Tag Archives: contemporary fiction

First Line Friday — Lead Me Home by Amy K. Sorrells

23 Mar

Lead Me Home by Amy K. Sorrells has been on my TBR shelf for way too long. I intend to remedy while I am at my mountain cabin for some R&MR — reading and more reading! There’s a storm in this book, so it meets the in like a lion, out like a lamb prompt for this week, too. How about you? What is your first line?

Leave a comment with the first sentence in the book closest to you, then head over to Hoarding Books to check out all the First Line fun!


Amid open fields and empty pews, small towns can crush big dreams.

Abandoned by his no-good father and forced to grow up too soon, Noble Burden has set his dreams aside to run the family farm. Meanwhile, James Horton, the pastor of the local church, questions his own calling as he prepares to close the doors for good.

As a severe storm rolls through, threatening their community and very livelihood, both men fear losing what they care about most . . . and reconsider where they truly belong.


Amy K. Sorrells is a long-time believer in the power of story to change lives. Her diverse writing career includes more than two decades of freelance writing, including medical journal publications and a popular op-ed newspaper column. The driving mission behind all her writing is to bring words of hope to a hurting world. Praised by reviewers for the way they both poetically and accurately portray real-life hardship and hope, Amy’s novels are inspired by social issues that break her heart and the Bible stories that reflect God’s response to those issues. Her first novel, How Sweet the Sound, was a response to her personal questions about how God redeems the pain of sexual abuse. How Sweet the Sound won the 2011 Women of Faith Writing Contest. Since then, she has published two more novels, Then Sings My Soul and Lead Me Home. Amy’s novels have been short-listed for various fiction awards. In addition to being a writer, Amy is also grateful to be a practicing registered nurse at a busy suburban hospital. She loves doting on her husband, three young-adult sons, and their golden retrievers at their home in central Indiana. If there’s leftover time after that, she enjoys up-cycling, gardening, binge reading, exercising, and Bible journaling.

Connect with Amy at amyksorrells.com, or find her on Facebook (@amyksorrells), Twitter (@amysorrells), and Instagram (@amyksorrells).


Top 10 Tuesday — Spring TBR

20 Mar

It has been spring here in middle Georgia for a while now. The unusually cold winter has given way to a very early spring. Everything is blooming here and the inevitable pollen has tinged all things yellow. But it is beautiful and promises warmer weather to come.

With March comes a new Spring TBR! Check out what other bloggers are reading in the coming months at That Artsy Reader Girl.


Top Books on The Spring TBR List

As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner

High Cotton by Debby Mayne

Hurricane Season by Lauren K. Denton

If I Live by Terri Blackstock

The Land Lord by Cheryl Colwell

Lone Witness by Rachel Dylan

A Loyal Heart by Jody Hedlund

Presumption And Partiality by Rebekah Jones

Together Forever by Jody Hedlund

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West 

What’s on your Spring TBR List?


Book Review: The House on Foster Hill

19 Mar

Kaine Prescott is no stranger to death. When her husband died two years ago, her pleas for further investigation into his suspicious death fell on deaf ears. In desperate need of a fresh start, Kaine purchases an old house sight unseen in her grandfather’s Wisconsin hometown. But one look at the eerie, abandoned house immediately leaves her questioning her rash decision. And when the house’s dark history comes back with a vengeance, Kaine is forced to face the terrifying realization she has nowhere left to hide.

A century earlier, the house on Foster Hill holds nothing but painful memories for Ivy Thorpe. When an unidentified woman is found dead on the property, Ivy is compelled to discover her identity. Ivy’s search leads her into dangerous waters and, even as she works together with a man from her past, can she unravel the mystery before any other lives — including her own — are lost?

Professional coffee drinker & ECPA/Publisher’s Weekly best-selling author, Jaime Jo Wright resides in the hills of Wisconsin writing spirited turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Coffee fuels her snarky personality. She lives in Neverland with her Cap’n Hook who stole her heart and will not give it back, their little fairy TinkerBell, and a very mischievous Peter Pan. The foursome embark on scores of adventure that only make her fall more wildly in love with romance and intrigue.

Jaime lives in dreamland, exists in reality, and invites you to join her adventures at jaimejowright.com!


My Impressions:

Because I had heard a lot of positive buzz about Jaime Jo Wright’s debut novel, The House on Foster Hill, I thought I’d offer it to my book club as a possibility for our 2018 schedule. The blurb sold it to my group, but it was the actual reading experience that gave it a unanimous thumbs up! We loved the spooky atmosphere, the engaging characters, and the mystery that spanned over a hundred years. Because we read a lot of suspense it isn’t easy to surprise us, but this one did. We never saw the ending coming! We are excited to have found another author to add to our must-read list.

Dual plot lines set in the present day and in 1906, appealed to our members who like contemporary and/or historical novels. The two stories intertwine well. The action alternated between Kaine and Ivy’s stories keeping us turning the pages as quickly as possible — we had to know what was happening with both of these engaging and interesting characters. Kaine and Ivy are women of their times, but share a determination to get to the bottom of the mysteries that the shady Foster Hill House presents. Although some of us wanted to shake them from time to time, we generally loved them. The two male characters were a treat as well. Very different from each other, my group was split on which we liked better, but were pleased with how both added to the stories and the main characters’ lives. The book provided great discussion for our group — family history and secrets, human trafficking now and then, and keeping alive the memories of those who have passed.

Often my book club gets off task during our monthly discussions, but this month we had no trouble staying focused on The House on Foster Hill. Kudos for an impressive first novel. We look forward to many more from an author to watch.

Highly Recommended.

Great for Book Clubs.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE. (It’s currently free for Kindle Unlimited)

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





First Line Friday, The St. Paddy’s Day Edition — An Irishwoman’s Tale by Patti Lacy

16 Mar

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! For this week’s First Line Friday, I am featuring an older book from one of my favorite authors — An Irishwoman’s Tale by Patti Lacy. The first line I am sharing is actually from chapter 4, the first scene set in Ireland. Have you read this book? Tell me why I need to move it up to the top of my TBR pile.

Please leave a comment with your first line, then head over to Hoarding Books for more Irish fun!



Far away from her Irish home, Mary Freeman begins to adapt to life in Midwest America, but family turmoil and her own haunting memories threaten to ruin her future. It takes a crisis in her daughter’s life — and the encouragement of Sally, a plucky Southern transplant — to propel Mary back to the rocky cliffs of her home in County Clare, Ireland.


In 2005, Patti Lacy traded in her grade books for a writer’s pen to tell the long-buried story of her best friend. An Irishwoman’s Tale, What the Bayou Saw, and The Rhythm of Secrets explore the secrets women keep and why they keep them. Patti’s fourth book, Reclaiming Lily, from Bethany House, transports readers to a Chinese orphanage, where two cultures and two women collide. Claiming influences as diverse as Francine Rivers and Jodi Piccoult, Patti weaves stories of grace that have in their fiber real-life incidents.

In 2014, Patti partnered with Sara Richardson and Angie Reedy to capture the poignant memoir of a sharecropper’s daughter, Jessie’s Pearls. Patti and Angie next stuck close to their hometown of Bloomington-Normal, Illinois, where a local ministry, Jesus House, came to life on the pages of a second memoir, Tattooed by Jesus. Real-life stories won’t let go of their hold on Angie and Patti, who currently are working on Stories From the Jesus House and several projects involving ministries that rely on the power of Jesus Christ, the Savior, to transform broken lives.

Patti soothes her itch to teach by leading seminars, facilitating writing classes, and speaking at women’s events. Patti and her husband Alan, a college professor, have two grown children and a dog named Laura.

What’s your St. Patrick’s Day first line?

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?

First Line Friday — The Saturday Night Supper Club

23 Feb

If you want to find some fabulous books, you need to do what I’ve been doing — visiting the many blogs that are participating in Hoarding Books’ First Line Friday. What a great way to discover new books and new authors. Make sure to check out their site. But first check out my first line and then leave a comment with your first line!


My first line comes from Carla Laureano‘s newest novel, The Saturday Night Supper Club. This is also the first book I will read by Laureano. Stay tuned for my review next month.

Denver chef Rachel Bishop has accomplished everything she’s dreamed and some things she never dared hope, like winning a James Beard Award and heading up her own fine-dining restaurant. But when a targeted smear campaign causes her to be pushed out of the business by her partners, she vows to do whatever it takes to get her life back . . .  even if that means joining forces with the man who inadvertently set the disaster in motion.

Essayist Alex Kanin never imagined his pointed editorial would go viral. Ironically, his attempt to highlight the pitfalls of online criticism has the opposite effect: it revives his own flagging career by destroying that of a perfect stranger. Plagued by guilt-fueled writer’s block, Alex vows to do whatever he can to repair the damage. He just doesn’t expect his interest in the beautiful chef to turn personal.

Alex agrees to help rebuild Rachel’s tarnished image by offering his connections and his home to host an exclusive pop-up dinner party targeted to Denver’s most influential citizens: the Saturday Night Supper Club. As they work together to make the project a success, Rachel begins to realize Alex is not the unfeeling opportunist she once thought he was, and that perhaps there’s life―and love ― outside the pressure-cooker of her chosen career. But can she give up her lifelong goals without losing her identity as well?

Carla Laureano is the RITA® Award-winning author of contemporary inspirational romance and Celtic fantasy (as C.E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons, where she writes during the day and cooks things at night.

Connect with Carla online at her website (http://www.carlalaureano.com) or on any of these social media platforms: