Category Archives: Clean

The Shell Collector by Nancy Naigle

Publication Date: 11 May 2021

Publisher: Waterbrook

ARC copy from Netgalley.com and Waterbrook

Genre: Christian Fiction, Southern Fiction

Rating: 4 out of 5

“Life is rarely predictable if we’re doing it right.”

-Maeve

When a grieving widow meets a wonderfully, eccentric older woman wandering the beach near her home, the two become fast friends. Moving to Whelk’s Island, North Carolina with her two young children provides Amanda with an opportunity to get her life together and move on past the overwhelming grief she suffers since the loss of her husband two years previously. For Maeve, who is eighty-one and appears extremely agile, roaming the beach and collecting shells is a big part of her life. Meeting Amanda and the children fills a void in her soul unlike anything has in years.

The women have much to teach each other over the course of their summer together. Bonding and sharing their friendship, losses, grief, and healing works magic in their lives. Amanda and the children run into an old and dear friend from the past which helps heal a particularly empty part of Amanda’s heart. As summer gives way to fall, Maeve’s health issues come to light.

These two women come together to realize how precious their friendship is in so many special ways. As they each do for the other, they must learn to utilize the lessons they taught each other over the summer. A beautiful story filled with loss, grief, the healing powers of friendship, and second chances! Don’t forget to keep your eyes open for the sea shells that pop up in the story filled with special messages for the finder. A perfect beach read for the summer!

This copy was received from Waterbrook and Netgalley. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

#TheShellCollector#NetGalley

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Under the Magnolias by T.I. Lowe

Publication Date: 4 May 2021

ARC copy from Netgalley.com and Tyndale

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Christian

Rating: 5 out of 5

“There are seasons in a life that one may choose to remember best. A time where the good outweighs the bad enough that the bad is pushed into the foggy crevices of the mind, while the good is crystal clear. ”

Vivid characters, tumultuous family problems, and a rough around the edges South Carolina tobacco farm named Nolia Farms form the heart of this emotional, insightful story woven by T. I. Lowe. The Foster family is held together by the oldest of the siblings, fourteen year old Austin, who inherits this task when her mother dies leaving behind a set of newborn twins to go with the other five children. A daunting task for an adult, nevertheless, Austin makes it her mission in life to hold the family together by raising the children, working  on the farm, keeping her dad’s darkest secret, and attending school in between the chaos.

Through the years Austin manages with the help of their friends Foxy and Jinx, who live on the farm and work, and members of the community who attend their small church. She even figures out a way to have a relationship with Vance Cumberland, the mayor’s son. Through thick and thin, Vance keeps showing up on her doorstep. Join this brave, independent young woman as she raises her siblings, takes care of her father, and tries to figure out life on her terms.

A beautiful story filled with sadness, heartache, family, faith, love, forgiveness, and healing! This is truly one of the best books I’ve read this year. I highly recommend it. From start to finish, you will be captivated by Austin’s story.

This copy was received from Tyndale and Netgalley. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

#UnderTheMagnolias #NetGalley

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From This Moment by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Publication Date: 23 February 2021

Publisher: Waterbrook Multnomah

ARC copy from Netgalley and Waterbrook Multnomah

Rating: 3 out of 5

From This Moment introduces three young people each struggling with their own unique problems and each coming from a less than perfect home life as children. Jase Edgar, the new youth minister in Bradleyville, Kansas, comes from the foster system where he spent much of his younger life.  He is trying to come to terms with the death of his fiancé. Lori Fowler is a custodian at Jase’s church and an employee at a local quilt shop where her best friend, Kenzie Stetler works. Kenzie, a young woman from an Amish background, chooses not to join the Amish church and remains separated from her family as a result of her personal choices and beliefs. These three young people become good friends as a result of their beliefs and backgrounds. The appearance of a mysterious ring binds the young people together even tighter and ultimately allows them all to follow their hearts.

This book offers a good depiction of the journeys one’s life can take when dealing with hope and loss and the process one goes through in life of waiting and trusting. As these young people progress along their path, their new beginnings will bring romance to some and a deepening of faith and sharing the message to others.  This book is an easy read that blends a contemporary romance with faith and hope. Readers of Christian romance will enjoy this book.

This ARC copy was received from Waterbrook Multnomah and Netgalley. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

#FromThisMoment #NetGalley

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Aunt Ivy’s Cottage by Kristin Harper

Publication Date: 07 December 2020

Publisher:  Bookouture

ARC copy from Netgalley.com and Bookouture

Rating: 4 out of 5

Zoey Jansen settles in for a quiet summer with her great-Aunt Ivy in her rather large, old beach house in the historic little town of Benjamin’s Manor on Dune Island. Little does Zoey realize her summer will be anything but quiet. This emotional contemporary family drama introduces us to Zoey, Aunt Ivy, Cousin Mark, and Zoey’s niece, Gabi.

The family members are each unique and a bit broken in their own way. Their family dynamic is complex and becomes even more so as the summer wears on and family rumors and secrets begin to surface. Can the truth be discovered? Will the truth do some good or just create more turmoil? Join Zoey as she works to uncover the real truth

With a surprise ending well worth the read, readers of contemporary women’s fiction and chick lit will enjoy this family drama. A great beachy read to put you in a warm frame of mind during this chilly winter season!

This ARC copy was received from Netgalley and Bookouture. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

#AuntIvy’sCottage #NetGalley #Bookouture

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Sea Glass Castle by T.I. Lowe

Series:  The Carolina Coast series, book 3

Publication Date: August 4, 2020

Tyndale House Publishers

Rating: 4 out of 5

 

“Time near the coast didn’t move by the hour; it moved by the currents, planned by the tides, and followed the sun.”

 Welcome back to Sunset Cove, a quaint little town set along the coast in this third book in the Carolina Coast series. The Sand Queens are back in full force, with two of the three now happily married and one of them returned back to town divorced and sorely wounded in spirit. Sophia Prescott along with her young son is back in town after her high profile divorce badly in need of a job and some girl time with her friends, Opal and Josie.

Opal’s new neighbor, Dr. Weston Sawyer, a pediatrician with a sorrowful past, needs an office manager. After meeting Josie in less than ideal circumstances, he is certain she is the last woman he would ever hire. However, best laid plans are often circumvented when someone puts their mind to it. Josie gets a second chance to prove herself capable in spite of her outspoken manner. With sparks flying, are Wes and Josie going to be able to get any work done?

Read this entertaining summer romance filled with friendship, faith, healing, and second chances. This novel can be read as a standalone, but I believe it works better if you’ve read the first two books to have the background story. A great ending to a charming southern romance!

 This ARC copy was received from Tyndale House Publishers and Netgalley. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

#SeaGlassCastle #NetGalley

 

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A Life Once Dreamed by Rachel Fordham

Publication Date: 4 August 2020

Publisher: Revell

ARC Copy from NetGalley.com and Revell

Rating: 5 out of 5

 

“But as you ponder what it is you want most in life, remember most things fade away with time. Only love, pure love, remains in the end. ”

                                                                      -Catherine Pratt

Step onto the rugged streets of Penance in the Dakota Territory in the year 1880 and meet the diverse and entertaining citizens of this small mining and logging town. The story focuses on the town’s schoolteacher, the upstanding Miss Agnes Pratt, who came out six years ago from Buffalo, New York to teach the youngsters of Penance.

Life is good in Penance and relatively predictable for Agnes until the new doctor arrives in town. Dr. James Harris, a fine young doctor newly graduated, arrives in town from none other than Buffalo, New York. Six years after Agnes disappeared from his life, James is finally face to face with her again. As they struggle to keep their shared history a secret, they find that their unsettled past continues to haunt them. Agnes unexpectedly finds herself with an orphaned baby to raise and the challenges of the child’s background bring unexpected memories back to disrupt her life.

As Agnes and James are forced to confront their history, they must figure out what is really important in life. They each must learn that where we come from doesn’t dictate who we are nor does it change the person we are. As Agnes and James explore the seasons of their life, their growth as individuals helps them make the right choices bringing a beautiful ending to this story.

Begin the journey to Penance and read this engaging story interwoven with threads of friendship, family, faith, and community. Everyone loves a genuine “feel good” story that ends leaving us feeling all is right with the world at that moment. Great read for lovers of historical fiction, historical romance, and Christian fiction!

This ARC copy was received from Revell and Netgalley. The thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.  

#ALifeOnceDreamed #NetGalley

 

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When I Meet You by Olivia Newport

Publication Date: 01 May 2020

Series:  Tree of Life

Publisher: Shiloh Run Press

ARC from Shiloh Run Press and Netgalley

Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Once again Olivia Newport weaves a unique dual time line story that intertwines the past with the present in the scenic town of Canyon Mines, Colorado.  Working her magic once again with genealogy and research is Jillian Parisi-Duffy and her attorney father, Nolan. The opening of a mysterious, antique trunk complete with all its contents begins the fascinating historical story filled with cross country train rides, bank fraud, Pinkerton agents, and a multitude of other fascinating adventures in the year 1909.

The usual cast of characters living in Canyon Mines from the previous novels is alive and well and contributing to the central story. Adding interest to the story is a handsome young man named Drew Lawson who happens to have ties back to the mysterious trunk. As Jillian finds herself drawn to Drew, she finds herself pulled in another direction with her own family issues which blurs the lines for her between professional and personal behavior.

The flow between the past and the present stories is smooth and consistent. The theme that resonates through the book for me was how the past reflects on the present. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Readers of contemporary and historical fiction alike will enjoy this book. The book can be read as a standalone.

This ARC copy was received from Shiloh Run Press and Netgalley. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

#WhenIMeetYou  #NetGalley

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In the Cradle Lies by Olivia Newport

Series:  The Tree of Life, book 2

Publication Date: 01 November 2019

Publisher: Shiloh Run Press

ARC from Shiloh Run Press and Netgalley

 

The second book in the series The Tree of Life brings Jillian Parisi-Duffy and her father, Nolan, a new friend that will challenge their genealogy and legal skills once again. Jillian, a professional genealogist, and her father, the attorney, utilize their skills to help their new found friend, Tucker Kintzler, resolve some very personal and perplexing issues he is undergoing. Set once again in Canyon Mines, Colorado, the story introduces a dual storyline from the mid-1930’s incorporating Tucker’s family history.

This second novel definitely held my attention with the introduction of the second storyline. A captivating story that gets peeled back layer by layer as it unfolds with the exploration of Tucker’s family history.  Once again I enjoyed the secondary story much more than I did the actual main storyline. The secondary story works through a family mystery of locked doors, walled off rooms, and old family secrets.

The book brings back all the eccentric characters we met in the first story and gives them a bit more depth and growth in this novel. Enclosed in the pages is a bit of mystery, greed, romance, and of course, genealogy.  An enjoyable read with a great winter setting!

This ARC copy was received from Shiloh Run Press and Netgalley. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

4 out of 5

#InTheCradleLies  #NetGalley

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The Words Between Us by Erin Bartels

Publication Date: September 3, 2019

Publisher: Revell

Copy from Netgalley and Revell

 

“Life finds us, no matter how we try to push it away.”

                                                          -Robin Windsor

 Erin Bartels lays out an unusual and unsettling story in her latest novel. Setting the atmosphere in a relatively run down, fading town in Michigan, the story unfolds with Robin Windsor, a teen whose parents have serious issues, being sent to live with her aging grandmother and her eccentric parrot next door to an old cemetery. The novel told in a split timeline alternates between the past leading to an explanation of how Robin Windsor got to the present.

Robin’s introduction to the town and one of the high school’s more popular students, Peter Flynt, begins in the cemetery. Their friendship starts with an exchange of novels and poetry adding a decidedly bookish theme to the novel. The first book in their give-and-take relationship is The Catcher in the Rye, setting up a recurring theme of classics.

The writing itself in this novel has a literary feel to it. The characters are complex and difficult to relate to.  The themes of running and hiding, lying about the past, conquering fears, both real and imagined, and forgiveness are all relevant to the story. The book does not have a strong Christian message to it, and I feel it will probably due well in the mainstream fiction genre. Readers of literary fiction and lovers of classics and bookish novels may enjoy this story.

This copy was received from Netgalley and Revell. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

#TheWordsBetweenUs  #NetGalley

3 out of 5

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Window on the Bay by Debbie Macomber

Publication Date: July 2019

Ballantine Books

ARC from Ballantine Books and Netgalley.com

Excerpt:  “No matter what the weather, my window on the bay never failed to soothe me.”

 

When best friends and single moms, Jenna, an emergency room nurse, and Maureen, a librarian, find themselves with empty nests, the reality of a trip to Paris finally seems like it is on the horizon. As they plot and plan for their trip, life interferes in the most unexpected ways. As the women work their way through the unforeseen events, they each meet a man along the way.

The novel tells the story in alternating chapters of each woman’s struggle with her challenges and the men they meet. Jenna, who has sworn off doctors as a result of her ex-husband, meets a kind, decent man who happens to be a surgeon, and Maureen, a quiet and rather staid librarian at the local library, becomes acquainted with a good looking construction worker who is a bit rough around the edges but has a definite interest in books and life.  Have the two women finally met compatible men after all these years? Can they juggle elderly parents, grown children, and new relationships?

The story is pretty predictable and a bit slow in places. The book makes a nice, easy paced read for those who enjoy a clean story without a lot of excess drama.

This copy was received from Ballantine Books and Netgalley. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

 #NetGalley #WindowOnTheBay

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