2015 Reading Book 9 – Rose Harbour in Bloom by Debbie Macomber

Synopsis:
Since moving to Cedar Cove, Jo Marie Rose has truly started to feel at home, and her neighbors have become her closest friends. Now it’s springtime, and Jo Marie is eager to finish the most recent addition to her inn. In memory of her late husband, Paul, she has designed a beautiful rose garden for the property and enlisted handyman Mark Taylor to help realize it. She and Mark don’t always see eye-to-eye—and at times he seems far removed—yet deep down, Jo Marie finds great comfort in his company. And while she still seeks a sense of closure, she welcomes her latest guests, who are on their own healing journeys.

Annie Newton arrives in town to orchestrate her grandparents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary celebration. While Annie is excited for the festivities, she’s struggling to move on from her broken engagement, and her grandparents themselves seem to be having trouble getting along. Worse, Annie is forced to see Oliver Sutton, with whom she grew up and who has always mercilessly teased her. But the best parties end with a surprise, and Annie is in for the biggest one of all.

High-powered businesswoman Mary Smith, another Rose Harbor Inn guest, has achieved incredible success in her field, yet serious illness has led her to face her sole, lingering regret. Almost nineteen years ago, she ended her relationship with her true love, George Hudson, and now she’s returned to Cedar Cove to make amends.

Compassion and joy await Jo Marie, Annie, and Mary as they make peace with their pasts and look boldly toward their futures. Rose Harbor in Bloom is Debbie Macomber at her heartwarming best.

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

This is the second book in the Rose Harbour series. If you know me at all, you will know I love Debbie Macomber‘s books and was very excited to read this one. As ever, I really enjoyed it! The story quickly sucked me in. I love the characters – Jo Marie is such a lovely woman – and I enjoyed walking through this time with her. This story is quite predictable but I didn’t mind that, it is chick-lit and it is heart warming. It didn’t take me long to get drawn in and I didn’t want to put the book down. I enjoy this series so much I have the next book, Love Letters, on my shelf waiting to be read!

Rating: 4 out of 5

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2015 Reading Book 7 – I Do Hard Things by Havilah Cunnington
Synopsis:

I Do Hard Things is a devotional workbook written to go alongside a 4 part teaching series. However, it’s also great on it’s own leading you to great insights on how to live in victory even in the midst of challenges and struggles.

Quick Thoughts
This is the second devotional book by Havilah Cunnington which I have gone through. The first was Radical Growth in Autumn last year. As with Radical Growth, I found I Do Hard Things to be incredibly useful. They are short daily readings, based on Biblical truth, about how we can climb out of the pits we find ourselves in and live a victorious life for God. It refocusses us on Jesus, and not on ourselves. This is helpful, short teaching which I will definitely read time and again.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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2015 Reading Book 6 – The Legacy by Katharine Webb
Synopsis:

Following the death of their grandmother, Erica Calcott & her sister Beth return to Storton Manor, where they spent their summer holidays as children. When Erica begins to sort through the house, she relives memories of her childhood – & of her cousin, Henry, whose disappearance from the manor tore the family apart.

Quick Thoughts
This is the second book I have now completed off my Mount Blanc 2015 Reading Challenge! I am really pleased to be on target with that challenge.
I didn’t enjoy this Mount TBR Book as much as I enjoyed Jane Green’s The Patchwork Marriage. That said, this book wasn’t a complete disappointment. I enjoy books which run through two time periods, which this one did. I found however, I preferred the modern day story to the Victorian era story. I did enjoy this book, but it felt like a slow read and I felt a bit flat once I had finished book. I also surprised myself by working out the Henry story line too – I hardly ever work out the mystery so I was quite pleased with myself! This isn’t a bad book, I just didn’t find it as good as novels by someone like Rachel Hore.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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2015 Reading Book 5 – The Inn at Rose Harbour by Debbie Macomber
Synopsis:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber comes a heartwarming new series based in the Pacific Northwest town of Cedar Cove, where a charming cast of characters finds love, forgiveness, and renewal behind the doors of the cozy Rose Harbor Inn.

Jo Marie Rose first arrives in Cedar Cove seeking a sense of peace and a fresh start. Coping with the death of her husband, she purchases a local bed-and-breakfast—the newly christened Rose Harbor Inn—ready to begin her life anew. Yet the inn holds more surprises than Jo Marie can imagine.

Her first guest is Joshua Weaver, who has come home to care for his ailing stepfather. The two have never seen eye to eye, and Joshua has little hope that they can reconcile their differences. But a long-lost acquaintance from Joshua’s high school days proves to him that forgiveness is never out of reach and love can bloom even where it’s least expected.

The other guest is Abby Kincaid, who has returned to Cedar Cove to attend her brother’s wedding. Back for the first time in twenty years, she almost wishes she hadn’t come, the picturesque town harboring painful memories from her past. And while Abby reconnects with family and old friends, she realizes she can only move on if she truly allows herself to let go.

A touching novel of life’s grand possibilities and the heart’s ability to heal, The Inn at Rose Harbor is a welcome introduction to an unforgettable set of friends.

Quick Thoughts
As you know, I love Debbie Macomber. This is a new series from her, called Rose Harbour. This is the first novel in the series, however there is a short story called When They First Met. Having already read the short story, I was acquainted with Jo Marie and already liked her. This novel follows her move to Cedar Cove following the death of her husband, to open a new inn. I loved this book. The characters are warm and loveable. There is always a happy ending – yes sometimes it is a bit predictable, but I love it. This is my guilty-pleasure reading. It did not take long to read this book and I am already looking forward to the next one! It also worth noting that although this is a new series, it is set in Cedar Cove, so we do encounter some of the characters from that series too.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Addition: Netgalley review book
Genre: Chick-lit
Rating: 4 out of 5
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?

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

This is the second book from Jenny Colgan which is set in Mount Polbearne and follows the life of Polly. I loved the first book, The Little Beach Street Bakery so had high hopes for this book. And it did not disappoint!

We return to Polly, who has been in Mount Polbearne around 2 years. She is running the bakery successfully, owns and lives in the lighthouse, and is in love with Huckle her boyfriend, and Neil her puffin. All is going well until Mrs Manse, who owns the two bakeries, dies. Her family inherit them, and this starts a hard season for Polly.

I was immediately sucked into this book. Every spare moment I had, I was reading this book. I found myself trying to work out what was going to happen, as if this book is a thriller! I did ultimately guess the ending, but I didn’t guess how we would get there. Often chick-lit books can be really predictable, you can guess everything that is going to happen in them. This novel was not like that. I was kept on my toes the whole way through.

I like Polly. I liked her in the last novel too. A downside for me in this book is she is a little moan-y. Things do get tough for her, but it did seem like we had a few chapters of her just being miserable. My favourite characters were Reuben – the loud American, and Jayden, the local boy who works for Polly. Reuben is just so funny, he says whatever he wants, in the most brazen manner, and just generally entertained me the whole way through the novel. I liked Jayden, he was quite shy, but loyal to Polly and seemed like a lovely guy.

There is a lot in this novel. As I said, there are a few moan-y chapters, but that doesn’t spoil the book. There is friendship – Polly befriends Selina, a lonely widow on the island; there is love – Polly and Huckle have to work on their relationship, particularly when Huckle is again in America; and there is action. I don’t want to give too much away, but the sea and a massive storm do play a role in this book. There were times when I felt like second novel was similar to the first, yet I enjoyed them both, so I didn’t mind that.

The downsides for me were few. There seemed to be a lot of bad language, which I don’t like reading. This is a personal preference and won’t bother many people. There were a few parts of the story that were a little unrealistic – perhaps particularly the storyline involving Neil the pet puffin! There are some very British references in this book too – to things such as Lidl, a popular supermarket in Britain, which readers outside of the UK might not understand. Other than that – this is a great book.

And I must make special mention of Neil the puffin. I just loved him! I read the whole novel wishing he was my pet. What a great addition to this book!

I am rating this book 4 out of 5. It was so readable. I was gripped from the beginning. This book has it all – adventure, bravery, love and friendship. I really enjoyed this book. Jenny Colgan has not let me down! Thank you Netgalley for letting me review this book, I loved it!

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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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