Friday, May 31, 2019

A Hero's Heart By Tifany Fenton

A Hero's Heart is a true story of victory, captivatingly told for the first time, from the survivor herself. It is a story of brutality, cruelty, and loss. It is a story of demons, heartache, and agony. It is a story of love, joy, and abundance. And lastly, it is a memoir told with fervor and elation. The writer shares her emotions in intimate detail as she conveys her journey from abuse, to illness, to deaths, and ultimately to ascendancy.

Pick up your copy here...

As a former educator, Tiffany Fenton is passionate about using her past experiences, as dark and brutal as they may be, to equip and inspire those who have suffered from abuse, health challenges, an who are searching to find their hero within.

Tiffany was born in a small rural town in Canada, and now lives in Costa Rica. She is a professional speaker, life coach, community activist, and philanthropist. She's a warrior and a victor.

My Thoughts...
You may want to pick up a copy of this.
A little bit of romance and finding love and all the feels.
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.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Heart & Home By Victoria Duerstock

Heart and Home is a short devotional book with daily devotions for 90 days. The devotionals seek to draw clear connection between the basics of interior design and scripture that encourages spiritual growth within our hearts. The devotionals inspire women to have a captivating heart and home. Included in each devotional is an applicable design tip and photographs. Example devotional topics include unity and harmony, negative space, flow, focal point, and balance.

This devotional includes four-color photographs of home interiors throughout the book.

Pick up your copy here...

Victoria Duerstock wears many hats. None are more important than wife and mom, but she has certainly dipped her toe in a variety of interests and jobs through the years. She's been known to read everything under the sun, even a manual or two! With her nose in a book, she’s always learning so that she can figure out the next thing and writing has become her most recent passion.

Little did she know that her experiences that began over twenty years ago would influence her writing life today! After marrying Rob, she began working with him in the Interior Design industry. From managing the office of a retail design center, to assisting designers on their condo and house projects, Victoria was immersed in the retail design world for several years. Going to markets with him has been a perk that she has enjoyed through the years, not to mention the various samples and goodies from around the world that find space in their home. Access to furniture markets, trends, magazines have continued to fuel her interest and knowledge and she shares her thoughts with a monthly spot for combining home trends and parenting ideas, and at her personal blog

Serving in their church body remains an integral part of their family life. Many roles have been filled through the years and Victoria has especially enjoyed those times when she has been able to minister to women. She has a heart for women and her mission statement includes the following – Intentionally seeking to inspire hope and ignite bigger dreams for God’s purpose and His glory in each of our stories.

To this end, Victoria has not only enjoyed speaking to various women’s groups and conferences, but has also found success over the last couple of years writing short devotional anthologies with other amazing authors with Worthy Publishing. In the midst of this, the idea for this current book came to mind. Connecting the basic principles of Christian living, with the basic principles of Interior Design seemed to be a no-brainer!

Heart & Home: Design Basics for Your Soul and Your Living Space does just that. Publishing in April of 2019, this short devotional presents 90 days of Scripture, application, prayer and design tips into one full color volume. A devotional book that can be displayed in both the gift and inspirational markets, the full color photos make it beautiful to look at as well.

My Thoughts...
 90 Devotions and fabulous interior design photos with each devotion. There is scripture as well as prayers with each of the 90 devotions.
This is a wonderful gift book or hostess gift.
I would say this is a must have coffee table book for all your friends.
I gave this book 4 stars and recommend this gift 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, May 24, 2019

The Peculiar Pig By Joy Steuerwald

The sweet, funny story of a dachshund puppy who learns it is fine to be different from her piglet siblings.

There was a different sort of piglet in the pigpen one cool spring morning.

That "different" one is named Penny, and she's really not a piglet at all . . . she's a puppy. A puppy who gets longer and longer as her piglet siblings get bigger and bigger. Penny doesn't understand why she's different--she only knows that Mama Pig loves her just the same as the rest of the litter. Penny's siblings are baffled by her peculiar behavior--like digging with her paws instead of her snout, and especially her loud, sharp oink. Good thing Penny likes all the sounds she can make, and when danger strikes and her peculiarities prove to be strengths, the piglets see that sometimes it's good to be a little different!

Pick up your copy here...

JOY STEUERWALD found herself drawing as soon as she could hold a pencil. So winning her first art contest in 3rd grade just sealed her fate; Joy was destined to be an illustrator. She graduated from San Jose State’s animation and illustration program with a Bachelor of Science Degree and has created art for the educational market, the giftware industry, and children’s book publishing. Joy usually sketches with blue Col-Erase pencil, adds a pencil line, then uses Photoshop to add textures, details and color to create art that is playful and fresh. Writing stories is something Joy looks forward to doing more of as well. Her muse is a miniature, red, short haired Dachshund who has been joined by a small, human boy.

My Thoughts...
This was such a sweet book. It is one that the little ones are going to want to read every day. The Pictures are so cute and easy to relate to.
I think this is a book that all the little ones would love for birthdays and extra special gifts.
The story that lets the little ones know it's okay to be different is sure to be a favorite.
4 stars from this reader. I loved this cute story.
 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, May 23, 2019

Joy after Noon By Debra Jeter

Joy marries a widowed bank executive caught in an ethical dilemma. She misreads his obvious frustration while at the same time, struggles to integrate into her new family. This novel explores the challenges of second marriages and dealing with stepchildren during the crucial years of puberty and teenage angst. A college professor coming up shortly for the huge tenure decision, Joy finds herself falling apart as her career and her home issues deteriorate and collide. The truth about Ray’s relationship with his first wife hovers in the background adding to Joy’s difficulty in adapting to her new life.

Pick up your copy here...

Debra Coleman Jeter has published both fiction and nonfiction in popular magazines, including Working Woman, New Woman, Self, Savvy, and American Baby. Her first novel, The Ticket, was a finalist for a Selah Award. Her story, “Recovery,” was awarded first prize in a short story competition sponsored by Christian Woman; and Pshaw, It’s Me Grandson was a finalist in the USA Book News Awards. She is a co-writer of the screenplay for Jess + Moss, a feature film which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, screened at nearly forty film festivals around the world, and captured several international awards. Her newest novel, Joy After Noon, is the first in the Sugar Sands series. The second, Song of Sugar Sands, is expected to be published later in 2019.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Finding Katarina M. By Elisabeth Elo

From the author of the acclaimed North of Boston comes a riveting new novel about an American woman who travels to Russia to find her estranged grandmother, only to uncover dark family secrets and a dangerous international plot. 
Natalie March is a successful surgeon enjoying a busy life in Washington DC. As her demanding career has left little time for friends or romance, her deepest relationship is with her mother, Vera March, a Russian immigrant and MS patient confined to a rehab. Vera is haunted by the fact that her Ukrainian parents were sent to the gulag, Stalin's notorious network of labor camps, when she was just a baby. All her life she has presumed that they perished there along with millions of other Russian citizens. Natalie would do anything to heal her mother's psychic pain: it's the one wound that she, a doctor, cannot mend.

When a young Russian dancer comes to Natalie's office claiming to be her cousin, and providing details about her grandmother that no stranger could know, Natalie must face a surprising truth: her grandmother, Katarina Melnikova, is still very much alive. Natalie is thrilled to think that her Russian relatives are reaching out and that Vera may be able to reunite with her mother after so many years. In fact, Saldana has a darker motive for making contact. She pleads for Natalie's help to defect, and Natalie soon finds herself caught in a web of shocking family secrets that will pit her against both the Russian FSB and people within her own government.

How far will Natalie go to find Katarina M. and satisfy her mother's deepest wish? Masterfully plotted and beautifully written, FINDING KATARINA M. takes the reader on an extraordinary journey across Siberia―to reindeer herding camps, Russian prisons, Sakha villages, and parties with endless vodka toasts―while it explores what it means to be loyal to your family, your country, and yourself.

Pick up your copy here...

Elisabeth Elo's first suspense novel, NORTH OF BOSTON, was chosen by Booklist as a Best Crime Novel Debut of the Year. Her second suspense novel, FINDING KATARINA M., is coming in March 2019. Elisabeth grew up in Boston, attended Brown University, and earned a PhD in American Literature from Brandeis. She worked as a magazine editor, a high-tech product manager, and a halfway house counselor before beginning to write fiction. Learn more at

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Searching For A Place to Call Home By Diana Stelin

Through a poignant past/present narrative this heartfelt and inspiring coming of age novel explores a young woman's integration of a work/life balance through art, and the effects of an artistic life on one's psyche. Isabella is a young √©migr√© from the USSR who discovers her artistic talent as a way to cope with culture shock and escape from her traditional criticizing Jewish mother. Lost and in America, Isabella searches for a true home all over the world for years. She lives in Paris and Rome, ventures out to Australia, returns to Russia in search for her tribe, all the while recording these new locales and her feelings about them with her brush. It is only after losing her passion under the strains of money, romance and indulgence that she realizes that her painting practice has always been her home base, that restorative space of solace, balance and peace.When she finally rekindles her relationship with art, it helps her tackle her damaging relationships, caustic career and the demands of present-day motherhood. Can she redefine her many personas in a way that keeps her soul and art alive, even as she struggles to balance the imperative to create with the desire to sell? As a mother, will she be able to forgive her mother for taking her away from her life at its launch, and reconcile with this most important person in her life? This is a book about escape, sacrifice and difficult choices. In our time of intense struggles to stay balanced, it’s a story that would empower any mother, career woman, immigrant to America or creative, an intimate narrative about a soul striving for balance in life, through art.

Pick up your copy here... It's FREE right now

Monday, May 20, 2019

Summer By The Tides By Denise Hunter

A Summer of Low Tides Could Expose Years of Family Secrets
When her grandmother goes missing from the family beach house, Maddy and her estranged sisters converge in Sea Haven, North Carolina. Being with uptight Nora and free-spirited Emma in the home where their family broke apart is a struggle Maddy is not in the mood to face, especially since she’s recovering from her ex-boyfriend’s betrayal.
As the sisters wait for word of their grandmother, they begin to pack up the family belongings—and unpack memories of the idyllic summers of their childhood. But with those memories come long-buried secrets, and Maddy discovers that all was not as it appeared that last summer in Sea Haven. Meanwhile, Gram’s neighbor, Connor Sullivan, seems overly interested in Gram’s whereabouts. Maddy is drawn in by his quick smile and steady gaze in spite of herself.
Undercurrents of jealousy and resentment threaten to pull the family under again, maybe for good this time. As tensions rise, the sisters must find a way to accept each other for the women they’ve become—and Maddy must decide if falling in love again is worth the potential heartbreak.

Pick up your copy here...

Denise Hunter is the internationally published bestselling author of more than 30 novels, including "The Convenient Groom" and "A December Bride" which have been made into Hallmark movies. She has appeared on the The 700 Club and won awards such as The Holt Medallion Award, The Carol Award, The Reader's Choice Award, The Foreword Book of the Year Award, and is a RITA finalist.

Denise writes heartwarming, small-town love stories. Her readers enjoy the vicarious thrill of falling in love and the promise of a happily-ever-after sigh as they savor the final pages of her books.

In 1996, inspired by the death of her grandfather, Denise began her first book, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her husband says he inspires all her romantic stories, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!

When Denise isn't orchestrating love lives on the written page, she enjoys traveling with her family, drinking good coffee, and playing drums. Denise makes her home in Indiana where she and her husband raised three boys and are currently enjoying an almost empty nest.

You can learn more about Denise through her website or by visiting her FaceBook page at

My Thoughts...

Treat yourself, you deserve it. Get a copy of this great beach read.
 Oh Maddy and Connor. I loved this book from page one until the last page. I always hate to start a book by Hunter because I know that I'm going to read it in one sitting then have to wait forever for her next book. You are going to love this book of love, forgiveness and family. I HIGHLY recommend this 5 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.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Tiny Hot Dogs By Mary Giuliani

From awkward schoolgirl to Caterer to the Stars, Mary Giuliani weaves together a collection of hilarious memories, from professional growing pains to her long journey to motherhood, never losing her sense of humor and her love for everyone's favorite party food, pigs in a blanket.Mary's utterly unremarkable childhood was everything she didn't want: hailing from a deeply loving yet overprotective Italian family in an all-Jewish enclave on Long Island. All she wanted was to fit in (be Jewish) and become famous (specifically a cast member on Saturday Night Live). With an easy, natural storytelling sensibility, Mary shares her journey from a cosseted childhood home to the stage and finally to the party, accidentally landing what she now refers to as "the breakthrough role of a lifetime" catering to a glittery list of stars she once hoped to be part of herself.

Fresh, personal, and full of Mary's humorous, self-deprecating, and can-do attitude against all odds, you'll want to see where each shiny silver tray of hors d'oeuvres takes her next. You never know when the humble hot dog will be a crucial ingredient in the recipe for success, in building a business or simply making life more delicious.

Pick up your copy here...

Mary Giuliani is an author, party and lifestyle expert, and founder and CEO of Mary Giuliani Catering and Events and Giuliani Social. Mary has appeared on The Barefoot Contessa, The Chew, The Today Show, Good Morning America and is a regularly featured guest on The Rachael Ray Show. Mary's first book, The Cocktail Party (Eat, Drink, Play, Recover) came out in 2015. A graduate of Georgetown University, Mary resides in New York's Chelsea neighborhood and Woodstock, New York with her husband Ryan, and daughter Gala.

My Thoughts...

I must start out by saying I won this book from the wonderful Suzy from I was thrilled I love Mary and Rachel Ray can't say enough great things about her so you know she is the greatest.
I got this in the mail sat down right there on my steps and started reading it. I laughed so hard when she told where to find her first book in the book store. You have to read that it is in the chapter titled Lists. 
There are some good recipes in this book and the stories are great.
I gave this book 5 stars and I HIGHLY recommend it. It would make a super hostess gift, Just saying.
Thank You Suzy. This made my week. I just had to share this with everyone.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Radiant Midnight By Melissa Maimone

Grace and Hope for Long Dark Nights

Have you ever suffered with depression, sadness, or the feeling that you just can't seem to get it together? Do you wonder if you could ever view your deepest wounds in a different light?

Through candid storytelling, biblical truth, honest lament, and unexpected humor, The Radiant Midnight is a bold refusal to simplify the experience of suffering by moving too quickly to try to relieve it. With questions to guide you and practical suggestions to lead you through dark moments, this book takes you on a journey of surrender, suffering, rest, and restoration as it encourages and comforts you in whatever struggle you face.

The message of The Radiant Midnight is fueled by the passionate belief that not only will God lead you out of darkness, He will be fully and beautifully present within it. You can find deep contentment in painful circumstances and discover a profound intimacy with a compassionate, tender God who is with you in every moment—in each hope-filled dawn and every radiant midnight.

Pick up your copy here...

Melissa Maimone teaches women that an authentic life in Christ can be messy and magnificent at the exact same time. With her unique blend of theology, humor, and insight, Melissa provides down-to-earth lessons, practical applications, and life-changing perspectives to real women who are living real lives in the midst of real problems.

Using Scripture, art, story-telling, and lessons from her own battle with depression, Melissa demonstrates that the light of JOY can be found even in dark places. She is both a teacher and friend to her audiences; creating a dynamic atmosphere of learning, inspiration, and shared experiences. She encourages women that they can live a bold, messy, magnificent life of vulnerability and victory because they are known, accepted, and deeply loved by God--just as they are. Women leave their time with Melissa equipped with biblical, realistic, and transferrable tools to live a life of JOY, no matter what they face in life.

Melissa is the author of "Gathering Dandelions: Meditations and Musings on Faith, Fracture, and Beauty Mistaken for a Weed", a book of short stories, prayers, and reflective questions written in her trademark style of down-to-earth humor, authenticity, and a rich understanding of God's grace. It won the 2017 "Devotional of the Year" from Interviews and Reviews.

Melissa says, ""So many books offer to help a person get out of the darkness. I am passionate about helping women to live well while they are in it. I believe that our darkest seasons require great care, deep faith, and a healthy sense of humor. I also believe that our darkest seasons offer us gifts and graces we cannot see in the lighter periods of life."

Melissa has been a featured speaker at various Christian camps, women's events and retreats throughout the United States. She is part of the speaking team for Seasons Weekend, created by author and dramatist Nicole Johnson. Melissa has appeared on TBN and KKLA Christian Radio, and has been published in Welcome Home magazine.

She and her husband Danny live in Southern California with their two children, three cats, one dog, two mice, and a tortoise. She loves Jesus, her family, and her friends. Her hobbies include reading, walking, watching weird documentaries, and eating tacos.

My Thoughts...

After losing my daughter last year, I must say I have lived in a very dark cloud. So this book has been a help to me. Maimone does not say that there is anything wrong with me, she does not say what I am going through is not normal. She has many highlights that give me hope and let me know it's okay.  She says In not alone even though it feels like I am. She has an insight and helpful voice for those of us who need it and will listen.
I recommend this book to many people there are many people in pain and many people that we can share this book with. I would suggest getting many copies and sharing this 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.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The Next Right Thing By Emily Freeman

Nothing gets our attention like an unmade decision: Should I accept the new position? Which schooling choice is best for my kids? How can I support my aging parents? When we have a decision to make and the answer isn't clear, what we want more than anything is peace, clarity, and a nudge in the right direction.

If you have trouble making decisions, because of either chronic hesitation you've always lived with or a more recent onset of decision fatigue, Emily P. Freeman offers a fresh way of practicing familiar but often forgotten advice: simply do the next right thing. With this simple, soulful practice, it is possible to clear the decision-making chaos, quiet the fear of choosing wrong, and find the courage to finally decide without regret or second-guessing.

Whether you're in the midst of a major life transition or are weary of the low-grade anxiety that daily life can bring, Emily helps create space for your soul to breathe so you can live life with God at a gentle pace and discern your next right thing in love.

Pick up your copy here...

Emily P. Freeman is a writer, creative director, and spiritual mentor who helps create space for the soul to breathe so people can walk in step with their calling.

She is the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Simply Tuesday and Grace for the Good Girl as well as Graceful and A Million Little Ways. She’s been writing online for over 10 years and is the co-founder of a growing community for writers at

She and her husband live in North Carolina with their three children. Connect with Emily online at and on Instagram @emilypfreeman.

My Thoughts...

Someone asked me about a book that hits on Spiritual growth and discernment and  I sat there thinking about books.I had just read and this book  popped in my mind. So if I had to describe it I would say its a helpful book on those two topics. Growth and discernment.
You will get so much from this book but don't think its a self help book.  It is so much more. You have to read it and listen.
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, May 13, 2019

The Pumpkin War By Cathleen Young

At the end of every summer, Madeline Island hosts its famous pumpkin race. All summer, adults and kids across the island grow giant, thousand-pound pumpkins, then hollow one out and paddle in it across the lake to the cheers of the entire town.

Twelve-year-old Billie loves to win; she has a bulletin board overflowing with first-prize ribbons. Her best friend Sam doesn't care much about winning, or at least Billie didn't think so until last summer's race, when his pumpkin crashed into hers as she was about to cross the finish line and he won. This summer, Billie is determined to get revenge by growing the best and biggest pumpkin and beating Sam in the race. It's a tricky science to grow pumpkins, since weather, bugs, and critters can wipe out a crop. Then a surprise visit from a long-lost relative shakes things up, and Billie begins to see her family, and her bond with Sam, in a new way.

Pick up your your copy here...

Like Billie in her book The Pumpkin War, Cathleen grew up among storytellers. She often went fishing all around the Badger State with her father, who was a newspaper reporter. Ever since she was little, Cathleen’s dream was to write for kids.

After graduating from the University of Georgia, Cathleen began writing for magazines like McCall’s and Working Mother. Later, she worked as a police reporter at CITY NEWS BUREAU in Chicago. She then moved into television, writing everything from soap operas like The Young and the Restless to shows like Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, and MacGyver.

She has over a dozen television movies to her credit, including the award-winning HALLMARK HALL OF FAME movie, A Place for Annie. Cathleen is now the executive director of HUMANITAS, where she gets to help aspiring writers break into film and tv. She lives in Santa Monica, California, with her twin daughters, Shaelee and Gemma, her husband Patrick, and the family dogs Butch and Rexxy.

It was only after her twins were born that Cathleen discovered her true writer’s voice.

My Thoughts...

This is a book for (8-13) year olds. It was a fun read. Who would not want to be in a competition to see who can grow the biggest pumpkin?  I want to ride in a giant pumpkin in a lake. this was so fun to read.I hope that all the young ones read this. 
I gave this book 4 stars and I recommend it. Ask your school library to get a copy so everyone can enjoy 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. 

Friday, May 10, 2019

The Inn At Hidden Run By Olivia Newport

A Father-Daughter Genealogy Team Link Present to Past on Family Trees

Meri’s family has been producing doctors for so many generations that no one remembers why, so when she flunks out of medical school, she runs as far from her parents as she can get. In the small mountain town of Canyon Mines, Colorado, she takes a job at the Inn at Hidden Run B&B. And waits. It’s only a matter of time.

What she doesn’t count on is genealogist Jillian Parisi-Duffy and her father, Nolan, having her back when it takes everything she has not to bolt again but to stay and face the truth that only unfolding her family’s history will reveal. While Nolan works on keeping Meri calm—and in town—Jillian pulls out of her gems of information she doesn’t know she has and arranges the puzzle pieces.

But none of that changes the fact that Meri’s family is closing in to haul her back to her “real” life. When their arrival inflames tensions and Meri finally does bolt, Nolan and Jillian may be out of time.

The Inn at Hidden Run is the first book in the Tree of Life series. Readers will come back to backdrop of a lovely mountain town of Canyon Mines again and again to explore and celebrate unforgettable family stories that inspire them to connect with their own family histories and unique faith journey

Pick up your copy here...

 Olivia Newport’s novels blend the truths of where we find ourselves now with insights into what carried us in the past. Enjoying life with her husband and nearby grown children, she chases joy in stunning Colorado at the foot of Pikes Peak.

My Thoughts...
 You have to be a really good writer to write time slip books . Newport has pulled it off with out a hitch.
I have always been fascinated by genealogy so this was a good read for me. Father daughter stories fascinate me also.
This is a four book series  and I am so excited to read the next book in the series.
This is a four star read. 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.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

The Southern Side of Paradise By Kristy Woodson Harvey

From internationally bestselling author and “rising star of Southern fiction” (Mary Alice Monroe, New York Times bestselling author) Kristy Woodson Harvey comes the third novel in her Peachtree Bluff series, in which a secret threatens the tight-knit bond between a trio of sisters and their mother.

With the man of her dreams back in her life and all three of her daughters happy, Ansley Murphy should be content. But she can’t help but feel like it’s all a little too good to be true.

Meanwhile, youngest daughter and actress Emerson, who is recently engaged and has just landed the role of a lifetime, seemingly has the world by the tail. Only, something she can’t quite put her finger on is worrying her—and it has nothing to do with her recent health scare.

When two new women arrive in Peachtree Bluff—one who has the potential to wreck Ansley’s happiness and one who could tear Emerson’s world apart—everything is put in perspective. And after secrets that were never meant to be told come to light, the powerful bond between the Murphy sisters and their mother comes crumbling down, testing their devotion to each other and forcing them to evaluate the meaning of family.

Pick up your copy here...

Kristy Woodson Harvey is the national bestselling author of Dear Carolina (Berkley/Penguin Random House, 2015), Lies and Other Acts of Love (Berkley/Penguin Random House, 2016) and the Peachtree Bluff Series, beginning with Slightly South of Simple (Gallery/Simon & Schuster, 2017). Dear Carolina was long-listed for the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize, has been optioned for film and has appeared on numerous “must-read” lists. Lies and Other Acts of Love was a Romantic Times top pick, a Southern Booksellers Okra Pick and a finalist for the Southern Book Prize. Slightly South of Simple was a Southern Bestseller, a Barnes & Noble Bestseller, one of PopSugar’s picks for “Ultimate Summer Reading” and one of Glitter Guide’s “Must-Reads for April.”

She blogs with her mom, Beth Woodson, daily on Design Chic, the inaugural member of Traditional Home’s design blogger hall of fame and winner of Amara's Best Luxury Blog, about how creating a beautiful home can be the catalyst for creating a beautiful life and loves connecting with readers at

Harvey is a Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s school of journalism and holds a master’s in English from East Carolina University, with a concentration in multicultural and transnational literature. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications and websites, including Southern Living, Traditional Home, Parade, USA Today, Domino, Houzz and Our State. She has been seen in Women’s Health, The Washington Post, US News and World Report, The Huffington Post, USA Today’s Happy Every After, Marie Claire’s The Fix, Woman’s World, Readers’ Digest and North Carolina Bookwatch, among others. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and five-year-old son where she is working on her next novel, The Secret to Southern Charm, book 2 in the Peachtree Bluff Series, which will be released Spring 2018.

My Thoughts...

Ansley and Emerson story is such a fun one. I did not read the first two books in this series I am planning on reading them soon. I love the Mother daughter story line in this book. 
I won a copy on Goodreads and I had to share it with you all. I would say get the whole series so that you can meet all three sisters and find out all about each one of them.
Ansley is the mom and her place in this book was good and it can be read as a stand alone but I think reading all three will give you more insight.
This was a 4 star read for me.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Becoming Us By Robin Jones Gunn

From the author of the best-selling Christy Miller and Sisterchicks series comes a refreshing novel that celebrates the gift of friendship.

Five young women, including beloved Gunn characters Christy Miller and Sierra Jensen, gather for a simple Christmas party and soon become unlikely best friends. Told from the viewpoint of Emily, a timid young mom going through a difficult season of life, the regular gatherings provide the much needed community she's longed for. As the women begin sharing their life stories in Becoming Us they are endeared to each other and find ways to challenge, encourage, and help each other become the nurturing mothers they wished they'd had when they were growing up. They see themselves as Haven Makers and unite to be remembered for what they do and not for what was done to them.

Pick up your copy here..

Robin Jones Gunn has written over 100 books with sales of over 5.5 million copies sold worldwide. She and her husband have two grown children and live in Hawai'i.

Her best-selling Father Christmas novels have been made into 3 Hallmark Movies. Get a behind the scenes look in her book, "How My Book Became a Movie".

Robin's best-selling, award winning novels include the Christy Miller series for teens as well as the Sierra Jensen and Katie Weldon series. The characters in these series continue in Christy & Todd: The College Years, The Married Years, The Baby Years and in The Haven Makers series. More details at

The Glenbrooke series by Robin features 8 gentle love stories and her Christy Award winning Sisterchicks(R) novels are a book club favorite. Her popular non-fiction titles include "Victim of Grace", "Praying For Your Future Husband", co-authored with Tricia Goyer and "Spoken For", co-authored with Alyssa Joy Bethke.

My Thoughts..
 A book about a group of woman who look for the good in bad times.
How does that sound to you?
What can a group of ladies get into in times of trouble? You have to read this book to find out what happens between the pages of this one.
I gave this book 4 stars and I hope that you will pick up a copy to enjoy this spring.
 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, May 7, 2019

Ashes In A Coconut By Bo Kearns

To save her marriage, Laura Harrison accompanies her husband Jack to Indonesia where he is to take over as president of troubled bank; but when her premonitions become reality, events spin out of control.
Laura expects their new home in Jakarta to be a romantic hideaway like something out of a classic Bogart movie. Instead she walks into a house of horrors. White sheets cover Gothic furnishings, and black garments hang in the closets. It’s as if the former occupants had fled from some danger. Despite feelings of doom, Laura is determined to make things work. At the local market she’s appalled to see a baby orangutan for sale, its mother having been killer by loggers. She resolves to save the endangered primates and their rainforest habitat. As Laura attempts to grow closer to her husband, they become at odds over his shady business dealings. And when his secrets and life of lies are revealed, Laura finds herself alone and responsible for her own destiny.

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Author of three books.

My Thoughts...

 Are you guys ready for a romance like no other? I have never read a book by Kearns until this one. I can't not wait to read more. I love a romance that sucks you in from the beginning and never lets you go. I will warn you the writing is so good that you will be left wanting more.
I gave this book 4 stars and I can't wait for the next 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.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

One Year ago This Week...

It has been one year ago this week that we unexpectedly lost our only daughter. So I am asking all of my followers to do something in memory of Linda this week. As you are thinking about her this week and praying for AJ and I . I would like to ask you to PAY IT FORWARD. Linda was a very giving person. So When you stop to get gas this week pay for someones gas. When You go buy a cup of coffee pay for someones coffee. When going to the store and you see a parking space up front give it to the person behind you. Pay for the person behind you in the store.
I know some of you are saying I don't have the money to do this. Then as Linda would say do something for some one. Mow their grass, go over and wash their car. Give them a stack of books. Mail someone a card just because. Send some flowers to someone to brighten their day. 

 There are so many things that you can do in memory of Linda this week. Offer to watch someones kids for a night. Just know that Linda was a very giving person and this is what she would have loved to see.
I plan on taking books to parks and leaving them for kids to find. I plan to get out of bed this week with the mindset that everyday I am going to do something for someone else. 

People keep telling me it will get easier everyday. Well I am here to tell those people it has NOT gotten any easier it is a struggle everyday to go on without our baby girl. 
I just think about what she would want, and I know that it is to PAY IT FORWARD in her memory. You don't need to come over here and post a comment about what you did. Just do something in her memory that would make her smile if she were still here with us.

Thank you to all of you who still one year later call me and check on me send me cards and especially those of you who send me books every week so that I can escape reality a little bit each day. You all know that I love you and I am very thankful for those books and for you in my life. 

Friday, May 3, 2019

I will Race you Through This Book! By Jonthan Fenske

See if you can beat Book-It Bunny in a reading race!

In this story designed to engage early readers, charming characters combine with simple text, lively illustrations, and laugh-out-loud humor to help boost kids' confidence and create lifelong readers!

This easy-to-read adventure breaks the fourth wall as Book-It Bunny challenges the reader to race her to the end of the story. But with distractions and tricks up her sleeve along the way, the competition becomes both fierce and funny at the same time. On your mark, get set, read!

Exciting, easy-to-read books are the stepping stone a young reader needs to bridge the gap between being a beginner and being fluent.

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Jonathan Fenske has written and illustrated several Penguin Young Readers, including A Pig, a Fox, and a Box, which was a 2016 Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor winner. He is also the author and illustrator of the picture books Barnacle Is Bored and Plankton Is Pushy (Scholastic, Inc.). His paintings are in private and public collections across the United States. An avid runner and hiker, he lives with his wife and three daughters in Denver, Colorado

My Thoughts...

This is such a cute read. It's a very fast read and one I think that your kids will want to read every night at bed time.
 This would made a great birthday gift or end of school year gift.
 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, May 2, 2019

The Forgiving Kind By Donna Everhart

In this masterful new novel, set in 1950s North Carolina, the acclaimed author of The Road to Bittersweet and The Education of Dixie Dupree brings to life an unforgettable young heroine and a moving story of family love tested to its limits.     
For twelve-year-old Martha “Sonny” Creech, there is no place more beautiful than her family’s cotton farm. She, her two brothers, and her parents work hard on their land—hoeing, planting, picking—but only Sonny loves the rich, dark earth the way her father does. When a tragic accident claims his life, her stricken family struggles to fend off ruin—until their rich, reclusive neighbor offers to help finance that year’s cotton crop.

Sonny is dismayed when her mama accepts Frank Fowler’s offer; even more so when Sonny’s best friend, Daniel, points out that the man has ulterior motives. Sonny has a talent for divining water—an ability she shared with her father and earns her the hated nickname “water witch” in school. But uncanny as that skill may be, it won’t be enough to offset Mr. Fowler’s disturbing influence in her world. Even her bond with Daniel begins to collapse under the weight of Mr. Fowler’s bigoted taunts. Though she tries to bury her misgivings for the sake of her mama’s happiness, Sonny doesn’t need a willow branch to divine that a reckoning is coming, bringing with it heartache, violence—and perhaps, a fitting and surprising measure of justice.

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A USA Today bestselling author of THE EDUCATION OF DIXIE DUPREE, THE ROAD TO BITTERSWEET, and THE FORGIVING KIND, Donna Everhart writes stories of family hardship and troubled times in a bygone south. A native of North Carolina, she resides in her home state with her husband and their tiny heart stealing Yorkshire terrier, Mister. Readers can also visit her at

My Thoughts...
Being set in North Carolina did not hurt at all. Being that that's where I live.
I really liked the southern slag in this book. Everhart had it down pat. I cried and I was angry. This is one of those books that you love to hate. Sonny was my favorite character and she made the whole story. I wanted to kill Mr. Fowler with my bare hands. This was really good, gritty, edgy, Southern fiction. I can't wait to read more of Everharts books.
Don't miss this 4 star read. I HIGHLY 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.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Suddenly Mine By Samantha Chase

Love is a sanctuary
Christian Montgomery is burnt out―the family business might be his entire world, but his father's judgment means Christian never stops working. His only respite is gazing at the beach and the carefree surfers riding the waves...especially the curvy redhead who's caught his attention.
Sophie Bennington has just fled from her small Kansas town to California, where she's trying her best to embrace her new beginning. Soon Christian and Sophie find one another, and it feels like sanctuary. But when their difficult pasts catch up to them, will they run away from each other?
Montgomery Brothers Series:
Wait for Me (Book 1)
Trust in Me (Book 2)
Stay With Me (Book 3)
More of Me (Book 4)
Return to You (Book 5)
Meant for You (Book 6)
I'll Be There (Book 7)
Until There Was Us (Book 8)
Suddenly Mine (Book 9)

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Samantha Chase is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller of contemporary romance. She released her debut novel in 2011 and currently has more than forty titles under her belt! When she’s not working on a new story, she spends her time reading romances, playing way too many games of Scrabble or Solitaire on Facebook, wearing a tiara while playing with her sassy pug Maylene…oh, and spending time with her husband of 27 years and their two sons in North Carolina.

My Thoughts...
 Well I have now read books 8 and 9 in the Montgomery Brothers series. I did not feel lost they can be read as stand aloes but I have to get the rest of the series right away. 
Chase is the queen of romance. I loved every page of these books the characters were easy to fall in love with.
I hope that you will pick up this series. They would make great beach reads. 
4 stars from me and I recommend you checking these books out.
The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.