Tag Archives: Beth Moran

Top 10 Tuesday — Hidden Gems

17 Jan

The folks at The Broke And The Bookish have challenged us to list those books we term underrated/hidden gems. I really hate the term underrated. It has such a negative feel to it. So I am choosing to focus on books that I consider hidden gems — books that many people may not know about, but would love if they gave them a chance. The last time I tackled a list like this was back in July when the Top 10 Tuesday theme was books with less than 2000 ratings on Goodreads. Well, most of the books I read fit in this category! Why? Perhaps readers are just not motivated to rate books. But ratings mean a lot to authors — it helps with visibility and ultimately sales of their books. If you love a book I encourage you to rate it!

So here is a list of books I read in the last half of 2016 with not a lot of stars following their titles. Many of them made my Best of 2016 list too. To find out what other bloggers consider hidden gems, click HERE.


Top 10 Hidden Gems

(Books with under 200 ratings on Goodreads)

The Cantaloupe Thief by Deb Richardson-Moore

A Day And A Life by Penelope Wilcock

The Fifth Column by Mike Hollow


Forest Child by Heather Day Gilbert

The Name I Call Myself by Beth Moran

Of Stillness And Storm by Michele Phoenix

The Raven by Mike Nappa


Since You’ve Been Gone by Christa Allan

When Death Draws Near by Carrie Stuart Parks

Within The Veil by Brandy Vallance


Have you read any of these books?

If you haven’t already, head over to Goodreads and rate them!

Book Review: The Name I Call Myself

4 Nov

51sody6wfl-_sx325_bo1204203200_All Faith Harp wants is a quiet life—to take care of her troubled brother, Sam, earn enough money to stop the poverty wolves snapping at her heels, and to keep her past buried as deep as possible. And after years of upheaval, she might have just about managed it: Sam’s latest treatment seems to actually be working, Faith is holding down a job, and she’s engaged to the gorgeous and successful Perry.
But, for Faith, things never seem to stay simple for long. Her domineering mother-in-law-to-be is planning a nightmare wedding, including the wedding dress from hell. And the man who killed her mother is released from prison, sending her brother tumbling back into mental illness.

When secretly planning the wedding she really wants, Faith stumbles across a church choir that challenges far more than her ability to hold a tune. She ends up joining the choir, led by the fierce choir-mistress Hester, who is determined to do whatever it takes to turn the group of ragtag women into something spectacular. She also meets Dylan, the church’s vicar, who is different than any man she has ever met before . . .


beth-new-cropped-w179Beth Moran lives in Nottingham with her husband, and three children. When she’s not writing, Beth helps lead a national women’s network.


My Impressions:

Beth Moran knows how to write characters that are real — real in their attitudes, struggles, and emotions. Characters that make you want to climb into the book and become their best friends. I have now read three novels by Moran and can honestly say that each successive book is my favorite. The Name I Call Myself was such a satisfying read. I laughed, I cried, and I loved every minute of it. The best book I have read by Moran . . . until the next one is out!

Faith Harp is a survivor. From violent childhood trauma through abuse by a menacing boyfriend on to the struggle of keeping her mentally ill and drug-addicted brother alive, Faith adapts to her surroundings and settles for good enough. But with the help of an odd assortment of other surviving women, Faith learns to take control and live.

Written from the first person perspective of Faith, The Name I Call Myself has great moments of wit and humor. It also examines tough issues like mental illness and abuse. Although Faith is the main character and it is her story that is central, there is an ensemble cast of characters that give the novel an added depth; a feeling of fellowship and community between women who love each other. The choir that becomes Faith’s outlet and therapy was the highlight of the book for me. I couldn’t wait for the next team-building exercise that director Hester had in store for them — truly laugh out loud funny! But the lessons learned by the choir (and the reader) made all of the mud, scrapes, and self-examination worth it. As Faith puts it after recognizing the importance of shouldering each other’s burdens:

I made a decision not to keep trying to carry my load alone. It wants heroic. It was stupid. And prideful. And bordering on obsessive. (p. 204)

Faith had many names throughout her life, but she and the others soon could call themselves courageous, capable and worthy.

An added bonus to the hilarity and the soul-searching was the romantic thread that Moran includes. It’s not a major part of the story, but it does add some sweetness and spice.

Another winner from Beth Moran, The Name I Call Myself is a book I will be recommending to all my friends. It gets a highly recommended rating from me.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to Kregel and Lion Hudson for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)



Top 10 Tuesday — Fall TBR List!

27 Sep

Here in middle Georgia the calendar may say Fall, but it is still 90+ degrees outside! We are expecting a cold front on Wednesday night, meaning the temps will be in the mid 80s for the rest of the week. Pumpkin everything may be everywhere, but it does not feel like Fall here. I can take comfort in the fact that when Winter hits it won’t feel like Winter either! The folks at The Broke And The Bookish are hosting a Fall TBR Top 10 List this week. So while I wait for crisp, cool temps to arrive, I can enjoy some good reading. Iced pumpkin latte anyone?


Top 10 Fall TBR List

Always with You by Elaine Stock

The Cautious Maiden by Dawn Crandall

A Day And A Life by Penelope Wilcock


The Devoted by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Kit Kat And Lucy by Lonnie Hull DuPont

Midnight on The Mississippi by Mary Ellis

The Name I Called Myself by Beth Moran


The Princes of Albion by Jon and Thomas Hopkins

Tangled Webs by Irene Hannon

The Thirteenth Chance by Amy Matayo


What are you reading this Fall?


Book Review: I Hope You Dance

22 Jan

UnknownRuth Henderson has moved back in with her parents — something she swore she would never do, especially not at the age of thirty-three. But in the face of the mountain of debt left by her late partner, and the fact that her teenage daughter, Maggie, is expressing her grief through acts of delinquency, there was really only one option.

Returning to a house Ruth swore never to set foot in again is bad enough. Add to this an estranged father, whirlwind mother, and David — the boy next door who broke her heart–and it is little wonder Ruth can barely make it out of bed.

But then, reunited with her old friend Lois, Ruth is persuaded to go along to a monthly girls’ night. Here she meets a bunch of incredible women and for the first time since leaving home at eighteen, Ruth begins to make some genuine friends.

She also has her first ever date — with the charming Dr. Carl Barker. However, after a disastrous dinner, and an upset Maggie still struggling with her father’s death, Ruth promises her daughter she won’t go out with any other men. A promise she quickly regrets when David, the boy next door, asks her to dance . . . .

beth-new-cropped-w179Beth Moran lives in Nottingham with her husband, and three children. When she’s not writing, Beth helps lead a national women’s network.



My Impressions:

I Hope You Dance by Beth Moran is women’s fiction with a delightful British accent. Offering a fresh perspective on people and places and culture, it made me laugh, sigh, and think. Although it is a bit different from what most American readers expect from Christian fiction, this novel gets a recommended read designation from me.

After vowing never to return, Ruth Henderson is back at home with her parents following a fifteen year absence. With her is her troubled fourteen year old daughter, Maggie, and a suitcase load of regret, grief, embarrassment and guilt. But Ruth discovers that you really can go home when you are surrounded by your slightly off-kilter family and brutally honest, but loving friends.

I Hope You Dance led to many chuckles and a few laugh out loud moments as Ruth relates her new life back in the town where she grew up. Strong, witty, and at times, a bit irreverent writing combined with slightly quirky, yet extremely likable characters made this book hard to put down. There is a balance as Moran’s humor allows the light-hearted moments to soften some very difficult events — there are a few intense scenes with a seriously creepy stalker. Ruth’s search for peace and forgiveness is helped along by women dedicated to God and each other. Truth spoken in love is really lived out in this book.

Please note: although this book is marketed as Christian, I Hope You Dance doesn’t fit the mold we are used to here in the United States. There is some profanity (at least what is termed as such in the South) and the characters drink (though not to excess). While this did not bother me, I know some readers could be offended. If you are one of those, then perhaps this book is not for you. But if you like a decidedly British twist to your humor, characters that are real, relatable and you want as your own best friends, and a story that touches your heart, then I Hope You Dance could be right up your street!


Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to Kregel and Lion Hudson for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review: Making Marion

5 Sep

640998She had been looking for somewhere to stay, but instead Marion Miller finds herself on the wrong side of the reception desk at the Peace and Pigs campground and, despite her horrible shyness, promptly lands herself a job.

Marion came to Nottinghamshire — home of Sherwood Forest — to discover her father’s mysterious past, but all she has to go on is a picture of her father dressed up, it would seem, as Robin Hood.

Life on a busy campground challenges Marion’s formerly controlled life –t he pigs roam free, the resident chickens seem determined to thwart her, and an unfortunate incident with a runaway bike throws her into the arms of the beautiful, but deeply unimpressed, Reuben.

Yet, Marion’s would-be boyfriend Jake, and Reuben’s stunning fiancée Erica, conspire to leave little room for Marion to daydream about the twinkling eyes of her rescuer . . . Will Marion ever find peace, and perhaps even love, among the pigs?

bethBeth Moran lives in Nottingham, England with her husband and three children. When she’s not writing, Beth helps lead a national women’s network.

My Impressions:

From the cover art and blurb, I thought Making Marion was going to be a lighthearted romance. And while there are definitely some light moments and a romantic thread, this novel is more a coming of age sort, even though the main character is in her mid-twenties. Not a typical Christian novel by American standards, it is one I very much enjoyed.

Marion Miller has come from her home in Ireland to Sherwood Forest to discover her deceased father’s past. The victim of abuse and neglect as a child, Marion, a recovering selective mute, stumbles into the holiday park (campground) The Peace and Pigs. Recruited by owner Scarlet, Marion begins a healing journey and a discovery of just who she is.

The characters in Making Marion are wonderful. Many have been deeply wounded in their childhoods, but are determined to make a better life for themselves and for others. Scarlet, a transplanted Southern belle, serves up love in her colorful campground. Valerie, her adopted child, is filled with enthusiasm and hope despite her mother’s abuse. And Marion sets on a course of conquering her many fears. The setting of the book is a treat for those who love all things British. Who can’t resist a book set in Sherwood Forest and involving an annual Robin Hood festival? Moran’s light handling of abuse, neglect, and forgiveness make the difficult subject easy to read. And of course, the hunky Robin, er, Reuben is definitely a swoon-worthy hero.

As I stated, this book would probably not be categorized as Christian here in the United States. There are bits that can be described as off color, some adult situations (although no graphic sex scenes), and some profanity. But I was not put off by it. The faith message of forgiveness is very subtle, but definitely a thread that runs through the book.

So should you read it? If you are conservative in your reading selections, I would say give this one a pass. But if you regularly include mainstream fiction in your reading time, then you may like Making Marion. I actually really did!

Recommended (with a caution for adult situations and profanity) 

Audience: Adults

(Thanks to Lion Hudson and Kregel for a review copy. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.