A Christmas by the Sea by Melody Carlson

A Christmas by the Sea book cover

Recently discovering that she had inherited her family’s beachside cottage, Wendy Harper and her son, Jackson, travel to Seaside, Maine, during the Christmas season to fix up the house.  Faced with debts and responsibilities, Wendy plans to sell the cottage in order to pay off medical bills and give her son hope for the future.  What Wendy does not plan for is the pull on her heart from both the enchanting town and one local handsome craftsman.

This short story has a charming setting with its picturesque seaside small town during the Christmas holidays.  The characters face real-life struggles of financial difficulties and costly house renovations as well as pasts of love lost, but there is hope infused throughout the book.  Sprinkled with enchanting cottages, romantic settings, and threads of faith, this book is the perfect afternoon read on a blustery winter evening with your favorite hot beverage. The ending works out a bit too perfectly, but that does not detract from the overall charming theme.  It has lovable and spunky characters and realistic conflict and heartbreak—not to mention a fun furry friend to bring joy at just the right time!  A great short book for the Christmas season.

I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright

The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond book cover

Annalise Forsythe has painful secrets, just like everyone else does in Gossamer Grove.  But when mysterious events and dangerous things begin to happen, she begins the brutal task of unburying secrets, which only serves to uncover more suspicious pasts in Gossamer Grove.  She is not pleased when an old flame arrives in town during this vulnerable point of her life.  As she begins to let God help her forgive and start fresh, she learns that the past can actually help her heal her future.  Her search for answers digs up the unusual story of Libby Sheffield, a young lady at the turn of the century working at her father’s newspaper company during a spiritual revival in the town.  Libby is facing her own demons from her past.  These two ladies, though separated by time, have similar goals to heal and move on.

I very much enjoyed the first novel by Jaime Jo Wright and was looking forward to her next book.  I did not typically like split-time plots, but now this author has turned me around to them by crafting stories that connect is such unique and interesting ways.  I very much liked both of the main protagonists in this book and found the overarching theme of forgiveness and moving on from painful pasts something that any reader can relate to.  The plots are interesting with the twists and turns and I did not anticipate the villains. My favorite part is seeing how all the details fit together at the end.  I very much recommend this book!

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers/Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

Caught by Surprise by Jen Turano

Caught by Surprise book cover

Miss Temperance Flowerdew is used to being a wallflower and going unnoticed but when she gets kidnapped and swept off to Chicago, suddenly her life becomes much more interesting.  Mr. Gilbert Cavendish is asked to pursue a missing woman, but the lady he finds in Chicago is not who he expected.  He is, however, delighted to restore a friendship with an old childhood friend.  He is surprised when their trip turns into a complicated adventure that begins to drag up old painful pasts.  As Temperance and Gilbert attempt to find the answers before it is too late, they discover that things may not be as they seem.

I always really love Jen Turano’s books because they incorporate the best humor into everyday events. This particular book once again introduced laughter among each scene.  I enjoyed the added element of danger and mystery in the plot.  And it was fun to see Temperance, previously shy and reserved, come out of her shell and let her fun personality shine.  I liked the romance that started out as restoring a good friendship and then blossoming into something more.  I think the ending worked out a little too perfectly, but nonetheless, I enjoyed the book overall.  I definitely recommend this book!

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers/Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano

A Rumored Fortune book cover

Tressa Harlowe returns early from a trip with her mother when news of her father’s death reaches them, arriving home to the south of England to find relatives and friends eager to offer condolences.  However, Tressa begins to suspect that instead of coming for sympathy, everyone is rather here to explore the ancient mansion in hopes of discovering the vast fortune rumored to have been hidden by her father on the estate.  As the debts continue to accumulate, creditors come calling, and the vineyard shows signs of failing, Tressa finds an unlikely friend in the gruff vineyard manager Donegan Vance.  But Donegan has secrets of his own that could ruin the budding friendship and Tressa’s future.

I absolutely loved this book!  The author does a phenomenal job of crafting language that is deep and meaningful with words and descriptions that leap off the page and engulf the reader in its imagery and metaphors.  I very much enjoyed the theme of the vineyard and loved how it connected in every aspect of the book—from the epigraphs to the conversations to the overarching spiritual content.  I seriously could not put the book down and liked the complexity of the plot with its surprises and interesting way everything related in the end.  I very much liked the main characters and found myself easily identifying with their struggles because their emotions and thoughts were so well written.  I really cannot say enough about how great this book was and highly recommend it to all readers.  This author has a gift and I cannot wait for her next book!

I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

A Place to Belong by Melissa Tagg

A Place to Belong book cover

Megan Harrow moves past her mistakes and regrets when she builds a new life for herself and her daughter in charming Maple Valley.  She is just getting comfortable with her job as a coffee shop owner when she meets Eric Hampton, a local nonprofit owner.  Her heart begins to soften just as someone from her past shows up in Maple Valley—someone who is not welcome in the new life that she has made.

Any excuse to travel to Maple Valley and visit old characters and new friends is a blessing—so I was excited to read this novella from Melissa Tagg.  She writes such wonderful characters that I connect with immediately and feel their struggles and emotions.  This may be a novella, but the plot is packed with realistic trials and triumphs in the short story.  The language is detailed that you even forget you are reading a novella and not a full-length novel.  It is truly a delightful read and I recommend this book in addition to all the other Maple Valley books!

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

Called To Protect by Lynette Eason

Called To Protect book cover.jpg

Chloe St. John was dumped by her fiancé last year, so she turns her attention to her work as a cop with her K-9 partner, Hank.  She is confronted with a case that gets personal when it involves her missing cousin and a case of human trafficking.  She works with US Marshall Blake MacCallum, who also has a personal connection with this case when his daughter goes missing.  Blake and Chloe work together against the clock to save those they love most before it is too late.

Yet another fast-moving, suspenseful novel from Lynette Eason!  Once again there is heart-pounding action from page one and a plot that moves along with unexpected twists and turns.  The romance is woven among the backdrop of suspense and gives the story a deeper layer.  I enjoyed the theme of family and relationships in this story.  You do not necessarily have to read the first installment to enjoy this book, but I do recommend both to lovers of contemporary suspense and look forward to the next book!

I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

A Daring Venture by Elizabeth Camden

A Daring Venture book cover

After her parents died tragically of cholera when she was young, Doctor Rosalind Werner is dedicated and determined to promote a new method of making water safe to millions in New York so that no one else has to suffer that horrific fate.  However, her method is yet untested on large populations and her new ideas are not well received by the public, especially Nicholas Drake.  Nick has been recently appointed as the Commissioner of Water for New York but his past life as a plumber makes his skeptical of any new method for clean water. Yet he cannot resist the beautiful Doctor Werner and despite continual debates about what to do for the city of New York, he finds himself drawn to her tenacious and lovely personality.

Elizabeth Camden does a fantastic job of writing stories with characters that have conflict, which makes them complex and interesting.  This story started with instant attraction that was soon confronted with trials that were realistic for the relationship.  I really loved the romance in this novel.  It gave a depth to the characters as they struggled with each other and with common enemies.  There are great spiritual themes of forgiveness and honesty with which any reader can connect.  It is not necessary to read the first book in this series, but it does give more background on Nick and adds to the story.  I also very much enjoyed the history and topic of this book; I learned a lot about water and science in early 1900s New York.  I highly recommend this historical fiction book!

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews