Friday, November 2, 2018

A Southern Season Blog Tour | Review of Four Novellas + Book Giveaway

Welcome to the JustRead blog tour for A Southern Season, a new novella collection! Feel free to sit for a bit and learn more about the book, these authors, my thoughts, and a tour-wide giveaway. :) 

About the Book

Four seasons. Four stories. Each one set in the enchanting world of the South. These are the kinds of stories your grandmother told you from a front porch swing.

Ice Melts in Spring by Linda W. Yezak
When Kerry Graham's boss forces her to return to the Gulf of Mexico where her husband drowned years ago, she feels only spring's chill and not the warmth of the Texas sun. Can the joy of a reclusive author and the compassion of a shrimp-boat preacher thaw Kerry's frigid heart?

Lillie Beth in Summer by Eva Marie Everson 
With the untimely death of his wife, Dr. James Gillespie believes God has abandoned him. He also believes he's never met anyone like the young widow Lillie Beth, whose beloved Granny lies dying at home, and who sees a God who sweeps hope through a farmhouse window. Can a young woman whose husband died in Vietnam restore a faith that is all but dead?

Through an Autumn Window by Claire Fullerton 
Because her larger-than-life mother, Daphne Goodwyn, is dead, forty-year-old Cate returns to Memphis with one thought in mind: Something always goes wrong at a Southern funeral. But surrounded by the well-mannered society that raised her, the nostalgic rites of a three-day, autumn mourning bring the unexpected gift of the end of sibling rivalry.

A Magnolia Blooms in Winter by Ane Mulligan
With Broadway stardom within her reach, Morgan James returns home in winter to help an old friend. Maybe it s just nostalgia, but when she sees him again, an old flame rekindles. When she's called back to NYC to take the lead in a new musical, will fame be worth losing the man she loves?

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About the Authors

Eva Marie Everson (Lillie Beth in Summer) is a multiple award-winning author and speaker. She is the president of Word Weavers International and the director of Florida Christian Writers Conference and North Georgia Christian Writers Conference.

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Claire Fullerton (Through an Autumn Window) is the author of Mourning Dove, Dancing to an Irish Reel, and A Portal in Time. She is a transplanted Southerner from Memphis now living in Malibu, California.

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Ane Mulligan (A Magnolia Blooms in Winter) writes Southern-fried fiction served with a tall, sweet iced tea. She's an award-winning, multi-published novelist and playwright, who believes chocolate and coffee are two of the four major food groups.

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Linda W. Yezak (Ice Melts in Spring) lives with her husband and PB, the original scaredy cat, in a forest in Deep East Texas, where tall tales abound and exaggeration is an art form. Author of several novels, novellas, and short stories, she is best known for her award-winning Circle Bar Ranch series.

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My Review

This is quite a unique collection of novellas with a good amount of variety. Three of the stories feature some romance alongside other relationships, which I always enjoy! And three of the stories feature a contemporary setting, while the other is set during a time of somewhat recent history. I love the different seasons and when that theme is featured in literature, so that was also a plus for me.

Ice Melts in Spring by Linda W. Yezak: I've read another story by this author (Give the Lady a Ride), and I enjoy her style! This particular story has a lovely setting, a loyal dog, and an intriguing author character who has a lot of wisdom and lessons on love to impart to the main character. It's heavy on faith, light on romance. I didn't really get to know or care about the hero much, and the resolution felt a bit rushed. But I really liked the main character's journey, her honest questioning, and the mystery element to her current project.

Lillie Beth in Summer by Eva Marie Everson: This might be my favorite story of the bunch because it's so fascinating and has an unusual romance. Like with Linda, I've read another book by this author (Chasing Sunsets), and she's a great writer. This is the historical novella in the collection, set during the Vietnam War, and it has a bit of Christy flair. Again, I would say the romance resolves rather quickly...but it's tricky when the majority of the plot centers on a very short period of time. Still, it's sweet and pretty satisfying.

Through an Autumn Window by Claire Fullerton: This is the non-romance story, featuring a married couple but highlighting some quirky (yet relatable) family dynamics. The plot is a bit odd in that the whole focus is on a funeral (and all the other elements of laying a loved one to rest), and the starring relationship isn't really clear right away (unless you remember the back-cover description), especially with the various flashbacks. Again, everything feels resolved a bit too quickly and neatly; it's hard to imagine someone doing such an unexpected and fast about-face. The best part of the story is probably the descriptions; it's definitely a moody, vivid read.

A Magnolia Blooms in Winter by Ane Mulligan: This has got to be the cutest story in the collection! I really liked the main character, her mom, and the charming town she grew up in. The main plot about directing a play at her home church is fun to read, especially once the "villain" undergoes a few changes. ;) The romance tries to be a driving factor, but it doesn't feel like the main thing in most of the chapters, and the hero and heroine don't spend a ton of time together. The plot also tries to cover a lot of ground in the few pages allotted to it. Still, it's a fun and very sweet way to round out the collection.

A Southern Season doesn't really focus on swings, as the subtitle might suggest, but it definitely does a lovely job spotlighting a Southern flavor and the varying moods of the seasons. A lot of the stories seem to reach their happily-ever-afters a bit too easily, but I would say their strength is in their main characters. They'll surprise you sometimes, show you some hidden depths, and make you interested and invested in this season of their lives.

*With thanks to Firefly Southern Fiction through JustRead Publicity for providing me with a complimentary e-ARC of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are my own.*

Tour Giveaway!

One winner will receive a print copy of A Southern Season, signed by all four authors! (US only)

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight October 30, 2018 and last through 11:59 pm November 5, 2018. US only. Winner will be notified within a week of the close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

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Follow along at JustRead for a full list of tour stops!


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