Tag Archives: contemporary fiction

Top 10 Tuesday — Shelf-ish Organization

31 Jan

Happy Tuesday! Today is a Freebie day for Top 10 Tuesday. I am going completely random today with fiction chosen from the shelves in my house — as opposed to those on my NetGalley shelf and Kindle. 😉 I organize my shelves in a way that makes sense to me. Fiction is organized by genre and then alphabetically by author. I keep series in order of publication. If it’s Biblical or historical fiction, I organize chronologically and by location (example: European vs American. Old Testament and then New Testament). And then there is my Austen knock-off shelf which contains a variety of genres, but all tie into one of Austen’s novels. That’s alphabetically by author. I even have a shelf for signed books. So if I am in the mood for a mystery, I know which shelf to head to.

Confusing? Probably, but it works for me. At least I don’t divide my mystery into historical or cozy, etc. I’m not that obsessive or am I?

I am.

In the spirit of transparency, the books represented today are on shelves at my primary residence. We have a house in the woods that boasts a very small library. That’s where it really gets tick-y. That’s where the mass market cozy mysteries reside. Likewise, all the Grishams. Then there’s my husband’s western fiction, the American historical fiction/non-fiction that revolve around major events. Think Revolutionary War, Pearl Harbor, etc. I have a shelf for veterinary fiction. Yes that’s a thing. Small town fiction like Jan Karon. A shelf where humorous fiction (P.G. Wodehouse) coexists with short story collections. And last but not least, the shelf with North Georgia authors. Too much? LOL!

Enjoy my random and complicated system!

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

Top Random Books from My Shelves

Austen Variations (or knock-offs) Jane Fairfax by Joan Aiken

Autographed Books — The White Rose Resists by Amanda Barratt

Biblical Fiction/OT — Journey by Angela Hunt

Biblical Fiction/NT — Three from Galilee by Marjorie Holmes

Christmas Fiction — A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg

Classical Fiction — Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Contemporary Fiction (including romance) — Dearest Dorothy, If Not Now, Then When by Charlene Baumbich

Historical Fiction/European — To Love A Viking by Heather Gilbert and Jen Cudmore

Historical Fiction/American — A Flight of Arrows by Lori Benton

Mystery — Suspicious Minds by Christy Barritt

Suspense — Shadow of Doubt by Terri Blackstock

Speculative — The Ishbane Conspiracy by Randy Alcorn

Top 10 Tuesday — New-To-Me Authors in 2022

24 Jan

Happy Tuesday! Today bloggers are sharing new-to-them authors from 2022. I love discovering new authors. Often their books become must-reads. A few of the books may be debuts, but by and large, the authors on my list have other books to their credit. More great books to read! 😉

For more new authors, visit That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top New-To-Me Authors in 2022

Among The Innocent by Mary Alford

The Blackout Book Club by Amy Green

Driving Force by Kate Angelo

Firefly Diaries by C. C. Warrens

Honor’s Refuge by Hallee Bridgeman

In Search of A Prince by Toni Shiloh

A Light on A Hill by Connilyn Cossette

The Librarian of Saint-Malo by Mario Escobar

Operation Joktan by Amir Tsarfati and Steve Yohn

Shadows in The Mind’s Eye by Janyre Tromp

When The Day Comes by Gabrielle Meyer

Where The Blue Sky Begins by Katie Powner

Book Review — A Quilt for Christmas

2 Jan

I was determined to finish A Quilt for Christmas by Melody Carlson by Christmas night. I failed, LOL! I did finish it prior to my immediate family’s Christmas get-together so I count that as a win. While you may think it’s past time for a Christmas-y novella, I recommend you take a look at this one. It has a great message of reaching out to others with hurts, challenges, and needs. At least put it on your TBR list for next December 😉 .

Christmas should be celebrated with family. But for Vera Swanson, that’s not an option this year. Widowed and recently relocated, she is lonely in her condo-for-one–until little Fiona Albright knocks on her door needing help. With her mother seriously ill and her father out of town, Fiona enlists Vera’s help, and when she finds out her new neighbor is a quilter, she has a special request–a Christmas quilt for Mama.

Vera will have to get a ragtag group of women together in order to fulfill the request. Between free-spirited artist Tasha, chatty empty nester Beverly, retired therapist Eleanor, and herself, Vera has hopes that Christmas for the Albright family will be merry, after all–and she may find herself a new family of friends along the way.

Bestselling and award-winning author Melody Carlson invites you to cuddle up this holiday season with this cozy story of giving, forgiving, and a little bit of romance.

Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books (with sales around 6.5 million) for teens, women and children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller.” Her novels range from serious issues like schizophrenia (Finding Alice) to lighter topics like house-flipping (A Mile in My Flip-Flops) but most of the inspiration behind her fiction comes right out of real life. Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, TrueColors etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She’s won a number of awards (including Romantic Time’s Career Achievement Award, the Rita and the Gold Medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog. To find out more about Melody Carlson, visit her website at http://www.melodycarlson.com/.

My Impressions:

The Queen of Christmas Novellas has done it again. A Quilt for Christmas by Melody Carlson is a feel-good story about reaching out of our own lives to others who are hurting and facing challenges. Four strangers are brought together to create a quilt for Vera’s neighbor. Prompted by the precocious 4 year old Fiona, the four very different women forge friendships, and in one case an uneasy alliance, to help a family in need. The book is quick to take off as novellas do, but is filled with poignant moments and a few chuckle-inducing scenes. Friendships are made, a romance is kindled, and hearts are softened. It was the perfect book for holiday reading due to its Christmastime setting, but would make a great weekend read any time of the year.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

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

First Line Friday — Where The Blue Sky Begins

28 Oct

Happy Friday everyone! I am excited to share a new-to-me author today, Katie Powner. She isn’t new to the Chrisian Fiction scene, but Where The Blue Sky Begins will be my first novel to read by her. The buzz is strong with this book; I cannot wait!

Here’s the first line:

Eric Larson had never seen such a sorry excuse for a town.

Sometimes the hardest road of all is the road home.

When confident and handsome Eric Larson is sent to a rural Montana town to work in the local branch of his uncle’s financial company, he’s determined to exceed everyone’s expectations, earn a promotion, and be back in Seattle by the end of summer. Yet nothing could prepare him for the lessons this small town has in store.

At forty-six years old, eccentric and outspoken Eunice Parker has come to accept her terminal illness and has given herself one final goal: seek forgiveness from everyone on her bucket list before her time runs out. But it will take more courage than she can muster on her own.

After an accident pushes Eric and Eunice together, the unlikely pair is forced to spend more time with each other than either would like, which challenges their deepest prejudices and beliefs. As summer draws to a close, neither Eric nor Eunice is where they thought they would be, but they both wrestle with the same important question: What matters most when the end is near?

Katie Powner is an award-winning author who lives in Montana, where cows still outnumber people. She writes contemporary fiction about redemption, relationships, and finding the dirt road home. Katie is a mom to the third power (biological, adoptive, and foster) who believes every child deserves a loving family. Visit http://www.katiepowner.com.

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 — Oh, The Places We’re Going!

2 Aug

Happy Tuesday! Today TTT is taking bloggers to their bucket list destinations via books. I like to read books, including fiction, about the places we travel to to have a feel of the place before we arrive. Next month my husband and I and two friends are traveling to England and Scotland. This is the trip we have put off for 3+ years. We will be traveling by trains, planes, and automobiles and will be staying in different hotels almost every night. This is a very mobile vacay! We have all been to London, our first stop, so we will be doing some fun things that we haven’t done before. Then on to Edinburgh and the Shetland Islands. My husband is especially excited about our days in Shetland. I want to see the ponies. 😉 My list today includes books I have already read that are set in our destinations, along with a couple that I need to work in before we leave.

Where are you traveling in books?

For more bloggers’ bucket lists, visit That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Books Set in London, Edinburg, and the Shetland Islands

London

The Barrister And The Letter of Marque by Todd M. Johnson

As a barrister in 1818 London, William Snopes has witnessed firsthand the danger of only the wealthy having their voices heard, and he’s a strong advocate who defends the poorer classes against the powerful. That changes the day a struggling heiress, Lady Madeleine Jameson, arrives at his door.

In a last-ditch effort to save her faltering estate, Lady Jameson invested in a merchant brig, the Padget. The ship was granted a rare privilege by the king’s regent: a Letter of Marque authorizing the captain to seize the cargo of French traders operating illegally in the Indian Sea. Yet when the Padget returns to London, her crew is met by soldiers ready to take possession of their goods and arrest the captain for piracy. And the Letter–the sole proof his actions were legal–has mysteriously vanished.

Moved by the lady’s distress, intrigued by the Letter, and goaded by an opposing solicitor, Snopes takes the case. But as he delves deeper into the mystery, he learns that the forces arrayed against Lady Jameson, and now himself, are even more perilous than he’d imagined.

The London House by Katherine Reay

Uncovering a dark family secret sends one woman through the history of Britain’s World War II spy network and glamorous 1930s Paris to save her family’s reputation.

Caroline Payne thinks it’s just another day of work until she receives a call from Mat Hammond, an old college friend and historian, but Mat has uncovered a scandalous secret kept buried for decades: In World War II, Caroline’s British great-aunt betrayed family and country to marry her German lover.

Determined to find answers and save her family’s reputation, Caroline flies to her family’s ancestral home in London. She and Mat discover diaries and letters that reveal her grandmother and great-aunt were known as the “Waite sisters.” Popular and witty, they came of age during the interwar years, a time of peace and luxury filled with dances, jazz clubs, and romance. The buoyant tone of the correspondence soon yields to sadder revelations as the sisters grow apart, and one leaves home for the glittering fashion scene of Paris, despite rumblings of a coming world war.

Each letter brings more questions. Was Caroline’s great-aunt actually a traitor and Nazi collaborator, or is there a more complex truth buried in the past? Together, Caroline and Mat uncover stories of spies and secrets, love and heartbreak, and the events of one fateful evening in 1941 that changed everything.

In this rich historical novel from award-winning author Katherine Reay, a young woman is tasked with writing the next chapter of her family’s story. But Caroline must choose whether to embrace a love of her own and proceed with caution if her family’s decades-old wounds are to heal without tearing them even further apart.

The London Restoration by Rachel McMillan

The secrets that might save a nation could shatter a marriage.

Madly in love, Diana Foyle and Brent Somerville married in London as the bombs of World War II dropped on their beloved city. Without time for a honeymoon, the couple spent the next four years apart. Diana, an architectural historian, took a top-secret intelligence post at Bletchley Park. Brent, a professor of theology at King’s College, believed his wife was working for the Foreign Office as a translator when he was injured in an attack on the European front.

Now that the war is over, the Somervilles’ long-anticipated reunion is strained by everything they cannot speak of. Diana’s extensive knowledge of London’s churches could help bring down a Russian agent named Eternity. She’s eager to help MI6 thwart Communist efforts to start a new war, but because of the Official Secrets Act, Diana can’t tell Brent the truth about her work.

Determined to save their marriage and rebuild the city they call home, Diana and Brent’s love is put to the ultimate test as they navigate the rubble of war and the ruins of broken trust.

Edinburgh

Benefit of The Doubt by Les Cowan (need to read)

It was a warning. Back off. Stop helping the addicts. 
Stop undercutting demand. He had believed they would be protected. But they took her – the girl in the raspberry beret – and by the time they were done he was broken.

So David Hidalgo flees Spain for his native Edinburgh. Now he must work out how to live again and lead others when his faith has been ripped away and all that’s left is doubt.

In Edinburgh David finds friendship, disturbing and unlooked for romance, and respite from the pain. That is, until a young girl is abducted and it becomes clear that it’s not so easy to leave the past, or danger, behind.

David knows he must set aside his doubts and act. But what will the cost be this time?

Here Burns My Candle by Liz Curtis Higgs

A mother who cannot face her future.
A daughter who cannot escape her past.
 
Lady Elisabeth Kerr is a keeper of secrets. A Highlander by birth and a Lowlander by marriage, she honors the auldways, even as doubts and fears stir deep within her.

Her husband, Lord Donald, has secrets of his own, well hidden from the household, yet whispered among the town gossips. 

His mother, the dowager Lady Marjory, hides gold beneath her floor and guilt inside her heart. Though her two abiding passions are maintaining her place in society and coddling her grown sons, Marjory’s many regrets, buried in Greyfriars Churchyard, continue to plague her.

One by one the Kerr family secrets begin to surface, even as bonny Prince Charlie and his rebel army ride into Edinburgh in September 1745, intent on capturing the crown. 

A timeless story of love and betrayal, loss and redemption, flickering against the vivid backdrop of eighteenth-century Scotland, Here Burns My Candle illumines the dark side of human nature, even as hope, the brightest of tapers, lights the way home.

Within The Veil by Brandy Vallance

They never should have met. But they might be made for each other.

Feya Broon, a Scottish half Gypsy, knows what it is to go hungry. Trapped in the Edinburgh tenements with a father lost to his past and only the faded memory of her mother’s faith, Feya is desperate to provide for her siblings. When an ill-conceived plan leads to thievery, she finds herself in the last place she’d ever want to be—captured by a palace guard. But there’s something about this man that tears at every preconceived notion she’s even had about the haughty English. 

Alasdair Cairncross never dreamed he’d be forced to transport a gypsy woman halfway across the wilds of Scotland. The timing is disastrous, considering his fiancée’s imminent arrival and his father’s political goals. Not only that, but the fiery young woman threatens to lay bare secrets Alasdair would rather keep hidden. And yet the farther they travel together, the less concerned he finds himself with duty—both to the crown and to the plans his family has for him.

As their walls begin to crumble, Feya and Alasdair must fight to survive a decades-old feud, a Highland kidnapping, and the awakening of their own hearts. 

Shetland Islands

The Inheritance (Secrets of The Shetlands, book 1) by Michael Phillips

The death of the clan patriarch has thrown the tiny Shetland Islands community of Whales Reef into turmoil. Everyone assumed MacGregor Tulloch’s heir to be his grand-nephew David, a local favorite, but when it is discovered that MacGregor left no will, David’s grasping cousin Hardy submits his own claim to the inheritance, an estate that controls most of the island’s land. And while Hardy doesn’t enjoy much popular support, he has the backing of a shadowy group of North Sea oil investors. The courts have frozen the estate’s assets while the competing claims are investigated, leaving many of the residents in financial limbo. The future of the island–and its traditional way of life–hangs in the balance.

Loni Ford is enjoying her rising career in a large investment firm in Washington, DC. Yet in spite of her outward success, she is privately plagued by questions of identity. Orphaned as a young child, she was raised by her paternal grandparents, and while she loves them dearly, she feels completely detached from her roots. That is until a mysterious letter arrives from a Scottish solicitor. . . .

Past and present collide in master storyteller Phillips’s dramatic new saga of loss and discovery, of grasping and grace, and of the dreams of men and women everywhere.

The Cottage (book 2) (need to read)

When Loni Ford is informed that she has inherited property in the Shetland Islands, she laughs. She wants nothing more than to sell it and be done with it. But when she arrives in the North Sea enclave, she is stunned to find that “the Cottage” is not at all what she expected, nor is David Tulloch, the man most of the islanders believe to be the rightful heir.

The locals could hardly be more surprised that the heir is a woman–and an American. Loni, in turn, finds the islanders quaint and a bit behind the times. Expecting David to be as provincial as the rest of his clan, she discovers that there is far more to the man than meets the eye. And there is something about the peaceful atmosphere of the place–and the character of its most prominent citizen–that soon gets under her skin. 

Beneath the peaceful surface, however, change is threatening the island of Whales Reef. David’s cousin Hardy Tulloch, whose claim to the inheritance now in Loni’s hands was backed by oil investors, has not been deterred in his aim to control the island. But his co-conspirators have plans of their own, plans that put Loni’s very life in danger.

The Legacy (book 3) (need to read)

Loni Ford’s unexpected inheritance of substantial real estate–not to mention a title–in the Shetland Islands has caused more than a stir in the quiet fishing hamlet of Whales Reef. How is life ever to be the same with an outsider–and a woman, at that–playing such a pivotal role in the life of this conservative community? But it isn’t just the locals who have deep misgivings about the current situation. Loni herself never imagined this in her wildest dreams. 

What Loni is more sure of, however, is that she is falling in love–with Whales Reef, with its hardy people, with its simple, peaceful way of life, and with local chieftain David Tulloch, whose inheritance she has usurped, at least in the eyes of some. 

But life in Whales Reef is not without drama. Deep rifts exist between certain lifelong residents, and when one local resident turns up dead, suspicion is cast in the direction of the island’s most prominent family. How Loni and David deal with this challenge will go a long way in determining their future, and that of the quaint island community.

Top 10 Tuesday — Summer-y Book Covers

12 Jul

Happy Tuesday everyone! Summer is indeed in full swing, and what better way to celebrate than with some summer-y book covers. I have a dozen for you to choose featuring what I think of when I hear the word summer. There are covers with summer foods, weddings (bonus points for those set at the beach), front porches, and of course those with summer in the title. I hope you find one to love.

For more summer-y covers, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Summer-y Book Covers

High Cotton by Debby Mayne

The Sweet Life by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Truelove And Homegrown Tomatoes by Julie Cannon

Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Beth Vogt

To Have And To Hold by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller

The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

Almost Home by Valerie Fraser Luesse

The Memory House by Rachel Hauck

The Summer House by Lauren K. Denton

On A Summer Tide by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Quaker Summer by Lisa Samson

Summer Plans And Other Disasters by Karin Beery

Top 10 Tuesday — Anticipated Books

5 Jul

Happy Tuesday! Even though I have shelves and a Kindle full of books, I am always looking forward to new ones. I think most avid readers are, so I am unapologetic. 😉 This week I am highlighting some books that have recently released or will shortly. Many are already on my NetGalley shelf. Now I just need to read them!

For more anticipated books, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Anticipated Books

Anything But Plain by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Body of Evidence by Irene Hannon

Concrete Evidence by DiAnn Mills

Crossfire by Lynette Eason

Dangerous Beauty by Melissa Koslin

Deception by Patricia Bradley

Edge of Dusk by Colleen Coble

The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip by Sara Brunsvold

Fallout by Carrie Stuart Parks

Heirlooms by Sandra Byrd

Top 10 Tuesday — Book Quote Freebie!

24 May

*****

I read all parts of a book. That’s right — the prologue, the afterword, even the copyright page 😉 . I also read epigraphs — any quotes that the author chooses to begin the story. Many authors choose scripture or a quote that gives some insight into what their book is all about. I like to keep them in mind as I delve into the stories. Today I am sharing those quotes from random books on my shelves. In the cases of the author using several quotes, I randomly chose just one. Lots of genres represented — enjoy!

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

Top Epigraphs — Quotes That Authors Chose to Begin Their Stories

***************

Yet he commanded the skies above and opened the doors of heaven, and he rained down on them manna to eat and gave them the grain of heaven. Man ate of the bread of angels.

Psalm 78:23-25

*****

I speak of peace, while covert enmity

Under the smile of safety wounds the world

William Shakespeare, King Henry IV, Part 2

*****

“I once was lost, but now I am found, was blind, but now I see.”

John Newton

*****

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

John 15:5

*****

Love is not consolation. It is light.

Simone Weil

*****

Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.

Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.

Psalm 82:3-4

*****

Loose yourself from the chains around your neck, O captive daughter of Zion.

Isaiah 52:2

*****

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

*****

There’s a bit of magic in everything

And then some loss to even things out.

Lou Reed

*****

It is necessity and not pleasure that compels us.

Dante, The Inferno

Top 10 Tuesday — Professional Book Pushers

10 May

Happy Tuesday! This week’s prompt is a joy. It’s all about bookish characters. I chose to focus on books in which the main character(s) is a professional book pusher — one who gets paid to get someone to read. (As opposed to those of us who just do it for fun. 🙂 ) Basically booksellers and librarians. I am currently listening to The Librarian of Saint-Malo by Mario Escobar. It is riveting, and naturally it is on my list. With the variety of genres represented, I hope you find a book to pique your interest.

For more lists of bookish characters, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Professional Book Pushers

Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner

Camino Island by John Grisham

Crime And Poetry by Amanda Flower

Hidden Among The Stars by Melanie Dobson

The Librarian of Saint-Malo by Mario Escobar

Miss Zukas And The Library Murders by Jo Dereske

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay

The Secrets of Paper And Ink by Lindsey Harrel

Until Leaves Fall in Paris by Sarah Sundin

Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin