Tag Archives: women’s fiction

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

 

Advertisements

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.)

2018 Carol Award Nominees

2 Jul

Congratulations to the 2018 Carol Award shortlist authors! The Carol Awards are sponsored by the American Christian Fiction Writers. If you are looking for a good book to read, this list is a great start!

 

Contemporary

Maybe It’s You by Candace Calvert
The Long Highway Home by Elizabeth Musser
A Fragile Hope by Cynthia Ruchti

 

Historical

Catching the Wind by Melanie Dobson
A Plain Leaving by Leslie Gould
Liar’s Winter by Cindy Sproles

 

Historical Romance

A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander
The Road to Paradise by Karen Barnett
Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer

 

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

Four Months in Cuba by Luana Ehrlich
Ghost Heart by Lisa Harris and Lynne Gentry
Portrait of Vengeance by Carrie Stuart Parks

 

Novella

Puzzle House by Lillian Duncan
An Awakened Heart by Jody Hedlund
One Enchanted Noel from Enchanted: A Christmas Collection by Melissa Tagg

 

Romance

A New Shade of Summer by Nicole Deese
Then There Was You by Kara Isaac
A Matter of Trust by Susan May Warren

 

Romantic Suspense

Justice Buried by Patricia Bradley, Revell
Fatal Mistake by Susan Sleeman
The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

 

Short Novel

Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander
A Sweetwater River Romance by Misty M. Beller
Claiming Her Cowboy by Tina Radcliffe

 

Speculative

Awakened by Morgan L. Busse
Huntress by Julie Hall
King’s Blood by Jill Williamson

 

Young Adult

For Love & Honor by Jody Hedlund
Playing by Heart by Carmela Martino
Betrayal of the Band by Sarah Tipton

 

Debut

Freedom’s Ring by Heidi Chiavaroli
If We Make It Home by Christina Suzann Nelson
Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano

July Book Club Pick

2 Jul

I am very excited that this month By The Book is reading The Hideaway by Lauren K. Denton. I have had this best-selling novel on my radar since it was released last year. I read Denton’s sophomore offering, Hurricane Season, and loved it, so I am expecting a great reading experience. Have you read The Hideaway? We’d love to know your thoughts. If not, please join in our discussion on our FB page.

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).

Top 10 Tuesday — I’ve Only Just Begun

26 Jun

While this week’s Top 10 Tuesday theme is all about series readers decided not to finish, I am again bucking the system. It is officially Opposite Day here at By The Book. My list features series that I haven’t finished because, well, they have just begun! Book 1 of each series is read, and I am eagerly awaiting the publication of book 2. For some series the wait is short; others require a bit more patience. All are series that I know I will love, love, love! (The links are to the reviews of book 1 in series.)

To discover what other bloggers think about finishing series, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Series I Began This Year

Blue Justice by Lynette Eason

Called to Protect (release date 7/31/18)

 

Bucklin Family Reunion by Debby Mayne

Fit to Be Tied (release date 8/28/18)

 

Dive Team Investigations by Lynn H. Blackburn

In Too Deep (release date 11/6/18)

 

Lavender Tides by Colleen Coble

The House at Saltwater Point (release date 7/3/18)

 

Music of Hope by Liz Tolsma

When The Heart Sings (release date 10/9/18)

 

Nantucket Legacy by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Minding The Light (release date 7/3/18)

 

Sunrise at Normandy by Sarah Sundin

The Sky Above Us (release date 2/5/19)

 

The Sugar Baron’s Daughters by Lisa T. Bergren

Verity (release date 4/2/19)

What series have you just begun?