Category Archives: Contemporary

All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin

Publication Date: 26 June 2018

Publisher: Ballantine Books

ARC copy from Netgalley.com and Ballantine Books

 

This emotional story goes straight to the core question of right and wrong in today’s world. The multi layered details are peeled away and the story unfolds predominantly through the narratives of Nina Browning, wealthy privileged wife of Kirk Browning, one of Nashville’s golden sons and Tom Volpe, a blue collar, single dad who works hard to maintain a decent life for his teenage daughter, Lyla.

The Brownings and Volpes worlds collide one weekend as a result of poor decisions on the part of both of their teenagers. Lyla and Finch, the teenage son of the Brownings, attend Windsor Academy; she is on a scholarship for high school and he has attended since kindergarten. The story is much more than just the privileged and wealthy son versus the lower income, scholarship girl. Neither teenager understands the far reaching consequences of their actions nor how many other people will become involved as a result of poor choices and the use of social media.

Read this story so relevant to our current times and find out exactly how widespread the effects of their decisions become! A terrific contemporary read with depth and complexity!

This ARC copy was received from Ballantine Books and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

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Send Down the Rain by Charles Martin

Publication Date: 08 May 2018

ARC  from Netgalley and Thomas Nelson

 

“Sir, we live in an angry, evil world. Where stuff doesn’t always make sense. Where hope seems like something we did when we were kids and the love we cling to slips through our fingers like cold water, but” –I tapped my chest—nothing that happens here today changes the fact that love heals the shattered places.”

–Joseph “Jo-Jo” Brooks

 

Once again Charles Martin draws the reader into a multi-layered, emotional drama with depths that just will not let you put this story down. Two brothers. A past love. A radio talk show host. An abused mother and two children. A drug gang.  All of these people are woven in to this tale about Joseph, “Jo-Jo”, Brooks, a man who lives a shadowy existence in each of their lives.

Joseph’s life story plays out predominantly against the backdrop of coastal Florida and Vietnam. The novel encompasses love, war, and violence. Joseph and Bobby Brooks are two brothers with a complicated past and an even more complex relationship as adults. The complexity of their relationship is uncovered a layer at a time as the story progresses often moving back in time in order to help the reader understand Joseph and his choices.

The book is filled with themes on finding forgiveness, love, protecting family, friendship, and healing. The book is deep and filled with emotion and pain. The voice of Charles Martin whispered in my ear long after I finished the story. This book is so worth reading.

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

#Tnzfiction #NetGalley

 

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After Anna by Lisa Scottoline

Publication Date: April 2018

ARC copy from Netgalley.com and St. Martin’s Press

 

Excerpt:  Maggie realized that life wouldn’t be as much fun if we knew where its treasures were hidden. Sometimes you had to search for them. Sometimes you had to fight for them And sometimes, they were at your feet.

To Maggie Ippoliti a call from her teenage daughter Anna whom she hasn’t seen in 17 years is an unbelievable gift, one she certainly hadn’t been expecting. Having been declared an unfit mother due to postpartum psychosis, Maggie lost touch with her daughter at 6 months. Never once has she been allowed to see the girl since that time due to the vindictive nature of her ex-spouse.

Dr. Noah Alderman, well respected pediatrician in the community and husband of Maggie, welcomes his stepdaughter into their home with no knowledge of what the future will hold for his family. Noah’s son, Caleb, is a trusting young boy of ten whose life is turned upside down by the events that will unfold in the month following Anna’s arrival.

Alternating chapters–Noah’s viewpoint during the trial and Maggie’s perspective before and during the trial–disclose the story detail by detail. The mystery that surrounds Anna and her death add suspense and intrigue to the story. I definitely didn’t see the ending coming. Read this interesting story and see if you can put the details together!

This ARC copy was received from St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

#AfterAnna #Netgalley

 

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The Lost Castle by Kristy Cambron

Publication Date: 6 February 2018

Series: The Lost Castle

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Copy from Netgalley and Thomas Nelson Publishers

“I think all along, it’s what she was trying to tell me. That the story we’re writing in this life, day by day, it’s a gift from God and we can’t afford to waste a moment of it.”                                                                                                                                                                  -Ellie

The meshing of three stories, each in a unique time period, into one book is a work of art in this latest novel by Kristy Cambron. In the year 1789 we meet Aveline Saint-Moreau, wealthy and beautiful young aristocrat, engaged to be married to Philippe, the Duc et Vivay’s heir; followed by Viola Hart, a Resistance fighter in France during WWII in the year 1944; and last is Ellie Carver, a young woman in the present day struggling with her grandmother Viola’s fading health.  All three young women are connected through history in a very unique manner.

As Ellie works to resolve a mysterious photo, a castle called The Sleeping Beauty, a brooch, and a mysterious marriage proposal, she meets Quinn Foley, slightly rebellious grandson of Titus Vivay and her life becomes linked with his in ways she could not have predicted.

Kristy Cambron helps us to realize the importance of awakening to the gifts around us as she weaves this intriguing tale of love, war, sickness and health, as well as faith and inspiration. The two historical storylines were very strong and appealed to me the most, but the present day telling of Quinn and Ellie’s story adds to the overall book.

She does an excellent job of combining historical people and places in with her fiction. If you love historical fiction or romance, this book will definitely appeal to you on so many levels. Wonderful read!

Five Stars!

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

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Filed under Book Reviews, christian fiction, Contemporary, Historical Fiction

If the Creek Don’t Rise by Leah Weiss

Weiss, Leah If the Creek Don't RisePublication Date: August, 2017

 

Sourcebooks Landmark

 

ARC copy from Netgalley.com and Sourcebooks Landmark

 

 

“I need an ally to instill hope and possibility in my good people. We all deserve hope and possibility.”
                                                   -Excerpt from letter written by Eli Perkins

Sadie Blue, pregnant, seventeen, and illiterate, finds herself with a worthless husband in the form of Roy Tupkin, a drunk, belligerent bully, living in the town of Baines Creek, North Carolina deep in the Appalachian Mountains. The year is 1970; and deep in those mountains, the world has not caught with this small rural town, a town and people that really need hope.

The novel is narrated in first person, present tense by a multitude of characters that affect Sadie’s life in one way or another. The characters have depth and personality. They are not always likable and they are not always nice people. They do, however, make one think about the difficulties of life in the Appalachians. Some of the more likable characters in the novel are Eli Perkins, the local minister and advocate for education; Kate Shaw, the latest educator to come to rural Baines Creek; and Birdie Rocas, a very unusual local resident who adds her own unique voice to the story.

Multiple storylines run through the book. In one, Sadie’s marriage, pregnancy, and all the complications that come with being married to Roy Tupkin are covered. In another storyline, Eli Perkins, his sister, Prudence, and Kate Shaw are intertwined in Sadie’s life with dramas of their own. The story is intricate and contains a few surprises along with a twisty ending.

I enjoyed the haunting narrative. The characters are gritty and real. Not a light read, but a deep story that will make the reader pause!

This ARC copy was received from Sourcebooks Landmark and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

 

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Any Dream Will Do by Debbie Macomber

Macomber, Debbie Any Dream Will Do.htm

Publication Date: August 8, 2017

Ballantine Books

ARC from Ballantine Books and Netgalley.com

 

“I decided I could either live my life in fear or I could—simply put—live my life. I refused to look over my shoulder or stop before turning every corner to make sure I was safe. I chose instead to breathe easy, and to put my trust in God. It was either that, or I would soon be afraid of my own shadow.

                                                                                     -Shay

 Debbie Macomber’s latest novel is all about second chances and what we do with them. In this very detailed story of one woman’s opportunity after a lot of bad mistakes, Shay, a quiet young woman, leaves the Washington Correction Center for Women and begins her search for a place to stay. Shay’s life is turned around because of her encounter with Drew Douglas, a pastor who finds a program for women in her circumstance.

The story follows Shay’s path through the Hope Center program and after her release in to civilian life with all its ups and downs. Her opportunities and choices reflect the difficulties involved in making a life for oneself again. The book highlights the attitudes and prejudices ex-convicts are up against once they leave prison, as well as offering some important perspectives on redemption and forgiveness.

The story is a little bit difficult to believe if you try to accept it as a realistic incidence. However, if you take the book as a fictional story as intended, the story is enjoyable and has a nicely tied up ending.

I received this book free from Ballantine Books and Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The above thoughts and opinions I have expressed are wholly my own.

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Jane of Austin by Hilary Manton Lodge

Publication Date: June 13, 2017

Bethany House Publishers

ARC copy from Netgalley.com and Waterbrook Multnomah

 

 

“It’s good to have dreams. But sometimes dreams change, or take different forms, or you go down a path and realize that while it’s not the beach, you really like the forest.”

-Jane

 A delightful read for the summer! This unique variation of Sense and Sensibility set in modern day Austin, Texas is a fun, light read. The lives of three sisters, Celia, Jane, and Margo, takes another intriguing turn when necessity forces a change of residence from their native San Francisco to Austin. The city of Austin, lights years different in terms of culture and lifestyle, offers the girls an opportunity for a new start.

Join this intriguing trio of sisters as they set out for Austin and try to move their tea business, plants and all, along with them. The older two, Celia and Jane, each have their own love issues with which to contend, in addition to raising their teenage sister. The girls have character, charisma, and charm.

The book is a poignant story full of family, romance, and the meaning of sisters. If you’ve read Sense and Sensibility, you’ll see the similarities. As a bonus, some wonderful recipes for the amazing baked goods discussed in the story are sprinkled throughout the book. Don’t miss this fun summer read!

This copy was received from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Clean, Contemporary, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance