April 23, 2017

The Hideaway


The charming cover art drew me to this book, and the setting and characters pulled me in completely. I’m so happy to be introduced to Lauren Denton’s work. This is a wonderful debut.

The Hideaway is filled with so much of what I adore in fiction—dual time-frames, a southern setting, small town charm, quirky, interesting characters, and a whole lot of heart.

It’s so easy to become fully absorbed into this book. I feel like I’ve visited the Hideaway and made friends with the people of Sweet Bay, Alabama. Both storylines are so easy to sink into. Mags is a strong and unique soul with a hidden past. Her granddaughter, Sara, uproots her life to fulfill Mags last wishes, and learns so much about Mags, as well as herself.

This well-written story of friendship, family, and belonging, is sure to touch the deepest parts of your heart. If you like women’s fiction, southern fiction, and stories that showcase undying love, this is the book for you.

I can’t wait to read more of Ms. Denton’s work.

5 Stars

Cover: Love
Title: Love
Pages: 352
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 978-0718084226
First Line: Sunsets in Sweet Bay have always made me feel a little like a child.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Booklook and NetGalley and was under no obligation to post a review.

April 17, 2017

Before We Were Yours


Lisa Wingate has been my favorite author for some time. She writes stories with heart, and creates characters with such depth that I feel their absence when I’ve turned the last page. It seems like each new book of hers becomes a favorite.

I finished Before We Were Yours yesterday, and I’m already in serious withdrawal. If there isn’t a sequel planned for this book, I’ll be willing to get on my knees and beg for one to make it happen. I’ve grown so attached to these characters. I want them back!

Ms. Wingate does a superb job of melding dual time periods, dual stories, into one cohesive book. I love both the present day story and the one that is drawn from the past. As in all her books, I’m mostly pulled into the characters of the past, as in this story, drawn into the mind of young Rill Foss.

Rill, her siblings, and parents have seared permanent memories in my heart. They have few worldly possessions, but carry immeasurable love in their souls. I laughed with them, feared for them, and cried over their hardships. I was drawn in even deeper to their stories by knowing that many elements mirrored true-life events. I became Rill, saw the world through her young eyes, cried her tears, and dreamed her dreams.

The present-day main character, Avery Stafford, has a heart of gold. She’s empathetic, curious, and willing to follow unknown paths to find the truth, even if the truth could change her life, and the life of others, forever.

Beautiful babies, ugly babies; brilliant babies, dull babies; healthy babies, sick, handicapped babies; babies with blue eyes, brown eyes, black eyes; with golden hair, black hair, curly-locked and straight; babies thin and babies fat; babies three days old, three months or years old, and all the way stations in between; babies with full family histories and babies with no family history; without age, name or birth certificate, unknown waifs tossed into alleyways or dumped into garbage cans… Baby girls are more feminine, alluring; they are grand little self-advertisers and they know instinctively how to strut their stuff…Women and strong men grow mad, become besotted with adoration and want to kidnap them on the spot. ~From the article “The Baby Market” The Saturday Evening Post, February 1930

It’s so difficult for me to pick a favorite book. I love books for many different reasons. The Little House, Trixie Belden, and Nancy Drew series gave me a fun sense of adventure. To Kill a Mockingbird made me see the world as it was, rather than the way I wished it to be. Gone With the Wind provided an escape through some tough times in my life…

Before We Were Yours caused every nerve ending in my body to prickle, and gave my soul the major f-e-e-l-s. With vivid scenes, remarkable characters, a momentous historical scandal, and lessons of faith, family, friendship, and freedom, this book tops my list of the most memorable, heart-searing books I’ve read. I can’t imagine anything topping it.

5 Huge Stars!


Cover: Love
Title: Love
Pages: 352
Publisher: Ballantine Books
ISBN: 978-0425284681
I received a complimentary copy.

April 15, 2017

You'll Think of Me


One of my favorite fiction tropes is new beginnings. I love it when characters return home (usually a small town) and revisit their past. When characters learn new things about the people the left behind, as well as themselves. When the heart-broken, lonely, or struggling main character begins life anew.

You’ll Think of Me, by Robin Lee Hatcher, is a sweet, yet deeply emotional story about Brooklyn Myers’ new beginning. With past hurts of being abandoned, she takes her daughter Alycia, back to Thunder Creek. Revisiting the past isn’t easy, but she’s willing to do what it takes to assure Alycia’s wellbeing.

I became fully absorbed in this Christian fiction book from the first page. The characters are engaging and the plot is believable.  With elements of faith, forgiveness, and perseverance, this is a full story that swelled my heart. The perfect book to sink into over the weekend, with characters that will stay with you.

4 Stars

Cover: Love
Title: Love
Pages: 320
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 978-0718085940
First Line: Brooklyn Myers sat on the narrow stretch of lawn beside the brick apartment building, watching her ten-year-old daughter.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Booklook and NetGalley and was under no obligation to post a review.

April 12, 2017

The Heart-Shaped Life


I love! love! love! devotionals. Especially when they are as easy to read and concise as these are.

The one-page, dated daily devotions (yay for alliteration) begin with a Scripture verse, continue with a few paragraphs of nourishment, and close with a thoughtful prayer. The conversational tone delivers wonderful affirmations of love and prompts us to live life fully.

The Heart-Shaped Life, by Karen Moore, is simply an energizing, inspiring and refreshing way to start your day. We all need encouragement and guidance, and I can’t think of a better way to set out on your day – than to start it in devotion and prayer to our Lord.

*This thick, hardback book is loaded with words of wisdom for your daily worship throughout the year, and comes with an attached satin ribbon bookmark.

5 Stars!


Cover: Love
Title: Love
Pages: 384
Publisher: Shiloh Run Press
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

Home


This is one of the (very) few present tense books that I’ve read and I fully enjoyed. With multiple points of view, a fascinating and unique plot, and nicely researched subplots, Home is a deeply emotional and enriching read.

Although Home is the first novel I’ve read by Ginny L. Yttrup, I consider myself a fan. I love her smooth writing style, fully developed characters and the spirituality she weaves throughout her storytelling. Most of all, I love the emotions she imprints on her readers’ hearts.

The relationship between Melanie and Craig is strained. Craig’s work and financial responsibilities keep him occupied, and Melanie is more invested in the ideal world within the novel she is writing than in reality. They both long for something…for the fullness, attentiveness, and closeness of their youthful years. I became fully invested in them and yearned for a good outcome.

I became enveloped in their neighbors’ story as well. Jill and Marcos deal with completely different concerns. Though this couple’s love is stable, a serious thorn in their lives must be addressed.

Dealing with loneliness, grief, deception, mental illness, and spiritual restoration, this story expertly addresses a variety of women’s issues and illuminates the path to healing…and home.


5 Stars

Cover: Love
Title: Love
Pages: 320
Publisher: Shiloh Run Press
ISBN: 978-1634099554
First Lines: I run away. From conflict. From pain. From reality.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing (and NetGalley) and was under no obligation to post a review.