Category Archives: Contemporary

The Oysterville Sewing Circle by Susan Wiggs

Publication Date: 13 August 2019

Publisher: William Morrow

ARC copy from William Morrow and Netgalley.com

 

 

 

The Oysterville Sewing Circle is a story with depth and emotion that depicts the quote “life is what happens to you when you’re making other plans” perfectly.  Caroline Shelby, a young up and coming New York fashion designer, wakes up one day to find herself with a destroyed career and her best friend’s two children whom she unexpectedly has to raise. With few options left, Caroline heads for home in Oysterville, Washington, a small town perched on the edge of the ocean.

Caroline is not a quitter. With inspiration and drive she begins to put her life back together with the help of family and friends. Not only does she begin to rebuild her new life, she reaches out to help other women who have been victims of harassment, abuse, and violence. Part of the rebuilding process involves dealing with Will Jensen, a close friend from her younger years. Complex and problematical, they work to find what the future will hold for them.

 This novel depicts the themes of courage, survival, and trust. The story also highlights the bonds women build when they stand up and support each other during difficult times, as well as the strength of familial bonds.  The characters are real and dynamic. The book is an excellent read and one of the better books I have read this summer. Don’t miss it!

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

#TheOystervilleSewingCircle  #NetGalley

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Filed under Book Reviews, Contemporary, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

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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Mysterious and Complex!

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

Publication Date: Oct 9, 2018

Publisher: Atria Books

The book, set at Birchwood Manor in England where the heart of the story takes place, begins with Elodie Winslow finding of a sketchbook and a photograph in an old leather satchel. As she examines the items in the satchel, she feels a familiarity with the house in the photo. Elodie slowly gets drawn into the story behind the sketchbook and photo and she finds a familial thread intertwined.

This book weaves an extremely complicated story with more than one mystery at the center of the tale. The story is intertwined with time shifts between the 1860’s and 2017. Not only is the story complicated, but keeping track of the characters required work.

In my honest opinion the book is a challenging read much too complex for a casual, enjoyable read.  I have read the majority of Kate Morton’s other work and very much enjoyed them.

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

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Ours for a Season by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Publication Date: Sept 11, 2018

Publisher: Waterbrook Multnomah

ARC copy from Netgalley.com and Waterbrook Multnomah

“And he reminded me that our children aren’t really ours anyway. They belong to God. We have them for one season of life, but then they have to move into their own season.”

–Evelyn Mast

Kim Vogel Sawyer brings to life the lesson of accepting our life the way the Lord gives it to us instead of the way we plan and hope for it to be. Marty and Anthony Hirshler, devout Mennonites raised and married in the faith, live in Pine Hill, Indiana. Their story of heartbreak, disappointment, and new chances is interwoven with that of Brooke Spalding, a close, non-Mennonite friend of Marty’s from childhood, who runs a successful real estate business in Kansas City. This book offers a genuine portrayal of lives planned and changed by circumstances beyond their control.

Mixing faith, fertility issues, medical crises, and family issues together creates an intriguing novel that draws the reader in right from the beginning of the story. I enjoyed the interweaving of Marty and Anthony’s Mennonite faith and way of life with that of Brooke’s modern lifestyle. Timing is critical and Brooke and Marty find in each other some much needed support. As Anthony brings Marty and his construction crew to Eagle Creek to work for Brooke on a restoration project, he finds that more than his buildings are being restored.

Don’t miss this emotional story by Kim Vogel Sawyer. Readers of Amish fiction and Christian fiction will truly enjoy this unique story.

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

#OursForASeason #NetGalley

 

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Filed under Amish, Book Reviews, christian fiction, Clean, Contemporary, Contemporary

Cottage by the Sea by Debbie Macomber

Publication Date: July 17, 2018

Ballantine Books

ARC from Ballantine Books and Netgalley.com

 

Excerpt: “Still, the cottage by the sea was the one place she could remember where she’d been completely happy. She didn’t know if she’d ever find that sense of peace again, but Annie was determined to try.”

In search of peace, Annie Marlow packs her bags and moves to the tiny beach town of Oceanside. As a physician’s assistant, Annie could have chosen from a vast array of locations, but she was searching for peace and a place to rebuild her life after a terrible tragedy. Going back to a familiar spot from childhood, Annie moves back into a cottage her family rented for many years.

This novel is all about the characters and their eccentric range of personalities. Seth Keaton, a gentle giant of a man, paints rooms and houses by day and quietly paints beautiful murals around town when no one is looking. Soft spoken, awkward and shy his crush on Annie has lasted for years unbeknownst to her. Melody Johnson, rude, ill-mannered and extremely anti-social, never leaves the old house behind Annie’s cottage. As Annie’s landlord, Melody and Annie have an uncomfortable working relationship which Annie is determined to better. A cast of minor characters play a role in Annie’s life and her battle to find her happy place again at Oceanside.

I enjoyed the quirkiness of the characters as well as the comfortable pace of the story. The book is one to read and enjoy slowly in spite of its rather serious tone and nature. Travel Annie’s journey with her to find her serenity and her happy place. Good beach read for the summer for those who want a little depth to their story!

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

#CottageByTheSea #NetGalley

 

 

 

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Falling for You by Becky Wade

Series: A Bradford Sisters Romance

Publication Date: May 1, 2018

Bethany House Publishers

ARC copy from Netgalley.com and Bethany House Publishers

 

“Just because God started you on one path didn’t mean He intended to keep you on that path all your life.”

                                                                                -thoughts from Willow

 Once again we come back to visit the Bradford sisters, all currently living in the state of Washington. This second book in the series centers on Willow, the oldest of the three young women, who generally lives a jet setting life as a world class model.  Home for a much needed break, Willow encounters Corbin Stewart, a handsome former quarterback and a bitter reminder of relationships gone wrong. Is the small town of Shore Pine big enough to hold these two people who go out of their way to avoid each other until they can’t?

A watchful Willow and a decisive Corbin team up with his young cousin, Charlotte, to solve a family mystery. As the two are forced to spend time with each other and Charlotte, they remember the good things about each other, relive the painful ones, and discover new things along the way. As with many relationships, reconciliations can be both sweet and painful.

The novel explores the complexities of reconciliations and relationships, as well as the difficulties encountered when embracing new paths in life. Family, romance, and a dark secret make this story very engaging. The characters are like old friends at this point and I thoroughly enjoyed catching up with Willow’s sisters, Britt and Nora, as well as meeting the new characters Corbin’s story introduces.

Terrific book! Another great read for people that enjoy contemporary romance, family drama, mystery, and faith inspired fiction. One more book left in the series!  Counting down!

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

#FallingForYou  #Netgalley

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Filed under Book Reviews, christian fiction, Contemporary, Romance

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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Filed under Book Reviews, Contemporary, Contemporary