Looking for outstanding new releases? These three will take you on a journey from the Deep South in the 30s, small-town Florida in the 50s, and present-day Oregon. Along the way, you’ll laugh, cry, and think about the way things are. Maybe you’ll change a little, too.
I receive free electronic advanced reader copies of these books through an arrangement between the publishers and NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion on NetGalley’s website. I only review books on my blog that I really love.
Outstanding New Releases You Won’t Want to Miss
I can get stuck in a reading rut and choose to read the same genre over and over again. So when I see an intriguing book, I’ll often request a copy from NetGally. Most of the time, the books stretch me in some way. They make me question what I think I know, or show me a new slice of the world I’d never considered before. These three outstanding new releases do all of that. You won’t want to miss them!
By Angela Jackson-Brown, Thomas Nelson, April 2021, 368 pages.
All Opal Pruitt has ever known is Granny, Colored Town, family, and the tiny community of Parsons, GA. On the cusp of adulthood, Opal works hard with Granny keeping Miss Peggy’s house and tending to Miss Corrine.
Her Uncle Myron thinks she should go back to school and make something of herself, but Opal knows book learning doesn’t suit her. She takes joy in keeping house and caring for those she loves. Especially Granny, the woman who raised her when Opal’s mother disappeared shortly after giving birth to her.
As her 18th birthday nears, Opal wonders if her future will ever hold more than questions. Will Granny ever let a young man court her? Why does the dry, hot spring bring a sense of foreboding? How can two young men make her heart race in different ways? Will she ever have an opportunity to experience the same things other young people experience? Does God hate Colored people to turn a blind eye to their suffering?
When the Ku Klux Klan wreaks havoc in Colored Town one dry, sultry night, it sparks unrest that the small community may never recover from. Through it all, Granny remains a rock of faith.
Why I Loved This Book
Seventeen-year-old Opal’s lyrical narration draws the reader into a world of family, joy, suffering, loss, and helplessness. Her on-point observations about race relations convict readers with a timely message. Opal’s problems may have taken place in the 1930s, but many of the same attitudes remain 90 years later.
Angela Jackson-Brown’s tender words paint a picture readers will never forget. Keep a box of tissues handy.If you only read one book this year, make it this one! Beautiful words from @adjackson68 will sink deep in your heart. #amreading #bookreview #WhenStarsRainDown @ThomasNelson Click To Tweet
By Sean Dietrich, Thomas Nelson, 2021, 352 pages.
Sheriff Winston Browne has lovingly watched over the tiny tony of Moab, Florida since he came home from the war. Now he harbors a secret he can’t share with anyone—not even his best friend or the woman he’s falling in love with.
Jessie with no last name gets spirited out of the compound where she has lived out her ten years and put on a train to Pensacola, Florida. She has no idea why or what will happen when she gets there. She only knows to trust no one expect the person who repeats the catchphrase. When a man tries to abduct her at the train station, Jessie takes flight and ends up in Moab.
Eleanor Hughes has loved Jimmy Abrams for decades, but the fool man doesn’t want to set a wedding date. After dancing the night away at a church social with the sheriff, Eleanor decides she doesn’t want to turn out like so many women in Moab, ‘who got old many years before they become elderly.’
Buz Guilford drops out of school to help support his momma and his drunk grandpa long before a boy should turn into a man. Like everyone else in Moab, Buz loves baseball and the Brooklyn Dodgers. But boys-turned-men don’t have time to play.
Four lonely lives intersect in a town where people fixated more on themselves then on others and “The rest of the world and all its issues were imaginary.” Will Winston Browne become the catalyst that turns Moabites’ vision to the suffering of others?
Why I Loved this Book
Dietrich has a way with words that made me highlight gem after gem. Like this one, “Lisa was an uptight woman married to the oldest Baptist deacon in town who preached against the dangers of “premarital relations” with the opposite sex because this might lead to dancing.” Or “Up North they had wild, vibrant colors. In northwestern Florida, you had the entire spectrum of mildew.”
Reading Dietrich’s words reminded me of settling down with one of my all-time favorite books, To Kill a Mockingbird. Like Harper Lee, Sean Dietrich can convey his love for the setting and characters along with gentle irony for their foibles.
While published by a Christian publisher, The Incredible Winston Browne doesn’t fall into any typical Inspirational genre. Nevertheless, the book will inspire readers to treat others with more grace, lead a helping hand to those in need, and appreciate the ordinary heroism of those around us.#TheIncredibleWinstonBrowne is unlike any book I've read before–and I loved it! Check out this new release by @seanofthesouth1 from @ThomasNelson #amreading #bookreview Click To Tweet
By Christina Suzann Nelson, Bethany House Publishers, February 2021, 352 pages.
Zara and Eve Brookes haven’t seen each other in years, and for all of those years, Zara has felt the guilt of having abandoned her twin. And the pain of abandonment. But with a new name, courtesy of her husband Chad Mahoney, and a new farm, Zara feels ready to put the past behind her and create a home.
Eve and her two children, Charlotte and Sammy, live with Eve’s abusive boyfriend. Eve never knows if he’ll show up in time to pay the rent, or if she’ll have to resort to alternative methods of pay the rent…and feeding her habit.
A habit that has chipped away at her sanity, her self-worth, and her very soul. When she meets Tiff Bradley, her life takes an unexpected turn.
Ever since hearing of her daughter’s murder, Tiff Bradley has struggled to make sense of where she and her husband Bruce went wrong. Why did their daughter, Lindsay, turn to heroine? What was so bad about their affluent life that could cause their precious girl to turn her back on those who loved her?
Night after night Tiff drives the streets of Canyon Ridge in her old Toyota, longing to bring hope to those in need. Longing to do for some lost soul what she wishes someone had done for their Lindsay. Her need to serve puts her marriage in jeopardy, but how can she pretend life is whole when it feels so broken.
When the state takes Charlotte and Sammy away from Eve, they call newlyweds Zara and Chad to step in as temporary foster parents.
Three women, three stories of grief and longing intertwined into a beautiful mosaic of hope.
Why I Loved this Book
As a parent, one of the most difficult things to understand is why our children make the decisions they do. I could spend endless hours reviewing the highlights of my children’s lives, wondering where I went wrong or where I could have done better.
The author paints a beautiful, authentic picture of how different people cope with grief, abandonment, challenges, and stress. In doing so, she highlights and reality of addiction, recovery, and the stark realities of the foster care system in the United States.
While not a light weekend read, it is a book every parent should read. We can’t make decisions for our adult children. We can make a choice to make a difference in their world, and the world at large, though. This is a book of hope despite the circumstances.If you're a parent, you need to read this novel by @ChristinaSuzann. If you have a family member who struggles with addiction, you need to read this book. @bethany_house #amreading #bookreview Click To Tweet