Tag Archives: contemporary ficiton

Book Review + Giveaway! — At Lighthouse Point

13 May

lighthouse point

About The Book

Book:  At Lighthouse Point

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Release date: May 4, 2021

at lighthouse

Blaine Grayson returns to Three Sisters Island with a grand plan–to take Camp Kicking Moose to the next level. Her dream starts to unravel when she discovers Moose Manor’s kitchen has been badly remodeled by her sister, Cam, who doesn’t know how to cook. Added to that blow is the cold shoulder given by her best friend, Artie Lotosky, now a doctor to the unbridged Maine islands.

As old wounds are opened, Blaine starts to wonder if she made a mistake by coming home. Little by little, she must let go of one dream to discover a new one, opening her heart to a purpose and a future she had never imagined.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions:

I have always enjoyed my visits to Three Sisters Island, the setting of Suzanne Woods Fisher‘s contemporary series. I have never been to Maine, but if it is anything like the charming island setting depicted in the three books, sign me up to go! The setting is a big draw to the books, but it is the characters and Fisher’s easy writing style that keep me reading. The latest book, At Lighthouse Point, features Blaine, the youngest of the Grayson sisters. Gone for two years, a lot has changed including Blaine’s outlook and dreams. I loved how Blaine has grown. She really becomes her own person. While things change, many want things to remain the same — a lesson some of the Graysons have to learn. There are funny moments, poignant moments, reconciliations, new starts, and wisdom imparted from Jean-Paul, an outsider with great insight. I fear this is the concluding book of the series (I want to return 😉 ), but it is a great one. Make sure you read this series in order, you do not want to miss out on one thing. The Three Sisters Island series is perfect for binge-reading. I highly recommend it!

Highly recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Celebrate Lit and the publisher for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

About The Author

suzanne

Award winning author Suzanne Woods Fisher writes for readers who have learned to expect the unexpected. With more than one million copies of her books sold worldwide, she is the bestselling author of more than 30 works, ranging from novels to non-fiction books to children’s books. Currently, she lives with her very big family in the East Bay.

*****

More from Suzanne

10 Curious Facts about Lighthouses

People love lighthouses. There’s just something special about those sturdy sentinels with their beacons of light, patiently sweeping the water, their mournful and haunting wail of a foghorn. Longfollow’s poem, The Lighthouse, written in 1850, captured the allure so well:

And as the evening darkens, lo! how bright,
Through the deep purple of the twilight air,
Beams forth the sudden radiance of its light,
With strange, unearthly splendor in the glare!

“Unearthly splendor.” Wow, doesn’t that hit the nail on the head? A lighthouse, to me, represents a spiritual truth: Someone’s watching out for us, looking out for the dangers ahead, and always glad to welcome us home.

Here are 10 facts about lighthouses that you might not know:

  • THE FIRST KNOWN LIGHTHOUSE was Egypt’s Pharos of Alexandria, Egypt, built in the third century B.C. The lighthouse was made from a fire on a platform to warn sailors of the port’s entrance. This lighthouse was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
  • THE OLDEST EXISTING LIGHTHOUSE IN THE WORLD is considered to be La Coruna in Spain that dates from ca. 20 B.C. A Roman lighthouse is located on the Cliffs of Dover in the UK that was constructed in 40 A.D.
  • THE UNITED STATES IS HOME to more lighthouses than any other country.
  • THE FIRST LIGHTHOUSE IN AMERICA was at Boston on Little Brewster Island (1716). The first keeper was George Worthylake who, sadly, was drowned, along with his wife and daughter, when returning to the island in 1718.
  • THE TALLEST LIGHTHOUSE is on Cape Hatteras, NC. Built in 1872, it reached 196 feet tall.
  • THE FIRST WEST COAST LIGHTHOUSE was built on Alcatraz Island in 1854.
  • DAYMARKS are the painted colors and patterns (diamonds, spirals and stripes) on lighthouse towers to distinguish them from each other.
  • LIGHTHOUSE KEEPING was one of the first U.S. government jobs available to women, as far back as the 19th century. Most obtained their position when their husband died or became incapacitated.
  • THE RANGE OF THE LIGHTHOUSE LIGHT produces a light seen 25 miles at sea.
  • ABOUT 700 LIGHTHOUSES are still in active use in the United States.

As I wrote the third book in the ‘Three Sisters island’ series, I just had to give that little charred lighthouse its day in the sun. It had patiently played a role in the first two books, waiting for its turn on center stage. Not only did its setting provide a very unexpected “WHAT? How did that happen?” conclusion to the series, it even stole the headline! The undisputed title: At Lighthouse Point. 

Do you have a favorite lighthouse? If so, please add your picture in the comments below. Don’t forget to include its location.

Thanks for reading! Stay well, stay home, and read.

Suzanne

Blog Stops

lakesidelivingsite, May 11

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, May 11

Wishful Endings, May 11

The Avid Reader, May 12

Just Writing, May 12

The Write Escape, May 12

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 12

By The Book, May 13

HappyWhenReading, May 13

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, May 13

Texas Book-aholic, May 13

Inklings and notions, May 14

Cultivating Us, May 14

Blogging With Carol, May 14

Batya’s Bits , May 14

Betti Mace, May 15

Bizwings Blog, May 15

Southern Gal Loves to Read, May 15

For Him and My Family, May 15

deb’s Book Review, May 16

Jeanette’s Thoughts , May 16

HookMeInABook, May 16

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, May 16

Connie’s History Classroom, May 17

Lighthouse-Academy, May 17

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, May 17

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 18

Godly Book Reviews, May 18

Daysong Reflections, May 18

Mary Hake, May 18

Artistic Nobody, May 19 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 19

EmpowerMoms, May 19

SusanLovesBooks, May 19

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, May 20

Older & Smarter?, May 20

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, May 20

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, May 21

Simple Harvest Reads, May 21 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Splashes of Joy, May 21

Blossoms and Blessings, May 21

Through the Fire Blogs, May 22

Vicky Sluiter, May 22

Pause for Tales, May 22

Moments, May 22

She Lives To Read, May 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 23

Labor Not in Vain, May 23

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, May 24

Life, Love, Writing, May 24

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, May 24

Remembrancy, May 24

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Book Review: The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus

23 Sep

1928
The Bonaventure Circus is a refuge for many, but Pippa Ripley was rejected from its inner circle as a baby. When she receives mysterious messages from someone called the “Watchman,” she is determined to find him and the connection to her birth. As Pippa’s search leads her to a man seeking justice for his murdered sister and evidence that a serial killer has been haunting the circus train, she must decide if uncovering her roots is worth putting herself directly in the path of the killer.

Present Day
The old circus train depot will either be torn down or preserved for historical importance, and its future rests on real estate project manager Chandler Faulk’s shoulders. As she dives deep into the depot’s history, she’s also balancing a newly diagnosed autoimmune disease and the pressures of single motherhood. When she discovers clues to the unsolved murders of the past, Chandler is pulled into a story far darker and more haunting than even an abandoned train depot could portend.

 

Jaime Jo Wright loves to read — and write — fiction with elements of mystery, faith, and romance from her home in Wisconsin. She’s a coffee drinker by day and night, lives in dreamland, and exists in reality.

 

My Impressions:

Sometimes writing a review is effortless — you easily check off the boxes of plot, setting, characterization, theme, etc. But other times a book is one that defies simple description. The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus by Jaime Jo Wright is one of those. This dual timeline novel is complex and multilayered and deserves a slow and thoughtful reading to glean all of its goodness. It took me a while to read this book — it is definitely not a quick and easy read. But it is one that is highly recommended!

The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus has two storylines: one set in the present day, and the other in the late 1920s, both in Bluff River, Wisconsin. The mysteries of both time periods are intertwined and call out to be uncovered. Main characters Pippa and Chandler appear to have little in common, until the reader gets into their heads. Insecurity, doubts, and the tendency to run away from hard things plague both characters, yet their desire to discover what is true in their worlds urges them on. Setting plays a large part in the novel, and Wright creates a town and its circus that capture the imagination. The mystery builds slowly, gaining momentum as the book heads toward its ending — I could not keep the pages turning fast enough as more and more is revealed. The ghostly aspect created some delicious little shivers. And the twists? Let’s just say I was surprised numerous times. Wright also kept me engaged in both stories, leaving me eager to visit both periods as the narrative shifted. There are a number of themes and spiritual truths expressed in Haunting. All speak to the reader’s heart. I have followed Wright on social media for a while now, and I appreciate how much she poured her own story into this book’s pages. Many things are disclosed at the end of the book, but the rest of Pippa and Chandler’s stories are left up to the reader’s imagination. I chose to create very happily-ever-afters for both. 😉

I have read all of Wright’s novels, and I think The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus is my favorite. A great book for discussion, I urge you to gather some book-loving friends to read this one. I promise you will have a long, meaningful, and fun conversation.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

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

 

 

Reading Road Trip — Actual Road Trips

23 Jun

I know a lot of you are itching to go somewhere — anywhere! That’s why this week’s Reading Road Trip features actual road trips! Whether for fun, for pilgrimage, for the Grand Tour, or to find safety, all of these books feature some type of travel. Characters and genre are varied, so there is something for all reading tastes. I hope you find a book that will take you on an exciting journey!

 

Actual Road Trips!

 

The Pilgrim by Davis Bunn

In his latest historical epic, worldwide bestselling author Davis Bunn takes readers on a journey through an ancient landscape. Travel with Empress Helena from Caesarea to Judea. Abandoned by her husband, in danger because of her faith, but with an implacable will to do what God calls her to, she takes a perilous pilgrimage. Along the way she meets those who would help her (the wizened and wise bishop Macarius; the rough-edged but kind-hearted sergeant Cratus; the young soldier Anthony, a man who has lost everything, including his faith) and those who would harm her (the menacing and murderous Roman assassin Severus). Miracles seem to follow this humble but determined woman as she wins many over to the faith, and changes lives forever—including her own.

This unforgettable story of the discovery of the True Cross will thrill readers with its adventure, and with its vivid portrait of one of Christian history’s most

Glamorous Illusions by Lisa T. Bergren

It was the summer of 1913, and Cora Kensington’s life on the family farm has taken a dark turn. Not only are the crops failing, so is her father’s health. Cora is carrying on, helping her mother run their Montana farm until a stranger comes to call, and everything changes. Cora then learns a secret that will radically change her future: she is the illegitimate daughter of a copper king who has come to claim her.Cora is invited to take the “Grand Tour” of Europe, a journey intended to finish a person’s education, to solidify an understanding of ancient culture and contemporary refinement. As she travels from England to France with half-siblings she’s never known, Cora encounters the blessings of the Kensington family name, as well as the curses. But when an unbidden love begins to form, she realizes the journey is only beginning.

Faced with the challenge of accepting her father, new family, and the identity that comes with it, Cora also struggles to accept that she is also the daughter of the one true King – a Father who is the only One who can truly heal.

Elvis Takes A Back Seat by Leanna Ellis

Determined to fulfill her husband’s last request, Claudia McIntosh is hauling a three-foot bust of Elvis Presley in the back seat of a vintage Cadillac from Dallas to Memphis, hoping to locate the kitschy sculpture’s rightful owner.

Along for the ride are her eccentric aunt who knew the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, and a temperamental teen with a suspicious mind of her own.

When the road trip hits the Heartbreak Hotel, these three women uncover pieces of their past along with the bust’s mysterious history, discoveries that will leave them all shook up and change their lives forever in Elvis Takes a Back Seat.

The Heart Between Us by Lindsay Harrel

Megan Jacobs always wished for a different heart. Her entire childhood was spent in and out of hospitals, sitting on the sidelines while her twin sister Crystal played all the sports, got all the guys, and had all the fun. But even a heart transplant three years ago wasn’t enough to propel Megan’s life forward. She’s still working as a library aide and living with her parents in her small Minnesota hometown, dreaming of the adventure she plans to take “once she’s well enough.” Meanwhile, her sister is a successful architect with a handsome husband and the perfect life — or so Megan thinks.

When her heart donor’s parents give Megan their teenage daughter’s journal — complete with an unfulfilled bucket list — Megan connects with the girl she meets between the pages and is inspired to venture out and check off each item. Caleb — a friend from her years in and out of the hospital — reenters her life and pushes her to find the courage to take the leap and begin her journey. She’s thrown for a loop when Crystal offers to join her for reasons of her own, but she welcomes the company and the opportunity to mend their tenuous relationship.

As Megan and Crystal check items off the bucket list, Megan fights the fears that have been instilled in her after a lifetime of illness. She must choose between safety and adventure and learn to embrace the heart she’s been given so that she can finally share it with the people she loves most.

Harriet Beamer Takes The Bus by Joyce Magnin

Aging and recent widow Harriet Beamer insists she’s getting along fine with her dog Humphrey in Philadelphia … until she falls for the fourth time, injuring her ankle, and causing her son and daughter-in-law to cry foul. Insisting Harriet move in with them in California, they make a bet that her ankle is broken, and she foolishly promises to move if they’re right. Four x-rays later, Harriet’s ankle — and her heart — are broken. She packs up, ships her huge salt and pepper collection to California, and prepares to move away from the only life she knows. The only catch? She’s doing it her way. Just wait till her daughter-in-law hears Harriet will travel cross country only by public transportation and alternate means. What follows is a hilarious, heartwarming journey by train, metro bus, ferry, and motorcycle. Along the way, Harriet discovers that although her family thinks it’s time for her to be put out to pasture — God has a different plan.

The Long Highway Home by Elizabeth Musser

Sometimes going home means leaving everything you have ever known. When the doctor pronounces “incurable cancer” and gives Bobbie Blake one year to live, she agrees to accompany her niece, Tracie, on a trip back to Austria, back to The Oasis, a ministry center for refugees that Bobbie helped start twenty years earlier. Back to where there are so many memories of love and loss. Bobbie and Tracie are moved by the plight of the refugees and in particular, the story of the Iranian Hamid, whose young daughter was caught with a New Testament in her possession back in Iran, causing Hamid to flee along the refugee Highway and putting the whole family in danger. Can a network of helpers bring the family to safety in time? And at what cost? Filled with action, danger, heartache and romance, The Long Highway Home is a hymn to freedom in life’s darkest moments.

Miles from Where We Started by Cynthia Ruchti

Weeks away from their one-year wedding anniversary, Mallory and Connor Duncan can’t even agree on how to end their marriage. But when a last-minute crisis lands them on a three-thousand-mile road trip together, Mallory wonders if their story may not be over after all.

The trip begins to unravel before the key is even in the ignition, and an at-risk, trouble-seeking missile of an eleven-year-old is unexpectedly launched into their travel plans. Close quarters get even tighter, and the couple believes this whole experience will spell disaster.

Their first year of marriage hasn’t been the arm-in-arm togetherness they expected. How can they find a new beginning when the road ends?

The Mother Road by Jennifer AlLee

Within the course of a week, marriage expert Natalie Marino is dumped by her husband, receives an urgent call home from her father, and discovers her estranged sister, Lindsay, is pregnant.

A road trip on Route 66 may not help, but it sure couldn’t hurt. Or so Natalie thinks, until Lindsay’s boyfriend starts stalking them. Will their trip down the Mother Road bring the two sisters closer, or turn out to be the biggest wrong turn of their lives?

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Please, Can I Have Some More?!

12 Mar

Today’s Top 10 Tuesday challenge is to list standalone books that need a sequel. Yes!! I definitely want more from some of the books I read; books that ended much too soon. The authors don’t have to write full-length sequels to satisfy my longings, though. Just a very thorough prologue with pertinent details, like where the characters are (including kids and grandkids), say, 50 years later. 😉

Some of the books on my list fit the criteria, but I have tweaked it a bit to add books that were part of a series that I was sorry ended. To find out which books that other bloggers want more of, visit That Artsy Reader Girl.


Top Books I Want More Of

Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green

Chosen People by Robert Whitlow

Daughters of Northern Shores by Joanne Bischof

How The Light Gets In by Jolina Petersheim

Lead Me Home by Amy Sorrells

Miles from Where We Started by Cynthia Ruchti

Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse

A Song of Home by Susie Finkbeiner

Water from My Heart by Charles Martin

 

Top 10 Tuesday — What to binge-read when others are binge-watching.

4 Sep

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday topic is binge-worthy TV shows/movies. I am so out of the loop when it comes to TV watching. While my friends binge-watched Downton Abbey, I read books. While my kids binge-watched The Office or Portlandia, I read books. While my husband watched Lonesome Dove and its many sequels, I read books. Hmm, I am noticing a trend. So as not to be left out this week, I again changed the topic to Book Series to Binge-Read while Other Binge-Watch. I have included series from a variety of genres — I hope you find some new books to keep you busy!

Check out other bloggers’ recommendations at That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Book Series to Binge-Read

 

The Baxter Series by Kathy Herman (suspense and danger in small town America)

 

The Bowers Files by Steven James (high-octane suspense)

 

The Bright Empires by Stephen Lawhead (mind-bending time travel)

 

The Cape Refuge Series by Terri Blackstock (Southern suspense)

 

Hope Harbor by Irene Hannon (romance on the Oregon coast)

 

Lowlands of Scotland by Liz Curtis Higgs (the ultimate love triangle set in 1700s Scotland)

 

The Million Dollar Mysteries by Mindy Starns Clark (charitable mysterious doings)

 

The Price of Privilege by Jessica Dotta (mystery/intrigue in Victorian England)

 

What series would you binge-read?

Top 10 Tuesday — The Back to School Edition

28 Aug

It has been some years since I have had to worry about all things back to school — supply lists, endless forms to sign, open houses, etc. My youngest son is in his final year of law school, but he resists first day pictures. 😉 So all I have is a list of books that loosely align with course titles. And while they probably won’t appear on any syllabus, they are definitely required reading! So whether your nest is empty or you still find yourself in the interminable car riders line, here are some books I recommend you check out. Enjoy!

Be sure to check out all the bloggers’ back to school lists at That Artsy Reader Girl.

Back to School Reading

 

American History (early years)

The Mayflower Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse

A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green

 

Biology/Chemistry (making science sizzling)

The Summer of The Burning Sky trilogy by Susan May Warren

 

English Composition (writers gotta write)

Ghost Writer by Rene Gutteridge

The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck

 

French (history other than the French Revolution)

My Brother’s Crown by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould

Two Crosses by Elizabeth Musser

Home Economics (yes I know it isn’t called that anymore)

The Pattern Artist by Nancy Moser

The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano

 

Western Civilization (because knights and castles)

The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson

A Loyal Heart by Jody Hedlund

 

First Line Friday — Pelican Point by Irene Hannon

6 Apr

Happy Friday, everyone! It’s time for another great first line. This week I am featuring the highly anticipated fourth novel in Irene Hannon‘s Hope Harbor series, Pelican Point. I have loved all of the books in this excellent series and am looking forward to digging into this one in the coming week. What about you? Leave a comment with the first line of the book you are reading or hope to read in the coming days.

Be sure to head over to Hoarding Books to find other great first lines.

A crumbling lighthouse is not part of the inheritance Army doctor Ben Garrison expects to claim when he journeys to Hope Harbor. Fresh out of the service, he wants only to unload the tower of bricks, decompress from years of treating battlefield trauma, and prepare to launch his civilian career.

Hope Harbor Herald editor Marci Weber has other ideas. She may not be a Hope Harbor native, but the small Oregon seaside town has become home–and she’s determined to save the Pelican Point landmark.

Sparks fly as the two go head to head over the fate of the lighthouse. But when they start to cooperate, a different kind of fire ignites. And as they work together, might Hope Harbor heal the hearts of these two romance-wary souls?

Bestselling author Irene Hannon invites readers back to their favorite town for a story that will light a beacon of hope within their hearts.

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

Book Review: How Sweet The Sound

30 Oct

Wealth and etiquette can hide a lot of things in the South, as the esteemed Harlan family of sleepy Bay Spring, Alabama, knows. But behind the gentle facade of white pillared porches and acres of cultivated pecan orchards, family secrets smolder.

Young Anniston Harlan cares little for high society and the rigid rules and expectations of her grandmother, Princella. She finds solace working the orchards alongside her father and grandfather, and relief in the cool waters of Mobile Bay.

Anniston’s aunt, Comfort Harlan, has never quite lived up to the family name, or so her mother Princella’s ever-apparent scowl implies. When she gleefully accepts the proposal of her longtime boyfriend, Solly, a flood tide of tragedy ensues that strips Comfort of her innocence and unleashes generations of family secrets, changing the Harlan family forever.

While Comfort struggles to recover, Anniston discovers an unlikely new friend from the seedy part of town who helps her try to make sense of the chaos. Together, they and the whole town of Bay Spring discover how true love is a risk, but one worth taking.

Amy Sorrells is an award-winning author and occasional poet writing words of hope for a hurting world. Amy got her start in journalism, has written for medical publications, and enjoyed a three year stint as a weekly op-ed columnist for her town newspaper. A graduate of DePauw University, Amy lives with her husband and three sons in central Indiana.

 

My Impressions:

I am leading a weekly Bible study called Faith And Fiction. My group studies a story in the Bible and an accompanying novel that is a re-telling or is inspired by the scripture. While it was easy to find novel from the Biblical fiction genre, I wanted to include a variety of genres to show how scripture is timeless and to give those in the study a wide variety of reading experiences. I hit a home run when I chose How Sweet The Sound by Amy Sorrells. While not a strict re-telling of 2 Samuel 13, it was inspired by the heart-breaking events that took place between Tamar, Amnon, and Absalom. If you are not familiar with this tragic time in David’s family, then get out your Bible and dig in. Then get Sorrells novel. It provides a different slant — one with the hope that God can give to the crushed and broken-hearted.

How Sweet The Sound is set in a small South Alabama town; a town where everyone knows everybody and their business. But not always their secrets. The Harlans are a leading family with a very prosperous pecan business and a matriarch, Princella, who rules her family and the social scene of Bay Spring. But a family tragedy that cannot be hushed up explodes, with tragic consequences.

How Sweet The Sound is told from two different first person points of view — young teenager, Anniston, who is trying to make sense out of the tragic circumstances of her life and Comfort, a young woman whose voice remains silent to almost everyone around her. The two characters are instrumental in describing the true nature of the other characters and their relationships. The shocking topics of incest and sexual abuse are explored in an honest, yet careful way. Nothing is sensationalized, but truths are exposed to the light of day. While most of the story revolves around the Harlan family, I loved how Sorrells revealed the abusive stories of others in Bay Spring. Beautifully written, the novel is hard to read because of the topic, but also wonderful to read as it develops the hope that God promises to those who most need it. That was what our group liked most. The Biblical record of Tamar’s tragic life left us unsatisfied. Yet Sorrells’ novel showed that even in the depths of depression, despair, and desolation, God’s power shines through. It is was our hope that Tamar also was able to communicate with her Abba.

While the novel revolves around an uncomfortable and weighty subject, it was a wonderful reading experience. How Sweet The Sound was first published in 2014, but has been re-released this Fall.  It is an amazing debut from an accomplished author. I am looking forward to reading the other books by Sorrells that are available.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

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

Book Review: The Runaway

8 Jun

Shortly before her eighteenth birthday, Rhiannon Morgan runs away from the remote Welsh village of Llandymna. Camping out in Dyrys Woods, she starts to make a new life for herself. In the woods she finds space for her active imagination — weaving together the stories she loves and memories of her past, including the mother she lost thirteen years ago.

Back in the village, Rhiannon’s disappearance triggers a series of events that uncover the cracks in Llandymna’s quiet surface. Relationships become frayed as a young police officer is forced to investigate his neighbors, and the village’s elderly storyteller hints at a secret that the older generation has kept for decades. But as painful as the village’s past may be, it may hold the key for hope in the present . . . .

 

 

Claire Wong is a writer originally from Wales, who lives in a two hundred year old stone cottage in Yorkshire.

 

My Impressions:

The power of story is one of the main themes of Claire Wong’s debut novel, The Runaway. Stories can hurt or heal, convict or cover up, bring peace or create turmoil. And as story is the center of her novel, it is only right that she has produced a well-crafted novel with a fairy tale-like essence. Beautiful prose, complex and compelling characters, and a story to make you ponder — all elements in this highly recommended book.

Rhiannon is desparate to escape the village that confines her body and imagination. After a shouting match with her aunt, Rhiannon runs to the forest that borders the town of Llandymna. Dyrys Wood is the place of legends and folklore and the place Rhiannon believes will bring her peace and comfort. But Llandymna is not far enough away for a true escape.

As stated above, Wong’s prose is beautifully articulated with a once upon a time quality, although the time period is contemporary. The confining village of Llandymna and the vastness of the forest can be felt by the reader. Sense of place is very important in The Runaway and is almost a secondary character. Real characters, main and secondary, are well-developed with relatable emotions and motives. Pettiness and nobility are on display within the pages of this novel and certainly mirror real life. The book is told in Rhiannon’s first person perspective, as well as a third person point of view — very effective in bringing about a complete narrative. This book contains several runaways, some new and others from the forgotten past. All bring perspective on the characters’ willingness to see the truth as they want it displayed.

The Runaway is a bit of a coming of age story, for both the main characters and the village itself. Village life is rather simple, yet below the surface, undeniably complex There is much to think about, making this book a good choice for book clubs.

Highly Recommended.

Great for Book Clubs.

Audience: older teens to adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

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

January Book Club Selections

1 Jan

A New Year and new books to read! Yay! Here are the books that my 2 book clubs are reading this month. Have you read them? We would love to hear what you thought.

unknownThe Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald.

Once you let a book into your life, the most unexpected things can happen . . . 

Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her book-loving pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds Amy’s funeral guests just leaving. The residents of Broken Wheel are happy to look after their bewildered visitor―there’s not much else to do in a dying small town that’s almost beyond repair.

You certainly wouldn’t open a bookstore. And definitely not with the tourist in charge. You’d need a vacant storefront (Main Street is full of them), books (Amy’s house is full of them), and . . . customers.

The bookstore might be a little quirky. Then again, so is Sara. But Broken Wheel’s own story might be more eccentric and surprising than she thought.

A heartwarming reminder of why we are booklovers, this is a sweet, smart story about how books find us, change us, and connect us.

unknownWhat Happened on Beale Street by Mary Ellis.

A cryptic plea for help from a childhood friend sends cousins Nate and Nicki Price from New Orleans to Memphis, the home of scrumptious barbecue and soulful blues music. When they arrive at Danny Andre’s last known address, they discover signs of a struggle and a lifestyle not in keeping with the former choirboy they fondly remember.

Danny’s sister, Isabelle, reluctantly accepts their help. She and Nate aren’t on the best of terms due to a complicated past, yet they will have to get beyond that if they want to save Danny.

On top of Danny’s alarming disappearance and his troubled relationship with Isabelle, Nate also has to rein in his favorite cousin’s overzealousness as a new and eager PI. Confronted with a possible murder, mystery, and mayhem in the land of the Delta blues, Nate must rely on his faith and investigative experience to keep one or more of them from getting killed.