Category Archives: Fiction/Literature

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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Another good book by Debbie Macomber

Alaskan Holiday: A Novel

By: Debbie Macomber

Rating: 4 of 5

I’ve been quite late to finding Debbie Macomber as an author. I started reading her books several years ago. What I’ve learned since then is that I can trust her books to provide entertainment, enjoyment and something to think about.

That is true of “Alaskan Holiday”. The point of view changes between the male and the female lead characters. The book starts with the male, Palmer Saxon. He is a quiet Alaskan male who is only at home is the sparseness (both of land and people) in the remote area of Alaska where he lives.

For some reason, the male pov to start with made the book seem a little foreign and odd but once it changed to the female, Josie Avery. The story began to take on the familiar feel and tone of what I have come to expect from Ms. Macomber’s books.

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A novel about individuals overcoming obstacles in life

Cottage by the Sea: A Novel

By: Debbie Macomber

Rating: 5 of 5

I have read a number of Debbie Macomber’s books and with each new title, I am more amazed at her ability to portray the emotions that we all feel.

In “Cottage by the Sea”, which is a stand-alone book rather than a series book, Ms. Macomber presents the reader with a group of individuals who each carry the pain of a serious problem in life. Whether it is grief at loss, physical abuse or the emotional scarring of life gone wrong, the issue is explored. These characters then find a way of living life and, at least trying, to get beyond the problems that life has dealt to them.

Kind of like we all have to do.

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A slice of life book centered around the neighborhood public pool

The Lido

By: Libby Page

Rating: 5 of 5

This is a debut novel by Libby Page. The book tells the story of a community and of the characters of individuals who come together to try to save the neighborhood pool or lido.

Each character is explored through their connection to the pool and then beyond. The action centers on Rosemary and Kate.

Rosemary is in her eighties and has gone to the lido for most of her life. While other children were taken out of the city during WWII to avoid bombs, her mother kept her close at hand so she has never been without the lido. When a posh apartment developer shows up to close the pool, Rosemary is inspired to try to save it.

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