Five-Star Reads of 2021

These were my five-star reads in 2021. I’m stingy with my stars, so these books really stood out for me among the 115+ books I read last year. I enjoyed them for a variety of reasons: Some inspired me, some taught me forgotten history, some were funny, some were creative, but one stands alone for extraordinary writing.   Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner Angle of Repose may be the […]

Read more...

The Lost Apothecary Book Review

One cold February evening in 1791, at the back of a dark London alley in a hidden apothecary shop, Nella awaits her newest customer. Once a respected healer, Nella now uses her knowledge for a darker purpose – selling well-disguised poisons to desperate women who wished to be free of the men in their lives. But when her new patron turns out to be a precocious twelve-year-old named Eliza Fanning, […]

Read more...

Becoming Mrs. Lewis Book Review

When poet and writer Joy Davidman began writing letters to C. S. Lewis she was looking for spiritual answers, not love. Everything about New Yorker Joy seemed ill-matched for an Oxford legend and the beloved writer of Narnia, yet their minds bonded over their letters. Embarking on the adventure of her life, Joy traveled from America to England and back again, facing heartbreak and poverty, discovering friendship and faith, and […]

Read more...

The Tobacco Wives Book Review

This historical debut set in 1946 North Carolina follows a young female seamstress who uncovers dangerous truths about the Big Tobacco empire ruling the American South. Maddie Sykes has just arrived in Bright Leaf, North Carolina—the tobacco capital of the South—where her aunt has a thriving sewing business. She is dazzled by the bustle of the crisply uniformed female factory workers, the palatial homes, and, most of all, her aunt’s […]

Read more...

Vortex Book Review

Seven years ago, Mia Briscoe was at a frat party with her best friend Serena when a fire broke out. Everyone was accounted for except Serena. She was never heard from or seen again. When an old photo taken at the frat party gives her clues, Mia realizes she knows just where to look. She enlists FBI agent Sherlock’s help to uncover a sinister string of events going all the […]

Read more...

The Women’s March Stumbled

It’s always frustrated me it took women so long to gain the vote. More than a dozen countries gave us the right to vote before the United States; that’s mind-boggling to me. I’d like to think I would have been a suffragist back in the day, but I’m a sissy. The leaders of the movement—including Alice Paul, Maud Malone, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Lucy Burns, and Jane Adams—risked life and limb […]

Read more...

Songs in Ursa Major Book Review

The year is 1969, and the Bayleen Island Folk Fest is abuzz with one name: Jesse Reid. He is poised to tip from fame to legend with this one headlining performance until his motorcycle crashes on the way to the show. Jane Quinn is a Bayleen Island local whose music flows as naturally as her long blond hair. When she and her bandmates are asked to play in Jesse Reid’s […]

Read more...

The Collective – A Dark Thriller by Alison Gaylin

If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart. I’ll stay there forever. ~ Alison Gaylin, The Collective Camille Gardner is a grieving—and angry—mother who, five years after her daughter’s death, is still obsessed with the privileged young man she believes to be responsible. When her rash actions attract the attention of a secret group of women—the collective— Camille is drawn into a […]

Read more...

Creatures of Habit

“So how do you know if you are self-centered? Ask yourself if these things are true in your life: Do you often become defensive? Do you blame everyone else for your problems? Do you have a hard time cooperating with others at work? Are your conversations usually about yourself?” ~ Steve Poe, Creatures of Habit. In Creatures of Habit, Pastor Steve Poe helps Christians identify and break free from the […]

Read more...

All That We Carried

“Always being on guard against what might happen to you seems like kind of an exhausting way to live. When you block out the possibility of bad surprises, don’t you lose the possibility of good surprises too?” ~ Erin Bartels, All That We Carried Ten years ago, sisters Olivia and Melanie Greene were on a backcountry hiking trip when their parents were killed in a car accident. Over the years, […]

Read more...