Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate


Although I have been a fan of Lisa Wingate books since the very first one I picked up several years ago, I was particularly interested in reading “Before We Were Yours”. I have lived my entire life on the outskirts of Memphis and over the years since my childhood have sometimes heard talk among family members that an adopted relative may have come from Georgia Tann. No one ever knew for certain and all those who may have known the truth are now long gone. It is the mystery in my own family that enhanced my interest in this novel.

As always, Wingate’s writing is exquisite. She pulled me right into the story and I felt as though I was experiencing it along with Rill and her sisters and brother.  Some readers may find it just a bit slow at the beginning but I encourage persistence. This book is definitely worth your while and you will be glad you kept with it until you are hooked like I was. Although the story took place in two different eras, I easily moved from one to the other with no difficulty. I loved the way that the two stories were woven together so well by the end and especially loved a few surprises along the way.

It was heartbreaking to read Rill’s narration of the horrors experienced by herself, her siblings, and other children in one of Georgia Tann’s institutions. Before reading “Before We Were Yours” I had no idea of the extent of mistreatment the children endured. Reading about it was often difficult, especially while wondering if my relative had experienced the same abuse. The contrast between Rill’s life and Avery Stafford’s life was striking. I had to admire Avery for her persistence in getting to the bottom of the mystery she had inadvertently stumbled upon despite the discouragement that came from every direction.

“Before We Were Yours” is a story about family secrets, both past and present and the long-lasting effect on the lives of those family members. It was a riveting tale based on a true scandal. We can only hope that our society does not produce any more Georgia Tanns but I am afraid there will always be more people like her to take her place. I loved this book and cannot wait to see what the author has planned next for her readers.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Lisa Wingate’s Book Ambassadors. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.


For readers of Orphan Train and The Nightingale comes a “thought-provoking [and] complex tale about two families, two generations apart . . . based on a notorious true-life scandal.”*

Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge—until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents—but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty.

Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family’s long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.

Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals—in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country—Lisa Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.

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Lisa Wingate is a former journalist, an inspirational speaker, and the bestselling author of more than twenty novels. Her work has won or been nominated for many awards, including the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize, the Oklahoma Book Award, the Utah Library Award, the Carol Award, the Christy Award, and the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award. She lives in the Ouachita Mountains of southwest Arkansas.Lisa’s Website:



Return to Huckleberry Hill by Jennifer Beckstrand


I have read and enjoyed several novels by Jennifer Beckstrand and fully expected “Return to Huckleberry Hill” to be as entertaining. Although the story was a bit different from the others, it was definitely entertaining. I couldn’t help laughing each time one of Anna’s new recipe creations was mentioned. Who would ever think of actually combining some of those ingredients?! On the other hand the romance was a bit frustrating. Then there were those “mean girls”. I never imagined that you would find their type among the Amish. Goes to show how much I know.

Reuben had to be one of the most annoying romantic interests of any book I have ever read. He was so full of himself that he often neglected to think of others. It was a bit difficult to understand why Fern was willing to sacrifice so much to help him when he seemed to look down on her and her family so much. But as can be expected from most good books, circumstances eventually forced Reuben to examine himself and realize how much his actions had hurt others.

“Return to Huckleberry Hill” is an excellent story of forgiveness, reconciliation, and love. Reuben turned his life around and as we all know, found his happy ending with the girl he really loved.

I voluntarily reviewed a digital copy of this book provided by Celebrate Lit. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.


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When it comes to matchmaking, Huckleberry Hill, Wisconsin’s unstoppable octogenarians Anna and Felty Helmuth never seem to run out of opportunities—or grandchildren…

Reuben Helmuth is plenty bitter. John King, his best friend—or so he thought—is engaged to the girl Reuben loved. Humiliated, Reuben flees from Ohio to his grandparents’ home on Huckleberry Hill, where he knows he’ll find comfort. He’s enjoying wallowing in his misery—until John’s sister, Fern, shows up. She won’t stop pestering Reuben about forgiveness—or trying to help him find love again. Yet Fern’s efforts only reawaken Reuben’s long-buried feelings—for her…

With her brother too ashamed to face Reuben, it’s fallen to Fern to help mend fences. But as she and the Helmuths do all they can—even organizing a knitting club event filled with eligible girls—it may take one more challenge to inspire Reuben to forget his heartache, recognize his own blunders, and embrace the true love that’s right in front of him…

Click here to purchase your copy.


Jennifer Beckstrand is the award winning Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hillseries and The Honeybee Sisters series for Kensington Books. Jennifer has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people and loves writing about the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth and the Honeybee sisters’ aendi Bitsy. Jennifer has a degree in mathematics and a passion for Jane Austen and Shakespeare. She and her husband have been married for thirty-two years, and she has four daughters, two sons, and soon-to-be six adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten.


Anna Helmuth is starting a knitting club, but that’s not all she’s got up her sleeve.

My family. I have five sisters and no brothers. I think my mom made every dress in this photo, including her own.

In Return to Huckleberry Hill, Anna Helmuth and Fern King decide to start a knitting club in order to introduce Anna’s grandson Reuben to some girls from Bonduel, Wisconsin. Anna is a very good knitter, with years of practice making baby blankets, scarves, mittens, and potholders. One of Anna’s scarves actually saved someone’s life, and her potholders have helped her make many a match.

When I was a young teenager, I learned how to knit and crochet. My mom taught me how to sew and quilt, and I made several of my own dresses in high school. I never learned to love sewing, but it was an invaluable skill that I am so grateful to have. Now that I’m a little older, I love putting together simple quilts for baby gifts and making quilts for the local children’s hospital. There is nothing like a homemade gift to say, “I care about you.”

I have a friend who is a wonderful cook. Making a delicious, beautiful meal is how she tells her family she loves them. I don’t consider myself a great cook, but I still take pride in putting something nutritious and satisfying on the table for my family.

It seems to me that some of the “home arts” that our mothers and grandmothers practiced are dying out. Who knows how to tat anymore? Or embroider? Some of these arts have died because of expediency. Who doesn’t think today’s stocking choices are more comfortable and practical than knitted wool ones? Others have died out because so few people want to learn.

What about you? Do you still practice any of the home arts that your grandmother did? What do you want to pass on to the next generation?


May 23: cherylbbookblog

May 23: Lighthouse Academy

May 24: Reading Is My SuperPower

May 24: A Greater Yes

May 25: Just Commonly

May 25: God’s Little Bookworm

May 26: Have A Wonderful Day

May 26: Edits and Reviews by Leslie McKee

May 26: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner

May 27: Faithful Acres Body Soul Spirit

May 27: A Bakers Perspective

May 28: Christian Bookaholic

May 28: The Power of Words

May 29: Karen Sue Hadley

May 29: Daysong Reflections

May 29: Inklings and notions

May 30: Quiet Quilter

May 30: my site/autism mom

May 30: Donna’s Bookshelf

May 31: Bibliophile Reviews

May 31: Bigreadersite

June 1: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

June 1: Southern Gal Loves to Read

June 2: Pause for Tales

June 2: Blossoms and Blessings

June 2: Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses

June 3: Moments Dipped in Ink

June 3: Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting

June 4: A Room without Books is Empty


June 4: Eat, Read, Teach, Blog

June 5: His Grace Is Sufficient

June 5: Jeanette’s Thoughts

June 5: A Simple Life, really?!


To celebrate her tour, Jennifer is giving away a $15 Amazon gift card to three lucky winners!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!




A Ruby Glows by Katy Trumbo


I am a bit tardy in submitting my review due to a lightning strike that took out my home phone line and my internet connection along with it. I was told it could be nearly a week before it would be repaired but surprisingly the internet suddenly began to work again. So here I am, taking advantage of a small miracle and my post is only twelve hours or so late rather than several days.

Kari Trumbo is a new-to-me author but I tend to enjoy most western novels so I agreed to review “A Ruby Glows”. Apparently this book is one of a series but I had no problem jumping right into the story. For the most part the story flowed fairly well. Aspects that seemed to annoy some other reviewers didn’t detract from my enjoyment. I felt that the plot was unique and I liked the two primary characters enough to want to know how their story would end. The unobtrusive addition of a strong message of faith was also a plus.

I appreciated that the romance did not overwhelm the plot but developed slowly and naturally between Ruby and Beau. Beau’s determination that he was not the marrying kind kept him oblivious to his attraction to Ruby even though it was pretty obvious to everyone else. Ruby was pretty hard on herself because of her past so that added some difficulties to the relationship also. As expected everything works out toward the end but as is often the case, it seemed to be tied up in a neat little package much too quickly. Nevertheless, “A Ruby Glows” was a satisfying read and I am definitely interested in reading more of this author’s books when I can find the time.

I voluntarily reviewed a  digital copy of this book provided by Celebrate Lit. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.


Click to purchase

Ruby’s heart froze as she threw her dead husband over the cliff. When Beau walks into her life, one glance has her running from her past. He couldn’t want someone like her. It should be easy to avoid his quiet charm.If he can convince her she’s a prize, not prey, he might have a chance. Beau’s captivated when Ruby scrambles from him whenever he gets too close. Her sweetness is an allure he can’t fight. Can Beau convince Ruby she is beloved?

Click here to purchase your copy.


Kari Trumbo is an inspirational romance author, blogger and proud home schooling mother to four great kids. She interacts often on reader groups on Facebook and volunteers at the local library when needed. When she isn’t writing, she is obsessively reading and expanding her skills as a wordsmith. Kari lives in her great-grandfather’s remodeled 1890-built home in central Minnesota with her husband, children, cats, and one hungry wood stove.


Greetings! I hope this isn’t your first introduction to Cutter’s Creek, but if it is, let me explain a bit about it. Cutter’s Creek is a series written by myself and three other Christian authors. Though there are numbers on each book, you don’t have to read them in order to get into the series, in fact, since each author writes in their own time period it might be somewhat confusing. Especially if you like a consecutive story. However, they are all stand-alone books and can be read in any order. If you like to read them in date order, you’ll want to read Kit Morgan’s books first, then Vivi Holt, Annie Boone, and finally mine, that will put them roughly in time order.

The Cutter’s Creek series has been a huge blessing to me. I’ve gotten to write with some wonderful authors and learned so much about writing a series together. So, out of my Cutter’s Creek books, why did I choose Ruby over Lily, Ivy, or Carol…well, I hate to play favorites, but Ruby is my favorite. She’s quiet, and her strength is surprising. She has a big trial, and some hurt to work through, but when you find the right person to help you through it, that’s a gift more precious than anything.

I hope you love Ruby as much as I do. Blessings, Kari


May 18: Blogging With Carol

May 19: Back Porch Reads

May 20: Reading Is My SuperPower

May 21: Just the Write Escape

May 22: A Reader’s Brain

May 23: A Bakers Perspective

May 24: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner

May 25: Moments Dipped in Ink

May 26: Connie’s History Classroom

May 26: A Greater Yes

May 27: Carpe Diem

May 27: Karen Sue Hadley

May 28: Daysong Reflections

May 29: Bibliophile Reviews

May 29: Bigreadersite

May 30: Captive Dreams Window

May 31: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

May 31: Mary Hake


To celebrate her tour, Kari is giving away signed print copies of A Lily Blooms, A Penny Shines, and A Ruby Glows!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!


Home by Ginny L. Yttrup


“Home” is one of those books that encourages the reader to dig a little deeper into her own heart, to examine herself, and perhaps to receive some healing for long buried grief and pain. It is not a particularly easy to read book. The primary character Melanie has buried years of grief so deeply that it has driven a wedge between her and her husband. Financial difficulties and the potential loss of their home bring best-selling novelist Melanie to the breaking point and she runs to a friend’s cottage to attempt to reach the deadline on her latest book. What she finds is peace, healing, and an entirely different book than her usual style.

I liked the fact that this book was written from the point-of-view of both Melanie and her husband Craig. Their personal and spiritual journeys helped me as the reader to understand their relationship struggles which made my reading experience so much richer. I also liked that the author took Melanie and Craig through some unexpected territory that did not turn out at all as I speculated.

“Home” is a beautifully written and thoughtful novel that held my attention throughout.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book that was provided by Amazon Vine. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.


Novelist Melanie Vander runs away—from conflict, from pain, from reality. When Melanie finds herself faced with a looming deadline, she decides it’s time for an escape to a novel-worthy locale. Maybe a bit of distance will inspire her husband to appreciate her again, too, she reasons. Melanie’s husband, Craig, is facing his own problems, including a recession that’s all but shut down his construction business, the threat of home foreclosure, and a wife who’s checked out emotionally. Craig feels as though he’s carrying his burdens alone. As Melanie runs away from her problems by escaping into her own fictional world, Craig dives into his struggles, seeking God for strength and healing for his marriage. Ultimately, Melanie must choose whether she’ll check out completely, or allow her characters to lead her home.


Ginny is the award-winning author of Words, Lost and Found, Invisible, Flames, and her most recent novel, Home, which releases April 1, 2017. She writes contemporary women’s fiction and enjoys exploring the issues everyday women face. Publishers Weekly dubbed Ginny’s work “as inspiring as it is entertaining.” When not writing, Ginny coaches writers, critiques manuscripts, and makes vintage-style jewelry for her Esty shop, Storied Jewelry. She loves dining with friends, hanging out with her adult sons, or spending a day in her pajamas reading a great novel. Ginny lives in northern California with Bear, her entitled Pomeranian. To learn more about Ginny and her work, visit





The Sweet Smell of Magnolias and Memories by Celeste Fletcher McHale


“The Sweet Smell of Magnolias and Memories” is the first book I have read by Celeste Fletcher McHale. If it is a true sample of her other books, it will definitely not be the last one.

A contemporary love story, the novel is populated with well-defined and likeable characters, the kind of people for whom you want all the best. Situations throughout the story are true-to-life and easy to identify with. I particularly like the way Jacey and Colin’s relationship developed and how Jacey was emotionally healed as she found faith in Christ.

“The Sweet Smell of Magnolias and Memories” is the story of two people who met and fell in love quickly during a tremendously traumatic emergency then lost touch for over a year. Meeting unexpectedly once again, both Jacey and Colin must get to know each other under “normal” conditions and Jacey is convinced she was mistaken in her feelings for Colin. This story is filled with drama, humor, romance, and numerous twists that kept me happily reading. I look forward to reading more by this author.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book that was provided by Amazon Vine. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.


“There’s no time,” Colin said. “You have to go. Find me, call me . . .”

Jacey and Colin shared the three most intense days of their lives together, waiting for help as Mississippi floodwaters surrounded them. Jacey knew Colin was the love of her life—until her rescue boat went under water, along with Colin’s last name and pieces of Jacey’s memory.

The last thing she remembered was being submerged in water. Again.

As Jacey walks down the aisle as the maid of honor in her friend’s wedding a year later, the last person she expects to see is Colin. The biggest surprise, though, is that the man of her dreams is not wearing jeans and flip-flops as he did when he held her through those long nights of the flood. He’s the preacher.

As Jacey’s memories come flooding back, it’s almost more than she can take. The fate of the young family trapped with them haunts her. The unwavering honesty—and support—of her best friend Georgia forces her to take a fresh look at herself. She’s spent her life afraid of love. But this flood is opening Jacey’s heart in the most unexpected ways.


Celeste Fletcher McHale lives on her family farm in Central Louisiana where she enjoys raising a variety of animals. Her hobbies include writing, football, baseball, and spending much time with her grandchildren.


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Twitter: @FletcherMcHale