October 16, 2017

Hear ye, Hear ye! {to anyone who lives in or near VA}

As you may know, I live in Virginia. Several of my blogging friends do too, and we're going to meet up at the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton this fall. Sounds fun, right? I've met a few blogging friends before and let's just say that they were even more awesome in person! So I'm definitely excited.

To avoid creepy stalker types, I'm not posting the names of the other people who are meeting up with me, or which date and time we'll be there. Not that I know I have any creepy stalkers in my life or anything like that, but better safe than sorry, you know? So! If you're not a creepy stalker type, and live near VA of course, please think about joining us! I promise we're nice. And it'll be awesome! Guaranteed. :)

If you'd be interested in joining us, please email me at flowersofquiethappiness at gmail dot com and I'll fill you in on details.



September 29, 2017

A Tolkien Blog Party :: 2017


So the lovely Hamlette hosted her fifth annual A Tolkien Blog Party last week and I COMPLETELY FORGOT ABOUT IT. Go figure. That describes this entire year blogging-wise for me. I've forgotten everything! *big sigh* Still, I had planned to participate, so...better late than never, yes? I hope so because here goes nothing! :)

{Thanks, Hamlette! For not minding a late party-goer!}

1. How long have you been a Tolkien fan?

Only a couple years! I read The Hobbit for the first time in 2014 and the trilogy in 2015. So I'm a newbie! :)

2. Has your love of Middle-earth affected your life?

Not really? Other than I gush about these stories to people in real life if they're willing to listen to me. :D

3. If you had to take the One Ring to Mordor, which character would you choose for your sole companion?

Samwise Gamgee, of course! Sam is just awesome. And wise.

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4. Which is scarier, Shelob or the Balrog?

Shelob because I don't DO spiders! *shudder* But to be fair, I'm certain that I'd be a quivering mess of fear were I facing either one...

5. Which two towers do you think Tolkien was referring to in the title The Two Towers?  (i.e. Orthanc, Barad-dûr, Cirith Ungol, Minas Morgul, or Minas Tirith)

I don't really know. I've read all kinds of speculations and everyone has great reasons to support their theories, so I always end up nodding along with them. *shrugs*

6. Whose wardrobe would you like to have?

Arwen's. Mainly because I really like this particular cloak...

Image result for arwen wardrobe


7. What do you think an Ent Draught would taste like?

Something very earthy, I would imagine.

8. Where in Middle-earth would you like to live?

The Shire! But only if I could visit the other places, like Rivendell and Rohan, occasionally. I have enough "Tookish"-ness in me to want to travel a bit. ;)

9. Do you have any Tolkien-related opinions that surprise other people?

I don't think so? It might surprise some people that I've even read his books and loved them though...

10. List up to ten of your favorite lines/quotations from the books or movies.
"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort."
"His grief he will not forget; but it will not darken his heart, it will teach him wisdom."
"The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater."
"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to."
"It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end… because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing… this shadow. Even darkness must pass."
"Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking-stick."



September 28, 2017

Fun with Flowers | The Heart's Spring Book Tag


Hello, my lovelies! I went searching for post ideas yesterday and wouldn't you know it, the always delightful Amber has a book tag going! So of course, I was happy to join in. (Also, she's currently got a couple great deals for the series, so check them out if you haven't read them yet. :)

{The prompts are based on book titles/flower names and themes in The Heart's Spring series.}

Bellflower: Name a book with beautiful writing or a profound plot that made you immediately fall in love.

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Beautiful writing? Always and forever The Q! I cannot gush enough about the delightfulness that is this story. I have reread my favorite scenes countless times and still find little phrases and whole paragraphs that simply speak to my heart. :)


Forget Me Not: Name a book you adored in your childhood and can't forget even now.

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I scoured the used bookstore shelves for these books back when! And read and reread them again and again. I loved each of the club members and dreamed of starting my own club some day. Ah, the sweet memories!


Bleeding Heart: Name a book that made you cry with deep compassion for a character.

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When people ask me about my favorite books, My Hands Came Away Red is always in my top five! The events feel so true to life, especially nowadays, and the characters, while flawed, are exceptionally written. My heart gets drawn in every single time I reread this story. Yes, it's really THAT good!


Fairy Slippers: Name a fantasy book or fairy tale that utterly charmed you.


The Eyes of E'veria series by Serena Chase!! I was blown away by how very much I loved book one, The Ryn, and then....I met Cazien de Pollis and oh, my heart! ;) He's a charmer, for sure. But trust me, there are SO many reasons I love this series that it would take entirely too long to tell you. Just read them!


Morning Glory: Name a book that has not yet released but you just know you'll love.

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Now this one is a no-brainer! I have LOVED every single one of Katherine Reay's stories and most definitely anticipate loving this one as well. Cannot wait!!! :)




September 13, 2017

Review: A New Shade of Summer by Nicole Deese

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I don't know what it is about Ms. Deese's writing, but it sucks me in every single time. I am a mess of emotions after reading this one, friends! If you get nothing else out of this review, please just remember this one thing...READ IT. Don't wait, but read it now! I really don't think you'll regret it.

(But y'all know I like lots of words, so no way am I planning to just leave you there! ;)

To be truthful though, it had been a while since I read book two, A Season to Love, so I'd kind of forgotten who was who in the awesome town of Lenox. Not to worry though, because Ms. Deese gave just enough hints and background (without actually giving background, just sliding the info in around the goings on, kudos to her) for my recall to get kicked into gear! And I remembered how badly I felt for Davis in that book, yet how I just knew he wasn't the right guy for Willa. So I became all anxious to make sure Callie would be a good fit for him! And for Brandon. (I can't tell you how badly I wanted to make he and Brandon's father-son relationship all better. SO many times did I want to jump in the story and give both of them a hug. Thank goodness for Callie!)

Oh friends, can I just tell you how much I loved Callie? I seem to say that with each new character I meet in this series, but it's really true this time! ;) She really does shine bright in every way, not just in her hair color. Her ability to make others immediately feel comfortable in her presence is amazing (except for maybe Vivian, but she seems a hard nut to crack in general anyway). So please believe me when I say that Davis and Callie fit perfect! One bad first impression could not keep their friendship from blossoming, and once again, I was reminded how much I love reading about a really great friendship that turns into something more. Their rapport was fair immediate, bad first impression notwithstanding, and they truly brought out the best in each other. The way they both brought new color into each other's lives? In more ways than one? Ah, my heart! They truly love each other so, so well. And the way that Callie was able to connect to Brandon right from the getgo? That was cause for plenty of heartwarming moments for me. I loved how she innately understood him and what he needed without him having to say a single word. And she thought she wasn't cut out to be a mother! Silly girl.

Also I loved, loved, LOVED getting the perspectives of both Callie and Davis during pivotal moments. I've read plenty of stories that involved more than one point of view, but this seems like the first one where each chapter led to a different POV but not always a different scene. So seamless was the transition that it felt natural and real. (Plus I just really liked getting in both of their heads during certain moments especially! ;) I had the thought early during my reading that I really liked this way of handling dual viewpoints, because it simply felt less discombobulating than changing POV mid-chapter. This isn't to say that one is better than the other, but it just worked really well for this story in my opinion!

Last but not least, can I just mention this? Ms. Deese has often swept me up onto her fictional town of Lenox and the myriad of wonderful people who live there, but I am simply in amazement once again at her ability to make me feel the incredible chemistry between two people. I felt those zings and crackles right along with Callie! How does a writer do that anyway? Oh! And one more thing, can Lenox actually exist in real life? I'd really like to visit there and see Callie's murals in person! That would be amazing. :)

**I received a complimentary copy from the author via Netgalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

"Grief is carried on a moving current. Sometimes it's swift and sometimes slow, but it's never stagnant. Because stagnant water doesn't process. It festers."

"Our connection to art has less to do with talent and more to do with the emotion it stirs inside us. And perhaps our willingness to feel that emotion."

"The only way to heal from our hurt was to journey through it, not be offered an escape from it."

"I don't know how to pull him out of the world he lives in."
Slowly, I raised our joined hands and flattened Davis's palm to the wall. "Then go into his world."



September 6, 2017

Cover Reveal :: Cloaked by Rachel Kovaciny

Hello, my lovelies! I am so, so privileged to get to share the cover of a new book coming out very, very soon! Did you know the awesome Hamlette from Hamlette's Soliloquy and The Edge of the Precipice is a writer? Of course you did, right? :) She already has one novella published in Five Magic Spindles, it's a western retelling of Sleeping Beauty, and now she's publishing a new story!! I'm definitely excited to read it, if you can't tell. :D It's basically Little Red Riding Hood reimagined as a western. Intriguing, right?

:: About the book :: 

On the way to Wyoming Territory to visit her grandmother for the first time, sixteen-year-old Mary Rose meets a charming accountant with a sinister interest in her grandmother's ranch.



And now, let's take a look at the pretty...





Isn't it a beauty?! It definitely gives you a hint of mystery, as well as the color scheme being so very striking. I love the mix of colors and how the red cloak stands out. And the silhouette look? Ah, I just love this cover as a whole! It's certainly beautiful enough to grab my attention and would make me pick it up off the shelf. In fact, it would look delightful on my own bookshelf! ;)

This will be available as an e-book and paperback from Amazon in a few weeks, so be on the lookout! :)



September 3, 2017

Currently...



Listening To:  Lindsey Stirling on youtube! This song is one of my current favorites...


Reading:  I've not been doing much reading here recently. (I know!) But I've got a few books for review, so I'm hoping to dive into A New Shade of Summer by Nicole Deese next! :)


Enjoying:  All the memories from CFRR a few weeks ago, as well as the lovely bookish birthday party a friend hosted in my honor last weekend. See that glorious cake she made for me?! *all the heart eyes*


Watching:  Amber and I had a twitter-watch-along the other week. We watched P&P 05 and tweeted all our favorite quotes and moments. It was a blast! Plus it had been way too long since I'd watched that movie. Definitely one of my favorites!

Feeling:  Excitement! There's some new things that seem to maybe be happening in my near future, we shall see. Not certain what it's going to look like precisely, but it's exciting to contemplate! :D


Craving:  The last yummy delicious carmelita that I know is waiting for me at home. Mmmmm....


Loving:  Spending a few hours in the library this Saturday afternoon. I haven't been able to come here as often as I wished to recently, and I've missed it! My happy place...


Anticipating:  A couple trips that I have planned for this fall. Nothing huge, but one is just a quick little getaway with friends and the other is a trip with my family. I love road trips! :)


I hope your weekend has been delightful, friends!




September 1, 2017

Jane Austen Ponderings


So yeah. Anyone who's hung around this blog very much has surely figured out by now that I'm a Jane Austen fan. Yet crazy as it seems, I had completely forgotten that Misty at The Book Rat always hosts an Austen in August celebration! *cringes*

So! First things first, go and check out all the fun stuff she's been sharing! Lots of Austen love going on over there. :)

Second of all, through her delightful posts, I discovered that there's a new P&P in production!!! Y'all probably already heard about it, but I hadn't. And I'm quite intrigued with how the article describes it. (Read it here) But for the official record, can someone please tell me what on earth "less bonnet-y" actually means? (The official quote I'm referring to is as follows: “Pride and Prejudice is actually a very adult book, much less bonnet-y than people assume...”.) I have no idea what they're talking about? Nevertheless, I am, of course, quite interested in seeing how they adapt it! :D Unfortunately it doesn't say when it's coming out, so now the wait is on...

And third! I'm a fan of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (in case you need to personally see my excitement levels, see this post) and Misty mentioned that Mary Kate Wiles, who played Lydia, posted a video on her youtube earlier this year. It showcases the four main characters playing the Marrying Mr. Darcy card game. It's a fun video, especially so seeing the cast back together again! So check it out here. :)

Enjoy the Austen goodness, lovelies! Now I'm off to sample a couple new Austen-retellings that sound intriguing... :D



August 28, 2017

Christian Fiction Readers Retreat :: 2017

Christian Fiction Readers Retreat
Hello, my lovelies! Guess what I did a couple weeks ago? (As if the picture doesn't give it away, huh? ;) Yes! I did indeed drive up to Cincinnati to CFRR. Oh, friends, it was an AMAZING day. It truly was! I'm still pinching myself to try and convince me that I was actually there! :D

(It's been a somewhat difficult year for me so far. It seems that for as hard as 2016 was in dealing with my initial grief, this year has been harder. I've just struggled to keep on top of my emotions on a daily basis. So to have this weekend in August to look forward to and then experience? Ah, I cannot describe what happy it gave my heart! :)

There were so many awesome authors and readers there this year! I admit to dealing with some anxiety all the way up until the moment I was standing in line (as all of us introvert types do, am I right?), but then I saw a couple ladies I'd met last year and I *happy sighed* when they were just as thrilled to see me. :)

{The only downside to the whole day was the fact that I knew I wouldn't get to see Rel and Jamie again. But someday we'll meet again, I just know it!}

The whole day was so amazing and awesome and I've been wanting to share it with y'all...life just kind of got a bit crazy once I got home again. But here I am now, better late than never, right? :) So how about a little recap?


I began the day with my bag of books for signing and a stop at Starbucks for a chai tea. A perfect beginning! :)


Then I saw Carrie (from Reading is my Superpower) and got my hug. She is a wonderful reader/blogger/FRIEND that helped head this whole deal up. I was thrilled to see her! :D

Follow that initial sign in and greeting with entering a huge room full of readers, bloggers, and authors and I didn't know where to start! Once the party officially got started, I can't describe to you what it feels like to look up front and see this whole row of authors in person. (I was at the very back of the room, I apologize for all the heads in the pictures. Just what it had to be.)

There were games, author panels, and my favorite: hearing a few specific authors share their hearts.
  • Cynthia Ruchti - She talked about how important readers are. We have to have authors writing books, yes, but without a reader to read it, it doesn't complete it's purpose. Plus she shared a wonderful poem she had written herself!
  • Becky Wade and Dani Pettrey - Dani was unable to actually be there in person, but we got to see her via technology for a little. She and Becky had put together a way for those of us readers to get the chance to see the actual process of writing a book. (Click here for Becky's blog post about the workshop.) It involved M&Ms, which means it was a delicious experience! ;)
  • Shelley Shepherd Gray - She spoke about how much she loves reading herself and how that flowed over into her attempting to write her own story. She's so incredibly disciplined that she writes at least 10 pages a day and she says she won't let herself get up from her computer until all 10 pages are written. (!!!!)
We had lunch, in which I ate at a table full of readers, bloggers, one gal from...Bethany House I believe?, and Rachel Hauck! Rachel is very sweet, I enjoyed getting the chance to chat with her. I think that's probably my very favorite part of CFRR as a whole. That we can socialize and interact with authors and get the chance to see beyond their "writer persona" into who they truly are. They become friends instead of this "high and lofty celebrity type" (if you know what I mean?). 

Before the afternoon author panel, I had the chance to chat with Ann Gabhart. I haven't actually read any of her books yet and had to admit that to her (*gasp* I know!), but I definitely knew who she was! She helped me figure out which of her books I'd been highly recommended but couldn't remember the title. (It's Angel Sister, for those interested.) She's just this lovely, southern woman who has this comfortable feeling about her. I would love to spend a whole day just listening to her, she has a lot of wisdom to share. :)

L to R: Karen Barnett, Rachel McMillan, Laura Frantz, Serena Chase
Ronie Kendig, Rachel Hauck, Melissa Tagg, Meghan Gorecki
Ann Gabhart, Courtney Walsh, Susan May Warren, Gabrielle Meyer
Katie Ganshert, Ruth Logan Herne, Dawn Crandall, Pepper Basham

Then came the author signing at the end of the day! It was a delight to meet several and get their signatures. But two particular meetings stand out to me the most!

My reviews of The Ryn, The Remedy,
The Seahorse Legacy,
& The Sunken Realm 
First, I went up to Serena Chase (who, by the by, is the author of that incredible series in the picture and if you haven't read them, you must!) and started talking about how much I loved her books and how happy I was that she was there so I could meet her and all of a sudden.... She said something like, "Are you Kara from Flowers of Quiet Happiness?". Talk about getting my attention! I hadn't even mentioned my blog name at all yet! She then proceeded to get so excited to meet me. To meet ME. How crazy is that? I've been a fan of her stories since...2013 when The Remedy (from her Eyes of E'veria series) first came out, but to have ever imagined she'd remember me and my little blog? I couldn't seem to wrap my brain around that idea! I don't think either of us stopped grinning during the subsequent conversation. :D So yeah, that bit was awesome, friends! 

The second one was getting the chance to meet Rachel McMillan. I did mention my blog name to her first, but she knew who I was once I did! Which is still crazy to me. This little spot feels so small and cozy to me. I love it, but I don't think of myself as being all that well known on the blogosphere. Which is fine! But makes for funny moments when an author tells me they remember my blog name! :D Rachel is just awesome, for the record. I was so excited for the chance to meet her that I had to sneak a picture earlier during the day when she was on an author panel. ;)

But talking with all of them was just pure awesome! When I went up to Ronie Kendig and mentioned that I knew she and Rel were good friends, she said she'd been texting with her just a few minutes before. So it kind of felt like Rel was there for a second! :) I admit that it took me a while to recognize Dawn Crandall because her hair color was different than in her Official Author Pic. But she was so sweet once I did finally go up to her. I was thrilled to bits to get to share why I loved Life After so much to Katie Ganshert! And as I totally expected because of last year, Laura Frantz and Pepper Basham were both as lovely as ever.

Seriously, friends, this was an incredible day! If you get the chance to go next year, I highly recommend it! And it's a day I definitely won't soon be forgetting. :D




August 1, 2017

Little Moments :: Happy Heart :: Sixth Edition

Being on the lookout for little happy moments is fun! So much of life is full of these tiny happenings, if only I can look around to notice it. As I was going through the pics on my phone, transferring them to my laptop, I was reminded of all the happy I'd seen! And thus decided it was high time I shared them with y'all. Hope you're having a delightful week so far! :)



This plant seemed aptly named! :D
(If you've read The Lord of the Rings, anyway.)




I don't remember if I mentioned that there's now a
Little Free Library right around the corner from
my house? (!!!!)




Back at the end of June (over a month ago now, 
yikes!), the INSPY Award winners were 
officially announced! 




Recently finished this one and wow!!
It's an excellent read, friends. :)




Friends were headed out on a roadtrip this past week and 
wanted some books to take along. This mix of stories
are what I gave them. I'd forgotten how fun it is 
to recommend books to real life friends! :)




Before said friends left on their trip, they gifted me with
fresh tomatoes from their garden! Yummo.
(Plus they're yellow! ;)




Amen and amen!


What's been making you happy lately?




July 31, 2017

My {mid} Summer Reading Recs


So, yes, I do realize that summer is been here for weeks and weeks (believe me, I only have to step outside into that yucky humidity to realize it!) and that everybody and their neighbor already did one of these lists. But I'm just behind the times, okay? :) Actually, many moons ago on Instagram, a friend suggested that I should write a summer reading list and I totally meant to get it written long before now. Alas! So, here I am finally. (Hope you enjoy it, April! :)

Just to clarify some things officially (because I know I've ranted over these sorts of lists before), these are a few of my very favorite stories. Ones that I reread multiple times a year (meaning that I skim through all my favorite scenes again usually), and ones that I have been known to recommend to lots of people when they ask for recs. You may or may not agree with my list, so these books are NOT "have to" reads, they are Kara's favorites. :D

(But you know, if you happen to try one or three and really like them, then you're welcome. ;)

On with the list, how about it....

1. The Q by Beth Brower ~ historical fiction that is fabulously written and has one of my very favorite characters ever!

2. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater ~ fantastical setting that feels very vivid and atmospheric, plus characters I fell in love with.

3. Barefoot Summer by Denise Hunter ~ a swoony romance that builds very naturally, as well as characters learning about forgiveness of others and of self.

4. The Maya Davis series :: Cool Beans, Latte Daze, Double Shot by Erynn Mangum ~ one of my favorite friends-to-lovers romances with lots of laughter, coffee, and chocolate!

5. Can't Help Falling by Kara Isaac ~ C.S. Lewis' Narnia references!!! Enough said. ;)

6. The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof ~ EXCELLENT historical fiction! I cannot recommend this story too many times!

7. The Savannah series :: Savannah From Savannah, Savannah Comes Undone, Savannah By the Sea by Denise Hildreth ~ because Savannah is awesome, friends. The character and the city!

8. My Hands Came Away Red by Lisa McKay ~ a story that will grab your heart, break it to pieces, and put it all back together albeit changed for the better.

9. The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery ~ I think everyone needs to meet Valancy at least once!

10. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen ~ it will make you dream of being at the beach even if you're in the dead of winter! Besides which, the lessons learned are bittersweet at times and the slow building romance is super adorable. The quintessential beach read! (in my opinion. ;)

What would be on your mid-summer reading list?




July 30, 2017

Once, in my father's bookshop...


Once, in my father's bookshop, I heard a regular customer say that few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart. Those first images, the echo of words we think we have left behind, accompany us throughout our lives and sculpt a palace in our memory to which, sooner or later—no matter how many books we read, how many worlds we discover, or how much we learn or forget—we will return. ~ Carlos Ruiz Zafón



July 27, 2017

Review: His Steadfast Love by Julie Lessman {Blog Tour + Giveaway}

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Hello, my lovelies! I am so, so happy to share a wonderful story with y'all today. :) I had the immense privilege of actually meeting Julie Lessman in person last summer and let me just say that she is a delight! I'd had her books on my radar for quite some time, but it wasn't until hearing her speak about the personal ties this particular series is based around that I knew I had to read her stories. And I have been anything but disappointed! They just have a way of wrapping around my heart. :) So let's get to the fun stuff, shall we?


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Oh, reader friends, can I just start out saying how very much I love the O'Bryen family? The way they tease and pick at each other, yet the fierce love that holds them together no matter what...ah my heart! This family is truly one of my favorites in fiction. Yet the beauty of this story is so much more than just wonderful familial relationships, it's the search for true forgiveness and the deep love that is the foundation of it. And it's that journey which Cat and Chase traverse that kept the pages rapidly turning for me.

I was uncertain what I would think about Cat, herself, when I started this book. Considering how much I loved Shannon, her twin in Love Everlasting, and how much Shannon loves Cat, I had a hunch she'd probably grow on me and oh how she did! Cat is so very lovable, yet she has no idea how much. Because of lies she's believing about herself, she ends up making a few bad choices which could've led her somewhere terrible. Yet it's that very lovableness about her that keeps her family and friends from giving up! And it's her inherent "Cat"-ness that made me wish I could be her friend in real life, the fact that she keeps choosing the hard road, yet deep inside she hasn't really forgotten hope. She thinks she has, she thinks she's gone off the deep end and is drowning, but she hasn't. Not really. Hope is still clinging fiercely, no matter how she tries to deny it.

It's that hope that Chase sees in her that makes certain he never gives up on her. But his journey isn't over yet either, he has his own lessons to learn. (Which made me happy that we get to see things from his perspective as well! I loved being able to spend some time in his head, especially when he was around Cat.) Watching these two characters stumble their way around each other, trying to deny their attraction, failing miserably at that (because the entire world can see it! These two have crazy chemistry, folks. Seriously! ;), and building a true friendship in spite of it all, it just warmed my heart. Even as Chase struggles to keep his attraction settled so that he can focus on Cat's heart, my own heart absolutely swooned at how well he cared for her. The rapport between them, the way they trust each other no matter what, simply the way Chase was constantly building her up and refusing to let Cat dwell on the negatives, I loved every bit of it! But seriously, you can't convince me that Cat's family didn't have ulterior motives when it came to throwing she and Chase together in the beginning. They may have said that it was all due to their worry for Cat, but I just can't imagine they didn't want the relationship to blossom for more reasons than that! ;D

One of the aspects of the novel that I particularly enjoyed, about as much as the swoony romance itself, is the idea of forgiveness and how, sometimes, we can harbor bitterness and anger and be totally unaware of it. So much truth that the characters learned spoke to my own heart! And isn't that what a story should do? Entertain the reader, for sure, but go so much deeper and help us to perchance begin to understand ourselves? Kudos to Ms. Lessman for delving into her own heart in order to bring an entire series about HOPE that inspires those like me! :) And also for bringing back memories of my own trip to Savannah and how much I love that historic district. Reading this story just made me want to go back all the more! So be sure to check this one out, friends. I really think you won't be disappointed! :)

**I received a complimentary copy via Singing Librarian Books. All opinions expressed are my own.


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She cried her heart out for a solid ten minutes until her heaves thickened and slowed, the front of his shirt near sopping. He rubbed her arms. “Feel better?” His lips tipped when she allowed a few jerky nods against his chest, and fishing out a wad of tissues, he nudged them into her hands. “Here. My shirt is soaking wet, kiddo, and I’m a little worried it’s not all saltwater.”

“It’s not,” she said with a soggy smile, promptly blowing her nose several times. She blotted a handful of fresh tissues against the wet spot on his shirt. “One of the pitfalls of being a pastor, I suppose.”

“Or a good friend,” he said softly, wondering if she had any inkling how attracted he was to her. He hoped not because Cat was the type of woman who would use that to her advantage, and he couldn’t afford that. He’d worked too hard at keeping his distance.

A lesson learned the hard way.

“Hey,” he said with a duck of his head, compassion warm in his eyes, “wanna talk about it?”

With a soft moan, she flopped back against the console seat like a ragdoll. Resting her head, she stared up at a section of the headliner that was just beginning to buckle on the roof of his car, arms limp at her sides. “What’s there to talk about? My lifeline is gone, so I have to learn to go it alone, I guess, without Shannon there every minute of every day.”

“Hey, you still have Davey and your mom and Ben, with Jack and Lacey right next door,” he said, hoping to remind her how lucky she was to have the family she had.

A groan ground from her lips. “Oh, super. A twenty-six-year-old spinster in the same house with mommy, daddy, and little brother. One, I might add, who has to wear earplugs at night so she can’t hear what’s going on in her newlywed mother’s room.” A shiver rumbled her shoulders. “No, thanks. And Jack and Lacey are just as bad when they come over, always playing kissy-face.” Her nose lifted in a scrunch. “Face it, Rev, I might as well be alone.”

“Not alone,” he said carefully, pausing long enough to make a point. “There is another lifeline, you know.”

A low groan slipped past her lips as one eyelid edged up. “You’re not going to start talking to me about God, are you?”

He grinned as he reached toward the cup holders beneath the dash, handing her coffee over before he took a sip of his own. “I’m a pastor, Catfish, what do you think?”

She sat up and snatched the cup with a stubborn bent to her chin. “Well, I’m not on speaking terms with God right now, so you can just shelve the sermon till Sunday.”

His smile faded as he studied a profile that could have been etched in stone. “How ’bout shouting terms then? He’ll take whatever He can get, Catherine,” he said quietly, “because His love for you never changes no matter what you say or how you say it.”

“Ha! Sure not willing to test a lightning bolt on that one, Rev, not with a God who’s burned me before.” She took a quick glug of her coffee, gaze hard and fixed straight ahead.

“How?”

She swiveled to face him, mouth gaping. “How? A God who allows my father—a man devoted to Him, no less—to abandon his family, then turns right around and does it all over again with cancer?” She issued a grunt. “Sorry, but that doesn’t inspire a whole lot of trust in me.”

“The affair was your father’s choice, Cat, not God’s,” he said quietly.

She scorched him with a glare. “But He didn’t stop him!” she screamed, the cup quivering in her hand. “Anymore than He stopped Lacey from stabbing me in the back when she’d been my best friend, or Kyle from dumping me in college because I was too blinkin’ pure. I did nothing wrong!” she shouted, “and He’s supposed to be God, all powerful, all loving! He could have stopped Dad, but He didn’t! Yes, the burden of sin was on Dad’s shoulders, but tell me, Chase, what did Mom, Jack, Shan, and I do to deserve having our hearts and lives ripped apart at the seams? All we ever did was honor God, loving Him and trusting Him like Dad always taught us to do.”

She straightened slowly, shoulders squaring almost imperceptibly while that formidable chin rose, as defiant as the gleam of anger in her eyes. “But your so-called loving God did nothing, so tell me, Chase, please, because I really want to know. What good is a God who hangs His own out to dry?” Turning away, she held the cup with both hands, body trembling while rivulets of tears slithered her face.

So that was the crux of her pain, then. Chase exhaled a quiet sigh. He thought so. It had been Jack’s beef with God when Chase had confronted him last year and now apparently Cat’s too. The root of rebellion shackled to their greatest fear.

That God didn’t really love them at all.

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Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose tagline of “Passion With a Purpose” underscores her intense passion for both God and romance. A lover of all things Irish, she enjoys writing close-knit Irish family sagas that evolve into 3-D love stories: the hero, the heroine, and the God that brings them together.

Author of The Daughters of Boston, Winds of Change, and Heart of San Francisco series, Julie was named American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Author of the Year and has garnered 18 Romance Writers of America and other awards. Voted #1 Romance Author of the year in Family Fiction magazine’s 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards, Julie was also named on Booklist’s 2010 Top 10 Inspirational Fiction and Borders Best Fiction list.

Julie’s most recent novel, Isle of Hope was voted on Family Fiction magazine’s Best of 2015, and Surprised by Love appeared on Family Fiction magazine’s Best of 2014. Her independent novel A Light in the Window is an International Digital Awards winner, a 2013 Readers' Crown Award winner, and a 2013 Book Buyers Best Award winner. Julie has also written a self-help workbook for writers entitled Romance-ology 101: Writing Romantic Tension for the Sweet and Inspirational Markets. You can contact Julie through her website and read excerpts from each of her books at www.julielessman.com.



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July 23--Singing Librarian Books
July 24--Faithfully Bookish
July 25--Remembrancy | Reading Is My SuperPower
July 26--Paulette's Papers | Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen
July 27--Flowers of Quiet Happiness | Faery Tales Are Real
July 28--The Green Mockingbird 
July 29--Radiant Light | Cafinated Reads







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