Ann Brodeur

Author of Sweet Hope and Happy Endings

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BOOK REVIEW: ALL THAT WE CARRIED

BOOK BY: Erin Bartels

The author has a special talent in pulling the reader into the setting of the story. Almost the entirety of the novel takes place in the Porcupine Mountains where characters are hiking, camping and trying to work through issues they’ve ignored for the past decade. This story is very much character driven, with internal struggles causing much of the friction between sisters – Olivia and Melanie. I appreciated the beautiful and polished narrative.

If you are used to reading Christian fiction with a strong faith thread, you will get that here but unlike what a Bible-believing reader has come to expect in the Christian Fiction market. Religious faith, New Age faith, agnosticism and everything in between is discussed as characters grapple with their internal struggles. When Melanie and Olivia started discussing Tarot cards and what they meant and believing in reincarnation, the enjoyment of reading completely left. The question of the existence of God continues throughout the novel, with minor characters feeding into the discussion (who by all appearances believe in the existence of God). The dialogue doesn’t resolve the questions satisfactorily – and sometimes is left completely unfinished, an abrupt change in conversation – and invokes more questions than answers. At the end of the novel, neither sister has resolved their issues with faith – or have they? The reader is left wondering.

As well, a sort of friend/love triangle happens which causes more friction between sisters. That kind of trope isn’t my cup of tea, though other readers will love it. It is handled relatively well – but again, it’s just not my thing.

The biggest disappointment for this reader was the faith thread. If this book had been marketed for the general fiction market, I likely would have enjoyed it more. But with the expectation that this is marketed as Christian Fiction, it is lacking in the essentials. Hope and pointing readers to Truth.

I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

Top Reads of 2020

Despite the global pandemic, not all of 2020 was bad.

When looking back through my book list of books read, I’m surprised at how many are on my list. My goal of reading 24 books through the year was shattered. It’s a new record for me and probably one I likely won’t repeat as the world opens up again.

2020 was a special year for me. My debut novel, Snowbound in Winterberry Falls released on November 6. If you haven’t read it, you should try it (of course, I’m not biased… wink).

But all joking aside, here are the books, in no particular order that I enjoyed and would put in my TBRA pile – To Be Read Again.

Contemporary

Suspense/Procedural

Historical/Regency

Christmas

Worth Mentioning

These books were interesting reads, but didn’t quite make it in my I’ll definitely read these again category (but there’s also a good possibility I will). They were totally worth the investment of time I made reading them.

I have a bunch more books on my bookshelf to read that released in 2020, but I didn’t have time to get to them. I hope to read them as time permits and will post reviews either on my blog or at least a starred review on GoodReads.

How about you? Are any of these books on your list?

BOOK REVIEW: THE DRESS SHOP ON KING STREET

BOOK BY: Ashley Clark

The Dress Shop on King Street is a story that brings together the unified dreams of a young girl and her mentor.

I had heard so much about this book, I finally decided to request a copy to read and I’m happy I did. This time slip novel (weaving the past with a contemporary story) is an interesting survey of living in the South during the 40s and 50s, up to present day. The heroine is of African and Caucasian heritage in a place where she has already lost a father due to hatred. Her father was murdered because he had a child with an African woman. Millie is faced with a choice her entire life – hide one of her heritages and speak to no one of where she comes from.

The sensitivity to which the author tackles this issue is commendable. It takes the reader back to a time when hatred was left unpunished and people of mixed heritage were forced to choose which one to embrace. If one chose unwisely, s/he would suffer what no one should go through. The author brings the inner struggle of Millie to light, which begs the reader to ask themselves a simple question. What would I have done in Millie’s place?

She is able to hide her heritage until she gives birth to fraternal twins – one who is white, and the other who is darker skinned. Millie and her husband make a desperate choice which takes her to the end of the story to find redemption.

The contemporary story sees a much older Millie mentoring a design protégé who reminds Millie of herself. Harper’s story will be intricately woven with Millie’s by the end.

It was a challenging read in the sense of the issues tackled in this book. It was an enjoyable read for the ability of the author to bring the reader into Millie’s world.

I’m glad I listened to the recommendations of others and look forward to reading more from this author.

I received an ecopy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

BOOK REVIEW: OBSESSION (NATCHEZ TRACE RANGERS #2)

BOOK BY: Patricia Bradley

Patricia Bradley does it again – she creates an exciting read full of suspense, action and a bit of romance. This book requires lots of time to read in one sitting because once you start – you won’t want to put it down.

Honestly, this book is full of unique connections and twists and turns that it left my head spinning. Who wants Emma dead? Or is it Sam who is the intended target? Is this character or that one behind the shootings and digging historical sites? No – it’s got to be this other guy, because he’s just not likeable. Is Emma’s brother really alive or is he dead? Who really killed that girl ten years ago? Add in an unsolved murder and a missing brother, this novel has all the makings for an exciting action movie.

Obsession is a fast-paced read dealing with Erotomania (believing that there is that one special person who is deeply in love with them). The connection male characters have with the heroine leaves each one highly suspect as the real culprit behind the attacks that occur throughout the book. And each one is intimately connected with the ten year old disappearance of Emma’s twin brother – including the man she trusts with her protection.

If you’re going to read a CF suspense novel, you won’t be disappointed with Obsession, book two in the Natchez Trace Park Rangers series by Patricia Bradley.

I received an ecopy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

BOOK REVIEW: THE THIEF OF BLACKFRIARS LANE

BOOK BY: Michelle Griep

Now here is an interesting read.

Book By Michelle Griep

The Thief of Blackfriars Lane is an unexpected treat from author Michelle Griep. Perhaps it was the unfair challenges the good guy had to face which left him without great options to get the job done. Or maybe it is Kit, the feminine Robin Hood heroine. And of course, the twist of connections between loveable and unlikeable characters at the end.

Readers can expect vivid descriptions that take one into historical London – invoking the sights and smells of a bygone era. Intrigue and suspense are sprinkled with romance throughout the pages one can stop turning. Fans of Michelle Griep will enjoy this upcoming release.

I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

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