the Book of Negroes

This book is a solid 5 stars, in my estimation.

 

The Book of Negroes

This is a story written to capture your interest. I was surprised at the unexpected way it captured mine, given the difficult subject matter.

To be honest, it took me over two years to find the courage to read this book. I purchased  it only because it kept showing up as a must-read everywhere I turned. I decided to give it a chance but then couldn’t bring myself to read it as quickly as I normally would.

Reluctance to pick it up as the next-read meant it was buried deeper and deeper with each new downloaded book. Out of sight where it couldn’t make me feel guilty for passing it by, again. I did feel guilty, paying for a book and then not reading it, but mostly I felt guilty for not having the courage to read it.

I was avoiding it because, I know by experience, stories like this are hard to read.

Once I decided to take the plunge it didn’t take long to realize, Lawrence Hill has a gift for telling a story of horrific circumstances in a way that compels you to keep reading. There was no melodrama or righteous indignation. Just an honest, engaging, telling of the facts.

This is a fictional depiction of a 50 year slice of history, and the body of research to back it up is impressive. Also impressive is the size of the team working with him to make it happen.

I think there are many reasons why it’s important to read stories such as this. As you read, I know you will discover some of the reasons for yourself. We all come from a perspective and understanding of life, colored by the circumstances in our own little corner of the world. The messages we take away from reading a book like this will be influenced by the lives we each live. I find it’s that way with most books really, they speak to us where we are at any given time.

There are several important lessons I’ve learned while reading books such as this.  The first is this – cruelty has visited all people groups at some point in history and no people group is exempt from giving or receiving cruelty. We all have reason to weep for our ancestors as we discover cruelty endured, we have reason to rejoice with them for kindnesses received. And sometimes we have reason to be ashamed as we discover their treatment of others.

The second thing I’ve learned is that no people group is all good or all bad. For each cruel person, there are many more that are loving and kind. The cruel ones seem to get more notice, probably because they are often able to make life miserable for the masses. It makes me sad to see the way we humans treat each other. It also makes me sad to realize there is “nothing new under the sun”, cruelty and greed is an age old problem.

I can tell a book has been good for me when I am left saying……. I had no idea.

I had no idea that Black Loyalists fled to Nova Scotia Canada in 1783-1784, never mind that they came in such large numbers. It was a surprise to learn they were there because Britain promised rewards for loyalty to their war effort in the US. It was also a surprise to learn that a decade later a large number would accept similar promises of a good life if they would return to West Africa and take up the challenge to establish a colony in Sierra Leone.

I had no idea that thousands of former slaves had the same opportunity, over the years, to return to West Africa to settle, or to help settle, a number of countries like – Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Guinea, and Ghana.

The Book of Negroes is the story of a beautiful eleven year old girl captured as a slave, learning to survive in spite of catastrophic circumstances, becoming a strong, intelligent, and productive woman, loved by everyone she encounters.

I liked this book for the historical education it gave me, but mostly…….. I liked it for the honest way it brought to life a heart wrenching story.

 

 

 

 

YA books for my grandsons

It was a lot of fun to come across a book store well stocked with young adult books suitable for boys. The boys in our family are becoming avid readers and I wanted to get a jump on Christmas and birthdays if I could. It’s often hard to find things geared to boys tastes in books when you have a deadline.

I haven’t read any of these books yet myself but my daughter gave the first series by Bryan Davis a 3 thumbs up when I checked to see if it had her approval. She probably checked reviews to form an opinion. The rest of the books were also suggested by a very helpful and well read young lady working in that part of the store.

I am excited about these great finds so I’ll just share them all with you now and comment later on to let you know what the boys thought of my selections.

If you have read and enjoyed any of these maybe you can jump into this conversation too and let us know what you think.

I was going to stock pile the new books for future gifts but changed my mind when I started thinking about the excitement level if their summer started out with many books to choose from, especially since they also have a book loving boy cousin visiting for a coupe of weeks soon. I think I might be as excited about this as they will be when they see the stack I have for them.

So, here is the first complete series in my collection… Children of the Bard

Song of the Ovulum bk 1  Song of Ovulum book 1 – Bryan Davis

From the Mouth of Elijah bk 2   Mouth of Elijah book 2

 

the Seventh Door bk 3   The Seventh Door book 3

 

Omega Dragon bk 4  Children of the Bard  – Omega Dragon book 4

 


 

Another Bryan Davis series is Dragons of Starlight

Starlighter Dragons of the Starlight series – Starlighter book 1 – Bryan Davis

There are 4 books in this series and I picked up the first one. The four are Starlighter, Warrior, Diviner, and Liberator.


Then there is a series by Wayne Thomas Batson that looks interesting. It’s called The Door Within Trilogy.

The Door Within bk 1The Door Within book1 – Wayne Thomas Batson

The Rise of the Wyrm Lord bk 2  The Rise of The Wyrm Lord book 2

The Final Storm bk 3  The Final Storm book 3

I did get the first three and see now that there is also a fourth one.


Another series by Wayne Thomas Batson is called The Dream Treaders Series.

Dream Treaders  Dream Treaders is book 1 and I bought that one as a starter, Search for the Shadow Key is book 2, and The War for the Waking World is book 3. Book one will be an experiment to see how we like it.


I picked up four random books just to see what they were like. We can go back for more if they are a hit with the boys.

Hood bk 1  Hood is book one in Stephen Lawhead’s The Raven King Series. Scarlet is book 2 and Tuck is book 3. This series was inspired by the legend of Robin Hood. I’ve read other books by Stephen Lawhead and enjoyed his fantasies. We’ll see what the boys have to say about this one.


We will also try out The White Lion Chronicles by Christopher Hopper.

Rise of The Dibor  Rise of the Dibor is book 1 in this series, books 2 and 3 are The Lion Vrie. and Athera’s  Dawn


The adults in the family haven’t been left out. I picked up four books for them too

Son of God (based on the major motion picture) by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett. I am not familiar with the movie or the authors but the young lady helping me thought highly of it.

The Prodigal – a Ragamuffin Story by Brennan Manning and Greg Garrett was also highly recommended. A modern telling of the parable.

The next two are by Joel C Rosenberg and are thrillers. The Third Target and The First Hostage. These fall into the what could happen category. They aren’t the books she originally recommended by this author but I an a sucker for a sale and thought it would be a safer way to try someone new to me.


If you have opinions on any of these books, you will have to share them with us, we would like to hear what you thought.


I will share more about the store itself  another time. They have a huge selection of new and gently used books and I hear they have an online presence selling books as well.

The store is called House of James in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada …. in case you want to check it out sooner rather than later. It took seconds to come up when I Goggled House of James, so happy hunting.

And happy reading too. Until next time.

 

A new list….

It’s been a few weeks since the last post. I am travelling again and life has been full. I’ve still found time to read though… there is always time to read! The read book list is getting to be pretty long so this will be the quick version…… to get it done.

There were several events last weekend where conversation led to books and a discovered shared passion. They  were highlights of my week. I should be getting paid for the passionate sell job. 😀

We shared favorite authors and the benefits of using Kindle paperwhite. (large print, no screen light, hours of reading with no eyestrain… great for the addicts among us!)

Many of the books on this list have been written by some of my new favorite authors. Hopefully you will enjoy them too.


So.. here’s the list….

Walking Shoes Mt Hope Southern Adventures – Walking Shoes: Triumph Over Tragedy book 1 – Lynne Gentry

Until I don't  The Resolution Series – Until I Don’t book 2 – T.I. Lowe

Truffles by the Sea  The Chocolate Series – Truffles  By The Sea book 2 – Julie Carobini

The Sister Circle  Sister Circle Series – The Sister Circle book 1 – Nancy Moser and Vonette Bright.

Captive Justice  A Jake & Annie Lincoln Thriller – Captive Justice: A Private Investigator Mystery book 4 – Rayven T. Hill

Paper Roses  Serenity’s Plain Secrets Series – Paper Roses book 5 – Karen Ann Hopkins

Deadly Countdown  Strong Women, Extraordinary Situations – Deadly Countdown  book 4 – Margaret Daley

The Mask Revealed The Jacobite Chronicles – The Mask Revealed book 2 – Julia Brannan

the Gathering Storm  The Jacobite Chronicles – The Gathering Storm book 3 – Julia Brannan

Blood Orchids A Lei Crime Novel – Blood Orchids  book 1 – Toby Neal

Proof Bloodline Trilogy – Proof book 1 – Jordyn Redwood

 

Happy Reading!

Mask of Duplicity – Jacobite Chronicles book 1

Another great book! I’ve already downloaded the next two in the series. It’s not often I feel compelled to read on. I love feeling compelled. The cliff hanger ending is mostly  responsible. In truth, the whole book is responsible.

This is historical fiction, based on the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, which was trying to overthrow Hanoverian King George II of England and replace him with the exiled king living in France. There is a helpful and detailed explanation about this period in history  at the beginning of the book.

The rebellion theme is a small part of the story. Family drama is the bigger part.

The characters are many and interesting. Some you love and some you don’t. And you can never be sure where things are going to go next.  It’s romance yet there is serious intrigue, with a few fight scenes thrown in to keep up the momentum.

Mask of Duplicity Jacobite Chronicles – Mask of Duplicity book 1 – Julia Brannan …… With Beth’s focus centered on looking after her ailing father in his final years and with the loss of his income, the estate has fallen into disrepair. A fact displeasing to her angry brother when he arrives home, after a lengthy absence, to claim his inheritance.

He has grand ideas of high society and a commission in the military and decides that to achieve these goals their only recourse is to attempt reconciliation with their noble cousins. Beth has no desire to leave quiet country life but there is no choice but to go along with it.  She finds herself terrified of what her brother will do next, trying to force her to do things his way.

Their reception was not great but at least it was better than they hoped. Snobbish cousin Edward will help, reluctantly, if Beth marries quickly and well. He has conditions. Her marriage must provide a commission for her brother, Richard, and an influence in Parliament for himself.

His sisters, on the other hand, are thrilled to have Beth’s company, condition free, and are already planning ways to launch her quickly into polite society, where there are bachelors of the highest order.

The season won’t start in London for several months yet and they must make do with the few visitors they see at their country estate.

Foppish, socialite Sir Anthony Peters is a frequent visitor, and while he seems to be popular with everyone, including the king, Beth is put off by his vapid ways and the seemingly indiscriminate way he spreads gossip. Beth has learned to be discerning about people but he is beyond figuring out and she still doesn’t like him.

His wealth and connections are important to the men of the house though and they are hoping he will use those connections for an introduction to the king. Something that is sure to pave the way to an advantageous marriage.

Beth is strong-willed, intelligent, and feisty – standing up to the cruelty of her brother.

Sir Anthony dresses and behaves in a way that appears foppish and vapid, his heavy make-up and flowery cologne is off-putting, but – there are moments when you are sure there is to him than what you see.

I’m hoping this is inspiring you to check out this series. I’m sure you will find it a nice surprise.

The next list will have more books on it. I am getting behind again – reading more than I’m writing about. Not a bad problem from a reading standpoint.

 

Happy reading!  I’m hoping you are finding books you are over the moon about too. 

Chasing Charlie

Chasing CharlieNow and then we meet a book with huge impact…. this was one of those books for me, and I know I am not alone in that.

Vince Glaser is buried in work, as lead investigator on his tightly knit FBI team. His personal life is tough. A messy divorce followed by the tragic death of his ex wife and he is a single father struggling to make life work for his six year old son.

Angela Hawkins, head strong and capable, has been Vince’s partner and best friend on the job. He owes her his life after being shot during a suspect encounter. He would have died if not for her quick action.

In the three years since his divorce and harrowing experience with death, their friendship has deepened and could possibly turn into love, but neither one of them has been willing to go down that road.

Lately, Vince has been experiencing severe abdominal pain, nausea, and weight loss,   troubling enough to seek medical help. The diagnosis – Pancreatic carcinoma. Six to eight months. Devastating news. What about Charlie? He has suffered so many losses in his young life, how can Vince leave him like this? How can he tell him his father is dying.

How can he tell his team and the rest of his family he is dying, and there is so little time left.

This was a compelling story I could not put down.

Vince is determined to do whatever it takes to have more time with his son. Quitting his job, chemo therapy, whatever it takes.

His team is devastated and determined to do whatever they can to support him in his fight to live a little longer, for Charlie.

Angela is there for him, like she has always been, but it creates a tension between them. Latent feelings of attraction are fanned into flame with new circumstances. It’s impossible to spend this much time and care this deeply without thinking about wanting more.

Vince is determined he can’t ask someone to start a relationship with him under these circumstances. Angela is determined she wants to be there for him no matter how much time is left. There is no communication, on this subject, happening between them but the mindset is still affecting the ease of their friendship, and in Angela’s case – her relationships at work.

This is so well written that it was impossible not to be drawn into their lives. When they cried, I cried along with them. All of their lives have been forever changed living through this experience. My life has been impacted by living it with them.

Highly recommended. I hope you will read it too.

An insightful look into the world of love and cancer.

Lori Wick – another favorite

Lori Wick is one of my long time favorite authors. Back in the day when I was borrowing library books I would read everything they had for her. It’s been awhile since I last visited a library and I’ve gotten behind a bit. That’s why it made my day to see Promise Me Tomorrow show up as a BookBub suggestion.

I hope you will stop by to meet Lori, if you’ve never read any of her work. And if like me, you’ve read her work but it’s been awhile, join me in getting reacquainted.

With another one added to the growing list of recommended authors, maybe it’s time to start a Favorite Authors page, to help keep track of them all. Most likely it will be coming soon.

Thinking about discovering new authors reminds me of a hand out from a library a lifetime ago. It was a large card with a list of favorite authors in the most popular genres. I loved that card. It provided treasured insight and expanded my horizons.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve found choosing books can be a difficult decision. Part of the reason is because I want an excellent experience with every book. This was even more of a need in the early days when the check out limit was three; that’s when the recommendations list really helped me zero in on good ones. Of course, once they raised the check out limit to as many books as you can carry, selection decisions weren’t as critical. With that many possibilities, a few duds wouldn’t be leaving me with the tragedy of nothing to read.

 

Promise Me Tomorrow  Rocky Mountain Memories Series – Promise Me Tomorrow book 1 – Lori Wick …. Katherine Taggart, nicknamed Rusty for her red hair, loves the children in her aunt and uncle’s orphanage and they love her right back.

Chase McCandles, a director for the orphanage, is impressed by her take charge attitude and her easy rapport with children. He is even more impressed when he sees the way his son takes to her. He offers her the job of replacement nanny when a sudden need arises but Rusty is having serious reservations about saying yes, knowing there will be fireworks over differences in parenting styles. Would they survive the conflict? Will her tender heart for the needs of a little boy let her say no? Will Chase ever see her as more than a nanny?

October  October – J. Grace Pennington …… this is a story of unique friendship, discovery, loss of innocence, and a broken heart: An intriguing new girl shows up in church, she carries herself like a princess and Emily is fascinated. Friendship is not quite that easy though, with this illusive princess. But when finally it begins – it’s magical. Life through October’s eyes seems to open up whole new worlds to her friend, and yet, the world that is her is a closed to everyone. This was an emotional read but it touched a deep place, and made me glad for the experience.

Words   Words – Ginny L. Yttrup ….. Sierra Daw has escaped to a  favorite forest where she can privately lose herself in grief on the anniversary of her baby’s death. Out of the corner of her eye something catches her attention but when she focuses, there is only a fleeting glimpse of a young girl. Concerned about seeing a child alone in such a remote location, she investigates and discovers a hiding place in a hollowed out tree. Now she is on a mission to find a child her heart knows is in trouble and needs to be rescued.

Kaylee runs when the woman sees her. She’s intrigued after witnessing such grief but terrified to stay because of what would happen if her captor discovered she had left the cabin.  The tree is the secret place where she can write out words and  hide the  dictionary – a gift from her mother before she disappeared. Kaylee hasn’t spoken since,  but she has words.

 

Two Rivers  The Peacemaker Series – Two Rivers book 1 – Zoe Saadia …. centuries before the US  became a nation there was a confederacy called The Great League of the Iroquois, composed of five nations. After many years of destructive,  retaliatory fighting between the five nations, they came to an agreement and their constitution was born. It worked so well that it maintained perfect balance between the them and their success was evident to all. Many scholars believe this was noticed and so it became the example followed for the writing of the US Constitution.

This series attempts to recreate the events leading up to this Iroquois agreement. Historical books in a similar theme seem to be a popping up regularly just now, but this series is unique in it’s handling of history and is definitely worth reading. I’m looking forward to the rest of the story.

 

Forgotten and Remembered  Love’s Second Chance Series – Forgotten & Remembered: The Duke’s Late Wife – Bree Wolf …… Graham is crushed by the death of  his wife and has withdrawn from  life, closing out even his daughter. There is pressure on him to take a new wife as a mother for his daughter so when he notices the interaction between a young woman and the children surrounding her, an idea begins to form in his mind.

Rosabel, has been taken in by her disapproving aunt and uncle after the death of her parents.  A life of total obedience to their unreasonable ways is torture. She is exploring ways to gain her freedom from them when a complete stranger asks for her hand in marriage. Who is this man, why would he offer for her, and what will life be like in this marriage? Better or worse? Will she be sentenced to a marriage of convenience or is there a chance for a real marriage with the duke?

 

The Indigo Rebels   The Indigo Rebels: a French Resistance Novel – Ellie Midwood ……. Three siblings, each of them with different temperaments,  all find themselves caught up in the Resistance movement, in one form or another. Germany has invaded France, hardships prevail, and their houses are taken over by high ranking military men. This causes problems on the one hand while on the other, it supplies opportunities.

I enjoyed this book for the strong and varied characters. It also had a different slant on the war and was unlike anything I’ve read so far. It drew me in from the beginning and came to an end all too quickly. There are sequels and I hope to read them too.

Happy reading! I hope you are discovering a growing list of authors that you love.

 

 

Wilma Derksen – writer, communicator

I want to share another awesome writer with you.

We were privileged to have a local celebrity, Wilma Derksen, as speaker at two of the writer’s events I attended this spring. Hearing Wilma was a first for me, and I was impressed. She is wise, has a sweet spirit, and relates well to her audience. I can see why she is popular and in demand.

Wilma’s writing career started with a tragic event in her life, the disappearance  and murder of her young teenage daughter, Candace. The purpose of the first book was to help her make sense of the tragedy, and to assess it’s effect on her family. Publishing and making it publically available brought help and healing to many of those facing similar circumstances. It was also found to be a good resource for those working with victims of serious crime.

The first book was Have You Seen Candace. It was followed by three others, all dealing with other aspects of the coping process. Wilma is tenacious and forgiving, willing to share her secrets with us – and did, in these books. The Way of Letting Go, Confronting the Horror, and Unsettled Weather.

Have you seen Candace   The opportunities as a result of these books have been amazing. She’s had invitations to speak in unexpected places. Her books have been used as educational and training resource material. She’s been given many, and varied, teaching opportunites. There have even been awards.

I’ve had the privilege of reading two of her books, so far, but will list the rest of them for you anyway.

The Way of Letting Go   The Way of Letting Go: One Woman’s Walk Toward Forgiveness

Confronting the Horror   Confronting the Horror: The Aftermath of Violence ….. The Victim’s Journey Through the 15 Elements of Serious Crime

Unsettled Weather  Unsettled Weather: How Do I Forgive . …. a group study on forgiveness using a story telling method

 

The next two are the ones I’ve read, and will probably read again. Unlike the first books, these two are novels. Story seemed to be a good way to share some of the wisdom she’s  gained walking through this life of hers. In case you are wondering, these books are not biographical. I know, it feels like they are.

Path of the Heart  Ava Series – Path of the Heart book 1 …..  is the beautiful story of a neglected little girl who loves and feels loved, by her grandmother, a wise woman sought out by many in the community. They come by way of a special path through the forest, knowing she can help them because she has seen an angel.

Echo of the Soul  Ava Series – Echo of the Soul book 2 ….. there is oppression in the community. An overbearing man, and his wife, have moved in and taken over. The man, secretly a liar and a cheat, has bullied people into following his dictates. The path has never seen this much traffic, so many coming to see the wise woman who has seen an angel. She has had many answers for them in the past, they are convinced she will have an answer for this too.

These last two books are already available on Amazon. It’s hoped the rest can be made available soon; as well as the new book that’s about to be released.

I hope these books will inspire and encourage you in your journey.

Happy reading, for a brighter tomorrow.

Poets, and their stories

Four Days With Hemingway’s Ghost was so much fun that I’m feeling pumped.

Usually I bask for a little while in the afterglow of a good book  and then quickly move on to another one. By the time I get around to mentioning it here the glow is long gone, never to be felt again

This time I’ll try to talk about it while I’m still feeling it.

As I run through this experience in my mind, trying to make sense of it for you, I recognize that it is the emotional experience, more than anything, that makes me categorize a book as great.

It’s wonderful if the subject is interesting and the book is technically well written. It helps if the characters are relatable and the plot flows well and is easy to follow. Everything about the book can be perfect but in the end it’s evoked emotions that leave me loving a book.

This story was a perfect. There was a full range of stirred emotions, with laughter and giggles at the top of the list.

There are many things that could be said about what it takes to write in a way that will  stir emotions, but that’s a post for another day. By someone else. I recognize those times when I’ve been made to feel but I can’t tell you how to write to make it happen.

Well, maybe that’s not entirely true. I do know that you have to be real to write like that. It has to flow out of  the authentic you. The emotions have to be inside the writer before they can be poured out on the page.

The flow of this  whole consideration led me to think about actors. They can make me feel things when they are pretending to be someone they aren’t. At the same time though, their strategy is to conjure up whatever emotion they need, to play the part. In that regard it’s real. Pretend (when it comes to emotions) doesn’t work well for actors either.

So getting back to Hemingway. This story was fantasy, similar to some of the second chance TV shows we’ve seen.

I will admit, as a disclaimer, I have heard of most of the great poets but have not read much of anything they’ve written. I haven’t paid much attention to their lives either. That means I have no idea if the biographical material contained in these stories  is accurate in any way.  I just know I liked these books, accurate or not.

Four Days With Hemingway's Ghost Four Days With Hemmingway’s Ghost – Tom Winton …..  Jack Phelan had been spending a lot of time reading everything he could find about his favorite poet, and Hemingway was on his mind  when a serious accident put  Jack in a coma. Imagine the shock, to find himself standing outside of one of Hemingway’s houses, talking to an old man he suddenly recognizes.

The next four days were a real trip. They were days chock full of amazing experiences, places and people. They were also days full of angst. There was uncertainty about how this experience would  play out for Jack. Would he pass the test and live?

It could be, that the purpose of this book was to show Hemingway in a different light. Or, it could be that it was just for the fun of it. Either way, I liked it.


Unlike the Hemingway novel this next one is written as Historical Fiction, no fantasy involved.

As mentioned earlier, I have no background knowledge to decide if any of the details set forth are true. For the first time I can remember, I was wishing I did know.

I do know it was immensely enjoyable and it made me think about reading his poetry sometime. Preferably in a book I could hold.

A Strange Beginning  The Lord Byron Series – A Strange Beginning book 1 – Gretta Curran Browne …. a stand alone novel

So…. I decided to do a little research in Wikipedia. It seems the author stayed pretty close to the truth of Byron’s life, although there are differing opinions on several points in the historical accounts. It’s not clear what the truth would be there.

The story has been cleaned up quite a bit too, there was no mention of his debts and only veiled references to his dalliances.

Ms Browne set out to create a work of fiction, loosely based on Lord Byron’s life, so it was the author’s prerogative to write whatever she felt would make it an interesting story.  In my opinion, she succeeded admirably.

Now that I’ve read up on Byron, I think I’m glad I didn’t know much at first. There were no comparisons happening in my head as I read. There was even sympathy for the abuse suffered at the hands of his mad mother.

With a clearer understanding of the circumstances of his life and the direction of his thoughts, I seem to be having some doubts about reading his poetry. We’ll see…. maybe.

I did love the book and stand by my assessment of it. Read it if you can, I think you would like it too.

Happy Reading.

 

 

Staci Stallings Part 3

This is the final list of Staci Stallings books in my three-part series of posts highlighting her work. Twenty books (in five years) is an impressive list of downloads, in my estimation.  Part of the reason for so many is her regular willingness to offer books free or at reduced prices….. my kind of books.

I’m pretty sure her books will show up again in my future reading lists and this won’t be the last time we see her name mentioned here.

Staci is prolific, writing in several different styles and genres. Both her writing, and her stories, have a depth that compels us to keep on reading. This makes it possible to read many books from the same author without feeling like it is getting old. I hope you will introduce some of her books to your reading list, if you haven’t already.

I liked all of these books but the one I enjoyed most in this lineup was Dance With Me

Dance With Me    Dance With Me ….. Kaci’s dreams are shattered with an injury that won’t allow her to continue the rigorous life as prima ballerina. It’s been three years and she has no hope of ever dancing again…..until she discovers a small dance studio and begins to see a glimmer of possibility.

Josh has hated dance ever since he was bullied because of it years ago. He is in financial straits though, and his mother has decided the only way he will get anything more is to work for it, in the dance studio.

Kaci and Josh must work together and it does not go well.  He suspects Kaci is either a snob, or she is hiding the true level of her qualifications. They are often at odds because they approach dance from different directions. Can they make this work? Is it even worth the struggle?

Mirror Mirror   The Grace Series – Mirror Mirror book 1 …… an epic novel. Sage is living the perfect California privileged life of glitz and glamour, until she is suddenly shipped off to spend the summer with her biological dad’s family. She is about to discover that life is not as perfect as she thought it was.

Luke has lived the life of a slacker. His main talent seems to be to showing up when people need help, and right now Jaycee needs his help. Her forgotten step sister is coming for the summer and Jaycee is panicking. Luke is trying to be there for her but it’s tough. Sage is not turning out to be as horrible as he was led to believe. He’s finding it a challenge not to fall for her.

When I'm Weak  The Grace Series – When I’m Weak book 2 ….. Jaycee is part of the television industry demanding perfection within tight deadlines. Perfection is what she does best.  She is trying to juggle the challenge of keeping things on track while working with a building contractor new to the world of television.  A handsome building contractor.

Tragedy at home throws her a curve ball. Will she have to choose between family and her job? A job that includes the man who is becoming important to her?

A Love like This  The Grace Series – A Love Like This book 3 …… Rachael, a single mom with two small children, has survived many tragedies in her lifetime but the destruction of her home in a hurricane may be the one that is too much. A solution  presents itself with the arrival of a television construction crew wanting to repair her house.

Caleb’s place is behind the camera, not in front of it as point man for the reconstruction project. His boss wants Caleb to step in as host this time because other obligations won’t allow him to be available for this segment. This is the big break Caleb has been hoping for but it’s complicated by his attraction to Rachael. He would have to leave when the job is complete if he wants to seize further opportunity in front of the camera.

A Moment like This   The Grace Series – A Moment Like This book 4 prequel to book 5 …. This book is the bridge between the first three books and the final one. The characters from the first three are gathered together again and a new couple is added to the mix. Loose ends have been tied up and the stage has been set for book 5.

Raising Attabury The Grace Series – Raising Attabury book 5 an epic novel ….. Eric and Dani have worked hard to build the successful dream life for themselves. It seems like it should be enough but it still feels like there’s something missing. Dani wants to purchase and renovate a big old house. As things move along with the renovation they find it may not even be worth salvaging after all. Will their marriage survive the rocky places this project takes them?

 

A Little Piece of Heaven  The Faith Series – A Little Piece of Heaven book 2 …… Jeremy thinks he has it all when, unexpectedly, everything comes crashing down and even his friends are gone.

Emily has her life all laid out and a relationship with Jeremy does not fit in with the plan. This is a college age romance. Can they overcome the obstacles and find a little piece of heaven together?

White Knight  The Courage Series – White Knight book 2 …… Eve has lost the love of her life, a devastating blow that she can’t seem to move past. Her friends keep trying to set her up with guys, sad to see her alone. They are wanting to help her move on with life but it never goes over well.

A.J. finds himself in the same boat, his best friend keeps arranging disastrous blind dates for him in spite of his objections. He notices Eve’s predicament and she has his sympathy.

For Real   The Courage Series – For Real book 3 ….. Blaine has a secret and so far he has been able to keep that way…. secret.

Things begin to fall apart when an old friend comes back into his life and starts to ask hard questions. Soon, Melody begins to find that the Blaine she thought she knew is not the real Blaine.

the Easy Way Out The Friendship Series – The Easy Way Out book 2 ….. Drew is trying to pick up the pieces of his life after the perfect girl left him to marry his best friend and business partner.

It seems Charity is never able to measure up and she resents her perfect older sister for always making her look like second best. While she notices Drew – as he goes about his work – and feels sad for him, she isn’t interested in her sister’s cast offs. Still, there seems to be an attraction there. Is it worth exploring?

Thanks for reading!

 

Books to address the tough subjects

 

I wasn’t sure…. in the first few pages…. if I could read this book, but I persevered and was glad I did. Really glad. I would like to recommend it to you, too.

Coming Home Again tells the story of rape, and it’s devastating aftermath, in a way that we can bear to hear the worst and still keep reading. I had to check to be sure it was fiction because it is presented in a way that feels very real. (The best stories have you doubting they are fiction.)

As mentioned, at first I didn’t think I could read this book. I was about to delete it unread but remembered there must have been a good reason why I downloaded it in the first place. So I kept reading, and I’m glad I did. I find books like this one are a positive part of my healing journey. It seems they show up at just the right time with an answer to the current question plaguing my mind. I love how that works.

T.I. Lowe gives statistics that tell us millions of Americans have been victims of rape and attempted rape. A third of them have suicidal thoughts, and more than ten percent of them have attempted it.

I think it’s important for all of us to read this kind of story because it helps to give us an understanding we may not already have. If we can understand the reason behind behaviours, the ones we probably even find offensive, it can be life changing, for everyone. Knowing more, we may even recognize abuse while there is still time to intervene. That could be life saving.

For the victim. it’s important to know they are not alone in this experience. Secrecy is a big part of the abuser’s tactic and it’s easy to believe no one else knows or cares.

I like the writing technique in this book. Details of the story are passed out in  manageable bites. And in some of the more graphic places, she gives you a  clear choice – to read or not to read.

This story gives us hope…  there is life after abuse, we don’t have to be broken forever.

 

Coming Home Again A Coming Home Again Novel – Coming Home Again book 1 – T.I. Lowe…….  young teenage sisters fall prey to the wishes of a handsome, charming college age young man their mother introduces to their home. She charges him  with oversight of her family while her husband works and she is off pursuing her self-indulgent lifestyle.

Savannah is distressed at the inappropriate ways this man interacts with the girls and  she goes to great lengths to avoid him. Mostly it works.

Her father notices her disappearing act and is distressed by this behaviour. He tries to put an end to it  but doesn’t think to ask any of the right questions about why it’s happening in the first place.

Her mom seems to be oblivious to everything, in her self absorption, and does nothing.

Then comes the horrendous weekend that changes their lives forever. Mom must have finally noticed something amiss, because on her return from vacation  she  sends  the young man away.

It’s too little too late, the damage is already done.

At the first opportunity, the girls pack up and leave, hoping to escape the demons haunting them.  After all this time away, it still feels impossible to go back to the place of unbearable memories, even to bury the loving father they haven’t seen in years.

Will they survive this reunion? Savannah has serious doubts.

This is actually a pretty upbeat book considering the nature of the subject matter. Kudos to the author for the way she handled it.


I have read several more books that touch on difficult subjects but I think I will keep them for another post.

Wishing you the very best in your journey.