What I read: The Bookseller’s Promise by Beth Wiseman
Why I picked it up: I found it on the new release shelf at the library, and it was a combination of some of my favorite things: books about books, sweet love story, and interesting religious community of faith.
How I read it: On paper over more days than it should have taken me, but I had a friend visit in the middle filled with great food, good movies, and an intense card game.
What it’s about: Jake inherited his grandfather’s book store and a special book he promised never to sell. He hired Eva when she was only 15, but now she’s 20 – and she’s fallen in love with him, but does he see her as a woman or just the teenage girl he hired for his shop? Yvonne shows up trying to buy the book that was never to be sold for $100,000 … that’s a lot of money!
What I liked: There was this sweet scene with Jake and Eva in the bookstore when her dad came in that was a real delight!
What I disliked: Sometimes it went in circles – I get it – the book was special, it was hard to read, and it was worth a lot – but without getting the actual text, it was hard to read “this is special” over and over again.
Genre: Christian love story, chaste romance, books about books, grief.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and yes, it’s super sweet.
What I read: The True Love Bookshop by Annie Rains
Why I picked it up: I was looking for books on the new release shelf, and I can hardly resist a book about a bookshop so I picked it up.
How I read it: On paper over a few days, it was good but didn’t grab me.
What it’s about: Tess lost her husband three years ago, and is now beginning to heal and wonder what he was doing in a town she didn’t know anything about the night he was killed. River’s questioning it as well. But will these two sworn enemies be willing to work together to find the answer to this mystery?
What I liked: I liked the mix of a little mystery sleuthing into this romance.
What I disliked: The writing wasn’t all that interesting, it felt a little like a Hallmark movie script.
Genre: Chaste romance, books about books, grief.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ and not sure you should waste your time.
What I read: On the Way to Christmas by Sheila Robert’s, Melissa Ferguson, and Amy Clipston
Why I picked it up: I’m a Melissa Ferguson completist, so I was excited to read her Christmas short story sandwiched between these other two, new to me, authors.
How I read it: On audio at 1.75x speed (I think that’s my preferred audiobook speed) over two days.
What it’s about: It’s three short, chaste, Christmas romances all set in small towns – one even featuring a NC town! They’re all a delight!
What I liked: I like the train story – that was Melissa’s – it was interesting to think about taking a two week train trip across the country.
What I disliked: There’s a situation with a snake that a guy convinces the woman to have around her shoulders. For that reason alone, she should have thrown him right off the train – with his snakes!
Genre: Christmas, chaste romance.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and it’s a delight, definitely a fun Christmas read!
What I read: Say You’ll Stay by Susan Mallery
Why I picked it up: I was targeted on Hoopla – that app really knows what I like.
How I read it: On ebook.
What it’s about: It’s the prequel to the Wishing Tree duo that has a second coming out this fall. It’s set in a small town that loves Christmas, just like some of the other small towns Susan writes about so well, and it’s July 5th. That’s the day Christmas in July begins with an antler wearing 5K. Shaye is confused, but Lawson explains it – and meeting him changes her plans from “just passing through” to “staying a while.”
What I liked: I appreciated how they took their relationship slowly – and they didn’t get together because of anything except love. Kathy, her landlord, was also just the most delightful. I’m glad she sat her down and helped her see what was actually true.
What I disliked: I think this could have been a full novel, instead of a short novella. I’m sure Shaye and Lawson show up in the first full book, but I don’t quite remember them.
Genre: Christmas, chaste romance, grief.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and a great prequel!
What I read: A Kiss in the Snow by Susan Mallery
Why I picked it up: It’s the 2nd to last novella in the Fool’s Gold series, which I’m going to finish today!!
How I read it: On Kindle.
What it’s about: Nancee fell in love with Shep when she was 19, but the past ten years have been on again, off again and included him standing her up at the altar. Life hasn’t been easy and her last relationship ended when the FBI started investigating her as a terrorist, so she’s back at her great-aunts baking cupcakes trying to figure out what comes next.
What I liked: Shep was fun – a guy who worked through his childhood problems and figured out how to live with them instead of running from them.
What I disliked: It’s all so quick – and there weren’t many updates about our other Fool’s Gold friends.
Genre: Christmas, chaste romance.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ and sure, but only if you’re already into the Fool’s Gold series.
What I read: Vacationland by Meg Mitchell Moore
Why I picked it up: It was on a list of books set in Maine, and I wanted to read it while I was on vacation there earlier this year, but alas it didn’t come off hold in time so I just spent the weekend revisiting and wanting to go back!
How I read it: On hardcover.
What it’s about: Every year since she can remember Louisa has gone to their family house in Maine for at least 2 weeks if not the whole summer. She’s continued the tradition with her children – but this year, instead of their regular 2 weeks, she and the kids are going for the whole summer while Steven, her husband, stays home to work on his podcasting company. The whole summer is full of secrets and hardships and a reorienting of what’s important.
What I liked: I haven’t read a deep family saga in a while and I forgot how much I love them.
What I disliked: I wanted more of Kristie and Danny, and a little more of the children. I wouldn’t cut anything, but it could have been longer.
Genre: Dysfunctional family, vacation, Maine, Alzheimer’s.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and 100%, it’s a delight!
What I read: A Girl’s Guide to the Outback by Jessica Kate
Why I picked it up: I’d favorited it on Hoopla and needed a listen for this trip so I tried it.
How I read it: On audio at 1.5, accents are hard to understand any faster.
What it’s about: Kimberly has ambitious plans for her ministry and now that Sam has gone back to Australia everything is failing. She agrees to come to the farm to try to help them if he agrees to come help her find his replacement (or just come back!).
What I liked: I loved the setting and hearing the different Australian slang peppered throughout.
What I disliked: I would have liked a narrator change when the perspectives changed throughout. It was hard to follow who was telling their story when with a single narrator.
Genre: Christian romance.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and maybe better reading than listening.
What I read: Paradise Girls by Sandy Gingras
Why I picked it up: I think Anne Bogel recommended it awhile ago. I’ve had it on my Libby holds for awhile and I just kept saying “deliver later” … maybe for almost a year!
How I read it: On kindle in two days!
What it’s about: Mary’s entire life seems to implode when her fiancé tells her he needs to spend Christmas with his daughter and ex-wife and she’s not invited. He’s also her boss, so she quits her job, ends the relationship, and takes her granddaughter to Florida for the holiday. Here everything changes.
What I liked: Mary’s an “older protagonist” at the ancient age of 42 (eye roll), but she had her daughter very early who had her daughter very early. She’s finally got her chance to decide her life for herself.
What I disliked: I needed more. The ending hints at where everyone ends up but I want to read those stories too!!
Genre: Grandmothers, second chance, chaste romance.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and yes, and don’t put off borrowing it for a year when it’s finally your turn!
What I read: Adult Assembly Required by Abbi Waxman
Why I picked it up: I like this author! And am now just one book shy from being a completist.
How I read it: On paper.
What it’s about: Laura decides to take a leap and move west even though her family thinks it’s the worst idea she’s ever had. Her apartment goes up in flames and before her life can too, Polly tells her there’s an open room in the house where she rents. This changes everything for Laura, and Bob, and everyone else too.
What I liked: I love the perspective Abbi writes from. I think it’s 3rd person omniscient, but I can’t quite remember what all of the possibilities are called. You know everything about everyone without losing the idea of a central character, in this case, Laura.
What I disliked: It ends too early.
Genre: Finding oneself, chaste romance, closed door.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and definitely! It’s the second in a delightful series that’s worth reading in order but not necessary to be read in order.
What I read: The Last Way Home by Liz Johnson
Why I picked it up: I read the first in this series last week and really liked it, so I was excited to read the story of the oldest brother.
How I read it: On paper mostly yesterday, staying up way too late.
What it’s about: Eli left over a decade ago and was told by his brother to never return, so he didn’t. Now he’s got nothing left except shame and so he goes home so he doesn’t have to sleep on the street. He gets there just in time to see his mother’s shop go up in flames. Violet, her mom’s assistant, does not think highly of him, but everything changes when they begin to put the shop back together.
What I liked: The hockey team he ends up coaching was just delightful. I really wanted to read more of them!
What I disliked: I would have liked more of Violet and her parents.
Genre: Christian fiction, chaste romance.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and it’s better as part of the series, but could be read stand alone.