Tag Archives: general fiction

Top 10 Tuesday — Summer TBR

15 Jun

It is definitely summer here in the sunny South. High temps are in the 90s, and I am melting on my morning walks! But that’s what I signed up for! We endure in the air conditioning and under the umbrella next to the pool. And a good book to take you away is always welcome.

Today’s Top 10 Tuesday list includes some of the books I am reading this summer. My TBR list is short, but I will be reading more than is on my current list — I am keeping my options flexible this summer. For more fun summer reading, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Books on My Summer TBR

The August surprise selection for By The Book is Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan. We are excited to read this dual timeline novel set in one of our favorite cities.

When Savannah history professor Everly Winthrop is asked to guest-curate a new museum collection focusing on artifacts recovered from the steamship Pulaski, she’s shocked. The ship sank after a boiler explosion in 1838, and the wreckage was just discovered, 180 years later. Everly can’t resist the opportunity to try to solve some of the mysteries and myths surrounding the devastating night of its sinking.

Everly’s research leads her to the astounding history of a family of eleven who boarded the Pulaskitogether, and the extraordinary stories of two women from this family: a known survivor, Augusta Longstreet, and her niece, Lilly Forsyth, who was never found, along with her child. These aristocratic women were part of Savannah’s society, but when the ship exploded, each was faced with difficult and heartbreaking decisions. This is a moving and powerful exploration of what women will do to endure in the face of tragedy, the role fate plays, and the myriad ways we survive the surviving.

A small group of my friends formed IWBC (Interesting Women Book Club — for the books were are reading and of course us 😉 . The Only Woman in The Room by Marie Benedict fits that bill. I am going to lobby hard to read it, but if I get outvoted, I am still going to read this intriguing book.

Her beauty almost certainly saved her from the rising Nazi party and led to marriage with an Austrian arms dealer. Underestimated in everything else, she overheard the Third Reich’s plans while at her husband’s side and understood more than anyone would guess. She devised a plan to flee in disguise from their castle, and the whirlwind escape landed her in Hollywood. She became Hedy Lamarr, screen star.

But she kept a secret more shocking than her heritage or her marriage: she was a scientist. And she had an idea that might help the country fight the Nazis and revolutionize modern communication . . . if anyone would listen to her.

A powerful book based on the incredible true story of the glamour icon and scientist, The Only Woman in the Room is a masterpiece that celebrates the many women in science that history has overlooked.

My daughter is reading C. S. LewisSpace Trilogy. She gave book 1, Out of The Silent Planet to my husband, and I downloaded it from Audible (it was included in my subscription). I am hoping our 4th of July celebration will include the 1st Family Book Club. Wish me luck! I had a hard enough time getting my kids to read certain books when they were kids. Now that they are adults . . . .

Out of the Silent Planet is the first novel of the Cosmic Trilogy, considered to be C.S. Lewis’ chief contribution to the science fiction genre. The trilogy concerns Dr. Ransom, a linguist, who, like Christ, was offered a ransom for mankind. The first two novels are planetary romances with elements of medieval mythology. Each planet is seen as having a tutelary spirit; those of the other planets are both good and accessible, while that of Earth is fallen, twisted, and not known directly by most humans. The story is powerfully imagined, and the effects of lesser gravity on Martian planet and animal life is vividly rendered.

Two review books are up for July — The Nature of Small Birds by Susie Finkbeiner and The Chase by Lisa Harris. I can’t wait to dig into both of those books.

In 1975, three thousand children were airlifted out of Saigon to be adopted into Western homes. When Mindy, one of those children, announces her plans to return to Vietnam to find her birth mother, her loving adopted family is suddenly thrown back to the events surrounding her unconventional arrival in their lives.

Though her father supports Mindy’s desire to meet her family of origin, he struggles privately with an unsettling fear that he’ll lose the daughter he’s poured his heart into. Mindy’s mother undergoes the emotional rollercoaster inherent in the adoption of a child from a war-torn country, discovering the joy hidden amid the difficulties. And Mindy’s sister helps her sort through relics that whisper of the effect the trauma of war has had on their family — but also speak of the beauty of overcoming.

Told through three strong voices in three compelling timelines, The Nature of Small Birds is a hopeful story that explores the meaning of family far beyond genetic code.

US Marshal Madison James may not be sure who shot her three months ago, but she does know one thing — it’s time to get back out into the field. When her partner, Jonas Quinn, receives a message that a federal warrant just came in on a man connected to a string of bank robberies, Madison jumps at the chance to get back to work. What she and Jonas find is a bank robbery in progress that’s gone wrong — and things are about to get worse.

For these bank robbers, it’s never been just about the money. It’s about taking risks and adrenaline rushes, and getting caught is not part of the game. When the suspects escape, Madison and Jonas must hunt them down and bring them to justice before someone else — someone close to them — gets hurt . . . or worse.

From Seattle to the San Juan Islands, bestselling author Lisa Harris takes you on a nonstop chase where feelings are complicated and failure isn’t an option.

What are you reading this summer?

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

Top 10 Tuesday — Nature Covers

11 May

This week Top 10 Tuesday posts are featuring book covers that depict nature. As I was looking for books to include, I was surprised that I could find as many as I did. Most covers feature people. I chose books that depict a setting or key element of the story (some have people, others not). They span genres too.

Do you like book covers that feature nature?

For more Top Ten Tuesday fun, head over to That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top 10 Book Covers Featuring Nature

Blackberry Beach by Irene Hannon

Collision of Lies by Tom Threadgill

The Earl’s Lady Geologist by Alissa Baxter

The Escape by Lisa Harris

For The Love of Joy by Janet Ferguson

Mountain Laurel by Lori Benton

The Nature of Small Birds by Susie Finkbeiner

Present Danger by Elizabeth Goddard

Tidewater Bride by Laura Frantz

Under a Turquoise Sky by Lisa Carter

Top 10 Tuesday — Lovely Book Hometowns

30 Mar

I have always been a small town girl, at least in my heart. I grew up in a large-ish town, but as an adult found myself enjoying small town living. I like less traffic, feeling a part of a community, and knowing people when I shop, dine, or recreate. I am aware of the pitfalls of small town life, (people knowing your business at number 1 😉 ), but still prefer to live in my small town. It was great raising children here too!

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is all about favorite book settings that you could live in. It’s no wonder that I chose small towns, both real and fictional.

In what book setting would you like to call your hometown?

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

Top Book Settings I Could Live In

Blackberry Springs, Alabama — where newcomers can find family, awesome swimming hole

Chawton, England (post-WWII) — it’s where Jane Austen lived!

Edisto Island, South Carolina — southern coastal town, great seafood restaurants, nearby Charleston

Hope Harbor, Oregon — beautiful landscape, interesting mix of new and long-time residents, quirky taco truck owner, engaging seagulls

Maryville, Mississippi — great neighbors, a chance to get involved in the community

St. Simons Island, Georgia — coastal town with a small town feel, artsy, community commitment to important issues

Three Sisters Island, Maine — quirky and independent citizens, wonderful family vacation camp

Top 10 Tuesday — Ruin A Book With One Letter (Or Two)

23 Mar

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday challenge is Funny Titles. I posted on that not too long ago, and frankly I don’t read many funny books, so the titles aren’t either. So I decided to share the ever popular Ruined Titles. Basically, you change one or two letters of one of the words in a book’s title so that a great read becomes, well, ruined. 😉 My apologies to the authors.

For more funny titles, make sure to visit That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Ruined Book Titles

All Manner of Strings by Susie Finkbeiner

small town sewing

Collision of Pies by Tom Threadgill

pastry train derailment

Daughters of Northern Snores by Joanne Bischof

sleeping in Scandinavia

Echoes Among The Scones by Jaime Jo Wright

past mystery in a pastry shop

Facing The Lawn by Cynthia Ruchti

grief and lawn care

The Mouse at The End of The Moor by Michelle Griep

Victorian city and country mice

On A Coastal Sneeze by Suzanne Woods Fisher

love and hay fever in Maine

The Traitor’s Prawn by Lisa Harris

Chinese spies and seafood

Under a Turquoise Sty by Lisa Carter

desert pig farming

Spotlight, Author Interview, and Giveaway! — Dream Again

1 Mar

Dream Again

About The Book

Book:  Dream Again

Author: Ann Marie Bryan

Genre: Christian Fiction

Release date: August 20, 2020

Ann Marie Bryan - Dream Again - Front CoverOne random day. One burst of laughter. One perfect moment. That’s all it takes for Gianna Barrett to capture Carter McIntosh’s attention—and his heart. His whole life has been a series of miracles, so this falls right in line. If only it were that simple. The object of his desire refuses to give him the time of day. Not deterred, Carter is sure he’s ready to put his heart on the line for love. Big mistake. He isn’t quite prepared and finds himself wrestling a soul-deep hurt into submission.

“There has been an accident….”

That devastating revelation shattered Gianna’s life, and in that one chaotic moment, everything she had was taken away. She has spent years carefully crafting her new normal, so there is no way Carter can just insert himself into her life. The fight is on but not for long. Their attraction is instant, and before she knows it, all her cynicism goes out the door.

When Gianna learns more about Carter’s life, she gets a better understanding of her beginning. As she starts her journey to healing, she uncovers Carter’s startling secret. In the days that follow, she struggles with feelings of regret, fueling her natural tendency to retreat. But the flames of desire burn hot and it’s not easy to break their unexpected connection. As the past reaches for them, they soon realize that to move forward, they must look back. Will they allow God to be the anchor they so desperately need — before it’s too late? For all they ever wanted was to be loved.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About The Author

Ann Marie Bryan - Author PhotoAnn Marie Bryan is a dedicated multi-talented leader with a passion for excellence. She is the CEO and Founder of Victorious By Design, an organization committed to providing top quality professional writing services, comprehensive personal and professional development programs and exceptional performing arts services to meet the unique needs of individuals and organizations.

A Christian Fiction author, Ann Marie writes to educate, inspire, and empower others. She desires to tell great stories with fascinating characters to show the awesome power of God in the lives of people and places. Her celebrated bestselling Encounters of the Heart series, blend faith and romance that test the resilience of love.

Ann Marie’s greatest passion is to empower others to succeed by tapping into their God-given potential. She enjoys writing, reading, dancing, teaching, meeting people and traveling. With all the knowledge and experiences that God has so graciously blessed her with, Ann Marie is determined to make her life a ministry for the Lord.

 

More from Ann Marie

I am super excited that you are a part of this amazing Dream Again tour. I use the words — emotional, inspirational, compelling, and romantic—to describe my writing style. I love to put readers in the heart of the story to give them a chance to think how they would react in similar situations.

It was therapeutic for me to write Dream Again. Last year, my mom passed, so it was a year of grieving and adjusting for me. While I was going through, I decided to write a story about someone who suffered the loss of a parent. I wrapped that experience into a beautiful love story, Dream Again, which gives hope while showing the awesome power of God in the lives of two hurting people.

I hope you will enjoy reading Dream Again as much as I have enjoyed writing it. In this novel, you will witness the incredible transformative power of love in the lives of Carter McIntosh and Gianna Barrett as they lift their faith and develop the courage and tenacity to leave the past behind. Dream Again is laced with love, faith, friendship, and a sense of community, while demonstrating God’s desire to free people from life-altering events. I pray that you will catch a glimpse of God moving through time to secure the future of those He loves.

Thank you for touring with me and for taking the time to read Dream Again. Stay victorious!

 

Q & A with Ann Marie Bryan

Many authors say that they have always been a writer — making up stories as a child. When did you first become a writer?

I’m an author but writing a book was nowhere on my list of things to do. Becoming an author never crossed my mind. However, after I got married, several of my friends and relatives (some living miles away) wanted to know how I met my husband. They knew that I had been single for some time. So, I had to share my love story, repeatedly. Of course, no one wanted to hear the short version of the story.

Six months later, I was stretched out on the sofa at home on a Sunday afternoon, still recounting my love story. After hanging up from my call, it hit me – write a book!

A long deafening pause ensued.

A book! A book!

Every reason not to write this book came to mind. But I knew that I had a story to tell. I also knew that if God called me to write this book, He would equip me and surround me with wonderful Godly helpers. So, like any well-thinking Christian woman, I took the matter to the Lord and felt the peace to proceed with this mission. 

It took me two years to write and publish my first novel, Unforgettable, My Love Has Come Along.

Why did you choose Christian Fiction genre?

Currently, I write Christian Fiction Romance. It is a natural fit for me because I’m a Christian and I enjoy reading romantic stories. Above all, I get the wonderful opportunity to show the awesome power of God in the lives of my characters.

Can you tell us a little about what inspired your latest novel?

Last year, my mom passed, so it was a year of grieving and adjusting. For me, writing tends to be therapeutic, so I wanted to write a story about someone who suffered the loss of a parent. I wrapped that experience in a beautiful love story, Dream Again, which gives hope while showing the awesome power of God in the lives of two hurting people.

In this novel, readers will witness the incredible transformative power of love in the lives of Carter McIntosh and Gianna Barrett as they lift their faith and develop the courage and tenacity to leave the past behind. Will love bloom? Let the adventure begin.

What do you want your readers to take away with them after finishing one of your novels?

Dream Again is laced with faith, friendship, and a sense of community, while demonstrating God’s desire to free people from life-altering events. So, I hope readers will be inspired to trust God’s heart.

Importantly, I hope readers will be reminded that love is a beautiful emotion, and it is okay to love passionately, very passionately. However, loving someone is never as easy as we would like it to be. Keep in mind that, “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 (NKJV)

Above all, I pray that readers will recognize that having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ makes a great difference. I’m hoping that this story will encourage readers, not to put God in a box.  God will come through in due season. Sometimes, God takes us out of our comfort zone to stretch us and show us that we can accomplish far more than we think.   

Readers always want to know what is next for an author. Do you have any works in progress you can share about?

On August 20, 2020, I released Dream Again, Book 1 in the McIntosh Brothers series. I’m now writing Book 2 – Love Again. In Love Again, readers will meet Rylan (Ry) McIntosh and Savannah McKenzie, his love interest who disappeared years ago for no good reason. Well, none that Ry could think of. The two reconnected in a bizarre situation that could only have been divinely orchestrated. In a season that would bring many changes, they long for peace… and yearn for love. Will they trust God to overcome the past and find the strength to take a chance at life and love with each other? Stay tuned, Love Again will be available in 2021.

 

 

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, February 18

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, February 19

Through the Fire Blogs, February 20

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 21

Susan K. Beatty, Author, February 22 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 23

Inklings and notions, February 24

For Him and My Family, February 25

deb’s Book Review, February 26

Artistic Nobody, February 27 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 28

By The Book, March 1 (Author Interview)

Spoken from the Heart, March 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 2

Pause for Tales, March 3

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Ann Marie is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of Dream Again!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/10868/dream-again-celebration-tour-giveaway

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.)

If You Liked . . . Burden of Proof

30 Jan

The reactions of my book club members to Burden of Proof by Davis Bunn ranged from didn’t like the ending to didn’t like the book at all! LOL! So, one strike so far for our 2021 selections. Not a promising start to a new year of reading. However, the book did spark a lot of great discussion — a win in my book. I especially liked the answers to the question “if you could go back in time to change something, would you?”.

 

What did (or didn’t) you like about Burden of Proof?

 

I liked Burden of Proof, as did my husband. If you are in that seeming minority too, here are some book recommendations for more great reading. All three novels deal with past regrets and making amends (but no time travel 😉 ).

 

Not in The Heart by Chris Fabry

Truman Wiley used to report news stories from around the world, but now the most troubling headlines are his own. He’s out of work, out of touch with his family, out of his home. But nothing dogs him more than his son’s failing heart.

With mounting hospital bills and Truman’s penchant for gambling his savings, the situation seems hopeless . . . until his estranged wife throws him a lifeline ― the chance to write the story of a death row inmate, a man convicted of murder who wants to donate his heart to Truman’s son.

As the execution clock ticks down, Truman uncovers disturbing evidence that points to a different killer. For his son to live, must an innocent man die? Truman’s investigation draws him down a path that will change his life, his family, and the destinies of two men forever.

The Promise of Jesse Woods by Chris Fabry

The Summer of 1972 was the most pivotal of Matt Plumley’s childhood. While his beloved Pirates battle for back-to-back World Series titles, Matt’s family moves from Pittsburgh to Dogwood, West Virginia, where his father steps into the pulpit of a church under the thumb of town leader Basil Blackwood. A fish out of water, Matt is relieved to forge a fast bond with two unlikely friends: Dickie Darrel Lee Hancock, a mixed-race boy, and Jesse Woods, a tough-as-nails girl with a sister on her hip and no dad in sight.

As the trio traipses the hills and hollers, Matt begins to fall for Jesse, and their promises to each other draw him deeper into her terrifying reality. One night, the wrath of the Blackwoods and the secrets of Jesse’s family collide, and Matt joins Jesse in a rescue that saves one life and ends another . . . and severs the bond of their friendship.

Years later, Matt is pulled back to Dogwood and to memories of that momentous summer by news of Jesse’s upcoming wedding. He could never shake the feeling that there was more to the story of that fateful night, and he’s determined to learn the truth behind the only promise Jesse Woods ever broke.

Water from My Heart by Charles Martin

Charlie Finn had to grow up fast, living alone by age 16. Highly intelligent, he earned a life-changing scholarship to Harvard, where he learned how to survive and thrive on the outskirts of privileged society. That skill served him well in the cutthroat business world, as it does in more lucrative but dangerous ventures he now operates off the coast of Miami. Charlie tries to separate relationships from work. But when his choices produce devastating consequences, he sets out to right wrongs, traveling to Central America, where he will meet those who have paid for his actions, including a woman and her young daughter.

Will their fated encounter present Charlie with a way to seek the redemption he thought was impossible — and free his heart to love one woman as he never knew he could?

Top 10 Tuesday — Books with Animals

17 Nov

I went the of way of easy today for Top 10 Tuesday. Instead of coming up with characters names for pets, I chose books that include pets or in some cases, books where wild animals are part of the story. Some are your run-of-the mill dogs (is there really such a thing?) and some are a bit exotic, like wolves, possums, seagulls, and kangaroos. All make the books a little more special. I did a Top 10 Tuesday a while ago with characters that made great cat names. You can check it out HERE.

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

 

Top Books with Special Animals

 

Annabel Lee by Mike Nappa

Belinda Blake And The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing by Heather Day Gilbert

Chosen People by Robert Whitlow

 

Hope Harbor by Irene Hannon

Fragments of Fear by Carrie Stuart Parks

The Memory House by Rachel Hauck

No Filter by Heather Day Gilbert

 

Star Rising by Janet Ferguson

Under a Turquoise Sky by Lisa Carter

The Woman in The Green Dress by Tea Cooper