Here in the Midwest, we’re getting a taste of Snow-mageddon. It’s a great day for snuggling down for the Kindle. To make it even better, one of my favorite recent books is being offered free today.
Talk of the Town will transport you to a warm, cozy diner in Daily, Texas.

Daily, the small town you wish you were from, is the true star of this series. Lisa Wingate does a masterful job of creating characters that are authentic and entertaining, but not caricatures.

Talk of the Town begins as local girl Amber Anderson becomes a finalist on an American Idol-type show.  Daily becomes a hotbed of activity and the town rises to the occasion to protect its own little celebrity. The action centers in the Daily Cafe, where the regulars  — known as the countertoppers — enjoy a fine piece of pecan pie. Next door is the Daily Hair and Body, that’s hair styling in front, auto body repair on the alley side.

The story is told with two first-person point of views. One is Manda Florentino, a producer who arrived from Hollywood to try to organize Amber’s hometown concert. The zealous support of Dailyians makes it both easier and more challenging as she tries to keep the event under the radar of snooping media.

Imagene Doll, a widowed waitress at the Daily cafe, narrates the other half of the story. Her Texas sayings and tender heart give the story a sweet flavor that lingers like pecan pie. Imagene is such a doll, in fact, I started hoping she would end up with the good looking cowboy who showed up in town.

But it was not meant to be, as just a hint of a romance unfolds under the stars of Daily, Texas.

My reviews of the other two books in the Daily series follow.

Word Gets Around

Ya’ll come on back to Daily, Texas, for another helping of pie and a delightful story.
This book had many lighthearted moments, but was noticeably more serious in tone than Talk of the Town. In the end, it made for a full, rich story. Much like the feeling after eating a slice of Imagene Doll’s coconut cream pie.

Click here to purchase Word Gets Around

I’m disappointed to say Imagene didn’t get swept off her feet in this book, but she and hair stylist Donetta had quite a hand in trying to fan a romance into flame for Donetta’s niece. Lauren has returned to Daily after a two-year absence following a devastating tragedy.

The only thing that could bring her back was a plea from her dad, who is both a cowboy and auto body technician and asks her to help train a horse for a movie. The movie is the idea of Justin Shay, the aging actor who Daily celebrity Amber Anderson has befriended and is helping to build a foster home. This all makes sense in a Daily kind of way.

Justin drags his friend Nate Heath along to write the script. Nate narrates half the story, shining a light on the painful, spiritually empty lives of the rich and famous. He finds the sincere faith of this Texas town refreshing, as he says “If Daily prayers aren’t answered, I couldn’t imagine what kind might be.”

Nate is drawn to Lauren, who seems to share a connection with the wounded horse she is training.

Both the romantic thread and spiritual elements are much stronger in Word Gets Around than the first book of the series. The regulars are back at the counter in the Daily Cafe. And personal trainer Frederico tries to resist the lure of homemade pie and UFOs – unidentified fried objects. Both Frederico and I gave in and enjoyed this story to the last crumb.

It is selling for $9.29 in the Kindle store today.

Never Say Never

Daily Hair and Body is hoppin’ like a sale barn on sheep and goat day, in the words of Donetta Bradford.

Click here to purchase Never Say Never

Donetta is back to narrate half of Never Say Never, the third in Lisa Wingate’s delightful Daily, Texas, series. I’d been waiting to read this final book and Lisa kindly shared a copy for me to review. Just like a slice of Imagene’s pecan pie, you can’t wait to dig in, then want to savor every last bite.

The story kicks off as Donetta, Imagene and Lucy head off to take a cruise. Except Hurricane Glorietta interferes and on the evacuation route, they meet up with Kai, as well as a bus loaded with members of the Holy Ghost Church. Naturally, Donettta hustles them all back to Daily and showers them with hospitality. And pie.

Kai, who has been something of a refugee her whole life, narrates the other half of the story. She honestly shares stories of her ragtag past and makes us cheer as she finds herself attracted to the rascally Kemp Eldgridge, Donetta’s nephew and coach of the high school baseball team. Kai is also drawn to the faith and love that Donetta generously shares.

Donetta does her best to make love blossom between Kai and Kemp, even while her heart breaks at inattention from her husband, a man whom she admits has the romance of a sack of beans. It’s an unexpected and powerful subplot. As Donetta admits, “Even though I didn’t want to, even though I was hard in my heart about it, and I had been for a long time, my eyes welled up and right there in the carport I broke down and started to cry.”

With such insightful writing, the characters in Never Say Never take breath and come to life. It has a few weak points, such as the portrayal of Donetta’s arch enemy Betty Prine and it is unclear where Kai is in her relationship with God, but the last of this series was my favorite. The romance is well developed and realistic since Kemp gives Kai plenty of mixed signals. In the end, he emerges as the hero carrying a chain saw and leaves no doubt that love — and pie — will always be found in Daily, Texas.

There’s even a little romance in the air for Imagene. Get it for $7.43 in the Kindle store.