Posted in Author Interview, Book reviews, Books, character introduction

Character Introduction: Libby Sheffield

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Welcome back to a Character Introduction post! Today’s featured character is Libby Sheffield!

(If you’re new to these posts: The idea behind them is just to spotlight the character a bit, give a little description of their personality, and for fun, a few books I’d recommend to them if I could. )

 

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Libby Sheffield

(Photo found on the authors Pinterest Board)

 

Libby Sheffield, Gossamer Grove 1907
When “The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond” has two heroines, what made me choose the historical over the present day? Um, actually I don’t really have an answer to that. I very much liked each heroine, so I had to just choose one. ;)
Libby Sheffield is a young woman tormented by guilt – a guilt she has tried hard to escape from, to bury. While she is striving to solve the town’s mystery amongst all the strife, her own past continues to follow her, pulling at her conscience. She’s just as broken as everyone else.
She’s a strong character, with a very good heart. She perseveres throughout it all. Through the danger. Because she wants to see things put right again. She wants to believe in the grace the revivalist Jacobus Corbin tells her about.
I love the spirit of this character; her strengths, weaknesses, and determination. You can’t help but root for her the entire journey.
If I were to recommend some books to Libby, I would suggest:
The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright ~ It’s only natural that Libby would enjoy a book written by her author too, right?!
Julie by Catherine Marshall ~ I’m not very good at explaining why a character would enjoy the book I recommend…for this one, I just think the overall feeling of the book would be a good match for Libby.
A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White ~ A bit of a mystery tucked between the pages, I think Libby would enjoy this one too.
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Meet Libby for yourself in “The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond” by Jaime Jo Wright:
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For over a century, the town of Gossamer Grove has thrived on its charm and midwestern values, but Annalise Forsythe knows painful secrets, including her own, hover just beneath the pleasant faade. When a man is found dead in his run-down trailer home, Annalise inherits the trailer, along with the pictures, vintage obituaries, and old revival posters covering its walls. As she sorts through the collection, she’s wholly unprepared for the ramifications of the dark and deadly secrets she’ll uncover. 

A century earlier, Gossamer Grove has been stirred into chaos by the arrival of controversial and charismatic twin revivalists. The chaos takes a murderous turn when Libby Sheffield, working at her father’s newspaper, receives an obituary for a reputable church deacon hours before his death. As she works with the deacon’s son to unravel the mystery behind the crime, it becomes undeniably clear that a reckoning has come to town–but it isn’t until another obituary arrives that they realize the true depths of the danger they’ve waded into.

Two women, separated by a hundred years, must uncover the secrets within the borders of their own town before it’s too late and they lose their future–or their very souls.

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You can also “meet” author Jaime Jo Wright in last week’s author interview! Be sure to check that out:
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And you can also check out my review here:
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Posted in Author Interview, Book reviews, Books

Author Interview! Jaime Jo Wright

 

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Good Monday morning readers! I took a bit of a schedule-break in July, but I’m back now with today’s author interview, and next week’s character introduction! Good to be back, right? ^.^ I hope you enjoy this interview – I know I do. The genre of books that Jaime Jo Wright writes (teehee) is usually one out of my normal, but I’ve greatly enjoyed her two books and eagerly await more!

 

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Welcome to my “Peculiar” Blog! I’m so happy to have you here :) Would you please introduce yourself and the genre that you write:

Thank you so much for having me! I am Jaime Jo Wright, perhaps known more for my indulgence in coffee and my handle “The Professional Coffee Drinker” rather than my books. LOL But I write dual-time or split-time mystery. Basically, it means half the book is set in a contemporary setting while the other half takes the reader back into a historical setting, with the mystery weaving in and out of both time periods.

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In your Dual-Time stories, do you find one easier to write than the other – past or present?

It sort of depends on the story. In “The House on Foster Hill” my first novel, the historical setting was easier, but in “The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond”, I found myself gravitating more toward the contemporary setting as the one that came smoother.

Of your characters, is there one that you relate to more than the others? And if so, why?

Hmmm, well honestly there’s some of me in every character. I don’t know that I’ve written one character I super relate to, although I will say I think a lot like Kaine from “The House on Foster Hill”. Sort of impulsive, act first, think later, type of thing. 😊

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Do you have a special process for how you choose your character’s names?

None whatsoever. LOL! Sometimes the name just pops into my head and it sticks. Other times, I just look around and like was the case in “The House on Foster Hill”, I see my cat and go, “oh. Ivy. That’s a solid name for a human too.”

I have heard that many authors have their own interesting writing quirk – do you have one? If so, would you mind sharing?

I’ve heard this too. If I have one, I’ve not discovered it yet. Unless you count composing the chapters in my head before I write them down. But I don’t know if that’s so much quirky as just an attempt at efficiency. LOL

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Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Neither? It’s part of who I am. Some days I’m exhausted so I just don’t write. Other days, I’m excited to write and then words come out energetically. I don’t usually feel too broad of an emotional swing with writing so much. More just: contentment.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Continue to enjoy every moment to its fullest. Don’t look too far ahead and don’t live in what’s already happened. Make every minute a memory.

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I’ve been blessed with a fairly broad group of writerly friends. The closest ones, I refer to as my “sisters”. They help me become a better writer by challenging me as a person, by supporting me, praying for me, and just overall, being there. I think relationships that are deep and go beyond just the writing world, definitely become ones that help form you as a writer and as a person.

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How important to you is the faith-element in your writing? Is it central to the theme or more of a sideline plot?

The faith-element for me is very important. I usually have a one-word theme to my novels and the characters all circle around it in their stories. It’s also important to me that the faith-elements be relatable and non-preachy. Something that anyone could pick up and be encouraged or challenged by without feeling like they got slapped in the face with evangelism. If that makes sense?

 

 

What does your family think of your writing?

My kids are very proud. They firmly believe I’m famous—think Bon Jovi level of famous. When I reassure them I’ve not yet achieved the rabid fan-base they believe I have, I am quickly corrected. LOL! My husband is also proud, and he’s super supportive. All in all, the family is my fuel.

 

 

And lastly, would you recommend a book that my readers might like if they’ve read your latest, “The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond”?

 

Great question!! If you enjoy the mystery elements, I’d strongly encourage checking out Rachel McMillan for her historically based mysteries. Super good with a unique voice and an edge that I really enjoy!

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Great answers to each question! I loved reading through them. I hope you’ve enjoyed this too, readers! And here’s some more info about Jaime Jo Wright’s latest book:

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About The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond:

For over a century, the town of Gossamer Grove has thrived on its charm and Midwestern values, but Annalise Forsythe knows painful secrets, including her own, hover just beneath the pleasant facade. When a man is found dead in his run-down trailer home, Annalise inherits the trailer, along with the pictures, vintage obituaries, and old revival posters covering its walls. As she sorts through the collection, she’s wholly unprepared for the ramifications of the dark and deadly secrets she’ll uncover.

A century earlier, Gossamer Grove has been stirred into chaos by the arrival of controversial and charismatic twin revivalists. The chaos takes a murderous turn when Libby Sheffield, working at her father’s newspaper, receives an obituary for a reputable church deacon hours before his death. As she works with the deacon’s son to unravel the mystery behind the crime, it becomes undeniably clear that a reckoning has come to town—but it isn’t until another obituary arrives that they realize the true depths of the danger they’ve waded into.

Two women, separated by a hundred years, must uncover the secrets within the borders of their own town before it’s too late and they lose their future—or their very souls.

 

 

 

 

Jaime Jo Head Shot

 

Professional coffee drinker & ECPA/Publisher’s Weekly best-selling author, Jaime Jo Wright resides in the hills of Wisconsin writing spirited romantic suspense stained with the shadows of history. Coffee fuels her snarky personality. She lives in Neverland with her Cap’n Hook who stole her heart and will not give it back, their little fairy Tinkerbell, and a very mischievous Peter Pan. The foursome embark on scores of adventure that only make her fall more wildly in love with romance and intrigue. Jaime lives in dreamland, exists in reality, and invites you to join her adventures atjaimejowright.com

 

 

Social Media Links:

Web site: www.jaimejowright.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jaimejowright

Twitter: www.twitter.com/jaimejowright

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/jaimejowright

Instagram: www.Instagram.com/jaimejowright

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/13916081.Jaime_Jo_Wright

Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/Jaime-Jo-Wright/e/B01421H0JQ/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

 

 

Book Review

Posted in Book reviews

“Dangerous to Know” by Megan Whitson Lee

I was supposed to post this quite a while ago – thought for sure I had, but apparently not! Here it is now though. :P

 

“Dangerous to Know” by Megan Whitson Lee

Review copy through Audra Jennings PR 

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

 

 

About the Book:

“Don’t look at him, dear. He’s dangerous.”

Isabella Bankmill seeks a husband whose character matches her list of requirements. The man must share her faith, but he must also possess a certain je ne sais quoi. The enigmatical Lord Gregory Gordon Bromby—London’s newest literary sensation—certainly possesses the latter. Despite a deformed foot and alarming views on politics and religion, he attracts the ladies in droves.
Haunted by his past and overwhelmed by his newfound celebrity status, Lord 

Bromby’s obsession with his own doom leads to reckless behavior. When he is stalked by an obsessive aristocrat seeking an elopement, Bromby’s friends urge him to marry a suitable lady as soon as possible. Intrigued by Isabella’s convictions, and hoping to avoid further scandal, Bromby proposes to Isabella.
Isabella also receives an offer of marriage from kind-hearted philanthropist, David Beringer—a man equally devoted to his faith—but she only has eyes for Lord Bromby. Blinded by his talent and good looks, Isabella convinces herself that he’s not as dangerous as everyone claims. But when Bromby’s world violently collides with hers, Isabella must decide once and for all who is lord of her life. God or Bromby?

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

This was a fascinating novel, based upon the life of Lord Byron. The names were altered, but recognizable.
Honestly, I’m not quite sure how to review this one. It wasn’t an entirely happy sort of book; it held more of a solemn tone. But it worked, and it was needed.  I cannot really decide between a 3.5 rating and a full 4 – it absolutely intrigued me, and kept me turning the pages. However, it is not a light happy book that I could readily recommend to younger readers, due to some of the content. It wasn’t graphic, but it was realistic, and it was a bit on the heavy side. Lord Bromby was very much a tortured soul, and certainly a rake.
Isabella is faced with the decision to follow after her emotions/heart or adhere to the wisdom in her spirit and that given by her family and friends.
It is all too easy to be led by our emotions. I can understand why she made the choice she did, but I cringed for her. I at once wanted her to choose differently and yet got caught up in her emotions and rooted for who she chose. Except I didn’t. It’s hard to explain. :P
I appreciate the lesson this book got across – our decisions we make in life are so very important, and there are consequences. Nothing should rise above our devotion and love of God.
I liked the redemption message too.
The end was a bit open-ended, but it was…hopeful. I feel like that is a word best described for it.
The writing was well done, easy to read. The formatting sometimes tripped me up, as nothing was ever in a slanted format so it would switch from its third-person form to first person as the main character felt an emotion, or had a thought, etc. I think it would have been helpful to have some distinction between the third to first person style.
But yes, this was definitely a novel that stuck with me even after I closed the last page. I’d be very interested to read the author’s other book, and any future ones. :)  But would not recommend it to younger readers.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
Posted in Book reviews, Books, Pictures, reading, Up North, update, Writing

July ’18 Recap

Ah, a rather boring title, but logical. ;)

 

 

I find it both crazy and a tad bit thrilling to see July pass by. It actually went quite fast, which brings us one more step closer to fall! ;) And the latter half of this month has actually been manageable weather-wise. The first half was ridiculously hot and humid and yeah. But lately we’ve had some cooler days, which is surprising for July, but I’m not complaining! In fact, one day last week was 65 degrees. Sweatshirt weather. The mornings have been chilly as well. I know August is still to come, and with that more hot hot hot weather, but I’m enjoying this respite for now. ;)

 

 

In life updates….

 

 

We had to clean the tubs of the butcher chickens and transfer a few over to a new, less crowded one. And let me tell you, the smell was nasty. Like, horrible. Sometimes I think  still can smell it…And then another week later they were all transferred again to the larger pen, which is more spacious and nicer, and easier to feed them in. Whenever you step in there though, your feet are swarmed and pecked at because that’s how they are. XD I used to wear jean shorts to do chores in the hot weather, but now it’s long jeans only because eww. XD
And we also added 8 new layer chickens to our flock (except one disappeared and became some predator’s dinner, very sadly).
I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that my favourite mail carrier might just be done delivering our mail and I need to adjust to our new one. Yes, mail is a bit of a big deal to me. Our old MC was very orderly and always placed the mail in a nice stack, with any letters that might be addressed to me sitting on top. Packages arrived in a careful manner. ‘Twas nice.
But now…So sad. I do actually quite like our current mail carrier; she’s very nice. But maybe not as OCD me when it comes to mail ;)
In July our town has a bit of a celebration thing with various events. We went to the kiddie parade (for my nephews of course ^.^), the book sale, and the regular parade. It was all quite a bit of fun!
Also in July, we made a day trip up north and it was fabulous. an almost 4 hour car ride both ways, but so good to get up there and see my grandparents if only for a few hours.

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I’m sure other stuff happened this month (in fact I know it did), but I’m moving onto the book section of things because I like books. ;)

 

 

These are the ones I read this month:

 

The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers  Midnight Comes by S.J. Blasko  Picking Daisy by Valerie   Howard  Murder at the Flamingo by Rachel McMillan  The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright  A Search for Refuge by Kristi Ann Hunter

 

By clicking on their covers you will be brought to my reviews of the books. :)

 

 

And these are the books I acquired:

 

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And let us not forget my new book cozy!

 

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Other posts of this month include….

 

 

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How was your  July? Have you read any of the books I read or received this month? Any recommendations? :)

Posted in Bethany House, Book reviews

“The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond” by Jaime Jo Wright ~ Book Review

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“The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond” by Jaime Jo Wright

Review copy from the publisher/author as part of launch team.

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

About the book:

For over a century, the town of Gossamer Grove has thrived on its charm and midwestern values, but Annalise Forsythe knows painful secrets, including her own, hover just beneath the pleasant faade. When a man is found dead in his run-down trailer home, Annalise inherits the trailer, along with the pictures, vintage obituaries, and old revival posters covering its walls. As she sorts through the collection, she’s wholly unprepared for the ramifications of the dark and deadly secrets she’ll uncover. 

A century earlier, Gossamer Grove has been stirred into chaos by the arrival of controversial and charismatic twin revivalists. The chaos takes a murderous turn when Libby Sheffield, working at her father’s newspaper, receives an obituary for a reputable church deacon hours before his death. As she works with the deacon’s son to unravel the mystery behind the crime, it becomes undeniably clear that a reckoning has come to town–but it isn’t until another obituary arrives that they realize the true depths of the danger they’ve waded into.

Two women, separated by a hundred years, must uncover the secrets within the borders of their own town before it’s too late and they lose their future–or their very souls.

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

 

Gossamer Grove is a town of lots of secrets – past and present. Goodness! I knew that by picking up this book I would be in for a suspenseful ride, and I was right! From reading the author’s debut novel, “The House on Foster Hill”, I expected this to be a bit on the creepy side (like a not-read-at-night sort of novel!), but TRAGP actually wasn’t quite as creepy as the first. ;) Oh there were a couple of moments that had your eyes huge, wondering how it was going to end. And the suspense and mystery are so present! And so well done. All the secrets were woven through the story at a perfect pace, revealing themselves slowly and at the perfect time. Very impressive. :)
I don’t usually care for duel-time line stories, but I make an exception for Jaime Jo Wright’s novels – I am always so captivated, and always love both past and present stories pretty equally, which is a feat in itself! Switching back and forth can be a bit hard for my brain to adjust, but these stories…well, golly! I have to keep reading. ^.^
In 1907 and present day, our heroines Libby and Annalise both strive to uncover the mysteries that surround their lives. It’s very gripping, and the characters are so realistic, it’s almost hard to remember that I’m reading a fiction novel. :)
Also woven through this book is the very important message of grace and forgiveness. I like that it was also presented with the message of the importance of repentance too.
I very much enjoyed this one, and am so looking forward to the next book by Jaime Jo Wright!
Quotes:
“No amount of mystery in one’s soul can escape the ever-watchful eye of God. One may carry guilt and shame with them for years, only to discover that while they attempted to doge God’s judgement, they instead cheated themselves of His forgiveness.”  
“There is a balance to be struck between justice and grace. I say justice rather than judgement, although sometimes one comes hand in hand with the other. We cannot cheapen God’s righteousness by familiarizing Him to such a degree that His grace becomes a ticket to wanton freedom. Yet we cannot discount His forgiveness under the assumption He creates only to destroy.” 
“The consequence of sin is death, but the grace of God brings us life. One must fear God for what He can do, while loving Him for what He doesn’t do. A contrite heart results in the withholding discipline in exchange for mercy – and love.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

Posted in Book reviews

“Midnight Comes” by S. J. Blasko ~ Book Review

My devotional post will be up next Monday. For today, please enjoy this post about “Midnight Comes”!

 

 

Midnight Comes (Refractions: Fairytales Between the Lines, #1)

 

“Midnight Comes” by S.J. Blasko

Refractions: Fairytales Between the Lines, #1

review copy from the author

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

 

Once upon a time…
There was a sorceress, who cursed a prince to become as beastly as his pride
There was a daughter, who watched from her window and ached to see the world
There was a mermaid, who traded her voice in the hope of a soul
There was a stepmother, who saw beauty only in others, never in herself
And there was a boy, who forgot the warmth of love.

In five narrative poems exploring the darker, more human side of these classic fairytales, rediscover the characters as they are given a voice of their own.

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

This is a creative collection. After reading novel after novel, I enjoyed reading this book of poem-like retellings. They are unique in the telling of familiar fairy tales.
My favourite of this collection would certainly be “Mermaid’s Soul” – it flowed beautifully, and had a bittersweet tone of reality.
I’m a lover of words and seeing them in this format makes for an enjoyable read. It was a short collection, so perfect to read in one sitting.
I look forward to Miss Blasko’s future writings. :)

 

Posted in Book reviews, Booklook Review

“Murder at the Flamingo” by Rachel McMillan ~ Book Review

 

 

 

“Murder at the Flamingo” by Rachel McMillan

A Van Buren and Deluca Mystery

 

Review copy through BookLook Bloggers

My rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the Book:

 

“Maybe it was time to land straight in the middle of the adventure…”

Hamish DeLuca has spent most of his life trying to hide the anxiety that appears at the most inopportune times — including during his first real court case as a new lawyer. Determined to rise above his father’s expectations, Hamish runs away to Boston where his cousin, Luca Valari, is opening a fashionable nightclub in Scollay Square.  When he meets his cousin’s “right hand man,” Reggie, Hamish wonders if his dreams for a more normal life might be at hand. 

Regina “Reggie” Van Buren, heir to a New Haven fortune, has fled fine china, small talk, and the man her parents expect her to marry. Determined to make a life as the self-sufficient city girl she’s seen in her favorite Jean Arthur and Katharine Hepburn pictures, Reggie runs away to Boston, where she finds an easy secretarial job with the suave Luca Valari. But as she and Hamish work together in Luca’s glittering world, they discover a darker side to the smashing Flamingo nightclub.

When a corpse is discovered at the Flamingo, Reggie and Hamish quickly learn there is a vast chasm between the haves and the have-nots in 1937 Boston—and that there’s an underworld that feeds on them both. As Hamish is forced to choose between his conscience and loyalty to his beloved cousin, the unlikely sleuthing duo work to expose a murder before the darkness destroys everything they’ve worked to build. 

 

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

I’ve got a lot of cover-love for this one. Not to mention the clever title. :)
I liked the story itself alright, but to be honest it wasn’t my most favourite.I had a bit of a hard time getting into it, and sometimes it felt choppy and jumped around a bit to where I wasn’t sure I knew what was going on and would need to read the same thing several times before I would get what was going on.
There were several things that were repeated and sometimes felt a little more like filling rather than integral to the book.
I liked Hamish quite a bit, and loved his love for The Hunchback of Notre-Dame – that was extremely endearing to me. How he carried his well-loved copy with him and knew parts of it by heart; yep, loved that! And I also appreciated his struggles with anxiety. No, I don’t like anxiety, but it is nice to see real characters with real struggles. And while I don’t suffer from panic attacks or anxiety at the severe level he does, I could understand. I applaud the author for writing this into his character and making him come to see himself as strong through it all.
I liked Reggie and enjoyed their relationship, until the latter half of the book. Reggie was very fickle in her romance and it was very aggravating. Literally, in one chapter she was kissing one of the two men she goes between, and is having a marvelous time with him, and then in the very next chapter she is said as feeling wildly attracted to the other man, trying to keep her gaze from tracing his lips. That just irked me. I understand that “the heart is deceitful, who can know it?” but it was like there was no conflict of her conscience either.
The mystery plot was pretty well done. It kept you wondering till the end. As I mentioned above, there were definitely parts where I felt lost in the explaining of it, but that might just be me.
I was also disappointed by the utter lack of faith included. It was ‘clean’, but I wouldn’t classify it as Christian.
I didn’t hate this book. I just didn’t love it like I had hoped.There were definitely aspects I enjoyed, like the time period, and the nightclub, and the dancing. And I would be curious to see how the series continues.
I think it will be one that many people love. And I wish I could’ve said the same for me. It was just a bit of a miss for me, but that doesn’t mean it will be for you. :)

 

 

 

 

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*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.