Book quote

Dear Readers,

This quote is from Stories That Bind Us by Susie Finkbeiner.

Every one of these (recipes) has a story. When I bake them, I think of the memories of my children or my parents. Sometimes they make me smile and sometimes I get sad. But those memories? They’re the stories that bind us. And they’re meant just for special.”

The character is flipping through family recipes here, but doesn’t that sum up anytime you are going through old family photos? How special is it that Finkbeiner can remind us how special memories are? How we need to hold on to the memories, to share them and to bind us together.

Thank you Susie for reminding us how powerful stories are.

Read on my friends, read on,

New Releases – At least we are on April titles now.

Dear Readers,

The list is long but oh so good. Several favorite authors on this list. I love that I have to work to share them all. It just means more to read. Especially when the spring temps go a little higher than expected.

Read on my friends, read on,

Stay with Me– Becky Wade – A mysterious letter alluding to a secret in her parents’ past brings Genevieve Woodward back to her Blue Ridge Mountains hometown, but she’s also in need of a break from a high-profile career that has left her dangerously burned out and concealing a powerful secret of her own. When she wakes inside an unfamiliar cottage to find the confused owner staring down at her, she can no longer ignore the fact that she needs help. Sam Turner has embraced his sorrow and his identity as an outsider. The solitary, disciplined life he lives on his historic farm is the life he’s chosen for himself. The last thing he wants is to rent his cottage to a woman as troubled as she is talkative. Yet, he can’t force himself to turn her away right when she needs him most. 

At Love’s Command – Karen Witemeyer – Haunted by the horrors of war, ex-cavalry officer Matthew Hanger leads a band of mercenaries known as Hanger’s Horsemen who have become legends in 1890s Texas. They defend the innocent and obtain justice for the oppressed. But when a rustler’s bullet leaves one of them at death’s door, they’re the ones in need of saving.Dr. Josephine Burkett is used to men taking one look at her skirts and discounting her medical skills. What she’s not used to is having a man change his mind in a heartbeat and offer to assist her in surgery. Matthew Hanger’s dedication to his friend during recovery earns Josephine’s respect, and when she hears of her brother’s abduction, he becomes her only hope for rescue.

Carolina Breeze – Denise Hunter – #2 Bluebell Inn Romance – Rising Hollywood star Mia Emerson is looking for a safe place to land in the wake of a public breakup and celebrity scandal, and she finds it in the lake town of Bluebell, North Carolina—the location of her canceled honeymoon. She wants nothing more than to hide and wait for the tabloids to die down. Soon after her arrival at the Bluebell Inn, Mia meets Levi Bennett, who runs the inn along with his two younger sisters. Drawn to one another from the start, Mia trusts Levi to keep her location from the press, and Levi confides in Mia about the precarious financial state of the inn—a secret he’s been keeping from his sisters. When Mia and Levi discover an old journal that hints at a rare diamond necklace hidden in the inn, they set off on a treasure hunt to find the long-lost heirloom. What they don’t expect to surface are feelings they thought were safely locked away. Mia and Levi must decide if falling in love again is too big a risk—or if it will uncover a treasure of its own instead.
 

Of Literature and Lattes – Katherine Reay – After fleeing her hometown three years earlier, Alyssa Harrison never planned to return. Then the Silicon Valley start-up she worked for collapsed and turned her world upside down. She is broke, under FBI investigation, and without a place to go. Having exhausted every option, she comes home to Winsome, Illinois, to regroup and move on as quickly as possible. Yet, as friends and family welcome her back, Alyssa begins to see a place for herself in this small Midwestern community. Jeremy Mitchell moved from Seattle to Winsome to be near his daughter and to open the coffee shop he’s been dreaming of for years. Problem is, the business is bleeding money—and he’s not quite sure why. When he meets Alyssa, he senses an immediate connection, but what he needs most is someone to help him save his floundering business. After asking for her help, he wonders if something might grow between them—but forces beyond their control soon complicate their already complex lives, and the future they both hoped for is not at all what they anticipated.

Storing Up Trouble – Jen Turano – When Miss Beatrix Waterbury’s Chicago-bound train ride is interrupted by a heist, Mr. Norman Nesbit, a man of science who believes his research was the target of the heist, comes to her aid. Despite the fact that they immediately butt heads, they join forces to make a quick escape. Upon her arrival in Chicago, Beatrix is surprised to discover her supposedly querulous Aunt Gladys shares her own suffragette passions. Encouraged by Gladys to leave her sheltered world, Beatrix begins working as a salesclerk at the Marshall Field and Company department store. When she again encounters Norman on a shopping expedition, he is quickly swept up in the havoc she always seems to attract. But when another attempt is made to part Norman from his research papers, and it becomes clear Beatrix’s safety is also at risk, they soon discover the curious way feelings can grow between two very different people in the midst of chaos.

Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey  Abigail Wilson – When the widowed Lord Torrington agreed to spy for the crown, he never planned to impersonate a highwayman, let alone rob the wrong carriage. Stranded on the road with an unconscious young woman, he is forced to propose marriage to protect his identity and her reputation, as well as his dangerous mission. Trapped not only by her duty to her country but also by her limited options as an unwed mother, Miss Elizabeth Cantrell and her infant son are whisked away to Middlecrest Abbey by none other than the elder brother of her son’s absent father. There she is met by Torrington’s beautiful grown daughters, a vicious murder, and an urgent hunt for the missing intelligence that could turn the war with France. Meanwhile she must convince everyone that her marriage is a genuine love match if her new husband has any hope of uncovering the enemy.

This Wandering Heart – Janine Rosche -No one in the quaint town of West Yellowstone, Montana knows that unassuming geography teacher Keira Knudsen moonlights as sensational travel blogger Kat Wanderfull. No one, that is, except for her first love, Robbie Matthews, who has just discovered the woman he is falling for online is the same one that broke his heart five years ago. But Robbie has another problem: the mother of his daughter, Anabelle, has resurfaced after a three-year absence determined to rip Anabelle away from him. Robbie needs a steady paycheck for a chance at custody, and now, on the eve of a grand adventure that could give Keira a chance to flee her old, troubled life once and for all, she is in need of assistance. 

The Water Keeper – Charles Martin – Murphy Shepherd is a man with many secrets. He lives alone on an island, tending the grounds of a church with no parishioners, and he’s dedicated his life to rescuing those in peril. But as he mourns the loss of his mentor and friend, Murph himself may be more lost than he realizes.When he pulls a beautiful woman named Summer out of Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway, Murph’s mission to lay his mentor to rest at the end of the world takes a dangerous turn. Drawn to Summer, and desperate to find her missing daughter, Murph is pulled deeper and deeper into the dark and dangerous world of modern-day slavery.With help from some unexpected new friends, including a faithful Labrador he plucks from the ocean and an ex-convict named Clay, Murph must race against the clock to locate the girl before he is consumed by the secrets of his past—and the ghosts who tried to bury them.

Reading Challenge 2020 – try something new

Dear Readers,

A book that is a childhood favorite. Oh my which one do I read first. Do I go live in a little house on a prairie, ride a wild horse on an island or join a dog sled team looking for gold. There are so many books that made my childhood a place of adventure and wonder.

Which one would you pick?

Read on my friends, read on,

The Key to Everything – Valerie Fraser Luesse – Book review

Dear Readers,

Valerie Fraser Luesse is an author whose books you need to add to your TBR pile immediately. She writes beautiful southern fiction that is just a pleasure to read.  The Key to Everything is a wonderful addition to any book shelf because of the cover alone, but once you dive in you find the writing is even better than the cover. You will find yourself transported back to the 50’s as the country is finally recovering from WWII. It is a time of peace and restarting.

Peyton’s father did not return from the war the same. He saw things he is unable to leave behind and started drinking. It changed who Peyton’s daddy was, forever. When a family tragedy happens, Peyton needs to get his bearings back and his mother offers a chance to go visit an Aunt in Saint Augustine. What he finds there is a chance to follow in his father’s footsteps all the way to Key West.

A sensitively written coming of age book, The Key to Everything is about a son’s discovery of who is father really is. He was not always the man the boy remembered, the one after a war took away his father’s health. It is a poignant reminder that our parents are so much more than our parents.

Luesse pens an engaging southern fiction that will make you want to get your bike out and pedal from Saint Augustine to Key West. Okay maybe not, but it will make you want to know your parents better. To learn more about their hopes and dreams as children and to connect with those around you, family or not.

Happy Reading,

New Releases – still catching up

Dear Readers,

So many good titles came out while I was on furlough. It might takes a bit to catch up. If you are not already reading or have read these books, you are in for a treat. They are all worth hunting down and reading.

Read on my friends, Read on,

Dead Heat – Susan Sleeman -When hackers breach hospital security to steal patient records and begin blackmailing them, Veritas Center’s cybercrime expert, Nick Thorn is hired to locate security holes and patch the system. But he doesn’t stop there. He wants to bring down the hacker and make her pay. Problem is, he inadvertently inserts himself in FBI Agent Piper Nash’s sting to catch the same hacker, and Piper has no choice but to arrest him and force him to stand down. Nick finds himself attracted to Piper and wants to comply, but when his grandmother falls prey to a cyber-attack by the same hacker, he takes the assault very personally and will stop at nothing to find the hacker. Not even stop for Piper’s warnings to take care. They’re in a dead heat to the finish line, but what Nick doesn’t realize is the hacker has no intention of going to jail, and she’s reserved a bullet with Piper’s name on it. With time ticking down can Nick partner with Piper to find the killer before a point-blank shot takes her out?

The Joy of Falling – Lindsay Harrel – It has been fifteen months since Eva and Angela lost their thrill-seeking husbands in a scuba diving accident. Both women are trying to navigate their way through the grief, but neither one is making much progress. Angela is barely making ends meet, angry at her husband for leaving her to raise three children on her own. Meanwhile, Eva is stuck, unable to move forward after losing the love of her life and her source of inspiration. But then Eva gets a life-changing phone call. Before Brent and Wes died, they had signed up for a race of a lifetime—an ultra-marathon in beautiful New Zealand. Eva begs Angela to run the race with her in their husbands’ place, and Angela finally agrees, hoping to finally understand her husband’s choices.Training is exhausting, and the race is even more demanding. Their journey grows more complicated by the presence of two men—Marc is Brent’s best friend who is running the race with Eva and Angela, and Simon King is a writer who is covering their inspiring story. With every step, Eva and Angela must ask themselves questions that they haven’t had the courage to ask before. As the women literally put one foot in front of the other, they wonder: Is it possible to find their way forward in hope?

The House at the End of the Moor – Michelle Griep – Opera star Maggie Lee escapes her opulent lifestyle when threatened by a powerful politician who aims to ruin her life. She runs off to the wilds of the moors to live in anonymity. All that changes the day she discovers a half-dead man near her house. Escaped convict Oliver Ward is on the run to prove his innocence, until he gets hurt and is taken in by Maggie. He discovers some jewels in her possession—the very same jewels that got him convicted. Together they hatch a plan to return the jewels, clearing Oliver’s name and hopefully maintaining Maggie’s anonymity.

The Socialite – J’nell Ciesielski – As the daughter of Sir Alfred Whitford, Kat has a certain set of responsibilities. But chasing her wayward sister, Ellie, to Nazi-occupied Paris was never supposed to be one of them. Now accustomed to the luxurious lifestyle that her Nazi boyfriend provides, Ellie has no intention of going back to the shackled life their parents dictate for them—but Kat will stop at nothing to bring her sister home. Arrested for simply trying to defend himself against a drunken bully, Barrett Anderson is given the option of going to jail or serving out his sentence by training Resistance fighters in Paris. A bar owner serves as the perfect disguise to entertain Nazis at night while training fighters right below their jackboots during the day. Being assigned to watch over two English debutantes is the last thing he needs, but a payout from their father is too tempting to resist. Can Barrett and Kat trust each other long enough to survive, or will their hearts prove more traitorous than the dangers waiting around the corner?

Flight Risk – Cara Putman – Savannah Daniels has worked hard to build her law practice, to surround herself with good friends, and to be the loyal aunt her troubled niece can always count on. But since her ex-husband’s betrayal, she has trouble trusting anyone. Jett Glover’s father committed suicide over a false newspaper report that ruined his reputation. Now a fierce champion of truth, Jett is writing the story of his journalism career—an international sex-trafficking exposé that will bring down a celebrity baseball player and the men closest to him, including Savannah’s ex-husband. When Jett’s story breaks, tragedy ensues. Then a commercial airline crashes, and one of Savannah’s clients is implicated in the crash. Men connected to the scandal, including her ex, begin to die amid mysterious circumstances, and Savannah’s niece becomes an unwitting target. Against their better instincts, Jett and Savannah join ranks to sort the facts from fiction. But can Savannah trust the reporter who threw her life into chaos? And can Jett face the possibility that he’s made the biggest mistake of his life?

The Chishom Trail – Kathleen Y’Barro – Eliza Gentry’s pursuit of marriage to the son of her family’s sworn enemy has cost her greatly. Furious at his daughter’s choices, her father sends her off with the cattle drive heading toward Fort Worth and the Barnhart ranch, but under the watchful eye of Wyatt Creed, a Pinkerton man he has hired to see to her safety. With danger at every turn—not the least of which to his heart—can Wyatt Creed keep his focus with Eliza Gentry around? Is the Chisholm Trail a place for falling in love or a place to die at the hands of cattle thieves?

A Beautiful Arrangement – Beth Wiseman – #3 Amish Journey series – Lydia still can’t believe that she is Mrs. Samuel Bontrager. Or that she is seventeen with  a six-month-old daughter. As Baby Mattie grows fussier by the day, Lydia wonders how she will survive a lifetime of marriage to a man she doesn’t love—at least not in the way she wants. Samuel knows that he and Lydia did the right thing by marrying when Lydia became pregnant. He has even grown to love Lydia, though he never seems able to say the words out loud. What if she doesn’t love him back? After all, she pushes him away whenever he tries to draw closer. When Lydia and Samuel introduce their mutual friends Beverly and Joseph to each other, they are as envious as they are delighted to watch their friends fall in love. But just as Samuel thinks Lydia might be softening to him, she gets involved in investigating the mysterious past of a local homeless woman—a curiosity that threatens to drive the couple further apart. 

Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish – Bethany Turner – Celebrity chef Maxwell Cavanagh is known for many things: his multiple Michelin stars, his top-rated Culinary Channel show To the Max, and most of all his horrible temper. Hadley Beckett, host of the Culinary Channel’s other top-rated show, At Home with Hadley, is beloved for her Southern charm and for making her viewers feel like family. When Max experiences a very public temper tantrum, he’s sent packing to get his life in order. When he returns, career in shambles, his only chance to get back on TV and in the public’s good graces is to work alongside Hadley. As these polar-opposite celeb chefs begin to peel away the layers of public persona and reputation, they will not only discover the key ingredients for getting along, but also learn the secret recipe for unexpected forgiveness . . . and maybe even love. In the meantime, hide the knives.