Two Legacies: Amelia and Carlotta

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! Thanks for stopping by my blog. Today, I have a special treat planned, so you might want to stick around til the end. Don’t cheat and skip there already. You’re going to need to know a thing or two I’ve included in this post.

My excitement level increases with each day we draw closer to the release of the third book in the Legacy series. I loved writing this book. Since we still have two months until the official release date, I’m going to occupy myself with Legacy-related posts.

Note: Before you read any further, I want to apologize for the number of times I’ve repeated the word legacy. Maybe it will be less distracting if I used [L]. So every time you see [L] you’ll know what it means. 🙂

A legacy is what is left or willed to someone after death. It’s also a memory or a life change because of something that happened in the past. For instance, women’s lives changed due to the legacy of the early suffragists.

In book one of my [L] series, the [L] may seem to be what Amelia Woods Sanderson left to her granddaughter, Nancy. Yes, the inheritance was quite substantial, but there was more to that story.

Amelia was a schemer. This aspect of her personality served her well in the business world, but less so in the personal realm. She had a life laid out for her granddaughter that Nancy chaffed at and resisted with all her energy. Further complicating things, was the fact that Nancy, orphaned at the age of six, had never felt loved by her grandmother.

Amelia’s aloofness was a symptom of her great losses in life.

The lesson Nancy learned was this: Regardless of her problematic nature, Grandmother knew a thing or two about life. She would be long remembered for more than the fortune she left behind.

In book one, Amelia’s death released the [L]. In book two, the title’s [L] character, Carlotta, did not die. Instead, her life—her daily witness—changed her daughter-in-law Rebecca’s life.

Readers of Amelia’s Legacy will remember Rebecca Lewis, Nancy’s best friend (and sometimes partner-in-crime). As the main character in book two, Rebecca must learn to live a different sort of life after marrying into an aristocratic Umbrian family. But they aren’t like other aristocrats. Carlotta puts on an apron and works alongside her servants in the kitchen.

Carlotta at 18

The woman has the servant’s attitude down. Her Roman Catholic roots have taught her to serve and give to others. You wouldn’t know that when you first meet her. She is quite resistant to the idea of an American daughter-in-law, especially one whose father gambled away his fortune.

After getting to know Rebecca’s mother, and a bit about the girl’s early life, Carlotta’s cold facade begins to melt. Rebecca’s attitude of humility, coupled with a willingness to learn, crumbles the last of the older woman’s resolve.

What Rebecca gained in Umbria, living with the Alvera family, was an organic [L] that would serve her well in years to come. She’d pass on the servant’s heart, love, and humility to an Emerson in book three, and she doesn’t have to die to do it.

So, now that you’ve made it through all that, you may be wondering what the “treat” is–I’m giving away a $10 gift card! Just leave me a comment on this blog post and let me know you’d like to be included in the drawing. Also include in your comment the word I left out in the blog post. Here’s a hint: [L].

The prize will be winner’s choice of an Amazon gift card, or a Starbucks gift card. Now, don’t forget, you have to include two things in your comment!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Frozen Notes – A Book Review

coffee, cup, laptop, memeHello! It’s Thursday Morning!

Well, it’s actually Wednesday as I’m working on this. When I realized that tomorrow is Thursday, and I had not finished reviewing that book I told you about last week.

First of all, let me say that I am a fan of author, Fay Lamb. I love her books. So, I was excited to find a new one (even though I somehow skipped one in the series). So, here are my impressions, and a short review — no spoilers (I hope)!

The setting: Amazing Grace, a fictional town in North Carolina, is a place I’d love to visit, if it existed.

The book’s cover: You don’t often see a black-and-white cover. But when you get into the story, you understand why. The main character’s life has lost color, meaning, she’s even lost faith.

I actually started reading this book on Kindle until the paperback arrived in the mail. I couldn’t resist opening it. There’s something so special about a brand new book in your hands, especially a page-turner like this one.

Oh, the delicious characters that populate the little town of Amazing Grace in Frozen Notes. Some rather seedy, others ruthless and just plain mean. Some, who are scratching like mad to get out of the pit they’ve gotten themselves into.

What wonderful names they have–Lyric, and Balaam, Magda. As you’re still getting to know these characters, they show off like peacocks, but they’re not displaying beauty. Instead, we see their humanity in all of its broken glory. I was not repulsed, however. Instead, I was drawn into their imperfect stories, and led to hope their struggles would end well.

Questions wrestled my attention from the start. Would Lyric play her music again? Will this family find some semblance of balance, or will they always be at odds with one another? It seems almost as if Fay Lamb sets up most of them to fail. They all have rough backgrounds, and broken beginnings. The book starts with a double homicide. Rather overwhelming odds, I’d say.

But I never felt overwhelmed, because there was always that glimmer of hope shining through. And so many of these characters longed for real and lasting love, but hadn’t achieved it, and didn’t really know how to go about getting it. Most of all, I wanted a real, and lasting love for Lyric’s son, who wanted a father so badly. A real one, who would stay, be kind to him, and love him for who he was.

Can Lyric forgive those who have hurt her so deeply, including the pain she has inflicted on herself? As I read, I’m pulling for Balaam, whose stunning looks could almost make you forget how far from grace he’s fallen.

Like real life, this story travels through some tumultuous days, when hope takes a nose dive. But strengths are honed in the worst of times. Those characters who’ve set their hearts and minds on overcoming, will triumph in the end. And if you’re a fan of happy endings, this author has given you her best.

This is no sweet love story, though you may find sweetness and love threaded throughout. For those who like a meatier kind of romance, that doesn’t hide ugliness and pain, doesn’t filter reality through rosy glasses, Frozen Notes fills that bill well.

I’m giving this one five stars and keeping it around to re-read when I have time to savor every detail.

Now, if you were here last week, you may remember I told you there would be a giveaway attached to this review. If you’d like to win a free copy of Frozen Notes, either the Kindle version, or print version–winner’s choice–leave me a comment below and let me know you’d like a chance to win.

Just my way of saying thank you for stopping by my blog!

Click to Tweet: Hello! Thursday Morning, read a five-star review of Fay Lamb’s Frozen Notes. #Suspense #giveaway


More about Frozen Notes, Amazing Grace, Book 4

Lyric Carter’s dreams of fame and fortune in a rock band ended the day Balaam Carter left to pursue their dreams without her. When Balaam’s brother promised to love and protect Lyric and to love her son, Cade—his brother, Balaam’s child—as his own, she believed him. But Braedon turned her dreams into a nightmare by killing Balaam’s best friend, turning the gun on himself, and placing Lyric in the middle of a criminal investigation that could leave her and Cade dead.

Balaam Carter’s every dream has come true, but he’s living in a nightmare of addiction and regret. The famous rock star would give everything he has to return to the girl he once held in his arms—back when his only crime was running moonshine for his father. Now, he’s seeking redemption for all the destruction his dreams have brought to the people he loves.

No one said the road to recovery would be easy, but Balaam is also desperate to protect Lyric and the little boy he left behind from a state full of drug lords who believe Lyric has the evidence that will tumble their lucrative cartels. Balaam’s continued sobriety, his natural ability for finding his way out of trouble, and his prayers to God above for the strength to never let them down again are all that he has to protect Lyric and his son, and still, he doesn’t know if he’s up for the task.

Read A Book – The Revisionary

As far as titles go, this one’s probably not perfect, but you can read it two ways. Past tense – I read a book, or it can be taken as a command: Read a book!

Either way, I’ve just finished reading a book. You might say I stepped out of my “comfort” genre a little on this one. The Revisionary by Kristen Hogrefe, is a dystopian novel. If you’re not familiar with the word, the dictionary describes it as:

…relating to or denoting an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one.

A dystopian novel explores social and political structures in a dark, nightmare world.

Hmm…some of you may not like the sound of that. But Hogrefe’s novel has an inner light shining. The world she created promises that light will come. In this first novel of the series, the promise is dim, the light far away. But the evidence is there—you want to go after it. Like that thin thread of romance she dangled in front of me. Just enough to keep me wondering. And guessing.

train, locomotiveThis dystopian world is real as we see it through nineteen-year-old Portia Abernathy’s eyes. I feel her pain and fear, sense the ebb and flow of hope as she struggles through her difficult but sometimes chosen circumstances. She’s a brave young woman who sets out to rescue her older brother, but may end up helping to save her world and gain her own redemption in the process. These are all my assumptions as I read (present tense) this book.

document, parchment, billInto the mix, Hogrefe supplied tempting morsels of our own national history. She made me want to go back and read the constitution and bill of rights. She helped me remember important facets from our glorious past. Let’s not take our present freedoms for granted.

I won’t go into too much detail or add spoilers here. Instead, I’ve included the author’s book blurb below.

So, why would you want to read a story about a nightmare world that has lost important things like personal freedom and electricity, whose leaders seek to keep many in darkness, and enslaved? Because, in the end, it’s entertaining and quite interesting. Those of you who read (past tense) and/or watched those other dystopians will be pleased to find this one, especially if you’re a fan of clean/inspirational fiction. Action, adventure, suspense, and plenty of drama! I give it five stars.

The Revisionary is Young Adult (YA) fiction, written in first person, like other popular series–The Hunger Games and the Divergent trilogy. The end of the story left me yearning to know what happens next.

FREE BOOK! If you were here last week, you’ll remember I promised a giveaway! Read the information about the book (below), and if you’re interested in winning a copy — either paperback or Kindle — please let me know in the comments section. I’ll announce the winner here next Thursday Morning!

CLICK TO TWEET: The end of the story left me yearning to know what happens next. #TheRevisionary reviewed. #YA


THE REVISIONARY by Kristen Hogrefe

A Revisionary rewrites the rules. A Rogue breaks them. Which one is she? Nineteen-year-old Portia Abernathy accepts her Revisionary draft to the Crystal Globe with one goal: earn a Dome seat so she can amend the satellite rules and rescue her brother. Her plan derails when Head Gage Eliab brands her as a suspect in a campus Rogue attack, and in a quest to clear her name, she questions if the vigilante Brotherhood responsible might be fighting for a cause greater than itself, a cause championed by the last civilization. But the current leaders have obscured history’s pages, and if she dares to engage the past through her training technology, they might wipe her own memory as well. Her shifting loyalties pit her against Luther Danforth, her Court Citizen ally who believes in reform, not revolution. Joining the Brotherhood makes a future with him impossible—and Portia must decide if it’s better to rewrite the rules or to break them.


Kristen Hogrefe is a young adult fiction author and teacher. Her books include The Revisionary (Write Integrity Press) and the Wings of the Dawn trilogy. She has written for a variety of publications and blogs regularly at kristenhogrefe.com where she challenges young adults and the young at heart to think truthfully and live daringly. A few of her favorite things are coffee, sunshine, and good books—and she loves sharing them with friends.

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