What I’m reading Monday

Broken lines by Kelsey Gietl is not a book for the faint of heart. It definitely does not fall into the category of rainbows and puppies. This book comes with a sensitivity warning for those readers who are triggered by alcohol-related stories or domestic abuse.

That being said, Gietl’s book Broken Lines is a terrific read with a satisfying ending, one I wasn’t sure would happen.

What if just before you board a ship back home to Germany, your brother informs you that you can’t come with him. Instead, he insists that you don’t. He hands you a ticket to St. Louis, tells you to change your name and to marry an American? That’s what happens to Amara. When she tries to do as her brother requested she is rejected and abandoned on a street in a city she doesn’t know.

The main characters of this book struggle with what side of the war they favor. How do you give up what you know and embrace what is new or has been your life for only a few years? There is an identity struggle that was common before and during the war. Are you German or American? There is not an in-between and if your name sounds German then there will be trouble.

The story begins just before America joins the allies fighting against the Germans. It is set in St. Louis, Missouri during 1916. A familiar city to me as I grew up in a small town close by as did the author. A lot of the landmarks and history in the story were familiar, making the reading the descriptions of back then even more intriguing to me.

Emil works as a morality police officer. He along with his partner frequently breaks the moral laws that he is supposed to be upholding.  He wrestles with this throughout the book knowing that what he is doing is not right. He’s not willing to change until he meets Amara a woman he must decide to change his life for, or let go. It is not an easy decision for him.

Amara has her own demons to fight, an abusive ex-fiancé, and a man she thinks she could love but wants nothing to do with her. How will she be able to stay safe if she can’t find an American citizen to marry?

Emil and Amara’s journey is intense with action and filled with secrets. Broken Lines is book 1 in this series but it is a complete story. If you like books where characters have a chance at redemption this one is for you. 

Broken Lines is a terrific read and will likely keep you up until you finish it. Geitl knows her history and she weaves it throughout the book with an intricacy that doesn’t shout here’s a historical fact that you need to know. She slips in those details where they make the most sense helping the reader feel the story.

What I Read Monday

All that Was by Tanya. E. Williams

I picked the perfect day to read this book. It was raining and gloomy with a chill in the air. Perfect for a book set in Seattle.

This book isn’t a quick light read. It’s one where you sink down into your reading chair with a cup of tea and a soft blanket and shut out the world kind of read.

When we meet Emily it doesn’t take long to realize she’s bottled up her grief over losing her parents so tight that it has taken over her life. Despite help offered and then refused she gets through her days thinking she is fine, though nothing will ever be good again.

Take heart reader, Emily embarks upon a life-changing experience when she agrees to archive the records of a historic church in Seattle. Hired by her law company as a first-year lawyer she gets the job to comb through centuries of old documents in a dark windowless room.

Emily doesn’t mind doing the work until memories of her parents begin to invade the space. How will she handle them when they won’t stop coming?

Elizabet, a spirit who has refused to move forward takes the reader on a journey similar to Emily’s. It’s not to be missed. Because of Elizabet the reader gets a view of what this church meant to people throughout the decades. The research on this book must have been time consuming but every detail adds to the ambiance of the setting.

When Emily is forced to look back on her life, she has choices to make moving forward. That’s what this book is about, being afraid for a minute and having the courage to move forward.

There is much to enjoy about this book, so I don’t wish to give away much. It is a good literary women’s fiction book. This is a book about two worlds, but not fantasy, scary type fiction.

All that Was has a happy ending which is important to me.

https://amzn.to/3o3rqVX

Separated by a century. Bonded by loss. Will examining all that was invoke comfort or calamity?

Seattle, 2015. Emily Reed refuses to dwell on her emotions. When the first-year attorney is assigned a church archival project, she dives into the records to hide from her own heartache. But when she discovers her parents were married in this very chapel, she is forced to confront the grief she buried a decade ago.

After she died in 1935, Elizabet Thomas was devastated when her beloved husband wasn’t waiting for her on the other side. A lost soul, she’s wandered their church for the past eighty years, desperate to find him. And now she must persuade a young, living lawyer that the historic building needs to be preserved rather than sold and torn down.

Discovering a diary among the disarray in the building’s basement, Emily is first engrossed and then moved by the dead woman’s words. And as the fate of her home unravels, Elizabet realizes she and the grieving archivist have more in common than she ever would have guessed.

Can Emily and Elizabet save themselves and their cherished sanctuary?

Get your copy!

What I read: Monday

Is there someone in your life that is also a reader?

Do you share the same love for certain genres?

My mom is responsible for helping me learn to read at an early age. She spent hours reading to me, helping me pick out the words for myself and even walking with me to the bookmobile because we didn’t have a car. I was four or maybe five when we did that. At the time, for someone who couldn’t leave her yard, the trip there was exciting. We had to walk along the side of the road and cross a bridge!

The way back was harder. I was hot, tired, thirsty and couldn’t wait to read my books. How long was that walk? Round trip about a mile. That used to impress me until I had kids and realized just how far they will walk if they are having fun.

Mom loves reading true crime, mysteries, and things that make me want to hide under the covers. Stories were people do terrible things to each other. She says it’s human nature. I think in a different time she might have been a forensic psychologist.

I love the puppies and rainbow kind of books. Happy endings give me great joy, books with endings that end with possible good in the characters future are my second favorites.

We have found a few places where we connect. The books aren’t true (for me) and the story is well-written and could have happened in real life.

When I finished reading Kristin Hannah’s book The Great Alone I knew it was one of those books mom and I could connect over. I ordered a paperback for mom. She’s reading it now and we are having our own little book club moment discussing it every day.

It’s set in the 1970s so that decade is a familiar one to me as I was in high school then. The angst of being a teenager and moving to another state and not having the right clothes is universal but what follows in this book I pray isn’t a normal life for anyone.

While the relationship between Leni and Cora is unhealthy it brought me back to living with my own mom. The closeness that grows between a mother and daughter when there is sadness and problems they can’t control is what kept me reading page after page. Peas in a pod is her mother’s favorite saying.

If stories of abuse are a trigger for you then please give this book a pass. If not, it’s a book full of relationships, the beauty, and roughness of Alaska, and the possibilities of hope.

The Great Alone: A Novel by [Kristin Hannah]

Alaska, 1974. Ernt Allbright came home from the Vietnam War a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes the impulsive decision to move his wife and daughter north where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

Cora will do anything for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown. Thirteen-year-old Leni, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, has little choice but to go along, daring to hope this new land promises her family a better future.

In a wild, remote corner of Alaska, the Allbrights find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the newcomers’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.

But as winter approaches and darkness descends, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own.

The book is $9.99 for ebook or paperback but it is also in KindleUnlimted if you have a subscription this book almost pays for your month, read one more and you’ve saved money. 🙂

What I’m Reading Monday

Room at the Top by Kristin Billerbeck can only be described as non-stop reading pleasure.

I’m a Billerbeck fan, no doubt about it. I devoured her first books and wanted so much to be able to write like her. I can’t and that’s okay because now I read her books for pleasure.

Room at the Top is funny, witty, and has a bit of a who-done-it feel. Relax, this is not a book that will keep you up for hours check out noises outside your door. This is a fun read, think Murder She Wrote kind of stories. Or if you’ve seen the movie Knives Out and enjoyed it, you will love Room at the Top.

This Italian family will steal your heart. Sophie touched my soul in so many ways, one of them is the way she dresses, and her love to help others.

This is a great beach read, on the couch read, and just because you need a break read.

Get it here!

“What a Girl Wants” comes a funny and romantic new series that celebrates family and sisterhood, even when the relationship seems impossible.Sophia Campelli likes the structure of her predictable life in a rundown Victorian house in the San Francisco neighborhood of North Beach.

She’s always told herself her father can keep his wealth and his acknowledgement of her and her twin sister. She’s surrounded by her noisy but lovable Italian family, and that’s all she needs.When she and Gia receive the news their fraternal grandfather has left them something in his will, they meet their three half-sisters for the first time—and receive the astounding news of a massive inheritance. But Sophia can’t celebrate yet, not when she and her sisters hear the conditions attached to the money. The “real” daughters loathe Sophia and Gia on sight—and the feeling is mutual. But they have to work together if any of them hope to inherit the obscene amount of money left to them. They must live together and restore the large mansion in Pacific Heights for an entire year. Otherwise the entire estate will go to charity.Gia tries to convince Sophia they have to walk away, but Sophia isn’t so sure.

For once, their mother might get a chance to rest instead of working every minute. She could help a lot of families in her job as a social worker too. It’s tempting. And once she catches sight of Joel Edgerton, she can’t resist the temptation to get involved in her unwanted family.The path to happily-ever-after is fraught with missteps and the treacherous waters of sisterly undercurrents.

Can Sophia persevere when everyone seems to be against her, even her own twin?

Ha! You have to read the book to find out!

Diana

What I’m reading Monday

I think this is going to be a new thing for me. I’m a writer but I read a lot of books and not all of them are in the genre I write in. I’m wondering if you are that way too.

Do you only pick one type of book to read?

Do you avoid certain books? That I do. I avoid any heavy-duty crime books that have details that won’t let me sleep. Otherwise, I read a lot of genres.

I read this book A Man Called Smith after meeting the author Tanya E. Williams at a writing convention. We spent a break sitting by the pool discussing writing and our careers. She’s from Canada and I’m from Illinois. (USA). It was fun to discover what we both liked or disliked. She’s a planner and a plotter. I was neither at the time but I can say after meeting her I now plan.

This time period spoke to me as it’s about the time my own mother was searching for her place in the world. The details are spot-on as Tanya is an excellent researcher. You’ll feel the desperation and splendor of the settings.

It’s a great story and from June 22-28 it is on sale for 99 cents. You can’t go wrong picking up a book at this price and discovering a new to you writer.

Here is a description of the book:

A battle-scarred father. A disillusioned daughter. Can a grieving widower rebuild his splintered family to find peace at last?

South Dakota, 1949. WWII veteran John Smith longs for the life he lost after the tragic death of his wife during childbirth. But in the desperation to provide for his two small children, he is manipulated into an unsuitable marriage by a young woman with a dark neurosis. Tormented by his own grief and the ravages of war, John is blind to his children’s turmoil and pain.

Washington State, 1964. John’s sixteen-year-old daughter Calla dreams of a life beyond her vindictive stepmother. Forced to care for her younger siblings with a list of household demands larger than she is tall, Calla knows it’s only a matter of time until she can escape the abuse and begin anew at college. But her dreams crumble when her heartless stepmother claims the college fund for her own selfish purposes.

As John fears he is too late to stop the war within his home, Calla vows to build a new life worth living.

Can John survive the consequences of war on the home front? Can Calla find the strength to rediscover the meaning of family?

A Man Called Smith is the heartwarming and heart wrenching story following the life of John Smith. If you like courageous characters and narratives told over multiple generations, then you’ll love Tanya E. Williams’ emotional tale.

Get it here https://books2read.com/amancalledsmith

Musings of a Procrastinating Writer

If you can’t finish it don’t start it. That’s been my hidden mantra for way too long. It’s a mantra for procrastination and you could add to it, if you can’t do it perfectly don’t do.

Until this January, I’ve been a fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to living the author life. The last few years have derailed my production and I thought I had good excuses.

  1. I work part-time
  2. I was watching my grandkids one day a week–who could resist that? 🙂
  3. I have to get the housework done–who am I kidding? It never got started because I didn’t have time to finish it.
  4. Grocery shopping and menu planning –can I get an Amen? Well no. I can order groceries online and my husband picks them up.
  5. The cat is too needy today. I can’t get to my keyboard because he wants attention.
  6. If you make a plan it something will always change it.
  7. I’m tired. I need to take care of myself and rest.
  8. Sitting in my chair makes my back hurt so I’ll write when that goes away.
  9. Math. Yes, math, figuring out what my ROI (return on investment for those of you who are like me and had no idea what that was) is too hard.
  10. Writing blog posts are great but I have the most boring life.

Pretty pathetic when I look at my list of reasons–Okay okay! They are excuses and nothing more.

book cover of atomic habits

So what happened in January? I read finished reading Automic Habits for the 2nd time (slow to pick up or rather I didn’t want to follow the advice). the idea behind it is to start one task and do it daily but add to it the next day. For instance, I want to write so I make sure the first thing I do when I sit at my desk is open my file and read yesterday’s work. The book explains the method well. It’s not just for writers it’s for anyone who struggles to maintain good habits. Because let’s face it maintaining those bad habits is so easy one doesn’t need to read a book on how to do that.

Another thing I started to use is a word tracking spreadsheet made by Jamie Raintree. If you are a writer and terrible at spreadsheets check out her tracker. It’s $10 and amazing. And I bought a planner from Audrey Hughey You can find my post about the planner here and here.

So back to what made the change. I picked a few habits to try–easy ones. I plan our meals for the week and I sprint (that is: write as fast as you can no editing) with a friend I met on the plane to a conference. Thank you Sally Henson! She and I also share photos of our planners on Sunday evening. Accountability plays a bit part in getting things done.

Has it worked? Yes! Those 15 minutes aren’t long enough for me to think I can finish anything but I found I can do between 500-700 words during those minutes. We sprint early in the morning and that either gets me going for more time if I’m not working that day or I have a feeling of success because I’ve written on a book I want to write.

And ta-da the book is now coming up to being halfway finished!

The meal planning has gone well! I follow the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating or I did and had great success, then life got to busy and I went back to old habits like Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups. Sugar is a mean beast once it gets a hold on you. Now I make them at home with stevia and I’m satisfied. I’ve been back on plan now because I have our meals planned and sometimes my snacks.

Am I seeing great success in other areas of my life? Not as many as I want but I’m getting more done than I let myself believe that I can. And guess what? Plans can be easily changed by writing in pencil or erasable pens. I like these from Fixon.

How about you?

Have you tried breaking things into small chunks of time?

Were you surprised by the results?

Be sure to pick up your free book if you haven’t already!

April Reads

I know I should be writing but I downloaded Christy Barritt’s Lantern Beach P.D. series. They are on KindleUnlimited so I devoured them like a sack of candy at least there weren’t calories involved.

These are great, they are light on gory details which makes them perfect for me. I like to read books with romance and police cases but I’m not a fan of being terrified.

And while it’s fun to read them back to back you don’t have too. The books are good on their own.

https://amzn.to/2IoT3Xc

Cassidy and Ty are back in an all-new Lantern Beach series that will leave readers wanting more . . .

A runaway woman. A dead body. A mysterious compound. 

When Cassidy Chambers accepted the job as police chief on Lantern Beach, she knew the island had its secrets. But a suspicious death with potentially far-reaching implications will test all her skills—and threaten to reveal her true identity. 

Cassidy enlists the help of her husband, former Navy SEAL Ty Chambers. As they dig for answers, both uncover parts of their pasts that are best left buried. Not everything is as it seems, and they must figure out if their John Doe is connected to the secretive group that has moved onto the island.

As facts materialize, danger on the island grows. Can Cassidy and Ty discover the truth about the shadowy crimes in their cozy community? Or has darkness permanently invaded their beloved Lantern Beach?

Get it here https://amzn.to/2IllSVp

Tidying Up? Cozy Minimalist?

It’s spring weather sort of…rainy, gloomy and partly sunny.

Over the winter I’ve watched some of the Netflix series Tidying Up and read the Cozy Minimalist. I’ve been inspired to remove some of the things in my home.

But…

The idea of piling all my clothes on the bed and donating the ones that don’t bring me joy sounds like a bad idea. I’m tired of wearing my winter clothes and it’s not warm enough to switch over for the next season. If I followed Marie Kondo’s advice next winter, I’d have to shop for an entire new wardrobe. Sounds like fun.

But…

My bank account has been following the minimalist life style too long for me to purchase much of anything new.

Then there are the books. So many books in my house and I’ve donated a lot of those already. I’m going to say the ones that remain all bring me joy or like the ones my laptop sits on earn their keep.

Collections to pair down? I had to think about that one. I don’t seem to have those either unless you count the millions of files and photos on computer. I suppose I could take the next ten years and tidy those up. Nah. Can’t see those so they can’t possible count as clutter, right?

There is one room in my house that could use some tidying.

The sewing room. 

Shudder. That room is a scary mess. So many things were piled in there when my son and his wife and my grandkids moved in while their house was being built. Sure they took their stuff out but the room is ‘out of sorts’ in a major way.

This is where following these plans becomes tricky. It seems to be the area that I’m not ready to let go of that causes me and maybe others to hold back from letting go.

That room will take a long time to go through and I’ll have to evaluate if I want to keep sewing. I think I do but honestly, I haven’t sewn anything in five years. But I want too, I think. I don’t have time until summer to tackle this issue, but it is weighing on me. And that’s when the tidying up and minimalist people say it’s time to get to work and find out what’s important enough to stay.

I’m giving going to set a deadline for next September to have that room back together or packed to donate. Pray for me!

What about you? Have you hopped on this crazy train of living like a minimalist?

I’m giving going to set a deadline of next September to have that room back together or packed to donate. Pray for me! What about you? Have you hopped on this crazy train of living like a minimalist?

Leave me a comment to help me get started on cleaning out that room and On April 1, 2019, I’ll use Rafflecopter to pick one winner in the United States to send an autographed copy of The Rails to Love Collection.   

This is a blog hop so click the links below to visit other author blogs and enter to win gifts. And don’t forget to leave a comment on this page for your chance to win!

*hint if there aren’t comments below look up at the top left side of the post there will be a link for comments.

creative, novel, to read, faith, for women, romance, historical
Leave a comment to win this book!

CLICK THE LINKS BELOW TO GO TO OTHER AUTHOR PAGES FOR CHANCES TO WIN!

January Reading List

I just finished reading the latest book in the Raleigh Harmon Series. The Wind Will Howl by Sibella Giorello. What a ride!

Raleigh is a forensic geologist and she works/doesn’t work for the FBI. She has a mom with mental issues and an aunt who loves acting and is often quoting lines from plays she’s been in. That makes me want to find the movies on Netflix or Amazon.

Raleigh has a dead body on her mind, Jack wants a wedding date and her mom is released into her care. Never a dull moment.

And then there’s Jack.

Jack. Not saying more but…you have to love Jack.

I’ve been following Raleigh since The Rivers Run Dry

The Raleigh Harmon Series fascinates me because she uses rock and dirt to solve crimes, very clever and Giorello knows her stuff. And you might learn a few things too. I did.

I hope there is another book coming because I can’t get enough of Raleigh and Jack.

https://amzn.to/2HgLcMy

And next up on my reading list is book 2 in the Home Town Hero’s series, Flash Point by Jennifer Crosswhite. It’s about a firefighter that was introduced in book 1 Protective Custody.

Say it with me FIREFIGHTER!

Captain Joe Romero–doesn’t the name melt you? Is battling blazes in California and fires burning in his heart.

https://amzn.to/2SR1eha