Tag Archives: Women’s Fiction

South of the Buttonwood Tree by Heather Webber

Publication Date: 30 Jul 2019

Publisher: Forge Book

ARC copy from Netgalley.com and Forge Book

Rating: 5 out of 5


“In the book of life, everyone has chapters they don’t like reading out loud.”


 South of the Buttonwood Tree is a quixotic blend of mystical and down t0 earth rolled up into one delightful story.  Filled with both serious and insightful characters as well as an ample cast of quirky ones, the story draws us straight in with the finding of a mysterious baby girl by a young woman named Blue Bishop.

The picturesque small town of Buttonwood is well known for its namesake, the buttonwood tree, a tree that offers cryptic guidance to the citizens of the town. When Blue discovers the baby, guidance from the tree indicates that the baby should belong to her. The story follows Blue’s journey after finding baby Flora and working to solve the mystery of her birth.

Full of southern charm with tidbits of wisdom sprinkled through, the story reads like a modern fairytale. Explore the importance of family and friends in a person’s life as Blue comes to understand what family really is and the role they play in her life. I thoroughly enjoyed this magical book. Readers of Sarah Allen Addison will absolutely love this book as will readers of women’s fiction.

This ARC copy was received from Forge Book and Netgalley. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

#SouthOfTheButtonwoodTree  #NetGalley

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Filed under Book Reviews, Contemporary, Magical Realism, Romance

The Lost and Found Bookshop by Susan Wiggs

Publication Date: 07 July 2020

Publisher: William Morrow

ARC copy from William Morrow and Netgalley.com

Secular Fiction

Rating: 5 out of 5


Excerpt:  The song “Wishlist” had her compiling her own list of wishes. A different job. A different attitude. A different life.

                                   –Thoughts from Natalie Harper

Sometimes one needs to be careful about what one wishes for. Natalie Harper’s wishes get granted in a way she never imagined. Along with a new job and a different life, Natalie struggles to find a new attitude to life as well. She inherits the job of running the Lost and Found Bookshop from her mother, Blythe, a carefree spirit that adored her job along with the task of looking after her aging grandfather suffering from cognitive issues.

The Lost and Found Bookstore, a quaint, independent family-owned bookstore, resides in the heart of San Francisco’s historic district.  Distinctive details of family and building history trickle through the novel enriching the story further. The secondary characters; the beleaguered playwright, the struggling actor, and the song writing handyman, are engaging and unique, presenting a flip side to Natalie, who is a rather stalwart and serious individual.

Using every tool in her chest, Natalie works to try and save the failing bookstore. Struggling with her grief, her Grandy’s failing health, and what she feels are her own personal shortcomings, Natalie eventually comes to the conclusion that indeed “there was a book for everything.” Finding just the right book is the key.

Filled with family, courage, books, and love, this story is an amazing read. This book is one of my very favorite reads of 2020. Great for readers of contemporary women’s fiction!

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

 #TheLostAndFoundBookshop  #NetGalley



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The Lies That Bind by Emily Giffin

Publication Date: 02 June 2020

Publisher: Ballantine Books

ARC copy from Netgalley.com and Ballantine Books


Rating: 3 out of 5


“We are all living in tragedy of Shakespearean proportions while pretending we don’t know the inevitable ending. . .”

–Excerpt from Grant’s email

An interesting read set a few months prior to  9/11/2001 that dissects the natural weaknesses of human nature when people make mistakes and tell lies! In a story that contains a few too many coincidences, the reader meets Cecily Gardner, a reporter from New York City and Grant Smith, a financial consultant on Wall Street. Cecily and Grant meet in a bar in New York City like many other young adults.

As the story unfolds, a web of lies is woven by Grant and Cecily that will eventually affect many of the people in their lives.  In the months after 9/11, the lies will begin to unravel.  Is one lie worse than another? How important is the truth? The story explores the issues involved and lives affected when a good person makes mistakes and the complexities of how one lie often leads to another even when we tell them to ourselves.

A thought-provoking contemporary read exploring morals and the ramifications of telling less than the truth! The story also explores the theme of unconditional love, forgiveness, and the importance of listening to our head as well as our heart. I definitely recommend this book for readers of women’s fiction, contemporary fiction, and romance. A good start to your summer reading!

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

#TheLiesThatBind #NetGalley

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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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Filed under Book Reviews, christian fiction, Clean, Contemporary

Child’s Play by Danielle Steel

Publication Date:  October 2019

Publisher: Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House

Secular Genre

ARC copy from Netgalley.com and Delacorte Press

Meet Kate Morgan, a beautiful, efficient corporate attorney, widow of a prominent politician, and mother of three adult children. Widowed 19 years earlier, Kate raised her children to be good upstanding adults and seemingly perfect in her eyes. Meet the children; Tamara, 32 year old senior vice-president of a prominent fashion house, Anthony, 29 year old technology guru building video games with a prominent tech company, and Claire, the youngest at 26, an attorney with a prominent New York firm. This family seems to have it all; beauty, good jobs, and a good family relationship.

As in most families that look perfect on the surface, there are underlying issues and cracks. Kate has no idea that her perfect children have underlying currents and some very major issues going on in their life. The first of the upheavals appear in Kate’s life in the form of an unwed pregnant daughter with a mind of her own. Rebellion in one seems to grant permission to the other two to lead life as they choose instead of following mom’s conservative lifestyle. Anthony cancels his high society wedding just in the nick of time and Tamara brings a long standing secret to the forefront of her life instead of hiding it in the shadows.

One rebellious incident is all it took to change Kate Morgan’s life considerably. As she struggles to deal with all the changes in her seemingly perfect world, Kate also runs into major conflict in the form of opposing attorney, Scott White, in her current big case. Kate. As with all good romances and family dramas, a little conflict is necessary.

As Kate begins to accept her new norms, she realizes that life is about dealing with the issues we are handed. She learns some important lessons about being honest, forgiving our differences, making choices, and the true meaning of family.

A very enjoyable read! Very relevant issues to today’s modern families! And a reminder that normal is what you make it!

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


#ChildsPlay #NetGalley

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The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins

Series: Dove Pond, #1Preview (opens in a new tab)

Publication Date: 30 Jul 2019

Publisher: Gallery Books

ARC copy from Netgalley.com and Gallery Books


“Life is made up on moments, good and bad. But while you don’t get to pick all the moments, you do get to pick which ones you cling to.”

–Mama G.

 The Book Charmer must be embraced with light-heartedness and a suspension of reality. The story weaves its magic through the pages of everyday life in Dove Pond, N.C. Sarah Dove, the town librarian, has a gift for hearing books when they talk to her. While many of us feel like our books talk to us through themes and messages, Sarah’s books talk to her.

When Grace Wheeler rolls into town with her niece, Daisy, and her beloved Mama G, Sarah feels certain life is about to change for the entire town. Grace, a strong but emotionally wounded young woman, takes on the task of raising her grieving niece and caring for her much-loved foster mother who is fading away with the onset of Alzheimer’s. As if Grace doesn’t have enough on her plate, Travis Parker, a wild looking, motorcycle riding veteran lives right next door and unsettles her life in a multitude of other ways and Sarah gives her books that she doesn’t really want.

As Sarah and Grace navigate the path to friendship, they each learn some valuable lessons. Grace learns that being independent and successful deals with much more than careers and finances. She learns the true value of family, friends, and community in this heartwarming tale. The quirky secondary characters in the book further enrich the novel making it a fun and enticing read for the summer.

I thoroughly enjoyed this delightful story. Readers of Sarah Allen Addison will absolutely love this book! I personally can’t wait for book two of the series to be published.

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

#TheBookCharmer  #NetGalley  #GalleryBooks

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Filed under Book Reviews, Contemporary, Romance

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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As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner

Publication Date: 6 February 2018
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Copy from Netgalley.com and Berkley



“Life is wonderful and beautiful but oh, how hard it can be.”


The year of 1918 is a year that will stand out in history for a long time to come. Reading this novel brings many of those vivid historical elements to the forefront of our minds. The story encompasses the Spanish Flu epidemic, WWI, and prohibition.
The story begins in January of 1918 in rural Pennsylvania and quickly shifts to the city of Philadelphia when the Bright family makes a life changing move. Thomas, Pauline, and their three daughters, Evie, Maggie, and Willa move in with Uncle Fred and begin to rearrange their lives to accommodate city living.

This first year in the city brings unbelievable change to the family. Thomas changes occupations from tobacco farmer to undertaker. Every member of the Bright family is impacted in a major way as a result of the move, the flu epidemic, and the war. The book follows the family through the difficult year of 1918 and the following seven years narrated by various members of the family, most frequently the girls.

This is a very compelling story narrated beautifully from differing points of view. The book weaves loss, love, and the ethics of right and wrong in difficult situations throughout its pages. A well written deep novel that definitely pulled this reader right into the story! I definitely recommend this book for lovers of historical fiction.

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

Susan Meissner

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Filed under Book Reviews, Historical Fiction

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.


 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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