Tag Archives: literary fiction

First Line Friday — The Key to Everything

26 Jun

Happy Friday! This weekend I am at the beach — my first foray into travel since everything that has been going on (Southern for pandemic 😉 ). While I am more of a mountains kind of gal, we try to go to the beach at least once a year for a change of scenery, and, I suspect, to cement our love of the mountains. I put The Key to Everything by Valerie Fraser Luesse in my beach bag and will be reading it while listening to crashing waves. I love the cover. It definitely has a beach-y vibe. The 15 year old main character is on a journey — riding his bike from St. Augustine to Key West. I will be staying a little bit north of his starting point, but I will be with him in spirit!

 

April 1947

Though he couldn’t have known, nor ever guessed, Peyton Cabot had just witnessed a bittersweet kiss goodbye. 

 

 

Peyton Cabot’s fifteenth year will be a painful and transformative one. His father, the heroic but reluctant head of a moneyed Savannah family, has come home from WWII a troubled vet, drowning his demons in bourbon and distancing himself from his son. A tragic accident shows Peyton the depths of his parents’ devotion to each other but interrupts his own budding romance with the girl of his dreams, Lisa Wallace.

Struggling to cope with a young life upended, Peyton makes a daring decision: He will retrace a journey his father took at fifteen, riding his bicycle all the way to Key West, Florida. Part declaration of independence, part search for self, Peyton’s journey will bring him more than he ever could have imagined — namely, the key to his unknowable father, a reunion with Lisa, and a calling that will shape the rest of his life.

Through poignant prose and characters so real you’ll be sure you know them, Valerie Fraser Luesse transports you to the storied Atlantic coast for a unique coming-of-age story you won’t soon forget.

Valerie Fraser Luesse is the bestselling author of Missing Isaac and is an award-winning magazine writer best known for her feature stories and essays in Southern Living, where she is currently a senior travel editor. Specializing in stories about unique pockets of Southern culture, Luesse has published major pieces on the Gulf Coast, the Mississippi Delta, Louisiana’s Acadian Prairie, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Her editorial section on Hurricane Katrina recovery in Mississippi and Louisiana won the 2009 Writer of the Year award from the Southeast Tourism Society. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama.

 

For more fabulous first line fun, head over to Hoarding Books!

Happy Release Day — Stories That Bind Us

2 Jun

Happy release day to Susie Finkbeiner! Her newest historical novel, Stories That Bind Us, is available today. I was first introduced to Susie in A Cup of Dust, a novel set during the Dust Bowl. I love that she sets her novels in pivotal times in American history. Her meticulous research and well-drawn characters make the past come alive for the modern reader. Her last book, All Manner of Things, was set during the Vietnam era. Stories That Bind Us is an especially timely read. Set in the 1960s, it features two very different main characters that are suddenly a family. I love that the title emphasizes unity. All the details are below — hope you are as eager to read it as I am

 

Betty Sweet never expected to be a widow at 40. With so much life still in front of her, she tries to figure out what’s next. She couldn’t have imagined what God had in mind. When her estranged sister is committed to a sanitarium, Betty finds herself taking on the care of a 5-year-old nephew she never knew she had.

In 1960s LaFontaine, Michigan, they make an odd pair. Betty with her pink button nose and bouffant hair. Hugo with his light brown skin and large brown eyes. But more powerful than what makes them different is what they share: the heartache of an empty space in their lives. Slowly, they will learn to trust one another as they discover common ground and healing through the magic of storytelling.

Award-winning author Susie Finkbeiner offers fans a novel that invites us to rediscover the power of story to open the doors of our hearts.

Susie Finkbeiner is a story junkie. Always has been and always will be. It seems it’s a congenital condition, one she’s quite fond of.

After decades of reading everything she could get her hands on (except for See the Eel, a book assigned to her while in first grade, a book she declared was unfit for her book-snob eyes), Susie realized that she wanted to write stories of her own. She began with epics about horses and kittens (but never, ever eels).

It takes years to grow a writer and after decades of work, Susie realized (with much gnashing of teeth and tears) that she was a novelist. In order to learn how to write novels, she read eclectically and adventurously (she may never swim with sharks, but the lady will jump into nearly any story). After reading the work of Lisa Samson, Patti Hill, and Bonnie Grove she realized that there was room for a writer like her in Christian fiction.

Her first novels Paint Chips (2013) and My Mother’s Chamomile (2014) have contemporary settings. While she loved those stories and especially the characters, Susie felt the pull toward historical fiction.

When she read Into the Free by Julie Cantrell she knew she wanted to write historical stories with a side of spunk, grit, and vulnerability. Susie is also greatly inspired by the work of Jocelyn Green, Rachel McMillan, and Tracy Groot.

A Cup of Dust: A Novel of the Dust Bowl (2015), Finkbeiner’s bestselling historical set in 1930s Oklahoma, has been compared to the work of John Steinbeck and Harper Lee (which flatters Susie’s socks off). Pearl’s story continues with A Trail of Crumbs: A Novel of the Great Depression (2017) and A Song of Home: A Novel of the Swing Era (2018).

What does she have planned after that? More stories, of course. She’s a junkie. She couldn’t quit if she wanted to.

 

First Line Friday — Stories That Bind Us

29 May

Happy Friday everyone! I am very excited to introduce you to Susie Finkbeiner‘s newest novel, Stories That Bind Us. Susie’s books have captured my imagination with their descriptive settings and relatable characters, and I cannot wait to read this one! It releases next Tuesday, so head over to your favorite bookstore site and pre-order.

 

Here is the first line:

My Norman had never understood why I liked to hang laundry on the line when I had a perfectly good dryer inside. 

 

Betty Sweet never expected to be a widow at 40. With so much life still in front of her, she tries to figure out what’s next. She couldn’t have imagined what God had in mind. When her estranged sister is committed to a sanitarium, Betty finds herself taking on the care of a 5-year-old nephew she never knew she had.

In 1960s LaFontaine, Michigan, they make an odd pair. Betty with her pink button nose and bouffant hair. Hugo with his light brown skin and large brown eyes. But more powerful than what makes them different is what they share: the heartache of an empty space in their lives. Slowly, they will learn to trust one another as they discover common ground and healing through the magic of storytelling.

Award-winning author Susie Finkbeiner offers fans a novel that invites us to rediscover the power of story to open the doors of our hearts.

Susie Finkbeiner is a story junkie. Always has been and always will be. It seems it’s a congenital condition, one she’s quite fond of.

After decades of reading everything she could get her hands on (except for See the Eel, a book assigned to her while in first grade, a book she declared was unfit for her book-snob eyes), Susie realized that she wanted to write stories of her own. She began with epics about horses and kittens (but never, ever eels).

It takes years to grow a writer and after decades of work, Susie realized (with much gnashing of teeth and tears) that she was a novelist. In order to learn how to write novels, she read eclectically and adventurously (she may never swim with sharks, but the lady will jump into nearly any story). After reading the work of Lisa Samson, Patti Hill, and Bonnie Grove she realized that there was room for a writer like her in Christian fiction.

Her first novels Paint Chips (2013) and My Mother’s Chamomile (2014) have contemporary settings. While she loved those stories and especially the characters, Susie felt the pull toward historical fiction.

When she read Into the Free by Julie Cantrell she knew she wanted to write historical stories with a side of spunk, grit, and vulnerability. Susie is also greatly inspired by the work of Jocelyn Green, Rachel McMillan, and Tracy Groot.

A Cup of Dust: A Novel of the Dust Bowl (2015), Finkbeiner’s bestselling historical set in 1930s Oklahoma, has been compared to the work of John Steinbeck and Harper Lee (which flatters Susie’s socks off). Pearl’s story continues with A Trail of Crumbs: A Novel of the Great Depression (2017) and A Song of Home: A Novel of the Swing Era (2018).

What does she have planned after that? More stories, of course. She’s a junkie. She couldn’t quit if she wanted to.

 

For more fabulous first lines, head over to Hoarding Books.

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Opening Lines

26 May

Today’s Top 10 Tuesday challenge was kind of a snap for me since I also participate in First Line Friday hosted by Hoarding Books. I just went through the archives and selected some of the most attention getting opening lines. I hope you find one that grabs you!

For more opening line fun, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

 

Top 10 Opening Lines

Top 10 Tuesday — Kindle Deals

7 Apr

Today’s Top 10 Tuesday prompt is Books I Bought Because . . . . Books come into my house in a variety of ways — shopping bags from local bookstores, Amazon delivery, NetGalley, and book mail from publishers and PR groups. Yes I am at risk of a book landslide, but I still request and buy. Because of this I look for deals as well. That’s where my Kindle comes into play. Ebooks come on sale (or for FREE) for a number of reasons, and I am quick to jump on them. It may be a favorite author’s book that I have missed, or an author I have wanted to try, or it might be a book club selection that is currently on sale. That’s why my Amazon cloud is full too. 😉 Below are the last 10 books that came into my house because of deals on Kindle ebooks. Since I am an eclectic reader they represent a number of genres.

Do you search for book deals?

To find out why other bloggers beg, borrow, and steal buy books, head over to That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

The Last 10 Book Deals for My Kindle

Carry Me Home by Dorothy Adamek

A Dangerous Legacy by Elizabeth Camden

The Esther Paradigm by Sarah Monzon

Irish Encounter by Hope Dougherty

Living Lies by Natalie Walters

Nobody by Creston Makes

A Scarlet Cord by Deborah Raney

A Search for Refuge by Kristi Ann Hunter

The Wind Will Howl by Sibella Giorello

The Words Between Us by Erin Bartels

 

Best of The Decade — 10 Years of Great Books

2 Jan

I started blogging about books 10 years ago — November 2009. That was also when I started keeping track of the books I read and deliberately listing the books that had the greatest impact. (You can find pages for the best books of every year in the blog’s header.) When best of the decade lists began to pop up, I thought that I could do that too, but what a daunting task! I have been fortunate to read so many wonderful books. The list below is, of course, subjective, but these are the books I continue to think about and recommend wholeheartedly. The list includes many different genres, so there is something for everyone. If you have read any of them, I would love to know what you thought. If you haven’t, well, you now have a great TBR list! 😉

 

 

2010

For Time And Eternity by Allison Pitman

All Camilla Deardon knows of the Mormons camping nearby is the songs she hears floating on the breeze. Then she meets one of them—a young man named Nathan Fox. Never did she imagine he would be so handsome, so charming, especially after Mama and Papa’s warnings to stay away. Though she knows she should obey her parents, Camilla can’t refuse her heart. But even Nathan’s promises cannot prepare her for what she will face in Utah.

 

2011

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.

 

2012

The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

Four brides. One Dress.

A tale of faith, redemption, and timeless love.

Charlotte owns a chic Birmingham bridal boutique. Dressing brides for their big day is her gift . . . and her passion. But with her own wedding day approaching, why can’t she find the perfect dress…or feel certain she should marry Tim?

Then Charlotte discovers a vintage dress in a battered trunk at an estate sale. It looks brand-new—shimmering with pearls and satin, hand-stitched and  timeless in its design. But where did it come from? Who wore it? Who welded the lock shut and tucked the dog tags in that little sachet? Who left it in the basement for a ten-year-old girl? And what about the mysterious man in the purple vest who insists the dress had been “redeemed.”

Charlotte’s search for the gown’s history — and its new bride — begins as a distraction from her sputtering love life. But it takes on a life of its own as she comes to know the women who have worn the dress. Emily from 1912. Mary Grace from 1939. Hillary from 1968. Each with her own story of promise, pain, and destiny. And each with something unique to share. For woven within the threads of the beautiful hundred-year-old gown is the truth about Charlotte’s heritage, the power of courage and faith, and the timeless beauty of finding true love.

 

2013

Invisible by Ginny Yttrup

When an overweight woman who’s hidden from romance discovers a handsome doctor is in love with her, will she finally risk her heart?

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, she’s tempted to go back into hiding.

As these women’s lives intertwine, will they dare to come out of hiding?

 

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.
 
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.

With its stunning writing and relentless pace, Annabel Lee will captivate readers from the first page.

 

2017

Stars in The Grass by Ann Marie Stuart

Nine-year-old Abby McAndrews has just experienced her greatest loss, and in its wake, her family is unraveling with guilt, grief, and anger. Her father, Reverend McAndrews, cannot return to the pulpit because he has more questions than answers. Her older brother Matt’s actions speak louder than the words he needs to confess, as he acts out in dangerous ways. Her mother tries to hold her grieving family together, but when Abby’s dad refuses to move on, the family is at a crossroads.
 
Stars in the Grass, set in a small Midwestern town in 1970, is an uplifting novel that explores a family’s relationships and resiliency. Abby’s heartbreaking remembrances are balanced by humor and nostalgia as her family struggles with—and ultimately celebrates — life after loss.

 

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 Bambi that 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.

 

2019

The Plum Blooms in Winter by Linda Thompson

1942. Pilot Dave Delham sees his Japanese bombing mission as an act of heroism. But his naive view turns grim when he’s caught and endures years of imprisonment at the hands of cruel captors. Despairing that he’ll survive, Dave vows if he escapes, he’ll answer God’s calling.

Osaka, Japan, 1948. Miyako Matsuura longs to restore her family’s shattered honor. After watching her little brother die in a horrific American air raid, she’s been reduced to prostitution to survive. When the pilot whose bomb stole her brother’s life returns as a missionary, her thirst for revenge consumes her.

Two damaged people race along a collision course that could bring their souls eternal change. Can Dave and Miyako transform their tragic histories and surrender to compassion and faith?

The Plum Blooms in Winter is the first book in the inspiring Brands From the Burning historical Christian fiction series. If you like pulse-pounding AND heart-warming tales of redemption drawn from life, brimming with deeply drawn characters and taut suspense, then you’ll love Linda Thompson’s powerful novel.

 

What were some of your favorite books from the past decade?

 

 

 

Book Review + A Giveaway!: A Silver Willow by The Shore

7 Nov


On Tour with Prism Book Tours

A Silver Willow by The Shore
By Kelli Stuart
Adult Historical, Contemporary, Time-Slip
Paperback & ebook, 380 Pages
October 15th 2019 by Fine Print Writing Press

How do you face the future if you don’t know your own past?

When an unexpected pregnancy changes her dreams, seventeen-year-old Annie tries to keep it from her mother and her grandmother. But secrets have a way of coming out. In a household of strong women, the arrival of a new life sets off a spiral of truth that reveals a past full of whispers and lies—a past that existed in another world under the heavy hand of Soviet oppression. This history has dictated the circumstances of the present, but hope, redemption, and forgiveness will grow in the rocky places of these generational differences.

A Silver Willow by The Shore is the story of the unshakeable love between mothers and daughters and of the impact that past decisions can have on present day circumstances. This novel weaves together the stories of generations of women, from the gulags of 1930’s Siberia, to the quiet oppression of 1980’s Soviet Moscow, to present day Tennessee. It is an unforgettable narrative of the treachery of secrets, and of the light that unites the heart of a family.

(Affiliate links included.)
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

About The Author

Kelli is a wife, mother, novelist, and the driver of a smoking’ hot minivan. When she isn’t wrangling her five children, she can be found tapping away at the keyboard. Kelli is the award winning author of Like a River From Its Course, her debut novel which won the ACFW Carol Award for Best Historical and was nominated for two Christy Awards. Kelli is also the co-author of Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom with Wendy Speake. You can find more information on her life and writings at http://www.kellistuart.com.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

 

My Impressions:

I loved Kelli Stuart’s novel, Like A River from Its Course, and knew I had to read A Silver Willow by The Shore. Good choice on my part! Wow! What an incredible story from a gifted author. An emotional read, the story takes you into the lives of three women who should have a strong connection through family ties, but find themselves isolated from each other, struggling to find an identity amidst the secrets kept by each generation. A thoughtful and poignant book, I had to force myself to slow down in its reading. It is a book to be savored, but I just could not put it down! From the Soviet gulags, to 1980s Moscow, to modern-day Tennessee you will find yourself immersed in Elizaveta, Nina, and Annie’s lives. Very highly recommended.

The three main characters, Elizaveta, Nina, and Annie, are grandmother, mother, and daughter, yet they are virtual strangers to each other. They have learned not to share the important aspects of their lives because of danger, fear, and hurt. The book is told through the first person viewpoint of Elizaveta and the third person perspectives of Nina and Annie — all in the present tense — allowing for the reader to get a glimpse into what is really true and to feel like part of their stories. The relationships are strained or non-existent, although they share a home. But though they live together day in and day out, they never truly know one another. At first I REALLY didn’t like Elizaveta, and I found Nina to be a weak in her dealings with her mother. Annie was my favorite. But I grew to appreciate each of these women and the trials they endured. Two secondary, yet pivotal, male characters bring hope and comfort into the women’s lives. I also found the historical context of the Soviet Union to be fascinating. Google was my friend while I read. 😉  A Silver Willow by The Shore begs the question — can we really know who we are if we don’t know where we come from? You may come to a different conclusion depending on your own experiences and faith journey, but the novel sure does make you think.

I believe A Silver Willow by The Shore would make an excellent book club choice. I know I would love to discuss this book more.

Very Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Prism Book Tours and the author for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

 

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First Line Friday — A Silver Willow by The Shore

25 Oct

Happy Friday! Today I am featuring a new novel by Kelli Stuart. I loved her novel, Like A River from Its Course, and am looking forward to reading Silver Willow by The Shore in the coming days. Please check out all the details below.

For more First Line Friday fun, check out Hoarding Books.

 

 

How do you face the future if you don’t know your own past? When an unexpected pregnancy changes her dreams, Annie tries to keep it from her mother and her grandmother. But secrets have a way of coming out. In a household of strong women, the arrival of a new life sets off a spiral of truth that reveals a past full of whispers and lies — a past that existed in another world under the heavy hand of Soviet oppression. This history has dictated the circumstances of the present, but hope, redemption, and forgiveness will grow in the rocky places of these generational differences. A Silver Willow by the Shore is the story of the unshakeable love between mothers and daughters and of the impact that past decisions can have on present day circumstances. This novel weaves together the stories of generations of women, from the gulags of 1930’s Siberia, to the quiet oppression of 1980’s Soviet Moscow, to present day Tennessee. It is an unforgettable narrative of the treachery of secrets, and of the light that unites the heart of a family.

Kelli Stuart is a writer and a storyteller at heart. A graduate of Baylor University with a degree in English Professional Writing, and a minor in the Russian language, Kelli has honed her skills in the written word through editing, ghostwriting, blogging, and traveling the world. Kelli has a gift for languages that puts her at ease in other cultures, allowing her to view this creative life from the vantage point of mothers worldwide.

An award-winning novelist, Kelli released two books in 2016, both with Kregel Publications. The first, titled Like a River From Its Course, is a historical fiction novel set in World War II Soviet Ukraine. Like a River From Its Course won the ACFW Carol Award for best historical fiction, and was a finalist for The Christy Award in both the Debut Novel and Historical categories.

Kelli’s second book, co-authored with Wendy Speake, is titled Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom. It is a non-fiction book written to encourage and inspire creative mothers in their God-given gifts.

Kelli is a noted blogger and the writer behind the wildly popular blog Minivans Are Hot. She has traveled extensively, constantly honing her craft at weaving words into tales as she experiences life and the world. Kelli has written for, and represented, such brands as The Huffington Post, 5 Minutes for Mom, Tonic.com, Disney, American Girl, The MOB Society, Extraordinary Mommy, God Size Dreams, Short Fiction Break, and (in)courage. Kelli has also served as editor-in-chief for the St. Louis Bloggers Guild and as a board member for the St. Louis Women in Media.

In 2012, Kelli traveled to Tanzania with Compassion International as part of their blogging team to raise awareness on how the organization is benefiting children worldwide.

Kelli is a noted speaker, sharing her encouraging message to never give up on your dreams and passions with mothers who often feel lost in their mothering tasks. Kelli currently lives in Tampa, Florida with her perpetually patient husband and her five rambunctious children.

 

2019 Christy Award Finalists

19 Sep

Here are the finalists for the 2019 Christy Awards. A top honor in Christian fiction, you can be sure of an excellent read when choosing one of these books. Congrats to all the talented authors!

 

Contemporary Romance

Brunch at Bittersweet Cafe by Carla Laureano

Falling for You by Becky Wade

Wait for Me by Susan May Warren

 

First Novel

The Baggage Handler by David Rawlings

Engraved on The Heart by Tara Johnson

The Plum Blooms in Winter by Linda Thompson

 

General Fiction

No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert

Send Down The Rain by Charles Martin

We Hope for Better Things by Erin Bartels

 

 

Historical

A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano

Of Fire And Lions by Mesu Andrews

The Seamstress by Allison Pitman

Shelter of The Most High by Connilyn Cossette

 

Historical Romance

A Defense of Honor by Kristi Ann Hunter

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan

With This Pledge by Tamera Alexander

 

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

Called to Protect by Lynette Eason

Every Wicked Man by Steven James

Mind Games by Nancy Mehl

 

 

Short Form

A Shot at Love by Sarah Loudin Thomas

Catching Christmas by Terri Blackstock

Falling for Grace by Janet Ferguson

Legacy of Love by Kristi Ann Hunter

 

Visionary

Mark of The Raven by Morgan L. Busse

Shivering World by Kathy Tyers

The Story Peddler by Lindsay A. Franklin

The Wounded Shadow by Patrick W. Carr

 

Young Adult

The Crescent Stone by Matt Mikalatos

Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

The Warrior Maiden by Melanie Dickerson

 

 

Top 10 Tuesday — TBR Shame

10 Sep

This week, Top 10 Tuesday prompted bloggers to disclose the books on their TBR lists that they are avoiding. I am not so much avoiding the books on my list as I am forgetting they are there! I have lots of bookshelves in my house, but alas not enough to adequately provide proper storage. That leads to one shelf that has books double-parked. The poor books that are hidden may never see the light of day if I don’t read the ones in front or figure out better storage. So here’s the list of ten (sadly, there are many more) of those very deserving books that I am treating so shabbily. 😉

What about you? Which books are you avoiding/forgetting? For more blogging confessions, head to That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

10 Forgotten Books on My TBR Shelf

Ain’t No River by Sharon Ewell Foster

Penned in the same poetic voice introduced in her bestselling debut novel, Passing by Samaria, Sharon Ewell Foster’s Ain’t No River is a contemporary tale where the angst of modern life is seasoned with wisdom, humor, and a dash of African-American history. Meemaw has been a doting mother, grandmother, and church mother to her community. Suddenly she’s become a slimmed-down, silver-haired, seventy-something fox with a new attitude. And all fingers are pointing at a much younger ex-pro football player, GoGo Walker. When D.C. lawyer Garvin Daniels — Meemaw’s granddaughter — gets wind of what’s happening, she heads back to her hometown determined to help her Meemaw get it together before she goes too far.

Dry As Rain by Gina Holmes

From the bestselling author of Crossing Oceans comes a powerfully moving story that tests the limits of love’s forgiveness. Like many marriages, Eric and Kyra Yoshida’s has fallen apart slowly, one lost dream and misunderstanding at a time, until the ultimate betrayal finally pushes them beyond reconciliation. Just when it looks like forgive and forget is no longer an option, a car accident gives Eric the second chance of a lifetime. A concussion causes his wife to forget details of her life, including the chasm between them. No one knows when—or if—Kyra’s memory will return, but Eric seizes the opportunity to win back the woman he’s never stopped loving.

In Every Flower by Patti Hill 

Sometimes you get a second chance . . .

Remarriage isn’t the happily-ever-after Mibby McManus hoped for. Between conflicting work schedules, a rebellious teenage son, a mother-in-law who can’t get enough of the Food Channel, and a cat-in-law bent on destruction, Mibby and her new husband, Larry, never seem to find enough time for each other.

Then there’s the part Mibby really didn’t expect: the constant intrusion of memories.

Just when she thinks she’s gotten back on track, a phone call from California unsettles everything. It’s time for Mibby to face her past or risk losing her future.

It Had to Be You by Susan May Warren

Eden Christiansen never imagined her role as her younger brother Owen’s cheerleader would keep her on the sidelines of her own life. Sure, it feels good to be needed, but looking after the reckless NHL rookie leaves little time for Eden to focus on her own career. She dreamed of making a name for herself as a reporter, but is stuck writing obits―and starting to fear she doesn’t have the chops to land a major story. If only someone would step up to mentor Owen . . . but she knows better than to expect help from team veteran and bad-boy enforcer Jace Jacobsen.

Jace has built his career on the infamous reputation of his aggressive behavior―on and off the ice. Now at a crossroads about his future in hockey, that reputation has him trapped. And the guilt-trip he’s getting from Eden Christiansen isn’t making things any easier. But when Owen’s carelessness leads to a career-threatening injury and Eden stumbles upon a story that could be her big break, she and Jace are thrown together . . . and begin to wonder if they belong on the same team after all.

Long Journey Home by Sharlene MacLaren

After divorcing her abusive husband, single mother Callie May is still nursing the scars of a painful past. The last thing she needs in her life is another man, so she’s less than thrilled when a handsome but brooding stranger moves into the apartment across the hall. Dan Mattson may be attractive, but his circumstances certainly aren’t: a former church pastor, he abandoned his flock in Michigan and fled to the Chicago suburbs after the death of his beloved wife and baby daughter in a tragic automobile accident. Embittered by his loss, Dan turns his back on God.

Callie mistrusts men, and the angry Dan often gives her good reason to. Both are weighed down by the scars and disappointment in their pasts. When Callie’s ex–husband shows up to wreak more havoc in her life, Dan finds himself coming to her defense — and facing his own demons in the process. Will Dan and Callie be able to get past their baggage and give love another chance? Can they come to see life’s apparent tragedies as part of God’s perfect plan? Can the power of God change their hearts and mend their hurts?

Magnolia Moonlight by Mary Ellis

What Sinister Secrets Lurk in the Shadows of Yesterday?

Natchez, Mississippi — Private Investigator Nate Price and his new wife, Isabelle, need a vacation. Their coworkers generously team up to surprise them with a belated honeymoon…but the happy trip turns sour when Izzy spies her ex-husband, who appears to have taken up his gambling addiction once again.

While the boss is away, Price Investigations remains in the hands of Beth Kirby, a former police officer, and Michael Preston, a former forensic accountant. Hardly a dream team, as Beth resents working with a man who has no experience in his new job.

But Beth and Michael must move past their differences if they hope to uncover the truth behind a beloved Southern preacher’s demise. The preacher’s widow suspects foul play, despite the evidence indicating suicide.

With tension escalating between these investigators and local law enforcement — and new threats arising on all sides — how will Beth, Michael, and Nate hold on to faith and bring the truth to light?

On Hummingbird Wings by Lauraine Snelling

“But Mother is always dying,” is Gillian Ormsby’s sarcastic response when her younger, favored sister tells her that she has to go take care of their hypochondriac mother. Much against her will, since she and her mother never have gotten along, Gillian arrives in California to find the garden and yard dead, the blinds all drawn, and her mother indeed in bed–waiting to die. But when Gillian talks with the doctor, he assures her there’s no medical reason behind her mother’s state.

Now on a mission to restore her mother to health, Gillian insists Mother get out of bed, eat, exercise and hopefully, choose to live. She also sets about reviving the garden to its former glory, enlisting the help of Adam, a handsome man who owns a family gardening business with his father. Gillian is delighted when a pair of hummingbirds appear, and her friendship with Adam grows.

Soon, Mother’s health improves, and one day she announces she and her friend Enzio are going on a cruise. Before Gillian has time to turn around, her mother is gone and she is left high and dry again, and wondering, what is she going to do with the rest of her own life?

Quaker Summer by Lisa Samson

Sometimes you have to go a little bit crazy to discover the life you were meant to live.

Heather Curridge is coming unhinged. And people are starting to notice. What’s wrong with a woman who has everything–a mansion on a lake, a loving son, a heart-surgeon husband — yet still feels miserable inside?

When Heather spends the summer with two ancient Quaker sisters and a crusty nun running a downtown homeless shelter, she finds herself at a crossroads. Life turns upside down for Heather in a Quaker Summer.

Visible Threat by Janice Cantore

Officer Brinna Caruso wants perfection — perfect justice and a perfect world. She wants to save and protect all the innocents in the world, no matter the cost.

Orphaned and struggling to get by, Ivana and her sister left Bulgaria for America with dreams of a better life. But since they arrived in Long Beach, everything they were promised has turned out to be a lie.

After a dead girl is found in the river with a mysterious tattoo on her hip, homicide detective Jack O’Reilly asks for Brinna’s help. Unaware of the depths of evil that will be uncovered, Brinna finds herself flung into a dangerous frontier — an organized human trafficking ring.

Watch over Me by Christa Parrish

Deputy Benjamin Patil is the one to find the infant girl — hours old, abandoned in a field. When the mother can’t be located, Ben and his wife, Abbi, seem like the perfect couple to serve as foster parents. But the baby’s arrival opens old wounds for Abbi and shines a harsh light on how much Ben has changed since a devastating tour in Afghanistan. Their marriage teeters on the brink and now they must choose to either reclaim what they once had or lose each other forever.

 

 

 

Which book would you move to the front of the shelf?