Wednesday, March 28, 2018

High Cotton

High Cotton is Debby Mayne's first installment in her Bucklin Family Series and it's a hoot! If you loved Steel Magnolias or Fried Green Tomatoes you are sure to love this book. Even if you haven't seen either of those movies, I know you will enjoy this book.

Shay Henke loves her family although she could do without the dreaded family reunions. It's hard to be a self sufficient single woman in a family who are all married. You know you're going to be the talk of the reunion if you show up without a date, you will also be the subject of gossip if you don't show up at all. What's a girl to do? You bring your favorite dish and put your best foot forward. Shay loves her job, well she used to, now it's just one boring task after another. She used to feel fulfilled, but now? Now she's wondering where her zest for life has gone. Could she be ready for a change or is it the upcoming reunion that's stirring up all these emotions?

Puddin' Henke has everything a girl could wish for. A husband who works hard so she doesn't have to. Coming from a very humble beginning Puddin' is so proud of her home, her children, and her husband. Never wanting to feel poor again, Puddin'  takes on a secret part time job at a local boutique, La Chic, helping with the books. She has to keep it quiet because Digger is set in his old fashioned ways and doesn't want his wife to work. She really is a lucky woman. She really wishes her sister in law Shay could find her someone so she could be just as happy as she and Digger are.

Missy Wright Montague has been married to the same man, Foster, for most of her life. She loves him and knows that he loves her, but, it seems the spark has died. She doesn't think about it often just when she's lonely. Like when her chili takes first prize and there's no one to share it with because Foster is out on a fishing trip. She tries to tell him about it when he comes home but it's like he doesn't even hear her and goes on and on about his buddies and his trip. Oh well, what can you do? At least she knows what dish she's bringing to this years reunion, her blue ribbon chili.

Sally and Sara Wright are identical twins. In fact, most of their family can't tell them apart and just refer to them as "the twins". They run a successful hair bow business out of their home. You'd think it would be difficult to be around your twin all the time but for them it's second nature. They can complete each other's sentences and know exactly what the other is thinking with just a look. There is the occasional squabble, but it's quickly settled and they go on about their day. When Sara elopes and marries Justin, a guy she has been dating for mere weeks, the twins bond is tested. Can they survive this? They've always been "the twins" and did everything together, what's Sally supposed to do now?

Never in my life have I laughed so hard while reading a book! It has the perfect blend of humor, romance and southern charm. I loved how Ms. Mayne's was able to capture the southern spirit without making it too hokey. Who doesn't love and dread a family reunion at the same time? She was able to take a southern staple and make you feel as though you had a front row seat to the family's/ shenanigans! I really enjoyed High Cotton and cannot wait for the next book in the Bucklin family series!

You can grab a copy here: High Cotton
*I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions expressed above are my own,

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Starting from Scratch

Starting from Scratch is Katie Lloyd's newest installment in her Lancaster Discoveries series. If you haven't read the other one, A Letter from Lancaster County, no worries! You can start with this one and read the other one later.

Eva Lapp is a beautiful hard working girl. She spent most of her life pining after Jake Miller who ran off to join the English world when they were younger. She spent years hoping Jake would come back and declare his love for her, when he didn't she spent the rest of her life comparing every man to him. She knows it isn't fair, but he was her first love and no one could ever measure up. Now at 29, she considers herself to be an old maid. She's not of course, but she has grown content to live at home with her mom and dad. When her dad retires, leaving the farm to her older brother, she's forced to move out and figure out life on her own.

Her new job at the local nursery seems to be the best way to start from scratch. She's always loved gardening and digging in the dirt over the domestic duties most girls seem to prefer. This job not only fulfills her life-long passion, it also comes with a cabin for her to live in. Upon arrival though Eva quickly figures out things might not be as perfect as she thinks. First of all, it's not the nursery she will be working in, but rather she will be running the cafe, replacing her cousin, Olivia, who has recently gotten married. She's not the best cook in the world, but, she's determined to give it her all because she doesn't want to admit she's a failure and she has no where else to go.

With the help of a few friends she meets along the way, Eva starts to believe in herself and embrace her new life. There's Stephen Troyer, the manager of the grounds while the owner is gone. He's a nice handsome Mennonite man who believes in Eva and goes out of his way to help her. There are definitely sparks there but she isn't sure she wants to peruse him because of their different faiths. Despite her protests however it seem fate has a different idea.. Eva and Stephen seem to find themselves crossing each others path more than necessary and neither can find a reason to complain.

Then there is Beatrice, she looks after the house whether the owners are home or not. She's at loose ends with the owners being gone and offers to help Eva with the cooking for the restaurant. Beatrice knows of Eva's past with Jake Miller, but when she notices the sparks between her and Stephen, she can't help but try a little matchmaking to get them together. Anything is better than Jake Miller, at least in Beatrice's opinion.

When Jake Miller unexpectedly shows up and declares his love for Eva it throws her heart into confusion. When she sees him with a pregnant English lady she feels betrayed. What will Eva do? Do you start over and take Jake at his word? Or do you choose Stephen, and the budding romance?

I have to admit, I found myself getting a little annoyed with Eva. She seemed to fluctuate between being self sufficient and totally dependent on others. I really thought once she moved out on her own and starting running the restaurant that she would have more confidence in herself. She'd more than proven herself capable, but for some reason she wouldn't believe in herself. Then there's the matter of Jake Miller. I won't ruin the book for you but I will say out of her two love interest I preferred Stephen. Maybe it's because he hadn't hurt her in the past, or because he would truly be her fresh start, either way I was and am team Stephen.

Despite my slight annoyance with Eva, I truly enjoyed this book. It has drama, intrigue and even romance, what more could you ask for? I also love the redemptive theme throughout the story. It's written in a way that's not preachy but you know it's there. I enjoyed the role friendship played as well. Sometimes we find help in the most unlikely of places and when we accept that help we end up making friends who become family.

Starting from Scratch is a wonderful story of love, redemption and second chances. It will grip you from the beginning and won't let you go until the very last word. So grab a copy and get ready to meet Eva, Jake and Stephen. Be sure you come back and let me know if you're team Jake or team Stephen!

You can grab a copy here:Starting from Scratch

* I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions expressed above are my own.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

His Risk

Calvin Fisher has done things he isn't proud of but that doesn't make him a bad man. He has spent a lifetime trying to overcome the deamons of his past. When his sister in law, Waneta, calls telling him his brother has cancer and asking him to come he's willing to risk everything to be by his side. Will this one choice cost him everything he holds dear? Or will it offer him so much more?

Alice Yoder is a good girl with quite the stubborn streak. She made a few mistakes during rumspringa and it seems her parents won't let her forget it. Whether they hold her close to protect her or because they don't trust her, it hurts. She sees herself as firecely independent and wants her parents to know and trust that she's turned over a  new leaf. Her brothers try to help her as much as they can, even allowing her to house sit when their families go out of town. It's on one such occasion that she meets Calvin Fisher. The man seems strange and mysterious, oozing trouble, but, she can't help but feel drawn to him. Why does she feel such a connection to this English man? Could it be that it's because he used to be Amish, or, maybe he just needs a friend? Either way Alice can't help but be consumed with thoughts of Calvin Fisher.

Calvin knows he's had a troubled past and has to be careful not to allow his two worlds to collide. No longer is he the reckless youth, drinking and doing drugs, as most people back home think he is. He's actually a confidential informant for the DEA and has managed to infiltrate a gang, the Kings. Of course, he can't tell anyone that! As much for their safety as his, but when he meets Alice Yoder, well, he wonders if someday, somehow they could have a future together. She's unlike any woman he's ever met. She's spunky, not afraid of him or to ask questions, yet she's sensitive and innocent. Maybe they can't have a romantic relationship but surely that can be friends.

Despite his best intentions his two worlds do collide and what happens next is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.

His Risk is a definite must read for book nerds everywhere! It is rare that I find a story that grips me so that I actually gasp out loud from shock. Shelly Shepard Gray has a knack for crafting stories that touch her readers and leave them wanting more. Rarely do I read mysteries, but this one is so well crafted I couldn't put it down! The ending made me cry a little and yes, even at times I found myself rooting for "the bad guy". There are a ton of  lessons that can be learned from His Risk but I think the most important may be, never judge a book by its cover. We never know the whole story behind what happened to someone that made them make the choices they made. We can't honestly say we wouldn't make the same choice, because we won't know unless we are in that situation.

His Risk is an awesome book that has everything a book lover could want: drama, intrigue, love and even a touch of "who dunnit". I believe you will love it as much as I do.  So, grab a copy and settle in for a thrill ride you won't soon forget.

* I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions expressed above are my own.

Hear what others are saying about His Risk: His Risk

About the Author
Shelley Shepard Gray is a "New York Times" and "USA Today" bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.
Find out more about Shelley at

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Someplace Familiar

About the Book

Book Title: Someplace Familiar
Author: Teresa Tysinger
Release date: May, 2017
Artist Livy Johnson needs a fresh start. That’s what a broken heart and forgotten dreams can do to a person. On little more than a whim, she reclaims her grandmother’s old home in quaint Laurel Cove, North Carolina and vows to restore its original charm. When she literally collides with childhood friend, Jack Bowdon, Livy wonders if she’s back for an entirely different reason.
Jack can’t believe his childhood crush is back. As the owner of Bowdon’s Supplies, and once again the town’s most eligible bachelor, he offers to help Livy with repairs. Together they embark on the project – and an undeniable whirlwind romance.
But it’s not all smooth sailing. Can they survive the destructive pain of their pasts and discover God’s grace waiting to renovate their hearts?

My Thoughts: It's a really enjoyable book. The author crafts a story that grabs you from the beginning and won't let you go! You get so drawn in to the story you forget you're reading fiction, you think you're among friends. Jack and Livy's story relates to readers on many different levels and is a definite must read.  I hope you give Someplace Familiar a try. You'll be so glad you did!

* I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own 

About the Author

Teresa Tysinger is a wife and mother transplanted from North Carolina to North Texas.
When not working as the Director of Communications for a large downtown church, she writes charming southern romances inspired by grace. Her debut novel, Someplace Familiar, released this summer. She also is a contributing writer for the Fort Worth Moms Blog (part of the national City Moms Blog Network). A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Religious Communicators’ Council, and the Association for Women in Communications, Teresa has spent over a decade committed to telling stories of faith through written word. She loves coffee, caramel, and stories with happy endings.

Guest Post from Teresa Tysinger

Someplace Familiar began way back in 2014 when I participated in National Novel Writer’s Month, a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. It was an exhilarating, albeit exhausting, experience! Since then, the book was workshopped with a critique group, had large portions rewritten countless times, pitched at workshops, edited by two editors, and even renamed (original title was Good Graces). After a lot of prayer, I decided that self-publishing would give me the greatest flexibility and control while being able to maintain my responsibilities as a wife, mother, and full-time communications director. It’s been a wonderful ride!
About the Inspiration for Someplace Familiar One thing I’ve learned about myself through writing Someplace Familiar is how much I am personally drawn to setting and place. The idea for the book was born out of my desire to introduce readers to the charming small-town life found in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina where I went to college. Laurel Cove, the fictional town where the story is set, is directly based on my best friend’s hometown of Burnsville, NC. The other source of inspiration comes from my great-grandmother’s tiny bungalow home in West Palm Beach, Florida. Long weekends and summer vacations spent there were full of imagination, adventure, and sweet memories. The scents of her garden, feel of the damp earth beneath my feet, slow pace matching gauzy curtains dancing in the breeze—it all is mirrored in the cottage home of Livy’s Gram in the book. The rest of the story formed around my desire to capture my childhood memories of this home that was so magical and safe for me.
About My Writing Style Here are a few ways I would describe my writing style: Sensory—I aim to provide readers with an experience that enlivens all of their senses. Relatable—It’s my hope that readers see themselves in realistic, flawed characters trying to make their way to discovering grace in a less than perfect world. Charming—Like any good southern fiction, there’s a good dose of charm in these pages.
My prayer is that Someplace Familiar will touch readers with an awareness of God’s grace even during circumstances and within relationships that feel hopeless. Restoration is possible

Blog Stops

Just Commonly, March 1
Pursuing Stacie, March 1
Among the Reads, March 2
Bigreadersite, March 2
Quiet quilter, March 3
C Jane Read, March 4
Remembrancy, March 5
Book by Book, March 7
A Greater Yes, March 10
Carpe Diem, March 13
Simple Harvest Reads, March 14 (Guest post from Mindy)


To celebrate her tour, Teresa is giving away a grand prize of a gift basket that includes a signed copy of the book, an Original Painting by Author’s Sister (artist Cyndi Browning), and a $10 Amazon Gift Card!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

A Home for Hannah

Who says you can't go home? Home is the place where you feel loved and respected, the one place you're free to be your true self. For Hannah that's not the case, she feels restricted and judged, unable to fit in she decides to make her own way. Will she find a  place to belong or will she lose herself?

Hanna McLean left Pontotoc Mississippi 15 years ago and never looked back. She loves her family but she just isn't cut out to be Amish. Now, here she is heading back to her parents house trying to make sense of her life. Hannah had everything a girl could ask for, she had a husband, a son she adores, a nice house, money etc. but when her husband and his mistress wind up dead Hannah is left to pick up the pieces. With her assets frozen and a teenage son to care for she does the only thing she can do, return home to Pontotoc and her family. It's just a pit stop, a place for her to stay while she waits for her husband's affairs to settle and try to figure out what to do. What if, while she's waiting she finds all she's ever wanted? Could she stay?

Aaron Zook is doing the best he can. His wife recently passed and he's left caring for three children on his own. While he dreams of training horses for a living there just isn't much opportunity in Pontotoc. That's why he's considering moving to Ohio. He needs to find a way to support his family and let his heart heal. When he hears news that Hannah McLean, his first love, is returning to the community he can't help but think this could be their second chance! Determined to play it cool, Aaron only asks that they try to be friends but with three little match makers love is in the air!

I felt sorry for Hannah. All she ever wanted was a place to belong. She thought she had found this with her husband and the English world. When that falls apart she heads back home to her family. Not because she wanted to so much as she had no other choice. She has her son Brandon to think about and with no money and no job options are limited. I know it had to be hard to go back to her family and admit she was wrong. Here she is broken and needing a place to stay, they could have turned her away, instead they welcomed both her and Brandon with open arms. God's like that, no matter how far we stray when we realize it all we have to do is run home like a prodigal.

Aaron probably took Hannah's leaving the hardest. They were planning a future together and she runs off without saying a word. That stings. Of course, Aaron moved on, best he could. He met and married Lizzie and they had three beautiful children. He doesn't regret his life with Lizzie one bit but when he's alone he can't help think "what might have been". When Hannah shows back up in Pontotoc those thoughts go in to overdrive but can he risk trusting her again?

I absolutely loved A Home for Hannah! Amy Lillard crafts a story that hooks you from the get go and is full of twists and turns you can't put it down until the very end! I've read my share of Amish stories, and have loved them all, but this one holds a special place in my heart. I feel it's a story we can all relate to, wanting to fit in, no matter where we come from. I love how she weaves bits of humor and sage advice throughout her stories. if you've never read an Amy Lillard novel you are missing out! I truly believe  A Home for Hannah is a book that everyone can read and enjoy.

* I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions expressed above are my own.

You can grab a copy here:A Home For Hannah