Showing posts with label Tammy L. Gray. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tammy L. Gray. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Review: Until I Knew Myself by Tammy L. Gray


Book One in the Bentwood series

Heidi Reads... Until I Knew Myself by Tammy L. Gray

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

http://www.amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.comhttp://www.goodreads.com

Synopsis

RITA Award-winning author Tammy L. Gray delivers an unforgettable new series following five struggling friends in search of the true meaning of family through secrets, betrayal and the unexpected influence of an outsider…

Tyler Mitchell grew up an orphan, taken in by his best friend’s family when he was only sixteen. Even though ten years have passed, and he’s been given everything he should ever want—a loving home, an adoring girlfriend, a successful career, and lifelong friendships—Tyler has always felt a foreigner in his own life.

When a surprising phone call reveals the death of his biological grandfather, Tyler’s seemingly perfect life starts to unravel. The people he loves most in world have kept from him the greatest secret of all—knowledge of his father’s family.

Now hunting for more information about his past, Tyler discovers nothing is quite as it seems. And the definition of family is far more complicated than choosing between blood and loyalty.


My Review

When I started this book I felt like I just jumped in the deep end of the angst-filled drama of fractured relationships. The author did a great job of making it easy to quickly get to know the various personalities in the once tight-knit group of friends, but it took me longer to feel connected to them and invested in their high-strung emotions. It did come, surprisingly with the inclusion of Caroline, a newcomer to the town and family business. She was my favorite character by far, probably because of the peace and rest her presence and friendship gives Tyler from the chaos of his thoughts. It also changed the dynamic of the tone of the book which was becoming a bit dark for me, and the upswing re-energized my interest and her new perspective was refreshing.

The connection between Tyler and Journey is palpable and even though they spend the majority of the book on rocky ground, I loved the concern they continually felt for each other and interest in each other's welfare. They each had growing to do that happened independently, and painful as it was, they come together stronger than ever because of it. There is a strong message of the importance of friendship and family loyalty, especially for the families we build ourselves. By the end I couldn't put the book down and I can't wait to see where the stories of the friends will lead in the rest of the series.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)



Check out the next book in the Bentwood series . . .

Book Two
https://amzn.to/2vOqXQD

(coming July 2018)

http://www.amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.comhttp://www.goodreads.com

Synopsis

Nine years to win her. Three years to love her. And one decision that destroyed it all.

April Duncan was raised with three clear truths: the family name is absolute, ambition and success rule over every emotion, and love always comes with strings attached. Image was everything in her carefully crafted world... until the mirror cracked.

Sean Taylor was April's best friend, the one man who taught her it was okay to let her guard down and to rely on someone. She trusted him. She loved him. Which made his deception the darkest kind of cruelty.

Now, nearly a year later, she’s ready to leave her failed engagement in the past and get back her life and her estranged family, even if it means dating a man solely for his connections. She’ll never again choose love over loyalty.

Sean has spent his entire life breaking barriers, facing challenges, and never giving up. Until one impossible choice destroyed his future and left him no option but to flee from the woman who annihilated his heart.

Now he’s back in Bentwood and determined to make her hear the truth and rebuild the trust he shattered. But April has become a mere shell of the woman who claimed his heart long ago.

Winning her back is more than just seizing a victory, because if he fails… the girl he’s loved for a lifetime will disappear forever.

The Truth Between Us is the second book in the Bentwood series. Each book can be read as a standalone, but it is recommended that you begin with book one to get the full experience among this tight group of family and friends.


Friday, July 14, 2017

Review: My Unexpected Hope by Tammy L. Gray



  Heidi Reads... My Unexpected Hope by Tammy L. Gray

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

http://www.amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.comhttp://www.barnesandnoble.comhttp://www.bookdepository.comhttp://www.goodreads.com

Synopsis

After a year of grieving her divorce and living a life permanently stuck on pause, Laila Richardson is finally ready to have her own happy ending. Then a listing for a quaint cottage in another town answers her prayers for a fresh beginning—one that will bring her closer to her new boyfriend, Ben. Unfortunately, in her small town of Fairfield, Georgia, letting go of the past is virtually impossible. No one wants to see her move on, including the man who destroyed her heart to begin with.

Chad Richardson has spent years in misery but finally has his life on somewhat stable ground. When he learns his ex-wife is dating, he knows it’s time to go back and fight for the life he abandoned. Bolstered by his newfound sobriety, Chad has every intention of winning back the woman he loves, even if that means facing old demons that are waiting for him to fail.

Passions run deep as two souls searching for a second chance find the courage to let go of old patterns. Can they recognize that their dreams are still possible, even when forged from a broken past?


My Review

This is a great follow up novel to My Hope Next Door. I highly recommend reading that book first.  In both books there is a powerful theme of redemption and forgiveness. There is a trio of friends who have promised loyalty to each other since childhood, and they grow into adulthood together with neglectful or dysfunctional families as the result of addiction and substance abuse. Katie and Chad have been best friends and understand the darkness in each other, and Laila is Chad's girlfriend and love of his life. Katie and Chad fall into the cycle of substance abuse, and the first book shows Katie's path out of addiction and into a new life with God as the center. This book continues where that one left off, and tells Chad's story of recovery and his struggle to win Laila back when she starts to make a new life for herself. While there are dark and heavy issues explored, there is a current of hope that emerges as Laila and Chad begin to finally communicate and share long-held secrets. It takes time to build trust again, and I was rooting for them even when they were too discouraged in themselves. Plenty of angst and drama, but also romantic moments and sweet fun interactions as the two soul mates find their way back to each other and themselves despite overwhelming obstacles.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)

Don't miss my interview with author Tammy L. Gray here!

Check out the first book in the series, My Hope Next Door 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Interview with Tammy L. Gray, author of My Unexpected Hope


Today I get to share an interview with Tammy L. Gray, an author of contemporary romance that I really enjoy reading! Isn't it fun getting to know more about authors? :) First, check out her new book My Unexpected Hope . . .

 http://amzn.to/2tKYEAb

http://www.amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.comhttp://www.barnesandnoble.comhttp://www.bookdepository.comhttp://www.goodreads.com

Synopsis

After a year of grieving her divorce and living a life permanently stuck on pause, Laila Richardson is finally ready to have her own happy ending. Then a listing for a quaint cottage in another town answers her prayers for a fresh beginning—one that will bring her closer to her new boyfriend, Ben. Unfortunately, in her small town of Fairfield, Georgia, letting go of the past is virtually impossible. No one wants to see her move on, including the man who destroyed her heart to begin with.

Chad Richardson has spent years in misery but finally has his life on somewhat stable ground. When he learns his ex-wife is dating, he knows it’s time to go back and fight for the life he abandoned. Bolstered by his newfound sobriety, Chad has every intention of winning back the woman he loves, even if that means facing old demons that are waiting for him to fail.

Passions run deep as two souls searching for a second chance find the courage to let go of old patterns. Can they recognize that their dreams are still possible, even when forged from a broken past?


And now, here's Tammy!


Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I grew up in a military family and traveled around a lot when I was a kid. I went to fourteen different schools and really found my place within the library walls. Books were a great companionship no matter where I lived. I guess that’s why I’ve always loved story so much. When I got older, I put aside my story telling days and became an engineer. I spent 8 ½ years in the Air Force and then another year and a half as a civilian doing pretty much the same job, just out of uniform.

In 2008, my husband went into full time ministry and I decided it was time for me to stay home with my two kids (one on the way) and support his calling. It’s been a beautiful journey as a pastor’s wife. In 2012, I really felt God’s call to write a book about self-esteem and how God loves the imperfect, like myself. I never knew it would turn into a career, but I love how God gave me a ministry and a passion all in one.  

That’s probably more information than you wanted!

What do you do besides writing?

Since I’m a pastor’s wife and full time mommy of three very busy kids, I spend a lot of my non-writing time chauffeuring kids around to school and extra-curricular activities, participating in church events and trying to maintain a somewhat functional home. When I’m not “on duty,” I really do enjoy reading. It’s my go-to activity and often a reward after a long day.

Do you have images you can share that come close to how you picture your characters? Do you like to find visual inspiration for your characters before or during your writing process?

I typically don’t look for images on my characters. I find it stifles me a little. Sometimes after the book is written and I know their individual personalities, I might think of an actor/actress to play them if the book were a movie. But really, I like to let the readers paint their own picture; after all, it’s their world too.

What are some songs that you listened to or inspired you while writing your book?

I was writing My Hope Next Door when Hello by Adele came out. Every time I heard the lyrics, I thought of Chad and Laila, and his homecoming scene on their front porch. I was so eager, I had to force myself to finish the book I was writing before I started this one.

What message would you like readers to ultimately take away from the book?

My Unexpected Hope is a story of second chances and reconciliation. While most of your readers may not suffer from an addiction, I imagine they’ve known someone who has. Or even struggled themselves with something in their life that wasn’t positive. So often, we want to give up, or count ourselves a failure. We wrestle with why we can’t overcome this one thing in our lives, and yet return to it over and over again. It’s for those moments that I wrote this book.

There is a line in the book that says, You can try and fight, and maybe even sometimes succeed, but without faith, you cannot call it freedom. It’s simply bondage on hold.

I wanted to show there was a pathway out of bondage, but I also wanted to be authentic and real, because that journey is not easy. It takes time and work and an incredible amount of prayer.

The beautiful thing, though, is God is the God of reconciliation, so I stayed focused on His promises, and slowly the story began to evolve. And with it, I felt healing and renewal, and I hope my readers will as well.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

What can we look forward to coming from you in the future?

I’m super excited about 2018 when I will launch a brand new series set just outside of Austin, Texas. This series will be a little different from my others because the characters are professionals in their twenties trying find direction and purpose in their life.

There will be at least three books in the series and it focuses on a group of five dysfunctional friends who slowly learn the loving grace of Christ through an outsider.

The inspiration for this series comes from this verse in Matthew 13:

“He also asked, ‘What else is the Kingdom of God like? It is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.’”  Matthew 13: 20-21 NLT

More to come, but I expect the first book to launch in February!

Thank you so much Tammy! 

My Unexpected Hope is now available and the digital price is a steal at $3.99 (and FREE for Kindle Unlimited subscribers)! Don't miss it!



Tuesday, September 13, 2016

#TackleTBR Daily Update - Day 1

http://www.wishfulendings.com/2016/08/tackle-your-tbr-read-thon-sign-up.html
 You don't have to be a blogger to join the read-a-thon! Sign-ups are open through Sept 24th here


http://amzn.to/2cUWT8wDay 1

Success! I read My Hope Next Door by Tammy L. Gray *and* wrote my review and got it posted (just in time for release day!)

Tally:
Pages Read: 318
Books Finished: 1



Review: My Hope Next Door by Tammy L. Gray


Heidi Reads... My Hope Next Door by Tammy L. Gray

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it

http://www.amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.comhttp://www.barnesandnoble.comhttp://www.goodreads.com

Synopsis

Former bad girl Katie Stone can feel the weight of her reputation settle over her as she drives home for the first time in years. Feeling deeply guilty about her past mistakes, Katie wants to do the right thing for once. But the small town where she grew up is not nearly as forgiving as she’d hoped. Despite it all, she’s determined to help her parents cope with her mother’s recent illness, and Katie finds a surprise ally in the man next door.

Asher Powell never minded being the son of a small-town pastor until a recent breakup leaves him wounded by lifelong members of his church. He remembers his new neighbor as a mean-spirited high school troublemaker, but he senses that her newfound faith and desire for forgiveness are sincere.

Through an unexpected friendship, two people from different worlds find peace, hope, and a second chance they never dreamed was possible.


My Review

This was an intricate look at a new believer's path to overcoming her fears by confronting her past. Her MO to coping with her dysfunctional childhood and choices as a youth has been a mixture of fight or flight, but when devastation results from her actions, it's easier to run to escape the pain. Her journey of redemption is not an easy one and I felt the author portrayed all the aspects of the situation in a realistic way, not shying away from the grittiness but also maintaining an overall feeling of hope. I loved that Asher sees the real Katie, and is able to support her in her trials even as she unknowingly pulls him out of a fog of bitterness and despair. Even though they are both flawed, they are wonderful examples of how God can transform us when we turn to Him and make courageous decisions to bring about change in our lives.

(Thank you to the publisher for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)