Category Archives: Contemporary

Life After by Katie Ganshert

Publication Date: April 2017

Waterbrook Multnomah

ARC copy from Netgalley.com and Waterbrook Multnomah

 

“Bad things happen all the time, all over the world. And we believe in God’s goodness. We believe He is good. We say He is good. Until the bad things turn personal. That’s when we start to question.”

-Grandma Ally, the Sunday after 9/11, on our way home from church         

Autumn Manning lives in a world of her own since the accident. She struggles perpetually with the question of why. Why did she get on that particular train? Why did she survive? Why did her life get intertwined with that of Vivian Elliott? Even a year later the whys are endless in Autumn’s mind.

This deeply emotional and poignant tale shares the story of Autumn’s recovery and her involvement with the Elliott family. As Reese Elliott, the twelve-year-old daughter of Vivian and Paul Elliott, struggles to find a way to grieve the death of her mother. Her path to recovery from the traumatic loss of her mom leads her to inadvertently draw Autumn into the family’s personal turmoil.

A haunting and emotional story! The characters have depth and personality, each unique and slightly broken in their own way. The book draws the reader in from the beginning and it’s hard to put down. This is a serious read that deals with deep subjects such as why bad things happen to some people and not others and how God comforts us in different ways and in his own time. I very much enjoyed the book. The ending leaves the reader with a feeling of possibility and hopefulness. I would definitely recommend the book to readers of Christian fiction and contemporary fiction.

I received this book free from Netgalley and Waterbrook Multnomah. I was not required to write a positive review. The above thoughts and opinions I have expressed are wholly my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

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Peace in the Valley by Ruth Logan Herne

Series: Double S Ranch Series

Publication Date: May 2016

Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers

ARC from Waterbrook Multnomah and Netgalley.com

 

 

Once again Ruth Logan Herne takes us back to the Double S Ranch owned by the Stafford family in a lush green valley of Washington. The last of the Stafford brothers, Trey Walker Stafford, takes a break from his flourishing career as a country and western star and comes home for an extended stay. Trey doesn’t even make it to the ranch before creating turmoil with the nearest neighbor, Lucy Carlton, a struggling single mom raising four children.

The story includes the entire family from the first two novels. The large, all encompassing family is busy shifting with the changes that are underway in their lives. Weddings are being planned; houses are being built; and illness is being dealt with. All around them, the cycle of ranch life continues as they work to rebuild their town as well.

As change swirls all around them, they must remember to trust in the Lord for the answer to each of their prayers. The real story revolves around Trey and Lucy and whether two people from such diverse walks of life can find a place to meet in the middle. Once again the author does a great job of incorporating faith and the balance of life into the book.  Readers of contemporary inspirational fiction will enjoy this family saga.

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.

Ruth Logan Herne Author Page

 

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A Royal Christmas Wedding by Rachel Hauck

hauck-rachel-a-royal-christmas-wedding

 

Series:  The Royal Wedding Series

Publication Date: 2016

Publisher: Zondervan and the Fiction Guild

 

 

“You’re redeeming the curse of Prince Michael, bringing the tradition back to life.”

                                                                        -Edward Tattersall

There is nothing like a good Christmas book filled with a real live prince, a beautiful young American woman, and a bell ringing tradition to spice up one’s holiday season. An entertaining read sprinkled with fairy tale romance, Christmas balls, and a Royal family!

After being dumped by Prince Colin of Brighton Kingdom five years previously, Avery Truitt is hesitant to encounter the young man again. However, in order to see her favorite sister, Avery must endure the company of Prince Colin during the holidays.

The story follows Prince Colin as he learns to stand up for himself and act on the wishes of a power higher than himself and his rather overbearing father.  Avery reaches deep to find the faith and trust she will need to change her world and to truly believe in Colin again.  Will Avery show up on Christmas morning after the bell rings?

A fun and engaging story! Perfect holiday reading!

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

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The Devoted by Suzanne Woods Fisher

fisher-suzanne-woods

Series: The Bishop’s Family Series

Publication Date: Oct 2016

Publisher: Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

ARC Copy from NetGalley.com and Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

 

“Watch and wait for God’s timing. You’ll know it when it comes.” 

-Dok

Ruthie Stoltzfus, a lively 17 year old Amish girl, is restless and can’t decide what she really wants to do with her life. Being Amish is a crucial part of her life, but the need for more than the Amish life is driving her in a different direction. To add to her confusion, Patrick Kelly, a quiet, intelligent young man from Canada, arrives for an extended stay at the Inn at Eagle Hill interested in becoming Amish.

Our story revolves around Ruthie, Patrick, and Luke Schrock, a 17 year old Amish boy who has been Ruthie’s on again and off again close friend since grade school. Of course, we also have the people of Stoney Ridge and their everyday lives making things interesting, mysterious deaths at the Inn, unexpected illness, and the odd romance here and there.

The book is an interesting read with undertones of faith, second chances, and finding ourselves where we are instead of always searching elsewhere. Ruthie’s restlessness and Patrick’s quest each lead them to come to the realization that the alternative to their current situation is not always the better one. The story is a pleasant read with a clear path to additional stories in the series. I especially enjoyed the bits of wisdom sprinkled throughout the story.

I received this copy from NetGalley.com and Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group in exchange for a fair review. The opinions and statements above are my own.

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Home on the Range by Ruth Logan Herne

herne-logan-ruth-home-on-the-range

Series: Double S Ranch Series

Publication Date: October 18, 2016

Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers

ARC from Multnomah and Bloggingforbooks.com

 

 

“We all need reminders, especially when we let old memories or bad memories take over. We allow them too much power and they become dangerous.”

                                                                                    –Dr. Elsa Andreas

What is a doctor with years of education and experience in family therapy doing hiding out in the backwoods of Gray’s Glen? Dr. Elsa Andreas, a lovely woman with long blonde hair, lives in a gnome’s cottage in the woods of Gray’s Glen and doesn’t venture to town and doesn’t allow visitors.Not until she takes on Nick Stafford and his two troubled young daughters! All four have deep places with secrets and darkness dwelling in them.

Elsa takes on the girls as a challenge from which she can’t quite walk away. In the process of trying to assist the girls, Elsa finds the help she so badly needs herself to heal from old wounds. Nick Stafford continues to struggle three years after his wife walked out and divorced him. He tries to do it all; father, mother, rancher, and dutiful son. It is a heavy load for any man. In the midst of putting his life back together, along with his girls, his ex-wife shows back up and starts her old behavior once again.

This novel is a story that touched my heart. The story is about finding faith in troubled times and finding help and forgiveness in places where you least expect it. The story has some focus on alcoholism and the ravages it can bring to a family, along with some good messages scattered throughout for readers of contemporary Christian fiction. Readers of the first book in the series, Back in the Saddle, will also meet many familiar faces once again. Looking forward to book three, Peace in the Valley, coming in March 2017!

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

Ruth Logan Herne Author Page

 

 

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Leave Me by Gayle Forman

foreman-gayle-leave-me

 

Publication Date: Sept 2016

Algonquin Books

ARC copy from Netgalley.com and Algonquin Books

 

 

 

Excerpt from back cover: For every woman who has ever fantasized about driving right past her exit on the highway instead of going home to make dinner, for every woman who has ever dreamed of boarding a train to a place where no one needs constant attention—meet Maribeth Klein. A harried working mother who’s so busy taking care of her husband and twins, she doesn’t even realize she’s had a heart attack.

How does a woman of forty-four get so wrapped up in life that she doesn’t even realize she has had a heart attack? When a woman is chasing twin four year olds, editing a high profile magazine, and trying to accommodate a needy husband, it is easy to simply get bogged down in the details. Personal time and a personal life seize to exist. Maribeth Klein does not even realize she has had a heart attack. She fails to acknowledge the symptoms for a couple of days as she continues running on the hamster wheel of her life.

After a hospital stay that is entirely too short, Maribeth comes home to the twins, still needy husband, and a mother that has given up cooking and doing anything stressful in life.  While trying to recover from emergency bypass surgery, Maribeth finds that she gets nominal help and little sympathy from the people from whom she needs it the most.

Minimal rest and a multitude of stress cause Maribeth to walk away from the kids, the husband, and the job. Underlying Maribeth’s stress is a hidden layer of questions contributing to her inability to heal both mentally and physically. By leaving the life she knows behind, Maribeth goes in search of answers and peace and quiet in which to heal.

The story takes some interesting twists as layers are exposed and situations arise that require difficult choices. I enjoyed the story and the characters. An appealing read! Not a light story, but a book to make you think!

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

Gayle Forman Website

Gayle Forman on Goodreads.com

 

 

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Together at the Table by Hilary Manton Lodge

Together at the Table

Publication Date: May 2016

Waterbrook Press

ARC copy from Bloggingforbooks.com and Waterbrook Press

 3.5 stars

 

For those who love a novel filled with romance, food, and history, Together at the Table is the book for you. Author Hilary Manton Lodge has woven a touching story that meanders around the kitchens of modern restaurants in Portland, Washington, as well taking the reader back in time to war torn France during World War II.

Juliette D’Alisa has undergone a rocky time after breaking up with Neil McLaren, a doctor from Memphis while dealing with her mother’s recent death and starting up a new restaurant with her brother Nico. In spite of her ups and downs, she has started a new relationship with sous-chef, Adrian when Neil unexpectedly turns up in Portland.

As Juliette works to gain her equilibrium, she reads her grandmother’s letters from France trying to find answers to missing pieces of the family puzzle. The story takes the reader from Portland to France trying to solve the family mystery of a missing person.

Filled with delicious recipes and descriptions of food that will make the reader salivate, this novel ends leaving one with a sense of peace and fulfillment and a desire to get to the kitchen and try out those recipes! Enjoyable read with a very interesting historical narrative intertwined with Juliette’s story!

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

Click here to download Chapter 1!

Hilary Manton Lodge website

 

 

 

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