You guys know I love Robin Gunn. I was reading the Christy Miller series in middle school and it was so influential in my life in so many ways. Well, Christy and Todd are back! (So exciting!) My sister Sara lent me this book and I read it in two days. I couldn’t stop! So good. If you already know Christy and Todd, I absolutely can’t see how you won’t love this book. I cried. Robin captures the difficulties of going through tough times early in your marriage. The feelings and emotions are so relatable. And the storyline is great. There are some heavy points to this story, but it still ends on a positive note. I closed the book, ready for book 2! (I think it releases in November or December.) You get glimpses of old, favorite characters like Doug and Tracy and Katie (Rick is in the book, but honestly, he was never one of my favorites so I’m not including him in the fave list). Forever with You was such a beautiful, heart-warming story. I loved it. Robin has not lost her touch with this series! :) These characters come from her heart and you can tell she pours so much into them. I will be waiting with anticipation for Book 2!!
party. And I’m loving it! It’s so fun to get glimpses into other characters and read extra scenes that feel as though they could slide right into Pride and Prejudice. It’s a gorgeous book, the kind I want to keep on my bookshelf for a very long time. Because these are just scenes written from the perspectives of many different characters (Charlotte Lucas, Mr. Darcy, Bingley’s sisters, Kitty–to name a few), you can skip around and read wherever you like. The chapters aren’t too long, some are quite short. So I’ll flip through and read whatever looks the most interesting to me at that moment. It’s a large book, but it’s not intimidating for that reason. I think any P&P lovers should take a look. If only to read a few fun scenes from Darcy’s perspective. It’s fun to watch him fall in love with Lizzy.
Many thanks to my precious sister Sara for giving me this beautiful book!
I’ve been thinking about my to-be-read for the fall. What do you recommend? I’m thinking I’d love to pull together a friend or two this fall and dive into reading The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith. It looks delightful. I’ll keep you posted!
So I just finished reading Dearest Cousin Jane by Jill Pitkeathley and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The story is told from the perspectives of several members of the Austen family, and in some cases through letters. In some ways, it didn’t feel like one cohesive story, since we’re hearing from several people whose lives are plenty interesting on their own, but that didn’t detract at all from the worth of the novel. The purpose was to give us a better look at Jane Austen’s cousin Eliza, who married Jane’s brother Henry. I’ve always found Eliza to be captivating so I was glad to get to read more of her story and get to know her a little better. For any and all Janeites, I’d say this novel is a good read. The most intriguing part of Eliza’s history is the question of her father. But that’s also the frustrating part because we never get a definite answer. There’s a lot of speculation that her godfather was her actual father.
I loved all the parts about Jane Austen specifically. Reading this book made me want to watch Becoming Jane in order to see Jane, Eliza, and Henry again. Eliza lived a fascinating life, full of adventure, glamor, style, romance, and more. She seemed to have a lot of depth to her, however, and her love for her family shines through in this novel.
This week, the
TH1NK (April 1, 2014)
Erynn MangumABOUT THE AUTHOR:
A few things about her:
So, if we were having this conversation in person, we would probably be hanging out at Starbucks or one of the cute coffeehouses in town. I’m nuts about all things coffee, I’m crazy about all things pink and girly, and I love, love, love the Food Network! I’m married to my best friend and the most amazing guy ever, Jon. He is amiable toward coffee, does not like anything pink or girly and tolerates the Food Network. So, we make a good match! In July 2010, we became parents to one of the funniest, cutest, sweetest little guys in the whole world (and nope, we aren’t biased at all!), our Nater-Tot, who is legally known as Nathan. Most days, I’m cleaning up messes, making goofy faces, trying to fit some writing in, and just LOVING the life that God has given me!
ABOUT THE BOOK
Despite her valiant efforts, Paige Alder seems stuck in chaos. Her new job as youth intern keeps her hopping from coffee shop to coffee shop all summer long, but at least she’s loving the one-on-one time she gets to spend with the girls. The unfortunate side-effect is that now, four weeks of laundry fills her apartment. Plus, she barely has time to help her sister and best friend with their weddings! And even worse? Something is definitely wrong between her and Tyler. She apologized for what he thought he saw happen with Luke. Can’t they move past it? Or could there be something he’s not telling her—something that could change everything?
It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, nonfiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!
You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
Brandy Bruce has worked in book publishing for more than nine years–editing, writing, reading, and making good use of online dictionaries. She’s a graduate of Liberty University and works as a part-time book editor for a publishing house. She and her husband, Jeff, make their home in Colorado with their two children, Ashtyn and Lincoln. When Brandy isn’t editing manuscripts or writing novels, she loves spending time with her family, baking any kind of cheesecake, watching movies based on Jane Austen novels, or curling up with a favorite book. You can contact her through her blog at http://brandybruce.blogspot.com.
Visit the author’s website: http://brandybruce.blogspot.com
She’s doing a Q&A today on Goodreads! Check it out! https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1797930-april-28-30-q-a-with-brandy-bruce#comment_form
Mandy Seymour always books a table for one. So the pretty food critic is stunned when she captures the eye of dashing chef Leo Romano. Leo’s good looks and fabulous cooking are swoon-worthy, but it’s his tender care of his ailing father and affection for his warm Italian family that really touch her heart. A broken engagement has made Leo cautious. And as he grapples with his dad’s illness he’s skeptical about starting a new relationship, even with a woman as compelling as Mandy. But as he spends more time with Mandy, Leo starts to realize maybe the last thing he should give up is love.
List Price: $4.99Publisher: Harlequin/Love Inspired
AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:
Mandy Seymour held up one hand to hold off traffic as she dashed across the crowded
street, wincing as the “Walk” sign changed to “Stop” before she could reach the
through the revolving door of the Hyatt Regency hotel and rushed past the front
desk. Taking a quick moment to look down at the brochure in her hand, Mandy
took the next left and sighed with relief when she saw that the double doors to
the conference room directly ahead of her were still open. She slid into the
last row of seats and turned her attention to the speaker at the front of the
room. Gabriel Romano. The Gabrielstar restaurants,
one in Denver, the other in Los Angeles.
She caught the end of Mr. Romano’s introduction as she shuffled through her purse,
looking for a pen and a notepad.
How can I not have a pen? I always have
pens—but of course, when I need one, there are none to be found.
Mandy ignored the disapproving voice in the back of her mind that always sounded just
like her mother. Mandy, why are you so disorganized? Mandy, when are you going to be more responsible? Mandy, isn’t it
time you got yourself together?
“Here, take this.”
Mandy looked up in surprise at the voice whispering next to her. A man in a blue
tailored suit with a silver tie handed her a pen.
“Thanks,” Mandy whispered back, accepting the pen, her gaze lingering just a little too
long on the man. His dark wavy hair, jet-black eyes, and olive skin were a nice
Don’t even think about it, Mandy. He’s probably married.
Was that her voice or her mother’s in her head? Mandy shook away the question and settled in her seat, eager to be swept into Gabriel Romano’s rise-to-success story, beginning with learning to cook from his grandmother during summers spent in the Italian countryside.
“So, why are you here?” the guy leaned over and whispered again.
Mandy barely glanced at him. Okay, I know you’re cute, but I’m here to hear Gabriel Romano so stop talking!
Mandy shrugged. “The same reason everyone else is—Gabriel Romano,” she whispered, hoping her annoyance would register with the guy.
“So you’re another admirer,” he said.
It obviously didn’t register with him.
“I’m a food critic,” Mandy whispered in a rush. “I’m going to the new Romano’s on 15th Street tonight and doing a review, so I thought I’d come hear his story.”
A woman in front of them looked back, holding her finger to her lips. “Shh!”
Mandy’s face burned with embarrassment. The guy next to her seemed unaffected.
“What time will you be there?”
“What?” Mandy asked, forgetting to whisper. The woman in front turned around again, glaring this time.
The guy leaned closer. “What time will you be at Romano’s tonight?”
Mandy blinked, caught for a moment by those dark eyes of his. Why did he want to know? She looked back down at the notepad on her lap without answering.
“I’m Leo, by the way,” the guy whispered.
Mandy sneaked another look over at him. He had a nice smile. But that didn’t mean anything. There could be a lunatic lurking behind that nice smile.
“I’m Mandy Seymour.”
What happened to the lunatic theory? I’m now having a conversation with a complete stranger—missing out on the speech that I
came to hear!
Leo nodded. “Nice to meet you. What time will you be at Romano’s tonight, Mandy?”
Mandy licked her lips and gripped the borrowed pen in her hand.
Leo winked at her. “Maybe I’ll see you there,” he whispered with a smile before leaving the conference room. Mandy watched him go, wondering where he went and wishing she had asked him why he was there.
and Crepes delicatessen off 23rd and Mountain View. Mandy was quoted as saying, “The service was impeccable and the breakfast quiche exceeded my expectations . . .”
Leo clicked off his phone and shoved his hands in his pockets. Even from the hallway, he heard his father’s voice booming through the conference room. He could quote verbatim his father’s speech, and while it was usually inspirational for the audience, Leo could only stand to hear it so many times.
He stepped closer to the open door, scanning the back row where Mandy Seymour sat, scribbling on her notepad. She’d rushed into the conference room, late, juggling a purse and shoulder bag; then she’d furiously rummaged through her purse until Leo had given her his pen. He’d been amused by her effort to ignore him and her frustration at his attempt at conversation. Wisps of brown hair had escaped the knot tied at the nape of her neck. Leo doubted that Mandy knew her scarf was haphazardly dragging on the floor when she’d rushed in. Everything
about the woman shouted scatterbrained.
Still, scatterbrained or not, when Mandy dropped her pen and then scrambled to find it under her chair, Leo smiled without warning from where he stood watching.
She’s charming. In a clumsy, disheveled sort of way. Leo watched her sit back up and blow a stray hair from her face while she continued taking notes. Not like Carol Ann. Those are two words that could never describe her.
Leo’s neck stiffened at even the thought of Carol Ann Hunt. It had been more than six months since she’d broken off their engagement and moved back to her parents’ home in Chicago.
Leo leaned against the wall near the doorway and closed his eyes, sending up a quick prayer for just a little more endurance.
Please help me get the new restaurant off the ground, Father. It’s so important to my dad. He can’t do this without me.
And I can’t do this without You.
Gabriel told the audience that he hired his brother to be the manager and overseer of the restaurant while he concentrated on cooking, and a few years later he decided to move his family to Colorado. With the success of the Los Angeles Romano’s, the opening of a second restaurant proved to be much easier. The restaurant on Franklin Street in Denver turned into an overnight success.
As the speech came to a close, Leo noted that his father hadn’t mentioned that Leo would be the head chef, running the kitchen at the 15th Street location. He knew his father wanted to create more buzz by keeping the new chef’s identity a mystery until the restaurant opened. That suited Leo just fine; he had enough on his plate without enduring the press and questions about his new role as head chef, along with the inevitable comparisons that would be made to his father.
As the crowd filed through the double doors, Leo moved back. From a distance, Leo could see Mandy Seymour make her way back down toward the lobby. Knowing she would be at the grand opening tonight, Leo would make sure everything from the food to the service to the lighting would be perfect.
Mandy tightened her pea coat around her and picked up her pace as the wind brushed across her face. She wished she’d thought to wear a more substantial coat. It had been a mild January for Denver, but as a lifelong Coloradan, Mandy knew how unpredictable the weather could be. The sounds of downtown Denver competed with the brisk wind as Mandy reached Union Station. She loved the energy of being in
the mile-high city. She thrived on the lights, the noise, the crowds; living in a place bustling with people helped with the loneliness of living on her own.
Within seconds of finding a seat on the train, Mandy’s cell phone rang. Just the sound of the Shirelle’s singing Mama Said told Mandy all she needed to know. Claire Seymour was nothing if not predictable. Mandy held the phone to her ear.
“Mandy, are you still downtown?”
“No, Mom. I’m already on my way back home. Why?”
“I thought you said you’d call me on your way back to the Tech Center.”
“I’ve only been on the train for about two minutes. I was going to call you once I’d been on the train for three minutes.”
“There’s no need to be snippy, Mandy.”
Mandy watched the city fly by as the train moved. “Sorry.”
“Good. Now, I’m cooking pot roast tonight, and I want you to come over for dinner. Your brother and his wife are coming, too. Six o’clock.”
“Mom, I already told you that I have plans tonight. I have to visit that new restaurant and then start my review. So I can’t make it. But please tell Brian and Samantha that I said hello.”
“I’m making pot roast!”
“Next time, okay?”
“Sunday dinner. I won’t take no for an answer. I expect you in Evergreen by 4:00.”
“Fine. Sunday. 4:00. I’ll be there.”
“And I certainly hope you’re wearing your good coat! It’s freezing outside!”
“I know it is. See you Sunday.”
Mandy clicked her phone off and leaned her head back against the cold window, ignoring the familiar wave of defeat that came over her whenever she talked to her mother.
As the train rattled to a stop, Mandy jumped up, swung her bag over her shoulder and braced herself for the cold wind. She allowed herself a little time to think about the mysterious Leo.
He’s Italian, obviously. Aren’t Italian men famous for flirting? Or maybe that’s Greek men . . . Anyway, he probably didn’t
mean anything by it. And I’m sure he won’t be at Romano’s tonight. He’s too good-looking to be interested in me.
Without a doubt, that last thought had her mother’s tone.
Don’t think about Mom. I’ve proved her wrong, so far, haven’t I? Here I am, living in the city with a job I love . . .
I haven’t turned out to be the failure she feared I would be. Okay, so I’m not married to a dashing, successful man and I’m not the size-six,
fashion-conscious, top-executive she’d wanted me to be—there are worse things in life.
Mandy’s shoulder bag fell to the ground, its contents scattering. Mandy sighed.
Like being a walking disaster.
This week, the
B&H Books (March 1, 2014)
Melody CarlsonABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Over the years, Melody Carlson has worn many hats, from pre-school teacher to youth counselor to political activist to senior editor. But most of all, she loves to write! Currently she freelances from her home. In the past eight years, she has published over ninety books for children, teens, and adults–with sales totaling more than two million and many titles appearing on the ECPA Bestsellers List. Several of her books have been finalists for, and winners of, various writing awards.
She has two grown sons and lives in Central Oregon with her husband and chocolate lab retriever. They enjoy skiing, hiking, gardening, camping and biking in the beautiful Cascade Mountains.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Daphne Ballinger has learned to accept her deceased, eccentric aunt’s strange request that she marry in order to inherit her estate, along with taking over her aunt’s hometown paper’s advice column.
But knowing and accepting that God’s will be done becomes harder when a new neighbor, a divorced socialite, learns of Daphne’s predicament and takes on the task of finding her the perfect man, even if it includes speed dating. When God does open Daphne’s heart, it is instead to take in a young girl left parentless and in the care of her dying grandmother. It may be a temporary arrangement until the girl’s uncle returns from the Marines, but God uses Daphne to speak His heavenly love and protection into the life of the child — whom Daphne soon discovers has a very handsome and single uncle.