New Release Spotlight! The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews Sparks the Holiday Spirit

From the New York Times bestselling author of Hello, Summer comes a novella celebrating the magic of Christmas and second chances.

When newly-divorced Ivy Perkins buys an old farmhouse sight unseen, she is definitely looking for a change in her life. The Four Roses, as the farmhouse is called, is a labor of love—but Ivy didn’t bargain on just how much labor. 

Among the left possessions Ivy finds a Santa suit—beautifully made and decades old. In the pocket of the suit she finds a note: it’s from a little girl who has one Christmas wish, and that is for her father to return home from the war. The note sets Ivy off on a mission only to discover she might find more than she ever thought possible: a welcoming town, a family reunited, a mystery solved, and a second chance at love.

My Take

This started a bit off to me, but quickly redeemed itself. I was drawn to the characters and loved the whole idea of the santa suit. Highly recommended for those looking for a quick holiday read between shopping, wrapping and baking.

Start reading now!

About the Author

MARY KAY ANDREWS is the New York Times bestselling author of 27 novels (including Hello, Summer; Sunset Beach; The High Tide Club; The Weekenders; Beach Town; Save the Date; Christmas Bliss; Ladies’ Night; Spring Fever; and Summer Rental, all from St. Martin’s Press, as well as Savannah Breeze; Blue Christmas; Hissy Fit; Little Bitty Lies; and Savannah Blues, all Harper Collins), and one cookbook, The Beach House Cookbook.

A native of St. Petersburg, Florida, she earned a B.A. in journalism from The University of Georgia (go Dawgs!). After a 14-year career working as a reporter at newspapers including The Savannah Morning News, The Marietta Journal, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where she spent the final ten years of her career, she left journalism in 1991 to write fiction.

Her first novel, Every Crooked Nanny, was published in 1992 by HarperCollins. She went on to write ten critically acclaimed mysteries, including the Callahan Garrity mystery series, under her real name, Kathy Hogan Trocheck. In 2002, she assumed the pen name Mary Kay Andrews with the publication of Savannah Blues. In 2006, Hissy Fit became her first New York Times bestseller, followed by twelve more New York Times, USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly bestsellers. To date, her novels have been published in German, Italian, Polish, Slovenian, Hungarian, Dutch, Czech and Japanese.

She and her family divide their time between Atlanta and Tybee Island, GA, where they cook up new recipes in two restored beach homes, The Breeze Inn and Ebbtide—both named after fictional places in Mary Kay’s novels, and both available to rent through Tybee Vacation Rentals. In between cooking, spoiling her grandkids, and plotting her next novel, Mary Kay is an intrepid treasure hunter whose favorite pastime is junking and fixing up old houses.

Connect with Mary Kay Andrews

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New Release Spotlight! A Man of Honor, Barbara Taylor Bradford’s Long-awaited Prequel to the Classic Emma Harte Saga A Woman of Substance

My love affair with the Emma Harte saga began in 1979, when the first in the series, A Woman of Substance, was published. At the time, I was 18 and recuperating from major abdominal surgery, which caused me to delay my start at college, where I would major in English so I could learn how to write. Instead I joined the Book of the Month Club and the Literary Guild and had the best in contemporary fiction shipped straight to my door. This was a marvelous service I couldn’t get enough of and I read voraciously. I particularly enjoyed family sagas, the bigger (figuratively and literally) the better. Although it has been many years since I’ve read anything by Barbara Taylor Bradford I had to jump on this one when it hit my Net Galley dashboard. Who doesn’t love a good prequel, the “story behind the story?” And what a fine story it is. Now I need to reread the original, A Woman of Substance and see if it still enchants me as it did at 18.

About the Book

In A Man of Honor, the true Blackie O’Neill is revealed. For the first time, readers discover his story: his tumultuous life, the obstacles facing him, the desire he has to throw off the impotence of poverty and move up in the world. Like his friend Emma, he is ambitious, driven, disciplined, and determined to make it to the top. And like Emma Harte, he is an unforgettable character for the millions who loved the book.

Opening five years before the start of A Woman of SubstanceA Man of Honor begins with 13-year-old Blackie O’Neill facing an uncertain future in rural County Kerry. Orphaned and alone, he has just buried his sister, Bronagh, and must leave his home to set sail for England, in search of a better life with his mother’s brother in Leeds. There, he learns his trade as a navvy, amid the grand buildings and engineering triumphs of one of England’s most prosperous cities, and starts to dream of greater things… And then, high on the Yorkshire moors, in the mists of a winter morning he meets a kitchen maid called Emma Harte.

My Take

Blackie is a dear, dear boy full of wide-eyed ambition. grit and determination. Like Emma Harte, he is “a man of substance.” l almost expected the two of them to get together, which I knew wouldn’t happen but it did not seem unlikely.

It was interesting to read about English society at the turn of the last century but sometimes I felt like the story wasn’t true to to the day’s norms and mores. The language often seemed a bit modern for the times. For instance, there was mention of couples’ “hooking up,” more than once, which I doubt was the term used in 1903. The women seemed a little loose, looser than the men, shockingly, and I found myself wondering about that as well.

The book seemed a bit rushed and broken into parts that confused me. For example, the sections involving Lord Lassiter and his troubles seemed to sprout from nowhere and I didn’t understand how they fit into the whole scheme of things. Still don’t, although I enjoyed reading about them.

I really wanted to love this book for old time’s sake but it fell short of my expectations. At the same time I was compelled to finish it, wondering what happens next, so in the end it was a fairly good read.

Recommended for lovers of family sagas, prequels, and early 19th century English heroes.

About the Author

Barbara Taylor Bradford, OBE is one of the world’s best loved storytellers. Her 1979 debut novel, A Woman of Substance, ranks as one of the top-ten bestselling books of all-time, with more than 30 million copies in print. All 31 of her novels to date have been major worldwide bestsellers. Her 32nd book, Secrets Of Cavendon, will be published in hardcover and eBook on November 21 by St. Martin’s Press.

Bradford was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire (UK) as the only child of Freda and Winston Taylor. She grew up in the Leeds suburb of Armley and after Town Street Church of England School worked in the typing pool at the Yorkshire Evening Post before going into journalism. By the age of twenty she was the fashion editor of Woman’s Own Magazine and an editor and columnist on Fleet Street for the London Evening News.

Bradford’s books have sold more than ninety one (91) million copies worldwide in more than ninety (90) countries and forty (40) languages. Ten (10) of her books have been made into miniseries and television movies, making her one of the best-selling authors over the last 30 years.

In April of 2003, Mrs. Bradford was inducted into the Writers Hall of Fame of America alongside Mark Twain, Langston Hughes and Dr. Seuss. She was awarded an OBE by Queen Elizabeth II in the Queen’s 2007 Birthday Honours list for her contributions to literature. Her original manuscripts are archived at the Brotherton Library at Leeds University, alongside the works of the Bronte sisters. In 2009, Barbara’s publishers began a worldwide 30th anniversary celebration of A Woman of Substance. The first annual Woman of Substance Awards took place on September 10th 2009 at the Dorchester Hotel in London. She lives in New York City with her husband, of 51 years, television producer Robert Bradford.

Her official website is: http://www.barbarataylorbradford.com

New Release Spotlight! Uncharted Courage, Book 10 in Keely Brooke Keith’s Intriguing Uncharted Series

One of my favorite series! It crosses many genres: historical fiction, women’s fiction, romance, and science fiction. Keely Brooke Keith writes it so well.

About the Book

With the survival of the Land at stake and her heart on the line, Bailey must find the courage to love.

When Bailey accepts John Colburn’s offer for her to visit Good Springs, she leaves the Inn at Falls Creek expecting to spend the autumn relaxing in her favorite seaside village. Upon her arrival, Connor asks her to cover a shift of guard duty on the equinox, and her quiet vacation takes a shocking turn.

Revel Roberts works hard to keep his life commitment-free, making it easy to leave community decisions to men like Connor and John. But when the Land is threatened, Revel sees his chance to prove he is a man worthy of Bailey’s love. Amid the chaos in Good Springs, his unrequited feelings for her preoccupy him. One wrong choice could ruin everything.

As Bailey’s new life in the Land unravels and threats from the outside world loom, a yearning she can’t define surges within her. It distracts her from defending the hidden world she loves, and a tragedy reinforces her need for independence.

With the survival of the Land at stake and their hearts on the line, Bailey and Revel will need more courage than fighting ever required. They will need to find the courage to love.

Uncharted Courage weaves past and future in a faith-filled story of life in a hidden land. You’ll love this Christian historical romance with a futuristic twist, full of mystery and suspense. Perfect for fans of dual timeline stories and time travel romance! If you enjoy the rural setting and wholesomeness of frontier romance and Amish fiction, you’ll adore Uncharted Courage.

“The appeal of simpler times and lost innocence combined with the adventure of a new undiscovered Land is hard to beat.” —Amazon reviewer on the Uncharted series

The Uncharted series:
#1 The Land Uncharted
#2 Uncharted Redemption
#3 Uncharted Inheritance
#4 Christmas with the Colburns
#5 Uncharted Hope
#6 Uncharted Journey
#7 Uncharted Destiny
#8 Uncharted Promises
#9 Uncharted Freedom
#10 Uncharted Courage

The Uncharted Beginnings series:
#1 Aboard Providence
#2 Above Rubies
#3 All Things Beautiful

About the Author

Keely Brooke Keith writes inspirational frontier-style fiction with a futuristic twist, including The Land Uncharted (Shelf Unbound Notable Romance 2015) and Aboard Providence (2017 INSPY Awards Longlist).

Born in St. Joseph, Missouri, Keely was a tree-climbing, baseball-loving 80s kid. She grew up in a family who moved often, which fueled her dreams of faraway lands. When she isn’t writing, Keely enjoys teaching home school lessons and playing bass guitar. Keely, her husband, and their daughter live on a hilltop south of Nashville, Tennessee.

Books I Love! Elin Hilderbrand’s Golden Girl Explores the Afterlife

I waited all summer for this book. I requested it from my library before its June 1st publication date and received it in October. It was well worth the wait! Elin Hilderbrand continues to grow as an author, extending her range and taking on topics outside of her usual Nantucket beach read.

Book Description

In this satisfying page-turner from “the queen of beach reads” (New York Magazine), a Nantucket novelist has one final summer to protect her secrets while her loved ones on earth learn to live without their golden girl.

On a perfect June day, Vivian Howe, author of thirteen beach novels and mother of three nearly grown children, is killed in a hit-and-run car accident while jogging near her home on Nantucket. She ascends to the Beyond where she’s assigned to a Person named Martha, who allows Vivi to watch what happens below for one last summer. Vivi also is granted three “nudges” to change the outcome of events on earth, and with her daughter Willa on her third miscarriage, Carson partying until all hours, and Leo currently “off again” with his high-maintenance girlfriend, she’ll have to think carefully where to use them.

From the Beyond, Vivi watches “The Chief” Ed Kapenash investigate her death, but her greatest worry is her final book, which contains a secret from her own youth that could be disastrous for her reputation. But when hidden truths come to light, Vivi’s family will have to sort out their past and present mistakes—with or without a nudge of help from above—while Vivi finally lets them grow without her.

With all of Elin’s trademark beach scenes, mouth-watering meals, and picture-perfect homes, plus a heartfelt message—the people we lose never really leave us—Golden Girl is a beach book unlike any other.

My Take

Elin is on brand in this novel that explores the afterlife, what happens when a woman is killed by a hit and run driver, unexpectedly ripped away from her family in the prime of life. Imagine being given three chances, three “nudges”, to affect your loved ones’ decisions in the immediate aftermath of your death. Vivi gets to be a silent bystander in the summer following her death, listening in on her family’s conversations, observing their every move, with the opportunity to affect their actions. We see their heartache and grief, learn their deepest secrets. All amid the gorgeous descriptions of life on Nantucket Island as only Elin can write it. Highly recommended for lovers of women’s fiction, Nantucket, and Elin Hilderbrand.

About the Author

Elin Hilderbrand is the proud mother of three, a dedicated Peloton rider, an aspiring book influencer, and an enthusiastic at-home cook (follow her on Instagram @elinhilderbrand to watch her Cringe Cooking Show). She is also a grateful seven-year breast cancer survivor. GOLDEN GIRL is her 27th novel.