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December 7, 2019

3 Novels for Chilly Days

by Susan Roberts

The weather has finally turned and it is time to curl up under cozy blankets, next to a roaring fire, with a hot beverage, and a good book. These 3 books would make the perfect read.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. Free books were provided for an honest review.

All About Evie by Cathy Lamb
All About Evie
October 2019; Kensington; 978-1496709851
audio, ebook, print (400 pages); women's fiction
"I read almost everything.  Almost all genres. I read before I sleep.  I read when I wake up.  I read when I take a break at the bookstore. I read on Sunday afternoons. I read on Friday nights.  I listen to audio books.  My life is filled with words.  I understand people who are addicted to books.  I have found that many people use books to escape life.  To battle one problem, one challenge or another.  Books keep the tears at bay.  They also bring on the laughs, the wonder, education." (loc1895)

You can always depend on Cathy Lamb to bring you a book that will make you laugh and make you cry, a book full of quirky characters that you'd love to meet all living in a beautiful location.  A book with a bit of romance and a bit of mystery and filled with love.  All About Evie is a wonderful book told in Cathy Lamb's unique style - I loved it.

Evie lives in the Pacific northwest with her mother, her aunts and a menagerie of animals - two alpacas, two goats, four cats, five lambs, and a three-legged dog.  She owns a bookstore called Evie's Books, Cake and Tea because she loves all three.  She also has premonitions.  She gets sudden flashes about something that is going to happen and she usually tries to change it.  When the book starts, she gets a flash that a little girl is going to be hit by a car a block away.  She sprints to the corner and grabs the little girl right before a car hits her.  Many people see this is a gift but Evie tends to feel like it's a burden that separates her from other people.  The person that she is closest to is her sister, Jules, a biker chick who is planning her wedding.  When Jules decides that she and Evie should take DNA tests to find out where their ancestors are from, the results cause anger and pain in the family and Evie begins to question everything she had known about her life and her family.  Will she be able to move on from her feelings of pain and betrayal and learn to trust her family again?

This book is full of laughs - from Jules talking about her finance's tricks in the bedroom to Evie's mom and her sisters growing pot in the greenhouse, there were lots of laugh out loud moments.  There was also sadness in Evie's feelings of aloneness and her attitude toward her premonitions that were beginning to negatively affect her life.  There were also lots of references to books - Evie owned a bookstore but she also had stacks of books all over her small house. "I could well be a book hoarder, but I know this:  Books have saved my life." (loc 333)

Evie and her family are characters that I won't soon forget.  Grab this book and go to your favorite reading spot with a slice of cake and a cup of tea and be sure to have your dog or cat close while you are reading.  And then relax and let Cathy take you into her world of imagination.

Buy All About Evie at Amazon

Wildflower Christmas by Grace Greene

book cover of holiday novel Wildflower Christmas by Grace Greene
Nov. 2019; Kersey Creek Books; 978-0999618080
ebook, print (176 pages); holiday

I enjoyed going back to Wildflower House and spending time with Kara and her old friends that we know from previous books in this series as well as some new friends that I hope to see in future books. This is a feel-good story. Kara has been working on renovations at wildflower house since her father bought it before he died and she plans to make it an artist's retreat and meeting place for the community. Kara has no family except for a newly discovered aunt and she decides that she will just have a quiet Christmas by herself at home. She's ok with this plan because she has hosted several events at the house and wants to rest up before renovations start again after the first of the year. Life has a way of changing even the best plans and her friends become part of her Christmas. She goes from plans for a lonely Christmas to a day filled with friendship and love and discovery. This is a wonderful novel to help readers discover the magic of the holiday. I can't wait for the next book in the series to spend more time with Kara and her friends.

Buy Wildflower Christmas at Amazon

Note: This is the third book in The Wildflower House. You could read Wildflower Christmas as a stand-alone but I think to get maximum enjoyment from the series, you should read it in order.

Book 1 - Wildflower Heart - read my review.   Buy at Amazon.

Book 2 - Wildflower Hope - read my review.   Buy at Amazon.

Beyond the Horizon by Ella Carey

Beyond the Horizon
Oct. 2019; Lake Union Publishing; 978-1542091398
audio, ebook, print (331 pages); historical fiction
"Thirty eight women died while flying for the United States.  All undrtook military training, all died doing their duty for their country."  (loc 273)

The Women's Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) was established during World War II, on August 5, 1943. The WASPs flew a total of 60 million miles performing a variety of missions. Although these women flew military aircraft, they were considered civilians, and were not granted military benefits or burials.

In 1977, President Jimmy Carter signed a bill giving the WASPs veteran status.

This dual timeline historical fiction book is about the WASPs - Women Airforce Service Pilots - that were created during WWII. The goal of this group was to free up male pilots for overseas combat by using female pilots in the US to fly planes from the factories to the US military bases. There had never been any female pilots in the military and they were met with prejudice and worse by the male service members. Beyond the Horizon is about this brave group of women who defied history and did their part to help the US during WWII. The book is the story of Eva during WWII and in the 1970s when the WASPs were trying to get military benefits.

Eva and her best friend Nina loved to fly and when they read about the new women's group being formed, they both knew that they wanted to be part of it. When they received their acceptance letters on the same day, they were elated and went to training in Texas together. In training, they met Helena who became a close friend and they were all thrilled when they were sent to the same base after training. They were able to encourage each other both on the ground and in the air as they were faced with prejudice and sometimes sabotage from the male military personnel. Eva loses her memory after a devastating crash and moves back home, loses contact with all of her friends and tries to put the war out of her mind. Her memories all come flooding back when she goes to Washington DC to testify before Congress to try to get military benefits for the WASPs.

This is a heartwarming story about women who tried to make a difference during WWII. Eva is a great character and her enthusiasm about becoming a pilot is exciting while her confusion after the war is difficult to read about. Seeing her open her mind and her life back to her memories is a significant part of the story. This is a story about love and friendship; courage and sacrifice about the brave women who did their part in the war effort.

If you enjoy well-researched historical fiction, you don't want to miss this novel.

Buy Beyond the Horizon at Amazon

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina when she isn't traveling. She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening and spending time with their family and friends. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads, or Twitter.

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