotional and spiritual growth and her relationship with her daughter. Dreams are not impossible as Krista once thought, and that is a very hopeful message. I knew where the story was going, but I loved the journey along the way. Christmas in Winter Hill is like your favorite Hallmark Christmas movie, only better — it’s a book!

So grab a copy and snuggle in to its warmth and heart.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

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

 

Top 10 Tuesday — A-One, And A-Two . . .

1 Oct

Top 10 Tuesday is challenging bloggers to list books with numbers in their titles. There are few ways to go with this, but I chose to list books with the numbers one and two. All are #1 with me! In the words of Lawrence Welk (for you youngsters, Google) — with a-one, and a-two . . . .

For more numerical lists, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

With A-One

Her One And Only by Becky Wade 

Gray Fowler, star NFL tight end, is being pursued by a stalker, so his team hires a protection agency to keep Gray under the watch of a bodyguard at all times. When Gray meets Dru Porter, an agent assigned to him, he’s indignant. How can an attractive young female half his size possibly protect him?

But Dru’s a former Marine, an expert markswoman, and a black belt. She’s also ferociously determined to uncover the identity of Gray’s stalker. And she’s just as determined to avoid any kind of romantic attachment between herself and the rugged football player with the mysterious past. But the closer they get to finding the stalker, the closer they grow to each other. As the danger rises, can Dru and Gray entrust their hearts — and their lives — to one another?

No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert 

When an impoverished school district loses its accreditation and the affluent community of Crystal Ridge has no choice but to open their school doors, the lives of three very different women converge: Camille Gray–the wife of an executive, mother of three, long-standing PTA chairwoman and champion fundraiser–faced with a shocking discovery that threatens to tear her picture-perfect world apart at the seams. Jen Covington, the career nurse whose long, painful journey to motherhood finally resulted in adoption but she is struggling with a happily-ever-after so much harder than she anticipated. Twenty-two-year-old Anaya Jones — the first woman in her family to graduate college and a brand new teacher at Crystal Ridge’s top elementary school, unprepared for the powder-keg situation she’s stepped into. Tensions rise within and without, culminating in an unforeseen event that impacts them all. This story explores the implicit biases impacting American society, and asks the ultimate question: What does it mean to be human? Why are we so quick to put labels on each other and categorize people as “this” or “that”, when such complexity exists in each person?

No One to Trust by Lynette Eason 

Summer Abernathy wakes up one morning to find her husband missing, three men in her home intent on finding him, and the life she’s been living based on a lie. Which Kyle Abernathy did she marry? The computer programmer she met in line at the bank? Or the one who was apparently using that image as a cover story?

The search for her husband — and answers — takes Summer ever deeper into a world of organized crime where people are used one moment and discarded the next. And with her deepest relationship of trust already shattered, Summer doesn’t know who to believe.

One Final Breath by Lynn H. Blackburn

When investigator Gabriel Chavez had his cover blown by an aggressive reporter, the silver lining was being able to rejoin the dive team. The downside? Dive team captain Anissa Bell — a woman who both fascinates and frustrates him.

Anissa grew up as a missionary kid on the Micronesian island of Yap and always planned to return after college. But she remained stateside, determined to solve the case that haunts her–the murder of her best friend and the disappearance of a three-year-old child.

When Anissa’s fractured past collides with Gabe’s investigation into the tragic shooting death of a teenage boy in Lake Porter, they’ll have to put their complicated history with each other aside in order to uncover the identity of a killer. What they’ll discover is that revenge has no statute of limitations.

Award-winning author Lynn H. Blackburn closes out her nail-biting Dive Team Investigations series with a story that will have you wondering how long you can hold your breath.

The One True Love of Alice-Ann by Eva Marie Everson

Living in rural Georgia in 1941, sixteen-year-old Alice-Ann has her heart set on her brother’s friend Mack; despite their five-year age gap, Alice-Ann knows she can make Mack see her for the woman she’ll become. But when they receive news of the attack on Pearl Harbor and Mack decides to enlist, Alice-Ann realizes she must declare her love before he leaves.

Though promising to write, Mack leaves without confirmation that her love is returned. But Alice-Ann is determined to wear the wedding dress her maiden aunt never had a chance to wear — having lost her fiancé in the Great War. As their correspondence continues over the next three years, Mack and Alice-Ann are drawn closer together. But then Mack’s letters cease altogether, leaving Alice-Ann to fear history repeating itself.

Dreading the war will leave her with a beautiful dress and no happily ever after, Alice-Ann fills her days with work and caring for her best friend’s war-torn brother, Carlton. As time passes and their friendship develops into something more, Alice-Ann wonders if she’ll ever be prepared to say good-bye to her one true love and embrace the future God has in store with a newfound love. Or will a sudden call from overseas change everything?

 

And A-Two

Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green

The daughter of a Mohawk mother and French father in 1759 Montreal, Catherine Duval finds it is easier to remain neutral in a world that is tearing itself apart. Content to trade with both the French and the British, Catherine is pulled into the fray against her wishes when her British ex-
fiance, Samuel Crane, is taken prisoner by her father. Samuel asks her to help him escape, claiming he has information that could help end the war.

Peace appeals to Catherine, but helping the man who broke her heart does not. She delays . . . until attempts on Samuel’s life convince her he’s in mortal danger. Against her better judgment she helps him flee by river, using knowledge of the landscape to creep ever closer to freedom. Their time together rekindles feelings she thought long buried, and danger seems to hound their every mile. She’s risked becoming a traitor by choosing a side, but will the decision cost her even more than she anticipated?

A Tale of Two Hearts by Michelle Griep

London, 1853: Innkeeper’s daughter Mina Scott will do anything to escape the drudgery of her life, for there’s nothing more mundane than serving customers day after day. Every minute she can, she reads and dreams of someday becoming a real lady—and catch the eye of William Barlow, a frequent guest at the inn.

William is a gentleman’s son, a charming but penniless rogue. However, his bachelor uncle will soon name an heir—either him or his scheming cousin. In an effort to secure the inheritance, William gives his uncle the impression he’s married, which works until he’s invited to bring his wife for a visit.

William asks Mina to be his pretend bride, only until his uncle names an heir on Christmas Day. Mina is flattered and frustrated by the offer, for she wants a true relationship with William. Yet, she agrees. . .then wishes she hadn’t. So does William. Deceiving the old man breaks both their hearts. When the truth is finally discovered, more than just money is lost.

Two Crosses by Elizabeth Musser
The glimmering Huguenot cross she innocently wears leads her deep into the shadows.When Gabriella Madison arrives in France in 1961 to continue her university studies, she doesn’t anticipate being drawn into the secretive world behind the Algerian war for independence from France. The further she delves into the war efforts, the more her faith is challenged.The people who surround her bring a whirlwind of transforming forces — a wise nun involved in the smuggling, a little girl carrying secret information, and a man with unknown loyalties who captures her heart. When she discovers a long hidden secret from her past, it all leads to questions about trust, faith in action, and the power of forgiveness to move beyond the pain of the past.

Two Roads Home by Deborah Raney

Minor-but-nagging setbacks continue to sour Grant and Audrey Whitman’s initiation into the world of innkeeping, but larger challenges brew when an innocent flirtation leads to big trouble for the Whitmans’ son-in-law, Jesse. Jesse Pennington’s friendly, outgoing personality has always served him well, especially in a career that has earned him and his wife Corinne a very comfortable lifestyle. But Corinne and Jesse are both restless—and for similar reasons, if only they could share those with each other. Instead, too many business trips and trumped-up charges of harassment from a disgruntled coworker threaten their marriage and possibly put their three precious daughters at risk. With their life in disarray, God is tugging at their hearts to pursue other dreams. Can Corinne and Jesse pick up the pieces of what was once a wonderful life before it all crumbles beneath them?

Two Women of Galilee by Mary Rourke

Seeking to restore health to her lungs, Joanna, wife to Herod’s chief steward, approaches her cousin Mary, mother of the healer Jesus. Though their families were estranged when Joanna’s parents adopted Roman ways, Mary welcomes her graciously. Jesus indeed heals Joanna’s body…and her soul blossoms through her friendship with Mary and with her work as one of his disciples. But as word of Jesus’ miracles reaches King Herod’s court, intrigue, treachery and murder cast shadows onto Joanna’s new path, changing her life forever.

Top 10 Tuesday — Autumn TBR List

24 Sep

The calendar may say it is Fall, but the temps here in the Sunny South say something much different. We are headed into a week with highs in the mid to high 90s yet again. Whew, I need some cooler weather! So while the rest of the country gets out the sweaters and the hot cider, I will just have to dig into some great Fall reading until our cool wave hits. Maybe in January! 😉

For more Fall Reading Lists, head over to That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Fall TBR List

 

The Art of Rivers by Janet Ferguson

A Christmas Haven by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall

Christmas in Winter Hill by Melody Carlson

Darcy by Any Other Name by Laura Hile

Dark Ambitions by Irene Hannon

Judah’s Wife by Angela Hunt 

One Final Breath by Lynn H. Blackburn

Smoke Screen by Terri Blackstock

Stitches in Time by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Synapse by Steven James

 

What are you reading this Fall?