Lauraine Snelling’s ‘GIVE:JOY’ Sweepstakes

Lauraine Snelling is a wonderful author who is celebrating her new release with an amazing sweepstakes! This is a truly unique sweepstakes. Check out all the info below!

In bestselling author Lauraine Snelling’s new novel, Heaven Sent Rain, Dinah Taylor has an orderly life, and that is just how she likes it. A balanced bank account, a perfectly furnished luxury apartment, a satisfying career as a scientist and CEO of her own company, and an uncomplicated personal life. Then her well-ordered world is thrown into chaos when she finds a seven-year-old boy and his scruffy dog sitting alone outside her office building.

To celebrate the release of this heart-warming novel, FaithWords and author Lauraine Snelling are pleased to present theGIVE:JOY Sweepstakes.  This sweepstakes features three spectacular prizes, each closely connected to the story, but each prize also comes with a twist: you “Enter to Give”, rather than “Enter to Win”!  

This is your chance to do something beautiful and make a difference for a friend, family member, shelter, church, or charity.

GRAND PRIZE:

GIVE:JOY Grand Prize

HELP & HOPE SUPPORT GIFT

In Heaven Sent Rain, Dinah meets an extraordinary little boy named Jonah, and his dog, Mutt. Jonah faces a life of struggle, hunger, and poverty, but his courage in these challenges inspires Dinah to step outside her well-ordered world and do something wonderful for him. Through her choice, Dinah discovers joy is found not in getting more for herself, but in giving to make someone else’s life better. Our Grand Prize winner will have the same opportunity for joy, with their choice of :

• A $250 VISA gift card for a friend in need, or
• A $250 donation to the faith-based charity, church, or shelter of their choice

         

SECOND PRIZE:

GIVE:JOY Second Prize

BLESSINGS & BLOOMS SURPRISE BOUQUETS

A mysterious thing happens to Dinah several times in the story: flowers! Beautiful encouragement bouquets—with no sender’s name—appear on her office desk during difficult times when she feels she can’t go on. In honor of Dinah’s secret flower sender (you’ll have to read the story to find out his or her identity) we’re offering our Second Prize winner the chance to become a secret flower sender themselves, and brighten the day of a sick friend, a new mom, a military spouse, a weary co-worker, or some other deserving person in their life, with:

• A 3-month gift subscription to ProFlowers Bouquet of the Month Club

       

THIRD PRIZE:

GIVE:JOY Third Prize

VALIANT VET ENCOURAGEMENT GIFT

Like Jonah’s dog, Mutt, the animals in our lives are priceless sources of help, comfort, and unconditional love. No one understands this better than our story’s hero, veterinarian Garret Miller. Throughout the book, “Dr. G” works tirelessly to save and heal people’s furry friends, including Mutt, and an injured service dog named Valiant.

And Like Dr. G, many real-life veterinarians and animal shelter workers make all the difference in the lives of our animals, often giving services beyond what’s billed. Our Third Prize winner will have a chance to do something extra special for their favorite vet or animal shelter, with:

• A $100 veterinary/shelter donation to be used toward treatment of an animal whose owner cannot afford to pay for veterinary care, or
• A $100 Starbucks card sent to the veterinary/shelter staff as a special encouragement gift

 

How to Enter:

Go to http://www.laurainesnelling.com/html/giveaways.html and complete the entry box, anytime between July 1 and July 21.  

Timeframe & Notifications:

This giveaway starts July 1, 2014 and ends July 21, 2014 @ 11:59 pm (PST). Entry is open to US residents only, age 18 and over. Winners will be selected Tuesday July 22, 2014, and announced at laurainesnelling.com.

 

About the Book:

Dinah Taylor has an orderly life, and that is just how she likes it. A perfectly furnished luxury apartment, a satisfying career as a scientist and CEO of her own company, and an uncomplicated personal life. But all of that changes when she meets seven-year-old Jonah.

The boy shows up one day, a scruffy dog by his side, in front of her office building. Dinah knows nothing about kids and even less about animals, but after she buys him breakfast, he shows up the next day…and the next. She tries to learn more about him, to help him, but he’s remarkably skilled at evading her questions.

And then, late one night, he calls her in a panic–his dog has been badly injured. Dinah rushes them to a local animal clinic, where she meets Garret, a veterinarian with a thriving practice and a passion for drawing.

Though Jonah takes to Garret right away, for some reason neither understands, Dinah and Garret just don’t mesh. But for Jonah’s sake, their lives continue to collide, and slowly the relationship between these three strangers begins to change.

Book Info & Sample Chapter:

Can be found at http://laurainesnelling.com/html/othernovels.html

Check out Heaven Sent Rain and enter the sweepstakes!!

Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore [Review]

Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

bittersweet

 

About This Book

Suspenseful and cinematic, Bittersweet exposes the gothic underbelly of an idyllic world of privilege and an outsider’s hunger to belong.
On scholarship at a prestigious East Coast college, ordinary Mabel Dagmar is surprised to befriend her roommate, the beautiful, wild, blue-blooded Genevra Winslow. Ev invites Mabel to spend the summer at Bittersweet, her cottage on the Vermont estate where her family has been holding court for more than a century; it’s the kind of place where children twirl sparklers across the lawn during cocktail hour. Mabel falls in love with midnight skinny-dipping, the wet dog smell that lingers near the yachts, and the moneyed laughter that carries across the still lake while fireworks burst overhead. Before she knows it, she has everything she’s ever wanted:  friendship, a boyfriend, access to wealth, and, most of all, for the first time in her life, the sense that she belongs.
But as Mabel becomes an insider, a terrible discovery leads to shocking violence and reveals what the Winslows may have done to keep their power intact – and what they might do to anyone who threatens them. Mabel must choose: either expose the ugliness surrounding her and face expulsion from paradise, or keep the family’s dark secrets and make Ev’s world her own.

My Review

Bittersweet: an extremely well written, unique, intriguing, mysterious tale about family, wealth, corruption, evil, and love. When reading Bittersweet, I never knew quite what was coming next. When I formed expectations, I was often surprised by what actually happened. The one word that flashed through my mind over and over again when reading Bittersweet was ‘classic.’ I honestly feel like this book could be an American classic. It reminded me of The Great Gatsby early on, but it’s much more than a tale about wealth and greed. Bittersweet is at once unbelievable and believable–both unrealistic and realistic. It wasn’t at all what I expected, and I loved and hated it. Beverly-Whittemore’s characters are complex yet accessible. I rooted for Mabel, but I also despised her at times. Ev is very much Daisy Buchanan in my mind–I want to love her,  but she makes it difficult. I very much enjoyed this book, and it’s one that I will keep on my bookshelf forever. The cover is gorgeous, and the story still has my mind reeling [weeks later!]. Bittersweet may be a bit out of your comfort zone [as it was mine], but I urge you to read it. I’m sure it will leave an impression! [And isn't that what we want from literature?]

You can read the first chapter of Bittersweet here.

The author created Pinterest boards for the book here!

Praise for Bittersweet

“Mesmerizing gothic thriller…Bittersweet is worth savoring–it unfolds like a long summer day, leisurely revealing the dark.” People, Lisa Kay Greissinger

What begins a little like Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep quickly warps into a sickly addictive thriller…think ABC’s Revenge when it was good, only more scandalous…With books likeBittersweet to stuff in beach bags, it’s beginning to feel a lot more like summer. A-” –Entertainment Weekly, Stephan Lee

Beverly-Whittemore has crafted a page-turner riddled with stubborn clues, a twisty plot and beguiling characters.” –Kirkus, starred review

“Evokes Gone Girl with its exploration of dark secrets and edge-of-your-seat twists.” –Entertainment Weekly, Lanford Beard

Takes the reader inside the glamorous world of the super-wealthy, where everything is not as it seems, and dark, long-buried family secrets gradually make their way to the surface. …its strength lies in its elements of mystery. The result is a page-turner that will keep readers guessing until the end.” –BookPage

Suspenseful and intriguing, filled with characters who both fit the blue-blood mold and break the stereotypes we all associate with the upper class. Her short chapters, with their cliff-hanger endings, will keep readers turning pages late into the night.” –Booklist

Beverly-Whittemore captures both the idyllic beauty of a Vermont summer and its dark shadows …gothic tangles wind the plot more and more tightly. …A suspenseful tale of corruption and bad behavior among wealthy New Englanders. Readers who enjoy coming-of-age stories featuring dark secrets that affect generations will find much that appeals here.” –Library Journal

In the tradition of The Great Gatsby, Miranda Beverly-Whittemore’s heroine is an outsider invited into the secret, labyrinthine world of the super-rich–but the twist is, you never met such debauched people as the Winslows. Bittersweet is a satisfyingly dramatic, super-juicy read.” –Jenna Blum, New York Times and internationally bestselling author of Those Who Save Us and The Stormchasers

Bittersweet is the kind of book you hope to stumble across on a rainy vacation weekend: a wild New England gothic full of family secrets, mysteriously locked doors, sailboats, suntans, forbidden lust, and a few priceless works of art. An engrossing summer blast.” –Maggie Shipstead, national bestselling author of Seating Arrangements and Astonish Me

“In Bittersweet, Miranda Beverly-Whittemore prizes up the veneer of an old, privileged American family to discover depths of intrigue, power, and menace beneath. In its guise as a coming-of-age mystery, the book is both swift and arresting; that the novel also doubles as an insightful meditation on class, aspiration, and longing makes the book reverberate in the reader long past its final line.” –Lauren Groff, New York Times bestselling author of The Monsters of Templeton and Arcadia

Gripping, beguiling and beautifully written, Bittersweet is a page turner that chills as it intoxicates. Miranda Beverly-Whittemore has created a family so dangerously enthralling that the more we learn of their greed and bloodlust, the more we aspire to belong.” –Kate Christensen, PEN/Faulkner award-winning author of The Great Man and Blue Plate Special

Part coming-of-age story, part riveting mystery, Bittersweet is a tantalizing tale of an outsider thrust into a glittering world of immense privilege and suspect morals. With a narrator torn between uncovering one family’s dark secrets and protecting her own, Bittersweet brilliantly explores the complicated question of what price any of us would pay to seize the life of our dreams.” –Kimberly McCreight, New York Times bestselling author of Reconstructing Amelia

“The theme of paradise lost courses through this coming-of-age tale tinged with mystery…For all their lean, blonde beauty and their designer names, the Winslows–including Birch and Tilde, Ev’s parents; and Ev’s brother Galway, whose attentions encourage Mabel to fantasize about becoming part of the blue-blooded tribe–have more squalid secrets than her own…” –Publishers Weekly

If you like reading classics and stories about family greed and outsiders, this book is definitely for you. However, I would also recommend this book to anyone who enjoys good fiction. Bittersweet is intriguing, well written, and unexpected. Don’t miss it!

*I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.

Rival Hearts by Tara Randel (Quilts of Love) [Review]

Rival Hearts by Tara Randel

Rival Hearts is the latest release in the Quilts of Love series. The story features 2 main characters–Molly Henderson and Ben Weaver. They are both magazine editors in line for a promotion, and the boss decides to pit them against each other in a crazy challenge. On a deeper level, the book is about each character’s journey towards a healthier, stronger, and ultimately better version of themselves.

This is the first Quilts of Love title I’ve read, and it also served as my introduction to Tara Randel’s work. I really enjoyed Rival Hearts. It’s just over 200 pages long, so it can be read in an afternoon or evening. The writing flows well and allows the reader to become immersed in the story. Situations are never stretched out too long, and I never felt a lull or empty space in the book. I was impressed by Randel’s ability to keep me interested, engaged, and happy with the story. I fell for these characters and I think you will, too! I highly recommend this book to fans of christian romance, christian contemporaries, and competition love stories. Give it a shot!

More Info from LitFuse:

They both want the promotion. But will they find out that it is worth the cost?

Molly Henderson and Ben Weaver have been rival magazine writers for the same publishing group for years. When both come up for the same promotion, they find themselves in an unexpected competition to win the spot. Molly, editor of Quilter’s Heart, and Ben, editor of Outdoor Adventures, must switch roles, each working for the other for one month, then submit an article at the end of their quests. Can girly‑girl Molly survive the outdoor adventures that Ben has planned? Can Ben navigate the perils of the social dynamics of quilting events without destroying a valuable quilt in one short month? More importantly, in this he‑said, she‑said situation, will Molly and Ben give in to their attraction and fall in love, no matter who wins?

Find out more and purchase a copy at the Quilts of Love website.

Tara Randel

{MORE ABOUT TARA RANDEL}

Tara Randel is the author of five romance novels including “Lasting Love,” “Melody of Love” and “This Time Love.” A member of ACFW, Tara is also the lead author of the new Annie’s Mysteries series (see AnniesMysteries.com). Tara lives in New Port Richey, Florida.

Find out more about Tara athttp://www.quiltsoflovebooks.com/products/34/Rival-Hearts.

Connect with Tara: websiteFacebook

 

 

What is the Quilts of Love Series?

Quilts tell stories of love and loss, hope and faith, tradition and new beginnings. The Quilts of Love series focuses on the women who quilted all of these things into their family history. Featuring contemporary and historical romances as well as women’s fiction and the occasional light mystery, you will be drawn into the endearing characters of this series and be touched by their stories. Check out the website here.

What are you reading this summer? Let me know in the comments!

*I received this book free from LitFuse in exchange for an honest review.

What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick — Review

My Review:

I absolutely loved My Life Next Door, so I was fairly certain I’d adore this book as well. I really enjoyed What I Thought Was True, and I flew through the 400 pages in a short amount of time. This doesn’t feel like a long story, and thankfully there are no lulls. While reading, I kept thinking, “How will I rate this book? 3 stars or 4? What am I going to say about it?” It was a GOOD book, but there’s nothing inherently unique about the story itself. The gold, however, is in the writing. Fitzpatrick’s style made this typical tale of poor girl/rich boy feel completely new and fresh. I’m a sucker for summer romances, Nantucket vacations, and YA fiction, so this book hit on 3 of my loves. The characters are accessible and all too human. The only one I had a hard time getting a grasp on was Gwen’s dad, and I’m still not sure how to picture him. I’ve been itching for this release since I read Fitzpatrick’s other novel a few months ago, and I was definitely not disappointed. My only criticism of her first novel was the amount of rough language used—mainly the f word. I was so happy to see this book was much cleaner! I still think My Life Next Door is my favorite of her titles so far, but I can’t wait to see what she gives us next! After losing myself in both of her novels, Huntley Fitzpatrick is officially on my list of favorite authors. Make sure to read one (or both!) of her books this summer!

Book Synopsis:

From the author of My Life Next Door comes a swoony summertime romance full of expectation and regret, humor and hard questions.

Gwen Castle’s Biggest Mistake Ever, Cassidy Somers, is slumming it as a yard boy on her Nantucket-esque island this summer. He’s a rich kid from across the bridge in Stony Bay, and she hails from a family of fishermen and housecleaners who keep the island’s summer people happy. Gwen worries a life of cleaning houses will be her fate too, but just when it looks like she’ll never escape her past—or the island—Gwen’s dad gives her some shocking advice. Sparks fly and secret histories unspool as Gwen spends a gorgeous, restless summer struggling to resolve what she thought was true—about the place she lives, the people she loves, and even herself—with what really is.

A magnetic, push-me-pull-me romance with depth, this is for fans of Sarah Dessen, Jenny Han, and Deb Caletti.

What’s on your summer reading list? Leave me your recommendations in the comments!

Meant to Be Mine by Becky Wade [Review]

Meant to Be Mine by Becky Wade

meant to be mine Meant to Be Mine is an unconventional love story. Celia has always been in love with Ty, but they’ve never actually been a couple. They meet up in Vegas and begin a whirlwind romance that ends in marriage (after 4 days!). Celia couldn’t be happier, but then Ty reveals that he’s in love with someone else. The story picks up 5 years later when they next see each other.

This book is such an easy read! I love not having to “work through” a book. Every character is extremely realistic and Wade endears us to care for each one. One of my favorite things about Meant to Be Mine is that it’s set in my great state of Texas! I have to admit, I probably moved this book up a star when Wade first mentioned the Texas Rangers. Being that I never miss a game, I couldn’t help but love the couple in the book who have season tickets and constantly sport their Rangers gear. Apart from that, the spiritual aspect of the book is extremely well written. If you like the way Karen Kingsbury approaches religion in her books, I think you’ll like Wade’s work as well. She doesn’t force the story. For instance, at a point in the book Celia’s prayers are answered, but the answer is no. A lot of Christian Fiction tends to sugarcoat life and have everything turn out perfectly all the time, but that’s not at all realistic. Wade did a great job of keeping things balanced. The book is mainly romance, but there’s a little bit of suspense thrown in as well. I’d recommend Meant to Be Mine to anyone who likes Christian Fiction or Christian Romance. If you like Meant to Be Mine, make sure to check out Undeniably Yours, the first book in the Porter Family Novel Series!

More Info from LitFuse:

Ty Porter has always been irresistible to Celia Park. All through high school–irresistible. When their paths cross again after college–still irresistible. This time, though, Ty seems to feel exactly the same way about Celia. Their whirlwind romance deposits them at a street-corner Las Vegas wedding chapel.

The next morning they wake to a marriage certificate and a dose of cold reality. Celia’s ready to be Ty’s wife, but Ty’s not ready to be her husband. He’s a professional bull rider, he lives on the road, and he’s long planned to settle down with the hometown girl he’s known since childhood.

Five and a half years pass. Celia’s buried her dreams so that she can afford to raise her daughter. Ty’s achieved all of his goals. Or thought he had, until he looks again into the eyes of the woman he couldn’t forget and into the face of the child he never knew he had.

How much will Ty sacrifice to win back Celia’s trust and prove to her that their spontaneous marriage can still become the love of a lifetime?

Learn more and purchase a copy at Becky’s website.

Maya Angelou once said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Where does a writer find inspiration? What’s the hardest part about writing a story? What do you hope your writing achieves? We’ve asked Becky Wade, the author of Meant to Be Mine, to tell us the story behind the story. To celebrate her latest release, Becky is giving away a $200 “Dream Come True” prize pack! Click here to learn more and enter to win!


Tell us a bit about the story behind your latest novel. Where did you find inspiration?

I was inspired to write Meant to Be Mine by my love of “secret baby” plot lines. In this particular story, Ty and Celia get married in Las Vegas at the spur of the moment (after dating for four days). They realize the next morning that the wedding wasn’t such a good idea and part ways. The story picks up five and a half years later, when Ty tracks Celia down in order to inquire about a divorce. What he discovers? Celia has a daughter—his daughter.

What was the hardest part about writing your novel: Getting started? Keeping it going? Finding the perfect ending?

With Meant to Be Mine, the revision phase was the hardest. I edited it and polished it before I submitted it to my editors, same as always. But for the first time, my editors came back with heavy revision requests. It took me all summer to accomplish the rewrite. There were times when I wanted to toss the book out the window. I’m glad I didn’t, because in the end, I’m every bit as proud of this story as I am my others.

What trait do you love most about your main character?

I love Celia’s spunkiness. She holds her own against Ty (who is as confident, joking, demanding, and charming as can be) very admirably.

When readers get to the last page, what do you hope they take away from the story?

I hope they take away God’s message of forgiveness, grace, and amazing love.
What are you working on next?

I’m currently working on the third book in the Porter Family Series. This one stars Jake Porter, the most wounded and brooding of the three Porter siblings.

Becky Wade

{MORE ABOUT BECKY WADE}

Becky makes her home in Dallas, Texas with her husband, three children, and one adoring (and adored) cavalier spaniel. Her CBA debut, “My Stubborn Heart,” was a finalist in both the RITA and INSPY awards. “Undeniably Yours” kicked off her Texas-set Porter Family series. Her newest contemporary romance, “Meant to Be Mine,” has just hit shelves!

Find out more about Becky at http://beckywade.com.

There’s a sweepstakes and Facebook Party for Meant to Be Mine! Check it out by clicking on the button below.

 

Meant to Be Mine Becky Wade*I received this book free from LitFuse in exchange for an honest review.

 

While Love Stirs by Lorna Seilstad [Review]

While Love Stirs by Lorna Seilstad

while love stirs

My Review:

While Love Stirs is the second book in Seilstad’s Gregory Sisters series. The main character is Charlotte Gregory, the middle of the 3 sisters. Charlotte is strong willed, outspoken, and a bit calloused as a result of a prior relationship. While Love Stirs begins as a story about Charlotte’s attempt to get a job as a cook, but it gradually turns into a story of love–both family and romantic. It’s really a story of Charlotte’s internal battle in deciding if she should settle for a safe choice or take a risk on someone who makes her feel everything.

I’m not usually a fan of historical fiction, but I enjoyed While Love Stirs. Seilstad’s writing is easy to fall into, and I never had to reread a sentence for clarification. Charlotte’s character is believable and shows realistic change throughout the story. While Love Stirs offers romance and suspense, though the suspense mainly shows up in the last few chapters. Everything is resolved by the end of the book, which makes me happy! Seilstad uses cooking terms as symbolism throughout the book, and it never seems forced. It was one of my favorite things about the story! My criticisms are minor–a few times throughout the book I noticed a lack of vocabulary (the same word was used two or three times in a paragraph), and I don’t think the back cover blurb accurately portrays the book. After reading the back cover, I thought this would be a story of one girl and the two guys chasing after her. It’s really not like that at all. There are 2 men in the story who want to be with Charlotte, but the story is much more about Charlotte’s internal struggle, her desire to cook and teach nurses at the hospital, and her relationships with family members. There was never a point where I thought she might end up with ‘the other guy.’ Ultimately, this book will be a hit for fans of Historical Christian Fiction Romance. If you’re like me and usually stick to Contemporary Romance, there’s still a good chance you’ll enjoy this book. The author doesn’t get bogged down in historical information, and she allows the story to flow naturally. I’m looking forward to the next book in The Gregory Sisters series!

Publisher’s Info:

Take one lovely young woman.
Add two ambitious young men.
Stir . . . and stand back.


As a graduate of Fannie Farmer’s School of Cookery, Charlotte Gregory is thrilled to have the opportunity to travel, lecture, and give cooking demonstrations on the very latest kitchen revolution–the gas stove. And she certainly doesn’t mind that the gas company has hired the kindhearted Lewis Mathis to entertain at her lectures.

Lewis encourages Charlotte’s work, especially her crusade to introduce fresh, appetizing, nutritious food to those convalescing in hospitals. But young hospital superintendent Dr. Joel Brooks is not convinced any changes should be made–especially by this outspoken young woman.

When Charlotte and Joel are coerced into planning a fund-raising gala for the hospital, will this combustible pair explode?

Follow the second Gregory sister as she looks for truelove and makes her way in a rapidly changing world in this breezy, lighthearted love triangle that will keep you guessing.


Lorna Seilstad is the author of When Love Calls and the Lake Manawa Summers series. A former high school English and journalism teacher, she has won several online writing contests and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Lorna lives in Iowa with her husband. Learn more at www.lornaseilstad.com.

*I received a copy of this book from Revell Reads in exchange for an honest review.

A Table by the Window by Hillary Manton Lodge [Review]

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Table by the Window — A Novel of Family Secrets and Heirloom Recipes by Hillary Manton Lodge

 

table by the window

About This Book

Heirloom recipes, family secrets…and a chance for love
 
The youngest heir to a French-Italian restaurant dynasty, food writer Juliette D’Alisa has spent her life negotiating her skill with words and her restaurant aspirations. When her brother Nico offers her a chance to open a restaurant together, she feels torn—does she really have what it takes? Should she risk leaving her journalism career?

After the death of her grandmother, Juliette discovers an antique photograph of a man who looks strikingly like her brother. As the truth behind the picture reveals romance and dark secrets, Juliette struggles to keep the mystery away from her nosy family until she can uncover the whole story.

Inspired by her grandmother’s evolving story, Juliette resolves to explore the world of online dating. To her surprise, she finds a kindred spirit in Neil McLaren, a handsome immunologist based in Memphis, Tennessee. With a long-distance relationship simmering, Juliette faces life-shifting decisions. How can she possibly choose between a promising culinary life and Neil, a man a world away in more ways than one? And is it possible her Grandmother’s story can help show the way?

My Review:

I loved so many things about this book. The family dynamic is outstanding, and their love for food is outmatched only by their love for each other. This book revolves around both food and family, and it is packed with excellent tips and recipes. The recipes feel very relaxed and honest, i.e. “This can take a bit, so have handy a book or your phone or your child or something,” or “Add some heavy cream (or don’t, if you prefer).” Each chapter begins with a quote from someone famous in the food world, whether it be Julia Child, James Beard, Anthony Bourdain, or Nora Ephron. The quotes are one of my very favorite parts of the book, and I found myself looking forward to each new chapter just to see the next quote! One of my favorites is this statement by the legendary James Beard, “Food is our common ground, a universal experience.” A Table by the Window includes a family history mystery, a bit of romance, family drama, and a lot of food. Family heritage is a strong theme throughout the story. While this book isn’t focused on spirituality, God is apparent in the story. The religious aspect feels very realistic, not over or under done, and I appreciate the seriousness with which the topic is approached. There are little things throughout the story that made me smile, including but not limited to the mention of one of my favorite movies, Stranger Than Fiction, and a recipe for a big part of the movie, Bavarian Sugar Cookies. I also really liked the mention of Ellie Holcomb (singer) and the details we are given when Juliette is getting ready for her date: we find out what makeup she puts on! The only thing I don’t love about this book is the way it ends. I think it deserves a stronger conclusion. Everything is not resolved, which is fine, but I feel like the story just got cut in half. There’s an excerpt of the sequel at the end, and it picks up exactly where this one leaves off…exactly as in the same conversation. I’m not sure how I feel about this yet. I think there may have been a better way to end this book and start the next. That being said, the sequel offers a promising plot and I very much look forward to reading it.

My favorite lines from A Table by the Window:

“…echoes are the loudest in empty spaces.”

“After a good dinner, one can forgive anybody, even one’s relatives.” –Oscar Wilde

“But I really love writing about food. The way I see it, you can spend hours—days, even—preparing a meal. You eat, you enjoy, but ultimately it’s gone and you’re left with the memories. I like to write about food to preserve it, to remember the experience. I think that writing about a meal makes it last forever.”

If you like reading stories about family and food, this book is definitely for you. However, I would also recommend this book to anyone who enjoys good fiction. A Table by the Window is engaging, well written, and honest. Don’t miss it!

You can read the first chapter (including a recipe) of A Table by the Window here!

The author created a Pinterest board for the book here! 

Praise for A Table by the Window

“Food writer Juliette D’Alisa adores her temperamental, trilingual family of restaurateurs, but she could do without their bossy skepticism of her online love interest who’s so unlike them. Rainy, windy Portland has never felt quite as warm as it does when Juliette navigates long-distance romance, career decisions, and a genealogical mystery. A delectable tale from Hillary Manton Lodge, A Table by the Window includes recipes that are like a warm welcome to the D’Alisa family table.”
—Meg Moseley, author of Gone South and When Sparrows Fall

“Warm, witty, and a culinary delight! Hillary Manton Lodge’s crisp writing reminds me of a vintage romantic comedy but with contemporary appeal as the story unfolds with perfect pacing and recipes to make you drool. More than once I found myself wishing I had a pastry chef in my own kitchen. Wonderfully romantic in all the best ways!”
—Carla Stewart, award-winning author of Chasing Lilacs and Sweet Dreams

“Not since Under the Tuscan Sun have I read a book that I both tasted and felt to such an enchanting degree. Author Hillary Manton Lodge has woven a captivating tale of one woman’s quest to discover not only herself, but the truths behind an old-world family legacy. With a touch of whimsy, the perfect helping of romance, and a hearty sprinkle of laugh-out-loud humor, A Table by the Window is a delight.”
—Joanne Bischof, award-winning author of the Cadence of Grace series

“An endearing, smart, must-read novel! A Table by the Window is a delicious tale that had me slowing down so I could savor it longer. Major props to Hillary Manton Lodge for not only taking me on a beautiful journey alongside Juliette, but for making a non-foodie like myself want to take up a new hobby.”
—Katie Ganshert, award-winning author of Wildflowers from Winter and Wishing on Willows

“Hillary Manton Lodge combines a perfect voice, endearing characters, and delectable recipes into a heart-winning story. A Table by the Window hooked me from the first page to the very last word. Bravo, Hillary!”
—Leslie Gould, best-selling and Christy Award–winning author

*I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.