Top 10 Tuesday — Books: Beg, Borrow, or Steal!

19 Oct

Today’s TTT theme is book resources. With the price of everything, including books, going up, up, up, I am focusing on how to get books free or for a steal. Many of these you probably know, but I felt they were worth mentioning again. While I don’t mind paying full price for a book, my budget thanks me when I take a more thrifty option. 😉

For more fun book resources, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Places to Get A Good Book Deal

Beg — Book Wishlists

Not really begging, but have you considered putting together a wishlist for those all important gift-giving occasions? Your family and friends who say they don’t know what to get you will have no excuse! The obvious Amazon wishlists work, but shopping local is the bomb. So when someone asks what do you want for ___, be ready with your list. Include a gift card option for those times the bookstore may be out of your coveted book.

Borrow — Library, Amazon, Audible

The library is the ultimate place to borrow books, but did you know that you can borrow ebooks and audiobooks too? I have a convenient Libby app that lets me access thousands of digital books. This resource has been great for books for one of my book clubs. We are venturing into unknown author territory, so a borrowed book is safe and easy.

If you have Amazon Prime, you can borrow up to 10 ebooks at a time. They won’t be in your library permanently, but you can read them anytime — no return date. But to get book #11, you have to return one you’ve already borrowed. I always check this feature out when announcing book club selections. My group can go ahead and borrow when the book is offered for free with subscription and read closer to our meeting date.

I also have an Audible subscription. Some audiobooks are included with a membership allowing you to listen without using precious credits. My husband has recently listened to classic westerns and mysteries, and I listened to Out of The Silent Planet by C. S. Lewis — all included.

Borrowing from book loving friends doesn’t require membership fees or subscriptions, but may involve careful handling of their precious books and returning in a timely manner. 😉 My book club meets monthly. Part of our time is spent sharing books with each other. This is a great way to discover a new author with the added bonus of a personal recommendation. Be aware this may lead to more book buying!

Steal — Library Sales and Used Book Stores

No, I am not advocating actually stealing books, but the prices you encounter may look like a steal. Our library system hosts an annual book sale. It was cancelled last year, so I am looking forward to a huge selection this year.

My hometown also has a used book store that is part of a local chain. They have great prices on books, plus a credit system when you trade in books that don’t fit on your to-keep shelf.

However you get your books — happy reading!

Happy Release Day! — Out of The Water

19 Oct

Wishing Ann Marie Stewart a very happy release day for Out of The Water. This multi-generational novel explores the complexities of adoption from the viewpoints of adoptive parents, biological parents, and adoptees. The unique situations gave this reader a lot to consider. Find out all the details below.

Irish immigrant Siobhan Kildea’s impetuous flight from a Boston lover in 1919 leads her to a new family in an unfamiliar Montana prison town. After a horrific tragedy impacts her children, her land, and her livelihood, Siobhan makes a heart wrenching decision – with consequences that ripple for decades to come.

Mysteriously linked to Siobhan is Genevieve Marchard, a battlefront nurse in France who returns stateside to find the absence of a certain soldier is her greatest loss; Anna Hanson, a music teacher who tucks herself away in a small Washington town, assuming her secrets are safe; and Erin Ellis, who thinks she and her husband won the lottery when they adopted their daughter, Claire. 

These interconnected stories, spanning three continents and five generations, begin to unravel in 1981 when Claire Ellis sets out to find her biological mother.

With puzzling suspense, unforgettable characters and uncanny insight, Out of the Water is an intoxicating novel of motherhood, secrets, and the profound ramifications our decisions have. Readers will be left wondering: ultimately, is it always better to know the truth?

Ann Marie Stewart grew up in Seattle, Washington and is a die-hard UW Husky (and Wolverine) after earning a Masters in Film/Television from University of Michigan. She originated AMG’s Preparing My Heart series, and writes the column “Ann’s Lovin’ Ewe” for The Country Register. With two recent UVA grads, she’s now a huge HOO basketball fan. When not writing, Ann teaches voice or takes care of the many sheep of Skyemoor Farm.

Book Review And Author Interview — In The Shadow of Your Wings

18 Oct

Please welcome JP Robinson, author of the WWI-era trilogy, Northshire Heritage. JP shares a little about his writing journey, process, and the books in this series. I read book 1, In The Shadow of Your Wings, and my thoughts on that book are below.

Many authors say that they have always been a writer — making up stories as a child. When did you first become a writer?

There’s a lot of truth to this. I began writing in high school for our school paper then went on to become a freelance journalist for a newspaper in New York. That was my first experience with professional writing and I LOVED it. Meeting people and capturing their stories and emotions was something that I loved doing. So it set the stage for internships while I earned my degree in English and French, ultimately leading me to where I am now.

Was there a special someone, such as a teacher, parent, or other relative, who encouraged you to pursue writing?

Absolutely. I remember my English teacher, Mrs. Gravino, standing outside her classroom and telling me to write to change the world. I think it was so meaningful because I was the minority in many ways. I was one of probably three Black students, I was new, I’d been homeless for several years, and I was a firm Christian in a very secular New York high school.

While all this was going on my mom was battling cancer while my dad tried to find a way to get us all together again. So this one teacher was kind of the anchor point in a very turbulent part of my life. Her encouragement really gave me the clarity I needed.

Why did you choose the historical fiction genre?

Historical fiction has been something I’ve loved to read all my life. I’m an amateur historian of European civilization and have taught western civilization as part of my curriculum. So, when I started writing fiction, I naturally gravitated toward bygone times of heroes, empires, and the ordinary people who quietly shaped history.

Were there any obstacles you faced in your journey to publication? 5. What types of research do you pursue? Books, on-site visits, etc.

This is a great, and in-depth, question.On average I spend more than 100 hours of research per book. Research for me involves poring of digital copies of newspaper clippings, books, of course the internet, drawing from experts in the field and on-site visits when possible. If I can’t get there physically, Google maps and images from the time period I’m writing about often help me develop an accurate picture.

For example, I currently working on a project centering around a Black family in Nazi Germany. I was recently in Cologne, Germany and used the data from that trip to build a realistic–and accurate–setting. But my protagonist was walking from one location to another and I used Google maps to determine if that would be possible while keeping in mind that the story is set in the 1930s and some of the streets now weren’t around then.

So it’s a lot of data correlation laced with some imagination.

What does a typical writing day look like? Are you structured or informal in your writing schedule?

Great question. Pre-COVID our kids were in school and I had a lot more time to do my day-job (I’m a former teacher) and still get in a few hours writing. We’ve made the transition to homeschooling our kids and I confess that the shift has slowed down my productivity. Still, I’m able to clock 1-2 hours per day in the evenings. 🙂

Can you tell us a little about what inspired your latest novel.

I’d be glad to. The Northshire Heritage trilogy was inspired by a sermon called The Fundamental Foundation for Faith preached in the 1950s, I think, by a minister named William Branham. He’s passed on now but in one of his recorded sermons, he was talking about the Fall and redemption. That sparked a thought in my mind, a comparison between the Father in Genesis 3 and the father presented in Jesus Christ’s parable of the prodigal son.

I know, it might sound strange because the novel centers around espionage, politics, and a brutal war, but tightly woven throughout are references to these two pivotal moments in which God expresses different parts of His divine nature and plan.

After writing all three books, I truly felt like I had a deeper appreciation of what God went through to save the world. As a father of three myself, the content also resonated with me.

What do you want your readers to take away with them after finishing one of your novels?

There are a lot of themes packed into Northshire: forgiveness, redemption, enduring love in marriage when things don’t go as you’d like… But I think I’d spotlight the theme of the overcoming power of faith.

One of the characters loses her child (spoiler alert) and her response is a tribute to my sister and her husband, whose baby died on Father’s Day a few years back. I saw their faith bring them through a crisis, made worse by the date Elisha died and by the fact that they’d been testifying, as Christians, that God would bring their baby through.

Well, he died in my sister’s arms, and still their faith held them in that moment of tragedy. Northshire captures that theme, reminding readers that no matter how bad things may be in our world or in our life, faith in God is its own source of strength.

Readers always want to know what is next for an author. Do you have any works in progress you can share about?

Right now I’m neck-deep in a totally different style project that focuses on minority characters. I’m Black but so far I’ve enjoyed challenging myself to write books that center around ethnicities and cultures that are different than my own. And, to a certain extent, I’m doing that again here as the European Black experience is a bit different (in some ways) than the Black experience of the Caribbean which is where I’m from.

This is a slice of history that very few people know about and I’m SO excited to be meeting with experts in Europe, collaborating with museum directors etc, to create an authentic and compelling piece.

Like most of my books this one includes spies, romance, political games set in the Rhineland against the backdrop of Hitler’s rise, and a Black family that is at the center of it all.

All that to say, I have to have the first draft done in forty-five days (yikes!) and,if all goes well, I hope to see it on the shelves in 2023.

Thanks JP for sharing with my readers!

She’s a spy in love with the enemy. 
Leila Durand, an elite German spy charged with infiltrating the home of British icon Thomas Steele, hopes to use the war to move beyond the pain of her shattered past. But everything changes when she falls in love with Thomas’s son, Malcolm. Is there a way to reconcile her love for Germany and her love for the enemy? 

He’s a son who wants to break free. 
Malcolm, wealthy heir to Northshire Estate, wants nothing more than to be free of his father’s rules. When Thomas becomes too judgmental, Malcolm makes a choice that threatens to bring the Allied world to its knees.

In the Shadow of Your Wings presents inescapable truth that resonates across the past century. Then as now, the struggle for faith is real. Then as now, there is a refuge for all who come beneath the shadow of God’s wings.

My Impressions:

In The Shadow of Your Wings is an historical novel set in England, France, and Germany during WWI. An intense read with very realistic details of the ugly stuff of war — zeppelin attacks, trench warfare, and the effects of Germany’s poisonous gas weapons — this book also deals with the ugliness and beauty of the human soul. The contrast between the many characters, both historic figures and fictional, is stark. Spies determined to devastate their enemy’s defenses, scientists with personal glory as their goals, and those who depend only on self populate the pages of this book. But there are also those who rely on God, even in the most unimaginable circumstances. I’m not sure enjoyment would be a good word for my reading experience, but I will say the fight between good and evil as detailed in the book was intriguing and got me thinking. The complex structure of the book involves multiple story lines — the list of characters and their relationships at the beginning of the book is very helpful. It’s worth the time to review it. The ending of the book leaves a number of threads left dangling, so be prepared to plunge into book 2, In The Midst of Flames. All three titles in the series are available, so you may want to schedule a little binge-reading time.

Audience: adults.

(I purchased the ebook version from Amazon. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

JP Robinson began writing as a teen for a local newspaper. He holds degrees in both English and French and is a state-certified teacher. JP is known for weaving contemporary issues into vivid plots with the goal of connecting readers to God. When he’s not writing or teaching, JP loves spending time with his wife and children. 

Connect with the author, watch videos and more at JPRobinsonbooks.com.

Friend JP at Facebook.com/JPRobinsonbooks

Follow him on Twitter: @JPRobinsonBooks

First Line Friday — A Season on The Wind

15 Oct

Happy Friday! I am featuring one of my favorite authors this week — Suzanne Woods Fisher. I don’t read a lot of Amish fiction, but I do read every book that Fisher publishes, including, and especially, her Amish novels. There is just something about the communities she portrays that draw me in. Real and relatable are two adjectives I can always ascribe to her characters. A Season on The Wind is her latest novel, and I will be reading it soon.

Here’s the first line:

Penny Weaver stayed so still that the field sparrow in her yard didn’t seem to know she was there.

Ben Zook had only two loves in his life: books and birds. In a stroke of good fortune, he’d stumbled onto a way to cobble together those two loves into a career, writing books about rare birds. He was as free as a bird–until a chase for a rare White-winged Tern takes him to the one place on earth he planned to never return: his Amish home in Stoney Ridge. 

Desperate for photographs of the elusive tern, Ben hires a local field guide, Micah Weaver, and boards at Micah’s farm, planning to “bag the bird” and leave Stoney Ridge before anyone recognizes him. But he neglected to plan for Micah’s sister, Penny. 

One long-ago summer, Penny had introduced Ben to birding, even sharing with him a hidden eagle aerie. That was when she knew true love. She’d always hoped he would come back to Stoney Ridge. Back to his Amish roots. Back to her. The only problem? Ben has absolutely no memory of Penny.

Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher welcomes her readers to the Amish community at Stoney Ridge in this engaging story of discovering just who the rare birds are in life.

Suzanne Woods Fisher loves stories worth telling about people worth remembering. With over a million copies of her book sold worldwide, this bestselling, award-winning author of more than 30 books is always on the lookout for the unsung hero with an untold story.

Readers are invited to stop by Suzanne’s website at: http://www.suzannewoodsfisher.com.

Mini Audiobook Review: Enchantress of Numbers

14 Oct

One of my book clubs chose Enchantress of Numbers to further our goals of reading biographical fiction. We chose the book featuring Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace because we had read and enjoyed author Jennifer Chiaverini’s books and because it was not set in WWII. 😉 The story revolves around Lord Byron’s only child, Ada, and her fascination with all things mathematical and mechanical. Ada was quite the prodigy and is credited as the first computer programmer. There’s even a STEM holiday commemorating her. It was a long book, emphasis on long. While it did shed light on the era — Regency and early Victorian England — it was a bit of a slog. I listened to the audiobook borrowed from my library and had to renew twice. Another of our members stated that she felt like it was a school assignment to dread. No glowing recs from my group. It did emphasize the differences between educational and societal norms for women of the time and in our modern world. Ada was shaped by the legacy of her absent father and her domineering mother. I felt for Ada, but wish that the author had written more concisely. One of my group said she kept going with the novel in anticipation of something happening.

While we really can’t recommend the book, we were impressed by all that Ada Byron King accomplished. As always, reviews are subjective, but none of my group liked this book. Perhaps we were just not the target audience.

(I borrowed the audiobook from my library via Libby. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

The only legitimate child of Lord Byron, the most brilliant, revered, and scandalous of the Romantic poets, Ada was destined for fame long before her birth. But her mathematician mother, estranged from Ada’s infamous and destructively passionate father, is determined to save her only child from her perilous Byron heritage. Banishing fairy tales and make-believe from the nursery, Ada’s mother provides her daughter with a rigorous education grounded in mathematics and science. Any troubling spark of imagination—or worse yet, passion or poetry—is promptly extinguished. Or so her mother believes.

When Ada is introduced into London society as a highly eligible young heiress, she at last discovers the intellectual and social circles she has craved all her life. Little does she realize how her exciting new friendship with Charles Babbage—the brilliant, charming, and occasionally curmudgeonly inventor of an extraordinary machine, the Difference Engine—will define her destiny.

Enchantress of Numbers unveils the passions, dreams, and insatiable thirst for knowledge of a largely unheralded pioneer in computing—a young woman who stepped out of her father’s shadow to achieve her own laurels and champion the new technology that would shape the future.

Top 10 Tuesday — Science Lectures, Laboratories, and Math Classes, Oh My!

12 Oct

Happy Ada Lovelace Day! If you have no idea who this holiday commemorates, you are not alone. One of my book clubs is reading biographical fiction this year, and we chose Enchantress of Numbers by Jennifer Chiaverini as our October selection. Our discussion is tomorrow, so we will be celebrating a day late. 😉 For those of you who don’t know, Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace, the only child of Lord Byron, was a math prodigy and heralded as the first computer programmer. So to honor her memory, my TTT list includes characters who know their way around a laboratory, a science lecture, or math class. The characters all have some connection to STEM (science, technology, engineering, or math) — geologists, computer scientists, lab techs, math teachers, physicists, just to name a few. While some of these books reinforced my choice of English as a college major 😉 , I am very glad that more and more women are entering occupations once filled only with men.

For more favorite book settings, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Books Featuring STEM Characters

An Air That Kills by Christine Poulson (medical researcher)

Enchantress of Numbers by Jennifer Chiaverini (mathematician)

The Engineer’s Wife by Tracy Enerson Wood (engineer)

In Too Deep by Lynn H. Blackburn (professor/computer forensics)

Let It Be Me by Becky Wade (high school math teacher)

A Mosaic of Wings by Kimberly Duffy (entomologist)

State of Lies by Siri Mitchell (physicist)

The Stones Cry Out by Sibella Giorello (geologist)

Strands of Truth by Colleen Coble (marine biologist)

With Every Breath by Elizabeth Camden (lab assistant)

Spotlight And Giveaway! — With Every Breath

11 Oct

With Every Breath JustRead Blog + Review Tour

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for With Every Breath by Natasha D. Frazier, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

With Every Breath

Title: With Every Breath
Series: McCall Family #1
Author: Natasha D. Frazier
Publisher: Encouraging Works
Release Date: October 5, 2021
Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

She has nothing to lose, but loving her could cost him everything. Is he willing to risk it all a second time around when she has less than thirty days to live?

Renowned motivational speaker Nina Marie Robinson has received a grim prognosis. With the little time she has left, she’s giving one last commencement speech at her alma mater Jackson State University and taking a well-deserved vacation to the Bahamas. Nina is also determined to show her college sweetheart she’s still in love with him, but can she convince him to drop everything and board that plane with her?

Andrew McCall is one step away from being promoted to professor at Jackson State University. If anything goes wrong, Andrew will find himself in the last place he wants to be—chief executive officer of McCall Resorts as his father’s successor. When Nina comes to town and requests that he accompany her to the Bahamas, will he have to choose between the woman he’s always loved and everything he’s worked for?

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | BookBub


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Natasha D. Frazier

Natasha D. Frazier fell in love with love around the age of twelve because of artists like Babyface, Boys II Men, Whitney Houston, and New Edition. Around sixteen when her mother purchased a romance novel and left it lying around the house untouched, Natasha read it and a spark for the written word had been ignited.

Natasha believes that writing is one of her purposes and contributions to the world. She feels accomplished when she can get a few words written and like blah when life gets in the way. Her hope is that at the end of every novel, readers will feel like they’ve been wrapped in a cozy blanket with a mug of their favorite coffee/tea/warm drink.

When she isn’t reading or writing, she is likely watching movies with her family. Natasha resides in Richmond, TX with her husband, Eddie Frazier, Jr. and their three children, Eden, Ethan, and Emilyn. Her greatest joy and commitment is to her family who she hopes to inspire above all else. One of her many mottos in life is: Faith removes limitations. Natasha and her family attend Parkway Fellowship in Richmond, TX, where she volunteers as a small group leader for elementary students. Natasha is also a member of the Houston Area Alumni Chapter of Jackson State University and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

CONNECT WITH NATASHA: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(2) winners will receive an audiobook bundle of the Love, Lies & Consequences series (4 titles), an autographed copy of With Every Breath, and a $10 Amazon gift card!

With Every Breath JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight October 11, 2021 and lasts through 11:59 PM EST on October 18, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

First Line Friday — Labyrinth of Lies

8 Oct

Happy Friday! I am always on board for a book by Irene Hannon. I love both her contemporary romance and her romantic suspense novels. Today I am featuring Labyrinth of Lies, the second book in her Triple Threat series. I am woefully behind on this series, but I now have two great reading opportunities . 😉 In the coming weeks look for reviews of this book and the first in the series, Point of Danger.

Here are the first two lines:

They wanted her to take on another undercover gig? No way.

When the daughter of a high-profile businessman disappears from an exclusive girls’ boarding school, police detective Cate Reilly is tapped for an undercover assignment. It doesn’t take her long to realize that beneath the veneer of polish and wealth, things are not as they seem at Ivy Hill Academy. But the biggest surprise of all? The only man she ever loved is also working at the school.

Zeke Sloan has never forgotten Cate, but now isn’t the best time for their paths to cross again. When their two seemingly disparate agendas begin to intertwine–and startling connections emerge among the players–the danger escalates significantly. But who is the mastermind behind the elaborate ruse? And how far will they go to protect their house of cards?

Queen of romantic suspense Irene Hannon invites you to scale the heights of human folly and plumb the depths of the human heart in this second gripping book in the Triple Threat series.

Irene Hannon is the best-selling author of more than 35 novels. Her books have been honored with the coveted RITA Award from Romance Writers of America, the HOLT Medallion, the Reviewer’s Choice Award from Romantic Times BOOKreviews magazine and the Daphne du Maurier Award for mystery/suspense. Irene and her husband make their home in Missouri, USA. Irene invites you to visit her at her website, http://www.irenehannon.com.

Book Review: The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery

7 Oct

Amanda Cox is a new-to-me author. I really didn’t know what to expect when I picked up The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery, other than the buzz I had read from other reviewers. The blurb was intriguing and the cover called to me. I’m thankful I took the time to read it, because it is now one of my favorites from this year — very highly recommended.

Present Day. After tragedy plunges her into grief and unresolved anger, Sarah Ashby returns to her childhood home determined to finally follow her long-denied dream of running Old Depot Grocery alongside her mother and grandmother. But when she arrives, her mother, Rosemary, announces to her that the store is closing. Sarah and her grandmother, Glory Ann, make a pact to save the store, but Rosemary has worked her entire life to make sure her daughter never follows in her footsteps. She has her reasons–but she’ll certainly never reveal the real one.

1965. Glory Ann confesses to her family that she’s pregnant with her deceased fiancé’s baby. Pressured into a marriage of convenience with a shopkeeper to preserve the family reputation, Glory Ann vows never to love again. But some promises are not as easily kept as she imagined.

This dual-timeline story from Amanda Cox deftly explores the complexity of a mother-daughter dynamic, the way the secrets we keep shape our lives and the lives of others, and the healing power of telling the truth.

Before becoming a stay-at-home parent, Amanda Cox spent her time counseling children, families, and individuals through life’s challenging moments. Now she uses those same skills to develop layered characters and stories, bringing them on a journey of hope and healing. A journey she hopes her readers experience in their own lives as they read.

A few of her favorite things are the sanctuary of the great outdoors, the feeling of pen on paper, the sound of her children’s laughter, and exploring new places with her husband of 15 years. (Oh, let’s not forget good fiction and good coffee. She’s addicted to both.) You can stay connected with her latest writing updates at http://www.amandacoxwrites.com. You can find her on social media by searching Amanda Cox Writes.

My Impressions:

The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery is the second book from new-to-me author Amanda Cox. Its complex and tight writing style kept me reading and wondering as the three main characters concealed and uncovered family secrets. A novel as good as this one is often the hardest to review. Bear with me as I try to convey its many strong points. The book is told from the viewpoints of three women — grandmother, mother, and daughter — across three time periods. The style was never confusing, because the women each have distinct voices and their particular eras are well-detailed. I loved all the women, though some took longer to embrace than others. You’ll know when you read it. 😉 And read it you should! You’ll laugh and you’ll cry as Sarah, Rosemary, and Glory Ann each try to protect one another from the hurts of the world. Mother-daughter relationships are front and center, as is the danger of secret-keeping. Instead of providing walls of protection, the secrets became barriers to healthy communication and relationships. And those barriers spilled over into the women’s interactions with others as well. While the bulk of the story surrounds the three women, I think my very favorite character was Clarence Clearwater, Glory Ann’s husband. He lived and loved so much like Christ. And then there is Old Depot Grocery, so much like a character in itself, as it symbolized the strengths of family and close community.

A perk of discovering another talented author is getting to read more of her books! Cox’s debut, The Edge of Belonging, is a 2021 Christy Award finalist for First Novel. It is now on my TBR wishlist — looking forward to some more great reading!

Very Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults

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

Book Review: A Christmas in The Alps

6 Oct

I always like to start off my Christmas reading with a novella from Melody Carlson. This year’s offering is A Christmas in The Alps, a feel-good story about reconciliation. A recommended read, this book will whisk you off to the charming French Alps — bucket list anyone?

After a time of heartache and loss, Simone Winthrop discovers a tantalizing letter from her French great-grandmother, which seems to suggest that she is heir to a family treasure. Ever practical, Simone assumes the claim is baseless, but her best friend encourages her to find out for sure. Despite her deep-rooted fear of flying, Simone boards a jet to travel to Paris at Christmastime to uncover the truth.

During the long flight, Simone meets the charming Kyle Larsson, who’s on his way to France to become an apprentice clockmaker. Though they abruptly part ways, an unexpected rendezvous in the French Alps at Simone’s family’s clock factory may lead to the discovery of the family treasure . . . and so much more.

For anyone who is wearying of staying home, Melody Carlson invites you to spend Christmas with her in the beautiful French Alps this year. So pull on your mittens, tie your scarf tight, and prepare yourself for a magical mountain holiday.

Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books for teens, women and children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller.” Her novels range from serious issues like schizophrenia (Finding Alice) to lighter topics like house-flipping (A Mile in My Flip-Flops) but most of the inspiration behind her fiction comes right out of real life. Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, TrueColors etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She’s won a number of awards (including Romantic Time’s Career Achievement Award, the Rita and the Gold Medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog. To find out more about Melody Carlson, visit her website at http://www.melodycarlson.com/.

My Impressions:

I always like to start my holiday reading off with a novella from Melody Carlson. This year, Carlson takes readers away to the French Alps with a young woman who longs for family in A Christmas in The Alps. Simone has been left alone after the death of her grandmother. Facing an uncertain future, she allows herself to be talked into a trip to her great-grandmother’s home village to discover a mysterious treasure. Throughout the book I was reminded of the verse in Matthew 6: for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Several of the characters learn the truth of this scripture as they search out lost family connections. Simone finds family, love, and a new purpose on her trip. The story isn’t complicated and is somewhat predictable, but I enjoyed it. Sometimes I just need a sweet read that turns out the way I want. 😉

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

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