The Summer House [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

April 28, 2022

The Summer House by Lauren K. Denton
#throwbackthursday

The Summer House by Lauren K Denton (cover) Image: a blue wooden swing on a wide white porch

Genre/Categories/Setting: Light Contemporary Women’s Fiction, Southern Fiction, Uplit, Multigenerational, Divorce

Welcome to Throwback Thursday where I highlight an older review or post a current review of an old read. Today, I’m re-sharing multigenerational “uplit,” The Summer House by Lauren K. Denton.

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

From the author of Hurricane Season and Glory Road…

Lily is devastated to find a goodbye note and signed divorce papers on the kitchen table when she awakens. Before her brief marriage, she was a hairstylist, and she contemplates the possibility of leveraging this skill to make a fresh start. By chance, she notices a flyer advertising the need for a hairstylist in a nearby retirement community. Desperate for a job, she makes the call and shows up for the interview and also negotiates for the apartment above the salon.

Second chances….

Continue here for my full review of The Summer House..



QOTD:

Have you read Summer House or is it on your TBR?

 

The Bookseller’s Promise [Book Review]

April 19, 2022

The Bookseller’s Promise by Beth Wiseman

The Bookseller's Promise by Beth Wiseman (cover) Image: a young Amish man and woman stand in front of a bookstore gazing lovingly at each other

Genre/Categories/Setting: Contemporary Women’s Fiction (Chick Lit), Romance, Uplit, Christian Fiction, Amish Country (Indiana), Rural Bookstore, Book About Books

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks #NetGalley @Zondervan @HarperCollins for a complimentary eARC of #TheBooksellersPromise by Beth Wiseman upon my request. All opinions are my own.

In her job, Yvonne hunts down and purchases rare books for collectors who are willing to pay high prices. Her current search leads her to an Amish bookstore where she meets Jake, the handsome owner, and Eva, his employee. Yvonne is surprised to hear that Jake refuses to sell his rare book despite an outrageously high offer, but she is persistent and confidant of her gifts of persuasion and decides to stay in Amish country for a while. During her stay, Yvonne becomes friends with Jake and Eva and also begins to rethink her personal life. Will she break off her engagement? Will she discover why Jake will not sell the book at any price? Will Yvonne, Jake, and Eva find true love?

My Thoughts:

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The Holley Sisters of Thornthwaite Series #AVicarageChristmas #AVicarageReunion #AVicarageWedding #AVicarageHomecoming [Book Review]

January 28, 2022

The Holley Sisters of Thornthwaite Series by Kate Hewitt …..The “Vicarage” Series

Genre/Categories: Women’s Contemporary Fiction, Sisters, Family Drama, Village Life, England

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

As the title might suggest, each of the stories in the Vicarage series focuses on one of the four Holley sisters. Their father is the Vicar of Thornthwaite and Mom is the heart of this busy and complicated family. Each book in the series deals with a substantial theme or two including infertility, grief, social anxiety, finding your soul mate, broken relationships, unplanned pregnancy, forgiveness, reconciliation, etc. The strength of the stories and the thread that ties them together is the bond between the adult sisters and their commitment to family. Each book can be read as a stand alone, but as always reading them in order is a richer reading experience.

My Thoughts:

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“Uplit” Recommendations and #AVicarageChristmas [Book Review] #WhatsOnYourBookshelfChallenge

December 17, 2021

Do you have “Uplit” on your bookshelves?

UpLit What's On Your Bookshelf (white text in a blue text box against a background of reddish pink balloons against a blue sky

Today for the #WhatsOnYourBookshelfChallenge I’m focusing on “Uplit.” If this term is new to you, here’s a definition I found online:

‘Up Lit’ is the new literary buzz word, described as a trend for books with an emphasis on empathy, books that are uplifting and life-affirming, and which explore themes of family bonds and the human spirit. These types of novels focus on kinder, gentler human connections, but have an element that preserves realism.

Although I regularly and intentionally seek out “feel good” books with some substance (more in 2020 and 2021 than ever before!), I first became aware of “Uplit” as an official term and subgenre in this blog post by Lynne @ Fictionophile.

Uplit adds balance to my reading life.

Perhaps this is why I adore Middle Grade literature that often has strong themes of family, friendship, and hope.

However, “uplit” is not exclusively fluffy and light. The stories can include substantial themes but kindness, gentleness, empathy, and hope always shine through the darkness.

***Note of Caution: as with most subgenres, there can be a difference of opinion in the books that are included….the following list is not an “official” list and simply represents my personal opinions.

From my reading, here are a few of my favorite “uplit” titles (in no particular order):

Although those who curate lists often cite Eleanor Oliphant as their prime example of “Uplit,” I don’t know if I fully agree. Although there is kindness, quirkiness, and a ray of hope, the story is filled with trauma and has an unreliable narrator. The story is devastating. What do you think? Uplit or not?


For today’s review, I’m highlighting my most recent “uplit” find from The Holley Sisters of Thornthwaite Series (Book 1)

A Vicarage Christmas by Kate Hewitt

A Vicarage Christmas by Kate J

My Summary:

A family tragedy that happened years ago has caused Anna, the third of four sisters, to suffer from shyness and some social anxiety. She works and lives in Manchester and for the first time in years she comes home for Christmas because her parents have a big announcement. Coming home is difficult for her yet she adores her family. One night to escape her busy and complicated family and bossy sister, she goes alone to a pub where she meets a handsome and kind stranger. Simon is easy to talk to and she ends up spilling her family secrets. She’s mortified to later learn that Simon is connected with her father at his Parish. Can Simon and Anna salvage their new relationship, negotiate family complications, and create a magical Christmas?

My Thoughts:

I first came across this series in a post by Lisa @ Hopewell’s Public Library of Life Blog just at the time I was comtemplating light Christmas reads for December and rounding out my novella reads for Novellas in November. At 182 pages, this is a quick light read for your busy December days! Thanks for the rec Lisa!

Setting: Who can resist a quaint village in England’s Lake District?

Characters: A Vicarage Christmas is a poignant story of a lovely family comprised of four adult daughters with four unique personalities, a wise and kind father who is also the Vicar of the village parish, and a compassionate and understanding mother who holds the family together and is a gracious hostess. Then, there’s Simon who would like a future with Anna, and I can’t forget about the beloved family dog.

Themes: Lovely themes in A Vicarage Christmas include family dynamics, sibling loyalty, taking risks, grief and childhood trauma, reconciling with the past, community, and parents who do the unexpected.

Lots to Love! I enjoyed this “uplit” story of family, community, and finding love. After reading this novella, I am eager to continue with the series. I’m now on book three, but I think I’m loving book one the most! It was a perfect December read and introduction to the series.

Content Consideration: one trigger warning for memories of the death of a child (sibling)

Recommended: A Vicarage Christmas is an excellent example of “uplit” in my opinion! I’m enthusiastically recommending this heartfelt story for fans of “uplit,” for readers who love gently told stories with themes of family, faith, and finding love, and for those looking for a novella or quick vacation/weekend read.

My Rating: 4 Stars (3.5 rounded up)

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A Vicarage Christmas by Kate J

A Vicarage Christmas Information Here

Meet the Author, Kate Hewitt

Author Kate HewittKate Hewitt is the bestselling author of many novels of both historical and contemporary fiction. She particularly enjoys writing contemporary issue-driven women’s fiction, and her novels have been called ‘unputdownable’ and ‘the most emotional book I have ever read’ by readers.

An American ex-pat, she lives in a small market town in Wales with her husband and five young(ish) children, along with their two Golden Retrievers. Join her newsletter for monthly updates and giveaways at http://www.kate-hewitt.com, or be part of her Facebook groups Kate’s Reads, to discuss all manner of books, movies, music and cooking.


 I’m linking up with Deb @ Deb’s World and SueDonna, and Jo for the December installment of #WhatsOnYourBookShelfChallenge.

Whats On Your Bookshelf Challenge



QOTD:

Have you read A Vicarage Christmas or is it on your TBR?

Do you read “uplit”?

What is your number one “uplit” recommendation?



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



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Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

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The Golden Girls’ Getaway [Book Review]

December 10, 2021

The Golden Girls’ Getaway by Judy Leigh

The Golden Girls Getaway by Judy Leigh (cover) Image: white text against a blue sky and three women sitting in camp chairs with their backs to the camera on a green expansive lawn area

Genre/Categories/Setting: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction, UpLit, England/Wales Countryside

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks @BoldWoodBooks #NetGalley for a complimentary eARC of #TheGoldenGirlsGetaway by Judy Leigh upon my request. All opinions are my own.

At the end of the Pandemic lockdown, three women borrow a motor home and escape their boredom and isolation by touring the British countryside. Vivienne (popular soap actor), Mary (retired nurse), and Gwen (retired opera singer) are all mature women in their 70s and 80s. Even though they live in the same building, they don’t know each other very well. Throughout the trip, their friendship deepens and and they rediscover joy and laughter, the power of sisterhood, and good times.

a motor home driving along a scenic highway

My Thoughts:

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All I Want For Christmas is the Girl Next Door [Book Review]

October 27, 2021

All I Want For Christmas is the Girl Next Door by Chelsea Bobulski

All I Want For Christmas is the Girl Next Door by Chelsea Bobulski (cover) Image: white text on a red background.....a scene of snow and small homes at the bottom margin

Genre/Categories/Setting: Fiction, Contemporary Romance. YA, Christmas, Virginia

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks #NetGalley @WiseWolfBooks for a complimentary eARC of #AllIWantForChristmasIsTheGirlNextDoor upon my request. All opinions are my own.

Sixteen-year-old Graham has been in love with Sarah, the girl next door, for several years. However, she’s been dating his best friend for the last two years. Graham makes a wish upon a star….all he wants for Christmas is Sarah. In the morning, Graham wakes to a new reality…..he is the one that has been dating Sarah for two years, not his best friend. As he spends more time with Sarah, he wonders whether or not they are right for each other. Further complicating the situation is that Graham is spending a lot of enjoyable time with the new girl in town.

My Thoughts:

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The Unlikely Yarn of the Dragon Lady [Book Review] #BlogTour

October 4, 2021

The Unlikely Yarn of the Dragon Lady by Sharon J. Mondragón

The Unlikely Yarn of the Dragon Lady by Sharon Mondragon (cover) a ball of yarn and two silver knitting needles

Genre/Categories: Christian Comtemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Friendship, Prayer, Ministry

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Out of your comfort zone and into the mall!

Thanks #NetGalley @KregelBooks and the I Read With Audra Blog Tour for a complimentary eARC of #TheUnlikelyYarnOfTheDragonLady upon my request. All opinions are my own.

The Heavenly Hugs Prayer Shawl Ministry consists of four women (Controlling Margaret, Positive Rose, Hurting Jane, and Lonely Fran) who meet weekly in the lovely and quiet Prayer Chapel of their church to knit shawls for the prayer shawls ministry. When the pastor announces that the prayer chapel is being painted and they will need to find another place to sit and knit, he suggests they knit out in public somewhere like the local mall. Grumpy and difficult-to-love Margaret vehemently resists the idea of knitting in the mall with all its distractions. However, the others are open to the idea. After they get kicked out of the bookstore cafe (for never ordering anything), they find a satisfactory place to knit using the comfortable seating display in front of Macy’s department store. And, yes, there are distractions and encounters with the people they meet taking them out of their comfort zones in many ways.

My Thoughts:

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The Last Chance Library [Book Review]

August 30, 2021

The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson

The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson (cover) Image: white block text on a blue background.....text forms 3 shelves which hold graphic images of books and library scenes

Genre/Categories/Settings: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Books About Books, Librarians, Library, English Village

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks #NetGalley @BerkleyPub #BerkleyWritesStrongWomen #BerkleyBuddyReads for a complimentary eARC upon my request. All opinions are my own.

A shy, lonely, and quirky librarian, June Jones, and a colorful cast of characters band together to fight against the closure of their local public library. Can June find courage for the fight and forge true friendships?

My Thoughts:

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A Place Like Home [Book Review]

July 26, 2021

A Place Like Home by Rosamunde Pilcher

A Place Like Home by Rosamunde Pilcher (cover) white text on a dark blue background, a group of large light colored blossoms fill the center right

Genre/Categories: Fiction, Short Story Collection, Women’s Fiction, Up-Lit

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Thanks #NetGalley @MacmillanAudio for a complimentary ALC (audio) of #APlaceLikeHome upon my request. All opinions are my own.

A Place Like Home is a collection of fifteen short stories by popular author, Rosamunde Pilcher (most likely your mother’s favorite author!). These stories were published in magazines and are now in book form for the first time. Each one explores different romantic stories (chaste) between couples that are married or courting or meeting for the first time (insta-love).  All are poignant and quietly told with Pilcher’s trademark skill for describing time and place.

My Thoughts:

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A Summer Wedding For the Cornish Midwife [Book Review]

June 29, 2021

A Summer Wedding For the Cornish Midwife by Jo Bartlett

A Summer Wedding For the Cornish Midwife by Jo Bartlett (cover) Image: a young woman stands on a bluff holding a bouquet of flowers and overlooking a small coastal village

Genre/Categories/Setting: Light contemporary women’s fiction, Romance, Small town/Cornish coast, Midwifery, Up-lit

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

#2 in the Cornish Midwives series. The highly anticipated wedding of Anna and Brae needs to be postponed due to a fire at the venue. However, close friends and community pull together to save the wedding.

My Thoughts:

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