Sunday, October 21, 2018

Summer Plans and Other Disasters by Karin Beery

A complimentary review copy was provided to me.

Fall has definitely struck. The days are crisp and blustery, the nights are cold. All the more reason to curl up with a blanket and a good book. This week I had the opportunity to read of another season...Summer Plans and other disasters by Karin Beery. This is the debut book by Karin Beery (and thus the first one that I have read).

Told from multiple points of view, the book focuses on Callie's summer in Michigan at the light house. She is a teacher off for the summer who heads home to work and live with her brother and hopes to rekindle an old romance (in an attempt to answer some what-if questions that she has encountered). I love that Callie is a planner but as you know (or might have guessed from the title), plans don’t always work out the way we want. Sometimes things turn out better than your plans would have, but other times they don’t. Between the challenges of her plans, the need for her to manage outside of a plan and her perpetual klutziness (and perhaps a bit of ditziness), the book provides a lighthearted story that also provides for some great lessons for the characters.

The author brought the characters to life through their own thoughts and the eyes of the other characters as she shifted telling the story from each of their views. I enjoyed getting to know Callie, a talented musician and teacher; Jack, her protective and loving brother; Ryan, her brother's best friend; and Stacey, a friend of Jack's that Callie becomes friends with. Through the course of the story, there were challenges, inner turmoil and reflection, long-standing and newly developing friendships, family, faith and humor. I wish I could have been on the beach reading this, but snuggled on my couch under a blanket, the author was able to transport me to the summer scene of the shore of Michigan. This was an enjoyable and fun book to read. I look to future books by this author, especially a sequel (please), so I can be part of the next chapter of this group's lives.

About the book

Elementary school music teacher Callie Stevens thinks she’s finally figured out God’s plan for her life—she even made a list to keep her on track.

Moving in with her brother and reconnecting with her ex-boyfriend are at the top of the list. What’s not on the list is running into her childhood crush, Ryan. God wanted her to connect with Kyle, right?

Trying to figure out God’s plan is hard enough. But a dating-averse older brother, the young blonde who adores him, a pregnant best friend, and Callie’s continual mishaps make her wonder whether her best laid plans were truly God-inspired.

Now available from Elk Lake Publishing!

About the author

Karin wrote her first novel in 2007 to cope with her husband’s cancer diagnosis (no worries – he’s cancer free now!). With the support and encouragement of her family, she submitted that manuscript. That particular manuscript has not been published yet, but Summer Plans and Other Disasters, her first published book, releases in September 2018.

Karin writes contemporary and speculative fiction stories with a healthy dose of romance, but she’s also expanded her repertoire: she writes feature stories for the local paper, copy material for businesses, and blog posts for herself and others. She even edits (offering copy editing, fiction editing, and critiques through Write Now Editing Services) and teaches (she’s the Substantive Fiction Editing instructor for the PEN Institute and can be found around the country teaching writing and editing courses at conferences and at her local college).

When Karin’s not reading, writing, or editing, she enjoys cooking and baking. She plays the piano and sings (the key of E, please). She kayaks with her husband in the summer, watches football in the fall (Go Blue!), and enjoys Christmas lights all winter long. Shy but extroverted, Karin adores her nieces and nephew and loves spending time with her family. Learn more about Karin at:

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No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. A complimentary review copy was provided to me.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Fit to Be Tied by Debby Mayne

A complimentary review copy was provided to me.
Fall is upon us. It has meant busy weekends and evenings, filled with back to school and fall sports. When I wasn't at one of the schools or the field for a game, I found some time to catch back up with the Bucklin family in the second installment of the Bucklin Family Reunion Series, Fit to Be Tied by Debby Mayne.

Fit to be Tied was a well-written enjoyable story told from the viewpoint of five of the family members, some by birth, others by marriage. I really enjoy this style of writing and how the use of multiple viewpoints can engage the reader and provide additional insight into the family and their tales. The characters were relatable and enjoyable to get to know and the story was filled with a real perspective and a good balance of humor. The multiple points of view led to short chapters, which made it easy to ready in short or long installments.

It seems that everyone outside the family is yearning to go and experience a Bucklin Family reunion, which unlike your typical family reunion, occurs on a multiple times a year basis. What balances that nicely is that it seems sometimes that there is a reluctance of the family to attend the reunion...but not wanting to miss out or be the topic of conversations, brings them all together. They certainly do family reunions on a grand scale, this one was multiple days and included lots of food and even a trip to the hospital.

You can jump right into this second book in the series with no problem, as the author does a great job introducing the characters and building on their stories. But having read the first one, I really enjoyed hearing the continuing stories of the characters I met in the first book, while getting to know more members of the family.

I look forward to the next reunion story in this series to see what new adventures await this family.

Fit to Be Tied
by Debby Mayne
Bucklin Family Reunion series: Book 2

The Bucklin family loves each other too much to stay away. . . but not enough to behave

Being rich is fine, but when wealth comes from striking oil, it's a slippery mess for a family who doesn't know what to do with it. The Bucklin cousins are all together again, and this family reunion is shaping up to be another disaster.

Coralee falls for the police officer who pulls her over. Sally has finally found a guy, but now she's not sure a relationship is even worth the bother. No matter how hard Brett tries to avoid trouble, he somehow stumbles right back into the thick of it. And Marybeth and Bucky continue to fumble and bumble as they learn how to handle being rich.

The Bucklin family is known for drama—and Bucklin family drama knows no bounds.

Meet the Author
Debby Mayne writes family and faith-based romances, cozy mysteries, and women's fiction and is the author of more than 60 novels and novellas-plus more than 1,000 short stories, articles, and devotions for busy women. Debby is currently an etiquette writer for The Spruce.

Debby grew up in a military family, which meant moving every few years throughout her childhood. She was born in Alaska, and she has lived in Mississippi, Tennessee, Oregon, Florida, South Carolina, Hawaii, and Japan. Her parents were both from the Deep South, so Debby enjoys featuring characters with Southern drawls, plenty of down-home cooking, and folks with quirky mannerisms. High Cotton is the first book in the Bucklin Family Reunion series.

Learn more about Debby and her works on her site.

You can purchase a copy here.

No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. A complimentary review copy was provided to me.