Thursday, March 21, 2019

Grace and Lavender By Heather Norman Smith

Recently retired Colleen Hill is always busy, constantly on a quest to make life more interesting.
When the ladies' group at her church partners with the local children's home, Colleen jumps in as usual, volunteering to share her passion for cooking with a troubled teenager named Grace. But Colleen must balance the new project with her pursuit of becoming a contestant on a television game show, along with all the other ideas her brain continually spins out.
Colleen's daughter Melody is quite different. She lives a calm, simple life and is content with who she is. That is, until an unexpected opportunity to work with Grace, too, pushes her to reevaluate life and dare to take on bigger dreams. The path starts with a newly-found interest in soap-making and leads her to responsibilities she didn't even know she wanted, including helping Grace understand the meaning of her name.

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 Heather Norman Smith is a devotional blogger and author of inspirational fiction. Her goal is to use the written word to entertain and encourage, while illuminating the redemptive love of God. She also enjoys writing songs and singing about Jesus.

Heather is proud to be a life-long North Carolinian and aims to present the beauty of the Tar Heel State in her writing. Her home is just outside Winston-Salem, NC, where she lives with one husband, two daughters, one son, two cats, and two dogs. Heather loves words and does not enjoy math, except when it comes to counting blessings.

My Thoughts...

Faith, Adoption, and family all in this little book.
The setting was sweet, and the characters are solid. The story was a little bit slow for me until about halfway through it.
 I love the cover. I'm waiting for the next book from Smith.
I gave this book 3.5 stars.
The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The Two Tails By Katie Christine

As The Two Tails opens, the flock confronts a spiral of death and disappearance. Ensnared by a rapacious raccoon and desperate for a way out, Petunia, the backyard chicken, must throw herself at the mercy of the dark, open road with little more than gumption, a pair of useless wings, and a dubious companion as her guide.

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From a young age Katie's parents instilled in her a love of animals and art. She has many fond childhood memories of long summer afternoons spent curled up in a quiet corner of the local library. She lives outside Seattle, Washington with her husband/illustrator, Jonathan Edward, their Super-Sheltie, Niles and cats, Frankenstein and Penelope.

Katie Christine holds degrees from UCLA and USC, enjoys the outdoors, gardening, reading, and discovering new music.

My Thoughts...

Book number two in a children's series  Called Impeccable Petunia about a small hen.
I like most kids enjoy animal stories. This one is an easy read the illustrations are black and dark not sure what most of them are so buy the book for the story not the pictures.
Thanks to the author for sending us book one and book two.
The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

A Hero For Miss Hatherleigh By Carolyn Miller

As the daughter of Viscount Aynsley, Caroline Hatherleigh knows every rule of society--and she's always followed them precisely. But when she visits south Devonshire and encounters a fossil-hunting scientist and his sister, her assumptions about what is right are shaken. Questions she has never considered about the importance of friendship and faith suddenly confront her--and her comfortable understanding about how the world works is thrown off balance. What if God wants to be the center of her life, rather than merely a social obligation?

Gideon Kirby loves science, and hunting down proof of past lives is a joy he won't willingly give up. But his scientific leanings are being challenged both by his personal beliefs and by local smugglers in the Devonshire countryside. And every day his sister's illness becomes more desperate, her care growing more demanding. Adding a viscount's daughter to the mix is a complication Gideon never expected--especially since he must stay far away from this young woman he’s falling for in order to protect his beloved sister’s secret.

When a mysterious stranger visits the village, that secret will be exposed, no matter how Gideon fights. Then tragedy strikes in a smugglers' cave. And the threat of scandal may lead to broken hearts and passionless propriety. Will the shaky bond these two have nurtured be strong enough to overcome their differences--or will the trust they've withheld from each other tear three lives apart?

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Hi, I'm Carolyn Miller, author of 'The Elusive Miss Ellison'.

I live in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia.

I'm married, with four gorgeous children, who all love to read (and write!) as I do (except not in the Regency genre - funny, that!).

My favourite authors are classics like Jane Austen (of course!), Georgette Heyer, and Agatha Christie, but I also enjoy contemporary authors like Susan May Warren and Becky Wade.

I try to write stories that are fun and witty, yet also deal with real issues, such as dealing with forgiveness, the nature of really loving versus 'true love', and other challenges we all face at different times.

My Thoughts...

If you are a fan of  Regency Romance  then you don’t want to miss this latest book by Carolyn Miller.
Caroline and Gideon had great chemistry and I loved the bond that Emma and Miss Hartherleigh shared.
This is going to be a book that stays on my shelf so that I can reread it again. I gave this book 4 stars and I recommend it.
The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

Monday, March 18, 2019

When Drag Racing Met Country Music By Terri Lynn Schmidt

In search of a new identity outside of marriage after the death of her husband, Terri Lynn’s collection of writings addresses all matters of the heart. Her message of Faith, Hope, and Love is supported by scriptures.

From the author: "Till death do you part.” Words I hung upon and waited for during the first wedding ceremony I attended after my husband died. Instantly our 3-chord unity, that had been tethered together for over 20 years, severed. Was I a free woman? Free to do what? Most certainly a heartbroken woman. After all I did not choose the tearing of hearts and certainly it was not what I had planned on happening at such a young age. No one to check in with upon returning home or to meet for dinner or a movie. Silence. Alas, there was One. My Heavenly Father became my best friend and my Husband. Rediscovering my love for writing, along with scripture, the collections inside helped in finding my way back to where my true identity lies. The wife of a Drag Racing Legend was who I had become; identity in Christ is where I am now. Whether you are a widow or searching for more meaning relating to heart issues, welcome. Let us sojourn together.

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A native of Dallas, Texas Terri started writing, along with her love of music, at a very young age. With music and lyrics being her life a move to Nashville as a young adult made sense. Following her career in Nashville at Opryland and entertaining for US Troops in Central America for a season, at 26, Terri married NHRA Drag Racing Pioneer Harry Schmidt; a Hall-Of-Famer of the famous Blue Max Funny Car. After 21 years of marriage on April 30th of 2012, Terri, and her daughter's lives would be forever changed when Harry lost his 4-year battle to cancer. In search of rediscovering her identity outside of being Harry's wife, Terri rekindled her passion for writing.

Terri co-authored a chapter in the book, "Dare To Be A Difference Maker". Branching from that experience she has endorsed 2 books and was offered a column position for writing in a Dallas Downtown Business Newspaper. Her column of 7 years running is called, "Beauty Is Fleeting: Inside Matters". Her inside collections of writings are helpful for healing after loss, finding hope, and seeing beauty in life and love, along with scripture, by addressing matters of the heart.

My Thoughts...

When Drag Racing Met Country Music Is an great biography. The author has captured every emotion possible by a book. I liked that she started the book with the childhood of her late husband, followed by the same of her childhood and then the story of how they met. The book is a great start for her to recapture her love for writing. I believe she did a good job.    
  The book to me didn't follow a specific pattern or time line. Each chapter in a way had a feel of a standalone short story. Each chapter is a story of how she overcome certain challenges or is dealing with the loss of her husband or how her faith has helped her through many pitfalls. She is a good story teller.
This was a 4 star book.
The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Convergence By Ginny Yttrup

A psychologist paralyzed by fear.

A mother propelled by love.

A stalker bent on destruction.

Psychology professor Dr. Denilyn Rossi contends that the past is either a shadow that haunts us or a force that propels us. The choice is ours, she tells her students. What she doesn’t tell them is that her own past is a shadow she can’t seem to shake. Fear has immobilized her and is taking a costly toll.

Adelia Sanchez, however, has embraced Dr. Rossi’s teaching. She is ready to confront fear and render it powerless—using the trauma of her past to propel her to entrap the man who stalked and brutally attacked her.

As Denilyn’s past and Adelia’s present converge at the Kaweah River, a dangerous man bent on destruction threatens them both. Will he uncover the secret Deni and Adelia have fought so hard to protect?

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 Ginny L. Yttrup is the award-winning author of five novels including Home, which released April 2017. She writes contemporary women's fiction and enjoys exploring the issues everyday women face. Publishers Weekly dubbed Ginny's work "as inspiring as it is entertaining." When not writing, Ginny coaches writers, critiques manuscripts, and makes vintage-style jewelry for her Esty shop, Storied Jewelry. She loves dining with friends, hanging out with her adult children, gardening, or spending a day reading a great novel. Ginny lives in northern California. To learn more about Ginny and her work, visit

My Thoughts...
Where are my psychological thriller readers? You are in for a ride with the latest from Yttrup
I have been reading lots of psychological thrillers here lately so I must say I had very high hopes for this book. I was not disappointed at all.
I am not a reviewer who gives anything away. I will just say if you like psychological thrillers then you must read this book. I gave it 4 stars and recommend it.
 The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

The Secrets of Paper and Ink By Lindsay Harrel

Brought together by a charming bookstore in England, three women fight to defy expectations, dream new dreams, and welcome love into their lives.
As a counselor, Sophia Barrett is trained to help people cope with their burdens. But when she meets a new patient whose troubles mirror her own, she realizes she hasn’t dealt with the pain of her recent past. After making a snap decision to get away for the summer, Sophia moves overseas to an apartment above a charming bookstore in Cornwall, England. She is hopeful she will find peace there surrounded by her favorite thing: great literature.
Bookstore owner Ginny Rose is desperate to save her business without asking for help from a husband who’s decided to take a break from their marriage. Ginny never imagined she’d be solely responsible for keeping afloat her husband’s dream, but the unexpected friendship with her new renter has her feeling more optimistic. Between the two of them—and Ginny’s brother-in-law, William—the bookstore might stand a chance.
Then Sophia finds a notebook in the bookstore that contains journal entries from Emily Fairfax, a governess who lived in Cornwall more than 150 years ago. Sophia learns that Emily harbored a secret passion for becoming an authoress—as well as a deep love for her childhood friend, Edward, whose station she dared not dream to touch.
Eager to know more of Emily’s story, Sophia goes on a quest—dragging Ginny and William with her—to discover the heart of the woman behind the beautiful entries. Soon Ginny’s need to save the bookstore becomes more than a way to save her marriage, and Sophia finds new purpose of her own. Together they find that sometimes both heartache and hope can reach across the centuries.

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 Lindsay Harrel is a lifelong book nerd with a B.A. in journalism and M.A. in English. She lives in Arizona with her young family and two golden retrievers in serious need of training. Lindsay has held a variety of jobs, including curriculum editor for two universities, medical and business writer, and copywriter for a digital marketing agency. Now she juggles stay-at-home mommyhood with working freelance jobs, teaching college English courses online, and—of course—writing novels.

When she actually has time to do other things, she loves to sing, read, and sip passion iced teas from Starbucks. She loves to watch God work in ordinary lives to create something extraordinary, and she writes to bring hope to those who may have lost it along the way. Connect with her at and any other place she hangs out online, including Facebook and Twitter.

My Thoughts...

 I felt such a connection to Sophia, She lost her husband and tried to lose herself in books. I just lost my only daughter and I try everyday to get lost in books. Sophia felt at home in a book store I to go to a book store on the weekends and feel at home. This book really was wrote for me. I loved all three ladies but Sophia was my hero. I gave this book 4.5 stars and I HIGHLY recommend it!
Thanks to my best friend for giving me a copy of it, I will reread it again and again in hopes that I to will find myself again!


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Almost Home By Valerie Lusse

With America's entrance into the Second World War, the town of Blackberry Springs, Alabama, has exploded virtually overnight. Workers from all over are coming south for jobs in Uncle Sam's munitions plants--and they're bringing their pasts with them, right into Dolly Chandler's grand but fading family home turned boardinghouse.

An estranged young couple from the Midwest, unemployed professors from Chicago, a widower from Mississippi, a shattered young veteran struggling to heal from the war--they're all hoping Dolly's house will help them find their way back to the lives they left behind. But the house has a past of its own.

When tragedy strikes, Dolly's only hope will be the circle of friends under her roof and their ability to discover the truth about what happened to a young bride who lived there a century before.

Award-winning and bestselling author Valerie Fraser Luesse breathes life into a cast of unforgettable characters in this complex and compassionate story of hurt and healing.

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Valerie Fraser Luesse is the bestselling author of Missing Isaac and is an award-winning magazine writer best known for her feature stories and essays in Southern Living, where she is currently a senior travel editor. Specializing in stories about unique pockets of Southern culture, Luesse has published major pieces on the Gulf Coast, the Mississippi Delta, Louisiana's Acadian Prairie, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Her editorial section on Hurricane Katrina recovery in Mississippi and Louisiana won the 2009 Writer of the Year award from the Southeast Tourism Society. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama.

My Thoughts...

Loss, Love, friendship, and healing, well the story of our lives.  A very well written and moving story. I was so touched by it,
You get a little bit of everything. This was my first book by Luesse but I can't wait for more from her. 
This is a 4 star read you don't want to miss.
 The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.