Tag Archives: women’s fiction

Top 10 Tuesday — Book Turn-Ons

30 May

Happy Tuesday! This week’s TTT topic is Book Turn-Offs. I really hate to hate on books and by extension the authors. So I did a little research into what other readers find to be turn-offs and twisted it up. I’ve listed books that did each category really well.

For more about book turn-offs/ons, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Book Turn-Ons

Some people don’t like “bad” covers. Indigo Isle by T. I. Lowe has a fantastic cover!

Some people don’t like multiple points of view. I do. Especially in dual timeline novels. The Vanishing At Castle Moreau by Jaime Jo Wright is spot on with its POVS.

Some people believe a male author can’t write a strong female character. Tom Threadgill did it twice with his Amara Alvarez series. Collision of Lies is book 1.

Some people don’t like horror. I get that, but Billy Coffey writes stories that sneak up on you. It’s horror without the gore. But there sure are spine tingles. The Devil Walks in Mattingly is excellent.

Main characters that are too perfect turn people off. I guess that would be true of me too, but sometimes an author explores a “perfect” character to show that no one lives a life of perfection. Struggles are real and universal. Becky Wade‘s Stay With Me is a good example.

Some people don’t like long book series. I sure am glad Irene Hannon doesn’t feel that way. I love my return visits to Hope Harbor, Oregon. The latest book, #9!, Windswept Way is a favorite.

Some people don’t like cliff-hangers. One of the biggest I have come across is Life Support by Robert Whitlow. Some of the members of my book club were a little miffed when we read it. But we clamored for the rest of the story in Life Everlasting. Both books are available, so make sure you buy both. 😉

First Line Friday — The Book Shop At Water’s End

26 May

Happy Friday! After a very hard read, my book club wanted a recovery book for its next selection. We chose The Book Shop At Water’s End by Patti Callahan Henry. Early reports is that it’s good.

Do you ever need a recovery read following an especially emotional or difficult book?

Here’s the first line:

We are defined by the moods and whims of a wild tidal river surrounding our small town, cradling us in its curved basin.

The women who spent their childhood summers in a small southern town discover it harbors secrets as lush as the marshes that surround it…
 
Bonny Blankenship’s most treasured memories are of idyllic summers spent in Watersend, South Carolina, with her best friend, Lainey McKay. Amid the sand dunes and oak trees draped with Spanish moss, they swam and wished for happy-ever-afters, then escaped to the local bookshop to read and whisper in the glorious cool silence. Until the night that changed everything, the night that Lainey’s mother disappeared.

Now, in her early fifties, Bonny is desperate to clear her head after a tragic mistake threatens her career as an emergency room doctor, and her marriage crumbles around her. With her troubled teenage daughter, Piper, in tow, she goes back to the beloved river house, where she is soon joined by Lainey and her two young children. During lazy summer days and magical nights, they reunite with bookshop owner Mimi, who is tangled with the past and its mysteries. As the three women cling to a fragile peace, buried secrets and long ago loves return like the tide.

Top 10 Tuesday — If You Like …

28 Mar

Happy Tuesday! I regularly include an If You Liked . . . post on my blog with suggestions for further reading if you like my book club’s monthly selection. I love connecting readers to new-to-them authors. For today’s TTT prompt I decided to pull from those list to compile a If You Like X Author, Then Try … . While many of these authors will already be on your radar, I hope you find a new favorite!

For more fun, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Authors To Try If You Like . . .

If you like Lynette Eason, especially her Danger Never Sleeps series, then try Hallee Bridgeman.

Captain Rick Norton and his Army Special Forces are on a mission to subdue Chukuwereije, a warlord terrorizing the villages in the jungles of Katangela, Africa, when their mission is interrupted to extract the daughter of America’s vice president.

Dr. Cynthia Myers has used her medical mission in a remote village in Katangela to escape a shallow life of unearned wealth, a philandering fiancé, and a father now square in the public eye. At least here she knows her work and life have meaning. But all that is thrown into chaos when she fails to save the life of Chukuwereije’s mortally wounded son and becomes a target for the warlord’s revenge.

Rick is compelled to use deadly force to save Cynthia’s life. Enraged at the violence she witnessed and riddled with guilt that men died because of her, Cynthia tries to hang on to her anger–but an unexpected attraction is taking hold.

With two members of his team badly injured and rebels in hot pursuit, Rick will have to draw upon all his strength and cunning to get her out alive . . . because he’s beginning to think they just might overcome their differences and be able to make a life together.

If you like Elizabeth Goddard, then try Melissa Koslin.

Former CIA sniper Kadance Tolle possesses a special set of skills and a rare pedigree. She comes from a family of assassins, and by saving Lyndon Vaile’s life she risks being found by them. Despite the danger, Kadance feels compelled to help Lyndon discover who is after him–and his research that seems to prove that the Ebola virus was manmade and is about to be weaponized.

With shadowy figures pursuing them and a Mastermind watching their every move, Kadance and Lyndon must scramble to stop an impending bioattack at the State of the Union address. But their warnings fall on deaf ears, and it becomes increasingly clear that there’s no one they can trust — except perhaps each other.

Strap in for a breakneck story that will have you up all night, hurtling toward the last page as the clock ticks and time runs out.

If You like Patricia Bradley, especially her Natchez Trace Park Rangers series, then try Janice Cantore.

As a police officer in Table Rock, Oregon, Leah Radcliff puts her life on the line to help others every day. But at home, Leah’s battling her own personal nightmare: Brad, her abusive husband, a fellow officer, celebrated hero, and beloved son of a powerful prominent family. Brad’s violent outbursts and suspicious activities have left Leah physically and emotionally scarred, until one desperate action to put a stop to his abuse results in deadly consequences.

Though public opinion seems ready to convict Leah, Officer Clint Tanner is one of the few to believe she acted in self-defense. As he works with Leah’s attorney to produce the evidence they need, new truths about Brad’s dark side come to light—and reveal a deep-rooted problem in Table Rock. There are some who have breached their sworn duty to serve and protect . . . and they’ll do anything to keep their secret safe.

If you like Sarah Sundin‘s WWII fiction, then try Mario Escobar.

Saint-Malo, France: August 1938. Jocelyn and Antoine are childhood sweethearts, but just after they marry and are hoping for a child, Antoine is called up to fight against Germany. As the war rages, Jocelyn focuses on comforting and encouraging the local population by recommending books from her beloved library in Saint-Malo. She herself finds hope in her letters to a famous author.

After the French capitulation, the s occupy the town and turn it into a fortress to control the north of French Brittany. Residents try passive resistance, but the German commander ruthlessly purges part of the city’s libraries to destroy any potentially subversive writings. At great risk to herself, Jocelyn manages to hide some of the books while waiting to receive news from Antoine, who has been taken to a German prison camp.

What unfolds in her letters is Jocelyn’s description of her mission: to protect the people of Saint-Malo and the books they hold so dear. With prose both sweeping and romantic, Mario Escobar brings to life the occupied city and re-creates the history of those who sacrificed all to care for the people they loved.

If you like Nancy Mehl, especially her creepier novels 😉 , then try Tom Threadgill.

Catherine Mae Blackston is missing. She is not the first.

While investigating Blackston’s recent activities, FBI Agent Jeremy Winter stumbles upon a string of missing persons within state parks. Unable to convince his boss that Blackston’s disappearance is anything other than a lost hiker, Winter joins forces with a local police officer to continue the search. 

As the clues mount, a dark figure from Jeremy’s past emerges with an ultimatum — one that could force him out of the Bureau. Afraid that his girlfriend, fellow agent Maggie Keeley, will be dragged into a high-stakes political game, he delays his decision. But as the tally of missing persons increases, Winter closes in on the unlikeliest of suspects. 

The bodies are out there. 

He just has to find them before his past catches up with him.

If You like Amanda Cox, then try Susie Finkbeiner.

In 1975, three thousand children were airlifted out of Saigon to be adopted into Western homes. When Mindy, one of those children, announces her plans to return to Vietnam to find her birth mother, her loving adopted family is suddenly thrown back to the events surrounding her unconventional arrival in their lives.

Though her father supports Mindy’s desire to meet her family of origin, he struggles privately with an unsettling fear that he’ll lose the daughter he’s poured his heart into. Mindy’s mother undergoes the emotional rollercoaster inherent in the adoption of a child from a war-torn country, discovering the joy hidden amid the difficulties. And Mindy’s sister helps her sort through relics that whisper of the effect the trauma of war has had on their family–but also speak of the beauty of overcoming.

Told through three strong voices in three compelling timelines, The Nature of Small Birds is a hopeful story that explores the meaning of family far beyond genetic code.

If you like Courtney Walsh, then try Janet W. Ferguson.

Animals always made more sense than humans did to marine biologist Skye Youngblood. After her mother’s tragic death, she left Alabama and never looked back. These days, she pours her heart into protecting nature’s sea creatures. When she returns to Dauphin Island, Alabama, for a temporary manatee migration study, her dark past is much too close. She can’t let her guard down. But how can she keep her heart hidden when a kind man with a genuine smile makes her want a fresh start?

Charter fishing pays the bills for widower Pete Thompson and his little girl, but like his father, a pastor, Pete can’t help but fish for men. Only, after growing up under constant scrutiny as a preacher’s kid, Pete’s ways are a bit more unconventional. And the bulk of his life revolves around raising his precious daughter.

When he witnesses the car wreck of a new marine biologist on the island, it doesn’t take a genius to see that more than just her physical pain needs tending. Pete feels called to help Skye find true healing, but he’s navigating dangerous waters. And he’s not at all sure he’ll walk away unscathed.

If you like Lisa Harris, then try Susan Sleeman.

When cybercriminals hack into the US Marshals’ Witness Protection database and auction off witnesses’ personal details to the highest bidders, the RED Team led by FBI Agent Sean Nichols begins a high-stakes chase to find the hacker. But before he can even get started, the first witness is targeted and barely escapes with her life. Sean believes Phantom, an obsessed hacker who previously outwitted the top minds in the field, is behind the attack, and Sean needs this witness’s help, as she’s the person who has come closest to discovering Phantom’s identity. 

Trouble is, she’s a witness under the care of US Marshal Taylor Mills, and Sean is reluctant to work with the captivating marshal who knows his deepest secrets. But Phantom claims he knows where the witness is hiding and will kill her, so to stop the hacker, Sean and Taylor must work through their personal pain and learn to trust each other . . . . The seconds are ticking down before someone dies.

If you like Lynn H. Blackburn, then try Lisa Carter.

Secrets and danger hide deep in the canyons and arroyos of the Navajo Nation When federal agent Aaron Yazzie is assigned to protect the only witness to a drug cartel execution, he hides Kailyn Eudailey in the safest place he knows . . . the vast, untamed wilderness of the Navajo Reservation. Transporting Kailyn to New Mexico may not be as easy as Aaron would like. Kailyn is a high-maintenance Southern belle who is determined to assert her independence at every step. Though Aaron works to protect her from the dangers that could get them both killed, Kailyn is getting to him. Although, she doesn’t know the real him. As an undercover agent, Aaron has grown adept at playing many roles. But will he be able to embrace his true identity and God’s plan for his life in order to keep Kailyn alive?

If you like Erin Bartels, then try 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.

First Line Friday — Heirlooms

3 Mar

Happy Friday! My book club is reading Heirlooms by Sandra Byrd this month. I have already read it and LOVED it! It is dual timeline women’s fiction featuring 2 women of the 1950s and their granddaughters. Secrets were kept in the past and uncovered in the present. I am really looking forward to talking about this book!

Here’s the first line:

Helen Devries carefully removed her nurse’s cap, fluffing her platinum back-combed bouffant, crackling the Aqua Net lacquering it in place.

Answering a woman’s desperate call for help, young Navy widow Helen Devries opens her Whidbey Island home as a refuge to Choi Eunhee. As they bond over common losses and a delicate, potentially devastating secret, their friendship spans the remainder of their lives.

After losing her mother, Cassidy Quinn spent her childhood summers with her gran, Helen, at her farmhouse. Nourished by her grandmother’s love and encouragement, Cassidy discovers a passion that she hopes will bloom into a career. But after Helen passes, Cassidy learns that her home and garden have fallen into serious disrepair. Worse, a looming tax debt threatens her inheritance. Facing the loss of her legacy and in need of allies and ideas, Cassidy reaches out to Nick, her former love, despite the complicated emotions brought by having him back in her life.

Cassidy inherits not only the family home but a task, spoken with her grandmother’s final breaths: ask Grace Kim—Eunhee’s granddaughter—to help sort through the contents of the locked hope chest in the attic. As she and Grace dig into the past, they unearth their grandmothers’ long-held secret and more. Each startling revelation reshapes their understanding of their grandmothers and ultimately inspires the courage to take risks and make changes to own their lives.

Set in both modern-day and midcentury Whidbey Island, Washington, this dual-narrative story of four women—grandmothers and granddaughters—intertwines across generations to explore the secrets we keep, the love we pass down, and the heirlooms we inherit from a well-lived life.

The author of more than fifty books, Sandra Byrd’s work has received many awards, nominations, and accolades, including a starred review, PW Pick from Publisher’s Weekly, as well as multiple starred reviews and Best Book selections from Library Journal. Other awards include the Historical Novel Society’s Editor’s Choice award, two Christy Awards nominations, a Bookpage Top Pick for Romance, and inclusion on Booklist’s Top Ten Inspirational Books of the Year list.

A dedicated foodie, Sandra cooks through the topic and location of every book she writes. In addition, she collects vintage glass and serve ware in her free time, loves long walks with her husband, and Sunday Suppers with her growing family.

Visit her at sandrabyrd.com or http://www.sandrabyrdbookcoach.com.

March Book Club Selection — Heirlooms

1 Mar

I’ve already read the March book club selection — Heirlooms by Sandra Byrd. It is excellent! Women’s fiction with dual timelines –my book club is going to love it!

Have you read it? I’d love to know what you think!

Answering a woman’s desperate call for help, young Navy widow Helen Devries opens her Whidbey Island home as a refuge to Choi Eunhee. As they bond over common losses and a delicate, potentially devastating secret, their friendship spans the remainder of their lives.

After losing her mother, Cassidy Quinn spent her childhood summers with her gran, Helen, at her farmhouse. Nourished by her grandmother’s love and encouragement, Cassidy discovers a passion that she hopes will bloom into a career. But after Helen passes, Cassidy learns that her home and garden have fallen into serious disrepair. Worse, a looming tax debt threatens her inheritance. Facing the loss of her legacy and in need of allies and ideas, Cassidy reaches out to Nick, her former love, despite the complicated emotions brought by having him back in her life.

Cassidy inherits not only the family home but a task, spoken with her grandmother’s final breaths: ask Grace Kim—Eunhee’s granddaughter—to help sort through the contents of the locked hope chest in the attic. As she and Grace dig into the past, they unearth their grandmothers’ long-held secret and more. Each startling revelation reshapes their understanding of their grandmothers and ultimately inspires the courage to take risks and make changes to own their lives.

Set in both modern-day and midcentury Whidbey Island, Washington, this dual-narrative story of four women—grandmothers and granddaughters—intertwines across generations to explore the secrets we keep, the love we pass down, and the heirlooms we inherit from a well-lived life.

The author of more than fifty books, Sandra’s work has received many awards, nominations, and accolades, including a starred review, PW Pick from Publisher’s Weekly, as well as multiple starred reviews and Best Book selections from Library Journal. Other awards include the Historical Novel Society’s Editor’s Choice award, two Christy Awards nominations, a Bookpage Top Pick for Romance, and inclusion on Booklist’s Top Ten Inspirational Books of the Year list.

A dedicated foodie, Sandra cooks through the topic and location of every book she writes. In addition, she collects vintage glass and serve ware in her free time, loves long walks with her husband, and Sunday Suppers with her growing family.

Visit her at sandrabyrd.com or http://www.sandrabyrdbookcoach.com.

Audiobooks Vs. Book-Books

15 Feb

I read physical books, ebooks, and listen to audiobooks — I love books in all forms. I choose audiobooks mainly for travel and exercise/chores. The last two books I listened to brought home for me the debate over whether audiobooks or book-books are best. I generally say the more the merrier. If you can get in more reading by listening then all power to you. However, the experiences I just had made me reconsider. My problem wasn’t a bad narrator or technical difficulties. It revolved around content, of which the book-books and audiobooks share.

I’m not going to share the titles of the audiobooks — one was general market and one was Christian fiction — because I disliked them both! The general market had adult situations and language I could do without, while the CF also had some adult language and had some pretty graphic violence. Basically I couldn’t unhear any of those things.

When reading a physical copy or ebook, you can skim. When faced with a scene that should have remained behind a closed door or one that inspires nightmares, I can skip ahead. And when a particularly nasty word is presented I don’t have to sound it out in my head. Listening often feels like a slap in the face.

General market offerings often have things I don’t like, so I usually do more research before choosing a book to read or listen to. On the other hand, I am more trusting of Christian fiction, especially when published by the traditional houses, and often don’t do a thorough vetting process.

I still listen to audiobooks. In fact, I am currently listening to Heirlooms by Sandra Byrd, my book club’s March selection. It is excellent, by the way (see blurb below). No offensive language or cringe-inducing scenes, just wonderful storytelling. But I am going to be more discerning going ahead. Even if a book is CF, if I don’t know anything about it or the author (which I didn’t) I’ll look at reviews, especially of trusted book friends. I have a list of wonderful reviewers on the sidebar to turn to.

So what do you think?

Audiobooks or book-books?

Answering a woman’s desperate call for help, young Navy widow Helen Devries opens her Whidbey Island home as a refuge to Choi Eunhee. As they bond over common losses and a delicate, potentially devastating secret, their friendship spans the remainder of their lives.

After losing her mother, Cassidy Quinn spent her childhood summers with her gran, Helen, at her farmhouse. Nourished by her grandmother’s love and encouragement, Cassidy discovers a passion that she hopes will bloom into a career. But after Helen passes, Cassidy learns that her home and garden have fallen into serious disrepair. Worse, a looming tax debt threatens her inheritance. Facing the loss of her legacy and in need of allies and ideas, Cassidy reaches out to Nick, her former love, despite the complicated emotions brought by having him back in her life.

Cassidy inherits not only the family home but a task, spoken with her grandmother’s final breaths: ask Grace Kim—Eunhee’s granddaughter—to help sort through the contents of the locked hope chest in the attic. As she and Grace dig into the past, they unearth their grandmothers’ long-held secret and more. Each startling revelation reshapes their understanding of their grandmothers and ultimately inspires the courage to take risks and make changes to own their lives.

Set in both modern-day and midcentury Whidbey Island, Washington, this dual-narrative story of four women—grandmothers and granddaughters—intertwines across generations to explore the secrets we keep, the love we pass down, and the heirlooms we inherit from a well-lived life.

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