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Top 10 Tuesday — Summer TBR

15 Jun

It is definitely summer here in the sunny South. High temps are in the 90s, and I am melting on my morning walks! But that’s what I signed up for! We endure in the air conditioning and under the umbrella next to the pool. And a good book to take you away is always welcome.

Today’s Top 10 Tuesday list includes some of the books I am reading this summer. My TBR list is short, but I will be reading more than is on my current list — I am keeping my options flexible this summer. For more fun summer reading, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Books on My Summer TBR

The August surprise selection for By The Book is Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan. We are excited to read this dual timeline novel set in one of our favorite cities.

When Savannah history professor Everly Winthrop is asked to guest-curate a new museum collection focusing on artifacts recovered from the steamship Pulaski, she’s shocked. The ship sank after a boiler explosion in 1838, and the wreckage was just discovered, 180 years later. Everly can’t resist the opportunity to try to solve some of the mysteries and myths surrounding the devastating night of its sinking.

Everly’s research leads her to the astounding history of a family of eleven who boarded the Pulaskitogether, and the extraordinary stories of two women from this family: a known survivor, Augusta Longstreet, and her niece, Lilly Forsyth, who was never found, along with her child. These aristocratic women were part of Savannah’s society, but when the ship exploded, each was faced with difficult and heartbreaking decisions. This is a moving and powerful exploration of what women will do to endure in the face of tragedy, the role fate plays, and the myriad ways we survive the surviving.

A small group of my friends formed IWBC (Interesting Women Book Club — for the books were are reading and of course us 😉 . The Only Woman in The Room by Marie Benedict fits that bill. I am going to lobby hard to read it, but if I get outvoted, I am still going to read this intriguing book.

Her beauty almost certainly saved her from the rising Nazi party and led to marriage with an Austrian arms dealer. Underestimated in everything else, she overheard the Third Reich’s plans while at her husband’s side and understood more than anyone would guess. She devised a plan to flee in disguise from their castle, and the whirlwind escape landed her in Hollywood. She became Hedy Lamarr, screen star.

But she kept a secret more shocking than her heritage or her marriage: she was a scientist. And she had an idea that might help the country fight the Nazis and revolutionize modern communication . . . if anyone would listen to her.

A powerful book based on the incredible true story of the glamour icon and scientist, The Only Woman in the Room is a masterpiece that celebrates the many women in science that history has overlooked.

My daughter is reading C. S. LewisSpace Trilogy. She gave book 1, Out of The Silent Planet to my husband, and I downloaded it from Audible (it was included in my subscription). I am hoping our 4th of July celebration will include the 1st Family Book Club. Wish me luck! I had a hard enough time getting my kids to read certain books when they were kids. Now that they are adults . . . .

Out of the Silent Planet is the first novel of the Cosmic Trilogy, considered to be C.S. Lewis’ chief contribution to the science fiction genre. The trilogy concerns Dr. Ransom, a linguist, who, like Christ, was offered a ransom for mankind. The first two novels are planetary romances with elements of medieval mythology. Each planet is seen as having a tutelary spirit; those of the other planets are both good and accessible, while that of Earth is fallen, twisted, and not known directly by most humans. The story is powerfully imagined, and the effects of lesser gravity on Martian planet and animal life is vividly rendered.

Two review books are up for July — The Nature of Small Birds by Susie Finkbeiner and The Chase by Lisa Harris. I can’t wait to dig into both of those books.

In 1975, three thousand children were airlifted out of Saigon to be adopted into Western homes. When Mindy, one of those children, announces her plans to return to Vietnam to find her birth mother, her loving adopted family is suddenly thrown back to the events surrounding her unconventional arrival in their lives.

Though her father supports Mindy’s desire to meet her family of origin, he struggles privately with an unsettling fear that he’ll lose the daughter he’s poured his heart into. Mindy’s mother undergoes the emotional rollercoaster inherent in the adoption of a child from a war-torn country, discovering the joy hidden amid the difficulties. And Mindy’s sister helps her sort through relics that whisper of the effect the trauma of war has had on their family — but also speak of the beauty of overcoming.

Told through three strong voices in three compelling timelines, The Nature of Small Birds is a hopeful story that explores the meaning of family far beyond genetic code.

US Marshal Madison James may not be sure who shot her three months ago, but she does know one thing — it’s time to get back out into the field. When her partner, Jonas Quinn, receives a message that a federal warrant just came in on a man connected to a string of bank robberies, Madison jumps at the chance to get back to work. What she and Jonas find is a bank robbery in progress that’s gone wrong — and things are about to get worse.

For these bank robbers, it’s never been just about the money. It’s about taking risks and adrenaline rushes, and getting caught is not part of the game. When the suspects escape, Madison and Jonas must hunt them down and bring them to justice before someone else — someone close to them — gets hurt . . . or worse.

From Seattle to the San Juan Islands, bestselling author Lisa Harris takes you on a nonstop chase where feelings are complicated and failure isn’t an option.

What are you reading this summer?

June Book Club Selection — When Twilight Breaks

1 Jun

When Twilight Breaks, the WWII-era standalone novel by Sarah Sundin, is By The Book‘s June Selection. I read this novel a few months ago — loved it! Its look at the events leading up to WWII are informative, as well a cautionary tale for modern readers. Find out all the details below.

Munich, 1938. Evelyn Brand is an American foreign correspondent as determined to prove her worth in a male-dominated profession as she is to expose the growing tyranny in Nazi Germany. To do so, she must walk a thin line. If she offends the government, she could be expelled from the country — or worse. If she fails to truthfully report on major stories, she’ll never be able to give a voice to the oppressed — and wake up the folks back home.

In another part of the city, American graduate student Peter Lang is working on his PhD in German. Disillusioned with the chaos in the world due to the Great Depression, he is impressed with the prosperity and order of German society. But when the brutality of the regime hits close, he discovers a far better way to use his contacts within the Nazi party–to feed information to the shrewd reporter he can’t get off his mind.

This electric standalone novel from fan-favorite Sarah Sundin puts you right at the intersection of pulse-pounding suspense and heart-stopping romance.

Sarah Sundin enjoys writing about the drama and romance of the World War II era. She is the bestselling author of When Twilight Breaks (February 2, 2021), The Land Beneath Us (2020), The Sky Above Us (2019) and The Sea Before Us (2018), as well as the Waves of Freedom, Wings of the Nightingale, and Wings of Glory series. 

A mother of three, Sundin lives in northern California and enjoys speaking to community, church, and writers’ groups. Sarah serves as Co-Director for the West Coast Christian Writers Conference. Please visit Sarah at http://www.sarahsundin.com, on Facebook at SarahSundinAuthor, on Twitter at @sarahsundin, and on Instagram at @sarahsundinauthor.

Top 10 Tuesday — Recent Reads

4 May

After a slow reading year in 2020 and a busy wedding schedule this year, I am trying to get my reading groove back. It’s been a slow process, but I think I am hitting my stride again. That being said, I’m sharing my most recent reads for Top Ten Tuesday this week. Have you read any of these books?

For more Top Ten Tuesday fun, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top 10 Recent Reads

Blackberry Beach by Irene Hannon

Code Name Helene by Ariel Lawhon

Facing The Dawn by Cynthia Ruchti

Hope Between The Pages by Pepper Basham

The Lady in Residence by Allison Pittman

More Than Meets The Eye by Karen Witemeyer

Present Danger by Elizabeth Goddard

The Secret Place by Camille Eide

A Tapestry of Light by Kimberly Duffy

Trial And Error by Robert Whitlow

Currently reading:

Aftermath by Terri Blackstock

Circling The Sun by Paula McLain

Whispers in The Branches by Brandy Heineman

May Book Club Selection

3 May

My book club is always in the mood for a fast-paced suspense novel, so I believe Night Fall by Nancy Mehl is going to be a big hit with my members this month. If you have read this book, we would love to know your thoughts.

Now that Alexandra “Alex” Donavan is finally free of her troubled upbringing, she’s able to live out her childhood dream of working for the FBI. But soon after she becomes a member of the FBI’s elite Behavioral Analysis Unit, authorities in Kansas and Missouri contact them about bodies found on freight trains traveling across the country – all killed in the same way.

Alex never expected to be forced to confront her past in this new job, but she immediately recognizes the graffiti messages the killer is leaving on the train cars. When the BAU sends her to gather information about the messages from her aunt in Wichita, Kansas, Alex is haunted by the struggles she thought she’d left behind forever.

In a race against time to solve the case while battling her own weaknesses, Alex must face how far she’ll go — and what she’s willing to risk — to put a stop to the Train Killer.

Nancy Mehl lives in Missouri, with her husband Norman, and her very active puggle, Watson. She’s authored thirty books and is currently at work on a new FBI suspense series for Bethany House Publishing.

All of Nancy’s novels have an added touch – something for your spirit as well as your soul. “I welcome the opportunity to share my faith through my writing,” Nancy says. “It’s a part of me and of everything I think or do. God is number one in my life. I wouldn’t be writing at all if I didn’t believe that this is what He’s called me to do. I hope everyone who reads my books will walk away with the most important message I can give them: God is good, and He loves you more than you can imagine. He has a good plan especially for your life, and there is nothing you can’t overcome with His help.”

You can find out more about Nancy by visiting her Web site at: http://www.nancymehl.com. She also is active on the Suspense Sisters: http://www.suspensesisters.blogspot.com and on FaceBook!

April Book Club Selection — Trial And Error

1 Apr

Is it really April already? The year is flying by. This month I am excited for our book club pick, Trial And Error by Robert Whitlow. Whitlow is one of our very favorite authors, and I think this book will be a hit with my members. I am almost finished with the audiobook. I’m glad I chose to listen to the book. Besides being a great companion on my morning walks, it helps me with the temptation of turning to the last pages to see how it will turn out! 😉 I hope you will join us in reading Trial And Error this month.

A small-town lawyer has been searching for his daughter for eighteen years. Now another young woman is missing, and he’s determined to find them both—no matter the cost.

Buddy Smith built his law practice around tracking down missing children. After all, he knows the agony of being separated from a child. Not long after his daughter’s birth, her mother ran away and Buddy never saw either one again.

Gracie Blaylock has known Buddy her entire life, and now that she is clerk of court for the county, their paths cross frequently. When Gracie hears that a teenager in town has gone missing, she knows Buddy is the one for the case.

The girl’s parents are desperate for answers. Together with Gracie and Mayleah—the new detective in town—Buddy chases all leads, hoping to reach the missing teen before it’s too late. And as he pursues one girl, he uncovers clues that could bring him closer to the girl he thought he lost forever: his own daughter.

Master legal writer Robert Whitlow will keep you guessing in this gripping legal drama while reminding you of the power of God’s restoration.

Robert Whitlow grew up in north Georgia. He graduated magna cum laude from Furman University with a BA in history in 1976 and received his JD with honors from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1979. A practicing attorney, he is a partner in a Charlotte, NC law firm. He and his wife Kathy have four children and nine grandchildren. 


Robert began writing in 1996. His novels are set in the South and include both legal suspense and interesting characterization. It is his desire to write stories that reveal some of the ways God interacts with people in realistic scenerios.

Happy Release Day! — A Tapestry of Light

16 Mar

Kimberly Duffy‘s debut novel, A Mosaic of Wings, was fantastic! Its exotic setting and unusual subject matter made it a highly recommended historical novel. Today, her second novel, A Tapestry of Light, has released. Happy release day Kimberly!!

 

Calcutta, 1886.

Ottilie Russell is adrift between two cultures, British and Indian, belonging to both and neither. In order to support her little brother, Thaddeus, and her grandmother, she relies upon her skills in beetle-wing embroidery that have been passed down to her through generations of Indian women.

When a stranger appears with the news that Thaddeus is now Baron Sunderson and must travel to England to take his place as a nobleman, Ottilie is shattered by the secrets that come to light. Despite her growing friendship with Everett Scott, friend to Ottilie’s English grandmother and aunt, she refuses to give up her brother. Then tragedy strikes, and she is forced to make a decision that will take Thaddeus far from death and herself far from home.

But betrayal and loss lurk in England, too, and soon Ottilie must fight to ensure Thaddeus doesn’t forget who he is, as well as find a way to stitch a place for herself in this foreign land.

Kimberly Duffy is a Long Island native currently living in Southwest Ohio. When she’s not homeschooling her four kids, she writes historical fiction that takes readers back in time and across oceans. Her books feature ahead-of-their-time heroines, evocative settings, and real-life faith. Kimberly loves trips that require a passport, recipe books, and practicing kissing scenes with her husband of 20 years. He doesn’t mind.

You can find Kimberly at:

http://www.kimberlyduffy.com

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKimberlyDuffy/

https://www.instagram.com/kimberlyduffyauthor/

 

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Spring TBR List

16 Mar

Life is full of seasons, and I am finding Spring 2021 to be filled with fun, joy, and sorrow. Building a vacation home, my daughter’s wedding, and the passing of my sister a few weeks ago have filled my days. Not a lot of reading going on in my life right now, which under the circumstances is more than okay. But I do have some books on my Spring TBR List. I am hopeful to get many of them read and will be sharing my thoughts in the coming weeks. Posts may be sporadic for a few months, but I hope you will enjoy those I manage to schedule.

For more Spring TBR Lists, please check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Books on My Spring TBR List

 

At Lighthouse Point by Suzanne Woods Fisher

My Dear Miss Dupre by Grace Hitchcock

Night Fall by Nancy Mehl

 

Present Danger by Elizabeth Goddard

The Secret Place by Camille Eide

A Tapestry of Light by Kimberly Duffy

 

To Save A King by Rachel Hauck

Trial And Error by Robert Whitlow

Whispers in The Branches by Brandy Heineman

 

 

March Book Club Selection

1 Mar

How can it be March already?! My book club will be discussing our 3rd book of 2021 this month. January’s selection was a miss for us, and February’s was just what we needed. This month we are reading The Escape by Lisa Harris, one of our favorite authors. We would love for you to join us! See all the details below.

US Marshals Madison James and Jonas Quinn are thrust into a high-profile case when they are called on to transport two prisoners across the country on a private plane. But when the plane experiences engine trouble en route from the Pacific Northwest to Colorado, the pilots crash-land the aircraft deep in the heart of the sprawling Salmon-Challis National Forest. 

When Madison and Jonas regain consciousness, they find both pilots and one prisoner dead–and one fugitive on the run. They’ll have to negotiate the rugged and remote backcountry through Idaho, Wyoming, and Colorado while tracking a murderer who is desperate to disappear–and will do anything to stop them.

This high-octane game of cat-and-mouse from bestselling and award-winning author Lisa Harris will have your heart pumping as you try to catch a fugitive with nothing to lose.

Bestselling author Lisa Harris is a Christy Award finalist for Blood Ransom and Vendetta, Christy Award winner for Dangerous Passage, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2011 (Blood Covenant) and 2015 (Vendetta) from Romantic Times. She has over thirty novels and novella collections in print. She and her family have spent almost fourteen years working as missionaries in Africa where she runs a small non-profit organization that works alongside their church-planting ministry. The ECHO Project promotes Education, Compassion, Health, and Opportunity and is a way to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves . . . the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.” (Proverbs 31:8)

 

February Book Club Selection — The Cedar Key

1 Feb

February, the month of love! What better way to celebrate than to read a romance novel with my book club? This month we are reading The Cedar Key by Stephenia McGee. This contemporary romance is set in a small and quirky Mississippi town — can’t wait to read it! Below are all the details.

 

Could the key to Casey’s future be hidden in someone else’s past?

Casey Adams unexpectedly inherits an old Victorian house full of other people’s memories. Stuck in a quirky little Mississippi town, Casey’s hope for a fresh start died as soon she had to lay the grandmother she’d just met to rest.

But Grandma Ida carried secrets beyond the grave.

Before her death Ida carefully planned a trail of clues to help Casey unlock the Macintyre family secrets and finally explain why they abandoned her. But each of Ida’s letters will only come from Casey’s handsome — and often frustrating — new neighbor. As Casey pieces together the stories behind the objects filling her grandmother’s house, she embarks on a heart-stirring journey that rattles her foundations, ignites her faith, and leads her to a startling discovery that will reshape her future. But only if she can face the lies that have been slowly tearing her apart.

 

 

Best-selling author of Christian novels, Stephenia H. McGee writes stories of faith, hope, and healing set in the Deep South. When she’s not twirling around in hoop skirts, reading, or sipping sweet tea on the front porch, she’s a homeschool mom of two boys, writer, dreamer, and husband spoiler. Visit her at http://www.StepheniaMcGee.com for books and updates.

 

If You Liked . . . Burden of Proof

30 Jan

The reactions of my book club members to Burden of Proof by Davis Bunn ranged from didn’t like the ending to didn’t like the book at all! LOL! So, one strike so far for our 2021 selections. Not a promising start to a new year of reading. However, the book did spark a lot of great discussion — a win in my book. I especially liked the answers to the question “if you could go back in time to change something, would you?”.

 

What did (or didn’t) you like about Burden of Proof?

 

I liked Burden of Proof, as did my husband. If you are in that seeming minority too, here are some book recommendations for more great reading. All three novels deal with past regrets and making amends (but no time travel 😉 ).

 

Not in The Heart by Chris Fabry

Truman Wiley used to report news stories from around the world, but now the most troubling headlines are his own. He’s out of work, out of touch with his family, out of his home. But nothing dogs him more than his son’s failing heart.

With mounting hospital bills and Truman’s penchant for gambling his savings, the situation seems hopeless . . . until his estranged wife throws him a lifeline ― the chance to write the story of a death row inmate, a man convicted of murder who wants to donate his heart to Truman’s son.

As the execution clock ticks down, Truman uncovers disturbing evidence that points to a different killer. For his son to live, must an innocent man die? Truman’s investigation draws him down a path that will change his life, his family, and the destinies of two men forever.

The Promise of Jesse Woods by Chris Fabry

The Summer of 1972 was the most pivotal of Matt Plumley’s childhood. While his beloved Pirates battle for back-to-back World Series titles, Matt’s family moves from Pittsburgh to Dogwood, West Virginia, where his father steps into the pulpit of a church under the thumb of town leader Basil Blackwood. A fish out of water, Matt is relieved to forge a fast bond with two unlikely friends: Dickie Darrel Lee Hancock, a mixed-race boy, and Jesse Woods, a tough-as-nails girl with a sister on her hip and no dad in sight.

As the trio traipses the hills and hollers, Matt begins to fall for Jesse, and their promises to each other draw him deeper into her terrifying reality. One night, the wrath of the Blackwoods and the secrets of Jesse’s family collide, and Matt joins Jesse in a rescue that saves one life and ends another . . . and severs the bond of their friendship.

Years later, Matt is pulled back to Dogwood and to memories of that momentous summer by news of Jesse’s upcoming wedding. He could never shake the feeling that there was more to the story of that fateful night, and he’s determined to learn the truth behind the only promise Jesse Woods ever broke.

Water from My Heart by Charles Martin

Charlie Finn had to grow up fast, living alone by age 16. Highly intelligent, he earned a life-changing scholarship to Harvard, where he learned how to survive and thrive on the outskirts of privileged society. That skill served him well in the cutthroat business world, as it does in more lucrative but dangerous ventures he now operates off the coast of Miami. Charlie tries to separate relationships from work. But when his choices produce devastating consequences, he sets out to right wrongs, traveling to Central America, where he will meet those who have paid for his actions, including a woman and her young daughter.

Will their fated encounter present Charlie with a way to seek the redemption he thought was impossible — and free his heart to love one woman as he never knew he could?