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Category Archives: Fiction

The Reunion, by Dan Walsh 

Emotional and heartbreaking at times, The Reunion is the story of a Vietnam veteran and how he feels like he’s nothing special. Due to some choices made in his earlier years, Aaron has not seen his kids in decades. As the maintenance man at a Florida trailer park, he pretty much keeps to himself but helps others and reaches out to them without ever realizing how much difference he truly makes. 

Dave is a journalist on a mission to write a book on Vietnam war heroes when he finds himself commissioned by a veteran to find a recipient of the Medal of Honor. As he begins his search, he meets Karen, whose dad fought in Vietnam. 

The way this story plays out is beautiful, and I hope you’ll give it a try. 

Dan Walsh did a fabulous job of weaving this somewhat complex story so beautifully. His characters feel like real people, with real emotions and real problems. 

As I listened on Audible, Dick Hill was a great choice for this audio book. I’m always a little hesitant when a male reader records a book that has female characters, but he did an excellent job and I really enjoyed it. 

I would classify this book as a southern meal. Maybe mashed potatoes, fried chicken, biscuits, and green beans. Something that reaches your soul. 

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Close to You, by Kara Isaac

The lightheartedness of this book was something I really needed. And I’d been wanting to try Kara Isaac’s books for quite a while, so basically this was great all around– reading something from my ever-increasing TBR list that happened to be just exactly perfect for me right now. 

Close to You reminded me a lot of the movie Leap Year… Not in story, really, but just in the feel of it — they are both such fun stories, and even though there is sad stuff that happens, they are happy stories. Bright. Like sunshine. 

Allison is a Lord of the Rings tour guide in her native New Zealand, and she’s given enough tours that she’s basically seen it all as far as her clients go. Except for one that changes her life permanently. 

While love is the last thing Jackson expects to find on his trip to New Zealand as he  masquerades as an avid Tolkien fan, he quickly realizes that just maybe he doesn’t have his future mapped out at all. 

This book is well-written and truly a fun read. It’s such a sweet story. This one has to be ice cream. You pick the flavor. Something that is refreshing to you. 

 

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Sticky Notes, by Sherri Schoenborn Murray 

Sherri Schoenborn Murray’s Sticky Notes is creative and original. Her characters are real, with quirks that make me smile and little annoying habits that just make it that much easier to forget that they are actually fictitious… and not people I know in real life.

This story centers around the adorable Ethel King, who lives near the university in Idaho where her granddaughter Katherine (who lives with her and is also a star within these pages) is pursuing her master’s degree. It opens with Katherine contesting a grade she received from her handsome, young professor, Quinn Benton. When Ethel finds out about Katherine’s less-than-gracious behavior, Mr Benton becomes the recipient of a surprise visit from Ethel.. and a box of her special cinnamon rolls. Soon an unlikely friendship has sprouted between Ethel and Quinn, much to Katherine’s dismay.

Even though I had suspicions about where the story was going to end up, it kept me surprised and wanting to hear “just one more chapter”. I’m happy with Sticky Notes. Well, except that I wanted more! 🙂

I believe this book takes place in approximately 1999, although it was published in 2014. So take that however you’d like… I wouldn’t classify it as historical fiction, although it’s really not quite modern either. 🙂 It works very well logistically for this story, as there are a lot of communication aspects that would change the story details if it took place at another time — either earlier or later.

Well this book has to be a cinnamon roll. No question. And I think it fits because it’s sweet and has substance. 

(As I listened to this book via Audible, I didn’t see the characters’ names printed out… I apologize for any misspellings I may have included here.)

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2017 in Fiction, Romance, Sherri Schoenborn Murray

 

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To Get to You, by Joanne Bischof 

SUCH a sweet story. Oh my goodness. 

To Get to You is a story of forgiveness and second chances.. of starting new and giving others that opportunity as well. It’s about seeing the best in others and embracing who they are deep down rather than judging who they might appear to be at a glance.

At a glance, this story is stereotypical mohawk-wearing, skateboard-riding, former troublemaker kid-from-a-broken-home meets stereotypical sheltered, mom-reads-her-texts, Christian homeschool girl. But truly, it goes so much deeper than this. These characters are so very alive and developed… and they are their own people. Not cast from a mold. Not stereotypical. At all

Riley’s bitterness toward his long-absent dad is understandable but really tugs at the heart. When he ends up having no other option but to call his dad for help after major car trouble, Riley must confront the lack of history they have together.

An adventurous road trip story, it incorporates themes of reconciliation and sweet love. And it brought tears. Joanne Bischof gives new meaning to the word heartfelt

This book kept me wanting to keep listening to just one more chapter, it left me continually wanting to know what comes next. I’m so looking forward to finding out when the next book is coming. 

Nick Powers did an excellent job with the audio book, as he brought out the many emotions found within these pages. 

This book, for me, is reminiscent of a freshly-baked batch of homemade cookies. The kind that aren’t yet cool, the kind that you find yourself reaching for another without even looking up. Because it’s natural. This story is natural too, it’s real. 

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2017 in Fiction, Joanne Bischof, YA

 

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In Between, by Jenny B Jones

In Between is both a fun and heartbreaking story. Katie is a foster child… one who will soon be aging out of the system. Written from Katie Parker’s perspective, this captivating story lets us as readers in on her innermost feelings and fears. While her choices aren’t always the best, she really just wants to love and be loved, and to replace her deepest fears with lasting hope. 

The humor in this book will bring a smile to your face. Jenny B Jones has a very upbeat and candid writing style that I truly enjoyed. As I listened to the audio version, I want to add that Reba Buhr did a fantastic job reading Katie’s story. I want to finish the series! 

This book correlates with guacamole and lime tortilla chips for me. Guacamole with some spice. The combination of flavors is just right. 

 

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If I’m Found, by Terri Blackstock 

You know that point when you get to almost the end of a book and you must keep turning pages at the speed of an airplane? That’s this book. Actually, it’s this series. (Please read If I Run before this one. While some things wrap up at the end of the individual books, you’ll miss out on the heart of the main story, because it goes way beyond these individual titles.)

If I’m Found follows Casey’s continuing flight for her life after being accused of murdering her friend. It finds her where the first book has left her… wondering where she can go that she’ll be safe for a little while. 

One of the discussion questions Terri Blackstock has included at the back of this book is, “What is the key thing about this book that will stay with you?” Discussion questions in books are kind of a hit or miss thing for me, but I really appreciated this one. The key thing that will stay with me from this book? Its emphasis on light. In the midst of so much darkness, it would be easy for Casey to focus on that, to only see the darkness of the evil surrounding her. But she sees a glimmer of light every now and then, a little reminder that she can still have hope. She is trying so desperately to embrace the fact that, though evil may put up a good facade and it may be spreading its lies, it will not win. Not in the end. 

I really contemplated what food could correlate with this book, and.. you know those energy cookie bites that are all over pinterest? Yeah.. that’s what I have to go with. This is such an energetic book. So fast-paced that sometimes you’re not sure you’re actually sitting still.

 

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The Pawn, by Steven James 

This one was a reread for me, and I have to say that it was just as good my second time through.

Steven James is one of the most talented storytellers I’ve ever encountered within the pages of a book. In-depth characters, twisty plots, complex storytelling.. all of these are major qualities in Steven James’ writing. It’s so so good. He knows how to truly captivate his readers and relate to them. Even as he writes about an FBI detective tracking serial killers.

I love that he doesn’t shy away from asking hard questions. Rather, he tackles them head-on. Many topics addressed are far from being black and white.. I really appreciate that he has the courage and takes the initiative to write these subjects and questions into his books.

The Pawn is the fast-paced story of Patrick Bowers as he sets out to catch a bad guy.. a really bad guy who thinks of the graphic murders he’s so intricately linked together as a game. Between all the dead ends Patrick faces with the case and the brick walls he finds himself up against with his teenage stepdaughter, he begins to realize that maybe he doesn’t quite have life figured out as well as he’d once thought.

This book is like a bag of barbecue potato chips. Quite addictive. Much like you find yourself reaching for another chip again and again, this tale and its intensity keep you turning page after page.

* Although the first published Patrick Bowers novel, I highly recommend reading the prequels prior to this so you get the big picture and the full effect of the mystery. I didn’t have that luxury since I read this one way before the prequels existed, but this time around I’m enjoying the opportunity to read them chronologically.

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2017 in Fiction, Murder, Steven James, Suspense

 

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