Tag Archives: Katherine Reay

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.

 

Book Review + Giveaway! — The Printed Letter Bookshop

16 May

About The Book

Book: The Printed Letter Bookshop

Author: Katherine Reay

Genre: Women’s fiction, romance

Release Date: May 14, 2019

Amid literature and lattes, three women come together and find that sharing one’s journey with best friends makes life richer.

When attorney Madeline Carter inherits her aunt’s bookstore in a small town north of Chicago, she plans to sell it and add the proceeds to her nonexistent “investment portfolio.” But plans change when Madeline discovers the store isn’t making money and she gets passed over for promotion at her firm. She quits in protest, takes the train north, and decides to work at the store to prep it for sale. Madeline soon finds herself at odds with employees Janet and Claire; when she also finds herself attracted to an affianced man, it only confuses the entire situation.

After blowing up her marriage two years earlier, Jessica has found solace working at the bookstore and a kindred spirit within its owner, Maddie Cullen. But when Maddie dies and her niece, Madeline, barges in like a bulldozer, Janet pushes at the new owner in every way-until she trips over common ground. Soon the women are delving into online dating and fashion makeovers, and Janet feels the pull to rediscover her art, a love she thought long behind her.

After a night of bad decisions leaves the store in peril, Claire arrives and tries to save the day. While she, too, found sanctuary in the little bookstore, she knows it’s under-insured, in the red, and will never survive. When she discovers her teenage daughter has played a part in vandalizing the store, Claire taps into strength she didn’t know existed-or had long forgotten. The quietest of the three, she steps up and finds a way to save her family, the store, and the precious friendships that have grown within it.

The Printed Letter Bookshop is the story of friends who find each other-and themselves-in a place none of them ever expected.

Click here to purchase your copy.

 

My Impressions:

I absolutely loved this book! And what’s not to love — three engaging characters, a bookshop setting (that goes without saying) and very cool allusions to all the books, and a subtle and natural faith message that speaks hope and truth without hitting you over the head. The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay has it all and is a very highly recommended read!

There are three characters that are central to the story of The Printed Letter Bookshop. The novel is told through their distinct POVs. But this book is unique in that format because the POVs are first person past tense, first person present tense, and third person. I found it a bit jarring at first, until I happened upon a line from one of the characters. Then it all fell into place with an aha! from me. Clever, clever author! 😉 The changes to the characters through their experiences are also expressed by the changes in their voices. Be on the look out for that. Madeline, Janet, and Claire are very different, yet I found myself relating to each of them. They’ve made mistakes, lost their way, and been influenced by partial knowledge — kind of like all of us. I loved their journeys. And the books! There are tons of references for dedicated book nerds. The shop and the books are wonderful vehicles for showcasing community, the importance of real relationships and of loving well. As for the faith message, forgiveness plays a big part in the story. I also loved how the author used Proverbs 31 to speak to each of the characters (and this reader) in a new, fresh way.

Fans of books, books, books, fans of women’s fiction, fans of a good story told very well — that’s who should read The Printed Letter Bookshop. I promise you will love it! It is one of the best books I have read this year.

Very Highly Recommended. 

Audience: adults.

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

About The Author

Katherine Reay is the national bestselling and award-winning author of Dear Mr. Knightley, Lizzy and Jane, The Brontë Plot, A Portrait of Emily Price, The Austen Escape, and The Printed Letter Bookshop. All Katherine’s novels are contemporary stories with a bit of classical flair. Katherine holds a BA and MS from Northwestern University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and isa wife, mother, former marketer, and avid chocolate consumer. After living all across the country and a few stops in Europe, Katherine now happily resides outside Chicago, IL. You can meet her at www.katherinereay.com; Facebook: KatherineReayBooks; Twitter: @katherine_reay; or Instagram: @katherinereay.

More From Katherine

Don’t you love bookshops?

Every time I walk into a bookstore, it feels like a rainbow cracked open and rained a kaleidoscope of light, life and possibilities before me. I find worlds within the world and a call to adventure.

Each bookshop tells a different story. It tells of its loyal beloved customer base. It reflects the personality of its owner and staff. It carries the aura of the stories it offers to us.

And it was the perfect place to dig into lives, hearts and book loves of Janet, Claire and Madeline. These three women, at different stages in life, meet at the Printed Letter Bookshop, with all the romance and wonder it holds, and learn to work through their challenges together. They become the friends that each didn’t know she was missing.

There is also a fourth woman I loved spending time with in the Printed Letter Bookshop — its original owner, Maddie Carter. Maddie doesn’t step onto the stage even once, but her presence, her love and her guiding hand are apparent from page one as Janet, Claire, and Madeline grow in friendship and in faith.

The Printed Letter Bookshop is a love letter to books, a testament to the beauty of new beginnings and a sweet reminder of the power of friendship. I hope you savor your time with these three women — And, book lovers rejoice, there is a list of all the books they allude to in the back of the book!

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, May 14

Godly Book Reviews, May 14

The Power of Words, May 14

Reflections From My Bookshelves, May 15

Carla Loves To Read, May 15

Pause for Tales, May 15

Maureen’s Musings, May 16

Bigreadersite, May 16

By The Book, May 16

Inspirationally Ever After, May 17

Reading Themes, May 17

For The Love of Books, May 17

Lis Loves Reading, May 18

Emily Yager, May 18

Living Life Free in Christ, May 18

For HIm and My Family, May 19

Retrospective Spines, May 19

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, May 19

Girls Living For God’s Glory, May 20

As He Leads is Joy, May 20

To Everything A Season, May 20

All-Of-a-kind Mom, May 21

Through the Fire Blogs, May 21

Creating Romance, May 21

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 22

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, May 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 22

Reader’s Cozy Corner, May 23

Wishful Endings, May 23

Texas Book-aholic, May 23

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 24

Just the Write Escape, May 24

The Christian Fiction Girl, May 25

Lighthouse Academy, May 25

janicesbookreviews, May 25

Inspired by Fiction, May 26

Simple Harvest Reads, May 26 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Inklings and notion, May 26

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 27

amandainpa, May 27

A Reader’s Brain, May 27

Giveaway

 

To celebrate her tour, Katherine is giving away a paperback copy of The Printed Letter Bookshop to one lucky winner!

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/e4f1/the-printed-letter-bookshop-celebration-tour-giveaway

Top 10 Tuesday — Characters Like Me, Because It Really Is All About The Books

7 May

I found this week’s Top 10 Tuesday prompt — Characters That Remind Me of Myself — a bit daunting. I lead such a boring life, that it would never make it as a book. 😉 I really struggled to come up with the requisite 10 to fill this post, until I started thinking about what consumes a lot of my thoughts — books! I read them, talk about them, blog about them, sniff them . . . . Anyway, I came up with a list of characters that are surrounded by books too. I really wouldn’t want to trade places with any of them because of their issues, and the fact that some regularly stumble on dead bodies or engage in nefarious activities! And while my husband may say our home is starting to look a lot like a bookstore or library, I do not work at either. But I am a book pusher  enthusiast who makes sure everyone has the opportunity to get their hands on the story that is just right for them. Whether you like cozy mysteries, suspense, romance, women’s fiction, or time-slip novels, I hope you find a book you just need to read!

For more fun with doppleganger characters, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

A Dozen Book Pushing Characters

(aka booksellers or librarians)

Bruce Cable — Camino Island by John Grisham

Violet and Daisy Waverly —Crime And Poetry by Amanda Flower

Annie Laurance Darling — Death on Demand by Carolyn Hart

Callie Randall — Hidden Among The Stars by Melanie Dobson

Helma Zukas — Miss Zukas And The Library Murders by Jo Dereske

Madeline, Janet, and Carrie — The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay

Rick Denton — Remembering Christmas by Dan Walsh

A. J. Fickry — The Storied Life of A. J. Fickry by Gabrielle Zevin

Claire Malloy — Strangled Prose by Joan Hess

 

Which character is like you?

2018 Inspy Shortlists!

2 May

The Inspy Awards, the blogger-based awards program for inspirational books, has announced their 2018 shortlists. Whew! What a great bunch of books! Now it’s in the judges hands, and what a tough job they have. Congrats to all the authors! For more info, check out inspy.com.

 

Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense

A New Shade of Summer (Waterfall Press) by Nicole Deese

Then There Was You (Bellbird Press) by Kara Isaac

Jane of Austin (Waterbrook) by Hillary Manton Lodge

True to You (Bethany House) by Becky Wade

Just Look Up (Tyndale) by Courtney Walsh

 

Debut Fiction

 Still Waters (Firefly Southern Fiction) by Lindsey P. Brackett

Freedom’s Ring (Tyndale) by Heidi Chiavaroli

Count Me In (I21 Publishing House) by Mikal Dawn

Lady Jayne Disappears (Revell) by Joanna Davidson Politano

Stars in the Grass (Shiloh Run Press) by Ann Marie Stewart

 

General Fiction

Perennials (Thomas Nelson) by Julie Cantrell

A Trail of Crumbs: A Novel of the Great Depression (Kregel) by Susie Finkbeiner

Life After (Waterbrook) by Katie Ganshert

The Space Between Words (Thomas Nelson) by Michele Phoenix

The Austen Escape (Thomas Nelson) by Katherine Reay

 

Historical Romance

A Note Yet Unsung (Bethany House) by Tamera Alexander

The Road to Paradise (Waterbrook) by Karen Barnett

Many Sparrows (Waterbrook) by Lori Benton

A Lady in Disguise (Howard) by Sandra Byrd

A Moonbow Night (Revell) by Laura Frantz

 

Literature for Young Adults

The Returning (Tyndale) by Rachelle Dekker

Unraveling (Thomas Nelson) by Sara Ella

For Love and Honor (Zondervan) by Jody Hedlund

The Lost Girl of Astor Street (Blink) by Stephanie Morrill

The Evaporation of Sofi Snow (Thomas Nelson) by Mary Weber

 

Mystery/Thriller

The Enoch Effect (Waterfall Press) by Rick Acker

Death at Thorburn Hall (Bethany House) by Julianna Deering

Crown of Souls (Bethany House) by Ronie Kendig

A Portrait of Vengeance (Thomas Nelson) by Carrie Stuart Parks

Imperfect Justice (Thomas Nelson) by Cara Putman

 

Speculative Fiction

Raging Storm (Harvest House) by Vannetta Chapman

The Divide (Tyndale) by Jolina Petersheim

The Beast of Talesend (Indie) by Kyle Robert Schultz

The Girl Who Could See (Indie) by Kara Swanson

King’s Blood (Bethany House) by Jill Williamson

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Unique Book Titles

24 Oct

Besides the cover art, the title of a book is one of the most important means for getting a reader to pick it up. Sometimes the title is inspired by a quote within the book, other times it is a play on words featuring the subject. Whatever, the source, I admire the authors/editors/publishers’ creativity in coming up with the title. This week the folks at The Broke And The Bookish are challenging bloggers to share Unique Book Titles. Where do I start! This truly is a tough topic. I decided to go with book titles inspired by Art/Music/Literature. Some I have read; others are languishing on my shelves. All are worthy of a look!

 

Top Unique Book Titles from Art, Music, and Literature

 

Art

A Fool And His Monet by Sandra Orchard

Another Day, Another Dali by Sandra Orchard

Over Maya Dead Body by Sandra Orchard

Music

Cold As Ice by M. K. Gilroy

Cuts Like A Knife by M. K. Gilroy

Every Breath You Take by M. K. Gilroy

How Sweet The Sound by Amy Sorrells

It Had To Be You by Susan May Warren

Murder Mezzo Forte by Donn Taylor

Rhapsody in Red by Donn Taylor

You’re The One That I Want by Susan May Warren

 

Literature

Annabel Lee by Mike Nappa

The Dashwood Sisters Tell All by Beth Patillo

Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay

Jane Austen Ruined My Life by Beth Patillo

Lizzie And Jane by Katherine Reay

The Raven by Mike Nappa

 

What Are Some Unique Book Titles You Love?

Book Review: Dear Mr. Knightley

18 Nov

689680Samantha Moore has always hidden behind the words of others—namely, her favorite characters in literature. Now, she will learn to write her own story—by giving that story to a complete stranger.

Sam is, to say the least, bookish. An English major of the highest order, her diet has always been Austen, Dickens, and Shakespeare. The problem is, both her prose and conversation tend to be more Elizabeth Bennet than Samantha Moore.

But life for the twenty-three-year-old orphan is about to get stranger than fiction. An anonymous, Dickensian benefactor (calling himself Mr. Knightley) offers to put Sam through Northwestern University’s prestigious Medill School of Journalism. There is only one catch: Sam must write frequent letters to the mysterious donor, detailing her progress.

As Sam’s dark memory mingles with that of eligible novelist Alex Powell, her letters to Mr. Knightley become increasingly confessional. While Alex draws Sam into a world of warmth and literature that feels like it’s straight out of a book, old secrets are drawn to light. And as Sam learns to love and trust Alex and herself, she learns once again how quickly trust can be broken.

KReay-185.pngKatherine Reay has enjoyed a life-long affair with the works of Jane Austen and her contemporaries. After earning degrees in history and marketing from Northwestern University, she worked as a marketer for Proctor & Gamble and Sears before returning to school to earn her MTS. Her works have been published in Focus on the Family and the Upper Room. Katherine currently lives with her husband and three children in Seattle. Dear Mr. Knightley is her first novel.

My Impressions:

In 2009 St. Martin’s Press coined the term New Adult as an emerging genre in the publishing business. Focused on protagonists in the 18 – 25 age range, the genre is naturally targeted for readers of the same age. Katherine Reay’s debut novel, Dear Mr. Knightley, certainly qualifies as a New Adult novel, but this 50-something reader was drawn into the life and times of Samantha Moore, a young woman in desperate need of identity and purpose. This is a novel that will appeal to younger women readers, but definitely crosses the generational divide in its style and subject matter. Who out there has never struggled with finding the real person within?

Samantha Sam Moore thinks she is adept at hiding — from her past, relationships and herself. Having retreated into her beloved books for years, she finds herself without a true identity and a life without direction or purpose. Faced with no job and no home, Samantha finds herself back at the group home she sought to escape. When a mysterious offer of graduate school is made, Samantha grasps the lifeline, but her hold on it is tenuous at best. Full tuition and living expenses for the prestigious journalism school come with a cost — stretching herself far beyond the walls she has carefully erected. She must also write letters to her benefactor, a man known only as Mr. Knightley. It is within these letters that Samantha reveals and claims her true self.

There is a lot to like about Dear Mr. Knightley. If you are an Austen or Bronte fan, you will be pleased with the many references to their works. But this novel is not a rewrite of a beloved classic. Told through letters, Dear Mr. Knightley is like a coming of age novel. Samantha is forced to confront her demons and to start living without the crutch of her literary friends. The growth of Samantha’s character is touching and tough, but will have you cheering for her triumphs and sympathizing with her failures. The message of God’s love is subtle, but is definitely portrayed through the loving support of an older couple who come into Sam’s life. You are going to love the turn of events in that relationship!

Definitely a book I will recommend, I think Dear Mr. Knightley would be perfect for a book discussion group, especially for those New Adults in the group!

Recommended.

Great For Book Clubs.

(Thanks to LitFuse for a review copy. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To read more reviews, click HERE.

To purchase a copy of this book, click on the image below.

Dear Mr. Knightley is a clever read that will delight both Austen fans and contemporary women’s fiction fans.

Katherine is hosting a KINDLE HDX giveaway, a fun Favorite Austen Moments Pinterest contest, and an Austen-themed Facebook Party.

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One winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay
  • Handmade Austen-themed scarf, mug, bracelet, and necklace

reay-austenmoments-pinterest-504x377

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below or participating in the Pinterest contest—or BOTH! But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 3rd. Winner will be announced at the “Dear Mr. Knightley” Austen-themed Facebook Author Chat Party on the 3rd. Join Katherine (and Austen fans) for an evening of book chat, prizes, and an exclusive look at Katherine’s next book.

So grab your copy of  Dear Mr. Knightley and join Katherine on the evening of December 3rd for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)

DON’T MISS A MOMENT OF THE FUN; RSVP TODAY BY CLICKING JOIN AT THE EVENT PAGE. SPREAD THE WORD—TELL YOUR FRIENDS ABOUT THE GIVEAWAY AND PARTY VIA FACEBOOK, TWITTER, OR PINTEREST. HOPE TO SEE YOU ON THE 3RD!