Book Talk Thursday:

Once more, I’ve read a ton of good and great stuff, so I’m going to post some quick reviews. Check back next week, I’ll have some more. I was on vacation and got to read some really good books! Also, I only review books I enjoy and recommend.

THE SISTER EFFECT by Susan Mallery (hard cover)

I’m a sucker for:
Susan Mallery books
Family drama books
Smart and capable heroine books

The Sister Effect has all that and more! I laughed and cried and had all the feels.
Finley is raising her niece, Aubrey, while Aubrey’s mom works on her sobriety. She’s determined to keep Aubrey safe and happy, while also trying to keep her sister from drinking again. Then Finley’s estranged grandfather moves in with Finley, her mom, and Aubrey. Finley has vowed to never forgive the man for something that happened two decades ago.
While working through the issues with her sister and grandfather, Finley is also developing feelings for local developer Jericho, who has his own family drama to deal with.
I really enjoyed this latest from Susan Mallery and I’m looking forward to her next book!

I received an advance copy of this from the publisher, but it did not induce me to post a review, favorable or otherwise.

PLEASE, SORRY, THANKS by Mark Batterson (ebook)

I love Batterson’s transparency. (Previously I’ve read and loved DRAW THE CIRCLE, and WIN THE DAY.) He shares personal stories and solid teaching in a relatable way. Each of the important words has the potential to change hearts and restore relationships.
Batterson writes with warmth, humor and humility. Yet this book isn’t an “easy” read. I was challenged and convicted by the idea that a simple word of apology or gratitude could have a profound impact on someone else. A few quotes I especially loved:“Nothing opens doors like please. Nothing mends fences like sorry. Nothing builds bridges like thanks.”

“The best predictor of success in life, in love, and in leadership is your proficiency at please, sorry, and thanks.”

“Legacy is not what you accomplish. Legacy is what others accomplish because of you.”

Overall, I loved this book and I highly recommend it!

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

DEAR HENRY, LOVE EDITH by Becca Kinzer (audio)

I enjoyed this one a lot. It’s original and includes some fun characters. Edith is a young widow who needs a place to live until her passport arrives and she can leave for her mission trip to Africa. Henry’s niece inveigles him to let Edith, the “elderly widow” volunteering in town to have his upstairs room. Henry has injured his leg and has been living downstairs only as it heals.

Both Henry and Edith think the other is elderly and leave notes as they keep missing each other. The book is part epistolary, part narrative. It’s set in a quirky small town and many misunderstandings ensue.

(I bought and paid for this one. No advance copies here!)

FRASER by Susan May Warren (ebook)

Another book I bought and paid for. And Susan May Warren is another author I love and I auto-buy everything she writes. FRASER is the first in her newest series, The Minnesota Marshalls. We previously met another branch of the family in The Montana Marshalls series.

Fraser is the oldest in the Fraser family. He’s ex-Navy SEAL, injured, and trying to figure out what’s next. He gets a panicked call from his kid brother, Creed, who then disappears in Europe. Fraser goes to find Creed, because that’s what he does.

Pippa is about to ready to tie down Princess Imani. Pippa is the princess’s security as they’ve been traveling the world for the last year. But when Imani disappears on Pippa’s watch–along with the young American man she met in Switzerland–Pippa must join with the man who claims to be that young man’s brother if she wants to find her princess and keep her job.

I loved this and can’t wait for Jonas’ story, out next month.

POIROT AND ME by David Suchet (ebook)

A few months ago I started listening to a podcast called ALL ABOUT AGATHA. The two co-hosts break down Agatha Christie novels and short stories, discuss them, and rate the novels. They also talk about any film adaptations. The podcast started in about … 2014? I think. I’m listening to the episodes in order, from the beginning. I’m up to about 2017. (SPOILER ALERT: One of the hosts died very suddenly near the end of 2021. They were close to finishing the last of Christie’s works and the remaining host chose to go ahead and finish without the other. I expect to be a basket case when I get there, eventually. The remaining host still posts occasionally about goings on in the Christie universe.)

Because of the podcast, and because they discuss screen adaptations, I got curious about the British series, Agatha Christie’s Poirot, and Stud Muffin and I started watching them (available on BritBox through Amazon Prime). Then I decided to read this book, POIROT AND ME, a memoir by the actor who played the Belgian detective.

This is filled with details about Suchet came to get the role, how he prepared for it, how the series evolved, which episodes he loved, which he didn’t, what was going on in his personal life, and so on.

I enjoyed this glimpse into a character actor’s life and it made me like Suchet enough that I will probably also read his autobiography and will definitely look for other movies he’s made.

THANK YOU FOR LISTENING by Julia Whelan (ebook)

This author, Julia Whelan, is also an audio book narrator, so she knows about she writes.

Sewanee was an up and coming actress until she left show business and became an audio book narrator. She got her start in Romance, but has moved on and doesn’t do Romance novels anymore. Until she’s made an offer she can’t refuse. And she gets to work with a male narrator who’s super popular and completely anonymous. They hit it off via emails and texts.

There’s a pretty big “twist,” that any romance reader will know right away, but that doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of this fun read.

Book Talk Thursday: SUNDOWN

Sundown is the final installment in Susan May Warren’s Sky King Ranch trilogy. I’ve been eagerly waiting for Colt and Tae’s story since Colt was introduced to us with the Kingston triplets in the first book, Sunrise. We got a bit more of Colt and Tae in book 2, Sunburst, but their story comes to a full and satisfactory conclusion in Sundown.

Colt Kingston is determined to get to the bottom of Taylor–Tae–Price’s story. His brother Dodge and Dodge’s fiancee, Echo, found Tae in a blizzard in book 1, Sunrise. She suffered amnesia and wasn’t speaking for a long time. Once Tae remembered some things, she was too terrified to speak. When she does tell her story, it’s almost too preposterous to be believed.

Tae knows her tale sounds crazy, but it’s true, every word. When her past follows her and endangers the whole Kingston family, she has to leave to keep them safe. Too bad Colt can’t let her go alone.

Adventure, suspense, and intrigue follow to the nail-biting conclusion. Another worthy addition to the Warren tradition of romantic adventure stories with strong and determined heroines and the wounded but willing men who love them.

I love Warren’s stories and Sundown was worth waiting for. I love the twists and turns. I love the interconnecting stories and cross-over characters. I love how a story thread that Warren started stitching in book 1 will complete a lovely pattern in the final book. Although each book can be read as a stand alone, I think they’re enjoyed more if read in order. And since all 3 are available, why not? I highly recommend this book and the whole series!

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


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 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: 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.