Monday, November 20, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? November 20, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's an opportunity to visit other blogs and to comment on their reads. And ... you can add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date. And here we are!


It's Thanksgiving week here in the US. I hope everyone has a wonderful day filled with family, friends, good food, and maybe some football. 

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you all have a good week. Happy reading!

What I'm currently reading

Wonder (Wonder #1)
by R.J. Palacio
I wanted to get this read before seeing the movie. Loving the book and I've heard good things about the movie.

The Good Daughter
by Karin Slaughter

What I recently finished

The Story of Arthur Truluv
by Elizabeth Berg
Another wonderful story by EB. My thoughts will be posted soon. 

Drawing Lessons
by Patricia Sands
Loved it! My thoughts will be posted soon. Be sure to enter my giveaway HERE to win a print copy from Patricia! 

What I am going to read next

A Fireproof Home for the Bride
by Amy Scheibe
This is my book club read for next week. Amy is a new-to-me author. Have you read this? 

I really love my reading life!

What are you reading this week?


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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Breaking and Holding by Judy Fogarty ~ My Thoughts


Breaking and Holding

Breaking and Holding by Judy Fogarty
Paperback and e-book, 366 pages
Published August 2nd 2016 by Lake Union Publishing

For Patricia Curren, the summer of 1978 begins with a devastating discovery: an unfamiliar black pearl button in the bed she shares with her controlling husband, Jack. Seeking the courage to end her desolate marriage, Patricia spends a quiet summer alone on beautiful Kiawah Island. But when she meets Terry Sloan, a collegiate tennis player trying to go pro, their physical attraction sparks a slow burn toward obsession.

Once Patricia and Terry share closely guarded secrets from their pasts, they want more than a summer together. But their love soon fractures, as a potential sponsor takes an unusually keen interest in Terry—both on court and off. And when single, career-driven Lynn Hewitt arrives, other secrets must surface, including the one Patricia has kept from Terry all summer.

An intimate portrait of the folly of the human heart, Breaking and Holding explores buried truths that are startlingly unveiled. What’s left in their wake has the power not only to shatter lives…but to redeem them.

My thoughts about Breaking and Holding ~

(I love to note the first lines of the books I'm reading. First lines can really grab a reader's attention and I love seeing where the author takes the reader after their first line.)

First line—"This isn't my story. It's Patricia's and Terry's. But in the summer of 1978, their lives were wound around mine like strands of twine around a spool. Twine. Rope. Barbed wire by August."

Okay, this book "had me at hello!" Well, there really wasn't a 'hello' but seriously, it had me hooked from the very first chapter. I read that first chapter, it grabbed me, and then I was blown away by the last sentence. I wanted more! I immediately clicked over to Amazon and bought it. Breaking and Holding moved to the top of my TBR list. Check out Chapter 1 HERE and see if you don't agree.

This is a story filled with fascinating characters leading complicated lives in intertwined relationships. Sometimes I wasn't sure who the 'good' guys were and who were the 'bad' guys. Maybe everyone was a little bit of both? It definitely made for interesting reading. Everybody, and everything, was so complicated and tied together. How were the relationships going to unwind and play out? Getting through it all was so worth it!

This is Judy's debut novel and she has created an amazing story. I am excited to see what she writes next.


About a month ago, Judy stopped by and answered my Voices question. Check it out HERE

About the author

Judy Fogarty

Judy Fogarty lives, writes, reads, and runs on the historic Isle of Hope in her native Savannah, Georgia. She holds a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance and Literature from the University of Illinois and has served as marketing director for private golf and tennis communities in the Savannah/Hilton Head area. She is a devoted—even rowdy—tennis fan, as anyone who has had the pleasure—or displeasure—of watching a professional match with her will attest.

Breaking and Holding is Judy's debut novel. She is happily at work on her second, enjoying as always the invaluable support of her husband, Mike, and children, Colin and Sara Jane.

Connect with Judy

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Newsletter


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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Book Spotlight Giveaway! Letters From Home by Kristina McMorris

I have sooooo many books! The Book Spotlight Giveaway feature that I post every Saturday is a way for me to clear my shelves and to share some of the many books I have. This feature is a way for my to cull my collection and to give someone else the opportunity to enjoy these treasures.


This week's book is one that I found I have two copies of, sitting on my bookshelves. That's what happens when one tries to organize—buried treasure! It's still on my TBR list but seriously, I don't need two copies, do I? And isn't this cover beautiful? 

Good luck and be sure to stop back next week!


Letters From Home

Letters From Home by Kristina McMorris
Paperback, 364 pages
Published February 22nd 2011 by Kensington Books 

Chicago, 1944. Liz Stephens has little interest in attending a USO club dance with her friends Betty and Julia. She doesn't need a flirtation with a lonely serviceman when she's set to marry her childhood sweetheart. Yet something happens the moment Liz glimpses Morgan McClain. They share only a brief exchange--cut short by the soldier's evident interest in Betty--but Liz can't forget him. Thus, when Betty asks her to ghostwrite a letter to Morgan, stationed overseas, Liz reluctantly agrees.

Thousands of miles away, Morgan struggles to adjust to the brutality of war. His letters from "Betty" are a comfort, their soul-baring correspondence a revelation to them both. While Liz is torn by her feelings for a man who doesn't know her true identity, Betty and Julia each become immersed in their own romantic entanglements. And as the war draws to a close, all three will face heart-wrenching choices, painful losses, and the bittersweet joy of new beginnings.

Beautifully rendered and deeply moving, Letters from Home is a story of hope and connection, of sacrifices made in love and war--and the chance encounters that change us forever.

About the author

Kristina McMorris

Kristina McMorris is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She's the recipient of more than twenty national literary awards, as well as nominations for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, RWA’s RITA® Award, and a Goodreads Choice Award for Best Historical Fiction. Inspired by true personal and historical accounts, her works of fiction have been published by Kensington Books, Penguin Random House, and HarperCollins. 

The Edge of Lost is her fourth novel, following the widely praised Letters from Home, Bridge of Scarlet Leaves, and The Pieces We Keep. Additionally, her novellas are featured in the anthologies A Winter Wonderland and Grand Central. Prior to her writing career, Kristina hosted weekly TV shows since age nine, including an Emmy® Award-winning program, and has been named one of Portland's "40 Under 40" by The Business Journal. She lives with her husband and two sons in the Pacific Northwest, where she is working on her next novel

Connect with Kristina


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Friday, November 17, 2017

As the Snow Fell by Deanna Lynn Sletten ~ My Thoughts and a Giveaway!


As the Snow Fell

As the Snow Fell: A Lake Harriet Novel by Deanna Lynn Sletten
E-book, 207 pages
Expected publication: November 21st 2017 by Deanna Lynn Sletten

A Lake Harriet Novel

In the charming Lake Harriet neighborhood in Minneapolis, MN, where we first met Kristen, Ryan, and their beloved dog, Sam, in Walking Sam, we meet another couple who are struggling to find true love.

Mallory Dawson is planning the winter wedding of her dreams. She’s found a wonderful man to share her life with and is looking forward to a promising future together. But one month before her wedding, she runs into the man she once loved who she hasn’t seen in ten years. Soon, her entire life is turned upside down.

James Gallagher fled to California ten years ago to start over after the love of his life, Mallory, refused to marry him. But when his dad passes away and his mother becomes ill, he returns home to help run the family business. Seeing Mallory again brings a flood of memories back, and he begins to wonder what his life would have been like if he hadn’t left.

Will the wedding go on or will fate play a hand in Mallory's happily ever after?

My thoughts about As the Snow Fell ~~

(I love to note the first lines of the books I'm reading. First lines can really grab a reader's attention and I love seeing where the author takes the reader after their first line.)

First line—"Mallory Dawson shivered as she and her friends stepped out into the crisp Minnesota night onto the well-lit street. She clutched her wool coat close to ward off the dampness as she gazed up at the sky."

As the Snow Fell takes us back to the enchanting neighborhood of Lake Harriet where we met Kristen, Ryan, and Sam in the first book of this series, Walking Sam. Once again, Deanna has filled one of her stories with warm, wonderful characters that you can't help but come to love. And the dog, Brewster—there's always a dog—will warm your heart.

Mallory and James were pretty serious about each other ten years ago, until James ran away from their relationship. They both moved on with their lives and supposedly got over each other. And then .... they run into each other again, ten years later. Mallory is engaged to be married and James seems to be happy working in the family business.

I was really rooting for Mallory and James to get back together but I kept thinking, maybe it isn't going to happen. I kept wavering back and forth, never sure which way it was going to end. Their relationship woes and the incredible chemistry between the two of them really captured my heart and made me want to keep reading.

Deanna's stories are always ones that I can just escape into—where I can just put the rest of the world aside for a little bit. And I love that this one is set around Christmas time. It is the perfect story to read right now!

Preorder Links:

Coming soon to audiobook!

Be sure to enter Deanna's giveaway
for a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Hurry, it ends November 21st! 

About the author

Deanna Lynn Sletten writes heartwarming women's fiction and romance novels with unforgettable characters. She has also written one middle-grade novel that takes you on the adventure of a lifetime. She began her writing career self-publishing in 2012 and has since published several novels. Her next novel will be published in June 2017 by Lake Union Publishing. Deanna believes in fate, destiny, love at first sight, soul mates, second chances, and happily ever after, and her novels reflect that.

Deanna is married and has two grown children. When not writing, she enjoys walking the wooded trails around her home with her beautiful Australian Shepherd or relaxing in the boat on the lake in the summer.

Connect with Deanna

Website | Blog | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter


Be sure to check the sidebar for my current giveaways!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Gratitude Giveaway Hop!

November 15th to 30th

Thanks and gratitude go out to Mary @ Bookhounds for hosting this wonderful hop! This hop is a way for us bloggers to say "Thank You!" to our followers.

I love reading and blogging and I am having the time of my life!

So as a way to thank you, over 50 blogs are participating in this hop. There are some wonderful things you could win. All you have to do is follow The Book Bag to win here! 

Enter the rafflecopter here and then check out all the other blogs for more fabulous prizes!

This giveaway is for any book of your choice, up to $15 from either Amazon (US) or The Book Depository, (INT) if they deliver to your country. Winners have 48 hours to respond to an email or another winner will be selected.

Now start hopping!


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Drawing Lessons by Patricia Sands, Voices, and a Giveaway!


Drawing Lessons

Drawing Lessons by Patricia Sands 
Print and e-book, 354 pages
Published October 1st 2017 by Lake Union Publishing

The author of the Love in Provence series returns to the South of France with a poignant portrait of a woman who must learn how to create a new life for herself…

Sixty-two-year-old Arianna arrives in the South of France for a two-week artists’ workshop full of anticipation but burdened by guilt. Back home in Toronto, she has been living with the devastating diagnosis of her husband’s dementia and the heartbreak of watching the man she has loved for decades slip away before her eyes. What does her future hold without Ben? Before her is a blank canvas.

Encouraged by her family to take some time for herself, she has traveled to Arles to set up her easel in the same fields of poppies and sunflowers that inspired Van Gogh. Gradually, she rediscovers the inner artist she abandoned long ago. Drawing strength from the warm companionship and gentle wisdom of her fellow artists at the retreat—as well as the vitality of guest lecturer Jacques de Villeneuve, an artist and a cowboy—Arianna searches her heart for permission to embrace the life in front of her and, like the sunflowers, once again face the light.

I am so excited to have Patricia here today! I am reading her book Drawing Lessons right now and I am loving everything about it. I love being in France, living vicariously through her characters as they enjoy the scenery, food, and new friendships in Provence. 

Patricia agreed to answer my 'Voices' question and she's letting me give away a print copy of her wonderful book.Yay!! Someone is going to be so lucky to be able to add this to their bookshelf! 


I have heard other authors say that they 'hear voices in their head' and that is how they write their books: the characters are telling their stories. Not being a writer myself, that concept has always intrigued me. 

When some people hear voices, we get them medical attention, others end up becoming writers. Does this happen to you? How do you come up with your stories?

Susan, your comment is hilarious. It's true though, as our stories develop the characters we are creating come to life and often direct part of what happens in the story. I didn't believe it until I began writing, just 8 years ago.

Another important aspect to my stories, is location. I like readers to feel they have taken a trip when they read my books and that's a comment I often hear. My photography also plays a big part in helping me develop my stories.

One of the cool side effects of writing stories set in the south of France is that I now lead trips there for women only, from time to time. The groups are no greater than sixteen and we always have an amazing time. There are photos from some of the trips on my website on the "Travel" page. 

Thanks so much for inviting me to visit with you. And thanks so much for all you do for book lovers ... readers and writers!

Thank you, Patricia! And you can get Patricia's beautiful pictures in a calendar for next year. Her annual South of France calendar is available for order right now for $30 (that includes postage) at, payable by Paypal or credit card. Orders close November 30.

About the author

Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada, when she isn't somewhere else, and calls the south of France her second home. She is the award-winning author of The Bridge Club and the best-selling Love in Provence trilogy. Her fifth novel, Drawing Lessons which is also set in the south of France, was released by Lake Union Publishing on October 1, 2017.

Find out more at Patricia’s Facebook Author Page, Amazon Author Page or her website. There are links to her books, social media, and a monthly newsletter that has special giveaways, photography from France, and sneak peeks at her next book. She loves hearing from readers.

Follow her on Instagram @patricialsands for fabulous photography. Her annual South of France calendar is available for order at, payable by Paypal or credit card.

Represented by Pamela Harty of The Knight Agency.

Connect with Patricia

Click on the pictures to learn more about Patricia's book from Goodreads. The Bridge Club is going on my TBR list, for sure! 


Be sure to check the sidebar for all of my current giveaways!

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