The Moonshiner’s Daughter

From the moment I opened The Moonshiner’s Daughter and read the first line, “The only memory I have of Mama, she was on fire.” I was captured right away and could not stop hearing the story of Jessie Sasser and her search to know about her mama’s short life.

If you have a mother, a mom, or a mama, this is a book for you.

If you have ever rolled through the hilly curving roads of the North Carolina mountains and wondered how the locals can drive faster and more skillfully than you can, this is a book for you.

If you have ever tasted, sniffed, or thought about moonshine or prohibition, get your copy of this book and start reading.

Have you every tasted “shine”?

Sixteen-year-old Jessie Sasser and her daddy, younger brother and aunt and uncle had “moonshine running in their veins” and the story of their days is unforgettable. Told from the perspective of Jessie, the reader is drawn into her struggle to understand her role in the “family business” that she blames for her mother’s death, along with being a troubled teen-age high school student. Jessie’s loyalties and struggle bring her to unexpected revelations about her family, her strengths, and a legacy that may provide her with the answers she has been longing for.

This story has wonderful descriptions of sounds, smells, and scenery of the North Carolina woods. I recommend it to lovers of Southern historical fiction. This would make for a great group or book club read. There is also a “Reading Group Guide” with questions included in the back.

Have you ever tasted ‘shine’? Do you prefer it shaken or stirred…or straight from the jar?

NUGGET GAINED: While others may come and go in our lives, our family is always our family. 

Thank you Donna Everhart, Suzy Approved Book Tours, and Kensington Books for this book in exchange for my honest review.

The Hollows

Give me a story with women characters who are independent, strong and determined, and I’m all in! The Hollows provides this and so much more. It’s the second book in the Kinship Series by Jess Montgomery, but can easily be read as a standalone.

Do you enjoy sassy women characters?

In 1926 Sheriff Lily Ross is called to the scene when an elderly woman is found dead along the railroad track in the Moonvale Tunnel. Who is she? Did she die by suicide or was she murdered? Who is the mysterious ghost-like woman people are seeing near the tunnel? Lily is tasked with finding the answers.

She enlists her friends Hildy and Marvena to help her solve the mystery. The story is told from alternating points of view between Lily and Hildy. I loved Lily and her resolve to prove herself worthy of fulfilling the previous sheriff’s position, who happened to be her husband who was murdered in the previous book. I enjoyed the author using language consistent with the time period.

As Lily solves the case, tough issues are woven into the story, i.e., sexism, racism, the Underground railroad, WKKK (Women’s KKK— I didn’t know this existed!) and prohibition. The book was thoroughly researched. I don’t read many historical mysteries, and since I enjoyed this one, I’m looking forward to seeing what Jess Montgomery has in store for us in Kinship Series #3!

Do you enjoy sassy women characters as much as I do? How about historical fiction?

Women can do every job men do!

Thank you TLC Book Tours, Jess Montgomery, and Minotaur Books for my gifted copy!

If You Want to Make God Laugh

This  beautiful, heartbreaking, and powerful book  is set in Johannesburg, South Africa during the 1990’s when Nelson Mandela became president, and the AIDS epidemic was at an all time high. It’s the story of three women bound together by their love of a day-old baby boy left on a doorstep. I listened to the audiobook; there are 3 narrators who read Ruth, Delilah, and Zodwa’s parts, and the narration is fantastic! 

I loved Ruth, Delilah, and Zodwa!

I loved hearing how the women endured and overcame many obstacles. I didn’t know much about apartheid going into this book and was able to gather more insight.  Bianca Marais deals with issues such as rape, AIDS, homophobia, teenage pregnancy, religion and racism. I highly recommend this book! 


Don’t let past secrets keep you captive.

The World Came to Us

Have you ever lost a person so close to you that you couldn’t figure out a way to move on with your life?  I have, when  my first husband died in 2007. That’s a small part of the reason The World Came to Us drew me in right away.

After Meg loses her wife to cancer, she is thrown into the depths of grief. She decides that she will stay home for one year in mourning. Soon Tommy, her daughter, moves home to be with her. They make a pact that they will be recluses for one year. They stay at home except for Tommy walking her dogs. As the 2 grow closer, people begin to come to them in need of healing themselves. The dogs play a major part in bringing healing and love to everyone. Ultimately Meg finds comfort by helping others who are hurting in their own unique ways. 

Do you need a “literary hug”?

Campbell weaves sexual identity, grief, foster care, bullying, depression, & aging into her story. This sounds like too big of a stretch, but Campbell makes it flow together in a beautiful way that works. For me this book is a warm “literary hug”! Oh, and in case you’re wondering, my heart is no longer broken, and I’ve found love once again with my amazing second husband. 

Nugget gained: people everywhere are hurting. Who can I help today? 

Thank you Suzy Approved Book Tours, Molly D Campbell, and The Story Plant for the gifted copy of this lovely book!

This is Not How it Ends

Are you ready to be transported out of the cold climate? I’ll bet Rochelle Weinstein’s coastal romance will do the trick!

Have your Kleenex ready!

In This is Not How it Ends, characters Charlotte & Phillip have a chance meeting on a flight from Kansas City to Miami, they are immediately drawn to each other. Their love develops, and they move to the Florida Keys where they meet Ben, a widower, and his son. They each have experienced pain and loss in some way. What ensues involves a deep friendship/love triangle between the three of them.

We learn right away that Phillip travels for work often and seems to be keeping some kind of secret. Charlotte begins to wonder if the two of them being separated is what she wants for her life. At the same time, Phillip encourages Charlotte and Ben’s relationship so she has someone to talk to while he’s gone.

The story is told from Charlotte’s point of view, and the chapters alternate between past and present. The mentioning of Hurricane Irma scattered throughout the book was something to which I could relate since I live in Florida and experienced the same hurricane. I loved the setting, and Weinsten’s descriptive language made me feel like I was visiting the islands once more.

This book is a beautiful romance that I looked forward to reading, with kleenex in hand, each time I picked it up. The writing caused me to feel the characters’ pain and left me wanting to give them advice as well. I know a book is superb, if I want to befriend the characters!

Don’t let past losses keep you from experiencing present joy.

Thank you Rochelle Weinstein, Suzy Approved Book Tours, Lake Union Publishing, and Get Red PR for my copy in exchange for my honest review!

Carrie Fisher: A Life on the Edge

A long time ago in a Hollywood far, far away…

A baby girl was born to the ultra-beautiful, talented and successful singer, dancer, and actress Debbie Reynolds and the dangerously handsome singing genius Eddie Fisher.  This baby girl never had a shot at a regular childhood and life like you and me.  The girl, of course is Carrie Fisher.  Sheila Weller’s latest book is Carrie Fisher:  A Life on the Edge and it is a masterful telling of Fisher’s life.  

I have a new appreciation for Carrie after reading this book.

Early in the book I watched the documentary, Wishful Drinking, written and performed by Carrie Fisher, hoping there wouldn’t be too many book plot spoilers, and this was no problem because the author weaves such a complete and detailed tapestry of Fisher’s life.  

Weller’s book goes deep and describes Carrie growing up in the shadow of “Hollywood-royalty” parents and her ongoing relationship with them, her own relationships and marriages, all while battling bipolar-disorder and drug addiction.  Going into the book, I knew that Carrie and her mother had a special relationship and thanks to Weller’s research and writing, I better understand the depth of the riches mother and daughter shared.

Most are familiar with Fisher’s own professional Hollywood success, as well as authoring several books and nearly everyone has been touched in some way by watching Carrie Fisher in her role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars movies; wait until you read A Life on the Edge and see the impact she had on the musicians, movie and television celebrities, politicians, and the people like you and me that she interacted with throughout her life.  

May the force be with you…And may you get caught up in the force of Carrie Fisher’s life as you enjoy this stellar read.

QOTD: How would your life be different if you had starred in Star Wars when you were 19 years old?

NUGGET GAINED:  Being famous doesn’t look very easy.

Thank you to http://suzy approved book tours, http://sheila weller and http://farer, straus, and giroux for my copy of the book!

Lake Season

Thank you @tlcbooktours, @denisehunter, and @thomasnelson for the opportunity to review Lake Season, a romance by Denise Hunter, that I loved! 

Yesterday was a glorious day to read by the water!

Molly and her two siblings have lost their parents in a tragic accident. Before they died, they had dreams of turning their historic home in the Blue Ridge Mountains into an inn. The three grown children decide to  make their parents’ dream a reality. While working on  the Bluebell Inn, Adam Bradford (aka Nathaniel Grey) arrives at the door. Nathaniel is a famous author who has been successful in remaining anonymous. Molly has read all of Nathaniel’s books; they happen to be her favorites! 

After Molly finds a secret letter in the wall of the inn, she and Adam work together to find the writer and the person to whom the letter is addressed. Molly can’t stop searching and Adam is caught up with helping Molly. I will end there, so as not to spoil it for you. 

The discussion of books and libraries made this book a page turner for me. I could imagine Molly being my friend on Bookstagram! The book is laid out in a then and now fashion, which I enjoy. It’s a delightful romance with a bit of mystery thrown in. While Lake Season is written with Christian people in mind, it doesn’t come across as preachy, and people of all faiths (or no particular spirituality) will enjoy. If you like clean romance, you’ll love this book! 

QOTD: If you could have any living author stay as your houseguest overnight, who would it be?


Don’t let your insecurities come between you and the people you love. 

Side note: My superhero muffins (see link below) are featured here in honor of Miss Della, the cook at the Inn who always had her muffins ready.