Tag Archives: women’s fiction

Top 10 Tuesday — The Best of 2022

3 Jan

Today’s post is a look back at the best books I read in 2022. I read a lot of great books, so this post was hard to write. How do you distill down to just 10 books out of 80+? I gave it a go, using my rating system to search for those that could be included on my list. The genres vary, but all are outstanding. I hope you find one to love too.

For more bloggers’ lists, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Best Books Read in 2022

All That It Takes by Nicole Deese

The Blackout Book Club by Amy Lynn Green

The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox

The Lady’s Mine by Francine Rivers

The Librarian of Saint-Malo by Mario Escobar

The Premonition at Withers Farm by Jaime Jo Wright

Then Sings My Soul by Amy K. Sorrells

When The Day Comes by Gabrielle Meyer

When We Were Young And Brave by Hazel Gaynor

Best Book of The Year

Where The Blue Sky Begins by Katie Powner

Top 10 Tuesday — Most Recent Additions To The NetGalley Shelf

27 Dec

Despite my TTT post last week listing all of the books I would love to have Santa pre-order, I have yet to receive them. My immediate family hasn’t had Christmas together yet, but I don’t anticipate any book gifts in my future. Most of them think I have enough books already. 😉 But I have been diligently adding to my NetGalley shelf and those are the books I am spotlighting today. I have quite the range of great books. Hope you find one to love!

For more book shelf additions, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Ten Most Recent Additions to My NetGalley Shelf

Body of Evidence by Irene Hannon

Broker of Lies by Steven James

The Cairo Curse by Pepper Basham

Daughter of Eden by Jill Eileen Smith

The Metropolitan Affair by Jocelyn Green

A Novel Proposal by Denise Hunter

The Sound of Light by Sarah Sundin

The Weight of Air by Kimberly Duffy

What Happens Next by Christina Suzann Nelson

The Year of Jubilee by Cindy Morgan

Top 10 Tuesday — Winter TBR List

13 Dec

Happy Tuesday! Today bloggers are revealing their Winter TBR Lists. Mine as usual is a mix of hopes and dreams — I hope I get to them all and I dream of whittling down the pile. 😉 My list includes book club choices, books for review, and just-because-I-want-to-read-them books. I hope you find one to include on your list!

For more bloggers’ TBR lists, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Books on My Winter TBR List

The Brilliance of Stars by J’Nell Ciesielski

The Cairo Curse by Pepper Basham

Cold Light of Day by Elizabeth Goddard

Critical Threat by Lynette Eason

Daughter of Eden by Jill Eileen Smith

Dangerous Beauty by Melissa Koslin

Heirlooms by Sandra Byrd

Honor Bound by Hallee Bridgeman

A Quilt for Christmas by Melody Carlson

Within These Walls of Sorrow by Amanda Barrat

Top 10 Tuesday — 2023 Book Club Picks

6 Dec

Happy Tuesday! This week’s TTT is a Freebie, so I decided to highlight the novels my book club chose to read in 2023. Every year we vote at our November meeting on the books we will be reading in the following year. We choose 9 and leave 2 spots open for me to surprise them (usually new releases by favorite authors) and a Christmas-themed novel to vote on later for our December selection. I compile a list of books and those with majority votes are chosen. It’s a practice that has worked for us for 20+ years! I hope you find a book to love.

For more bookish goodness, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

My Book Club’s 2023 Selections

The Brilliance of Stars by J’Nell Ciesielski

Broker of Lies by Steven James

Cold Light of Day by Elizabeth Goddard

Daughter of Eden by Jill Eileen Smith

Heirlooms by Sandra Byrd

Honor Bound by Hallee Bridgeman

The One You’re With by Lauren K. Denton

Roots of Wood And Stone by Amanda Wen

The Sound of Light by Sarah Sundin

Top 10 Tuesday — Books With All The Feels

15 Nov

Happy Tuesday! Today I am sharing books that have ALL the feels. You know, the kind of book that grabs your heart and won’t let go. The kind of book it is sometimes awkward to read out in public. 😉 There was a particularly heart-rending Christmas book I listened to on my morning walks. If any of my neighbors happened to look out their windows as I walked by, they witnessed me laughing hysterically and crying uncontrollably all in one circuit of the neighborhood. Embarrassing! If you want a book that will create emotional havoc in your life (kidding, not kidding), take a look at my list. (It’s cool how the covers and titles compliment each other in a completely random fashion.)

For more bloggers with emotional reactions to their reading choices, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Books With ALL The Feels

Before I Called You Mine by Nicole Deese

Before I Saw You by Amy K. Sorrells

The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox

The Librarian of Saint-Malo by Mario Escobar

The London House by Katherine Reay

The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery by Amanda Cox

The Stories That Bind Us by Susie Finkbeiner

We Hope for Better Things by Erin Bartels

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West

Where The Blue Sky Begins by Katie Powner

Top 10 Tuesday — All The Shops!

4 Oct

Today’s TTT prompt is favorite bookstores. I feel like I have posted on this topic many times with many variations. So today I am going off topic with All The Shops! What does that look like? — my dream small town with all the shops that I have come to love in fiction. There are even a couple of bookstores, because, books!

For more of bloggers’ favorites, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Shops to Fill My Dream Small Town

Bakery

Stories That Bind Us by Susie Finkbeiner

Betty Sweet never expected to be a widow at 40. With so much life still in front of her, she tries to figure out what’s next. She couldn’t have imagined what God had in mind. When her estranged sister is committed to a sanitarium, Betty finds herself taking on the care of a 5-year-old nephew she never knew she had.

In 1960s LaFontaine, Michigan, they make an odd pair. Betty with her pink button nose and bouffant hair. Hugo with his light brown skin and large brown eyes. But more powerful than what makes them different is what they share: the heartache of an empty space in their lives. Slowly, they will learn to trust one another as they discover common ground and healing through the magic of storytelling.

Bookstores

Bookshop by The Sea by Denise Hunter

After her mother became bedridden and her father bailed on the family, Sophie found herself serving as a second mother to her twin brother, Seth, and younger sister, Jenna. Sophie supported her siblings through their college years, putting aside her own dream of opening a bookshop in Piper’s Cove—the quaint North Carolina beach town they frequented as children.

Now it’s finally time for Sophie to follow her own pursuits. Seth has a new job, and Jenna is set to marry her college beau in Piper’s Cove. But the destination wedding reunites Sophie with best man Aiden Maddox, her high school sweetheart who left her without a backward glance.

When an advancing hurricane strands Aiden in Piper’s Cove after the wedding, he finds the hotels booked to capacity and has to ask Sophie to put him up until the storm passes. As the two ride out the weather, old feelings rise to the surface. The delay also leaves Sophie with mere days to get her bookshop up and running. Can she trust Aiden to stick around? And will he find the courage to risk his heart?

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay

When attorney Madeline Carter inherits her aunt’s bookstore in a small town north of Chicago, she plans to sell it and add the proceeds to her nonexistent “investment portfolio.” But plans change when Madeline discovers the store isn’t making money and she gets passed over for promotion at her firm. She quits in protest, takes the train north, and decides to work at the store to prep it for sale. Madeline soon finds herself at odds with employees Janet and Claire; when she also finds herself attracted to an affianced man, it only confuses the entire situation.

After blowing up her marriage two years earlier, Jessica has found solace working at the bookstore and a kindred spirit within its owner, Maddie Cullen. But when Maddie dies and her niece, Madeline, barges in like a bulldozer, Janet pushes at the new owner in every way-until she trips over common ground. Soon the women are delving into online dating and fashion makeovers, and Janet feels the pull to rediscover her art, a love she thought long behind her.

After a night of bad decisions leaves the store in peril, Claire arrives and tries to save the day. While she, too, found sanctuary in the little bookstore, she knows it’s under-insured, in the red, and will never survive. When she discovers her teenage daughter has played a part in vandalizing the store, Claire taps into strength she didn’t know existed-or had long forgotten. The quietest of the three, she steps up and finds a way to save her family, the store, and the precious friendships that have grown within it.

Chocolate Shop

Sweet on You by Becky Wade

Britt Bradford and Zander Ford have been the best of friends since they met thirteen years ago. Unbeknown to Britt, Zander has been in love with her for just as long.

Independent and adventurous Britt channels her talent into creating chocolates at her hometown shop. Zander is a bestselling author who’s spent the past 18 months traveling the world. He’s achieved a great deal but still lacks the only thing that ever truly mattered to him–Britt’s heart.

When Zander’s uncle dies of mysterious causes, he returns to Merryweather, Washington, to investigate, and Britt is immediately there to help. Although this throws them into close proximity, both understand that an attempt at romance could jeopardize their once-in-a-lifetime friendship. But while Britt is determined to resist any change in their relationship, Zander finds it increasingly difficult to keep his feelings hidden.

As they work together to uncover his uncle’s tangled past, will the truth of what lies between them also, finally, come to light?

Coffee Shop

Blackberry Beach by Irene Hannon

Katherine Parker is on the cusp of having everything she ever wanted–fame, money, and acclaim. So why isn’t she happy? In search of answers, she comes incognito to Hope Harbor on the Oregon coast for some R&R. Maybe in her secluded rental house overlooking the serene Pacific she’ll be able to calm the storm inside.

Coffee shop owner Zach Garrett has found his niche after a traumatic loss — and he has no plans to change the life he’s created. Nor does he want to get involved with his reticent new neighbor, whose past is shrouded in mystery. He’s had enough drama to last a lifetime. But when Katherine and Zach are recruited to help rehab a home for foster children, sparks fly. And as their lives begin to intersect, might they find more common ground than they expected . . . and discover that, with love, all things are possible?

Diner

Welcome to Last Chance by Cathleen Armstrong

The red warning light on her car dashboard drove Lainie Davis to seek help in the tiny town of Last Chance, New Mexico. But as she encounters the people who make Last Chance their home, it’s her heart that is flashing bright red warning lights. These people are entirely too nice, too accommodating, and too interested in her personal life for Lainie’s comfort–especially since she’s on the run and hoping to slip away unnoticed.

Yet in spite of herself, Lainie finds that she is increasingly drawn in to the dramas of small town life. An old church lady who always has room for a stranger. A handsome bartender with a secret life. A single mom running her diner and worrying over her teenage son. Could Lainie actually make a life in this little hick town? Or will the past catch up to her even here in the middle of nowhere?

Cathleen Armstrong pens a debut novel filled with complex, lovable characters making their way through life and relationships the best they can. Her evocative descriptions, observational humor, and talent at rendering romantic scenes will earn her many fans.

Dress Shop

The Dress Shop on King Street by Ashley Clark

Harper Dupree has pinned all her hopes on a future in fashion design. But when it comes crashing down around her, she returns home to Fairhope, Alabama, and to Millie, the woman who first taught her how to sew. As Harper rethinks her own future, long-hidden secrets about Millie’s past are brought to light.

In 1946, Millie Middleton — the daughter of an Italian man and a Black woman —  boarded a train and left Charleston to keep half of her heritage hidden. She carried with her two heirloom buttons and the dream of owning a dress store. She never expected to meet a charming train jumper who changed her life forever . . . and led her yet again to a heartbreaking choice about which heritage would define her future.

Now, together, Harper and Millie return to Charleston to find the man who may hold the answers they seek . . . and a chance at the dress shop they’ve both dreamed of. But it’s not until all appears lost that they see the unexpected ways to mend what frayed between the seams.

Drug Store

The Christmas Remedy by Cindy And Erin Woodsmall

Twenty-four-year-old Holly Zook lives a unique life for a young Amish woman. Years ago, her bishop allowed her to continue her education and become the lead technician for Greene’s Pharmacy, an old-timey drugstore that looks out for the Amish community–a group largely without secure healthcare plans. She knows she can’t marry and hold onto her professional job. She’s Amish, and she can only have one or the other, so she spurns love and works toward addressing treatable diseases–like the one that claimed her father’s life.

As long as Holly continues to avoid Joshua Smucker, the one man who draws her like a warm hearth in winter, she should be fine. When something unexpected threatens Greene’s Pharmacy, Holly and Joshua must work together to unravel what’s happened and find the “missing” patient before the Board of Pharmacy shuts them down. As the snows of December arrive, with Christmas in the air, will Holly succumb to the generous spirit of the season?

Flower Shop

Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh

For Quinn Collins, buying the flower shop in downtown Harbor Pointe fulfills a childhood dream, but also gives her the chance to stick it to her mom, who owned the store before skipping town twenty years ago and never looking back. Completing much-needed renovations, however, while also competing for a prestigious flower competition with her mother as the head judge, soon has Quinn in over her head. Not that she’d ever ask for help.

Luckily, she may not need to. Quinn’s father and his meddling friends find the perfect solution in notorious Olympic skier Grady Benson, who had only planned on passing through the old-fashioned lakeside town. But when a heated confrontation leads to property damage, helping Quinn as a community-service sentence seems like the quickest way out—and the best way to avoid more negative press.

Quinn finds Grady reckless and entitled; he thinks she’s uptight and too regimented. Yet as the two begin to hammer and saw, Quinn sees glimpses of the vulnerability behind the bravado, and Grady learns from her passion and determination, qualities he seems to have lost along the way. But when a well-intentioned omission has devastating consequences, Grady finds himself cast out of town—and Quinn’s life—possibly forever. Forced to face the hurt holding her back, Quinn must finally let go or risk missing out on the adventure of a lifetime.

Grocery Store

The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery by Amanda Cox

Present Day. After tragedy plunges her into grief and unresolved anger, Sarah Ashby returns to her childhood home determined to finally follow her long-denied dream of running Old Depot Grocery alongside her mother and grandmother. But when she arrives, her mother, Rosemary, announces to her that the store is closing. Sarah and her grandmother, Glory Ann, make a pact to save the store, but Rosemary has worked her entire life to make sure her daughter never follows in her footsteps. She has her reasons–but she’ll certainly never reveal the real one.

1965. Glory Ann confesses to her family that she’s pregnant with her deceased fiancé’s baby. Pressured into a marriage of convenience with a shopkeeper to preserve the family reputation, Glory Ann vows never to love again. But some promises are not as easily kept as she imagined.

This dual-timeline story from Amanda Cox deftly explores the complexity of a mother-daughter dynamic, the way the secrets we keep shape our lives and the lives of others, and the healing power of telling the truth.

Top 10 Tuesday — Geographical Titles

13 Sep

Happy Tuesday! Surprise, surprise! I am actually sticking to the topic today. It was fun looking back at the books I’ve read to find titles (and covers!) that could be found on a map, albeit a fictional one. 😉 Many genres are represented. I hope you find a book to love!

For more geographical titles, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top 10 Geographical Titles

Blackberry Beach by Irene Hannon

Bookshop by The Sea by Denise Hunter

Bride of A Distant Isle by Sandra Byrd

The Deadly Shallows by Dani Pettrey

The House at The End of The Moor by Michelle Griep

A Light on A Hill by Connilyn Cossette

On The Cliffs of Foxglove Manor by Jaime Jo Wright

A Silver Willow by The Shore by Kelli Stuart

Under The Bayou Moon by Valerie Fraser Luesse

Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin

Top 10 Tuesday — Train Vibes

6 Sep

I am going way off script today in anticipation of my trip to the UK next week. We were supposed to have a planes, trains, and automobiles adventure, but learned that there will be an industrial action the days we were to get on board for two destinations. In the US that would be called a strike! At least they were polite about it and we were given a bit of a heads up. 😉 So it was to the car rental sites we went. We looked for a silver lining to having to drive on the wrong side of the road and navigate the roundabouts (on the wrong side), and found a few. Some train scenes from novels came to mind. You know the ones where orphans were transported across the country without their parent’s permission, the harrowing natural disasters, accidents, bombs, murders, and, of course, serial killers. Maybe planes and automobiles will be enough. 😉 Check out my list of novels with all the train vibes.

For those bloggers who kept to the script, visit That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Novels with Train Vibes

Collison of Lies by Tom Threadgill

The Girl from The Train by Irene Joubert

The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus by Jaime Jo Wright

Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton

Murder on The Orient Express by Agatha Christie

The Mystery of The Blue Train by Agatha Christie

Night Fall by Nancy Mehl

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

With You Always by Jody Hedlund

If You Liked . . . Bookshop By The Sea

31 Aug

My book club enjoyed the contemporary romance, Bookshop by The Sea, by Denise Hunter. In the words of one of our members, “it is a sweet book that should be made into a Hallmark movie”. 🙂 Our discussion was fun too. The questions included with the novel got us talking. Overall, it was a hit! If you liked it too, I have a couple of recommendations for you.

Bookshop Setting

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay (currently $1.99 on Kindle!)

One of Madeline Cullen’s happiest childhood memories is of working with her Aunt Maddie in the quaint and cozy Printed Letter Bookshop. But by the time Madeline inherits the shop nearly twenty years later, family troubles and her own bitter losses have hardened Madeline’s heart toward her once-treasured aunt—and the now struggling bookshop left in her care.

While Madeline intends to sell the shop as quickly as possible, the Printed Letter’s two employees have other ideas. Reeling from a recent divorce, Janet finds sanctuary within the books and the decadent window displays she creates. Claire, though quieter than her outspoken colleague, feels equally drawn to the daily rhythms of the shop and has found a renewed sense of purpose within its walls.

When Madeline’s professional life falls apart, and a handsome gardener upends her life, she questions her plans and her future. Has she been too quick to dismiss her aunt’s beloved shop? And even if she has, the women’s best efforts to save it may be too little, too late.

Dreams for The Future

Hometown Girl by Courtney Walsh (Free with Kindle Unlimited)

Beth Whitaker isn’t supposed to be a small-town girl. She’s always dreamed of leaving Willow Grove, Illinois, for the big city, but she feels trapped, struggling to make up for a mistake that’s haunted her for years. Just when Beth is finally ready to break free, her sister impulsively buys a beloved but run-down farm on the outskirts of town, and she begs Beth to help with the restoration. Reluctantly, Beth agrees to help – and puts her own dreams on hold once again. 

Drew Barlow hasn’t been back to Fairwind Farm since he was a boy, and he’s spent all these years trying to outrun the pain of a past he thought he buried long ago. When he learns that the owner has passed away, his heart knows it’s finally time to do the right thing. Returning to Willow Grove, Drew revisits the old farm, where he attempts to piece together his memories and the puzzle of the crime he witnessed so long ago. 

Both on a journey to find peace, Beth and Drew are surprised when they begin to experience a restoration of their own. But when long-buried secrets break through the soil and the truth unfurls, will it threaten their budding relationship – and the very future of the farm?

Second Chance at Love

A Heart Adrift by Laura Frantz

It is 1755, and the threat of war with France looms over colonial York, Virginia. Chocolatier Esmée Shaw is fighting her own battle of the heart. Having reached her twenty-eighth birthday, she is reconciled to life alone after a decade-old failed love affair from which she’s never quite recovered. But she longs to find something worthwhile to do with her life.

Captain Henri Lennox has returned to port after a lengthy absence, intent on completing the lighthouse in the dangerous Chesapeake Bay, a dream he once shared with Esmée. But when the colonial government asks him to lead a secret naval expedition against the French, his future is plunged into uncertainty.

Will a war and a cache of regrets keep them apart, or can their shared vision and dedication to the colonial cause heal the wounds of the past? Bestselling and award-winning author Laura Frantz whisks you away to a time fraught with peril–on the sea and in the heart–in this redemptive, romantic story.

Top 10 Tuesday — Back to School

30 Aug

Don’t know much about history, don’t know much about biology . . . ? Well, I’ve got some books for you! This week’s TTT is Back to School Freebie. I love Sam Cooke‘s song, What A Wonderful World This Would Be and always think about it when I hear back to school. My list today features books that fit the lyrics of this old school song (see what I did there? 😉 ). There are 6 subjects listed in the lyrics, and I have come up with 2 books each. An even dozen of great books! Who cares if some of the books loosely fit the category — it’s all in fun! I hope you enjoy my list.

For more fun back to school lists, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top “Back To School” Books

History

The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan (WWII, could also count as Home Ec 😉 )

To Love A Viking by Heather Day Gilbert and Jen Cudmore (Dark Ages Europe)

Biology

Healing Skye by Janet W. Ferguson (marine biology)

Sunrise by Susan May Warren (bear tracking in Alaska)

Science

Fatal Code by Natalie Walters (nuclear physics)

The Engineer’s Wife by Tracy Enerson Wood (bridge building)

French

The Librarian of Saint-Malo by Mario Escobar (WWII France)

Until Leaves Fall in Paris by Sarah Sundin (WWII France)

Geography

Every Word Unsaid by Kimberly Duffy (globe-trotting journalist)

The Heart Between Us by Lindsay Harrel (a bucket list trip)

Mathematics

Enchantress of Numbers by Jennifer Chiaverini (early computing machine)

The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White (WWI code breaking)