Tag Archives: women’s fiction

Top 10 Tuesday — Professional Book Pushers

10 May

Happy Tuesday! This week’s prompt is a joy. It’s all about bookish characters. I chose to focus on books in which the main character(s) is a professional book pusher — one who gets paid to get someone to read. (As opposed to those of us who just do it for fun. 🙂 ) Basically booksellers and librarians. I am currently listening to The Librarian of Saint-Malo by Mario Escobar. It is riveting, and naturally it is on my list. With the variety of genres represented, I hope you find a book to pique your interest.

For more lists of bookish characters, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Professional Book Pushers

Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner

Camino Island by John Grisham

Crime And Poetry by Amanda Flower

Hidden Among The Stars by Melanie Dobson

The Librarian of Saint-Malo by Mario Escobar

Miss Zukas And The Library Murders by Jo Dereske

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay

The Secrets of Paper And Ink by Lindsey Harrel

Until Leaves Fall in Paris by Sarah Sundin

Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin

Top 10 Tuesday — One Word Reviews

3 May

The week’s TTT was a tough one. I was determined to go by the prompt and let 1 word stand as a review for each of the titles featured. I really wanted to use some adjectives, but I settled for some hyphenated words. 🙂 One word really doesn’t do any of the books listed here justice; they are really, really good in many ways. I hope you find one that intrigues you.

For more brief reviews, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

One Word Reviews

HEART-FILLED

WELL-RESEARCHED

GOTHIC

FAIRYTALE

CREEPY

CREEPIER 😉

FAST-PACED

MASTERFUL

MOVING

PAGE-TURNER

Top Ten Tuesday — Modes of Transportation

26 Apr

Happy Tuesday! Today’s TTT theme is books with ___ on the cover. I chose modes of transportation — you know trains, planes, automobiles, etc. Some of these books I have read; others are on my TBR shelf. I hope you find a book to pique your interest.

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

Top Book Covers with Trains, Planes, Automobiles, Etc.

A Bridge Across The Ocean by Susan Meissner

The Christmas Joy Ride by Melody Carlson

Elvis Takes A Back Seat by Leanna Ellis

Ever Faithful by Karen Barnett

The Mother Road by Jennifer AlLee

No Ocean Too Wide by Carrie Turansky

The Road to Paradise by Karen Barnett

Surviving Savannah by Patti Callahan

With You Always by Jody Hedlund

A Wreath of Snow by Liz Curtis Higgs

Book Review — All That It Takes

11 Apr

I read Before I Called You Mine last year, and with that book Nicole Deese made my must-read list. So I jumped at the chance to read All That It Takes. It’s a contemporary romance. It’s women’s fiction at its finest. It’s a book with heart and soul. It’s a highly recommended read!

When the ever-cautious Val Locklier moves cross-country with her son for a secure job, everything she’d planned unravels within the first week. After Val reluctantly agrees to rent an apartment from her best friend’s brother, an unexpected chance at an elite filmmakers’ mentorship ignites fresh hope for a dream career. But as Val’s community begins to expand, so do her insecurities, especially those heightened by her growing attraction to a certain friendly landlord. 

Pastor Miles McKenzie returns home from a short-term mission trip to discover that not only does he have an intriguing new tenant living upstairs, he’s also been reassigned to a local ministry on life support. Disillusioned and restless, he distracts himself by throwing his energy into a host of new projects–not the least of which is pursuing Val–without stopping to consider the future. 

As Val struggles to stop hiding behind the camera and Miles wrestles with shattered expectations, they’ll find that authentic love and sacrifice must go hand in hand.

Nicole Deese is a Carol Award winner and a RITA and INSPY Award finalist. When she’s not working on her next contemporary Christian romance novel, she can usually be found reading one by a window overlooking the inspiring beauty of the Pacific Northwest. She lives in small-town Idaho with her happily-ever-after hubby, two rambunctious sons, and princess daughter with the heart of a warrior. Find her online at http://www.nicoledeese.com.

My Impressions:

After reading Before I Called You Mine, I knew that any novel written by Nicole Deese should be on my must-read list. All That It Takes just solidified this talented author’s place on that list. It is contemporary romance with heart and soul. Not just romance, this book also can be labeled great women’s fiction as it checks the boxes for deep themes and issues that will speak to women. I know it spoke to me. The story revolves around Val, her 10 year old son Tucker, and her landlord/best friend’s brother, Miles. The two have instant attraction, but they are both in places where romance should be secondary. I loved how Deese made their first priority getting right with God’s purposes in their lives. Miles is a confident guy who trusts his own plans. Val is a careful woman, who struggles with vulnerability and doubts. Together they are great, but only when they put God first. Secondary characters added a lot to this book — I fell in love with them too. The desire to be known is a strong theme and the many characters and situations in the book illustrated it well. I laughed a little. I cried a little (ok maybe a lot 😉 ). And I loved this book a lot.

I picked up All That It Takes not knowing that it is a sequel of sorts to All That Really Matters. I was not lost and didn’t feel like I was missing anything. I do know that All That Really Matters is now on my TBR list. A great book that kept me thinking and wishing I could talk about it with someone, All That It Takes would make a great book club selection. It is definitely highly recommended.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

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

Top 10 Tuesday — Coming Home to A Small Town

8 Mar

No, I cannot forget from where it is that I come from
I cannot forget the people who love me
Yeah, I can be myself here in this small town
And people let me be just what I want to be
— John Mellencamp

I wasn’t raised in a small town, although the Orlando area wasn’t huge before Disney. I would never say I had a small town upbringing, but I have lived in small towns all my married life. I love a small town, and I think it was the best environment for my children growing up. Is that why I love stories set in small towns? Maybe.

This week TTT is featuring favorite literary tropes. One of my favorites is a character that returns to their roots and discovers truths about their lives. Although the small town mystery/suspense novels I have on the list may make them regret their decision, at least for a while. 😉 I’ve included recent novels I have read — historical romance, women’s fiction, mystery/suspense, contemporary romance — something for everyone. I hope you find a small town to love too.

For more favorite tropes, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Coming Home to A Small Town

After She Falls by Carmen Schober

The Cedar Key by Stephenia McGee

Deadly Target by Elizabeth Goddard

The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox

The Inn on Hanging Hill by Christy Barritt

The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery by Amanda Barritt

The Secret Place by Camille Eide

Shadows of Swanford Abbey by Julie Klassen

The Sound of Falling Leaves by Lisa Carter

Sunrise by Susan May Warren

Top 10 Tuesday — Notable Books I Didn’t Review On My Blog

1 Mar

I started this blog in November of 2009. That seems so long ago! But having been an avid reader for much of my life, plus being the member of 2 book clubs (one that has been meeting for 20 years!), I have read a lot of great books that have never been reviewed here or anywhere else. I may have mentioned them from time to time, but no reviews. Many of the books on my list are old, and you may have trouble finding them except on Kindle or as used. But just know that they are books that have stuck with me. Several genres are represented, so there is something for everyone.

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

Top Notable Books I Have Not Reviewed

Elvis Takes A Back Seat by Leanna Ellis

Elvis Takes a Back Seatby award-winning novelist Leanna Ellis is the endearing story of Claudia, a young widow determined to fulfill her husband’s last request by hauling a three-foot bust of Elvis Presley in the backseat of a vintage Cadillac from Dallas to Memphis to return it to its rightful owner. The road trip—taken with an eccentric aunt who actually knew the “King of Rock ’n’ Roll,” and a temperamental teen with a suspicious mind of her own—hits some royal roadblocks and detours as these women uncover pieces of their past along with the bust’s mysterious history. What they find along the way changes their lives forever, inspiring readers to also step out in faith.

Original Sin by Brandt Dodson

Colton Parker was just fired from the FBI, has a teenage daughter who blames him for her mother’s death, and now that he’s hung out his shingle as a P.I., his first paying client—Angie Howe—has enough money for only one day’s worth of investigating. But Angie looks like she could use a friend, so Colton has his first case. 

When the mystery is finally resolved, Colton is resigned to improve his parenting skills with his daughter—and while the pair still struggle with each other, hope finally gets a chance to grow.  

First in the Colton Parker, P.I. series, from Brandt Dodson—a compelling new author with a family history in law enforcement spanning several generations.

A Place Called Wiregrass by Michael Morris

Erma Lee is on the run . . . Running from an abusive husband . . . running from a mother who doesn’t care — never cared. Running from a soul-numbing factory job that has held her down her entire life …

Erma Lee and her granddaughter, Cher, flee to the town of Wiregrass, Alabama, to escape the past and start over — or so Erma Lee thinks. Erma Lee forms an unlikely friendship with Miss Claudia, an elderly socialite who is hiding a few details about her own past. Life in Wiregrass is different for Erma Lee and Cher, for here they find mercy and promise — until, that is, the day Cher’s convict father arrives in town, forcing all three women to come to terms with buried secrets.

Searching for Eternity by Elizabeth Musser

French-born Emile de Bonnery lands in the strange environment of 1960s Atlanta with decidedly mixed emotions. Some memories make Emile want to believe the best of his father. Others cause him to fear the worst. Does his mother know more than she’s willing to tell?

Determined to learn the truth, Emile finds an ally and friend–who seems to be hiding secrets of her own. Together they search for answers…and what they find changes everything.

**************

Sober Justice by Joseph H. Hilley

Life in the low country of the Gulf Coast can get pretty steamy. But life just got a lot hotter for Mike Connolly, a divorced, alcoholic, 50 something attorney. Usually content when he just makes it through another day, Mike’s life takes a dangerous and unpredictable turn when a judge appoints him to defend an indigent man accused of murdering a prominent plaintiff’s attorney. Just when he thinks that things can’t get worse, Mike stumbles onto a conspiracy and finds himself in the midst of a complicated web of intrigue that will take a miracle to survive. Trouble is–Mike’s fresh out of miracles. Or is he?

Uncharted by Angela Hunt

It was supposed to be an adventure. A little time off to honor the memory of a friend and complete a service project in the tropics. Do good deeds while getting a tan.

But when a storm rocks their plans, five long-time friends from college find themselves hurled onto a desolate island, and relief fades to fear. Here nature rules with a vengenance. The lone shelter from raw conditions is a sinister cave. Are they victims of a bizarre psychological experiment? Or could this godforsaken place have the power to maroon them forever?

***************

Velma Still Cooks in Leeway by Vinita Hampton Wright

As the town’s chief cook and part-time janitor for Jerusalem Baptist church, Velma Brendle has never done anything more outstanding than putting on a good meal at Velma’s Place, the one restaurant in Leeway, Kansas, but she takes good care of her customers, neighbors, and friends. However, in the midst of these two jobs, Velma’s husband stops talking, Cousin Albert comes to live with her, and she finds herself dealing with the town’s problems. As memories of past troubles plague her, she grows weary from even the tasks she loves the most. Old Sunday School lessons take on new meanings, and new problems illuminate trials Velma thought were long over. In sudden leaps of faith and moments of tragedy, Velma and all those she loves journey toward facing their sins and finding forgiveness.

The Wedding Machine by Beth Webb Hart

Welcome to Jasper, South Carolina. A place where Southern hospitality thrives. Where social occasions are done right. And where, for generations, the four most upstanding ladies of this community ensure that the daughters of Jasper are married in the proper manner.

Friends from school days, “the gals” have long pooled their silver, china, and know-how to pull off beautiful events. They’re a force of nature, a well-oiled machine. But the wedding machine’s gears start to stick during the summer their own daughters line up to tie the knot. In the lowcountry heat and humidity, tempers flare, old secrets leak out . . . and both love and gardenias bloom in unlikely places.

Top 10 Tuesday — All The Feels

15 Feb

Have you ever read a book that you absolutely loved, but had a difficult time putting all the feelings into words. Yeah, me too. This week I am featuring books that had everything — knock-out plotting, relatable characters, truths galore, made me think, kept me pondering. These are the ones I struggled reviewing. I’ve given you an even dozen — I hope you find a new favorite book!

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

Top Books With All The Feels

Before I Saw You by Amy K. Sorrells

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

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

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.

The Devil Walks in Mattingly by Billy Coffee

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.

Hidden Among The Stars by Melanie Dobson

The year is 1938, and as Hitler’s troops sweep into Vienna, Austrian Max Dornbach promises to help his Jewish friends hide their most valuable possessions from the Nazis, smuggling them to his family’s summer estate near the picturesque village of Hallstatt. He enlists the help of Annika Knopf, his childhood friend and the caretaker’s daughter, who is eager to help the man she’s loved her entire life. But when Max also brings Luzia Weiss, a young Jewish woman, to hide at the castle, it complicates Annika’s feelings and puts their entire plan—even their very lives—in jeopardy. Especially when the Nazis come to scour the estate and find both Luzia and the treasure gone.

Eighty years later, Callie Randall is mostly content with her quiet life, running a bookstore with her sister and reaching out into the world through her blog. Then she finds a cryptic list in an old edition of Bambithat connects her to Annika’s story . . . and maybe to the long-buried story of a dear friend. As she digs into the past, Callie must risk venturing outside the safe world she’s built for a chance at answers, adventure, and maybe even new love.

The Last Year of The War by Susan Meissner

In 1943, Elise Sontag is a typical American teenager from Iowa — aware of the war but distanced from its reach. Then her father, a legal U.S. resident for nearly two decades, is suddenly arrested on suspicion of being a Nazi sympathizer. The family is sent to an internment camp in Texas, where, behind the armed guards and barbed wire, Elise feels stripped of everything beloved and familiar, including her own identity.
 
The only thing that makes the camp bearable is meeting fellow internee Mariko Inoue, a Japanese-American teen from Los Angeles, whose friendship empowers Elise to believe the life she knew before the war will again be hers. Together in the desert wilderness, Elise and Mariko hold tight the dream of being young American women with a future beyond the fences.
 
But when the Sontag family is exchanged for American prisoners behind enemy lines in Germany, Elise will face head-on the person the war desires to make of her. In that devastating crucible she must discover if she has the will to rise above prejudice and hatred and re-claim her own destiny, or disappear into the image others have cast upon her.
 
The Last Year of the War tells a little-known story of World War II with great resonance for our own times and challenges the very notion of who we are when who we’ve always been is called into question.

Maggie Bright by Tracy Groot

England, 1940. Clare Childs knew life would change when she unexpectedly inherited the Maggie Bright―a noble fifty-two-foot yacht. In fact, she’s counting on it. But the boat harbors secrets. When a stranger arrives, searching for documents hidden onboard, Clare is pulled into a Scotland Yard investigation that could shed light on Hitler’s darkest schemes and prompt America to action.

Across the Channel, Hitler’s Blitzkrieg has the entire British army in retreat with little hope for rescue at the shallow beaches of Dunkirk. With time running out, Churchill recruits civilian watercraft to help. Hitler is attacking from land, air, and sea, and any boat that goes might not return. Yet Clare knows Maggie Bright must answer the call―piloted by an American who has refused to join the war effort until now and a detective with a very personal motive for exposing the truth.

The fate of the war hinges on this rescue. While two men join the desperate fight, a nation prays for a miracle.

Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse

There was another South in the 1960s, one far removed from the marches and bombings and turmoil in the streets that were broadcast on the evening news. It was a place of inner turmoil, where ordinary people struggled to right themselves on a social landscape that was dramatically shifting beneath their feet. This is the world of Valerie Fraser Luesse’s stunning debut, Missing Isaac.

It is 1965 when black field hand Isaac Reynolds goes missing from the tiny, unassuming town of Glory, Alabama. The townspeople’s reactions range from concern to indifference, but one boy will stop at nothing to find out what happened to his unlikely friend. White, wealthy, and fatherless, young Pete McLean has nothing to gain and everything to lose in his relentless search for Isaac. In the process, he will discover much more than he bargained for. Before it’s all over, Pete — and the people he loves most — will have to blur the hard lines of race, class, and religion. And what they discover about themselves may change some of them forever.

No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert

When an impoverished school district loses its accreditation and the affluent community of Crystal Ridge has no choice but to open their school doors, the lives of three very different women converge: Camille Gray — the wife of an executive, mother of three, long-standing PTA chairwoman and champion fundraiser — faced with a shocking discovery that threatens to tear her picture-perfect world apart at the seams. Jen Covington, the career nurse whose long, painful journey to motherhood finally resulted in adoption but she is struggling with a happily-ever-after so much harder than she anticipated. Twenty-two-year-old Anaya Jones–the first woman in her family to graduate college and a brand new teacher at Crystal Ridge’s top elementary school, unprepared for the powder-keg situation she’s stepped into. Tensions rise within and without, culminating in an unforeseen event that impacts them all. This story explores the implicit biases impacting American society, and asks the ultimate question: What does it mean to be human? Why are we so quick to put labels on each other and categorize people as “this” or “that”, when such complexity exists in each person?

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.

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.

Award-winning author Susie Finkbeiner offers fans a novel that invites us to rediscover the power of story to open the doors of our hearts.

The Swan House by Elizabeth Musser

Mary Swan Middleton has always taken for granted the advantages of her family’s wealth. But a tragedy that touches all of Atlanta sends her reeling in grief. When the family maid challenges her to reach out to the less fortunate as a way to ease her own pain, Mary Swan meets Carl — and everything changes. For although Carl is her opposite in nearly every way, he has something her privileged life could not give her. And when she seeks his help to uncover a mystery, she learns far more than she ever could have imagined.

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West

Sometimes we’re allowed to glimpse the beauty within the brokenness . . .

Savannah Barrington has always found solace at her parents’ lake house in the Berkshires, and it’s the place that she runs to when her husband of over twenty years leaves her. Though her world is shaken, and the future uncertain, she finds hope through an old woman’s wisdom, a little girl’s laughter, and a man who’s willing to risk his own heart to prove to Savannah that she is worthy of love.

But soon Savannah is given a challenge she can’t run away from: Forgiving the unforgivable. Amidst the ancient gardens and musty bookstores of the small town she’s sought refuge in, she must reconcile with the grief that haunts her, the God pursuing her, and the wounds of the past that might be healed after all.

Where Hope Begins is the story of grace in the midst of brokenness, pointing us to the miracles that await when we look beyond our own expectations.

Spotlight + Giveaway! — Perfectly Arranged

25 Oct

Perfectly Arranged JustRead Blog + Review Tour

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for Perfectly Arranged by Liana George, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Perfectly Arranged

Title: Perfectly Arranged
Series: The Hopeful Hearts #1
Author: Liana George
Publisher: Scrivenings Press
Release Date: October 26, 2021
Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction

Professional organizer Nicki Mayfield is on her way to becoming the next Marie Kondo – if only she could find clients and make ends meet! While looking for new professional opportunities, Nicki’s also determined to sort out her personal life. Despite dealing with a mother who’s a prime candidate for Hoarders and battling her own doubts about marriage and parenting, Nicki is certain she can transform the chaos around her into order.

When all hope seems lost, the eccentric socialite Katherine O’Connor enters Nicki’s world. Boosted by Ms. O’Connor’s desperate need for organizing help, Nicki pushes out of her comfort zone — in work, love, and life. Together they discover an unknown Chinese address on a business card. Determined to uncover the identity of the address and how it connected with the father her client hardly knew, Ms. O’Connor and Nicki embark on an adventure that takes them across the world. There, both women must break down the walls surrounding their hearts to help those who can’t help themselves. In doing so, Nicki and Ms. O’Connor learn that things and people aren’t always what they seem, that hidden treasures lead to new beginnings, and that sometimes — surprisingly — God has things perfectly arranged.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | BookBub

EXCERPT

I’m hanging up my label maker.

While I’d been certain I would be the next Marie Kondo, organizing superstar, the lack of clients and shortage of funds in my bank account tells a different story. I grab another moving box and glide the packing tape across the bottom to secure it. The screech of the gun as it connects the two flaps resounds as the truth flashes in front of me. 

After three years of blood, sweat, and tears, I’ve failed at the one thing I’d believed I was meant to do. 

When I open a side desk drawer that holds a rainbow assortment of alphabetically arranged files, my heart flutters at the sight of everything in perfect order – just the kind of thing that would make my mother anxious. 

I wince. Mom. Without a job, I have no other choice but to move back home with her. 

As if on cue, her familiar blue Honda pulls up outside my window. 

Seriously, what else could go wrong today? 

Plowing my way through the heap of boxes, I grab my coat and purse from the chair and dash toward the door. Before I can step outside and hide my career woes, my mother walks in. 

“Nicki, I …” Mom closes the door and studies the room. “What’s going on in here?” 

I survey the boxes scattered around the tiny cubicle. “Packing?” 

“I see that, but why?” 

“I’m closing up shop.” I dig my shoe into the stained beige carpet. “Bridgeport’s Organizing Business of the Year is no longer.” 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Liana George

Liana George is a professional organizer and the owner of By George Organizing Solutions in Houston. She is also a sought-after speaker, blogger, and writer. With the help of her writing coach, Sandra Byrd, Liana completed her first novel, Perfectly Arranged. The book was inspired by one of her eccentric clients and her passion for China, where she lived for two and a half years. When she’s not putting things in order or scribbling away, you can find her reading, traveling, or playing tennis.

CONNECT WITH LIANA: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a copy of Perfectly Arranged plus a travel kit (not shown) including a $25 Amazon gift card, RDF passport wallet, packing cube, travel journal, luggage tag, packing tips, packing checklist!

Perfectly Arranged JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight October 25, 2021 and lasts through 11:59 PM EST on November 1, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Book Review: The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery

7 Oct

Amanda Cox is a new-to-me author. I really didn’t know what to expect when I picked up The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery, other than the buzz I had read from other reviewers. The blurb was intriguing and the cover called to me. I’m thankful I took the time to read it, because it is now one of my favorites from this year — very highly recommended.

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.

Before becoming a stay-at-home parent, Amanda Cox spent her time counseling children, families, and individuals through life’s challenging moments. Now she uses those same skills to develop layered characters and stories, bringing them on a journey of hope and healing. A journey she hopes her readers experience in their own lives as they read.

A few of her favorite things are the sanctuary of the great outdoors, the feeling of pen on paper, the sound of her children’s laughter, and exploring new places with her husband of 15 years. (Oh, let’s not forget good fiction and good coffee. She’s addicted to both.) You can stay connected with her latest writing updates at http://www.amandacoxwrites.com. You can find her on social media by searching Amanda Cox Writes.

My Impressions:

The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery is the second book from new-to-me author Amanda Cox. Its complex and tight writing style kept me reading and wondering as the three main characters concealed and uncovered family secrets. A novel as good as this one is often the hardest to review. Bear with me as I try to convey its many strong points. The book is told from the viewpoints of three women — grandmother, mother, and daughter — across three time periods. The style was never confusing, because the women each have distinct voices and their particular eras are well-detailed. I loved all the women, though some took longer to embrace than others. You’ll know when you read it. 😉 And read it you should! You’ll laugh and you’ll cry as Sarah, Rosemary, and Glory Ann each try to protect one another from the hurts of the world. Mother-daughter relationships are front and center, as is the danger of secret-keeping. Instead of providing walls of protection, the secrets became barriers to healthy communication and relationships. And those barriers spilled over into the women’s interactions with others as well. While the bulk of the story surrounds the three women, I think my very favorite character was Clarence Clearwater, Glory Ann’s husband. He lived and loved so much like Christ. And then there is Old Depot Grocery, so much like a character in itself, as it symbolized the strengths of family and close community.

A perk of discovering another talented author is getting to read more of her books! Cox’s debut, The Edge of Belonging, is a 2021 Christy Award finalist for First Novel. It is now on my TBR wishlist — looking forward to some more great reading!

Very Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults

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

Top 10 Tuesday — Book World Problems

5 Oct

My husband and I often joke that many of our frustrations, annoyances, and irritations are First World Problems. In that spirit, I have decided to twist the TTT prompt of Bookish Pet Peeves to Book World Problems. In a world with so many book options and the reality of not enough time to read All The Books, I cringe at the number of books I have to leave on the shelf. But I am determined to whittle down the TBR, and with this list, increase yours! LOL!

For more bookish pet peeves be sure to check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Book World Problems

Finding a debut author I love and acknowledging I have to read all her subsequent books!

Kimberly Duffy

Finding a new-to-me author, and discovering he has a backlist.

Tom Threadgill

Having just one more book in a series to read, yet can’t find time to read it!

Maybe It’s You by Candace Calvert

The Solid Grounds Coffee Company by Carla Laureano

Portrait of Vengeance by Carrie Stuart Parks

Waiting on an author to finish a series. Yes, I am looking at you, Heather Day Gilbert! 😉

Heather Day Gilbert

What are some of your Book World Problems?