Sunday, July 15, 2018

As the Tide Comes In by Cindy and Erin Woodsmall

If you like Cindy Woodsmall, you're in for another treat. I think this book had an original premise. Tara is thrown into a situation that she doesn't want to be in. She has been asked to step in as guardians for her two half brothers, Darryl and Sean, siblings she has never been close to. All three were not close with their mother, who battled drug addiction. 

Tara hesitantly steps into the role of mom to the boys and over the years, realizes that she was meant to do this. Then, just when the boys are leaving the nest, an unimaginable tragedy happens and Tara's world is thrown into upheaval once again. 

Tara, in her grief, takes a trip to Saint Simon's Island, Georgia, where she knows she has some roots. While there, she meets Gavin and his mother, Julep, along with Julep's three other friends who have dubbed themselves the Glynn Girls, after the county they live in. 

Tara can't imagine making a new start after all she's been through. But, she finally allows herself to be helped through her grief by Gavin and the Glynn Girls, who are going through their own troubles. Can they help each other back to a more solid path? 

I won't go too much into the whole link to Saint Simon's Island. I don't want to give too much away. This book is pretty heavy hitting with pulling the heartstrings and some parts are heartbreaking. Haven't we all been through something? Something we don't think we are going to come out the other side of? 

That's one of the things this book is good for. Anyone can really relate to going through personal tragedy. Don't we always ask God sometimes why? Don't we even wonder if HE is doing something TO us when things go bad? Well, one of my favorite conversations in the book is when Gavin tells Tara that God IS love, and if He is love, love doesn't do or cause bad things to people. I took great comfort in that. 

So, all that said, this book comes out August 21, 2018. I was so honored to be part of the launch team for this book from WaterBrook Multnomah. However, all opinions are my own. Thank you to WaterBrook and to Cindy and Erin Woodsmall. 

Sunday, June 24, 2018

A Gathering of Secrets by Linda Castillo

Where do I begin with this! First, a recap. 

A young Amish man is found dead in a barn that was on fire. Let me add this: the fire was set on purpose.  Who would want to kill an Amish man and why? It is up to Chief Kate Burkholder to find out what, when, why, what and how. This is the 10th book in a series, but you could really read it as a stand alone. However, it made me immediately want to start book one in the series. 

I am a huge fan of Amish fiction. However, a word of warning. If you like Christian/Amish fiction, you may like this, but be forewarned, it is darker than most Amish fiction. There are curse words and Amish folk that have left the fold and are quite bitter, most for good reason. 

The other interesting aspect of this is the main character, Chief Burkholder used to be Amish herself. So, she sometimes struggles between her current life and her past roots. 

I am so excited that this is a series and I have the opportunity to go back and read 9 other stories in this series. This book is due to release next month, July 2018. I highly recommend it. I read it in a very short time. 

I received an Advance Reader's Copy from Minotaur books (just love them!). No review was required. 

Friday, June 22, 2018

Dreams of Falling by Karen White

I was so happy to win this book from from Berkley Publishers. I have read a few books by Karen White before so  I couldn't wait to dive in. Plus, look at that gorgeous cover! 

Larkin was raised sometimes by her mother, Ivy and sometimes by Ivy's mother's friend, CeeCee. Also a big presence in Larkin's life was another friend of her grandmother, Bitty. Larkin's grandmother, Margaret died before Larkin ever knew her. This book takes place in the Lowcountry, but years prior, Larkin fled to New York to start a new life, dismissing her roots. 

When Larkin is called back to her hometown after her mother, Ivy gets hurt, old wounds are reopened and the past comes calling. Larkin learns about her past, where she came from and has to face relationships she thought she had left behind for good. 

This book claimed to have secrets waiting to be revealed as well, but I didn't feel that this was a mystery. I thought that's what I was getting and was just a tad disappointed when it turned out it really wasn't one. 

However, I saw another reviewer say that it needs to be viewed as a story, not a mystery and when I look at it that way, it became better. There is a HINT of mystery, but I am not a big fan when the reader knows what the "secret" is before the character. I always feel that I am sitting here knowing it and then there is no big "reveal" when the character finds out. 

That aside, this was a good story. Karen White writes with, and gives her characters a depth that is not commonly seen in books today. I would definitely recommend this book. 

No review was required even though I won an Advanced Reader Copy. 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Heart's Appeal by Jennifer Delamere

Welcome to my post about The Heart's Appeal by Jennifer Delamere. This is a Christian Historical novel and the second in a series. I didn't read the first one but found out that they are linked but not enough to where you can't enjoy this as a stand alone. 

If you like historical fiction, I highly recommend this book. It takes place in London in a time when women are just starting to attend medical school to become doctors. Julia is one of those women. Her dream is to become a physician and travel to Africa to follow her calling. 

A subway accident brings Julia and a lawyer named Michael Stephenson together.  Julia helps Michael and then finds out that he is the lawyer whose client is trying to shut down the medical school Julia wants to attend in a libel lawsuit. 

Julia is undeterred! She approaches Michael a few weeks after the accident to see how he is. He, in turn, is so grateful that she helped him that he wants to repay her somehow. Julia asks for his help in Latin and the two begin weekly lessons. However, will Michael and Julia be able to stay civil in light of the lawsuit?

This sounds like it might be a simple story, but there are side plots and other interesting characters as well. I thought the story was well written and very interesting. It is written with enough but not too much description and, in my opinion, smartly written as well. It definitely made me want to read the first one and, even better, I found a new author I like!  

Thank you to Bethany House for the copy. No review was required. 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh

I don't even know where to begin with this. I stayed up late finishing this last night and I can't even tell you the last time I stayed up late to finish a book. I wish I could tell you everything about this book, but that wouldn't be fair. You need to experience this slow burn that ratchets up into a full blown four alarm fire. I hardly ever give 5 stars to books, but this one gets it on Goodreads! 

I have not had this much fun with a book in a long, long time. I also pick up books to read that promises a "twist" and never get them.  Not only THAT, but I would have bet money that I knew what was coming, with one part I did, but certainly not the other. This was my face when I finished the book: 


I really don't want to say too much because I don't want to give anything away, so here is the blurb from Goodreads:
The police say it was suicide. Anna says it was murder. They're both wrong. One year ago, Caroline Johnson chose to end her life brutally: a shocking suicide planned to match that of her husband just months before. Their daughter, Anna, has struggled to come to terms with their loss ever since. Now with a young baby of her own, Anna misses her mother more than ever and starts to question her parents’ deaths. But by digging up their past, she’ll put her future in danger. Sometimes it’s safer to let things lie… Okay, so there you have a synopsis without me blowing it. Three words: READ THIS BOOK!

Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC. No review is required. 

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Our House by Louise Candlish

Wow. That's the only word I can think of right now. Where do I start? This is a good wow by the way. Finally, a contemporary book that I found myself not being able to wait to get back to. I read a lot of books and sometimes they sit and I read when I go to bed usually. For this one, I was taking my Kindle to snatch pieces where I could, even in the car. I kept thinking, where is this going to GO?? 

Now, let me say it was not what I expected. It lured me in because the description said that when Fi (Fiona) came home one day, people she didn't know were moving into her house. What the what?  I had to find out. I thought it sounded quite original. 

I started it and was taken on a wild roller coaster ride. I thought there were enough twists to make this quite a satisfying read. I do not want to give any spoilers away about what happened and WHY it was going on, but did anyone else think of the Gift of the Magi by the time things were explained? 

Also, I always appreciate an ending where things may or may not be wrapped up too neatly. I want to admit this is my first Louise Candlish book and it will not be my last. I immediately went to Goodreads to find out what else she has written. YAY! There are other books by her! 

Thank you so much to NetGalley for this opportunity!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser

This book's description really had me intrigued. It was supposed to be about friends who had a night around a fire to have a break from the kids and just chat and be social. Then, the next day, one of them is gone and nobody understands or knows where she might have gone. She has taken the kids, too. Or, is something else going on? Sounds exciting, right?

Well, it started off that way. I was really excited to see what was going on. However, in my opinion, it started to drag and get really predictable. The bad part for me was this was supposed to be a "thriller" and it just did not deliver on that front. 

There were other aspects of the story regarding the other women on the street. One has been through a traumatic experience herself, but you don't find out what until later. One of the others is running away from unrequited love and the other is dealing with a very precocious daughter who stirs up a little trouble on the street. Then, there are Rhoda and Randi, the couple who has a new baby and runs a shop in the small town. 

There was ONE small surprising thing and I won't spoil it here. The book kept me interested enough to finish it, but it was no big shocker and it certainly shouldn't be called a thriller. This is more like Women's Domestic Fiction, but not Chick Lit.