I am a married, mother of 5 (plus 1 elderly chihuahua), and I am also an avid reader. I read many genres of books: thrillers, contemporary fiction, some sci-fi (hello, Blake Crouch!), YA, non-fiction, and more. I am also a huge fan of audio books, thanks to Libro.fm and the Libby app through my local library. Audio books are my go-to method of reading during the day when I am busy running around doing my usual “mom” stuff, and physical books are my morning with coffee and evening with herbal tea way to unwind.
I started this blog the first week of 2020 as an addition to my other social media outlets (Instagram, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter) so I could have a more creative, personal space for my book reviews, recommendations, what I’m reading now, what I recommend, and also some more personal tidbits about my life as a mother of 5 (including identical twins with autism), living with autoimmune diseases, life in a small, lakeside (touristy) town and other interesting stuff.
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Facing the past is easier if you don’t have to face it alone…
The Bluebell Inn is turning a profit, & it’s time for the Bennett siblings to sell it & move on. Only Grace has plans to stay in the small lake town of Bluebell, North Carolina, where she hopes her growing outfitters business will save her from the loneliness of her siblings’ departure & the persistent sense of unworthiness in her life.
A gunshot wound resurrects the past for Secret Service agent Wyatt Jennings, & a mandatory leave of absence lands him in Bluebell. There he must come to grips w/ the tragedy that altered his life 14 years ago. When Wyatt books a room at the Bluebell Inn, sparks fly between him & Grace. She volunteers to be his mountain guide, & he soon opens up to her, drawn to her strength & sense of humor. But both are reticent to talk about the survivor’s guilt they each carry, & when their pasts finally collide, their budding romance might not survive the truth.
From the bestselling author of ‘The Convenient Groom‘ & ‘A December Bride’ (now beloved Hallmark Original movies) comes the third & final novel in the Bluebell Inn series. Book 1 is ‘Lake Season‘ & came out in Nov ’19 & book 2 is ‘Carolina Breeze‘ which published only 5 mos ago in May. All of the books can be read as stand-alones, but I definitely want to read those first 2 books now after thoroughly enjoying ‘Autumn Skies‘.
‘Lake Season‘: When their parents die in a tragic accident, Molly Bennett and her siblings pull together to fulfill their parents’ dream: turning their historic home back into an inn. Adam Bradford (a.k.a. bestselling author Nathanial Grey) is a reclusive author with a bad case of writer’s block. Desperate for inspiration as his deadline approaches, he travels to a North Carolina lake town, the setting of his next novel. There he immediately meets his muse, a young innkeeper who fancies herself in love with his alter ego. When Molly finds an old letter in the walls of her inn she embarks on a mission with Adam to find the star-crossed lovers and bring them the closure they deserve. But the guest she invites along has secrets of his own. Past and present collide as truths are revealed, and Molly and Adam will have to decide if love is worth trusting.
A jilted bride. A struggling innkeeper. And a romantic mountain getaway that changes everything. Rising Hollywood star Mia Emerson is looking for a safe place to land in the wake of a public breakup & scandal, & she finds it in the lake town of Bluebell, North Carolina—the location of her canceled honeymoon. She wants nothing more than to hide & wait for the tabloids to die down. Soon after her arrival at the Bluebell Inn, Mia meets Levi Bennett, who runs the inn along w/ his two younger sisters. Drawn to one another from the start, Mia trusts Levi to keep her location from the press, & Levi confides in Mia about the financial state of the inn—a secret he’s been keeping from his sisters. When Mia & Levi discover an old journal that hints at a rare diamond necklace hidden in the inn, they set off on a treasure hunt to find the long-lost heirloom. What they don’t expect to surface are feelings they thought were safely locked away. Mia & Levi must decide if falling in love again is too big a risk—or if it will uncover a treasure of its own instead. This Bluebell Inn romance takes us to a quiet North Carolina retreat that holds more secrets than it shares.
I live in a little, lakeside town that has several B&B’s, so this book was very easy to visualize & get completely consumed in. Grace is the youngest of the Bennett siblings, w/ the stories about her sister, Molly & their brother, Levi, covered in books 1 & 2. ‘Autumn Skies‘ is an utterly heartwarming, enchanting & beautiful story that will completely sweep you away w/ it’s lakeside atmosphere.
The story has a very nice balance of clean romance, mystery, past tragedy, drama, & witty banter while also touching on some serious issues such as the aforementioned survivors guilt & also debilitating panic attacks. I loved Grace & Wyatt’s story & the building of their relationship & the way the characters in the book were brought to life w/ Hunter’s talented writing.
There’s a reason Denise Hunter’s books have such great ratings & reviews, & this will certainly not be my last book by her. ‘Autumn Skies‘ is a breath-taking, engaging, & well-written story that I highly recommend!
Denise Hunter is the award-winning author of more than 35 novels, three of which have been adapted into Hallmark movies. Denise writes heartwarming, small-town romances, peopled with layered characters who have real-life issues. Her readers enjoy the vicarious thrill of falling in love and the promise of a happily-ever-after sigh as they savor the final pages of her books. In 1996, Denise began her first novel, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she’s been writing ever since. Her books contain a strong romantic element, and her husband says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too! Denise and her husband live in Indiana, where they raised three sons, and are currently enjoying an empty nest.
‘There are things known & unknown, & in between are the doors.“- Althea Cheramie, friend of Dove.
Dove Jarrod was a renowned evangelist & faith healer. Only her granddaughter, Eve Candler, knows that Dove was a con artist. In the 8 yrs since Dove’s death, Eve has maintained Dove’s charitable foundation—& her lies. But just as a documentary team wraps up a shoot about the miracle worker, Eve is assaulted by a vengeful stranger intent on exposing what could be Dove’s darkest secret: murder.
Tuscaloosa, 1934: a wily young orphan escapes the psychiatric hospital where she was born. When she joins the itinerant inspirational duo the Hawthorn Sisters, the road ahead is one of stirring new possibilities. And w/ an obsessive predator on her trail, one of untold dangers. For a young girl to survive, desperate choices must be made.
Now: to protect her family, Eve will join forces w/ the investigative filmmaker & one of Dove’s friends, risking everything to unravel the truth behind the accusations against her grandmother. But will the truth set her free or set her world on fire?
This book continues the story line from Carpenter’s debut novel, ‘Burying the Honeysuckle Girls‘, but it’s not really a sequel. I have not read that 2016 debut, but I really want to now. I never really felt lost while reading ‘Reviving…’ & it can definitely be read as a stand alone novel. The story draws you in from the very first pages & holds your attention w/ Carpenter’s masterful writing, taunt plotting, & compelling characters.
‘Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters‘ is a beautiful blend of southern gothic, historical fiction, suspense/mystery & some magical realism. Told as Dove’s story from the past & Eve’s present day, this atmospheric, slow-burning mystery would make a fantastic addition to any readers fall tbr stack. I’m certainly going to read more of Emily’s other novels.
Click HERE to visit Emily Carpenter on Instagram. Click HERE to visit MomLovesReading on Instagram & give this post some LIKE love! Click HERE to add ‘Reviving the Honeysuckle Girls’ to your Goodreads lists. Click HERE to visit Emily Carpenter’s website.
Emily Carpenter is the bestselling author of four thrillers: Until the Day I Die, Every Single Secret, The Weight of Lies, and Burying the Honeysuckle Girls. A graduate of Auburn University, Emily has worked as an actor, producer, screenwriter, and behind-the-scenes soap opera assistant for CBS television. Raised in Birmingham, Alabama, she moved to New York City before returning to the South, where she now lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her family. Visit Emily at http://www.emilycarpenterauthor.com.
Q: (*said in a GhostFace from ‘Scream’ voice) “What’s your favorite scary movie? (***see end of blog post for my answer.)
This is best time of year to read thrillers & watch scary movies, yes, but here’s a non-fiction book about our fascination w/ the Other Side.
Join investigative reporter Billy Hallowell (yes, his name is SO close to the word HALLOWEEN! Cool coincidence, eh?) as he delves into the strange phenomena of supernatural activity. Themes of demonic possession, exorcism, & ghosts have overtaken Hollywood, with countless films & TV shows delving into the age-old struggle against evil. But the question is why?
Even with so much focus on the topic, there seems to be very little public knowledge & discussion about the theology & real-life claims surrounding demons. Quite often, many people remain silent about their experiences or resort to quietly whispering about what they’ve seen, heard, or felt for fear of being labeled as crazy. The truth is, even pastors, priests, & clergy who have observed firsthand accounts of possession & deliverance can succumb to the strange & terrifying effects of intense spiritual warfare.
Are demons active today? If they do indeed exist, what are they? Fallen angels? Nephilim? Can demons inhabit human beings? According to the Bible, can people die & remain behind as “ghosts”?
‘Playing with Fire’explores the theological underpinnings surrounding the supernatural. Relying on firsthand accounts, newspaper reports, & Christian experts, Hallowell takes readers through the various views & perspectives surrounding supernatural activity.
This faith-based book looks at society’s obsession w/ demons, exorcisms & ghosts & why we either believe or don’t believe in them. Hallowell lays it all out for us w/ facts vs. fiction in an easy to read, insightful, thought-provoking, Christian perspective way.
I would love to have a copy sent to one of you! Please head to Instagram (👈click) to enter officially then come back here to the blog post to comment & you will get 5 bonus entries in the giveaway. And don’t forget to enter on Facebook (must be following the account), Twitter (must be following the account).
(Oh, & my favorite scary movie is ‘The Descent’… I am claustrophobic & dislike the dark & creepy creatures very much, so this movie terrified me.)
About the author: Billy Hallowell has been working in journalism and media for more than two decades. His writings, interviews, and social commentary have appeared in Deseret News, TheBlaze, Human Events, Mediaite and FoxNews.com, among other outlets. He has served as the faith and culture editor of TheBlaze, senior editor of Faithwire, and he has written four books. Hallowell has a BA in journalism and broadcasting from the College of Mount Saint Vincent in Riverdale, New York, and an MS in social research from Hunter College in Manhattan, New York.
Witchy Wednesday GIVEAWAY time!! Thank you @booksparks & @alaneadamsbooks (partners) for my copy of ‘Witch Wars‘, book #3 in Alane Adams ‘Witches of Orkney’ series! (Sorry my pics are a little murky…had to take them in the evening with only artificial lighting…I think the kids did fantastic posing for them though, considering I interrupted their before bed gaming time!) Click HERE to go enter the book giveaway on Instagram or just to be nice & LIKE my post or SHARE it!
As a parent to 2 middle schooler’s, Adam’s books have been a nice addition to our daily reading. My kids (in the pics) are autistic, so patience & focus are often problematic, but when it comes to reading Alane’s books, they are engaged, tuned in & interested in what happens next. We read Adam’s ‘Eye of Zeus’ from her ‘Legends of Olympus’ series back when the pandemic started & it, too, was such a fun book!
‘The Witches of Orkney’ series is ideal for Mid-School reading, as well as Adam’s ‘Legend of Orkney’ series. Fans of Harry Potter, fantasy, & magical, mystical creature-type books will love these w/ their blend of mythological fact & fiction.
‘Witch Wars‘: Abigail’s 2nd year at the Tarkana Academy has been an all-out disaster. She’s just unwittingly helped Vertulious, an ancient he-witch & powerful alchemist, destroy Odin’s Stone & restore his powers, & now all of Orkney is caught up in the threat of war as the witches prepare to destroy the helpless Orkadians.
Determined to set things right, Abigail & Hugo set off for Jotunheim, the land of the giants, to find a weapon to restore the balance. All they have to do is track down the God of Thunder & convince Thor to turn his hammer over to them. When their former-friend-now-foe Robert Barconian arrives w/ a band of dwarves, intent on stopping them, Abigail & friends must unite to prevent a war that will destroy them all. But has Abigail made the biggest mistake of all by trusting in the wrong ally?
The kids & I are beginning Book 3 this weekend & I would love to have a copy sent to one of you to read w/ your kids or maybe give to a niece or nephew. With the holidays coming up. Adams’s series would be fantastic gifts for the young readers in your family.
(***The following is for FYI purposes only. All entries must be made on Instagram. Click HERE to go that post now.) To enter: 1-LIKE this post. 2-Must be following @mom_loves_reading @alaneadamsbooks & @booksparks 3-Tag a couple bookish friends or comment w/ your favorite book(s) when you were in mid-school. (Share post to your pg or stories for bonus 5 entries. You can even SHARE the giveaway just to be nice even if you aren’t entering.). US res only. Giveaway starts 10/7 & ends 10/10/20 & is not affiliated w/ Instagram.
Alane Adams grew up in an old Quaker town called Whittier in Southern California. Adams attended Whittier High School & was active in every possible sport including basketball (proudly claiming the nickname Breakaway Adams!) & swimming & diving. For college, Alane attended the University of Southern California where she wanted to be an English major, but family convinced her to become an accountant to help run a family business. After spending the next few decades helping to build one of the largest recycling companies on the West Coast, Alane left the family business behind to pursue her writing career. Before launching into writing full-time, Alane began teaching full-time at a local university. Finally, the Legends of Orkney series was born when her then 12-year-old son challenged Alane to write a book he could read. She hasn’t stopped writing since that day. Alane’s favorite books include any story involving folklore, fantasy & fairytales. When Alane is not writing or teaching, she is hanging out with her 3 boys, each who have grown up having adventures to rival those of her characters. Find out more at: www.AlaneAdams.com
What Do You Do When It Seems God Hasn’t Come Through for You?
When the miracle-working God whom Pastor Stacy Henagan loved and served did not answer the prayers on behalf of her terminally ill one-year-old daughter as expected, she was left crushed with grief and struggling to understand.
How could a loving God allow this to happen?
What do you do when it seems God has let you down?
Is God trustworthy?
Rather than choosing to remain in overwhelming pain and doubt, Stacy emerged with a much greater belief that God is good and trustworthy, even when we don’t think His plans make sense.
‘Breathe Again‘ is a honest, deeply moving & raw reflection on experiencing the devastating sense of loss, grief & pain of losing a child to a terminal illness. When we are feeling lost & broken, vulnerable & grief stricken, sometimes letting go of someone we love & giving in to our faith in something greater can be what helps us to get through life’s worst trials & tribulations we experience as human beings.
As a parent of five, Stacy’s story touched my heart & soul & nearly everyone who reads this book will find a way to relate to it in one way or another. You don’t have to be a parent or even a religious person to be profoundly touched by this heart-breaking, yet redeeming, story. It’s beautiful, well-written, genuine & quite thought-provoking.
Click HERE to add ‘Breathe Again’ to your Goodreads lists.
Click HERE to order the book from Thomas Nelson publishing.
Click HERE to visit my post on Instagram & give a LIKE (please & thank you!)
About the author:
Stacy Henagan is copastor of Keypoint Church in northwest Arkansas, a multicampus church she founded with her husband, Casey. Stacy also hosts an annual women’s conference and speaks at other events in the United States and overseas. Stacy and Casey have four children: Haven, who is waiting for them in heaven, and Holland, Hayes, and Hudson.