Tag Archives: Courtney Walsh

Audiobook Mini-Review: Hometown Girl

30 Sep

Beth Whitaker isn’t supposed to be a small-town girl. She’s always dreamed of leaving Willow Grove, Illinois, for the big city, but she feels trapped, struggling to make up for a mistake that’s haunted her for years. Just when Beth is finally ready to break free, her sister impulsively buys a beloved but run-down farm on the outskirts of town, and she begs Beth to help with the restoration. Reluctantly, Beth agrees to help — and puts her own dreams on hold once again.

Drew Barlow hasn’t been back to Fairwind Farm since he was a boy, and he’s spent all these years trying to outrun the pain of a past he thought he buried long ago. When he learns that the owner has passed away, his heart knows it’s finally time to do the right thing. Returning to Willow Grove, Drew revisits the old farm, where he attempts to piece together his memories and the puzzle of the crime he witnessed so long ago.

Both on a journey to find peace, Beth and Drew are surprised when they begin to experience a restoration of their own. But when long-buried secrets break through the soil and the truth unfurls, will it threaten their budding relationship — and the very future of the farm?

Courtney Walsh is an author, artist, theatre director, and playwright. Just Let Go will be her eighth inspirational romance novel. Her debut, A Sweethaven Summer, hit the New York Times and USA Today e-book bestseller lists and was a Carol Award finalist in the debut author category. A creative at heart, Courtney has also written two craft books and several full-length musicals. She lives in Illinois where she and her husband own a performing arts studio and youth theatre. They have three children.

Connect with Courtney online at her website (courtneywalshwrites.com) or on any of these social media platforms:

Facebook.com/courtneywalshwrites
Instagram.com/courtneywalsh
Twitter.com/courtney_walsh

 

My Impressions:

I had read only one book by Courtney Walsh before I was notified by Amazon that through my Prime account I could borrow the audiobook of Hometown Girl. Well of course I downloaded it immediately. I mean, what’s not to like — a wonderful author and a free book! 😉 What I got reinforced that Walsh is a must-read author for me. Hometown Girl is a contemporary romance (not always my first choice in genre), but there is nothing fluffy about it. It is full of wonderful characters with the same struggles as you and me. Their past mistakes and failures haunt them, just as false perceptions of place and purpose keep them from finding their Why. Add a charming and close-knit community, a couple of quirky characters, and a decades-old mystery, and this book had me hooked! I’m not sure I would recommend the audio-version. Not because it wasn’t excellently read, but because you will want to read this one straight through! 😉 I read it in 1 hour increments on my morning walks, but would have enjoyed it more if I could have read it throughout the day and the night.

I think Hometown Girl is a winner. I cannot wait to dig into more books by Courtney Walsh.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to Amazon Prime for letting me borrow this book. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Congratulations 2019 Carol Award Winners!

29 Sep

The winners of the 2019 Carol Awards have been announced. Congratulations to all the talented authors!

 

Contemporary

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West

 

Historical

The Solace of Water by Elizabeth Byler Younts

 

Historical Romance

A Light on A Hill by Connilyn Cossette

 

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright

 

Novella

MissTaken Identity from The MissAdventure Brides Collection by Kimberley Woodhouse

 

Romance

Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh

 

Romantic Suspense

Hidden Peril by Irene Hannon

 

Short Novel

The Rancher’s Surprise Daughter by Jill Lynn

 

Speculative

The Mark of The Raven by Morgan L. Busse

 

Young Adult

Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

 

Debut

The Story Peddler by Lindsay Franklin

 

 

Reading Road Trip — Illinois

25 Sep

I have only been to Illinois once, and that trip was just to Chicago. And while we had a great time, I know there is much more to Illinois than the Windy City! Big cities, farms, and rich natural resources, not to mention a Great Lake and the Mississippi River, make Illinois a very diverse state. The Land of Lincoln became the 21st state in the early 1800s and has since grown to economic importance.

My reading road trip list also reflects the diversity of the state and includes several genres. I hope you find one to transport you to Illinois!

 

 

 

Reading Road Trip — Illinois!

With You Always by Jody Hedlund (Orphan Train series, book 1)

When a financial crisis in 1850s New York leaves three orphaned sisters nearly destitute, the oldest, Elise Neumann, knows she must take action. She’s had experience as a seamstress, and the New York Children’s Aid Society has established a special service: placing out seamstresses and trade girls. Even though Elise doesn’t want to leave her sisters for a job in Illinois, she realizes this may be their last chance.

The son of one of New York City’s wealthiest entrepreneurs, Thornton Quincy faces a dilemma. His father is dying, and in order to decide which of his sons will inherit everything, he is requiring them to do two things in six months: build a sustainable town along the Illinois Central Railroad, and get married. Thornton is tired of standing in his twin brother’s shadow and is determined to win his father’s challenge. He doesn’t plan on meeting a feisty young woman on his way west, though.

Finding Anna by Christine Schaub

A powerful historical drama based on the story behind the hymn ‘It Is Well With My Soul.’ “Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say; It is well, it is well with my soul….” How can a man who has lost so much write such words? After suffering enormous losses in the Chicago fire of 1871, and terrific strain in his marriage afterward, Horatio Spafford plans a European holiday with his wife and four little girls. But before they can board the SS Ville du Havre in New York, Spafford receives a telegram that will delay his crossing and change his life forever. When tragedy brings him to his knees, Spafford writes a poem on the back of a telegram — words that have become a hymn of hope for millions facing sorrow.

It Happened at The Fair by Deeanne Gist

Gambling everything — including the family farm — Cullen McNamara travels to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair with his most recent invention. But the noise in the fair’s Machinery Hall makes it impossible to communicate with potential buyers. In an act of desperation, he hires Della Wentworth, a teacher of the deaf, to tutor him in the art of lip-reading.

The young teacher is reluctant to participate, and Cullen has trouble keeping his mind on his lessons while intently watching her lips. Like the newly invented Ferris wheel, he is caught in a whirl between his girl back home, his dreams as an inventor, and his unexpected attraction to his new tutor. Can he keep his feet on the ground, or will he be carried away?

The White City by Grace Hitchcock

While attending the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, Winnifred Wylde believes she witnessed a woman being kidnapped. She tries to convince her father, an inspector with the Chicago police, to look into reports of mysterious disappearances around the White City. Inspector Wylde tries to dismiss her claims as exaggeration of an overactive imagination, but he eventually concedes to letting her go undercover as secretary to the man in question—if she takes her pistol for protection and Jude Thorpe, a policeman, for bodyguard.

Threads of Suspicion by Dee Henderson

Evie Blackwell’s reputation as a top investigator for the Illinois State Police has landed her an appointment to the governor’s new Missing Persons Task Force. This elite investigative team is launched with plenty of public fanfare. The governor has made this initiative a high priority, so they will have to produce results–and quickly.

Evie and her new partner, David Marshal, are assigned to a pair of unrelated cases in suburban Chicago, and while both involve persons now missing for several years, the cases couldn’t be more different. While Evie opens old wounds in a close-knit neighborhood to find a missing college student, David searches for a private investigator working for a high-powered client.

With a deep conviction that “justice for all” truly matters, Evie and David are unrelenting in their search for the truth. But Evie must also find answers to the questions that lie just beneath the surface in her personal life.

Trial And Tribulations by Rachel Dylan

High-powered attorney Olivia Murray faces the biggest test of her career when she is assigned to represent Astral Tech, a New Age tech company, in a lawsuit filed by its biggest competitor. While Olivia is accustomed to hard fights in the courtroom, she arrives in Windy Ridge and discovers there is much more to this case than the legal claims–forces of darkness are at work.
Windy Ridge quickly turns from quiet Chicago suburb to spiritual battleground, and Olivia must rely on her faith to defend against legal and spiritual attacks. Although they are enemies in the courtroom, Olivia finds a friend and unlikely ally in opposing counsel, Grant Baxter. 
Once a skeptic about faith, he ultimately comes to her aid when she needs it most. The battle between evil forces heats up in and out of the courtroom, pushing Olivia to the breaking point. Will she be able to help good triumph over evil, or will the town of Windy Ridge be torn apart?

Hometown Girl by Courtney Walsh

Beth Whitaker isn’t supposed to be a small-town girl. She’s always dreamed of leaving Willow Grove, Illinois, for the big city, but she feels trapped, struggling to make up for a mistake that’s haunted her for years. Just when Beth is finally ready to break free, her sister impulsively buys a beloved but run-down farm on the outskirts of town, and she begs Beth to help with the restoration. Reluctantly, Beth agrees to help — and puts her own dreams on hold once again.

Drew Barlow hasn’t been back to Fairwind Farm since he was a boy, and he’s spent all these years trying to outrun the pain of a past he thought he buried long ago. When he learns that the owner has passed away, his heart knows it’s finally time to do the right thing. Returning to Willow Grove, Drew revisits the old farm, where he attempts to piece together his memories and the puzzle of the crime he witnessed so long ago.

Both on a journey to find peace, Beth and Drew are surprised when they begin to experience a restoration of their own. But when long-buried secrets break through the soil and the truth unfurls, will it threaten their budding relationship — and the very future of the farm?

Printed Letter Book Shop by Katherine Reay

One of Madeline Cullen’s happiest childhood memories is of working with her Aunt Maddie in the quaint and cozy Printed Letter Bookshop. But by the time Madeline inherits the shop nearly twenty years later, family troubles and her own bitter losses have hardened Madeline’s heart toward her once-treasured aunt—and the now struggling bookshop left in her care.

While Madeline intends to sell the shop as quickly as possible, the Printed Letter’s two employees have other ideas. Reeling from a recent divorce, Janet finds sanctuary within the books and within the decadent window displays she creates. Claire, though quieter than the acerbic Janet, feels equally drawn to the daily rhythms of the shop and its loyal clientele, finding a renewed purpose within its walls.

When Madeline’s professional life falls apart, and a handsome gardener upends all her preconceived notions, she questions her plans and her heart. Has she been too quick to dismiss her aunt’s beloved shop? And even if she has, the women’s best combined efforts may be too little, too late.

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Auto-buy Authors

16 Jul

The auto-buy author prompt is not a new one for me, but the authors on this week’s list are! For Top 10 Tuesday, I am featuring new-to-me authors (and the novels I read) that made me buy (or pre-order) their other books. Whether it was a stellar debut or a first time read, these authors certainly got my attention. And I am really glad — it’s wonderful to find a must-read author.

For more bloggers’ auto-buy authors, visit That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

New-To-Me Authors I Will Definitely Read Again!

Amanda Barratt — My Dearest Dietrich

Erin Bartels — We Hope For Better Things

Victoria Bylin — When He Found Me

Heidi Chiavaroli — The Edge of Mercy

Elizabeth Goddard — Never Let Go

Cathy Gohlke — The Medallion

Lindsay Harrel — The Heart Between Us

Patti Callahan Henry — Becoming Mrs. Lewis

Sarah Monzon — Freedom’s Kiss

Courtney Walsh — Just Let Go

2019 Inspy Awards Shortlists!

4 May

A big congratulations to all the talented authors whose books are represented on the 2019 Inspy Award Shortlists! So many great books Now you have your summer reading list! 😉

 

Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense

All Made Up by Kara Isaac

Falling for You by Becky Wade

The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano

Debut Fiction

Among The Poppies by J’Nell Ciesielski

Engraved on The Heart by Tara Johnson

The Hope of Azure Springs by Rachel Fordham

General Fiction

No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert

Things Left Unsaid by Courtney Walsh

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West

Historical Romance

Romancing The Bride by Melissa Jagears

The Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof

The Thief of Corinth by Tessa Afshar

Literature for Young Adults

The Edge Over There by Shawn Smucker

Olivia Twist by Lorie Langdon

A Worthy Rebel by Jody Hedlund

Mystery/Thriller

Delayed Justice by Cara Putman

The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright

Thirst of Steel by Ronie Kendig

Speculative Fiction

Fierian by Ronie Kendig

Mark of The Raven by Morgan L. Busse

The Story Peddler by Lindsay A. Franklin

Reading Road Trip — Michigan!

24 Apr

Today’s road trip takes us to Michigan, a state I have not had the pleasure of visiting except in books. Named after the Great Lake it is a state with lots of contrasts — big urban centers and beautiful lakeside communities. French explorers first came to the area in the 17th century and it was the site of conflict for settlement and progress. The Wolverine State is unique in that it is made up of two peninsulas. I haven’t read a lot of books set in Michigan, but I want to remedy that. I welcome your recommendations. In the meantime, I hope you find a book to enjoy from my list.

 

Captured by Love by Jody Hedlund

Michigan Territory, 1814 “A voyageur and a young woman swept up in a time of upheaval and dangerdiscover firsthand the high price of freedom.” The British Army has taken control of Michilimackinac Island and its fort, forcing the Americans to swear an oath of loyalty to the crown in order to retain their land. Pierre Durant is a fur trader who returns after being away from the island for years, only to find the family farm a shambles and those he cares about starving and at the mercy of British invaders. Torn between the adventurous life of fur trading and guilt over neglecting his defenseless mother, Pierre is drawn deeper into the fight against the British–and into a relationship with Angelique MacKenzie, a childhood friend who’s grown into a beautiful woman. She now finds herself trapped by the circumstances of war and poverty, and the cruelty of her guardian, Ebenezer Whiley. As tensions mount and the violence rages on, Pierre and Angelique must decide where their loyalties rest and how much they’ll risk for love.

My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Although the Winds of Mackinac Inn has been in her mother’s family for generations, Maude Welling’s father refuses to let her run it without the guidance of a husband. So she seeks to prove her worth and independence by working incognito as a maid at the Grand Hotel.

Undercover journalist Ben Steffans, posing as a wealthy industrialist, pursues a story about impoverished men chasing heiresses at the famed hotel.  While undercover, he becomes attracted to an intriguing maid. By an act of heroism Ben endears himself to the closed-mouthed islanders — including Maude — and he digs deep for his story.

But when scandal threatens, will the growing love between Maude and Ben be scuttled when truths are revealed?

We Hope For Better Things by Erin Bartels

When Detroit Free Press reporter Elizabeth Balsam meets James Rich, his strange request–that she look up a relative she didn’t know she had in order to deliver an old camera and a box of photos — seems like it isn’t worth her time. But when she loses her job after a botched investigation, she suddenly finds herself with nothing but time.

At her great-aunt’s 150-year-old farmhouse north of Detroit, Elizabeth uncovers a series of mysterious items, locked doors, and hidden graves. As she searches for answers to the riddles around her, the remarkable stories of two women who lived in this very house emerge as testaments to love, resilience, and courage in the face of war, racism, and misunderstanding. And as Elizabeth soon discovers, the past is never as past as we might like to think.

Debut novelist Erin Bartels takes readers on an emotional journey through time — from the volatile streets of 1960s Detroit to the Michigan’s Underground Railroad during the Civil War — to uncover the past, confront the seeds of hatred, and discover where love goes to hide.

Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh

For Quinn Collins, buying the flower shop in downtown Harbor Pointe fulfills a childhood dream, but also gives her the chance to stick it to her mom, who owned the store before skipping town twenty years ago and never looking back. Completing much-needed renovations, however, while also competing for a prestigious flower competition with her mother as the head judge, soon has Quinn in over her head. Not that she’d ever ask for help.

Luckily, she may not need to. Quinn’s father and his meddling friends find the perfect solution in notorious Olympic skier Grady Benson, who had only planned on passing through the old-fashioned lakeside town. But when a heated confrontation leads to property damage, helping Quinn as a community-service sentence seems like the quickest way out — and the best way to avoid more negative press.

Quinn finds Grady reckless and entitled; he thinks she’s uptight and too regimented. Yet as the two begin to hammer and saw, Quinn sees glimpses of the vulnerability behind the bravado, and Grady learns from her passion and determination, qualities he seems to have lost along the way. But when a well-intentioned omission has devastating consequences, Grady finds himself cast out of town — and Quinn’s life — possibly forever. Forced to face the hurt holding her back, Quinn must finally let go or risk missing out on the adventure of a lifetime.

The Last Con by Zachary Bartels

Former con man Fletcher Doyle is finally home after six years in the pen. He’s working a menial job, regaining his bearings in the world, and trying to revive his relationships with his wife and twelve-year-old daughter. No easy feat.

But when Fletcher and his family go on a mission trip to Detroit—in the company of the condescending church leader who also happens to be his landlord— Fletcher finds his old life waiting for him. Within hours of arriving in the city, he’s been blackmailed into doing a job for a mysterious criminal who calls himself The Alchemist.

A series of relics hidden by the Knights of Malta, as ancient as they are priceless, are in the sights of The Alchemist. What he needs is a gifted grifter with a background in ecclesiastical history . . . what he needs is Fletcher Doyle.

Between hiding his reawakened criminal life from his wife and trying to hide her from their relentless landlord, Fletcher is ready to give up. But when his family is drawn into the dangerous world he can’t shake, Fletcher is forced to rely on his years in the game to save the only people who mean more to him than the biggest con in history.

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Book Buzz

31 Jul

All over the social media world you can find book buzz on FB pages/groups, book blogs, the tweeterverse, bookstagram, etc. So do books stand up to all the hype? I have a list of 10 recent reads that not only lived up to all the hoopla, but exceeded it.  I highly recommend the following books; they are the Real Deal!

Find out what other bloggers are saying at That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top 10 Books That Exceeded Their Buzz

 

Before I Saw You by Amy K. Sorrells

The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh

Land of Silence by Tessa Afshar

The Love Letter by Rachel Hauck

The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers 

The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright

A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green

Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West