Tag Archives: women’s fiction

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.

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Book Review: Still Waters

21 Sep

Cora Anne Halloway has a history degree and a plan: avoid her own past — despite being wait-listed for graduate school. Then her beloved grandmother requests—and her dispassionate mother insists — that she spend the summer at Still Waters, the family cottage on Edisto Beach, South Carolina.

Despite its picturesque setting, Still Waters haunts Cora Anne with loss. At Still Waters her grandfather died, her parents’ marriage disintegrated, and as a child, she caused a tragic drowning. But lingering among the oak canopies and gentle tides, this place also tempts her with forgiveness — especially since Nan hired Tennessee Watson to oversee cottage repairs. A local contractor, but dedicated to the island’s preservation from development, Tennessee offers her friendship and more, if she can move beyond her guilt.

When a family reunion reveals Nan’s failing health, Cora Anne discovers how far Tennessee will go to protect her — and Edisto — from more desolation. Will Cora Anne choose between a life driven by guilt, or one washed clean by the tides of grace?

Award-winning writer, Lindsey P. Brackett just writes life — blogs, columns, articles, and stories — in the midst of motherhood. A blogger since 2010, she has published articles and short stories in a variety of print and online publications. She writes a popular bimonthly column for several local newspapers in which she meditates on small town southern life.

Her love of family ties and southern places prompted her first novel, Still Waters, a Lowcountry story about the power of family and forgiveness. Thanks to her four kids, in her home you’ll find wet towels, lost library books, and strong coffee.

Connect with her at http://www.lindseypbrackett.com, where she just writes life, on Facebook as Lindsey P. Brackett, on Twitter @lindsbrac, or Instagram @lindseypbrackett.

 

My Impressions:

Still Waters by Lindsey P. Brackett was my book club’s selection this month. I chose this book because of the Southern island setting that I knew would suit our club’s anniversary. A good beach read for a late Summer book getaway is what I was expecting. I certainly got that, but I didn’t realize I would also get a book that as one member put it was way more than fluff. Romance is definitely a part of the book’s appeal, but Still Waters, with its emphasis on family, faith, and forgiveness, is a book that will get you thinking. So sit back in your rocker with a glass of tea and be prepared for a book that will speak to you about reunions and reclamation (in more ways than one).

Cora Anne is fresh out of college with a UGA diploma. Her life has been one of plans and purpose since she was 11 years old. But a storm and a determined grandmother put her back on the road to Edisto Island, a place that claims and breaks her heart at the same time. With the notion of helping her grandmother ready their beach house, Still Waters, Cora Ann confronts her past while clearing a way for a future.

I loved the strong characterization in Still Waters. There are so many great characters to choose from, I found it hard to have a favorite. Cora Anne is a sympathetic character in her turmoil and guilt that has dogged her for 12 years. Her grandmother, Nan, is feisty, strong, insightful, and bold, though her body is frail. If ever there was a swoon-worthy hero, it is Tennessee. His care and concern for Cora Anne surpass his own wants. Secondary characters are fun and create a great compliment for the activities of the main characters. Cora Anne’s triplet brothers provide wonderful comic relief. And there are at least two characters I would love to see get their own book. The setting itself, Edisto Island, is its own character. The essence of the island winds itself through the narrative and the imagination of the reader. It is now on my bucket list of places to visit. Forgiveness is one of the themes in Still Waters. More than one character wrestles with guilt and remorse. The author does a great job of portraying what “living under” forgiveness really looks like.

Still Waters is really a lot of things — southern lit, women’s fiction, family drama, and romance, to name a few. It sounds like a big jumble when stated that way, but that’s not the case at all. It is a well-crafted blend like the spicy gumbo Nan makes. Some sweetness, some spice, and a lot to warm the heart and soul.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(I received a complimentary copy of Still Waters from the author. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Top 10 Tuesday — Fall TBR

18 Sep

Fall may be around the corner, but here in middle Georgia the forecast is definitely all-Summer!  😦  With temps in the mid-90s it’s hard to get into the whole changing leaves/pumpkin spice/snuggly sweater frame of mind. But I can always dream and read! That’s where my Fall TBR comes into play. Check out That Artsy Reader Girl for more bloggers’ Fall reading lists.

 

Top 10 Fall TBR List

 

Burden of Proof by DiAnn Mills

Cost of Betrayal by Dee Henderson/Lynette Eason/Dani Pettrey

Delayed Justice by Cara Putman

Freedom’s Kiss by Sarah Monzon

 Lady of A Thousand Treasures by Sandra Byrd

Miles from Where We Started by Cynthia Ruchti

A Secret to Die For by Lisa Harris

Surrounded by Darkness by Rachel Dylan

A Tale of Two Hearts by Michelle Griep

When You Look at Me by Pepper Basham

Top 10 Tuesday — Book Buzz

31 Jul

All over the social media world you can find book buzz on FB pages/groups, book blogs, the tweeterverse, bookstagram, etc. So do books stand up to all the hype? I have a list of 10 recent reads that not only lived up to all the hoopla, but exceeded it.  I highly recommend the following books; they are the Real Deal!

Find out what other bloggers are saying at That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top 10 Books That Exceeded Their Buzz

 

Before I Saw You by Amy K. Sorrells

The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh

Land of Silence by Tessa Afshar

The Love Letter by Rachel Hauck

The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers 

The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright

A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green

Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West

 

If You Liked The Hideaway . . .

31 Jul

By The Book was unanimous in our approval of The Hideaway by Lauren K. Denton. This well-written novel focused on relationships that shape our lives. If you liked it too, here are a few suggestions for more great reading.

 

Hurricane Season by Lauren K. Denton

Betsy and Ty Franklin, owners of Franklin Dairy Farm in southern Alabama, have long since buried their desire for children of their own. While Ty manages their herd of dairy cows, Betsy busies herself with the farm’s day-to-day operations and tries to forget her dream of motherhood. But when her free-spirited sister, Jenna, drops off her two young daughters for “just two weeks,” Betsy’s carefully constructed wall of self-protection begins to crumble.

As the two weeks stretch deeper into the Alabama summer, Betsy and Ty learn to navigate the new additions in their world—and revel in the laughter that now fills their home. Meanwhile, record temperatures promise to usher in the most active hurricane season in decades.

Attending an art retreat four hundred miles away, Jenna is fighting her own battles. She finally has time and energy to focus on her photography, a lifelong ambition. But she wonders how her rediscovered passion can fit in with the life she’s made back home as a single mom.

When Hurricane Ingrid aims a steady eye at the Alabama coast, Jenna must make a decision that will change her family’s future, even as Betsy and Ty try to protect their beloved farm and their hearts. Hurricane Season is the story of one family’s unconventional journey to healing — and the relationships that must be mended along the way.

The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate

When Iola Anne Poole, an old-timer on Hatteras Island, passes away in her bed at ninety-one, the struggling young mother in her rental cottage, Tandi Jo Reese, finds herself charged with the task of cleaning out Iola’s rambling Victorian house.

Running from a messy, dangerous past, Tandi never expects to find more than a temporary hiding place within Iola’s walls, but everything changes with the discovery of eighty-one carefully decorated prayer boxes, one for each year, spanning from Iola’s youth to her last days. Hidden in the boxes is the story of a lifetime, written on random bits of paper – the hopes and wishes, fears and thoughts of an unassuming but complex woman passing through the seasons of an extraordinary, unsung life filled with journeys of faith, observations on love, and one final lesson that could change everything for Tandi.

The Secret to Hummingbird Cake by Celeste Fletcher McHale

In the South you always say “yes, ma’am” and “no, ma’am.” You know everybody’s business. Football is a lifestyle not a pastime. Food — especially dessert — is almost a religious experience. And you protect your friends as fiercely as you protect your family —  even if the threat is something you cannot see.

In this spot-on Southern novel brimming with wit and authenticity, you’ll laugh alongside lifelong friends, navigate the sometimes rocky path of marriage, and roll through the outrageous curveballs that life sometimes throws . . . from devastating pain to absolute joy. And if you’re lucky, you just may discover the secret to hummingbird cake along the way.

Test of Faith by Christa Allan

Elle Butler has managed to hold on to her politically-driven husband and her secrets until the unexpected happens. When one phone call rips her world apart, Elle will have to decide if the truth is worth the consequences. Especially when it threatens to destroy the world she’s so carefully built around her life and her marriage.

Top 10 Tuesday — Beachy Beach Reads

24 Jul

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday is all about sensory reads — the books that engage the senses as you read. Since it is mid-July, I decided to feature books that made me taste the salt in the air, hear the waves crashing, feel the sand between my toes — beachy beach reads! My choices span genres — mystery/suspense, romance, historical — but have the beach (or coastal areas) in common. Hope you enjoy a trip to the beach from your chair!

To find out what other books made readers feel, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

 

 

Top Beachy Beach Reads!

Chasing Sunsets by Eva Marie Everson

Freefall by Kristen Heitzmann

Hope Harbor by Irene Hannon

The Inn at Ocean’s Edge by Colleen Coble

Lighthouse by Eugenia Price

Pirate Queen by Patricia Hickman

The Sea Keeper’s Daughters by Lisa Wingate

To Love And Cherish by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller

Rosemary Cottage by Colleen Coble

A Vast And Gracious Tide by Lisa Carter

 

What’s your favorite beachy beach read?

Book Review: The Hideaway

23 Jul

When her grandmother’s will wrenches Sara back home, she learns more about Margaret Van Buren in the wake of her death than she ever knew in life.

After her last remaining family member dies, Sara Jenkins goes home to The Hideaway, her grandmother Mags’s ramshackle B&B in Sweet Bay, Alabama. She intends to quickly tie up loose ends then return to her busy life and thriving antique shop in New Orleans. Instead, she learns Mags has willed The Hideaway to her and charged her with renovating it — no small task considering her grandmother’s best friends, a motley crew of senior citizens, still live there.

Rather than hurrying back to New Orleans, Sara stays in Sweet Bay and begins the biggest house-rehabbing project of her career. Amid drywall dust, old memories, and a charming contractor, she discovers that slipping back into life at The Hideaway is easier than she expected.

Then she discovers a box Mags left in the attic with clues to a life Sara never imagined for her grandmother. With help from Mags’s friends, Sara begins to piece together the mysterious life of bravery, passion, and choices that changed her grandmother’s destiny in both marvelous and devastating ways.

When an opportunistic land developer threatens to seize The Hideaway, Sara is forced to make a choice — stay in Sweet Bay and fight for the house and the people she’s grown to love or leave again and return to her successful but solitary life in New Orleans.

Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Lauren K. Denton now lives with her husband and two daughters in Homewood, just outside Birmingham. In addition to her fiction, she writes a monthly newspaper column about life, faith, and how funny (and hard) it is to be a parent. On any given day, she’d rather be at the beach with her family and a stack of books. Her debut novel, The Hideaway, was a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Amazon Charts bestseller. Her second novel, Hurricane Season, released in spring of 2018. Her third, Glory Road, will release in February of 2019.

Find her at LaurenKDenton.com or on Facebook (LaurenKDentonAuthor), Instagram (LaurenKDentonBooks), or Twitter (@laurenkdenton).

 

My Impressions:

The Hideaway, Lauren K. Denton’s debut novel, was my book club’s selection this month. I was eager to read it since I had already read her second novel, Hurricane Season, and knew that this one had been a best seller. A debut novel that became a best seller — there had to be a reason. Yes, yes there was. The novel is written in the currently popular dual time/story style. It tells in first person accounts the stories of Mags and her granddaughter, Sara. The similarities between the two women become apparent as the narrative progresses. Both chose to run away from other’s plans for their lives, as well as emotionally difficult relationships. Part love story, part women’s fiction, the novel was an enjoyable read and got a unanimous thumbs up from my group.

The dual story line style can be difficult to sustain, as a reader often loses interest in one of the stories. Denton does a great job of maintaining the pacing of each storyline. The characters are interesting, although caused frustration for more than one member of our group. There are a lot of assumptions, wrong assumptions, that they make that cause pain and separation. I did like that as Sara came to know and understand her grandmother (and recognize their similarities), that her choices were informed by the wrong turns her grandmother took. The setting of the novel is perhaps the best part of the novel. Denton does a wonderful job of creating the world that is The Hideaway. There is also a sweet love story that will appeal to the romance fan. Now for the cons of the book. The novel was published by a Christian publishing house, yet there really isn’t anything Christian about it. A secondary character is described as a person of faith, but not much is said beyond that. Mags has an almost come-to-Jesus moment that also goes absolutely nowhere. My group was a bit puzzled by that scene as well as the lack of regret for the more adult of situations. Did it keep us from liking the book? Not really. We just expected a deeper reading experience.

All in all, my book club and I liked The Hideaway. Well-written with great characters and a wonderful sense of place, it definitely is a good read. But if you are looking for a novel with a strong Christian message, I would pass on this one.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(I purchased a Kindle version of this book. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)