The Wedding Shop

Author: Rachel Hauck
Publisher: Zondervan
Genre: Christian Fiction
Source: Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

Goodreads:  Two women separated by decades. Both set out to help others find their dreams when their own have crumbled.

It’s the early 1930s, but Cora Scott is walking in stride as a career woman after having inherited her great aunt’s wedding shop in Heart’s Bend, Tennessee, where brides come from as far away as Birmingham to experience her famed bridal treatment. Meanwhile, Cora is counting down the days until her own true love returns from the river to make her his bride. But days turn into months and months to years. All the while, Birch Good continues to woo Cora and try to show her that while he is solid and dependable, he can sweep her off her feet.

More than eighty years later, former Air Force Captain Haley Morgan has returned home to Heart’s Bend after finishing her commitment to military service. After the devastating death of her best friend, Tammy, and discovering the truth about the man she loved, Haley is searching for her place in life.

When Haley decides to reopen the romantic but abandoned wedding shop where she and Tammy played and dreamed as children, she begins a journey of courage, mystery, and love.

As Cora’s and Haley’s stories intertwine through time in the shadow of the beloved wedding shop, they both discover the power of their own dreams and the magic of everyday love.

Ope’s Opinion: This is the third of The Wedding Collection books.  You can read this alone, but it really is better if you start with the first book The Wedding Dress.  This book had both a historic story line and a contemporary story line.

It was wonderful to see where and how the wedding shop got started and where it was now.  The story started slow and built as you read it.  As I read, I became more invested in the characters and their out come.

The ending was all you would have wanted and expected from this story.

 

What You Wish For

Author: Kerry Reichs
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre:  Chick lit
Source: Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

Goodreads:  If what you wish for is a delightfully bittersweet novel filled with endearing, eccentric characters and situations in the vein of Jennifer Weiner, Jane Green, Marian Keyes, and Meg Cabot, then Kerry Reichs’s What You Wish For is the answer to your prayers. The daughter of forensic crime fiction superstar Kathy Reichs (bestselling creator of the Temperence Brennan mystery series, the basis for TV’s Bones), Kerry Reichs’s writing talent is ingrained in her DNA, as she’s already demonstrated with her previous books, Leaving Unknown and The Best Day of Someone Else’s Life. Her third novel, What You Wish For, is a tender, loving, funny, and unforgettable tale of five “modern” families, each one following a very different road to happiness, and yet another bravura example of Kerry Reichs’s phenomenal storytelling abilities.

Ope’s Opinion:  There are a lot of characters you are introduced to at the beginning of the book.  It took me a little while to get attached to each one and figure out where their story lines were headed.  The more I read, the more invested I was in their quest for a child or to be understood why they didn’t want a child.  

I did not see how all the story lines were going to intersect at the beginning of the book.  It was interesting to see how the author wove each of their lives together.  The ending was all you wanted it to be, it let you know where everyone was.  The ending made the rest of the book for me.

The Wedding Chapel

Author: Rachel Hauck
Publisher: Zondervan
Genre: Christian Fiction
Source:  Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

 

Goodreads:  An old, forgotten chapel holds the key to love and forgiveness.

Retired hall-of-fame football coach Jimmy Westbrook never imagined anything would come of his labor of love—building a wedding chapel for Collette Greer, the woman he fell in love with in 1949. But now a realtor wants the land the chapel sits on, and he sees no reason to hang onto the past.

Photographer Taylor Branson is trying to make a life for herself in New York. Leaving her hometown of Heart’s Bend, Tennessee, she put a lot of things behind her, including her family’s string of failed marriages. When she falls head-over-heels for Jack Gillingham, a top ad man, their whirlwind romance and elopement leave her with doubts. Jack, while genuine in his love for Taylor, can never seem to find the right way to show her he really cares.

When a post-mortem letter from Taylor’s Granny Peg shows up, along with an old photo, she is driven to uncover family secrets and the secret to her own happiness, starting with an assignment to photograph an unknown, obscure wedding chapel back in Heart’s Bend.

Taylor begins a mission to convince Jimmy that the chapel is worth saving—and that forgiveness and healing might happen within the chapel’s walls . . . for both of them.

Ope’s Opinion:  I really enjoy Christian Fiction and this one was above and beyond the average!  Rachel Hauck is one of the authors that I go to for a good read.  She has characters in this book that are real, with flaws and real world difficulties.  The characters don’t always handle things the best way, which feels so real.  It shows God’s forgiveness – which we all need.

This ended as you would expect, but the journey to get there was what made the read worthwhile.

Return to Virgin River

Author: Robyn Carr
Publisher: MIRA
Genre: Romance
Source: Katie at Little Bird Publicity

Goodreads:  #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr returns to the beloved town of Virgin River with a brand-new story about fresh starts, new friends and the magic of Christmas.

Kaylee Sloan’s home in Southern California is full of wonderful memories of the woman who raised her. But the memories are prolonging her grief over her mother’s recent death. A successful author, Kaylee hoped she could pour herself into her work. Instead she has terrible writer’s block and a looming deadline.

Determined to escape distractions and avoid the holiday season, Kaylee borrows a cabin in Virgin River. She knows the isolation will help her writing, and as she drives north through the mountains and the majestic redwoods, she immediately feels inspired. Until she arrives at a building that has just gone up in flames. Devastated, she heads to Jack’s Bar to plan her next steps. The local watering hole is the heart of the town, and once she crosses the threshold, she’s surprised to be embraced by people who are more than willing to help a friend—or a stranger—in need.

Kaylee’s world is expanding in ways she never dreamed possible. And when she rescues a kitten followed by a dog with a litter of puppies, she finds her heart opening up to the animals who need her. And then there’s the dog trainer who knows exactly how to help her. As the holidays approach, Kaylee’s dread turns to wonder. Because there’s no better place to spend Christmas than Virgin River. 

Ope’s Opinion: What an awesome story.  It is the beginning of my Christmas reading and this is the perfect one to start off the season.  The mother / daughter relationship feels close to mine.  Although it had sad parts, it was a positive uplifting story.

This is part of a long series I have been reading since it started, it was great to see where all the characters are now.  You certainly could read this one alone.   This book is more romance than some of her books.  I enjoyed that the romance was slow and sweet.  The ending was what you wanted and expected.

Autumn Skies

Author: Denise Hunter
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Christian Fiction
Source: Margaret at Harper Collins

 

 

Goodreads:  From the bestselling author of The Convenient Groom and A December Bride (now beloved Hallmark Original movies) comes the third and final novel in the Bluebell Inn series!

When a mysterious man turns up at Grace’s family-run inn, it’s instant attraction. But she’s already got a lot on her plate: running the Bluebell Inn, getting Blue Ridge Outfitters off the ground, and coping with a childhood event she’d thought was long past.

A gunshot wound has resurrected the past for secret service agent Wyatt Jennings, and a mandatory leave of absence lands him in Bluebell, North Carolina. There he must try and come to grips with the crisis that altered his life forever.

Grace needs experience for her new outfitters business, so when Wyatt needs a mountain guide, she’s more than happy to step up to the plate. As their journey progresses, Grace soon has an elusive Wyatt opening up, and Wyatt is unwittingly drawn to Grace’s fresh outlook and sense of humor.

There’s no doubt the two have formed a special bond, but will Wyatt’s secrets bring Grace’s world crashing down? Or will those secrets end up healing them both?

Ope’s Opinion:   This is the third of the Bluebell Inn series.  As usual Denise Hunter writes amazing characters, who are easy to care about.  At the start of the story, I was having a little bit of a struggle with Grace and Wyatt’s first hike – for me parts of it just didn’t feel natural.  

After they came home from the hike, the rest of the story and their relationship picked up and was fun to read and follow.  I always enjoy how Denise brings her characters together, how they respect each other and how the romance is slow and clean.

The end is amazing – some of which you expect and some little surprises.  Such a good read!

Two Truths and a Lie

Author: Meg Mitchell Moore
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Mystery
Source:  Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

Goodreads:  From the author of The Islanders comes a warm, witty and suspenseful novel filled with small-town secrets, summer romance, big time lies and spiked seltzer, in the vein of Liane Moriarty.

Truth: Sherri Griffin and her daughter, Katie, have recently moved to the idyllic beach town of Newburyport, Massachusetts. Rebecca Coleman, widely acknowledged former leader of the Newburyport Mom Squad (having taken a step back since her husband’s shocking and tragic death eighteen months ago), has made a surprising effort to include these newcomers in typically closed-group activities. Rebecca’s teenage daughter Alexa has even been spotted babysitting Katie.

Truth: Alexa has time on her hands because of a recent falling-out with her longtime best friends for reasons no one knows—but everyone suspects have to do with Alexa’s highly popular and increasingly successful YouTube channel. Katie Griffin, who at age 11 probably doesn’t need a babysitter anymore, can’t be left alone because she has terrifying nightmares that don’t seem to jibe with the vague story Sherri has floated about the “bad divorce” she left behind in Ohio. Rebecca Coleman has been spending a lot of time with Sherri, it’s true, but she’s also been spending time with someone else she doesn’t want the Mom Squad to know about just yet.

Lie: Rebecca Coleman doesn’t have a new man in her life, and definitely not someone connected to the Mom Squad. Alexa is not seeing anyone new herself and is planning on shutting down her YouTube channel in advance of attending college in the fall. Sherri Griffin’s real name is Sherri Griffin, and a bad divorce is all she’s running from.

A blend of propulsive thriller and gorgeous summer read, Two Truths and a Lie reminds us that happiness isn’t always a day at the beach, some secrets aren’t meant to be shared, and the most precious things are the people we love.

Ope’s Opinion: There are a lot of people with a lot going on in this book.  It is not hard to keep it straight because each chapter is labeled.  One of the things I really liked about this story was that the secrets came out throughout the whole book, little by little.  There were some things that were held to the end, but it didn’t all come out at once.

The Mom Squad was a bit over the top for me, but I am sure they exist some where.  They were a bit too catty for my liking.  I was glad I was not the move-in of their group, actually I was glad I was not a part of their group at all!

Although this book is the mystery category, I think it more women’s fiction with a little mystery on the edges of it.

Bring Her Home

Author:  David Bell
Publisher: Berkley Books
Genre: Mystery
Source: Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

Goodreads:  In the breathtaking new thriller from David Bell, bestselling author of Since She Went Away and Somebody I Used to Know, the fate of two missing teenage girls becomes a father’s worst nightmare….

Just a year and a half after the tragic death of his wife, Bill Price’s fifteen-year-old daughter, Summer, and her best friend, Haley, disappear. Days later, the girls are found in a city park. Haley is dead at the scene, while Summer is left beaten beyond recognition and clinging to life.

As Bill holds vigil over Summer’s bandaged body, the only sound the unconscious girl can make is one cryptic and chilling word: No. And the more time Bill spends with Summer, the more he wonders what happened to her. Or if the injured girl in the hospital bed is really his daughter at all.

When troubling new questions about Summer’s life surface, Bill is not prepared for the aftershocks. He’ll soon discover that both the living and the dead have secrets. And that searching for the truth will tear open old wounds that pierce straight to the heart of his family…

Ope’s Opinion: Wow!  This is my first David Bell book – I can’t wait to start reading his other books now! 

This book will grab you from the very beginning.  The chapters are short, so I kept thinking one more chapter…. One more.  It read really fast and the story was great.  I thought I knew who did it, then some thing happened ( no spoilers ), so I figured I was wrong.  Well, I was right, it just threw me off for a minute.  

There was a bit of the story about two thirds of the way through that I felt was a wild goose chase and didn’t add to the other part of the story.  The end revealed some things I was not expecting ( this is good ), but everything came to a conclusion.

Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years

Author: Julie Andrews
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Genre: Nonfiction
Source:  Library

Goodreads:   In this follow-up to her critically acclaimed memoir, Home, Julie Andrews shares reflections on her astonishing career, including such classics as Mary PoppinsThe Sound of Music, and Victor/Victoria.

In Home, the number one New York Times international bestseller, Julie Andrews recounted her difficult childhood and her emergence as an acclaimed singer and performer on the stage.
With this second memoir, Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years, Andrews picks up the story with her arrival in Hollywood and her phenomenal rise to fame in her earliest films–Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music. Andrews describes her years in the film industry — from the incredible highs to the challenging lows. Not only does she discuss her work in now-classic films and her collaborations with giants of cinema and television, she also unveils her personal story of adjusting to a new and often daunting world, dealing with the demands of unimaginable success, being a new mother, the end of her first marriage, embracing two stepchildren, adopting two more children, and falling in love with the brilliant and mercurial Blake Edwards. The pair worked together in numerous films, including Victor/Victoria, the gender-bending comedy that garnered multiple Oscar nominations.

Cowritten with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, and told with Andrews’s trademark charm and candor, Home Work takes us on a rare and intimate journey into an extraordinary life that is funny, heartrending, and inspiring.

Ope’s Opinion: Julie Andrews voice was such a pleasure to listen to.  She spoke of personal things that were happening and behind scenes of Mary Poppins, Sound of Music and other things that she did.  

I always feel a memoir is hard to review.  It is her perspective of her life – it can’t be negative or positive.  It is what ever she remembers.

I just enjoyed listening to this.  I am not a big fan of reading memoirs, but I do enjoy listening to them.

Until I Find You

Author: Rea Frey
Publisher: St. Martin’s Giffin 
Genre: Thriller
Source: Sarah at St. Martin’s Press

Goodreads:  In Until I Find You, celebrated author Rea Frey brings you her most explosive, emotional, taut domestic drama yet about the powerful bond between mothers and children…and how far one woman will go to bring her son home.

“”Frey is a rising star in the suspense scene”” – Booklist

2 floors. 55 steps to go up. 40 more to the crib.

Since Rebecca Gray was diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease, everything in her life consists of numbers. Each day her world grows a little darker and each step becomes a little more dangerous.

Following days of feeling like someone’s watching her, Bec awakes at home to the cries of her son in his nursery. When it’s clear he’s not going to settle, Bec goes to check on him.
She reaches in. Picks him up.
But he’s not her son.
And no one believes her.

One woman’s desperate search for her son . . .

In a world where seeing is believing, Bec must rely on her own conviction and a mother’s instinct to uncover the truth about what happened to her baby and bring him home for good.

Ope’s Opinion:   Rea Frey has done it again!  She wrote a book that has you looking over Bec’s shoulder from the first page – Yes first page!  The writing is so good you can feel Bec’s fear.

The part that let me down just a bit was Bec’s constant refusal of help.  There were people in her life that were willing to help and she wouldn’t accept the help.  She also didn’t act rational some times, then wondered why people didn’t believe her.

The ending was a little off for me. I don’t know what I was expecting, but this wasn’t it.  The epilogue felt like the end of chick lit novel, not a thriller novel.

The Menu

Author: Steven Manchester
Publisher: Luna Bella Press
Genre: Christian Fiction
Source: Steven Manchester

Goodreads:  Blessed with a high emotional IQ, Phinn Reed enters the world with the promise of finding his soul mate. With heaven’s memories erased, his romantic quest teaches him that the heart often sees clearer than the eyes—and that not everyone has ordered the same items from The Menu. Evidence that love stories come in many different forms, The Menu is a spiritual journey involving more than just a man and a woman; it is a modern-day tale that reaches far beyond the boundaries of reason. 

Ope’s Opinion: I have been a fan of Steven Manchesters from his first book.  If you have not read his books yet, this one would be a good place to start.   If you have a church library, this book needs to be there – you may need more then one copy!

This is a story of life, love and faith, which is written in such a heart felt way that it will stick with you long after the read.  More than likely, there is someone you will want to pass this book on to.

This book is about choices and living with them – one of your choices should be to read this book!