Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Review ~ The Girl Who Could Breathe Under Water by Erin Bartels

When Kendra Brennan moves into her grandfather's old cabin on Hidden Lake, she has a problem and a plan. The problem? An inflammatory letter from A Very Disappointed Reader that's keeping her from writing her next novel as long as its claims go unanswered. The plan? To confront Tyler, her childhood best friend's brother--and the man who inspired the antagonist in her first book--in order to prove to herself that she told the truth as all good novelists should.

What she discovers as she delves into the murky past is not what she expected. Facing Tyler isn't easy, but facing the truth of her failed friendship with his sister, Cami, may be the hardest thing she's ever had to do.

Award-winning novelist Erin Bartels searches the heart with this lyrical exploration of how a friendship dies, how we can face the unforgiveable, and how even those who have been hurt can learn to love with abandon.


My Review 4 STARS

“Did you ever consider that antagonists have stories of their own? Or that in someone else’s story you’re the antagonist?”

This is the first book by this author that I have read. While this book addresses some pretty gritty subject matter, it is written in such a manner that I had a hard time putting it down. I found myself waking up in the middle of the night, thinking about the story, compelled to read more until I was bleary eyed.

The style the book is written in is quite interesting. I did not find it to be a fast read in spite of the fact I did not want to put it down. It is more slow and steady, taking the reader into past and present, showing the development of friendships, betrayal, abuse, and so much more.

The author did a good job of heightening the tension in the story between Kendra and Tyler, and Kendra and Andreas. There are a couple of extremely well-done twists too! I cannot say that I have ever read a book quite like this one. I was impressed with the writing and fully engaged with the storyline and characters from beginning to end.

If you are looking for an engrossing read that is not your typical cookie cutter story, this is the book. It is not wrapped up in a neat little bow but then most times life is not that way either. I would classify The Girl Who Could Breathe Under Water as more Women’s fiction than Christian fiction. There could definitely be triggers in this story for someone who is a victim of sexual assault or physical abuse but there is also hope for healing. I highly recommend reading the authors note at the end!

I was provided a digital copy of the book from the publisher through Netgalley for review purposes. This is my honest opinion of the story. No compensation received.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Rebecca's 2021 Top Reads

Before I change my mind – here are my top reads of 2021 (out of over 215 reads . . . so hard to choose).  

Top Three

Burying Daisy Doe – Ramona Pope Richards
When Twilight Breaks – Sarah Sundin
Under the Magnolias – T. I. Lowe

Top Ten

Tidewater Bride – Laura Frantz
The Curator’s Daughter – Melanie Dobson
Let It Be Me – Becky Wade
Yours Is the Night – Amanda Dykes
A Midnight Dance – Joanna Politano
Shiloh – Lori Benton
The Paris Dressmaker – Kristy Cambron
Between the Wild Branches – Connilyn Cossette
Prince of Spies – Elizabeth Camden
The Ice Swan – J’nell Ciesielski
Honorable Mention

The Lady in Residence – Allison Pittman
Is It Any Wonder? – Courtney Walsh
On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor – Jaime Jo Wright


Thanks, Rebecca, for sharing your favorite books once again. I can't imagine how difficult it is to choose so few out of so many but these books look worthy of reading. The covers are some of the most appealing too. I really want to read a couple of these, especially The Prince of Spies! 

Check out Rebecca's Goodreads book list for these books and more reviews! If you’ve read any of her 2021 Top Reads, let us know in the comments. If not, share what you read this year and enjoyed. Do you have any recommendations for us?

Anne's 2021 Top Reads

While I wasn't any kind of marathon reader in 2021, I did read some really good books! I had set a goal on Goodreads to read 20 books. I managed to exceed that and read 36. Now mind you, they weren’t all fiction. I actually read and reviewed several non-fiction titles that consisted of devotionals and journals, an Amish cookbook, and a lovely photography book. I only read 28 fiction books in 2021, of which three or four were audio books.

I have found that as much as I love to immerse myself in a good book, when my creative side suffers, I suffer, so I put aside my desire to read many of the popular CF books available to learn the art of slow stitching and beading. My sister is a master craftswoman in anything to do with a needle so through many texts, images, and video chats she helped me along the way to learning a new craft that I absolutely love!! I have a lot to learn but I was pretty pleased with how my first piece turned out and my granddaughter loves it so that’s all that matters, right?!

My husband and I officially moved back to NC just before Christmas after six years in VA. We just couldn't let our little "hobby farm" go over the years so we're back in the same place we fell in love with almost 23 years ago. There is a lot to do to get rid of extraneous items we don’t need so we can start back a couple of the things we enjoyed so much the first 18 years we lived here, like raising chickens and starting our greenhouse back up.

Oh yeah, back to books, right? In no particular order, I’ve listed seven books that I would highly recommend to my friends. One author made the list twice!!! Each book title is a hyperlink to my review on Goodreads, in case you want to see what I thought. J

When Forever Fades (Spencer Family 2) by Andrea Boyd


Sword of Trust (Winds of Change 2) by Debbie Lynne Costello


Hours to Kill (Homeland Heroes 3) by Susan Sleeman


Let It Be Me (A Misty River Romance 2) by Becky Wade


Husband Auditions by Angela Ruth Strong

Hope Between the Pages by Pepper D. Basham

The Mistletoe Countess by Pepper D. Basham

Thanks for hanging in here! If you’ve read any of these books, let me know in the comments. If not, share what you read this year and enjoyed. Do you have any recommendations for me?

Have a blessed New Year!!

Rebecca Reviews ~ Shadows of Swanford Abbey by Julie Klassen


In pursuit of an author who could help get her brother published, Rebecca Lane stays at Swanford Abbey, a grand hotel rumored to be haunted. It is there she encounters Sir Frederick--the man who broke her heart. When a mysterious death occurs, Rebecca is one of the suspects, and Frederick is torn between his feelings for her and his search for the truth.

Rebecca's Review ~ 4 STARS

"Calm down. Talk to her before you do anything you might regret."

As the town magistrate, Sir Frederick Wilford has been called upon to settle typical local disputes, but a murder; where to even begin? The Swanford Abbey hotel guests and employees are all under suspicion of course, but there's only one whom Frederick is hoping and praying is as innocent as he believes her to be.

When the very man who has caused her beloved brother so much angst turns up dead, Rebecca Lane is terrified to tell the truth about what she knows, and horrified to admit her half-truths. Especially to Sir Frederick, her childhood friend and admittedly the object of her girlish affections. Time has changed them both, for Frederick is now a widower and Rebecca has been under employment as a lady's maid. Is there room for more? "Thankfully God offers second chances."

This author has long blended history with an air of mystery, but this story takes the concept a step further and reads more like a crime novel, with its "who done it" creeping around every corner and invading every shadow. Utilizing a game of chess and a clever trap, the characters ultimately expose the true culprit while readers enjoy being thoroughly entertained in the process. And the bonus? A sweet romance between two long time friends.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.

Monday, December 20, 2021

2022 is Gonna Start Out with a BANG—Action, Romance, and Suspense—in a NEW Series from Author Ronie Kendig!!!


She cost him everything. Now, he’s forced to protect her.

Stone Metcalfe embodies the Metcalfe legacy—blue eyes, an unfair amount of good looks, and hardcore patriot-laced character. But a foolish lapse in judgment dismantles his name and career. Humiliated and furious, he retreats to his mountain lodge to hide from media hounds and eke out a new life. However, one phone call from an old Army buddy upends Stone’s best-laid plans.

Supermodel Brighton Buchanan had designers and men eating out of her hand until a terrible mistake trapped her in the soul-eating world of human trafficking. Years later, she is used by her captors to take down the best man she’s ever known. The man she loves. Hope lost, she’s unexpectedly freed—and thrown back into Stone’s life. Being forgiven is out of the question considering how much he hates her.

Believing danger and her are one wrong move away, Brighton will do anything to keep him from being ruined again—even if it means going back to that life. As everything is falling apart and threats mount against Brighton, Stone realizes forgiveness is the easy part. Protecting her—and his heart—is another story.

Check out the authors website for more information on STONE and other awesome books:

I pre-ordered my copy back in October but I also made the launch team! Hooray!!! Y'all know she is one of my favorite CF authors. Her talent is bar-none; amazing stories with unforgettable characters and intense storylines. I look forward to sharing my review in a few days!!! 


I'm not affiliated with any retailers so I don't make any money if you use the link(s). They are provided as a courtesy only.