Tag Archives: Amy K. Sorrells

Top 10 Tuesday — Fancy Fonts!

27 Sep

Today’s TTT is all about typography — book covers where the title takes center stage. I went with fancy fonts as my focus. I have a mix of those I have read and some on my TBR list. There are a lot of great books on the list; hope you find one to love!

For more, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top 10 Fancy Fonts!

As Dawn Breaks by Kate Breslin

Dangerous Beauty by Melissa Koslin

Every Word Unsaid by Kimberly Duffy

Healing Skye by Janet W. Ferguson

In Search of A Prince by Toni Shiloh

Jane And The Year Without A Summer by Stephanie Baron

The Premonition at Withers Farm by Jaime Jo Wright

The Sings My Soul by Amy K. Sorrells

To Love A Viking by Heather Day Gilbert and Jen Cudmore

Where The Blue Sky Begins by Katie Powner

Top 10 Tuesday — One Word Reviews

3 May

The week’s TTT was a tough one. I was determined to go by the prompt and let 1 word stand as a review for each of the titles featured. I really wanted to use some adjectives, but I settled for some hyphenated words. 🙂 One word really doesn’t do any of the books listed here justice; they are really, really good in many ways. I hope you find one that intrigues you.

For more brief reviews, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

One Word Reviews

HEART-FILLED

WELL-RESEARCHED

GOTHIC

FAIRYTALE

CREEPY

CREEPIER 😉

FAST-PACED

MASTERFUL

MOVING

PAGE-TURNER

Book Review: Then Sings My Soul

27 Apr

My book club read Then Sings My Soul by Amy K. Sorrells this month. It actually got some mixed reviews — one of our group’s members said that she had a love-hate relationship with the book 😉 . Although beautifully written, there are a lot of hard things included. It’s a look at historical events and an exploration of grief, sorrow, and redemption. I liked it a lot, but found it a hard read, if you know what I mean. Find out about the book, author, and my impressions below.

1904, Chudniv, Ukraine. Playing hide-and-seek in bucolic fields of sunflowers, young Jakob never imagines the horrific secrets he will carry as he and his brother escape through genocide-ridden Eastern Europe.

1994, South Haven, Michigan. At age 94, time is running out for any hope that Jakob can be free from his burden of guilt.

When Jakob’s wife dies, he and his daughter, Nel, are forced to face the realities of his worsening dementia―including a near-naked, midnight jaunt down the middle of main street―as well as emerging shadows Nel had no idea lay beneath her father’s beloved, curmudgeonly ways.

While Nel navigates the restoration and sale of Jakob’s dilapidated lake house, her high school sweetheart shows up in town, along with unexpected correspondence from Ukraine. And when she discovers a mysterious gemstone in Jakob’s old lapidary room, Jakob’s condition worsens as he begins having flashbacks about his baby sister from nearly a century past.

As father and daughter race against time to discover the truth behind Jackob’s fragmented memories, the God they have both been running from shows that he redeems not only broken years, but also the future.

Amy K. Sorrells is a novelist who believes in the power of story to change lives. Praised by reviewers for the way they both poetically and accurately portray hardship and hope, Amy’s novels are inspired by social issues that break her heart and finding hope in the midst of them. In addition to being a writer, Amy is also grateful to be a practicing registered nurse at a busy suburban hospital. She and her husband have raised three young-adult sons and live in central Indiana. 

Connect with Amy at amyksorrells.com, or find her on Facebook (@amyksorrells), Twitter(@AmyKSorrells1), TikTok (@amyksorrells), and Instagram (@amyksorrells).

My Impressions:

When the war in Ukraine began earlier this year, I was reminded of a book that had been on my TBR list way too long. Then Sings My Soul by Amy K. Sorrells tells the story of Jakob Stewart, a 90-something American man who has ties to Ukraine. Through scenes from his past, and the explorations of of his daughter Nel 90 years later, a story of human suffering and horror unfolds. But more than that it is a story of how events shape a person. Jakob was a small boy of four when he is forced with his elder brother to flee Ukraine. He battles guilt and grief all of his life. Nel, who cherishes the memory of her parents and her growing up years, also lets events shape her. I found it very interesting how some in the story stay grounded in faith, while others seem to drift. Sorrells’ complex storytelling allows the reader to experience Jakob and Nel’s lives. I felt their pain, loss, and ultimately their redemption. I admit I ugly cried at the end. 😉 This was a difficult book to read. The writing is well-done, the narrative seems to flow effortlessly, yet the subject matter hurt my heart. I was immediately drawn into the lives of the main characters — they felt so much like someone I knew — so the connection with them felt so personal. I think this is the strongest aspect of the novel. Historical details, as well as information on lapidary arts, taught me too. The book ends well, but . . . there are unanswered questions that made me ponder how the characters’ journey would progress. Some don’t like unfinished stories, but Then Sings My Soul provided me with a means to finish the story how I wanted it to go. 😉

Another great book by Sorrells! Then Sings My Soul will make you feel and think. It also generated a great discussion with my book club.

Highly Recommended.

Great for Book Clubs.

Audience: Adults.

(I purchased this book from Amazon. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

April Book Club Pick — Then Sings My Soul

1 Apr

This month’s book club pick was a surprise selection, meaning I got to choose! 😉 Considering what all is going on in the world, I thought Then Sings My Soul by Amy K. Sorrells would make a great book to discuss. It has a dual timeline — Ukraine in the early 1900s and modern day US. Can’t wait to read it! Check out all the info below.

1904, Chudniv, Ukraine. Playing hide-and-seek in bucolic fields of sunflowers, young Jakob never imagines the horrific secrets he will carry as he and his brother escape through genocide-ridden Eastern Europe.

1994, South Haven, Michigan. At age 94, time is running out for any hope that Jakob can be free from his burden of guilt.

When Jakob’s wife dies, he and his daughter, Nel, are forced to face the realities of his worsening dementia―including a near-naked, midnight jaunt down the middle of main street―as well as emerging shadows Nel had no idea lay beneath her father’s beloved, curmudgeonly ways.

While Nel navigates the restoration and sale of Jakob’s dilapidated lake house, her high school sweetheart shows up in town, along with unexpected correspondence from Ukraine. And when she discovers a mysterious gemstone in Jakob’s old lapidary room, Jakob’s condition worsens as he begins having flashbacks about his baby sister from nearly a century past.

As father and daughter race against time to discover the truth behind Jackob’s fragmented memories, the God they have both been running from shows that he redeems not only broken years, but also the future.

Amy K. Sorrells is a novelist who believes in the power of story to change lives. Praised by reviewers for the way they both poetically and accurately portray hardship and hope, Amy’s novels are inspired by social issues that break her heart and finding hope in the midst of them. In addition to being a writer, Amy is also grateful to be a practicing registered nurse at a busy suburban hospital. She and her husband have raised three young-adult sons and live in central Indiana. 

Connect with Amy at amyksorrells.com, or find her on Facebook (@amyksorrells), Twitter (@AmyKSorrells1), TikTok (@amyksorrells), and Instagram (@amyksorrells).

Top 10 Tuesday — Spring TBR

15 Mar

It’s Spring here in the sunny South, but you never really know what that means. Highs in the 80s, tornado watches, hard freezes, snow — all in one week. That’s what it was like last week. Next week, who knows? 😉 But one constant is I always have great books on my TBR list! I have a bunch of different genres I am looking forward to reading. What about you? What’s on your Spring TBR list?

For more great Spring reading, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top 10 Books on My Spring TBR

Breach of Honor by Janice Cantore

As a police officer in Table Rock, Oregon, Leah Radcliff puts her life on the line to help others every day. But at home, Leah’s battling her own personal nightmare: Brad, her abusive husband, a fellow officer, celebrated hero, and beloved son of a powerful prominent family. Brad’s violent outbursts and suspicious activities have left Leah physically and emotionally scarred, until one desperate action to put a stop to his abuse results in deadly consequences.

Though public opinion seems ready to convict Leah, Officer Clint Tanner is one of the few to believe she acted in self-defense. As he works with Leah’s attorney to produce the evidence they need, new truths about Brad’s dark side come to light―and reveal a deep-rooted problem in Table Rock. There are some who have breached their sworn duty to serve and protect . . . and they’ll do anything to keep their secret safe.

Every Word Unsaid by Kimberly Duffy

Augusta Travers has spent the last three years avoiding the stifling expectations of New York society and her family’s constant disappointment. As the nation’s most fearless–and reviled–columnist, Gussie travels the country with her Kodak camera and spins stories for women unable to leave hearth and home. But when her adventurous nature lands her in the middle of a scandal, an opportunity to leave America offers the perfect escape. 

Arriving in India, she expects only a nice visit with childhood friends, siblings Catherine and Gabriel, and escapades that will further her career. Instead, she finds herself facing a plague epidemic, confusion over Gabriel’s sudden appeal, and the realization that what she wants from life is changing. But slowing down means facing all the hurts of her past that she’s long been trying to outrun. And that may be an undertaking too great even for her. 

False Pretense by Heather Day Gilbert

Tess has her work cut out for her—from her day job at the police station to her nights on the campaign trail with her husband, she’s stretched thin. Her two young children also keep her busy, but thankfully she has a supportive mother-in-law who lives just next door.

When the legendary Mothman makes a terrifying appearance and a local librarian goes missing, Tess feels compelled to get involved, convinced something evil has been unleashed on her little town. Then another woman disappears—this one bearing an eerie resemblance to Tess—and the police receive a cryptic message hinting that a serial killer is on the prowl.

After a nightmarish turn of events completely upends the Spencer family, Tess musters her courage to hunt for the monstrous murderer in the woods…even if she has to walk straight into the Mothman’s lair to do it.

False Pretense brings a stunning and memorable conclusion to the award-winning Murder in the Mountains series.

Fatal Code by Natalie Walters

In 1964, a group of scientists called the Los Alamos Five came close to finishing a nuclear energy project for the United States government when they were abruptly disbanded. Now the granddaughter of one of those five scientists, aerospace engineer Elinor Mitchell, discovers that she has highly sensitive information on the project in her possession–and a target on her back.

SNAP agent and former Navy cryptologist Kekoa Young is tasked with monitoring Elinor. This is both convenient since she’s his neighbor in Washington, DC, and decidedly inconvenient because . . . well, he kind of likes her.

As Elinor follows the clues her grandfather left behind to a top-secret nuclear project, Kekoa has no choice but to step in. When Elinor learns he has been spying on her, she’s crushed. But with danger closing in on all sides, she’ll have to trust him to ensure her discoveries stay out of enemy hands.

Natalie Walters sucks you into the global race for space domination in this perfectly paced second installment of her SNAP Agency romantic suspense series.

In Search of A Prince by Toni Shiloh

It seems like a dream come true . . . until it forces her to question everything.  

Brielle Adebayo is fully content teaching at a New York City public school and taking annual summer vacations with her mother to Martha’s Vineyard. But everything changes when her mom drops a bombshell–Brielle is really a princess in the island kingdom of Ọlọrọ Ilé, off the coast of Africa, and she must immediately assume her royal position, since the health of her grandfather, the king, is failing.

Distraught by all the secrets her mother kept, Brielle is further left spinning when the Ọlọrọ Ilé Royal Council brings up an old edict that states she must marry before her coronation, or the crown will pass to another. Brielle is uncertain if she even wants the throne, and with her world totally shaken, where will she find the courage to take a chance on love and brave the perils a wrong decision may bring?

Life Flight by Lynette Eason

EMS helicopter pilot Penny Carlton is used to high stress situations, but being forced to land on a mountain in a raging storm with a critical patient–and a serial killer on the loose–tests her skills and her nerve to the limit. She survives with FBI Special Agent Holt Satterfield’s help. But she’s not out of the woods yet.

In the ensuing days, Penny finds herself under attack. And when news reaches Holt that he may not have gotten his man after all, it will take all he and Penny have to catch a killer–before he catches one of them.

Bestselling and award-winning author Lynette Eason is back with another high-octane tale of close calls, narrow escapes, and the fight to bring a nefarious criminal to justice.

Sea Glass Cottage by Irene Hannon

Christi Reece is desperate. The one-time golden girl’s life has tarnished, and a cascade of setbacks has left her reeling. She needs help, and she’s certain Jack Colby is in a position to provide it. 

When she shows up in Hope Harbor, however, Jack wants nothing to do with the woman who betrayed him. He’s built a new life on the Oregon coast–and there’s no room in it for Christi, even after she takes refuge in a charming but mysterious cottage nearby. Yet it soon becomes apparent his opinion of her may need revising . . . especially when he ends up needing her help. 

Can these two hurting souls make peace with their past and open their hearts to a new beginning? 

Come home to Hope Harbor–where hearts heal . . . and love blooms.

Shadows in The Mind’s Eye by Janyre Tromp

Charlotte Anne Mattas longs to turn back the clock. Before her husband, Sam, went to serve his country in the war, he was the man everyone could rely on–responsible, intelligent, and loving. But the person who’s come back to their family farm is very different from the protector Annie remembers. Sam’s experience in the Pacific theater has left him broken in ways no one can understand–but that everyone is learning to fear.

Tongues start wagging after Sam nearly kills his own brother. Now when he claims to have seen men on the mountain when no one else has seen them, Annie isn’t the only one questioning his sanity and her safety. If there were criminals haunting the hills, there should be evidence beyond his claims. Is he really seeing what he says, or is his war-tortured mind conjuring ghosts?

Annie desperately wants to believe her husband. But between his irrational choices and his nightmares leaking into the daytime, she’s terrified he’s going mad. Can she trust God to heal Sam’s mental wounds–or will sticking by him mean keeping her marriage at the cost of her own life?

Debut novelist Janyre Tromp delivers a deliciously eerie, Hitchcockian story filled with love and suspense. Readers of psychological thrillers and historical fiction by Jaime Jo Wright and Sarah Sundin will add Tromp to their favorite authors list.

Then Sings My Soul by Amy K. Sorrells

1904, Chudniv, Ukraine. Playing hide-and-seek in bucolic fields of sunflowers, young Jakob never imagines the horrific secrets he will carry as he and his brother escape through genocide-ridden Eastern Europe.

1994, South Haven, Michigan. At age 94, time is running out for any hope that Jakob can be free from his burden of guilt.

When Jakob’s wife dies, he and his daughter, Nel, are forced to face the realities of his worsening dementia—including a near-naked, midnight jaunt down the middle of main street—as well as emerging shadows Nel had no idea lay beneath her father’s beloved, curmudgeonly ways.

While Nel navigates the restoration and sale of Jakob’s dilapidated lake house, her high school sweetheart shows up in town, along with unexpected correspondence from Ukraine. And when she discovers a mysterious gemstone in Jakob’s old lapidary room, Jakob’s condition worsens as he begins having flashbacks about his baby sister from nearly a century past.

As father and daughter race against time to discover the truth behind Jackob’s fragmented memories, the God they have both been running from shows that he redeems not only broken years, but also the future.

Turn to Me by Becky Wade

His promise will cost him far more than he imagined.

Guilt has defined Luke Dempsey’s life, but it was self-destructiveness that landed him in prison. When his friend and fellow inmate lay dying shortly before Luke’s release, the older man revealed he left a string of clues for his daughter, Finley, that will lead her to the treasure he’s hidden. Worried that she won’t be the only one pursuing the treasure, he gains Luke’s promise to protect her until the end of her search.

Spunky and idealistic, Finley Sutherland is the owner of an animal rescue center and a defender of lost causes. She accepts Luke’s help on the treasure hunt while secretly planning to help him in return–by coaxing him to embrace the forgiveness he’s long denied himself.

As they draw closer to the final clue, their reasons for resisting each other begin to crumble, and Luke realizes his promise will push him to the limit in more ways than one. He’ll do his best to shield Finley from unseen threats, but who’s going to shield him from losing his heart?

Spotlight — Two Books Set in Ukraine

8 Mar

With all that is going on in the world right now, I thought it would be good to spotlight two books with ties to Ukraine. One is historical and the other a split time novel. As always it’s good to revisit the past to put the present in perspective. I have read Like A River From Its Course by Kelli Stuart– it is excellent! Then Sings My Soul by Amy K Sorrells (one of my favorite authors) has been on my shelf way too long. It is the surprise selection for my book club in April. If you have read either of these books, I’d love to know your thoughts. And if you have other suggestions for books set in Ukraine, leave me a comment. Thanks!

Like A River from Its Course by Kelli Stuart

Winner of the 2017 American Christian Fiction Writers’ Carol Award –Best Christian Fiction of the Year

An epic novel exposing the ugliness of war and the beauty of hope

The city of Kiev was bombed in Hitler’s blitzkrieg across the Soviet Union, but the constant siege was only the beginning for her citizens. In this sweeping historical saga, Kelli Stuart takes the reader on a captivating journey into the little known history of Ukraine’s tragedies through the eyes of four compelling characters who experience the same story from different perspectives.

Maria Ivanovna is only fourteen when the bombing begins and not much older when she is forced into work at a German labor camp. She must fight to survive and to make her way back to her beloved Ukraine.

Ivan Kyrilovich is falsely mistaken for a Jew and lined up with 34,000 other men, women, and children who are to be shot at the edge of Babi Yar, the “killing ditch.” He survives, but not without devastating consequences.

Luda is sixteen when German soldiers rape her. Now pregnant with the child of the enemy, she is abandoned by her father, alone, and in pain. She must learn to trust family and friends again and find her own strength in order to discover the redemption that awaits.

Frederick Hermann is sure in his knowledge that the Führer’s plans for domination are right and just. He is driven to succeed by a desire to please a demanding father and by his own blind faith in the ideals of Nazism. Based on true stories gathered from fifteen years of research and interviews with Ukrainian World War II survivors, Like a River from Its Course is a story of love, war, heartache, forgiveness, and redemption.

Then Sings My Soul by Amy K. Sorrells

1904, Chudniv, Ukraine. Playing hide-and-seek in bucolic fields of sunflowers, young Jakob never imagines the horrific secrets he will carry as he and his brother escape through genocide-ridden Eastern Europe.

1994, South Haven, Michigan. At age 94, time is running out for any hope that Jakob can be free from his burden of guilt.

When Jakob’s wife dies, he and his daughter, Nel, are forced to face the realities of his worsening dementia―including a near-naked, midnight jaunt down the middle of main street―as well as emerging shadows Nel had no idea lay beneath her father’s beloved, curmudgeonly ways.

While Nel navigates the restoration and sale of Jakob’s dilapidated lake house, her high school sweetheart shows up in town, along with unexpected correspondence from Ukraine. And when she discovers a mysterious gemstone in Jakob’s old lapidary room, Jakob’s condition worsens as he begins having flashbacks about his baby sister from nearly a century past.

As father and daughter race against time to discover the truth behind Jackob’s fragmented memories, the God they have both been running from shows that he redeems not only broken years, but also the future.

Top 10 Tuesday — All The Feels

15 Feb

Have you ever read a book that you absolutely loved, but had a difficult time putting all the feelings into words. Yeah, me too. This week I am featuring books that had everything — knock-out plotting, relatable characters, truths galore, made me think, kept me pondering. These are the ones I struggled reviewing. I’ve given you an even dozen — I hope you find a new favorite book!

For more TTT fun, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Books With All The Feels

Before I Saw You by Amy K. Sorrells

Folks are dying fast as the ash trees in the southern Indiana town ravaged by the heroin epidemic, where Jaycee Givens lives with nothing more than a thread of hope and a quirky neighbor, Sudie, who rescues injured wildlife. After a tragedy leaves her mother in prison, Jaycee is carrying grief and an unplanned pregnancy she conceals because she trusts no one, including the kind and handsome Gabe, who is new to town and to the local diner where she works.

Dividing her time between the diner and Sudie’s place, Jaycee nurses her broken heart among a collection of unlikely friends who are the closest thing to family that she has. Eventually, she realizes she can’t hide her pregnancy any longer―not even from the baby’s abusive father, who is furious when he finds out. The choices she must make for the safety of her unborn child threaten to derail any chance she ever had for hope and redemption. Ultimately, Jaycee must decide whether the truest form of love means hanging on or letting go.

The Church Ladies by Lisa Samson

Competition for church members in Mount Oak has reached a furious peak. When tragedy strikes one of their hometown sons, the church women are drawn together through compassion. The Church Ladies is a contemporary tale illustrating how women can have a major impact on the church. Through friendships that reach beneath surface level — and trials more severe than simple — they unite with common purpose: to pray, share, and comfort. Slowly, the community of believers learns that the church grows when it is rooted in love. Characters you’ll laugh and cry with, in situations every woman will instantly relate to, light up this page-turner about a miracle that could happen.

The Devil Walks in Mattingly by Billy Coffee

It has been twenty years since Philip McBride’s body was found along the riverbank in the dark woods known as Happy Hollow. His death was ruled a suicide. But three people have carried the truth ever since—Philip didn’t kill himself that day. He was murdered.

Each of the three have wilted in the shadow of their sins. Jake Barnett is Mattingly’s sheriff, where he spends his days polishing the fragile shell of the man he pretends to be. His wife, Kate, has convinced herself the good she does for the poor will someday wash the blood from her hands. And high in the mountains, Taylor Hathcock lives in seclusion and fear, fueled by madness and hatred.

Yet what cannot be laid to rest is bound to rise again. Philip McBride has haunted Jake’s dreams for weeks, warning that he is coming back for them all. When Taylor finds mysterious footprints leading from the Hollow, he believes his redemption has come. His actions will plunge the quiet town of Mattingly into darkness. These three will be drawn together for a final confrontation between life and death . . . between truth and lies.

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.

The Last Year of The War by Susan Meissner

In 1943, Elise Sontag is a typical American teenager from Iowa — aware of the war but distanced from its reach. Then her father, a legal U.S. resident for nearly two decades, is suddenly arrested on suspicion of being a Nazi sympathizer. The family is sent to an internment camp in Texas, where, behind the armed guards and barbed wire, Elise feels stripped of everything beloved and familiar, including her own identity.
 
The only thing that makes the camp bearable is meeting fellow internee Mariko Inoue, a Japanese-American teen from Los Angeles, whose friendship empowers Elise to believe the life she knew before the war will again be hers. Together in the desert wilderness, Elise and Mariko hold tight the dream of being young American women with a future beyond the fences.
 
But when the Sontag family is exchanged for American prisoners behind enemy lines in Germany, Elise will face head-on the person the war desires to make of her. In that devastating crucible she must discover if she has the will to rise above prejudice and hatred and re-claim her own destiny, or disappear into the image others have cast upon her.
 
The Last Year of the War tells a little-known story of World War II with great resonance for our own times and challenges the very notion of who we are when who we’ve always been is called into question.

Maggie Bright by Tracy Groot

England, 1940. Clare Childs knew life would change when she unexpectedly inherited the Maggie Bright―a noble fifty-two-foot yacht. In fact, she’s counting on it. But the boat harbors secrets. When a stranger arrives, searching for documents hidden onboard, Clare is pulled into a Scotland Yard investigation that could shed light on Hitler’s darkest schemes and prompt America to action.

Across the Channel, Hitler’s Blitzkrieg has the entire British army in retreat with little hope for rescue at the shallow beaches of Dunkirk. With time running out, Churchill recruits civilian watercraft to help. Hitler is attacking from land, air, and sea, and any boat that goes might not return. Yet Clare knows Maggie Bright must answer the call―piloted by an American who has refused to join the war effort until now and a detective with a very personal motive for exposing the truth.

The fate of the war hinges on this rescue. While two men join the desperate fight, a nation prays for a miracle.

Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse

There was another South in the 1960s, one far removed from the marches and bombings and turmoil in the streets that were broadcast on the evening news. It was a place of inner turmoil, where ordinary people struggled to right themselves on a social landscape that was dramatically shifting beneath their feet. This is the world of Valerie Fraser Luesse’s stunning debut, Missing Isaac.

It is 1965 when black field hand Isaac Reynolds goes missing from the tiny, unassuming town of Glory, Alabama. The townspeople’s reactions range from concern to indifference, but one boy will stop at nothing to find out what happened to his unlikely friend. White, wealthy, and fatherless, young Pete McLean has nothing to gain and everything to lose in his relentless search for Isaac. In the process, he will discover much more than he bargained for. Before it’s all over, Pete — and the people he loves most — will have to blur the hard lines of race, class, and religion. And what they discover about themselves may change some of them forever.

No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert

When an impoverished school district loses its accreditation and the affluent community of Crystal Ridge has no choice but to open their school doors, the lives of three very different women converge: Camille Gray — the wife of an executive, mother of three, long-standing PTA chairwoman and champion fundraiser — faced with a shocking discovery that threatens to tear her picture-perfect world apart at the seams. Jen Covington, the career nurse whose long, painful journey to motherhood finally resulted in adoption but she is struggling with a happily-ever-after so much harder than she anticipated. Twenty-two-year-old Anaya Jones–the first woman in her family to graduate college and a brand new teacher at Crystal Ridge’s top elementary school, unprepared for the powder-keg situation she’s stepped into. Tensions rise within and without, culminating in an unforeseen event that impacts them all. This story explores the implicit biases impacting American society, and asks the ultimate question: What does it mean to be human? Why are we so quick to put labels on each other and categorize people as “this” or “that”, when such complexity exists in each person?

The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery by Amanda Cox

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.

Stories That Bind Us by Susie Finkbeiner

Betty Sweet never expected to be a widow at 40. With so much life still in front of her, she tries to figure out what’s next. She couldn’t have imagined what God had in mind. When her estranged sister is committed to a sanitarium, Betty finds herself taking on the care of a 5-year-old nephew she never knew she had.

In 1960s LaFontaine, Michigan, they make an odd pair. Betty with her pink button nose and bouffant hair. Hugo with his light brown skin and large brown eyes. But more powerful than what makes them different is what they share: the heartache of an empty space in their lives. Slowly, they will learn to trust one another as they discover common ground and healing through the magic of storytelling.

Award-winning author Susie Finkbeiner offers fans a novel that invites us to rediscover the power of story to open the doors of our hearts.

The Swan House by Elizabeth Musser

Mary Swan Middleton has always taken for granted the advantages of her family’s wealth. But a tragedy that touches all of Atlanta sends her reeling in grief. When the family maid challenges her to reach out to the less fortunate as a way to ease her own pain, Mary Swan meets Carl — and everything changes. For although Carl is her opposite in nearly every way, he has something her privileged life could not give her. And when she seeks his help to uncover a mystery, she learns far more than she ever could have imagined.

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West

Sometimes we’re allowed to glimpse the beauty within the brokenness . . .

Savannah Barrington has always found solace at her parents’ lake house in the Berkshires, and it’s the place that she runs to when her husband of over twenty years leaves her. Though her world is shaken, and the future uncertain, she finds hope through an old woman’s wisdom, a little girl’s laughter, and a man who’s willing to risk his own heart to prove to Savannah that she is worthy of love.

But soon Savannah is given a challenge she can’t run away from: Forgiving the unforgivable. Amidst the ancient gardens and musty bookstores of the small town she’s sought refuge in, she must reconcile with the grief that haunts her, the God pursuing her, and the wounds of the past that might be healed after all.

Where Hope Begins is the story of grace in the midst of brokenness, pointing us to the miracles that await when we look beyond our own expectations.

Top 10 Tuesday — Who, What, Where, When, How, And Why

13 Jul

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday’s challenge is book titles that ask a question. I cheated a bit and looked at other bloggers’ posts for inspiration. That’s how I came up with the who, what, where, when, how, and why theme. 2 books each with titles featuring those question prompts equals an even dozen! There are a variety of genres — hope you find one to love!

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

Top Who, What, Where, When, How, And Why Book Titles

The Boy Who Danced with Rabbits by J. R. Collins

Who Sang The First Song? by Ellie Holcomb

What Happened on Beale Street by Mary Ellis

What Momma Left Behind by Cindy K. Sproles

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West

Where The Fire Falls by Karen Barnett

When Night Comes by Dan Walsh

When Twilight Breaks by Sarah Sundin

How The Light Gets In by Jolina Petersheim

How Sweet The Sound by Amy K. Sorrells

Why The Sky Is Blue by Susan Meissner

The Whys Have It by Amy Matayo

Top 10 Tuesday — Thanksgiving Freebie

24 Nov

Happy Thanksgiving! This year Thanksgiving will look different for a lot of us. With grown children with commitments other than my family (is that really a thing? 😉 ), there will only be three for dinner on Thursday. But work from home allowed my son’s family and my daughter to be with us a whole week (one blessing of Covid), and the rest of the gang showed up for a great Sunday Thanksgiving meal. We laughed, watched our grand baby’s antics, and ate way too much.

Family — that’s the biggest thing I am thankful for. It’s been a difficult year for me, Covid notwithstanding. My family has prayed over me and stood with me during the hard cancer diagnosis. I am doing great, and I’m very thankful for having all my family around me.

Family is the theme of my Top 10 Tuesday Thanksgiving Freebie. I am featuring books that involve families, even the nutty or disfunctional ones. The books feature multi-generations, sibling relations, and not-related-but-family-anyway situations. Many involve series — lots of books to love. My list is far from exhaustive, but it does represent recent reading, those I loved years ago, and a variety of genres.. Happy reading!

 

Top Books Featuring Families

 

Almost Home by Valerie Fraser Luesse

The Fine Art of Insincerity by Angela Hunt

Five Miles South of Peculiar by Angela Hunt

 

Home to Chicory Lane (5-book series) by Deborah Raney

How Sweet The Sound by Amy K. Sorrells

On A Summer Tide (3-book series) by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Perennials by Julie Cantrell

 

The Sister Circle (5-book series) by Nancy Moser and Vonette Bright

The Sons of Blackbird Mountain (2-book series) by Joanne Bischof

Wings Like A Dove by Camille Eide

 

 

 

Reading Road Trip — Indiana

26 Aug

I have never been to Indiana, but one of my best friends was born and raised there and sings her home state’s praises. She travels back there every summer to spend 2 (she says glorious) weeks at her family’s lakefront cabin. So in honor of Beth, I am taking my blog on a Reading Road Trip to the Crossroads of America — Indiana.

Of the books I have read that are set in Indiana, only one is historical fiction. If you know of any other titles, I would love to add them to my TBR pile!

 

Reading Road Trip — Indiana

Wings Like A Dove by Camille Eide

Can the invisible walls that separate people ever come down?

In 1933, Anna Leibowicz is convinced that the American dream that brought her Jewish family here from Poland is nothing but an illusion. Her father has vanished. Her dreams of college can’t make it past the sweat-shop door. And when she discovers to her shame and horror that she’s with child, her mother gives her little choice but to leave her family. Deciding her best course of action is to try to find her father, she strikes out…hoping against hope to somehow redeem them both.

When Anna stumbles upon a house full of orphan boys in rural Indiana who are in desperate need of a tutor, she agrees to postpone her journey. But she knows from the moment she meets their contemplative, deep-hearted caretaker, Thomas Chandler, that she doesn’t dare risk staying too long. She can’t afford to open her heart to them, to him. She can’t risk letting her secrets out.

All too soon, the townspeople realize she’s not like them and treat her with the same disdain they give the Sisters of Mercy — the nuns who help Thomas and the boys — and Samuel, the quiet colored boy Thomas has taken in. With the Klan presence in the town growing ever stronger and the danger to this family increasing the longer she stays, Anna is torn between fleeing to keep them safe . . . and staying to fight beside them.

Oh, that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest . . .

Before I Saw You by Amy K. Sorrells

Folks are dying fast as the ash trees in the southern Indiana town ravaged by the heroin epidemic, where Jaycee Givens lives with nothing more than a thread of hope and a quirky neighbor, Sudie, who rescues injured wildlife. After a tragedy leaves her mother in prison, Jaycee is carrying grief and an unplanned pregnancy she conceals because she trusts no one, including the kind and handsome Gabe, who is new to town and to the local diner where she works.

Dividing her time between the diner and Sudie’s place, Jaycee nurses her broken heart among a collection of unlikely friends who are the closest thing to family that she has. Eventually, she realizes she can’t hide her pregnancy any longer―not even from the baby’s abusive father, who is furious when he finds out. The choices she must make for the safety of her unborn child threaten to derail any chance she ever had for hope and redemption. Ultimately, Jaycee must decide whether the truest form of love means hanging on or letting go.

Lead Me Home by Amy K. Sorrells

Amid open fields and empty pews, small towns can crush big dreams.

Abandoned by his no-good father and forced to grow up too soon, Noble Burden has set his dreams aside to run the family farm. Meanwhile, James Horton, the pastor of the local church, questions his own calling as he prepares to close the doors for good.

As a severe storm rolls through, threatening their community and very livelihood, both men fear losing what they care about most . . . and reconsider where they truly belong.

Barefoot Summer by Denise Hunter

Madison’s heart has been closed for years. But one summer can change everything.

In the years since her twin brother’s drowning, Madison McKinley has struggled to put it behind her. Despite the support of her close-knit family and her gratifying job as a veterinarian in their riverside town, the loss still haunts her.

To find closure, Madison sets out to fulfill her brother’s dream of winning the town’s annual regatta. But first she has to learn to sail, and fast.

Beckett O’Reilly knows Madison is out of his league, but someone neglected to tell his heart. Now she needs his help—and he’ll give it, because he owes her far more than she’ll ever know.

Madison will do anything—even work with the infamous Beckett O’Reilly—to reach her goal. And as much as she’d like to deny it, the chemistry between them is electrifying. As summer wanes, her feelings for him grow and a fledgling faith takes root in her heart.

But Beckett harbors a secret that will test the limits of their new love. Can their romance survive summer’s challenges? And will achieving her brother’s dream give Madison the peace she desperately seeks?

Boo by Rene Gutteridge

For sixteen years, reclusive horror novelist Wolfe “Boo” Boone has been Skary, Indiana’s greatest attraction, turning the once-struggling town into a thriving tourist trap for the dark side. But then a newly reformed Wolfe quits the genre and starts to pursue Skary’s favorite girl-next-door. Truly horrified, the little town he made famous hatches a scheme to get their most famous resident out of love and back into the thrill business.

 

 

Home to Harmony by Philip Gulley

Welcome to Harmony …

In this acclaimed inaugural volume in the Harmony series, master American storyteller Philip Gulley draws us into the charming world of minister Sam Gardner in his first year back in his hometown, capturing the essence of small-town life with humor and wisdom.