Showing posts with label small town. Show all posts
Showing posts with label small town. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Contemporary Book Review: The Book of Secrets by Mollie Rushmeyer

What's the Story:

A collection of lost books holds the clues to her family's legacy…and her future.

Hope Sparrow has mastered the art of outrunning her tragic past, learning never to stay anywhere too long and never to allow anyone control over her life again. Coming to Wanishin Falls in search of her family's history already feels too risky. But somewhere in the towering stacks of this dusty old bookshop are the books that hold Hope's last ties to her late mother—and to a rumored family treasure that could help her start over.


Only, the bookshop is in shambles, and the elderly owner is in the beginning stages of dementia and can’t remember where the books lie. To find the last links to the loved ones she's lost, Hope must stay and accept help from the townsfolk to locate the treasured volumes. Each secret she uncovers brings her closer to understanding where she came from. But the longer she stays in the quaint town, the more people find their way into the cracks in her heart. And letting them in may be the greatest risk of all…

My Thoughts:

Hope’s story took my breath away. Set in a small town, we often think of the charm, the shops, the quirky characters, but something seldom revealed is the underside this author captured; the one where grudges are held and gossip is shared. Ronan’s family has caught the brunt of the rumors for years and paid the price. When Hope comes to town to search for the treasured books her mother left her, with plans to leave as quickly as she came, she discovers something she’s been missing for years, the possibility, if somewhat shaky, to put down roots. With Ronan’s lack of self-confidence and Hope’s fragile emotions, the two search with the help of friends for a treasure which may not exist and discover... well, you’ll need to read the book. The characters Rushmeyer created will stick with me for a long time. If you love stories with literary references, faith and hope, incredibly deep characters, and the prospect of love, you’ll want to read The Bookshop of Secrets. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Christmas Book Review: O Little Town by Deborah Raney, Janyre Tromp, and Amanda Wen



What it’s About:
Stories of small-town Christmas and the enduring love of God from three critically acclaimed authors

In the sleepy small town of Mapleview, Michigan, Christmas is always something special. In this charming collection of romance novellas, join three generations of Mapleview residents longing for love--and finding it--on the most wonderful night of the year.

"Hopes and Fears" by Amanda Wen

Emma Trowbridge is determined to give her students the Christmas pageant of a lifetime. The last person she expected, or wanted, to encounter in her two-room classroom is her childhood rival, Frederick Oberstein. He would rather be far away himself. He wants no part of cheer, Christmas or otherwise. Can they learn to see each other in a new light--and embrace a new season of hope and faith together?

"While Mortals Sleep" by Janyre Tromp

While World War II rages overseas, news reporter Eleanor Sweers returns home to Mapleview to face the repercussions of the death of her sister and her nightmare of Christmases past. But the homefront isn't as far from the war as she thought: a bomb has landed in the middle of the U.S. Now Eleanor and family friend Gideon Braum may have to choose between the scoop of a lifetime and the love of a lifetime.

"The Wondrous Gift" by Deborah Raney

High school football coach Caleb Janssen and music teacher Rachel Hamblin bond when they both lose their jobs at a Christian school. But when they discover their plans for the future are mutually exclusive, the fallout threatens to tear them apart.

My Thoughts:
I enjoyed reading this collection of holiday themed stories. Set in the town of Mapleview, Michigan, three authors create stories from different generations of towns folk. Amanda Wen’s story, set in the early days of the town’s settlement, is a sweet tale of love and forgiveness. Janyre Tromp’s story, set during WW 2 involves intrigue and the most lovable male character, Gideon. Deborah Raney captures modern day Mapleview in her romance of two teachers. I like that the schoolhouse from Wen’s story appears in Raney’s. Each story is unique and thoroughly enjoyable. From historical fiction, to mystery, to contemporary these authors have delivered three engaging and wonderful stories. Add this to your Christmas to be read pile. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Contemporary Romance Review: What Remains True by Nancy Naigle

Book Description:
Working at a little shop on Main Street in a small town is exactly the break that executive Merry Anna Foster needs following her divorce. She’s made a bet with her ex-husband that she can live on the amount of money she’s giving him in alimony. If she can do it, then Kevin will have to stop complaining and leave her alone. But after three months of this new life, will she even want to leave Antler Creek? 

Adam Lockwood, bull rider and owner of the local feedstore, is having the best year of his rodeo career. He’s also a bit distracted by the pretty new neighbor living in his old bunkhouse. But Adam has no time for matters of the heart. He’s got his future all mapped out, and that future doesn’t involve a woman just yet. It doesn’t involve parenting a little girl either. However, Carly Fowler still suddenly leaves five-year-old Zan—the daughter Adam didn’t know he had—in his care. 

Is it possible that the future holds a life even better than what Merry Anna and Adam had each dreamed of? One that includes both tenderness and even love—not just for each other but for Zan too.

My Thoughts:
A story of second chances, folks who take care of each other, and small-town charm are at the heart of What Remains True. Merry Anna (I love her name) sets out to figure out her life after she steps away from the family business and the man who broke her heart. She lands in a charming town with people who want the best for her. Adam is dead set on making his mark on the rodeo circuit, but when he finds out he may have a daughter, his life is turned upside down. I love that Merry Anna's determination to try new things gives her courage as she learns to stand up for herself, and the way Zan wraps Adam around her heart. If you enjoy a sweet romance set in a small town, this one is for you. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Fiction Review: You Belong with Me (Restoring Heritage) by Tari Faris


Book Description:
Realtor Hannah Thornton has many talents. Unfortunately, selling houses in the town where her family name is practically poison isn't one of them. When a business tycoon determines to raze historic homes in the small town of Heritage, Michigan, and replace them with a strip mall, Hannah resolves to stop him. She sets about helping Heritage win a restoration grant that will put the town back on the map--and hopefully finally repay the financial debt Hannah's mother caused the town. But at first no one supports her efforts--not even her best friend, Luke.

Luke Johnson may have grown up in Heritage, but as a foster kid he never truly felt as if he belonged. Now he has a chance to score a job as assistant fire chief and earn his place in the town. But when the interview process and Hannah's restoration project start unearthing things from his past, Luke must decide if belonging is worth the pain of being honest about who he is--and who he was.

My Review:
Tari Feris's debut is a winner. I enjoyed reading this sweet story filled with honesty and doubt. Tari created flawed characters who live in a town that's losing hope. I love the quirkiness of the town folk, especially Hannah. She's a mess, but she has a big heart. And Luke is that guy you'd fall for...just because. I look forward to more from Feris, especially in the Restoring Heritage series. If you love small town stories, you'll love You Belong with Me. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Best Doughnut Ever!

I felt like I'd landed in a Norman Rockwell painting with a hint of Mayberry. On our way home from Port Clinton over Labor Day weekend, we stumbled upon a quaint village. Most of the stores were closed due to the holiday, but the bakery's open sign hung on the door. 

Ideal Bakery sat on the corner across from the locally owned Kirwen's Super Market. As soon as Tim and I entered the bakery, the smell of fresh baked goods filled my nose. The lovely lady at the counter told us to take a seat and she'd be right with us. With coffees in hand, we pulled up to a table. Our waitress recommended the longjohn with chocolate filling and chocolate icing. Oh my goodness! Best. Doughnut. Ever. I'm not kidding. It was fresh and wonderful and very fattening. But, it was vacation-so calories didn't count. We found out the bakery was open due to a tractor and implement show they held every year in Gibsonburg on Labor Day. And the bakery was the result of three generations dedicating their lives to baking.

After our indulgence, our waitress who had filled us in on much of the goings on in Gibsonburg recommended we visit the local park. A rod from the 9/11 World Trade Center was set up for a memorial to be held a few days later. The town had been selected from several others for this honor.

Not only did the park hold a piece of history, several artists had installed a variety of work. As we walked the path that encircled a small pond, we discovered so many lovely sculptures and expressions of beauty. And all in the middle of a lovely small town.

I grew up in a small town and have an appreciation for the ones that still thrive. Someday I'd like to return to Gibsonburg and maybe stop in the grocery. I sense a chocolate longjohn is in my future. 

Photos of some of the fabulous art. Enjoy!









Sunday, July 6, 2014

Is there a Small Town You Love?

I grew up near a small town and to this day, I'd say that's a good thing. 

We lived in the country and traveled to town for groceries at Woody's, named after the owner. Hardwood floors held metal shelves filled with items like the latest Jell-O-Dream Whip treat. My brother worked there and the butcher knew the cut of meat my mom wanted before I asked. 

My sister worked at O'Dell's drug store. Sometimes after school, I'd walk to the store to wait on her. He had the best comic book display in town. Down the street, stood the local library. Another place I spent many hours. One librarian kept the place running. Many a treasured stories went home with me, where I spent hours on the front porch with the characters, who rode horses, solved mysteries and lived in fascinating places.

As I write my own stories, I try to weave in some of the small town charm I remember. America still touts many villages and communities that offer folks a quaint, friendly experience. Check back to read about some our countries wonderful small towns and the delights of living there.

Is there a small town you love?  

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Turtle Creek ~ Where I Live in My Imagination

In the series I'm currently writing, I've created the community of Turtle Creek, Ohio. I used elements from three towns close to the area where the imaginary Turtle Creek is located. Over the winter one of the small towns upgraded their downtown and created a lovely small town environment. Here are a few pictures of the beautification:

The majestic court house.

Black fencing with new trees.

I love the brick walkways-they sparkle.

Islands of foliage and flowers.
A hometown feel.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Born and Raised in a Small Town


As John Cougar Melloncamp sang, I was raised in a small town. People valued Main Street, with Woody’s grocery, Odell’s drugstore, the library, bank, you get the idea. We even had a men’s clothing store and a fabric shop. Mom knew if I walked downtown after school for a scout meeting, my friends and I were safe.

My work in progress is set in the fictional small town of Turtle Creek, Ohio.  The town’s growing in size and acquiring a taste for arts and crafts, college kids and coffee.  I’ve enjoyed researching and visiting small towns as I pieced Turtle Creek together.

One of the villages I considered is on my route to and from work. The street corners host huge planters of pink petunias accented by purple and green. The sidewalks have a terra cotta brick trim. The drug store window invites the shopper in with an eclectic array of gift items. They even have a donut shop, florist and antique store, that make you want to stop and visit. Yet, the sites I enjoy most are not stores or eateries, but murals. This little town boasts a painting that invites the passerby for donuts or pizza. The other rings out the history of the town. If you’re familiar with Williamsburg, Ohio, you know what I’m talking about. A small town treasure.


Do you have a favorite small town? If so, where?