2015 Reading: Book 4 – Summer at Little Beach Bakery

Synopsis:

Summer has arrived in the Cornish town of Mount Polbearne and Polly Waterford couldn’t be happier. Because Polly is in love: she’s in love with the beautiful seaside town she calls home, she’s in love with running the bakery on Beach Street, and she’s in love with her boyfriend, Huckle.

And yet there’s something unsettling about the gentle summer breeze that’s floating through town. Selina, recently widowed, hopes that moving to Mount Polbearne will ease her grief, but Polly has a secret that could destroy her friend’s fragile recovery. Responsibilities that Huckle thought he’d left behind are back and Polly finds it hard to cope with his increasingly long periods of absence.

Polly sifts flour, kneads dough and bakes bread, but nothing can calm the storm she knows is coming: is Polly about to lose everything she loves?

Quick Thoughts:
I received this from Netgalley to give an honest review.

I LOVE Jenny Colgan! She is one of my favourite authors so I was very happy to receive this book from Netgalley. In this novel, we return to Mount Polbearne and to Polly. Things have been going well for Polly, but then Mrs Manse, the owner of the bakery dies, and this starts to cause trouble for Polly. This book has is all. There is love, friendship, the beach, money, a puffin named Neil and the beach. There is sadness and great joy. This is a great read. I really enjoyed it. I found I couldn’t put it down. I loved returning to Mount Polbearne, and am a little disappointed I have finished the book.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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2015 Reading: Book 2 – The Patchwork Marriage by Jane Green

Synopsis:

When Andi married Ethan she not only got the man she loves but also a ready-made family in his two daughters, Emily and Sophia. Unable to have a child of her own, Andi saw this as a precious gift – her chance to be a mother. If only it were that simple.

Quick Thoughts:
This is the first book I have completed in my Mount Blanc TBR Challenge.

I didn’t know what to expect with this book. It has been on my shelf for ages, so I was nervous picking it up. However, I really enjoyed it. This is pure chick-lit. It has love, friendship and family. We see the challenges of family break-ups, the destruction and sadness addiction can bring and the pain not being able to have children can cause. This book was a page-turner. I am pleased I have finally read it – and if you like chick-lit, this book is for you!

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Addition: E-book
Genre: Chick-lit
Rating: 4 out of 5
Synopsis:

Does a perfect wedding make a happily-ever-after?

As three very different women meet in their local knitting store, they find strength in friendship to help them through their problems.

Lydia is blissfully happy in her marriage, but worrying about her adoptive daughter and the future of her business.

Bethanne is still madly in love with her husband, but their long-distance relationship is becoming difficult to deal with, and her ex-husband is determined to win her back.

Lauren has always yearned for marriage and a family of her own, but her long-term boyfriend just won’t commit. Could a whirlwind romance with an unlikely stranger lead to the happily-ever-after she’s always dreamed of?

As the three women’s lives intersect in unexpected ways, they realise that the best surprises in life and love still lie ahead.

This is the tenth book in the Blossom Street series by Debbie Macomber. I love Debbie Macomber novels, she is such an easy, enjoyable read.

This novel takes us back to A Good Yarn, Lydia’s knitting shop, with her friends and family. Lydia is worried about her adopted daughter and her nightmares, plus her ill mother. Her friend Bethanne is struggling with having a long-distance marriage and a hostile daughter. Lauren wants to settle down but Todd isn’t showing any signs of making a commitment to her. She had a decision to make – stick or twist? Through the knitting shop these three grow close as their lives change.

I found this an enjoyable, lovely read. Every available moment I had I stopped to read this book. This is pure chick-lit. It isn’t a hard read, it is quick and delightful. I liked all three women, they stood up to their challenges with dignity and just seemed like lovely women! They loved their families and they strove to do what is right. I think my favourite character however was Casey – Lydia’s adopted daughter. Her relationship with her Grandmother was sweet and what she did for Lydia was really caring. I didn’t like all the characters in this book though. I didn’t like Grant, Bethanne’s ex-husband. He was very manipulative and sly. I didn’t like Todd either – he was very self-centred and arrogant. I do enjoy disliking characters though!

These books really are my guilty-pleasure! They are easy to read; I get drawn into the stories and find myself needing to know what is going to happen; the are fun and I love the knitting element in the books too. This book is predictable, but that did not spoil the story. Every spare moment I had, I was reading this book.

Macomber is one of my favourite authors as she is so engaging. She draws you in and she provides a great comfort read. If you like chick-lit, this book is for you. I appreciate the fact both swearing and sex are minimal in her books. I like how God features – there is truth about our loving Heavenly Father in these pages – yet ultimately she just writes a great novel. I am rating this book 4 out of 5 because I really enjoyed it. It was predictable, yet such a good read. This book has family, love, friendship and knitting – what more could you need?!

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I LOVE Debbie Macomber books! Her Blossom Street series is one of my favourite so I really enjoyed book number 54, which is the tenth book in this series. This book was not a disappointment. I picked it up every opportunity I got and found myself thinking about this book when I wasn’t reading. This is light entertainment, great chick-lit and a lovely read.

Addition: E-book
Genre: Chick-lit
Published: 2014
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Addition: Netgalley review e-book
Genre: Christian, fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Synopsis:

What if you could ask God anything? What would you ask? And how would he answer?

Chelsea Chambers is on her own. After a public split from her NFL superstar husband, Chelsea takes a bold step out of the limelight and behind the counter of the Higher Grounds Cafe, an old-fashioned coffee shop in dire need of reinvention. But when her courage, expert planning, and out-of-this-world cupcakes fail to pay the bills, this newly single mom finds herself desperate for help. Better yet, a miracle.

Then a curious stranger lands at Chelsea’s door, and with him, an even more curious string of events. Soon, customers are flocking to the Higher Grounds Cafe, and not just for the cupcakes and cappuccino. They’ve come for the internet connection to the divine. Now thecafe has become the go-to place for people in search of answers to life’s biggest questions.

When a catastrophe strikes and her ex comes calling, Chelsea begins to wonder if the whole universe is conspiring against her quest to make it on her own. After a shocking discovery opens her eyes to the unseen world around her, Chelsea finds the courage to ask, and heaven answers in a most unexpected way.

I received this book from Netgalley to provide an honest review.

I have read several books by Max Lucado over the past few years but I have never read a fiction novel by him before. I didn’t know what to expect. I really like his theological books – I find them so easy to read and very helpful for my walk with God, but what was his fiction going to be like? Well, I loved this book!

This story follows Chelsea, recently single with two children, reopening her family’s cafe. She has taken a big, risky step, and things don’t really go to plan. She is helped by Manny, her strange new employee. He gets a very interesting internet router installed. This connection only loads one page: the God Blog. This is a place where you get the opportunity to ask God just one question. This draws in the crowds, but still leaves Chelsea at sea when it comes to her private life and her faith. This story follows her through this transition into a new life. Will she repair her marriage? Will she find God? Will her business survive?

This book had me gripped from the start. I liked Chelsea. I felt for her as she struggled with her public break-up, as she had to face her husband’s infidelity in front of the world, and I really wanted her to succeed in her new cafe. She had a damaged outlook on life, and I liked watching her soften as the book went on. I thought she was well written and so easy to like. I could imagine her in real life, facing the everyday struggles. She had to face debt, hostility from family and her own shame. This book took her on quite the adventure and I enjoyed watching her walk through this season.

This book has two elements: the natural world and the supernatural. I seem to be reading a lot of books at the moment which feature guardian angels – Katy Hollway’s The Remnant Chronicles and Frank E. Peretti’s This Present Darkness. This novel also has guardian angels, and I love how Lucado uses the angels to explain how God is always with us and always by our side. I liked the element of the supernatural, it added another level to the book. Lucado was able to use this idea to show darkness can creep into our lives and yet how with one prayer the light pierces the darkness.

This is a great story. Like I have said, I was gripped from the start. I read this book in one day – each time I could grab this book I did. This was easy to read and so enjoyable. Some of the storyline was a bit predictable and some of it seemed a little far fetched, but I found it really enjoyable. What I liked most was that at the end of the story, Lucado takes us to Jesus on the cross and reminds us of what He did for us there. We never have to walk through life alone because through Jesus’ death, He made a way for us to have a relationship with Father God. It was a gentle and powerful reminder of such an amazing truth.

I am rating this book 4 out of 5 because it is a great read. I did find some of it a bit predictable and some of it a little unbelievable, yet I loved this story. It was so good. Thank you Netgalley for letting me read it. This is a highly recommended read.

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Book number 53 was a review book from Netgalley. This is the first fiction book from Max Lucado which I have read and I loved it! I read this book in one day. It had an engaging story, characters I really warmed too and a lovely glimpse of the Gospel and all God has done for me. I won’t write anymore here as the review is to come, but safe to say, I loved this book and highly recommend it.

Addition: Netgalley review e-book
Genre: Christian, Fiction
Published: 2015
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Book number 52 in 2014 was the final book in my Mount TBR Challenge! I am very pleased to have successfully completed the challenge and to have read 12 books which have been hanging around for a while…!

I really enjoy Coben’s books. I didn’t used to enjoy thrillers – I scare easily! – but over the past couple of years my reading tastes have broadened and I now really enjoy a thriller, as long as it isn’t too graphic. Harlan Coben is a new favourite for me. I always find myself drawn into his books and am gripped until the end. And of course, I never work them out! I was a bit concerned when I started reading Caught because in the opening few pages a Paedophile is caught and brought into court. I found myself worrying that it would be graphic and horrible reading, but it isn’t at all. What the guy did was barely mentioned – which was a massive relief for me. I really enjoyed this book. I didn’t want to put it down. This was a great read, and I am glad I chose it for my Mount TBR Challenge.

Addition: Paperback
Genre: Thriller
Published: 2010
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Addition:Netgalley review e-book
Genre: Christian, non-fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Synopsis:

We all pray . . . some.
We pray to stay sober, centered, or solvent. When the lump is deemed malignant. When the money runs out before the month does. When the marriage is falling apart. We pray.

But wouldn’t we like to pray more? Better? Stronger? With more fire, faith, and fervency?

Yet we have kids to feed, bills to pay, deadlines to meet. The calendar pounces on our good intentions like a tiger on a rabbit. And what about our checkered history with prayer? Uncertain words. Unmet expectations. Unanswered requests.

We aren’t the first to struggle with prayer. The first followers of Jesus needed prayer guidance too. In fact, prayer is the only tutorial they ever requested.

And Jesus gave them a prayer. Not a lecture on prayer. Not the doctrine of prayer. He gave them a quotable, repeatable, portable prayer. Couldn’t we use the same?

In “Before Amen” best-selling author Max Lucado joins readers on a journey to the very heart of biblical prayer, offering hope for doubts and confidence even for prayer wimps. Distilling prayers in the Bible down to one pocket-sized prayer, Max reminds readers that prayer is not a privilege for the pious nor the art of a chosen few. Prayer is simply a heartfelt conversation between God and his child. Let the conversation begin.

I received this book from Netgalley to provide an honest review.

I requested Before Amen from Netgalley because I really like Max Lucado. I find him incredibly easy to read and all of the books I have read have made an impact in my life. I was really excited when I noticed that the Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Studies was going to do a four week study through the book Before Amen. I decided as I had the book to review I would coincide it with this study, and I am really glad I did.

This is a book on prayer. It is clear, concise and easy to read. As the synopsis says, the only tutorial the disciples asked Jesus for was on prayer, so it is helpful for us to study prayer too. This book looks at all types of prayer and gives us different ways to pray. I really liked the “Pocket Prayer”:

This is such a simple, helpful prayer that is easy to remember and covers all bases. This prayer is used throughout the book. Alongside it, are other important truths:

I’m not going to have a review full of quotes from the book on pretty backgrounds, but you get the idea – this book is pure class. It is easy to read, clear and honest. The book looks at how to pray, our attitude towards prayer, how to pray for others and gratitude. I didn’t have a problem with any of the theology in this book. I agreed with all Lucado all the way through and it was a great reminder of how important prayer is.

I really liked the study questions too. It gave me a chance to process what I had read, think about my life and attitudes, and it gave me a chance to be before God.

This book is full of Scripture. This book is fully rooted in the Bible, and I really liked that. I was able to flick through my Bible and check out some great Scriptures that I could apply to my life.

If you want a book on prayer, this is it. Lucado is honest about his prayer life and he keeps taking us back to the Bible. This is not a long book, it only has nine chapters, but it was helpful and easy to read. The theology is easy to understand and apply to our lives. This is a great book on prayer and how it can change our lives and our walk with God.

It is easy to rate this book 4 out of 5 because it is simply a stunning book on prayer. Thank you Netgalley for letting me read it, and thank you Max Lucado for writing it, and helping me with my prayer life.

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Book number 51 was a Netgalley review book, which I read whilst participating in the Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies: Before Amen by Max Lucado.

I won’t write too much here as I am currently thinking through my review, but I will say, I loved this book. Such a helpful tool when it comes to looking at our prayer life. This isn’t a long book – just nine chapters, but with study questions to go alongside it, I found it really helpful. I was able to focus on God and learn more about Him. I was challenged and I think I have grown from this book. Well worth reading and applying to your life.

Addition: E-book
Genre: Christian, non-fiction
Published: 2014
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Book number 47 was in fact an audiobook! I wanted to listen to a book whilst I worked hard on making my Mum’s Christmas present so decided to listen to Frank E. Peretti because someone had said to me that Katy Hollway‘s novels are similar to his – and as I enjoy Hollway’s books I thought I would try out Peretti. I am pleased I did, I found this a really enjoyable book to listen too. It was engaging, full of action, with twists and turns. This is not young adult fiction like Hollway but so enjoyable. I have another Peretti book on my shelf which I am looking forward to reading (even though it is MASSIVE!)

Addition: Audiobook
Genre: Christian, fantasy
Published: 1986
Rating: 4 out of 5

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