Tag Archives: Lisa Wingate

Book Review: The Story Keeper

25 Jul

386898Successful New York editor, Jen Gibbs, is at the top of her game with her new position at Vida House Publishing — until a mysterious manuscript from an old slush pile appears on her desk. Turning the pages, Jen finds herself drawn into the life of Sarra, a mixed-race Melungeon girl trapped by dangerous men in the turn of the century Appalachia. A risky hunch may lead to The Story Keeper’s hidden origins and its unknown author, but when the trail turns toward the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a place Jen thought she’d left behind forever, the price of a blockbuster next book deal may be higher than she’s willing to pay.

 

lisawingatepubpicLisa Wingate is an award-winning journalist, magazine columnist, popular inspirational speaker and a national bestselling author of 16 books. Her first mainstream novel, Tending Roses, is in its fifteenth printing from Penguin Putnam. Tending Roses is a staple on the shelves of national bookstore chains as well as in many independent bookstores.

Recently, Lisa’s Blue Sky Hill Series, set in Dallas, received national attention with back-to-back nominations for American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year Award for A Month of Summer (2009) and The Summer Kitchen (2010). In 2011, Lisa’s Novel, Never Say Never, won the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year Award. Pithy, emotional, and inspirational, her stories bring to life characters so real that readers often write to ask what is happening to them after the book ends.

Lisa is one of a select group of authors to find success in both the Christian and mainstream markets, writing for both Bethany House, a Christian publisher, and NAL Penguin Putnam, in mainstream fiction. Her bestselling books have become a hallmark of inspirational southern fiction. Her works have been featured by the National Reader’s Club of America, AOL Book Picks, Doubleday Book Club, the Literary Guild, American Profiles and have been chosen for numerous awards.

When not busy dreaming up stories, Lisa spends time on the road as a motivational speaker. Via internet, she shares with readers as far away as India, where her book, Tending Roses, has been used to promote women’s literacy, and as close to home as Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the county library system has used Tending Roses to help volunteer mentors teach adults to read. Recently, the group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with Bill Ford, Camille Cosby, and six others, as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life.

 

My Impressions:

What a great experience I had being a part of Lisa Wingate’s Sisterhood of The Traveling Book. I was chosen to be a part of a group that read Lisa’s newest book The Story Keeper, due out in September.  Sharing insights and stories of our own, we passed the book around. My group is still in the process of reading and reflecting before the book heads back to Lisa in Texas. And while the Sisterhood is certainly special, The Story Keeper is a novel that you will not want to miss.

Jenn Gibbs left her Appalachian roots behind when she moved to New York to pursue a career in publishing. When she takes a new job with Vida House, a mysterious manuscript from the infamous slush pile appears on her desk and she is swept into an intriguing story and again forced to revisit the haunts of her childhood. An elusive author and her demanding family keep Jenn in North Carolina longer than she would like, but she soon discovers that you cannot really escape your past.

Two stories in one kept me turning the pages of The Story Keeper. I was impressed with the many voices that Lisa employed in telling the stories. Lisa masterfully brings to life the places and peoples of Appalachia. Her characters are real and relatable, even Jenn’s sisters who live a life dedicated to a conservative Christian cult. I loved the theme of lives being a compilation of many stories.

The Story Keeper releases on September 1, so be sure to keep a watch out for it. You can pre-order it from Amazon too.

Highly Recommended.

Great for Book Clubs.

(Thanks to Lisa Wingate for the opportunity to read this book. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To pre-order The Story Keeper, click on the image below.

Free for Kindle! The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate

14 Jul

The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate is an excellent contemporary fiction novel that is FREE on Kindle today! Click HERE to get your copy. Read my review HERE.

prayerbox-standingcoverWhen 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.

Chapter 1

 

 

Book Review: The Prayer Box

23 Jul

prayerbox-standingcoverWhen 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.

Chapter 1

LisaWingatepubpicLisa Wingate is an award-winning journalist, magazine columnist, popular inspirational speaker and a national bestselling author of 16 books.  Her first mainstream novel, Tending Roses, is in its fifteenth printing from Penguin Putnam.  Tending Roses is a staple on the shelves of national bookstore chains as well as in many independent bookstores.

Recently, Lisa’s Blue Sky Hill Series, set in Dallas, received national attention with back-to-back nominations for American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year Award for A Month of Summer (2009) and The Summer Kitchen(2010). In 2011, Lisa’s Novel, Never Say Never, won the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year Award.  Pithy, emotional, and inspirational, her stories bring to life characters so real that readers often write to ask what is happening to them after the book ends.

Lisa is one of a select group of authors to find success in both the Christian and mainstream markets, writing for both Bethany House, a Christian publisher, and NAL Penguin Putnam, in mainstream fiction.  Her bestselling books have become a hallmark of inspirational southern fiction. Her works have been featured by the National Reader’s Club of America, AOL Book Picks, Doubleday Book Club, the Literary Guild, American Profiles and have been chosen for numerous awards.

When not busy dreaming up stories, Lisa spends time on the road as a motivational speaker. Via internet, she shares with readers as far away as India, where her book, Tending Roses, has been used to promote women’s literacy, and as close to home as Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the county library system has used Tending Roses to help volunteer mentors teach adults to read.  Recently, the group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with Bill Ford, Camille Cosby, and six others, as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life.

My Impressions:

I got a sneak peak at The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate, due out in September, through a unique and quite innovative way. I was chosen to be part of Lisa’s Sisterhood of The Traveling Book in which 13 books were sent out to groups of 4 women or sisterhoods to read, comment on and chronicle the book’s travel. I am #2 in my Sisterhood group. The reading experience took on a deeper dimension because of the comments and highlights by big sister Brenda.  And because I did the same, I felt a deeper connection to the characters, the author and the other sisters in my group. Thanks so much Lisa for this great opportunity.

The Prayer Box is written from the first person perspective of Tandi Jo Reece, a young mother on the run with her two children. She ends up in the Outer Banks where she spent happy days while visiting her grandparents. Those memories have helped her to withstand an unstable childhood, foster homes, two unplanned pregnancies, a prescription drug dependency and now her flight from an abusive husband. Tandi is a mess. But her desperate wish to change her life and the future for her children intersects with the prayer letters of her reclusive and now deceased landlady. Through Iola’s letters, Tandi learns about a loving and faithful Father who listens and responds in ways more wonderful than she could imagine.

I loved the characters in The Prayer Box. Tandi undergoes a transformation that is miraculous. Iola’s real life, thoughts and character are revealed through her prayer letters giving the reader and Tandi a sense of really knowing her. And Paul, with his crazy Hawaiian shirts, is the best friend and love interest perfect for Tandi. The ending of the book will have you crying — the promise of James 5:16 illustrated in a wonderful way.

I very highly recommend The Prayer Box. This is a must read that will will stay with you for a long time.

Very Highly Recommended.

Great For Book Clubs.

(Thanks to Lisa Wingate for the chance to read this book. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

picmRKFtqA Taste of — The Prayer Box

Iola makes banana beignets for the UPS driver. Tandi in turn continues this tradition. Enjoy the recipe for Banana Beignets courtesy of Food.com.

To pre-order your copy of The Prayer Box, click the image below.

Book Review: Firefly Island

26 Feb

FireflyIslandSometimes love takes you on an adventure completely off the map.

Mallory Hale’s life quickly veers off course when she falls hopelessly in love. After a whirlwind romance, Mallory finds herself leaving the bustle and action of Capitol Hill for the remote town of Moses Lake, Texas–with husband, stepson, and a U-Haul in tow.

A sweet, mishap-filled journey into marriage, motherhood, and ranch living ensues, and Mallory is filled with both the wonderment of love and the insecurities of change. But what she can’t shake is the unease she feels around her husband’s new boss, Jack West. Jack’s presence–and his mysterious past–set her on edge, and when hints of a scandal emerge, Mallory finds herself seeking answers . . . and comes to realize that the middle-of-nowhere home she wasn’t sure she wanted is the very place she’ll risk everything to save.

lisawingatepubpic1Lisa Wingate is a popular inspirational speaker, magazine columnist, and national bestselling author of several books, including Tending Roses, Talk of the Town, Blue Moon Bay, and Larkspur Cove, which won the 2011 Carol Award for Women’s Fiction. Lisa and her family live in central Texas. Visit www.lisawingate.com.

My Impressions:

I want to live in Moses Lake! But since it is a fictional town, I will be content to just visit. Lisa Wingate has written another winner in her Moses Lake series. (Click on the following titles for my reviews of the other books in the series: Larkspur Cove and Blue Moon Bay). In Firefly Island, Mallory Everson is new at everything — Texas and specifically Moses Lake, marriage, and motherhood. Just a month before arriving in Texas, Mallory was a single, legislative assistant in DC. After being swept off her feet by husband Daniel and his 3 year old son Nick, Mallory finds herself in the middle of nowhere asking herself what did she get herself into. Her new home is infested with vermin of every sort, her husband’s new boss is demanding and a bit scary and the people of Moses Lake are welcoming, but not like those she has encountered before. Determined to make a go of her situation, Mallory plunges in with dedication and conviction. Her new friends share their reliance on God, and Mallory begins to seek Him in her day to day struggles. But Firefly Island, part of the West Ranch she now lives on, holds secrets to past betrayals and present danger. Mallory tackles that as well and finds herself caring a lot more for the place she has reluctantly called home.

If you are a fan of Wingate’s Moses Lake series, you will be happy with the reappearance of favorite characters from previous books — Doc and Sheila, the Docksiders, Len and Birdie. But the characters of Mallory and Nick really steal the show here. I loved them! Mallory’s attempts at adapting are humorous and heartfelt. Instead of wimping out, she takes on marriage and motherhood and mice with equal enthusiasm. And who wouldn’t love Nick with his blond curls and sweet nature, even if a few snotty humzingers occur? The mystery that surrounds Daniel’s boss — his past and present — add a wonderful tension to the book and keep the pages turning.

All in all, I highly recommend Firefly Island. If you are new to Moses Lake, it can be read as a standalone, but I would start with book 1 (Larkspur Cove) and proceed to book 2 (Blue Moon Bay) first. You don’t want to miss any time you can spend in this wonderful little part of Texas.

Highly Recommended.

(I received Firefly Island from LitFuse in return for an honest review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To read more reviews of Firefly Island, click HERE.

To purchase the books in the Moses Lake series, click on the images below.

Book Review: Blue Moon Bay

13 May

Heather Hampton returns to Moses Lake, Texas, to help facilitate the sale of a family farm as part of a planned industrial plant that will provide the area with much-needed jobs. Heather’s future fiance has brokered the deal, and Heather is in line to do her first large-scale architectural design–if the deal goes through.

But the currents of Moses Lake have a way of taking visitors on unexpected journeys. What was intended to be a quick trip suddenly morphs into Valentine’s week–with Blaine Underhill, the handsome banker who just happens to be opposing Heather’s project. Spending the holiday in an ex-funeral parlor seems like a nightmare, but Heather slowly finds herself being drawn into the area’s history, hope, and heart.

Lisa Wingate is an award-winning journalist, magazine columnist, popular inspirational speaker and a national bestselling author of 16 books.  Her first mainstream novel, Tending Roses, is in its fifteenth printing from Penguin Putnam.  Tending Roses is a staple on the shelves of national bookstore chains as well as in many independent bookstores.

Recently, Lisa’s Blue Sky Hill Series, set in Dallas, received national attention with back-to-back nominations for American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year Award for A Month of Summer (2009) and The Summer Kitchen(2010). In 2011, Lisa’s Novel, Never Say Never, won the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year Award.  Pithy, emotional, and inspirational, her stories bring to life characters so real that readers often write to ask what is happening to them after the book ends.

Lisa is one of a select group of authors to find success in both the Christian and mainstream markets, writing for both Bethany House, a Christian publisher, and NAL Penguin Putnam, in mainstream fiction.  Her bestselling books have become a hallmark of inspirational southern fiction. Her works have been featured by the National Reader’s Club of America, AOL Book Picks, Doubleday Book Club, the Literary Guild, American Profiles and have been chosen for numerous awards.

When not busy dreaming up stories, Lisa spends time on the road as a motivational speaker. Via internet, she shares with readers as far away as India, where her book, Tending Roses, has been used to promote women’s literacy, and as close to home as Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the county library system has used Tending Roses to help volunteer mentors teach adults to read.  Recently, the group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with Bill Ford, Camille Cosby, and six others, as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life.

My Impressions:

Blue Moon Bay is the second book in Lisa Wingate’s Moses Lake series. It is, however, a standalone novel.  Many of the characters from the first book, Larkspur Cove, appear, but only in a supporting role.  In Blue Moon Bay, Heather Hampton finds herself in the one place she never wanted to return to — the site of the worst year of her life.  Sixteen years before, Heather’s father had moved his family to his hometown of Moses Lake.  Heather’s rebellion took the form of gothic clothes and sullen behavior.  And only months into the move, her father was killed in a tragic accident that spurred small town gossip and doubts. Years later, Heather thinks her last ties to Moses Lake will be severed — the family farm will be sold and she will finally be able to put the ghosts of her past to rest.  But her family has other plans and Heather finds herself trying to salvage the deal while coping with the strange behavior of her family.

Wingate examines the relationships between grown siblings and parents. Heather prides herself on being in control, detail oriented and like her father. She has always butted heads with her flighty and unpredictable mother and her Peter Pan-like brother.  She resents their exclusion of her in family matters, yet has been distancing herself from them since that fateful year in Moses Lake. Coming back opens Heather’s eyes to the realities of her perceptions and the costs associated with living a life based on career ambitions, not relationships.

I liked Blue Moon Bay, but it was a bit slow at times.  The mystery of what happened to Heather’s father and just what her family is up to took too long to develop, in my opinion.  Heather also spends a lot of time analyzing her life and the actions of those around her.  Wingate, again, brings to the reader complex characters and an interesting look at family dynamics.  And the setting of the novel, the lake and its environs, adds great dimension to the story.

Recommended. 

(I received Blue Moon Bay from Bethany House in return for a review.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review: Larkspur Cove

11 May

Adventure is the last thing on Andrea Henderson’s mind when she moves to Moses Lake. After surviving the worst year of her life, she’s struggling to build a new life for herself and her son as a social worker. Perhaps in doing a job that makes a difference, she can find some sense of purpose and solace in her shattered faith.

For new Moses Lake game warden Mart McClendon, finding a sense of purpose in life isn’t an issue. He took the job to get out of southwest Texas and the constant reminders of a tragedy for which he can’t forgive himself.

Lisa Wingate is an award-winning journalist, magazine columnist, popular inspirational speaker and a national bestselling author of 16 books.  Her first mainstream novel, Tending Roses, is in its fifteenth printing from Penguin Putnam.  Tending Roses is a staple on the shelves of national bookstore chains as well as in many independent bookstores.

Recently, Lisa’s Blue Sky Hill Series, set in Dallas, received national attention with back-to-back nominations for American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year Award for A Month of Summer (2009) and The Summer Kitchen(2010). In 2011, Lisa’s Novel, Never Say Never, won the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year Award.  Pithy, emotional, and inspirational, her stories bring to life characters so real that readers often write to ask what is happening to them after the book ends.

Lisa is one of a select group of authors to find success in both the Christian and mainstream markets, writing for both Bethany House, a Christian publisher, and NAL Penguin Putnam, in mainstream fiction.  Her bestselling books have become a hallmark of inspirational southern fiction. Her works have been featured by the National Reader’s Club of America, AOL Book Picks, Doubleday Book Club, the Literary Guild, American Profiles and have been chosen for numerous awards.

When not busy dreaming up stories, Lisa spends time on the road as a motivational speaker. Via internet, she shares with readers as far away as India, where her book, Tending Roses, has been used to promote women’s literacy, and as close to home as Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the county library system has used Tending Roses to help volunteer mentors teach adults to read.  Recently, the group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with Bill Ford, Camille Cosby, and six others, as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life.

My Impressions:

Larkspur Cove is my book club’s May selection.  Lisa Wingate is a new author for our group, although I have read one of her novels before (see my review of Never Say Never HERE).   Set in central Texas in a lake area, the novel was a perfect read for the beginning of the summer season.  I liked everything about this novel — setting, plot and characters.  The story of the mysterious little girl was compelling, and the developing relationship between Andrea and Mart was an added bonus.  One of the major themes was the hold our past can have on our lives.  The characters had a lot of baggage to work through, and Wingate handled that realistically.  All in all, I can say I recommend Larkspur Cove.  Now I’ll just have to see what the other members of my group think!

Recommended.

(Thank you to Bethany House for sending me a copy of Larkspur Cove through their book club program.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

By The Book’s May Selection: Larkspur Cove

25 Apr

Larkspur Cove by Lisa Wingate.  Adventure is the last thing on Andrea Henderson’s mind when she moves to Moses Lake. After surviving the worst year of her life, she’s struggling to build a new life for herself and her son as a social worker. Perhaps in doing a job that makes a difference, she can find some sense of purpose and solace in her shattered faith.

For new Moses Lake game warden Mart McClendon, finding a sense of purpose in life isn’t an issue. He took the job to get out of southwest Texas and the constant reminders of a tragedy for which he can’t forgive himself.