Category Archives: Fiction/Literature

A fun and romantic story about starting over

Kiss

By: Jill Mansell

Rating: 5 of 5

Gina has just been unceremoniously dumped by her husband when he discovers that his secret girlfriend has become pregnant. Gina ventures out into the night and, while distraught, ends up running into Izzy who is out riding on her motorbike.

Izzy ends up losing her job and she and her teenager daughter have nowhere to live. They end up living with Gina and end up turning her world upside down.

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A lovely read with a slice of life view of two women

Window on the Bay: A Novel

By: Debbie Macomber

Rating: 5 of 5

This is the story of two women who are starting over in life as middle age approaches.

Jenna is an intensive care nurse who divorced her surgeon husband decades earlier. She has spent her life, since then, focusing on raising her two children, Paul and Allie. Now, both children are off to college, though her ties to both are still deep.

Maureen is a librarian and married while still in college when she she became pregnant with her daughter, Tori. The marriage didn’t work out and she has been single ever since.

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A good summer read with a focus on teenage years

Surfside Sisters: A Novel

By: Nancy Thayer

Rating: 4 of 5

This is a story about two childhood friends. Keeley and Isabelle. Keeley was middle class and Isabelle was from a rich family. The two things they had in common was that they lived in the same Nantucket town and they both wanted to be famous writers when they grew up.

Their common interest kept them together until a romantic interest tore them apart. At that point, the lives moved apart rapidly and for what seemed like forever.

Keely managed to make her dream come true and is a famous author. When events in her life turn her in circles, she retreats back to Nantucket to help her mother.

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A blend of paranormal, science fiction and love story

Time After Time: A Novel

By: Lisa Grunwald

Rating: 4 of 5

I was intrigued by the short blurb I read about this story. I was, for some unknown reasons, expecting a time travel book and instead, the book is a mix between ghost story and science fiction with a very long romance. While it wasn’t what I expected, it was still a good read.

My only problem with books set in the fairly recent past, as this one is, it’s easy to spot anachronisms and those can be distracting.

Once I was able to get over those small issues, I was able to enjoy the love story and the innovative idea behind it. I also appreciated the author explaining (in the follow-on notes) how it mirrored, to a degree, the relationship she has with her husband. I can relate to that as, due to illness, my world has become smaller than most others experience.

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More than a romantic comedy, this book looks at the ups and downs of life

Maybe This Time

By: Jill Mansell

Rating: 5 of 5

In this story, Mimi Huish, is visiting her father and his partner at their new home in The Cotswolds. She encourages, even insists, that the two of them get out and meet their new neighbors in the charming village they now live in. They are afraid that the people in this small hamlet are not ready to accept the lifestyle arrangement that they share.

It is far from the truth, but in getting to know their neighbors, a situation arises that changes the lives of many in the village.

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Intriguing novel about the relationship between daughter-in-law and mother-in-law

The Mother-in-Law: A Novel

By: Sally Hepworth

Rating: 4 of 5

When I first started this book, I thought it was going to be a suspenseful mystery. While there are elements of both, the novel is really more of a fictional literature style book. It explores the relationship between daughter-in-law and mother-in-law.

The story is told from both points of view and is set both in the past and in the present with a small peak into the future at the end.

Lucy lost her mother when she was young and is thrilled at the prospect of having a mother-in-law to love and admire. Diana is definitely an admirable woman; however, she is not a person who it is easy to relate to – that is, unless you happen to be a recipient of her charity for unwed mothers.

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A feel good novel with a heroine with some OCD issues

I Owe You One: A Novel

By: Sophie Kinsella

Rating: 4 of 5

Fixie Farr is a young woman who works in the family business (retail store). She and her mother more than carry their own weight since her father died years before. His motto was “Family first” and Fixie tries to adhere to it, though her siblings are a bit of a trial.

Neither her brother nor her sister seem to have the same work ethic. Brother Jake is busy making posh deals that seem more like pie in the sky than anything concrete and meaningful. Sister Nicole is into appearances over substance and has a fixation on yoga and Instagram.

Fixie does the works and fixes things that her siblings and co-workers at the family business cause to “break”. When her mother leaves for a vacation, she leaves all three in charge with their uncle to keep things running. Without her mother’s vote, Fixie has to keep things from coming unglued.

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A slice of life book with characters who come alive

The Songbird

By: Marcia Willett

Rating: 5 of 5

This is the second book I have read by Marcia Willett. As with the first, I found the story to be one that felt like real life. It was if I dropped into the middle of the lives of a group of people and could see into their pasts (through their thoughts) and their fears for the future.

The group is brought together in ways that are woven into one by the end of the story. There are moments of cheer and moments of deep sadness. There are times when you wish you could step in to help.

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A heartwarming story set around Christmas time

Catching Christmas

By: Terri Blackstock

Rating: 5 of 5

This is the second book I have read by Terri Blackstock. As with the first (“If I Run”), I was impressed both by the authors writing and by her ability to integrate Christianity into the story without beating readers over the head with it.

I say that as a Christian. Some Christian books are overly preachy and some don’t touch much on Christianity at all. There is a fine line between the two, and Ms. Blackstock has found that point of view.

In this story, we follow a taxi driver, Finn Parrish, as he drives an elderly customer around. He’s irate that no one in her family is taking care of her. In the course of trying to correct that, he gets in touch with her granddaughter, Sydney Batson.

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Interesting story with a focus on the late 20th and early 21st century

The Dream Daughter: A Novel

By: Diane Chamberlain

Rating: 4 of 5

I have read only a few of Diane Chamberlain’s books and have enjoyed each of them. However, the beginning of “The Dream Daughter” contained enough technological and social anachronisms in a certain time period, it threw me off while reading the novel.

Once the author got beyond her descriptions of that time period and concentrated more on the story, I was able to settle in and enjoy the book for the fantasy escape feel-good novel that it is.

It is rather difficult to review this book with contextual reference without giving away quite a bit of the plot. Suffice to say that Carly, the main character would do anything to save and then help her daughter.

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