Happy Labor day. I know this holiday started as a day to celebrate labor unions, but I like how it has evolved into a holiday to celebrate the working person no matter who they are. Of course the best way to do that is grilling, eating and reading.
The Auschwitz Lullaby – Mario Excobar – On an otherwise ordinary morning in 1943, Helene Hannemann is preparing her five children for the day when the German police arrive at her home. Helene’s worst fears come true when the police, under strict orders from the SS, demand that her children and husband, all of Romani heritage, be taken into custody. Though Helene is German and safe from the forces invading her home, she refuses to leave her family–sealing her fate in a way she never could have imagined. After a terrifying trek across the continent, Helene and her family arrive at Auschwitz and are thrown into the chaos of the camp. Her husband, Johann, is separated from them, but Helene remains fiercely protective of her children and those around her. When the powers-that-be discover that Helene is not only a German but also a trained nurse, she is forced into service at the camp hospital, which is overseen by the notorious Dr. Mengele himself. Helene is under no illusions in terms of Dr. Mengele’s intentions, but she agrees to cooperate when he asks her to organize a day care and school for the Romani children in the camp. Though physically and emotionally brutalized by the conditions at Auschwitz, Helene musters the strength to protect the children in her care at any cost. Through sheer force of will, Helene provides a haven for the children of Auschwitz–an act of kindness and selflessness so great that it illuminates the darkest night of human history.
The Hope Jar – Wanda Brunstetter – #1 The Prayer Jars – Michelle Taylor is not who her new family in Lancaster County believes her to be. The Lapps were looking for their long-lost granddaughter when they met Michelle and she assumed the identity of Sara Murray. Once homeless and hopeless, Michelle has come to love her new Amish friends and even considers the idea of romance among them. Finding an old blue jar in the barn that is filled with slips of paper containing thoughts, quotes, and prayers by an unknown author becomes a boost to Michelle’s budding faith– but also convicting. How can she tell the truth without hurting the ones she has truly come to love?
On the Mountain of the Lord – Ray Bentley/Bodie Thoene – Jack Garrison lost his wife and their only child in a car accident … and thereafter lost his faith. In this dramatic novel, the thirty-three-year-old skeptic experiences the mysterious wonder of being caught up in visions, dreams, and real life experiences. Readers journey with Jack throughout the Holy Land … and also globally, from his home in London to the furthest corners of the world. We watch prophecy being fulfilled … and continuing to unfold. . .as only best-selling author, Bodie Thoene, and prophecy scholar, Ray Bentley, can paint the pictures and evoke the scenes.
A Touch of Gold – Annie Sullivan – King Midas once had the ability to turn all he touched into gold. But after his gift—or curse—almost killed his daughter, Midas relinquished The Touch forever. Ten years later, Princess Kora still bears the consequences of her father’s wish: her skin shines golden, rumors follow her everywhere she goes, and she harbors secret powers that are getting harder to hide. Kora spends her days locked in the palace, concealed behind gloves and veils, trying to ignore the stares and gossip of courtiers. It isn’t until a charming young duke arrives that Kora realizes there may be someone out there who doesn’t fear her or her curse. But their courtship is disrupted when a thief steals precious items from the kingdom, leaving the treasury depleted and King Midas vulnerable. Thanks to her unique ability to sense gold, Kora is the only one who can track the thief down. As she sails off on her quest, Kora learns that not everything is what it seems—not thieves, not pirates, and not even curses. She quickly discovers that gold—and the power it brings—is more dangerous than she’d ever believed. Midas learned his lesson at a price. What will Kora’s journey cost?
The end of summer is looming. I am so not ready for fall. I know lots of people love fall, I am just not one of them. Of course I will be reading outside for many days and weeks to come with all these great titles.
Called to Protect – Lynette Eason- #2 Blue Justice – After being dumped by her fiancé, Chloe St. John has decided that the only male she likes is her K-9 German shepherd partner, Hank. But being over the whole romance thing has perks–like giving full attention to her job. Attention she’s definitely going to need because a case of human trafficking with connections to her missing cousin just landed in her lap. Deputy US Marshall Blake MacCallum is in a race against the clock to rescue his kidnapped daughter when Chloe and Hank are asked to be a part of the task force assembled to bring down the traffickers. Chloe finds herself attracted to the silent, suffering man. But can she trust him? And can Blake trust himself around this firecracker of a woman?
A Simple Singing – Leslie Gould – #2 the Sisters of Lancaster County – For years, Marie Bachmann thought of herself as the “good” daughter. She was the most loving to their mother and the most dedicated to their Amish way of life. But when a Mennonite farmhand, Gordon Martin, shows interest in her, she can’t help but be flattered–until her mother sends her off to Florida. While there, Marie begins spending time with rebellious Elijah Jacobs, the bishop’s son from back home. When Gordon shows up in Florida to volunteer at a homeless shelter, her life becomes even more complicated. At the same time, her aunt begins telling her about the uncommon bravery of one of Marie’s Civil War-era ancestors . . . a story that begins to work at Marie’s heart.
A Rumored Fortune – Joanna Davidson Politano – Tressa Harlowe’s father kept his vast fortune hidden somewhere on his estate in the south of England and died suddenly, without telling anyone where he had concealed it. Now Tressa and her ailing mother are left with a mansion and an immense vineyard and no money to run it. It doesn’t take long for a bevy of opportunists to flock to the estate under the guise of offering condolences. Tressa knows what they’re really up to. She’ll have to work with the rough and rusticated vineyard manager to keep the laborers content without pay and discover the key to finding her father’s fortune–before someone else finds it first.
Lady of Tarpon Springs – Judith Miller – In 1905 Tarpon Springs, Florida, Zanna Krykos values the independence her career as a lawyer gives her from her very traditional Greek family and the pressure they put on her to find a husband. When a friend inherits a sponging business, Zanna finds herself agreeing to run it for her . . . even though she doubts her legal skills make her qualified. When offered the chance to lead a team of sponge divers to the United States, experienced Greek diver Nico Kalos can’t imagine a better opportunity. But his excitement quickly quells when their team arrives only to discover that a young woman with no experience will be their boss. For the sake of his men and the families they support, he can’t let the business fail. But when both the business and the lives of the employees are threatened, can Zanna and Nico set aside their pride and come together to save what matters most?
Caught by Surprise – Jen Turano – #3 Apart from the Crowd – After years of hiding her true nature, Miss Temperance Flowerdew is finally enjoying freedom outside of the shadow of her relations, so the last thing she expected on her way to work was to be grabbed off the street by a stranger and put on a train bound for Chicago. When Mr. Gilbert Cavendish is called upon to rescue a missing woman, he follows the trail to Chicago only to discover that the woman is his good friend, Temperance. Before they can discover who was behind her abduction, they’re spotted alone together by a New York society matron, putting their reputations at risk. Even though Gilbert is willing to propose marriage, Temperance is determined not to lose her newfound independence. But when the misunderstanding in Chicago escalates into a threat on her life, accepting Gilbert’s help in solving the mystery may lead to more than she ever could have dreamed.
My TBR tower has fallen and I am stuck underneath it. Don’t send help, I will just read my way out. Maybe if you could push a cup of tea to me that would help.
Okay enough silliness, here are some more great reads to add to that tower.
Firestorm – Laura V. Hilton – #1 the Amish of Mackinac County – When Bridget Behr and her family migrate from a bustling Amish community in Ohio to the remote and isolated Upper Peninsula of Michigan, they’re met with an ugly surprise: the house they had bought sight unseen is an uninhabitable wreck. While her father and brother try to find work in the area, the family is forced to live in tents until the house and barn are rebuilt. Bridget can’t shake the guilt that it was her fault her family moved—and is too afraid to trust anyone, especially the flirtatious, overly-friendly Amish man who lives next door.
Gabriel Lapp has made Michigan his home out of necessity, but can’t wait to move back to Florida with its sunshine and warmer temperatures. But when Bridget’s family seeks refuge with Gabe during a fierce thunderstorm, he feels a tug of responsibility for them—especially the girl with the dark green eyes. Just as Bridget is finally settling into friendship, a new life, and maybe even love, a devastating forest fire ravages the county, destroying both land and the Behrs’ dreams. Now Bridget and her family must decide: will they leave behind the ashes and start anew in another Amish community? Or will they dare to fight for the future they’d hoped for in Mackinac County?
The Patriot Bride -Kimberly Woodhouse – The Daughters of the Mayflower – Faith Jackson is a wealthy widow, friend of George Washington, and staunch supporter of the Patriot cause. Matthew Weber is friends with both Ben Franklin and his son William, who increasingly differ in their political views; and Matthew finds himself privy to information on both sides of the conflict. When a message needs to get to a spy among the Loyalists, Faith bravely steps up and in turn meets Matthew Weber. Suddenly she believes she could love again. But someone else has his eye on the Faith she portrays in elite social circles. What will Matthew and Faith have to sacrifice for the sake of their fledgling country?
Heartland – Kimberly Stuart – Grace Klaren has finally made her dream of living in the Big Apple and working in the fashion industry a reality. But when she’s unexpectedly fired and can’t afford the next month’s rent, Grace does something she never thought she’d do: she moves back home. Back in Silver Creek, Iowa, Grace is determined to hate it. She rails against the quiet of her small town, where everything closes early, where there’s no nightlife, where everyone knows each other. She’s saving her pennies and plotting her return to New York when she almost runs over a man who’s not paying attention at a crosswalk. It turns out to be Tucker, her high school sweetheart whose heart she broke when she left ten years ago. They reconnect, and Grace remembers why she fell for him in the first place. And her career begins to turn around when she finds a gorgeous but tattered vintage dress at a flea market. She buys it, rips it apart seam by seam, and re-creates it with new fabric, updating the look with some of her own design ideas. She snaps a picture and lists the dress online, and within a day, it sells for nearly $200. Suddenly, Grace has her ticket out of here. But Grace can’t fight her growing feelings for Tucker. Sometimes when they’re together, Tucker paints a picture of what their future could be like, and it feels so real. And when she finally gains the funding to move her new business back to New York, Grace must decide where home really is—will she chase her long-held New York dream, or find a new dream here in the heartland?
A Treacherous Mix – Kathy Herman – #3 Ozark trilogy – When twenty-four-year-old Hawk Cummings wakes up by Beaver Lake at sunset, all he remembers is a dream about a spider that spewed venom. Then he realizes that Kennedy—the young woman he broke every vow to have an affair with—is gone. He rushes to her house only to find it empty. No furniture. No pictures. No sign that anyone lived there. Ashamed and confused, Hawk decides not to report anything to the sheriff. Then Hawk realizes that someone else in town knows what happened to his lover. He begins to fear for Kennedy’s life—and his own.
Thirst of Steel – Ronie Kendig – #3 Tox Files – Dismantled centuries ago, the sword of Goliath is still rumored to thirst for its enemies’ blood. Cole “Tox” Russell wants only to put the dangers of his past behind him and begin his new life with Haven Cortes. First, though, he’s called to complete a final mission: retrieve the sword and destroy the deadly Arrow & Flame Order. The AFO, however, is determined to reunite the sword. Threatening the life of Ram and Tzivia’s father, they jeopardize Ram’s long-held and dangerous secret while demanding Tzivia locate the blade. With the Wraith team slowly being torn apart, things worsen when Mercy Maddox, a new operative, emerges with the stunning news that the artifact is tied to both Ram’s secret and a string of unsolved serial murders. Tox, Ram, and the others are forced to set aside fear and anger to target the true enemy. No matter the cost, Wraith must destroy the AFO . . . or join them in the flames.