Let’s Read!

One of the very best ways to travel is from your favorite chair. One of the very best ways to learn a new hobby or craft is from your favorite chair. One of the very best ways to learn new recipes is from the comfort of your table with a cup of coffee or tea in front of you…with your laptop, tablets, smartphone, or a real BOOK! Let's Read Together!

A Few Books to Consider...

Diane's bookshelf: read

Dead Stop
The Memory of Butterflies
Magnolia Nights
The Seed Woman
When You Come Home
Southern Gentleman
Somewhere a Rainbow
Call of the Mountain
The Edge of Tidal Pools
Dead Cold
Map of the Heart
In the Midst of Winter
Deadly Intent
Beneath the Trees
The Art of Hiding
The Space Between Words
The Memory of Butterflies
Chickadee Chickadee Bang Bang
Love Big, Be Well: Letters to a Small-Town Church

Diane's favorite books »

Ashley Farley Beyond the Garden Wonderful! Magnolia Nights 2

Release Date: April 10!
Beyond the Garden (Magnolia Series 2) by author Ashley Farley is a wonderful follow-up to the fabulous Magnolia Nights. The book opens with a scene of Lia in Key West. She is off her meds and happens upon a dead body...her estranged husband!
Then the story focuses on Ellie taking care of her sister Lia's twins. Lia has skipped out and has no contact with Ellie and Julian regarding the girls for over seven months. What kind of mother does that? Ellie has a secret reason to feel the daily exhaustion of a new family along with all the kitchen renovations to the old house. Even though Ellie has the resources to launch a legal petition for adoption, she still worries about the possibility of an unfit Lia taking the twins. Ellie also is worried about one of her art students, Ruby, who is in an abusive home. Julians's daughter Katie is avoiding the visits with her father, what could this mean? There seem to be so many layers of conflict to deal with all at once. Her heart is filled with love for children who need her, but Ellie is about to learn a hard lesson which will break your heart as you read! Ellie's kind heart and compassion for children in need could possibly cause a breaking point in her marriage with Julian.
The whole story is like a visit with friends and I enjoyed the book very much. Sweet and wise Maddie is so loveable. Abbott is a pillar of strength for them all. And Lia is a piece of work you may want to smack, but she has a sad life, too.
The story also deals with an adult who has an unstable mental illness, such as bipolar disorder. A mental disorder can be a cause of chaos for the whole family, not only the sufferer who many times will not take the prescribed medicines as directed.
Beyond the Garden is about love, hope, and family!
Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Below Images/Photographs by Diane Lochala - All Rights Reserved
"Spring Blooms"

Georgiana Daniels Shadows of Hope, A Story Of love and Forgiveness

Shadows of Hope by author Georgiana Daniels is a well written faith-based fiction. The story is about the choices people make and the consequences which are left for each person who is affected by those decisions. The author is successful in conveying a theme regarding the actions we take in this life can cause a ripple effect of love and joy or disappointment and misery for others. It does have a Christian belief in some of the characters asking God for guidance in daily life, but the author realistically shows even people of the Christian faith have differing thoughts or belief in Biblical teachings.
In this story, Marissa works each day to help the lives of high-risk mothers and babies with her longtime friend Tristen at a grant-funded clinic. Marissa is struggling with a problem of infertility after the miscarriage of her baby. Her relationship with her husband Colin has changed since the miscarriage and they are not as close. Colin has his own priorities as he is seeking for tenure at the university where he teaches and has a lab for his research. He is worried that his secret affair with a student may become public before a tenure decision is announced by the board. Kaitlyn is an adult student who fell in love with her professor and found herself pregnant even though she was taking precautions. She had no idea he was married.
All of these characters revolve around each other as the story unfolds. The support system between parents and adult children can sometimes go awry when personal beliefs are being imposed on others, regardless of the circumstances. The author allows the characters in this book to come to terms with hard choices and the changes they need to implement for a better life. It is a story about families and forgiveness.
Art Images and Photographs by Diane Lochala-All Rights Reserved
"Country Chapel"

Birds of Wonder Cynthia Robinson A Mysterious and Intriguing Book!

Mystery, Death, and Human Nature...

Birds of Wonder by author Cynthia Robinson is an intriguing and mysterious story about the interactions of people in a small community, especially after the death of a young teenage girl. Beatrice is walking her dog one morning and discovers the body of a teenage girl who was to play the leading part in her production of 'The Duchess of Malfi'. Beatrice is devastated. She immediately calls her daughter Jesca who is an investigator with the local law enforcement.
As I read the book, I found the relationship between Jes and her mother is disappointing. They both have had sadness in their lives and now Beatrice is older and a bit forgetful and Jes seems to blame her mother for secrets of the past which will be revealed as you read the book. It seems Jes is very unforgiving of anyone who disappoints her expectations. By the ending of the book, I understood why Jes is bitter, but could not like her. This may sound a bit odd, but read the book, her story unfolds a little at a time!
As the investigation into the death of Amber progresses, it seems the whole community has a secret and some motive to hide their recent actions. The characters are cleverly written, although they each have some bit of brokenness in their lives. They have faults, they are human, some are guilty of bad choices, and some are caught in suspicious circumstances.
I enjoyed the references to the different birds and the artful way the author wove information and action of the birds into the story. I would love to have seen the watercolors Jes' father had painted of the exotic birds. When Liam thinks of Jesca as a Kestrel, he is Right! The Kestrel is a very independent bird, stays mostly alone except for mating season, is very fast, and trusts no one. In fact, it is one of the hardest birds I have tried to photograph in the wild.  The cover graphics are beautiful!
Thank you to NetGalley and The Publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
Art Images and Photographs by Diane Lochala-All Rights Reserved

The InnKeeper's Daughter Michelle Griep Wonderful Faith-Based Regency Romantic Mystery!

The Innkeeper's Daughter by author Michelle Griep is set in Dover, England in 1808. The main character, Johanna Langley is working very hard to keep the rent paid on the Blue Hedge Inn. She worries about her hardworking mam and her ten-year-old brother, Thomas. The current boarder has neglected to pay his bill, and that means Johanna has no way to pay the current rent. The Oak Apple Soiree or Festival is coming in the next week, and she is asking God to help the Inn have paying customers.
Meanwhile, Alexander Moore is meeting secretly with the magistrate about an undercover mission. He is asked to pose as a gambler and a wine merchant in order to make a connection to Viscount Lord Coburn. This should lead Alex to find out who the traitor is within their military and has been in communication with the French. He will receive very limited support, and no help if there arises a problem and his assignment or true identity becomes known.
Little Thomas is a scamp full of life and schemes, until a horrific accident. This adds much worry and more work for poor Johanna. As you read more of the story you will be drawn into more secrets and unexpected twists among the characters.
I won't post spoilers, but The Innkeeper's Daughter is a very good story with likable characters. You will cheer for the characters who want to do good, be truthful, but have a certain objective to be met.
I really like the faith-based story! Thank you to NetGalley and The Publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
Art Images and Photographs by Diane Lochala-All Rights Reserved
"Regency Mysteries"

Kristy Woodson Harvey the Secret to Southern Charm AWESOME! I smiled, I cried, I loved this book!

"Reading this book was like a visit home!" dl

the Secret to Southern Charm (The Peachtree Bluff Series 2) by author Kristy Woodson Harvey is an awesome summer read for anyone who loves southern family fiction. I LOVED this story! This book is about real life. It is not always easy, and it is not always pleasant, but with enough tough love, sister hugs, and steady support, you can face the hard times. If you are familiar with the Peachtree Bluff Series, you can not miss this second book. It can be read as a stand-alone book and you will still understand what is happening and love the characters.
I won't post spoilers, but I have sisters, and a very loving mother and I adored my grandmothers. In this book, each of the sisters has a life-changing event to deal with and how better to face trouble than to go back home? Ansley has to shoulder enormous responsibilities and her own personal secrets she struggles to keep in the past. And Grammy, oh how I sobbed for Grammy and Ansley. OK, get this book, make some tea, and grab the tissues. I cried because I could relate to so much of the emotions and feelings in this very beautifully written story.
Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
Art Images and Photographs by Diane Lochala-All Rights Reserved

Lisa Scottoline After Anna Release in April...A Thriller!

After Anna by author Lisa Scottoline will have you on the edge trying to guess who killed Anna! This is a family drama with suspense and mystery. I do not want to post spoilers but the twists in this story are thrilling. The plot of the book is set in the courtroom as Dr. Noah Alderman is waiting for the verdict to be read which will determine if he goes free or goes to prison for the murder of his step-daughter, Anna. The format of the story goes in reverse as the events are remembered. If you are reading the book or Kindle format, this is great, but if you are listening with Audible or a TTS reader, it gets confusing.
Maggie is married to Dr. Noah Alderman and has a very happy family life with Noah and his son Caleb. Maggie had been married before when she was younger, but six months after her beautiful baby daughter was born, she had a breakdown with an extreme postpartum depression and psychosis. She lost physical custody of her daughter, Anna, when she was deemed unfit to care for the baby. Her former husband Florian took baby Anna and went to France. Now seventeen years later Maggie receives a call from Anna and she wants to meet her mom! Maggie is ecstatic with joy but also has misgivings about how Anna will react to the information that Maggie had been in a mental institution for the depression and psychosis after giving the baby to Florian years ago.
Now the book really gets interesting and the layers of mystery start to unfold about Anna, Maggie, and Noah. Hold on to your seat as you read because it gets a bit bumpy along the way!
No, I just cannot tell you more...but read for yourself and be surprised!
Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
Art Images and Photographs by Diane Lochala-All Rights Reserved

Bette Lee Crosby's The Summer Of New Beginnings is soon to be released, not to be missed!

The Summer of New Beginnings: A Magnolia Grove Novel by author Bette Lee Crosby is another wonderful story about the interwoven threads of a family. Bette Lee Crosby is a wonderful storyteller. Her books are believable, almost as if the characters in the story are living on your block. In The Summer Of New Beginnings, it starts with a summary of Lila and George Briggs. A wonderful couple who have the best of plans for a family and happy life. I will not post spoilers, but read the book, because you may find, when your day seems to be the darkest, a ray of light can shine forth. As the story progresses, we read about the two girls, Meghan and Tracy. They are ready to venture out as individuals with their own personalities and priorities. Then there are a series of events which happen within the family. Life is changed, the family dynamics are changed, and each one must go forward with the choices they have made. Life choices become very real when we have to consider the future of a child in our actions. The emotions of love, disappointment, heartache, fear, and redemption are all expressed in such a beautiful way in this book! Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and the Publisher for allowing me the opportunity to read and review this book.

Art Images and Photography by Diane Lochala-All Rights Reserved
"It's Spring!"

Paula McLain Love and Ruin Martha Gellhorn.... Soon to be released

Love and Ruin by author Paula McLain is written about Martha Gellhorn a writer and later a war correspondent for Collier's. Love and Ruin is a beautifully written historical fiction. Some may think her prestige in life was as the third wife of Ernest Hemmingway, but I applaud her ability to separate herself from Hemminway and pursue her own ambitions. I can only imagine the courageous spirit she exhibited as she accepted criticism of her first book, and as she would leave everything she loved to be in the middle of war zones, hold the hands of the dying, and then bring those stories to life.
In Love and Ruin, the reader will experience much of the idyllic and the tumultuous events of Martha's life with the often difficult Hemmingway. Their lives in the Cuban farm home Martha tried to restore and she loved was mostly peaceful and loving. As Martha refused to take a backseat and be the compliant wife, Hemmingway was resentful and tried to make her feel less successful. As I read the book there are scenes where I could almost feel her exuberance for living in the moment, even if it meant being on the edge of danger!
Thank you, NetGalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Below Art Images and Photographs by Diane Lochala-All Rights Reserved
"Let Me Fly"

Emma Kavanagh The Missing Hours...Suspense and Emotion!

The Missing Hours by author Emma Kavanagh will keep you guessing as you read! Dr. Selena Cole, a young widow is at a playground with her two girls and mysteriously vanishes. A neighbor sees the little girls and takes them to her home and then calls Selena's sister-in-law, Orla. DC Leah MacKay with the police is called in and this starts an investigation into the possibilities of what has happened to Selena. Orla is distraught at the disappearance of Selena within a year of the death of her brother Ed.
Across town the mysterious murder of a prominent lawyer, Dominic Newell has DS Finn Hale searching for answers as to why Dominic's body was tossed along a deserted country road. As the cases progress Finn's sister DI Leah MacKay thinks the two cases are linked in some way.
I won't post spoilers, but the plot of the story is very interesting. Dr. Selena Cole and her husband were co-owners of a company with Orla and her husband Seth, The Cole Group. They worked as negotiators for a global Insurance company who covers the ransom for people of interest who have been kidnapped for money. Kidnapping for ransom has become a side business with drug cartels and military extremists in other countries. Since the governmental protocol is never to pay ransom to kidnappers, the only recourse for business with employees in high-risk countries is to have a private negotiator on call without police or government intervention.
There are several possibilities for Selena's disappearance and for Dominic's murder. Selena and Orla know Dominic but for different reasons. The mystery deepens the more you read.
The case studies for The Cole Group were very interesting to read and contained some well-hidden clues!
Art Images and Photographs by Diane Lochala-All Rights Reserved
"Hidden Paths"

Tosca Lee The Progeny...READ..Book SWAG Giveaway!


From Tosca Lee's Website:

"Book Swag is Back… And You Could Win! #ReadProgeny

To celebrate the release of the Firstborn paperback edition (coming March 20th! Get yours here!), we’re bringing back some of the coveted Progeny series swag."
Some of my favorite quotes from the Progeny:
  1. "  Amerie loved rain. The way it made people huddle together—under umbrellas, beneath awnings. The way it stopped traffic. She loved the smell of it better than sun, and could smell a storm hours before it came. She said she loved that it brought her to the now. Because the moment your plans for anything are ruined, you are forced into the present. And for that one, perfect, ruined moment, she did not ...  "
  2. " key on a loop of string. It’s new and unremarkable except for an engraving on one side: SOME RISE BY SIN, SOME BY VIRTUE FALL.   "
  3. " We forgot how to live, to remember that we were happy, right then.   "
  4. “You loved me once. You don’t have to believe me. You don’t even have to like me, though of course I wish you did. But I’ll take knowing you’re alive over knowing you’re mine any day.” "
  5. God’s mercy is enough, or it isn’t. It’s the foundation of religion, isn’t it—forgiveness? But you never really think about what that means until you have no choice but to throw yourself on that altar and pray it’s enough. Forgiveness is enough, or it isn’t."
  6. "  Amerie loved rain . . . And for that one, perfect, ruined moment, she did not worry about the future, and the past was washed away. "
  7. "Life is beautiful, Audra. I know it doesn’t seem like it, with everything. But it is. And it is new. "
  8. "Heaven doesn’t come tomorrow. It’s here now. You don’t have to die to get there. "
And Then Read FIRSTBORN   

My Review