Tag Archives: women’s fiction

Reading Road Trip — Gulf Coast Ramblings

26 Jun

For a while my summer vacations were confined to the Gulf Coast. In college we went to a beach house in Orange Beach, Alabama. Then when I first married we moved to Tarpon Springs, Florida. Our children grew up going to Destin, Gulf Shores, and Perdido Key. We have expanded our vacation horizons in the past few years, but the Gulf Coast still offers fond memories. I thought it would be fun to feature some books set along the almost 1700 miles that the coast line spans. While some of the towns included are not technically on the coast (New Orleans, for example), they are a huge part of the flavor of the area. I have included a number of genres — cozy mystery, historical romance, women’s fiction, and contemporary romance — so you are bound to find one you will love. So even if your summer plans only include a visit to your backyard, here are some choices for a virtual Gulf Coast Ramble.

 

Galveston, Texas

A Bouquet of Love by Janice Thompson

Cassia Pappas has found herself in a nearly impossible situation. She wants to spend her time immersed in her new job at a Galveston Island floral shop, arranging blooms and brightening occasions with her lovely creations. But her huge Greek family — especially her father — has other ideas. They’ve all relocated to Galveston to open up a new family restaurant location on the Strand–directly across the street from the Rossis’ popular pizza place–and they want Cassia’s full participation.

To make matters worse, as Cassia is trying to develop a strong professional relationship with Galveston’s premier wedding coordinator, Bella Neeley, her own father is intent on stealing all of the Rossi family’s faithful customers. Not exactly the best way to get into Bella’s good graces!

Still, at least Alex, that hot delivery guy from the nursery, is always hanging around the flower shop . . .

New Orleans, Louisiana

Dancing on Glass by Pamela Binnings Ewen

In the steamy city of New Orleans in 1974, Amalise Catoir sees Phillip Sharp as a charming, magnetic artist, unlike any man she has known. A young lawyer herself, raised in a small town and on the brink of a career with a large firm, she is strong and successful, yet sometimes too trusting and whimsical. Ama’s rash decision to marry Phillip proves to be a mistake as he becomes overly possessive, drawing his wife away from family, friends, and her faith. His insidious, dangerous behavior becomes her dark, inescapable secret.

In this lawyer’s unraveling world, can grace survive Ama’s fatal choice? What would you do when prayers seem to go unanswered, faith has slipped away, evil stalks, and you feel yourself forever dancing on shattered glass?

Vancleve, Mississippi

Fair Game by Elizabeth White

“Nothing worth having is easy to get . . .

Ana Cutrere’s homecoming to Vancleave, Mississippi, is anything but dull. Before she’s even reached town, the beautiful young widow has a run-in with a stray cow, loses her son in the woods, rescues an injured fawn, and comes face-to-face with Grant Gonzales, her high school crush. Grant recently returned to town himself amid hushed controversy. His only plan: leave the corporate world behind and open a hunting reserve. Seeing Jana again ignites old memories . . . and a painful past.Tensions boil over when he learns exactly why she returned. Jana plans to convince her grandfather to develop a wildlife rescue center — dead center on the prime hunting property he promised to sell to Grant! Jana is determined to make a new start for herself and her two children — and willing to fight for it. With deadlines drawing near for the sale of the property and no decision from her grandfather, can Jana trust God with her and Grant’s future, or will explosive emotions and diametrically opposing views tear them apart?

Mobile, Alabama

The Creole Princess by Beth White

All along the eastern seaboard, the American struggle for independence rages. In the British-held southern port of Mobile, Alabama, the conflict brewing is quieter — though no less deadly. The lovely Frenchwoman Lyse Lanier is best friends with the daughter of the British commander. Rafael Gonzalez is a charming young Spanish merchant with a secret mission and a shipment of gold to support General Washington. As their paths cross and their destinies become increasingly tangled, Lyse and Rafael must decide where their true loyalties lie — and somehow keep Lyse’s family from being executed as traitors to the British Crown.

With spectacular detail that brings the Colonial South alive, Beth White invites readers into a world of intrigue and espionage from a little-known side of the American Revolutionary War. Her richly textured settings and characters delight while fast pacing and closely held secrets will keep readers turning the pages.

The Magnolia Duchess by Beth White

Fiona Lanier is the only woman in the tiny Gulf Coast settlement of Navy Cove. While her shipbuilding family races to fill the demand for American ships brought by the War of 1812, Fiona tries to rescue her brother who was forced into service by the British Navy.

Lieutenant Charlie Kincaid has been undercover for six months, obtaining information vital to the planned British invasion of New Orleans. When a summer storm south of Mobile Bay wrecks his ship and scatters the crew, Charlie suffers a head injury, ultimately collapsing in the arms of a beautiful mermaid who seems eerily familiar. As Charlie’s memory returns in agonizing jags and crashes, he and Fiona discover that falling in love may be as inevitable as the tide. But when political loyalties begin to collide, they’ll each have to decide where their true heart lies.

Gulf Shores, Alabama

What The Cat Dragged In by Gilbert Morris

Introducing…

Jacques the Ripper: A tough–minded “Savannah” breed of feline–fierce, enormous, and with a mind of his own.

And…

Cleo: A multi–colored “Rag Doll” with long silky hair. Cleo is as affectionate as Jacques is tough and her favorite mode of transportation is draped over the shoulder of the nearest human.

In their debut mystery, Jacques and Cleo and their owner…or rather the human they own, Kate Forrest, and her son, Jeremy, move to a beautiful beach house in Gulf Shores, Alabama, left to Kate by a distant relative.

The catch is that another distant relative, wanna–be novelist (and bonafide cat–hater) Jake Novak, has also inherited an interest in the house. Undeterred, Kate and Jeremy move in the downstairs quarters and Jake takes the separate apartment upstairs.

Then, when a murder occurs . . . everyone is stumped — but feline sleuths Jacques and Cleo come to the rescue and reveal the identity of the killer.

 

Destin, Florida (and nearby environs)

Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Beth Vogt

Wedding bells and storm clouds collide in the first engaging novel in a brand-new series about destination weddings, the power of love, and the possible mishaps and missteps that happen on a couple’s journey down the aisle to “I do.”

Paramedic Vanessa Hollister has put her adolescence behind her, including the unwanted label of being the new kid in town over and over again, thanks to her father’s military career. She’s overcome what her mother called “the biggest mistake of her life” and is planning an elegant destination wedding in Destin, Florida with her new fiancé. But will the reappearance of her first husband from her what-were-you-thinking teenage elopement disrupt her dream of an idyllic beach wedding?

As a professional storm chaser, Logan Hollister is used to taking risks. However, a reckless decision during the last tornado season has him questioning the future of his team, the Stormmeisters. Coming face to face with his ex-wife eight years after their divorce compels him to confront his greatest regret: losing Vanessa. Does their past give him the right to interfere with her future?

A fast-moving, powerful hurricane throws Vanessa and Logan together as they evacuate to a storm shelter along with other residents of the Florida Gulf Coast. Forced to spend time together, the pair battles unexpected renewed feelings for each other.

Vanessa and Logan are faced with a choice: Should they accept, once and for all, their teenage marital mistake? Or is God offering them a second chance at happily ever after?

If Kathleen could relive any moment, it would be the one in 1969. Not because of its sweet memories, but because it changed her life forever.

Watercolor Summer by Nan Corbitt Allen

Just thirteen, Kathleen felt isolated and alienated by her family. A victim of her parents’ lack of connection to each other and to her, she was dragged by her mother to another artist colony for the summer. There she met the annoying Malcolm, a sixteen-year-old, mentally-challenged boy living with his caregiver.

In Watercolor Summer, Nan Allen tells the story of the difficult summer when Kathleen learned how Malcolm and his colorful guardian were the examples of true and selfless love. She paints a story on the canvas of Kathleen’s life which was transformed by the Master Artist–a life once stained by pain and trial, that became a thing of beauty.

Cedar Key, Florida

Waiting for Sunrise by Eva Marie Everson

Life sometimes gets the best of us. For some it’s the daily pressures, for others it’s the shadows of the past. For Patsy Milstrap, it’s both. When she travels to beautiful Cedar Key on Florida’s Gulf Coast in search of healing, she never dreams her past will be waiting for her there.

With a large helping of Southern charm, Waiting for Sunrise is a touching story of family, young love, and the need for forgiveness. Author Eva Marie Everson expertly draws out the bittersweet moments of life, weaving them into a tale that envelops the soul.

 

Tarpon Springs, Florida

The Lady of Tarpon Springs by Judith Miller

Much to the dismay of her Greek family, Zanna Krykos makes a living as a lawyer in Tarpon Springs, Florida. When her friend Lucy needs legal advice about the business she inherited upon her father’s passing, she ends up asking Zanna to run the business instead so she can focus on her medical career.

Nico Kalos is a Greek diver who has worked on sponging boats in the Aegean Sea since the age of 14, giving him a vast knowledge of the trade. When he hears of an opportunity to lead a group of spongers to the United States, he seizes it. But his excitement is quickly quelled when he arrives only to discover that a young woman with no experience in the business will be in charge of the new crews.

But as Zanna and Nico face even more complications than they could have imagined, they must learn to work together or risk everything they’ve worked so hard for.

Book Spotlight + Giveaway! — Libby’s Cuppa Joe

29 May

Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for Libby’s Cuppa Joe by Rebecca Waters with JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: Libby’s Cuppa Joe
Author: Rebecca Waters
Publisher: Ambassador International
Release Date: March 8, 2018
Genre: Women’s Fiction

Can grace and love be found amongst coffee grounds?

Sonja Parker is about to find out.

Excited to leave her stale life in the big city behind, Sonja takes the money her grandmother left her and purchases Libby’s Cuppa Joe, a thriving coffee shop in a small community in Wisconsin’s Door County. Sonja may have business sense, but is she ready to face the world on her own?

Sonja soon discovers owning a business requires more than offering a good cup of coffee. She must make major repairs to the building as well as major repairs to her heart. Do the former owners, Libby and Joe hold the answer? As Sonja seeks to make Libby’s Cuppa Joe a viable business, can she also find herself and the God she has abandoned?

Libby’s Cuppa Joe is a riveting tale of second chances, forgiveness, and not living on borrowed faith.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | ChristianBook

 

EXCERPT

Sonja stared at the check in her hand. Attached was a letter from the attorney handling her grandmother’s estate. Not much by California standards, but a fortune back home. Home. Wisconsin. The thought of returning to her roots had been rolling in and out of her mind like the waves of the beach at La Jolla for the last few months. Ever since her grandmother fell ill. Instead of improving as the doctor predicted, Grandma Grace died peacefully in her sleep a mere three months after the debilitating stroke took her speech and left her limbs useless. The four days Sonja spent with her mother planning the funeral, reliving memories of Grandma Grace and sorting through a few of her things, created in Sonja a hunger for home. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rebecca Waters has been a writer most of her life. Her first published work was a story in the school newspaper she wrote in second grade. For many years Rebecca used her stories as illustrations in church settings and to entertain her own three daughters. Her professional writing included educational articles and research.

Following her retirement as a professor of education from Cincinnati Christian University, Rebecca turned her pen to the world of fiction. She has also published several articles in Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Lookout Magazine, and Home Health Aide Digest. Her first novel, Breathing on Her Own, was released in 2014.

CONNECT WITH REBECCA: Website | Facebook | Twitter


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a print copy of Libby’s Cuppa Joe and (1) winner will receive an ebook copy.

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight May 28, 2019 and last through 11:59 pm June 4, 2019. US only. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE

JustRead Tours

Top 10 Tuesday — Favorite Books Over The Blogging Years

28 May

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday challenge from That Artsy Reader Girl is a list of favorite books from the past ten years. Only 1 per year!? That really is a challenge. My  10 year blogging anniversary is coming up in October, and in the course of reading 1000+ books, I have read many that were truly excellent. Whittling the list down was a daunting task, but here is my list. I hope you find one that you too must read.

Top Books from Each Year I Have Been Blogging

 

 

2010

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.

2011

The 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. A deeply spiritual book, it shows how those who work to teach others often have the most to learn, and is further evidence that Bo Caldwell writes “vividly and with great historical perspective” (San Jose Mercury News).

2012

The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

Charlotte Malone is getting married. Yet all is not settled in the heart of Birmingham’s chic bridal boutique owner. Charlotte can dress any bride to perfection-except herself. When she discovers a vintage mint-condition wedding gown in a battered old trunk, Charlotte embarks on a passionate journey to discover the women who wore the gown before her.

Emily in 1912. Mary in 1939. And Hillary in 1968. Each woman teaches Charlotte something about love in her own unique way. Woven within the threads of the beautiful hundred-year-old gown is the truth about Charlotte’s heritage, the power of faith, and the beauty of finding true love.

2013

Invisible by Ginny Ytrrup

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, though she longs to hide, she instead follows God and fights for her own survival.


As these women’s lives intertwine, their eyes will open to the glory within each of them as they begin to recognize themselves as being created n God’s image.



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.

Willa is a woman caught between two worlds. 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.

2017

Long Way Gone by Charles Martin

At the age of eighteen, 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 home to the remote Colorado mountains, searching for answers about his father and his faith.

When Daley shows up on his street corner twenty 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 himself.

A radical retelling of the prodigal son story, 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.

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 Bambithat 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.

 

Reading Road Trip — South Carolina

22 May

To start the summer traveling season off right, I am headed to South Carolina in my Reading Road Trip. The Palmetto State stretches from the sandy beaches and marshes of the Low Country to the edges of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Known for its Southern hospitality, the state is rich in history. I have included women’s fiction, romance, mystery, suspense, and historical fiction on my list. I hope you will find the perfect read for the lazy days of summer.

Carolina Gold by Dorothy Love

The war is over, but at Fairhaven Plantation, Charlotte’s struggle has just begun.

Following her father’s death, Charlotte Fraser returns to Fairhaven, her family’s rice plantation in the South Carolina Lowcountry. With no one else to rely upon, smart, independent Charlotte is determined to resume cultivating the superior strain of rice called Carolina Gold.  But the war has left the plantation in ruins, her father’s former bondsmen are free, and workers and equipment are in short supply.

To make ends meet, Charlotte reluctantly agrees to tutor the two young daughters of her widowed neighbor and heir to Willowood Plantation, Nicholas Betancourt.  Just as her friendship with Nick deepens, he embarks upon a quest to prove his claim to Willowood and sends Charlotte on a dangerous journey that uncovers a long-held family secret, and threatens everything she holds dear.

Inspired by the life of a 19th-century woman rice farmer, Carolina Gold pays tribute to the hauntingly beautiful Lowcountry and weaves together  mystery, romance, and historical detail, bringing to life the story of one young woman’s struggle to restore her ruined world.

Beguiled by Deeanne Gist and Mark Bertrand

In the shadows of Charleston, someone is watching her

Rylee Monroe, a dogwalker in Charleston’s wealthiest neighborhood, never feared the streets at night. But now a thief is terrorizing the area and worse, someone seems to be targeting her.

Reporter Logan Woods is covering the break-ins with the hope of publishing them as a true-crime book. The more he digs, the more he realizes this beguiling dogwalker seems to be at the center of everything.

As danger draws ever closer, Logan must choose: Chase the girl, the story, or plunge into the shadows after the villain who threatens everything?

Called to Protect by Lynette Eason

For the past year, Chloe St. John has been working as a K-9 cop with her German shepherd partner, Hank. After being dumped by her fiancé for another woman, Chloe has decided that Hank is just about the only male she likes. She’s over the whole romance thing and focuses her attention on doing her job. Because a serious case of human trafficking with connections to her missing cousin just landed in her lap.

When US Marshall Blake MacCallum’s daughter goes missing, he’s ordered to kill the judge he’s protecting and tell no one about his daughter’s disappearance or she will die. Blake races against the clock to rescue his daughter while Chloe and Hank are asked to be a part of the task force assembled to bring down the traffickers. Chloe finds herself attracted to the silent, suffering man, but thanks to her previous bad judgment, she wonders if she can trust him. And can Blake trust himself around this firecracker of a woman?

Flies on The Butter by Denise Hildreth Jones

Can you ever really go home again?

Rose Fletcher’s come a long way from her South Carolina up-bringing of Sunday church and Mamaw’s fried chicken. As a high-powered lobbyist in Washington, D.C., Rose has put the South behind her. But the peace and happiness she has sought eludes her. With her marriage on the brink of disaster, her mind races with the chaos her life has become.

Now Rose must head south for home. She’ll face her demons, relive her coming-of-age, and confront the issues that have kept her away all these years. It’ll take the intervention of strangers and a painful miracle of grace to help her find that place called “home” once again.

Still Waters by Lindsey Brackett

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?

Sunrise on The Battery by Beth Webb Hart

She wanted her husband to attend the town’s society-driven church. God answered her prayer in a radical way.

An emptiness dogs Mary Lynn Scoville. But it shouldn’t. After all, she’s achieved what few believed possible. Born in the rural south, she has reached the pinnacle of worldly success in Charleston, South Carolina. Married to a handsome real estate developer and mother to three accomplished daughters, Mary Lynn is one Debutante Society invitation away from truly having it all. And yet, it remains—an emptiness that no shopping trip, European vacation, or social calendar can fill.

While her husband commits social suicide and the life they worked so hard for crumbles around them, Mary Lynn wonders if their marriage can survive. Or if perhaps there really is a more abundant life that Jackson has discovered, richer than any she’s ever dreamed of.

 

Book Review + Giveaway! — The Printed Letter Bookshop

16 May

About The Book

Book: The Printed Letter Bookshop

Author: Katherine Reay

Genre: Women’s fiction, romance

Release Date: May 14, 2019

Amid literature and lattes, three women come together and find that sharing one’s journey with best friends makes life richer.

When attorney Madeline Carter inherits her aunt’s bookstore in a small town north of Chicago, she plans to sell it and add the proceeds to her nonexistent “investment portfolio.” But plans change when Madeline discovers the store isn’t making money and she gets passed over for promotion at her firm. She quits in protest, takes the train north, and decides to work at the store to prep it for sale. Madeline soon finds herself at odds with employees Janet and Claire; when she also finds herself attracted to an affianced man, it only confuses the entire situation.

After blowing up her marriage two years earlier, Jessica has found solace working at the bookstore and a kindred spirit within its owner, Maddie Cullen. But when Maddie dies and her niece, Madeline, barges in like a bulldozer, Janet pushes at the new owner in every way-until she trips over common ground. Soon the women are delving into online dating and fashion makeovers, and Janet feels the pull to rediscover her art, a love she thought long behind her.

After a night of bad decisions leaves the store in peril, Claire arrives and tries to save the day. While she, too, found sanctuary in the little bookstore, she knows it’s under-insured, in the red, and will never survive. When she discovers her teenage daughter has played a part in vandalizing the store, Claire taps into strength she didn’t know existed-or had long forgotten. The quietest of the three, she steps up and finds a way to save her family, the store, and the precious friendships that have grown within it.

The Printed Letter Bookshop is the story of friends who find each other-and themselves-in a place none of them ever expected.

Click here to purchase your copy.

 

My Impressions:

I absolutely loved this book! And what’s not to love — three engaging characters, a bookshop setting (that goes without saying) and very cool allusions to all the books, and a subtle and natural faith message that speaks hope and truth without hitting you over the head. The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay has it all and is a very highly recommended read!

There are three characters that are central to the story of The Printed Letter Bookshop. The novel is told through their distinct POVs. But this book is unique in that format because the POVs are first person past tense, first person present tense, and third person. I found it a bit jarring at first, until I happened upon a line from one of the characters. Then it all fell into place with an aha! from me. Clever, clever author! 😉 The changes to the characters through their experiences are also expressed by the changes in their voices. Be on the look out for that. Madeline, Janet, and Claire are very different, yet I found myself relating to each of them. They’ve made mistakes, lost their way, and been influenced by partial knowledge — kind of like all of us. I loved their journeys. And the books! There are tons of references for dedicated book nerds. The shop and the books are wonderful vehicles for showcasing community, the importance of real relationships and of loving well. As for the faith message, forgiveness plays a big part in the story. I also loved how the author used Proverbs 31 to speak to each of the characters (and this reader) in a new, fresh way.

Fans of books, books, books, fans of women’s fiction, fans of a good story told very well — that’s who should read The Printed Letter Bookshop. I promise you will love it! It is one of the best books I have read this year.

Very Highly Recommended. 

Audience: adults.

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

About The Author

Katherine Reay is the national bestselling and award-winning author of Dear Mr. Knightley, Lizzy and Jane, The Brontë Plot, A Portrait of Emily Price, The Austen Escape, and The Printed Letter Bookshop. All Katherine’s novels are contemporary stories with a bit of classical flair. Katherine holds a BA and MS from Northwestern University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and isa wife, mother, former marketer, and avid chocolate consumer. After living all across the country and a few stops in Europe, Katherine now happily resides outside Chicago, IL. You can meet her at www.katherinereay.com; Facebook: KatherineReayBooks; Twitter: @katherine_reay; or Instagram: @katherinereay.

More From Katherine

Don’t you love bookshops?

Every time I walk into a bookstore, it feels like a rainbow cracked open and rained a kaleidoscope of light, life and possibilities before me. I find worlds within the world and a call to adventure.

Each bookshop tells a different story. It tells of its loyal beloved customer base. It reflects the personality of its owner and staff. It carries the aura of the stories it offers to us.

And it was the perfect place to dig into lives, hearts and book loves of Janet, Claire and Madeline. These three women, at different stages in life, meet at the Printed Letter Bookshop, with all the romance and wonder it holds, and learn to work through their challenges together. They become the friends that each didn’t know she was missing.

There is also a fourth woman I loved spending time with in the Printed Letter Bookshop — its original owner, Maddie Carter. Maddie doesn’t step onto the stage even once, but her presence, her love and her guiding hand are apparent from page one as Janet, Claire, and Madeline grow in friendship and in faith.

The Printed Letter Bookshop is a love letter to books, a testament to the beauty of new beginnings and a sweet reminder of the power of friendship. I hope you savor your time with these three women — And, book lovers rejoice, there is a list of all the books they allude to in the back of the book!

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, May 14

Godly Book Reviews, May 14

The Power of Words, May 14

Reflections From My Bookshelves, May 15

Carla Loves To Read, May 15

Pause for Tales, May 15

Maureen’s Musings, May 16

Bigreadersite, May 16

By The Book, May 16

Inspirationally Ever After, May 17

Reading Themes, May 17

For The Love of Books, May 17

Lis Loves Reading, May 18

Emily Yager, May 18

Living Life Free in Christ, May 18

For HIm and My Family, May 19

Retrospective Spines, May 19

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, May 19

Girls Living For God’s Glory, May 20

As He Leads is Joy, May 20

To Everything A Season, May 20

All-Of-a-kind Mom, May 21

Through the Fire Blogs, May 21

Creating Romance, May 21

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 22

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, May 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 22

Reader’s Cozy Corner, May 23

Wishful Endings, May 23

Texas Book-aholic, May 23

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 24

Just the Write Escape, May 24

The Christian Fiction Girl, May 25

Lighthouse Academy, May 25

janicesbookreviews, May 25

Inspired by Fiction, May 26

Simple Harvest Reads, May 26 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Inklings and notion, May 26

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 27

amandainpa, May 27

A Reader’s Brain, May 27

Giveaway

 

To celebrate her tour, Katherine is giving away a paperback copy of The Printed Letter Bookshop to one lucky winner!

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/e4f1/the-printed-letter-bookshop-celebration-tour-giveaway

Book Review + Giveaway! — Moments We Forget

13 May

About The Book

Book: Moments We Forget

Author: Beth Vogt

Genre: Contemporary fiction, woman’s fiction

Release Date: May 7, 2019

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?

Click here to purchase your copy.

 

My Impressions:

Moments We Forget is the second book in Beth Vogt’s Thatcher Sisters series. I somehow missed book 1, but that did not keep me from fully engaging in this touching story of loss and hope. The novel is contemporary women’s fiction at its best. Vogt’s characterization is spot-on as she develops the sometimes uneasy relationship between sisters Jillian, Johanna, and Payton. The book is told in Jillian’s first person voice with third person POV glimpses into Johanna and Payton’s lives. And while the story focuses mostly on Jillian, Vogt does a great job of advancing the other two’s story lines. Jillian has come out on the other side of breast cancer clinging to the hope for a return to normal. Unfortunately, there is a new normal. I am the daughter of a breast cancer survivor and have several close friends who have come through that fight, but (to my shame) I never realized the struggles that survivors face even as they get a cured report. Moments We Forget really opened my eyes. But while Jillian’s breast cancer journey is part of the story, it is not the final word. Her search for identity and turn towards God are more than believable. This middle daughter who has always lived with the label of just Jillian, learns a lot about herself, her marriage, her family, and the relationship she can have with God who impacts all those things.

Complex family dynamics, well-written dialog, believable characterization, relevant themes — you will find all these and more in Moments We Forget. I flew through this book and am eager to go back and read book 1, Things I Never Told You (it’s already waiting on my Kindle). I highly recommend this book — it is one of the best I have read this year.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

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

 

About The Author

Beth K. Vogt is a nonfiction author and editor who said she’d never write fiction. She’s the wife of an Air Force family physician (now in solo practice) who said she’d never marry a doctor—or anyone in the military. She’s a mom of four who said she’d never have kids. Now Beth believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” A women’s fiction novelist, Beth’s first novel for Tyndale House Publishers, Things I Never Told You, released May 2018.

Beth is a 2016 Christy Award winner, a 2016 ACFW Carol Award winner, and a 2015 RITA® finalist. Her 2014 novel, Somebody Like You, was one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2014. A November Bride was part of the Year of Wedding series by Zondervan. Having authored nine contemporary romance novels or novellas, Beth believes there’s more to happily-ever-after than the fairy tales tell us.

An established magazine writer and former editor of the leadership magazine for MOPS International, Beth blogs for Novel Rocket and also enjoys speaking to writers’ groups and mentoring other writers. She lives in Colorado with her husband, Rob, who has adjusted to discussing the lives of imaginary people, and their youngest daughter, Christa, who loves to play volleyball and enjoys writing her own stories. Connect with Beth at  bethvogt.com.

More from Beth

“A sister is like yourself in a different movie, a movie that stars you in a different life.”

Deborah Tannen (1945-), sociologist

I’m launching Moments We Forget, book two in the Thatcher Sisters series, and I’ve just turned in the final book in the series. I’d love to share book three’s title with you, but I don’t know what it is. (Of course, book three might have a final title by the time you read this—that’s part of the fun of prerelease deadlines.)

One thing I do know: the theme of “Little Women gone wrong” is woven through all of the books . . . thanks to the Thatcher sisters: Payton, Pepper, Jillian, and Johanna.

Sisters, be they real or imaginary, can be complicated.

Of course, there are sisters who have close relationships. They “get” each other and love doing life together.

But then there are the sister relationships that are like mismatched socks. Or those expensive jeans you loved in the store, but when you bring them home, they never quite live up to those moments in the dressing room.

Such are the Thatcher sisters. Johanna, Jillian, Payton, and Pepper grew up in the same family. They’re all tall. They love Broncos football and board games. But in so many ways their lives are like different movies because they each made different choices. Choices that changed and separated them. Moments We Forget continues to explore whether the Thatcher sisters can find a way to understand each other enough to bridge the distance between them.

Blog Stops

Livin’ Lit, May 7

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, May 7

The Power of Words, May 7

Among the Reads, May 8

Carpe Diem, May 8

Quiet Quilter, May 8

Wishful Endings, May 9

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, May 9

Simple Harvest Reads, May 10 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Remembrancy, May 10

God’s Little Bookworm, May 11

Just the Write Escape, May 11

Spoken from the Heart, May 12

Splashes of Joy, May 12

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 12

Through the Fire Blogs, May 13

Genesis 5020, May 13

By The Book, May 13

Bigreadersite, May 14

A Baker’s Perspective, May 14

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, May 14

Pause for Tales, May 15

Moments, May 15

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, May 15

All-of-a-kind Mom, May 16

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 16

Texas Book-aholic, May 16

janicesbookreviews, May 17

Living Life Free in Christ, May 17

To Everything A Season, May 17

Real World Bible Study, May 18

Older & Smarter?, May 18

A Reader’s Brain, May 18

Inklings and notions, May 19

Hallie Reads, May 19

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 19

Godly Book Reviews, May 20

The Becca Files, May 20

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 20

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Beth is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card plus a softcover copy of Moments We Forget!!

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/e26d/moments-we-forget-celebration-tour-giveaway

Book Review: The Edge of Mercy

9 May

Two women, three hundred years apart, must face the devastation of all they hold dear…Suspecting her husband is having an affair, Sarah Rodrigues fights to appear unbroken while attempting to salvage her family. Though distracted by her own troubles, Sarah is summoned to an elderly friend’s deathbed for an unusual request — find a long-lost daughter and relay a centuries-old family story.Determined not to fail her friend, Sarah pieces together the story of her neighbor’s ancestor, Elizabeth Baker, a young colonist forced into an unwanted betrothal but drawn to a man forbidden by society. While Sarah’s family teeters on the edge of collapse, her world is further shaken by the interest of a caring doctor and a terrible accident that threatens a life more precious than her own. Inspired by the unconditional love she uncovers in Elizabeth’s story, Sarah strives to forgive those who’ve wounded her soul. But when light shines on the dark secrets of her neighbor’s past and the full extent of her husband’s sins, will looking to a power greater than herself rekindle lost hope?

Heidi Chiavaroli began writing twelve years ago, just after Jesus had grabbed hold of her heart. She used her two small boys’ nap times to pursue what she thought at the time was a foolish dream. Despite a long road to publication, she hasn’t stopped writing since! Heidi won the 2018 ACFW Carol Award for Debut Novel and is a 2018 Christy Finalist. Both her debut novel, Freedom’s Ring, and her sophomore novel, The Hidden Side, are 4½-star Romantic TimesTop Picks. Freedom’s Ring was also a Booklist Top Ten Romance Debut. Heidi loves exploring places that whisper of historical secrets, especially with her family. She loves running, hiking, baking, and dates with her high-school sweetheart and husband of fifteen years. Heidi makes her home in Massachusetts with her husband and two sons.

My Impressions:

I have heard so many great things about author Heidi Chiavaroli, that I knew I needed to read one of her books sooner rather than later. I finally did it with The Edge of Mercy, the author’s third published novel. Set in present day and colonial Massachusetts, this time-slip novel featuring two very different women explores the true nature of love. For fans of women’s fiction, this one is a must-read. I promise you will love it!

The Edge of Mercy combines the first person perspective of modern-day Sarah Rodrigues and the 300 year old journal of Elizabeth Baker. Sarah’s life is falling apart as her husband of 17 years announces he wants a break. As she transcribes Elizabeth’s journal, a project assigned to her by her deceased neighbor, she comes to learn about love, sacrifice, and forgiveness. Sarah’s life really takes center stage, and I quickly became invested in her story. I wanted to cry with her and shake some sense into her husband. I liked Elizabeth’s story as well (her husband Caleb was the bomb!), but more as a vehicle for the lessons about persistent and pursuing love of a man for a woman and for God for His children. Sarah got the message, as well as others who read Elizabeth’s historical account. I also loved that the main characters found that when they were at their weakest, God’s grace was enough. The Edge of Mercy definitely has a spiritual thread that runs deeply throughout the narrative, but it is never preachy. The novel should appeal to believers and non-believers alike.

Even with the dual timelines set 300 years apart, The Edge of Mercy possesses a natural rhythm making it a highly enjoyable read. I finished this book in record time. Its likable (and not so likable 😉 ) characters, its relatable message, and the very interesting historical details make this one highly recommended!

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

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