Yes, I'm still reading books other than those sent to me to review. Let me tell you about a few:
One author whose books I am trying to read my way through is Lawana Blackwell. She wrote a trilogy called the Gresham Chronicles; one of which I have reviewed earlier. I recently read The Dowry of Miss Lydia Clark which is about a school teacher who lives in Gresham, the same village as the innkeeper in the last book. It is the story of her relationships with some of the boarders at the inn and some of the townspeople,and, as the reference to a dowry would imply, it is a romance. It is well-written and I enjoyed it.
Lawana Blackwell is from Baton Rouge Louisiana and either has some familiarity with southern Mississippi or did her research. A Table by the Window is about a young woman from California who inherits some property in southern Mississippi from a relative she never knew. This young woman's mother had been abusive/neglectful and she never knew any other family'; so to say that the inheritance surprised her was to say the least. She went to the small town with the idea of selling everything so she could get on with her life and ended up staying and opening a cafe. This is the story of her relationships with her relatives and the other people in the town. There is romance involved too. It is Christian fiction and this woman raised without faith finds it. My only gripe about the book is the ending. It is happy but too many things had to happen just right for it to end this way, and frankly, I thought it was contrived and unrealistic. Still, I enjoyed the book and it was fun seeing the names of places I knew, since I grew up in southern Mississippi.
A Bride Most Begrudging by Deeanne Gist is about an English lady who failed to get off a ship fast enough as it headed for America in 1643. One reason is because the captain figured he could get a good price for her as an indentured servant/bride and delayed her. Anyway, she is taken to Virginia and sold to a man who loses her in a card game to a man who doesn't want a wife. She of course is furious at her situation and even more furious when the law insists that the man who won her wed her or give her up to one who will. They are married, but live as brother and sister for some time. Eventually....This was a well-written detailed historical novel of the Christian type.
Tracie Peterson's A Lady of High Regard is about a young woman who lived in Philadelphia in the 1850's. Against convention, she gets a job writing for Gody's Lady Book, a popular magazine. She goes from writing about fashions and table settings to investigative reporting about the plight of the poor. Of course she has a romantic interest. The book was enjoyable, though nothing overly special.
Bygones by Kim Vogel Sawyer is about a woman who was raised in the Mennonite faith in a small Kansas town. She left the town as a young adult to marry a trucker, who soon thereafter was killed in an accident. She was left a widow to raise their unborn baby. She wanted to return home but her father turned her away. Now the baby is a young woman and a man (who happens to be an ex-sweetheart of her mom) shows up with the news that the only person in that town with whom Mom had kept up contact had died and left all her property, including a cafe, to the daughter, but with the stipulation that she had to live in the town for three months. Mom and daughter return to the town and, especially for the daughter, it is culture shock. The book is mainly the story of the mom and how she rediscovers her past and her faith. The book was pretty predictable but for a mindless read in the car with Dora blasting in the back seat, it was just about right.
I really enjoyed Gilbert Morris' The Dream which is set in a small Arkansas town during the Depression. It is about a preacher who came to town to preach a revival and stayed. Let's just say that he isn't a very conventional guy and stirs things up a bit. It is also the story of a family held together by a teenaged girl. Her mother is dead and her father is in jail for a crime he didn't commit. Her hobby is writing poetry and much of it is faith-based. This is a book about faith and how that faith translates into life. I highly recommend it.
Pure fluff, like most of her books, is how I'd describe Debbie Macomber's The Christmas Basket. It is about a couple who were high school sweethearts and broke up--but now it is ten years later. It is about two women, their mothers, who used to be best friends but who are now enemies. It is set at Christmas time. Put it all together and I'll bet you can guess how it ends.