Tag Archives: contemporary fiction

Book Spotlight — A Shattered Life Restored by Marshalee Patterson

12 Oct

I am very excited to spotlight A Shattered Life Restored by Marshalee Patterson. Check out the book and don’t forget to visit the bloggers on the tour for more info and reviews.

Title: A Shattered Life Restored
Author: Marshalee Patterson
Genre: Inspirational Christian Romance
Release Date: September 20th, 2018
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Sitting at the Saint-Roch Train Station with tears in her eyes, Meg contemplated where her life had gone wrong. She was at a point in her life where she felt abandoned by God after the last remaining person who truly loved her, died. Now with a baby on the way, she had begun to lose hope that the future, she knew the Lord had promised her was never meant for her.
With a gentle tap on her shoulder, her gaze turned to meet that of Derek’s, the kind stranger whose smile brought warmness into her heart. “Was he sent to fulfil God’s promise in my life?” she thought. With assured faith, she followed him as he led her away, trusting that God had not forsaken her. Now she felt content to allow God to have his way in her life and totally surrender all to him.

 

Marshalee Patterson was born in Kingston, Jamaica. She has loved reading since she could walk. Growing up without a television sparked in her a love for reading and the world of imagination. Some of her favourite novels were written by Charles Dickens, Jane Eyre and Victor Hugo, as she found she liked the true to life stories that we all can relate to.
She wrote her first novella Predestined Love after travelling to Italy and wanted to write a romance novel about it, only she didn’t know that God had plans for her and that story, when he changed the direction of what she originally had in mind. It was then that she knew she was called to write stories to uplift and inspire readers, showing them how to find God in their struggles and the faith to trust Him through it. She is a lover of nature and the tranquillity of it. She finds the outdoors refreshing and peaceful. Marshalee loves Spanish ballads and dances salsa very well.

Connect with Marshalee

Links to Buy
 
 Blog Stops 
Oct. 1st – ASC Book Reviews
Oct. 2nd – Christian Bookaholic
Oct. 3rd – A Diva’s Heart
Oct.4th – A Hopeful blog
Oct.4th – Brooke’s Blog
Oct. 5th – Traci’s Blog
Oct.6th – Yoursincerelyd
Oct.7th – Lock, Hooks and Books
Oct. 7th – Pursuing Stacie
Oct. 8th – Miracle Writes
Oct.9th – Britt Reads Fiction
Oct. 11th – Remembrancy
Oct. 12th – By the Book
Oct. 13th – Reading Is My Superpower
Oct. 14th – The Daily Gee
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Top 10 Tuesday — Missing Out

25 Sep

Because the number of books on my shelf, Kindle, and wish lists don’t equal the amount of free time I have to read, i have *gasp* unread books by favorite authors. Those are the books that whisper the loudest read me as I pass their resting place. Many of the books have been waiting many years; others are more recent additions. Some, when read, will put a finished check mark next to a series. I have every intention of reading them all!  That Artsy Reader Girl wants us to fess up this week and share those deserving titles. Have you read any of the books on my list? Tell me which one I should read next.

Head over to That Artsy Reader Girl for other bloggers’ true confessions.

 

Top 10 Unread Books by Favorite Authors

 

Chateau of Secrets by Melanie Dobson

The Haven by Suzanne Woods Fisher

The Journey by Angela Hunt

Luther And Katharina by Jody Hedlund

The Mark of The King by Jocelyn Green

Maybe It’s You by Candace Calvert

A Memory Between Us by Sarah Sundin

Mine Is The Night by Liz Curtis Higgs

Portrait of Vengeance by Carrie Stuart Parks

Stones of My Accusers by Tracy Groot

 

What books by favorite authors do you need to read?

 

 

Book Review + Giveaway: Hidden Among The Stars

17 Sep

About The Book

Hidden-Among-The-Stars-Book-Cover

Book Title: Hidden Among The Stars

Author: Melanie Dobson

Genre: Historical Fiction (However, this is a time-slip novel, so there is also a contemporary component to the story)

Release date: September 4, 2018

From the award-winning author of Catching the Wind, which Publishers Weekly called “unforgettable” and a “must-read,” comes another gripping time-slip novel about hidden treasure, a castle, and ordinary people who resisted evil in their own extraordinary way.
The year is 1938, and as Hitler’s troops sweep into Vienna, Austrian Max Dornbach promises to help his Jewish friends hide their most valuable possessions from the Nazis, smuggling them to his family’s summer estate near the picturesque village of Hallstatt. He enlists the help of Annika Knopf, his childhood friend and the caretaker’s daughter, who is eager to help the man she’s loved her entire life. But when Max also brings Luzia Weiss, a young Jewish woman, to hide at the castle, it complicates Annika’s feelings and puts their entire plan—even their very lives—in jeopardy. Especially when the Nazis come to scour the estate and find both Luzia and the treasure gone.

Eighty years later, Callie Randall is mostly content with her quiet life, running a bookstore with her sister and reaching out into the world through her blog. Then she finds a cryptic list in an old edition of Bambithat connects her to Annika’s story . . . and maybe to the long-buried story of a dear friend. As she digs into the past, Callie must risk venturing outside the safe world she’s built for a chance at answers, adventure, and maybe even new love.

Click HERE to purchase.


About The Author

Melanie-Dobson-Author-PhotoMelanie Dobson is the award-winning author of nearly twenty historical romance, suspense, and time-slip novels including Catching the Wind and Chateau of Secrets . Three of her novels have won Carol Awards; Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana won Best Novel of Indiana in 2010; and The Black Cloister won the Foreword Magazine Religious Fiction Book of the Year.

Melanie is the former corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family and owner of the publicity firm Dobson Media Group. When she isn’t writing, Melanie enjoys teaching both writing and public relations classes at George Fox University.

Melanie and her husband, Jon, have two daughters. After moving numerous times with work, the Dobson family has settled near Portland, Oregon, and they love to hike and camp in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest and along the Pacific Coast. Melanie also enjoys exploring ghost towns and abandoned homes, helping care for kids in her community, and reading stories with her girls.

Visit Melanie online at www.melaniedobson.com.

 

My Impressions:

I have been a big fan of Melanie Dobson for a number of years. Her novels always deliver a story full of wonderfully developed characters, unforgettable settings, and powerful messages. Hidden Among The Stars is no exception and has moved to the top of my all-time favorites from this talented author. You really need to read this book! Very highly recommended!

Hidden Among The Stars has a dual timeline that while popular with authors and readers alike, certainly has to be very difficult to achieve. I often find that one story is missing something. Not so with Hidden Among The Stars. I was fully invested in both the modern day story of children’s book store owner Callie as she sought to find the connections and secrets hidden within the pages of storybooks and the story of oppression and fear, hope and sacrifice in the early years of WWII-era Austria. The characters touched my heart and became like well known friends. I hurt for them, cheered them on, and was amazed at their resilience and nobility in the face of cruelty. While all the characters are striking in their portrayal, my favorite was the simple, teenaged Annika who was caught up in events much larger than her experience. A very ordinary young woman, Annika extraordinarily lives out Christ’s love. The history surrounding the occupation of Austria, the early years of Nazi oppression, and the hidden treasures that were lost was fascinating. Dobson weaves a mystery that will captivate your imagination while forcing you to turn the pages faster and faster. For those who love books, children’s books in particular, Hidden Among The Stars is a treat. I loved the history shared about the authors and their life experiences.

Hidden Among The Stars will undoubtedly make my best of 2018 list. A book that pulls you in from the opening lines, it is a beautifully written, emotionally charged, and powerfully moving depiction of love, honor, and sacrifice. Grab this one and some of your friends — you are going to want to talk about this book!

Very Highly Recommended.

Great for Book Clubs.

Audience: older teens and adults.

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

 

 

Guest Post from Melanie

Hallstatt’s Hiding Places

Backpacking across Europe—that’s how my husband Jon and I decided to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. We savored the old world culture and charm as we hiked along Italy’s coast, toured medieval castles in Germany, and cruised the canals in Belgium; we both left a bit of our hearts in an ancient lakeside town called Hallstatt.

The moment we stepped off the ferryboat and into this storybook village, we crossed through a portal of sorts, traveling back several centuries in time. The rugged, snow-capped mountains around us and alpine lake, the quaint village with its church steeples and cobblestone lanes and waterfall that spilled into town—all of it captivated us.

Along the shore, hidden partially by trees, we could see spires of an abandoned castle, and I wanted to know its story. No one in Hallstatt could tell us who’d lived in the castle—at least, not in English—so my husband agreed to a new adventure. With a swan as our escort, we glided across the lake in an electric boat so I could study the rusty turrets, boarded windows, and wooden boathouse resting in the water like a felled log.

Instead of quelling my curiosity, the match of inspiration ignited my mind. Who had lived in this castle, and what happened there? I began writing in my journal that night, trying to capture my rogue thoughts on paper, hoping that one day a novel would emerge from the ashes of this castle’s story.

When we returned home, I began researching more of Hallstatt’s history and discovered that this region, in all of its beauty and mystique, had been infiltrated by an enemy in 1938. This town and the surrounding Salzkammergut became a mountain retreat for Nazi officials who built mansions on the shores of its many lakes and used salt mines to hide “ownerless treasure”—the gold bullion and artwork they’d stolen from the Jewish people.

The Nazis intended to build a Fourth Reich in this alpine fortress, but the Allies had other plans. Near the end of the war, these lakes became a dustbin of sorts, collecting whatever the enemy dumped into its waters—weapons, counterfeit banknotes, concentration camp lists—as they fled south from the Allied troops. The Devil’s Dustbin, locals call it.

Lake Hallstatt plunges more than four hundred feet between the fortress of mountains. Because of its depth and the many hiding places in the underwater forests, caves, and shifting sands, divers continue finding World War II artifacts today. Some still believe there’s a treasure trove buried on the bottom, but no one has reported finding any gold.

After our trip, a story about this castle and what happened to the heirlooms of the Austrian Jewish people continued to burn inside me until I finally put it on paper. So I built Schloss Schwansee—Castle of Swan Lake—in my mind, inspired by the castle along Lake Hallstatt, and created a cast of historical and contemporary characters who are searching for lost treasure.

Hidden Among the Stars is a time-slip novel about a castle and treasure and fairytales, but most of all, it’s a story about God using ordinary people across Austria to resist evil in their own extraordinary way.

Blog Stops

Reading Is My SuperPower, September 6

Fiction Aficionado, September 6

Back Porch Reads, September 6

Among the Reads, September 6

The Power of Words, September 7

Multifarious, September 7

lady ansel book vibes, September 7

The Becca Files, September 7

God’s Little Bookworm, September 8

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, September 8

Painting with Words, September 8

Lis Loves Reading, September 8

cherylbbookblog, September 9

Living LIfe Free in Christ, September 9

Madeline Clark, September 9

Mary Hake, September 9

Reflections From My Bookshelves, September 10

Genesis 5020, September 10

Faithfully Bookish, September 10

Simple Harvest Reads, September 10 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Margaret Kazmierczak, September 11

All-of-a-kind Mom, September 11

Daysong Reflections, September 11

Caffeinated Christian Raves – N – Reviews, September 11

Seasons of Opportunities, September 12

Remembrancy, September 12

Inklings and notions, September 12

amandainpa, September 12

Maureen’s Musing, September 13

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 13

Just Commonly, September 13

Book by Book, September 13

Connect in Fiction, September 14

Pause for Tales, September 14

Have A Wonderful Day, September 14

Splashes of Joy, September 14

The Christian Fiction Girl, September 15

Tell Tale Book Reviews, September 15

To Everything A Season, September 15

A Baker’s Perspective, September 15

proud to be an autism mom, September 16

Bibliophile Reviews, September 16

Bigreadersite, September 16

Aryn The Libraryan, September 16

By The Book, September 17

Christian author, J.E. Grace, September 17

Janices book reviews, September 17

Texas Book-aholic, September 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 18

Carpe Diem, September 18

Godly Book Reviews, September 19

For The Love of Books, September 19

Live. Love. Read., September 19

Reader’s Cozy Corner, September 19

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Melanie is giving away a grand prize package that includes a $25 Amazon gift card, Catching the Wind paperback, and Hidden Among the Stars paperback!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d2ad/hidden-among-the-stars-celebration-tour-giveaway

Book Review: Fit to Be Tied

10 Sep

The Bucklin family loves each other too much to stay away. . . but not enough to behave.

Being rich is fine, but when wealth comes from striking oil, it can make a slippery mess for a family who doesn’t know what to do with it. The Bucklin cousins are all together again, and this family reunion is shaping up to be another hot mess.

Coralee falls for the police officer who pulls her over. Sally has finally found a guy, but now she’s not sure a relationship is even worth the bother. No matter how hard Brett tries to avoid trouble, he somehow stumbles right back into the thick of it. And Marybeth and Bucky continue to fumble and bumble as they learn just how to handle being rich.

The Bucklin family is known for drama — and family drama knows no bounds.

 

Debby Mayne is the author of more than 60 novels and novellas that have received the “Top Pick” award from Romantic Times Magazine and been among the “Top 10 Favorites” in the Heartsong Presents book club. She writes family and faith-based romances, cozy mysteries, and women’s fiction. She has also written more than 1,000 short stories and articles as well as dozens of devotions for busy women. She has worked as managing editor of a national health publication, product information writer for a TV retailer, creative writing instructor, and copy editor and proofreader for several book publishers. She is currently an etiquette writer for The Spruce, one of the DotDash (formerly About.com) companies.

Debby grew up in a military family, which meant moving every few years throughout her childhood. Debby was born in Alaska, and she has lived in Mississippi, Tennessee, Oregon, Florida, Hawaii, and Japan. Her parents were both from the Deep South, so she enjoys featuring characters with southern drawls, plenty of down-home cooking, and folks with quirky mannerisms.

She and her husband currently live in the Charleston, South Carolina, area. To learn more about Debby:
Website – debbymayne.net
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/DebbyMayneAuthor
Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/@debbymayne

 

My Impressions:

The first book in the Bucklin Family Reunion series, High Cotton, introduced readers to the over-the-top family known for its family reunion antics. Now author Debby Mayne is back with book 2, Fit to Be Tied, a novel that continues the family saga while delivering laughs along with familiar situations that all families encounter, even those without seriously quirky family members (are there any families out there without that uncle or aunt? 😉 ). Filled with deep South references this one is a fun read.

Fit to Be Tied is told through the first person perspectives of 5 members of the Bucklin family. The multi-generational points of view provide glimpses into what makes this family tick. I liked how each revealed a different aspect of this rambling family. Perhaps my (and your) family isn’t is as outrageous or contentious as the Bucklins, but I bet there will be plenty of things that you can relate to — how family members bear with each other, protect each other, and ultimately love each other. If you read book one you will recognize many of the characters, but some new family members are introduced as well. But don’t think you will get overwhelmed by all the Bucklin kin that make an appearance. The format of short chapters keep the doings of the family manageable for the reader. The five characters that share their thoughts on life, love, and family are real and relatable, and reveal the struggles that all face. I especially loved Sally who figured prominently in book one as well. Fit to Be Tied is filled with southernisms and mouth-watering food references that add an authentic feel to the novel. As in the first book, the family reunion is the climax of the book, but Fit to Be Tied is certainly not the end of the story. Be prepared for more fun in the third book in the series, Out of Pocket, due out in Spring 2019.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent with the Bucklin clan. I recommend you start with book 1 to get the whole family experience. You might find yourself yearning for a family reunion of your own!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

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

September Book Club Selection

3 Sep

By The Book is reading a new-to-us author, fellow Georgian, Lindsey Brackett. Her debut novel, Still Waters, is already an award-winner! Perhaps the most exciting thing is that we will be meeting in person with Lindsey in October! Woo hoo!! If you have already read Still Waters, we would love to know what you thought. If not, consider joining our online book club. We’d love to have you!

Cora Anne Halloway has a history degree and a plan: avoid her own past despite being wait-listed for graduate school. Then her beloved grandmother requests — and her dispassionate mother insists — that she spend the summer at Still Waters, the family cottage on Edisto Beach, South Carolina.

Despite its picturesque setting, Still Waters haunts Cora Anne with loss. At Still Waters her grandfather died, her parents’ marriage disintegrated, and as a child, she caused a tragic drowning. But lingering among the oak canopies and gentle tides, this place also tempts her with forgiveness — especially since Nan hired Tennessee Watson to oversee cottage repairs. A local contractor, but dedicated to the island’s preservation from development, Tennessee offers her friendship and more, if she can move beyond her guilt.

When a family reunion reveals Nan’s failing health, Cora Anne discovers how far Tennessee will go to protect her and — Edisto — from more desolation. Will Cora Anne choose between a life driven by guilt, or one washed clean by the tides of grace?

 

Award-winning writer, Lindsey P. Brackett just writes life — blogs, columns, articles, and stories — in the midst of motherhood. A blogger since 2010, she has published articles and short stories in a variety of print and online publications. She writes a popular bimonthly column for several local newspapers in which she meditates on small town southern life.

Her love of family ties and southern places prompted her first novel, Still Waters, a Lowcountry story about the power of family and forgiveness. Thanks to her four kids, in her home you’ll find wet towels, lost library books, and strong coffee.

Connect with her at http://www.lindseypbrackett.com, where she just writes life, on Facebook as Lindsey P. Brackett, on Twitter @lindsbrac, or Instagram @lindseypbrackett.

Book Review: As The Tide Comes In

30 Aug

When an unthinkable loss sends Tara Abbott’s life spiraling out of control, she journeys from North Carolina to Georgia’s St. Simons Island. Although confused and scared, she hopes to find answers about her past – her life before the years of foster care and raising her two half-brothers as a young adult. Will she find steady ground on the island, surrounded by an eccentric-but-kindhearted group of older women called The Glynn Girls and a determined firefighter? Or will the truth splinter what’s left of her identity into pieces?

 

 

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:

Some reviews seem to write themselves — a quick summary of likes and dislikes, with a nod to setting and characters and faith elements. Others, not so much. This is one of those times when the words I pen just don’t seem to do the book justice. As The Tide Comes In is the second collaborative novel from best-selling author Cindy Woodsmall and her daughter-in-law, Erin Woodsmall. Cindy Woodsmall is known for her unique take on the Amish. She is a big favorite of my book club and the only author of Amish fiction we read as a group. But this novel is a big departure from her writing roots. I don’t know how the partnership between these two authors is set up since the writing is seamless, but it sure does work! This book is part Southern women’s lit, part romance, part mystery, but definitely wholly great! I highly recommend As The Tide Comes In.

Tara Abbott has faced a lot of struggles in her life. From abandonment as a very young child, to a life spent in the foster care system, to being the sole caretaker of younger half-brothers, Tara has had to dig deep within herself to carry on. In the blink of an eye everything changes, and Tara is left lost and confused and far away from all she knows about herself and God. I am amazed at how well the authors portrayed Tara’s character. They got everything right. Emotional, spiritual, and physical responses are masterfully depicted. Other characters could have become stereotypes, but were also well-drawn and given a convincing complexity. The setting of the novel is St. Simon’s Island, a place I have visited a few times. As The Tide Comes In brought back vivid memories of this wonderful place in the Golden Isles. There are a lot of hard things in this book. So hard, I wasn’t sure I would be able to get through it. But even in the blackest of events the authors shared glimmers of hope and joy. There are also a lot of things to talk about, but perhaps the thing that touched me the most was the idea of living a life as a vessel of love. What a wonderful way to describe the relationship between God and His people and our joint roles in reaching a hurting world.

Should you read As The Time Comes In? Oh YES!! I also think you should read it with a friend or group of friends. Trust me. You are going to want to discuss this book.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

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

 

Top 10 Tuesday — In a reading slump? Read these books now!

21 Aug

Reading slumps, ugh. When you want to read, but you just can’t seem to get into the books you pull from your shelves. What to do? Read the books on my list! I recommend all these books, they are quick to capture the attention and keep it. I’ve divided them into categories (2 per genre) so that you can find exactly the book you want to read.

Want other book recs? Head over to That Artsy Reader Girl for more.

 

Top Books to Beat A Slump

 

Historical (with some romance)

Burning Sky by Lori Benton

A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green

 

Mystery

Miranda Warning by Heather Day Gilbert

Rules of Murder by Julianna Deering

 

Romance

The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano

The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

 

Romantic Suspense

Vanished by Irene Hannon

Vendetta by Lisa Harris

 

Small Town Contemporary Series (with romance)

Hope Harbor series by Irene Hannon

A Place to Call Home series by Cathleen Armstrong

 

Suspense

A Cry from The Dust by Carrie Stuart Parks

Fear Has A Name by Creston Mapes