Sunrise at Honeysuckle Cove by Mary Manners And Bonus Beyond the Storm


About the Book

Honeysuckle Cove Inn has been in the Brennan family for three generations. When Maggie Brennan’s parents retire, they call her home to Honeysuckle Cove and hand over the reins of the historical inn. If Maggie successfully maintains the business over the course of a year, the inn is hers forever. Maggie considers the timing perfect, with one exception—she finds her path entangled once again with that of Dylan O’Connor.

Dylan has made a name for himself as the go-to guy when it comes to renovations and repairs in Honeysuckle Cove, and he’s waited nearly a decade for high school sweetheart Maggie Brennan to return home. But his handyman skills will be put to the test when it comes to rebuilding the bridge between Maggie’s heart and his, and designing a future…together.

My Review

Mary Manners has written another delightful story in the novella, Sunrise at Honeysuckle Cove.

Maggie Brennan left Honeysuckle Cove for the bright lights of the big cities in California. She left behind her parents, her family’s legacy, Honeysuckle Cove Inn, and most especially Dylan O’Conner.

Imagine Maggie’s consternation when she returns home, after her parents have retired to the sunny Florida beaches, to find Dylan is living in her home at her parent’s request!

A delightful story about small town life and all the quirks found there. One curious theme centers around Maggie’s relatives three generations back, a folklore the city has latched onto wholeheartedly. It is a cute story with just the right measure of suspense and romance.

I enjoyed the backstory of Maggie and Dylan. I felt Maggie’s sadness over her sister, Dylan’s frustration at his sister and his compulsion to care for his nephew, Cam. The new intersecting of Maggie, Dylan and Cam creates an equal amount of tension and resolution.

Mary Manners’ imaginative narrative draws you into the story and holds you to the very end.

Sunrise at Honeysuckle Inn is a pleasing story that was a fun, thoughtful and quick read.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


I so enjoyed Mary Manners’ first book in the series of Honeysuckle Cove that I decided to purchase the 2nd in the series, Beyond the Storm.

About the Book

Recreational Therapist Ava Kennedy is in charge of Valentine’s Day festivities for shut-in patients at Honeysuckle Cove Children’s Hospital. When a winter storm threatens to derail planned events and steal the children’s joy, Ava calls on longtime friend and firefighter Nick Jones for rescue. The two have been close, platonic friends since kindergarten, but Ava soon finds her heart whirling like the drifting snowflakes outside her office window.

Nick Jones is skilled at extinguishing fires, so he doesn’t count on kindling a flame with lifelong friend Ava Kennedy. But he’s got a sweet spot for kids and women…especially when one particular woman—Ava—possesses a soft heart and laughter that draws like an electron magnet. Despite Nick’s valiant efforts to resist, he finds himself caught up in the attraction.

Will these friends’ new feelings weather the shifting tempest…or is this simply a passing storm?

My Review

Ava Kennedy, the recreational therapist at Honeysuckle Cove’s Children’s Hospital, is in a quandary. She has worked extensively on a Valentine’s party for the children who are patients at the hospital, only to find there is a major snowstorm on the way.

Nick Jones, her best friend since kindergarten, has always pulled her out of a bind, but does she dare ask him for a favor this big?

I enjoyed reading about other people in Honeysuckle Cove. In addition, we get to reunite with Maggie and Dylan, and the folklore continues, too.

Beyond the Storm is another quick, fun read. Mary Manners does an outstanding job of immersing the reader into the lives and trials of the Honeysuckle Cove residents.

Beyond the Storm is a wonderful book to curl up with in front of the fire, or on a favorite chair, or to enjoy outside on the patio.


Busy January!

Well, who could have guessed that January would be such a busy month?

I accepted an invitation by Epicurious to participate in their #Cook90 and never dreamed I would barely get it off the ground. We very seldom eat out, and the only meal I don’t always cook is breakfast, so I figured this would be a slam-dunk. Famous last thoughts! (#Cook 90 is designed to encourage everyone involved to prepare 90 meals during the month of January.)

We celebrated the New Year in a little less normal way than our usual traditions. Our oldest daughter decided she wanted to go to Atlanta to celebrate her birthday. We had a fantastic time.

One of the things we did while we were there, in addition to visiting with our son, was to go to Top Golf.

Now, let me first state that, besides our son, none of us are golfers. However, we had a blast, my cut wrist (which how it happened is still a mystery), notwithstanding. For those who have never been to Top Golf, picture a golfing practice range. Okay, now envision a restaurant that is several stories high and has all semi-enclosed outdoor seating. Now put those two images together with an area to tee off from, and you have an idea of what Top Golf is like. After some coaching and lessons from our son, we all became quite good at long range drives. I must admit, though, we weren’t nearly as good as most everyone on our level.

Consequently, right off the bat, I didn’t cook quite a few meals!

We were then coming home, to take our youngest to sign in to her dorm (at a school about an hour from our home) when the weather was rapidly degenerating into an ice and sleet storm.  Because of the storm, we were unable to sign her in that day and had to wait an additional two days.

All of us were very excited and couldn’t wait to see her new living quarters. We arrived at the school in high spirits. Things, and our spirits, went quickly downhill. Her new room had quite a few of the former student’s belongings still in it, and it was very dirty and freezing cold (remember the ice storm?). Someone came and removed the belongings, told us “Sorry, you’ll have to clean the room. And, oh, it’ll take about 15 minutes for the room to heat up. The heat’s been off and you’re in the basement.”

We got to work cleaning and scrubbing, mainly the bathroom area, and we warmed up fairly quickly!

After several hours of cleaning that included wiping gunk out of the closets and mini-fridges, in addition to sweeping and mopping, we decided to get something to eat. ANNNNNNNNNNNNDDDDDDDD, guess what, when we got back it was COLD? We didn’t realize the reason we were so warm was because of all the energy we were using cleaning the room!

We ended up spending days trying to get the situation straightened out, during which time half the electricity went out in the room before she was finally moved to a new dorm room, which incidentally was dirty, too. However, it took only about half an hour to clean the bathroom and an additional half hour or so to sweep and mop.

And guess what happened there??? Yesterday, the heat went out!

This has been a great learning experience for her. She is learning to advocate for herself and also getting creative in ways to stay warm. Plus, fortunately, we’re close so she can come home on Thursday and go back on Sunday. However, I can’t help but feel sorry for the students who don’t have the ability to go home or have parents close enough to help them. In addition, from a more practical standpoint, a lot of money has been spent for the dorm and meal plan that isn’t being fully utilized!! Not to mention all the money spent on cleaning supplies!

So, here we are more than halfway through January, and I’ve gotten very little of what I planned to do during this month done, not the least of which was #Cook90.

Tell me, how has your month been? Does it make you laugh or cry, or both?

Meet and Greet: 1/21/17

Thought I would give this a try.

Dream Big, Dream Often


It’s the Meet and Greet weekend everyone!!  Strap on your party shoes and join the fun!  

Ok so here are the rules:

  1. Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post.
  2. Reblog this post.  It helps you, it helps me, it helps everyone!
  3. Edit your reblog post and add tags.
  4. Feel free to leave your link multiple times!  It is okay to update your link for more exposure every day if you want.  It is up to you!

  5. Share this post on social media.  Many of my non-blogger friends love that I put the Meet n Greet on Facebook and Twitter because they find new blogs to follow.

See ya on Monday!!

View original post

Set Your Fields on Fire by William Thornton



About the Book

Alex Alterman is a “mystery worshipper” – hired by churches to experience their worship services as a member of the congregation and evaluate what works and what doesn’t. Grass growing in the parking lot? Unkempt bathrooms? Bad sound systems? These may turn away people as much as the singing and the sermon. To whom much is given, much is required.
But when Alex and his dedicated band of nitpicking zealots are hired to evaluate a Florida church and its prominent pastor, they are presented with a set of mysteries: Who hired them? And who hired their main competition? And why are they being shadowed by a couple of atheists running a dirt-dealing blog?

Oil spills, dwarf spies, choir room surveillance, church league basketball cheats and parking lot security all combine in a splendid caper that stretches from Wall Street to the beachfront. As Alterman’s group finds itself in the eye of the storm, the work takes on a new dimension as they untangle the reasons they believe in their work, and why they believe at all.

My Review

Set Your Fields on Fire by William Thornton, is unlike any book I have ever read, and the thoughts and emotions evoked are unlike any I have felt.

The premise of Thornton’s book is how a group of mystery worshippers (who knew these even existed, and they do!) are hired to help churches in areas where they are lacking or unknowing. However, there is so very much more to this story.

Everything within the covers of Set Your Fields on Fire serves a purpose – from the character’s names to the pithy and witty t-shirt slogans – and draws you deeper and deeper into the lives of the mystery worshippers, leaving you wanting more. In addition, as you read, you see yourself and your church in the final appraisal, and realize both are lacking.

Near the end of the book, Alex Alterman, owner of the mystery worshippers group, gives advice to one of his clients. He says, “. . . You’re trying to do the right thing, but you’re afraid of making a mistake. You know you have to decide, but you don’t want to make a wrong decision. Fear shouldn’t cancel out your faith. . . when Pontius Pilate sent Jesus away to be executed and washed his hands of Him, that was a decision. It was indecision, but it was still a decision. That’s the way people react today. They think there’s something special about Jesus, but in the end, they just send Him away.”  Alterman succinctly nails the nature of our human timidity.

Set Your Fields will leave you pondering the book, your church and most especially, your own life long after you have read the last page.

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

William Thornton is an award-winning writer, journalist and a Sunday School teacher. He lives in Alabama with his wife and daughter.

Read the first chapter free online:

If you want to order it:

A Baxter Family Christmas


A Baxter Family Christmas by Karen Kingsbury

About the Book

Whether you’re meeting the Baxter family for the first time, or finding them all over again…A Baxter Family Christmas will leave fingerprints on your heart forever.

Two years have passed since the terrible car accident that took the life of John Baxter’s daughter, Erin, her husband and three of their four daughters. Prompted by grief, and missing his daughter, John has invited a stranger for Christmas Eve dinner—Kendra Bryant, the transplant recipient who now has Erin’s heart.

In light of their father’s idea, Ashley and her brother Luke don’t think it’s right. They want to protect their ten-year-old niece, Amy—the only surviving member of the accident. But John is determined and believes meeting this woman is something his deceased daughter would want.

At the same time, Maddie West, the eighteen-year-old daughter of Brooke Baxter West, is praying for meaning this Christmas. Could she find it in a newfound friendship with a boy she never expected to see again? Maddie believes in miracles, especially at Christmastime, but this is a stretch even she can’t imagine.

Meanwhile, Kendra Bryant has been struggling these past few years to find purpose in the tragedy that gave her a second chance. She believes the invitation to see the Baxters and witness their unwavering faith in God can instill peace and happiness back into her life.

Heartwarming and touching, filled with love and redemption, A Baxter Family Christmas brings together two families in the aftermath of loss and in the midst of an unfolding love story, all with the help of one very special child.

My Review

Written in classic Kingsbury style, A Baxter Family Christmas is a little bit different, tugging at your heartstrings as it focuses on the fallout from the tragic death of Erin Baxter, her husband and three of their four daughters.

John Baxter, still grieving the loss of his daughter two years after her and most of her family’s death, wants to celebrate Christmas in a very different way this year. However, the other members of the Baxter family are not so sure they want to be involved in his plans.

I have long been a fan of Karen Kingsbury and her books. She writes in a natural, normal way about average, everyday people. A Baxter Christmas follows that tradition. However, there were parts of the book that disappointed me because it felt as if it were called in. Sections of the story, while reading, felt choppy and disjointed. There were also some major discrepancies in age from previous books. Kingsbury does say she took “literary license” with the children’s ages, but, for long time followers of the Baxter family, the changes were unsettling. (I was able to continue the story, and overall, there is way more of good quality to the story than there is bad, but it is disconcerting nonetheless.)

If you are looking for a lighthearted story, A Baxter Family Christmas will not fill the bill, but if you want a story following true to life experiences that leaves you feeling touched in ways you normally are not, then be sure to read Karen Kingsbury’s Christmas story.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

(Due to extended personal illness, I was unable to post this earlier. Christmas is fun anytime, though, right?)