Tag Archives: general fiction

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

 

2021 Christy Award Winners!

16 Nov

Congratulations to the very talented Christy Award authors. This list represents the best of the best in Christian Fiction. You now have a great TBR list! You’re welcome!!

 

2021 Christy Award Winners

 

Book of The Year

Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes

 

Contemporary Romance

Now And Then And Always by Melissa Tagg

 

First Novel

A Long Time Comin’ by Robin Pearson

 

General Fiction

Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes

 

Historical Fiction

The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke

 

Historical Romance

The Painted Castle by Kristy Cambron

 

 

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

The Girl Behind The Red Rope by Ted Dekker and Rachelle Dekker

 

Short Form

A Christmas Haven by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall

 

Visionary

Hidden Current by Sharon Hinck

 

Young Adult

The Means That Make Us Strangers by Christine Kindberg

Top 10 Tuesday — Super Long Titles

13 Oct

So how long is long for a book title? 5 words? 7? More? I headed to my TBR shelves to find those books that grabbed me with their intriguingly or amusingly long titles for this week’s Top 10 Tuesday. Have you read any of these? I’d love to know your thoughts.

For more super long book titles, go to That Artsy Reader Girl.

Super Long Book Titles

Five

The Sound of Falling Leaves by Lisa Carter

Before I Called You Mine by Nicole Deese

Six

Dearest Dorothy, If Not Now, When? by Charlene Baumbich

To Say Nothing of The Dog by Connie Willis

Seven

Miss Hazel And The Rosa Parks League by Jonathan Odell

Jane And The Twelve Days of Christmas by Stephanie Barron

Eight

Belinda Blake And The Birds of A Feather by Heather Day Gilbert

The Sweetness At The Bottom of The Pie by Alan Bradley

2020 Christy Award Nominees!

8 Oct

Well, my TBR list just got bigger! So excited for the 2020 Christy Award nominees. I have read some of these books (and they are great), and now have many more to get on with. A big congratulations to all the talented authors!

Contemporary Romance

Just One Kiss by Courtney Walsh

Now And Then And Always by Melissa Tagg

Sweet on You by Becky Wade

First Novel

A Long Time Comin’ by Robin W. Pearson

The Means That Make Us Strangers by Christine Kindberg

Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes

General Fiction

All Manner of Things By Susie Finkbeiner

Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes

The Words Between Us by Erin Bartels

Historical

The Bright Unknown by Elizabeth Byler Younts

The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke

Memories of Glass by Melanie Dobson

My Dearest Dietrich by Amanda Barratt

Historical Romance

The Land Beneath Us by Sarah Sundin

The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White

The Painted Castle by Kristy Cambron

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

Echoes Among The Stones by Jaime Jo Wright

The Girl Behind The Red Rope by Ted Dekker and Rachelle Dekker

Smokescreen by Terri Blackstock

Short Form

A Christmas Haven by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall

A Flood of Love by Tracie Peterson

Intrigue A La Mode by Regina Jennings

Visionary

Cry of The Raven by Morgan L. Busse

Hidden Current by Sharon Hinck

The Story Raider by Lindsay A. Franklin

Young Adult

The Means That Make Us Strangers by Christine Kindberg

The Piper’s Pursuit by Melanie Dickerson

The Winter King by Christine Cohen

Reading Road Trip — Indiana

26 Aug

I have never been to Indiana, but one of my best friends was born and raised there and sings her home state’s praises. She travels back there every summer to spend 2 (she says glorious) weeks at her family’s lakefront cabin. So in honor of Beth, I am taking my blog on a Reading Road Trip to the Crossroads of America — Indiana.

Of the books I have read that are set in Indiana, only one is historical fiction. If you know of any other titles, I would love to add them to my TBR pile!

 

Reading Road Trip — Indiana

Wings Like A Dove by Camille Eide

Can the invisible walls that separate people ever come down?

In 1933, Anna Leibowicz is convinced that the American dream that brought her Jewish family here from Poland is nothing but an illusion. Her father has vanished. Her dreams of college can’t make it past the sweat-shop door. And when she discovers to her shame and horror that she’s with child, her mother gives her little choice but to leave her family. Deciding her best course of action is to try to find her father, she strikes out…hoping against hope to somehow redeem them both.

When Anna stumbles upon a house full of orphan boys in rural Indiana who are in desperate need of a tutor, she agrees to postpone her journey. But she knows from the moment she meets their contemplative, deep-hearted caretaker, Thomas Chandler, that she doesn’t dare risk staying too long. She can’t afford to open her heart to them, to him. She can’t risk letting her secrets out.

All too soon, the townspeople realize she’s not like them and treat her with the same disdain they give the Sisters of Mercy — the nuns who help Thomas and the boys — and Samuel, the quiet colored boy Thomas has taken in. With the Klan presence in the town growing ever stronger and the danger to this family increasing the longer she stays, Anna is torn between fleeing to keep them safe . . . and staying to fight beside them.

Oh, that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest . . .

Before I Saw You by Amy K. Sorrells

Folks are dying fast as the ash trees in the southern Indiana town ravaged by the heroin epidemic, where Jaycee Givens lives with nothing more than a thread of hope and a quirky neighbor, Sudie, who rescues injured wildlife. After a tragedy leaves her mother in prison, Jaycee is carrying grief and an unplanned pregnancy she conceals because she trusts no one, including the kind and handsome Gabe, who is new to town and to the local diner where she works.

Dividing her time between the diner and Sudie’s place, Jaycee nurses her broken heart among a collection of unlikely friends who are the closest thing to family that she has. Eventually, she realizes she can’t hide her pregnancy any longer―not even from the baby’s abusive father, who is furious when he finds out. The choices she must make for the safety of her unborn child threaten to derail any chance she ever had for hope and redemption. Ultimately, Jaycee must decide whether the truest form of love means hanging on or letting go.

Lead Me Home by Amy K. Sorrells

Amid open fields and empty pews, small towns can crush big dreams.

Abandoned by his no-good father and forced to grow up too soon, Noble Burden has set his dreams aside to run the family farm. Meanwhile, James Horton, the pastor of the local church, questions his own calling as he prepares to close the doors for good.

As a severe storm rolls through, threatening their community and very livelihood, both men fear losing what they care about most . . . and reconsider where they truly belong.

Barefoot Summer by Denise Hunter

Madison’s heart has been closed for years. But one summer can change everything.

In the years since her twin brother’s drowning, Madison McKinley has struggled to put it behind her. Despite the support of her close-knit family and her gratifying job as a veterinarian in their riverside town, the loss still haunts her.

To find closure, Madison sets out to fulfill her brother’s dream of winning the town’s annual regatta. But first she has to learn to sail, and fast.

Beckett O’Reilly knows Madison is out of his league, but someone neglected to tell his heart. Now she needs his help—and he’ll give it, because he owes her far more than she’ll ever know.

Madison will do anything—even work with the infamous Beckett O’Reilly—to reach her goal. And as much as she’d like to deny it, the chemistry between them is electrifying. As summer wanes, her feelings for him grow and a fledgling faith takes root in her heart.

But Beckett harbors a secret that will test the limits of their new love. Can their romance survive summer’s challenges? And will achieving her brother’s dream give Madison the peace she desperately seeks?

Boo by Rene Gutteridge

For sixteen years, reclusive horror novelist Wolfe “Boo” Boone has been Skary, Indiana’s greatest attraction, turning the once-struggling town into a thriving tourist trap for the dark side. But then a newly reformed Wolfe quits the genre and starts to pursue Skary’s favorite girl-next-door. Truly horrified, the little town he made famous hatches a scheme to get their most famous resident out of love and back into the thrill business.

 

 

Home to Harmony by Philip Gulley

Welcome to Harmony …

In this acclaimed inaugural volume in the Harmony series, master American storyteller Philip Gulley draws us into the charming world of minister Sam Gardner in his first year back in his hometown, capturing the essence of small-town life with humor and wisdom.