Category Archives: Clean

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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The Inn at Hidden Run by Olivia Newport

Publication Date: 01 May 2019

Publisher: Shiloh Run Press

ARC from Shiloh Run Press and Netgalley

 

The author uses a unique premise in this first book of a series called the Tree of Life. She incorporates genealogy as a means of introducing a second timeline to the novel. The time shifts between current day in Canyon Mines, Colorado and the year 1878 in Memphis.  The connection is not initially clear as to how the two storylines will blend and it created a bit of a disconnect for me when reading, particularly early in the story.

The characters in the novel are a bit on the interesting and quirky side, and they seem to add personality to the story. Nolan Duffy, an attorney and professional mediator, lives in Canyon Mines with his daughter the genealogist, Jillian Parisi-Duffy. A great deal of the story centers around Meri Davies, a young college graduate who wanders in to town and accepts a job at Jillian’s friend, Nia’s bed and breakfast. Jillian, Nolan, and Nia take on Meri and her life and personal troubles as their next project to solve. Jillian utilizes her best genealogical skills to uncover Meri’s family tree and in doing so hopes to answer some of the girl’s unresolved issues.

The historical portion of the novel is based on actual historic notes, and real historic characters are incorporated in to the storyline. I actually enjoyed the historic portion much more than I did the contemporary part of the story The central themes in the book dwell on independence, forgiveness, and family. Readers of contemporary and historical fiction may enjoy this book.

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

#TheInnAtHiddenRun  #NetGalley  #amreviewing  #amreading

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The Secret of Clouds by Alyson Richman

Publication Date: 19 Feb 2019

Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group

ARC copy from Netgalley.com and Berkley Publishing Group/Random House

“The thing about my job, Bill…it forces you to change the way you see things. And with a student like Yuri … I see life differently because of him, and that’s a good thing.”

                                                –Maggie Topper, teacher

This emotional story goes straight to the heart of why teachers teach and what they take away from the classroom and their students at the end of the day. Set in fall of 1999, Maggie Topper, a second year sixth grade language arts teacher, takes on an extra duty teaching assignment for Yuri, a young boy in need of tutoring outside of the traditional classroom. Unsure of herself with the new assignment, Maggie begins her journey with Yuri, who actually loves learning and hungers for companionship. Maggie works to bring both to this young boy by combining his love of baseball with education.

The story also follows Maggie’s personal life as she learns from her student and grows and expands her own life. The book touches on many important themes; a parent’s love for their child, a teacher’s dedication and growth, and a child’s recognition of his own truth and reality. Heartbreaking, endearing, and at the same time motivating, read this beautiful story of how one individual can change a person’s life. A terrific contemporary read with depth and complexity!

This ARC copy was received from Berkley Publishing Group/Random House and Netgalley.com. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own. 

#TheSecretOfClouds #NetGalley #BerkleyPub  #RandomHouse

 

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Murder at the Flamingo by Rachel McMillian

Series: A Van Buren and DeLuca Mystery

Publication Date: July 2018

Publisher: ARC from The Fiction Guild and Thomas Nelson

 

Sometimes stories are in the people whose life’s pages no one thinks of turning, his father once told him. Maybe it was time to land straight in the middle of the adventure. Not just peer through a glass and count his heartbeat.”

                                                      –Hamish DeLuca

Hamish DeLuca, a rather quiet young man with a severe case of anxiety, finally has enough of his well meaning parents help and takes off for Boston to spend some time with his rather progressive and wild cousin, Luca Valari. Regina “Reggie” Van Buren, daughter of well to do Connecticut parents, runs off to Boston to remove herself from an unwanted fiancé and a difficult social situation. Reggie and Hamish find themselves working for Luca as he prepares to open his flashy new nightclub, The Flamingo.

The story centers on the opening of the nightclub and all of the undercurrents that come to light when Hamish and Reggie begin to spend time together. Opening night rolls around and a sensationalized murder occurs at the nightclub. The year is 1937 and the undercurrents of illegal business, police on the payroll, and dark mysterious figures controlling things all play a role in this mysterious read. Family, loyalty, and finding oneself all occupy central themes in the story. The characters add depth and heart to the story.

An engaging read for lovers of historical fiction, romance, and historical mystery! I’m ready for another Van Buren and DeLuca book!

This ARC copy was received from Thomas Nelson Publishers and The Fiction Guild in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Clean, Historical Fiction, Mystery/Suspense