Tag Archives: contemporary fiction

Book Review: The Singing Quilt

22 Jul

Jolissa Montoya believes God is calling her to work with the disadvantaged children in her inner-city neighborhood. There’s only one problem: The children wouldn’t be able to understand her. Jolissa suffers from a speech impediment and has a thick accent because Spanish is her first language. Ridiculed through much of her youth, she is quite shy and reticent to speak. She is convinced that what God has spoken to her heart is impossible. Impossible, that is, until one day when she shares her concerns with a confidante who shows her a quilt ― a quilt that depicts the life of a courageous woman. Can another woman’s courage move her to try the impossible to step out and follow God wherever He leads her? The Singing Quilt is set against the backdrop of the life of Fanny Crosby, who in addition to writing hundreds of songs was also a well-known public speaker and active in Christian rescue missions despite her disability. Readers will be inspired not to let fear or a disability prevent them from answering what they think is God’s impossible call.

 

Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored nearly 40 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences. She won the 2008 Member of the Year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) and was the 2011 Author of the Year from BooksandAuthors.net. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband. You can find out more about Kathi or contact her via her website: www.kathimacias.com.

 

My Impressions:

The Singing Quilt by Kathi Macias was chosen by my church book club because of its storyline featuring Fanny Crosby, the well-beloved and prolific hymn writer. The connection between the long ago woman of faith and a modern-day story was intriguing. Unfortunately, the novel fell a bit flat for many of our members. Macias is one of my favorite writers whose diverse characters and social justice messages combined with Christian faith make her an auto-read. But The Singing Quilt just wasn’t my cup of tea. The consensus of my group was that we loved learning about Fanny Crosby’s history, but felt the contemporary story and characters were a bit contrived and one-dimensional. The conflict described in the book was neatly and conveniently resolved, leaving us wanting more. The book also had a definite YA-vibe, although it is not billed as such.

No, I was not a fan of The Singing Quilt. Will it keep me from reading more from Macias? Not at all! Not every book an author writes will appeal to all readers, and her track record of writing insightful and thought-provoking fiction will keep me reading her works.

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

Reading Road Trips — Cruising The Atlantic Beaches

10 Jul

I grew up 40 minutes away from the white sand beaches of Florida. I spent a lot of hours playing in the surf, baking in the sun, enjoying the sounds of the waves and seabirds and the smell/taste of hot French fries from concession stands. Those days of driving the beaches and walking the dunes are gone (conservation, you know), but I will never forget the great memories of sunny, carefree days. This week I am featuring books set among some of the beach communities along the Atlantic seaboard. It certainly is not an exhaustive list, but it will get you started on a beach-y getaway. Some of the books on my list are set in real places, others are imagined, but representative of what you will find along the coast. I hope you will find one to love!

 

Cruising The Atlantic Beaches with A Good Book

Florida

The Discovery by Dan WalshGerard

Warner was not only a literary giant whose suspense novels sold in the millions, he was also a man devoted to his family, especially his wife of nearly 60 years. When he dies he leaves his Charleston estate to his grandson, Michael, an aspiring writer himself. Michael settles in to write his own first novel and discovers an unpublished manuscript his grandfather had written, something he’d kept hidden from everyone but clearly intended Michael to find. Michael begins to read an exciting tale about Nazi spies and sabotage, but something about this story is different from all of Gerard Warner’s other books. It’s actually a love story. As Michael delves deeper into the story he discovers something that has the power to change not only his future but his past as well.

Georgia

As The Tide Comes In by Cindy and Erin Woodsmall

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?

Cape Refuge (book one of a series) by Terri Blackstock

When the kindest couple in Cape Refuge is found murdered at their church, their daughter will have to find the killer . . . before her own husband is convicted.

Wade and Thelma Owens run a halfway house on the small island of Cape Refuge that caters to wayward souls just out of prison. So when Wade and Thelma turn up brutally murdered, the town goes into shock, concerned that one of the Hanover House residents is a murderer who could strike again.

Shattered by her parents’ deaths, Morgan Cleary struggles to keep Hanover House running while her husband, Jonathan, has been arrested for the murder.

As the killer runs free, a lethal race against time ensues, with far more than the halfway house at stake.

To Have And To Hold (book one of a series) by Judith Miller and Tracie Peterson

When Audrey Cunningham’s father proposes that they move to Bridal Veil Island, where he grew up, she agrees, thinking this will help keep him sober and close to God. But they arrive to find wealthy investors buying up land to build a grand resort on the secluded island–and they want the Cunninghams’ acreage.

Contractor Marshall Graham can’t imagine why the former drinking buddy of his deceased father would beckon him to Bridal Veil Island. And when Boyd Cunningham asks him to watch over Audrey, Marshall is even more confused. He has no desire to be saddled with caring for this fiery young woman who is openly hostile toward him. But when Audrey seems to be falling for another man–one who has two little girls Audrey adores–Marshall realizes she holds more of his heart than he realized. Which man will Audrey choose? And can she hold on to her ancestral property in the face of overwhelming odds?

South Carolina

Still Waters by Lindsey Brackett

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?

The Wedding Machine by Beth Webb Hart

Welcome to Jasper, South Carolina. A place where Southern hospitality thrives. Where social occasions are done right. And where, for generations, the four most upstanding ladies of this community ensure that the daughters of Jasper are married in the proper manner.

Friends from school days, “the gals” have long pooled their silver, china, and know-how to pull off beautiful events. They’re a force of nature, a well-oiled machine. But the wedding machine’s gears start to stick during the summer their own daughters line up to tie the knot. In the lowcountry heat and humidity, tempers flare, old secrets leak out . . . and both love and gardenias bloom in unlikely places.

North Carolina

The Pirate Queen by Patricia Hickman

Treasure is found in the most unlikely places.

The envy of all her friends, wife and mother Saphora Warren is the model of southern gentility and accomplishment. She lives in a beautiful Lake Norman home, and has raised three capable adult children. Her husband is a successful plastic surgeon–and a philanderer. It is for that reason that, after hosting a garden party for Southern Living magazine, Saphora packs her bags to escape the trappings of the picturesque-but-vacant life.

Saphora’s departure is interrupted by her husband Bender’s early arrival home, and his words that change her life forever: I’m dying.

Against her desires, Saphora agrees to take care of Bender as he fights his illness. They relocate, at his insistance, to their coastal home in Oriental—the same house she had chosen for her private getaway. When her idyllic retreat is overrun by her grown children, grandchildren, townspeople, relatives, and a precocious neighbor child, Saphora’s escape to paradise is anything but the life she had imagined. As she gropes for evidence of God’s presence amid the turmoil, can she discover that the richest treasures come in surprising packages?

The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate

When Iola Anne Poole, an old-timer on Hatteras Island, passes away in her bed at ninety-one, the struggling young mother in her rental cottage, Tandi Jo Reese, finds herself charged with the task of cleaning out Iola’s rambling Victorian house.

Running from a messy, dangerous past, Tandi never expects to find more than a temporary hiding place within Iola’s walls, but everything changes with the discovery of eighty-one carefully decorated prayer boxes, one for each year, spanning from Iola’s youth to her last days. Hidden in the boxes is the story of a lifetime, written on random bits of paper–the hopes and wishes, fears and thoughts of an unassuming but complex woman passing through the seasons of an extraordinary, unsung life filled with journeys of faith, observations on love, and one final lesson that could change everything for Tandi.

Tidewater Inn by Colleen Coble

Welcome to Hope Beach. A place of intoxicating beauty . . . where trouble hits with the force of a hurricane.

Inheriting a beautiful old hotel on the Outer Banks could be a dream come true for Libby. The inn cries out for her restorer’s talent and love of history. She’s delighted to learn of the family she never knew she had. And the handsome Coast Guard lieutenant she’s met there on the island could definitely be the man of her dreams.

But Libby soon realizes that the only way she can afford the upkeep on the inn is to sell it to developers who are stalking the island. The father who willed her the inn has died before she could meet him, and her newfound brother and sister are convinced she’s there to steal their birthright. Worst of all, her best friend and business partner has been kidnapped before her eyes, and Libby’s under suspicion for the crime.

Libby’s dream come true is becoming a nightmare. Her only option is to find her friend and prove her innocence, or lose everything on the shores of Hope Island.

A Vast And Gracious Tide by Lisa Carter

A wounded veteran and the police chief’s daughter must work together to bring a killer to justice

Caden Wallis lost friends, his girlfriend, and even his leg to the ravages of war. He arrives on the Outer Banks broken and still reeling, struggling to make peace with his new life.

McKenna Dockery has been stuck in limbo since her fiancé died three years ago. Now, when the handsome yet heartbroken Caden arrives at her doorstep, she starts to wonder if there may be hope for her heart after all . . .

But no sooner do they meet than a man is found murdered on McKenna’s property–and Caden is the prime suspect. The two must learn to trust each other, or no one will be safe in the tangled web of conspiracy, greed, and deceit lurking in the tidal marshlands of the Outer Banks.

Maryland

Deadly Isle by Dani Pettrey

 

Tennyson Kent is trapped on the isolated island of her childhood by a storm surge, and she is shocked when the typically idyllic community turns into the hunting grounds of a murderer. Cut off from any help from the mainland, will she and first love Callen Frost be able to identify and stop a killer bent on revenge before they become the next victims?

 

 

 

Massachusetts

Phoebe’s Light (book one of a series) by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Phoebe Starbuck has always adjusted her sails and rudder to the whims of her father. Now, for the first time, she’s doing what she wants to do: marrying Captain Phineas Foulger and sailing far away from Nantucket. As she leaves on her grand adventure, her father gives her two gifts, both of which Phoebe sees little need for. The first is an old sheepskin journal from Great Mary, her highly revered great-grandmother. The other is a “minder” on the whaling ship in the form of cooper Matthew Mitchell, a man whom she loathes.

Soon Phoebe discovers that life at sea is no easier than life on land. Lonely, seasick, and disillusioned, she turns the pages of Great Mary’s journal and finds herself drawn into the life of this noble woman. To Phoebe’s shock, her great-grandmother has left a secret behind that carries repercussions for everyone aboard the ship, especially her husband the captain and her shadow the cooper. This story within a story catapults Phoebe into seeing her life in an entirely new way—just in time.

Maine

A Christmas by The Sea by Melody Carlson

When Wendy Harper inherits her family’s beachside cottage in Seaside, Maine, she sees it as a way to finally pay off the debts that have mounted since her husband died. But before it can be sold, the neglected property must be renovated. She and her 12-year-old son Jackson move in — temporarily, she reminds him–in order to do the work themselves, even though Christmas is coming. The charming town, along with local craftsman Caleb Colton, pulls on both Wendy and Jackson, who even registers himself for school in a bid to get his mom to move them there permanently. Wendy knows that the most responsible thing to do is to sell the cottage and return to Ohio, but the lure of the sea is hard to resist.

On A Summer Tide by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Sometimes love hurts — and sometimes it can heal in the most unexpected way.

Camden Grayson loves her challenging career, but the rest of her life could use some improvement. “Moving on” is Cam’s mantra. But there’s a difference, her two sisters insist, between one who moves on . . . and one who keeps moving.

Cam’s full-throttle life skids to a stop when her father buys a remote island off the coast of Maine. Paul Grayson has a dream to breathe new life into the island — a dream that includes reuniting his estranged daughters. Certain Dad has lost his mind, the three sisters rush to the island. To Cam’s surprise, the slow pace of island life appeals to her, along with the locals — and one in particular. Seth Walker, the scruffy island schoolteacher harbors more than a few surprises.

With On a Summer Tide, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher begins a brand-new contemporary romance series that is sure to delight her fans and draw new ones.

2019 Carol Award Finalists!

29 Jun

Congratulations to the talented authors who are finalists for the 2019 Carol Awards. Sponsored by ACFW, the winners will be announced at the annual conference in San Antonio. Your summer TBR stack just got taller!

Contemporary

The Hidden Side by Heidi Chiavaroli

Miles From Where We Started by Cynthia Ruchti

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West

 

Historical 

Phoebe’s Light by Suzanne Woods Fisher

The Melody of The Soul by Liz Tolsma

The Solace of Water by Elizabeth Byler Younts

 

Historical Romance

Where The Fire Falls by Karen Barnett

A Light on The Hill by Connilyn Cossette

Across The Blue by Carrie Turansky

 

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

Cascade by Janice Boekhoff

Mind Games by Nancy Mehl

The Reckoning of Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright

 

Novella

In Sheep’s Clothing from A Bouquet of Brides Collection by Pegg Thomas

Her Redcoat from The Backcountry Brides Collection by Pegg Thomas

MissTaken Identity from The MissAdventure Brides Collection by Kimberley Woodhouse

 

Romance

The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano

Freedom’s Kiss by Sarah Monzon

Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh

 

Romantic Suspense

Lethal Target by Janice Cantore

Called to Protect by Lynette Eason

Hidden Peril by Irene Hannon

 

Short Novel

A Widow’s Hope by Vanetta Chapman

The Rancher’s Surprise Daughter by Jill Lynn

Falling for the Cowgirl by Tina Radcliffe

 

Speculative

Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse

The Story Peddler by Lindsay A. Franklin

The Man He Never Was by James L. Rubart

 

Young Adult

Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

A Worthy Rebel by Jody Hedlund

Common by Laurie Lucking

 

Debut

The Story Peddler by Lindsay A. Franklin

Engraved on the Heart by Tara Johnson

The Plum Blooms in Winter by Linda Thompson

Book Review + Giveaway! — On A Summer Tide

3 Jun

On a summer tide FB banner

 

About The Book

Book: On a Summer Tide

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Genre: Christian Fiction Romance

Release Date: April 30, 2019

Sometimes love hurts — and sometimes it can heal in the most unexpected way.

Camden Grayson loves her challenging career, but the rest of her life could use some improvement. “Moving on” is Cam’s mantra. But there’s a difference, her two sisters insist, between one who moves on . . . and one who keeps moving.

Cam’s full-throttle life skids to a stop when her father buys a remote island off the coast of Maine. Paul Grayson has a dream to breathe new life into the island — a dream that includes reuniting his estranged daughters. Certain Dad has lost his mind, the three sisters rush to the island. To Cam’s surprise, the slow pace of island life appeals to her, along with the locals — and one in particular. Seth Walker, the scruffy island schoolteacher harbors more than a few surprises.

With On a Summer Tide, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher begins a brand-new contemporary romance series that is sure to delight her fans and draw new ones.

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

 

My Impressions:

I have long contended that the Amish and historical novels written by Suzanne Woods Fisher could take place in any setting or time period — the characters and their circumstances are true-to-life and relevant for all times and places. Her newest novel, On A Summer Tide, proves me right! 😉 This contemporary novel set on small Three Sisters Island off the coast of Maine shares many of the good things of her previous novels without the bonnets or buggies. (Although electricity seems to be optional on the remote island!) With her signature humor and easy style, Fisher has created a highly readable book that I just could not put down.

Paul Grayson has a plan to fulfill his and his deceased wife’s dreams for retirement and in the process bring his three daughters together again. His daughters Cam, Maddie, and Blaine think he is suffering from an age-related mental lapse. He is pushing 60! They have no clue about what is going on with their father or with their own lives either. Together the family, including Cam’s adopted son, not only survive, but thrive as they settle into new ways of thinking and doing things. On A Summer Tide has the best of family drama with realistic family dynamics at play. All of the main characters discover truths about themselves — especially in light of their gifts and talents — that seemingly go against what they have always believed. A budding romance, a new opportunity, and a closed door all promise different roads for the characters to follow. Quirky secondary characters and details of life in coastal Maine create a unique and colorful backdrop to the novel. Faith plays an important part in island life, but it too is naturally developed, never preachy. There is plenty of story left to be told after the last page is turned, promising more reading fun in the future. I am really looking forward to  a return visit to Three Sister’s Island and the Grayson family.

Recommended. 

Audience: adults.

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

 

About The Author

suzanne woods fisherSuzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than thirty books, including Mending Fences, as well as the Nantucket Legacy, Amish Beginnings, The Bishop’s Family, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, among other novels. She is also the author of several nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California. Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Facebook @SuzanneWoodsFisherAuthor and Twitter @suzannewfisher.

 

More from Suzanne

Oh-So-Maine Blueberry Buckle

 

Summer in Maine means plump, tart blueberries are everywhere. Here’s a family recipe that is nearly fool-proof . . . and so delicious! Especially with a scoop or two with vanilla ice cream.

 

Ever wonder how it got the name Blueberry Buckle? While the batter rises as it bakes, but the blueberries and crumb topping weigh it down. This causes the surface of the cake to buckle . . . hence the name.

 

Batter:

¾ cup sugar

¼ cup soft butter

1 egg

½ cup milk

2 cups sifted flour

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 cups drained blueberries

 

Crumb Topping:

½ cup sugar

½ cup flour

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ cup softened butter

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

 

Mix sugar and butter with egg. Stir in milk Sift together and stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Carefully blend in blueberries. Put on topping before baking. Pour in a greased and floured 9” square pan.

 

Bake 45-50 minutes.

 

 

 

Blog Stops

Just the Write Escape, May 23

The Avid Reader, May 23

The Power of Words, May 23

Blessed & Bookish, May 23

The Morning Chapter, May 24

Blogging With Carol, May 24

Carpe Diem, May 24

Cultivating Us, May 24

Godly Book Reviews, May 25

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, May 25

Mary Hake, May 25

For Him and my Family, May 25

C Jane Read, May 26

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 26

Blossoms and Blessings, May 26

Daysong Reflections, May 26

Lighthouse Academy, May 27

Reader’s Cozy Corner, May 27

Empower Moms, May 27

Remembrancy, May 27

Wishful Endings, May 28

Simple Harvest Reads, May 28

Spoken from the Heart, May 28

SusanLovesBooks, May 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 29

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, May 29

Chas Ray’ Book Nerd Corner, May 29

Hallie Reads, May 29

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 30

Maureen’s Musings, May 30

Library Lady’s Kit Lit, May 30

Inspiration Clothesline, May 30

Living Life Free in Christ, May 31

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 31

Pause for Tales, May 31

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 1

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 1

A Reader’s Brain, June 1

Through the Fire Blogs, June 2

Have A Wonderful Day, June 2

Southern Gal Loves to Read, June 2

Quiet Quilter, June 3

2014 and Beyond, June 3

By The Book, June 3

She Lives to Read, June 4

Texas Book-aholic, June 4

janicesbookreviews, June 4

Jeanette’s Thoughts, June 4

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, June 5

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, June 5

Inklings and notions, June 5

 

Giveaway!

To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

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/e540/on-a-summer-tide-celebration-tour-giveaway

Top 10 Tuesday — Favorite Books Over The Blogging Years

28 May

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday challenge from That Artsy Reader Girl is a list of favorite books from the past ten years. Only 1 per year!? That really is a challenge. My  10 year blogging anniversary is coming up in October, and in the course of reading 1000+ books, I have read many that were truly excellent. Whittling the list down was a daunting task, but here is my list. I hope you find one that you too must read.

Top Books from Each Year I Have Been Blogging

 

 

2010

Almost Heaven by Chris Fabry

Billy Allman is a hillbilly genius. People in Dogwood, West Virginia, say he was born with a second helping of brains and a gift for playing the mandolin but was cut short on social skills. Though he’d gladly give you the shirt off his back, they were right. Billy longs to use his life as an ode to God, a lyrical, beautiful bluegrass song played with a finely tuned heart. So with spare parts from a lifetime of collecting, he builds a radio station in his own home. People in town laugh. But Billy carries a brutal secret that keeps him from significance and purpose. Things always seem to go wrong for him.

However small his life seems, from a different perspective Billy’s song reaches far beyond the hills and hollers he calls home. Malachi is an angel sent to observe Billy. Though it is not his dream assignment, Malachi follows the man and begins to see the bigger picture of how each painful step Billy takes is a note added to a beautiful symphony that will forever change the lives of those who hear it.

2011

The City of Tranquil Light by Bo Caldwell

Will Kiehn is seemingly destined for life as a humble farmer in the Midwest when, having felt a call from God, he travels to the vast North China Plain in the early twentieth-century. There he is surprised by love and weds a strong and determined fellow missionary, Katherine. They soon find themselves witnesses to the crumbling of a more than two-thousand-year-old dynasty that plunges the country into decades of civil war. As the couple works to improve the lives of the people of Kuang P’ing Ch’eng– City of Tranquil Light, a place they come to love–and face incredible hardship, will their faith and relationship be enough to sustain them?

Told through Will and Katherine’s alternating viewpoints–and inspired by the lives of the author’s maternal grandparents–City of Tranquil Light is a tender and elegiac portrait of a young marriage set against the backdrop of the shifting face of a beautiful but torn nation. A deeply spiritual book, it shows how those who work to teach others often have the most to learn, and is further evidence that Bo Caldwell writes “vividly and with great historical perspective” (San Jose Mercury News).

2012

The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

Charlotte Malone is getting married. Yet all is not settled in the heart of Birmingham’s chic bridal boutique owner. Charlotte can dress any bride to perfection-except herself. When she discovers a vintage mint-condition wedding gown in a battered old trunk, Charlotte embarks on a passionate journey to discover the women who wore the gown before her.

Emily in 1912. Mary in 1939. And Hillary in 1968. Each woman teaches Charlotte something about love in her own unique way. Woven within the threads of the beautiful hundred-year-old gown is the truth about Charlotte’s heritage, the power of faith, and the beauty of finding true love.

2013

Invisible by Ginny Ytrrup

Ellyn  chef, cafe owner, and lover of butter–is hiding something behind her extra weight. While she sees the good in others, she has only condemnation for herself. So when a handsome widower claims he’s attracted to Ellyn, she’s certain there’s something wrong with him.


Sabina  tall, slender, and exotic–left her husband, young adult daughters, and a thriving counseling practice to spend a year in Northern California where she says she’s come to heal. But it seems to Ellyn that Sabina’s doing more hiding than healing. Why? 


Twila has come out of hiding and is working to gain back the pounds she lost when her only goal was to disappear. When her eating disorder is triggered again, though she longs to hide, she instead follows God and fights for her own survival.


As these women’s lives intertwine, their eyes will open to the glory within each of them as they begin to recognize themselves as being created n God’s image.



2014

Burning Sky by Lori Benton

Abducted by Mohawk Indians at fourteen and renamed Burning Sky, Willa Obenchain is driven to return to her family’s New York frontier homestead after many years building a life with the People. At the boundary of her father’s property, Willa discovers a wounded Scotsman lying in her path. Feeling obliged to nurse his injuries, the two quickly find much has changed during her twelve-year absence—her childhood home is in disrepair, her missing parents are rumored to be Tories, and the young Richard Waring she once admired is now grown into a man twisted by the horrors of war and claiming ownership of the Obenchain land.

When her Mohawk brother arrives and questions her place in the white world, the cultural divide blurs Willa’s vision. Can she follow Tames-His-Horse back to the People now that she is no longer Burning Sky? And what about Neil MacGregor, the kind and loyal botanist who does not fit into in her plan for a solitary life, yet is now helping her revive her farm? In the aftermath of the Revolutionary War, strong feelings against “savages” abound in the nearby village of Shiloh, leaving Willa’s safety unsure.

Willa is a woman caught between two worlds. As tensions rise, challenging her shielded heart, the woman called Burning Sky must find a new courage–the courage to again risk embracing the blessings the Almighty wants to bestow. Is she brave enough to love again?

2015

The Girl from The Train by Irma Joubert

As World War II draws to a close, Jakób fights with the Polish resistance against the crushing forces of Germany and Russia. They intend to destroy a German troop transport, but Gretl’s unscheduled train reaches the bomb first.

Gretl is the only survivor. Though spared from the concentration camp, the orphaned German Jew finds herself lost in a country hostile to her people. When Jakób discovers her, guilt and fatherly compassion prompt him to take her in. For three years, the young man and little girl form a bond over the secrets they must hide from his Catholic family.

But she can’t stay with him forever. Jakób sends Gretl to South Africa, where German war orphans are promised bright futures with adoptive Protestant families—so long as Gretl’s Jewish roots, Catholic education, and connections to communist Poland are never discovered.

Separated by continents, politics, religion, language, and years, Jakób and Gretl will likely never see each other again. But the events they have both survived and their belief that the human spirit can triumph over the ravages of war have formed a bond of love that no circumstances can overcome.

2016

Annabel Lee by Mike Nappa

Fourteen miles east of Peachtree, Alabama, a secret is hidden. That secret’s name is Annabel Lee Truckson, and even she doesn’t know why her mysterious uncle has stowed her deep underground in a military-style bunker. He’s left her with a few German words, a barely-controlled guard dog, and a single command: “Don’t open that door for anybody, you got it? Not even me.”

Above ground, a former Army sniper called The Mute and an enigmatic “Dr. Smith” know about the girl. As the race begins to find her, the tension builds. Who wants to set her free? Why does the other want to keep her captive forever? Who will reach her first?

Private investigators Trudi Coffey and Samuel Hill need to piece together the clues and stay alive long enough to retrieve the girl – before it’s too late.

2017

Long Way Gone by Charles Martin

At the age of eighteen, musician and songwriter Cooper O’Connor took everything his father held dear and drove 1,200 miles from home to Nashville, his life riding on a six-string guitar and the bold wager that he had talent. But his wager soon proved foolish.

Five years after losing everything, he falls in love with Daley Cross, an angelic voice in need of a song. But just as he realizes his love for Daley, Cooper faces a tragedy that threatens his life as well as his career. With nowhere else to go, he returns home to the remote Colorado mountains, searching for answers about his father and his faith.

When Daley shows up on his street corner twenty years later, he wonders if it’s too late to tell her the truth about his past—and if he is ready to face it himself.

A radical retelling of the prodigal son story, Long Way Gone takes us from tent revivals to the Ryman Auditorium to the tender relationship between a broken man and the father who never stopped calling him home.

2018

Hidden Among The Stars by Melanie Dobson

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.

 

Book Review + Giveaway! — Moments We Forget

13 May

About The Book

Book: Moments We Forget

Author: Beth Vogt

Genre: Contemporary fiction, woman’s fiction

Release Date: May 7, 2019

Jillian Thatcher has spent most of her life playing the family peacemaker, caught in the middle between her driven, talented older sister and her younger, spotlight-stealing twin sisters. Then on the night of her engagement party, a cancer diagnosis threatens to once again steal her chance to shine. Now, Jillian’s on the road to recovery after finally finishing chemo and radiation, but residual effects of the treatment keep her from reclaiming her life as she’d hoped. And just when her dreams might be falling into place, a life-altering revelation from her husband sends her reeling again. Will Jillian ever achieve her own dreams, or will she always be “just Jillian,” the less-than Thatcher sister? Can she count on her sisters as she tries to step into a stronger place, or are they stuck in their childhood roles forever?

Click here to purchase your copy.

 

My Impressions:

Moments We Forget is the second book in Beth Vogt’s Thatcher Sisters series. I somehow missed book 1, but that did not keep me from fully engaging in this touching story of loss and hope. The novel is contemporary women’s fiction at its best. Vogt’s characterization is spot-on as she develops the sometimes uneasy relationship between sisters Jillian, Johanna, and Payton. The book is told in Jillian’s first person voice with third person POV glimpses into Johanna and Payton’s lives. And while the story focuses mostly on Jillian, Vogt does a great job of advancing the other two’s story lines. Jillian has come out on the other side of breast cancer clinging to the hope for a return to normal. Unfortunately, there is a new normal. I am the daughter of a breast cancer survivor and have several close friends who have come through that fight, but (to my shame) I never realized the struggles that survivors face even as they get a cured report. Moments We Forget really opened my eyes. But while Jillian’s breast cancer journey is part of the story, it is not the final word. Her search for identity and turn towards God are more than believable. This middle daughter who has always lived with the label of just Jillian, learns a lot about herself, her marriage, her family, and the relationship she can have with God who impacts all those things.

Complex family dynamics, well-written dialog, believable characterization, relevant themes — you will find all these and more in Moments We Forget. I flew through this book and am eager to go back and read book 1, Things I Never Told You (it’s already waiting on my Kindle). I highly recommend this book — it is one of the best I have read this year.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

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

 

About The Author

Beth K. Vogt is a nonfiction author and editor who said she’d never write fiction. She’s the wife of an Air Force family physician (now in solo practice) who said she’d never marry a doctor—or anyone in the military. She’s a mom of four who said she’d never have kids. Now Beth believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” A women’s fiction novelist, Beth’s first novel for Tyndale House Publishers, Things I Never Told You, released May 2018.

Beth is a 2016 Christy Award winner, a 2016 ACFW Carol Award winner, and a 2015 RITA® finalist. Her 2014 novel, Somebody Like You, was one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2014. A November Bride was part of the Year of Wedding series by Zondervan. Having authored nine contemporary romance novels or novellas, Beth believes there’s more to happily-ever-after than the fairy tales tell us.

An established magazine writer and former editor of the leadership magazine for MOPS International, Beth blogs for Novel Rocket and also enjoys speaking to writers’ groups and mentoring other writers. She lives in Colorado with her husband, Rob, who has adjusted to discussing the lives of imaginary people, and their youngest daughter, Christa, who loves to play volleyball and enjoys writing her own stories. Connect with Beth at  bethvogt.com.

More from Beth

“A sister is like yourself in a different movie, a movie that stars you in a different life.”

Deborah Tannen (1945-), sociologist

I’m launching Moments We Forget, book two in the Thatcher Sisters series, and I’ve just turned in the final book in the series. I’d love to share book three’s title with you, but I don’t know what it is. (Of course, book three might have a final title by the time you read this—that’s part of the fun of prerelease deadlines.)

One thing I do know: the theme of “Little Women gone wrong” is woven through all of the books . . . thanks to the Thatcher sisters: Payton, Pepper, Jillian, and Johanna.

Sisters, be they real or imaginary, can be complicated.

Of course, there are sisters who have close relationships. They “get” each other and love doing life together.

But then there are the sister relationships that are like mismatched socks. Or those expensive jeans you loved in the store, but when you bring them home, they never quite live up to those moments in the dressing room.

Such are the Thatcher sisters. Johanna, Jillian, Payton, and Pepper grew up in the same family. They’re all tall. They love Broncos football and board games. But in so many ways their lives are like different movies because they each made different choices. Choices that changed and separated them. Moments We Forget continues to explore whether the Thatcher sisters can find a way to understand each other enough to bridge the distance between them.

Blog Stops

Livin’ Lit, May 7

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 7

The Power of Words, May 7

Among the Reads, May 8

Carpe Diem, May 8

Quiet Quilter, May 8

Wishful Endings, May 9

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, May 9

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

Remembrancy, May 10

God’s Little Bookworm, May 11

Just the Write Escape, May 11

Spoken from the Heart, May 12

Splashes of Joy, May 12

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 12

Through the Fire Blogs, May 13

Genesis 5020, May 13

By The Book, May 13

Bigreadersite, May 14

A Baker’s Perspective, May 14

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 14

Pause for Tales, May 15

Moments, May 15

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, May 15

All-of-a-kind Mom, May 16

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 16

Texas Book-aholic, May 16

janicesbookreviews, May 17

Living Life Free in Christ, May 17

To Everything A Season, May 17

Real World Bible Study, May 18

Older & Smarter?, May 18

A Reader’s Brain, May 18

Inklings and notions, May 19

Hallie Reads, May 19

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 19

Godly Book Reviews, May 20

The Becca Files, May 20

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 20

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Beth is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card plus a softcover copy of Moments We Forget!!

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/e26d/moments-we-forget-celebration-tour-giveaway

Reading Road Trip — Virginia

8 May

I am headed to Virginia in a little more than a week to attend my youngest son’s law school graduation (I’m just a bit proud 😉 ! ), so I thought I would take a reading road trip there this week. My mother’s family hails from Virginia. She was born at home in a mining camp near the small town of Mineral — a coal miner’s daughter! We don’t have a lot of information about her family, but believe they came to Virginia when it was a colony. And my great-grandfather served with the Army of Northern Virginia during the Civil War. From its rolling hills and mountains to its beaches and big cities, Virginia is a beautiful state.

There are many books, both contemporary and historical, that have their setting in Old Dominion. I hope you enjoy my list — I loved all these books.

 

My Sister’s Prayer by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould (book 2 in the Cousins of The Dove series)

Virginia, 1704

Celeste Talbot is usually such a sensible young woman—until she falls for an English soldier reassigned to the Colonies. Leaving her Huguenot family behind, she sets sail for America, only to realize that her younger sister Berta has been kidnapped and forced on board the very same ship. Whom can Celeste trust? The dashing soldier? Or the vigilant carpenter who remains by their side in the perilous New World?

Virginia, present day

Madeline “Maddee” Talbot has her hands full when she agrees to take in her younger sister, Nicole, following a serious car accident. The young women grew apart when Nicole fell into drug addiction, and Maddee prays this will be the start of a better life for her sister. But as they investigate a trauma from their childhood, Maddee must keep a diligent eye on Nicole — and the shadowy figure watching them from afar.

The Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof

After the tragic death of her husband, Aven Norgaard is beckoned to give up her life in Norway to become a housekeeper in the rugged hills of Nineteenth-Century Appalachia. Upon arrival, she finds herself in the home of her late husband’s cousins — three brothers who make a living by brewing hard cider on their three-hundred acre farm. Yet even as a stranger in a foreign land, Aven has hope to build a new life in this tight-knit family.

But her unassuming beauty disrupts the bond between the brothers. The youngest two both desire her hand, and Aven is caught in the middle, unsure where — and whether — to offer her affection. While Haakon is bold and passionate, it is Thor who casts the greatest spell upon her. Though Deaf, mute, and dependent on hard drink to cope with his silent pain, Thor possesses a sobering strength.

As autumn ushers in the apple harvest, the rift between Thor and Haakon deepens and Aven faces a choice that risks hearts. Will two brothers’ longing for her quiet spirit tear apart a family? Can she find a tender belonging in this remote, rugged, and unfamiliar world?

A haunting tale of struggle and redemption, Sons of Blackbird Mountain is a portrait of grace in a world where the broken may find new life through the healing mercy of love.

A Sound Among The Trees by Susan Meissner

A house shrouded in time. A line of women with a heritage of loss. As a young bride, Susannah Page was rumored to be a Civil War spy for the North, a traitor to her Virginian roots. Her great-granddaughter Adelaide, the current matriarch of Holly Oak, doesn’t believe that Susannah’s ghost haunts the antebellum mansion looking for a pardon, but rather the house itself bears a grudge toward its tragic past.

When Marielle Bishop marries into the family and is transplanted from the arid west to her husband’s home, it isn’t long before she is led to believe that the house she just settled into brings misfortune to the women who live there.

With Adelaide’s richly peppered superstitions and deep family roots at stake, Marielle must sort out the truth about Susannah Page and Holly Oak — and make peace with the sacrifices she has made for love.

Imperfect Justice by Cara Putman

The police say the woman was a murderer. Emilie Wesley knows they can’t be talking about her client . . .  can they?

To the world it seems obvious: Kaylene Adams killed her daughter and then was shot by police. Attorney Emilie Wesley knows a different story: Kaylene would never hurt anyone and was looking for a way out of a controlling, abusive relationship. Her death shakes Emilie’s belief that she can make a difference for women in violent marriages. Self-doubt plagues her as she struggles to continue her work in the wake of the tragedy.

Reid Billings thought he knew his sister — right up until he learned how she died. He discovers a letter from Kaylene begging him to fight for custody of her daughters if anything should happen to her. No attorney in her right mind would support an uncle instead of the father in a custody case, but Kaylene’s letter claims Emilie Wesley will help him.

Thrown together in the race to save Kaylene’s surviving daughter, Emily and Reid pursue the constantly evasive truth. If they can hang on to hope together, can they save a young girl — and find a future for themselves in the process?

The Stones Cry Out by Sibella Giorello

During a rally in the searing heat of a Virginia summer, two men plummet from a building into the crowd below. The victims are a white police officer and a young black man with a troubled past. And though hundreds of people stood at the scene, nobody saw what happened. Or are they just not talking? FBI agent Raleigh Harmon, one of Richmond’s own, has to solve the case—fast. 

The Bureau wants a quick verdict, with or without the truth. But with tight-lipped witnesses, Raleigh must rely on her instincts and her training in forensic geology to uncover the facts. Working her connections with the city’s powerful families and its seedy underbelly, Raleigh is determined to see justice prevail. Will she solve the case before the growing racial unrest rages out of control? Or will her choices ultimately bring down everyone involved—including Raleigh herself? 

The Curse of Crow Hollow by Billy Coffee

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.

 

Where do you want to read next?