29 Best Christian Beach Reads That Have Substance

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Christian Beach Reads on a sandy background

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.

They make for great books to read on the beach, or when you wish you could be there. Full of life-changing, crushing and strengthening experiences, on or near the beach.

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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 many 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.

Independence Islands Christian Beach Reads

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.

Take a moment to watch this quick video introducing this series of beach novels, 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 (Island #1)

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

Dual Power of Convenience by Chautona Havig

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 by Melissa Wardwell

“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 the 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.

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!

Grace Goals 2020: This time it can be different...

Secret Beach Boyfriend by Kari Trumbo

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 by Rachel Skatvold

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 by Tabitha Bouldin

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 by Carolyn Miller

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. While you’re there, be sure to look at all that magazine has to offer!

Elnora Island’s Christian Beach Reads (Island 2)

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, in these top notch beach novels.

Bookers on the Rocks by Chautona Havig

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 By Melissa Wardwell

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 By Kari Trumbo

“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! Get some recommendation for other fabulous books to read on the beach!

Stealing the First Mate, A Memorable Christian Beach Read

I reviewed Stealing the First Mate in its own full post here. This one really reminds you that no one is perfect, but God’s grace is sufficient! Pretty awesome beach reading, if you ask me!

Regaining Mercy By Carolyn Miller

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.

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

Hopper Island Beach Reading (Island #3)

Hooper on the map, this island, shaped like a rabbit, is known by the name Hopper, to the locals. The beach reading in this set continues the trend of amazing writing, captivating stories, good laughs and great things to think about.

Flipping Hearts by Chautona Havig

When a flipping houses style tv show approaches the ‘maintenance man’ of the islands, offering to do some cleanup work after the hurricane, and pressures him into signing immediately, something’s not quite right.

Sabotage, illness, and lies set the stage for a total disaster. But there’s hope. A junior detective, a dash of attraction, and a few wise words help this ‘reality’ tv host and the island man resolve some major problems.

Click here to get your copy today!

Seasoned Grace by Melissa Wardwell

I really enjoy getting to know more about Beth and Scott with each new book Melissa Wardwell writes. And that she is able to move their story along just right while also sharing a different couple’s story in each book is great!

Seasoned Grace offers a lot of healing and unraveling of mysterious hurts from long ago.

Misunderstanding can be devastating, and build walls that feel impenetrable. Beth has carried those walls around with her for far too long, and I am thrilled that she gets the chance to ask questions and understand the truth instead of her assumption.

This book takes ‘hurt people hurt people’ and unpacks it well. It offers understanding, empathy, and hope. If we can just be honest, in our statements and in our questions, we will avoid a lot of unnecessary heartaches, and find healing too.

It’s not all tied up in a neat package, but enough for a satisfying ending.

These Christian beach reads are so good! They are light, but still deal with very real and relatable flaws and hurts. They share Gospel Grace without being preachy. The characters become your friends.

Click here to get your copy! And remember it's "free" on Kindle Unlimited!

More Than a Heartthrob by Kari Trumbo

This next one, I was fortunate to be able to review over at the BecauseFiction Magazine. Hollywood heartthrob makes an unlikely connection while hiding on the islands!

Hooper Safe Haven by Rachel Skatvold

Another win for the Independence Islands series. I felt welcomed back to old friends, and loved meeting new ones.

This one has a touch more mystery than most of the series. What is Allison running from. Why is she hiding? But I love the beauty of the way the author shows how God works behind the scenes*, working all things for our good.

The concept of letting go of past hurts and mistakes, and not letting them ruin the present or the future is so well woven into the story, and such a timely reminder for us! The theme is there, but these two quotes directly address it, and are worth remembering:

“You did your best…You have to stop living with so much regret and worry. It’s like a poison.”

“There’s no point in letting the past poison the future. We both have to let it go, and give it to God, He’s the only one who can bring us the healing we need, and he’s already doing it.”

I love the inside jokes, renaming Hooper island as Hopper because of the shape, and confusing the newcomers/outsiders. It’s just the right dose of fun to lighten the story when needed.

Learning about service dogs that detect oncoming seizures was fascinating. Watching Jace and his dad navigate all the new dynamics of an adult son who needs a certain amount of help, and yet still needs to be treated as an adult, requiring both to work on grace and compassion in the process was beautifully real!

Click here to get your copy!

*Two Fantastic Bible studies on this topic of God working behind the scenes can be found here: Hagar and Legion

Footprints on Her Heart By Tabitha Bouldin

Set in and around the animal shelter, this is one Powerful story. Beautiful message well written. I could not put this one down. I fully intend to read it again. Pardon the pun, but it left footprints on my heart ?

Kara’s very introverted, but pushes through where needed, and where she’s passionate. Trent is trying to ‘make up for’ past mistakes, seeing himself as basically unworthy of forgiveness, or good things.

Trent’s dad is pretty awesome. He only makes a couple of brief appearances, but his kindness, mercy and wisdom are unforgettable.

The drama with the rescue dogs drives the story along, strategically working on both Trent and Kara, drawing them closer to God, each other, and their friends.

I love the peek into past stories without them taking over, or feeling like you’ve missed anything. The feat of a well connected series where each book stands well alone takes a lot of talent, and being able to pull that of with a group of authors is even better!

Click here to get your copy!

Reclaiming Hope by Carolyn Miller

I’ve been looking forward to Callie’s story since Restoring Fairhaven (island #1), which was one of the best stories ever. And I wasn’t disappointed.

Callie is strong, and keeps an ordered, organized life. Managing things is her specialty. She’s skeptical of ever having a real relationship, so she’s filled her life with things she ‘can’ control, and tries to keep busy enough to feel satisfied. Something I can relate to, if for different reasons. I’m sure most of us can.

Being on crutches myself while reading a story about a surfer on crutches gave me extra empathy for him. I may have connected with him a little faster than I would have otherwise, but I really liked him. He was real with his struggles, and working through them. Yes, he was stubborn on wanting what he wanted, but he grew. That’s a big deal.

The one thing that bothered me, was a casual reference to the popular quote that “God never gives us more than we can cope with.” I’m sorry, but I disagree. I think there’s a big difference between being assured that God will give us a way of escape when tempted, and allowing stacks of difficult and even unbearable things. I won’t turn this into a theological debate, as it’s literally 3 sentences out of the book, but it is there.

1 Corinthians 10.13, NIV …God is faithful, He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

I had to laugh at this next line, because it’s 100% relatable: “She had the cake, and he had a gluten-free brownie, which didn’t taste too bad, all things considered.”

Another one that had me laughing was “Callie nodded, pitifully glad for once that Miranda had the social grace of a porcupine.” Sometimes it is nice when someone else asks the question or makes the comment that you’d love to, but don’t think you should for whatever reason!

Click here to get your copy!

Sparrow Island Christian Beach Reads (Island #4)

Sparrow island has some of the best books to read on the beach, or off!

Finding a Memory by Chautona Havig

Mallory and Ben are back at it again. Mallory found a journal that wasn’t meant to be donated, and starts investigating an old romance that was interfered with because of a promise and a man with PTSD. Can they figure out the identities of the people mentioned in the journal? Can old heartbreaks be healed and restored and started anew? Definitely a winning story!

Find your copy here!

Blended Lives by Melissa Wardwell

Seth and Sarah are single parents, thrust together by circumstances, and uncertain whether what is growing is out of desperate need or real love. Scott and Beth are good friends to visit with again, and I always love getting to spend more time with them!

I read this in one sitting, while my youngest napped on my lap. And enjoyed almost every moment (except for the moments I wasn’t supposed to enjoy. The author has done it again!

I will state for the record that Gram is still my favorite, 4 books later, but I have come to love all the characters. I can hardly wait to see what the next book holds!

I ached for Sarah, and found myself praying as I read. For mothers in similar positions, alone and broke, and overwhelmed by all the things. I love how Beth included her and listened to her without telling her what to do.

The way Scott was able to modify dreams and lean into becoming a team with Beth, and how both he and Seth gave space for Beth and Sarah to think and process without pushing, or leaving them behind. That’s a treasure to take note of!

Click here to get your copy!

Sweet Rivals by Kari Trumbo

Another book I had the honor of reviewing over at #BecauseFiction Magazine! Corbin is dealing with a unique rivalry, between who he’s settled for being, and who Fay knows he could be.

Stranded on Sparrow by Rachel Skatvold

This book made my day on page one. I made up stories as a kid about a girl named Natalia. So to read about her all grown up was so cool!

Lia’s drowning under others expectations, and Zach, well, he’s proven himself caring and considerate by helping others, from animals in need, to a little girl who needs stability.

I read through the whole thing in one afternoon, on the edge of my seat about Tyler being MIA, though since he’s a core character in the series I wasn’t tooooo worried 🙂

Lia did a lot of assuming, taking a fragment of information and running to the worst possible scenario. Zach helped her sort through them with nearly too remarkable patience. My favorite conclusion to one of these mishaps is:

“What’s in the past is in the past. It was a misunderstanding. Now we’re both on the same page again.” To which Lia responds “But are you sure we’re in the same book?”

A question I’ve asked myself more than once when I think I know what’s going on and am proven wrong.

Lia allows her own insecurities and fear of not being good enough cause her to play out all kinds of things far worse than reality. But. But she eventually realizes what is before her is a beautiful thing. And it’s real, and God is helping his lost sparrow find home.

Kendall’s opinion that the old saying really should be a bowl of ice cream a day keeps the doctor away, is both brilliant and tasty!

Click here to get your copy!

From Shore to Shore by Tabitha Bouldin

Bree and Cooper are fighting for contentment. Trying desperately to force themselves to be content with the status quo. Read more about their story here.

Rebuilding Hearts by Carolyn Miller

Tim the Gardener gets his turn! He and Bella make quite a pair, and have a significant, life altering history they didn’t even realize.

Excellent story progression, and still capable of being a solid standalone if you haven’t read the entire series.

It was great to see Sam and Max again, even under such difficult circumstances, and Callie and Kai and Dermott. It’s nice to see their continuation so neatly woven into this brand new story!

Carolyn Miller has become one of my favorite authors, though I had never heard of her before this series. She captured my heart with Restoring Fairhaven and has been great ever since.

Tim is a complex young man. Full of heroic tendencies big and small (sensitive and observant). Lacking in confidence and shies away from attention. I could relate to his discomfort in certain circumstances, and found him to be very believable. Definitely someone I’d like to have in my friend circle!

Bella is in a very transitional time in her life, moving, recognizing the character of the people who she has been surrounding herself with, and whether they value her or not. Establishing a new life in a new location with new people can leave you unsteady, but she handled a lot of things well.

Cute kids at church, and an incredible landlady round out a fun story that makes this a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

Click here to get your copy!

Breakers Head Beach Novels (Island #5)

The last of the Independence Islands, Breakers Head, takes us full circle.

Book Chapter and Vows by Chautona Havig

Finally back to Ben and Mallory in the spotlight! There have been hints, and progress over the last couple of years, but now, they get the focus again. Insecurities, secrets, assumptions, and drama create the perfect setting for either heartbreak or healing. I love the way this one wove together some beautiful storylines.

And the hint at what’s to come on the new set of islands in the Pacific!

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Delicious Devotion by Melissa Wardwell

Scott and Beth. Man, I have really gotten attached to them. Their story has been rough, and ‘mostly’ from outside influences. Sometimes because they don’t communicate well, but they do better in that area than many people I know.

This, the last couple of months before the wedding, are no different. But the way their devotion to God, and each other plays out, is pretty awesome!

Yet again Beth’s mom is causing heartache and drama, and Scott is busy with issues of his own.

But the discussion on forgiveness, I might just have to become framed wall art!

“The act of forgiveness is different from letting go of the emotions that went with it.”

I’m definitely going to have to sit with this thought for a while. Because it’s so totally profound.

I love the hint of what’s to come in the new ‘Islands’ Series. Just a taste, but it definitely piqued my interest. I can hardly wait 🙂

I received an advance copy of this book from #CelebrateLit and chose to review it here. All thoughts are my own.

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Blessings in the Bargain by Kari Trumbo

An unusual tale, that starts off on a ‘3 hour tour’ of some beautiful islands… followed by an unexpected storm… and some enforced closeness.

I’ve wanted to understand Courtney’s story more since very early in the series, and it was a good feeling, finally getting to read it. I hurt for her, and all she went through. I can understand her motives, and I’m very glad Lex was able to state so firmly that NOTHING can separate us from God’s love, and that He is a forgiving God.

I love how the author tackles the subject of wider age ranges in marriage. I know several couples who have 12-16 years age differences, and are quite happy, even with the inherent challenges. So the subject doesn’t bother me like it may some. I think this might have been my favorite line:

“Nowhere in the Bible does it say that a man and wife can only be three years apart in age.”

I read for 2 hours straight before forcing myself to put it down and go to bed, with less than 45 minutes left in the book. That was painful! But I finished over breakfast, and was very satisfied!

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Returning to Breakers by Rachel Skatvold

Yes! We finally get more time with Tiffany!! I really empathize with her frustration at being pulled so many directions at once, and trying to take care of as much as possible without asking for help or ‘bothering’ anyone.

I love the way the ‘family’ pulled together and helped Tiffany out, supporting her on both the work and home fronts, to give her the margin needed to get back her focus and rest some, so she could come back at normal life with fresh perspective, ideas, and energy.

And I was absolutely jealous of her kids both sleeping in AND being good nappers. Not my experience, even on active vacations, but it’s good for the story.

Liam spent a lot of time fighting with forgiveness, wrestling in his own way. That part of the story is such a great lesson to everyone, because forgiveness isn’t always easy, or natural. And when you’re living with assumptions and opinions instead of facts that may or may not have been withheld from you, it can be even harder.

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Waiting on the Tides By Tabitha Bouldin

This made a great airplane distraction. I read it in less than three hours while flying cross-country.

I didn’t laugh quite as much as I have in other books in the series, but I enjoyed the story, and the challenges. Like several other stories in the series, it deals with some tough subjects, from single parenthood to snap (mis)judgements, to searching desperately for lost family members.

Fear of repeat abandonment and overcompensating for someone else’s issues has left Christian in a bad position. Drowning in day-to-day life, raising his daughter and trying to protect both of their hearts. Trying to be ‘enough’ for his daughter’s sake.

Abby’s desire to find the place she fits best, and her determination to help when she sees needs she’s capable of filling and feels led to pursue are fascinating. In a lot of ways, she’s very strong. Yes, she gets hurt a time or three, but she weathers that well.

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Refining Josie By Carolyn Miller

I’ve been waiting for Josie’s story since Restoring Fairhaven. Something wasn’t right. And I wanted to know what.

I thought she was hurt, from the little that we had seen previously, but it was more of an educated guess than a certainty. I was right.

I was encouraged by her journey, because whatever hurt you experienced, especially by a trusted individual, the healing process takes time. Coping mechanisms exist for a reason. And learning to trust anyone has your good in mind, or believes in your ability after a deep betrayal is not easy.

The way the author handles this is beautiful. I’m most grateful for the skill and sensitivity of the way this story is written.

And our Australian hero, well, he’s quite a guy! I find myself praying for random people I encounter, and so did he. Never thought he’d see her again, but then, there she is.

He is surrounded by needs, and gets a bit overwhelmed by the responsibilities that it appears only he can meet. Torn between significant needs on 2 continents, all he can do is pray, and then lean into his new support network.

This was a most satisfying ending to a fantastic series, both the whole Independence Islands series and Carolyn Miller’s subset.

I received a copy of the book from Celebrate Lit and chose to review it here. All thoughts are my own.

Click here to get your copy!

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