Sunday, October 17, 2021

THE SECRET KEEPERS OF OLD DEPOT GROCERY by Amanda Cox, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas

Set in a small Tennessee town over the span of 60 years, this is a poignant, heart-touching story of three women in a family and the effect that secrets have had on their lives. Author Amanda Cox has skillfully woven the tale together and centered it around the Old Depot grocery store. It’s interesting to note that the store acts as a character in the story and is patterned after a grocery store with the same name in the author’s family history. It reminded me of a similar small grocery in our neighborhood when I was growing up.

The characters are carefully-crafted, realistic, and colorful, and it was fascinating to see what effects the secrets they were keeping from each other had on the trajectories of their lives and that of the other individuals involved. The author captured the essence of the rural South during the time periods depicted. It was interesting to see how some things changed during the years and others stayed much the same.

This is a tale of healing, forgiveness, and family love. It is also a story of how family expectations can change the course of lives.

“There was no going back. But every now and then an opportunity arose to mend things and embrace what you’ve been given, cracks and all.”

“Take that first step that feels right and see what happens next.”

I’d recommend this book to those who enjoy Christian women’s fiction with multiple timelines. It’s beautifully written with intriguing, realistic characters. I’m looking forward to reading more from this talented author. 4.5 stars
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Revell through Interviews and Reviews. All opinions are my own.

 SEE REVIEWS BY NICOLE, PAULA, and KIM

BackCover Blurb:
Present Day. Sarah Ashby returns to her childhood home, determined to finally follow her dream of running the family business alongside her mother and grandmother. So when her mother, Rosemary, announces to her that Old Depot Grocery is closing, Sarah and her grandmother, Glory Ann, make a plan to save the store. But Rosemary has worked her entire life to make sure her daughter never follows in her footsteps. She has her reasons--but she'll certainly never reveal the real one.

1965. Glory Ann confesses to her family that she's pregnant with her deceased fiancé's baby. Pressured into a marriage of convenience with a shopkeeper to preserve her family's reputation, Glory Ann vows never to love again. But some promises are not as easily kept as she imagined.

This dual-time story from Amanda Cox deftly explores the complexity of the mother-daughter relationship, the way the secrets we keep shape our lives and the lives of others, and the healing power of telling the truth. 

Revell Publishing, September, 2021
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:
Buy The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery at Baker Book House

 

Saturday, October 16, 2021

AUTUMN BY THE SEA by Melissa Tagg, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas


“I just want to know who I am.”

With a setting in Maine and colorful, realistic, and endearing characters, Melissa Tagg has crafted a compelling start to her new Muir Harbor series. I immediately became wrapped up in this tale and intrigued by the storyline and characters. The main characters, Sydney Rose and Neil MacKean, both had traumatic pasts they had worked to overcome, and together they had a wonderful charisma. Sydney is compassionate and sweet but wants to find out who she really is and where she belongs. Neil is the consummate hero—hard-working, helpful, flannel-wearing, and Scottish. What more could we ask for in a hero? The stellar cast of supporting characters added much to the story, and I have a feeling some will be starring in their own books soon.

“From her place of deepest hurt, God had brought something amazing. Something she never could’ve expected.”

This story has intrigue, suspense, a big dash of romance, and a big dose of inspiration and healing. There’s a bit of a cliffhanger at the end with some loose ends that I’m sure will be all tied up in future books in the series. I recommend this to those who enjoy well-written, absorbing contemporary romance.  
* 4.5 stars. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own. 

SEE NICOLE'S REVIEW

ABOUT THE BOOK:
A captivating new seaside romance brimming with mystery from USA Today bestselling, Christy Award-winning author Melissa Tagg

Abandoned as a toddler, Sydney Rose has spent years wondering who she really is, homesick for a life she's never lived. When a private investigator crashes into her world, she finds herself heading to a tiny seaside town in Maine to meet a woman named Maggie, who's searching for the granddaughter she lost decades ago.

If not for Maggie, Neil MacKean might still be back in Scotland, bereft and alone. Instead, he has a full life in Muir Harbor with an adopted family he loves and a blueberry farm to run. But the farm is struggling and strange occurrences have him concerned. Worse, Maggie's once again caught up in the past, convinced she's finally found her long-lost granddaughter.

Worried for Maggie, Neil is suspicious of the city girl who shows up at the farm. But there's something about Sydney that tugs on him, drawing out secrets he never meant to share. While Neil grapples with the future of the farm, Sydney wrestles with a past that's messier than ever. Together, they're pulled into a mystery complete with a centuries-old legend, unexpected danger . . . and a love as deep and wild as the sea. 

Larkspur Press, Sept 2020
Available in digital ebook and paperback:

 

Friday, October 15, 2021

LOST DOWN DEEP by Sara Davison, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

The Rose Tattoo Trilogy #1

"The house should have been completely quiet."

After being brutally assaulted in her own home, Summer Velasquez recovers slowly from a traumatic brain injury followed by retrograde amnesia, meaning that she doesn't remember anything about her assailant, the attack, or even the past few years of her life. Knowing that she is putting the welfare of her parents in jeopardy if she returns directly home from the hospital, Summer makes a harried decision . . . she runs.

Following Summer to the small town of Elora, Ontario, Ryan Taylor befriends her, after all he is in no immediate danger of being recognized, for Summer shows no signs of remembering who he is. But something down deep inside of her must still be drawn to him, for Ryan sees flashes of their previous connection in her eyes before it quickly clouds over to mild confusion and eventually suspicion. Can he protect her from the real and present danger? Will forgiveness be able to repair what was so tragically damaged? Is God really big enough to lift their burdens, to be a "refuge and fortress . . . what could provide more safety and peace of mind than that?" Angels? They were going to need those, too.

Enjoy this creative twist on romantic suspense! There's a lot you don't know, until you do.
*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to provide a positive review. 3.5 stars

BackCover Blurb:
She is the only one who can tell the police who attacked her in her home. If only she could remember …Summer Velasquez is on the run from a man she has no recollection of after an attack she can’t recall.Every face in the crowd is a potential suspect, so how is Summer supposed to know who is a threat to her and who isn’t?After fleeing her assailant and the parents who lied to her about what happened, she changes her name and seeks refuge in Elora, Ontario. 

The small town feels familiar, although she has no memory of ever having been here. Even in what should be a safe place, she can’t shake the feeling that she is being watched.When Ryan Taylor strolls into the Taste of Heaven CafĂ© where she works, Summer is immediately drawn to him. However, he may not be who he says he is either. As her suspicions grow, Summer prepares to run again.But at least one person is determined to stop her. Permanently. And if she can’t remember who he is, this time he may succeed.

April 2020

Thursday, October 14, 2021

THE LINES BETWEEN US by Amy Lynn Green, Reviewed by Kim


I loved Things We Didn’t Say, Amy Lynn Green’s debut novel, so I was really looking forward to reading The Lines Between Us. While this isn’t another epistolary novel, as I had hoped, there are a lot of letters and other communications in this story, which give it the same feel. I really love Ms. Green’s writing style and how she brings little known historical events to light.

This story was basically one surprise after another for me. Without going into spoiler territory, things I thought for sure would happen didn’t and the mystery of how Jack’s injury really happened, and who was guilty, was not at all what I was expecting!

Even though I wasn’t too sure about her at the beginning of the story, Dorie ended up being my favorite character. Her sense of humor really added the touch of lightness that kept the story from being too heavy. I also liked how she wasn’t going to let anything stand in her way of finding out what really happened to her brother, Jack. While I liked Gordon and reading about his perspective as a conscientious objector, I wished there would’ve been more discussion between him and others about war and whether it was right or wrong to enlist. I think a good dialogue would’ve really added to the story.
I really enjoyed this story and learning about parts of history that I wasn’t aware of. I can’t wait to see what Amy Green has in store for us next!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own. The faith thread was light. 4.5 stars.
 
BackCover Blurb:
A WWII novel of courage and conviction, based on the true experience of the men who fought fires as conscientious objectors and the women who fought prejudice to serve in the Women's Army Corps.

Since the attack on Pearl Harbor, Gordon Hooper and his buddy Jack Armitage have stuck to their values as conscientious objectors. Much to their families' and country's chagrin, they volunteer as smokejumpers rather than enlisting, parachuting into and extinguishing raging wildfires in Oregon. But the number of winter blazes they're called to seems suspiciously high, and when an accident leaves Jack badly injured, Gordon realizes the facts don't add up.

A member of the Women's Army Corps, Dorie Armitage has long been ashamed of her brother's pacifism, but she's shocked by news of his accident. Determined to find out why he was harmed, she arrives at the national forest under the guise
of conducting an army report . . . and finds herself forced to work with Gordon. He believes it's wrong to lie; she's willing to do whatever it takes for justice to be done. As they search for clues, Gordon and Dorie must wrestle with their convictions about war and peace and decide what to do with the troubling secrets they discover.
 
Bethany House, August, 2021
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:

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