Tag Archives: Susan Meissner

Top 10 Tuesday — Book Title Mash Up

7 Aug

That Artsy Reader Girl is challenging bloggers to a Book Mash Up! We are supposed to take two books that combined together would make one awesome new book. I’m afraid my brain is a bit creativity-challenged, so I tweaked the topic this week to a Title Mash Up — two book titles combined to create a fun book with little in common to the originals. Won’t you join the fun by leaving a comment with some mashed together titles?

 

Top 10 Book Title Mash Up!

 

The Captured Bride Most Begrudging 

She really didn’t want to get married.

 

Carolina Reckoning at Gossamer Pond

Let’s move the action down South.

 

Chasing Secrets of A Charmed Life

Must discover that secret!

 

Dressed for Death in The Shadows

You have to look good!

An Endless Christmas Angel Project

A women’s project gone awry!

 

Imperfect Justice Betrayed

Justice just can’t catch a break.

 

Lead Me Home at Last

Can’t wait to get there.

 

Phoebe’s Light My Fire 

Sounds like a story of a racehorse.

 

A Rebel Heart Between Us

You just can’t trust the heart.

 

Rules of Murder at The Flamingo

Let’s make sure we follow the rules.

 

What are some more titles that make a good mash up?

 

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Top 10 Tuesday — Red, White, and Blue Books!

3 Jul

Happy Top 10 Tuesday — Colors of America! What a better way to celebrate the 4th of July than with a bevy of red, white, and blue books — all with a connection to America’s history. Featuring the settling of a new nation, wars, Civil Rights, etc., these novels connect readers with pivotal times in our nation. I hope you find a new-to-you book to enjoy this holiday week!

 

For more patriotic offerings, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Red, White, And Blue Books!

 

The Mayflower Bride by Kimberly Woodhouse

Freedom’s Ring by Heidi Chiavaroli

Widow of Gettysburg by Jocelyn Green

 

The Pelican Bride by Beth White

As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner

Snapshot by Lis Wiehl

 

The Love Letter by Rachel Hauck

A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green

The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin

 

What are some of your favorite red, white, and blue books?

 

Book Review: As Bright As Heaven

14 May

From the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life and A Bridge Across the Ocean comes a new novel set in Philadelphia during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, which tells the story of a family reborn through loss and love.

In 1918, Philadelphia was a city teeming with promise. Even as its young men went off to fight in the Great War, there were opportunities for a fresh start on its cobblestone streets. Into this bustling town, came Pauline Bright and her husband, filled with hope that they could now give their three daughters–Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa–a chance at a better life.

But just months after they arrive, the Spanish Flu reaches the shores of America. As the pandemic claims more than twelve thousand victims in their adopted city, they find their lives left with a world that looks nothing like the one they knew. But even as they lose loved ones, they take in a baby orphaned by the disease who becomes their single source of hope. Amidst the tragedy and challenges, they learn what they cannot live without–and what they are willing to do about it.

As Bright as Heaven is the compelling story of a mother and her daughters who find themselves in a harsh world not of their making, which will either crush their resolve to survive or purify it.

Susan Meissner is a multi-published author, speaker and writing workshop leader with a background in community journalism. Her novels include As Bright as Heaven, starred review in Library Journal; A Bridge Across the Ocean; Secrets of  Charmed Life, a Goodreads finalist for Best Historical Fiction 2015; and A Fall of Marigolds, named to Booklist’s Top Ten Women’s Fiction titles for 2014. A California native, she attended Point Loma Nazarene University. Susan is a pastor’s wife and a mother of four young adults. Visit Susan at her website: http://susanlmeissner.com on Twitter at @SusanMeissner or at www.facebook.com/susan.meissner

 

My Impressions:

Susan Meissner is one of my favorite authors. I have loved all the books that I have read by this very talented author — from her poignant contemporary debut through her richly detailed historical novels. When given the chance to read As Bright As Heaven, I, of course, issued a resounding YES! But I have to say I have mixed feelings about this novel. It is indeed a beautifully written novel set during an unfamiliar (to me) era in US history. But it was a difficult book to read. I said to a friend that it was very true to life, making it messy and filled with sorrow despite the joy. I definitely recommend this one, but this book requires work on the part of the reader, so don’t expect a quick or easy reading experience.

The setting of As Bright As Heaven is Philadelphia in 1918 and then skips ahead 7 years to 1925. The book begins in the early days of the United States’ involvement in WWI and before the devastating Spanish Flu pandemic hits the city. The Bright family has made a big transition from tobacco farm to the big city and a new venture for parents, Pauline and Thomas. The story is written in the first person voice of the Bright women, mom Pauline and daughters, Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa, with each chapter alternating perspective. The style of the novel provides an intimate look into each character’s thoughts while spotlighting the family dynamics. As the tragedy and consequences of both the flu and the war unfold, Meissner explores the impact on this family and the community as a whole. The combination of the two large events presents a unique framework to show how lives can be changed quickly and unexpectedly. Meissner certainly did her research — the fear, loss, and desperation of those times are clear. While the book is at times rather dark, the Brights have moments of beauty that keep the soul hoping and living. As one character puts it — “We only see a little bit of our stories at time, and the hard parts remind us too harshly that we’re fragile and flawed. But it isn’t all hard. Your story isn’t all hard parts. Some of it is incredibly beautiful.” That pretty much sums up the book and life in general. The characters are very real — they make bad choices often for the right reasons, and those have unimagined and widespread effects (again very true to life). For those who have read Meissner’s Christian fiction, this book is targeted to the general market and has no overt faith message. However, the author’s worldview informs the novel and breaks through in subtle ways.

As Bright As Heaven was a difficult book for me to read. It is a bit unconventional and it touched on difficult circumstances. I didn’t ugly cry during it, but I did have feelings of sorrow for both the characters and those who lived through those difficult times. Meisnner is a very talented writer and has created a beautifully crafted novel. It is a recommended read for me.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

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

 

First Line Friday — Mothers Day Edition

11 May

Happy Mothers Day to all of our wonderful mothers. Being a mother (or a mother-figure) is hard work, so take the weekend to put up your feet and read! This weekend I hope to finish Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner. This novel is told from the first person perspective of 4 women of the Bright family. The first line of the book is from wife and mother, Pauline. It is a bittersweet line that sets the tone for the book.

How about you? What is your first line today? Please share in the comments. Then head over to Hoarding Books to discover more books and authors.

 

In 1918, Philadelphia was a city teeming with promise. Even as its young men went off to fight in the Great War, there were opportunities for a fresh start on its cobblestone streets. Into this bustling town, came Pauline Bright and her husband, filled with hope that they could now give their three daughters–Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa–a chance at a better life.

But just months after they arrive, the Spanish Flu reaches the shores of America. As the pandemic claims more than twelve thousand victims in their adopted city, they find their lives left with a world that looks nothing like the one they knew. But even as they lose loved ones, they take in a baby orphaned by the disease who becomes their single source of hope. Amidst the tragedy and challenges, they learn what they cannot live without–and what they are willing to do about it.

As Bright as Heaven is the compelling story of a mother and her daughters who find themselves in a harsh world not of their making, which will either crush their resolve to survive or purify it.

Susan Meissner is a multi-published author, speaker and writing workshop leader with a background in community journalism. Her novels include As Bright as Heaven, starred review in Library Journal; A Bridge Across the Ocean; Secrets of  Charmed Life, a Goodreads finalist for Best Historical Fiction 2015; and A Fall of Marigolds, named to Booklist’s Top Ten Women’s Fiction titles for 2014. A California native, she attended Point Loma Nazarene University. Susan is a pastor’s wife and a mother of four young adults. Visit Susan at her website: http://susanlmeissner.com ,on Twitter at @SusanMeissner or at www.facebook.com/susan.meissner

 

If You Liked The House on Foster Hill . . .

30 Mar

By The Book’s March selection, The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright, was a BIG hit! It is definitely book club approved! So if you read it and want more like it, I have a few suggestions. These books contain common elements –secrets long kept and past influences on present events. (Their covers also share similar color palettes!)  Check them out for your next great read!

 

Chateau of Echoes by Siri Mitchell

Suddenly widowed in a foreign country, Frederique Farmer did what any girl would do: She bought a castle. She just never imagined that its mysterious fifteenth-century owner would hold the keys to her second chance at life. When an extensive, painstaking restoration of the chateau reveals an ancient treasure, Frederique kisses her reclusive life good-bye. She opens an exclusive bed-and-breakfast, hires a capricious graduate student, and gets talked into hosting a handsome American for an extended stay. Little does the gourmand know, she’s unwittingly concocted a recipe for intrigue, romance, and possibly disaster.

 

My Brother’s Crown by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould

France, 1685. Catherine Gillet knows her brother, Jules, wants to protect her from the sinister threats of the French crown. But Jules is involved in a potentially deadly enterprise, one connected with an encoded document. When his actions put the whole family at risk, will Catherine find a way to save them?

Virginia, present day. Renee Talbot, a direct descendant of Catherine’s, is fascinated by the document that’s been part of her family legacy for more than three centuries. Certain its pages hold hidden secrets, she takes a closer look — and makes a shocking discovery. But when memories of a childhood trauma are rekindled, she’s forced to seek answers of a different kind. Inspired by the faith and bravery of Catherine, can Renee find the truth and face her deepest fears at last?

(This book is the first of a 3-part series, so you have a lot of great reading ahead.)

Refuge on Crescent Hill by Melanie Dobson

Jobless, homeless, and broke, Camden Bristow decides to visit the grandmother she hasn’t seen in years. But when Camden arrives in Etherton, Ohio, she discovers that her grandmother has passed away, leaving her the 150-year-old mansion on Crescent Hill. The site of her happiest summers as a child, the run-down mansion is now her only refuge.

When Camden finds evidence that she may not be the mansion’s only occupant, memories of Grandma Rosalie’s bedtime stories about secret passageways and runaway slaves fuel her imagination. What really happened at Crescent Hill? Who can she turn to for answers in this town full of strangers? And what motivates the handsome local Alex Yates to offer his help? As she works to uncover the past and present mysteries harbored in her home, Camden uncovers deep family secrets within the mansion’s walls that could change her life — and the entire town — forever.

A Sound among The Trees by Susan Meissner

A house shrouded in time. A line of women with a heritage of loss. As a young bride, Susannah Page was rumored to be a Civil War spy for the North, a traitor to her Virginian roots. Her great-granddaughter Adelaide, the current matriarch of Holly Oak, doesn’t believe that Susannah’s ghost haunts the antebellum mansion looking for a pardon, but rather the house itself bears a grudge toward its tragic past.

When Marielle Bishop marries into the family and is transplanted from the arid west to her husband’s home, it isn’t long before she is led to believe that the house she just settled into brings misfortune to the women who live there.

With Adelaide’s richly peppered superstitions and deep family roots at stake, Marielle must sort out the truth about Susannah Page and Holly Oak — and make peace with the sacrifices she has made for love.

 

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Spring TBR

20 Mar

It has been spring here in middle Georgia for a while now. The unusually cold winter has given way to a very early spring. Everything is blooming here and the inevitable pollen has tinged all things yellow. But it is beautiful and promises warmer weather to come.

With March comes a new Spring TBR! Check out what other bloggers are reading in the coming months at That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Books on The Spring TBR List

As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner

High Cotton by Debby Mayne

Hurricane Season by Lauren K. Denton

If I Live by Terri Blackstock

The Land Lord by Cheryl Colwell

Lone Witness by Rachel Dylan

A Loyal Heart by Jody Hedlund

Presumption And Partiality by Rebekah Jones

Together Forever by Jody Hedlund

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West 

What’s on your Spring TBR List?

 

Top Ten Tuesday — The Neglected TBR Pile

6 Feb

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme should be titled the Shame Pile, at least for me. Bloggers were charged to search their shelves (and other places hoarders collectors stash their books) for the books that have been waiting the longest to be read. Oh dear! I have to close my ears as I walk past the shelves that fill the rooms of my house because the books whisper, whine, and sometimes shout Pick Me! I’d like to say that the books I chose this week have been on my shelves the longest, but the task was so overwhelming that I settled for random selections. I had such high hopes when I bought these books (and the other fifty gazillion that await). I just knew I would love them because I had loved their sisters and brothers — the books written and read by their fabulous authors. And I am sure I will love them . . . someday. *sigh*  As I lovingly returned them to their places of honor, I promised that one day, they too would join the ranks of the read.

To find out what books other bloggers have waiting, please visit the Artsy Reader Girl.

Top 10 Neglected Books from My TBR Mountain

The Beach House by Sally John

Hope Springs by Lynne Hinton

June Bug by Chris Fabry

Leaving Yesterday by Kathryn Cushman

‘Mater Biscuit by Julie Cannon

The Passion of Mary Margaret by Lisa Samson

River’s End by Melody Carlson

Ruby’s Slippers by Leanna Ellis

Sandpiper Drift by Vanessa Del Fabbro

White Picket Fences by Susan Meissner

What book do you have on your shelf that needs to be read?