Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe by Heather Webber

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Pages: 329

Publisher: Forge Books

Published: July 16, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Bookbub:

Nestled in the mountain shadows of Alabama lies the little town of Wicklow. It is here that Anna Kate has returned to bury her beloved Granny Zee, owner of the Blackbird Cafe.

It was supposed to be a quick trip to close the cafe and settle her grandmother’s estate, but despite her best intentions to avoid forming ties or even getting to know her father’s side of the family, Anna Kate finds herself inexplicably drawn to the quirky Southern town her mother ran away from so many years ago, and the mysterious blackbird pie everybody can’t stop talking about.

As the truth about her past slowly becomes clear, Anna Kate will need to decide if this lone blackbird will finally be able to take her broken wings and fly.

My Review:

Evocative. Magical. Heartbreaking. Hopeful.

A beautiful novel that will move you to your core. Heather Webber is a fresh voice to women’s fiction. You will want to eat this novel up in one sitting but I promise you it is worth taking your time and savoring every bite. Let the story seep into your soul and fulfill you.

Fans of Southern fiction will not want to miss this. I am already missing my time at the Blackbird Cafe.

I received a complimentary copy from the author. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Andrew (The Petersheim Brothers #1) by Jennifer Beckstrand

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Pages: 352

Publisher: Kensington

Published: June 25, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:

Handsome, hardworking, and godly, Andrew Petersheim has always been sure of his place in his Wisconsin Amish community. He’ll be a welcome catch for the local girl who finally captures his heart. Mary Coblenz certainly isn’t that girl. Two years after “jumping the fence” for the Englischer world, she’s returned, unmarried and pregnant. Yet instead of hiding in shame as others in the community expect, she’s working at the Honeybee Farm, ignoring the gossips—and winning over Andrew’s eight-year-old twin brothers . . .

For all Andrew’s certainty about right and wrong, it seems he has a lot to learn from Mary’s courage, grace, and resilience. She’s changing his notions about forgiveness and love, but will she, in turn, accept the challenge of starting over and choose to stay—with him?

My Review:

A great book to show what true forgiveness of one’s sins means. There is only one true judge and He is in the heavens above. I also think it shows us bravery. It takes a strong woman to decide to walk through pregnancy on her own without the man she thought was her forever. It takes bravery to leave a bad situation.

I enjoy Beckstrand’s creative license with some of her Amish characters. Fans of Beckstrand all know the quirky grandma, Anna, from her Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series and now we have Bitsy, who definitely marches to her drummer. These characters make her books fun and entertaining.

I am looking forward to reading book two, Abraham, releasing November 2019.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Kensington Books, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Window on the Bay by Debbie Macomber

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Pages: 321

Publisher: Random House Publishing

Published: July 16, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:

Jenna Boltz’s life is at a crossroads. After a messy divorce from her surgeon husband nearly twenty years ago, she raised her two children on her own, juggling motherhood with her beloved job as a Seattle intensive-care nurse. Now that Paul and Allie have gone to college and moved out, Jenna can’t help but wonder what her future holds.

Her best friend, Maureen, is excited about Jenna’s newfound independence. Now is the perfect time to finally book the trip to Paris they’ve been dreaming of since their college days. But when it comes to life’s other great adventure—dating—Jenna still isn’t sure she’s ready to let love in . . . until an unexpected encounter begins to change her mind.

When Jenna’s elderly mother breaks her hip, Dr. Rowan Lancaster saves the day. Despite his silent, stoic exterior, Rowan is immediately smitten with Jenna. And even though Jenna is hesitant about becoming involved with another surgeon, she has to admit that she’s more than a little intrigued. But when Jenna’s children approach her with shocking news, she realizes that she needs to have faith in love and embrace the unexpected—before the life, she has always dreamed of passes her by.

My Review:

Debbie Macomber is my “go-to” comfort author. I know I am guaranteed when I pick up one of her books I will read a story filled with love and friendship. Window on the Bay was no exception.

The friendship between Jenna and Maureen was what every female relationship should strive for: no jealousy and cheering one another on in life. I am lucky to have two such friendships.

This is a perfect read to share with your teenage daughter as it is a clean read (no sex, only kissing) and no foul language.

I received a copy from the publisher, Random House Publishing, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

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Pages: 308

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: August 13, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Amazon: Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she’s seen her fair share of them, and she’s a total pro at other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to give up her whole life and move to Boston, Cassie suddenly has an emergency of her own.
The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie’s old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren’t exactly thrilled to have a “lady” on the crew—even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the infatuation-inspiring rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because love is girly, and it’s not her thing. And don’t forget the advice her old captain gave her: Never date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping…and it means risking it all—the only job she’s ever loved, and the hero she’s worked like hell to become.

My Review: Things You Save in a Fire is my first Katherine Center book and will not be my last.

The beginning was a little slow (50 pages) but once it picks up, it takes off with the speed of a sports car. You will not want to put down. As a matter of fact, for two days my husband had to eat sandwiches for dinner. I was not stopping to bother with cooking.

This book has all the feels: anger, shock, sadness, laughter, and love. It is true to life where one moment we are happy and then something happens to make us realize how short life really can be.

Things You Save in a Fire has some foul language (F word every so often), a few sex scenes (not too in depth) and adult situations.

Put this on your TBR list and a reminder on your calendar to pick up your copy on 8.13.19 from your favorite book retailer. I just know you will like this book.

I received a complimentary copy from St. Martin’s Press. Any and all opinions expressed the above review are entirely my own.

#thingsyousavebook

Surfside Sisters by Nancy Thayer

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Pages: 305

Publisher: Random House Publishing – Ballantine

Published: July 2, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley:

Keely Green always dreamed of leaving the beautiful shores of Nantucket to become a writer. Now she’s a bestselling novelist living in New York City, attending glamorous cocktail parties and mingling with the literary elite. Keely is also dating a charming, perfectly fine pediatric surgeon who looks good on paper but isn’t “the one.” She just can’t bear to break it off—until he declares his desire to settle down. Then Keely’s editor rejects her latest novel. With her personal and professional lives suddenly in shambles, Keely longs for the soothing island way of life.

Growing up, Keely and her best friend, Isabelle, were inseparable. Nothing could come between them—except, as it turned out, Keely’s high school boyfriend, Tommy. Returning home would mean facing Isabelle’s bitter betrayal and seeing for herself the family Tommy and Isabelle have created, the life that might have been Keely’s.

But when Keely’s mother falls into a deep depression, Keely knows what she must do, even though she is reluctant to face her estranged friend. And encountering Isabelle’s older brother, Sebastian—Keely’s longtime crush—only complicates things.

In one incredible summer, Keely must confront the mistakes of the past if she has any chance of finding true happiness in the place she will always call home. Nancy Thayer shines yet again in this uplifting tale of forgiveness and self-discovery.

My Review: Nancy Thayer has joined the cast of my MUST read authors for summer. She joins Mary Alice Monroe, Elin Hildebrand, and Dorothea Benton Frank. It doesn’t feel like summer until I read these authors. Thayer has written another hit. I found myself ignoring everything around me as I read. The heartache Keely felt many times throughout the book tugged at my heartstrings and I wanted to jump into the book and try to fix it for her.

The descriptions of Nantucket make the reader feel as if they are there playing in ocean waves, eating yummy food in the summer sunshine and listening to families excitement on vacation. You will be wishing you could hop on the next flight out.

If you haven’t read Nancy Thayer then start with Surfside Sisters. You will thank me when you are finished.

I received a complimentary copy from Random House Publishing – Ballantine through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

 

Beach Weekend Wedding by Rachel Magee

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Pages: 298

Publisher: Hallmark

Published: May 15, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: When Brody broke up with Paige and went to Europe, he suggested that someday, they’d pick up right where they left off. A hopeless romantic, she believed him. But when they meet again, Brody’s dating a gorgeous actress. They’re all going to attend the same wedding, and Paige plans to win Brody back. She even enlists her best friend’s brother, Aiden, to pretend to date her and make her ex jealous. A breezy, charming restaurant owner, Aiden actually avoids serious relationships, but as a fake boyfriend, he’s perfect. As old friends and exes take part in wedding preparations and enjoy the beauty of the Florida coast, they begin to see themselves—and each other—in a new light.

My Review: When I want a good-hearted romance I turn to Hallmark Publishing. Their books are as sweet and comforting as their movies. Paige and Aiden’s story is the perfect story to read as you relax on a hot summer weekend.

This book is a good one for the teenager in your life that wants to read romance older than young adult. It has no foul language and no sex scenes (mild kissing). Also a good book for your elderly grandma.

A bonus: the book includes a recipe for BBQ Brisket Tacos with Sunshine Slaw. I am thinking of making this summer.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Hallmark Publishing through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

The Summer Guests by Mary Alice Monroe

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Pages: 368

Publisher: Gallery Books

Published: June 11, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: Late August is a beautiful time on the Southern coast—the peach trees are ripe, the ocean is warm, and the sweet tea is icy. A perfect time to enjoy the rocking chairs on the porch. But beneath the calm surface bubbles a threat: it’s also peak hurricane season.

When a hurricane threatens the coasts of Florida and South Carolina, an eclectic group of evacuees flees for the farm of their friends Grace and Charles Phillips in North Carolina: the Phillips’s daughter Moira and her rescue dogs, famed equestrian Javier Angel de la Cruz, makeup artist Hannah McLain, horse breeder Gerda Klug and her daughter Elise, and island resident Cara Rutledge. They bring with them only a few treasured possessions they can fit in their vehicles. Strangers to all but the Phillips, they must ride out the storm together.

During the course of one of the most challenging weeks of their lives, relationships are put to the test as the evacuees are forced to confront the unresolved issues they have with themselves and with each other. But as the storm passes, they realize that what really matters isn’t what they brought with them to the mountains. Rather, it’s what they’ll take with them once they leave.

My Review: Mary Alice Monroe is my go to Southern writer every summer. I live for her view of the beach, sea life and Southern family drama. It allows me a vacation when I can’t take one.

The Summer Guests is a different summer southern read. The focus is on how a hurricane displaces more than people. Families have to find shelter for their pets from million dollar horses to the tiniest puppy. Living so far from the ocean, these are concerns I do not think about when listening to the news. Monroe does an exceptional job of letting one know about this issue.

Fans of southern fiction need to add this to their “must read” list for the summer. You will not be disappointed.

I received a complimentary copy from Gallery Books through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Toxic Toffee (Amish Candy Shop #4) by Amanda Flower

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Pages: 304

Publisher: Kensington

Published: June 25, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: Bailey King’s in New York wrapping up a six-week shoot on her first cable TV show, Bailey’s Amish Sweets, when she gets a call from her Ohio town’s resident busybody. With Easter around the corner, Bailey’s been recruited to create a giant toffee bunny for the weeklong springtime festival that will also feature live white rabbits. But back home in Harvest, death becomes the main attraction when Stephen Raber keels over from an apparent heart attack—with Bailey and Raber’s pet bunny as witnesses.
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Except it wasn’t Raber’s heart that suddenly gave out—a lethal dose of lily of the valley was mixed into a tasty piece of toffee. Who’d want to poison a jovial rabbit farmer who reminded Bailey of an Amish Santa Claus? To solve the murder, she and her sheriff deputy boyfriend Aiden must uncover a twenty-year-old secret. She’ll need to pull a rabbit out of a hat to keep a healthy distance from toxic people, including one venomous killer . . .

My Review: Adorable, if you can say that about a murder mystery. The addition of Puff to the series was just the right touch.

Amanda Flower writes with such knowledge of the Amish and does a fantastic job of making the reader feel apart of Harvest, Ohio. You can almost smell and taste the chocolate creations from Swissmen Sweets.

Toxic Toffee is perfectly paced and the red herrings are perfectly spaced throughout. A wonderfully entertaining read.

I received a complimentary copy from Kensington through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

Amish Outsider by Marta Perry

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Pages: 384

Publisher: Harlequin

Published: June 18, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: In the wake of his estranged wife’s murder, widower Michael Forster returns to the Amish community he’d left as a teen. He wants a fresh start for himself and his daughter, Allie, away from those who still believe he’s guilty. In River Haven, a quieter life seems possible. If only Allie’s Amish schoolteacher, Catherine Brandt, was easier to ignore.

A problem solver by nature, Cathy can tell Allie’s withdrawn demeanor isn’t due to shyness. But getting through to Allie also means breaching her father’s hardened defenses. What starts as persistence soon grows into an attraction neither Cathy nor Michael saw coming. When the past suddenly threatens both his daughter and the woman he loves, Michael must risk everything to save them.

My Review: It has been a bit since I’ve read Marta Perry and An Amish Outsider made me wonder why? I was riveted the entire time and was blown away when the killer was revealed.

An Amish Outsider is the perfect read for fans of Amish mysteries, romances, and fiction. You have a little of everything in this gem of a read.

I received a complimentary copy from Harlequin through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

A Daughter’s Truth by Laura Bradford

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Pages: 288

Publisher: Kensington

Published: May 28, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: Emma Lapp tries to be the perfect daughter, to earn the loving embrace of her family and her Amish community in Pennsylvania. Yet she can’t quite win her mother’s smile—or her forgiveness for a transgression Emma can’t quite place . . .

Emma knows she’s a reminder of her mother’s greatest sorrow, having been born on the same day Mamm lost her beloved sister. The one bright spot has been the odd trinkets anonymously left at her aunt’s grave each year on Emma’s birthday—gifts Emma secretly hides because they upset her parents. But the day she turns 22, a locket bears a surprise that sends her on an unexpected journey . . .

Searching for answers, Emma travels to the English world and finds a kinship as intriguing as it is forbidden. But is this newfound connection enough to leave behind the future she’d expected? The answers are as mysterious, and as devastating, as the truth that divides Emma from the only family, and the only life, she’s ever known . . .

My Review: I just finished A Daughter’s Truth for the second time! It has been a long time a book has made me feel so deeply. It is right up there with The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah as one of my most precious books.

As you read A Daughter’s Truth you can feel every emotion Bradford put into her characters. The angst Emma feels as she learns the truth and explores her father’s world is heartbreaking.

Read with the understanding you won’t be able to put the book down.

I received a complimentary copy from Kensington through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.