Monday, October 4, 2021

Review: God's Not Dead: We The People | In Theaters October 4th, 5th, and 6th!

This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.







My thoughts:

I've watched the previous three God's Not Dead movies, so when I heard about this newest addition I was eager to watch it - especially when I saw what the movie was about...so relevant to what is going on nowadays. 

I'm happy to say it did not disappoint. I thought the acting was well done and I loved the cast. I've been a fan of Francesca Battistelli's music for years, so it was fun to see her act. I also loved the song she had in this movie. 

All in all, I really enjoyed this movie. I recommend you watch it when you get the chance. It is in theaters October 4th, 5th, and 6th. 


*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Review: Labyrinth of Lies (Triple Threat #2) by Irene Hannon

About the book:
When the daughter of a high-profile businessman disappears from an exclusive girls' boarding school, police detective Cate Reilly is tapped for an undercover assignment. It doesn't take her long to realize that beneath the veneer of polish and wealth, things are not as they seem at Ivy Hill Academy. But the biggest surprise of all? The only man she ever loved is also working at the school.

Zeke Sloan has never forgotten Cate, but now isn't the best time for their paths to cross again. When their two seemingly disparate agendas begin to intertwine--and startling connections emerge among the players--the danger escalates significantly. But who is the mastermind behind the elaborate ruse? And how far will they go to protect their house of cards?

Queen of romantic suspense Irene Hannon invites you to scale the heights of human folly and plumb the depths of the human heart in this second gripping book in the Triple Threat series.

My rating:
4.5 stars
(View my rating system)
My thoughts:

Labyrinth of Lies was a great sequel to Point of Danger, although I did enjoy that book just a bit more. 

It didn't take long before I was completely hooked by this story. I absolutely loved the suspense and undercover aspect. It was thrilling to continue to read and wonder what dangers the main characters might encounter. There were several moments that had me on the edge of my seat and I couldn't read quickly enough.

I loved the characters. I always seem to enjoy second chance romance stories and this was no different. While the romance in this one was a little bit much at times for me, I still really enjoyed it overall. The ending was satisfying and I am eager to read the third book to see what happens next.

All in all, Labyrinth of Lies was a great romantic suspense novel and I definitely recommend it. I don't think you have to read the first book, but I encourage you to as it was amazing. 

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Find the book on:
Amazon (aff link), Goodreads

This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Short Review: Some Bright Someday (Maple Valley #2) by Melissa Tagg

About the book:
He’s torn between love and honor...
Lucas Danby has always regretted the decisions that caused his dishonorable discharge from the military—and he’s never stopped trying to redeem his honor. He's spent the past decade taking on dangerous short-term missions as an elite private soldier—the only part of his life that's ever gone right. But the high-risk work never cures his shame. Now he’s stuck stateside, mentoring a new recruit. Worse, he's sick of lying to the people he cares about most—including the woman he’s secretly loved for years.
She can’t escape her house of memories...
Jenessa Belville should be happy. She's the hometown girl everyone loves, after all. But she’s also the last Belville left—and if she had her way, she'd leave the name and all its painful memories behind. Which is exactly what she hopes to do once she sells Belville Park, the massive estate she inherited from her parents. First, though, she needs to restore the property’s once-glorious gardens. But on the same day she puts up the “For Sale” sign, she discovers three children hiding in the caretaker's cottage, thrusting her into the unexpected role of temporary guardian.
Fighting for their future means healing from the past...
Struggling to mentor a young man with scars nearly as piercing as his own, Lucas offers to help Jenessa restore the Belville grounds. Though drawn together by a trio of kids who tug on their hearts and the sparks they can’t deny, past secrets and current sorrows threaten to pull them apart. Only the brightest love and hardest sacrifice can turn the house Jenessa never wanted into the home she and Lucas have always longed for.
This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.

My rating:
5 stars
(View my rating system)
My thoughts:
I've been a fan of Melissa Tagg's stories since I read her debut and Some Bright Someday was yet another great read. I loved the depth of the characters and the romance was wonderful. 

I thought the book was written very well and it was an easy read. I highly recommend it! 

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Find the book on:
Amazon (aff link), Goodreads

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Review: Beyond the Tides (Prince Edward Island Shores, #1) by Liz Johnson

About the book:
When Meg Whitaker's father decides to sell the family's lobster fishing business to her high school nemesis, she sets out to prove she should take it over instead. Though she's never had any interest in running the small fleet--or even getting on a boat due to her persistent seasickness--she can't stand to see Oliver Ross in charge. Not when he ruined her dreams for a science scholarship and an Ivy League education ten years ago.

Oliver isn't proud of what he did back then. Angry and broken by his father walking out on his family, he lashed out at Meg--an innocent bystander. But owning a respected fishing fleet on Prince Edward Island is the opportunity of a lifetime, as well as a way to provide for his mother, and he's not about to walk away just because Meg wants him to.

Meg's father has the perfect solution: Oliver and Meg will work the business together, and at the end of the season, he'll decide who gets it. Along the way, they may discover that their stories are more similar than they thought . . . and their dreams aren't what they expected.

My rating:
5 stars
(View my rating system)
My thoughts:

Liz Johnson has quickly become a favorite author of mine. Her contemporary novels are such delightful stories and Beyond the Tides was no different. I wasn't sure how I would enjoy a story featuring a lobster-fishing business, but it was SO good. 

From the opening chapter on, I was hooked and loved seeing the main characters interact. There were deep moments and also humorous ones. I liked how there was an unexpected twist in the story, as well. 

All in all, Beyond the Tides was a fantastic read and one I definitely recommend. Such a good summer read!

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Find the book on:
Amazon (aff link), Goodreads

This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Review: Provenance by Carla Laureano

About the book:
From two-time RITA Award-winning author Carla Laureano comes a story of romance, transformation, and the beauty of belonging.
Los Angeles interior designer and former foster kid Kendall Green is in high demand, both for her impeccable eye and for her uncanny ability to uncover the provenance of any piece. But for all her success, skyrocketing costs have put her California home and her business in jeopardy. Then an unexpected inheritance provides a timely solution: a grandmother she never knew has left her a group of historic properties in a tiny Colorado town on the edge of ruin.

To young, untried mayor Gabriel Brandt, Jasper Lake is more than another small town--it's the place that saved his life. Now, seeing the town slowly wither and die, he's desperate to restore it to its former glory. Unfortunately, his vision is at odds with a local developer who wants to see the town razed and rebuilt as a summer resort. He's sure that he can enlist the granddaughter of one of its most prominent former citizens to his cause--until he meets Kendall and realizes that not only does she know nothing of her own history, she has no interest in reviving a place that once abandoned her.

In order to save his beloved town, Gabe must first help Kendall unravel the truth of her own provenance--and Kendall must learn that in order to embrace the future, sometimes you have to start with the past.

My rating:
5 stars
(View my rating system)
My thoughts:
Provenance was just as good as I expected it to be! After reading the MacDonald Family Trilogy last year, I was eager to pick up this new release from Carla Laureano and it did not disappoint. 

I loved the characters and setting. The town sounds so beautiful and it was fun to read about. Gabriel was a great character, as was Kendall. I liked how the characters seemed realistic and their emotions/actions genuine. The romance was nice and I liked the ending.

All in all, Provenance was a wonderful read. It is somewhat of a longer book, but I enjoyed that as the story didn't seem rushed and was a deeper read. I recommend this book and look forward to reading more from this author.


*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Find the book on:
Amazon (aff link), Goodreads

This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Reading Update and Weekend Wrap-Up


Weekend Wrap-up is where I share what I read this past week, am currently reading, and my reading plans for the coming week. 

Feel free to join along and post your own Weekend Wrap-up on your blog/site (if you do, please leave the link in a comment so I can stop by) or, in a comment, share what you've read this past week. :)

-
This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.

~

READING UPDATE:

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Giveaway + Review: Vindication Season Two, Episode Three "Suspicion Comes Home"

About the show:
New episodes each Wednesday through 10/27/21 - Follow the twisted, gut wrenching, psychological crime thriller of Detective Gary Travis in the Dallas suburbs where not everything is as it seems.

Trailer:



My thoughts:

I've been watching the Vindication series on Pure Flix. Season two is currently airing new episodes each Wednesday and I just finished the third episode "Suspicions Come Home". It was such a great episode! I love how this season is going so far. This episode was suspenseful and left me eager for the next one...it ended with a great cliffhanger.

I thought the crime in this one was good, although my favorite part was just following the characters' journey. I'm really starting to like the secondary characters a lot.

All in all, this was a great episode and I can't wait for the next one. 

*I was asked to watch and review this episode as a part of a campaign. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Find the series on:
Sign up for your FREE trial now and start watching: https://hubs.li/H0X3W760

GIVEAWAY: Enter for the chance to win a Free 6-month Pure Flix membership! This giveaway is only open to US residents and ends 9/21/2021.

How to enter: Sign into the Giveaway Tools form below (it might take a moment to load) and submit each entry you complete. Commenting alone will not get you entered – you must click enter on the form. Happy entering!



Open only to those who can legally enter. Winning entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Giveaway Tools and announced here as well as emailed and will have up to one week to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Giveaway Tools or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. I am not responsible for any packages lost or damaged in the mail. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.



This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Review: Vindication Season One - Stream Now on Pure Flix

About the show:
New episodes each Wednesday through 10/27/21 - Follow the twisted, gut wrenching, psychological crime thriller of Detective Gary Travis in the Dallas suburbs where not everything is as it seems.

Trailer:

Episode One Trailer:



My thoughts:

I recently finished watching season one of the Vindication series on Pure Flix. I was surprised by HOW MUCH I enjoyed it. I'm a big fan of crime dramas with great storytelling, but haven't really watched new shows recently due to content issues. I didn't have to worry about that with this show, as I've yet to see something from Pure Flix that has such content.

The first episode drew me in and I was intrigued by the characters and storyline. I feel like the show continued to get better and better as it went along, and the ending was fantastic. I'm eager to watch the second season as it releases.

All in all, I highly recommend this show if you enjoy crime dramas.

*I was asked to watch and review this season as a part of a campaign. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. 

This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Review: Unknown Threat (Defend and Protect, #1) by Lynn H. Blackburn

About the book:
US Secret Service Special Agent Luke Powell is lucky to be alive. Three of his fellow agents have died in unusual circumstances in the past ten weeks. Luke is devastated by the loss of his friends and colleagues, and his inability to locate the killer feels like a personal failure. He and his team are experts at shielding others, but now the protectors are in need of protection.
FBI Special Agent Faith Malone is driven to succeed and confident in her ability to solve every case she's assigned. She's been put in charge of the investigation into the unprecedented attacks, and with Luke's life in danger, the stakes have never been higher. But it's hard to know how to fight back when you don't know who the enemy is.
Luke has teamed up with Faith before, but he's not convinced she's up for the job and she's not convinced he's telling her everything he knows. As more agents are targeted, Luke and Faith will have to learn to trust each other and work together to bring a killer to justice and prevent any more names from joining their fallen brothers and sisters on the Secret Service Wall of Honor.
This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.

My rating:
5 stars
(View my rating system)
My thoughts:

Unknown Threat was nearly unputdownable and I loved it! I'm a huge fan of suspense novels that keep you engaged and this was such a great read.

The characters were nice and I don't remember anything I didn't like about this story. I've read and enjoyed other books by this author, so I'm definitely looking forward to her next release.

All in all, I recommend Unknown Threat if you like romantic suspense. 

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Find the book on:
Amazon (aff link), Goodreads

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Review: Let It Be Me by Becky Wade

About the book:
The one woman he wants is the one he cannot have. Former foster kid Sebastian Grant has leveraged his intelligence and hard work to become a pediatric heart surgeon. But not even his career success can erase the void he's tried so hard to fill. Then he meets high school math teacher Leah Montgomery and his fast-spinning world comes to a sudden stop. He falls hard, only to make a devastating discovery—Leah is the woman his best friend set his heart on months before. Leah's a math prodigy who's only ever had one big dream—to earn her PhD. Raising her little brother put that dream on hold. Now that her brother will soon be college bound, she's not going to let anything stand in her way. Especially romance . . . which is far less dependable than algebra. When Leah receives surprising results from the DNA test she submitted to a genealogy site, she solicits Sebastian's help. Together, they comb through hospital records to uncover the secrets of her history. The more powerfully they're drawn to each other, the more strongly Sebastian must resist, and the more Leah must admit that some things in life—like love—can't be explained with numbers.

My rating:
5 stars
(View my rating system)
My thoughts:

Let It Be Me is the second book in Becky Wade's Misty River series and I loved it even more than the first book. The characters just grab your heart and I felt so much for them. I wanted a happily ever after for Sebastian with Leah and yet I also felt for his best friend and his feelings for her. 

I loved following along with Leah and her search for answers regarding her DNA test. It was such an intriguing storyline and one that I think I'll remember for a while. I can't believe the ending and what was revealed. SO good!

All in all, Let It Be Me was an amazing read and I recommend it. I cannot wait to read the next book. 

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Find the book on:
Amazon (aff link), Goodreads

This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.

Monday, July 5, 2021

Review: Chasing Shadows by Lynn Austin


About the book:
For fans of bestselling WWII fiction comes a powerful novel from Lynn Austin about three women whose lives are instantly changed when the Nazis invade the neutral Netherlands, forcing each into a complicated dance of choice and consequence.
Lena is a wife and mother who farms alongside her husband in the tranquil countryside. Her faith has always been her compass, but can she remain steadfast when the questions grow increasingly complex and the answers could mean the difference between life and death?

Lena's daughter Ans has recently moved to the bustling city of Leiden, filled with romantic notions of a new job and a young Dutch police officer. But when she is drawn into Resistance work, her idealism collides with the dangerous reality that comes with fighting the enemy.

Miriam is a young Jewish violinist who immigrated for the safety she thought Holland would offer. She finds love in her new country, but as her family settles in Leiden, the events that follow will test them in ways she could never have imagined.

The Nazi invasion propels these women onto paths that cross in unexpected, sometimes-heartbreaking ways. Yet the story that unfolds illuminates the surprising endurance of the human spirit and the power of faith and love to carry us through.

My rating:
5 stars
(View my rating system)
My thoughts:

Chasing Shadows is only the second book I've read by Lynn Austin, but I need to pick up more of her books as it was another AMAZING read. It started off a little slow, but once I got about a third of the way into the book I could hardly put it down. I was drawn into the story and felt like I was there. 

The story had some heartbreaking moments, which is to be expected considering it is set during WWII, but it also had moments of pure joy. I loved the characters and their relationships. I felt like they were real people and can only imagine the pain of making some of the choices they did. 

All in all, Chasing Shadows was a stellar read and I recommend it to fans of historical reads. 

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Find the book on:
Amazon (aff link), Goodreads

This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.

Friday, July 2, 2021

Review: Hours to Kill by Susan Sleeman

About the book:
Each Passing Hour Brings Them Closer to a Deadly Showdown
Just as FBI Special Agent Addison Leigh reaches the pinnacle of her cybercrimes investigation into a firearms-smuggling ring, she's attacked and left in a coma with no memory of the incident--or of her estranged husband who rushes to her bedside.
Deputy U.S. Marshal Mack Jordan may have let his past military trauma ruin their brief marriage, but Addison never gave up on their relationship, and he promises to hunt down the man who attacked her. Mack failed her once when he bailed on their marriage, so he's not about to let her down again, especially after a second attempt on her life is made. Soon it becomes clear that something very sinister is going on, and the killer won't rest until Addison is gone for good.

My rating:
5 stars
(View my rating system)
My thoughts:
Hours to Kill is the third book in the Homeland Heroes series by Susan Sleeman and it was definitely a favorite. I was blown away by the story and how much I loved it! 

I always seem to enjoy stories with memory loss or amnesia, so I wasn't surprised that I loved that aspect in Hours to Kill. It was written very well and I felt like the characters were real people and I could feel for them. 

I loved the romance and how it was kind of a "second chance" story. The suspense was also great and I was on the edge of my seat - eager to see what was going to happen next.

All in all, Hours to Kill was an amazing book and one I recommend.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

Find the book on:
Amazon (aff link), Goodreads

This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Monthly Reflections (June 2021) & July TBR List


Monthly Reflections, where we take the time to reflect on the previous month.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

WWW Wednesday | June 30, 2021

I actually had a wonderful week of reading! I finished Chasing Shadows and started Provenance (which is quite good so far).

- I just wanted to quickly mention that the giveaway for a free six month subscription to Pure Flix will be ending in a few days, so be sure to enter soon if you want the chance to win. I've been loving watching good, clean movies on the website/app. 

This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived on Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Q & A with T. I. Lowe Author of Under the Magnolias

This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.

Q & A with T. I. Lowe

Author of Under the Magnolias

T. I. Lowe is an ordinary country girl who loves to tell extraordinary stories and is the author of nearly twenty published novels, including her debut, Lulu’s CafĂ©, a number one bestseller. She lives with her husband and family in coastal South Carolina. Find her at tilowe.com or on Facebook (T.I.Lowe), Instagram (tilowe), and Twitter (@TiLowe).





1. Under the Magnolias is different from your usual romance novels. What compelled you to deviate from your usual subject matter in this book? How was your writing process different?

I always write what I’m led to, and I really never want to limit my stories to a certain genre. With romance, there’s typically a loose formula to follow—boy meets girl, they fall in love, something gets in their way, they overcome it for their happily ever after. But with this book, I just wrote it like no one was looking. I wasn’t even sure where it would end up until I reached the ending. It challenged me as a writer and I loved it!

2. Can you walk us through the emotions you felt while writing this book?

My emotions were all over the place. I fully invest in my characters. When they hurt, I hurt. When they rejoice, so do I. One scene where Austin starts unraveling and doesn’t see how to hold her family together, I was right there with her. It was a tough writing day, for sure, and I walked away from the computer not knowing how she would either. I definitely stayed in my head for several months while writing this one.

3. You’ve said that this book is the most important book you’ve written to date. Why?

The subject matter of this book, even though it’s fiction set in the eighties, is so relevant today. Everyone hurts. Everyone struggles. And everyone hides their truths to some degree. I was led to write this book in a way that I hope readers will realize it’s not so healthy to hide, that it’s okay to seek help no matter what they are going through.

4. You say you are an observer of people. What do you mean by that? How do you use that to craft your stories?

People are so fascinating. I know I look like a weirdo but I’m all about people watching. I also want to understand things that I see, whether it’s from a news headline or something I’ve witnessed in person, so I work that out through my stories.

5. This book has been said to highlight the best of humanity. Can you explain what you mean by that?

Honestly, I fear the world we are living in today has forgotten how beautiful it is to be compassionate and to empathize with others. This book has characters from all walks of life and highlights how those characters choose to show kindness for no other reason than to be kind. Simple enough!

6. Some of the common themes in this book are the power of community and connectedness, as well as the impact that small and simple kindnesses can have on those around us. How do you hope those themes encourage the reader? Why did you include those themes specifically?

I hope the reader will reflect on their own actions and attitudes toward others. As I’ve already said, kindness is a simple act but can have such a profound effect on the one receiving it. Austin was able to stop hiding due to the strength she garnered from those who reached out to help her and her family. We can be that for someone—how powerful is that?


Simple act of kindness example: I’m always on people-watching duty, so when I go through a checkout line and the cashier is in a terrible mood and being rude, instead of complaining to the manager, I ask the cashier if they’re having a bad day. I can’t tell you how many times this was exactly what they needed. Just someone to take the time to acknowledge them and to let them unload a second. I’ve always left those situations with the cashier smiling at me. Simple kindness, ladies and gentlemen.

7. What was the research process like for this book? Did it require more research due to the subject matter?

The research was extensive, for sure. An entire summer was spent doing nothing more than research for this book. Mental illness is a subject that I made certain I got right. Even though it’s fiction. I spent days reading articles and watching testimonies from those suffering bipolar disorder as well as the loved ones who stood by them through it. And even more time researching treatments.

8. Why did you choose to set this book in the eighties? Why was it important to you to write a coming-of-age book that wasn’t set during the age of social media?

The eighties was a great decade, so why not! I truly wanted to get to a simpler time for this book. One with less noise, so to speak. I think it’ll be easier for someone to read this subject from afar and not have cell phones and all that to distract from it. It makes Austin different yet shows her coming-of-age journey is still relevant today.

9. You used to work on a tobacco farm. What made you choose this setting for the book? How did you draw from personal experience to create the setting?

Working tobacco was my first job and my hardest job. This job taught me that everyone has to do their part. It cannot be put on the shoulders of one person. It’s quite symbolic to the story. Austin tried taking care of her father and siblings all on her own, but the burden was too heavy and came close to ruining them until the community stepped up to take a part in helping.

10. What was your inspiration for this book? You’ve referenced some of the conversations you had with God about writing this book. Can you walk us through that a bit?

Spring of 2019, it seemed every time I turned on the news or pulled up Facebook, there was a headline that a community leader, mostly church leaders, had committed suicide. Man, did that put such a burden on my heart. I wanted to know their story and why they got to the point of feeling that hopeless. Before I knew it, I was deep into research. I discovered most times those victims were secretly suffering with mental illness. They were worried what others would think, so they kept it hidden. A lot of prayer went into the book, asking God to help me understand and to express that understanding to readers. Days of writing with goose bumps along my arms and a tightened chest, I knew I wasn’t telling this story alone.

11. This book is gritty in parts, but it also serves up a good dose of humor. Why did you intentionally include humor in this story? Can you give us an example?

Life is tough! It is gritty, yet I lean heavily on humor to get me though the rough patches of life. I also needed it to get through the rough patches of this book and I think readers will too. You will meet Phoenix, aka Peg. He is the next-to-oldest brother and boy, does he have a mouth on him. The scene where he gets ahold of a man who is making racists remarks cracks me up even now. It’s a lot of dry humor, my favorite type, and Peg always gave me some comic relief on the hard writing days with his sarcastic one-liners.

12. Why is it important to write stories about characters who deal with real issues? What are some of the real issues that this story addresses?

Sometimes I think reading about real issues in fiction is easier for us to digest than reading it in nonfiction or in a self-help book. It takes us out of it, so to speak. The issues addressed in this book are quite extensive, but it is mostly about ill-fitting labels that need to be done away with.

13. What was special about crafting the Foster children in this book? Austin Foster specifically?

The Foster children lived an isolated life out on the farm. It gave me the opportunity to explore hard topics through their curious, naive eyes with an honesty that I would not have been able to pull off otherwise.

14. Under the Magnolias features several noteworthy, misfit characters. Who was your favorite supporting character to write?

This is like asking me to pick a favorite child! Yikes! I will say it’s a toss-up between Foxy and Miss Wise. Both women faced gross social injustices. They were survivors who chose not to live like victims. They are great characters to look up too, if you ask me.

15. Why did you choose to represent characters who are marginalized or misunderstood in this book?

I don’t know about you but I am just so tired of the labels and the unrealistic boxes society creates and expects you to live up to. That’s hogwash. If God wanted us all to fit in the same box, he would have created us as carbon copies. He didn’t, so that means it’s a gift to be different and I think differences should be celebrated. I did a lot of celebrating this in Under the Magnolias.



16. Chances are readers are going to have a love/hate relationship with Vance Cumberland. He’s different from the male love interests we’ve seen in your other books. What do you love about Vance? What irks you about Vance?

Vance is different from most of my male leads because we meet him in the beginning as a privileged kid. Just as we go on the coming-of-age journey with Austin, we get to do the same with Vance. That boy had a lot of growing up to do. I love his determination, but he irked me when he succumbed to those socially labeled boxes in his younger years. He eventually gets it right, and I think he’s pretty swoon-worthy at times.

17. This book gives an inside look at the reality of mental illness, through a fictional story. How do you hope the themes of this book bring mental health awareness?

I want it to open our eyes, to start more conversations about mental health, and to be more empathetic to those suffering. Being more proactive in mental health awareness requires those suffering in silence to find their voice and for everyone else to take off their blinders and pay attention.

18. This book is very raw and real, as told from Austin Foster’s point of view. Did you draw from personal experience in writing her character?

Austin and I both lost our mothers, so I shared in her grief. And we both had a parent who was sick and we felt helpless when we realized we couldn’t fix it. I drew many parallels with my mother’s battle with cancer and Austin’s father’s battle with mental illness. Both illnesses need treatment and can be life-threatening when undiagnosed. I also think it’s important to point out that both patients are the main victims of their disease, but their loved ones endure suffering as well.

19. What was the hardest part about writing a book with such heavy themes? How did you make sure you protected and prioritized your own mental health during the writing process?

Walking away from it at the end of the day. I lived this story, even dreamed about it at times while writing it. I remember one significantly heavy writing day and how I told my friend about it. She encouraged me to take a break. To do something outside the house and away from the computer. Talking about the process with my friend helped me keep my own mental health in check.


20. Nobody is immune to hardship in life and the Fosters know that well. For readers going through a personal battle, what does Under the Magnolias offer them?

It will give them the courage to seek help in those times, realizing it’s not healthy to keep it all hidden. And that people genuinely do care and want to help.

21. Fiction is often cited by people as being a form of escapism. By contrast, Under the Magnolias holds up a mirror to the joys and sorrows we experience as people. Why did you take that approach with this story?

First off, I love a good book that is all about helping me escape reality. I mean, hello, that’s why I love writing romance. But Under the Magnolias has such a different purpose. I wrote this story with no expectations on how the reader would view it, but I have no doubt God will reach many through it. I think we need more fictional books that are brave enough to open our eyes.

22. We see a beautiful picture of what it means to be the church in this book. What do you hope readers take away from this?

Exactly as you put it in the question, the church is beautiful and I’m so sad that so many are missing out on this because they have misguided views of what church is supposed to be. I’m not an expert on theology, but I do love how Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 puts it: “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth, for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

23. Why do you think it’s important for people to be vulnerable with their hurt, pain, and secrets?

We are all human and all flawed and all going through something. I think when you choose to be authentic instead of pretending to be what folks expect you to be, there’s a great freedom in that.

24. What is one thing you learned about yourself from writing this book?

I’m more aware now of how I keep things hidden. I hide my pain through making jokes, sometimes at the wrong time. I’m much like Austin in the sense that I’ve put up walls to hide my emotions. I don’t cry in public. A few instances come to mind where my eyes watered, but the only time I can actually sob is in the shower or in the car by myself and that doesn’t happen often. I don’t know how to overcome this, but I’m praying about it and talking about it.

25. What do you hope your readers walk away with when they’ve turned the last page of this book?

My hope is that they say, “Dang, that girl can write!” Ha! Just kidding. Kinda . . . No, seriously, I want them to get to the end of this book and find their own sense of freedom. To bravely go out and live without putting on airs. To exercise their compassion and empathy muscles more.




Under the Magnolias by T. I. Lowe

Softcover | ISBN 978-1-4964-5361-7 | $16.99

Hardcover | ISBN 978-1-4964-5360-0 | $26.99

May 2021

Tyndale.com


Thursday, June 24, 2021

#Giveaway | Join Pure Flix today, participate in their fun family camp, and enter to win a free 6-month subscription!

This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.

Disclosure: Many thanks to Pure Flix for providing this product/product information for review. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Grow closer to your family this summer with Pure Flix Family Camp! Join us for 6 weeks (including a bonus 7th week) of family activities including games, movie nights, devotionals, and discussion questions proposed for you in our camp guide. Connect deeper with your family and with our #PureFlixFamilyCamp community this summer!


I'm so excited to share about this family camp Pure Flix is doing. It sounds like the perfect thing for families to do together and the free Family Camp Guide looks like a great companion to the movies. It has activity prompts, devotionals, discussion questions, and more.

You can download the Family Camp Guide here: http://pureflix.com/familycamp


The spotlighted movie for week one is Switched and I'm eager to watch it, as it sounds like a fun one. There are also several other movies on Pure Flix that are on my watchlist and the more I search, the more I find that I want to watch, lol! ;) I look forward to watching them soon, as well as re-watching favorites of mine. 


Pure Flix has the largest variety of God-honoring content anywhere. And for a limited time, you can become an annual member for the best price ever and save up to 30%. Largest library of faith and family-friendly movies and shows AND the best price? Sign up today!


GIVEAWAY: Enter for the chance to win a Free 6-month Pure Flix membership! This giveaway is only open to US residents and ends 7/4/2021.

How to enter: Sign into the Giveaway Tools form below (it might take a moment to load) and submit each entry you complete. Commenting alone will not get you entered – you must click enter on the form. Happy entering!

Open only to those who can legally enter. Winning entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Giveaway Tools and announced here as well as emailed and will have up to one week to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Giveaway Tools or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. I am not responsible for any packages lost or damaged in the mail. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Some of the links in my blog posts, tweets, social media posts, etc. contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.
Powered by Blogger.