Tag Archives: Rachel Hauck

Top Ten Tuesday — Favorites from The Early Years

12 Sep

I have been blogging for almost 8 years now. And while hopefully I have improved (I cringe at some of my early reviews), one thing remains the same. I have read and am continuing to read great Christian fiction. The folks at The Broke And The Bookish are challenging bloggers to come up with lists of favorites from the early years of our blogs. What a great theme! I still think about all the books on my list. They really made an impact. If you haven’t read them, I encourage you to take a closer look. They really are special.

Nine Favorites from The Early Years of By The Book

 

 

Almost Heaven by Chris Fabry

Billy Allman is a hillbilly genius. People in Dogwood, West Virginia, say he was born with a second helping of brains and a gift for playing the mandolin but was cut short on social skills. Though he’d gladly give you the shirt off his back, they were right. Billy longs to use his life as an ode to God, a lyrical, beautiful bluegrass song played with a finely tuned heart. So with spare parts from a lifetime of collecting, he builds a radio station in his own home. People in town laugh. But Billy carries a brutal secret that keeps him from significance and purpose. Things always seem to go wrong for him.

However small his life seems, from a different perspective Billy’s song reaches far beyond the hills and hollers he calls home. Malachi is an angel sent to observe Billy. Though it is not his dream assignment, Malachi follows the man and begins to see the bigger picture of how each painful step Billy takes is a note added to a beautiful symphony that will forever change the lives of those who hear it.

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.

Dancing on Glass by Pamela Binnings Ewen

In the steamy city of New Orleans in 1974, Amalise Catoir sees Phillip Sharp as a charming, magnetic artist, unlike any man she has known. A young lawyer herself, raised in a small town and on the brink of a career with a large firm, she is strong and successful, yet sometimes too trusting and whimsical. Ama’s rash decision to marry Phillip proves to be a mistake as he becomes overly possessive, drawing his wife away from family, friends, and her faith. His insidious, dangerous behavior becomes her dark, inescapable secret.

For Time And Eternity by Allison Pittman

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.

 

The Miracle of Mercy Land by River Jordan

Mercy Land has made some unexpected choices for a young woman in the 1930s. The sheltered daughter of a traveling preacher, she chooses to leave her rural community to move to nearby Bay City on the warm, gulf-waters of southern Alabama. There she finds a job at the local paper and spends seven years making herself indispensible to old Doc Philips, the publisher and editor. Then she gets a frantic call at dawn—it’s the biggest news story of her life, and she can’t print a word of it.
           
Doc has come into possession of a curious book that maps the lives of everyone in Bay City—decisions they’ve made in the past, and how those choices affect the future. Mercy and Doc are consumed by the mystery locked between the pages — Doc because he hopes to right a very old wrong, and Mercy because she wants to fulfill the book’s strange purpose. But when a mystery from Mercy’s past arrives by train, she begins to understand that she will have to make choices that will deeply affect everyone she loves — forever.

The Rhythm of Secrets by Patti Lacy

Sheila Franklin has lived three separate lives. Now a conservative pastor’s wife in Chicago, she is skilled at hiding secrets–a talent birthed during childhood romps through the music-filled streets of New Orleans. But when the son she bore at the age of eighteen comes back looking for answers and desperate for help, her greatest secret–and greatest regret — is revealed.

Eager to right past wrongs, Sheila’s heart floods with memories of lyrical jazz music and a worn-out Bible. But when her husband learns of her shady history, Sheila is suddenly faced with an impossible decision: embrace the dream–and son–she abandoned against her will or give in to the demands of her safe but stifled life. As she struggles to reclaim both her son and her identity, Sheila soon realizes that God’s grace spans both seas and secrets and that He is all she really needs.

With dynamic writing that makes the reader feel the heartache of a teenage mother, struggle with the disillusionment of an abandoned boy, and revel in the idea of grace despite flaws, rising star Patti Lacy takes her fans on a journey they won’t want to end — and won’t soon forget.

A Thousand Sleepless Nights by Michael King

In the 1970s, escaping a home where he knew nothing but violence and hate, Jim Harding found work, and love, on the largest horse ranch in Virginia. The object of his affections, Nena St. Claire, is the daughter of the owner, a man who ruled his ranch with an iron fist and would do whatever it took to keep Nena and Jim apart.
 
Against the wishes of her family, Nena marries Jim, and after her father dies, she sacrifices everything — including her family — to keep the ranch alive. Now their three grown children have lives of their own and want nothing to do with Nena. She was never the mother they needed.
 
When cancer strikes and Nena is given a devastating diagnosis, can Jim reconcile the family before it is too late?

The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

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.

Words by Ginny Yttrup

“I collect words. I keep them in a box in my mind. I’d like to keep them in a real box, something pretty, maybe a shoe box covered with flowered wrapping paper. Whenever I wanted, I’d open the box and pick up the papers, reading and feeling the words all at once. Then I could hide the box. But the words are safer in my mind. There, he can’t take them.”

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

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

Brought together by Divine design, Kaylee and Sierra will discover together the healing mercy of the Word — Jesus Christ.

 

Advertisements

Book Review: The Writing Desk

11 Aug

Tenley Roth’s first book was a runaway bestseller. Now that her second book is due, she’s locked in fear. Can she repeat her earlier success or is she a fraud who has run out of inspiration?

With pressure mounting from her publisher, Tenley is weighted with writer’s block. But when her estranged mother calls asking Tenley to help her through chemotherapy, she packs up for Florida where she meets handsome furniture designer Jonas Sullivan and discovers the story her heart’s been missing.

A century earlier, another woman wrote at the same desk with hopes and fears of her own. Born during the Gilded Age, Birdie Shehorn is the daughter of the old money Knickerbockers. Under the strict control of her mother, her every move is decided ahead of time, even whom she’ll marry. But Birdie has dreams she doesn’t know how to realize. She wants to tell stories, write novels, make an impact on the world. When she discovers her mother has taken extreme measures to manipulate her future, she must choose between submission and security or forging a brand new way all on her own.

Tenley and Birdie are from two very different worlds, but fate has bound them together in a way time cannot erase.

Rachel Hauck is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author.She is a Christy Award Winner and a double RITA finalist. Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times Book Club.

A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, and a former sorority girl, Rachel and her husband live in central Florida. She is a huge Buckeyes football fan.

Visit her at http://www.rachelhauck.com or http://www.facebook.com/rachelhauck.

 

My Impressions:

Not sure how she does it, but Rachel Hauck has written another winner with The Writing Desk. This dual timeline novel with two very different heroines is one wonderful story. I am not the biggest fan of romance novels, but Hauck is a must-read author for me. With endearing characters, beautiful prose, and believable plot lines, this one is a highly recommended read.

The Writing Desk has two settings — Gilded Age New York and modern day NYC/Cocoa Beach. The two heroines, pampered and sheltered heiress Birdie and award-winning debut novelist Tenley, could not be more different in their upbringing and cultural experiences. Yet both struggle to find independence from family and societal expectations. Birdie’s family expects her to expand their wealth and establish their preeminence in society. Tenley bears the last name of beloved and esteemed authors. They embody the struggle all face — finding a place and a voice of their own. The two women also have difficult relationships with their mothers that shape how they see the world and themselves. The novel is indeed romance fiction at its best with not one, but two, GREAT romances. The heroes have a quiet strength, integrity, and faith that lead Tenley and Birdie to the best they can become. I love how each couple compliments and strengthens each other. The two stories run independently of each other until the writing desk that Tenley finds yields a mystery and a culmination of promise, for both women.

The faith message that runs throughout the book is a whisper to the heart. Both women hear a song sung only to them throughout their lives, a song that bolsters courage in the face of disappointment, grief, and discouragement. Even when Tenley and Birdie are unaware of God’s presence, His steadfast love surrounds them. And isn’t that the message of 1 John 4:10?  This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (NIV).

If all you are looking for is a romance, then The Writing Desk will give you two for the price of one! But be prepared for more — a story that will sweep you up and touch your heart.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to TLC Blog Tours and Zondervan for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Top 10 Tuesday — The End of Summer TBR List

25 Jul

The past week has been crazy. My husband had a routine medical procedure that has proven anything but. A promised one day recuperation has stretched into a week. We are hoping and praying for the best, but the two weeks that are left before a return to the doctor seem more like a year away instead. All this to say that I would appreciate your prayers for my husband’s healing and patience for the both of us. 😉

Because of the stress and worry of the past few days, I am taking the easy way out this week and posting my TBR list for the rest of the Summer. Which books will you be reading?

 

End of Summer TBR List

Ascension of Larks by Rachel Linden

Beneath Copper Falls by Colleen Coble

Cardiac Event by Richard Mabry

Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan

Gathering The Threads by Cindy Woodsmall

Ghost Heart by Lisa Harris and Lynne Gentry

My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island by Carrie Fancett Pagels

The One True Love of Alice-Ann by Eva Marie Everson

The Return by Suzanne Woods Fisher

The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck

 

What’s on your TBR List?

Book Review + Guest Post: A Royal Christmas Wedding by Rachel Hauck

19 Dec

a-royal-christmas-wedding-correct-dates

To purchase your copy, click here.

About the Book

Genre: Christian Romance/Christmas

Release Date: October 18, 2016

Book Format: Paperback & Ebook

a-royal-christmas-wedding-kd2-rev1-197x300Avery Truitt aches for true love—the kind she once shared with Prince Colin. Can she dare to hope for happily ever after, or is a fairy-tale ending beyond reach?

College volleyball star Avery Truitt has not seen her former flame, Prince Colin of Brighton Kingdom, since he suddenly pushed her away five years ago. But now, the sadness of losing her father and the joy of her sister Susanna’s pregnancy have brought Avery back to Brighton just in time for Cathedral City’s enchanting Christmas season.

Avery knows she can’t avoid seeing Colin—now the Kingdom’s most eligible bachelor—whether or not her heart is ready to relive the pain. But seeing him again might bring her the closure she needs after all this time.

When Colin finds himself at the center of a centuries-old Brighton tradition, he must decide whether to follow the path laid out before him or follow his heart to the only woman for whom he would ring the Pembroke Chapel Bell.

Can Colin convince Avery to meet him at the chapel on Christmas morning—as tradition dictates—or will Avery run back to her St. Simons home and pursue a coaching career as planned?

In the fourth installment of the Royal Wedding Series, New York Times bestselling novelist, Rachel Hauck, weaves a charming story of holiday romance as two broken hearts seek the love they once knew.

About the Author

rachel-hauck-hr-1-731x1024Rachel Hauck is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling, and award-winning author.

A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, Rachel worked in the corporate software world before planting her backside in an uncomfortable chair to write full-time in 2004.

She serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers and leads worship at their annual conference. She is a mentor and book therapist at My Book Therapy, and conference speaker.

Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and pets, and writes from her two-story tower in an exceedingly more comfy chair. She is a huge Buckeyes football fan.

Guest Post from Rachel Hauck

I don’t think we can ever get enough of royals or Christmas, do you? The two just seem to go together.

The Bible tells us eternity is written on our hearts. (Ecc. 3:11) I wonder if it’s also written on our hearts to be princesses in a grand, beautiful, perfect kingdom.

That being said, welcome to The Royal Christmas Wedding blog tour. My deepest thanks to all the bloggers, reviewers, and readers for hosting and visiting this tour. I’m excited to share this story with you all.

The hero and heroine, Prince Colin and Avery Truitt, first met in Once Upon A Prince at King Nathaniel’s coronation.

I hadn’t planned to write a spinoff story with the two of them. In fact, I didn’t even know Prince Colin existed until Avery walked into the abbey for the coronation and glanced across the sanctuary into his eyes.

Here’s his introduction:

Lean, aristocratic with an outdoorsman ruddiness, he nearly made Susanna swoon when he winked at Avery.

I liked Colin immediately. So did Avery. As well as a lot of you.

When my publisher asked me to write their story, it would be two years before the book would release. Plenty of time, right?

But “time crunch” is the name of the game with most writers. Between life, rewrites, edits, and promotional activity, we often find ourselves hurrying toward a deadline. Well, at least I do.

In the fall of 2015 I was writing The Wedding Shop and A Royal Christmas Wedding at the same time.

I’d also dealt with a physical issue that left me shaky. Could I write two books in five months? Did I want to even make the attempt?

If I said no, publication dates would be pushed out, causing a year delay on A Royal Christmas Wedding. And I knew that was something I did not want to do.

Publishing is a long game. Books are contracted and due 12 to 18, even 24 months, before release dates. Time must be carved out for rewrites and editing, marketing and promotion. Review copies go out at least five months in advance.

So I agreed to write both books. I told my editor, “Diamonds come from pressure.”

Coming up with Avery and Prince Colin’s story wasn’t as easy as I’d planned. Since they met in Once Upon A Prince as teenagers, I struggled with how to advance their age and relationship, and how to present them as the book opened.

Where had their relationship gone “between the books?”

When I came up with the idea of the Pembroke Chapel bell, the story magic began to happen. One of the things I love in the royal wedding books is the fairytale aspect. Looking for something out of the ordinary.

Even though my writing time was tight, writing Avery and Colin’s story was a joy. Once again I wish I could visit Brighton, eat a puff, and royal watch for the Strattons!

I hope you found a few sweet spots in the story, all wrapped in Christmas holiday cheer, and enjoyed your time with me in Brighton Kingdom.

Merry Christmas!

Blog Stops

December 8: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

December 8: New Horizon Reviews

December 8: inklings and notions

December 9: Reading Is My SuperPower

December 9: Redeemed Hope Dweller

December 9: Book by Book

December 10: His Grace is Sufficient

December 10: Blossoms and Blessings

December 10: Pause for Tales

December 11: Quiet Quilter

December 11: Ashley’s Bookshelf

December 11: Reviewing Novels Online

December 12: Bibliophile Reviews

December 12: Lights in a Dark World

December 12: Splashes of Joy

December 13: Moments Dipped in Ink

December 13: Neverending Stories

December 13: Through the Open Window

December 14: The Power of Words

December 14: Counting Pinecones

December 14: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS

December 15: Book Bites, Bee Stings, and Butterfly Kisses

December 15: Genesis 5020

December 15: CTF Devourer

December 16: Lighthouse Academy

December 16: God’s Little Bookworm

December 16: Christian Bookaholic

December 17: Smiling Book Reviews

December 17: God is Love

December 17: A Simple Life, really?!

December 18: A Holland Reads

December 18: The Scribbler

December 18: Faith * Love * Books

December 19: By The Book

December 19: Karen Sue Hadley

December 19: Southern Chelle

December 20: Faithfully Bookish

December 20: Books. Books. And More Books

December 20: A Baker’s Perspective

December 21: ASC Book Reviews

December 21: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

Giveaway

a-royal-christmas-gp-768x585

To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card plus a copy of A Royal Christmas Wedding and a copy of The Wedding Shop. Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post to earn 9 extra entries in the giveaway! https://promosimple.com/ps/aaeb

My Impressions:

Christmas + a fairy tale = great reading! That’s the equation for Rachel Hauck’s A Royal Christmas Wedding, the final book in her Royal Wedding series. Readers met Avery Truett and Prince Colin in the first book in the series, and their whirlwind romance turned heartbreak finally comes full circle as Avery and her recently widowed mother join the royal family of Brighton Kingdom for the Christmas holidays. Neither characters have forgotten the sweetness of their time together nor the bitter taste of separation. But trust is hard to rebuild even when the heart longs for it.

I have loved all of Hauck’s books in this series. There is a sense of the magical both in the settings and in the tales that unfold. In A Royal Christmas Wedding, God intervenes when a Colin sends his heart’s desire heavenward. Who needs a fairy godmother when you have God on your side? And while the course of their love isn’t without obstacles, you know in the end there will be a happily-ever-after. In the Epilogue, Hauck also includes a wrap-up to all the love stories that took place throughout the series. A perfect ending for a wonderful series!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

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

Top 10 Tuesday — Southern Settings

1 Nov

By book club loves a story set in an exotic locale, but we also love a book set in our own backyards — the Sunny South! I’ve compiled a list of books  (18 in fact!) with Southern settings that will be a hit with your book club; many were hits with mine and the others I don’t hesitate to recommend. I could have gone on and on — so many great books set in the South! You may also see I am kind of partial to books set in my home state of Georgia!

To find out what other books bloggers are recommending to book clubs, please visit The Broke And The Bookish Top 10 Tuesday.

toptentuesday

Top Books with Southern Settings

Cozy Mystery Series

Murder on A Girl’s Night Out by Anne George (Alabama)

Them Bones by Carolyn Haines (Mississippi)

Who Invited The Dead Man by Patricia Sprinkle (Georgia)

51dtrhbkv8lunknown51l5uqslxwl-_sx304_bo1204203200_

Historical 

Lighthouse by Eugenia Price (Georgia)

A Respectable Actress by Dorothy Love (Georgia)

The Sentinels of Andersonville by Tracy Groot (Georgia)

The Swan House by Elizabeth Musser (Georgia)

1335775051lcxid7ddl-_sx331_bo1204203200_sentinels-of-andersonvilleunknown

Romance

Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Beth Vogt (Florida)

Her One And Only by Becky Wade (Texas)

The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck (Alabama)

unknown151ihot9zjdl-_sx322_bo1204203200_51vrdeov4l-_sx326_bo1204203200_

Romantic Suspense

Dangerous Passage by Lisa Harris (Georgia)

Midnight on The Mississippi by Mary Ellis (Louisiana/Mississippi)

Shadows of The Past by Patricia Bradley (Mississippi/Tennessee)

Vendetta by Lisa Harris (Tennessee)

721904unknown722608unknown6

Women’s Fiction

Dancing on Glass by Pamela Binnings Ewen (Louisiana)

The Pirate Queen by Patricia Hickman (North Carolina)

Secrets over Sweet Tea by Denise Hildreth Jones (Tennessee)

The Things Left Unspoken by Eva Marie Everson (Georgia)

dancingonglass1072002_w185366845image-asp

What’s your favorite setting?

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Book Recommendations

11 Oct

This week the Top 10 Tuesday theme is all about books we have read (and loved) because of a recommendation. I have a confession to make — I am so busy with review books that I have a TBR pile of recs teetering to the ceiling! These suggested books come from bloggers that I respect and that share my reading habits — Carol at The Power of Words, Carrie at Reading Is My Superpower, Iola at Iola’s Christian Reads, and Rel at Relz Reviewz. So here are the books they have raved about that I should be reading.

toptentuesday

Top 10 Recommended Books I Should Be Reading

 

41kbq54hikl-_sx322_bo1204203200_Always Watching by Lynette Eason

The bodyguards of Elite Guardians Agency have more than just skill and prowess in common–they’re also all women. When it becomes clear that popular psychiatrist and radio personality Wade Savage has a stalker, his father secretly hires Elite Guardians in order to protect his son.

But when Wade’s bodyguard is attacked and nearly killed, agency owner Olivia Edwards must step in and fill the gap. Olivia’s skills are about to be tested to the limit as Wade’s stalker moves from leaving innocent gifts at his door to threatening those closest to him. Olivia has the feeling that she’s next on the list. And to complicate things even further, she realizes that her heart may be in as much danger as her client.

41rb6qd6ovl

An Aussie Summer Christmas Collection 

Melbourne Memories by USA Today bestselling author Marion Ueckermann

Escaping his dangerous past, former British rock star Justin “The Phoenix” Taylor flees to Australia. Intrigued by the bearded stranger visiting her coffee shop, Ella Anderson decides to discover his secrets. But when Justin’s past collides with their future, Ella must decide whether they have a future at all.

Next Door Santa by USA Today bestselling author Lacy Williams

Will Harris is proud of his no-complications life. So why is he drawn to his upstairs neighbor, who seems obsessed with Christmas? Can Bridie soften Will-the-Scrooge’s heart in time for Christmas?

Seaside Christmas by Narelle Atkins

Political advisor and former bad boy Gus Donovan is intrigued by Chelsea Somers, the girl he didn’t call after their one and only date, six years ago. Chelsea is impressed by the new Gus, but can she trust him with her family secrets … and with her heart?

A Christmas Resolution by Rose Dee

Breeah has avoided returning to her Australian coastal hometown of Kiisay Point for ten years—avoided the mistake that changed her life, ruined her friendships, and soured her first love. She’s never returned to Resolution, the island where it all happened. But now she’s back, and having to face up to the childhood she loved, the man she can’t forget, and the future that won’t start until she lets it all go.

All is Bright by Andrea Grigg

Amy’s always been a good Christian girl…except for being in love with her brother-in-law. Josh is looking for love again, surprised to find it with his late wife’s sister. But will a mountain of guilt and an unexpected letter stop them from making it to the altar?

Falling for Maddie Grace by Meredith Resce

Australia’s first professional female football umpire, Maddie Grace, gets knocked out in an on-field accident, crushed beneath the weight of an athletic sports star. What is it about the visual images that has the media making up stories of a secret love affair? Escaping the paparazzi is one thing, but escaping each other is quite another.

511opoppdcl-_sx322_bo1204203200_God Bless Us Everyone by Eva Marie Everson

Charlene Dixon—called Charlie by family and friends—is devastated at the recent loss of her job. For the last five years, the twenty-seven-year-old has blossomed as the activities director of an exclusive all-girls school. But when a misunderstanding with the headmistress leads to a pink slip right before the holidays, Charlie packs up her dreams and returns to her grandmother, Sis, who raised Charlie as her own in the mountains of North Carolina.

When Charlie arrives—broken and confused—Sis immediately puts her granddaughter to work behind the scenes of the local school’s Christmas play, A Christmas Carol. Charlie doesn’t always like working with Dustin Kennedy, the drama teacher, but Sis encourages her to take a deeper look at why the book by Charles Dickens had been written in the first place and what it could teach Charlie about the needs of people in their own community.

51r6iuu7uvl-_sx331_bo1204203200_Jaded by Varina Denman

As a child, Ruthie was shunned by the local congregation. Thirteen years later, Ruthie’s heart begins to stir when an attractive single preacher arrives. But their relationship is bitterly opposed—unearthing a string of secrets which threaten to turn the church, the town, and her world upside-down.

Jaded is the rare novel that is both love story between a woman and man … and God and His church. Plunging deep into the waters of shame, forgiveness and restoration, it will resonate with every woman who’s experienced a loss of heart … and a thirst for hope.

51lptcuk4l-_sx331_bo1204203200_Kept by Sally Bradley

Life has taught Miska Tomlinson that there are no honorable men. Her womanizing brothers, her absentee father, and Mark, the married baseball player who claims to love her—all have proven undependable. But Miska has life under control. She runs her editing business from her luxury condo, stays fit with daily jogs along Chicago’s lakefront, and in her free time blogs anonymously about life as a kept woman. Enter new neighbor Dillan Foster. Between his unexpected friendship and her father’s sudden reappearance, Miska loses control of her orderly life. Her relationship with Mark deteriorates, and Miska can’t help comparing him to Dillan. His religious views are so foreign, yet the way he treats her is something she’s longed for. But Dillan discovers exactly who she is and what she has done. Too late she finds herself longing for a man who is determined to never look her way again. When her blog receives unexpected national press, Miska realizes her anonymity was an illusion. Caught in a scandal about to break across the nation, Miska wonders if the God Dillan talks about would bother with a woman like her—a woman who’s gone too far and done too much.

unknownThe Things We Knew by Catherine West

After her mother’s death twelve years ago, Lynette Carlisle watched her close-knit family unravel. One by one, her four older siblings left their Nantucket home and never returned. All seem to blame their father for their mother’s death, but nobody will talk about that tragic day. And Lynette’s memory only speaks through nightmares.

Then Nicholas Cooper returns to Nantucket, bringing the past with him. Once Lynette’s adolescent crush, Nick knows more about her mother’s death than he lets on. The truth could tear apart his own family—and destroy his fragile friendship with Lynette, the woman he no longer thinks of as a kid sister.

As their father’s failing health and financial concerns bring the Carlisle siblings home, secrets surface that will either restore their shattered relationships or separate the siblings forever. But pulling up anchor on the past propels them into the perfect storm, powerful enough to make them question their faith, their willingness to forgive, and the very truth of all the things they thought they knew.

unknown-1Vain Empires by Brandilyn Collins

Six people arrive on a remote island — contestants in the “reality show of the century”, Dream Prize. The winner will be the person who learns the most facts about the others and gains the most viewer votes. Sounds simple. But the three men and three women soon discover nothing is as expected. They are alone on the island. Cameras surround them, filming twenty-four hours a day. And their challenge? Discover which of the Seven Deadly Sins each contestant, including themselves, represents.

Turns out each person has a damning secret — one that could ruin his or her life. Those secrets are about to be revealed on live television. And this is only the beginning of the twists in the game.

unknownWalking on Sea Glass by Julie Carobini

Suddenly single, Liddy Buckle flees the desert to work at an up-and-coming seaside resort with her best friend, Meg. The breezy backdrop of an inn by the sea offers Liddy the dream of starting fresh, but soon she is shocked to discover another setback brewing in her life. Despite the battle that lies ahead, she finds herself drawn to Beau Quinn, a captivating widower with a wounded heart of his own.

As Beau and Liddy’s burgeoning relationship attempts to survive, will Liddy have the courage to trust a man again–especially one as emotionally fragile as Beau? Can Beau commit to a woman facing a challenging recovery?

And what is going on behind the scenes at Sea Glass Inn, where late night deliveries and secret meetings are spoken about in whispers? Set in a fictional California seaside town, Walking on Sea Glass weaves a romantic story of courage, faith, and the power of true love.

51gfkzndbvl-_sx322_bo1204203200_Waves of Mercy by Lynn Austin

Geesje de Jonge crossed the ocean at age seventeen with her parents and a small group of immigrants from the Netherlands to settle in the Michigan wilderness. Fifty years later, in 1897, she’s asked to write a memoir of her early experiences as the town celebrates its anniversary. Reluctant at first, she soon uncovers memories and emotions hidden all these years, including the story of her one true love.

At the nearby Hotel Ottawa Resort on the shore of Lake Michigan, twenty-three-year-old Anna Nicholson is trying to ease the pain of a broken engagement to a wealthy Chicago banker. But her time of introspection is disturbed after a violent storm aboard a steamship stirs up memories of a childhood nightmare. As more memories and dreams surface, Anna begins to question who she is and whether she wants to return to her wealthy life in Chicago. When she befriends a young seminary student who is working at the hotel for the summer, she finds herself asking him all the questions that have been troubling her.

Neither Geesje nor Anna, who are different in every possible way, can foresee the life-altering surprises awaiting them before the summer ends.

51hatt8riul-_sx325_bo1204203200_

The Wedding Shop by Rachel Hauck

It’s the early 1930s, but Cora Scott is walking in stride as a career woman after having inherited her great aunt’s wedding shop in Heart’s Bend, Tennessee, where brides come from as far away as Birmingham to experience her famed bridal treatment. Meanwhile, Cora is counting down the days until her own true love returns from the river to make her his bride. But days turn into months and months to years. All the while, Birch Good continues to woo Cora and try to show her that while he is solid and dependable, he can sweep her off her feet.

More than eighty years later, former Air Force Captain Haley Morgan has returned home to Heart’s Bend after finishing her commitment to military service. After the devastating death of her best friend, Tammy, and discovering the truth about the man she loved, Haley is searching for her place in life.

When Haley decides to reopen the romantic but abandoned wedding shop where she and Tammy played and dreamed as children, she begins a journey of courage, mystery, and love.

As Cora’s and Haley’s stories intertwine through time in the shadow of the beloved wedding shop, they both discover the power of their own dreams and the magic of everyday love.

 

 

Which one should I read first?

Top 10 Tuesday — Back To School!

30 Aug

Thanks to the folks at The Broke And The Bookish for weekly hosting Top 10 Tuesday. This week is the Back To School Top 10. To find out what other bloggers are posting, click HERE.

toptentuesday

School has been back in session since the last week in July here in middle Georgia. So, so glad that I don’t have any more kids in school! Oh wait, I do! My youngest son started his first year of Law School two weeks ago. My other two children have both completed Master’s degrees and on their way to outstanding careers. Yeah, I’m a bit proud!

When I read this week’s theme, I just couldn’t get the classic song Don’t Know Much out of my head. Here’s my list in tribute to that Sam Cooke classic.

The Don’t Know Much, Back To School Top 14

Don’t know much about  . . .

History. I really liked European history in school. American history, not so much. So here are a few books that feature those things I didn’t pay attention to in class.

Washington’s Lady by Nancy Moser (pre and post-Revolutionary War)

Burning Sky by Lori Benton (post-Revolutionary War)

The Sentinels of Andersonville by Tracy Groot (Civil War)

Though Waters Roar by Lynn Austin (Civil War, Women’s Suffrage, Prohibition)

51wuzBWyjHL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_UnknownUnknown-1Unknown-2

Biology. When I think of biology, I think of the birds and bees. When I think of the birds and bees, I think great romances. Here are some that fit that title.

Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Beth K. Vogt

The Dandelion Field by Kathryn Springer

The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

UnknownUnknown-1Unknown-2

Science Books. Science? Yick! I glazed over in my HS Chemistry class and I didn’t even attempt Physics. Here are four novels that involve science but didn’t make me glaze over!

Bad Ground by Dale Cramer (mining)

Critical Reaction by Todd M. Johnson (nuclear energy)

Maximal Reserve by Sam Batterman (petroleum exploration)

Undetected by Dee Henderson (sonar)

51hl+WQ0dhL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_51rzR1Rq-9L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Unknown518blucGMbL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_

The French I Took. This may be because I took Spanish. LOL! The only French word I can say with confidence is oui! These books set in France deserve a definite oui, oui!

My Brother’s Crown by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould (17th century)

Flame of Resistance by Tracy Groot (WWII)

Two Crosses by Elizabeth Musser (Algerian Civil War)

UnknownUnknown-1Unknown-2

What are some of your favorite school books?