Tag Archives: romance fiction

Congrats to The 2020 Inspy Award Winners!

29 Jun

Congratulations to the winners of this year’s Inspy Awards! The Inspy’s hold a special place in my heart — I judged for them for several years. But it is the Inspys’ continued high standards in seeking to identify the best in inspirational fiction that distinguishes this award. This year’s winners are truly deserving. If you need a great book to read, this list should fit the bill.

2020 Inspy Award Winners

 

Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense

Brunch at Bittersweet Cafe by Carla Laureano

 

Debut Fiction

Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes

 

General Fiction

How The Light Gets In by Jolina Petersheim

 

Historical Romance

A Bound Heart by Laura Frantz

 

Literature for Young Adults

Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan

 

Mystery/Thriller

The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright

 

Speculative Fiction

Light from Distant Stars by Shawn Smucker

Book Spotlight And Author Interview (+ Giveaway!)– The Builder’s Reluctant Bride

25 Mar

The Builders reluctent bride

About The Book

Book:  The Builder’s Reluctant Bride

Author: Stacey Weeks

Genre:  Christian romance, women’s fiction

Release Date: July 8, 2016

The Builders reluctant bride coverHe wants a second chance. She says there’s no going back. Ten years ago, a public disgrace sent Jenna Jenkins running from her hometown. Now, the success of her professional future hinges on joining her hometown church restoration project. Her partner and team leader on the job is William Scott—expert renovator, volunteer fireman, and the ex-flame who ruined her life.  William is in crisis, facing the tightening screws of personal and professional failure. When the interior designer on the church renovation project turns out to be Jenna Jenkins, William sees it as a chance to make amends. But Jenna wants nothing to do with him.  How much will William sacrifice to redeem his mistakes and prove his love? Can Jenna protect her heart this time or will William break her for good?

 

Click here to get your copy.

 

 

About The Author

stacey weeksStacey Weeks is the multi-award-winning author of Glorious Surrender (2016), and Chasing Holiness (2020), inspirational romances The Builder’s Reluctant Bride (2016), Mistletoe Melody (2018), Mistletoe Mission (2019), and inspirational romantic suspense novels In Too Deep (2017), and Fatal Homecoming (2019). Stacey lives in Ontario where she speaks at women’s conferences, teaches writing and bible study workshops, and writes about the things of the Lord. www.staceyweeks.com

 

More from Stacey

Afflicted but Not Crushed

I created the character, Jenna, from The Builder’s Reluctant Bride, during a time of life filled with chaos. Changed ripped stability out from underneath me. I couldn’t tell if my challenges were from God deigned to build my faith or if they were a temptation from the enemy to doubt God. Life struck with a severity that stole the breath from my lungs, so I retreated into a fictional world to process. I needed to be reminded, like Jenna, that my current struggles didn’t negate the ways God was using me. I needed to remember that God would use everything in my life to shape me into His image and draw me closer to Him.

“I thought after his mom died, I had lost the both of them. Then, you came around.” The corners of his eyes crinkled.

“Me?” she squeaked.

“Yes. You changed everything for him. I know you left for college right after graduation, so you likely didn’t see the change. But God took that seed you planted in my son and grew this man.” He gestured to William, who stood with his fire jacket off and held a dog while it licked his soot-covered face. “This man of God.” Carmen looked squarely into her eyes. “I am indebted to you, Jenna.”

She squirmed at his unquestionable sincerity. She didn’t deserve his praise for directing his son to faith, the same faith that later let her down in every conceivable way.

When life’s chaos hit Jenna, it caused her to question her faith and question God’s goodness. It took her time to sift through the mess and find the truth. God is good.

Still.

Always.

Never changing.

Good.

It might not feel good. You might want to give up. You might think there is no way for God to redeem your story, but Jenna would tell you that you would be wrong.

Q&A with Stacey Weeks

Why did you choose the contemporary romance genre?

Our culture often depicts love in steamy images as if love is solely based on sexual feelings. Our culture manipulates hearts and stirs up inappropriate passions. I believe this world needs clean, wholesome, and God-honouring stories. It needs authors bold enough to call cheap, broken, and worldly lust what it is—sin. It needs stories of purity, characters that honour God first, and illustrations of how true satisfaction comes from a right relationship with God, not from a human relationship. Ephesians 4:29 refers to speech, but it applies to authors as well, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Christian romance stories thrive within the boundaries God has created for love, and that gives hope to those who have only known broken love. Not hope in the right man, but hope in the Lord. 

What types of research do you pursue? Books, on-site visits, etc.

I will research whatever the book requires. One book required me to become familiar with augmented reality gaming. The kids and I participated in one game using my smart phone. This game superimposed images into our environment when we looked through the lens of the camera phone. 

For another book, we climbed a rock wall before I wrote the rock-climbing scene, and I used a zipline (but that never made it into the book). Less hands-on research has included interviews with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, firemen, paramedics, police officers, a sniper, and a private detective. I complete as much research as I can online and use face-to-face interviews to discover the information unavailable online.

What does a typical writing day look like? Are you structured or informal in your writing schedule?

I write nearly every day, but I would say I am informal with my schedule. I rise before the children wake and reserve those early hours for the Lord. I’ve found that when I prioritize the most important things in life, not allowing hobbies or personal interests to shove aside the absolutes to which God has called me, I manage my remaining available time better. As a home-schooling mom, my mornings are spent teaching the children, but I might get a bit of writing time in before we start. I try to carve out a few hours in the afternoon to pick up my latest work-in-progress while the kids are participating in sports. If the evening permits, I’ll write more. I enjoy trading fiction writing with non-fiction. The intensity and emotional investment for each are vastly different, providing a sweet mental break. I am always thinking about my story and taking notes. I try to hold loose to my schedule and take each day as it comes. Several times a year, I will block off an entire day to write, and at least once a year, I try to get away for a few days to focus on writing. 

What do you want your readers to take away with them after finishing one of your novels?

I hope they realize that they are, right now, in a love story. Some love stories are dramas. They’re full of heart-wrenching moments and climatic events. Some love stories are like a feel-good-girls-night-out; everything falls into place at the right moment and clicks. Some love stories are suspenseful; they have us biting our nails and wondering if good will ever prevail. 

And some of you are thinking – a love story? – yeah right!

I don’t know your circumstances or life story, but what I hope all my readers understand is that there is Someone who does. He is greater than any fictional prince, and He left his kingdom to pursue your heart. Not only is He pursuing you, but He is writing your story as a part of His story. He has promised that the stories of all His children end in victory for His glory.

Readers always want to know what is next for an author. Do you have any works in progress you can share about?

I am working on the final installment of a trilogy of novellas set in the quaint Christmassy town of Mistletoe Meadows. I loved writing book one, Mistletoe Melody, which was inspired by two young women who endured unexpected trials. Book two, Mistletoe Mission, blends several personal experiences, including a trip to Haiti. I’m still drafting book three, and I am having so much fun wrapping up the stories of this beautiful place. I’m also working on a free devotional series that will lead up to the release of my next non-fiction book in August.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 14

deb’s Book Review, March 15

Texas Book-aholic, March 16

Artistic Nobody, March 17 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, March 18

For Him and My Family, March 19

Andrea Christenson, March 20 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 21

A Baker’s Perspective, March 22 (Author Interview)

Create! Teach! Inspire!, March 23

CarpeDiem, March 24

By The Book, March 25 (Author Interview)

Simple Harvest Reads, March 26

For the Love of Literature, March 27 (Author Interview)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Stacey is giving away the grand prize of a dainty bracelet with each word spelled out in Morse Code with beads!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/f661/the-builder-s-reluctant-bride-celebration-tour-giveaway

Top 10 Tuesday — Books That Will Be 5-Stars

4 Feb

Can you predict when a book is going to blow you away, even before you read it? I have found that I am a pretty good judge of when I am going to love a book. Favorite authors, the subject matter, the genre, even the cover are all good indicators of whether I will have an excellent reading experience. This week Top 10 Tuesday wants bloggers to look into their crystal balls and come up with 5-Star Reads from Our TBR Piles. Let’s hope I am a powerful prognosticator! 😉 There’s something for everyone on my list — contemporary, romance, women’s fiction, historical, suspense — hope you find one to enjoy too!

Top Anticipated 5-Star Books

 

The Fifth Avenue Story Society by Rachel Hauck

A Gift to Cherish by Victoria Bylin

The Joy of Falling by Lindsay Harrel

More Than We Remember by Christina Suzann Nelson

One Little Lie by Colleen Coble

The Solid Grounds Coffee Company by Carla Laureano

Starfish Pier by Irene Hannon

Stories That Bind Us by Susie Finkbeiner

Veiled in Smoke by Jocelyn Green

The White Rose Resists by Amanda Barratt

Best of The Decade — 10 Years of Great Books

2 Jan

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

 

 

2010

For Time And Eternity by Allison Pitman

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

 

2011

City of Tranquil Light by Bo Caldwell

Will Kiehn is seemingly destined for life as a humble farmer in the Midwest when, having felt a call from God, he travels to the vast North China Plain in the early twentieth-century. There he is surprised by love and weds a strong and determined fellow missionary, Katherine. They soon find themselves witnesses to the crumbling of a more than two-thousand-year-old dynasty that plunges the country into decades of civil war. As the couple works to improve the lives of the people of Kuang P’ing Ch’eng― City of Tranquil Light, a place they come to love―and face incredible hardship, will their faith and relationship be enough to sustain them?

Told through Will and Katherine’s alternating viewpoints―and inspired by the lives of the author’s maternal grandparents ― City of Tranquil Light is a tender and elegiac portrait of a young marriage set against the backdrop of the shifting face of a beautiful but torn nation.

 

2012

The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

Four brides. One Dress.

A tale of faith, redemption, and timeless love.

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

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

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

 

2013

Invisible by Ginny Yttrup

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

Ellyn — chef, cafe owner, and lover of butter — is hiding something behind her extra weight. While she sees the good in others, she has only condemnation for herself. So when a handsome widower claims he’s attracted to Ellyn, she’s certain there’s something wrong with him.

Sabina — tall, slender, and exotic — left her husband, young adult daughters, and a thriving counseling practice to spend a year in Northern California where she says she’s come to heal. But it seems to Ellyn that Sabina’s doing more hiding than healing. Why?

Twila has come out of hiding and is working to gain back the pounds she lost when her only goal was to disappear. When her eating disorder is triggered again, she’s tempted to go back into hiding.

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

 

2014

Burning Sky by Lori Benton

Abducted by Mohawk Indians at fourteen and renamed Burning Sky, Willa Obenchain is driven to return to her family’s New York frontier homestead after many years building a life with the People. At the boundary of her father’s property, Willa discovers a wounded Scotsman lying in her path. Feeling obliged to nurse his injuries, the two quickly find much has changed during her twelve-year absence: her childhood home is in disrepair, her missing parents are rumored to be Tories, and the young Richard Waring she once admired is now grown into a man twisted by the horrors of war and claiming ownership of the Obenchain land.
 
When her Mohawk brother arrives and questions her place in the white world, the cultural divide blurs Willa’s vision. Can she follow Tames-His-Horse back to the People now that she is no longer Burning Sky? And what about Neil MacGregor, the kind and loyal botanist who does not fit into in her plan for a solitary life, yet is now helping her revive her farm? In the aftermath of the Revolutionary War, strong feelings against “savages” abound in the nearby village of Shiloh, leaving Willa’s safety unsure.
 
As tensions rise, challenging her shielded heart, the woman called Burning Sky must find a new courage — the courage to again risk embracing the blessings the Almighty wants to bestow. Is she brave enough to love again?

 

2015

The Girl from The Train by Irma Joubert

As World War II draws to a close, Jakób fights with the Polish resistance against the crushing forces of Germany and Russia. They intend to destroy a German troop transport, but Gretl’s unscheduled train reaches the bomb first.

Gretl is the only survivor. Though spared from the concentration camp, the orphaned German Jew finds herself lost in a country hostile to her people. When Jakób discovers her, guilt and fatherly compassion prompt him to take her in. For three years, the young man and little girl form a bond over the secrets they must hide from his Catholic family.

But she can’t stay with him forever. Jakób sends Gretl to South Africa, where German war orphans are promised bright futures with adoptive Protestant families — so long as Gretl’s Jewish roots, Catholic education, and connections to communist Poland are never discovered.

Separated by continents, politics, religion, language, and years, Jakób and Gretl will likely never see each other again. But the events they have both survived and their belief that the human spirit can triumph over the ravages of war have formed a bond of love that no circumstances can overcome. 

 

2016

Annabel Lee by Mike Nappa

Fourteen miles east of Peachtree, Alabama, a secret is hidden. That secret’s name is Annabel Lee Truckson, and even she doesn’t know why her mysterious uncle has stowed her deep underground in a military-style bunker. He’s left her with a few German words, a barely-controlled guard dog, and a single command: “Don’t open that door for anybody, you got it? Not even me.”

Above ground, a former Army sniper called The Mute and an enigmatic “Dr. Smith” know about the girl. As the race begins to find her, the tension builds. Who wants to set her free? Why does the other want to keep her captive forever? Who will reach her first?

Private investigators Trudi Coffey and Samuel Hill need to piece together the clues and stay alive long enough to retrieve the girl — before it’s too late.

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

 

2017

Stars in The Grass by Ann Marie Stuart

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

 

2018

Hidden Among The Stars by Melanie Dobson

The year is 1938, and as Hitler’s troops sweep into Vienna, Austrian Max Dornbach promises to help his Jewish friends hide their most valuable possessions from the Nazis, smuggling them to his family’s summer estate near the picturesque village of Hallstatt. He enlists the help of Annika Knopf, his childhood friend and the caretaker’s daughter, who is eager to help the man she’s loved her entire life. But when Max also brings Luzia Weiss, a young Jewish woman, to hide at the castle, it complicates Annika’s feelings and puts their entire plan ― even their very lives ― in jeopardy. Especially when the Nazis come to scour the estate and find both Luzia and the treasure gone.

Eighty years later, Callie Randall is mostly content with her quiet life, running a bookstore with her sister and reaching out into the world through her blog. Then she finds a cryptic list in an old edition of Bambi that connects her to Annika’s story . . . and maybe to the long-buried story of a dear friend. As she digs into the past, Callie must risk venturing outside the safe world she’s built for a chance at answers, adventure, and maybe even new love.

 

2019

The Plum Blooms in Winter by Linda Thompson

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

Reading Road Trip — The Christmas Edition!

27 Nov

With Christmas right around the corner, I though it would be fun to travel to some fun settings that feature Christmas — A Merry Christmas Road Trip! The books I have chosen are novella length — perfect for the busy holiday season — and feature actual Christmas road trips or are set in towns with a definite Christmas-vibe. I hope you enjoy the journey!

 

Christmas in Winter Hill by Melody Carlson

Krista Galloway is not a fan of Christmas. After her rough childhood in multiple foster homes, the holiday season just brings too many bad memories to the surface. But when she accepts a job as a city manager in the mountain town of Winter Hill, Washington, Christmas is part of the deal. The small town is famous for its Christmasville celebration, something that the city manager . . . well, manages.

As she tries to make her tiny new apartment feel like home for her and her eight-year-old daughter, Emily, Krista begins to wonder if this move was a mistake. She doesn’t always feel welcomed in the close-knit town, and Emily continually wonders, “Where’s the snow?” Can a friendly stranger and his family help restore Krista’s Christmas spirit before the big day?

The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson

Miranda did not put adventure on her Christmas list, but thanks to her eighty-five-year-old neighbor Joy, that’s exactly what she’s getting this year. When Joy tells Miranda that she plans to drive an old RV decked out in Christmas decorations from their Chicago neighborhood to her new retirement digs in Phoenix — in the dead of winter, no less — the much younger Miranda insists that Joy cannot make such a trip by herself. Besides, a crazy trip with Joy would be more interesting than another Christmas home alone. Unemployed and facing foreclosure, Miranda feels she has nothing to lose by packing a bag and heading off to Route 66. But Joy has a hidden agenda for their Christmas joyride — and a hidden problem that could derail the whole venture.

No one captures the heartwarming fun of the Christmas season quite like Melody Carlson. Fasten your seat belt, because it’s going to be an exciting ride!

The Christmas Town by Donna VanLiere

Lauren Gabriel spent many years of her childhood in foster homes, wishing her mother would come back for her and be the family she needs. Now twenty-years-old, she still longs for a place that she can truly call home. Her work as a cashier is unfulfilling, and at Christmas it’s unbearable with the songs and carols and chatter of Christmas that she hears throughout the day.

When Lauren ends her shift one night, she finds herself driving aimlessly in order to avoid returning to her lonely apartment. And when she witnesses a car accident she is suddenly pulled into the small town of Grandon, first as a witness but then as a volunteer for the annual fundraiser for Glory’s Place, a center for single mothers and families who need assistance. Could this town and its people be the home she has always longed for?

An Endless Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti

On the way to Christmas with his family, Micah asks Katie to marry him. She says no, but there is no getting out of Christmas now. The Binder family celebrates every Christmas as if it were their last. Too many people, too much snow, and too little room should be a recipe for disaster. But sometimes too much is just enough. Especially when it’s Christmas.

 

 

 

An Irish Christmas by Melody Carlson

For Colleen, life is spinning out of control. She just lost her husband, and her relationship with her young adult son Jamie is crumbling. Should she confess to him the secret that has been haunting her for twenty years? Jamie has a few secrets of his own. When he announces his plans to join the military, Colleen decides it’s time for the two of them to take a trip together — to Ireland. The truth they discover there could fulfill both their dreams in a way neither ever thought possible.

 

A Royal Christmas Wedding by Rachel Hauck

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?

A Wreath of Snow by Liz Curtis Higgs

Reluctantly returning home for the holidays, Meg Campbell receives a frosty reception from her family and decides to leave for Edinburgh. Delayed by a snowstorm, she pours out her heart to a secretly hurting traveler named Gordon, who asks all the right questions. Can they find healing in each other—and perhaps something more?

 

Top 10 Tuesday (+ A Chance to Enter My 10 Year Blogiversary Giveaway!)

5 Nov

Fall has finally arrived in Middle Georgia. We even had some frost last weekend! LOL! Very few trees have changed colors, and the grass in my yard is still green, although we are hopeful the cooler temps mean no more mowing. Yes, it’s hard to get into to the whole Autumn vibe when you live in the Deep South. However, I can always count on books to give me all the feels — in this instance the Fall-ish feels.

Today bloggers are sharing book covers that scream or whisper Fall! Whether it’s soft browns, shining golds, or brilliant oranges, beautiful landscapes or creepy scenes, these books on my TBR shelf give me that fall feel.

For more Fall Book Covers, head over to That Artsy Reader Girl.

To enter my 10 Year Blogiversary Giveaway, click HERE for the giveaway post!

 

 

Christy by Catherine Marshall

The Grand Scheme by Kathy Herman

Lethal Target by Janice Cantore

Love Comes Softly by Janette Oke

Minding The Light by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Miracle in A Dry Season by Sarah Loudin Thomas

Playing with Fire by Susan May Warren

Practically Married by Karin Beery

Protecting Tanner Hollow by Lynette Eason

River’s End by Melody Carlson

 

 

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 — Tropes Are Tops!

20 Aug

This week Top 10 Tuesday is all about the tropes — common themes or devices used in literature. My list is all about plot devices that define a story line, such as rags to riches. While many turn their noses up at tropes, terming them cliches, there is a reason they are used over and over — they are stories readers want to read! My list contains the very common (and popular) tropes that were excellently used in the books mentioned. And as you can see, tropes can be used in any genre — romance, suspense, historical, and fantasy. Hope you find a book you will love!

For more bloggers and their favorite tropes, please visit That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Tropes

Amnesia — Forget Me Not by Vicki Hinze

Cold Case — Traces of Guilt by Dee Henderson

Best Friends to Lovers — Sweet on You by Becky Wade

Long-Lost Heir — Princess Ever After by Rachel Hauck

Love Triangle — The Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof

Marriage of Convenience — More Than Words Can Say by Karen Witemeyer

Missing Person — Threads of Suspicion by Dee Henderson

Second Chance at Love — Falling for You by Becky Wade

Unlikely Hero —A Cast of Stones by Patrick Carr

 

What’s your favorite trope?

 

Reading Roadtrip — Colorado

14 Aug

I traveled to Colorado three summers ago — wow, was it beautiful! Crisp, clean air, breathtaking views, crystal lakes — what’s not to like? Although it was my first trip there, I certainly don’t want it to be my last. I am especially looking forward to seeing the Aspens in all their autumn splendor.

Today I am featuring a few books set in The Centennial State. If you are yearning to visit, even virtually, they are a sure bet!

 

Brunch at The Bittersweet Cafe by Carla Laureano

Baker and pastry chef Melody Johansson has always believed in finding the positive in every situation, but seven years after she moved to Denver, she can’t deny that she’s stuck in a rut. One relationship after another has ended in disaster, and her classical French training is being wasted on her night job in a mediocre chain bakery. Then the charming and handsome private pilot Justin Keller lands on the doorstep of her workplace in a snowstorm, and Melody feels like it’s a sign that her luck is finally turning around.

Justin is intrigued by the lively bohemian baker, but the last thing he’s looking for is a relationship. His own romantic failures have proven that the demands of his job are incompatible with meaningful connections, and he’s already pledged his life savings to a new business venture across the country―an island air charter in Florida with his sister and brother-in-law.

Against their better judgment, Melody and Justin find themselves drawn together by their unconventional career choices and shared love of adventure. But when an unexpected windfall provides Melody with the chance to open her dream bakery-café in Denver with her best friend, chef Rachel Bishop, she’s faced with an impossible choice: stay and put down roots with the people and place she’s come to call home . . . or give it all up for the man she loves.

Ever Present Danger by Kathy Herman

Can You Ever Escape Your Past?

At eighteen, popular Ivy Griffith likes nothing better than getting stoned with her boyfriend, Pete, and his basketball buddies–until one afternoon when a nightmare unfolds. Ivy watches in horror as her boyfriend and his friends murder a teammate and bury his body in a remote location. The four friends make a pact to keep the killing quiet, and Ivy flees her parents’ Colorado home for college and never looks back.

Now, after ten years of numbing her guilt with drugs, she’s finally clean. The single mom of a seven-year-old son, Montana, Ivy returns home to the tiny town of Jacob’s Ear, hoping for courage to reveal the shocking truth of her past and be rid of this baggage forever.

But when disaster strikes at her high school reunion, she’s the only one left alive who witnessed that fateful night so long ago…Or is she? Who else could’ve known about the pact and who would want Pete and his co-conspirators dead? As the investigation heats up and the death toll rises, Ivy is forced to decide if confessing the truth is really worth risking her own life.

Indelible by Kristen Heitzmann

In a clash of light and darkness, can courage prevail?
 

Rescuing a toddler from the jaws of a mountain lion, Trevor MacDaniel, a high-country outfi tter, sets in motion events he can’t foresee. His act of bravery entwines his life with gifted sculptor Natalie Reeve—and attracts a grim admirer.
 
Trevor’s need to guard and protect is born of tragedy, prompting his decision to become a search and rescue volunteer. Natalie’s gift of sculpting comes from an unusual disability that seeks release through her creative hands. In each other they see strength and courage as they face an incomprehensible foe.
 
When a troubled soul views Trevor as archangel and adversary, Redford’s peaceful mountain community is threatened. Together with Police Chief Jonah Westfall, Trevor presses his limits to combat the menace who targets the most helpless and innocent.

Long Way Gone by Charles Martin

“No matter where you go, no matter whether you succeed or fail, stand or fall, no gone is too far gone. You can always come home.”

At the age of 18, musician and songwriter Cooper O’Connor took everything his father held dear and drove 1,200 miles from home to Nashville, his life riding on a six-string guitar and the bold wager that he had talent. But his wager soon proved foolish.

Five years after losing everything, he falls in love with Daley Cross, an angelic voice in need of a song. But just as he realizes his love for Daley, Cooper faces a tragedy that threatens his life as well as his career. With nowhere else to go, he returns to his remote home in the Colorado mountains, searching for answers about his father and his faith.

When Daley shows up on his street corner 20 years later, he wonders if it’s too late to tell her the truth about his past – and if he is ready to face it.

A radical retelling of the story of the prodigal son, Long Way Gone takes us from tent revivals to the Ryman Auditorium to the tender relationship between a broken man and the father who never stopped calling him home.

Moments We Forget by Beth K. Vogt

Jillian Thatcher has spent most of her life playing the family peacemaker, caught in the middle between her driven, talented older sister and her younger, spotlight-stealing twin sisters. Then on the night of her engagement party, a cancer diagnosis threatens to once again steal her chance to shine.

Now, Jillian’s on the road to recovery after finally finishing chemo and radiation, but residual effects of the treatment keep her from reclaiming her life as she’d hoped. And just when her dreams might be falling into place, a life-altering revelation from her husband sends her reeling again.

Will Jillian ever achieve her own dreams, or will she always be “just Jillian,” the less-than Thatcher sister? Can she count on her sisters as she tries to step into a stronger place, or are they stuck in their childhood roles forever?

 

August Book Club Pick — The Memory House

1 Aug

I am so looking forward to discussing The Memory House by Rachel Hauck with my book club this month. It quickly moved up to my favorite book by Hauck. Won’t you join us? If you have read this book we would love to know your thoughts.

 

When Beck Holiday lost her father in the North Tower on 9/11, she also lost her memories of him. Eighteen years later, she’s a tough New York City cop burdened with a damaging secret, suspended for misconduct, and struggling to get her life in order. Meanwhile a mysterious letter arrives informing her she’s inherited a house along Florida’s northern coast, and what she discovers there will change her life forever. Matters of the heart only become more complicated when she runs into handsome Bruno Endicott, a driven sports agent who fondly recalls the connection they shared as teenagers. But Beck doesn’t remember that either.

Decades earlier, widow Everleigh Applegate lives a steady, uneventful life with her widowed mother after a tornado ripped through Waco, Texas, and destroyed her new, young married life. When she runs into old high school friend Don Callahan, she begins to yearn for change. Yet no matter how much she longs to love again, she is hindered by a secret she can never share.

Fifty years separate the women but through the power of love and miracle of faith, they each find healing in a beautiful Victorian known affectionately as The Memory House.  

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. She is also the recipient of RT’s Career Achievement Award.

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