Book Talk Tuesday: RIGHT HERE WAITING

Well, it’s a bittersweet day. I’m happy because I get to go back to Deep Haven, but sad because it’s the end of the Sunrise Publishing Season 1, Deep Haven Collection.

Book #6, RIGHT HERE WAITING, by Susan May Warren and Michelle Aleckson released today. I was so happy to see it appear on my e-reader this morning. I had read an advance copy, but I always like to see the final version too. Any day I get to spend in Deep Haven is a good day! The fact that in my little corner of Central California, it finally feels like Fall here, with a bit of rain, a bit of wind, and colors in the trees made it a perfect day for curling up with a book set in the freezing temperatures of Minnesota in November was a bonus.

CRAZY FOR YOU is different and the same as the other Deep Haven books.

It’s the same because it’s in Deep Haven (duh). It features believable characters on the Minnesota North Shore of Lake Superior. There’s a strong thread of romance and faith.

It’s different because our heroine, Jae Washington, is Korean-American. It was nice to get a glimpse of another culture in Deep Haven and how she was welcomed. We also learned about Korean food. I confess, I’m not a fan of kimchee, but I love Korean fried chicken.

I also love the movie, You’ve Got Mail, and RIGHT HERE WAITING gives a strong wink and a nod to Kathleen Kelly and Joe Fox.

We met Nick Dahlquist in CRAZY FOR YOU, because he’s Peter’s cousin, that book’s hero. Now Nick gets his own book.

Nick is training his sled dog team for an upcoming race, hoping for sponsors. He needs new sponsors or he might lose not just his dogs, but his home and business.

Jae accepts a job with the new Deep Haven Crisis Response Team as the new helicopter pilot. She knows Nick from his vlog, the one that pulled her from a depression. But he has no idea that Jae is the person he’s been Direct Messaging with.

I loved this book for so many reasons. Nick and Jae felt like real characters and I never questioned their feelings for each other. I enjoyed the plot and the problems each of them faced and overcame.

Susan May Warren is a gifted writing teacher and I follow her principles. This book could be a text for her Story Equation teaching. It has all the elements she teaches. The Dark Moment Story, the Wound, the Lie, the Flaw, the (Wo)Man in the Mirror Moment, etc.

I loved this book and I highly recommend it!


I received a free advance copy of this book from the publisher, but that did not induce me to review it, positively or not.

Book Talk on a Thursday: JESUS FOLLOWERS

When your last name is Graham (or Lotz) and you’re related to the Reverend Billy Graham, people probably expect you to act and talk a certain way. You’re held to a different (and higher) standard than the rest of us mortals sinners.

In their new book, Anne Graham Lotz (Billy’s daughter) and Rachel-Ruth Lotz Wright (Anne’s daughter and Billy’s granddaughter), share insights and stories about being Jesus followers, and raising children to also be Jesus followers. The subtitle is Real-Life Lessons for Igniting Faith in the Next Generation.

The book is arranged in various sections that include Our Witness, Our Worship, Our Walk, and Our Work. Each section opens with teaching from Anne, then there are several short stories from Rachel-Ruth illustrating the points.

Rachel-Ruth Lotz Wright is honest and transparent about the difficulties she experienced, particularly in high school, growing up in a family well-known for their faith.

It’s apparent Anne and her late husband, Danny, were intentional in raising their children to be Jesus followers. They (according to the pages of this book) walked the walk they talked about.

The teaching in this book is solid, the stories are well written and overall this is an excellent addition to the library of any believer wanting to be intentional about investing in the next generation. The bottom line: Live a life of faith and don’t be shy about it.

I enjoyed this book and recommend it!

As I prepared to write this review, I did a little research on the Graham family, since the only members I knew anything about were Anne and her brother Franklin, President of Samaritan’s Purse. I’ll just say the Graham children did not grow up unscathed.


I received a free advance copy of this book from the publisher, but this did not induce me to review it, favorably or not.

Book Talk Tuesday: THE CHRISTMAS WEDDING DRESS

It’s fall! That means Pumpkin Spice Lattes, a chill in the air, and Christmas books and movies! Yes, it’s time for Christmas. Decorations are appearing in stores, ads are showing telling us what to shop for, and I just read my first Christmas book.

THE CHRISTMAS WEDDING DRESS is the first in a new small town series by Susan Mallery. Mallery has given us series based in Fool’s Gold, Mischief Bay, Blackberry Island, and Happily, Inc. Now, we have Wishing Tree, Washington, a town focused on Christmas. All year long. Mallery recently released a novella, SAY YOU’LL STAY, that introduces the town and some of their traditions.

In THE CHRISTMAS WEDDING GUEST, we meet the Sommerville sisters. Dena lives in Wishing Tree. She’s a teacher and owns a local B&B. She’s given up on finding “the one,” and is having a baby via a donor and IVF. Reggie lives in Seattle, but has come back to Wishing Tree to help her parents plan their vow renewal ceremony. Last year, she was engaged and dumped in the same Thanksgiving weekend.

Micah is a grieving rock star who lost his song writing mojo when his pregnant wife was killed in a car accident last year. His friend invites him to Wishing Tree to heal and help out at his Christmas tree farm. Micah never expects the sweet and attractive owner of the bed and breakfast where he’s staying to be the inspiration to get him writing again.

Toby left Wishing Tree at eighteen, intent on leaving behind his pain, including ex-girlfriend Reggie. But circumstances brought him–and his young son–back to town. It’s too bad he and Reggie still have a spark, because his son comes first, and he won’t allow anything–or anyone–to disrupt that order.

I love Mallery’s new setting of Wishing Tree. It’s fun and quirky, just like Fool’s Gold and Happily, Inc. Her characters feel real and have real problems and real reasons why they can’t get together immediately.

There are a couple of adorable dogs, Belle and Burt, that add to the holiday fun.

I highly recommend this book!


I received a free advance copy of this book from the publisher, but that did not induce me to review it, favorably or not. I just happen to love well-written, quirky, small town, holiday romances.

Book Talk Tuesday: HANGING BY A MOMENT

I’m so excited! It’s time to go back to Deep Haven, Minnesota with Andrea Christianson and Susan May Warren.

Hangin’ By a Moment is a story of second chances and of choosing to move past fears and trusting again.

Jack made some mistakes but he’s ready to embrace a new life in Deep Haven and put the past behind him. Unfortunately, the past seems determined to follow him.

Colleen Decker grew up in Deep Haven and left it behind. But when fear chases her home again, she finds the time-out she needs.

Jack is a former pararescue jumper and Colleen is a trauma nurse. They work together to help the newly formed Deep Haven Crisis Response Team. As they grow closer, they realize they each have secrets they need to share and issues they need to deal with.

I enjoyed this entry in the Deep Haven collection a lot. We met Colleen Decker in Susie’s previous book, YOU DON’T KNOW ME, so we know a bit of Colleen’s back story and why she ran from Deep Haven. Jack’s secret involves prison time for a mistake he deeply regrets. He knows it could have been much worse, but he still has a hard time forgiving himself and letting it go. It doesn’t help that it seems no one else will let it go, either.

I like how the authors showed Jack’s and Colleen’s journeys from broken people to healed and whole. The plot and characters grew organically. At times, Colleen’s assumptions about Jack seemed a bit misguided or naïve, but that’s a small quibble.

I highly recommend this book!


I received a free advance copy of this book from the publisher. This did not induce me to write a review, favorable or otherwise.

Book Talk Tuesday: NEVER A VISCOUNT


It’s been a few years since Humphreys’ last novel so I was eager to dive in when this one released. And wow, she did not disappoint!

Peter Jennett is shot while on his way to visit his cousin in his country parish. It’s not the first attempt on his life, so he gives a false name when he awakens in the local surgery.

Anne Albright nurses the man she knows as Peter Matthews, allowing herself to develop feelings for him. As they grow closer they learn some secrets about each other, and keep a few more. When the full truth is revealed, Anne can’t forgive Peter for the deception, even though he’s still being stalked by a killer.

I loved this story so much! It’s a wonder to me how Humphreys kept the pace and action of the book moving, when the hero spent so much time in bed and convalescing. But she did! The attraction between Peter and Anne grew and flared naturally. It’s obvious Humphreys does her research, both medically and historically.

I highly recommend NEVER A VISCOUNT!

And, in news that’s sure to shock regular readers of my reviews, I purchased this copy of Never a Viscount. It was not a free advance copy. That’s how sure I was that I would enjoy it, and I was right!

Book Talk on a Friday: THE GOLDEN COUPLE

Talk about a thriller of a ride! I could hardly put this book down and read it in just a couple of sittings.


Controversial (and unlicensed therapist) Avery Chambers takes on Marissa and Matthew Bishop as clients. Marissa is desperate to reconcile her marriage after a one-night stand, but as the Bishops delve deeper into their marriage, more secrets come out. Avery is dealing with her own issues and is being actively persecuted by a corporation upset by her methods and whistleblowing.


Each chapter takes the reader on a roller coaster ride of twists and turns that leads inexorably to the explosive climax when everything becomes clear.


I loved this book and highly recommend it!

Unfortunately for you (but oh, so fortunately for me), I was given an Advanced Reader Copy to read. The book doesn’t release until March, 2022. But it will be worth the wait!


I received a free advance copy of this book via NetGalley, but that did not induce me to review it, favorably or not.

Book Talk Tuesday: BURIED EVIDENCE

Laney Hamilton planned to never return to her hometown of Sandy Bluff, Indiana. There were too many memories there. She left ten years ago for good reasons. But the chief of police called and said he needed her help to identify recently discovered bones. Bones that could belong to Laney’s long-missing best friend. The police chief’s daughter. And twin sister to Ryan, Laney’s first love and the man she can’t get over.

Ryan Mitchell has never forgotten Laney, even though she broke his heart when she left Sandy Bluff after his sister, Jenna, disappeared. Now, Laney’s back to help with the investigation and excavation of newly discovered remains. That would be hard enough, but someone is determined to hurt Laney. She’s threatened at every turn. Ryan has to keep her safe, even if it means she’ll just leave him again.

This sweet inspirations romantic suspense is fast-paced. It kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next. The characters have real chemistry. The secrets keeping them apart felt believable, not contrived. There’s a convincing twist at the end.

I enjoyed this book a lot and I wholeheartedly recommend it to fans of heart-pounding suspense with a dash of romance and happily-ever-after endings.


I received a free advance copy of this book from the publisher, but that did not induce me to write a review, favorable or not.

Book Talk Thursday: SWEET TEA

Althea Dailey has finally arrived. She’s made partner at her prestigious New York law firm. She’s left her hometown of Milford, Georgia firmly in her rearview mirror. Even having to travel south for her new case doesn’t induce her to visit her grandmother in Milford.

But when Allie hears that a filmmaker is making a documentary featuring her grandmother and Granda’s famous recipes, Allie determines to come home and protect both Granda and the recipes.

Jack Darwent may be a trust fund frat guy, but he’s passionate about food and films. Filming Miss Ada, the legendary cook/chef at Milford College, a historically Black college, is going to be the centerpiece of his newest project. When Miss Ada’s granddaughter shows up, with a chip big as a brick on her shoulder and attitude to match, he can only help Miss Ada’s plan to thaw Althea’s hard shell.

The title, SWEET TEA, is a play on words. Sweet tea is at the center of Allie’s lawsuit, and T and Sweet T are her grandmother’s nicknames for her.

SWEET TEA is another departure for Hallmark Publishing. They are definitely trying to diversify their line and it’s showing. With its interracial couple, SWEET TEA is a welcome addition to the Hallmark family. 

Allie and Jack are well rounded characters, not stereotypical and not shallow. I enjoyed their story a lot and I highly recommend it!

————

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher, but that did not induce me to review it, favorably or not. 

Book Talk Tuesday: THEN CAME YOU

My first Susan May Warren book was NOTHING BUT TROUBLE, featuring PJ Sugar, a heroine I fell in love with from the first line. The man from her past, Boone Buckram, was swoon-worthy, but they were not to be. PJ ended up with someone else.

THEN CAME YOU is Boone on vacation in Deep Haven, where he runs into Vivien Calhoun. We first met Vivien in CRAZY FOR YOU, Peter and Ronnie’s story. I love how these books cross over, but each stand alone.

Each time I open a Deep Haven book, I smile, because I know I’m in for a great story, with relatable characters, in a setting that feels as welcoming as cool sand and water on a hot day.

THEN CAME YOU, by Susan May Warren and Rachel D. Russell, met all my expectations, and then some.

The first line grabbed me: Vivien Calhoun needed a man within the next five minutes.

How can you not keep reading after that? (I’m noticing a trend here. I’m not becoming a first line snob. I promise I give books more than one line to hook me!)

Boone has been put on mandatory vacation status with the Kellogg Police Department after an incident. He picks Deep Haven for his retreat, finds a lakeside cabin, checks-in with the required therapist, and prepares to–if not enjoy, then endure–his break.

Until he meets Vivie his first morning in town. He rescues the vivacious brunette from a situation, then ends up a parade through Deep Haven. Before you can say, Lake Superior, Boone is drawn to Vivie, wanting to help her with her situation, then her amateur theatre group. But after each step closer, Vivie pulls away.

Vivien returned to Deep Haven from New York, determined not to look back. But someone won’t let her go that easily. She can’t let Boone get close, she can’t risk hurting anyone.

Warren and Russell have written another winner entry in the Deep Haven collection. I loved it and can’t wait for the next one!


I received a free advance copy of this book, but that did not induce me to review it, favorably or not.

Book Talk Tuesday: THE SUNDAY VAN CLUB

This book chronicles the impact one woman had on nine young girls. Dot Powell was their elementary school principal. When she retired, the girls, daughters of Hmong immigrants, formed the Sunday Van Club. With the blessing of their parents, Dot would pick them up, take them to church and on various outings, exposing them to experiences and memories that broadened their educations and lives. Each chapter focuses on a different girl, now a young woman. Dot shares a memory, the young woman also shares a memory or how Dot influenced her. All the young women have pursued higher education. Many are teachers now. This book will never let you question the impact one person can have. The answer is plain: Life changing. Dot Powell changed nine lives with The Sunday Van Club.

I’ve had the privilege to witness Dot and her girls together. Their love and respect for each other is apparent. I met them as young women, always ready to help Dot, to laugh, to support each other. They are special and Dot’s mentoring made a difference.

I loved this book and highly recommend it!


I received an advance copy of The Sunday Van Club, but this did not induce me to review it favorably or not.

I honestly loved it!