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Author Archives: tara

Cold Read, by Sharyn Kopf

Sharyn Kopf’s dual timeline story, Cold Read, is fun with quirky characters. I’m not usually excited about reading present tense, but I really liked it in this case. The modern storyline was written in present tense, while the historical part was told in past tense. It flowed well that way, moving back and forth. 

I personally enjoyed the modern part part more in this book, I think because I felt like, as the reader, I was able to get to know Stephie better than the historical main character, Juniper. 

Stephie is directing a play in her small town’s historic theater, and she finds herself liking the man playing the lead role. As someone who has always been sort of on the outside and alone, Stephie almost panics at the mixed feelings she has at war within her. 

Juniper is less developed as a character than Stephie, but she also shows up less frequently in the story, so it seems natural to not be able to get to know her as deeply. In spite of knowing her less, Juniper irritated me… I think because she pined away after someone who was clearly arrogant and thought he was above her and her family, and because of that she put down a true friend in much the same arrogant way. 

Did I like the book? Yes! It was an enjoyable quick read, and I highly recommend reading Sharyn Kopf. She has a uniquely frank style of writing that feels like you’re having a conversation, as well as creative plots that are unlike any others I’ve found so far. 

I would compare this book to pepperoni pizza. It’s easy going and fun, but at the same time isn’t just fluff. Good stuff:) 

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Sons of Blackbird Mountain, by Joanne Bischof

Oh. My. Goodness. I could not put this book down. For real. When I had to because other things needed my attention, my thoughts kept going back to it. This will be a re-read many times over. 

Sons of Blackbird Mountain was one of those stories that I wanted to devour as fast as possible, yet savor the whole way through. I couldn’t get enough. 

The characters within these pages instantly won my heart. A bit of “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” mixed with Bonanza (Jorgan Norgaard is so like Adam Cartwright.. while Haakon and Little Joe share an impulsive boldness..), this story is set in 1890s Virginia. Thor, while gentle and sweet when one takes the time and effort to hear him, struggles with addiction to the hard cider he makes his living from — partially to drink away the pain of his loneliness. Thor is Deaf and for the most part rejected by the outside world, thus leaving him with very few people who care enough to truly know him. 

Aven finds herself in unexpected circumstances, living with her late husband’s cousins far from her native Europe. As she adjusts to American mountain life with a new-to-her family, she struggles with aligning her affections and her wisdom. 

This book is full of redemption and healing, love and beauty. All of this in the midst of some very ugly stuff. Because really, it takes letting God lead us through the ugly hard to discover the true beauty that is around us. 

Joanne Bischof captured here the world of a Deaf man, and she did it in such a way that I found myself imagining the sounds he was imagining, rather than hearing them in my mind. (Do your senses join you in whatever you’re reading, do you see the layout of the house where the characters live or smell the orchard they’re walking through? No? You can ignore me then. I already know I’m strange. 🙂 )

This book is, to me, a fresh, cold glass of apple cider. Crisp and tangily-spicily, refreshingly perfect. Please read this book.

So.. obviously, I just couldn’t resist a photo shoot with this stunningly beautiful book.. in my family’s own apple orchard. These are a few of my favorite photos from the shoot. I’m so in love…

Thank you to Joanne Bischof and her publisher for the honor and joy of being on your launch team. 

 

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The Lost Castle, by Kristy Cambron 

Kristy Cambron never fails to weave an intricate story that speaks to my heart at depths that few others do.

I’ve long been drawn to all things World War 2, but I have also been fascinated by the French Revolution since high school — and The Lost Castle takes both of these and winds them together with a modern day setting, creating one of the most unique books I’ve ever read.

Lovely French wine country is the physical setting for much of this book, and I really love how this is the story not only of three different heroines and heroes (in the three different eras)… but also the evolving history of the castle itself.

The characters are real and endearing, and my heart ached for their hardships. The three-storylines-that-are-actually-all-one left me in awe, and I’m sad that it’s fiction.

This book, for me, is like this amazing bread that I’ve made, brioche au chocolat loaf (not a typo.. it’s French). I will post a photo because that will do more than a description, especially when I’ve already talked about this beautiful book.

 

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Bookishly Ever After, by Sarah Monzon

This was my first story of Sarah Monzon’s.. but it will definitely not be my last. I’d been wanting to try this author for quite a while, and her other books have now been bumped waaaaaay up on my TBR list. That’s how much I loved this novella. 

I could relate in some ways to Emory, the main character.. and — what can I say? — I wish Tate were a real live person. He reminded me somewhat of Gilbert Blythe. And.. if you know me, to say that that is quite a compliment coming from me is a major understatement. (Gilbert is my permanent Book Boyfriend, in case you don’t know me.)

Tate convinces Emory to let him plan weekly activities that give her the opportunity to live out some of the things she’s otherwise only ever read about. Each activity is based on a book that she’s been reading. Emory adds her own side to the bargain, making Tate promise that he will send one of his songs to an agent for each book-inspired outing they complete. She also reads things into his plan that are pretty far off from her friend’s intentions. There’s so much more to it, but that’s as much as I will say. 

Bookishly Ever After. A truly lovely and adorable little story that sucked me in instantly. It made me forget that it’s not a full length novel. There is so much depth here, and love that is True. Yes, with a capital T. This is one of those rarities that I could turn right back to the beginning and start again immediately. 

This one is the equivalent of a nice cup of chai. Something cozy and beautiful and.. just right. Savorable. 

I. Love. This. Story. 🙂 

 

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2018 in Fiction, Friendship, Romance, Sarah Monzon

 

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The Fishing Lesson, by Sherri Schoenborn Murray

The Fishing Lesson was just what I needed right now. It’s light and fun… a very quick read, but not just fluff. And despite the title, this story is about more than fishing and camping. While I enjoy this sort of thing, I can’t say that I’d ever read a book that had it as a backdrop, or that I picked it up because of that. 

Sherri Schoenborn Murray has yet to disappoint me. I really love how she writes everyday characters, believable people you might run into while going about life. Natalie and Cody fit nicely in this category. 

The Fishing Lesson is a cute story about characters growing in trusting God and stepping out in faith, believing that He truly works all things for good. 

This is actually my first of her books to read without having listened to the audio book first, so I don’t know if the punctuation in The Fishing Lesson is typical or an exception. Some of the punctuation would have driven me crazy if I’d let it, but I enjoyed the story too much to let that get to me. This says a lot for the storyline and writing style because I’m the one who will correct typos and other errors in books, whether it’s my own or from the library…. 

I’m going to say that this book is like a picnic lunch of fresh sliced cucumbers and tomatoes. Maybe some watermelon. It’s refreshing. 

 

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Maisie Dobbs, by Jacqueline Winspear

Maisie Dobbs is unlike any other book I’ve ever read. And.. Maisie is unlike any other detective I’ve ever read about. She is the epitome of rising above stereotypes and circumstances, and an inspiration to me. 

The mystery in this first Maisie Dobbs novel is interwoven with a heartachingly told tale of love found and snatched away by the cruelty of war. It tells of Maisie’s early years and how she comes from an impoverished family… and doesn’t let anything stop her or stand in the way of learning everything she can. Her background story is told bit by bit as it fits into the mystery storyline. A voracious reader, hard worker, and loyal friend, Maisie Dobbs uses her uniquely perceptive approach to detective work to solve nontraditional cases. 

This book was my first by Jacqueline Winspear, and I really found it a delight. Rita Barrington was an excellent choice for the reading of the audio book; she occasionally switched accents/dialects in the middle of what someone was saying, which I found a little confusing, but I would listen to more books read by her. 

I would liken this book to a cup of tea. Sweet, but not overly. There’s a lot of hard in this story, but it’s beautiful at the same time. 

 

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The Noble Servant, by Melanie Dickerson 

The Goose Girl is a lesser-known fairy tale for me, but I have loved The Prince and the Pauper since I was little. The Noble Servant combines the two in a sweet story of friendship, growing love, and courage to do what is right no matter what the cost. 

Melanie Dickerson paints picturesque scenes with her words and creates characters who make you want to cheer them on. This book is no exception. 

Reading the first two books in this series will give you the big picture, but they are each able to stand alone without causing you to not enjoy the story. 

I listened to the audio version, which was read by Jude Mason… she continues to be one of my all time favorite audio book readers. 

I really loved The Noble Servant, and I think I’ll liken it to a chocolate-filled pastry. Something European-esque. 🙂 Just a delightful treat. 

 

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