As the Tide Comes In by Cindy Woodsmall & Erin Woodsmall (review by Cathy)

As the Tide Comes In

Book blurb:

A New York Times best-selling author releases her first southern novel, a Steel Magnolias-meets-Sweet Home Alabama story set on St. Simons Island.

After losing two loved ones in a devastating tornado and suffering a head injury, Tara Abbott flees to St. Simons Island, where her disorientation causes the lines between imagination and reality, past and present to blur.

There she encounters island residents Julep Burnside, Luella Ward, Sue Beth Manning, and Dell Calhoun–The Glynn Girls–who have been friends since Bible camp, forty years earlier. When Julep’s son Gavin identifies a troubled soul in need of help, can the Glynn Girls guide Tara back to herself?

My thoughts:

As the Tide Comes In is written with great depth and feeling which made me tear up a few times.  It’s also a story of hope and faith and one that I absolutely loved.  To be honest, I’m a fan of Cindy’s Amish novels and was anxious to read another genre written by her.  I was curious about the writing style of Erin, too. They have written one of the best contemporary novels that I’ve read recently.

I loved the setting of St.Simmons Island, the Glynn Girls and all the other characters in this book.  Tara Abbott, the young protagonist had my heart from the very beginning and her story was unique to me which added to my reading experience.

I thought that the story flowed smoothly and the pace was very nice.  I wanted to read this book as fast as I could, but I also wanted to take my time because I knew I would be sad when it was time to say goodbye to the characters.

If you are looking for a  beautifully written novel I hope you’ll pick up a copy of, As the Tide Turns.

I received a copy from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions are my own.

 

Interview with Laura & Allen from, Room on the Porch Swing by Amy Clipston+Giveaway

room on the porch swing

Check out this fun interview with two of my favorite characters in one of my favorite books by Amy Clipston..

 

Cathy:  Laura, did you find it to be a challenge to be with your best friend’s husband?

I wasn’t really expecting to fall in love with Allen, and I felt guilty when I realized I had feelings for him.  I felt like I was betraying Savilla’s memory.  But, thanks to Florence, I soon realized that God chooses the person we’re supposed to spend the rest of our lives with.  I’m so grateful that Florence made me realize my feelings for Allen weren’t a sin.

Cathy:  Laura, how do you keep do you keep the memory of Savilla alive for Mollie while still letting her know that you are proud and honored to be in her life?

I tell Mollie stories about Savilla every day. When I rock her at night, I tell her about how much Savilla loved her before she was born and when she held Mollie in her arms.  I also tell her stories about when Savilla and I were children.  I’ll always remind Mollie how much her mother loved her and then also tell her that I love her with my whole heart and will always do my best to be a good mother to her.

Cathy:  Laura, where is your favorite place to read?

I love to read on the porch and of course, on the front porch swing!  That’s my favorite place.

 

Cathy:  Allen, what is one of your favorite dishes that Laura cooks?

I always love her chicken potpie. And I think every man loves steak and potatoes, right?

Cathy:  Allen, what special memories does the porch swing bring to mind?

The porch swing makes me think of when Laura and I first got to really know each other.  We spent our time on the porch swing sharing our most private thoughts.  That was where our friendship grew and we realized we shared a deep connection.

I hope you enjoyed reading the interview questions!    Follow the link for a chance to win a copy of, Room on the Porch Swing by Amy Clipston.

Click here to enter

 

 

Before I Saw You by Amy K Sorrells (review by Kristi)

Before I Saw You

About the bookFolks are dying fast as the ash trees in the southern Indiana town ravaged by the heroin epidemic, where Jaycee Givens lives with nothing more than a thread of hope and a quirky neighbor, Sudie, who rescues injured wildlife. After a tragedy leaves her mother in prison, Jaycee is carrying grief and an unplanned pregnancy she conceals because she trusts no one, including the kind and handsome Gabe, who is new to town and to the local diner where she works.

Dividing her time between the diner and Sudie’s place, Jaycee nurses her broken heart among a collection of unlikely friends who are the closest thing to family that she has. Eventually, she realizes she can’t hide her pregnancy any longer–not even from the baby’s abusive father, who is furious when he finds out. The choices she must make for the safety of her unborn child threaten to derail any chance she ever had for hope and redemption. Ultimately, Jaycee must decide whether the truest form of love means hanging on or letting go.

Publication Date:  June 5, 2018

Publisher:  Tyndale House Publishers

Genre:  Contemporary Fiction, Christian Fiction

 

My thoughtsI had never heard of Amy K. Sorrells before reading this book. However, this is an author and a book I won’t soon forget. An emotional read that brought tears to my eyes by page thirty-three and by page fifty-nine had me considering calling into work the next day so I could stay home and read.

There is a lot going on in this book but it all ties together in a storyline that makes you sad, angry, and hopeful. The book shows a fictional although more realistic view than we would like to imagine of a life that is impacted by drug addiction. This story tells us how drug addiction not only affects the addict but also the people in their lives. We see this through Jaycee, the main character in the book. She is alone and pregnant after her drug-addicted mother goes to prison. With the support of her neighbor, Sudie, her boss and co-workers at the diner, and her church family, Jaycee moves forward with her life.

I was pulled into the story from the very beginning. The story is so good though and the author does such a great job of telling Jaycee’s story that I soon forgot I was reading about fictional characters. There are a lot of references to the Bible and a lot of passages but it all fits the story. The characters in the book have deep roots in the church and so all the references and passages felt genuine and not at all like the author was trying to preach a sermon or was trying to see how much of the Bible she could include. Also, the author is a nurse so the hospital scenes she includes have enough detail to add to the story without being too much. She does a great job of balancing everything in the story.

This is a book I won’t soon forgot and one that I definitely recommend. Set time aside though because once you start reading this book you will find it impossible to put down!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a review. All opinions are mine.

 

About the authorA long time believer in the power of story to change lives, Amy got her start in journalism and medical writing. Her work has been featured in a wide array of publications including newspapers and medical journals. Her novels have been shortlisted for the 2014 Inspy awards, semi-finalists for the ACFW Genesis awards, and a winner of the 2011 Women of Faith writing contest.

An Indianapolis native and graduate of DePauw University, Amy lives with her husband, three sons and a gaggle of golden retrievers in central Indiana.

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The Hope of Azure Springs by Rachel Fordham (review by Cathy)

The Hope of Azure Springs

About the book:

Seven years ago, orphaned and alone, Em finally arrived at a new home in Iowa after riding the orphan train. But secrets from her past haunt her, and her new life in the Western wilderness is a rough one. When her guardian is shot and killed, Em, now nineteen, finally has the chance to search for her long-lost sister, but she won’t be able to do it alone.

For Azure Springs Sheriff Caleb Reynolds, securing justice for the waifish and injured Em is just part of his job. He’s determined to solve every case put before him in order to impress his parents and make a name for himself. Caleb expects to succeed. What he doesn’t expect is the hold this strange young woman will have on his heart.

Debut author Rachel Fordham invites historical romance readers to the charming town of Azure Springs, Iowa, where the people care deeply for one another and, sometimes, even fall in love.

My thoughts:

When I first saw this book I wanted to read it for a few reasons.  First of all the cover is beautiful, secondly it sounded like the kind of story I enjoy reading and finally, this is a debut novel that was creating quite a buzz by fellow bloggers and readers.

I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to read this one because it is an impressive debut novel with wonderful characters and an emotional storyline that had me reading as fast as I could.

My heart went out to Em for all of the hardships she had faced in her young life and I found myself rooting for her to have every happiness she could find.  Luckily she found people who cared for her and helped her in the town of Azure Springs.  No matter what she endures or how hard life has been for her since she was separated from her little sister on a stop on an orphan train adoption, she never forgets that difficult day in their lives and she vows to find to find her sister, Lucy.

Em is strong character and one that I grew to love.  I also grew to love Caleb and thought the two of them were sweet together and separately.

Overall,  this is a fantastic historical novel.  The town of Azure Springs has delightful characters who I will think about for quite a while.  This debut novel  more than met my expections and I look forward to reading more of this authors work.

I received a free copy of this book and was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions are my own.

 

Miss Serena’s Secret (Regency Brides: A Promise of Hope #2) by Carolyn Miller (review by Cathy)

miss serenas secret

About the book:

With devastating scars in her past, Serena Winthrop is sure no man can be trusted—especially not men like the far-too-smooth Viscount Charmichael. His reputation as a charmer and a gambler is everything she despises. And the young artist makes sure that this disreputable heir to an Earldom knows of her deep disapproval whenever they encounter one another.

Henry, Lord Carmichael, is perfectly aware of his charms to the women of the ton. He’s gambled with plenty of their hearts as easily as he does their husband’s money—it’s all in good fun to him. But lately he’s been wondering if there’s more to life—and confronting the idea that his actions might not prove worthy of the admirable wives his friends have found.

When Serena’s brother-in-law asks his best friend to protect his young ward, Henry promises to be on his best behavior and not woo her. But the more he learns of her, the more he realizes she might be his best reason for changing his character. Then the lady’s art leads her to London infamy. Now Henry must choose between the life mapped out for him as the Earl apparent, and the love of his life. And Serena’s secret may mean the end of his titled family line.

The second in a new series by internationally popular author Carolyn Miller is full of the same rich historical detail and evocative writing that readers enjoyed, and familiar characters make appearances here. The witty banter will continue to draw in fans of Jane Austen, Sarah Ladd, and Julie Klassen.

My thoughts:

I felt compassion for Miss Serena Winthrop from the very first page as the author sets up the storyline as to why the character is so mistrustful.   I had to keep reminding myself how young Serena is because she seemed older and wiser beyond her years as she built up emotional barriers that only a very few could penetrate.

What I admired most about Serena is how principled she is, again not something that you normally find in a younger character.  I liked the close bond she shared with her sister and brother in-law and the fact that they looked out for her and included her in their lives and travels.  When you spend time with your family, its only natural you meet their friends, which is how she met, Viscount Carmichael.

Lord Henry and Serena couldn’t be more opposite of each other!  She’s reserved, sure of what she will and will not except in a person and he has a less than stellar reputation to put it politely.  I loved that she was true to herself and managed to put him in his place when it was warranted.

I liked that the author chose not to have the protagonist attending countless balls and shopping for gowns, not that I don’t enjoy those stories, but I found this to be very refreshing with Serena and her artistic talent.  The colors, palettes  and subjects described made me see the beauty of the paintings that Serena created.

There are several secondary characters that added to this delightful story, but the ones that stood out to me are Henry’s father, his sister and his grandmother.  I felt bad for his father and liked that he could discuss art with Serena, even if just briefly.

Overall, this has a wonderful storyline with some pretty wonderful characters.  The author has a knack for storytelling and I learned not only about women artists in the Regency era, but I also  learned of an affliction known as abdominal migraine.  So, not only was I thoroughly entertained, but I gained a bit of knowledge.   I also liked that this isn’t the typical, ” boy meets girl and they fall instantly in love” story.  It’s much more nuanced than that.  After I finished reading this book, I realized that this is my favorite work by Miss Miller so far.  I am looking forward to the next book in the series because I have a feeling it will be just as good as this one.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions are my own.

 

 

A Daring Venture by Elizabeth Camden (review by Kristi)

a daring venture

 

About the bookAs a biochemist in early 1900s New York, Doctor Rosalind Werner has dedicated her life to the crusade against water-borne diseases. She is at the forefront of a groundbreaking technology that will change the way water is delivered to every household in the city–but only if she can get people to believe in her work.

Newly appointed Commissioner of Water for New York Nickolas Drake is highly skeptical of Rosalind and her team’s techniques. When a brewing court case throws him into direct confrontation with her, he is surprised by his reaction to the lovely scientist.

While Rosalind and Nick wage a private war against their own attraction, they stand firmly on opposite sides of a battle that will impact far more than just their own lives. As the controversy grows more public and inflammatory and Rosalind becomes the target of an unknown enemy, these two rivals will face higher stakes than they ever could have known.

Publication Date:  June 5, 2018

Publisher:  Bethany House Publishers

Genre:  Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction

Series:  Empire State, #2

 

My thoughts:  Perfect! If I only had one word to use to describe this book it would absolutely be perfect. There is so much to like about Elizabeth Camden’s latest book. In fact, this book has it all: complex characters, a storyline that is emotional, and superb storytelling. This may just be my favorite book of the year (or at least so far!)

The tone of this book is set well in the heartwrenching (there’s just no other way to describe it) prologue. I took an instant liking to Rosalind and from the prologue, it was understandable why she was so passionate about being able to provide people with clean water. Rosalind is an intelligent and independent woman and one that is just so easy to like. Nicholas Drake is the absolute perfect leading man for this story. Now, he and Rosalind clash many times but I felt like this added to the reality of the story. They are both passionate in their beliefs. I loved their instant attraction to each other and though at times their actions seemed a bit forward it comes across as very genuine and realistic. I also enjoyed the ease with which they formed a friendship. It set the tone for events happening throughout the book and created a tension between the two that made the story and kept me turning pages.

The story itself was great. Who knew that learning about water filtration and chlorination could be so interesting? And with her descriptions, it was so easy to imagine myself in New York City and experiencing everything the characters did. Camden is one of my favorite authors and this story is an example of why. She transports me to different times and places and teaches me things I wouldn’t normally think about.

This is the second book in the Empire State series but it completely reads as a standalone. I haven’t read the first book in the series but after reading this one I immediately added it to me “to read” list. I’ll also definitely check out the next book in this series. I liked the characters and want to know more about them.

I can’t recommend this book enough! It is a well-written, emotional read and I think fans of historical fiction will love it as much as I did. Whether you’re a Camden fan or not give this book a try. It will be worth your time!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a review. All opinions are mine.

 

About the author:  Elizabeth Camden is a research librarian at a small college in central Florida. Her novels have won the coveted RITA and Christy Awards. She has published several articles for academic publications and is the author of four nonfiction history books. Her ongoing fascination with history and love of literature have led her to write inspirational fiction. Elizabeth lives with her husband near Orlando, Florida.

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Between You & Me by Susan Wiggs (review by Cathy)

Between You & Me

About the book:

Deep within the peaceful heart of Amish country, a life-or-death emergency shatters a quiet world to its core. Number-one New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs delivers a riveting story that challenges our deepest-held beliefs.

Caught between two worlds, Caleb Stoltz is bound by a deathbed promise to raise his orphaned niece and nephew in Middle Grove, where life revolves around family, farm, faith—and long-held suspicions about outsiders. When disaster strikes, Caleb is thrust into an urban environment of high-tech medicine and the relentless rush of modern life.

Dr. Reese Powell is poised to join the medical dynasty of her wealthy, successful parents. Bold, assertive, and quick-thinking, she lives for the addictive rush of saving lives. When a shocking accident brings Caleb Stoltz into her life, Reese is forced to deal with a situation that challenges everything she thinks she knows—and ultimately emboldens her to question her most powerful beliefs.

Then one impulsive act brings about a clash of cultures in a tug-of-war that plays out in a courtroom, challenging the very nature of justice and reverberating through generations, straining the fragile threads of faith and family.

Deeply moving and unforgettable, Between You and Me is an emotionally complex story of love and loss, family and friendship, and the arduous road to discovering the heart’s true path.

 

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this book so much more than I expected to. I’m a huge fan of Amish fiction, but this storyline was much more than the typical Amish books that I’m used to reading.

I am quite aware of the accidents, injuries and deaths that occur in Amish communities, but reading about Jonah’s accident broke my heart. Mercifully, his Uncle Caleb was there to make the decisions needed to get medical attention for the child. As Caleb is thrust into medical issues the storyline became as much about Caleb as it did about Jonah.

Reese is the attending ER doctor for Jonah and she soon became one of my favorite characters in the book. Her kindness to Caleb was heartwarming and went beyond what I expected.
Their friendship seemed natural which was refreshing to me. The English and Amish are so far apart in their beliefs and lifestyles but through patience and understanding, these two made it work.

Overall, I found the writing and character development very much to my liking. This is the first book that I’ve read by Ms. Wiggs but it wont be the last. I loved journey the author took her characters and readers on. The pace was perfect and the secondary characters didn’t seem to be afterthoughts or story fillers.

I do want to add a warning that there is some language used that some will find offensive.  I admit that I was surprised that some words used by the young Amish boy.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.