Once Upon a Summertime

Author: Meloday Carlson
Publisher: Fleming H. Revell Company
Genre: Christian Fiction
Source: Won from Meloday Carlson’s Website

 

 

Goodreads:  Managing the Value Lodge in her hometown was not what Anna Gordon had in mind when she set out in the hospitality industry. But it’s a safe choice for a woman whose childhood was anything but stable. Out of the blue, she gets a once-in-a-lifetime chance to reinvent herself by moving to New York City, where she hopes for a management position at a stylish new boutique hotel. The big city is full of surprises–not the least of which is Sean O’Neil. Her childhood crush has applied for the very same position!

Ope’s Opinion: This is a really good Christian Fiction book.  It is the beginning of a series.  I will be looking up the other books in the series and reading them. 

The characters were real people in real situations.  The story was fun to read. There is a lot of tourism in NYC in this book.  You’ll feel like you are there.

The ending is what you expect from the beginning – for me that is a good thing!

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Sing You Home

Author: Jodi Picoult
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Fiction
Source: Purchased

 

Goodreads:  One miscarriage too many spelled the end of Max and Zoe Baxter’s marriage. Though the former couple went quite separate ways, their fates remained entangled: After veering into alcoholism, Max is saved in multiple senses by his fundamentalist conversion; Zoe, for her part, finds healing relief in music therapy and the friendship, then romantic love with Vanessa, her counselor. After Zoe and Vanessa, now married, decide to have a baby, they realize that they must join battle with Max, who objects on both religious and financial grounds. Like her House Rules and several other previous Jodi Picoult novels, Sing You Home grapples with hot button issues. The novel also includes a CD of songs, each matched with a chapter in the book. Perfect for book clubs.

Ope’s Opinion: Very predictable.  A court case ensues as usual with Jodi Picoult. 

I wish Picoult had be more objective in her writing the Christian characters.  It may have made me more sympathetic with the story.  I do like my thoughts and views being challenged by seeing things from another perspective, but lets represent all views accurately.

I did enjoy the struggle of who has custody of an embryo – having nothing to do with sexual orientation.  Would Max have fought just as hard if Zoe’s partner were male?  What makes a family has been changed over the years, I think it will continue to change.

Overall the book was a bit long and the ending tied up into a bow.  Not sure it was what really happens in todays world.

Maybe One Day

Author: Melissa Kantor
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult
Source:  Purchased

Goodreads:  Zoe and her best friend, Olivia, have always had big plans for the future, none of which included Olivia getting sick. Still, Zoe is determined to put on a brave face and be positive for her friend.

Even when she isn’t sure what to say.

Even when Olivia misses months of school.

Even when Zoe starts falling for Calvin, Olivia’s crush.

The one thing that keeps Zoe moving forward is knowing that Olivia will beat this, and everything will go back to the way it was before. It has to. Because the alternative is too terrifying for her to even imagine.

Ope’s Opinion:   This young adult book is worth the read.  There haven’t been too many  (YA books) in my opinion lately worth my time, but this one has renewed my interest in this genre.  Melissa Kantor kept my attention the whole time, I wanted to keep reading to the very end.

I loved the relationships in this book. The friendship was at the center of the book.  The adults were involved in their children’s lives, the young adults had appropriate relationships with each other as well as with the adults.  It wasn’t all perfect and wonderful, but the emotions felt real.

Take out the “f” word and this book would have been a four and a half for me.

The Family Gathering

Author: Robyn Carr
Publisher: Mira Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source:  Claire at Little Bird Publicity

Goodreads:  An exceptional storyteller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr beautifully captures the emotionally charged, complex dynamics that come with being part of any family. Readers will laugh and shed a few tears as they discover what it means to be loved, supported and accepted by the people who mean the most.

Having left the military, Dakota Jones is at a crossroads in his life. With his elder brother and youngest sister happily settled in Sullivan’s Crossing, he shows up hoping to clear his head before moving on to his next adventure. But, like every visitor to the Crossing, he’s immediately drawn to the down-to-earth people and the seemingly simple way of life.

Dakota is unprepared for how quickly things get complicated. As a newcomer, he is on everyone’s radar—especially the single women in town. While he enjoys the attention at first, he’s really only attracted to the one woman who isn’t interested. And spending quality time with his siblings is eye-opening. As he gets to know them, he also gets to know himself and what he truly wants.

When all the Jones siblings gather for a family wedding, the four adults are drawn together for the first time in a way they never were as children. As they struggle to accept each other, warts and all, the true nature and strength of their bond is tested. But all of them come to realize that your family are the people who see you for who you really are and love you anyway. And for Dakota, that truth allows him to find the home and family he’s always wanted.

Ope’s Opinion: If you have not started reading the Sullivan’s Crossing series, this would be a good time to start.  You do not have to read them from the beginning to enjoy this story, but it is such a great series, it is worth your reading time.  Although this book is in the romance genre, it is so much more then that!

This book centers around Dakota, one of the Jones brothers, but it updates you on the whole family and some other people in the community.  There are some very intense parts of the book that will have you turning the pages quickly to find what happens.

The ending is very satisfying and wraps up some story lines, but leaves some things for the next book – which I will be looking for when it comes out.

Thank you Claire ( Little Bird Publicity ) for sending this one my way.

Sisters Like Us

Author: Susan Mallery
Publisher: Mira Books
Genre: Romance
Source:  Emer at Harper Collins

Goodreads:  The grass is always greener on your sister’s side of the fence…

Divorce left Harper Szymanski with a name no one can spell, a house she can’t afford and a teenage daughter who’s pulling away. With her fledgeling virtual-assistant business, she’s scrambling to maintain her overbearing mother’s ridiculous Susie Homemaker standards and still pay the bills, thanks to clients like Lucas, the annoying playboy cop who claims he hangs around for Harper’s fresh-baked cookies.

Spending half her life in school hasn’t prepared Dr. Stacey Bloom for her most daunting challenge—motherhood. She didn’t inherit the nurturing gene like Harper and is in deep denial that a baby is coming. Worse, her mother will be horrified to learn that Stacey’s husband plans to be a stay-at-home dad…assuming Stacey can first find the courage to tell Mom she’s already six months pregnant.

Separately they may be a mess, but together Harper and Stacey can survive anything—their indomitable mother, overwhelming maternity stores and ex’s weddings. Sisters Like Us is a delightful look at sisters, mothers and daughters in today’s fast-paced world, told with Susan Mallery’s trademark warmth and humor.

Ope’s Opinion:  Overall, this book was worth the read.  The characters were well developed and had flaws you could relate to.

What I liked – the relationships, the story lines and the characters.  I loved that the romances moved slow and they had real relationships with each other before the physical aspects started.  The mother – daughter ( Harper / Becca ) was very realistic.  I liked the sister relationships too.

What I didn’t like – the repetitive writing of how inadequate Stacy felt about being a mother and Bunny ( worst mother of the year ).  I don’t think it was necessary to have her be such an unlikable character.  The story could have been wonderful without that aspect.

If you like Susan Mallery’s other books, you will like this one.

The Secret to Southern Charm

Author: Kristy Woodson Harvey
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Fiction
Source:  Kristy Woodson Harvey

Goodreads:  Leaving fans “practically [begging] for a sequel” (Bookpage), critically acclaimed author Kristy Woodson Harvey returns with the second novel in her beloved Peachtree Bluff series, featuring a trio of sisters and their mother who discover a truth that will change not only the way they see themselves, but also how they fit together as a family.

After finding out her military husband is missing in action, middle sister Sloane’s world crumbles as her worst nightmare comes true. She can barely climb out of bed, much less summon the strength to be the parent her children deserve.

Her mother, Ansley, provides a much-needed respite as she puts her personal life on hold to help Sloane and her grandchildren wade through their new grief-stricken lives. But between caring for her own aging mother, her daughters, and her grandchildren, Ansley’s private worry is that secrets from her past will come to light.

But when Sloane’s sisters, Caroline and Emerson, remind Sloane that no matter what, she promised her husband she would carry on for their young sons, Sloane finds the support and courage she needs to chase her biggest dreams—and face her deepest fears. Taking a cue from her middle daughter, Ansley takes her own leap of faith and realizes that, after all this time, she might finally be able to have it all.

Harvey’s signature warmth and wit make this a charming and poignant story of first loves, missed opportunities, and second chances and proves that she is “the next major voice in Southern fiction” (Elin Hilderbrand, New York Times bestselling author).

Ope’s Opinion:  My suggestion is that you read Slightly South of Simple before you start this one, but it is not necessary. KWH books are so wonderful, you don’t want to miss the first one.  She has an excellent way of writing this story so you won’t feel lost if you haven’t read the first one, but you really don’t want to miss the start of all their lives.

There was a lot of drama in this book and it moves fast.    All three daughters, Mom           ( Ansley ) and Grammy ( Ansley’s Mom ) are living in Peachtree Bluff.  The book is written from Sloane’s ( the second daughter ) and Mom’s ( Ansley ) perspectives, but you actually hear everyone’s voices.

This was an amazing book, that just took me away.  I am ready for book three from Peachtree Bluff.