Tag Archives: contemporary

REVIEW: A Place at Our Table by Amy Clipston

Volunteer fireman Jamie Riehl feels that it’s his duty to help protect the Amish community by serving on the fire force. With the untimely death of his mother, though, his duty to protect begins to overtake his life. His widowed father offers sage advice about the fleetingness of life and how we should grab hold of opportunities. Amish waitress Kayla works at her parents’ restaurant and has sworn off relationships after being burned in the past. Could these two belong together or will circumstances push them apart?

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Thanks to Zondervan for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.

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REVIEW: Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter

Noah and Josephine Mitchell discover that their divorce was never finalized.  With much hurt between them, they don’t want to encounter one another to take care of legal issues.  However, to move on with their lives, they have to make some time for one another.  This is a Hosea and Gomer type story, though Josie isn’t as unfeeling as we’re led to believe of Gomer.  So many times a person’s history influences their steps.

Sweetbriar Cottage

The severity of the snowstorm was a surprise for me and that part of the storyline added to the plot.  Set over a three week timespan, this book moves quickly.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.

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REVIEW: The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg

Arthur and Maddy.  Arthur and Lucille.  Arthur and Nola.  Important women, all at different points in Arthur’s life.  Widower Arthur visits the cemetery every day to have lunch at his wife’s graveside.  This may sound odd, but he’s doing OK.  He gets up, gets his meals, tends to the aloof cat and gets out of the house.  He’s got a friendly neighbor, Lucille.  Arthur meets Maddy at the cemetery where she is escaping the frustration of lunch alone during high school.  He sees in her a soul most lost than his own self.  Arthur decides that Maddy needs a friend and he is at the perfect point in time, though over 80, to extend her that welcome.

This story touches on loneliness, friendship, grief and loving kindness.  I really enjoyed the story.  I felt the three main characters were developed to the point where I knew them.

Thanks to Random House for providing me an ARC for a  review in my own words.  This is a very good story!

 

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REVIEW: The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck

The Writing Desk novel is set in present day and also in the early 1900s during the Gilded Age.  In the historical side of the story, we follow Birdie (an heiress), Eli (a marquis), and Alphonse (an heir).  Their stories are intertwined during and after WWI.  In the modern day story, we follow Tenley Roth (great granddaughter and daughter of prolific authors), Jonas, and Holt Armstrong.

Birdie has been commanded by her mother to enter a loveless marriage with Alphonse.  Tenley has partially accepted a proposal from Holt, with time to think it over during an extended trip to Florida to care for her estranged mother.

The publishing world of New York is exploring during two different eras.  The idea of long-ago, arranged, loveless marriages and modern, “I guess so” marriages are explored. Birdie is so restricted and Tenley, though she has choices, feels equally boxed in with her writing career.

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Interesting story by author Hauck.  Thanks to Zondervan for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.

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REVIEW: The Sweet Smell of Magnolias and Memories by Celeste Fletcher McHale

The Sweet Smell of Magnolias and Memories

Jacey and Colin found themselves stranded on a rooftop during a flood.  Rescued, Jacey along with Lily and her four children experience a second trauma on their way to the emergency center.  It takes Jacey a year to recover and that is where the story begins.  PTSD plagues Jacey as she tries to put back her memory of all the events.  Colin, too, was later rescued.  His experience drew him closer to helping out others, but he ignores the requests of his parents to mend things at home.

Once Jacey’s memory begins to return and sort itself out, she is on a quest to right the sadness of the past year.  Circumstances for Colin explode as well and he needs to set things straight, too.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson for providing me with an ARC for a review in my own words.

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REVIEW: A Fragile Hope by Cynthia Ruchti

Josiah Chamberlain’s world turns upside down when he’s called to the hospital after his wife is in a car accident.  Josiah hasn’t had much time for his wife in the past 5 or more years.  He’s too busy writing on how to save marriages and relationships.  Ironic that his wife needs his full attention to survive the accident.  And, there’s a twist as we learn straight away at the hospital that Karin is pregnant.  What a struggle for Josiah as he’s certain he’s not the father. 

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There’s another twist when we learn who was driving the car in the accident…and that he didn’t survive. 

Karin’s parents are important in the story as pillars of faith, even when circumstances could easily drag them down.

This was a fantastic story about God providing an opportunity for self-examination and the bettering of one’s self, in the midst of great pain.

Thanks to Abingdon Press for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.

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REVIEW: Home at Last by Deborah Raney

As book 5 in a series, this story continues the Whitman family story.  Link Whitman is in his late 20s and moving along without direction.  He’s got a dumpy apartment, a job that has him working doubles all the time, and no love life.  He finds a new friend in Shayla Michaels.  Shayla has her own troubles in being the primary caregiver for her brother’s daughter, Portia.  Being responsible for a 5-year-old, plus being the other half of her father’s bakery business doesn’t leave much time for Shayla to get on with her own life, either.

Faith and family are the core of this story.  I felt the author did a decent job in making sure to bring up the racial issues of the Link/Shayla relationship.  This story rounded out the series well and wrapped things up nicely for the Whitman family.

Thanks to Abingdon Press for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.

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