Tag Archives: Ginny Yttrup

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.

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Book Quotes

30 Apr

This week Top Ten Tuesday is challenging bloggers to list their 10 favorite book quotes. Because first lines are very important in grabbing a reader’s interest (and because it has been very busy around here 😉 ), I am sharing some favorite first lines that made their debut in my First Line Friday posts. Hopefully, they will pique your interest (perhaps again) and spur you to pick up a new book.

For more great book quotes (and certainly more creative posts), visit That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top 10 Fabulous First Lines

 

What’s your favorite book quote?

If you liked Delayed Justice . . .

29 Mar

Delayed Justice by Cara Putman was a hit with my book club. Although the subject matter (sexually abused children) was difficult to read, we all felt the author handled the subject with sensitivity. Suspense is probably our favorite genre, but I thought I would recommend books from other genres that also deal with sexual abuse. All the stories are told with grace and portray a spirit of light and hope in the darkness. I hope you find a book that you will love.

How Sweet The Sound by Amy K. Sorrells

Wealth and etiquette can hide a lot of things in the South, as the esteemed Harlan family of sleepy Bay Spring, Alabama, knows. But behind the gentle facade of white pillared porches and acres of cultivated pecan orchards, family secrets smolder.

Young Anniston Harlan cares little for high society and the rigid rules and expectations of her grandmother, Princella. She finds solace working the orchards alongside her father and grandfather, and relief in the cool waters of Mobile Bay.

Anniston’s aunt, Comfort Harlan, has never quite lived up to the family name, or so her mother Princella’s ever-apparent scowl implies. When she gleefully accepts the proposal of her longtime boyfriend, Solly, a flood tide of tragedy ensues that strips Comfort of her innocence and unleashes generations of family secrets, changing the Harlan family forever.

While Comfort struggles to recover, Anniston discovers an unlikely new friend from the seedy part of town who helps her try to make sense of the chaos. Together, they and the whole town of Bay Spring discover how true love is a risk, but one worth taking.

Watching The Tree Limbs by Mary DeMuth

Watching the tree limbs keeps resilient nine-year-old Mara Weatherall from the pain of General’s daily attacks – attacks he warns her to keep secret, or else. In the small world of 1979 Burl, Texas, all Mara really has are the tree limbs, a lumbering Aunt Elma, her boyfriend Officer Gus, the bully General, and her new best friend Camilla who rhymes maddening snatches of truth. Mara needs to escape General’s advances and find out who her real parents are before those who would want to destroy her succeed. Will she recognize redemption through Zady the Jesus-loving housekeeper, Denim the clandestine town prophet, or Mr. Winningham her new guardian whose quiet rage masks even deeper secrets?

 

Words by Ginny Yttrup

A child whose silence holds the truth captive. An artist whose work speaks the agony of her past. When drawn together, will they let the truth set them free?

Ten-year old Kaylee Wren doesn’t speak. Not since her drug-addled mother walked away, leaving her in a remote cabin nestled in the towering redwoods, in the care of a man who is as dangerous as he is evil. With silence her only refuge, Kaylee collects words she might never speak from the only memento her mother left behind: a dictionary.

Sierra Daw is thirty-four, an artist, and alone. She has allowed the shame of her past to silence her present hopes and chooses to bury her pain by trying to control her circumstances. But on the twelfth anniversary of her daughter’s death, Sierra’s control begins to crumble as the God of her childhood woos her back to Himself.

Will Kaylee and Sierra let the truth set them free?

Book Review (+Giveaway!): Convergence

28 Mar

Convergence FB Banner

About the Book

Book: Convergence

Author: Ginny L Yttrup

Genre: Christian thriller/suspense

Release Date: March, 2019

ConvergenceA psychologist paralyzed by fear.

A mother propelled by love.

A stalker bent on destruction.

Psychology professor Dr. Denilyn Rossi contends that the past is either a shadow that haunts us or a force that propels us. The choice is ours, she tells her students. What she doesn’t tell them is that her own past is a shadow she can’t seem to shake. Fear has immobilized her and is taking a costly toll.

Adelia Sanchez, however, has embraced Dr. Rossi’s teaching. She is ready to confront fear and render it powerless—using the trauma of her past to propel her to entrap the man who stalked and brutally attacked her.

As Denilyn’s past and Adelia’s present converge at the Kaweah River, a dangerous man bent on destruction threatens them both. Will he uncover the secret Deni and Adelia have fought so hard to protect?

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

 

About the Author

Ginny YttrupGinny Yttrup is the award-winning author of Words, Lost and Found, Invisible, and Flames. She writes contemporary women’s fiction and enjoys exploring the issues everyday women face. Publishers Weekly dubbed Ginny’s work “as inspiring as it is entertaining.” When not writing, Ginny coaches writers, critiques manuscripts, and makes vintage-style jewelry for her Esty shop, Storied Jewelry (etsy.com/shop/StoriedJewelry). She loves dining with friends, hanging out with her adult sons, or spending a day in her pajamas reading a great novel. Ginny lives in northern California with Bear, her entitled Pomeranian. To learn more about Ginny and her work, visit ginnyyttrup.com.

 

More About Convergence

A psychologist paralyzed by fear.

A mother propelled by love.

A stalker bent on destruction.

Dr. Denilyn Rossi’s past is a shadow that haunts her. Adelia Sanchez’s past is a force that propels her. When Denilyn’s past and Adelia’s present converge at the Kaweah River, a dangerous man bent on destruction threatens them both. Will he uncover the secret Deni and Adelia have fought so hard to protect? Find out in Convergence by Ginny L. Yttrup.

 

Read an Exclusive Excerpt from Convergence:

She straightens, squares her shoulders, and takes a deep breath as she climbs aboard the plane. There are no seats, the other divers are piled close to one another on the floor. Mike points to an open space near him. She lowers herself, sits, pulls her knees to her chest, and then looks out the oval window next to her.

That’s when she sees him.

Her breath catches. She leans in, cups her hands on the glass to cut the glare, and peers out.

It can’t be. . . . Mouth dry, she tries to swallow. She looks away.

Her heart batters her chest and her pulse roars in her ears, nearly drowning out the clamor of the plane’s propeller. It isn’t him. You’re imagining things, she tells herself. She inhales then exhales. She takes another look then stares at the man near the hangar. He pulls some­thing from his shirt pocket, sticks it in his mouth. A cigarette? She watches as he lights it. It isn’t him. He doesn’t smoke. Anyway, it’s impossible. She knows where he is, and it isn’t here.

He’s seen her staring at him through the window of the plane. He takes a drag, flicks ash to the ground, and smiles. But his eyes behind the sunglasses are cold. Hard.

She steadies herself as the plane shoots down the runway then lifts. As memories flash, perspiration trickles down her back. She inhales again, deeper this time. It wasn’t him. Let it go, she admon­ishes, then shakes her head.

Fear will not win. Not this time. Not ever again.

Within what feels to her like mere moments, the group of profes­sional skydivers have all jumped, and she stands, back pressed against Mike, hooked to his harness. They brace themselves against the pum­meling force of wind as they wait near the gaping opening in the side of the plane. She pulls goggles from the top of her head down over her eyes.

There’s no room in her mind now for thoughts of the man on the ground, or of the man who haunts her memories. There’s no room for thoughts of any kind. Terror, as she well knows, is all-consuming. Her breaths are shallow, her pulse races.

“Step to the edge,” Mike yells. When she doesn’t move, he yells again, this time his breath hot against her ear. She hesitates then steps forward, him stepping in sync with her. There’s nothing to see but the vast expanse.

“Go!” Mike shouts.

Heart hammering her rib cage, she leans forward, eyes squeezed shut, and falls more than jumps into nothingness, arms stretched wide. She anticipates the sensation of falling—stomach lifting to throat—but it isn’t evident as she’d expected. Nor is the velocity at which she knows they’re falling. She dares to open her eyes, only aware of the force of air pushing her cheeks back to her ears, which makes her laugh.

The free fall is like nothing she’s experienced. She laughs again, the sound carried heavenward on the drafts, she imagines. Too soon she’s jerked, hard, the harness cutting into her thighs, and pulled upward with what seems like exceeding force. She hadn’t expected the force.

But then they’re floating. Soaring. “Oh,” she whispers. She wants to take it all in, remember every exhilarating moment. These currents she could ride forever. Tension is replaced by peace, pervasive peace.

Quietude. Silence. Wonder.

“That was a hard pull.” Mike’s shouted words behind her threaten to break the spell, but she’s enchanted and pays little attention. She assumes the pull—the parachute opening and catching air—was harder than usual but fine. They’re fine. She doesn’t understand. Doesn’t know what’s to come. How could she?

As they float, her eyes are trained on the ground below. The earth is a patchwork of tones. She sees the river, a thread, stitched across the quilt of colors. She searches for familiar landmarks as her sense of confidence soars. She’s done it. Faced fear, terror even, and—

Suddenly they’re plummeting.

Tumbling.

Head first. Arms and legs akimbo.

Land and sky spin as they interchange. Her lungs deflate. Pres­sure. The currents, tumultuous, pull her under and then spit her out. She can’t breathe. Why can’t she breathe? She gasps. She’s drowning. Help! Someone, help! But no. . . There’s no water. Instead, she’s above, where there’s nothing. Just. . .

Nothing.

Nothing to reach for. Nothing to grab. Nothing to save her.

A scream sounds in her mind. Rings in her ears. Scathes her throat.

Her scream?

Awareness hits. She’s going to die. It’s her only thought. There are no thoughts of those she loves. Those who love her. Memories don’t flash. No, just the one thought. The only thought she has time for.

She is going to die.

Then. . .

Everything goes black.

 

My Impressions:

Convergence is a departure of sorts for Ginny Yttrup. While the suspense genre is new for her, fans of her excellent writing will soon find that Yttrup doesn’t skimp when it comes to the character development and meticulous plotting that she is known for. What you get with this novel is an amped-up, well-crafted novel. I was drawn in from the first page, tossed about with the twists and turns, and left with a very satisfied, catch-my-breath ending. Convergence earns a recommended rating.

The structure of Convergence is unique. Two story lines, both set at differing times, march along until they converge. The first person accounts by Denilyn Rossi and Adelia Sanchez are very strong and give the reader a good look at the emotions, fears, and determination of the two women. Denilyn’s story is fleshed out by recollections from the past. Denilyn, a psychologist with an expertise in bullying, has been the victim of stalking. Her past experiences color her world, and when she again feels threatened she is determined not to ignore her instincts. The facts of the book are revealed slowly through the two women’s accounts which increases the suspense for the characters and the reader. This reader was surprised over and over. The cat-and-mouse between the women and the unknown assailant is very effective in keeping the pages turning. Fear is a prime motivator for Denilyn and Adelia, and their attempts to control their circumstances often leave them with a feeling that security is only a facade. I liked how the author shows that surrender to God is the only way to truly alleviate fear.

If you are looking for an unpredictable suspense novel, then Convergence is a good choice. With its strong female characters, unique framework, and twisting plot, it leaves me eager for more of the same from Yttrup.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

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

 

Blog Stops

By The Book, March 28

Simple Harvest Reads, March 28 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Multifarious, March 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 29

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, March 30

Remembrancy, March 30

Inspired by fiction, March 31

To Everything A Season, March 31

Blogging With Carol, April 1

Ashley’s Bookshelf, April 1

For Him and My Family, April 2

Book by Book, April 2

All-of-a-kind Mom, April 3

janicesbookreviews, April 3

Spoken from the Heart, April 4

Texas Book-aholic, April 4

Seasons of Opportunities, April 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 5

Genesis 5020, April 6

Pause for Tales, April 6

Splashes of Joy, April 7

A Reader’s Brain, April 7

Bigreadersite, April 8

The Lit Addict, April 8

Through the Fire Blogs, April 9

Inklings and notions, April 9

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, April 10

The Becca Files, April 10

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Ginny is away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of Convergence!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/dd7b/convergence-celebration-tour-giveaway

First Line Friday — Convergence

15 Mar

Happy Friday! Today I am sharing the first line of the next book in my TBR stack. I had the pleasure of meeting Ginny Yttrup about 8 years ago. Her debut novel, Words, had just been published, and I knew from reading that first book, that Ginny would become a must-read author. Convergence, a suspense novel, is a new track for this talented author. I am thrilled, because it is my favorite genre! I cannot wait to dig into this book!

Please leave a comment with the first sentence of the book closest to hand and then head to Hoarding Books for more fabulous first lines.

 

 

A psychologist paralyzed by fear.
 
A mother propelled by love.
 
A stalker bent on destruction.

 
Psychology professor Dr. Denilyn Rossi contends that the past is either a shadow that haunts us or a force that propels us. The choice is ours, she tells her students. What she doesn’t tell them is that her own past is a shadow she can’t seem to shake. Fear has immobilized her and is taking a costly toll.

Adelia Sanchez, however, has embraced Dr. Rossi’s teaching. She is ready to confront fear and render it powerless—using the trauma of her past to propel her to entrap the man who stalked and brutally attacked her.

As Denilyn’s past and Adelia’s present converge at the Kaweah River, a dangerous man bent on destruction threatens them both. Will he uncover the secret Deni and Adelia have fought so hard to protect?

Ginny L. Yttrup is the award-winning author of five novels including Home, which released April 2017. She writes contemporary women’s fiction and enjoys exploring the issues everyday women face. Publishers Weekly dubbed Ginny’s work “as inspiring as it is entertaining.” When not writing, Ginny coaches writers, critiques manuscripts, and makes vintage-style jewelry for her Esty shop, Storied Jewelry. She loves dining with friends, hanging out with her adult children, gardening, or spending a day reading a great novel. Ginny lives in northern California. To learn more about Ginny and her work, visit http://www.ginnyyttrup.com.

Top 10 Tuesday — New to The TBR

29 Jan

Only a month into the new year, and I have already added lots of books to my TBR list. (You can read my Winter TBR HERE.) There are so many shiny new books out there it is hard not to be tempted to add thousands hundreds a few to the unending list. What about you, what books have you added so far this year?

Head over to That Artsy Reader Girl to discover other bloggers’ wish lists.

 

Top Books Recently Added to The Unending TBR List

 

Atoning for Ashes by Kaitlin Covel

Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green

Convergence by Ginny Yttrup

Daughters of Northern Shores by Joanne Bischoff

The Memory House by Rachel Hauck

Never Let Go by Elizabeth Goddard

The Seamstress by Allison Pitman

The Secret of Willow Inn by Pat Nichols

The Watch on The Fencepost by Kay DiBianca

The White City by Grace Hitchcock

Top 10 Tuesday — Hidden Gems

11 Sep

This week That Artsy Reader Girl is challenging bloggers to come up with a list of books they deem Hidden Gems — books we believe haven’t gotten the recognition they deserve. My list derives from books I loved, but rarely see mentioned/recommended in book discussion groups. If you have read these books, you will know why I think they are wonderful. If you haven’t, then I recommend you pick one and get reading! 🙂

 

 

Top 10 Hidden Gems

Before I Saw You by Amy K. Sorrells

Folks are dying fast as the ash trees in the southern Indiana town ravaged by the heroin epidemic, where Jaycee Givens lives with nothing more than a thread of hope and a quirky neighbor, Sudie, who rescues injured wildlife. After a tragedy leaves her mother in prison, Jaycee is carrying grief and an unplanned pregnancy she conceals because she trusts no one, including the kind and handsome Gabe, who is new to town and to the local diner where she works.

Dividing her time between the diner and Sudie’s place, Jaycee nurses her broken heart among a collection of unlikely friends who are the closest thing to family that she has. Eventually, she realizes she can’t hide her pregnancy any longer―not even from the baby’s abusive father, who is furious when he finds out. The choices she must make for the safety of her unborn child threaten to derail any chance she ever had for hope and redemption. Ultimately, Jaycee must decide whether the truest form of love means hanging on or letting go.

Center of Gravity by Laura McNeill

The truth could cost her everything.

Her whole life, Ava Carson has been sure of one thing: she doesn’t measure up to her mother’s expectations. So when Mitchell Carson sweeps into her life with his adorable son, the ready-made family seems like a dream come true. In the blink of an eye, she’s married, has a new baby, and life is wonderful.

Or is it?

When her picture-perfect marriage begins unraveling at the seams, Ava convinces herself she can fix it. It’s temporary. It’s the stress. It’s Mitchell’s tragic history of loss.

If only Ava could believe her own excuses.

Mitchell is no longer the charming, thoughtful man she married. He grows more controlling by the day, revealing a violent jealous streak. His behavior is recklessly erratic, and the unanswered questions about his past now hint at something far more sinister than Ava can stomach. Before she can fit the pieces together, Mitchell files for divorce and demands full custody of their boys.

Fueled by fierce love for her children and aided by Graham Thomas, a new attorney in town, Ava takes matters into her own hands, digging deep into the past. But will finding the truth be enough to beat Mitchell at his own game?

Ghost Heart by Lisa Harris and Lynne Gentry

A brilliant transplant surgeon. A rogue organ broker. A ghost child. And the legend that could destroy them all. A brutal murder convinces surgeon Mia Kendall there’s more than she imagined to the mysterious spike in heart transplant rejections. Determined to find answers before she loses another patient, Mia gets sucked into a dangerous international medical web. With time running out for her youngest transplant recipient, Mia is forced to partner with a disillusioned ex-military pilot who flies brokered organs across East Africa. But searching for the truth will prove costly for the unlikely duo racing to stop a madman before he annihilates a rare and cursed bloodline. From best-selling author Lisa Harris and award-winning author Lynne Gentry comes a chilling, hypnotic medical thriller that will take you from the suburbs of Cincinnati to the jungles of Africa.

Grace in Strange Disguise by Christine Dillon

Physiotherapist Esther Macdonald is living the Australian dream, and it doesn’t surprise her. After all, her father has always said, “Follow Jesus and be blessed.” But at twenty-eight, her world shatters. Everyone assures her God will come through for her, but what happens when he doesn’t? Has she offended God? Is her faith too small? So many conflicting explanations. Will finding the truth cost her the people closest to her heart?

 

 

The Memoir of Johnny Devine by Camille Eide

In 1953, desperation forces young war widow Eliza Saunderson to take a job writing the memoir of ex-Hollywood heartthrob Johnny Devine. Rumor has it Johnny can seduce anything in a skirt quicker than he can hail a cab. But now the notorious womanizer claims he’s been born again. Eliza soon finds herself falling for the humble, grace-filled man John has become—a man who shows no sign of returning her feelings. No sign, that is, until she discovers something John never meant for her to see.

​When Eliza’s articles on minority oppression land her on McCarthy’s Communist hit list, John and Eliza become entangled in an investigation that threatens both his book and her future. To clear her name, Eliza must solve a family mystery. Plus, she needs to convince John that real love—not the Hollywood illusion—can forgive a sordid past. Just when the hope of love becomes reality, a troubling discovery confirms Eliza’s worst fears. Like the happy façade many Americans cling to, had it all been empty lies? Is there a love she can truly believe in?

Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse

There was another South in the 1960s, one far removed from the marches and bombings and turmoil in the streets that were broadcast on the evening news. It was a place of inner turmoil, where ordinary people struggled to right themselves on a social landscape that was dramatically shifting beneath their feet. This is the world of Valerie Fraser Luesse’s stunning debut, Missing Isaac.

It is 1965 when black field hand Isaac Reynolds goes missing from the tiny, unassuming town of Glory, Alabama. The townspeople’s reactions range from concern to indifference, but one boy will stop at nothing to find out what happened to his unlikely friend. White, wealthy, and fatherless, young Pete McLean has nothing to gain and everything to lose in his relentless search for Isaac. In the process, he will discover much more than he bargained for. Before it’s all over, Pete — and the people he loves most — will have to blur the hard lines of race, class, and religion. And what they discover about themselves may change some of them forever.

Lead Me Home by Amy K. Sorrells

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

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

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

Like A River from Its Course by Kelli Stuart

The city of Kiev was bombed in Hitler’s blitzkrieg across the Soviet Union, but the constant siege was only the beginning for her citizens. In this sweeping historical saga, Kelli Stuart takes the reader on a captivating journey into the little—known history of Ukraine’s tragedies through the eyes of four compelling characters who experience the same story from different perspectives.

Maria Ivanovna is only fourteen when the bombing begins and not much older when she is forced into work at a German labor camp. She must fight to survive and to make her way back to her beloved Ukraine.

Ivan Kyrilovich is falsely mistaken for a Jew and lined up with 34,000 other men, women, and children who are to be shot at the edge of Babi Yar, the “killing ditch.” He survives, but not without devastating consequences.

Luda is sixteen when German soldiers rape her. Now pregnant with the child of the enemy, she is abandoned by her father, alone, and in pain. She must learn to trust family and friends again and find her own strength in order to discover the redemption that awaits.

Frederick Hermann is sure in his knowledge that the Führer’s plans for domination are right and just. He is driven to succeed by a desire to please a demanding father and by his own blind faith in the ideals of Nazism. Based on true stories gathered from fifteen years of research and interviews with Ukrainian World War II survivors, Like a River from Its Course is a story of love, war, heartache, forgiveness, and redemption.

Lost And Found by Ginny Yttrup

Jenna Bouvier and Andee Bell are at a crossroads. Jenna is in danger of losing her family and her wealth when her mother-in-law accuses her of having an affair. Andee has what she wants—fame, fortune, and Jenna’s brother—but she’s haunted by a dark secret. Will they follow familiar paths, or risk walking in faith?

 

 

 

 

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West

Sometimes we’re allowed to glimpse the beauty within the brokenness . . .

Savannah Barrington has always found solace at her parents’ lake house in the Berkshires, and it’s the place that she runs to when her husband of over twenty years leaves her. Though her world is shaken, and the future uncertain, she finds hope through an old woman’s wisdom, a little girl’s laughter, and a man who’s willing to risk his own heart to prove to Savannah that she is worthy of love.

But soon Savannah is given a challenge she can’t run away from: Forgiving the unforgivable. Amidst the ancient gardens and musty bookstores of the small town she’s sought refuge in, she must reconcile with the grief that haunts her, the God pursuing her, and the wounds of the past that might be healed after all.

Where Hope Begins is the story of grace in the midst of brokenness, pointing us to the miracles that await when we look beyond our own expectations.

 

What book do you consider a hidden gem?