Girls of Summer by Nancy Thayer

girls

Pages: 320

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine

Published: May 26, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: This was not my favorite of Nancy Thayer but it was still an enjoyable read.

I wished she had focused on Lisa and Mack’s relationship with the kids’ relationships as a secondary storyline. I never got a deep connection with any of the characters as I normally do. In fact, I think this storyline could have been a 2 or 3 book series focusing on Lisa and Mack, Theo and Beth, and Ryder and Juliet.

Girls of Summer is a good book for those lazy days at the pool or beach and you want a light read with a happy ending.

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

 

NetGalley: One life-changing summer on Nantucket brings about exhilarating revelations for a single mother and her two grown children in this sensational novel from New York Times bestselling author Nancy Thayer.

Lisa Hawley is perfectly satisfied living on her own. Having fully recovered from a brutal divorce nearly two decades earlier, she has successfully raised her kids, Juliet and Theo, seeing them off to college and beyond. As the owner of a popular boutique on Nantucket, she’s built a fulfilling life for herself on the island where she grew up. With her beloved house in desperate need of repair, Lisa calls on Mack Whitney, a friendly—and very handsome—local contractor and fellow single parent, to do the work. The two begin to grow close, and Lisa is stunned to realize that she might be willing to open up again after all . . . despite the fact that Mack is ten years her junior.

Juliet and Theo worry that Mack will only break their mother’s heart—and they can’t bear to see her hurt again. Both stuck in ruts of their own, they each hope that a summer on Nantucket will provide them with the clarity they’ve been searching for. When handsome entrepreneur Ryder Hastings moves to the island to expand his environmental nonprofit, Juliet, an MIT-educated web designer, feels an immediate attraction, one her rocky love life history pushes her to deny at first. Meanwhile, free spirit Theo finds his California bliss comes to a brutal halt when a surfing injury forces him back to the East Coast. Upon his return, he has eyes only for Mack’s daughter, Beth, to whom he is bound by an unspeakable tragedy from high school. Can they overcome their past?

As the season unfolds, a storm threatens to shatter the peace of the golden island, forcing Lisa, Juliet, and Theo to decide whether their summer romances are destined for something more profound. Nancy Thayer dazzles again in this delightful tale of family, a reminder that sometimes, finding our way back home can bring us unexpected gifts.

The Trustworthy One (Walnut Creek #4) by Shelley Shepard Gray

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Pages: 302

Publisher: Gallery Books

Published: May 5, 2020

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

My Review: I say each book in my series is my favorite and it is true. The series gets better and better. Kendra’s story was so real and filled with love from all aspects. I have laughed, cried, and swooned while reading.

The hardest part of the book for me to get past was the cover. After reading I am not sure if I would have used that cover considering Kendra owns a shop filled with yarn and other household notions and Nate owns a hardware store. Not that a book cover is what makes the book.

The Trustworthy One is filled with love and friendships but it also discusses hard stuff like drug addiction and abuse.

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: New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray returns to the charming and evocative Walnut Creek Series with an unforgettable novel following one broken young woman whose search for peace leads her back to her hometown, where she rediscovers her faith and reconnects with those she loves most.

Kendra Troyer always knew she would leave Walnut Creek the first chance she got. When she was accepted into design school, she tried her best not to look back at the four siblings she was abandoning, but ahead to Columbus, where she was determined to stay—far away from her abusive home and far away from Nate Miller, the boy she vowed to despise for the rest of her life.

Though she suffered through dark times in Columbus, Kendra found her faith in the Lord again, and years later, when she learned one of her good friends had died, she realized it was time to go home to those she left behind.

Back in Walnut Creek, Kendra has a life she never could have imagined: her own design shop, a pretty little house, and a tight-knit group of friends. After she settles down, though, unexpected visitors come knocking and dark memories begin to resurface. Complicating things even further is the ever-present Nate Miller, who now owns the hardware store two doors down and whose very presence stirs in Kendra a fierce need to turn away and hide from her past. But Nate is persistent in setting things right between them.

As Kendra tries to come to terms with the anger she holds from her childhood, will she be able to open her heart to forgiveness and find the comfort she has always longed for in Walnut Creek?

The Englisch Daughter by Cindy and Erin Woodsmall

daughter

Pages: 352

Publisher: Water Brook & Multnomah

Published: April 21, 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Review:

The Englisch Daughter was very different from the traditional Amish fiction I am used to reading and I liked that very much. You have a husband and wife who are not timid in showing their feelings towards one another. You have a daughter who is still single much later in life than is traditional for Amish and she follows her own heart and best of all she has her family’s support.

I enjoyed most of all the idea of an Amish rehab for addictions of all natures. I would love to read a story with this idea expanded. It shows that even those with the strongest faiths have demons within them that they fight on a daily basis. All of us do and sometimes it takes additional help to fight them.

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

NetGalley:

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BESTSELLER • A marriage is tested in this Old Order Amish novel of longing for renewed love and a path for forgiveness from the best-selling author of Gathering the Threads.

Old Order Amish wife and mother Jemima has put her marriage and family ahead of herself for years. She’s set herself aside. Raising four children, she’s followed all the rules and has been patient in looking forward to her time to chase a dream of her own.

But when she finds out that her life savings for pursuing that dream is gone—and her husband, Roy, has been hiding a child with another woman—her entire world is shattered. Will she be able to listen to God and love Roy’s child? With so much at stake, how can she and Roy fix their relationship before their lives come crashing down?

A Beautiful Arrangement (Amish Journeys #3) by Beth Wiseman

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Pages: 336

Publisher: Zondervan

Published: April 7, 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Review: A moving story that leaves tears in your eyes as you close the book.

Lydia and Samuel’s story teaches us how even the littlest lies can turn into a bigger problem that can tear lives apart. At times I would get frustrated at Lydia then I had to remind myself that she is only seventeen. No matter her upbringing, being a mom and wife at seventeen has to be extremely hard. She is just learning herself as an adult instead of a kid. Her maturity by the end of the book was absolutely amazing. A lot of love and understanding can go a long way.

A Beautiful Arrangement talks about unwed pregnancy, young marriage, dementia/mental illness and community. A book that I would share with an older teen on up. A clean read with no sex scenes, no foul language, and no violence.

I am sad to see this series end. It has been a beautiful series to read.

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

 

NetGalley: Lydia still can’t believe that she is Mrs. Samuel Bontrager. Or that she is seventeen with a six-month-old daughter. As Baby Mattie grows fussier by the day, Lydia wonders how she will survive a lifetime of marriage to a man she doesn’t love—at least not in the way she wants.

Samuel knows that he and Lydia did the right thing by marrying when Lydia became pregnant. He has even grown to love Lydia, though he never seems able to say the words out loud. What if she doesn’t love him back? After all, she pushes him away whenever he tries to draw closer.

When Lydia and Samuel introduce their mutual friends Beverly and Joseph to each other, they are as envious as they are delighted to watch their friends fall in love. But just as Samuel thinks Lydia might be softening to him, she gets involved in investigating the mysterious past of a local homeless woman—a curiosity that threatens to drive the couple further apart.

The third and final novel in the Amish Journeys series by bestselling author Beth Wiseman explores how wounds from the past must come to light before they can hope to heal.

The Book Charmer (Dove Pond #1) by Karen Hawkins

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Pages: 369

Publisher: Gallery Books

Published: July 30, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I am ashamed to admit I have had this on my NetGalley account for almost a year. The excerpt was intriguing but it seemed every time I started to read the book I lost interest. It is personal. I have a parent who is showing signs of dementia and I had a hard time reading about Mama G. Finally during this time of social distancing I opened up the book and was entranced. It was still hard to read regarding dementia but it actually helped me process what I am going through.

The book is filled with a little magic, a little romance and a lot of agapae love. You find yourself believing things will be alright in the grand scheme of things. Faith in yourself and others will get you through most anything.

I agree with a few other reviews I’ve read that the ending felt rushed but that was ok. It is kind of like real life in that we have months that are filled to capacity with things and other months that are not.

I am ready to read the next book in the series which I believe may be coming out this summer.

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

NetGalley: New York Times bestselling author Karen Hawkins crafts an unforgettable story about a sleepy Southern town, two fiercely independent women, and a truly magical friendship.

Sarah Dove is no ordinary bookworm. To her, books have always been more than just objects: they live, they breathe, and sometimes they even speak. When Sarah grows up to become the librarian in her quaint Southern town of Dove Pond, her gift helps place every book in the hands of the perfect reader. Recently, however, the books have been whispering about something out of the ordinary: the arrival of a displaced city girl named Grace Wheeler.

If the books are right, Grace could be the savior that Dove Pond desperately needs. The problem is, Grace wants little to do with the town or its quirky residents—Sarah chief among them. It takes a bit of urging, and the help of an especially wise book, but Grace ultimately embraces the challenge to rescue her charmed new community. In her quest, she discovers the tantalizing promise of new love, the deep strength that comes from having a true friend, and the power of finding just the right book.

“A mesmerizing fusion of the mystical and the everyday” (Susan Andersen, New York Times bestselling author), The Book Charmer is a heartwarming story about the magic of books that feels more than a little magical itself. Prepare to fall under its spell.

The Grace Kelly Dress by Brenda Janowitz

grace

Pages: 384

Publisher: Harlequin – Graydon House Books

Published: March 3, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: A beautiful 3 generational story that will leave you filled with hope and love. I loved how it showed the importance of honoring our past. Our past helps make up who we are today whether we realize it or not.

My favorite storyline was the bride’s mother. There were many surprises that when revealed tied so much together and made the story.

The title is what drew me to this book as I remember reading a paperback over and over again throughout middle and high school about Grace Kelly. The cover had a picture of her in her wedding dress. I wish I still had the book.

This book is for all romance, fiction, and fans of weddings.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Harlequin – Graydon House Books through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above reviews are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Two years after Grace Kelly’s royal wedding, her iconic dress is still all the rage in Paris—and one replica, and the secrets it carries, will inspire three generations of women to forge their own paths in life and in love.

Paris, 1958: Rose, a seamstress at a fashionable atelier, has been entrusted with sewing a Grace Kelly—look-alike gown for a wealthy bride-to-be. But when, against better judgment, she finds herself falling in love with the bride’s handsome brother, Rose must make an impossible choice, one that could put all she’s worked for at risk: love, security and of course, the dress.

Sixty years later, tech CEO Rachel, who goes by the childhood nickname “Rocky,” has inherited the dress for her upcoming wedding in New York City. But there’s just one problem: Rocky doesn’t want to wear it. A family heirloom dating back to the 1950s, the dress just isn’t her. Rocky knows this admission will break her mother Joan’s heart. But what she doesn’t know is why Joan insists on the dress—or the heartbreaking secret that changed her mother’s life decades before, as she herself prepared to wear it.

As the lives of these three women come together in surprising ways, the revelation of the dress’s history collides with long-buried family heartaches. And in the lead-up to Rocky’s wedding, they’ll have to confront the past before they can embrace the beautiful possibilities of the future.

His Unexpected Amish Twins (Unexpected Amish Blessings #1) by Rachel J. Good

twins

Pages: 368

Publisher: Kensington

Published: February 25, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I’m excited about this series based on the first book. I found this book provided a fresh approach to Amish fiction. It is a complex story of grief from three different points of view, addiction in an Amish world, fear from a man’s point of view, and a strong Amish business owner in a business other than the typical culinary business.

My interest was riveted from the first page to the last. It is a clean romance with parts that are tissue worthy.

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: When Micah Miller’s brother and sister-in-law are killed in a buggy accident, he’s devastated. But he fulfills the promise he made when their twins were born seven years earlier: to raise Jabin and Chloe should tragedy strike. Still, coping with the children’s grief as well as his own requires extra support. He’s surprised to find an Amish farm that offers just that . . .

Hope Graber had to find a way to save the family farm after her daed’s health forced him to stop breeding horses. Providing animal therapy proved to be the answer—thanks to the help of expert trainer Logan Russell. Together, they not only pay the bills, they make positive changes in children’s lives. Hope loves working with each child, but she takes a special interest in the Miller twins. She even makes Micah smile again—and he does the same for her. In fact, as Micah emerges from his depression, he longs to make them one happy family. But will Hope’s debt to her Englisch trainer, and their close partnership, stand in the way?

An Amish Picnic by Amy Clipston, Kelly Irvin, Kathleen Fuller and Vannetta Chapman

picnic

Pages: 400

Publisher: Zondervan

Published: March 3, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: A comforting read during this time of fear and uncertainty. A read that provides a few hours of escapism.

For fans of Amy Clipston, we get to know more about Phoebe from The Bake Shop. A great story to gently show up how we can make things more difficult than we need to at times.

Kelly Irvin reminds us love and friendship can be found in the most obvious places, right in front of our face.

Kathleen Fuller lets us know that family and friends are always willing to give you that gentle or not so gentle push towards love.

My favorite is the story from Vannetta Chapman. We get two love stories wrapped in one. When love is meant to be it will find a way no matter how long it takes.

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

NetGalley: From bestselling authors in the Amish genre come four sweet stories about picnics and romance.

Baskets of Sunshine by Amy Clipston
Kevin Weaver has lived with his brother’s family since his parents passed away when he was young, but he craves a home and family to call his own. Freeman Kurtz owns a successful brick mason business, and Kevin takes the job as Freeman’s apprentice to pursue his own financial freedom.

Phoebe Kurtz is helping her sister with her booth at the marketplace when she notices Kevin, her father’s employee. Their friendship grows, but Kevin is convinced that the difference in their ages makes a relationship between them impossible. Amidst summer outings, Kevin and Phoebe must decide if taking a chance on love is worth the risk.

Candlelight Sweethearts by Kelly Irvin
Esther Marie Shrock loves her job at Valley Grocery Store where she’s worked for four years. Despite a stutter that has plagued her since childhood, she thrives filling orders from a steady stream of customers. Still, at 25, she and her family wonder if romance is in her future.

Jasper Cotter isn’t good with people, but he’s found himself obligated to take over day-to-day operations of the family-owned grocery store—a store he doesn’t have the first clue how to run. Thrown together, Esther Marie and Jasper don’t exactly see eye to eye. One night, the store loses power, and the candles aren’t the only things shooting off sparks. Esther Marie and Jasper are suddenly forced to discover common ground when it matters most, and they might be surprised with love along the way.

Reeling in Love by Kathleen Fuller
Nina Stoll and Ira Yoder are just friends. Just friends and fishing buddies. Every Saturday afternoon, they have a picnic at their favorite fishing hole and see who can out fish the other. Until Nina starts to wonder if there’s more.

Her plans to share her feelings go awry and circumstances seem destined to keep Nina and Ira apart. With both Nina and Ira confused and hurting, it’s going to take courage, some help from the community matchmakers, and a little bit of divine intervention for Nina and Ira to realize they’re each other’s perfect catch.

Picnics and Prospects by Vannetta Chapman
Faith Troyer is claustrophobic, and David Lapp builds tiny houses. They went on a date years ago with disastrous results. Now that they’re in their late twenties, their families and friends are beginning to wonder if either will ever find that special someone. When a picnic outing is diverted by the discovery of a package of letters dating back to the 1970s, they take it upon themselves to find answers to a mystery that causes them to rethink their past and consider their future.

The Sea Glass Cottage by Rayanne Thayne

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The Sea Glass Cottage Cover

I am happy to be able to participate in the Harlequin Blog Tour for Raynne Thayne’s newest release (March 17, 2020). I stayed up way too late to finish this delightful romance. It left me with the urge to binge-read all her novels.

If you find yourself under a mandated lockdown, self-quarantine, or are just looking for an escape from this scary situation at the moment, The Sea Glass Cottage is the book for you. You will find yourself transported to a quaint little town in Northern California and into the lives of three generations of women who are all trying to find themselves. By the end, you will be smiling from ear to ear and believing in love all over again.

Treat yourself a few hours of clean entertainment while your own kids are getting their reading minutes in during the day.

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

The Sea Glass Cottage Excerpt

The Sea Glass Cottage Buy Links and Info

RaeAnne Thayne

 

 

Hope Deferred: An Amish Romance by Linda Byler

hope

Pages: 336

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing (Good Books)

Published: March 17, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I was on the fence whether I liked this book or not but after I finished and thought about it I found I really liked it. I was quite impressed with the subtle way the message was given.

Hope Deferred is different than most Amish romances in that you get the feel of for true Amish life and I credit that to the novel being written by an author who was raised Amish and still practices her Amish faith. She shows us the difficulties young Amish have when it is time to decide to stay with the faith or become English. I’ll admit I did not like Dave’s character at all as I thought he was selfish and mean to just about everyone around him. When I think back on his character though he was so conflicted and really had no one to talk with for true guidance. Anna loved Dave but her faith was strong and that carried her throughout the novel. Never once did her faith sway.

The repetition of details is my biggest complaint in that I felt it drug the novel down in several places. That is purely a personal observation.

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

NetGalley: Will Daniel and Anna be able to reconcile their faith struggles and their love for each other? Beloved Amish novelist Linda Byler once again writes a compelling and surprising love story, showing that even the Plain People struggle with complex feelings, questions, and relationships.

David Stolzfus and Anna Fisher have been best friends as long as they can remember. Sure, it was a bit unusual in the Amish community for a boy and a girl to be so close, but nobody questions it with David and Anna—it has just always been that way. They live on neighboring farms in Lancaster County, they walk to school together (with all their siblings) every day, and when David learns to drive a pony, Anna is the first one to ride with him. Their lives are intertwined, the way the borders of their properties are joined by the Pequea Creek.

As they approach their teen years, David and Anna’s friendship turns quickly to deep love and attraction. But David is headstrong and full of an insatiable hunger for knowledge and new experiences. When Anna’s conservative parents require that he join the church before the two can begin dating, he rebels, eventually taking off to Australia for the adventure of a lifetime, leaving Anna to sort through her feelings alone.

When Anna receives a letter from Leon Beiler, a young man she can’t deny she has feelings for, everything changes again. How can she reconcile a lifetime of love for David with this new potential romance? And what will happen when David returns home?