Tag Archives: NetGalley

To Win a Prince by Toni Shiloh

Publisher’s Summary

As a fashion aficionado and best friend of the queen of the African island country Oloro Ilé, Iris Blakely dreams of using her talent to start a business to help citizens in impoverished areas. But when she discovers that Ekon Diallo will be her business consultant, the battle between her desires and reality begins.

Ekon Diallo has lost everything: his princely title, his material possessions, his friends, and the respect of his countrymen. To pay for his actions against Oloro Ilé, he’s forced to assist the charismatic Iris Blakely–but he can’t allow his heart to distract him from regaining his status.

As Iris strives to get her business off the ground while keeping her heart intact, will her dreams of happily ever after survive the challenges she faces?

I was so excited to read To Win a Prince, by Tony Shiloh, since this book is about Iris Blakely, Brielle Adebayo’s best friend (from In Search of a Prince – my review).

Iris is a staunch and steadfast friend to Brielle, queen of Oloro Ile, a fictional African island. Anyone would value and appreciate having Iris as their friend, too. She has a strong desire to assist Oloro Ile’s female population to escape abject poverty. To accomplish her goal, she puts her fashion sense to the task and starts a business.

Ekon Diallo’s assignment to finish his community service by working as a business consultant at Iris’s fledgling commercial enterprise leaves her feeling more than a little overwhelmed, and for good reason.

Shiloh has a gift of exquisitely expressing the island’s richness and beauty as well as the kindness and forgiving nature of the characters. She does it in a way that piques your interest and your desire to take a trip there in order to see and experience all she details. This story is a wonderful romance, sprinkled with dashes of humor, religion, and realism.

Despite being a sequel, To Win a Prince can be read independently and is easy to follow along.

I received an advanced review copy of this book from NetGalley. All opinions are my own and I am voluntarily leaving this review.

#ToWinaPrince #NetGalley

The Heart of the Mountains by Pepper Basham on Tour with Celebrate Lit, Includes Giveaway

About the Book

Book: The Heart of the Mountains

Author: Pepper Basham

Genre: Christian Fiction / Romance

Release date: July 1, 2022

Can their hearts overcome the darkness of the mountains?

To escape a forced marriage, Cora Taylor travels from England to the Blue Ridge Mountains in search of her brother, who is working as a teacher in a mission school. She hopes to find a place where her nursing skills and independent ideas will be accepted and appreciated, but nothing prepares her for the wild mixture of isolation, community, brokenness, and hope within these mountains…or in the person of Jeb McAdams.

Returning from the devastation of World War 1 emotionally damaged, Jeb McAdams struggles against the rampant mountain alcoholism to soothe his nightmares. It’s easy to hide within the mountains, or it was, before Cora Taylor arrived. Now, she seems to show up at every turn, bringing her modern ideas, curiosity, and beautiful eyes with her.

Bound by their shared war history, the pair develop an unlikely friendship, which unexpectedly hints to something more. But when Cora’s desire to help the women of the mountains crosses an unspoken line, will Jeb be able to protect this feisty flatlander from the wrath of the mountain men or will he end up losing much more than his heart?

Click here to get your copy!

Pepper Basham has been a favorite author of mine for a long time. Her heart for the people of North Carolina and Blue Ridge Mountain area is endearingly real and heart-warming. Her passion for the locals and the region is richly illustrated and vividly expressed in The Heart of the Mountains.

Cora Taylor and Jeb McAdams have both seen what war can do to someone – Jeb from personal experience and Cora from nursing experience. Both have fled to the mountains, albeit for different reasons.

Basham’s story deeply resonates with empathy, kindness, faith and hope as the main characters struggle to find their way in circumstances neither had ever imagined. The Heart of the Mountains is a poignant story about overcoming adversity and deepening faith. Cora and Jeb’s endearing love story will stay with you long after you have read the last page.

I received a review copy of this book from Celebrate Lit through  NetGalley. All opinions are my own, and I am voluntarily leaving this review.

About the Author

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor with southern Appalachian flair. Both her historical and contemporary novels have garnered recognition in the Grace Awards, Inspys, and ACFW Carol Awards. Her historical romance, The Thorn Healer, was a finalist in the 2018 RT Awards. Her historical romance novels, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge and The Red Ribbon, and her contemporary novels, the Mitchell’s Crossroads and Pleasant Gap series, showcase her Appalachian heritage, as well as her love for humor and family. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of five great kids, a speech-language pathologist to about fifty more, and a lover of chocolate, jazz, hats, and Jesus.

You can learn more about Pepper at her website http://www.pepperdbasham.com or connect with her on FB, IG, or Twitter.

More from Pepper

It’s so interesting how one idea can influence an entire series, or…how one person’s story can.

The idea for The Heart of the Mountains started in Laurel’s Dream with a hint of a family history story about a girl named Kizzie. (Someday, I hope to bring Kizzie’s story to the pages of a book). From there, the idea began to grow out of a love for my Appalachian culture into a series of books which highlighted (and fictionalized) stories from my family history.

The main story in The Heart of the Mountains is about Jeb and Cora, two different people with similar servant hearts, but the secondary story that touched me so much was the one based on my great grandfather’s life. I write about it in the Author’s Note at the end of the novel, so I won’t go into detail about it. However, what I loved getting to do is bring the truth of God’s redemption in my great grandfather’s life…to life again.

I never knew “Papa Rat”. I only knew the stories handed down to me by my granny and my mama, but in writing this story, I feel as though I had a tiny opportunity to “meet” him in these pages. He was a gruff mountain man with a broken past which led him to make a whole lot of broken choices, but his story is incredibly encouraging, because it points to the God of broken people. My great grandpa wasn’t left in his brokenness, but, after years of running away from God, he would later recount that God pursued him. The beauty of Sam McAdams’ journey in The Heart of the Mountains is only a little glimpse into what I imagine my great grandpa’s redemption story looked like.

Because my great grandpa was forever changed when Jesus saved him (as any of us should be).

I think that’s what my granny and her siblings (and even “Papa Rat” himself) would want most -that his story would point to Jesus. I hope that’s what you see when you read about Sam McAdams in The Heart of the Mountains.

Have you ever read a book based on family history? One of my favorites is Catherine Marshall’s Christy.

Blog Stops

Bizwings Blog, July 28

Rachael’s Inkwell, July 28

Bigreadersite, July 28

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 29

Texas Book-aholic, July 29

Inklings and notions, July 30

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, July 30

Boondock Ramblings, July 30

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 31

Reading With Emily, July 31

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, July 31 (Author Interview)

lakesidelivingsite, August 1

Where Crisis & Christ Collide, August 1

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 1

Daysong Reflections, August 2

deb’s Book Review, August 2

Live. Love. Read., August 2

Betti Mace, August 3

Book Looks by Lisa, August 3

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 3

Remembrancy, August 4

For Him and My Family, August 4

Blossoms and Blessings, August 4

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, August 5

By the Book, August 5

Wishful Endings, August 5

For the Love of Literature, August 6

Books, Books and More Books, August 6

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 6

Connie’s History Classroom, August 7

SodbusterLiving, August 7

Splashes of Joy, August 7

Where Faith and Books Meet, August 8

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 8

Back Porch Reads, August 9

Through the Fire Blogs, August 9

Pause for Tales, August 9

Labor Not in Vain, August 10

Miriam Jacob, August 10

To Everything There Is A Season, August 10

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Pepper is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e- gift card and a paperback copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/20389/the-heart-of-the-mountains-celebration-tour-giveaway

#NetGalley #CelebrateLit  #TheHeartoftheMountains

The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip by Sara Brunsvold

Publisher’s Summary

Aidyn Kelley is talented, ambitious, and ready for a more serious assignment than the fluff pieces she’s been getting as a cub reporter for the Kansas City Star. In her eagerness, she pushes too hard, earning herself the menial task of writing an obituary for an unremarkable woman who’s just entered hospice care.

But there’s more to Clara Kip than meets the eye. The spirited septuagenarian may be dying, but she’s not quite ready to cash it in yet. Never one to shy away from an assignment herself, she can see that God brought the young reporter into her life for a reason. And if it’s a story Aidyn Kelley wants, that’s just what Mrs. Kip will give her–but she’s going to have to work for it.

Debut author Sara Brunsvold delights with this emotional multigenerational story that shows that the very best life is made up of thousands of little deaths to self. You’ll want to be just like Mrs. Kip when you grow up!

The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip by Sara Brunsvold piqued my interest with its intriguing title. I simply wasn’t sure about reading it. But I felt compelled to read it after hearing so much about it and after reading all the positive reviews. I’m so grateful I did. The depth and significance of this book prevents me from fully doing it justice.

Aidyn Kelly, a tyro for The Kansas City Star, was assigned to write Mrs. Kip’s obituary. Because Mrs. Kip is still living, Aidyn felt as though the task was a punishment.

The 79-year-old Mrs. Kip (Clara) has a lot to teach Aidyn, a young woman who is just starting her profession. She actually has a lot to teach anybody who reads this transcendent, inspirative story.

The book is a stirring and beautiful debut that is packed with countless Biblical truths and nuggets of wisdom that are sure to touch readers’ hearts. Clara’s memories and her current antics and kindnesses are all covered. Brunsvold succeeds in giving you the feeling of journeying with Clara through her recollections yet connecting with her present friendship.

If you only read one book this year, I implore you to choose The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip.

I received a review copy of this book from NetGalley. All opinions are my own, and I am voluntarily leaving this review.

Off the Chain by Janice Thompson on Tour with Celebrate Lit, with Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Off the Chain

Author: Janice Thompson

Genre: Christian Fiction / Mystery

Release date: July 1, 2022

The Town of Brenham, Texas, Has Gone to the Dogs!

Curl up with your pup and sink into a delightful small-town mystery as riddles and rescues stack up in book one of a new cozy mystery series.

Marigold Evans’ first attempt at rescuing an abandoned pooch lands her in a drainage pipe in Brenham Texas. . .and almost in jail, until Parker Jenson comes to her rescue. Then a bad day only gets worse as the Lone Star Vet Clinic, where they both work, is vandalized and the list of suspects starts to climb. With the help of her fellow employees, Marigold sets out to simultaneously solve the crime, rehab the rescued dog, and help more dogs in crisis. But why would anyone continue to work against all their good efforts?

Click here to get your copy!

Janice Thompson’s delightful cozy mystery, Off the Chain, is written in her signature witty way. Thompson’s tales elicit chuckles, belly laughs, warmth from the religious components and a lot of contemplation.

Marigold “Mari” Evans, one of the major characters, is caught in a drainage pipe while attempting to rescue a dog. When a local police officer tries to save her, he misidentifies her as a homeless person, causing chaos and mayhem. This is only the start!

Grandma Peach, Mari’s grandmother, was one of my favorite characters. With her wisdom and penchant for making dog costumes, she’s sure to steal your heart. She is a genuine “character,” who is just zany enough to be endearingly funny and lovable.

If you love animals, you are certainly going to enjoy Book One of the “Gone to the Dogs” series, Off the Chain.

I received a review copy of this book from Celebrate Lit through  NetGalley. All opinions are my own, and I am voluntarily leaving this review.

About the Author

Janice Thompson, who lives in the Houston area, writes romantic comedies, cozy mysteries, nonfiction devotionals, and musical comedies for the stage. She is the mother of four daughters and nine feisty grandchildren. When she’s not writing books or taking care of foster dogs you’ll find her in the kitchen, baking up specialty cakes and cookies.

More from Janice

Dogs, dogs, and more dogs! My world is full of dogs. If you follow me on social media you’re probably overwhelmed with dog photos, but I simply can’t help myself. I’m in love with pooches of all shapes and sizes.

My fascination with dogs began when I was six years old and I got my first pup, Spunky. He was a mixed breed terrier. From that day until now I’ve had the pleasure of owning many, many pups—some purebreds, some street dogs that needed a safe place to stay, some elderly with chronic or acute health issues. I can’t get enough. They offer unconditional love, after all!

A few years back I was asked to foster for a local rescue, My Chi and Me. The rest, as they say, is history. For a quick glimpse at some photos, follow this link. You’ll see that I’m mostly enamored with small dogs. (Hey, I live in a tiny townhome and have limited space!) That said, I’m always willing to take on one more.

My most recent rescue ventures landed me squarely in the middle of a book idea: Why not use a dog story as the basis for a cozy mystery? My editor at Barbour Publishing wanted something dog-themed and I was happy to oblige. That’s where the idea for Off the Chain (and the whole Gone with the Dogs series) came from—a simple idea involving dogs and crime.

I took the opportunity to focus solely on rescue dogs as the idea developed. These days (especially post-Covid) the need for homes for these pups is great. I linked arms with my BFF, Kathleen Y’Barbo, and together we set our series in Brenham Texas, not far from our stomping ground in the Woodlands. I felt strongly that we should merge two separate dog worlds: rescue and veterinary. (Hey, Brenham is close to A&M and they know a thing or two about veterinary training!)

Thus, the Gone with the Dogs series was born. And writing the first book, (Off the Chain), was a blast! I hyper-focused on one primary point of view character, a vet tech. (As the owner of three dogs I feel like I’m always in the vet’s office!) My stories, which is written in first person, took me back to my writing roots. I love, love, love writing in first person because I “become” the character. Fun, right?

My editors loved the book and it got some fun endorsements, so I’m excited to see what my readers think. I can’t wait to get their feedback. I hope it’s not too “Ruff!”

But, seriously. . .I’m hyped! And I’m feeling so blessed to merge my worlds—dogs and writing!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, July 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 26

Texas Book-aholic, July 27

The Book Club Network, July 27

An Author’s Take, July 28

Remembrancy, July 28

deb’s Book Review, July 29

Pause for Tales, July 29

The Avid Reader, July 30

For Him and My Family, July 30

Christina’s Corner, July 31

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 31

Inklings and notions, August 1

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 2

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 2

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 3

She Lives To Read, August 3

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, August 4

Blogging With Carol, August 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 5

Tell Tale Book Reviews, August 6

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, August 7 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, August 7

Labor Not in Vain, August 8

Books I’ve Read, August 8

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Janice is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon e-gift card and a paper copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1ffe2/off-the-chain-celebration-tour-giveaway

#CelebrateLit #NetGalley

A Christmas in the Alps by Melody Carlson

Publisher’s Summary

After a time of heartache and loss, Simone Winthrop discovers a tantalizing letter from her French great-grandmother, which seems to suggest that she is heir to a family treasure. Ever practical, Simone assumes the claim is baseless, but her best friend encourages her to find out for sure. Despite her deep-rooted fear of flying, Simone boards a jet to travel to Paris at Christmastime to uncover the truth.

During the long flight, Simone meets the charming Kyle Larsson, who’s on his way to France to become an apprentice clockmaker. Though they abruptly part ways, an unexpected rendezvous in the French Alps at Simone’s family’s clock factory may lead to the discovery of the family treasure . . . and so much more.

For anyone who is wearying of staying home, Melody Carlson invites you to spend Christmas with her in the beautiful French Alps this year. So pull on your mittens, tie your scarf tight, and prepare yourself for a magical mountain holiday.

I have read several of Melody Carlson’s books and found them to be very enjoyable. My favorites, though, are always her Christmas tales. Every year, I eagerly anticipate and can’t wait to read them. A Christmas in the Alps did not let me down!

Every component—from the mysterious letter to the hasty choice to fly to France, from the enigmatic Kyle to the clockmaker factory—built upon the others and helped to create a beautiful, suspenseful story that had me fascinated and hooked from the start.

The French Alps provided the ideal backdrop for Christmas. I could almost physically feel the cold, see the icy landscapes, and imagine the breathtaking views.

The faith component was understated and subtle. However, it complemented the story well.

A Christmas in the Alps is a novella which makes it the ideal book for a quick read when you are feeling nostalgic for Christmas, or during the holiday season.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. All opinions are my own and I am voluntarily leaving this review.

Once Upon A Dicken’s Christmas by Michelle Griep

Publisher’s Summary

Three Delightful Christmas Tales from Beloved Storyteller Michelle Griep

Pour yourself a cuppa, get lost in the merriment of the season, and enjoy a Dickensian Christmas in three stories from fan-favorite Michelle Griep:
 
12 Days a Bleakly Manor: Brought together under mysterious circumstances, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters. What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love.
 
A Tale of Two Hearts: Pleasure seeker William Barlow needs a wife immediately to gain his uncle’s inheritance, and Mina Scott is just the girl to make him look respectable—too bad she turns him down. Ought he give her a second chance?
 
The Old Lace Shop: Recently widowed Bella White is finally freed from the domination of the overbearing men in her life, but when she enters into a business partnership with the handsome Edmund Archer, she begins to wonder if marriage is worth a second chance.

Michelle Griep’s intriguing and engaging trilogy of novellas, Once Upon a Dickens Christmas, is modeled after Charles Dickens and is set in Victorian England. The tales are united by an enigmatic coin’s legend, or in this case, the principal writing on a coin.

As I read the individual stories, I had the impression that I had been transported back in time to the Victorian era. Each story’s tempo is perfectly set by the narrative’s cadence, which draws you in and keeps you there. There are good reasons to enjoy (and occasionally doubt) the motivations of the key characters because each had admirable and imperfect components to their personality. The adversaries were distressing and dreadful, nearly creating a feeling of repugnance.

Due to its subject matter touching on the issues of domestic abuse and harsh working conditions, one of the stories, “The Old Lace Shop,” was a little more challenging to read. The story was also the newest of the three as the other two,”12 Days at Bleakly Manor” and “A Tale of Two Hearts,” were already in print.

Collectively, the Christmas storylines, the entwining of faith and redemptive nature will inspire and delight you, making Once Upon a Dickens Christmas an essential part of your Christmas reading.

I received a review copy of this book from NetGalley. All opinions are my own, and I am voluntarily leaving this review.

Old West Christmas Brides: 6 Historical Romances Celebrate Christmas on the Frontier by Margaret Brownley, Rosey Dow, Darlene Franklin, Marcia Gruver, Vickie McDonough and Debra Ullrick 

Publisher’s Summary

Christmas Romances Filled with the Spirit of the Old West
 
It is hard for a woman to make a decent living in the Wild West of the late 1800s, and as the Christmas season approaches, prospects for a happy celebration seem dim.

A Pony Express Christmas by Margaret Brownley
Stranded alone in Nebraska Territory in 1882 with a broken wagon and two stubborn mules, Ellie-Mae Myers has no way to continue searching for her twin brother along the deserted Pony Express route or of returning home to Kentucky. Could a man on the verge of being hanged be the answer to her prayers?
 
A Wife in Name Only by Rosey Dow
Katherine Priestly seeks a job to help support her mother and brother. A local ranch seeks a cook, but by 1884 standards, the owner, Brett Masten, will only hire a married woman to work among his men. Desperate, Catherine claims she is a married woman at the tender age of eighteen. Will her charade become a barrier to true love and send her home without enough money to buy Christmas presents?
 
Lucy Ames, Sharpshooter by Darlene Franklin
Lucy Ames’ dreams come true when her sharp shooting makes her the star act of Major Paulson’s Wild West Show in 1891. Gordon Paulson is traveling with his parents for one last season before accepting a teaching position at West Texas Christian College. As Lucy’s and Gordon’s love for each other grows, will God weave their gifts and dreams into a single calling?
 
A Badlands Christmas by Marcia Gruver
Noela Nancarrow and her pampered sister have been dragged into the Badlands by their adventurous father to live penniless in a sod house in 1885. When a local rancher invites Noela to a lavish Christmas party, will her holiday spirit return, or will she learn a lesson far greater from the experience?
 
Unexpected Blessings by Vickie McDonough
Anna Campbell sets out to deliver two small orphans to their uncle in Texas during December of 1880. Erik Olson knows it’s impossible for those cute little pests to be his brother’s and refuses to accept them—regardless of Anna’s persistence. Little do they know that behind the scenes, Erik’s Uncle Lars and his buddies are doing a little matchmaking, hoping to give the children a father and a mother. 
 
A Grand County Christmas by Debra Ullrick
In 1883, Awnya O’Crean is on the brink of starvation and homeless in the Colorado Mountains. When she goes hunting for food, God places her in the path of Amadeus Josef. Will Christmas with the Josef family teach Awnya how God works in mysterious ways?

My Review

Old West Christmas Brides contains six historical romances, all of which are novella-length, which makes them perfect for showcasing a “Christmas in July” theme. Naturally, the chilly winter themes also assist in helping to cool you down, too!

Despite the fact that each story is about a distinct setting and set of events, I thoroughly enjoyed them all. The idea of faith appealed to me the most and served as a thread connecting the stories.

I appreciated every story and really would be hard-pressed to pick a favorite. All the women faced true-to-life toils, sufferings, hardship and ordeals along the way. In spite of this, each main character stepped up to the plate and dealt with whatever obstacles they faced.

As you settle in and curl up on your couch or favorite chair to read, the individual stories will transport you to a different era and locale, bringing holiday warmth to your heart and filling you with Christmas cheer.

I received an advanced review copy of this book from NetGalley. All opinions are my own and I am voluntarily leaving this review.

(I received this a few years ago. I’m trying to catch up with all the reviews that I was unable to do when I was hospitalized for an extended period of time.)

Brides of Minnesota by Lena Nelson Dooley

Publisher’s Summary

Follow a Swedish family’s journey as they settle in Minnesota where each brother seeks a living–and wife. Gustaf is left to manage his brother’s romantic mess. August considers courting his brother’s castoff. Lowell and Ollie are both fascinated by the same mysterious woman. Can a family’s faith forge a new home and nurture love?

In Lena Nelson Dooley’s Brides of Minnesota, the brothers of the Jenson family are the focus of an intriguing trilogy of novellas. In addition to hearing about each brother’s experience finding a wife, we also learn about the challenges faced by Swedish immigrants in Minnesota.

The three stories are “The Other Brother,” “His Brother’s Castoff” and “Double Deception.” I believe “Double Deception” is my favorite of the three stories.

Overall, the stories were enjoyable and consistent. Dooley did a good job of illuminating and describing the changes brought about by relocating so far to begin a new life. There was also a clear message of faith, which I always value. However, I thought the “tell not show” element of storytelling weighed down a lot of the narrative.

I liked the trilogy as a whole, especially since they were connected and focused on the same family.

You’ll like Brides of Minnesota if you’re looking for a book with a consistent theme running through all the stories.

I received an advanced review copy of this book from NetGalley. All opinions are my own and I am voluntarily leaving this review.

The Librarian’s Journey by Patty Smith Hall, Cynthia Hickey, Marilyn Turk and Kathleen Y’Barbo

Publisher’s Description

A brave fight for literacy during the Great Depression

Four women set out on horseback to bring the library to remote communities

Part of FDR’s New Deal was the Works Progress Administration, which funded the Pack Horse Library Initiative. Ride along with four book-loving women who bravely fight for literacy in remote communities during the Great Depression by carrying library books via horseback. Will their efforts be rewarded by finding love in the process?

Love’s Turning Page by Cynthia Hickey
1935, Ozark Mountains
Grace Billings jumped at the chance to be a traveling librarian, but she didn’t anticipate the long days of work, the intense poverty, or the handsome new schoolteacher whose love for the mountain people surpasses even her own.

For Such a Time by Patty Smith Hall
1936, Pine Mountain, Georgia
Forced out of her nursing job due to budget cuts, Ruth Sims applies for a position with the Pack Horse Library incentive, only to discover she must go to the one place she swore never to return. The children instantly steal her heart with their thirst for books, and she’s happy in her post until she meets their teacher, Will Munroe—the man who broke her heart. 

Book Lady of the Bayou by Marilyn Turk
1936, Mississippi
Forced out of her comfort zone, Lily Bee Davis travels by horse or boat taking books to remote areas. When she meets little Evie and her reclusive father at a dilapidated plantation house, she is drawn by their losses and longs to draw them out into life again. 

The Librarian and the Lawman by Kathleen Y’Barbo
1936, Kentucky
Lottie Trent connects with a backwoods bully’s wife by secretly carrying messages for her in exchange for books. FBI agent Clayton Turnbow is on the trail of a criminal gang and discovers the packhorse librarian maybe a key member.

I’ve recently become entranced by stories of librarians who ride pack horses (and sometimes pack mules). Many novels have been written about these brave women and their sometimes risky jobs. The Librarian’s Journey tells the story of four fictional females and their motivations for becoming pack horse librarians, as well as the hardships they faced.

The women who worked as packhorse librarians were employed as part of the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration (WPA). Although the program was officially limited to Kentucky, there were sponsors from other states, as indicated in a couple of the book’s stories. These sponsors provided financial support to the young women who were fortunate enough to be chosen for the positions.

I enjoyed reading each story because they detailed the different personalities of the librarians and the terrain the ladies experienced. My heart ached, however, because practically everyone they serviced was impoverished and lived in abject and seemingly hopeless circumstances. They all greatly appreciated the librarians and the books and magazines they furnished.

Patty Smith Hall, Cynthia Hickey, Marilyn Turk and Kathleen Y’Barbo have all done an outstanding job by strikingly portraying the subject of packhorse librarians, as well as the obstacles, challenges, heartaches and joys inherent in their duties and responsibilities.

I received an advanced review copy of this book from NetGalley. All opinions are my own and I am voluntarily leaving this review.

The Sweet Life by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Publisher’s Summary

On sale May 3rd

Dawn Dixon can hardly believe she’s on a groomless honeymoon on beautiful Cape Cod . . . with her mother. Sure, Marnie Dixon is good company, but Dawn was supposed to be here with Kevin, the love of her life (or so she thought).

Marnie Dixon needs some time away from the absolute realness of life as much as her jilted daughter does, and she’s not about to let her only child suffer alone–even if Marnie herself had been doing precisely that for the past month.

Given the circumstances, maybe it was inevitable that Marnie would do something as rash as buy a run-down ice-cream shop in the town’s tightly regulated historic district. After all, everything’s better with ice cream.

Her exasperated daughter knows that she’s the one who will have to clean up this mess. Even when her mother’s impulsive real estate purchase brings Kevin back into her life, Dawn doesn’t get her hopes up. Everyone knows that broken romances stay broken . . . don’t they?

Welcome to a summer of sweet surprises on Cape Cod–a place where dreams just might come true.

Dawn Dixon and her mother, Marnie Dixon, couldn’t be more disparate. Dawn is an obsessive goal-oriented planner, whereas Marnie is a go-with-the-flow, Que será, será type, and therein lays the dilemma. However, they both discover through tough situations that neither has a right or wrong style—just their own style.

The Sweet Life is primarily about Marnie and Dawn as they learn to navigate their new life and being with each other on a full-time basis. Because the components of faith are vital and integral to the plot, I applaud Fisher’s ability to integrate faith and religious beliefs gently and consistently into the novel without browbeating or badgering.

I was captivated by the people of Chatham and how they contributed to the larger picture. Some I adored, while others I found difficult to like. They were all, however, well-developed and kept the tale moving forward.

Of course, I can’t fail to mention their ice cream’s incredible evolution. I had no idea how much time and effort could go into making or breaking ice cream. The quotes at the beginning of each chapter, as well as the definitions at the beginning of the book, helped tremendously in the overall understanding and pleasure of the novel.

Suzanne Woods Fisher’s story of the halcyon city of Chatham, a seaside village on Cape Cod, makes you want to pack your bags and move there.

I received a review copy of this book from NetGalley. All opinions are my own, and I am voluntarily leaving this review.

#TheSweetLife #NetGalley