Top 10 Tuesday — 2023 Book Club Picks

6 Dec

Happy Tuesday! This week’s TTT is a Freebie, so I decided to highlight the novels my book club chose to read in 2023. Every year we vote at our November meeting on the books we will be reading in the following year. We choose 9 and leave 2 spots open for me to surprise them (usually new releases by favorite authors) and a Christmas-themed novel to vote on later for our December selection. I compile a list of books and those with majority votes are chosen. It’s a practice that has worked for us for 20+ years! I hope you find a book to love.

For more bookish goodness, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

My Book Club’s 2023 Selections

The Brilliance of Stars by J’Nell Ciesielski

Broker of Lies by Steven James

Cold Light of Day by Elizabeth Goddard

Daughter of Eden by Jill Eileen Smith

Heirlooms by Sandra Byrd

Honor Bound by Hallee Bridgeman

The One You’re With by Lauren K. Denton

Roots of Wood And Stone by Amanda Wen

The Sound of Light by Sarah Sundin

Book Review: The Blackout Book Club

5 Dec

I really loved the WWII home front setting of The Blackout Book Club by Amy Lynn Green. The small town feel with the community coming together to do their part was a great backdrop for the stories of the four main characters. If you like WWII-era novels, give this one a look.

In 1942, an impulsive promise to her brother before he goes off to the European front puts Avis Montgomery in the unlikely position of head librarian in small-town Maine. Though she has never been much of a reader, when wartime needs threaten to close the library, she invents a book club to keep its doors open. The women she convinces to attend the first meeting couldn’t be more different–a wealthy spinster determined to aid the war effort, an exhausted mother looking for a fresh start, and a determined young war worker.

At first, the struggles of the home front are all the club members have in common, but over time, the books they choose become more than an escape from the hardships of life and the fear of the U-boat battles that rage just past their shores. As the women face personal challenges and band together in the face of danger, they find they have more in common than they think. But when their growing friendships are tested by secrets of the past and present, they must decide whether depending on each other is worth the cost.

Amy Lynn Green is a lifelong lover of books, history, and library cards. She worked in publishing for six years before writing her first historical fiction novel. She and her husband live in Minnesota, where she teaches virtual classes on marketing at writer’s conferences, engages with book clubs, and regularly encourages established and aspiring authors in their publication journeys. Connect with her on Facebook or Instagram (@amygreenbooks), or sign up for her newsletter at amygreenbooks.com to get quarterly emails filled with bookish fun.

My Impressions:

I really enjoyed The Blackout Book Club by Amy Lynn Green. How could I resist a book with a library setting and a book club element?! This WWII-era novel focuses on the home front as America enters the war. The historical details bolstered the fictional narrative bringing the time and place of small town Maine to life. The community is busy sending their men to war, while ramping up needed manufacturing, and installing military operations. It’s a time of uncertainty. The POVs of the four main characters explore the era and provide a unique perspective. But this book is more than a look at what was happening in the US during its early involvement in WWII; the four women could have lived in any era. Their struggles are universal and resonated with this reader. Bringing the four very different personalities together through a book club pleased my book-loving heart. And the fact that the books they read helped the characters to grow was a huge bonus! The book club minutes are a hoot too! (For those of you fellow book nerds, the book provides a reading list at the end 🙂 .) The characters face past regrets and present fears. I loved how the main characters, and the community as a whole, come together to lift up, encourage, and support each other — truly heartwarming and a good lesson for modern-day readers.

The Blackout Book Club is the perfect choice for your book club as well — lots of great discussion starters. I highly recommend this one!

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Bethany House Publishers for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review: Honor’s Refuge

2 Dec

Honor’s Refuge (book 3, Love And Honor series) by Hallee Bridgeman is the first book I’ve read from this new-to-me author. But it won’t be the last. In fact, my book club is reading Honor Bound, book 1, in January 2023. I found this romantic suspense to be real. It is gritty, not shying away from exposing the ugliness of this world. But it is also a book of hope. I highly recommend it!

When she was just five years old, Melissa Braxton watched her father take her mother’s life. Separated from her sister, Lola, at that time, Melissa grew up with a strong desire to help those stuck in abusive relationships. It’s why she became a family therapist and opened a domestic abuse shelter.

After losing a leg to a gunshot wound in the line of duty, Phil Osbourne has felt like a man without a purpose–until he hears Melissa’s story and decides to use his Special Forces contacts to track down her missing sister. He knows what he discovers will break Melissa’s heart. What he doesn’t realize is that helping the women reunite will bring the cartel down on them like the Category 5 hurricane striking Miami.

Bruised yet not quite broken, Melissa and Phil battle the storm and the cartel, calling on strength they didn’t know they had to escape death, save the innocent, and–just maybe–find healing in each other’s arms.

Hallee Bridgeman is the award winning and USA TODAY bestselling author of several action-packed romantic suspense books and series. An Army brat turned Floridian, Hallee settled with her husband in central Kentucky, where they have raised their three children. When she’s not writing, Hallee pursues her passion for cooking, coffee, campy action movies, and regular date nights with her husband. Above all else, she loves God with all of her heart, soul, mind, and strength; has been redeemed by the blood of Christ; and relies on the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide her.

Get a free ebook when you sign up for Hallee’s newsletter: http://www.halleebridgeman.com/newsletter.

My Impressions:

I found Honor’s Refuge by Hallee Bridgeman to be an intensely powerful novel which was not afraid to portray the ugliness of the world while showing the promises of hope-filled futures. Main characters Melissa and Phil have wounds that would break many. Melissa is a survivor of extreme family abuse and Phil continues to face the challenges of his injuries during wartime. The author did a great job of developing their characters — they felt real and relatable to me. They could have easily become stereotypes, but the author added vulnerability to their strengths, courage in their challenges, and a faith that continued throughout the darkest times. With a romance that progressed naturally, the suspense builds to a breaking point. A cartel leader bent on revenge, a Cat-5 hurricane bearing down, and compromised federal agents couldn’t help but contribute to the page-turning, octane-laced action. I let out a few gasps along the way — there were a lot of things I didn’t see coming. This was such a good story!

While Honor’s Refuge is the third book in Bridgeman’s Love And Honor series, I never felt lost. But . . . I do have plans to go back and read the first two books. Book 1, Honor Bound, is my book club’s first selection of 2023. Can’t wait to dive into another great book by a new must-read author.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

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

December Book Club Pick/First Line Friday — The Mistletoe Countess

2 Dec

Happy first Friday in December! Wow, where did the year go? I am so behind on my Christmas prep partly due to having my 3 year old granddaughter with us for 2 weeks. We are half way through the visit, and I know why God designed people to have their children young. LOL. I’m old and she doesn’t nap — interesting combo. 😉 But seriously, I wouldn’t trade this time of endless pleas of Oma, read me a book, painting projects, and baking forays. This time has been a real Christmas treat.

Because of the busyness of this week, I am combining two posts — BTB’s December book club pick and First Line Friday. My book club tries to read a Christmas book every December and we chose a historical romance, The Mistletoe Countess by Pepper Basham. If you have read it, we would love to know your thoughts.

Here’s the first line:

Gracelynn Ferguson gripped the Model T’s window frame and leaned forward, breath caught in a suppressed gasp.

Will the magic of Christmas bring these two newlyweds closer together, or will the ghosts of the past lead them into a destructive discovery from which not even a Dickens’s Christmas can save them?

Mistletoe is beautiful and dangerous, much like the woman from Lord Frederick’s Percy’s past, so when he turns over a new leaf and arranges to marry for his estate, instead of his heart, he never expects the wrong bride to be the right choice. Gracelynn Ferguson never expected to take her elder sister’s place as a Christmas bride, but when she’s thrust into the choice, she will trust in her faithful novels and overactive imagination to help her not only win Frederick’s heart but also to solve the murder mystery of Havensbrook Hall before the ghosts from Frederick’s past ruin her fairytale future. 

Spotlight On Regency Romance Fiction — The Best Intentions

1 Dec

The Best Intentions JustRead Blog + Review Tour
Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for The Best Intentions by Sarah M. Eden, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Best Intentions

Title: The Best Intentions
Series: The Huntresses #1
Author: Sarah M. Eden
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Release Date: November 21, 2022
Genre: Clean & Wholesome Romance/Historical/Regency

In the eyes of London Society, Gillian Phelps is suitable enough. Though the ton whispers about her change of residence, any speculation remains just that: ballroom gossip. No one—not even the other Huntresses, the group of ladies she calls her dearest friends—knows that she is harboring a devastating family secret. Gillian has become adept at hiding the reality of her circumstances, but the close quarters of a house party will test her ability to conceal the crushing truth. And with so many people to deceive, the late arrival of another guest is a most unwelcome surprise.

Despite his standing as a gentleman of the ton, in truth, Scott Sarvol possesses little more than two debt-riddled estates. When an opportunity arises to survey one of his properties, he travels north, only to find himself an unwitting guest at Artemis Jonquil’s house party. He is warmly welcomed by all—except the aloof Miss Gillian Phelps. But when Scott proves himself unexpectedly helpful in a crisis, his acquaintance with Gillian shifts from wariness to something warmer.

As both her charade and her feelings for Scott deepen, Gillian realizes that the truth could spell not only a devastating fall from Society but also a shattered heart.

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

EXCERPT

She didn’t dislike the social whirl. She simply needed the balance of time in the country surrounded by nature after months in Town among the ton. This year, however, she was leaving Durham—after not nearly enough time there— to attend a house party. She had never been a guest at a house party before, though she’d heard many tales of them, both from those she knew in Society and from Mrs. Brownlow, her benefactress and the mistress of Houghton Manor. Gillian fluctuated between being disappointed at leaving the peace and quiet of Houghton Manor and worried that she would make an utter cake of herself at her very first house party. 

She considered herself intelligent and clever. Society hadn’t declared her a complete disaster, though that was owed more to the tutelage and support of her friends than to any social ability on her part. She belonged to a group of friends known throughout Society as the Huntresses, their fearless leader being Artemis Jonquil, whose ancient namesake was the goddess of the hunt and leader of her own band of huntresses. The seven members of Artemis’s band were the very closest of friends.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarah M. Eden

Sarah M. Eden is a USA Today bestselling author of multiple historical romances, including AML’s “2013 Novel of the Year” and Foreword Review’s 2013 “IndieFab Book of the Year” gold medal winner for Best Romance, Longing for Home, and the Whitney Award’s “2014 Novel of the Year,” Longing for Home: Hope Springs. Combining her obsession with history and affinity for tender love stories, Sarah loves crafting witty characters and heartfelt romances set against rich historical backdrops. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in research and happily spends hours perusing the reference shelves of her local library. Sarah lives with her husband, kids, and mischievous dog in the shadow of a snow-capped mountain she has never attempted to ski.

Connect with Sarah by visiting sarahmeden.com to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a signed copy of book, $25 Amazon gift card, bookmark, stickers, and button.

The Best Intentions JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight November 28, 2022 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on December 5, 2022. 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

If You Liked . . . A Stranger’s Game

30 Nov

While this month’s book club pick, A Stranger’s Game by Colleen Coble, was not one of my favorites, others in my book club enjoyed this easy romantic suspense. I did really like the characters, and the Jekyll Island setting was a treat for me. It is definitely one of my favorite places to visit in person or in fiction.

If you liked A Stranger’s Game, here are a few more reading recommendations for you.

Romantic Georgia Island Vibes

For The Love of Joy by Janet W. Ferguson


Is he married or isn’t he?

Years ago, a Dear John letter and then an IED explosion overseas rocked Davis Donnelly’s world and left him unclear about his marital status. He’d signed divorce papers, but broken mentally and physically, he’d never bothered to find out if his marriage actually ended. Now that he’s about to start a new position as an outreach minister, it’s time to settle things once and for all. At the moment he tracks down his wife — or former wife? — she takes a tumble while chasing a little boy. Her son. And that’s when life flips upside down. 

Joy Jennings Donnelly made her share of mistakes. But one thing she never considered a mistake was her child, and she’ll do anything to protect him. Even keep his paternity a secret. 

When she’s suddenly injured with not a soul to help her or her son, Joy is forced to rely on the man who has the most reasons to hate her.

Suspenseful Georgia Island Vibes

Cape Refuge by Terri Blackstock

A gripping tale from New York Times bestselling suspense author Terri Blackstock. When the kindest couple in Cape Refuge is found murdered at their church, their daughter will have to find the killer . . . before her own husband is convicted.

Wade and Thelma Owens run a halfway house on the small island of Cape Refuge that caters to wayward souls just out of prison. So when Wade and Thelma turn up brutally murdered, the town goes into shock, concerned that one of the Hanover House residents is a murderer who could strike again.

Shattered by her parents’ deaths, Morgan Cleary struggles to keep Hanover House running while her husband, Jonathan, has been arrested for the murder.

As the killer runs free, a lethal race against time ensues, with far more than the halfway house at stake.

Family Secrets . . . On A Georgia Island 😉

Relative Silence by Carrie Stuart Parks

A powerful family with dark secrets.

After personal tragedy, Piper Boone retreats to her childhood home—a secluded mansion for the wealthy Boone family, who are practically American royalty. When catastrophe strikes, her family is put in the spotlight, and the line between victim and suspect gets blurred.

A forensic artist with his own haunting past.

Tucker Landry is drawn to Piper in the midst of the trauma, but the connections being made to her family might prove to be their undoing. With a hurricane beating down on the private island, there isn’t much time to find answers.

The truth will determine whether she lives or dies.

Top 10 Tuesday — Cozy Reads

29 Nov

Happy Tuesday! Have you recovered from your Thanksgiving festivities yet? We have extended our fun with a two week visit from our not quite 3 year old granddaughter. Whew! I am old! 😉 I keep reminding myself that when our oldest was her age, I had a 14 month old and another on the way. But I was a lot more agile back then.

Blogging has taken a backseat to the care and feeding of a preschooler, but I didn’t want to miss a TTT. This week’s theme is Cozy Reads. That could take all forms — from mysteries, to romances, to small town reads, and Christmas books. I am featuring some from all those categories so that you have a good mix to choose from. Hope you find a book to love!

For more favorite cozy reads, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Cozy Reads

Cozy Mysteries

Belinda Blake And The Snake in The Grass by Heather Day Gilbert

Crime And Poetry by Amanda Flower

Cozy Romances

Bookshop by The Sea by Denise Hunter

Just Let It Go by Courtney Walsh

Stay with Me by Becky Wade

Small Town Cozy Reads

High Cotton by Debby Mayne

Home to Hickory Lane by Deborah Raney

More Than Words Can Say by Karen Witemeyer

Cozy Christmas

The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson

The Christmas Promise by Donna VanLiere

The Ornament Keeper by Eva Marie Everson

Series Spotlight — Strike To The Heart

29 Nov

Strike to the Heart Series JustRead Blog Blitz
Welcome to the Blog Blitz for the Strike to the Heart series by Danielle Grandinetti, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOKS

To Stand in the Breach

Title: To Stand in the Breach
Series: Strike to the Heart
Author: Danielle Grandinetti
Publisher: Hearth Spot Press
Release Date: September 13, 2022
Genre: Historical Romantic Suspense, Christian

She came to America to escape a workhouse prison, but will the cost of freedom be too high a price to pay?

1933, Wisconsin – Large animal veterinarian Katy Wells takes her patients’ welfare personally, so it’s no surprise when she stands up to angry farmers planning a milk strike or takes in an injured draft horse to save its life.But after a visitor from the past discovers her location and reveals a threat, she must choose between her work and her freedom, and whether to trust a man to keep her safe.

To Stand in the Breach is the prequel novella to A Strike to the Heart, releasing April 2022.

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookBub

EXCERPT

He found her.

Desperately clutching the paper, Dr. Katy Wells slipped into the sheltered area between two of the buildings at the center of the small town of Eagle, Wisconsin. She placed a gloved hand on the worn plank wall of Town Hall and squeezed her eyes shut to block out the words on the letter. Fear’s insidious claws sank into her chest. Fourteen years of running, of staying one step ahead of her uncle and other men who wished her harm … and she’d finally found security here, in this town, hidden as it was in the middle of the United States. 

Until today.

Strike to the Heart

Title: A Strike to the Heart
Series: Strike to the Heart
Author: Danielle Grandinetti
Publisher: Hearth Spot Press
Release Date: September 13, 2022
Genre: Historical Romantic Suspense, Christian

She’s fiercely independent. He’s determined to protect her.

Wisconsin, 1933―When a routine mission becomes an ambush that kills his team, Craft Agency sniper Miles Wright determines to find the persons responsible and protect the woman he rescued. But the fierce independence that led Lily Moore to leave her family’s dairy business for the solitary life of a dog trainer and the isolation of her farm don’t make that easy. Neither does his unwanted attraction to her. Meanwhile, escalating incidents confirm that she’s far from safe.

Lily fears letting the surprisingly gentle retired marine into her life almost as much as she fears whoever is threatening her. As Wisconsin farmers edge toward another milk strike, one that will surely turn violent, it becomes clear that the plot against Lily may be part of a much larger conspiracy. When the search for her abductor leads close to home, she must decide whether to trust her family or the man who saved her life.

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | Christianbook | BookBub

EXCERPT

Miles Wright pressed his eye to the A5 telescopic sight attached to his Springfield long-range rifle. Instead of being hunkered down in the trenches of Europe or in the humidity of Central America, as he would be if he’d stayed in the army, he flattened himself against the rough branch of a monstrous pine one hundred yards from the ruins of a stone house lost amid the forests of northern Wisconsin.

He breathed deeply, the smell of decaying leaves filling his nose even as the action calmed his heart. Dusk had come, but he could still spot the shadows of his four fellow retired soldiers darting from tree to tree toward the stone structure where Lily Moore’s kidnappers likely stashed her. His team was tasked with a simple rescue and had yet to meet any resistance. Miles’ job was to keep it that way.

As Silent as the Night

Title: As Silent as the Night
Series: Strike to the Heart
Author: Danielle Grandinetti
Publisher: Hearth Spot Press
Release Date: September 13, 2022
Genre: Historical Romantic Suspense, Christian

He can procure anything, except his heart’s deepest wish. She might hold the key, if she’s not discovered first.

Chicago, 1933―Lucia Critelli will do anything for her ailing grandfather, including stand in a breadline to have enough food to make him a St. Nicholas Day meal. When she catches the eye of a goon who threatens her grandfather, she discovers the end of Prohibition doesn’t mean the end of the mafia’s criminal activity.

Retired Marine Scout Giosue “Gio” Vella can find anything, especially if it helps a fellow Italian immigrant, so he has no doubt he can locate his neighbor’s granddaughter, who has gone missing from a local church. Keeping her safe is another matter. Especially when he chooses to hide out with his Marine buddy in Eagle, Wisconsin, the site of a barely-held truce among striking dairy farmers.

Will Christmas bring the miracle they all need or will Gio discover there are some things even he can’t find, particularly when he stumbles upon the most elusive gift of all: love.

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookBub

EXCERPT

Lucia tugged on her coat, a threadbare one that had seen too many winters. Gio slid his arm over her shoulder and pulled her close. She didn’t balk; in fact, she seemed to tuck in closer.

Buon compleanno, Lucia. Happy birthday.” He lowered his chin so he could see her, but as he spoke, she raised her face to his, bringing her lips within a hair’s breadth of his.

Her eyes widened, but she didn’t move. A white puff of breath wisped between them. Cold stiffened his extremities, and he flexed his fingers. So many reasons to put space between them, but he had no desire to entertain them. He ran his gaze over Lucia’s olive skin, dipped to her lips, then up to her warm, brown eyes. They searched his own, neither pushing forward nor retreating, letting him decide whether he was done denying the truth to himself.

Si, this woman, she was special to him. He slid his hand down Lucia’s back, drawing her nearer until her lips touched his. Si, si. More special than any other.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Danielle Grandinetti

Danielle Grandinetti is author of the Strike to the Heart series and a book blogger at DaniellesWritingSpot.com. Her short stories have appeared in several publications and her writing has won the University of Northwestern Distinguished Faith in Writing Award. Originally from the Chicagoland area, she now lives along Lake Michigan’s Wisconsin shoreline with her husband and their two young sons. Danielle especially loves quiet mornings served with the perfect cup of tea.

Connect with Danielle by visiting daniellegrandinetti.com to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a paperback copy of the Strike to the Heart series and a tote bag featuring a dairy cow.

Strike to the Heart JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight November 29, 2022 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on December 6, 2022. 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

Audiobook Mini-Review: A Stranger’s Game

28 Nov

My book club chose A Stranger’s Game by Colleen Coble as our selection this month. I have to be honest and say this romantic suspense was just okay. I did like main characters Torie and Joe (and Joe’s daughter was a delight), and they made a good couple as they sought to discover the source of a number of threats. I guess the author believed that stalkers, attacks, and a couple of murders, etc. — all seemingly unconnected — would prove hard for them and the reader to discover just whodunit. I figured out a couple early into the novel. I wanted to shout “check out so-and-so”! 😉 The Jekyll Island setting was wonderful as it is one of my favorite places to visit. It was easy to visualize all the places the characters went, since I’ve been there too. While the suspense was too easy to solve (in my opinion), the romance was good. I genuinely liked Torie and Joe, and liked how they overcame obstacles and doubts to choose a future together. Specific to the audiobook: I think the narrator did a good job with accents, pacing, and expression.

Audience: Adults.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Wealthy hotel heiress Torie Bergstrom comes to Jekyll Island certain her friend Lisbeth’s death wasn’t an accident—but Torie gets more than she bargained for when the killer begins to play mind games with her in this gripping new novel from USA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble.

Even though Torie Bergstrom hasn’t been back to Georgia since she was ten, she was happy to arrange a job for her best friend at one of the family properties on Jekyll Island. But when Torie learns that Lisbeth has drowned, she knows it is more than a tragic accident: Lisbeth was terrified of water and wouldn’t have gone swimming by choice.

Torie goes to the hotel under an alias, desperate to find answers. When she meets Joe Abbott and his daughter while they are rescuing baby sea turtles, she can only hope they are as trustworthy as they seem. And when someone begins to play mind games with her, proving they know her real identity, Torie couldn’t be more grateful to have an ally.

The more Torie and Joe dig, the more elusive the truth seems. But one thing is clear: someone will risk anything—even another murder—to keep their secrets buried.

Best-selling author Colleen Coble‘s novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, the ACFW Carol Award, the Romance Writers of America RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has over 4 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana. Visit her website at http://colleencoble.com.

First Line Friday — The Year of Jubilee

25 Nov

Happy Friday! Are you shopping today or enjoying a lazy day fueled by turkey? I prefer my shopping either online or without crowds, so I am not a big Black Friday fan. I am spending the day with family and in between fun, a good book. One that is in the Kindle queue is an anticipated read, The Year of Jubilee by songwriter Cindy Morgan. It’s a coming of age novel set against the backdrop of the South in the 1960s. It won’t officially release until April 2023, but thanks to NetGalley I have an early copy. Can’t wait to read it!

Here’s the first line:

There are some moments in your life you don’t forget.

The Mockingbird family has always lived peacefully in Jubilee, Kentucky, despite the divisions that mark their small town. Until the tense summer of 1963, when their youngest child, Isaac, falls gravely ill. Middle sister Grace, nearly fourteen, is determined to do whatever it takes to save her little brother. With her father and mother away at the hospital, Grace is left under the loving but inexperienced eye of her aunt June, with little to do but wait and worry. Inspired by a young teacher’s mission for change, she begins to flirt with danger―and with a gifted boy named Golden, who just might be the key to saving Isaac’s life. Then the unthinkable happens, and the world as she knows it shifts in ways she never could have imagined. Grace must decide what she believes amid the swirling, conflicting voices even of those she loves the most.

From gifted songwriter Cindy Morgan comes this lyrical, tender tale of a girl standing at the threshold of adulthood, learning the depths of the human heart and the bonds of family that bend, break, and bind together over and over again.