The Nearness of You by Amanda Eyre Ward

  • the-nearness-of-youTitle:  The Nearness of You
  • Author:  Amanda Eyre Ward
  • Pages:  228
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  February 2017 – Ballantine Books
  • Source:  Publisher; Goodreads giveaway

My take:  After less-than-happy childhoods, Suzette and Hyland met and fell in love when they were young adults. When Suzette agreed to marry Hyland she made it clear she didn’t want to have children. He went along with that, a bit reluctantly. She became a surgeon and he, an architect. Fifteen years later something changed and he really wanted them to have a child. He even suggested a surrogate. Suzette thought about it and her love for Hyland was the ultimate reason for saying yes. Things didn’t go as planned though.

What followed was the story of people yearning for something missing in their lives. It’s the story of mothers and the hard choices and decisions made throughout life. It’s about the fallout from those decisions and how one deals with it. I think The Nearness of You is a novel readers will relate to on one level or another. The short chapters, told from various viewpoints, made it almost impossible to stop reading. Recommended to fans of the author and contemporary fiction.


 

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Twelve Days of Christmas by Debbie Macomber

  • twelve days of christmas (10:4)Title:  Twelve Days of Christmas
  • Author:  Debbie Macomber
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance; Christmas
  • Pages:  304
  • Published:  October 2016 – Ballantine Books
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

My take:  When Julia Padden meets her across-the-hall neighbor Cain Maddox she’s shocked by his rudeness. It’s the Christmas season after all. The naturally bubbly and upbeat Julia is just not used to such treatment. He’s her polar opposite. Never one to back down from a challenge, and on the advice of her best friend, she decides to “kill him” with kindness.

Julia also has a project that is tied into a social media job interview that is down to between her and one other applicant. She must create a blog for a couple of weeks. The person who has the most hits and followers will get the job. So she decides to blog about her kindness project. This has far-reaching repercussions and some unexpected results.

Twelve Days of Christmas is quintessential Debbie Macomber. There’s a bit of conflict, romance, drama, humor and sweetness. I enjoyed it and think her fans will as well.

Sweet Tomorrows by Debbie Macomber

  • sweet tomorrows (8:2)Title:  Sweet Tomorrows
  • Series:  Rose Harbor #5
  • Author:  Debbie Macomber
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Pages:  352
  • Published:  August 2016 – Ballantine Books
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

My take:  When Jo Marie Rose purchased what became known as the Rose Harbor Inn a few years ago she was heartbroken from the loss of her husband Paul. Somehow she felt he’d led her to Cedar Cove and the charming inn and eventually she started to live again. The inn became a place of healing and she met many interesting people: Cedar Cove residents, guests at the inn, and one often infuriating handyman named Mark Taylor.

Over the years not only did Mark get under Jo Marie’s skin from time to time but he became a friend and then much more. Jo Marie also learned that Mark was much more than a handyman. In the previous novel Mark told Jo Marie to move on with her life – without him, and abruptly left Cedar Cove. He’s been gone for a year and Jo Marie has about given up hope that she’d see him again when things change.

Emily Gaffney is a teacher who accepted a new job in Cedar Cove. She needs a fresh start in a new town after a second broken engagement. She’ll stay at the inn while searching for a house. This turns out to be a blessing for Jo Marie. The two become friends and Emily helps out at the inn when Jo Marie is needed elsewhere. Emily has had to give up on some dreams and doubts the inn will work its magic on her but Jo Marie knows otherwise – especially when it comes to Emily and the difficult owner of the house she’d like to buy.

Sweet Tomorrows is the final installment in the Rose Harbor series. It’s about people at a low point who’ve almost given up on themselves, life and those close to them. Ultimately, in true Debbie Macomber fashion, it’s an uplifting story that brings the series to a close. I’m going to miss Jo Marie and the rest of the Cedar Cove family.

Silver Linings by Debbie Macomber

  • silver linings (8:11)Title:  Silver Linings
  • Series:  Rose Harbor #4
  • Author:  Debbie Macomber
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Pages:  331
  • Published:  August 2015 – Ballantine
  • Source:  Publisher/Goodreads First Reads

Description:  Set in Cedar Cove’s charming Rose Harbor Inn, Debbie Macomber’s captivating new novel follows innkeeper Jo Marie and two new guests as they seek healing and comfort, revealing that every cloud has a silver lining, even when it seems difficult to find. 

Since opening the Rose Harbor Inn, Jo Marie Rose has grown close to her handyman, Mark Taylor. Jo Marie and Mark are good friends—and are becoming something more—yet he still won’t reveal anything about his past. When Mark tells her that he’s moving out of town, Jo Marie is baffled. Just when she is starting to open herself up again to love, she feels once more that she is losing the man she cares about. And as she discovers the secret behind Mark’s decision to leave, she welcomes two visitors also seeking their own answers.

Best friends Kellie Crenshaw and Katie Gilroy have returned to Cedar Cove for their ten-year high school reunion, looking to face down old hurts and find a sense of closure. Kellie, known as Coco, wants to finally confront the boy who callously broke her heart. Katie, however, wishes to reconnect with her old boyfriend, James—the man she still loves and the one who got away. As Katie hopes for a second chance, Coco discovers that people can change—and both look to the exciting possibilities ahead. 

Heartwarming and uplifting, Silver Linings is a beautiful novel of letting go of the past and embracing the unexpected.  (publisher)

My take: Silver Linings is the fourth book in the Rose Harbor Inn series. That said, it can stand alone because author Debbie Macomber gives just enough back story to bring a new reader up to speed.

At first I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy the Katie and Coco storylines but that feeling didn’t last long as I was caught up in their dramas. The possibility of understanding and forgiveness ran through as each hoped for her own silver lining. I appreciated that the road to that silver lining was not a smooth, easy one.

Jo Marie and Mark’s story was more complicated but just as satisfying. Once again, as in the previous novel, we are left with a cliff-hanger. Normally, that’s not very satisfying but Macomber left me hopeful. I can’t wait to read the next book in the Rose Harbor Inn series. Recommended to fans of the author and women’s fiction.


 

The Guest Cottage by Nancy Thayer

  • the guest cottage (5:12) ballantineTitle:  The Guest Cottage
  • Author:  Nancy Thayer
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  May 2015 – Ballantine Books
  • Source:  Publisher

My take:  When Sophie Anderson discovers her husband of sixteen years plans to ask for a divorce she takes up a friend’s offer for her and the two kids to rent a rambling Nantucket cottage for the summer. So she’s completely caught off guard when Trevor Black and his young son arrive at the same time to rent the same cottage. They decide to make the best of the situation and the two families form an unexpected bond. The Guest Cottage is a perfect beach book. It’s about family and love (on a few levels), finding new freedom and moving forward. Nancy Thayer’s descriptive prose made me feel like I was relaxing on one of the Nantucket beaches enjoying a wonderful holiday. Toss this book in the beach bag this summer. You’ll be glad you did!

Mr. Miracle by Debbie Macomber

  • Mr. Miracle (Vine Oct7)Title:  Mr. Miracle: A Christmas Novel
  • Author:  Debbie Macomber
  • Genre:  Christmas; Contemporary Romance
  • Published:  October 2014 – Ballantine Books
  • Source:  Publisher

My take:  With a nod to Dickens, Debbie Macomber’s new Christmas novel is about the possibilities of new beginnings. Harry Mills (an angel) gets his chance to help some humans going in the right direction. To nudge them along, if you will. He’s a teacher at the community college and chooses A Christmas Carol as the class novel.

First up is Addie who has moved home after being gone for six years. She’ll live at her mom’s house while taking the last class needed to get her GED. Then she’ll go to college. What Addie doesn’t expect is the boy next door still being next door. Circumstances have made it so Erich must be there over the holidays. He’s not happy about that and even less thrilled that Addie is going to be involved in his life. Both Addie and Erich have regrets but can they help each other learn from those regrets and move forward?

Others who will find themselves getting attention from Harry are Danny who is on parole and must take a class and Andrew, a veteran, and his service dog. Harry has his work cut out for him with his students and his fellow faculty and staff.

I thought this was a sweet Christmas story but it’s not my favorite by the author. At the end of the book there’s an excerpt from last year’s Christmas book. After you read Mr. Miracle I recommend you read Starry Night. I really liked that one! However, if all you want is a new and fast read (that can be important at this busy time of year) you should look for Mr. Miracle. I don’t think you can go wrong with Debbie Macomber.

Love Letters: A Rose Harbor Novel by Debbie Macomber

love letters - rose harbor#3 (Aug12)

  • Title:  Love Letters
  • Series:  Rose Harbor #3
  • Author:  Debbie Macomber
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction/Romance; series
  • Published:  August 2014 – Ballantine Books
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  In this enchanting novel set at Cedar Cove’s cozy Rose Harbor Inn, #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber celebrates the power of love—and a well-timed love letter—to inspire hope and mend a broken heart.
Summer is a busy season at the inn, so proprietor Jo Marie Rose and handyman Mark Taylor have spent a lot of time together keeping the property running. Despite some folks’ good-natured claims to the contrary, Jo Marie insists that Mark is only a friend. However, she seems to be thinking about this particular friend a great deal lately. Jo Marie knows surprisingly little about Mark’s life, due in no small part to his refusal to discuss it. She’s determined to learn more about his past, but first she must face her own—and welcome three visitors who, like her, are setting out on new paths.
Twenty-three-year-old Ellie Reynolds is taking a leap of faith. She’s come to Cedar Cove to meet Tom, a man she’s been corresponding with for months, and with whom she might even be falling in love. Ellie’s overprotective mother disapproves of her trip, but Ellie is determined to spread her wings.
Maggie and Roy Porter are next to arrive at the inn. They are taking their first vacation alone since their children were born. In the wake of past mistakes, they hope to rekindle the spark in their marriage—and to win back each other’s trust. But Maggie must make one last confession that could forever tear them apart.
For each of these characters, it will ultimately be a moment when someone wore their heart on their sleeve—and took pen to paper—that makes all the difference. Debbie Macomber’s moving novel reveals the courage it takes to be vulnerable, accepting, and open to love.  (publisher)

My take:  Debbie Macomber’s third installment of the Rose Harbor series involves Jo Marie, the thirty-something widowed innkeeper, who continues to grieve the loss of her husband. She’s also trying to figure out what’s up with Mark, her handyman. This storyline has been in each book of the series and we find out a bit more in this book – but not everything.

Guests at the inn are a couple who are trying to get their marriage back on track and a young woman who is going to meet for the first time a young man she met online. Each chapter involves one of the three storylines and made for a fast, enjoyable and entertaining read.

You don’t have to have read the previous books in the series but I recommend it. You’ll get a better feel for Jo Marie’s background story. I think this book is the perfect vacation read – it was easy to set down but I always looked forward to picking it back up. I’m eager to read the next book in the series (and not just because there was a bit of a cliff-hanger). Recommended to fans of Debbie Macomber and contemporary, small town fiction.