Tag Archives: women’s fiction

Book Spotlight And Author Interview — Hosea’s Heart

30 Mar

About The Book

Book:  Hosea’s Heart

Author: Linda Wood Rondeau

Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction

Release date: 2018

How much should a wronged husband forgive?

Aubrey Beaumont has spent the last fifteen years in search of his runaway, drug-addicted wife. Now a respected Silver Spring pastor and chaplain, ready to give up and move on, his life takes unexpected turns when she suddenly contacts him. Terminally ill and having found faith, she begs Aubrey’s forgiveness. How can he overlook her past prostitution and liaison with one of Washington’s most vicious drug lords?

Grateful for a chance at reconciliation, Joanna Beaumont prays that her seemingly wasted life might serve some purpose in her final days. Perhaps her testimony against her former lover’s cartel will bring her the peace she craves.

Joanna and Aubrey’s paths will crisscross the Capital District’s underworld where they discover how God weaves threads of failure into tapestries of hope.

Click here to get your copy!

About The Author

A veteran social worker, Linda Wood Rondeau has earned critical acclaim for her heart-warming stories of deliverance and forgiveness. The author now resides in Hagerstown, MD with her husband of forty years. Active in her local church, she enjoys playing the occasional round of golf, a common feature in many of her books. Readers may contact the author through Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Instagram or visit her website: www.lindarondeau.com.

More from Linda

Folks ask me why I kept searching for Joanna.

I don’t really see myself as a martyr, self-sacrificing, or even like the prophet Hosea as some have compared me to.

Perhaps I searched so long because Joanna was the only woman I ever truly loved. We met at the Top Notch Lounge when I had stopped in to buy a getaway package for my parents’ twenty-fifth anniversary.

I turned to my friend, Gregg, a private detective, and said, “See that girl over there? I’m going to marry her.

Gregg shook his head “You’re crazy. That broad is nothing but trouble.”

“And you know this, how?”

“Instinct, buddy.”

I left Gregg standing at the reservation desk and walked confidently toward a future that I could only guess. She smiled at me as I approached her table and glanced at her beverage. “Cinnamon tea?” I asked.

I sniffed the scent. Then, it was like an aphrodisiac. Now the aroma makes me nauseous. If I had known then what I know now? Moot question because life rarely offers a mulligan.

Gregg gave me a sign that he’d wait for me at the restaurant.

I sat down next to her. “Aubrey Beaumont.”

“Joanna Curtis.”

We talked, though not about anything of importance. I knew no more about her after an hour than her name and that she’d been deserted by her boyfriend. Yet, I knew I loved her.

“Have you had dinner yet?”

“No. Actually, I haven’t eaten all day. I should keep up my strength. I’m eating for two.”

I suppose most men would be scared away at that point. But something tugged at me. I sensed she didn’t need me—but I needed her, as intoxicating as any drug.

“Why not join me and my friend at the restaurant downstairs.”

Despite Gregg’s loud protests, Joanna and I married two days later. I adopted her unborn daughter, though not of my flesh, a child of my heart. I didn’t know about Joanna’s addiction until the first time she left us. Though she had been to rehab numerous times, she relapsed again and again. The last time she left, I held her note in my hand, my heart sliced by the knowledge she’d not be back.

The intelligent thing would be to let her disappear … what she wanted. I always led with my heart, not common sense. Perhaps why God called me into the ministry after Joanna’s first relapse.

My fruitless search took me into the Capital District where I pastored a church in Silver Spring.  Hope waned … and I even thought I might find love again with a woman named Cynthia. Until Joanna found me and called me to her side.

Fifteen years have passed since she left me the last time. Now, here I stand … face-to-face with reality. Cancer will  take Joanna away forever. What does God require of me now? I can forgive her addiction. But sometimes a wife’s betrayal goes beyond the forgivable –her liaison with Joey Juarez, the worst drug czar in the Washington, D.C. area.

I have every right, scripturally and logically, to divorce her and move on. Yet, that same voice that called me to her so many years ago calls to me now. “Till death part us.”

READER: What would you do if you were Aubrey? How would you advise him?

Q & A with Linda Wood Rondeau

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

I’ve always been a hobbyist throughout my childhood and most of my adult life. I won school awards for writing, and enjoyed being a storyteller to the kids I babysat. I even entertained my friends on the school bus by mimicking and storytelling. So, yes. I’ve known I wanted to be a writer all my life. So what stopped me?

My first instinct was to take creative writing in college. Unfortunately, I listened to well-meaning adults who counseled me to prepare for a career that would be more financially beneficial. I had little encouragement from my family, although a high school teacher encouraged me to be a writer as did one of my college professors. Life got in the way of my dreams. Instead of writing, I worked in human services for many years. Perhaps God’s way of preparing me for the type of books he wanted me to write. At age 54, God stepped in. “The time is now.” The road to publication has been hard and bruising. But I never once doubted this is what I’m supposed to be doing at this stage of my life. 

Were there any obstacles you faced in your journey to publication?

Many times I heard seasoned writers say, “God’s timing.” Easy enough to say but very hard to trust. I secured an agent early on, but she was unable to land a contract for me until eleven years (to the day) I committed my life to writing. (The Other Side of Darkness/Pelican). I did publish short stories and articles along the way. During that time, I kept writing and had a number of completed manuscripts. Soon after, another publisher wanted to contract several works from me. A few months later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I did suffer from chemo brain, a side affect of chemotherapy. God knew I’d need those completed manuscripts to fulfill my contracts. Yes … God’s timing is always perfect. There have been many obstacles. I’ve yet to release a book without stumbling blocks. Satan’s way of trying to convince me God didn’t want me to write. Truth is God is more interested in my spiritual condition than book contracts … yet, he has been my faithful companion in this journey, and the book contracts keep coming. Through this process, I have learned that I’m not called to write … this is a career he’s given me in my quest to spread the good news. I am called to be his child. 

What does a typical writing day look like? Are you structured or informal in your writing schedule?

Seriously? A schedule? I’ve never been able to make one and keep it. By the nature of my life, I cannot assume tomorrow will resemble today in any way shape or form. I do set goals, however, and hope-to-complete tasks. I’m grateful God has given me a flexible personality and a creative mind to “adapt” to surprises. Marketing requires a portion of my brain that doesn’t exist. God makes up for this deficiency in numerous ways. While it’s important to trust, I know I have to put effort and feet into the work. 

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

Hosea’s Heart is not my most recent novel. Before I started writing professionally, I worked in the human services field: family services, adult protective services, child protective services, medical services, senior services, and nursing home social services,  as well as hospital social services and as an in-school case manager. All these roles gave me many insights into the spiral of addiction and the profound impact addiction has on those who love the victim of substance abuse. Those who don’t understand are quick to judge and slow to develop compassion … much like my character Gregg Fischer, who hated drug addicts because of his personal loss. I wanted to write a book to show addicts are as much in need of love as anyone and how true love can only be extended through the power of the Holy Spirit. I hoped to show how God’s healing power transcends our failures.

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

I am pleased to report I have four novels under contract at this time. Actual release dates at this time are uncertain. 

First up is Wolf Mountain Legacy, an Adirondack Romantic Suspense.

A widowed high school history teacher, on leave for mental health problems, is hired as a research assistant by her former lover and college professor, on sabbatical to write a history of Adirondack Railroads. The research begins to unravel the 150-year-old mystery of the death of a railroad tycoon who died as a result of a suspicious fire that destroyed his Wolf Mountain estate. Marci is convinced she and Blake are being followed. But no one sees these people but her.

Second is The Ghosts of Trumball Mansion, a paranormal 

Set between Manhattan and New Haven, Connecticut

A romance writer and her estranged publisher husband spend a summer together in their historic  Connecticut estate. The closer the couple come toward a reconciliation, the more virulent the unexplained “ghosts” become, as if the house is determined to prevent their reunification. 

Third is G.L.I.C.K (a middle-grade science fiction)

Three earth children befriend a stranded alien, a sort of cosmic librarian sent to study Earth’s culture. His name is an acronym for Gatherer of Lore and Intergalactic Cultural Knowledge.

Fourth is Jolly Angel, a contemporary novelette expected to release in October, 2021.

A young women flees her abusive New York City home in hopes of starting a new life in Northern New York only to find her problems are compounded by an unwanted pregnancy.  

Thank you for hosting me today.  

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, March 17

Susan K. Beatty, Author, March 18 (Author Interview)

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, March 18

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

Texas Book-aholic, March 20

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, March 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 22

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 23

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 24 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 25

For Him and My Family, March 26

Inklings and notions, March 27

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 28

deb’s Book Review, March 29

By The Book, March 30 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 30

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Linda is giving away the grand prize of a book from her Amazon Author page!

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

Book Launch — Providence

27 Mar

Welcome to the book launch of Providence by Jennifer Sienes hosted by Celebrate Lit!

About The Book

Book:  Providence

Author: Jennifer Sienes

Genre: Christian Women’s Fiction

Release date: April 13, 2021

How can she forgive a man she isn’t sure she ever knew?

Melissa Bainbridge doesn’t have time to grieve. She has three kids to feed, bills stacked high enough to crush her, and guilt–oh so much guilt.

When her husband’s death is  ruled a suicide, her financial stability and identity die with the man she now wonders if she ever knew.  How could he choose to leave them like this?  How could she have lived with him for 15 years and not known of his fragile mental health?

A journey of discovery reveals more questions than answers until Melissa finally faces her fears and tries to understand the mind of the man she thought she knew and never did.

The journey from despair to hope leads Melissa beyond grief and into the light of forgiveness in Providence.

EXCERPT

Where the Wild Things Are,”I repeat for the crowd. “By Maurice Sendak.” I turn the page and begin to read. Eli tucks his head beneath my chin, and I inhale. When did the aroma of a sweaty boy become so endearing?

Can life get any better than this?

I let this morning’s argument with Trevor dissipate in the lyrical prose—forget the last two weeks of his getting home later and later. Chalk up his recent moodiness to artistic temperament and embrace gratitude.

A Shirley Temple lookalike leans against my thigh, and I flash her a smile. Is that grape jelly staining the corners of her mouth? I suppose it would be awkward to fish a tissue from my pocket and wipe it.

Eli takes charge of the page-turning until…

“The end.” With a flourish, I close the book. Ten pairs of eyes look up at me as if waiting for an encore.

“Read it again,” Eli demands.

“Yeah,” a couple voices chime in.

“How about this?” I struggle to get my larger-than-child-size fanny out of the beanbag nest, then hand the book to Eli. “Why don’t you read it aloud for everyone?”

He scrunches up his nose. “Okay.”

Purchase Link

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jennifer Sienes holds a bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s in education, but discovered life-experience is the best teacher. She loves Jesus, romance and writing–and puts it altogether in inspirational contemporary fiction. Her daughter’s TBI and brother’s suicide inspired two of her three novels. Although fiction writing is her real love, she’s had several non-fiction pieces published in anthologies – two in Chicken Soup for the Soul. She has two grown children and one very spoiled Maltese. California born and raised, she recently took a step of faith with her real-life hero and relocated to Tennessee.

EXCERPTS

Excerpt One:  https://vickysluitercom.wordpress.com/book-tours/
Excerpt Two:  https://beckiebythebook.com/2021/03/27/book-launch-providence/
Excerpt Three:  https://janemouttet.wordpress.com/2021/03/27/book-launch-excerpt-providence/
Excerpt Four:  http://www.simpleharvestreads.com/posts/providence-book-excerpt/
Excerpt Five:  https://abakersperspective.com/providence-by-jennifer-sienes/
Excerpt Six:  https://litteraegaudium.wordpress.com/2021/03/25/providence-epic-book-launch/
Excerpt Seven:  https://www.susankbeatty.com/providence-by-jennifer-sienes/

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

Book Spotlight — Facing The Dawn

15 Mar

facing the dawn

About The Book

Book:  Facing the Dawn

Author: Cynthia Ruchti

Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction

Release date: March 2, 2021

Facing the Dawn-Book CoverMara Jacobs has been struggling. While her humanitarian husband is digging wells in Africa and caring for widows and orphans, Mara has been battling the home front—working a demanding yet unrewarding job, trying to manage three detention-prone kids, and suffering from exhaustion and depression. Even her own marriage is deteriorating after a three-year separation.

Then Liam’s absence turns into something more, changing everything and plunging her into a sunless grief. As Mara leans on those around her to find her way to healing and renewed faith, she discovers that even when hope is tenuous and the future is unknown, we can be sure we are not forgotten . . . or unloved.

Facing the Dawn is an emotionally evocative novel that will resonate with readers’ lives and their life challenges. Hemmed in hope, this tender story will be one readers will not soon forget.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions:

Facing The Dawn by Cynthia Ruchti wrecked me. And reached me. I don’t think I have ever read a novel more Spirit-filled than this one. Oh, its genre is women’s fiction, but the story that unfolds is one we all face at one time or another. I don’t mean that our lives will mirror main character Mara Jacob’s, but that we all face loss — of loved ones or security or dreams. And God can seem so far away and our lives so parched that we feel we will shrivel up. At first the story seemed too much. But as Ruchti weaves the hope through the hopeless, we see glimpses of God’s grace, mercy, and provision. I may be making this book sound super-religious. It’s not. It’s about how God can take our hurts and turn them into something useful and beautiful. Mara’s internal voice is snarky and so human. I loved that Ruchti did not shy away from Mara expressing anger and lostness. Supporting characters, and I do mean supporting, are wonderful. The transformation Mara goes through, along with that of her children, is a testimony of the faithfulness of those who come alongside us in our life journey. One particular sentence resonated with me — What we thought was pain upon pain paved the way for the work of God. See, Spirit-filled.

Facing The Dawn was not an easy or quick read for me. I needed breaks to ponder and rest. If you read this book you will understand. And I do hope that you will read it because from me it is very highly recommended.

Very Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

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

About The Author

Cynthia Ruchti Revell Facing the DawnCynthia Ruchti is the award-winning author of more than 30 books, including the novels Afraid of the Light, Miles from Where We Started, As Waters Gone By, Song of Silence, A Fragile Hope, and They Almost Always Come Home. Her books have been honored with more than 40 readers’, reviewers’, and retailers’ awards, including Romantic Times’s Inspirational Novel of the Year, four Selah Awards, and five Christian Retailing’s BEST Awards, and has been a finalist for many others, including the Carol and the Christy. Former president of and current professional relations liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Cynthia lives in Wisconsin and can be found online at http://www.cynthiaruchti.com.

More from Cynthia

When I sit down to write a novel, I sometimes have little more than a title or a single scene in my head. For Facing the Dawn, I had a mental picture of a woman who felt like circumstances had drained all the “color” out of her life, as if she were a piece of fabric that had been left out in the sun too long. Faded. Threadbare. Bleached out.

Where was I supposed to go from there? What would have made her feel like that? (Oh, I could imagine, but I needed to know THIS character’s story.) I visualized her called in the principal’s office at her kids’ school, not knowing which of the three was in trouble this time. But it was her. The ridiculousness of it all was almost enough to push her over the edge. Ever been there?

For Mara in the story, a long string of disappointments clogged her life like a backed-up sink (which she also had). Then true tragedy struck. And again. But I couldn’t leave her in that place.

When I wrote the last few words of the story, my heart was full. Tears fell on the pages—or the keyboard. And I reflected back on all the symbolism in the story that actually revealed bits of hope embedded in its fabric.

I’m excited to see how readers respond when they discover those little bits—a cardinal in a stand of birch trees, an oil painting with unusual brushstrokes, a papered wall, a cup of soup, a long-forgotten song, an envelope of ashes…

A story comes to life when readers dive in. I’m looking forward to hearing what they find when they do.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, March 4

lakesidelivingsite, March 4

Through the Fire Blogs, March 4

Rebecca Tews, March 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations , March 5

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, March 6 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, March 6

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 6

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, March 7

Reviewingbooksplusmore, March 7

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, March 8

Kathleen’s Blog, March 8

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, March 8

Texas Book-aholic, March 9

Cats in the Cradle Blog, March 9

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 10

Simple Harvest Reads, March 10 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, March 10

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, March 11

Artistic Nobody, March 11 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Older & Smarter?, March 12

deb’s Book Review, March 12

The Christian Fiction Girl, March 13

Inklings and notions, March 13

Pause for Tales, March 13

For Him and My Family, March 14

Mary Hake, March 14

By The Book, March 15

Christian Bookaholic, March 15

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 16

Spoken from the Heart, March 16

Southern Gal Loves to Read, March 16

A Baker’s Perspective, March 17

Writing from the Heart Land, March 17

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Cynthia is giving away the grand prize package of a DrinkCo Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated BPA-free beverage container (keeps drinks cold for up to 24 hours/hot up to 12 hours), two Sunprint Notecards (Cynanotype art by Anna Atkins), an autographed copy of the novel Facing the Dawn, two Hemmed in Hope magnets/notecard inserts to encourage you or a friend, a Hemmed in Hope flash drive, and Facing the Dawn bookmarks (not shown in picture above)!!

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/108ce/facing-the-dawn-celebration-tour-giveaway

First Line Friday — Facing The Dawn

5 Mar

Happy Friday! This week I’m featuring one of my favorite authors and her newest novel. I’ll be starting Facing The Dawn by Cynthia Ruchti soon. Her book are always so good — can’t wait!

Here’s the first line:

He held the paper — the indictment against her — six inches from his face, which made him look like a blank sheet with bushy hair.

 

While her humanitarian husband Liam has been digging wells in Africa, Mara Jacobs has been struggling. She knows she’s supposed to feel a warm glow that her husband is nine time zones away, caring for widows and orphans. But the reality is that she is exhausted, working a demanding yet unrewarding job, trying to manage their three detention-prone kids, failing at her to-repair list, and fading like a garment left too long in the sun.

Then Liam’s three-year absence turns into something more, changing everything and plunging her into a sunless grief. As Mara struggles to find her footing, she discovers that even when hope is tenuous, faith is fragile, and the future is unknown, we can be sure we are not forgotten . . . or unloved.

With emotionally evocative prose that tackles tough topics with tenderness and hope, award-winning author Cynthia Ruchti invites you on a journey of the heart you won’t soon forget.

 

Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed in hope through award-winning novels, novellas, devotionals, nonfiction, and through speaking events for women and writers. She makes potato corn chowder for her husband of more than four decades and loves on her three kids and six grandchildren. Cynthia recently retired from 33 years of writing and producing a daily radio broadcast called THE HEARTBEAT OF THE HOME, is past president of American Christian Fiction Writers, and now serves as ACFW’s Professional Relations Liaison, all while working on more book projects in addition to the more than 30 already on the shelves. Her books have been honored with Selah Awards, Christian Retailing’s BEST Awards, and Book of the Year awards from Golden Scrolls, as well as finalist or top honors in awards programs such as ACFW’s Carol Awards, ForeWord Book Reviews Book of the Year, RT Reviews Book of the Year, Family Fiction’s Book of the Year, Cascade Awards Book of the Year, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and the Christy Award, among others.
You can connect with her at http://www.cynthiaruchti.com, at http://www.facebook.com/cynthiaruchtireaderpage, at http://www.twitter.com/cynthiaruchti, or in the kitchen, brewing herself another cup of tea.

For more first line fun, check out Hoarding Books.

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Characters And Their Jobs

2 Mar

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

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

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

 

Top Character Jobs

 

Amara Alvarez — homicide detective

 

Josephine Bourdillon — fiction author

 

Caroline Bragg — corporate attorney

 

Evelyn Brand — international journalist

 

Margot De Wilde — codebreaker

 

Madison James — U.S. Marshall

 

Layla Karam — CIA analyst

 

Caitlyn Lindsey — research scientist

 

Alice Grace Ripley — librarian

 

Jeremy Winter — FBI agent

If You Liked . . . The Cedar Key

26 Feb

The Cedar Key by Stephenia McGee was just what my book club needed — a sweet romance, a bit of humor, great characters, and a great spiritual message. This novel focuses on second chances and has a wonderful small town setting. If you liked it too, I have a few more recommendations of books that have some of the same elements.

 

The Dandelion Field by Kathryn Springer

After Raine’s dad walked out, Ginevieve Lightly never lived in one place too long, a rambling lifestyle that defined her daughter’s youth. When their car dies in Banister Falls, Wisconsin, Gin promises Raine they can stay until she finishes her senior year of high school. Gin will do anything to make sure her daughter has a bright future . . . a future that’s compromised when Raine reveals she’s pregnant.

Dan Moretti has only ever called Banister Falls home. After losing his best friend in a tragic accident, Dan devoted himself to responding to fires, rescuing the helpless, and guiding Cody Bennett, his best friend’s son, through life. With Cody being the epitome of the good kid, it was an easy job. Until he says four little words: “The baby is mine.”

Knowing gossip of Raine’s pregnancy will erupt sooner or later in the small town, Gin’s reflex is to grab the suitcase and escape to a new city, a new life. But with each passing day, Gin’s feet stay rooted in Banister Falls, and she falls a little more for this local firefighter who shows her not all men abandon women at the first sign of smoke.

As Gin and Dan do the best they can to guide the two teenagers through their early entry into adulthood, they discover together that romance can bloom in the rockiest of situations. And God can turn the pieces of a broken past into a beautiful new beginning.

 

Secrets over Sweet Tea by Denise Hildreth Jones

Secrets can be funny things. We think they keep us safe, but more often than not, they spill out when we least expect and make a mess out of everything. It’s a truth Scarlett Jo Newberry knows all too well ― a truth Grace Shepherd and Zach Craig are about to learn the hard way. As the lives of this boisterous pastor’s wife, polished news anchor, and beleaguered divorce attorney intersect in the tree-lined streets of Franklin, Tennessee, scandal threatens to topple their carefully constructed worlds. Grasping at survival, they embark on a journey of friendship and courage, desperate to find a way back to laughter, love, and life.

 

Star Rising by Janet Ferguson

Star Youngblood has always been a fighter — a necessity after her mother married a monster of a man. Now, she’s finally on the path to the stable life she’s always wanted. Her employer, Priscilla Kelly, is a sweet woman ravaged by rheumatoid arthritis, and Star will do anything to help her. Even if that means going toe to toe with Mrs. Kelly’s neglectful son. After being betrayed on the mission field and devastated by the tragic death of his father, Paul Kelly gave up on God. He lives life on his own terms, biding his time as a corporate pilot until he can save enough money to begin his own flight school closer to home. His mother is all he has left, and he wants to be near her. He just didn’t expect her health to decline so quickly. When he discovers his mother has taken in a stray—a woman he’s not at all sure can be trusted—his protective instincts kick into high gear. Paul’s handled a lot of turbulence, but he’s never gone up against a force like Star.As Paul and Star strive to protect his mother in their own ways, they soon find their own hearts are at the greatest risk.

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Books That Made Me Laugh

23 Feb

Happy Tuesday! This week’s Top 10 Tuesday challenge is Books That Made Me Laugh Out Loud. Are you in the mood for a good laugh, a chuckle, a snicker, or a guffaw? Then I have a list of books for you! I’m not sure any of the books can be labeled humor, but they have elements that are just plain funny. What I love about them is their balance — a good story that provides insight with enough levity to even out the hard things of life. I laughed out loud (and sometimes cried) while reading these books because of quirky characters or the predicaments that characters find themselves in. I hope you get a good laugh and a great reading experience from them.

 

For more funny books, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Books That Made Me Laugh

 

The Cedar Key by Stephenia McGee

The Christmas Table by Donna VanLiere

Darcy by Any Other Name by Laura Hile

 

For The Love of Joy by Janet Ferguson

The Moonlight School by Suzanne Woods Fisher

On A Coastal Breeze by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Star Rising by Janet Ferguson

 

Stay with Me by Becky Wade

The Summer House by Lauren K. Denton

Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin

 

What book has made you LOL?

Book Review: The Cedar Key

18 Feb

My book club read The Cedar Key, Stephenia McGee‘s contemporary small-town novel, for our February meeting. This combination women’s fiction/light romance by a new-to-us author was just what we needed! We liked it!

 

Could the key to Casey’s future be hidden in someone else’s past?

Casey Adams unexpectedly inherits an old Victorian house full of other people’s memories. Stuck in a quirky little Mississippi town, Casey’s hope for a fresh start died as soon she had to lay the grandmother she’d just met to rest

But Grandma Ida carried secrets beyond the grave.

Before her death Ida carefully planned a trail of clues to help Casey unlock the Macintyre family secrets and finally explain why they abandoned her. But each of Ida’s letters will only come from Casey’s handsome — and often frustrating — new neighbor. As Casey pieces together the stories behind the objects filling her grandmother’s house, she embarks on a heart-stirring journey that rattles her foundations, ignites her faith, and leads her to a startling discovery that will reshape her future. But only if she can face the lies that have been slowly tearing her apart.

 

 

Best-selling author of Christian novels, Stephenia H. McGee writes stories of faith, hope, and healing set in the Deep South. When she’s not twirling around in hoop skirts, reading, or sipping sweet tea on the front porch, she’s a homeschool mom of two boys, writer, dreamer, and husband spoiler. Visit her at http://www.StepheniaMcGee.comfor books and updates.

 

My Impressions:

I have to admit that I had no preconceived notions before beginning The Cedar Key. I knew McGee’s reputation for quality historical fiction, but had never read anything by her. I discovered a true gem. This novel combines women’s fiction and romance with a small southern town setting. I really liked it — recommended!

Main character Casey has had a difficult life full of abandonment. Shortly after finding her biological grandmother, she is again hit with loss. Desperate for some stories of the family she never knew, she prepares for a short stay in Maryvillle, MS and a bit of discovery of where she came from. What she finds is a new sense of who she is in God’s eyes. I loved this message — no matter who people say you are, you are loved and valuable to God. I read an interview by McGee in which she said that her target audience is Christian women and she desires to tell stories that reinforce their worth in Jesus. The Cedar Key achieves this in a natural way — no preachiness here. I found Casey very relatable and many of the other characters charming. All except one. McGee is good at making a reader dislike the bad guy. LOL! Of course the author also had me feeling sorry for that person and desiring a little redemption for them as well. The main story centers on Casey and her journey of discovery, but there is some sweet romance as well. Casey and next-door neighbor, Ryan, have a relationship that develops naturally. My book club wanted more after the final page was turned. Could there be a return visit to Maryville? We all hope so.

Endearing characters, a wonderful setting, a bit of humor, and a thoughtful message make The Cedar Key a recommended read!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(I purchased this book from Amazon. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Mardi Gras!

16 Feb

I don’t have to tell you that nothing is normal right now! Events are cancelled left and right, including 2021 Mardi Gras! Although Mardi Gras is celebrated across the Gulf Coast, New Orleans is famous for it. I went a few years ago to some family-friendly Mardi Gras events (yes, that’s a thing) and had a great time. New Orleans is one of my favorite places to visit. Despite the dirty streets and less than savory areas, the city is a great gumbo mix of culture, art, food, and fun.

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday is all about books with covers of purple, green, and yellow — the colors of Mardi Gras. Of course I am tweaking the topic yet again, this time with books set in New Orleans. Ranging from colonial times to present day and historical to suspense to women’s fiction, the books capture the New Orleans vibe. There’s even one that has a green/purple/yellow cover 😉 .

For more Mardi Gras fun, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

 

Top Books Set in New Orleans

 

Mark of The King by Jocelyn Green

The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo

Chasing The Wind by Pamela Binnings Ewen

 

Dancing on Glass by Pamela Binnings Ewen 

The Edge of Grace by Christa Allan

Missing Max by Karen Young

The Rhythm of Secrets by Patti Lacy

 

Darkwater Secrets by Robin Caroll

Midnight on The Mississippi by Mary Ellis

Stratagem by Robin Carolll