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: Lovelight Farms by B. K. Borison
Why I picked it up: I saw it on Hoopla, and it looked like something I’d enjoy: Christmas + Romance + Happily Ever After!
How I read it: On audio at 1.75x speed in about two days.
What it’s about: Stella bought a farm and now it’s in trouble because it’s being sabotaged. To “solve” her problem, she creates a new one by needing to get her best friend to act as her fake boyfriend to win a social media contest. Turns out their ten years as friendship were just the “getting to know you phase” of their romantic relationship.
What I liked: It was just a delight – the entire thing!
What I disliked: Her father is quite the jerk. I didn’t love his character and he never redeems himself.
Genre: Christmas, open door romance, small town.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and yes – I’m also super glad this is a three book series (so far) and that I have the next two already downloaded.
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: The Imperfects by Amy Meyerson
Why I picked it up: I liked the cover and downloaded it on Hoopla.
How I read it: On audio at 1.5x while planting bushes on my hill and working around the house over 4 days.
What it’s about: Their grandmother dies, and the email Bec sends to announce it to her family begins a reunion fraught with turmoil. Helen’s daughter and grandchildren have struggled with how to love each other, and now there’s a very large diamond coming between them. The story also includes a World War II story line as well, but there’s not a lot of confirmed knowledge about what happened to Helen and her mother, Flora.
What I liked: There’s a lot going on in this book, and I appreciated the varied storylines.
What I disliked: There’s a lot of distance between the family members throughout, and even when apologies are made, almost none of it is resolved. More like real life than a HAE story – which this one is not.
Genre: Family saga, dysfunctional family, World War II, grief.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and yes.
What I read: Bend Toward the Sun by Jen Devon
Why I picked it up: I think someone I follow on Goodreads read and loved it, and it was available soon on Libby, so I put it on hold.
How I read it: On Kindle over two days.
What it’s about: Rowan has just received her doctorate in botany and is now looking to publish and continue her post-doc work. Rather than a big academia job, she ends up at the new-to-the-Bradys vineyard in southern PA helping them get the vines back in order. This is not part of her plan, but neither is Harrison (aka Harry). Her history has been full of disappointments in love, including her mother – this has colored her view of love, and her story with Harry becomes a lesson in love.
What I liked: It’s a beautifully written book, very descriptive, and really vivid. I felt like I was there, and now I want to go see a vineyard in southern PA with some sheep, a donkey, a great bed and breakfast, an adorable carriage house, and an amazing greenhouse with a side house.
What I disliked: The conflict in this book is very deep into the interior life of both characters. Some of it was hard to read.
Genre: Emotional abuse, grief, open door, family saga.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and definitely. I hope it’s the beginning of a series about the Brady boys!
What I read: Second Chance Pass by Robyn Carr
Why I picked it up: I’m working my way through the Virgin River series!
How I read it: On paper over a couple of days.
What it’s about: So many things happen in this book, babies born, couples getting together, tragedies occur! It’s an entire series of events.
What I liked: I appreciated how many stories were told, and how many of these characters we’ve been introduced to before came up here again.
What I disliked: The incident with Nicki was so odd and randomly tragic. It didn’t need to be and then everyone else jumped to the worst conclusions of Paul.
Genre: Small town, open door, grief, Virgin River.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and yes, but I think you might need the others in the series for this one to make sense.
What I read: Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes
Why I picked it up: I loved it the first time I read it so I decided to listen with one of my favorite narrators.
How I read it: On audio at 1.75x while walking, cooking, sitting around, and everything else the past 24 hours.
What it’s about: Evvie’s husband died about a year ago, but that’s not the biggest thing that’s happened that needs grieving. Dean rents her spare apartment, and they help each other grieve.
What I liked: I love the period of time they spend apart, it says a lot about what it takes to heal.
What I disliked: Nothing, this book is a delight.
Genre: Grief, closed door, love story, healing.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and absolutely!! Great on paper and on audio.
What I read: Happy Singles Day by Ann Marie Walker
Why I picked it up: Hoopla’s algorithm again, and I’m not mad about it!
How I read it: On audio for the first 35% or so and then I finished with the ebook.
What it’s about: Paige started her business as a way to get over her heartbreak, and three years later she’s being forced on her first vacation. The quaint inn on a small island in North Carolina is nothing like she imagined, but once she breaks the shell of the handsome inn keeper, things change quickly.
What I liked: There’s an adorable little girl in this book who could have her own story some day. Precocious children are some of my favorite characters in books and in real life.
What I disliked: I just wanted more.
Genre: Grief, closed door romance.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and absolutely!
What I read: The Suite Spot by Trish Doller
Why I picked it up: I loved the book about the first sister, The Float Plan, and loved it.
How I read it: On hardback in one evening, staying up too late to finish because I loved it so much!
What it’s about: Rachel told the truth and got fired for it because we protect men’s egos before we believe women! A co-worker tells her about a guy she knows who’s looking for a hotel manager for his new brew hotel. She picks up everything, including the sweetest 3-year old Maisie, and moves to an island in Ohio. Things aren’t quite ready to open but she decides to take it on with grumpy owner Mason.
What I liked: I loved everything about this book. Maisie was so sweet, Mason was amazing with her. At the beginning of each chapter she pulls in a word from another language that describes something we don’t have a word for in English. Rachel isn’t your typical size 2 super model, and I appreciated the all size representation in this book.
What I disliked: Seriously there’s nothing I don’t like about this story! Maybe that I wish it was longer…
Genre: Work, closed door, motherhood, grief.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and absolutely!! No need to read The Float Plan first but you won’t be disappointed by that one either.
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!