PASSIONATE ABOUT SCHOOL LIBRARIES

Category: Christian Contemporary (Page 1 of 14)

Book Review: Turn to Me

 

Turn to Me

– Becky Wade –

A Misty River Romance #3

Bethany House Publishers

Published 3 May 2022

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Turn to Me is the third novel in the Misty Rover Romance series, that has (along with two novellas) introduced readers to the Miracle Five. In this third book, we finally get Luke Dempsey’s story of redemption and facing the hurt and guilt of his past. Readers will also be happy to see Ben get his own happy ending (though he totally should have got his own book. Why didn’t he get his own book!?!).

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Book Review: All That It Takes

 

All That it Takes

– Nicole Deese –

Bethany House Publishers

Published 5 April 2022

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All That It Takes is the companion novel to All That Really Matters. It is a beautiful story about heartbreak, falling in love when you least expect it, supportive communities and finding your place in the world. It is so full of delightful moments, I was smiling 99% of the time while reading. It’s just so incredibly sweet, but at a deep, heartwarming and powerful level.

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Book Review: What Matters Most

 

What Matters Most

– Courtney Walsh –

Nantucket Love Story #3

Tyndale House Publishers

Published 5 April 2022

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In What Matters Most, author Courtney Walsh returns readers to the shores of Nantucket for a story about grief, secrets, and forgiving yourself.

Emma has moved herself and her young son to Nantucket in the hopes it will give them both a fresh start. Five years after her husband’s death, she’s still reeling from grief and guilt. Jameson too carries much guilt over the death of Emma’s husband and in a bid to move on with his life, he arrives in Nantucket to tell Emma the truth about her husband’s death. When Jamie arrives on Emma’s doorstep, she thinks he’s there to answer her ad for someone to clean out and renovate the guesthouse on her property. Jamie agrees but fails to tell Emma the real reason he’s there. Maybe he can help her in other ways. As Jamie works on the house, he and Emma grow closer, sharing their love of art and even rekindling that creative spark. But they both have secrets that could destroy any future they might have.

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Book Review: Mulberry Hollow

Mulberry hollow book cover bench overlooking sunrise

 

Mulberry Hollow

– Denise Hunter –

Riverbend #2

Thomas Nelson

Published 19 April 2022

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Mulberry Hollow is the second book in Denise Hunter’s Riverbend Romance. As is the way with most of her series, you can read the books as stand alone titles, but reading the series in order gives you a lovely overview of a this family group. We met Avery in the first book in the series and now get a better insight into her life, career and decisions in this second book.

Avery is a doctor and owner of the only clinic in town. It’s a career she followed after watching her mother die. Now the genetic disease that stole her mother’s life hangs over Avery’s. It’s one of the reasons she is so desperate to entice another doctor to the clinic. When a hiker finds his way to Avery’s clinic doorstep and needs medical care, it might also be an answer to prayer. With limited funds, Wes offers to renovate the small carriage house on Avery’s property in exchange for his medical care. It’s easy for Avery to enjoy Wes’s company, despite her vow to avoid a relationship, marriage and a family. But Wes is committed elsewhere, anyway, so it can’t hurt to spend time with him, right?

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Book Review: Harbor Pointe Books 3 and 4

 

Just One Kiss and Just Like Home

– Courtney Walsh-

Harbor Pointe #3 and #4

Sweethaven Press

Published 2019 and 2020

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Despite not enjoying the first book I ever read by this author, I am now massive Courtney Walsh fan. Trust me, I am so glad I gave her books another read and another chance because she has become one of my favourite authors and a go to for when I need a romantic and relaxing read. When the school holidays hit and I was looking for something to take my mind off my growing to-do list, I turned to Courtney Walsh. I was delighted to see that she had continued her Harbor Pointe series. I loved books one and two in the series, Just Look Up and Just Left Go, so I was excited to continue this series.

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Book Review: Autumn by the Sea

 

Autumn by the Sea

– Melissa Tagg –

Muir Harbor #1

Larkspur Press

Published 28 September 2021

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Autumn by the Sea is another delicious contemporary romance by one of all-time favourite authors. Seriously. Melissa Tagg never disappoints.

Autumn by the Sea is the perfect blend of mystery, romance, longing for family and meant to be. The characters just worm their way into your heart. The setting is rugged and charming. And that meet cute?!!?? Seriously?!? So cute.

Sydney Rose has only ever wanted a family and somewhere to belong. Maybe that’s why when a stranger approaches her and tells her that he thinks she’s the long-lost granddaughter of Margaret Muir, Sydney Rose jumps on a plane to Maine to discover if maybe, just maybe, she has a family after all. Sydney was not expecting the charming, if a little in need of some love, house on the coast, or Maggie, with her heart so welcoming and so hurt by the past. Nor was Sydney expecting Maggie’s three adopted adult children who are not exactly excited to see Sydney. Just it only takes days for Sydney to feel at home. If she and Neil, Maggie’s eldest adopted and the one holding Muir Farm together, can uncover the truth of the past, maybe Sydney could stay and find her place to belong.

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Book Review: Riverbend Gap

 

Riverbend Gap

– Denise Hunter –

A Riverbend Romance #1

Thomas Nelson

Published 19 October 2021

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I so enjoy reading Denise Hunter’s books. I know once I pick one up, I’ll just disappear into the world and characters she has crafted and I know that I will love every word. And that’s exactly what I got in Riverbend Gap. This book is the first in a new series (yay) that follows a family (yay, yay) living in a small rural town along the Appalachian Trail (more yay). Honestly, between the amazing romance, stunning scenery so beautifully described, the drama and tension and the great writing, I just loved this book.

Katelyn Loveland has a new job, new last name, new boyfriend and a new house. Moving to Riverbend Gap was her new start. But she’s also determined to get some closure from her past. The first step is scattering the ashes of her beloved younger brother. Then, she needs to find her biological mother and learn why she and her brother spent most of their lives in foster care. Not part of the plan was avoiding a deer and almost plunging to her death over the side of a mountain on the way to meet her new boyfriend’s family. When Cooper Robinson, Deputy Sheriff, comes to her rescue, she is relieved and grateful. The tense moments they share forge a deep connection. The only problem is that he is the brother of her new boyfriend. As circumstances through Cooper and Katelyn together again, it’s hard to ignore the deepening feelings between them.

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Book Review: Provenance

 

Provenance

– Carla Laureano –

Tyndale House Publishers

Published 3 August 2021

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I always enjoy the work of Carla Laureano. I adored her The Supper Club series (food – yum!) and now she has created another fantastic Christian contemporary romance. Provenance is set in a small (very cold) Colorado town. The snow storms and mountainous setting are the perfect backdrop to this story about discovering your past and falling in love.

When Kendall Green learns that she is the beneficiary of a grandmother she never knew, only desperation for some cash to keep her interior design business and home in California afloat, prompts her to respond. She’s not sure she wants anything from the grandmother who let her grow up in foster care, moving from home to home and when Kendall learns that her inheritance are 5 historic Victorian homes, she is half devastated and half delighted. She is ready to sell to the highest bidder when the young mayor of the town, delightfully handsome Gabriel Brandt, asks her to consider another option to help save the town’s history and community from circling developers. Staying gives Kendall the chance to learn the truth about her mother, her grandmother and the reason she was abandoned when she was a child, but it also means growing closer to Gabriel, and with her life in California, Kendall’s not sure that’s a risk she should take.

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Book Review: Love and the Silver Lining

Love and the Silver Lining – Tammy L. Gray – State of Grace #2 – Bethany House Publishers – Published 3 August 2021

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Synopsis

Darcy Malone’s dreams of mission work are dashed on her eve of fulfilling them: The Guatemalan school she was to teach at has closed. Devastated because she’s already quit her job and given up her apartment, she also loses the perfect escape from the aftermath of her parents’ divorce. Stuck in her worst-case scenario, Darcy takes an unexpected offer to move in with Bryson Katsaros’s little sister, despite the years of distrust that’s grown between her and Bryson, the lead singer in her best friend Cameron’s band. As she meets those close to him, Darcy realizes that Bryson is more than she believed.

Struck with the need to find a purpose, Darcy jumps at the chance to care for and train a group of dogs, with the aim of finding each a home before their bereaved owner returns them to animal control. But it’s Darcy herself who will encounter a surprising rescue in the form of unexpected love, forgiveness, and the power of letting go.

My thoughts

Love and the Silver Lining is the extremely enjoyable second book in the State of Grace series. I adored this book – even more than the first book. While they form part of a series and there are character and setting cross overs, you can read both books as standalones.

I think this was exactly the book I needed. It was light and heartwarming and so addictive. I really struggled to put it down to return to work and sleep. It was funny and heartbreaking and had so much story that made it just a delight to read.

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Book Review: Hooked On You

Hooked On You – Kathleen Fuller – Maple Falls #1 – Thomas Nelson – Published 11 May 2021

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Synopsis

Riley McAllister left the small Arkansas town of Maple Falls after graduating high school, hoping to make it big in New York as a mixed media artist. She’s still pursuing her dream when her grandmother begs her to come home and help her manage the store while she recovers from a broken leg she got after sliding into third base during a church softball game (she was safe, by the way). Riley agrees, planning to convince her grandmother to sell the old shop and retire so Riley can get back to the big city. New York is where she belongs, not some hick town that doesn’t even have a decent coffee shop.

Hayden Price’s life hasn’t turned out as he expected either. He still works in the hardware store his family has owned for several generations after his chance to make it out of Maple Falls ended when he blew out his pitching arm during a minor league game. Stuck with debt from college and a broken engagement, he decides to make the best of things when he comes back to Maple Falls and puts together the town’s first church softball team–with him as coach, of course.

Riley and Hayden went to high school together but ran in totally different circles. In fact, it’s safe to say they hated each other. Will that change when the softball team unexpectedly brings them together? Or will the pain and disappointment of their past failures keep them from discovering love in Maple Falls?

My thoughts

Hooked on You has all the makings of a great romance novel – returning to one’s hometown to help rejuvenate a family business, a burnt out sports star finding a new direction for his life, a small town setting and a quirky group of old friends who like to meddle. Sadly, I wasn’t able to connect with the main characters in the way that I wanted and the writing and dialogue was a bit stilted, leaving me unsatisfied with the plot. A light and easy read, but not one of my favourites of the genre.

Hayden has returned home to Maple Falls to help run his father’s hardware business. After finally making it to the Majors in baseball, he blew out his shoulder on his first pitch. Riley has returned to Maple Falls after her grandmother is injured during a softball game. Riley is just counting down the days until she can return to New York and finding her place as a mixed media artist, but being ‘home’ and getting to know Hayden again makes her reassess her life goals.

A sweet book, it was the lack of depth to the characters and their background stories that made this an okay book for me, rather than one I adored. Not a lot happens in the story and I found it hard to believe in Riley and Hayden’s connection. The prose and dialogue is a little stilted, and I’m not sure how realistic Hayden’s voice was at times. The drama introduced at the end was overly dramatic and just added to my overall disinterest in the story.

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