Here are some excellent books I’ve read with plots that are driven by the heart:
- Mountain Laurel Christmas–a life loses its meaning without the most important pieces
- No Such Luck–sometimes, home has all the answers
- Shattered–losing everything she thought was important turned out to be not true
by Jan Sikes
Jan Sykes Mountain Laurel Christmas (RiJan Publishing 2021) is the feel good tale for the holiday season. It includes everything that epitomizes the holiday season from lost family found, unrequited talents, healing the spirit–all with a strong core of morals and family. From Amazon:
Orphaned, his family torn apart by tragedy, Cole Knight has come a long way from a ramshackle miner’s cabin on the side of the Cumberland Mountain.
Daring to follow an impossible dream, he’s made it big in the music business. Now, he’s a country music sensation with a huge house, fancy cars, plenty of willing women, money, and adoring fans. He should be on top of the world. Instead, he’s drowning in a swirling pool of self-contempt and relentless guilt.
It’s easier to lose himself in a bottle than face the hard truth…he hasn’t delivered on a promise he made to his father.
It’s almost Christmas, and the sting of failure drives him back to that tiny cabin in the mountains. But has he waited too late to put the shattered pieces back together—to find himself and restore a lost family?
It’s short but is every thing I’d want in a Christmas story. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to regain the holiday spirit or add to their own.
by Staci Troilo
When I started Staci Troilo’s No Such Luck (AIW Press 2021), the main character, Piper Seidel, was suspect. By that I mean, I wasn’t sure I’d like her. She has a best friend she hasn’t talked to in two years though he calls constantly. Her boss (the guy who signs her paycheck) is trying to get her attention and she refuses to answer him. No surprise–he fires her, but this isn’t the first time she’s been let go because she can’t get along with the people she works with. To assuage her damaged feelings, she goes home for the holidays to visit family and friends in the hometown where she grew up–a week early because she has nothing else to do–and finds there are solutions to her problems if she’ll just pay attention.
This is a heart-warming story, paced perfectly, with a good balance of action and romance to mimic real life. Turned out, what I thought would take a weekend to read took a night because I couldn’t put it down. Highly recommended for anyone who is holding onto false dreams and wants a fresh start.
by C. Lee McKenzie
I’m not a YA (Young Adult) reader, but I will read anything C. Lee McKenzie writes. Her stories are always about a teen faced with impossible situations that would defeat most of us–even most adults–except McKenzie shows us how to survive, even thrive.
In Shattered (Evernight Teen 2021), high school senior Libby Brown is a shoo-in for the US Olympics team until she’s run over by a snowboarder during a practice and paralyzed from her waist down. Now she must figure out how to move on with her life without being bitter for what she’s lost. Fear not. Though a traumatic situation, the story is upbeat with a positive message for recovery and renewal.:
“Prove to me that handicapped is just a word, not a punishing life sentence.”
“My sweet girl, you do not disappoint me. You only disappoint yourself.”
“Please let me sleep. Barring that, let me die and get out of here. Please.”
Did I mention the twist at the end? Completely unexpected and totally satisfying. Highly recommended
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction saga, Man vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also the author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Natural Selection, Spring 2022.