Thursday, June 4, 2015

Great Summer Reads From: Susan M. Baganz, Nancy Shew Bolton, Rachel A. James, Georgina Sellwood

Having just completed our first summer road trip for 2015, here are a few of the friends I took to keep me company. Take a minute to find the books on Amazon and order them - You'll love them, too. 

Pesto and Pot Holes by Susan M. Baganz

Renata is running from an unspeakable past full of grief and misfortune. She’s ready to start a new life in Milwaukee rooming with her dearest friend, Stephanie. Renata longs to forget her former life and the wrongs against her and searches for a solitary existence away from the attachments of a relationship.
When she attends a church gathering, she meets Antonio, owner and head chef of DeLuca’s Cucina. They’re attracted to each other, but he has been betrayed by his former fiancée and he, too, backs away from love.

But there’s that spark between them, and he becomes her hero. They learn through their love of God and faith in each other that maybe things might work out for them. Then they’re faced with a near tragedy and its aftermath and they struggle to find out if they’re strong enough to withstand it.

Great story and outstanding writing by Ms. Baganz.  The characters are real and believable and the story reveals the injustices of abuse and the life some victims are forced to live. This is an excellent work with a meaningful message. 

Hidden Storms by Nancy Shew Bolton

Lilli Clarke, sixteen years old, and marked with an apparent skin abnormality that causes her family and even church members to shun her, lies gravely ill with dust pneumonia. The dust bowl and depression has Kansas in its grip and the only ones who love her, Gram and her adopted cousin, Bert, must send her away.

It seems that everywhere Lilli goes she brings bad luck with her just like the pastor and her father told her she would. The relatives she travels to live with in Florida think she’s brought them problems in their sponge business and send her to New York to work in a clothing shop. Through unfortunate circumstances, Lilli never gets there and she finds herself cold, alone, and starving on the street.

Stumbling into a church she discovers she has hope, love, and forgiveness and her joyous heart lets her discover her own self-worth, and she begins to wonder if Bert’s constant encouragement could mean more than she thought.

This story told almost entirely in Lilli’s narrative is well done and touches on a dark economic period for our nation and certainly the mid-west. There’s always a ray of hope for the courageous Lilli as she triumphs over those whose wrong and hurtful words shake her self-esteem. This is the second story I’ve read by Nancy Shew Bolton and I highly recommend it.

The Last Princess of Meigen by Rachel A. James

Princess Alena, the widow of the prince who was once heir to the thrown of Meigen, must leave her young son and to journey to an arranged marriage in another land. Two of the knights of Angularem have come to escort her to King Niall, her betrothed.

Her cruel father-in-law, Conall, who sent her into the marital contract, holds her young son captive. To distance her mind from her own tragedy, Alena finds herself enchanted by the use of herbs and potions of Sherwin one of her escorts and even more so, captivated by the man himself.

Sherwin discovers his feelings for her as well, but she belongs to his King and he must not betray him. While Niall himself struggles with the situation of marrying someone he doesn’t love, his kingdom comes under siege. Sherwin and Alena are forced to fight for what they believe is right.

Ms. James paints a beautiful story with her words transporting the reader back to 626 AD. The language used and the information she has undoubtedly researched makes the story real and believable. This is the second book I’ve read by Ms. James and hopefully there will be more to follow.

Amanda Running Scared by Georgina Sellwood

Amanda Vanderbilt is all that her name suggests, money and power, yet she has an empty heart. After the murder of her husband, she and her daughter live in her parents’ cold and unloving grip. Bruce Palmer is a loner and has no time for women and their cunning ways. He’s going to Washington to pick up a load of horses for his boss. She’s off to a party

After Amanda is attacked at the party and threatened with the words, “I know where you live,” she hides out in the first spot she can find—the sleeper of Bruce’s horse trailer. 

The couple travel cross country and his plan is to leave her at the first safe place when an unknown assailant begins to follow them in a semi and rams Bruce’s rig threatening to push them off the road. Bruce takes her to his grandmother’s farm in Canada. The couple begins to secretly realize what they mean to each other, but they may fall prey to the crazed truck driver and never tell the other one about their growing affection.

Ms. Sellwood has given us a well-written suspense novel which will leave the reader hanging on the edge of their seat. I found it hard to put down and the suspense/tension as well as the characterizations made the novel one I’d read again—more than once. 

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