Voices & Votes: Democracy in America

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Secrets of My Heart (Peterson)

Portland, Oregon, 1879. Nancy Pritchard finds herself a widow with a world of problems when her deceased husband's schemes start to come to light. As she searches through the pieces of her loveless marriage, Nancy realizes there is a lot that she didn't know about this man. Seth Carpenter is a childhood friend of Nancy's who has recently returned to Portland. He's delighted to see her again, and as a lawyer, he is able to help her sort through the legal aspects of her husband's death. But there's more to him than meets the eye, and his job will take him into a darker side of Nancy's life--a side she didn't even know existed. As they search for the truth behind her husband's death, their attraction to each other creates complications, and the threat to Nancy increases. Can Seth be honest with her about who he really is and why he's come to Portland? And can Nancy bear another betrayal?

Big Summer (Weiner)

Six years after the fight that ended their friendship, Daphne Berg is shocked when Drue Cavanaugh walks back into her life, looking as lovely and successful as ever, with a massive favor to ask. Daphne hasn’t spoken one word to Drue in all this time—she doesn’t even hate-follow her ex-best friend on social media—so when Drue asks if she will be her maid-of-honor at the society wedding of the summer, Daphne is rightfully speechless. Drue was always the one who had everything—except the ability to hold onto friends. Meanwhile, Daphne’s no longer the same self-effacing sidekick she was back in high school. She’s built a life that she loves, including a growing career as a plus-size Instagram influencer. Letting glamorous, seductive Drue back into her life is risky, but it comes with an invitation to spend a weekend in a waterfront Cape Cod mansion. When Drue begs and pleads and dangles the prospect of cute single guys, Daphne finds herself powerless as ever to resist her friend’s siren song. A sparkling novel about the complexities of female friendship, the pitfalls of living out loud and online, and the resilience of the human heart, Big Summer is a witty, moving story about family, friendship, and figuring out what matters most.

If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won't) (White)

Drawing from a lifetime of lessons learned, seven-time Emmy winner Betty White's wit and wisdom take center stage as she tackles topics like friendship, romantic love, aging, television, fans, love for animals, and the brave new world of celebrity. If You Ask Me mixes her thoughtful observations with humorous stories from a seven- decade career in Hollywood. Longtime fans and new fans alike will relish Betty's candid take on everything from her rumored crush on Robert Redford (true) to her beauty regimen ("I have no idea what color my hair is and I never intend to find out") to the Facebook campaign that helped persuade her to host Saturday Night Live despite her having declined the hosting job three times already. Featuring all-new material, with a focus on the past fifteen years of her life, If You Ask Me is funny, sweet, and to the point-just like Betty White.

The Moonlight School (Woods)

Haunted by her sister's mysterious disappearance, Lucy Wilson arrives in Rowan County, Kentucky, in the spring of 1911 to work for Cora Wilson Stewart, superintendent of education. When Cora sends Lucy into the hills to act as scribe for the mountain people, she is repelled by the primitive conditions and intellectual poverty she encounters. Few adults can read and write. Born in those hills, Cora knows the plague of illiteracy. So does Brother Wyatt, a singing schoolmaster who travels through the hills. Involving Lucy and Wyatt, Cora hatches a plan to open the schoolhouses to adults on moonlit nights. The best way to combat poverty, she believes, is to eliminate illiteracy. But will the people come? As Lucy emerges from a life in the shadows, she finds purpose; or maybe purpose finds her. With purpose comes answers to her questions, and something else she hadn't expected: love.

2021 Carol Awards

The Carol Awards have been given each year since 2002 to recognize the best Christian fiction published in the previous calendar year.  The award is given by the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) group, which according to their webpage, is "a professional organization devoted to the craft of Christian Fiction." The award is named for renowned fiction advocate and editor Carol Johnson, and is given in 11 categories, which are:

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour (Matson)

“Tomorrow will be better.” “But what if it’s not?” I asked. “Then you say it again tomorrow. Because it might be. You never know, right? At some point, tomorrow will be better.”

Starsight - Skyward #2 (Sanderson)

“You know the worst part about being in charge, Spin?” “No, sir.” “Perspective. When you’re young, you can assume that everyone older than you has life figured out. Once you get command yourself, you realize we’re all just the same kids wearing older bodies.”

Meet Me on Love Lane (Bocci)

I was crying happy tears as I finished this. What a perfect example of a childhood friends-to-lovers/ kinda second chance romance. Hands down, my heart hasn’t felt this full and melted in a while.

Flight (Alexie)

Flight is a story about a half-Native American foster kid, who has named himself after his face ache. “Zits,” has struggled through the foster system since he was eight years old. He feels angry, betrayed, and alone.

Mary Poppins (Travers)

It was quite enjoyable to revisit the Mary Poppins of my youth anew through the P.L. Travers novel, which I never read as a child. I found many of the same lovable characters and stories I remembered from the Disney movie, as well as even more wonderfully funny, ironic, and whimsical adventures.

Be Careful What You Wish For (Archer)

Book 4 of the Clifton Chronicles picks up right where book 3 left off...sadly I read book 3 in 2016. Why did I not continue with the series then, I don’t know, and I wish I had as, although the characters are all familiar to me, I can’t really remember their stories and entirely how we got to where we are now.