Tag Archives: contemporary fiction

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

Sweet On You by Becky Wade

Series: A Bradford Sisters Romance, #3

Publication Date: April 30, 2019

Bethany House Publishers

ARC copy from Netgalley.com and Bethany House Publishers

 

“Loving her was his greatest blessing. But it was also his greatest curse…”

                                                         -thoughts from Zander Ford

Two of the three Bradford sisters are now married and residing close to home. This third book centers on Britt, the youngest of the three sisters. Her life revolves around her chocolate shop, Sweet Art and Britt is all about chocolate. Up until a year and half ago, Zander Ford had been her most reliable and best friend in the world. However, becoming a bestselling author changed Zander’s life and he departed to broaden his horizon and give himself some space.

When an unexpected death in the family brings Zander home early, he finds that he cannot go back to his old way of life with Britt. As the two struggle with their own personal concerns, can they find their way back to what they had or move forward to a different life? As they explore their options, Britt and Zander work to solve a unexpected mystery that comes to light while balancing family and relationship issues.

I enjoyed the characters very much because they are all so familiar from the previous novels in the series.  A very good contemporary read filled with drama, romance, mystery and faith!

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

#SweetOnYou #Netgalley

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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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Feared by Lisa Scottoline

Series: Rosato & DiNunzio Series, book 6

Publication Date: August 14, 2018

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

 

Book six in the Rosato and DiNunzio series finds Mary DiNunzio and her partner, Benny Rosato, being sued for reverse discrimination by a group of three unfamiliar men. As Mary digs deeper into the case, Nick Machiavelli’s name begins to appear in the background.

The case gets complex quickly when Rosato and DiNunzio’s lone male employee turns up dead. To complicate matters, Judy, the quieter partner of the firm, has been secretly dating him. The twists and turns begin.

The South Philly gang is all back to help Mary and Benny out particularly now that Mary is about to give birth.  An interesting read–fast paced and filled with suspense, mystery, and drama! Perfect summer read!

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.

#Feared #NetGalley

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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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