Tag Archives: romance fiction

Reading Road Trip — Georgia

13 Feb

Georgia, the southernmost of the thirteen colonies, was established in 1733. We have had a rich, but turbulent history, with wars and civil rights, booming times and busts. With almost 10 million people and growing, the state is an economic powerhouse in the southeast. The last time I posted, I focused on books set in Atlanta, but there is more to Georgia than our state’s capital. Georgia has a lot to offer — the starting point of the Appalachian Trail and the Blue Ridge Mountains, coastal islands, and small and not so small towns galore.

We also have a number of books set within the boundaries of the Peach State. I have had fun visiting my adopted home state through the pages of a book. So whether you like historical novels, romances, or mysteries, there is something on my list for you. The hardest thing was keeping the list to a manageable size! Hope you find a book you will love.

The Sentinels of Andersonville by Tracy Groot

Near the end of the Civil War, inhumane conditions at Andersonville Prison caused the deaths of 13,000 Union soldiers in only one year. In this gripping and affecting novel, three young Confederates and an entire town come face-to-face with the prison’s atrocities and will learn the cost of compassion, when withheld and when given.

Sentry Dance Pickett has watched, helpless, for months as conditions in the camp worsen by the day. He knows any mercy will be seen as treason. Southern belle Violet Stiles cannot believe the good folk of Americus would knowingly condone such barbarism, despite the losses they’ve suffered. When her goodwill campaign stirs up accusations of Union sympathies and endangers her family, however, she realizes she must tread carefully. Confederate corporal Emery Jones didn’t expect to find camaraderie with the Union prisoner he escorted to Andersonville. But the soldier’s wit and integrity strike a chord in Emery. How could this man be an enemy? Emery vows that their unlikely friendship will survive the war—little knowing what that promise will cost him.

As these three young Rebels cross paths, Emery leads Dance and Violet to a daring act that could hang them for treason. Wrestling with God’s harsh truth, they must decide, once and for all, Who is my neighbor?

A Respectable Actress by Dorothy Love

India Hartley, a famous and beautiful actress, is now alone after her father’s death and embarks upon a tour of theaters across the South. Her first stop is Savannah’s Southern Palace. On the eve of the second night’s performance, something goes horribly wrong. Her co-star, Arthur Sterling, is shot dead on stage in front of a packed house, and India is arrested and accused of the crime.

A benefactor hires Philip Sinclair, the best — and handsomest — lawyer in Savannah to defend India. A widower, Philip is struggling to reinvent his worn-out plantation on St. Simons Island. He needs to increase his income from his law practice in order to restore Indigo Point, and hardly anything will bring him more new clients than successfully defending a famous actress on a murder charge.

Because India can’t go anywhere in town without being mobbed, Philip persuades the judge handling her case to let him take her to Indigo Point until her trial date. India is charmed by the beauty of the Georgia lowcountry and is increasingly drawn to Philip. But a locked room that appears to be a shrine to Philip’s dead wife and the unsolved disappearance of a former slave girl raise troubling questions. Piecing together clues in an abandoned boat and a burned-out chapel, India discovers a trail of dark secrets that lead back to Philip, secrets that ultimately may hold the key to her freedom. If only he will believe her.

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

Living in rural Georgia in 1941, sixteen-year-old Alice-Ann has her heart set on her brother’s friend Mack; despite their five-year age gap, Alice-Ann knows she can make Mack see her for the woman she’ll become. But when they receive news of the attack on Pearl Harbor and Mack decides to enlist, Alice-Ann realizes she must declare her love before he leaves.

Though promising to write, Mack leaves without confirmation that her love is returned. But Alice-Ann is determined to wear the wedding dress her maiden aunt never had a chance to wear ― having lost her fiancé in the Great War. As their correspondence continues over the next three years, Mack and Alice-Ann are drawn closer together. But then Mack’s letters cease altogether, leaving Alice-Ann to fear history repeating itself.

Dreading the war will leave her with a beautiful dress and no happily ever after, Alice-Ann fills her days with work and caring for her best friend’s war-torn brother, Carlton. As time passes and their friendship develops into something more, Alice-Ann wonders if she’ll ever be prepared to say good-bye to her one true love and embrace the future God has in store with a newfound love. Or will a sudden call from overseas change everything?

A Time to Stand by Robert Whitlow

Adisa Johnson, a young African-American attorney, is living her dream of practicing law with a prestigious firm in downtown Atlanta. Then a split-second mistake changes the course of her career.

Left with no other options, Adisa returns to her hometown where a few days earlier a white police officer shot an unarmed black teen who is now lying comatose in the hospital.

Adisa is itching to jump into the fight as a special prosecutor, but feels pulled to do what she considers unthinkable — defend the officer.

As the court case unfolds, everyone in the small community must confront their own prejudices. Caught in the middle, Adisa also tries to chart her way along a path complicated by her budding relationship with a charismatic young preacher who leads the local movement demanding the police officer answer for his crime.

This highly relevant and gripping novel challenges us to ask what it means to forgive while seeking justice and to pursue reconciliation while loving others as ourselves.

As The Tide Comes In by Cindy and Erin Woodsmall

When an unthinkable loss sends Tara Abbott’s life spiraling out of control, she journeys from North Carolina to Georgia’s St. Simons Island. Although confused and scared, she hopes to find answers about her past – her life before the years of foster care and raising her two half-brothers as a young adult. Will she find steady ground on the island, surrounded by an eccentric-but-kindhearted group of older women called The Glynn Girls and a determined firefighter? Or will the truth splinter what’s left of her identity into pieces?

 

 

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Top 10 Tuesday — Christmas Edition

25 Dec

Merry Christmas! Did Santa treat you right with a pile of books under the tree? I rarely get books for Christmas. My family and friends operate under the false assumption that I already own all the books there are. LOL! But that’s okay, because Santa and I have a deal — I am good all year and get to order the books I want from Amazon! 😉 This week Top 10 Tuesday lists feature books found under the tree, or in my case on the Wishlist. All of the books on my list have not released yet, but that’s okay because pre-order!

Check out That Artsy Reader Girl for all the wonderful bookish goodness that arrived in Santa’s sleigh.

 

Top Books on My Christmas Wishlist

All Manner of Things by Susie Finkbeiner

Almost Home by Valerie Fraser Luesse

Daughters of Northern Shores by Joanne Bischof

Driftwood Bay by Irene Hannon

The Heart of A King by Jill Eileen Smith

The Killing Tide by Dani Pettrey

The Memory House by Rachel Hauck

My Dearest Dietrich by Amanda Barratt

Sweet on You by Becky Wade

Then Sings My Soul by Amy K. Sorrells

Audiobook Mini-Review: The Christmas Light

12 Dec

In the small town of Grandon, five very different people discover the true meaning of Christmas. Jennifer and Ryan are both single parents, struggling with their own losses and heartache as they attempt to move forward in the present while still holding onto the memories, joy, and heartache of the past. Sixteen-year-old Kaylee is faced with a life-changing situation that has affected her whole family. Stephen and Lily are happily married and ready to start a family. All of them are facing their own struggles, and all are finding their way through the dark. When they are brought together for a rather unconventional church Nativity, they will learn that with strength, courage, and love, there is always hope.

 

Donna VanLiere is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author and gifted conference speaker. She has published ten titles including The Christmas Shoes and The Christmas Blessing, both of which were adapted into movies (starring Rob Lowe, Kimberly Williams-Perry and Neil Patrick Harris) and garnered big ratings for CBS television. LifetimeTelevision adapted The Christmas Hope (starring Madeline Stowe) and premiered it December 2009 to stellar ratings as well. Donna’s non-seasonal novel, The Angels of Morgan Hill, has captured the same warmth as her Christmas books and continues to please loyal and new fans alike.

Donna is the recipient of a Retailer’s Choice Award for Fiction, a Dove Award, a Silver Angel Award, an Audie Award for best inspirational fiction, a nominee for a Gold Medallion Book of the Year and was recently inducted into the Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges Hall of Excellence joining such luminaries as Coretta Scott King, Hugh Downs, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and Senator John Glenn. Donna is an in-demand conference speaker having appeared at countless women’s and family events, including select Women of Faith and Extraordinary Women conferences.

The Library Journal says of Donna’s latest book, The Christmas Star (2018), “Second chances abound in this story, resulting in a Christmas gift worth waiting for . . . This sweet tale of love and overcoming obstacles offers a festive atmosphere readers will savor.”

Donna lives in Franklin, Tennessee, with her husband, Troy, and their children, Grace, Kate and David.

Learn more at http://www.DonnaVanLiere.com

My Impressions:

There is just something about a Christmas novella by Donna VanLiere that I cannot resist. I downloaded the audio version of The Christmas Light and was immediately swept away to the warm and welcoming town of Grandon. Longtime residents and familiar characters, Gloria and Miriam, are a hoot as they navigate the treacherous waters of a church nativity program. They, along with new characters, fill the pages of this book with humor, wit, wisdom, and hope. Yes the book is a bit predictable — I saw the endings for many of the characters coming — but that didn’t keep me from loving every minute and shedding a few tears. One particularly moving (and hilarious) moment is when one of the children proclaimsthe baby of all babies has been born!” Isn’t that just wonderful! There’s a little bit of something for everyone — second chances, new starts, and new love. The audiobook is narrated by the author, so you get exactly what she was going for in terms of inflection and meaning.

A fun and very Christmas-y read, this one is perfect to help you get in the spirit!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Top 10 Tuesday — Cozy Winter Reads aka Christmas Novellas!

4 Dec

Nothing says cozy to me more than a wonderful Christmas novella. And since ’tis the season  . . . here is a list to warm your heart as you snuggle with a hot beverage next to the fireplace. Even if it is 90 degrees where you live, these Christmas novellas will give you a warm feeling that won’t make you sweat 😉 . Funny, poignant, or just plain full of the Christmas spirit, these books run the genre gamut. Grab one (or two, or more) and get ready for some great reading!

For more great cozy winter reads, check out the bloggers who have shared their lists at That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top 10 Cozy Christmas Reads

The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury

Catching Christmas by Terri Blackstock

The Christmas Angel Project by Melody Carlson

The Christmas Promise by Donna VanLiere

The Christmas Remedy by Cindy and Erin Woodsmall

The Christmas Star by Ace Collins

An Endless Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti

The Ornament Keeper by Eva Marie Everson

Remembering Christmas by Dan Walsh

Unexpected Christmas Hero by Kathi Macias

 

What’s your favorite cozy Christmas book?

Top 10 Tuesday — Backlist Books

6 Nov

The lure of new shiny books is so, so real. They whisper of wonderful characters, exotic locales, and stories to get lost in. But what about all those books that I have missed? My TBR pile grows ever larger as new books are released and as the ones I have missed by favorite authors demand to be read too. Today, Top Ten Tuesday is all about the backlist — books that we just haven’t gotten to — yet. 😉 I’m featuring favorite authors’ books that I need to read! All of the books on my list are from authors I love and include historical and contemporary, romance and suspense genres. They were released a few (or a lot) of years ago and are still hanging out on my shelves or Kindle. Have you read them? Let me know what you thought.

Head over to That Artsy Reader Girl to discover more books and authors. Your TBR will love you!

Top Backlist Books I Need to Read!

 

Dangerous Mercy by Kathy Herman

Five Brides by Eva Marie Everson

Junebug by Chris Fabry

 

Leaving Yesterday by Kathryn Cushman

Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund

The Queen by Steven James

Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist

 

Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin

When Mockingbirds Sing by Billy Coffey

When The Smoke Clears by Lynette Eason

 

What backlist book do you need to read?

If You Liked Still Waters . . .

28 Sep

I love when my book club has a unanimous thumbs up on one of our selections. This month we read Still Waters by Lindsey Brackett, and we all loved it! (Read my review HERE.) Now what should we read next? I have a few suggestions.

Savannah from Savannah by Denise Hildreth Jones

I’m coming home to prove something..to my city, my mother, and myself.

It is a place known to most as Savannah. It is a place known to me as home. I wish I could tell you it was my love for this city that precipitated my return. But I did not return out of a mere longing for home. I returned because I have something to prove to home. I am Savannah . . . from Savannah.

 

 

Things Left Unspoken by Eva Marie Everson

Jo Lynn Hunter is at a crossroads in life when her greataunt Stella insists that she return home to restore the old family house in sleepy Cottonwood, Georgia. Seeing the project as the perfect excuse for some therapeutic time away from her selfabsorbed husband and his snobby Atlanta friends, Jo Lynn longs to get her teeth into a noteworthy and satisfying project. But things are not what they seem, both in the house and within the complex history of her family. Was her greatgrandfather the pillar of the community she thought he was? What is Aunt Stella hiding? And will Jo Lynn’s marriage survive the renovation? Jo Lynn isn’t sure she wants to know the truthbut sometimes the truth has a way of making itself known.The past comes alive in this wellwritten and thoughtful novel full of secrets, drama, and family with a hint of Southern drawl.

The Wedding Machine by Beth Webb Hart

Welcome to Jasper, South Carolina. A place where Southern hospitality thrives. Where social occasions are done right. And where, for generations, the four most upstanding ladies of this community ensure that the daughters of Jasper are married in the proper manner.

Friends from school days, “the gals” have long pooled their silver, china, and know-how to pull off beautiful events. They’re a force of nature, a well-oiled machine. But the wedding machine’s gears start to stick during the summer their own daughters line up to tie the knot. In the lowcountry heat and humidity, tempers flare, old secrets leak out . . . and both love and gardenias bloom in unlikely places.

Book Review: Freedom’s Kiss

26 Sep

They were prisoners of the past. Could legacy be the key to set them free?

Olivia Arroyo knows who she is and where she’s going—her sense of family responsibility a stepping-stone to her dream of becoming a chef. When her employer refuses her the chance to move from server to the kitchen, she makes another opportunity for herself with the owner of a new food truck. But her life derails when a hidden piece of her past suddenly comes to light, and she discovers everything she thought she knew about herself has been a lie.

A single decision can have innumerable consequences—a truth that has changed Adam Carrington’s life. A criminal defense attorney turned food truck owner, he is haunted by his role in an unpardonable act and driven by his need to make restitution. Unexpected help comes in the form of a feisty, raven-haired beauty, but she soon begins challenging his kitchen as well as his heart.

Florida, 1816
Propelled by a fleeting hope of freedom, Winnie and her family escape slavery and find refuge and new life with the Seminole Indians of Florida. But their future is still uncertain as threats of war, a return to slavery, and removal to the West shake their tentative grasp on freedom. Will they ever step out of the shadow of fear to leave a legacy of deliverance?

Sarah Monzon is a Navy chaplain’s wife and a stay at home mom to the two cutest littles in the world. Playing pretend all day with them isn’t enough, she spends the evenings after their heads hit the pillow to create her own imaginary characters. When she isn’t in the world of make believe, she can be found in the pine forests of western Washington taking care of her family, fostering friendships, and enjoying all the adventures each day brings.

Her debut novel, The Isaac Project, skyrocketed to Amazon bestseller status while her Sophomore book, Finders Keepers, won the 2017 SELAH award for contemporary romance.

 

My Impressions:

There has been quite a lot of buzz surrounding Sarah Monzon’s novels. I’ve seen nothing but praise on blogs and FB groups, so I knew I needed to check her out sooner rather than later. When offered an opportunity to read her latest novel, Freedom’s Kiss, I eagerly said yes! What I got was an intriguing dual time line novel with characters I absolutely fell in love with. The only problem I encountered was the long list of Monzon’s books that I now need to go back and read! This one is recommended!

Freedom’s Kiss is set in Florida — present day and 1816-1832. The contrast couldn’t be greater. Where there is now a bustling urban landscape was once scrub and swamp with little to support those who called it home. I loved the glimpse into a forgotten time in Florida’s history. For this Florida girl, I learned a lot about my home state that I missed somehow in school. The history of fugitive slaves and the Seminole people is fascinating. Added to this backdrop are two stories each with their own appeal. First you have Winnie, a former slave yearning to capture the elusive freedom she yearns for and modern-day Adam and Olivia who find each other and the purposes that God has for their lives. At first the two stories seemed unconnected, but I loved how Monzon joined them showing how one generation’s struggle can bring about another generation’s legacy. The female characters are strong and capable, but allow the male characters to support them in all the ways God intends. The relationships are refreshing in the way the couples complete each other. For fans of meaningful romance, Freedom’s Kiss is a big treat. Freedom’s Kiss is Christian fiction, and the author naturally weaves the character’s faith throughout. They may waiver and doubt, but God is seen as unchangeable, loving, and faithful. Another big takeaway for me was the importance of family, both those we are born with and those we are adopted into, especially God’s family.

Besides Freedom’s Kiss, which can be read as a standalone, there are two more books in the Carrington Family Romance series. I am eager to read more about this family created by this talented writer.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

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