Publisher: Shadelandhouse Modern Press
Published: June 25, 2019
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
A STORY OF HOPE AND THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS
Grayson Armstrong’s vision for a dying church has everyone in small-town Mercy, Kentucky, talking. The truth is everyone has been talking about Grayson ever since this dark-haired twenty-eight-year-old preacher with shoulder-length hair and an ill-fitting suit drove into town twelve years before in his silver convertible with his pretty wife and two rambunctious boys. It’s his untimely death, though, that has everyone trying to understand who they thought he was.
This vivid, poignant, and heartbreaking story is told by multiple characters whose paths intersect with Grayson: a homeless Vietnam veteran haunted by demons of war; the local diner’s young waitress grappling with her family’s dark history; aggrieved and supportive congregants and townspeople confronting change and the power of love and hate; and Grayson’s wife and his coming-of-age gay son, struggling to understand their own feelings about Grayson.
During a time when communities and countries are split apart, Robinson’s calming prose and timely story encourage us to put aside our fears, hate, and biases and to open our hearts and challenge our perceptions. Blessed is ultimately a story of hope and of the power of forgiveness.
A deeply moving novel that makes you look into your soul and analyze your beliefs. You will be forced to think about how you treat others, not just those close around you but everyone you come in contact within your life. You will be forced to ask yourself, “Are you following God’s word?” and “Would God be proud of you?”
I expect this book will be with me for a long time and will jump into my thoughts when I least expect it. The question you need to ask yourself is, “What do you think being BLESSED means?”
I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher, Shadelandhouse Modern Press. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.
Published: May 7, 2019
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
NetGalley: The hardscrabble folks of Troublesome Creek have to scrap for everything—everything except books, that is. Thanks to Roosevelt’s Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, Troublesome’s got its very own traveling librarian, Cussy Mary Carter.
Cussy’s not only a book woman, however, she’s also the last of her kind, her skin a shade of blue unlike most anyone else. Not everyone is keen on Cussy’s family or the Library Project, and a Blue is often blamed for any whiff of trouble. If Cussy wants to bring the joy of books to the hill folks, she’s going to have to confront prejudice as old as the Appalachias and suspicion as deep as the holler.
Inspired by the true blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service of the 1930s, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a story of raw courage, fierce strength, and one woman’s belief that books can carry us anywhere — even back home.
My Review: Wow, what a learning experience while reading Cussy’s story. When a book teaches me something I enjoy it even more. I knew about Pack Horse Librarians but never thought about the dangers they faced daily or the extreme weather conditions they traveled through to reach their customers. Dedication at its best.
Cussy will find a way into your heart. It’s hard to imagine what she and other “blue” people experienced. Discrimination on all points is wrong no matter who you are.
There are a few semi-violent scenes but they add feeling to the story and show what was happening at the time. Faith is strong throughout the story. A book I would share with my older, mature teenagers. The perfect book for book clubs.
I received a complimentary copy from Sourcebooks through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.
Pages: 334 (Paperback)
Publisher: Avon Inspire
Published: October 23, 2018
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Grace has made her niche in life by pet sitting for Englishers who go out of town. This year for Christmas while she is pet sitting a very cantankerous dachshund her family has to go to her grandparents to take care of them. When the dachshund gets into a little trouble Grace runs into John Michael Miller, her sister’s ex-boyfriend and the boy she had a crush on when she was younger.
John Michael regrets hurting Grace’s sister several years ago but he had a good reason, he was falling for Grace. John Michael is now a firefighter and this season has been busy with arson fires being set to cover local burglaries.
Can Grace forgive John Michael for hurting her sister and let their feelings grow? Can John Michael keep Grace safe even when he is not around?
Let me start with the end, the last forty pages had me in tears. Why? The beauty of the story coming together and the action happening. See if you don’t have a glimmer of tears in your eyes as you read.
Shelley Shepard Gray has a way to make the love come through in a beautiful, clean way. I would feel very comfortable giving any of her Amish books to any young teenage girl to read.
I loved that Gray included helpful fire safety tips especially during the Christmas season in the story. A few things I learned and have started looking around to make sure my parents and family are as safe as I can make them.
Gray’s Amish of Hart County is a six book series that can be read any in order and each as a stand alone book. Once you take a visit you will want to keep visiting.
I received a complimentary copy from the author and any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.
Pages: 288 (eBook)
Publisher: Avon Inspire
Published: July 24, 2018
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
I could not put this book down which was perfect for a rainy, lazy Sunday. Shelley Shepard Gray has done it again. A five star read in her The Amish of Hart County series.
Sadie finds herself in Kentucky with relatives she has never met. On top of that she is pregnant. When her aunt falls ill and the EMTs are called she meets Noah, an Amish EMT. Sparks fly instantly but he doesn’t know she is pregnant and she doesn’t know he thinks something sinister is going on at the home. Will Sadie and Noah be able to overcome all the odds against them to pursue a relationship?
Sadie’s strength and strong, unwavering belief in God is amazing. If I ever found myself in a similar situation I hope I can have comfort that God has me. I hope I can be as forgiving as Noah if the time ever presented itself.
This series is a favorite of mine as it is set in my home state so a lot of places mentioned I either know of them or have been there. Shelley does a great job in making sure each book is connected but at the same time letting them read as a stand alone novel.
I received an advanced complimentary copy from the author and the publisher, Avon Inspire. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.
Pages: 265 (Paperback)
Publisher: P.S. a trademark of HarperCollins
Published: March 6, 2018
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Calvin Fisher is caught between a rock and hard place trying to redeem himself after a lifetime of bad decisions. He wants to get out of gang life but the only way to accomplish that is work for the DEA. Either way he still has to hide his life from his family and do things that goes against the faith he was raised. A phone call from home has him rushing to his brother, Mark’s, side.
Alice has lead the life of a good Amish girl after a wild rumspringa and enjoys her life as an Amish preschool teacher even if she feels smothered at times by her family. To have some freedom, she has agreed to housesit for her brother and sister-in-law who live across from Mark. Alice has developed an interest in Calvin as she watches him from afar.
Will Calvin be able to leave his city life behind while in Hart County or will the city life destroy what he has come to love in this quiet community?
This is the fourth book in the Amish of Hart County series but reads as a stand alone book. I was captivated from the first sentence until the last. Gray has written a beautiful work of art set in my home state of Kentucky. I felt myself traveling the roads with Calvin and Alice and seeing the beauty of the rolling hills filled with Kentucky bluegrass.
His Risk is filled with romance and suspense. You have the budding romance of Calvin and Alice and the married romance of Mark and Wanetta that have the reader cheering and crying. My heart is still pounding from a few scenes and I am not talking about “that”. I am talking about suspense that keeps you turning the pages well past your bedtime.
I was so impressed with His Risk that I have already bought the first three books in the series and will read on my Spring Break from teaching. If interested the books in the series are:
1. Her Secret
2. His Guilt
3. The Gift
4. His Risk
5. Her Fear – release 7/24/18
6. His Promise – release 10/23/18
I dare you to give any of Shelley Shepard Gray’s books a read and not find yourself gobbling up all of them as fast as you can.