Tag Archives: Melody Carlson

Top 10 Tuesday — Books I Loved, But Rarely Talk About

14 Apr

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is an interesting one — books loved, but not talked about. I am always talking books, but are there some that get neglected because it has been years since I read them, or they fit in a genre that my friends don’t read? I’m not sure the reason, but I am here to rectify the matter! 😉 Have you read any on my list? Did you love them too?

For more books deserving of a conversation, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top 10 Books I Loved

 

Bad Ground by Dale Cramer

Poignant and thought provoking, this is a down-to-earth, sometimes humorous novel filled with suspense, action, redemption, and even romance. Seventeen-year-old Jeremy Prine decides to honor his mother’s dying wish and seek out his estranged uncle who was badly burned in the accident that killed Jeremy’s father. He ¹nds the man working as a hard-rock miner in the south, an extremely dangerous occupation. His uncle seems a bitter and lonely man, but Jeremy senses more beneath the surface. Against his uncle’s wishes, Jeremy takes a job as a miner and soon his young faith is tested by his rough and gritty co-workers, the threat of danger . . .  and the possibility of love.

The Baker’s Wife by Erin Healy

Before Audrey was the baker’s wife, she was the pastor’s wife.

Then a scandalous lie cost her husband a pastoral career. Now the two work side-by-side running a bakery, serving coffee, and baking fresh bread. But the hurt still pulls at Audrey.

Driving early one morning to the bakery, Audrey’s car strikes something — or someone — at a fog-shrouded intersection. She finds a motor scooter belonging to a local teacher. Blood is everywhere, but there’s no trace of a body.

Both the scooter and the blood belong to detective Jack Mansfield’s wife, and he’s certain that Audrey is behind Julie’s disappearance.

But the case dead-ends and the detective spirals into madness. When he takes her family and some patrons hostage at the bakery, Audrey is left with a soul-damaged ex-con and a cynical teen to solve the mystery. And she’ll never manage that unless she taps into something she would rather leave behind — her excruciating ability to feel other’s pain.

A Cast of Stones by Patrick Carr

The Fate of the Kingdom Awaits the Cast of Stones

In the backwater village of Callowford, roustabout Errol Stone is enlisted by a church messenger arriving with urgent missives for the hermit priest in the hills. Eager for coin, Errol agrees to what he thinks will be an easy task, but soon finds himself hunted by deadly assassins. Forced to flee with the priest and a small band of travelers, Errol soon learns he’s joined a quest that could change the fate of his kingdom.

Protected for millennia by the heirs of the first king, the kingdom’s dynasty nears its end and the selection of the new king begins–but in secret and shadow. As danger mounts, Errol must leave behind the stains and griefs of the past, learn to fight, and discover who is hunting him and his companions and how far they will go to stop the reading of the stones.

The Church Ladies by Lisa Samson

Competition for church members in Mount Oak has reached a furious peak. When tragedy strikes one of their hometown sons, the church women are drawn together through compassion. The Church Ladies is a contemporary tale illustrating how women can have a major impact on the church. Through friendships that reach beneath surface level — and trials more severe than simple — they unite with common purpose: to pray, share, and comfort. Slowly, the community of believers learns that the church grows when it is rooted in love. Characters you’ll laugh and cry with, in situations every woman will instantly relate to, light up this page-turner about a miracle that could happen anywhere.

The Devil Walks in Mattingly by Billy Coffee

For the three people tortured by their secret complicity in a young man’s untimely death, redemption is what they most long for . . . and the last thing they expect to receive.

It has been twenty years since Philip McBride’s body was found along the riverbank in the dark woods known as Happy Hollow. His death was ruled a suicide. But three people have carried the truth ever since—Philip didn’t kill himself that day. He was murdered.

Each of the three have wilted in the shadow of their sins. Jake Barnett is Mattingly’s sheriff, where he spends his days polishing the fragile shell of the man he pretends to be. His wife, Kate, has convinced herself the good she does for the poor will someday wash the blood from her hands. And high in the mountains, Taylor Hathcock lives in seclusion and fear, fueled by madness and hatred.

Yet what cannot be laid to rest is bound to rise again. Philip McBride has haunted Jake’s dreams for weeks, warning that he is coming back for them all. When Taylor finds mysterious footprints leading from the Hollow, he believes his redemption has come. His actions will plunge the quiet town of Mattingly into darkness. These three will be drawn together for a final confrontation between life and death . . . between truth and lies.

Reclaiming Lily by Patti Lacy

Riveting Race against the Clock to Save a Young Woman’s Life

A storm the size of Texas brews when Gloria Powell and Kai Chang meet in a Dallas hotel. They have come to discuss the future of Lily, the daughter Gloria adopted from China and the sister Kai hopes to reclaim. Kai is a doctor who had to give up her little sister during the Cultural Revolution and has since discovered that an inherited genetic defect may be waiting to fatally strike Lily. Gloria’s relationship with her daughter is tattered and strained, and the arrival of Kai, despite the woman’s apparent good intentions, makes Gloria fearful. Gloria longs to restore her relationship with Lily, but in the wake of this potentially devastating diagnosis, is Kai an answer to prayer. . .or will her arrival force Gloria to sacrifice more than she ever imagined?

The Reluctant Prophet by Nancy Rue

At age forty-two, Allison Chamberlain is still making a half-hearted attempt to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up. Although she has been a pew-sitting member of a church for seven years, “prophet” has never been on the short list of possible careers.

Then one Sunday Allison senses a divine nudge to buy a Harley motorcycle and go wherever it takes her. Soon she is wondering if she is called to present the reality of Christ to one of society’s darkest corners — and challenge her own church to look beyond their fears.

River’s Song by Melody Carlson

Following her mother’s funeral, and on the verge of her own midlife crisis, widow Anna Larson returns to the home of her youth to sort out her parents’ belongings, as well as her own turbulent life. For the first time since childhood, Anna embraces her native heritage, despite the disdain of her vicious mother-in-law. By transforming her old family home on the banks of the Siuslaw River into The Inn at Shining Waters, Anna hopes to create a place of healing — a place where guests experience peace, grace, and new beginnings. Starting with her own family . . .

The Sweetest Thing by Elizabeth Musser

The Singleton family’s fortunes seem unaffected by the Great Depression, and Perri–along with the other girls at Atlanta’s elite Washington Seminary–lives a carefree life of tea dances with college boys, matinees at the cinema, and debut parties. But when tragedies strike, Perri is confronted with a world far different from the one she has always known.

At the insistence of her parents, Mary “Dobbs” Dillard, the daughter of an itinerant preacher, is sent from inner-city Chicago to live with her aunt and attend Washington Seminary, bringing confrontation and radical ideas. Her arrival intersects at the point of Perri’s ultimate crisis, and the tragedy forges an unlikely friendship.

The Sweetest Thing tells the story of two remarkable young women–opposites in every way–fighting for the same goal: surviving tumultuous change.

Uncharted by Angela Hunt

When a group of college friends reunites for a trip to the Marshall Islands, they find themselves stranded on an uncharted island unlike any they’ve seen in the vicinity. They list their priorities—find water, food, and a way off the island — but the place itself opens their eyes to realities beyond their comprehension. Six friends accept one invitation and take an unexpected journey that changes their lives forever.

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Books in The Time of Quarantine

31 Mar

Today’s Top 10 Tuesday prompt is Signs You Are A Book Lover. I was going to skip this week because I am really bad at these kinds of things. Then I wondered if I could do a quarantine-twist on the topic. I have a two week head start on most of you out there due to my surgery for breast cancer. Covid-19 was in the news of course, but it was a passing topic of conversation not all anybody could talk or think about. I was just about to be sprung from house arrest, when the President and my Governor said not so fast. So what does a bookworm’s existence look like during a quarantine? From my interactions on social media, not much different than regular life, except you don’t have to defend time spent reading. 😉

There are a few things that are different, so here goes my

Books in The Time of Quarantine List.

Libraries have closed, bookstore likewise, and Amazon is not *gasp* delivering books! But I am content because I have so many books on my shelves and on my Kindle. Even if we quarantine for months longer, I won’t run out of books to read. The picture below is just one of my TBR bookcases.

Friends start tagging you (a lot) on FB with funny book memes and pictures of posters, sweatshirts, and mugs. Cute things that I can order on line. But I hate to break it to them — I already own cute shirts and such with bookish themes.

You host a virtual book club on FB. I was so excited by my post-op progress — I was going to be able to go to book club! Until I wasn’t. 🙁  I just had to discuss that book though, so some of us got together and had a discussion. We had people attend from Ohio, Texas, and South Carolina! Even the author all the way from California showed up! Thanks, Sarah Sundin!  Was it ideal? No. Was it awkward? Yes. But I learned a lot on how to go about discussing books virtually, and we will try it again in April.

Books have made me examine my own experiences in a new light. A couple of the books I read in March were set during WWI and WWII. Those times of uncertainty and upheaval put today’s crisis in perspective. The way people met Spanish Flu and wartime trauma was inspiring. I loved the examples of determination and community unity that got people through really horrrible times.

 

Has your reading changed?

Are you doing books in a different way?

I would love to hear your bookish quarantine experiences.

Book Review + Giveaway! — Turning Tide

19 Mar

Turning Tide FB Banner

About The Book

Book:  Turning Tide

Author: Melody Carlson

Genre:  Historical Fiction

Release Date: Feb 15, 2020

Turning TideAs the Great War rages on, Sunset Cove continues to feel its impact. Running the small town newspaper, Anna McDowell can’t escape the grim reports from the other side of the world, but home-front challenges abound as well. Dr. Daniel is serving the wounded on the front lines. And Katy, expecting her first child, with her husband in the trenches, tries to support the war effort with her Red Cross club. Even as the war winds down the costs are high—and Sunset Cove is not spared.

 

Click here for your copy!

 

My Impressions:

Turning Tide may be set almost 100 years in the past while WWI was raging and the Spanish Flu threatened, but this historical novel from Melody Carlson is a timely book for modern readers. World events shape the small town of Sunset Cove, Oregon, as the realities of war and pandemic impact even this small and charming town. The characters readers have come to know in the previous books are not immune to hardship, sacrifice, and fear, but they face day-to-day events and the future with determination and hope. I found their stories inspiring especially in our times of Covid-19 and economic uncertainty. The example of hope is what makes this book a great read for our times. The emphasis of care and concern for others and the reliance on God’s unchanging nature is a wonderful message.

Turning Tide is the 4th and final book in Carlson’s Legacy of Sunset Cove series. I had only read book 1 before starting this novel, and while I had no trouble with following the plot and catching up with characters, I recommend reading the whole series. You will not want to miss anything!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

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

 

 

About The Author

author photo Melody Carlson (1)Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books (with sales around 6.5 million) for teens, women, and children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller.” Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, True Colors etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She’s won a number of awards (including RT’s Career Achievement Award, the Rita, and the Gold medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog.

 

More from Melody

Writing about the WW1 era has definitely been a good history lesson for me. Prohibition laws in Oregon (and rum-runners breaking them) combined with a massive war that changed the world and a global epidemic is worth paying attention to. Especially since history sometimes repeats itself. The early 20th century had a lot going on—much that seems nearly forgotten. I’m glad to see the movie 1917 is doing well—and we plan to see it this week. Although I’m not a fan of gruesome war movies, this era continues to intrigue me. Even as I wrapped up my Sunset Cove series with Turning Tide I was left wondering . . . what’s next? But isn’t that the beauty of story?

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, March 16

For the Love of Literature, March 16

Through the Fire Blogs, March 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 17

Inklings and notions, March 17

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 18

deb’s Book Review, March 18

All-of-a-kind Mom, March 19

By The Book, March 19

Wishful Endings, March 19

Texas Book-aholic, March 20

She Lives To Read, March 20

Betti Mace, March 21

Remembrancy, March 21

janicesbookreviews, March 22

Mary Hake, March 22

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 22

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, March 23

For Him and My Family, March 23

Maureen’s Musings, March 24

My Devotional Thoughts, March 24

Jeanette’s Thoughts, March 24

Christian Bookaholic, March 25

Artistic Nobody, March 25 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Older & Smarter?, March 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 26

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 27

Blogging With Carol, March 27

Daysong Reflections, March 27

SPLASHES of Joy, March 28

Vicky Sluiter, March 28

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, March 29

Pause for Tales, March 29

For the Love of Books, March 29

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Melody is giving away the grand prize package of a complete set of The Legacy of Sunset Cove series!!

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

 

Top 10 Tuesday — A Heartwarming Christmas

3 Dec

This week, Top 10 Tuesday is all about the Christmas reads. Every year I look forward to some just-for-fun reading featuring the tinsel, mistletoe, and joy of Christmas. Most of the books are novella length — perfect for the busy season — and involve plenty of romance. But sometimes I just want a heartwarming story that is more than kisses 😉 . The following books fit the bill. I hope you find one to love.

For more of bloggers’ favorite Christmas reads, please visit That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

 

Top Heartwarming Christmas Books

 

The Christmas Angel Project by Melody Carlson

Five women from different walks of life have become close friends through their book club — enjoying one another’s company even more than they enjoy the books. So when the leader of the book club unexpectedly passes away on the cusp of the Christmas season, the four remaining friends are stunned. They relied on Abby for inspiration and motivation. She was the glue that held them together, and they’re sure that without her the group can’t continue.

When the group gathers “one last time” to open a bag Abby’s husband gives them, they find Abby had made each of them an angel ornament for Christmas, crafted especially for each woman and accompanied by a sweet and personal note. Inspired by their beloved friend, together Cassidy, Louisa, Grace, and Belinda decide to commit themselves to becoming Christmas Angels to others in need. Each woman will use her life situation and talents to reach out and help others in her own unique way — little knowing that her own life and her relationships will be changed forever.

A Christmas Journey Home by Kathi Macias

During Isabella Alcantara’s seventh month of pregnancy, her parents and siblings are murdered in gang- and drug-related violence, simply because their home was targeted by mistake. Isabella knows she was spared only because she now lives in a different location, but she knows too that the same thing could easily happen to her and her husband, Francisco. When her grandfather offers to hire a “coyote” to bring them across the border to America, she agrees. But Francisco and Isabella are abandoned by the coyote and left to die. Francisco then valiantly sacrifices himself to get Isabella to safety. Homeless, nearly penniless, pregnant, and alone, Isabella determines to find a way to honor her promise to her beloved husband.

Living on one of the smaller spreads along the Arizona border, Miriam Nelson becomes furious with God and turns from her faith when her border patrol agent husband, David, is killed in a skirmish with drug smugglers. Though her mother and young son do their best to woo her back from the anger and bitterness that have overtaken her, they make little headway.

Two widows — one driven by fear and a promise, the other by bitterness and revenge — must make their journeys along different pathways, but with the same destination: a barn full of animals that stands waiting for them on Christmas Eve. Forced to face their personal demons, Isabella and Miriam soon discover a common yearning that will bind them together in a most miraculous way.

The Christmas Star by Ace Collins

Robert Reed gave his life for his country in the early days of World War II. His sacrifice was honored when his widow and son were presented with the Congressional Medal of Honor. Each Christmas the final decoration Madge Reed hangs on the family’s tree is that medal. Rather than being a symbol of honor for young Jimmy Reed that shining star represents loss, pain, and suffering.

Yet a letter delivered by one of Robert’s fellow soldiers and a mystery posed in that letter put a father’s sacrifice and faith into perspective and bring new meaning to not just the star hanging on the Christmas tree but the events of the very first Christmas. Then, when least expected, a Christmas miracle turns a final bit of holiday sadness into a joy that Jimmy has never known.

The Ornament Keeper by Eva Marie Everson

Award-winning author Eva Marie Everson wraps up a Christmas story of hope, love, and forgiveness just in time for the holidays.

The Ornament Keeper, a contemporary Christmas novella, features Felicia and Jackson Morgan who are spending their first Christmas apart after twenty years of marriage. But a lifetime of gifted ornaments helps Felicia piece together the story of their marriage and the one mistake of unforgiveness she made before they said, “I do.”

Can these memory-filled ornaments reunite this family before Christmas? Only time will tell.

A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flag

Deep in the southernmost part of Alabama, along the banks of a lazy winding river, lies the sleepy little community known as Lost River, a place that time itself seems to have forgotten. After a startling diagnosis from his doctor, Oswald T. Campbell leaves behind the cold and damp of the oncoming Chicago winter to spend what he believes will be his last Christmas in the warm and welcoming town of Lost River. There he meets the postman who delivers mail by boat, the store owner who nurses a broken heart, the ladies of the Mystic Order of the Royal Polka Dots Secret Society, who do clandestine good works. And he meets a little redbird named Jack, who is at the center of this tale of a magical Christmas when something so amazing happened that those who witnessed it have never forgotten it. Once you experience the wonder, you too will never forget A Redbird Christmas.

Remembering Christmas by Dan Walsh

Rick Denton lives his life on his terms. He works hard, plays hard, and answers to no one. So when his mother calls on Thanksgiving weekend begging him to come home after his stepfather has a stroke, Rick is more than a little reluctant. He’s never liked Art and resents the man’s presence in his life, despite the fact that his own father abandoned the family when Rick was just twelve. When what was supposed to be just a couple days helping out at the family bookstore turns into weeks of cashing out old ladies and running off the homeless man who keep hanging about, Rick’s attitude sours even more.

Still, slowly but surely, the little bookstore and its quirky patrons -– as well as the lovely young woman who works at his side each day –- work their magic on him, revealing to Rick the truth about his family, his own life, and the true meaning of Christmas. With skillful storytelling, Dan Walsh creates a Christmas story will have readers remembering every good and perfect gift of Christmas.

Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

Imagine a year without Christmas. No crowded malls, no corny office parties, no fruitcakes, no unwanted presents. That’s just what Luther and Nora Krank have in mind when they decide that, just this once, they’ll skip the holiday altogether. Theirs will be the only house on Hemlock Street without a rooftop Frosty; they won’t be hosting their annual Christmas Eve bash; they aren’t even going to have a tree. They won’t need one, because come December 25 they’re setting sail on a Caribbean cruise. But, as this weary couple is about to discover, skipping Christmas brings enormous consequences–and isn’t half as easy as they’d imagined.

A classic tale for modern times, Skipping Christmas offers a hilarious look at the chaos and frenzy that have become part of our holiday tradition.

Unexpected Christmas Hero by Kathi Macias

Never expecting to be homeless, Josie Meyers and her children are shocked when circumstances force them to live on the streets. Rick, a down-and-out disabled vet, befriends them, reawakening memories of a faith Josie had in childhood. But can she reconcile her once-held beliefs with her current situation? Will she and her children even survive long enough to try to rekindle Josie’s faith?

 

Reading Road Trip — The Christmas Edition!

27 Nov

With Christmas right around the corner, I though it would be fun to travel to some fun settings that feature Christmas — A Merry Christmas Road Trip! The books I have chosen are novella length — perfect for the busy holiday season — and feature actual Christmas road trips or are set in towns with a definite Christmas-vibe. I hope you enjoy the journey!

 

Christmas in Winter Hill by Melody Carlson

Krista Galloway is not a fan of Christmas. After her rough childhood in multiple foster homes, the holiday season just brings too many bad memories to the surface. But when she accepts a job as a city manager in the mountain town of Winter Hill, Washington, Christmas is part of the deal. The small town is famous for its Christmasville celebration, something that the city manager . . . well, manages.

As she tries to make her tiny new apartment feel like home for her and her eight-year-old daughter, Emily, Krista begins to wonder if this move was a mistake. She doesn’t always feel welcomed in the close-knit town, and Emily continually wonders, “Where’s the snow?” Can a friendly stranger and his family help restore Krista’s Christmas spirit before the big day?

The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson

Miranda did not put adventure on her Christmas list, but thanks to her eighty-five-year-old neighbor Joy, that’s exactly what she’s getting this year. When Joy tells Miranda that she plans to drive an old RV decked out in Christmas decorations from their Chicago neighborhood to her new retirement digs in Phoenix — in the dead of winter, no less — the much younger Miranda insists that Joy cannot make such a trip by herself. Besides, a crazy trip with Joy would be more interesting than another Christmas home alone. Unemployed and facing foreclosure, Miranda feels she has nothing to lose by packing a bag and heading off to Route 66. But Joy has a hidden agenda for their Christmas joyride — and a hidden problem that could derail the whole venture.

No one captures the heartwarming fun of the Christmas season quite like Melody Carlson. Fasten your seat belt, because it’s going to be an exciting ride!

The Christmas Town by Donna VanLiere

Lauren Gabriel spent many years of her childhood in foster homes, wishing her mother would come back for her and be the family she needs. Now twenty-years-old, she still longs for a place that she can truly call home. Her work as a cashier is unfulfilling, and at Christmas it’s unbearable with the songs and carols and chatter of Christmas that she hears throughout the day.

When Lauren ends her shift one night, she finds herself driving aimlessly in order to avoid returning to her lonely apartment. And when she witnesses a car accident she is suddenly pulled into the small town of Grandon, first as a witness but then as a volunteer for the annual fundraiser for Glory’s Place, a center for single mothers and families who need assistance. Could this town and its people be the home she has always longed for?

An Endless Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti

On the way to Christmas with his family, Micah asks Katie to marry him. She says no, but there is no getting out of Christmas now. The Binder family celebrates every Christmas as if it were their last. Too many people, too much snow, and too little room should be a recipe for disaster. But sometimes too much is just enough. Especially when it’s Christmas.

 

 

 

An Irish Christmas by Melody Carlson

For Colleen, life is spinning out of control. She just lost her husband, and her relationship with her young adult son Jamie is crumbling. Should she confess to him the secret that has been haunting her for twenty years? Jamie has a few secrets of his own. When he announces his plans to join the military, Colleen decides it’s time for the two of them to take a trip together — to Ireland. The truth they discover there could fulfill both their dreams in a way neither ever thought possible.

 

A Royal Christmas Wedding by Rachel Hauck

College volleyball star Avery Truitt has not seen her former flame, Prince Colin of Brighton Kingdom, since he suddenly pushed her away five years ago. But now, the sadness of losing her father and the joy of her sister Susanna’s pregnancy have brought Avery back to Brighton just in time for Cathedral City’s enchanting Christmas season.

Avery knows she can’t avoid seeing Colin — now the Kingdom’s most eligible bachelor — whether or not her heart is ready to relive the pain. But seeing him again might bring her the closure she needs after all this time.

When Colin finds himself at the center of a centuries-old Brighton tradition, he must decide whether to follow the path laid out before him or follow his heart to the only woman for whom he would ring the Pembroke Chapel Bell.

Can Colin convince Avery to meet him at the chapel on Christmas morning — as tradition dictates — or will Avery run back to her St. Simons home and pursue a coaching career as planned?

A Wreath of Snow by Liz Curtis Higgs

Reluctantly returning home for the holidays, Meg Campbell receives a frosty reception from her family and decides to leave for Edinburgh. Delayed by a snowstorm, she pours out her heart to a secretly hurting traveler named Gordon, who asks all the right questions. Can they find healing in each other—and perhaps something more?

 

Top 10 Tuesday (+ A Chance to Enter My 10 Year Blogiversary Giveaway!)

5 Nov

Fall has finally arrived in Middle Georgia. We even had some frost last weekend! LOL! Very few trees have changed colors, and the grass in my yard is still green, although we are hopeful the cooler temps mean no more mowing. Yes, it’s hard to get into to the whole Autumn vibe when you live in the Deep South. However, I can always count on books to give me all the feels — in this instance the Fall-ish feels.

Today bloggers are sharing book covers that scream or whisper Fall! Whether it’s soft browns, shining golds, or brilliant oranges, beautiful landscapes or creepy scenes, these books on my TBR shelf give me that fall feel.

For more Fall Book Covers, head over to That Artsy Reader Girl.

To enter my 10 Year Blogiversary Giveaway, click HERE for the giveaway post!

 

 

Christy by Catherine Marshall

The Grand Scheme by Kathy Herman

Lethal Target by Janice Cantore

Love Comes Softly by Janette Oke

Minding The Light by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Miracle in A Dry Season by Sarah Loudin Thomas

Playing with Fire by Susan May Warren

Practically Married by Karin Beery

Protecting Tanner Hollow by Lynette Eason

River’s End by Melody Carlson

 

 

Book Review: Christmas in Winter Hill

3 Oct

Krista Galloway is not a fan of Christmas. After her rough childhood in multiple foster homes, the holiday season just brings too many bad memories to the surface. But when she accepts a job as a city manager in the mountain town of Winter Hill, Washington, Christmas is part of the deal. The small town is famous for its Christmasville celebration, something that the city manager . . . well, manages.

As she tries to make her tiny new apartment feel like home for her and her eight-year-old daughter, Emily, Krista begins to wonder if this move was a mistake. She doesn’t always feel welcomed in the close-knit town, and Emily continually wonders, “Where’s the snow?” Can a friendly stranger and his family help restore Krista’s Christmas spirit before the big day?

Bestselling author Melody Carlson invites you to spend this holiday season in a town you’ll never forget — and never want to leave.

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

 

My Impressions:

Melody Carlson is the queen of Christmas fiction. I look forward to a new novella every year to start the season off right. Christmas in Winter Hill is another winner from this talented author. With endearing characters, including an adorable little girl, a wonderful hometown feel, and a message of hope, this book cannot be beat. Recommended.

Let me first say if you are looking for a book with an all over Christmas-y feel, Christmas in Winter Hill is the one for you. The town of Winter Hill is over-the-top in its embrace of the Christmas spirit, something main character Krista finds hard to resist. Although she doesn’t like Christmas due to the many disappointments surrounding past holidays, she does try very hard to preserve the town’s traditions and her daughter’s dreams. With fits and starts in her new job as Winter Hill’s city manager, Krista learns about community and real family. I loved that though there is a promise of romance in Krista’s future, the story revolves around Krista’s emotional and spiritual growth and her relationship with her daughter. Dreams are not impossible as Krista once thought, and that is a very hopeful message. I knew where the story was going, but I loved the journey along the way. Christmas in Winter Hill is like your favorite Hallmark Christmas movie, only better — it’s a book!

So grab a copy and snuggle in to its warmth and heart.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to Revell for a complimentary copy. all opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Autumn TBR List

24 Sep

The calendar may say it is Fall, but the temps here in the Sunny South say something much different. We are headed into a week with highs in the mid to high 90s yet again. Whew, I need some cooler weather! So while the rest of the country gets out the sweaters and the hot cider, I will just have to dig into some great Fall reading until our cool wave hits. Maybe in January! 😉

For more Fall Reading Lists, head over to That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Fall TBR List

 

The Art of Rivers by Janet Ferguson

A Christmas Haven by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall

Christmas in Winter Hill by Melody Carlson

Darcy by Any Other Name by Laura Hile

Dark Ambitions by Irene Hannon

Judah’s Wife by Angela Hunt 

One Final Breath by Lynn H. Blackburn

Smoke Screen by Terri Blackstock

Stitches in Time by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Synapse by Steven James

 

What are you reading this Fall?

Road Trip Reading — Oregon

28 Aug

This week I am again on the west coast with a Reading Road Trip to Oregon. I really, really want to go to Oregon, and soon. My two must-sees? Sea stacks and Powell’s Books. 😉 I’m afraid that this bucket list destination is on hold, so in the meantime I content myself with reading books set in our 33rd state, and following author Lori Benton on Instagram. Oregon’s geographic diversity — coast line and rivers, dense forest and high deserts — provides ample opportunities for photo shoots. Lori posts absolutely beautiful photographs. If you don’t follow her, definitely check her out.

Here are a few books that I have read with an Oregon setting. Not only did they capture the beautiful setting, they were great stories! Hope you find one to love.

 

 

Harbor Secrets by Melody Carlson (Legacy of Sunset Cove, book 1)

A Peaceful Coastal Town . . . Threatened by a Storm of Secrets

It’s 1916 when newspaper woman Anna McDowell learns her estranged father has suffered a stroke. Deciding it’s time to repair bridges, Anna packs up her precocious adolescent daughter and heads for her hometown in Sunset Cove, Oregon.

Although much has changed since the turn of the century, some things haven’t. Anna finds the staff of her father’s paper not exactly eager to welcome a woman into the editor-in-chief role, but her father insists he wants her at the helm. Anna is quickly pulled into the charming town and her new position…but just as quickly learns this seaside getaway harbors some dark and dangerous secrets.

With Oregon’s new statewide prohibition in effect, crime has crept along the seacoast and invaded even idyllic Sunset Cove. Anna only meant to get to know her father again over the summer, but instead she finds herself rooting out the biggest story the town has ever seen — and trying to keep her daughter safe from it all.

 

 

River’s Song (The Inn at Shining Waters, book 1)

Sometimes when we look back, we are able to see ahead 
Following her mother’s funeral, and on the verge of her own midlife crisis, widow Anna Larson returns to the home of her youth to sort out her parents’ belongings, as well as her own turbulent life. 

For the first time since childhood, Anna embraces her native heritage, despite the disdain of her vicious mother-in-law. 
By transforming her old family home on the banks of the Siuslaw River into The Inn at Shining Waters, Anna hopes to create a place of healing — a place where guests experience peace, grace, and new beginnings. Starting with her own family . . . 

 

 

Hope Harbor by Irene Hannon (Hope Harbor series, book 1)

Tracy Campbell never wanted to leave Hope Harbor, Oregon, or the idyllic three-generation cranberry farm where she grew up. But life–and love–altered her plans. When tragedy strikes and changes her plans yet again, she finds herself back in her hometown with a floundering farm to run and a heartbreaking secret. Romance is not on her agenda. Nor is it on Michael Hunter’s. The visitor from Chicago has daunting secrets of his own. But when Tracy recruits him to help save a struggling charitable organization, the winds of change begin to sweep through Hope Harbor, bringing healing, hope, and love to countless lives–including their own.

Fan favorite Irene Hannon brings a whole new cast of characters to life in a charming Oregon seaside village. Emotional and heartwarming, this story invites readers to come home to Hope Harbor, where love and hope bloom — and hearts heal.

 

 

Shattered Justice by Karen Ball (Family Honor series, book 1)

There’s no way sheriff’s deputy Dan Justice could have prepared for this. He spent a lifetime ensuring his actions and faith live up to the meaning of his name — Avidan: “God is just.” Then injustice invades his world, ripping away what matters most, forever robbing him of the life he once knew. Can his sisters and small-town community — especially one woman who loves Dan—help him overcome the horrors he’s facing? Or will bitterness and anger shatter him forever?

What happens when justice fails the lawman?

Sanctuary, Oregon . A town where the local diner owner makes you drink your milk—no matter how old you are. Where juvenile delinquency means blowing up outhouses. Where folks not only know their neighbors, but care about them. For widowed sheriff’s deputy Dan Justice, it’s a place where he and his kids can heal and grow.

Shelby Wilson loves Sanctuary and her work with troubled teens. Like Jayce Dalton. Sure, he’s as troubled as they come, but Shelby knows Dan is exactly what Jayce needs. She just didn’t expect that Dan might be what she’s always needed, too.

But sleepy little Sanctuary has a dark side, steeped in pain and secrets. Secrets that could destroy everything Dan holds dear. Secrets that will one day have Dan groping through the fog toward a lifeless body—and faith-shattering grief.

Can Dan find sanctuary in the light of God’s justice?

Rooms by James Rubart

On a rainy spring day in Seattle, young software tycoon Micah Taylor receives a cryptic, twenty-five-year-old letter from a great uncle he never knew. It claims a home awaits him on the Oregon coast that will turn his world inside out. Suspecting a prank, Micah arrives at Cannon Beach to discover a stunning brand new nine-thousand square foot house. And after meeting Sarah Sabin at a nearby ice cream shop, he has two reasons to visit the beach every weekend.

When bizarre things start happening in the rooms of the home, Micah suspects they have some connection to his enigmatic new friend, Rick, the town mechanic. But Rick will only say the house is spiritual. This unnerves Micah because his faith slipped away like the tide years ago, and he wants to keep it that way. But as he slowly discovers, the home isn’t just spiritual, it’s a physical manifestation of his soul, which God uses to heal Micah’s darkest wounds and lead him into an astonishing new destiny.

 

 

 

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Covers I Love!

6 Aug

This week I again go off topic for Top 10 Tuesday. The group is talking cover re-designs, but I have been super busy the past weeks, so I am featuring pretty covers living on my TBR shelves. Although an easy topic, it was tough to choose. My list is very random, but don’t you just love these covers!

For more cover love, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Pretty Covers

 

Divine Appointments by Charlene Baumbich

Josie Brooks, at the age of 47, thought she was leading an enviable single life. A successful consultant, she calls her own shots, goes where the money is, and never needs to compromise. But her precisely managed world begins to falter during a Chicago contract when an economic downturn, a bleeding heart boss, and the loyalty and kindness between endangered employees ding her coat of armor.
 
Throw in hot flashes, a dose of loneliness, a peculiar longing for intimacy, an unquenchable thirst—not to mention a mysterious snowglobe with a serene landscape, complete with a flowing river and lush greenery that seems to be beckoning her in—and Josie’s buttoned-up life is on the verge of coming completely undone. Maybe her solitary existence isn’t as fulfilling as she has convinced herself to believe.
 
It will take a few new friends, a mystical encounter, and an unexpected journey to set Josie on her own path to “right-sizing” and making the life changes that really matter. Filled with laugh-out loud moments and a gentle dash of inspiration, Divine Appointments is another heartwarming charmer from a master storyteller.

Fading Starlight by Kathryn Cushman

A Tale of Unexpected Friendship and Old Hollywood Glamour

Lauren Summers is hiding. Her fashion house internship should have launched her career, but a red carpet accident has left her blackballed. The only job she finds is unpaid, but comes with free lodging–a run-down cottage in the shadow of a cliff-side mansion. Unsure of what comes next, she’s surprised to be contacted by a reporter researching a reclusive former Hollywood ingénue who lives in the nearby mansion.

Kendall Joiner wants Lauren’s help uncovering the old woman’s secrets. In return, she’ll prove the red carpet accident was a publicity stunt so Lauren can regain her former job. With all her dreams in front of her, Lauren’s tempted by the offer, but as she and the old woman get to know each other, Lauren realizes nothing is quite as it seems.

Heart Echoes by Sally John 

In the aftermath of a massive Los Angeles earthquake, the perfect existence Teal Morgan-Adams has built begins to crumble. Teal’s daughter, Maiya, is determined to learn the identity of her biological father, despite the loving devotion of her stepdad, River Adams. But that’s a secret Teal hoped would remain buried forever. She has never shared the truth with anyone . . . not her family, not River, not even Maiya’s father.

As Maiya’s rebellion escalates, Teal receives tragic news from her sister and decides to take Maiya home to Cedar Pointe, Oregon, a place she’s avoided most of her adult life. But will her already-strained marriage survive the distance and the secrets she’ll be forced to face there? And can Teal erase the lies that echo in her heart?

Leaving Oxford by Janet Ferguson

Escaping home to Oxford, Mississippi, seemed like a good idea. Until it wasn’t.A year after a tragic accident in Los Angeles flipped her world upside down, advertising guru Sarah Beth LeClair is still hiding away in her charming hometown of Oxford, Mississippi. And she may well be stuck there forever. Suffering from panic attacks, she prays for healing. Instead, her answer comes in the form of an arrogant football coach and an ugly puppy.
Former celebrity college quarterback Jess McCoy dreamed of playing pro football. One freak hit destroyed his chances. Although he enjoys his work as the university’s offensive coordinator, his aspirations have shifted to coaching at the highest level. His plans of moving up are finally coming together–until he falls for a woman who won’t leave town.As the deadline for Jess’s decision on his dream career looms, the bars around Sarah Beth’s heart only grow stronger. But it’s time to make a decision about leaving Oxford.

The Mark of The King by Jocelyn Green

After being imprisoned and branded for the death of her client, twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana, where she hopes to be reunited with her brother, serving there as a soldier. To make the journey, though, women must be married, and Julianne is forced to wed a fellow convict.

When they arrive in New Orleans, there is no news of Benjamin, Julianne’s brother, and searching for answers proves dangerous. What is behind the mystery, and does military officer Marc-Paul Girard know more than he is letting on?

With her dreams of a new life shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous, rugged land, despite never being able to escape the king’s mark on her shoulder that brands her a criminal beyond redemption.

‘Mater Biscuit by Julie Cannon 

It is summer in Euharlee, Georgia, and Imogene Lavender’s garden is bursting with snap beans, okra, and tomatoes. The household — made up of Imo; her daughter Jeanette and her new baby; and Lou, Imo’s niece — is about to grow as well. Imo’s estranged mother, Mama Jewell, has begun to show signs of senility, and Imo has decided that it is her duty to take her mother in. Mama Jewell brings with her some secrets from the past, including the story of Lou’s mother, a revelation that sends Lou in search of her ne’er-do-well father. For Imo, who is feeling the squeeze of being in the middle of the generations, Mama Jewell’s temperamental nature stirs up long-buried memories of a difficult childhood. And much to everyone’s surprise, wild Jeanette is so determined to find a husband that she joins the church choir to be closer to the handsome and enigmatic young reverend.

Mater Biscuit is a wonderful evocation of small-town life in the South, a world where hard work and prayers unite the community. Life isn’t always easy for Imo and her girls, but they have only to look as far as Imo’s beloved garden to be reminded that all things change with the seasons.

River’s End by Melody Carlson

Anna Larson’s daughter, Lauren, became pregnant while she was at college and decided to keep the baby, Sarah, but life had not been easy for them. When Sarah was only sixteen years old, she ran away from home. It is now Sarah’s eighteenth birthday and neither Anna nor Lauren have heard from her in all this time. Anna is certain that her granddaughter is dead. But suddenly, Sarah shows up at the Inn at Shining Waters, a mere shell of her old self. She has joined a religious cult that has had two whole years to brainwash her. Convinced that she’s not good enough for God’s love and forgiveness, she has come home, but following an argument with her mother, she leaves once again. This time, Anna and Lauren have a trail to follow and they do just that. But instead of finding Sarah, they find Jewel, a frightened young woman trying to escape the cult. Together, these three women will try to find Sarah and persuade her that in God’s eyes, she is perfect. Three generations of family heartbreak

A Stillness of Chimes by Meg Mosely

When teacher Laura Gantt comes home to Prospect, Georgia to settle her recently-deceased mother’s household, the last thing she expects to encounter is a swirl of rumors about the father she lost to the lake twelve years ago—that he has reportedly been seen around town. Elliott Gantt’s body was never found and he was presumed dead.
 
Reeling from the sharp loss of a parent, Laura must now grapple with painful memories surrounding her father’s disappearance and the sense of abandonment she experienced after his death. Life-long friend and former beau Sean Halloran wants nothing more than to protect Laura from the far-fetched stories of Elliott’s resurrection and to care for her, but he has his own reasons, troubling echoes from his childhood, to put Elliott’s disappearance to rest.
 
Working together, Laura and Sean begin to uncover the truth, one mired in the wooded peaks and deep waters of the Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding Prospect. Can they fathom how many secrets the steep hills hold? With surprising facts revealed, will Laura be able to understand the sacrificial choices made that forever changed her life? And can love and a peace with God be rekindled in her heart after so much time has passed?

White Picket Fences by Susan Meissner

When her black sheep brother disappears, Amanda Janvier eagerly takes in her sixteen year-old niece Tally. The girl is practically an orphan: motherless, and living with a father who raises Tally wherever he lands– in a Buick, a pizza joint, a horse farm–and regularly takes off on wild schemes. Amanda envisions that she, her husband Neil, and their two teenagers can offer the girl stability and a shot at a “normal” life, even though their own storybook lives are about to crumble.

Seventeen-year-old Chase Janvier hasn’t seen his cousin in years, and other than a vague curiosity about her strange life, he doesn’t expect her arrival will affect him much–or interfere with his growing, disturbing interest in a long-ago house fire that plagues his dreams unbeknownst to anyone else.

Tally and Chase bond as they interview two Holocaust survivors for a sociology project, and become startlingly aware that the whole family is grappling with hidden secrets, with the echoes of the past, and with the realization that ignoring tragic situations won’t make them go away.

Will Tally’s presence blow apart their carefully-constructed world, knocking down the illusion of the white picket fence and reveal a hidden past that could destroy them all–or can she help them find the truth without losing each other?