Tag Archives: dual timelines

Top 10 Tuesday — Hospitals!

5 Dec

Today is a TTT Freebie, s0 I thought I would tackle the depressing setting of hospitals. LOL! My husband laughed and rolled his eyes at me when I announced the topic. Surely I could have found a cheerier setting for the first TTT of December 2023? Probably, but I am in a rebellious mood. 😉 The books I am featuring all revolve around a hospital of some sort and encompass various time periods and genres. They are great for whatever ails you. Ugh!

For cheerier Freebie topics, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Books Set In And Around Hospitals

Airborne by DiAnn Mills

Ghost Heart by Lisa Harris and Lynne Gentry

Hope Beyond The Waves by Heidi Chiavaroli

In This Moment by Gabrielle Meyer

Step by Step by Candace Calvert

Surgeon’s Choice by Richard Mabry

Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green

When I Close My Eyes by Elizabeth Musser

With Every Breath by Elizabeth Camden

With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin

Mini-Book Review — When Stone Wings Fly

1 Dec

Karen Barrett‘s National Park-based novels are always a treat. When Stone Wings Fly is a dual timeline novel set in The Great Smoky Mountains. The modern-day story features a young woman desperately trying to learn about her heritage in the face of her grandmother’s worsening Alzheimers. The Depression-era storyline presents the beginnings of the park with the loss of family farms and homesteads. I knew little about that part of the story. The park today is magnificent, but so much of family legacies were lost when the federal government began buying the land to create it. Both Kieran and Rosie learn the importance of not holding on too tightly, yet continuing a family legacy. There is a good bit of heartache and hard times in this novel, but God redeems when we allow Him to set our flight.

If you are a fan of historical novels based in the early 20th century or love a story about family and faith, then When Stone Wings Fly is a good choice.


Audience: Adults.

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

Kieran Lucas’s grandmother is slipping into dementia, and when her memory is gone, Kieran’s last tie to the family she barely knows will be lost forever. Worse, flashbacks of her mother’s death torment Granny Mac and there’s precious little Kieran can do to help.

In 1931, the creation of the new Great Smoky Mountains National Park threatens Rosie McCauley’s home. Rosie vows the only way the commission will get her land is if they haul her off in a pine box. When a compromise offers her and her disabled sister the opportunity to stay for Rosie’s lifetime, her acceptance sets her apart from the other mountain folk. And the bond she’s forming with ornithologist and outsider Benton Fuller only broadens the rift.
Eighty-five years later, Kieran heads back to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to find answers to her great-grandmother’s mysterious death and bring peace to Granny Mac before it’s too late. Park Historian Zach Jensen may be the key to locating both the answers. But what Kieran needs clashes with the government regulations Zach is sworn to uphold. Can she trust God for a solution to heal this generations-old wound?

Karen Barnett, the award-winning author of eight novels, writes historical romance that sweeps readers into the beauty and adventure of our national parks. A former park ranger and naturalist, she worked at Mount Rainier National Park, Oregon’s Silver Falls State Park, and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, two kids, and three mischievous dachshunds. When not writing, Karen enjoys photography, hiking, public speaking, and decorating crazy birthday cakes. In 2016, she was named Writer of the Year by the prestigious Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. Oregon Christian Writers (OCW) honored her with the Writer of Promise Award in 2013 and a 2014 Cascade Award for her debut novel, Mistaken.

Top 10 Tuesday — Boats!

28 Nov

Today’s TTT topic is basically a setting freebie. I chose to feature books in which a boat of some kind plays a significant role in the story. From ocean liners to yachts to rowing sculls — these books have it covered.

For more fabulous settings, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Books Featuring Boats

Anna’s Crossing by Suzanne Woods Fisher

A Bridge Across The Ocean by Susan Meissner

The Deepest Waters by Dan Walsh

The Liberty Bride by MaryLu Tyndall

The Maggie Bright by Tracy Groot

The Magnolia Duchess by Beth White

Magnolia Storms by Janet W. Ferguson

The Mayflower Bride by Kimberly Woodhouse

Port of Origin by Lisa Harris and Lynne Gentry

The Sound of Light by Sarah Sundin

Top 10 Tuesday — Headlines!

7 Nov

Happy Tuesday! Today’s TTT topic is titles that would make good newspaper headlines. I chose to turn the books featured today into titles of magazine articles also. Profuse apologies to the authors for this — you’ll see. 😉

For more headline worthy books, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Titles As Headlines

Obituary Headlines

The Forgotten Life of Eva Gordon by Linda MacKillop

The Late Mrs. Willoughby by Claudia Gray

Travel & Leisure

Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

Crime Magazine

The Unhiding of Elijah Campbell by Kelly Flanagan

The Vanishing at Castle Moreau by Jaime Jo Wright

Military History

Facing The Enemy by DiAnn Mills

Rolling Stone

The Songs That Could Have Been by Amanda Wen


The Long March Home by Marcus Brotherton and Tosca Lee

Top 10 Tuesday — Essential Jobs!

10 Oct

Happy Tuesday! I have posted on this week’s topic, Bookish Jobs, before, so I am tweaking the topic again. 😉 Sometimes a character’s occupation is essential to the story line. If they hadn’t held these jobs, there would have been no story! I hope one of the books on my list piques your interest.

For more bookish jobs, please check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Essential Jobs

Circus Performer — The Weight of Air by Kimberly Duffy

Department of Defense Redactor — Broker of Lies by Steven James

Museum Curator — Roots of Wood And Stone by Amanda Wen

Musician — Everything is Just Beginning by Erin Bartels

Perfumer — Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor

Pharmacist — Within These Walls of Sorrow by Amanda Barratt

Physicist — The Sound of Light by Sarah Sundin

Spies! — A Shadow in Moscow by Katherine Reay

Top 10 Tuesday — Reading Goals

3 Oct

Happy Tuesday! I used to be hard core about reading goals. I had an overall target to reach every year, as well as several (many) reading challenges I joined. But I am a bit compulsive and the goals/challenges became more important than actual reading. That’s when I adjusted downward the number of books I planned to read per year and began to limit the reviews/launches I agreed to participate in. I want to read what I want to read! That being said I still overestimate the time I have available for reading.

I used this week’s topic to look back at the past year’s TBR plans. I am currently on track to meet my Goodreads goal of 75 books. In fact I have read 69 books so far this year; they just aren’t all recorded on Goodreads yet.

My TBR goals are all over the place though:

90% read for Winter 22/23,

100% for Spring 23,

0% for Summer 23 (although in my defense, that list was more for highlighting the books that were being released during the summer, rather than a personal reading goal)

20% for Fall 23 (which is pretty good, since I published that list just 2 weeks ago)

My NetGalley shelf is out of control with unread books. I am not going to embarrass myself by publishing that big fail. I will say that I read 8 books over the summer that had been on the shelf far too long.

So basically, I am doing what I proposed to do — reading what I want to read when I want to read it! 😉 And I am unapologetic, because at my age I certainly don’t need to squander any reading time.

Because I hate not mentioning specific books, here are more I have added to my Fall 23 list. Read 2, added 4 — sounds about right. I might post an update on my progress.

If You Liked . . . Roots of Wood And Stone

30 Sep

My book club absolutely loved Roots of Wood And Stone by Amanda Wen. A book that they unanimously dubbed the best book they had read in a long time is a hard act to follow. I had to really put on my thinking cap (am I really that old? LOL) to come up with some more reading recs. I hope you find one to love too.

A Journal Connects Characters

The Scarlet Thread by Francine Rivers

Two women, centuries apart, are joined through a tattered journal as they contend with God, husbands, and even themselves…until they fall into the arms of the One who loves them unconditionally. 

Sierra Madrid’s life has just been turned upside down when she discovers the handcrafted quilt and journal of her ancestor Mary Kathryn McMurray, a young woman who was uprooted from her home only to endure harsh conditions on the Oregon Trail. Though the women are separated by time and circumstance, Sierra discovers that many of the issues they face are remarkably similar. By following Mary Kathryn’s example, Sierra learns to surrender to God?s sovereignty and unconditional love.

If you have an Audible subscription, this book is included!

An Abandoned Newborn

The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox

When Ivy Rose returns to her hometown to oversee an estate sale, she soon discovers that her grandmother left behind more than trinkets and photo frames–she provided a path to the truth behind Ivy’s adoption. Shocked, Ivy seeks clues to her past, but a key piece to the mystery is missing.

Twenty-four years earlier, Harvey James finds an abandoned newborn who gives him a sense of human connection for the first time in his life. His desire to care for the baby runs up against the stark fact that he is homeless. When he becomes entwined with two people seeking to help him find his way, Harvey knows he must keep the baby a secret or risk losing the only person he’s ever loved.

In this dual-time story from debut novelist Amanda Cox, the truth–both the search for it and the desire to keep it from others–takes center stage as Ivy and Harvey grapple with love, loss, and letting go.

Connections Across Time And Place And Generations

Out of The Water by Ann Marie Stewart

Irish immigrant Siobhan Kildea’s impetuous flight from a Boston lover in 1919 leads her to a new family in an unfamiliar Montana prison town. After a horrific tragedy impacts her children, her land, and her livelihood, Siobhan makes a heart wrenching decision – with consequences that ripple for decades to come.

Mysteriously linked to Siobhan is Genevieve Marchard, a battlefront nurse in France who returns stateside to find the absence of a certain soldier is her greatest loss; Anna Hanson, a music teacher who tucks herself away in a small Washington town, assuming her secrets are safe; and Erin Ellis, who thinks she and her husband won the lottery when they adopted their daughter, Claire. 

These interconnected stories, spanning three continents and five generations, begin to unravel in 1981 when Claire Ellis sets out to find her biological mother.

With puzzling suspense, unforgettable characters and uncanny insight, Out of the Water is an intoxicating novel of motherhood, secrets, and the profound ramifications our decisions have. Readers will be left wondering: ultimately, is it always better to know the truth?

Book Review — Roots of Wood And Stone

27 Sep

Roots of Wood And Stone was Amanda Wen‘s debut novel, but you sure couldn’t tell. At least that is what members of my book club thought. They were blown away by this dual timeline novel that focuses on identity and the power of family connectedness. They said it was the best book they have read in a long, long time. I highly recommend it!

This historic home holds the keys to their destiny . . . and their hearts.

Abandoned at birth, her family roots a mystery, historical museum curator Sloane Kelley has dedicated her life to making sure others know theirs. When a donor drops off a dusty old satchel, she doesn’t expect much from the common artifact . . . until she finds real treasure inside: a nineteenth-century diary. Now she’s on the hunt to find out more.

Garrett Anderson just wanted to clean out his grandmother’s historic but tumbledown farmhouse before selling it to fund her medical care. With her advancing Alzheimer’s, he can’t afford to be sentimental about the family home. But his carefully ordered plan runs up against two formidable obstacles: Sloane, who’s fallen in love with both the diaries and the house, and his own heart, which is irresistibly drawn to Sloane.

A century and a half earlier, motherless Annabelle Collins embarks with her aunt and uncle on the adventure of a lifetime: settling the prairies of Sedgwick County, Kansas. The diaries she left behind paint a portrait of life, loss, and love — and a God who faithfully carries her through it all. Paging through the diaries together takes Sloane and Garrett on a journey they never could have planned, which will change them in ways they never imagined.

This warm, beautifully written split-time novel will resonate with readers looking for stories that reveal the beauty of God’s plan for our lives, and how our actions ripple for generations.

Amanda Wen is an award-winning writer of inspirational romance and split-time women’s fiction. She has placed first in multiple contests, including the 2017 Indiana Golden Opportunity Contest, the 2017 Phoenix Rattler Contest, and the 2016 ACFW First Impressions Contest, among others. She was also a 2018 ACFW Genesis Contest finalist.

In addition to her writing, Amanda is an accomplished professional cellist and pianist, frequently performing with symphony orchestras, string quartets, and her church’s worship team, and accompanying high school and middle school choirs. A lifelong denizen of the flatlands, Amanda currently lives in Kansas with her patient, loving, and hilarious husband, their three adorable Wenlets, and a snuggly Siamese cat.

My Impressions:

Roots of Wood And Stone, the debut novel by Amanda Wen, was on my TBR shelf way too long. I finally read this excellent novel with my book club — we were blown away by just how good it is! It’s dual timeline tells the story of Annabelle (beginning in the mid-1860s) and modern-day Sloane. Both struggle with identity and abandonment. They become connected when Sloane discovers diaries written from Annabelle’s childhood through her adulthood. What is revealed is a faith that survives and thrives through the hard things of life. Wen does a wonderful job of making weaving both stories together.

There’s a lot to like about Roots of Wood And Stone. The characters are complex and true-to-life and offer the reader insights into their own stories. The history of the settling of Wichita and its environs was fascinating, and Wen adds wonderful details to bring it to life. Spiritual truths are woven naturally through the narrative, and I loved that Annabelle’s diaries continued to speak across the generations. And did I mention not one, but two great romances? I loved that the love stories developed naturally, with obstacles to be overcome for sure, but in very realistic ways.

This novel provided a wealth of topics to discuss — my book club talked and talked. There was so much to unpack. There’s a handy discussion guide in the back of the book to get the conversation going. We all loved this book — it was declared one of the best books we have read in a long time. Plus there’s a sequel! Everyone is excited about that! So grab some book buddies and get to reading!

Highly Recommended.

Great for Book Clubs.

Audience: Adults.

(I purchased the Kindle version of this book. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Top 10 Tuesday — “Minor” Characters

26 Sep

Happy Tuesday! I was not really feeling this week’s TTT (too much going on to think that hard), so I am again twisting the topic and featuring books with “minor” characters — characters under the age of 18 who star in or make a big impact on the book. (Some of the covers even have children on them!) It was fun to look back at books that have a child/teenager’s point of view. An even dozen , there are lots of genres to choose from. I hope one piques your interest.

For bloggers who stayed on topic, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top “Minor” Characters

A Cup of Dust by Susie Finkbeiner (historical)

The June Boys by Court Stevens (YA/suspense)

The Key to Everything by Valerie Fraser Luesse (general/historical)

The Last Year of The War by Susan Meissner (historical/general)

Like A River from Its Course by Kelli Stuart (historical)

Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse (general/historical)

The Girl from The Train by Irma Joubert (historical)

The Story Peddler by Lindsay A. Franklin (fantasy)

Sweet Mercy by Ann Tatlock (historical)

What Follows After by Dan Walsh (suspense/historical)

What Happens Next by Christina Suzann Nelson (dual timeline/general)

When We Were Young And Brave by Hazel Gaynor (historical)

Top 10 Tuesday — Fall TBR

19 Sep

Just a couple more days and it’s FALL! Here in the sunny South, the temps are edging down, but the real Fall weather won’t show up for at least a month (sometimes more). But that doesn’t keep me from piling up a bunch of books to read for the season. I have had a ton of “required” reading the past few months, but I am happy that a lot of pleasure reads are in my future. I have more than 10, but I will keep the list to the next 10 books I will be enjoying in the coming weeks. I read across genres, so there should be something for everyone.

For more bloggers’ Fall TBR lists, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Books on My Fall TBR

The All-American by Susie Finkbeiner (historical)

Broker of Lies by Steven James (thriller)

He Should Have Told The Bees by Amanda Cox (dual timeline/general)

Into The Fire by Irene Hannon (romantic suspense)

Jane And The Final Mystery by Stephanie Barron (historical/cozy mystery)

A River Between Us by Jocelyn Green (historical)

A Shadow in Moscow by Katherine Reay (historical)

Shadows at Dusk by Elizabeth Goddard (romantic suspense)

The Warsaw Sisters by Amanda Barratt (historical)

The Wind Blows in Sleeping Grass by Katie Powner (dual timelines)