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On Sugar Hill, #2 Georgia Magnolias, by Ane Mulligan

About the Book

Title: On Sugar Hill

Series: #2 Georgia Magnolias

Author: Ane Mulligan

Publisher: Heritage Beacon Fiction

Released: May 2021

To make ends meet, the Fitzgerald women must open their home as a boardinghouse, but will the secrets they uncover prove their undoing?
The day Cora Fitzgerald turned sixteen, she fled Sugar Hill for the bright lights of New York City, leaving behind her senator father’s abuse. But just as her career takes off, she is summoned home.
The stock market has crashed. The senator is dead. Her mother is delusional, and her mute Aunt Clara pens novels that expose the town’s secrets. Then there’s Boone Robertson, who never knew she was alive back in high school but now manages to be around whenever she needs help.

And the Fitzgerald women need a lot of help, indeed. They are forced to find a way to make ends meet, whether it s mining for gold or doing what Southern women have done for generations in times of need turning their home into a boardinghouse.

But will the people of Cora’s past keep her from returning to a brilliant future? 

My Impressions

Ane Mulligan has been an author whose works I buy immediately upon release ever since I met her Chapel Hill characters. The Georgia Magnolia series is set around the Great Depression. The female characters “have iron in their veins.” They are stronger than they know as they face insurmountable odds together. It is not necessary to read the books in order, as they are connected by theme, not characters.
But how I learned to love those characters! Fitzie, the Senator’s wife, and mother of Cora and sister to mute Clara. Just how sane has reality left Fitzie? And yet, she is such a blessing to those around her and retains a wonderfully positive attitude despite her life.
Clara is quite the enigma. Mute, but not deaf. She has strong opinions and contributes much to the solutions that will rescue the ladies from their troubles.


Pearl is just wonderful! She is loving and beneficent to those around her, when she has every reason to be hateful and resentful instead.
Poor Cora! She is easy to identify with, and one wonders if she’ll ever escape the mental prison others have made for her.
Boone is drawn in such a way I wanted to trust him and wanted Cora to fall for him, but what if he’s hiding more than can be seen?
Try to read this when you’re not hot or hungry. Every time I read about Cora’s wonderful support group, the Dillies, I pictured ice cream bars! Seriously, they are some truly refreshing friends.
To wrap this up, if you liked Steel Magnolias, you’ll love On Sugar Hill, #2 The Georgia Magnolias.
Notable Quotables:

“You can forgive the person and still hate what they did.”

“Some voices are harder to turn off than others.”

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent! Southern Fiction at its Best, Imbued with Hope!

About the Author

I’ve been a voracious reader ever since my mother instilled within me her own love of reading at an early age. Together we would escape together into worlds otherwise unknown.

A new love entered my life when I saw Mary Martin in PETER PAN. Struck with a fever from which I never recovered, I submerged myself in drama through high school and college, but, alas, Broadway never found my phone number.

While a large, floppy straw hat is my favorite, I’ve worn many different ones: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that’s a fancy name for a lobbyist), business manager, creative arts director and writer. My lifetime experience provides a plethora of fodder for my Southern-fried fiction (try saying that three times fast).

I wrote and published my first script in 1996 and to date have over 4-dozen scripts in print, nine books, and numerous articles on various aspects of Christian drama and the craft of writing. In Jan of 2003, having quit my job with my husband’s encouragement, I began to write full time. I reside in Sugar Hill, Georgia with my artist husband and a rascally Rottweiler. 

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, Favorite, Hardback, NetGalley, Purchase, YA

Shadow, #2 Heirs of Neverland, by Kara Swanson

About the Book

Book:  Shadow

Author: Kara Swanson

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Release date: July 13, 2021

Swanson - Shadow

Peter Pan has crash-landed back on Neverland. But this is not the island he remembers.

Desperate to rescue Claire and the fractured Lost Boys, Peter must unravel what truly tore his dreamland apart. But with each step, he is haunted by more of his own broken memories. Not even Pan himself is what he seems.

Claire Kenton is chained to a pirate ship, watching the wreckage of Neverland rocked by tempests. When she finally finds her brother, Connor is every bit as shattered as the island. Claire may have pixie dust flowing in her veins—but the light of Neverland is flickering dangerously close to going out forever.

To rescue Neverland from the inescapable shadow, the boy who never grew up and the girl who grew up too fast will have to sacrifice the only thing they have left: each other.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions

This!! This YA retelling of a childhood favorite, Peter Pan, and how Neverland came to be, is a must-read all Peter Pan lovers. Some of us reluctantly left Peter Pan behind, realizing we had to grow up, wishing we could stay in his world, but our metaphysical world marches on, not allowing that. Somehow, Kara Swanson’s Heirs of Neverland series has healed that yearning of my soul to stay in Neverland, but in a most wonderful way. Swanson guides us first in Dust, now in Shadow, to meet the present, disturbed Neverland. Peter is partially grown up physically, but his emotional growth is questionable.

We meet siblings Claire and Connor. Connor has been taken to Neverland by Hook in Dust and Claire is working to get him back. Shadow is not a light-hearted book, although there are moments of joy, romance, and hope struggling to overcome the darkness that is fast becoming Neverland. Will these be strong enough to offset the reality of childhood abuse, nightmares, and evil determined to overtake Neverland and all the beloved inhabitants we remember (and a few new friends)? Enough angst, despair, evil, intrigue, with glimmers of hope, love, and growth struggling to break through to appeal to both young adults, those who work with them, and anyone who once journeyed with Pan and Wendy to Neverland. Just incredible!!


I gratefully received a copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit and NetGalley. I also purchased a hardback copy for myself and a friend. No positive review was required. All opinions are my own.

My Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Magnificent!! JUST INCREDIBLE!!

About the Author

As the daughter of missionaries, Kara Swanson spent her childhood running barefoot through the lush jungles of Papua New Guinea. Able to relate with characters dropped into a unique new world, she quickly fell in love with the fantasy genre. The award-winning author of The Girl Who Could See, Kara is passionate about crafting stories of light shattering darkness, connecting with readers, and becoming best friends with a mermaid—though not necessarily in that order. Kara chats about coffee, fairytales and bookish things online (@karaswansonauthor) and at karaswanson.com.

More from Kara

One of my favorite CS Lewis quotes is this:

“Some day you’ll be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”

There’s something subtly profound about the idea that the very stories which captivate our imagination and shape our perspective on good and evil as children, will reveal more gems when we return to them later. When we’ve conquered some dragons of our own.

This was especially true when I write my Peter Pan retelling duology Dust and Shadow. These YA novels literally return to a fairy tale. I took a familiar story and dug even deeper, pushing Peter himself to grow a little more and see what new bits of pixie dust and hope there may be in a familiar story.

But there is another reason why our hearts gravitate toward fairy tales.

I think GK Chesterton put it brilliantly in a quote that is actually at the very front of Shadow:

Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”

Because maybe even more than being reminded of the whimsy of a fairy, we need the reminder that even in a world filled with dragons – they can be killed.

We can conquer.

And that simple truth, told a hundred different ways, will always lift our hearts and our chins.

Shadow was not an easy book to write – and it is not a particularly lighthearted tale. It is raw and vulnerable and at times lives up to it’s title in some darker moments. But there is always a sense of courage there too. A reminder that even in the shadowed places, the valleys, the instances that steal our breath and twist our hearts and make us wonder if all is lost –

There is another page to turn. Another step to take.

We are not finished.

No matter how young we are, we can strap on our armor, lift our swords, and fight for the light.

We are not overcome because our strength does not come from us.

It comes from our King.

And in the end, He will make all wrongs right, and there will be a happy ending to our tale, even if it may not be the ending we expect.

Because it may not be easy to slay the dragon, but as the fairy tales do remind us –

The important thing is that they can be slain.

Blog Stops

Babbling Beck L’s Book Impressions, July 31

Inside the Wong Mind, July 31

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 31

The Write Escape, August 1

Remembrancy, August 1

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 2

Connect in Fiction, August 2

Blossoms and Blessings, August 2

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, August 3

Texas Book-aholic, August 3

Where Faith and Books Meet, August 4

Losing the Busyness, August 4

For the Love of Literature, August 4

Worthy2Read, August 5

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, August 5

Wishful Endings, August 5

Inklings and notions, August 6

Mia Reads, August 6

For Him and My Family, August 7

Sodbusterliving, August 7

Mary Hake, August 7

deb’s Book Review, August 8

Nancy E Wood, August 8

Tell Tale Book Reviews, August 9

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 9

Through the Fire Blogs, August 10

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 10

Artistic Nobody, August 10 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, August 11

Cats in the Cradle Blog, August 11

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, August 12

Simple Harvest Reads, August 12 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

The Book Chic Blog, August 12

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 13

Labor Not in Vain, August 13

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kara Swanson is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

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/110e4/shadow-celebration-tour-giveaway

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The Fault in Firelight, #2 Hometown Holiday Heartstrings by Emily Dana Botrous

About the Book

Title: The Fault in Firelight

Series: #2 Hometown Holiday Heroes

Author: Emily Dana Botrous

Publisher: Emily Dana Botrous

Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense

Released: September, 2020

He knows the pain of betrayal. She has a past that could ruin her future. What can heal their brokenness?

Tony Coniglio loves being single again and the freedom that comes with it. But when he’s pressured to ask out the next available woman, he agrees, just to get his family off his back—even though she’s the town’s all-too-serious cop.

Officer Stacy Kallisto is by the book. Maybe it’s because she once broke the rules and has regretted it ever since. When trouble around town leaves Stacy searching for the culprit, she keeps running into Tony, the one man who wants to know more about her than she wants to share.

As sparks fly and secrets are revealed, Stacy wonders if there’s room in her heart for a man so different from herself—and for the God she wrote off long ago.

My Impressions

Having earlier read The Trouble with Tulips, I jumped at the chance to read Emily Dana Botrous’s next book, The Fault in Firelight. After losing a brotherly bet, divorced Tony Coniglio is told he has a week to ask out the next single woman who walks through the door. Unfortunately, that lady is policewoman Stacy Kallisto, who promptly refuses Tony. Now that her storage unit has been vandalized, he’ll have to contact her again.
“Relationships required trust. Trust and secrets made for a poor mix, and she’d sacrificed too much to let the truth out for a man.” Stacy is a superior police officer, and next in line for the police chief’s role, but her private life is a mess. Torn by regrets, insecurities, and bitterness, she has built a wall around her heart.


Tony is a deeply caring and fun guy who finds himself surprised at his attraction to Officer Kallisto. Working with her to find out who burglarized her storage unit, he falls harder and harder, only to have Stacy hold him at arm’s distance.
I enjoyed this novel. It contains elements of a contemporary romance, mixed with romantic suspense, mixed with a bit of a psychological study. ( Why do people do what they do? How and why does that affect the character so deeply? ) And most importantly, can Stacy and Tony break the repeated cycles and shackles that bind them and find the love they yearn for?


If you enjoy contemporary romance and romantic suspense with tidbits of faith to guide you, this is a book for you. Plus there are more coming. Marcy’s story is up soon. I’ll be here.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

My Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Great!

About the Author

Emily Dana Botrous lives in San Diego, California with her husband and their four children. She lived in 10 states before she settled on the West Coast where she plans to stay for awhile. She started writing short stories at age 10 and studied English in college. The only thing she enjoys more than writing is motherhood. While there are a lot of things that matter to Emily, nothing is more important to her than Jesus Christ. It is her goal to point anyone who reads her writing toward Him. When Emily isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, long walks, music, and playing with her kids. “A New Shade of Paint” is her first book.

 

BLOG, Celebrate Lit Tour, NetGalley

This Wandering Heart, #1 Madison River Romance by Janine Rosche with Giveaway

About the Book

Book:  This Wandering Heart

Author: Janine Rosche

Genre: Contemporary Inspirational Romance

Release Date: May 5, 2020

In the first entry in the Madison River Romance series, Keira Knudsen gets the traveling opportunity of a lifetime, but when she reunites with her first love, Robbie, she learns that even a wandering heart needs a home….

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.

With so much broken trust between them, Keira and Robbie must keep an arms-length away to make this partnership work. But the more time they spend together, exploring majestic places and sharing new experiences, the closer they get–until their secrets and dreams threaten to cost them everything.

My Review

Can Keira, a history teacher by day and a travel social media presence by weekend; and Robbie, an expert builder but non-intellectual; get honest enough with each other to explain their past issues and build a new future?

This Wandering Heart, #1 Madison River Romance by Janine Rosche was a Hallmark-type Christian romance. I wasn’t sure what to think of Keira. I really liked her, but she didn’t seem to know her own mind. She had a rough past, but when things got tough, it was hard to predict which way the wind would blow. She does show tremendous growth when she finally stands up to her father and tells her mother, “…courage isn’t something we’re born with. It’s a choice.” Kiera does find the bravery needed to make some other changes in her life that create great life choices for her.

I immediately liked Robbie for his great, tender care of his daughter by himself. He was totally dedicated to Annabelle. Robbie has several issues to sort out, all coming to a head at once. He was wise enough to lean on God and his family to help him produce the resources he needed to weather some very tough storms.

Annabelle was another show stopper. How could anyone not fall in love with this sweetheart?

I even loved how Vivian was drawn as more than 2- dimensional. Sometimes the villian only seems to have one side- bad. But I could actually identify with Vivian as Ms. Rosche wrote her.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher through Celebrate Lit. This in no way affected my opinions, which are solely my own.

 

My Rating

4 Stars – Excellent- Will be Glad to Recommend

About the Author

Prone to wander, Janine Rosche finds as much comfort on the open road as she does at home. This longing to chase adventure, behold splendor, and experience redemption is woven into her Madison River Romance series. When she isn’t writing or traveling, she teaches family life education courses to college students, takes too many pictures of her sleeping dogs, and embarrasses her four children and husband with boy band serenades.

More from Janine

Do you remember that weird kid who would sit at their desk in elementary school and stare into space for minutes at a time? If you don’t, then chances are, you were that weird kid. Welcome to the club—you know, the club for people who believe that what could be is worth imagining.

“If you imagine it, then it will never happen,” my junior high friends said.

“You’re setting yourself up for disappointment,” my high school mentor advised.

“Close your mouth, or you’ll catch a fly,” my second grade teacher warned.

While that last one scared me into buttoning my lips while staring blankly at the chalkboard, those early naysayers didn’t keep me from daydreaming. I couldn’t help it. I loved imagining a world far more exciting, awe-inspiring, and romantic than my own. Even when I’d finish books or movies, I would happily dream myself into the story where courage abounds and heroes are truly larger-than-life.

Of course, through the years, disappointment did come, and so did reality. In love, my heart was broken. In my career aspirations, my confidence was shattered. My daydreams almost stopped entirely.

People often ask me if it was a lifelong dream of mine to publish a book. The answer to that is yes…and no. It had been once, but holding on too tightly to that while also believing it was too far out of reach for someone like me created such an overwhelming ache in my heart. And so, I buried it. However, that dream, along with the storylines and characters in my mind weren’t content to stay buried. For eight years they awakened me at night and distracted me by day, until finally, I chose to spit out the words in a blank spiral notebook. I’d hoped that by writing down the story that had festered, I’d finally have peace, but then the next story came, and the next.

“I’ve learned that courage isn’t something we’re born with. It’s a choice.” That line of dialogue comes from a key moment in my debut novel, This Wandering Heart. In the story, my heroine, Keira, rises above an awful childhood to live a life of adventure. The line was quite autobiographical. I could have chosen to keep believing the naysayers. That would have been easy. It took no courage–no risk at all—to believe the lies, the criticism, and the discouragingly low probability statistics of publication.

Pursuing your dream, though, requires a lot of courage. Courage to be laughed at, to fail, to be rejected. Courage to be terrible at this new thing you’re trying. Certainly more courage than I carried in my spirit. So I prayed. I climbed onto that metaphorical rope dangling from the hand of God, and swung.

It was a choice. To be completely honest, it still is a choice to believe these daydreams of mine. Each day, it takes faith to chase this dream of writing novels and to imagine what could be. I guess you could say that I’ve found my way into the story after all. And it truly is exciting, awe-inspiring, and—dare I say?—romantic.

I’m honored to have you all join me on this incredible journey! But it’s not all about me. What daydream are you tempted to believe in your life?

Everyone is eligible to receive a free subscription to the Love Wander Read Journal, a quarterly digital magazine from Janine Rosche that aims to provide inspiration for a life well-lived. Link: http://janinerosche.com/the-love-wander-read-journal/

Blog Stops

Inklings and notions, June 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 8

Texas Book-aholic, June 9

Read Review Rejoice, June 9

My Devotional Thoughts, June 10

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, June 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 12

Get Cozy Book Nook, June 12

Batya’s Bits, June 13

deb’s Book Review, June 13

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 14

The Becca Files, June 14

Older & Smarter ?, June 15

Through the Fire Blogs, June 15

For Him and My Family, June 16

Vicky Sluiter, June 17

Pause for Tales, June 18

All-of-a-kind Mom, June 18

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 19

Britt Reads Fiction, June 19

Life of Literature, June 20

Hallie Reads, June 21

Livin’ Lit, June 21

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Janine is giving away the grand prize package of a set of GelConnie leather bracelets, a 2020 National Geographic Road Atlas, and a $50 Visa gift card!!

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/fc1c/this-wandering-heart-celebration-tour-giveaway