Sweetbriar Cottage

Author: Denise Hunter
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Christian Fiction
Source:  Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

 

 

Goodreads:  When Noah and Josephine Mitchell discover their divorce was never actually finalized, their lives are turned upside down.

Following his divorce, Noah gave up his dream job, settling at a remote horse ranch in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia, putting much-needed distance between himself and the former love of his life. But then Noah gets a letter from the IRS claiming he and Josephine are still married. When he confronts Josephine for the first time in months, they discover that she missed the final step in filing the paperwork and they are, in fact, still married.

Josephine is no happier about the news than Noah. Maybe the failed marriage—and okay, the botched divorce—was her fault, but her heart was shattered right alongside his, more than he would ever believe. The sooner they put this marriage behind them, the better for both of their sakes.

But when Josephine delivers the final paperwork to his ranch, the two become stranded in his cottage during the worst spring snowstorm in a decade. Being trapped with Josephine is a test of Noah’s endurance. He wrestles with resentment and an unmistakable pull to his wife—still beautiful, still brave, and still more intriguing than any woman he’s ever known.

As they find themselves confronted with each other and their shared past, old wounds surface and tempers flare. But when they are forced out into the storm, they must rely on each other in a way they never have before. Josephine finally opens up about her tragic past, and Noah realizes she’s never been loved unconditionally by anyone—including him. Will Noah accept the challenge to pursue Josephine’s heart? And can she finally find the courage to trust Noah?

Ope’s Opinion:  Denise Hunter writes some of the best Christian Fiction I have ever read.  She has real characters with flaws.  She is not preachy, but you know God is the center of the lives of the people in her books.

This book has a really good story line.  It is interesting to see marriage with difficulties and see people trying to figure out if it is worth fighting through it or give it up.  The only reason this book is a three and not a four  for me is the middle of the book drug on a little too long.  At that point you knew where the story was going, but it just seemed to stall too long.

The ending was wonderfully satisfying.

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Things You Won’t Say

Author: Sarah Pekkanen
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Genre: Fiction
Source: Purchased

Goodreads:  In this timely and provocative novel, internationally bestselling author Sarah Pekkanen takes us inside a family in crisis and a marriage on the brink after a tragic shooting.

How far would you go to save your family?

Every morning, as her husband Mike straps on his SIG Sauer and pulls on his heavy Magnum boots, Jamie Anderson tenses up. Then comes the call she has always dreaded: There’s been a shooting at police headquarters. Mike isn’t hurt, but his long-time partner is grievously injured. As weeks pass and her husband’s insomnia and disconnectedness mount, Jamie realizes he is an invisible casualty of the attack. Then the phone rings again. Another shooting but this time Mike has pulled the trigger.

But the shooting does more than just alter Jamie’s world. It’s about to change everything for two other women. Christie Simmons, Mike’s flamboyant ex, sees the tragedy as an opportunity for a second chance with Mike. And Jamie’s younger sister, Lou, must face her own losses to help the big sister who raised her. As the press descends and public cries of police brutality swell, Jamie tries desperately to hold together her family, no matter what it takes.

In her characteristic exploration of true-to-life relationships, Sarah Pekkanen has written a complex, compelling, and openhearted novel her best yet.

Ope’s Opinion:  OOH, this story was sooo good!  There are so many things about this book I liked – the sister relationship was so real and deep, the husband / wife relationship had it’s ups and downs ( again real ) and the secondary characters were fully developed and important to the rest of the story.

The only thing I didn’t really get into was Lou’s relationship with the animals at the zoo.  I wasn’t sure what that had to do with all the other things that were going on.  It was a side story that didn’t tie back into the main story.

The ending felt like what would have really happened to a family in this situation.  It was positive, but not sugar sweet and all was not perfect.

The House on Mermaid Point

Author: Wendy Wax
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Source:  Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

 

Goodreads:  Maddie, Avery, and Nikki first got to know one another—perhaps all too well—while desperately restoring a beachfront mansion to its former grandeur. Now they’re putting that experience to professional use. But their latest project has presented some challenges they couldn’t have dreamed up in their wildest fantasies—although the house does belong to a man who actually was Maddie’s wildest fantasy once. . . .

Rock-and-roll legend “William the Wild” Hightower may be past his prime, estranged from his family, and creatively blocked, but he’s still worshiped by fans—which is why he guards his privacy on his own island in the Florida Keys. He’s not thrilled about letting this crew turn his piece of paradise into a bed-and-breakfast for a reality show . . . though he is intrigued by Maddie. Hard as that is for her to believe as a newly single woman who can barely manage a dog paddle in the dating pool.

But whether it’s an unexpected flirtation with a bona fide rock star, a strained mother-daughter relationship, or a sudden tragedy, these women are in it together. The only thing that might drive them apart is being trapped on a houseboat with one bathroom. . . .

Ope’s Opinion: This is the third in the series of Ten Beach Road.  If you liked the first two you definitely will like this one too.  Another house, another time of the women working together and their relationships are moving on. 

The show goes on.  The women have to remodel another home in Florida.

At this point there are three more in the series, so more fun to come!  Where will the ladies go next?

The Summer that Made Us

Author: Robyn Carr
Publisher: Mira Books
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Source:  Little Bird Publicity

 

Goodreads:  Mothers and daughters, sisters and cousins–they lived for summers at the lake house until a tragic accident changed everything. The Summer That Made Us is an unforgettable story about a family learning to accept the past, to forgive and to love each other again.

That was then…

For the Hempsteads, two sisters who married two brothers and had three daughters each, summers were idyllic. The women would escape the city the moment school was out to gather at the family house on Lake Waseka. The lake was a magical place, a haven where they were happy and carefree. All of their problems drifted away as the days passed in sun-dappled contentment. Until the summer that changed everything.

This is now…

After an accidental drowning turned the lake house into a site of tragedy and grief, it was closed up. For good. Torn apart, none of the Hempstead women speak of what happened that summer, and relationships between them are uneasy at best to hurtful at worst. But in the face of new challenges, one woman is determined to draw her family together again, and the only way that can happen is to return to the lake and face the truth.

Robyn Carr has crafted a beautifully woven story about the complexities of family dynamics and the value of strong female relationships.

Ope’s Opinion:  This did not feel like most of Robyn Carr’s books.  It was a deeper, heavier read then she usually writes.  There were a lot of issues addressed in this book.  It was a little on the depressing side.

The story was told from several peoples point of views, so that help to see the whole picture and understand the relationships.  There were a lot of “flashbacks” – views into things that brought the characters were they are now.  I enjoyed the present story of sisters coming back to the lake house better then the past story line.

The ending brought everything to a satisfying conclusion.

The Two of Us

Author: Victoria Bylin
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Genre: Christian Fiction
Source: Victoria Bylin / Bethany House Publishers

Goodreads:  Heartwarming and Touching New Contemporary Romance from Victoria Bylin

After two broken engagements, nurse practitioner Mia Robinson is done with dating. From now on, she only trusts herself and God, and she’s focused on her eighteen-year-old sister, Lucy, and caring for patients. Just as she applies to work for an international aid organization, a phone call from Lucy, who’s pregnant and running off to marry her twenty-one-year-old boyfriend, throws a wrench into all of Mia’s plans.
Jake Tanner may have recovered from the physical injuries he sustained on the job as a police officer, but his heart has yet to heal from losing his former partner in the tragedy. He’s poured himself into starting a camp for the sons of fallen officers and mentoring Sam, the adult son of his deceased partner, who’s asked him to be his best man at his wedding.
Mia is expecting a mess when she arrives to sort out the situation with Lucy, but she wasn’t expecting Jake. And Jake, who can’t help envying Sam and Lucy, doubts he’ll ever experience their happiness for himself. But maybe Jake’s courage and Mia’s caring spirit are just what they need to bring them a lifetime of healing and a forever kind of love. . . .

Ope’s Opinion: Yes, this Christian Fiction.  Yes, God is in the middle of this story and in the middle of the lives of the people in this book.  Yes, you should read this book!  There should be a copy of this book in every church library ( well, in every library for that matter ).

No, this book did not preach at me.  No these people were not perfect – they had flaws and life did not always go smoothly. There are a lot of different relationships in different stages of life – easy for any reader to relate to.

The ending was expected and satisfying.  I am looking forward to Victoria Bylin’s next book.

The Child Finder

Author: Rene Denfeld
Publisher: Harper
Genre: Mystery
Source:  Harper

 

Goodreads:  Three years ago, Madison Culver disappeared when her family was choosing a Christmas tree in Oregon’s Skookum National Forest. She would be eight years old now—if she has survived. Desperate to find their beloved daughter, certain someone took her, the Culvers turn to Naomi, a private investigator with an uncanny talent for locating the lost and missing. Known to the police and a select group of parents as The Child Finder, Naomi is their last hope.

Naomi’s methodical search takes her deep into the icy, mysterious forest in the Pacific Northwest, and into her own fragmented past. She understands children like Madison because once upon a time, she was a lost girl too.

As Naomi relentlessly pursues and slowly uncovers the truth behind Madison’s disappearance, shards of a dark dream pierce the defenses that have protected her, reminding her of a terrible loss she feels but cannot remember. If she finds Madison, will Naomi ultimately unlock the secrets of her own life?

Ope’s Opinion:  I found this hard to read, not really enjoyable, but told from interesting points of view.  I almost felt like at the end the author was going to tell me it was all a dream – it was told in such a manner that it didn’t feel real. 

The cycle of abuse was an interesting twist to the story.

The ending did make it some what better.

Charmed by Chocolate

Author: Steena Holmes
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Genre: Romance
Source:  Purchased

 

Goodreads:  When Leah ran off to Southern California, she hoped to leave freezing cold winters and unrequited love behind. She was never meant for a small town life and the timing with her longtime best friend–and secret soul mate–was always hopelessly off.
But after a mishap on the hit reality show Charming, Leah declares her love for Wade nationwide and is publicly dubbed “Lonely Leah.” She returns to Marietta to hide at her family’s home–from the media who wants to turn her into a human interest story, from the townspeople upset with her blunder, and most of all, from Wade, who wants to talk.

It took Leah leaving town to wake Wade Burns up to the reality that he’s head over heels in love with his best friend. But now that she’s back home, she’s giving him the cold shoulder. With chocolate and a grand gesture, can Wade charm his way back into Leah’s heart?

Ope’s Opinion:  I am a huge fan of Steena Holmes.  That is the whole reason I picked this one up.  I am still a fan of Steena Holmes, but this is not her usual story telling.  This one is up beat, light, easy read.   Probably a good one for holiday reading when life is crazy and you need a little something to relax you.

This book is  a part of a series, but each book has a different author, so you can read it alone.  It is a sweet story that has the happy ending – all of which you can figure out at the beginning – and some times exactly what you want.

Steena Holmes novels are usually deep, full of wonderful characters and leaving you thinking…  so if you have a chance, pick up any one of her novels – you won’t be disappointed.