Friday, June 16, 2023

Book Review for Where the Grass Grows Blue by Hope Gibbs with a GUEST POST AND GIVEAWAY


Synopsis (from Amazon):

Penny Crenshaw’s divorce and her husband’s swift remarriage to a much younger woman have been hot topics around Atlanta’s social circles. After a year of enduring the cruel gossip, Penny leaps from the frying pan into the fire by heading back to Kentucky to settle her grandmother’s estate.


Reluctantly, Penny travels to her hometown of Camden, knowing she will be stirring up all the ghosts from her turbulent childhood. But not all her problems stem from a dysfunctional family. One of Penny’s greatest sources of pain lives just down the street: Bradley Hitchens, her childhood best friend, the keeper of her darkest secrets, and the boy who shattered her heart.


As Penny struggles with sorting through her grandmother’s house and her own memories, a colorful group of friends drifts back into her life, reminding her of the unique warmth, fellowship, and romance that only the Bluegrass state can provide. Now that fate has forced Penny back, she must either let go of the scars of her past or risk losing a second chance at love.

My Thoughts:  Southern setting ✔️Relatable characters ✔️Storyline that pulled me in from the very beginning ✔️.    Where the Grass Grows Blue is a book that I picked up hoping for a relatable story with characters I would relate to and a setting I could picture as I read and that is exactly what I got.   

Penny had a childhood that no child should ever have but she grew up and became a wife and mother to three boys, when she returns to Kentucky to take care of her grandmother’s house.   The town of Camden, Kentucky is southern small-town USAThere are busy bodies, church is important, and young love stays strong.   The young love is where Bradley comes in, he is Penny’s childhood best friend and first love.    

I enjoyed watching Penny figure out her life not as wife but as a strong woman.   Figure out what it means for her to be strong againI really liked watching her figure out how to re-open her heart to Bradley and let him into her life.    

Where the Grass Grows Blue by Hope Gibbs is the perfect southern women’s fiction romance book




A Letter to my Ten-Years Ago Self…


Dear Hope Gibbs,

 I know I’m addressing you by your maiden name. Don’t panic. You’re not in the midst of a divorce. Your marriage is strong, even with the craziness of trying to wrangle five children, but in ten years, this is the name you will be using hundreds of times a week. There’s a good reason for it, one that I’m sure will shock you, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

 Recently, you celebrated a big milestone—turning forty. I know it sounds old right now, but this is the best decade of your life. Some big changes are coming your way, and you’re about to accomplish something you didn’t realize or even know you wanted to do.

 Your thirties were a rollercoaster. You were a bundle of nervous energy. A third pregnancy, the loss of beloved family members, a painful divorce, falling in love all over again, another marriage, and becoming a stepmother to two small children. But good news, you have a full and happy nest, though the decade is a blur of soccer games, carpool runs, homework, and never-ending trips to the grocery store. Feeding a household of seven can be exhausting. But you will start changing in your forties. Don’t get me wrong, you will still do all those things, but know this. Those little birds will fly away. Sooner than you think, and your realization of that fact sets you on a path that will change your life.

 Now here’s another "don’t panic" moment, around forty-five, you’re going to have a little mid-life crisis. Don’t freak out. You won’t buy an expensive car or alter your appearance, though you will be going to the salon more often because your hair color will betray you, but you’ll start to question your choices. What have I accomplished with my life other than being a wife and mother? When my children are gone, who will I be?  This will be on a continuous loop in your mind, and on your worst days, you’ll start regretting your decision to leave that corporate job to raise those wonderful, infuriating children. Most people would say to ignore that inner voice, but I’m telling you to listen to it because it will propel you into something unimaginable.

 After reevaluating your life, you’ll start journaling. That lasts about a week because you’ll hate it. Then, you’ll do something extraordinary—you’ll develop a character, getting to know her through your imagination. You’ll spend countless hours with her, developing her backstory, creating her world, and fleshing out her fears. You’ll laugh, cry, and grow with her, and before you know it, you’ll type the words…THE END. Hope, you write a book! I know you’ve not written anything longer than an email since college, but somehow, you turned that mini-midlife crisis into a novel that will be published by Red Adept, with the audio rights being sold to Blackstone. Oh. And they make you change your name, but that’s okay because Cummiskey is hard to spell and Gibbs was your name first.

 Now in your fifties, your days are filled with writing, and it’s wonderful. You need it as much as you need tennis. Don’t worry, you still play multiple times a week even though you’ll have three knee surgeries in the next ten years. It’s okay, you have a great orthopedic. Every day you’re surrounded by a warm and welcoming community of writers and readers. You’ll also be the host of a monthly Facebook Live program for over 5,000 bibliophiles and start a podcast. I’ll explain what that is later.

The next ten years will define you. Enjoy every second of it. And remember, you’re never too old to follow your dreams.

 P.S. Your two stepchildren will ask you to officially adopt them on Christmas morning in 2020. You’ll cry your eyes out.   



Author Bio:


Hope Gibbs grew up in rural Scottsville, Kentucky. As the daughter of an English teacher, she was raised to value the importance of good storytelling from an early age. Today, she’s an avid reader of women’s fiction. Drawn to multi-generational family sagas, relationship issues, and the complexities of being a woman, she translates those themes into her own writing.


Hope lives in Tennessee with her husband and her persnickety Shih Tzu, Harley. She is also the mother of five. In her downtime, she loves playing tennis, poring over old church cookbooks, singing karaoke, curling up on her favorite chair with a book, and playing board games.


Hope has a B.A. from Western Kentucky University and is a member of the Women's Fiction Writers Association.









"In Where the Grass Grows Blue, Hope Gibbs examines Penny Crenshaw’s journey to pick up the pieces and begin again after divorce. But this mother of three sons soon learns that if she wants to move forward, she’ll have to first go back to the start. Readers will enjoy this fast-paced southern story about second-chances, lifelong friendships, and the healing power of forgiveness."

– Julie Cantrell, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Perennials


"Where The Grass Grows Blue hit me in all the right places. Young lovers separated by a misunderstanding reunite twenty years later, only to discover that although their love never faded, their choices are insurmountable. Or are they?


Gibbs skillfully weaves the dark side of life with the beauty of a love that has only grown stronger over time. Keep an eye on this author – she is one to watch!”

– Barbara Conrey, USA Today Bestselling Author of Nowhere Near Goodbye


"Hope Gibbs' debut, Where the Grass Grows Blue, is worthy of taking its place among true Southern fiction novels where the banter is witty and the women are true steel magnolias.

It’s a delightful, engaging story about following your heart.”

– Grace Sammon, Award-Winning Author of The Eves, and host of The Storytellers


"Where the Grass Grows Blue is the most authentic and endearing book I’ve read in ages. Penny’s difficult and heartbreaking rural background in Kentucky (the Bluegrass state) and her high society life in Atlanta could not be more different. But when she can’t hide from her past anymore, her life comes full circle.


I think Penny is my new fictional best friend. There were times I wanted to read quickly to see how everything unfolds, but this story is to be savored. Don’t rush this Southern gem."

– Cindy Dorminy, author of The Foster Wife and In a Jam


"Hope Gibbs drops the reader into a colorful, southern, small-town setting where Penny Crenshaw—a divorced mother with a tumultuous childhood—is desperate to outrun her past.


Where The Grass Grows Blue is one woman's story of perseverance despite her painful past. A story of small-town living and second chances, romance and resilience, friendship and forgiveness. One you’ll think of long after you turn the last page."

– Jill Hannah Anderson, Author of A Life Unraveled, The To-Hell-And-Back Club, and Crazy Little Town Called Love


"Where The Grass Grows Blue is an evocative story-with a southern flair-about going back to the place that brought so much pain for a second chance at love and redefining oneself.

This is one you'll fall in love with."

– Donna Norman-Carbone, Author of All That Is Sacred 

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1 comment:

  1. I love all I have read and I am so excited to read 'Where The Grass Grows Blue". To Hope, I also love old church cookbooks. I usually find them at yard/garage sales.