Welcome to The Independence Islands (Must Read Christian Beach Reads)

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Christian Beach Reads on a sandy background

Welcome to the Independence Islands. An imaginary set of islands off the coast of Georgia, populated by the imaginary friends of some fun Christian authors. We get to tag along on some fantastic adventures in daily life.

These Christian beach reads will challenge your faith muscles, have you laughing and crying, and basically cause you to take an escape from reality that better prepares you for real life.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links for your convenience. If you make a purchase through one of the links, I may make a small commission. I only recommend books and resources that I’ve enjoyed personally, or believe that you would like. You can read my full disclosure here. You will also find information on Scripture translations there.

I did receive advance copies of these Christian beach reads and chose to share my honest opinions here. Though I should tell you, it was entirely my choice to make them permanent residents all together here.

Introducing these Christian Beach Reads

Take a moment to watch this quick video introducing this series of Christian beach reads, and have a good laugh before we dive in! It’s worth every second!

Meet the Independence Islands Authors

The authors who’ve teamed up to create the Independence Islands and share these Christian beach reads with the world have done a good thing. Each story is unique and individual, though sharing a location and a few characters.

The ‘real-life situations’ these characters find themselves in, and the faith in God that they come to depend on are inspiring, and the predicaments they find themselves in can be highly entertaining, and make me want to spend time with each author. So, to make it easier for you, here are their websites, and what perk you might find from joining their community:

An Independence Island Introduction

Christmas on Breakers Point by Chautona Havig (Prequel)

One man’s last Christmas wish might change two lives forever.

Mallory Barrows has one last Christmas with her uncle.  She’s determined to make it the best one he’s ever had.

She knows when she asks what he wants as his final gift, it won’t be a tie or a new mug. He won’t need those where he’s going, and he’s quite happy about that.

Mallory just didn’t think he wanted a miracle wrapped in paper and tied with a shiny red bow!

Christmas on Breakers Point is the introductory book to the Independence Islands Series.

Click here to get your copy of this wonderful Christian beach read!

Christmas on Breakers Point: Review

Christmas on Breakers Point really got me thinking. There was plenty of fun, but there was a lot of depth.

I’ve been reading Galatians lately, and Mallory and Uncle Bud really live out chapter 6, verse 1. Finding a way to “restore your brother {or sister, in this case}” takes courage and kindness.

To restore your brother who still believes in Jesus is hard enough, but when they’ve gone so far as to reject Jesus, well… that’s where God’s grace is an absolute necessity.

I loved Mallory’s strategy sessions, and how she accepted God’s provisions even when she did NOT like his timing. Knowing how to help someone restore their faith, especially when they aren’t sure they want to, is beyond hard!

And the whole Mobile Bookstore? Wow! I’m so excited! I hope she is successful. It’s a genius method of industry for a group of small islands (or towns).

The community culture on these Independence Islands makes you feel right at home. From the teasing to the praying for each other, to the practical assistance, these characters feel like family.

If all Christian beach reads had this much depth and good natured fun, I think my bookshelves might burst…

Merriweather Island: Christian Beach Reads

The first Island we get to visit is Merriweather Island in this series of clean beach reads.

Dual Power of Convenience

Dual Power of Convenience by Chautona Havig, #1 in the Independence Islands Series of clean beach reads for any occasion.

All they wanted was a happily-never-after.

When Richard Danforth inherits the family estate on Merriweather Island, he doesn’t have time to deal with it—especially not from halfway across the globe. He’s too busy working to become the world’s newest billionaire and avoiding the women who would detract him from his goals.

Enter Lyla Santana. Fresh out of Oxford University with a degree in antiques and a relationship that nearly killed her to leave, she’s eager for the isolation and treasure trove that is Danforth Hall. Lyla also is determined to avoid men at all costs. Forever.

It was supposed to be a match made on paper. With him halfway across the globe, they’d never have to see each other again.

My Review

This story was both hilarious and challenging. You know where it’s headed, both in the drama and the conclusion, so you can stand back and enjoy Lyla and Richard’s mess and mistakes, knowing they just have a short wait until things work themselves out. Not always the case in real life, but beautifully done here.

I thought Mallory’s challenges made the story all the more believable, and her nuggets of wisdom well placed.

Scrumptious Independence (Islands, of course)

Scrumptious Independence by Melissa Wardwell, #2 In the Independence Islands Series

“Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

And so is Beth’s cooking! It’s a good thing, too. After a lifetime of her family’s smothering embrace, a whole new world opens to her with the passing of her beloved grandmother.

Armed with an inheritance she never expected and orders on how to use it, Beth sets off for Merriweather Island and fulfillment of a lifetime of dreams.

Or so she hopes.

What she didn’t hope for was what most women would—a man who fills her thoughts at the most wonderfully unwelcome times. She doesn’t have time or space for a relationship, but how do you tell love to just go away?

Of course, starting over in a new place is never easy, especially as an outsider in a small community. Add to that a mayor who has her dander up and a woman bound to make her life miserable, is it any wonder that Beth begins to doubt God’s and Gram’s plans?

With her heart betraying her resolve and challenges to her faith, Beth finds it takes bravery she didn’t know she had to discover just how scrumptious independence can be.

This “Merriweather book” is the second in a new series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

The Independence Island Series: Christian beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.

Click here to purchase your copy of this clean beach read!

What Makes Scrumptious Independence Worth Reading

Independence, here I come. I don’t envy Beth her family situation at all. Her grandmother was awesome, though. I would say Grandma’s my favorite character even though she’s barely in the story, except it’s her inheritance that drives Beth’s quest to discover how to become independent.

Once on her own, Beth has to become a strong independent woman while still being gracious to her friends. It’s a hard path to walk as she does need some help. Her example, finding that balance between allowing others who truly care to be helpful, and finding her own independence and voice.

I admired her journey to scrumptious independence and learned a few things while having a ton of fun, and drooling over the delicious meals Beth was always cooking!

If you dream of starting your own business, or any other significant goal, and really want to succeed, I highly recommend Grace Goals. You’ll discover the power of God’s grace to accomplish!

Setting Goals. Grace Goals

Secret Beach Boyfriend

Secret Beach Boyfriend by Kari Trumbo #3 In the Independence Islands Series, Christian beach reads worth reading!

Annie Roman believes love is a fairytale.

She met Rafe on the beach when she was just five and it seemed like fate tied them together. When a chance encounter returns him to the islands twenty years later, Annie finds her beach friend has grown up and now needs her help.

Damaged and scarred from a past that still hasn’t healed, Annie needs help of her own. True to character, Rafe comes up with a perfect solution, but a temporary island romance does not fit into his agenda at all.

Will an offer to be her secret boyfriend give her heart a second chance? How can it turn into something more and prove there’s power in prayer and that love can triumph over a painful past?

He was Annie’s hero long ago, but can the man he has become save her now?

My Review

This Independence Islands Christian beach read deals with some serious mental health issues, and believing appearances instead of figuring out reality. My review can be found over at #BecauseFiction magazine. While you’re there, check out all the cool Christian Fiction book news!

Her Merriweather Hero

Her Merriweather Hero by Rachel Skatvold, #4 In the Independence Islands Series of Christian beach reads.

He just wanted a place to rest and recuperate.

She only needed a repairman to help fix up her beach house.

For marine sergeant, Tyler Banner, nothing could be further from the memories of his time in Iraq than the slow, easy pace on Merriweather Island. Taking up a job as a physical trainer serves to keep him in shape while he enjoys a little downtime. Making friends with the local vet—veterinarian, that is—on his morning jog is just a bonus.

When Kendall’s sister tricked her into recruiting Tyler’s help one day, she didn’t fortify herself against a breach to her heart. Making friends with the marine was easy, but helping him overcome the PTSD that holds him captive isn’t. As she picks her way across a minefield of memories and horrors Tyler endured, Kendall begins to hope he could be the man she’s prayed for.

Falling in love wasn’t in Tyler’s orders, but a new deployment to Iraq is. How can he convince Kendall not to go AWOL when she hears? What can he do to convince her that they’ll make it… together?

Click here to get your copy of this clean beach read!

My Review

Kendall’s determination to prove herself worthy, to prove she is capable of running her own business and keeping her sister on track is both admirable on the one hand, and a challenge to think about whether we’re relying on God, or our own strength on the other hand.

I got a kick out of Kendall calling her purse a pocketbook, and then having to explain what she meant because Tyler didn’t know. I’ve done that, confusing people by using ‘old-fashioned’ terms, pocketbook being one of them.

Mallory’s words of wisdom regarding fear are worth memorizing, in my opinion:

Whatever you choose to do, make sure you’re not choosing it out of fear, okay? Because fear is one of satan’s tools to rob us of good things God has planned for us.

Mallory, Her Merriweather Hero
Her Merriweather Hero Quote: But sometimes we can go through tragedy and still come out stronger on the other side, especially with God's help. Christian Beach reads, Independence Islands series.

One part of the story that may cause heartache is Tyler and his brother in law. Will was killed in action, at the same time Tyler was wounded. Tyler’s sister is now raising her kids as a young war widow. Ty’s been helpful, but he’s headed back overseas.

This is the reality for enough people that the brief mentions may be difficult to bear. For the rest of us, it’s an excellent reminder of what others are dealing with and prompting us to care. Maybe even find a way to help, on a practical level.

Mishaps off the Mainland

Mishaps off the Mainland, #5 in the Independence Islands Christian Beach Reads series

Author: Tabitha Bouldin Release Date:  November 24, 2020

All Mel wants is to run the business of her dreams.

Melody Carmichael’s mobile pet grooming business might sink before it can sail when a favorite pet escapes her care. Doggie escape-artist, Daphne, got a taste of freedom, and the Afghan hound refuses to be found.

Enter Zeke Solomon. Desperate to bring the dog home for his grandmother, Zeke steps in to save the day.

And working together with Zeke would be a snap—if he would just stop blaming Mel for Daphne making a break for it.

Zeke is desperate to prove himself worthy of the Solomon name and step out from his father’s shadow. With his father breathing down his neck and demanding he return to the company business, Zeke must decide whether confronting the man he admires most is worth the risk of alienation.

Everything’s falling apart, and Mel’s dream transforms into a nightmare. She thought this was what God wanted for her life, but can you blame her for second-guessing everything?

Was it all just a mistake?

Mishaps off the Mainland is the fifth “Merriweather book” in a new series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

The Independence Island Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

I enjoyed the latest Independence Islands addition, Mishaps off the Mainland. A mobile pet groomer lets us see into the homes (and hearts) of some interesting people.

Mel would be a good friend. She’s determined, fun-loving, and looks out for the good of others (possibly excluding her brother, but only when he forgets something important-like communication). The compassion in her work at the animal shelter is amazing!

Zeke’s not nearly as obnoxious as I was expecting from the book description. I liked him right away, and empathized over his struggle with his father. And annoyance when he teased Mel just to get a reaction.

Mishaps off the Mainland has a decided “Trust God, because you can’t control everything’ wisdom that’s woven in so nicely. And some excellent fatherly wisdom about being a good judge of a man’s character.

I received an advance copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. I chose to review it here, all thoughts are my own.

Restoring Fairhaven

This Independence Islands Christian beach read is quite possibly the best one yet! She’s so much more than just a gardener, and he really does have a heart, it’s even starting to heal… My review can be found over at #BecauseFiction magazine on February 1st. While you’re there, be sure to look at all that magazine has to offer!

Elnora Island’s Christian Beach Reads

Now it’s time to move over to Elnora Island, in the Independence Islands Christian Beach Reads Series. Same great authors, same community, new people to get to know.

Bookers on the Rocks

The Bookers (Tessa and Ross) are on the Rocks. Rocks like “overly predictable” and “somewhat taken for granted” and maybe even a bit of “giving up on certain expectations.” This couple has been married for 20 years, and are happy, or at least content with their relationship. There’s nothing exactly wrong with that, but most of us want something more.

Ross challenges Tessa, and she takes him up on it, but doesn’t tell him. Enter secrets, and fears, and a healthy dose of self analysis. Throw in a damsel in distress, and things really get interesting.

I really appreciated the normalness of the relationship/storyline and could relate to Tessa in many ways. It was nice to see her work through her thoughts and emotions enough to figure out what was real. That’s not always easy. And the sticky notes, well, That was hilarious!!

Heart Pressed

Author: Melissa Wardwell, Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Crushes are great for grapes, wine, and romance—not so great for hearts.

The Sweetheart Festival, an Elnora Island institution, has sparked more than a few romances over the years, but who would have thought it would light a fire in two hearts from two of the island’s oldest families. When Amara Martin and Dante Greco meet, sparks fly that may ignite more than romance.

Two wineries, old feuds, generations of traditions.

Seeing the attraction at Amara and Dante’s chance meeting, Beth Stevens and Scott Anderson join forces to do a little matchmaking, not realizing the pressure it would bring to both households and their own hearts. The new couple must decide if they will adhere to tradition or break free from expectations and choose love. Pressure on every side threatens a love that hasn’t yet had a chance to ripen—for both Amara and Dante as well as for Beth and Scott.

In this “forbidden love” novel, Heart Pressed continues the Elnora Island romances of the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.
The Independence Islands Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

Heart Pressed surprised me. It was fun spending more time with Beth and Scott, and I sympathize with Beth’s uncertainty on how to trust and depend on someone else, even while she longs to do just that.

Amara, now she was an awesome lead character. She made a very independent and life-altering decision in the days just before becoming a Christian. Now, she’s soaking in the beauty of God’s Word, and dealing with both her own life-altering choice, and her mother’s cancer.

Dante, well, I have to admire him. He knows what he wants, and still doesn’t know what to do with the complications placed in his way. But, with a little encouragement, he pulls through.

These characters are real. They aren’t perfect, or too good to be true. And yet they’re good examples of what a Christian should be.

I recommend this book wholeheartedly. I received an advance copy from #celebratelit, and chose to review it here. All thoughts are my own.

Matchmaker’s Best Friend

Author: Kari Trumbo, Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

“You’re just like a brother to me. I don’t like you in that way.”

When they dated ten years ago as teens, it almost destroyed their friendship. So Pen Reese did the only logical thing.  She lied about how she felt—and still feels—about him.

She’s still paying for that lie.

A brilliant plan to set Mike and a friend up and get over him has one problem.

It’s breaking her heart.

When Pen pushed him away, Mike Gaines assumed she just didn’t understand his faith. People like her persnickety aunt even claim he’s part of a cult—ridiculous, but it’s true. Still, if she wants him to play the part of a big brother, fine. At least he can stay close this way.

At first, Pen’s attempt to set him up with one of her close friends hurts. But what if it’s the perfect opportunity to show her what she’s missing if she sees him with someone else?

In this friends-to-more-meets-second-chance romance, The Matchmaker’s Best Friend continues the Elnora Island romances of the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.
The Independence Islands Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

I really liked Mike. His heart is huge, and he’s not afraid to be uncomfortable in his desire to help others. He stands firm in his faith, and isn’t willing to compromise. But his communication skills with Pen left them in a tough position!

Pen drove me nuts, but I probably would have done a lot of the same things. Trying to keep her business going strong and her friends happy, and failing to look after herself left her with no room for anything. Then, since she was afraid to lose Mike’s friendship, and wanted Jazzy to have someone who’d truly care for her well, she nearly breaks everyone’s heart.

I can relate to fear of failure keeping you from making risky decisions, and causing you to make riskier ones… Pen had a good group of friends who don’t let her go past the point of no return, even though it feels like she passed that point 10 miles back.

I can’t wait for Jazzy’s story!

I received an advance copy of this book from the author and Celebrate Lit. I chose to review it here, all thoughts are my own.

The Elnora Monet, A Billionaire Story That I Could Actually Believe

I got to review The Elnora Monet over in the #BecauseFiction magazine. Check it out and snag your free subscription today!

Stealing the First Mate, A Memorable Christian Beach Read

I reviewed Stealing the First Mate on it’s own full post here. This one really reminds you that no one is perfect, but God’s grace is sufficient!

Regaining Mercy Independence Islands Book

Author: Carolyn Miller Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Release date: June 29, 2021

Regaining Mercy Book cover: brunette girl in her 20s looking pensive, in a field of tall grass, pink border, Independence Islands seal.

A mom ready to do anything for her son. A man determined to win the woman he loves.

Going on Love at First Glance had seemed like such a good idea. She didn’t care about finding Mr. Right. No, Mindy Murray chose the reality TV show for more mercenary reasons.  A mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do when it comes to feeding her son.

When Mindy returns to Elnora, the girl from the “wrong side of the island” just wants a chance to rebuild her reputation. Too bad the folks at church don’t practice what the preacher preaches.

Enter Dermott Reilly. The interim boss at Greener Gardens has always had a soft spot for Mindy and her son, but with his new responsibilities, an important garden competition, and a few other concerns, he finds it difficult to prove himself to her.

A tropical storm and a missing child prove that sometimes grace appears in the most unusual ways.

Regaining Mercy concludes the Elnora Island romances of the Independence Islands Series, featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

The Independence Islands Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.

Click here to get your copy!

My Review

Okay, Wow. This book takes us on quite an adventure. Mindy is suffering from the ‘3rd and 4th generation” effects of Deuteronomy 5.9, it seems to me. The generational consequences of a person’s rebellion against God. But. But she doesn’t stay stuck in that place. The beauty of watching her break out of that and come to trust God for what she needs, and who she is, is wonderful.

Dermott himself is dealing with trying to create his own place, as he didn’t fit his family’s mold of ‘acceptable career path’ and therefore has no worth to them. But he doesn’t let that define his actual worth or the value of accepting people for who they are. He’s patient with Mindy, and steadfast, though it catches him off guard when his feelings for his friend’s sister change into something more.

Both of them let their fears get the best of them a few times, and don’t act, or act rashly because of it, allowing us a glimpse of overcoming fears, facing challenges, and allowing others to help.

Good object lessons wrapped up in a fantastic storyline that will have you laughing plenty, thinking a bit, and maybe learn something along the way.

My favorite quote:

Dermott Reilly kissed like she’d seen him shovel: with finesse, and strenth, and focused determination.

Regaining Mercy by Carolyn Miller

More Christian Beach Reads Coming Soon

This series of Independence Islands Christian beach reads is releasing one per month. I’m privileged to be a few books ahead on reviewing advance copies, so I can tell you these clean beach reads are just as good!

  • Seasoned Grace (Review scheduled for September 2021)
  • More than a Heartthrob (Review scheduled for October 2021)

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