Tag Archives: Elizabeth Musser

Top 10 Tuesday — Favorite Audiobooks

1 Jun

Over the weekend a friend asked for audiobook recommendations. As a big fan, I had a few recommendations — I had to stop myself! 😉 Since this week’s Top 10 Tuesday is a Freebie, I thought I would share some of my favorite audiobooks. The stories are great and the readers are excellent, capturing just the right pacing and accents needed to make the experience enjoyable. Whether you have a road trip planned or need something to help while away the hours next to the pool or beach, or if you need something to help get thought an exercise routine or boring chores, all on my list will fit the bill.

Do you like listening to audiobooks?

For more Top 10 Tuesday fun, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Ten of My Favorite Audiobooks

A Bridge Across The Ocean by Susan Meissner

The Last Year of The War by Susan Meissner

Mountain Laurel by Lori Benton

The Number of Love by Roseanna White

Perennials by Julie Cantrell

State of Lies by Siri Mitchell

Stories That Bind Us by Susie Finkbeiner

The Summer House by Lauren K. Denton

An Uncommon Woman by Laura Frantz

When I Close My Eyes by Elizabeth Musser

Top 10 Tuesday — Incomplete Sentences/Complete Thoughts

18 May

Today’s Top 10 Tuesday challenge is to list books with titles that are complete sentences. Looking at my shelves I didn’t find any, but I did find books with titles that convey a complete thought. With all our social media shorthand, I thought they would fit into today’s topic pretty well. The genres of these books vary, so there is something for everyone. I hope you find a title to love!

For more Top 10 Tuesday fun, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Titles with A Complete Thought

Before I Called You Mine by Nicole Deese

The Key to Everything by Valerie Fraser Luesse

Miracle in A Dry Season by Sarah Loudin Thomas

More Than We Remember by Christina Suzann Nelson

Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good by Jan Karon

Stories That Bind Us by Susie Finkbeiner

Things We Didn’t Say by Amy Lynn Green

Until I Found You by Victoria Bylin

Wait for Me by Susan May Warren

When I Close My Eyes by Elizabeth Musser

What I’m Reading — Unfamiliar Settings

24 Mar

I have been reading a totally engrossing novel. While I love the story and the characters, the setting is what has fueled my imagination. A Tapestry of Light is Kimberly Duffy‘s sophomore novel. Her debut, A Mosaic of Wings, was partially set in India in the late 1880s. That book opened a new world for me, but it is with her second book that I can immerse myself in the sights, sounds, and even smells of historic India. The main character is Anglo-Indian or as termed in the past, Eurasian. Her viewpoint combined with the lushly detailed narrative has enchanted me. That brings me to my question for discussion:

Do you often read novels set in unfamiliar locations?

I am a big fan of learning something new while reading. That does not often translate into settings I would term unfamiliar — a place that is vastly different from what I encounter in day to day life with differing customs, foods, dress, etc. I have read a few books that would fit that description, but most were historical fiction. Here are a few:

Set in the Holy Land, the island of Nevis, and Australia, respectively, they featured a time and place I was unfamiliar with. I think that learning about the history of a place helps me understand its modern-day world. A Tapestry of Light is a great view into India under British rule and gives some insight into what it is today.

What do you like about an unfamiliar setting?

In researching this topic, I found most of the contemporary books I have read feature missions, which is good. But I think I would like some that feature more of the day to day life of those who are citizens of the locales. Here are a few contemporary books that have unfamiliar settings. Of the three I have featured, only Two Destinies does not have a missions connection.

Let me know what you think. And I’d love some book recommendations!

Top 10 Tuesday — Characters And Their Jobs

2 Mar

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday features characters with jobs we would like to have. I worked as my husband’s bookkeeper for almost 25 years as I helped him grow his business. It was the right choice for us and helped us achieve our goals. But did I regret leaving upon my retirement a year and a half ago? Uh, no. 😉 While my first year of retirement was a bit different than I imagined, I am enjoying more flexibility and freedom. Not having to plan time off around biweekly payroll is great! So, no, I don’t envy any character’s job!

For a bit of a twist on today’s challenge, I am featuring characters whose jobs play an integral part in their story. They wouldn’t be where they are without the jobs they have. All are recent reads.

For more on character jobs, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Character Jobs

 

Amara Alvarez — homicide detective

 

Josephine Bourdillon — fiction author

 

Caroline Bragg — corporate attorney

 

Evelyn Brand — international journalist

 

Margot De Wilde — codebreaker

 

Madison James — U.S. Marshall

 

Layla Karam — CIA analyst

 

Caitlyn Lindsey — research scientist

 

Alice Grace Ripley — librarian

 

Jeremy Winter — FBI agent

Audiobook Mini-Review: When I Close My Eyes

1 Feb

I was delighted to find one of my favorite authors on my library’s digital site. When I Close My Eyes by Elizabeth Musser has been on my radar since it was released a year or so ago. Libby had it available in audiobook form, and I jumped at borrowing it. It is an excellent read. It definitely will make my best of 2021 list!

Could she ever share the secret of The Awful Year? 

There is one story that novelist Josephine Bourdillon shirked from writing. And now she may never have a chance. Trapped in her memories, she lies in a coma. 

The man who put her there is just as paralyzed. Former soldier Henry Hughes failed to complete the kill. What’s more: he never received full payment – funds that would ensure surgery for his son. 

As detectives investigate disturbing fan letters, a young but not-so-naive Paige Bourdillon turns to her mother’s turbulent past for answers. Could The Awful Year be worse than the one they’re living now? 

Set against the flaming hills of North Carolina and the peaceful shores of the Mediterranean Sea, When I Close My Eyes tells the story of two families struggling with dysfunction and finding that love is stronger than death.

Elizabeth Musser writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France. Elizabeth’s highly acclaimed, best-selling novel, The Swan House, was named one of Amazon’s Top Christian Books of the Year and one of Georgia’s Top Ten Novels of the Past 100 Years (Georgia Backroads). Two Destinies, the final novel in The Secrets of the Cross trilogy, was a finalist for the 2013 Christy Award. The Long Highway Home was a finalist for the Carol Awards. All of Elizabeth’s novels have been translated into multiple languages and have been international best-sellers.

Find more about Elizabeth’s novels at www.elizabethmusser.com and on Facebook, Twitter, and her blog

 

My Impressions:

An audiobook is great when you need something for a road trip or morning walks, especially if it is from a favorite author, has a story that grabs you from the beginning, and has narrators that bring life to the characters. I got all of that while listening to When I Close My Eyes by Elizabeth Musser. This novel seemed to be a bit of a departure for Musser. Set in modern-day Asheville, but including glimpses of one character’s past life, it is a study in grace and forgiveness. Three narrators gave voice to Paige, Josephine, and Henry — all excellent! Josephine, a best-selling author is shot by Henry (a man struggling with family pressures and PTSD), and Paige, Josephine’s daughter, is left to make sense of what is happening. I loved how Musser showed the impact of the initial murder attempt and the winding road to wholeness — although in ways this reader was not expecting. Mental illness in a variety of manifestations is explored thoughtfully and sensitively. I began listening in one hour intervals, but when I found myself under the weather, the book kept my mind engaged while resting. (And good news — all the tests came back negative, if you know what I mean 😉 .)

While I loved the audiobook experience, When I Close My Eyes is a book to contemplate and savor, so you may find the physical copy more to your liking. Either way it is a highly recommended read!

Highly Recommended.

Audience: Adults.

(I borrowed the audiobook from my local library through Libby. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Top 10 Tuesday — Books I Meant to Read in 2020

19 Jan

2020 was going to be the year of Beckie! For you Seinfeld fans, you know what I mean 😉 . I retired from my job (doing my husband’s books) late 2019 and only had some tax tasks to take care of in January. My first grandchild was born in December 2019. And I had all of the time in the world to travel, visit my family, and read, read, read! Boy, was I in for a big disappointment! The first two things on my agenda were thwarted by breast cancer and, of course, Covid. The third? You would think that not being able to go anywhere would have created great reading opportunities. For me, not so much. I ended up reading a lot less than in past years.

Did you read less or more last year?

Last year has set this year’s bar very low. I have few expectations of 2021. Plans are held loosely. It’s only January, and I have already had to cancel one trip to see my grand baby. 🙁  My Goodreads Reading Goal is set low as well. But there are many unread books staring at me from my shelves. I am determined that while the number of books may be low, the quality will be high. Included in books I want to read are those I missed last year, hence today’s Top 10 Tuesday list. All of these books deserve to be read — here’s hoping I do in 2021. For more books bloggers didn’t get to, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

What books did you not get to last year?

 

 

Top Books I Meant to Read in 2020

 

Acceptable Risk by Lynette Eason

Active Defense by Lynette Eason

Before I Called You Mine by Nicole Deese

 

The Key to Love by Betsy  St. Amant

More Than We Remember by Christina Suzann Nelson

Point of Danger by Irene Hannon

The Promised Land by Elizabeth Musser

 

The Sowing Season by Katie Powner

Things We Didn’t Say by Amy Lynn Green

The White Rose Resists by Amanda Barratt

 

Which book should I read first?

 

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Autumn Covers

6 Oct

It’s not really feeling fall-is here in the Sunny South. Oh we did have a tease of cooler temperatures last week, but this week we are back in the mid-80s, and it looks like another tropical system is on its way. Ugh! But I can still snuggle in with autumn-y books even if I can only capture brisk breezes with an air conditioner and a ceiling fan! 😉

Along with other bloggers I am sharing some book covers that declare those autumn vibes. The colors just say fall for me. My list includes books that I am currently reading and those that are on my TBR shelf or wishlists. They span a number of genres, so there’s something for everyone.

For more great covers, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Autumn-Vibes Book Covers

Dreams Rekindled by Amanda Cabot

Leaving Oxford by Janet Ferguson

Mountain Laurel by Lori Benton

Obsession by Patricia Bradley

The Promised Land by Elizabeth Musser

Protecting Tanner Hollow by Lynette Eason

The Sowing Season by Katie Powner

Things We Didn’t Say by Amy Green

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Top 10 Tuesday — Most Read Authors

7 Jul

The week’s Top 10 Tuesday prompt is authors I have read the most books by. I am tweaking a bit with a list of the authors my book club loves — the ones we always read whenever they have a new book release. I have included two of my favorites from each author. I hope you find one to love from our list.

For more favorite author recommendations, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Book Club Favorite Authors

 

Terri Blackstock

 

Elizabeth Musser

 

Francine Rivers

 

Dan Walsh

 

Robert Whitlow

 

Cindy Woodsmall

 

 

Who is your favorite author?

 

 

 

 

 

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?

 

If you liked . . . Promised Land by Robert Whitlow

1 Jun

Every month I try to recommend some books for readers who liked our book club selection. It isn’t always easy. Listening to Anne Bogel’s podcast, What Should I Read Next, I gained some new insight. Books don’t have to be identical, but they do need to contain what resonated with the reader, whether theme or element. I listened to my book club’s reasons for liking (or not liking) Promised Land by Robert Whitlow. They liked the interactions of the married couple, the cultural nuances depicted, the international settings, and the spiritual disciplines of the main character, but didn’t like that the book was short on action. Taking all that into account I have come up with the following recommendations. Hope you enjoy!

 

For Cultural Differences and Societal Issues

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.

 

For Legal Wrangling

Rule of Law by Randy Singer

What did the president know? And when did she know it?

For the members of SEAL Team Six, it was a rare mission ordered by the president, monitored in real time from the Situation Room. The Houthi rebels in Yemen had captured an American journalist and a member of the Saudi royal family. Their executions were scheduled for Easter Sunday. The SEAL team would break them out.

But when the mission results in spectacular failure, the finger-pointing goes all the way to the top.

Did the president play political games with the lives of U.S. service members?

Paige Chambers, a determined young lawyer, has a very personal reason for wanting to know the answer. The case she files will polarize the nation and test the resiliency of the Constitution. The stakes are huge, the alliances shaky, and she will be left to wonder if the saying on the Supreme Court building still holds true.

Equal justice under law.

It makes a nice motto. But will it work when one of the most powerful people on the planet is also a defendant?

 

For Marital Relationships and Edge of Seat Suspense

State of Lies by Siri Mitchell

Someone wants Georgie Brennan dead. And the more she digs for the truth, the fewer people she can trust.

Months after her husband, Sean, is killed by a hit-and-run driver, physicist Georgie Brennan discovers he lied to her about where he had been going that day. A cryptic notebook, a missing computer, and strange noises under her house soon have her questioning everything she thought she knew.

With her job hanging by a thread, her son struggling to cope with his father’s death, and her four-star general father up for confirmation as the next secretary of defense, Georgie quickly finds herself tangled in a web of political intrigue that has no clear agenda and dozens of likely villains.

Only one thing is clear: someone wants her dead too. And the people closest to her might be the most dangerous of all.