The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox | Contemporary Fiction Review

The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox

Contemporary Fiction

When Ivy Rose returns to her hometown to oversee her late grandmother's estate sale, she soon discovers that the woman left behind more than trinkets and photo frames--she provided a path to the truth behind Ivy's adoption. Shocked, Ivy seeks clues to her past, but a key piece to the mystery is missing.

Twenty-four years earlier, Harvey James finds an abandoned newborn who gives him a sense of human connection for the first time in his life. His desire to care for the baby runs up against the stark fact that he is homeless. When he becomes entwined with two people seeking to help him find his way, Harvey knows he must keep the baby a secret or risk losing the only person he's ever loved.

In this dual-timeline story from debut novelist Amanda Cox, the truth--both the search for it and the desire to keep it from others--takes center stage as Ivy and Harvey grapple with love, loss, and letting go.

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My Thoughts

The Edge of Belonging is Amanda Cox's debut novel. That thrills me. Because if this is what her first novel is like, I can't wait to read her tenth! 

The story is told by flipping between two time periods, the present day and 1994. The characters are a homeless man, an abandoned baby, a widow, and a childless couple. What unfolds is a beautiful tale of how a family is born. 

I cried and smiled and read until I couldn't read anymore. The story just gripped me. I wish I could tell you how it all comes together but that would ruin the surprise. I definitely don't want to do that because the ending is so beautiful and worth every minute of reading it took to get there.

I would recommend this to anyone that enjoys a story of hope in a hopeless situation. You'll be reminded that man makes his plans but God guides his steps.

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Amanda Cox
Photo Credit: © Emilie Haney

I received a copy of this book from Revell to facilitate my review.


Something Worth Doing by Jane Kirkpatrick | Historical Fiction Review

Something Worth Doing by Jane Kirkpatrick

Historical Fiction


In 1853, Abigail Scott was a nineteen-year-old school teacher in Oregon Territory when she married Ben Duniway. Marriage meant giving up on teaching, but Abigail always believed she was meant to be more than a good wife and mother. When Abigail becomes the primary breadwinner for her growing family, what she sees as a working woman appalls her--and prompts her to devote her life to fighting for the rights of women, including the right to vote.

Based on a true story, Something Worth Doing will resonate with modern women who still grapple with the pull between career and family, finding their place in the public sphere, and dealing with frustrations and prejudices when competing in male-dominated spaces.

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My Thoughts

Jane Kirkpatrick never disappoints. She digs deep and finds brave, obscure women from the past and brings them back to life with a fascinating story. I found Something Worth Doing to be particularly relevant at this time in history. 2020 marks the 100th anniversary for the women's right to vote. It's easy to think that came about just naturally but in reality there were many women working to make that happen. Abigail Scott was one of those pioneering women. 

Something Worth Doing is the story of Abigail Scott and her journey from young girl to suffragette woman. I have to say that after reading her story I don't think that I would particularly like Abigail. But I found her journey fascinating. Her story is full of heartache and triumph. She was an ordinary wife, mother, daughter, and sister but she had extraordinary ambitions and dreams. 

If you enjoy historical fiction I'm positive that you'll enjoy this book. Jane Kirkpatrick has an ability to take the reader into the setting and allow you to learn historical facts while enjoying an interesting story. I highly recommend it.

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Jane Kirkpatrick

I received a copy of this book from Revell to facilitate my review.


Nine by Rachelle Dekker | Suspense Book Review

Nine by Rachelle Dekker



Zoe Johnson has spent most of her life living in the shadows, never drawing attention to herself, never investing in people or places. But when a wide-eyed, bedraggled teenager with no memory walks into the diner where Zoe works, everything changes.

Against her better judgment, Zoe, who has been trying to outrun her own painful memories of the past, finds herself attempting to help a girl who doesn't seem to have any past at all. With little warning, they must follow the only sure thing they know: a woman hundreds of miles away, will either save them . . . or be the last person to see them alive.

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My Thoughts

Whenever I see Rachelle Dekker's name on a book I get excited. You can count on her to turn out a riveting story that will draw the reader in from cover to cover. Nine fit that same description. The genre is suspense but I would go even a step further and classify it as a psychological thriller.  

The story centers around Zoe and Lucy, two girls, that in normal circumstances, would never be found together. But Zoe has a soft spot for the seemingly na├»ve and innocent Lucy. That soft spot will lead to all kinds of danger. There's a rogue government agency involved and numerous layers of secrets and deceit to unravel. 

The buildup to the ending is stressful. But it is absolutely worth it to get to the ending. There is graphic violence so if you're squeamish proceed with caution. But if you are like me and like to have your heart pounding while you are reading I think you are in for a treat with this one. 

Rachelle Dekker

I received a copy of this book from Revell to facilitate my review.


A Life Once Dreamed by Rachel Fordham | Historical Romance Review

A Life Once Dreamed by Rachel Fordham

Historical Romance

Where you come from matters far less than where you're going

Six years ago, a shocking secret sent Agnes Pratt running in search of a new start. She found it in Penance, a rugged town of miners and lumberjacks in the Dakota Territory. In the shadow of the Black Hills, she became Miss Aggie, respected schoolteacher and confirmed old maid--despite being only twenty-four. But the past has a way of catching up with people.

When childhood friend and former sweetheart James Harris accepts a position as the town doctor, Aggie's pleasantly predictable days suddenly become anything but. James wants to know why Agnes left behind the life they had dreamed of creating for themselves--but he is precisely the one person who can never know.

Can a healing light be shed on the past? Or will the secret Agnes can't seem to outrun destroy her chance at happiness?

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My Thoughts

I love the title because it encapsulates the story perfectly. Aggie and James have known each other practically forever. Somewhere along the way they fell in love and expected to marry and live happily ever after. But an unknown factor makes that dream unattainable.

We pick up the story after Aggie has moved to the Dakota territory to take a teaching job. She's been there about six years and made a nice life for herself. But that life has limits and it is definitely not the one she had envisioned.

When James unexpectedly turns up to take the position of town doctor everything is once again turned upside down. 

If you've ever planned something for your life only to have it change by circumstances beyond your control you'll be able to relate to Aggie . . . and James for that matter. In Aggie's mind she felt like leaving was the loving thing to do for James. But it left James feeling betrayed. 

A Life Once Dreamed is a good reminder that we need to communicate with those we love. Even when it is difficult. Especially when it is difficult! When we communicate it allows all involved to make their own decisions. 

I thought this was a wonderful story filled with heartbreak as well as hope. If you enjoy historical romance I would recommend you give this story a look. Rachel Fordham is an accomplished storyteller that will have you wanting more after the last page.

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Rachel Fordham
Photo Credit: Kylee Ann Maughan

I received a copy of this book from Revell to facilitate this review.


The Key to Everything by Valerie Fraser Luesse | Contemporary Fiction Review

The Key to Everything
Valerie Fraser Luesse
Contemporary Fiction

"Promise me you'll never come back here, Peyton. It's too much--it's just way too much."

Peyton Cabot's fifteenth year will be a painful and transformative one. His father, the heroic but reluctant head of a moneyed Savannah family, has come home from World War II a troubled vet, drowning his demons in bourbon and distancing himself from his son. A tragic accident shows Peyton the depths of his parents' devotion to each other but interrupts his own budding romance with the girl of his dreams.

Struggling to cope with a young life upended, Peyton makes a daring decision: He will retrace a journey his father took at fifteen, riding his bicycle from St. Augustine, Florida, all the way to Key West. Part declaration of independence, part search for self, Peyton's journey will bring him more than he ever could have imagined--namely, the key to his unknowable father, a longed-for reunion, and a calling that will shape the rest of his life.

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My Thoughts

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