Tag Archives: Sarah Loudin Thomas

Reading Road Trip — West Virginia

10 Jun

Although more and more things are opening up, it is still a bit daunting to travel. Where to eat, where to sleep, where to use the bathroom 😉 ? My husband and I caught the travel bug a few years ago and are itching to get going again. This year our travel will be closer to home until we can better figure out the logistics. But in the meantime, you and I can can travel anywhere in a book. I love that no matter where I am physically, I can be somewhere else lost in the pages of a great novel. This week’s Reading Road Trip is taking me to West Virginia. I have only been there once on a school trip with my youngest son. I would love to go back to this beautiful mountain state. I have listed a few books that I hope will bring that region to life for you. If you have any more recommendations for West Virginia reading, I would love to hear them! (Note: although all of the books that are listed by Chris Fabry are set in the fictional town of Dogwood, WV, they are all standalones.)

 

Reading Road Trip — West Virginia

 

An Uncommon Woman by Laura Frantz

Unflinching and plainspoken, Tessa Swan is not your typical 18th-century woman. Born and bred on the western Virginia frontier along with her five brothers, she is a force to be reckoned with.

Quiet and courageous, Clay Tygart is not your typical 18th-century man. Raised by Lenape Indians, he returns a hero from the French and Indian War to the fort that bears his name, bringing with him Tessa’s long-lost friend, Keturah, who disappeared from the settlement years earlier.

Determined to avoid any romantic entanglements as fort commander, Clay remains aloof whenever he encounters the lovely Tessa. But when circumstances force Clay’s hand–and heart–the stage is set for one very private and one very public reckoning.

Miracle in A Dry Season (Appalachian Blessings series, book 1) by Sarah Loudin Thomas

It’s 1954 and Perla Long’s arrival in the sleepy town of Wise, West Virginia, was supposed to go unnoticed. She just wants a quiet, safe place for her and her daughter, Sadie, where the mistakes of her past can stay hidden. But then drought comes to Wise, and Perla is pulled into the turmoil of a town desperately in need of a miracle.

Casewell Phillips has resigned himself to life as a bachelor…until he meets Perla. She’s everything he’s sought in a woman, but he can’t get past the sense that she’s hiding something. As the drought worsens, Perla’s unique gift divides the town in two, bringing both gratitude and condemnation, and placing the pair in the middle of a storm of anger and forgiveness, fear and faith.

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.

Dogwood by Chris Fabry

In the small town of Dogwood, West Virginia, Karin has buried her shattered dreams by settling for a faithful husband whose emotional distance from her deep passions and conflicts leaves her isolated. Loaded with guilt, she tries to raise three small children and “do life” the best she can. Will returns to Dogwood intent on pursuing the only woman he has ever loved — only to find there is far more standing in his way than lost years in prison. The secrets of Will and Karin’s past begin to emerge through Danny Boyd, a young boy who wishes he hadn’t survived the tragedy that knit those two together as well as tore them apart. The trigger that will lay their pain bare and force them to face it rather than flee is the unlikely figure of Ruthie Bowles, a withered, wiry old woman who leads Karin so deep into her anger against God that it forces unexpected consequences.

The Promise of Jesse Woods by Chris Fabry

The summer of 1972 was the most pivotal of Matt Plumley’s childhood. While his beloved Pirates battle for back-to-back World Series titles, Matt’s family moves from Pittsburgh to Dogwood, West Virginia, where his father steps into the pulpit of a church under the thumb of town leader Basil Blackwood. A fish out of water, Matt is relieved to forge a fast bond with two unlikely friends: Dickie Darrel Lee Hancock, a mixed-race boy, and Jesse Woods, a tough-as-nails girl with a sister on her hip and no dad in sight.

As the trio traipses the hills and hollers, Matt begins to fall for Jesse, and their promises to each other draw him deeper into her terrifying reality. One night, the wrath of the Blackwoods and the secrets of Jesse’s family collide, and Matt joins Jesse in a rescue that saves one life and ends another . . . and severs the bond of their friendship.

Years later, Matt is pulled back to Dogwood and to memories of that momentous summer by news of Jesse’s upcoming wedding. He could never shake the feeling that there was more to the story of that fateful night, and he’s determined to learn the truth behind the only promise Jesse Woods ever broke.

Miranda Warning (A Murder in The Mountains series, book 1) by Heather Day Gilbert

Child of the Appalachian mountains, Tess Spencer has experienced more than her share of heartache. The Glock-wielding, knife-carrying housewife knows how to survive whatever life throws at her.

But when an anonymous warning note shows up in her best friend Miranda’s mailbox — a note written in a dead woman’s handwriting — Tess quickly discovers that ghosts are alive and well in Buckneck, West Virginia. Hot on a cold trail, she must use limited clues and her keen insight into human nature to unmask the killer . . . or the next victim might be Tess herself.

Tinged with the supernatural and overshadowed by the mountains’ lush, protective presence, this twisting psychological mystery is the first in A Murder in the Mountains series.

No Filter (Barks And Beans Cafe Cozy Mystery series, book 1) by Heather Day Gilbert

Welcome to the Barks & Beans Cafe, a quaint place where folks pet shelter dogs while enjoying a cup of java . . . and where murder sometimes pays a visit.

Fed up with her go-nowhere job, newly single Macy Hatfield moves back to her small hometown in West Virginia. She joins forces with her brother Bo in his crazy new venture — the Barks & Beans Cafe, which caters to dog lovers and coffee drinkers alike.

When a golf instructor is murdered at the nearby spiritual center, Macy winds up adopting his Great Dane. Just after Macy finds a mysterious message sewn under the dog’s collar, her Dane is dognapped. She launches into a relentless search for her newfound canine friend, but along the way, she digs up a cruel and confident killer.

Out of Circulation (Hemlock Creek Suspense, book 1) by Heather Day Gilbert

Katie McClure always dreamed of becoming an FBI agent like her father, but an injury has permanently sidelined her as a librarian in her rural West Virginia hometown. Katie’s peaceful life is torn apart when armed men burst into the library, targeting her. Her fears mount after a break-in at her apartment, and she reluctantly accepts an offer of protection from Ace Calhoun, the Manhattan bodyguard who rushed to her aid against the library invaders.

But Ace didn’t show up in Hemlock Creek by accident. Even as he hides his true motives for protecting Katie, he’s pulled in by her indomitable courage and her undeniable attraction to him.

With the Russian mob breathing down her neck, the clock is ticking for Katie to find out what happened to a bank stash that went missing years ago. To her dismay, she discovers her father was not the man she believed him to be . . . and neither is Ace.

 

Where will you read next?

 

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

 

 

2019 Christy Award Finalists

19 Sep

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

 

Contemporary Romance

Brunch at Bittersweet Cafe by Carla Laureano

Falling for You by Becky Wade

Wait for Me by Susan May Warren

 

First Novel

The Baggage Handler by David Rawlings

Engraved on The Heart by Tara Johnson

The Plum Blooms in Winter by Linda Thompson

 

General Fiction

No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert

Send Down The Rain by Charles Martin

We Hope for Better Things by Erin Bartels

 

 

Historical

A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano

Of Fire And Lions by Mesu Andrews

The Seamstress by Allison Pitman

Shelter of The Most High by Connilyn Cossette

 

Historical Romance

A Defense of Honor by Kristi Ann Hunter

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan

With This Pledge by Tamera Alexander

 

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

Called to Protect by Lynette Eason

Every Wicked Man by Steven James

Mind Games by Nancy Mehl

 

 

Short Form

A Shot at Love by Sarah Loudin Thomas

Catching Christmas by Terri Blackstock

Falling for Grace by Janet Ferguson

Legacy of Love by Kristi Ann Hunter

 

Visionary

Mark of The Raven by Morgan L. Busse

Shivering World by Kathy Tyers

The Story Peddler by Lindsay A. Franklin

The Wounded Shadow by Patrick W. Carr

 

Young Adult

The Crescent Stone by Matt Mikalatos

Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

The Warrior Maiden by Melanie Dickerson

 

 

Mini Reviews By My Friend Carrie!

20 Jun

My friend Carrie is a fellow book lover/nerd! Although she and I are 20 years apart in age, we get each other’s love for books. It doesn’t hurt that she is a dedicated follower of Jesus too. A voracious reader, Carrie has agreed to help me out with the towering stack of books that have shown up at my house unannounced. While I am very, very grateful to all those publishers that thoughtfully fill my mailbox, I just cannot get to every title in a timely manner. That’s where Carrie comes in. Here are some of her thoughts:

51N0m3n5ITL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Miracle in a Dry Season (Sarah Loudin Thomas)

Perla Long moved to Wise, West Virginia to escape the gossip of her having a child outside of marriage. She also has a unique talent in that she can cook and make food stretch. She has always tried to hide her unique gift, but when a drought takes the town of Wise, she discovers that what she wanted to hide is truly a gift from God that can help others. Miracle in a Dry Season will challenge you in how you judge other people and show you the importance of looking for how God can use even the smallest of gifts for His glory.

Purchase this book HERE.

41kBKYJ3MCL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Finding Me (Kathryn Cushman)

Join Kelli Huddleston in a wild but realistic journey to find out who she really is. She had always been told that her mother and two siblings had died in a fire when she was young. After her father’s death while going through his belongings she uncovers some startling possibilities that her mother and siblings are not only alive but don‘t realize she is also alive. As you travel to Tennessee with Kelli, you will be reminded about the importance of family. Finding Me will challenge you to not take your family for granted.

Purchase this book HERE.  (The Kindle version is currently $1.99!)

 

51RAXYolr9L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Irish Meadows (Susan Anne Mason)

Irish Meadows shows what life was like for women in New York in 1911. Sisters, Brianna and Colleen O’Leary are the epitome of opposites. Brianna, who loves the outdoors and horses, yearns to attend college even though her father is only interested in marrying her off to a wealthy husband to help solve his financial problems. Colleen is only interested in marrying as long as it continues to allow her to have the finer things in life and won’t force her into having to do more than coordinating her social life. As their father works to marry them both off quickly to erase his debts, two men from the past come in shake things up. Irish Meadows challenges you to not only focus on your dreams and stand for what you believe in, but also shows that people can change from their selfish, self-centered ways with the right people. God knows what He is doing and His plan has a way of bringing everyone closer to Him and their dreams.

Purchase this book HERE.

51CUc9c+r5L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_A Love Like Ours (Becky Wade)

Number 3 in the Porter Family Series, doesn’t disappoint. The mysterious Jake Porter runs the family horse farm. He suffers from PTSD and few people are allowed to get close to him, even family members. His childhood friend Lyndie James moves back home to Holley, Texas and begins working with the thoroughbreds on the horse farm. Her bubbling personality slowly tears down his walls. Becky Wade gives a very realistic story of how PTSD affects people in this romantic story. Whether you know the Porter family or this is your first time with the family, you will fall in love with this special family.

Purchase this book HERE.

 

 

(Thanks to Bethany House Publishers for copies of these books. All opinions are Carrie’s alone.)

CfJIjVBWIAA_NCh.jpg-smallCarrie McNair is wife to Terry and mother to two active boys, Caden and Noah. Carrie is a Model Teacher. That means people from far and wide come to find out about excellence in the classroom by observing her and her students. A committed bookworm, Carrie makes sure her students develop a love of reading.

Book Review: Appalachian Serenade

18 Jun

81Mgy8eP7tL._SL1500_Delilah Morrissey has always wanted to be a mother, but when she becomes a young widow, that dream now seems farther away than ever. Unable to continue to live alone in Chicago, her only option is to accept her sister’s offer to move in with her family back in West Virginia. Will Delilah have the faith to pursue a new dream — even if it means giving up the old?

In this charming novella, debut novelist Sarah Loudin Thomas introduces readers to Wise, West Virginia — a small town nestled in an Appalachian valley where the everyday miracles of life and faith play out in stories of healing, hope, and love.

 

 

chairSarah Loudin Thomas grew up on a 100-acre farm in French Creek, WV, the seventh generation to live there. Her Christian fiction is set in West Virginia and celebrates the people, the land, and the heritage of Appalachia. Her first novel, Miracle in a Dry Season, releases August 2014 through Bethany House.

A graduate of Coastal Carolina University in Conway, SC, Sarah once dreamed of being a marine scientist. But her love for words won out and she has spent much of her career in public relations and marketing. She currently oversees fundraising and communications for a Christian children’s home in Black Mountain, NC.

Sarah and her husband Jim live in the mountains of Western North Carolina with Thistle – the canine equivalent to a personal trainer pushing them to hike, run, and throw sticks. Sarah is active in her local church and enjoys cooking and – you guessed it – reading.

 

My Impressions:

There seems to be a new trend in publishing to have authors, established and newbies, produce novella length works to either introduce the targeted audience to the authors or to give some extra background to a novel that has been or is yet to be published. In the case of Sarah Loudin Thomas’ Appalachian Serenade, the publisher is doing both. I find the trend a great way to pique readers’ curiosity and to whet their appetite for more. From what I saw in this novella, I would say Thomas’ novel, Miracle in A Dry Season, due out in August, is sure to please historical romance fans.

It’s 1945 and Delilah has been back in her hometown of Wise, West Virginia, only a short time when she feels the need to be doing something. Living with her older sister’s family after the death of her husband has been an answer to prayer, but she wants to contribute more than helping with the laundry. During a visit to the local store, Delilah is offered a job helping customers — she seems to have a knack for knowing what people are looking for. Soon she and the store owner, Robert, are attracted to each other, but their goals seem contrary to each other.

In just a few pages, Thomas creates a great sense of community that is Wise. Not sure how she did it, but the characters did not suffer for the short format. Each character, both major and minor, became real to this reader. The love story is very satisfying, if just a bit predictable, and I loved how Thomas subtly sends the message of how God places His people in families. If you are looking for a sweet romance, look no further than Appalachian Serenade. And if you, like me, are charmed by the town and its inhabitants, you only have to wait 2 months for the release of the Thomas’ full-length novel, A Miracle in A Dry Season.

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

If you would like to purchase this book, click on the image below. It is currently FREE on Amazon!