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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The Summer of New Beginnings by Bette Lee Crosby - Book Review, Interview & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Meghan dreams of becoming a journalist and has already been approved by the university of her choice. When her father unexpectedly passes away she has a tough decision to make though. She will stay at home to rescue his business instead, it's the only thing she has left of him and she doesn't want someone else to take over. Meghan has always been the responsible sister and Tracy the outgoing one. Tracy doesn't have a plan for the future, she only wants to be with her boyfriend and when he finds a job elsewhere she doesn't hesitate and leaves home. Meghan is being left with her mother and together they're trying to find a way to deal with their grief.

Tracy's relationship isn't what she expected it to be. She hoped to get married eventually, but when she finds herself pregnant her boyfriend still isn't ready to start a family. When he proves to be a bad partner and an indifferent father over and over again, she and her baby move back home. Meghan loves dogs and is thrilled when she finds a puppy. She hopes nobody will claim him. All of a sudden their household is a lot busier. However, there's something wrong with Tracy's little boy and she needs all the help she can get to figure out what's the matter. Meanwhile Meghan finally starts to live her own life. Meghan and Tracy have a lot of obstacles to overcome, will the sisters both find happiness eventually?

The Summer of New Beginnings is a wonderful heartwarming story. Meghan and Tracy are sisters and friends. They are different from each other and for a while this makes things difficult between them, but their bond is indestructible. I loved that about their story. Meghan is serious, caring and incredibly kind. Tracy likes to party and she's good at having fun. She's a sweet person, but doesn't like to make plans and look at the future. This changes when she becomes a mother. I loved seeing this transformation in her character and it gives the relationship with her sister another fantastic layer. I love stories about sisters and The Summer of New Beginnings is definitely a great one.

Bette Lee Crosby has a fantastic warm writing style. Her gorgeous detailed descriptions are making her story come to life in an amazing way. She knows how to write about emotions and made it easy for me to feel everything that happened to the main characters. When they were sad I had tears in my eyes and when they were happy I had a big smile on my face, which is something I really liked about The Summer of New Beginnings. I also very much enjoyed the way Bette Lee Crosby writes about animals, she gives them adorable personalities that are fabulous to read about. The result is a beautiful charming and complete story that I highly recommend.


If you love stories about sisters combined with a beautiful setting and wonderful romance you should definitely read The Summer of New Beginnings.

About Bette Lee Crosby

USA Today Bestselling Author and Award-winning novelist Bette Lee Crosby brings the wit and wisdom of her Southern Mama to works of fiction—the result is a delightful blend of humor, mystery and romance along with a cast of quirky charters who will steal your heart away.
A Note from Bette Lee…

First off, I’m a Southerner; and Southerners are born storytellers. In the South stories are handed down from one generation to the next, and often told while sitting on the front porch or gathered around a potluck picnic table. With every telling the characters grow bigger, braver and definitely more memorable. So it is with my characters—each one born of a tale that started long ago.

Every writer begins as a reader and this is also true of me. But ignoring the gift of storytelling that my mama passed down, I majored in art and started out as a graphic artist. Fate stepped in and when one of the salesmen said to make up some sell copy for the back of a pantyhose package, I did. Before long I realized my niche was creating images with words rather than pictures and a new career blossomed.

After two decades of writing for business—magazine articles, corporate reports, marketing plans and the like—that storytelling heritage kicked in and I began my first novel. I began writing the story in longhand using sticky notes, cross outs, and asterisks for editing and then handing my messy papers over to my secretary to be typed. (Remember, I studied art, not typing.) Several chapters later, I admitted defeat, bought my first laptop and taught myself to type.

I wrote two full-length novels (which will never see the light of day) before I wrote The Twelfth Child and entered it into the National Pen Women competition as an unpublished manuscript. It won and that tiny taste of success spurred me on to make this a full time career.

Now, I write almost every day and consider myself blessed to be doing this thing that I love so much. I look back and smile thinking if Mama were still here she’d recognize bits and pieces of the stories she once told.


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1) Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

I am an avid reader and a sucker for happy endings. Although not a big TV watcher, I am totally hooked on This is Us. I love sunshine, palm trees, warm weather and dogs. In the morning I start with a three to four mile walk, then settle at my computer for the rest of the day. My office is teeny-tiny, but I love it because I am surrounded by things that bring me happiness—books, dog toys, pictures of friends and family and my fur-baby Sugar in my lap. My guilty pleasure is letting time fly by as I chat with friends and fans on Facebook.

2) The Summer of New Beginnings is a story about sisters, what’s the most wonderful thing about writing about his subject?

I am intrigued by all types of family relationships, but especially that of sisters. The two sisters in this story are a lot like my sister Donna and me. Donna was a fun-loving party girl, who married the wrong guy, but ended up with two wonderful children. And I, sadly enough, can be a bit like Meghan, letting the weight of responsibility rest on my shoulders. The fascinating thing about sister relationships is the powerful love that ties you together. Regardless of the fact that you are total opposites and argue about almost everything, you always know that she has your back and you have hers. It is a wonderful but sometimes unexplainable relationship.

3) You’re a Southerner, how does that influence your storytelling and where does that special warmth in your books come from?

I truly am a Southerner at heart, but you wouldn’t guess it to hear me talk. My ‘southernism’ comes from growing up with a Southern Mama, Daddy, aunts, uncles, etc. – it was the ‘voice’ I heard in my ear from the time I was a child and it’s the voice that sounds most natural and convincing to me. Southerners are born storytellers, it’s in our DNA. My mom was never a writer, but she could mesmerize a room full of kids with her stories. I’d like to believe I got lucky and inherited that gene.

The warmth of a story is often drawn from the experiences you carry in your heart. When asked for advice about writing, I always say write what you know. That may sound trite, but the truth is you can’t write about emotions you don’t understand. Honest emotion is what gives a story warmth. That doesn’t mean you have to have lost a loved one to write about it, but you do need to have an understanding of what deep down grief feels like. By internalizing what your characters feel, you can make them believable and vulnerable.

4) You love dogs and this love can also be found in your stories, what do you like the most about them and what’s so special about animals as characters?

I think having any kind of pet is a blessing. These furry little critters bring so much love into our lives. They continue to love us even if we are cranky, sick, or homeless. And, they make great characters, because they can be needy without being spineless. How can you not love a hero or heroine who saves a helpless little pup?

Over the years I have had several dogs, and I have loved each and every one of them. When I go out, Sugar sits at the window and waits for my return; and when I come back, she is so happy she dances around like she’s the happiest dog on earth. My husband is a great guy, but honestly, I doubt he’ll ever do that.

5) How did your writing journey start?

I started out as a artist and was asked to write some copy for the back of a pantyhose package I’d designed. I discovered a love of words, and went from there into marketing where I wrote business plans, ads, brochures and the like. After a good number of years, I decided to follow my heart. Since reading fiction was what I loved, it was a natural progression.

6) You write about family, what does family mean to you and why is it such a good subject for a story?

The significance of family is almost universal. We all need family, whether it is our parents, spouse, children, siblings or in some cases friends, we all need someone. Family may have different meanings for different people, but the bottom line is that your family is the person (or people) you return to at the end of a long hard day; it’s the person who will comfort you when you’re sick, encourage you when you’re down, and celebrate when you are successful. Without family, a victory seems hollow and a setback seems insurmountable. More often than not, those we consider family are what turns an ordinary life into something special.

7) You love candy and ice cream. What’s your favorite kind of ice cream and which candy flavor do you like the most?

Can I have ten favorites of each? In an ice cream shop I usually sample about six flavors before I finally settle on something that has chocolate, caramel or peanut butter chunks or swirls. If I can find a flavor with all three, so much the better. When it comes to candy, I love them all (truly ALL!) The only candy I don’t love is licorice. And since licorice doesn’t have any of the aforementioned ingredients, I think it should not be classified as candy. J

8) You’ve written a lot of series already, how do you get the ideas for those series and how do you handle the writing process of such a large project?

I never plan to write a series, it just seems to end up that way. Each time I’ve started out with the idea for a story but in the process of writing that story, so many interesting characters come into play that I start thinking…Well now, that’s another story! Then before I know it, one book becomes two and then a series. You can pick up any book I have written, even if it is in the middle of a series, and will find that it reads as a standalone. It’s as if one story simply opens the door for another.

9) What are your plans for the future?

How lovely that you’ve asked… I am currently working on the final edits for Book 2 of the Magnolia Grove Series. This one is titled A Year of Extraordinary Moments and is scheduled for publication in October of 2018.


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a signed paperback copy of The Summer of New Beginnings by Bette Lee Crosby.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.


  1. The Summer of New Beginnings sounds like a wonderfully heartwarming story of an average family facings life's difficulties - death, disappointment, fear, love and forgiveness.

  2. Sounds like a wonderful read, thanks for the review and giveaway!

  3. Congratulations on your new release, Bette. I absolutely adored The Summer Of New Beginnings and excited about this new series!

  4. Sweet story! I'd love to read the book.

  5. Great interview, thank you for sharing it.

  6. thanks for the interview, looks like a fabulous read xx

  7. I love books that contain some humour to make me smile and sad parts that make tears spring into my eyes, such moving emotions really make me feel part of the novel and they seem to be found in this very moving novel.

  8. Sounds like a great read. Love the cover!

  9. I have read two of your books 📚 and have the rest on my Goodreads want to read list.

  10. Bette I hope I get to read this soon.

  11. Love the cover! And the blurb sounds soooo good.

  12. Great review. Love the introduction and interview.

  13. I admire all authors, but those who are capable of crafting a whole series amaze me. I have no idea how they can think that far ahead!

  14. I enjoyed the interview, especially the parts about family & pets.

  15. Sounds a great read of a normal family facing up to the problems of everyday life. The highs and lows, love and friendship, and unfortunately tears along the way, although that does make it realistic. Throw a puppy into the mix (not literally of course) and you've sold it to me.

  16. Thanks for the great prize and competition. Good luck everyone!

  17. I think it's lovely that Bette credits her 'Southern Mama' with prompting her to write. Mothers, eh? Where would we be without them :)