South of the Buttonwood Tree by Heather Webber

buttonwood

Pages: 330

Publisher: Forge Books

Published: July 21, 2020

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

My Review: Have you ever read a book that left you feeling peaceful and happy but at the same time angry for the injustice a character received? South of the Buttonwood Tree has left me with those feelings.

There is so much I want to say but I don’t want to ruin a moment of this book by giving too much away. Webber had my attention captivated from the beginning. I made myself slow down in reading so i wouldn’t miss a thing by reading too fast.

The moral of the story is perfect right now. Don’t judge others as you probably don’t know the whole story. Plus a little love and compassion can go a long way in helping someone.

The book is full of magical realism which if you follow my book blog I’m not normally a fan of but when it is done right I love it. This is the second magical realism book this month for me and both have been very good.

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

NetGalley: USA Today bestselling author Heather Webber’s South of the Buttonwood Tree is a captivating blend of magical realism, heartwarming romance, and small-town Southern charm.

Blue Bishop has a knack for finding lost things. While growing up in charming small-town Buttonwood, Alabama, she’s happened across lost wallets, jewelry, pets, her wandering neighbor, and sometimes, trouble. No one is more surprised than Blue, however, when she comes across an abandoned newborn baby in the woods, just south of a very special buttonwood tree.

Sarah Grace Landreneau Fulton is at a crossroads. She has always tried so hard to do the right thing, but her own mother would disown her if she ever learned half of Sarah Grace’s secrets.

The unexpected discovery of the newborn baby girl will alter Blue’s and Sarah Grace’s lives forever. Both women must fight for what they truly want in life and for who they love. In doing so, they uncover long-held secrets that reveal exactly who they really are—and what they’re willing to sacrifice in the name of family.

Piece by Piece by Laura Bradford

piece

Pages: 276

Publisher: Kensington

Published: July 28, 2020

Rating 5 out of 5 stars

My Review: Warning: Do not read without boxes of tissues by your side.

The author personally reached out to warn me this book might be hard for me to read so soon to my mama’s death. She was right BUT it has been the most healing book I have read.

Through Dani’s grief, I was reminded of how my mama is still with me every day. She is in my memories and my heart. Just like Dani’s mom, my mom was always there for me. Oh, the times I called her at 3am because I couldn’t sleep because of worry. She’d listen patiently, talk me through it, and tell me to get sleep and it would be better when I woke up. You know what? She was always right. My mom was my rock. She was right up to almost the very end.

Both Dani and Lydia’s stories will touch your soul. When you turn the last page you will feel as Laura Bradford says in the book that Dani and Lydia are your friends and are the “…rainbow after a storm.”

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

NetGalley: A grieving mother learns to heal in Amish country, in this heartfelt, beautifully told novel from national bestselling author Laura Bradford.

Danielle Parker is a gold-medal mom—the kind who volunteers in her children’s classrooms, shuttles them between activities, throws legendary birthday parties, and has a remedy on hand for any emergency. Whatever her husband, Jeff, and their children need, Dani is there, always.

Except for one day.

On that day—the day that Dani reluctantly takes some “me time” while her mom and Jeff drive the children to the park—the unthinkable happens. The car crash leaves no survivors. Somehow, Dani gets through the funerals and visits, accepting neighbors’ sympathy and dropped-off meals. All the while, guilt and grief make her wish the accident had claimed her life too. Then a call comes from Lydia Schlabach, an Amish woman Dani befriended in childhood. In addition to condolences, Lydia offers Dani something more: a place to escape to.

In Pennsylvania’s Amish country, Dani’s days take on a new rhythm, marked by the clip-clop of buggies and the bustle of chores. Lydia gives Dani space to mourn, to think, and to realize how long it’s been since she felt like a person in her own right. And with the help of friendships old and new, Dani learns about the ways life continues to surprise us—even after the deepest loss—with joy, love, and second chances. . . .

How to Save a Life by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

how

Pages: 301

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Published: July 14, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: It is a sign of a good book if I am interested from page one on a genre that I am not normally interested in, magical realism. I have found I am liking it more and more and this book solidified that thought. I could not put this book down and only because I had to be an adult did I.

The story of Dom and Mia is tragic, to say the least, and you pretty much know what is going to happen each Thursday (Groundhog Day) but you still find yourself hoping and pleading for a better outcome.

I loved the message at the end of the book.

A quick read that will have you hooked immediately.

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

NetGalley: The bestselling authors of The Good Widow deliver a modern, suspenseful twist on Groundhog Day that asks the question: How far are you willing to go to save the life of someone you love?

Dom is having a very bad day—one he literally can’t escape.

When Dom bumps into Mia, his ex-fiancée whom he hasn’t seen in almost a decade, he believes they’ve been given a second chance and asks her out. When Mia dies tragically on their date, Dom makes a desperate wish: to be given the chance to save her life. And when he wakes the next morning to the shock that she’s alive, he thinks his wish may have been granted. But day after day, no matter what he changes about their time together, she still meets a terrible fate.

Dom frantically searches for answers to save his beloved Mia and rekindle their former love. But the further he digs, the more obsessed he becomes, making him realize that slowing down time may be the only way to see things clearly. As he’s forced to confront the truth about himself and those he’s closest to, Dom vows that he’ll watch Mia die a thousand times if it means he can save her once.

Light Shines on Promise Lodge (Promise Lodge #5) by Charlotte Hubbard

light

Pages: 320

Publisher: Kensington

Published: March 31, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I enjoyed this series as it showed a side of strong Amish woman that you do not see a lot in Amish fiction. Light Shines on Promise Lodge is a great ending to the series. You are not left with any cliff hangers and as with every book in the series, it is a clean read.

I really enjoyed seeing Gloria’s character grow up through the series and come into a fine young lady. She is a character that will stay with you and make you see the younger generations in more understanding light. She reminds us that we were all younger at one time and might not have made the best decisions.

Each book can be read as a standalone but I think you get more from the series reading in order.

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

NetGalley: Readers who have fallen in love with Amish Romance legends such as Beverly Lewis and Cindy Windsmall, will be charmed by this heartfelt conclusion to Hubbard’s Promise Lodge series, as the progressive ways of the Promise Lodge community are threatened by dark times… until the light of truth and love lifts them up…

For abandoned wife Annabelle Beachey, Promise Lodge is a refuge where she’s gained confidence and self-sufficiency. But she and others are dismayed when newly arrived Bishop Clayton King claims the community is too progressive and sets out to change its ways. Worse, her husband, Phineas returns, expecting her to give up her faith as he has. And he won’t leave Promise Lodge without her . . .

But little by little, Annabelle’s determination and new forthrightness make Phineas realize his mistakes—and truly hear his wife for the first time. Meanwhile, Annabelle finds herself feeling compassion—and even renewed love—for her newly humble, more caring husband. And as Bishop Clayton’s attempt to control Promise Lodge threatens everything its residents have built, Phineas and Annabelle must work together with unshakeable courage to save their new home—and their opportunity for forever happiness.

 

Read or Alive (A Bookmobile Mystery #3) by Nora Page

read

Pages: 320

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: July 7, 2020

Rating 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I needed a comfort read earlier this week and immediately thought of Cleo and her bookmobile. Cleo feels like the grandma we all wish we had and you throw in her love of books and you get the perfect grandma. I think Cleo has the perfect job of driving the bookmobile. She gets to be surrounded by books all day, she gets to travel with said books, and she gets to be among fellow booklovers. The only downside of her job is the dead bodies she finds but that is just a little hiccup.

I instantly fell in love when I realized the book would be about Gone With the Wind, which is a favorite of mine. Even with all the recent controversy surrounding the book I still love it. I have visited the Margaret Mitchell House and felt the awe Cleo and her friends experienced touching a book she touched and signed. Fellow bibliophiles will understand.

The book is written as you can start with book 3 and be perfectly fine. The Bookmobile Mystery series is perfect for bibliophiles around the world.

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

NetGalley: A match made in cozy heaven for fans of Jenn McKinlay, Kate Carlisle, and book lovers everywhere, Nora Page’s third Bookmobile mystery will (book)worm its way into your heart.

Wrongful accusations have librarian Cleo Watkins and her loved ones booked for trouble.

It’s springtime and septuagenarian librarian Cleo Watkins is celebrating new blooms and old books. To her delight, the Georgia Antiquarian Book Society has brought its annual fair to Catalpa Springs in honor of Cleo’s gentleman friend, respected antiquarian bookseller, and restorer, Henry Lafayette. However, trouble rolls in with the fair when a flirtatious book scout makes the rounds, charming locals out of prized books.

Among the conned is Cleo’s cousin, Dot, who handed over a signed, first edition of Gone With the Wind. With no proof the scout took the valuable book, Dot is at a loss. And when the deceitful man is found murdered the very next morning, Dot becomes a prime suspect. To Cleo’s dismay, so is Henry. The scene of the crime is behind Henry’s shop and his bookbinding tool is the murder weapon. As evidence stacks up against Henry, the police aren’t alone in questioning his innocence. Even friends and family ask Cleo how well she truly knows her gentleman friend.

Although books are at the heart of the crimes, Cleo feels dizzyingly out of her depths. Someone is setting up the people she holds dearest. With the authorities on the wrong trail, Cleo has no choice but to catalog the evidence herself. Along with her trusty bookmobile cat Rhett Butler, it will be up to Cleo to book the real killer for good.

Promises of Tomorrow (Walnut Creek 4.5) by Shelley Shepard Gray

promises

Pages: 100

Publisher: Gallery Books

Published: July 6, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: A perfect ending to a beautifully written series that touches on topics that will make you take stock of your life.

Without giving anything away, you know by the end of the novella that the Eight will be ok. Each book and novella is written as standalone reads but I heavily suggest you start with Friends to the End and read in order. You will get so much more out of the books. I have needed tissues with every story but that is good for me as it means that it was a memorable read for me.

Beth’s story touches on the thoughts I had in the early dating stages of my husband. If something tragic happens early on, how do you grieve? Sometimes you know from the beginning that you have found your person. I wanted to reach into the novella and comfort Beth with lots of hugs.

A quick read for an afternoon but one that stays with you long after.

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

NetGalley: Two years have passed since their friend Andy’s death, and the Eight is still struggling to cope with their loss. In an attempt to give the group some time to reconnect with one another, remember their friend, and reflect on the last two years, Marie decides that a relaxing couple’s getaway is just what they need before the craziness of the holiday season begins. When their large cabin in the woods turns out to be more rundown than rustic, though, Marie fears that she’s ruined everything, but at least, she thinks, the trip can’t get any worse—that is, until a lost English girl named Beth appears at the cabin. And with such heavy snow, the Eight is forced to take her in for the next twenty-four hours.

Although Marie feels as if all her planning and good intentions were for nothing, she has no idea that Beth will give the group a gift they didn’t know they needed: the reminder that life may not always be fair and sometimes it’s painful, but there’s always another day.

With Shelley Shepard Gray’s signature “thought-provoking, emotional” (Patricia Davids, USA TODAY bestselling author) prose, Promises of Tomorrow is a moving story of love, friendship, and faith.

Feels Like Falling by Kristy Woodson Harvey

feels

Pages: 397

Publisher: Gallery Books

Published: April 28, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I have wanted to read her Southern Side of Paradise series for some time now so when I had the chance to read Feels Like Falling I jumped right on it and was not disappointed.

Feels Like Falling is full of Southern funnies, beachy feels, and romance. It is the perfect read for your beach vacation or those like me wishing I was at the beach. It has the right amount of steaminess but is in no way tawdry. You will find yourself cheering for love to win. Diana is my favorite character and I think she is the star.

Grab your umbrella drink, put your phone on do not disturb, and settle in for a good read.

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

NetGalley:

THE INSTANT USA TODAY BESTSELLER
A Spring 2020 Okra Pick
Parade’s 20 Most Anticipated Books of Early 2020
Goodreads’ It Book of Summer Top Reviewers Pick
SheKnows’ 10 of the Most Anticipated Books Coming in 2020
Mary Kay Andrews’ Reading Challenge Women’s Fiction Pick
Travel + Leisure’s 20 Books to Gift This Mother’s Day
Working Mother’s 20 Most Anticipated Books of 2020 for Working Moms
Brit + Co 12 Books That Will Take You on a Literary Vacation

From “the next major voice in Southern fiction” (Elin Hilderbrand) and the bestselling author of the Peachtree Bluff series comes an odd-couple tale of friendship that asks just how much our past choices define our happiness.

It’s summertime on the North Carolina coast and the livin’ is easy.

Unless, that is, you’ve just lost your mother to cancer, your sister to her extremist husband, and your husband to his executive assistant. Meet Gray Howard. Right when Gray could use a serious infusion of good karma in her life, she inadvertently gets a stranger, Diana Harrington, fired from her job at the local pharmacy.

Diana Harrington’s summer isn’t off to the greatest start either: Hours before losing her job, she broke up with her boyfriend and moved out of their shared house with only a worn-out Impala for a bed. Lucky for her, Gray has an empty guest house and a very guilty conscience.

With Gray’s kindness, Diana’s tide begins to turn. But when her first love returns, every secret from her past seems to resurface all at once. And, as Gray begins to blaze a new trail, she discovers, with Diana’s help, that what she envisioned as her perfect life may not be what she wants at all.

In her warmest, wisest novel yet, Kristy Woodson Harvey delivers a discerning portrait of modern womanhood through two vastly different lenses. Feels Like Falling is a beach bag essential for Harvey fans—and for a new generation of readers.

 

Pockets of Promise (The Pocket Quilt Series #1) by Laurie Stroup Smith

pockets

Pages: 200

Published: April 30, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: A beautiful debut novel by Laurie Stroup Smith. Her compassion for the broken-hearted comes through and leaves the reader striving to see love in a new light.

I love the idea of a quilt filled with letters. In Pockets of Promise, it was a way for a grandmother to share her story with her granddaughter and let the granddaughter know she was not alone in her search for love and herself. A treasure and tradition that could be passed down from generation to generation.

A perfect novel to share with the teenage romance reader in your life to introduce them to the Amish fiction/romance genre. A story that will be read many times over.

Amazon: Mariah Mast’s best friend, Josiah Weaver, has concentrated his efforts on providing for their future together, but on her eighteenth birthday, Mariah finds herself edging away from Josiah and her faith. An encounter with police, a misunderstanding of intentions, and hurt feelings compound her confusion. Her grandmother sends her to stay with an aunt in Pinecraft and gives her a pocket quilt with handwritten messages tucked inside.

Thrilled to have her help at the bed and breakfast, Aunt Birdie introduces Mariah to a group of new friends, including Luke Yoder, a young Amish man who works for his father’s construction company. Spending time with him opens up a new world for Mariah. Her grandmother’s words of wisdom offer guidance as she makes a decision that will have lasting consequences for those she loves. Will she find fulfillment in Florida? Or does her heart belong in Holmes County?

Amish Generations: Four Stories by Kathleen Fuller

generations

Pages: 368

Publisher: Harper Collins/Zondervan

Published: June 2, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: Young Love—My favorite of the four stories as I can relate to Fern.

Long-Awaited Love—An enjoyable read and makes you think about how many relationships we know that are similar.

Second-Chance Love—I enjoyed the exchange of letters between the characters.

Never Too Late—Provided laughs and lets the reader believe in love at any age.

Perfect for teenagers and up as a clean read.

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

NetGalley: Four sweet and funny Amish love stories, spanning four different generations. Love comes at all times and for all ages!

Young Love—When Fern was diagnosed with a chronic illness in her early twenties, she knew it would limit her abilities to be a good Amish wife. And with Dan, the object of her affection, in a serious relationship, there didn’t seem much point in dating. But Dan is now single, and he seems to be taking notice of Fern. She’ll need a strong dose of courage to talk down the fear her illness has brought on if she ever wants to pursue her dreams.

Long-Awaited Love—When Everett left ten years ago, Jemima’s love quickly turned to hate. But when they arrive back home at the same bus station on the same day, they discover some old flames aren’t put out so easily. Can they move past the forces that pulled them apart ten years ago, or are some hurts too much to overcome?

Second-Chance Love—Benjamin and Lora Beth both lost spouses not long into their young marriages and connect over letters, exchanging recipes and commiseration as their now-grown children try to coddle them. They’re only in their forties, for heaven’s sake! The letters quickly reveal a deep friendship . . . or could it be more? When you’ve already had a great love, how do you learn to fall in love again?

Never Too Late—Jerald is a committed old bachelor. He loves nothing more than good Amish food and giving his best friend’s wife, Regina, a hard time. When people have asked—and believe him, people have asked—he’s always said he’ll marry when he finds the right woman. It’s just never happened in his seventy years. Until he tastes the best blueberry pie and discovers the woman behind it: Regina’s best friend, Elva.

 

On Ocean Boulevard (The Beach House #6) by Mary Alice Monroe

ocean

Pages: 381

Publisher: Gallery Books

Published: May 15, 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Review: The Beach House series was a series that my mom and I shared every summer. I feel in love with the series because it centered around sea turtles and my mom loved the setting. She was so excited about the release date but unfortunately, she did not get to read it before passing. I opened the book expecting to be too sad to read it but Mary Alice writes with such beauty that I felt comforted. The sense of family made me think of my mom and I felt like I was able to cross my first speed bump in the grief process.

I have no idea if there are to be more in the series but in case there is not I felt like On Ocean Boulevard came full circle from book one. Cara, Emmi, Flo, and other characters are family. You fall in love with book one and never want it to end. I believe this will be a series that I will read over and over again.

If you love the ocean, the Lowcountry, sea turtles, and/or how to conserve our environment for our future generations this is the series for you. You can start with any book as each is written as a stand-alone. The books are best read with a glass of sweet tea in your hand.

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

NetGalley: Instant New York Times Bestseller

The New York Times bestselling author of The Summer Guests returns at long last to her beloved Isle of Palms in this breathtaking novel about one family’s summer of forging new beginnings against the enduring beauty and resilience of the natural world.

It’s been sixteen years since Caretta “Cara” Rutledge has returned home to the beautiful shores of Charleston, South Carolina. Over those years, she has weathered the tides of deaths and births, struggles and joys. And now, as Cara prepares for her second wedding, her life is about to change yet again.

Meanwhile, the rest of the storied Rutledge family is also in flux. Cara’s niece Linnea returns to Sullivan’s Island to begin a new career and an unexpected relationship. Linnea’s parents, having survived bankruptcy, pin their hopes and futures on the construction of a new home on Ocean Boulevard. But as excitement over the house and wedding builds, a devastating illness strikes the family and brings plans to a screeching halt. It is under these trying circumstances that the Rutledge family must come together yet again to discover the enduring strength in love, tradition, and legacy from mother to daughter to granddaughter.

Like the sea turtles that come ashore annually on these windswept islands, three generations of the Rutledge family experience a season of return, rebirth, and growth. “Authentic, generous, and heartfelt” (Mary Kay Andrews, New York Times bestselling author), On Ocean Boulevard is Mary Alice Monroe at her very best.