Sunday Post

Book arrivals:  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

wife-22  into-the-wilderness  the-night-the-lights-went-out  the-mothers-promise

Last week on Bookfan:

someone-to-hold-feb7   wild-horse-springs

Reading plan for this week:

a-million-little-things-feb17

Guest Post by author Jodi Thomas plus my review of Wild Horse Springs by Jodi Thomas

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Today author Jodi Thomas is here with a guest post about her new book WILD HORSE SPRINGS:

Now and then when a writer is working on a series, one of the characters steps from the shadows and comes alive. This happens to me often, maybe too often.  My sons say they are afraid I’ll name one of my characters in the will. 🙂

But, Sheriff Dan Brigman started as a character in someone else’s story.  book 1, Ransom Canyon.  He was a good guy.  An honest man like most of the men I’ve met in law enforcement.  As the series continues he proved to be a good friend, a concerned father and a man the town of Crossroads could depend on.

Only, Dan never had anyone to love.  His wife had loved her career far more than him and their daughter.  Then, he was the sheriff in a small town.  How does the sheriff date?  The only women he met were usually speeding or bailing their husband out of jail.  He wouldn’t even let friends set him up with their unmarried relatives for fear of hurting their feelings when he didn’t ask for a second date.

Soooo, finally in WILD HORSE SPRINGS the sheriff’s chance comes.  One night, in the middle of a deserted highway, he finds a fancy ladies boot in the center of the road.  It has him wondering what kind of woman would own such a boot and his quest begins. When he finally finds her, she’s as beautiful and wild as he guessed she might be.

As the weeks passed, this story almost wrote itself.  Some nights I couldn’t wait to get back to it and see what happened to Brandi and her sheriff. Now, finally, WILD HORSE SPRINGS is about to hit the stands.  I’m excited to share it with readers.

Come along with me and see what happens when the sheriff finds the lady who fits the fancy boot. 

Jodi Thomas 


  • wild-horse-springsTitle:  Wild Horse Springs
  • Series:  Ransom Canyon #5
  • Pages:  384
  • Author: Jodi Thomas
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Published:  January 2017 – HQN Books
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

My take:  The Ransom Canyon series continues with Wild Horse Springs (book 5). In the small town of Crossroads, Texas (on the edge of Ransom Canyon) it’s finally time for steady Sheriff Dan Brigman to find some happiness (with the help of a lovely Country singer just passing through the area) – but the people in his life keep pressing the pause button. His daughter Lauren finds an excuse to come home from Dallas where her post-college life isn’t working out how she’d planned. When she gets back to Crossroads she’s met by the two men from her past who could help or hinder life going forward.

For a charming, small town like Crossroads there’s a dark undercurrent lately that most of the residents would be shocked to know about. The Sheriff has his hands full with a crime of arson to solve and a case of a child in peril that threatens to tear his heart out (as well as the reader’s).

Then there’s a Texas Ranger who goes for a nighttime ride that’s interrupted when his horse tosses him into the Canyon. Lucky for him a certain park Ranger finds him and calls for help. She takes control of his life from that moment (since he’s in the hospital and helpless) including making his ranch house a safe place for one of Crossroads’ favorite sons. There’s a lot going on in this novel.

Yes, there are a good deal of dramatic events in this story but also a lot of heartfelt and upbeat moments. Told in Thomas’s usual warm, folksy style, Wild Horse Springs is a strong addition to the series and I look forward to reading the next book.


About the author:

A fifth generation Texan, Jodi Thomas chooses to set the majority of her novels in her home state. With a degree in Family Studies, Thomas is a marriage and family counselor by education, a background that enables her to write about family dynamics. Honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Thomas enjoys interacting with students on the West Texas A & M University campus, where she currently serves as Writer In Residence.

Commenting on her contribution to the arts, Thomas said, “When I was teaching classes full time, I thought I was making the world a better place. Now I think of a teacher, or nurse, or mother settling back and relaxing with one of my books. I want to take her away on an adventure that will entertain her. Maybe, in a small way, I’m still making the world a better place.”

When not working on a novel or inspiring students to pursue a writing career, Thomas enjoys traveling with her husband, Tom, renovating a historic home they bought in Amarillo, and “checking up” on their two grown sons.

For more information, check out Jodi Thomas’s website.

Someone to Hold by Mary Balogh

  • someone-to-hold-feb7Title:  Someone to Hold
  • Series:  Westcott #2
  • Author:  Mary Balogh
  • Pages:  400
  • Published:  February 7, 2017 – Jove Books
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  A reversal of fortune befalls a young woman in the latest Westcott novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Only a Kissand Someone to Love.
 
Humphrey Wescott, Earl of Riverdale, has died, leaving behind a fortune and a scandalous secret that will forever alter the lives of his family—sending one daughter on a journey of self-discovery…
 
With her parents’ marriage declared bigamous, Camille Westcott is now illegitimate and without a title. Looking to eschew the trappings of her old life, she leaves London to teach at the Bath orphanage where her newly discovered half-sister lived. But even as she settles in, she must sit for a portrait commissioned by her grandmother and endure an artist who riles her every nerve.
 
An art teacher at the orphanage that was once his home, Joel Cunningham has been hired to paint the portrait of the haughty new teacher. But as Camille poses for Joel, their mutual contempt soon turns to desire. And it is only the bond between them that will allow them to weather the rough storm that lies ahead…  (publisher)

My take:  Mary Balogh continues her Westcott series with Someone to Hold. It is Camille Westcott’s story – she’s more bewildered and hurt than angry about her situation. Little by little she wakes up to her new circumstances and decides to actually do something about her new path in life. That path takes her to an orphanage in Bath where she decides she’d like to give teaching a try.

Seemed a bit of a fish out of water story to me but Balogh made it work. I think my favorite parts of the story centered around the orphanage and school scenes. Camille blossomed in her new surroundings and discovered things about herself she didn’t know in her old life. She also discovered Joel, the local portrait artist who volunteered to teach painting at the orphanage school. He grew up at the orphanage and could share that perspective with Camille. The two became friends and then more.

Although I thought the pacing was a bit uneven it was a nice story about finding new possibilities in even the most dire circumstances and about finding family when you thought all hope was lost. Recommended to fans of the author and historical romance.

The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth

  • the-things-we-keep-pbTitle:  The Things We Keep
  • Author:  Sally Hepworth
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Pages:  352
  • Published: January 2017 – St. Martin’s Griffin
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  Anna Forster is only thirty-eight years old, but her mind is slowly slipping away from her. Armed only with her keen wit and sharp-eyed determination, she knows that her family is doing what they believe to be best when they take her to Rosalind House, an assisted living facility. But Anna has a secret: she does not plan on staying. She also knows there’s just one another resident who is her age, Luke. What she does not expect is the love that blossoms between her and Luke even as she resists her new life. As her disease steals more and more of her memory, Anna fights to hold on to what she knows, including her relationship with Luke.

Eve Bennett, suddenly thrust into the role of single mother to her bright and vivacious seven-year-old daughter, finds herself putting her culinary training to use at Rosalind house. When she meets Anna and Luke, she is moved by the bond the pair has forged. But when a tragic incident leads Anna’s and Luke’s families to separate them, Eve finds herself questioning what she is willing to risk to help them. Eve has her own secrets, and her own desperate circumstances that raise the stakes even higher.  (publisher)

My take:  The Things We Keep is an emotional tale about people whose memories have vanished or been taken by events beyond their control. My father-in-law died from complications of Alzheimer’s several years ago so I have a basic understanding of this horrible disease. Sally Hepworth offers another facet of the disease with characters who are in their thirties and battling the loss of memory.

Anna and Luke are two people who’ve been diagnosed with different early forms of dementia. They meet at a residential care facility that is also for elderly who can’t live independently. The story is also about Eve, a recent widow and mother of a seven-year-old daughter, Clementine. Her life turned on a dime when her husband killed himself. She is the new cook at the home. There are several supporting characters – employees of Rosalind House and a few of the residents – whose presence added richness to the story.

The story is beautifully told and one I can recommend to readers – even though the topic of Alzheimer’s can be so off-putting and upsetting. It’s a compassionate novel that made me smile at times and grab for a tissue at other times. I know I’ll be thinking about The Things We Keep for a long time and I look forward to reading more from Hepworth.


Praise for THE THINGS WE KEEP – now available in paperback

“‘For better or for worse’ takes on new meaning in Hepworth’s devastatingly beautiful love story.” – People

“This book is such a page-turner! At the end, we were left full of hope and love.” – Women’s Day

“…an unconventional tearjerker of a love story… poignant and nuanced.” – Publishers Weekly

“With startling insight and intense compassion, Hepworth creates a character who watches her intellectual world implode while at the same time experiencing a new romance. The story is a rare gem.” – Columbus Dispatch


About the author:

Sally Hepworth lives in Melbourne, Australia, with her husband and three children. She is currently working on her next novel.


 

The Echo of Twilight by Judith Kinghorn

  • the-echo-of-twilightTitle:  The Echo of Twilight
  • Author:  Judith Kinghorn
  • Genre:  Historical Fiction
  • Pages:  416
  • Published:  January 2017 – Berkley
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description: From the acclaimed author of The Last Summer, a captivating and moving story of the unlikely relationship between a lady and her maid on the eve of World War I.
 
As I watched him—his long legs striding the narrow path through the heather, his golden hair catching the sun—I had a hideous feeling in the pit of my stomach. For it seemed as though he was already marching away from me.
 
In 1914, despite the clouds of war threatening Europe, Pearl Gibson’s future is bright. She has secured a position as a lady’s maid to a wealthy Northumberland aristocrat, a job that will win her not only respect but an opportunity to travel and live in luxury. Her new life at Lady Ottoline Campbell’s Scottish summer estate is a whirlwind of intrigue and glamour, scandals and confidences—and surprisingly, a strange but intimate friendship with her employer. 
 
But when violence erupts in Europe, Pearl and Ottoline’s world is irrevocably changed. As the men in their lives are called to the front lines, leaving them behind to anxiously brace for bad news, Pearl realizes she must share one final secret with her mistress—a secret that will bind them together forever…  (publisher)

My take:  The Echo of Twilight is the story of two women whose lives are forever changed by circumstances beyond their control – most notably World War I. Pearl, a young woman, accepts the position of Ottoline’s lady’s maid. Raised by her spinster great-aunt, Pearl never knew her parents. When her great-aunt died she had no family left and went into service. When she was hired by Lady Ottoline she found a family of sorts – with a few of the staff and the Campbell family.

The Campbells are an interesting family. The two sons are nineteen and twenty-one and ready to fight for their King and Country. When war is declared they leave the family home and go off to fight. Uncertainty and heartache will loom for those left at home in the years to follow. Ottoline, the boys’ mother, proved to be a complex woman whose character was revealed in layers throughout the novel.

The novel is divided into three parts: Before, during, and after the war. Kinghorn’s story was so addicting that I had a hard time setting it down. I’m a fan of historical fiction, especially set in the early 20th century. The Echo of Twilight is an emotional novel that I recommend to fans of the author and the genre. It was the perfect choice for my First Book of the year.


About the author:

Judith Kinghorn is the author of four novels: The Echo of Twilight, The Snow Globe, The Memory of Lost Senses, and The Last Summer. She was born in Northumberland, educated in the Lake District, and is a graduate in English and History of Art. She lives in Hampshire, England, with her husband and two children.