Top Ten Tuesday: Summer Reads & My TBR

It’s another Top Ten Tuesday, now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl!

Top Ten Tuesday at The Green Mockingbird

Today’s official topic: Books to Read By the Pool/At the Beach or Summer TBR.

My take will be “summer reads” because, like me, you might prefer to do your reading in a mountain escape or just curled up somewhere in the A/C! I’m also listing a snippet of the books on my summer TBR. These are ones I am either DYING to read or am definitely reading for review in the coming weeks. (AKA I’m setting realistic goals because my TBR continent grows weekly).

Without further ado, here are books you should read this summer and ones I will be reading!

Summer Reads

The “Isle of Hope” series by Julie Lessman | Start with book 1, Isle of Hope. This series just screams humid summertime in Georgia with fishing and romance!
Just a Kiss by Denise Hunter | This is a wonderful summer-y starts-as-friends romance.

The “Montana Fire” series by Susan May Warren | You won’t be able to stop reading this series! I recommend going straight through it.
A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay | Sunflowers + Italy = the perfect travel “escape” that delves beyond surface level into humanity and relationships.

The “Prince Edward Island Dreams” series by Liz Johnson | Three subtly connected stories told with an idyllic setting — plus there’s an INN!

My Summer TBR


The Last Summer by Brandy Bruce
Love’s Silver Lining by Julie Lessman
Murder at the Flamingo by Rachel McMillan
Honeysuckle Dreams by Denise Hunter
Dead Drift by Dani Pettrey

The “Timeless Love” romance novella collection by various authors | I’ve already read a couple of these and I LOVE THEM!

Your turn! What’s on your summer TBR? Do you have any summer reads to recommend?

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Review: “Where the Fire Falls” by Karen Barnett

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I’m delighted to feature a review today of Where the Fire Falls by Karen Barnett. It is a fantastic adventure-romance-mystery story with characters who will tug at your heart and make you laugh! While this is the second in a series, it is a stand along because it’s only related in National Park setting and era.

Book 1 – The Road to Paradise

About the Book

Stunning Yosemite National Park sets the stage for this late 1920s historical romance with mystery, adventure, heart, and a sense of the place John Muir described as “pervaded with divine light.”
Where the Fire Falls
Watercolorist Olivia Rutherford fashioned her image as an avant-garde artist to appeal to the region’s wealthy art-collectors. When she lands a lucrative contract painting illustrations of Yosemite National Park for a travel magazine including its nightly one-of-a-kind Firefall event, she hopes the money will lift Olivia and her sisters out of poverty.

After false accusations cost him everything, former minister Clark Johnson has found purpose as a backcountry guide in this natural cathedral of granite and trees. Now he’s faced with the choice of becoming a National Parks Ranger, but is it his true calling?

As Clark helps open Olivia’s eyes to the wonders of Yosemite, she discovers the people are as vital to the park’s story as its vistas– a revelation that may bring her charade to an end.

Amazon | Goodreads

Review

Author Karen Barnett captures the spirit of the era and the enormity and beauty of the setting in this romantic adventure story of an artist unaware of her own beauty and worth. From the immersive look at the back country and 1920s attractions of Yosemite to the quirks and endearing traits of the characters,Where the Fire Falls provides a charming and appealing story from start to finish.

Where the Fire Falls QuoteThe lead characters are vibrant and memorable — as much for their heart and faith journeys as their strengths and likable natures. Olivia is likable and relatable in her determination for success, even against all odds. I LOVED how a bit of mystery and suspense was woven into her storyline. And, it was NOT at all predictable! Just when I had my mind made up about someone or something, another turn proved me wrong!

And CLARK. His name alone is wonderful (heheh!) His confidence and capabilities in handling both nature and humans alike is impressive. He’s not without his insecurities, though, which make him all the more special (like his comical internal dialogue concerning Olivia!). Most importantly, his revelations of grace by story’s end are powerful and wonderfully complementary to Olivia’s own lessons.

I was thoroughly enthralled by this story — and can’t wait for the next installment in National Park adventures!

Thank you to Waterbrook & Multnomah for the review copy. This is my honest review.

First Line Fridays # 16: “Sons of Blackbird Mountain”

It’s time for a new edition of First Line Fridays hosted by the Hoarding Books blog!

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I just can’t resist talking about this book. Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof releases in a few weeks, but I have been anticipating and subsequently reveling in its story-amazingness for a while now! Beneath this gorgeous cover is a poignant story of brothers, the bond of family, and the bittersweet and joyous facets of love.

Look for my review soon!Sons of Blackbird Mountain

First Line:

Blackbird Mountain, Virginia

August 27, 1890

Aven peered down at the letter again, noted the address written in Aunt Dorothe’s hand, then looked back to the wooden sign that was staked into the ground.

Your turn! Find the book closest to you and share your first line in the comments! Then, head over to Hoarding Books for the linky and visit other FLF posts!

Review + Giveaway: “Where Trains Collide” by Amber Stokes

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Today I’m back with a review of blogger and author friend Amber Stokes’ much-anticipated new release, Where Trains Collide! 

About the Book

Inspirational Contemporary Romance Novella

WhereTrainsColllide.jpgTwo hearts racing in different directions will meet where trains collide.

Burned out and disillusioned with her chosen career path, Trisha Knolane gives in to impulse and hops on a train bound for Oregon, eager to escape the stress of college for a few days. But what begins as a fun little adventure takes an unexpected turn when she discovers that her ex-boyfriend is also on board.

All her hopes and dreams had once centered on Paul Benson. Now, when Trisha doesn’t know where her current track will lead, Paul’s reappearance in her life only complicates matters and sparks difficult questions.

Questions that could change the course of her life.

A heartfelt and thought-provoking contemporary romance novella, Where Trains Collide faces the uncertain season of new adulthood head on and shows that sometimes a path of broken dreams can lead to life’s best destination.

Purchase for $.99 on Amazon | Add to Goodreads

Review

Where Trains Collide is a delightful novella about hope, second chances, and stepping away from a comfort zone. Trisha’s viewpoint is relatable and wonderfully emotionally developed even within the shorter timeline. Amber’s world-painting skills shine in this story – I felt like I was seeing the world pass by through the train windows and experiencing the wilderness and idyllic Oregon coastal setting.

I appreciated that the story is not a “perfectly resolved” stretch of time but rather an in-between of hope, paths colliding, possibilities, and a few revelations for Trisha. And, I dearly loved all the little normal things in the book: reading, trains, coffee, blogs, and a quaint (real-life) lighthouse. I highly recommend this story for lovers of adventure, second chances, dreams, and sweet new adult romance.

Thank you to the author for the review copy. This is my honest review.

About the Author

Amber StokesAmber Holcomb (Stokes) is an indie author and freelance editor living below the majestic mountains of Montana with her adventurous husband. Previously, she worked in marketing for a Christian publisher for nearly three years. Her passion for books compelled her to earn a bachelor’s degree in English and now fuels her work with words in this new season of life.

You can learn more about Amber’s books, sign up for her author newsletter, join the Amber’s Gems street team, and more at www.SeasonsofaStory.blogspot.com.

Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

Giveaway

In celebration of this new novella, enter for a chance to win a $15 Amazon.com gift card from Amber! Giveaway is open internationally (to anyone age 18 or older who can receive an Amazon gift card via email). Void where prohibited.

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

Cover Reveal: “Jane by the Book” by Pepper Basham

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About the Book

Four years ago, Jane Warwick escaped the shame and heartbreak of being jilted at the altar by becoming a housekeeper at the secluded Inn at Simeon Ridge. Predictable and quiet, the inn helps Jane find a place to heal and celebrates her strengths, where she is promoted to head housekeeper. But an unexpected visit to Bath, England, upsets Jane’s plans and sends her out of her comfort zone, directly into the harrowing path of historical detective author, Titus Stewart. The only plans Titus sticks to are family holidays and the ones that send him careening into his story worlds, but when an uptight and nervous innkeeper stumbles into his life – and his latest novel – nonfiction begins to take on a much more interesting gleam.

As the unlikely pair delve into the mystery behind a one-hundred-and-fifty-year-old letter, will they both uncover a romance that stands the test of time?

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The Cover!

…without further delay, here is the cover! I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE the colors! The couple is pretty cute, too 😉

 

 

 

Jane by the Book

Jane by the Book back

GOODREADS

You can find Jane by the Book this JULY in the Once Upon a Laugh Novella Collection.

About the Author

Pepper Basham 18Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes historical and contemporary romance novels with grace, humor, and culture clashes. She’s a Blue Ridge Mountain native and an anglophile who enjoys combining her two loves to create memorable stories of hope. You can connect with Pepper over at her group blog, The Writer’s Alley, her website, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter.

 

Also by Pepper Basham

Timeless Love and Facade

Amazon | Goodreads

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Amazon |Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | Courtney’s Review

Giveaway

As part of this Cover Reveal Blitz, Pepper is giving away 1 (ONE) ebook copy of Second Impressions. Please enter via the Rafflecopter Form below.

Giveaway Second Impressions

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: “First Impressions” by Debra White Smith

If you put “Jane Austen retelling” in a sentence, and you have my attention. Add the “inspirational” genre to that description, and I’m even more interested!

About the Book

First ImpressionsLawyer Eddi Boswick tries out for a production of Pride and Prejudice in her small Texas town. When she’s cast as the lead, Elizabeth Bennet, her romantic co-star is none other than the town’s most eligible–and arrogant–bachelor.

Goodreads | Amazon

Review

First Impressions accomplishes what any good retelling does: a fresh take on the classic with its own unique elements and wonderful nods to the original text. In this case, the tropes are all present with a new setting, time period, and extra quirks to familiar typecast characters.

This story is likable overall, BUT, some situations and behaviors felt contrived because of the expected underlying storyline. I would have liked a little more emotional depth in a grab-your-heart and relate way. A large amount of the characters’ time is spent preparing and practicing for an actual play production of Pride and Prejudice. This made story-inception and personality parallels fun, but I feel like it dragged down the pace of the story.

It was refreshing how characters one might dislike/love from the classic are more fully fleshed out and challenging their own stereotypes with their behavior — especially “Aunt Maddy”. I loved her! And, I did enjoy seeing the personalities of “Elizabeth and Darcy” playing out in a modern day comedy.

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for the review copy. This is my honest review.

First Line Fridays # 15: “Where Trains Collide”

It’s time for a new edition of First Line Fridays hosted by the Hoarding Books blog!

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Today’s first line is from an upcoming contemporary romance novella from indie author Amber Stokes. Amber’s stories always have a genuineness about them – with a sweet romance, of course – so I’m anticipating this one will be no different! Plus, its setting is a TRAIN! How cool is that!?
Where Trains Collide releases June 3. Look for my review in a few weeks!WhereTrainsColllide.jpg

First Lines:

Blog post: “Do you ever have days when you’re sick of the very thing you used to love?…”

Chapter 1: Without letting herself think too much about how ridiculous and fruitless her latest blog post sounded, Trisha pressed the “publish” button and then set her iPhone aside.

Your turn! Find the book closest to you and share your first line in the comments! Then, head over to Hoarding Books for the linky and visit other FLF posts!