Tag Archives: Patti Hill

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?

Top 10 Tuesday — How Could I Forget?!

23 Jan

Today’s Top 10 Tuesday theme from That Artsy Reader Girl is books I liked, but can’t remember what they are about. When I saw this title I smugly thought, I can remember all the books I’ve read! Yeah, right! I began by looking at my book club’s list of past selections. Over the past 15 years we have read some excellent books, all I thought still held a special place in my memory. That would be a no. Given a bit of prompting, I remember the gist. But character names, plot essentials? Well, I’ll credit my lapse to the hundreds of books I have read in between now and then. That’s my story and I am sticking with it!

On a side note, back in the day we read a lot of women’s and Southern fiction. A lot of our time now is spent with high-octane suspense. Not sure what that says about my book club. Hmm.

For other bloggers’ forgettable books, click HERE.

 

Books I Forgot I Liked! 😉

 

Coffee Rings by Yvonne Lehman

They met in college, three young women with unstoppable dreams-until one tragic event pulled them in separate directions. Nineteen years later, they each find themselves living back in Laurel Ridge, North Carolina,and covering their deeply held pain with genteel social behavior. Annette is widowed and running a coffee shop. Ruby is married to a minister and raising three children. Lara is divorced and managing a women’s boutique. When their long-held secrets surface, how will they hold the fragile pieces of their lives together? Are the stains of the past too deeply imbedded for true forgiveness to occur?

Fallen Angels by Patricia Hickman

The award-winning author of Sandpebbles presents the first installment in the Millwood Hollow series about an unlikely hero and a trio of abandoned siblings struggling for survival in the South during the Great Depression.

Grace at Bender Springs by Vinita Hampton Wright

This critically-acclaimed literary novel set in the small, worn-out town of Bender Springs, Kansas boasts an intricately detailed plot with a variety of character types that give every reader someone with which to identify.

 

 

Hot Flashes And Cold Cream by DiAnn Hunt

An eccentric best friend, a leaky Chihuahua, a teenager in trouble, and a workaholic husband with a gorgeous new colleague. Those are the ingredients for Diann Hunt’s wise and funny story about growing . . . well, older . . . with grace.

Jamaican Me Crazy by Debbie DiGiovanni

When putting together another “perfect” Christmas is just too much, the women of Lakeside Baptist Church rebel (as much as Baptists can) and buy six tickets to Jamaica. Trading their to-dos and grocery lists for sunscreen and flip-flops, the ladies think they’re going to have the time of their lives. Only their sunny holiday turns out to be more than they bargained for and they get cold reality, sans sugarplums, for Christmas. A great escape for those snowy, gray December days, Jamaican Me Crazy is just what the doctor ordered. Christian women who dig friendship fiction like The Potluck Club will love this exciting tale of a Caribbean Christmas gone crazy.

Like a Watered Garden by Patti Hill

Mibby Garrett walks through grief as if feeling her way through an unfamiliar room on a moonless night. She’s been unable to get her life back on track after losing her husband in a bicycle accident. Owner and operator of Perennially Yours Garden Design and mother to twelve-year-old Ky, Mibby struggles to keep her “boat tied to the dock” as she avoids reminders of her husband and their former life. A new garden design project, the puzzling case of dying rosebushes, and a mysterious young stranger bring Mibby out of her fog. Has God answered her prayers in the most unexpected way?

Love The Sinner by Lynn Bulock

When her philandering, con-artist husband is murdered, full-figured Gracie Lee Harris, with the help of God and some newfound friends, wades through a wealth of suspects — all women he scorned and cheated — to catch a killer.

 

Mercy Me by Margaret Graham

Down-to-earth, feisty southern widow Esmeralda counsels her best friend and the women’s Sunday School class while rallying the petty Apostolic Bible Church women to assist an impoverished mother with AIDS.

Passing by Samaria by Sharon Ewell Foster

The date is 1919 — a time of unrest and drastic change. For Alena, though, life in Mississippi is perfect, and she prays she will never leave her home. That prayer is shattered when she makes a horrible discovery – -a discovery that leads her to challenge all she believes. Against the backdrop of the Great Migration, from a quiet, country setting, Alena is catapulted to Chicago, the “city of broad shoulders.” There, amidst riots, misplaced love, and post-war confusion, the outspoken young woman struggles to find herself and the one true thing that will save her. 

The Town That Came A-Courtin’ by Rhonda Rich

Leaving behind the disappointments and romantic upheaval that marked her life in her hometown of Dexter, Georgia, Abby Houston finds success as a best-selling author and warm-hearted acceptance from the residents of Bliss, Mississippi.

 

 

Have you read any of these books?

If not, have I peaked your interest?

This Book Is Making Me Hungry — The Top 10 Tuesday Edition!

17 Oct

I’m excited for this Top Ten Tuesday‘s theme. The folks at The Broke And The Bookish are challenging bloggers to post about food! All things yummy are allowed. I occasionally post about books that make me salivate with their references to food. Not as consistently as I would like, I post recipes that I find would be great accompaniments to the offending books. So here in one place, I give you the books (and the recipes) that made me hungry for more than the next chapter. 😉 You’ll find a little bit of everything — perfect for book club potlucks!

Top Books That Made Me Hungry!

 

 

Beneath Copper Falls by Colleen Coble (Finnish Pancakes, Finnish Cardamom Rolls, and Squeaky Cheese)

Demise in Denim by Duffey Brown (Sprinkle Donuts and Gourmet Mac and Cheese)

Hope Harbor by Irene Hannon (Cranberry Nut Cake)

 

Miracle at The Higher Grounds Cafe by Max Lucado (Chocolate-Raspberry Layer Cake)

One More Last Chance by Cathleen Armstrong (Green Chili Stew)

Recipe for Murder by Lisa Harris (Lemon Crumb Cake)

 

Sea Rose Lane by Irene Hannon (Fudge Cake)

Seeing Things by Patti Hill (Shrimp and Pork Shu Mai Dumplings)

Thin Ice by Irene Hannon (Autumn Squash Soup)

 

What books have made you hungry?

Top 10 Tuesday: Hidden Gems in Women’s Fiction

29 Aug

This week The Broke And The Bookish have challenged bloggers to come up with hidden gems in the genre of their choice. I’ve posted so much lately about mystery/suspense, that I though it was time to choose another genre. 😉 I’m not sure that the books on my list can really be categorized as hidden, but they are books that have either been out for a while and may not be on the top of most TBR piles or have not gotten the recognition they really deserve. All on my list are books that I have continued to think about long after I read them. Check them out. You will love them!

For other bloggers participating today, click HERE.

Top 10 Hidden Gems in Women’s Fiction

 

The Church Ladies by Lisa Samson

Competition for church members in Mount Oak has reached a furious peak. When tragedy strikes one of their hometown sons, the church women are drawn together through compassion. The Church Ladies is a contemporary tale illustrating how women can have a major impact on the church. Through friendships that reach beneath surface level — and trials more severe than simple — they unite with common purpose: to pray, share, and comfort. Slowly, the community of believers learns that the church grows when it is rooted in love. Characters you’ll laugh and cry with, in situations every woman will instantly relate to, light up this page-turner about a miracle that could happen anywhere.

Five Miles South of Peculiar by Angela Hunt

Darlene Caldwell has spent a lifetime tending Sycamores, an estate located five miles south of a small town called Peculiar. She raised a family in the spacious home that was her grandfather’s legacy, and she enjoys being a pillar of the community. Sycamores is the kingdom where she reigns as queen . . . until her limelight-stealing twin sister unexpectedly returns.

Carlene Caldwell, veteran of the Broadway stage, is devastated when she realizes that an unsuccessful throat surgery has spelled the end of her musical career. Searching for a new purpose in life, she retreats to Sycamores, her childhood home. She may not be able to sing, but she hopes to use her knowledge and experience to fashion a new life in Peculiar, the little town she left behind.

Haunted by a tragic romance, Magnolia Caldwell is the youngest of the Caldwell girls. Nolie has never wanted to live anywhere but Sycamores. She spends her days caring for her dogs and the magnificent gardens she’s created on the estate, but when she meets a man haunted by his own tragedy, she must find the courage to either deny her heart or cut the apron strings that tie her to a dear and familiar place.

Can these sisters discover who they are meant to be when life takes an unforeseen detour? In a season of destiny, three unique women reunite and take unexpected journeys of the heart.

Invisible by Ginny Yttrup

Ellyn DeMoss — chef, café owner, and lover of butter — is hiding behind her extra weight. But what is she hiding? While Ellyn 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 Jackson — 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. What’s she hiding from? Is it God?

Twila Boaz 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. But will she succeed?

As these women’s lives intertwine, their eyes open to the glory within each of them as they begin to recognize themselves as being created in God’s image.

The Pirate Queen by Patricia Hickman 

The envy of all her friends, wife and mother Saphora Warren is the model of southern gentility and accomplishment. She lives in a beautiful Lake Norman home, and has raised three capable adult children. Her husband is a successful plastic surgeon–and a philanderer. It is for that reason that, after hosting a garden party for Southern Living magazine, Saphora packs her bags to escape the trappings of the picturesque-but-vacant life. 

Saphora’s departure is interrupted by her husband Bender’s early arrival home, and his words that change her life forever: I’m dying.
 
Against her desires, Saphora agrees to take care of Bender as he fights his illness. They relocate, at his insistance, to their coastal home in Oriental—the same house she had chosen for her private getaway. When her idyllic retreat is overrun by her grown children, grandchildren, townspeople, relatives, and a precocious neighbor child, Saphora’s escape to paradise is anything but the life she had imagined. As she gropes for evidence of God’s presence amid the turmoil, can she discover that the richest treasures come in surprising packages?

The Road to Home by Vanessa Del Fabbro 

South African journalist Monica Brunetti had it all — promising career, loving family, marriage-minded boyfriend. Then a life-changing encounter landed her in a hospital bed next to gregarious Ella Nkhoma, whose wit and caring challenged Monica’s worldview. Their remarkable friendship would lead Monica far from the gated white suburbs, and toward a parting that left both women transformed — and Monica the mother of two sons.

 

 

Secrets over Sweet Tea by Denise Hildreth Jones

Secrets can be funny things. We think they keep us safe, but more often than not, they spill out when we least expect and make a mess out of everything. It’s a truth Scarlett Jo Newberry knows all too well―a truth Grace Shepherd and Zach Craig are about to learn the hard way. As the lives of this boisterous pastor’s wife, polished news anchor, and beleaguered divorce attorney intersect in the tree-lined streets of Franklin, Tennessee, scandal threatens to topple their carefully constructed worlds. Grasping at survival, they embark on a journey of friendship and courage, desperate to find a way back to laughter, love, and life.

Seeing Things by Patti Hill 

Birdie Wainwright, 72, isn’t concerned about seeing things that others can’t. For a woman who still climbs mountains with her dog (Miss Bee Haven) and likes to tango, the impractical visions brought on by macular degeneration are just another gift from God, adding more adventure to life. But when a tumble down the stairs breaks her ankle and leads back to her son’s home in Denver where she must convalesce, Birdie’s imagination really takes flight. Following a conversation with her grandson about The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, she begins to see and speak with the unkempt literary character himself on a regular basis. As the line between reality and whimsy turns brittle, faith is tested among friends and loved ones, and hope is reborn.

Velma Still Cooks in Leeway by Vinita Hampton Wright

As the town’s chief cook and part-time janitor for Jerusalem Baptist church, Velma Brendle has never done anything more outstanding than putting on a good meal at Velma’s Place, the one restaurant in Leeway, Kansas, but she takes good care of her customers, neighbors, and friends. However, in the midst of these two jobs, Velma’s husband stops talking, Cousin Albert comes to live with her, and she finds herself dealing with the town’s problems. As memories of past troubles plague her, she grows weary from even the tasks she loves the most. Old Sunday School lessons take on new meanings, and new problems illuminate trials Velma thought were long over. In sudden leaps of faith and moments of tragedy, Velma and all those she loves journey toward facing their sins and finding forgiveness.

What The Bayou Saw by Patti Lacy

The past can’t stay buried forever.

Rising author Patti Lacy’s second novel exposes the life of Sally, set amid the shadows of prejudice in Louisiana. Since leaving her home in the South, Sally Stevens has held the secrets of her past at bay, smothering them in a sunny disposition and sugar-coated lies. No one, not even her husband, has heard the truth about her childhood. But when one of her students is violently raped, Sally’s memories quickly bubble to the surface unbidden, like a dead body in a bayou. As Sally’s story comes to light, the lies she’s told begin to catch up with her. And as her web of deceit unravels, she resolves to face the truth at last, whatever the consequences.

Why The Sky Is Blue by Susan Meissner

What options does a Christian woman have after she’s brutally assaulted by a stranger . . . and becomes pregnant? That’s the heartrending situation Claire Holland faces. Happily married and the mother of two when she is attacked, Claire begins an incredible journey on the painful pathway to trusting God “in all things.”

When Claire’s husband, Dan, confesses he can’t be a father to the expected child, Claire’s decision to put the baby up for adoption creates a sense of tremendous loss for Claire. Later, unexpected circumstances turn this seeming loss into victory.

This wonderful first novel isn’t a love story . . . but a life story, presenting the twin themes trusting God in tragic circumstances and reaping the rewards that eventually come with sacrificial loving.

What book do you consider a hidden gem?

Top 10 Tuesday — Best of 2016

27 Dec

2016 was a whirlwind of activity for my family. Several weddings, a couple of bucket list trips, and relocations led to a very busy year. Amid it all I did manage to read some great books — some new releases and some new to me. So, I am supposed to narrow my list to just 10. Hmm . . . can’t do it. 😉 So I have come up with two lists — Contemporary Fiction and Historical Fiction. No matter your preference of genre, there is something for you on these lists. To see what other bloggers consider their best of the best, please visit The Broke And The Bookish.

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Top Contemporary Fiction of 2016

 

Of Stillness and Storm by Michele Phoenix

Sea Rose Lane by Irene Hannon

Seeing Things by Patti Hill

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Since You’ve Been Gone by Christa Allan

Sister Dear by Laura McNeill

Song of Silence by Cynthia Ruchti

Sycamore Row by John Grisham

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Water From My Heart by Charles Martin

When Death Draws Near by Carrie Stuart Parks

The Witnesses by Robert Whitlow

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Top Historical Fiction of 2016

 

Anchor in The Storm by Sarah Sundin

AD 30 by Ted Dekker

A Day And A Life by Penelope Wilcock

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Forest Child by Heather Day Gilbert

The Inheritance by Michael Phillips

The Lady And The Lionheart by Joanne Bischof

Like A River From Its Course by Kelli Stuart

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The Memoir of Johnny Devine by Camille Eide

Though Waters Roar by Lynn Austin

Within The Veil by Brandy Valance

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Best of The Best of 2106

There were two books that I gave Very Highly Recommended ratings to in 2016. Both were from author Mike Nappa. These are great books I would recommend to everyone!

unknown2Annabel Lee

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.

41jklpz8chl-_sx322_bo1204203200_The Raven 

As part of his regular street performance, a deception specialist who goes by the name The Raven picks his audience’s pockets while they watch. It’s harmless fun — until he decides to keep the spare wallet a city councilman doesn’t seem to miss, hoping for a few extra bucks. When he finds not money but compromising photos of the councilman and his “personal assistants”, The Raven hatches a plan to blackmail the man. However, he quickly finds himself in over his head with the Ukrainian Mafia and mired in a life-threatening plot code-named, “Nevermore”.

Private investigators Trudi Coffey and Samuel Hill must scramble to sort out the clues — and their complicated feelings for each other — to rescue The Raven and save hundreds of lives from a wildcard bent on revenge.

 

This Book Is Making Me Hungry! + Review — Seeing Things

8 Apr

41r1XzO5CML._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_Birdie Wainwright see things that aren’t there – purple flowers growing out of floors and alpine slopes where her stairs ought to be.It’s just her macular degeration acting up. Nothing is going to stop this tango-loving grandmother! When she breaks her ankle side-stepping a “boulder”, Birdie’s visions take on form and voice as Huckleberry Finn. Birdie and Huck explore the complexities of life, and Birdie discovers more than she imagined possible about love family, reconciliation – and hearing from God in unexpected, albeit utterly delightful, ways.

 

 

 

71R-IYF0fxL._UX250_Patti Hill (in her own words) —

It might be more exciting to tell you what I’m not. I’m not a pirate. Or an astronaut. Or an opthamologist, which would be amazing.

The next best thing – honest! – is being a storyteller.​

Although you and I don’t know each other, when you read my stories, we’ll travel together and meet amazing characters you’ll be thinking about long after the story ends. I love that.

When not writing, my favorites things are reading, hiking, photography, friends, and good food. Boring, right? It gets worse. I’m happily married to Hunky Hubby, the model for all things wonderful about men. I’m the mom to two grown sons and the mother-in-law to a sweet gift from God. And I’m owned by the wonder dog, Tillie. Life is good in Colorado. I hope it’s good where you are, too.

I really, really do.

I’m working hard to release novel #7 by April 2016, The San Clemente Bait Shop and Telephony. My main character talks to the past on an antique telephone and discovers a clue to her missing brother. She also finds love, eventually.

My Impressions:

I have had Seeing Things on my Kindle for a while now. When I finally had a break between review books, I dove into this sometimes quirky, all the time touching story of family. Patti Hill has a different way of seeing things from other authors, and for that I am thankful. This contemporary novel explores the way families interact — with hurt feelings and rejection and love and forgiveness. Birdie had a lot to teach, but also a lot to learn, and so did I. If you like contemporary family drama, make sure you check this one out. It is also FREE for Kindle Unlimited!

Characterization is key in Seeing Things. Birdie Wainright is a great character. She is a very active and vibrant senior citizen who lives with her age-related macular degeneration (AMD) with graciousness and style. When a fall puts her in the middle of her son’s semi-dysfunctional family, she is relegated to the guest bedroom. But in typical Birdie-style she puts both feet (one good/one injured) into the middle of the mix. Other characters — Andy her distracted son, Suzanne her sometimes passive/sometimes aggressive and always stressed daughter-in-law and Fletcher her angst-ridden teenage grandson — are all ripe for intervention with varying degrees of success. And you will love the supporting and supportive cast of housekeeper Lupe and The Bats, other women living with low-vision realities. And did I mention the imaginary character of Huck Finn? He plays an important role in the ultimate healing of the family.

Even though I had a bout with (mercifully temporary and partial) blindness early on in my journey with Multiple Sclerosis, I never had to deal with a world in which glimpses of clear vision are marred by a gray fog. Birdie’s AMD was an eye-opener for me! (Please excuse that really bad pun.) But what Birdie couldn’t see, she trusted by faith in God. Her prayers for her family, or as she put it, lowering them through the roof to reach Jesus, are lovely and loving. One particular prayer for Suzanne shows the real-life struggle to pray for those who are our enemies. It is also laugh out loud hilarious!

Fletcher introduces Birdie to the wonders of Asian food with heartburn and hallucination-inducing Shu Mai with Spicy Mango Sauce. Oh, my mouth was watering. So I have included a recipe for the dim sum favorite at the end of this post.

Seeing Things has been out for a while (2009), but still a great read from Patti Hill. I rank this one highly recommended and a good bet for book club discussions!

Highly Recommended!

Audience: adults.

Great for book clubs.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(I purchased this book for my Kindle. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

BIKE_Shrimp-and-Pork-Dumplings_s4x3.jpg.rend.sni12col.landscapeShrimp and Pork Shu Mai Dumplings (From Food Network)

Ingredients

Pork and Shrimp Filling:
2 pounds large peeled and deveined shrimp
1 pound ground pork
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons peeled and grated fresh ginger
5 cloves garlic, smashed
4 green onions, chopped
4 egg whites
Juice of 1 lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
One 4-ounce can water chestnuts, minced

Wrappers:
One 10-ounce package round wonton wrappers
Napa cabbage leaves, for lining the steamer
Canola oil

Directions

Wrappers:
For the filling: In the bowl of a food processor, add the shrimp, ground pork, sesame oil, soy sauce, cornstarch, ginger, garlic, green onions, egg whites, lemon juice and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pulse the ingredients until smooth, 3 to 5 times. It should be somewhat chunky, not totally pureed. Put the filling into a bowl and fold in the water chestnuts.

To determine if the filling is seasoned well, make a small patty, about 2 tablespoons. Place a small saute pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon canola oil. Once heated, add the tester patty and cook on both sides until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and place onto a paper-towel-lined plate and taste. Adjust seasoning to the remaining filling if needed.

Line each tray of your bamboo steamer with cabbage leaves and cover with the lid. Bring 1 to 2 inches of water to a boil in a large, wide pan. Set the bamboo steamer over the pot. Continue to add water as needed.

Place a wonton wrapper on a clean surface and add about 2 teaspoons of the filling in the center of the wrapper. Brush the edges of the wrapper with water. Fold and pleat as you gather the wrapping around the filling, leaving the top of the filling uncovered. Gently tap the shu mai on your work surface, flattening the bottom and allowing it to stand upright and make a basket shape.

Put the shu mai in the cabbage-lined steamers and cover with the lid. Steam the dumplings until cooked through, 5 to 10 minutes.

1010129To achieve the full effect of these Shu Mai, serve with Spicy Mango Sauce (from Allrecipes).

Ingredients:

3/4 cup finely minced mango
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
juice from one lime
1/2 small Thai chile pepper, minced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon hot chile paste (such as sambal oelek)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

Stir mango, rice vinegar, lime juice, Thai chile pepper, garlic, and hot chile paste in a bowl until well combined. Cover and let rest 30 minutes. Stir in cilantro.