Literary Fiction

Love Story by Karen Kingsbury

cover105549-mediumLove Story by Karen Kingsburg is the book that ties up unanswered questions from the previous books in her series about the Baxter’s. In this book the reader learns the full story of John and Elizabeth Baxter. The reader learns how the couple met and fell in love. The reader learns how the Baxter’s first child was born out of wedlock and that Elizabeth was sent away as a result. The reader learns that Elizabeth was forced to put the baby up for adoption.

I personally have not read the other stories in this series about the Baxter family and as a result I spent most o the book confused. I would recommend reading the other books to know what has happened so you as the reader will not be utterly confused.

Thank you to NetGalley and Howard Books for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: ARC, book review, books, Christian, christian fiction, family, fiction, Howard books, Karen Kingsbury, Literary Fiction, NetGalley, Women's Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

True to You by Becky Wade

cover105949-mediumTrue to You by Becky Wade is a Christian romance that has several parts that are funny, and emotional. This is a wonderful book. The characters are well developed and relatable. The dynamics of the sister’s is well-thoughtout.

There are two main characters. The first; is Nora, is a cautious and studious young woman. The second; John, is a modern-day Navy SEAL who comes into Nora’s life and turns it upside down.

Nora had a really bad relationship in the past that caused her to build a wall to protect herself from being hurt that she did in her last relationship. The obstacles she puts in her way consist of unfashionable clothing, old hairstyles, and work. Eventually John and Nora meet and the wall that she has built slowly begins to break down.

John has an ego but deep down he was hurting and there was an uncertainty of his future that bothered him.  Recently, John was diagnosed with a genetic condition that will affect him for the rest of his life. John was not attracted to Nora at first but the most time he spent with her the more he saw a wonderful young lady. Through his friendship with Nora, John learns some important lessons in trusting God with his past as well as his future.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bethany House for sending me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: Becky Wade, Bethany House Publishers, book review, books, Christian, christian fiction, Christian Romance, family, fiction, Literary Fiction, navy seal, NetGalley, Review, romance, Women's Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Sky between You and Me by Catherine Alene

cover89500-mediumThe Sky between You and Me by Catherine Alene is a novel written in verse begins with poems that evoke the richness of Rae’s life.   It is a story about a horse-loving girl who develops an eating disorder in order to become a better athlete. Unfortunately, this novel in verse focuses very little on the sport and throws all of its energy at repetitive phrasing and one-dimensional characters.

Rae is overtaken with her obsession with being lighter, leaner, faster, this evocative verse whittles down to bone and her need to be thin carves away her flesh, friends, and family.

This book is one where the characters stay with you. Especially Rae. Based on talking to others who have suffered from an eating disorder, Catherine’s book gives an in depth glimpse into what it must be like to be all consumed by seeing the scale achieve all while going through the stresses of being a teenager. She created Rae to be incredibly relatable. I think we all can see a piece of ourselves in Rae.

I found this story to be honest, unflinching, and painfully beautiful, and I believe that The Sky Between You and Me offers a gift of understanding and hope to those who struggle with eating disorders and the ones who love them.

Thank you to NetGalley and SOURCEBOOKS Fire for the advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: Adventure, book review, books, children's poetry, eating disorder, Literary Fiction, literature, poem, poetry, Sourcebooks, SOURCEBOOKS Fire, Teens, verse, YA, young adult | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Country Between by Stephanie Saldaña

cover90866-mediumA Country Between:Making a Home Where Both Sides of Jerusalem Collide by Stephanie Saldana is a fascinating read of places and experiences most of us will never have.

The author Stephanie, meets her to be husband Frédéric who was in his third and final year as a novitiate soon to become a monk at The Syrian desert monastery Deir Mar Musa, north of Damascus. I have not read the first part of this memoir, which I must do soon, to learn more about their relationship.
The Country Between, takes place when they move out of Syria and are trying to find out where they should live. They end up on Jerusalem’s Nablus Road, a fascinating place with a lot of history.
The author writes beautifully, and in a very lyrical way. Her descriptions of places, the people, even the view from their window, of birds and trees created wonderful pictures in my mind, ones that even though I may never go there, I will feel that I have seen.

There are a lot of messages we can take from the authors life and perceptions of it, like hope, forgiveness, strength and the beauty of life as we see it and also in its hardships.
This is a wonderful look at a family being formed, and of families being there for one another throughout ones life, and the closeness and sacrifices they endure for one another.

Thank you NetGalley  and Sourcebook (non-fiction) for the advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: A Country Between, Adventure, book review, books, history, Literary Fiction, literature, memoir, NetGalley, nonfiction, refugee, Review, Sourcebooks, Stephanie Saldana, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti

cover86524-mediumThe Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti flows naturally and without effort. The dialogue throughout this book really made the best part of the story. The main character is Hawthorn Creely who can at times be loveable and other times test your patience. She is a lonely teenager who is seventeen years old. She wants to fit in with the other people her age. This is a story about a typical high school girl who feels left out a lot of the time. 

Lizzie Lovett goes camping with her boyfriend who is twenty-five years old and disappeared. Hawthorn becomes obsessed with Lizzie Lovett’s disappearance. Hawthorn did not know Lizzie Lovett before she disappeared. It appears like Hawthorn is trying to take Lizzie Lovett’s identity. On closer inspection Hawthorn does not feel good about herself. Hawthorn tries to find out everything she can about Lizzie. She gets different opinions from everyone else. She thinks Lizzie’s life was perfect.

At its core, this book is a mystery, and it’s a great one. A popular girl named Lizzie Lovett has disappeared, and Hawthorn has a theory about what happened, so she decides to investigate. I thought this was GREAT. I was constantly guessing and trying to figure out what happened to Lizzie, and I found the twists and turns really rewarding. Also, the resolution was perfect and made total sense.

Thank you to NetGalley and Source books publisher for the advanced readers copy for a fair and honest review of this book.

Categories: Adventure, book review, fiction, Literary Fiction, literature, NetGalley, Relationships, Review, Sourcebooks, Teens, YA, young adult | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Birds in the Air by Frances O’Roark Dowell

cover96917-mediumBirds in the Air by Frances O’Roark Dowell is a wonderful story. I loved the book from the first page to the last page. The book involves a woman whose family moves to a small town in the mountains. Her husband and daughter settle in quickly with job and school, but Emma needs something to do. Finding an old quilt in an attic trunk is the catalyst for searching out the local quilt shop. She is not a quilter to start with, but that quickly changes. Through a series of events, she ends up learning to quilt as well as becoming the publicist for the local guild’s quilt show. Some of the members do not agree that an outside should have such an important role. Conflict with another guild member creates a disaster for the quilt show, and help comes from an unlikely source. The story is interesting and told in an easy to read style, and I found it difficult to put down. I also like that Emma is happily married, as many of these series begin with a divorce so the woman can find her own way. I like that a married woman can also find her own way while having a family and a committed relationship.

There are several reasons I loved this book.

First, the characters. The characters are realistic and true to life. Second, I could related to the life styles characterized by several of the characters. Third, I like  how Frances uses quilting terms through out the book. Fourth, I like that the author brought the conflict of “quilt divas” to the story which brings to like the quilting industry that not everyone is kind at all times. The author brings past quilting history and highlights how functions in a community both in the past and in current times. I love how the author makes community building such a central theme in the story. Lastly, fifth, the authors deals with quilting controversy within the story and it makes the story appear that much more realistic.

I received this book from Milton Falls Media, Inc. via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Categories: arts and crafts, Birds in the Air, book review, books, Crafts & Hobbies, family, fiction, Frances O'Roark Dowell, Literary Fiction, literature, Milton Falls Media, NetGalley, Relationships, Review, Women's Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Hawaiian Quilt by Wanda E. Brunstetter, and Jean Brunstetter

28508810The Hawaiian Quilt by Wanda E. Brunstetter & Jean Brunstetter is a refreshing new twist on Amish fiction. This is not your typical Amish story. There is such faith, hope, dreams, heartbreak and determination throughout this wonderful story. This one will keep you turning pages right up to the very end so you can see how it ends.

A very different type of Amish story, we are going to Hawaii, and we are using cameras and cell phones, and doing tourist things, we are also on a cruise ship.
Four dear friends decide to take a trip of a lifetime, and decide to take a cruise to Hawaii and Mexico, this is happening before they join the Amish church. Now you can picture these sheltered young women being on this exciting journey, how different for them. Mandy, Ellen, Barbara and Sadie decide early on their trip to each take separate side trips and then share their experiences with each other so that they are able to see more. Mandy and Ellen are late getting back to the ship while in Kawai and when they get to the dock the ship is gone. These girls sure had God’s hand on them, you can imagine all kind of bad things happening, but they end up staying with Christians and this is where the lost quilt comes into the story.

I enjoyed this quick read, questioned some of Mandy’s actions, but then remembering they are in their run around time, but I could see that Ellen was more set in her faith. The ending to me left a lot to be desired, it seemed a bit rushed, but then I didn’t write the book, and as I said this is a very different Amish story.

I received this book from Barbour Publishing and Shiloh Run Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: Adventure, Amish, Barbour Publishing, book review, books, Christian, christian fiction, culture, ean Brunstetter, fiction, friendships, Jean Brunstetter, Literary Fiction, love, NetGalley, Shiloh Run Press, The Hawaiian Quilt, Wanda E. Brunstetter, Women's Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bury the Living by Jodi McIsaac

29371079Bury the Living by Jodi McIsaac is a historical fiction book with a little bit of fantasy.

Nora O’Reilly has a knack for getting into trouble. That’s not good when she lives in Ireland’s Troubles. After losing her family, Nora becomes an Aid worker. Now she is plagued by dreams of a man she has never known. She ends up connecting with the Brigidine Sisters, who venerate Saint Brigid, who was a pagan patron of Ireland long before the Catholic Church, when she was part of the Tuatha Dé Danann. A relic takes Nora back to the Irish Civil War, a much different war than The Troubles. She is trying to help Michael break the curse on him to be immortal until Ireland is free of it’s enemies. This curse is quite the challenge if you know the history of Ireland.

The beginning is 1990, skips to 2005 and then time travels backwards to 1923 amidst the Irish Civil War. This is where the author excels because she doesn’t lose you in the “travel”. We see the violence of present day Belfast and the devastation of the early 1920s. It is important to understand that Ireland has been at war for hundreds of years beginning with the Normans in the late 12th century which marked the beginning of more than 800 years of English rule or involvement. Wars, uprisings, revolutions, rebellions, civil wars, riots and bombings have plagued much of Ireland’s history. We become aware of the sacrifices, decisions, fears and worries of the mothers, daughters, sons and fathers through the lives and eyes of the women Nora meets. I really liked and appreciated this perspective. The portrayal of this time period was vividly done. It was gut retching to read. The research was remarkable and the Historical Note at the end is a must.

It can be difficult to bring together two different time periods and the author needs to expertly weave all the threads of both worlds seamlessly together to create a smooth flowing and flawless story. This was done very well and effortlessly. There were frequent references of present day Ireland going through Nora’s head while she was “living” in 1923.

I received this book from 47North via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: Adventure, book review, books, fiction, history, Literary Fiction, NetGalley, Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mount Hope: An Amish Retelling of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park by Sarah Price

29241488Mount Hope: An Amish Retelling of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park by Sarah Price starts out in a small Amish community in Colorado. In the beginning of the story Fanny Price finds out that she and her brother will be leaving the family, and each will be living with different family members on the East coast. In less than thiry-six hours, Fanny is living with her aunt and family in Mount Hope, Ohio. Feeling out of place at the Bontrager farm, Fanny finds a friend in her older cousin, Elijah Bontrager.

As years have passed, Fanny has not over come her shyness, preferring solitude, but is very observant. Her relationship with Elijah takes a shift in a different direction. Fanny finds herself conflicted as to what to do about it. When her uncle presses her to marry a guy she doesn’t feel is worthy of her hand, Fanny can’t seem to find it in herself to tell her uncle the whole truth. It’s what her uncle does and the events afterwards that the eyes are opened!

Sarah Price writes with ease, that makes the story flow smoothly, and not missing a bit of details. Her characters take on human-like persona. Sarah stays true to the Amish culture and faith of the area she’s writing about, but most importantly of Amish districts and people.

I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Categories: Adventure, america, Amish, book review, books, Charisma House, Christian, culture, Literary Fiction, NetGalley, Realms, Review, Women's Fiction, Women's Fiction, Literary Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When We Fall by Emily Liebert

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I received “When We Fall” by Emily Liebert for free from Goodreads in exchange for an honest review.

The book “When We Fall” by Emily Liebert is a definite page turner. The main character, Allison Parker, 11 years prior to the story suddenly was faced with the death of her husband, and still 11 years later she is trying to pick up the pieces. Her husband, Jack, was in a bus accident that caused his untimely death which resulted in him never to meet his son Logan. Allison was left raise Logan alone as a single mom.  Allison, an artist, put her career on hold me be the best mom she could be even though her life was fall apart around here.  Prior to moving to Wincourt to have a fresh new start, Allison and Logan lived in New York. Wincourt is a suburb of New York. Allison found a house with a place where she could focus on her art career and Logan could attend a good school.

On Logan’s first day of school, Allison meets Charlotte who is Gia’s mom and Logan’s classmate. Come to find out the Charlotte is the wife and Gia the daughter of Charlie who was Jack’s best friend.  Charlie and Jack worked and attended the same summer camp. Sadly, Charlie never called Allison after Jack died.  Immediately, Charlotte and Allison became fast friends.  They both were in need of a good friend so it was perfect timing, but then things get complicated and everything fell apart.

Allison and Charlotte became friends, good friends even. But Charlotte has a friend named Sabrina who tries to make everyone miserable. Sabrina told a lie to Charlotte that Allison and Charlie were having an affaire even though that was far from the truth. It caused a strain in Charlotte and Allison’s relationship, which left Allison utterly confused and Charlotte feeling hurt.

The relationships are well developed and true. It’s easy to identify with the characters of the story if you have ever been in a relationship or lost someone close to you. There is heartbreak but there is also hope. Hope that while relationships can have strains if you work things out there is hope that all things will work together. The minor characters bring an added level of trueness to the story.

I recommend this book for anyone who likes reading about relationships, families, and chic flicks.

I give this book a 4/5 star rating.

Thank you for reading. Please comment or ask questions if you wish.

Next book: “The Shepherdess of Siena” by Linda Lafferty

Categories: book review, books, fiction, first reads, Goodreads, Literary Fiction, literature, Relationships, Review, romance, women, Women's Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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