Showing posts with label thomas nelson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label thomas nelson. Show all posts

Monday, February 28, 2022

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I'll Be Seeing You, Robin Lee Hatcher (Review)


Thank you to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this novel! 

Yet another 5-star read from this amazing publishing house. I honestly wasn't expecting to like this book as much as I did and the reason for that is that it started a little weird. I'll first include the blurb that can be found anywhere on the Internet so that you know what it's about and then I'll express my opinion on the characters, story, and other things that I liked (or disliked) about it.

Generations of secrets unfold as a young college student learns the truth about her great-grandmother’s World War II heartbreak and love. For fans of Francine Rivers and Karen Kingsbury.

Brianna Hastings’s life seems dull and full of disappointment until a handsome young man visits her church. She’s instantly smitten by the charming Greg, who leads an exciting, independent life—the kind of life she longs for. But when a college history assignment forces Brianna to interview her great-grandmother about life during World War II, she can’t believe it when Daisy presses her with questions about Greg’s character. “What sort of man is he? Who is he at his core?”

What could her great-grandmother possibly know about love at first sight?

The questions take both women back to Boise, Idaho, in the early 1940s, when war emphasized how fragile life could be. Daisy and her older sister pine for the same handsome bomber pilot—until one night of terrible judgment reveals their true characters and drives them apart. Trying to protect the people she loves the most, Daisy condemns herself to live a lie.

In the years that follow, as Daisy grapples with the consequences, she receives unexpected grace from a man she’s known her whole life but never looked at twice. Could what she learned about love save Brianna from heartache three generations later?

Now that I got that out of the way, let me just say that I'm not a huge fan of this 'recounting' and going back and forth through time (not in a time-travel-y way) trope and that I was pleasantly surprised by this book!  


I've been avoiding WW2 stories in the past couple of years and that's because I had a period a while ago where I read so much about it (both fiction and non-fiction) that I kind of... got over it. Obviously, it's a world event that's important and everyone should get as informed about it as possible, but after reading so much WW2 fiction, you do risk reaching a point where all of it seems the same. 

First of all, although it's clear that the author did a lot of research about WW2 especially in terms of how Americans went into the war and handled everything military-wise, I have to note that this book is not heavy in historical information.

This makes it very easy to digest. If it were packed in heavy history, perhaps reading it would have taken me more time or perhaps I would have found it heavier also in a sentimental way. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the story, but I did like the 'past' more than I did the 'present', and that's because I found it very difficult to relate to Brianna. 

This is a Christian novel, so it was clean. No steam was involved, so I recommend it to anyone and everyone. 


Daisy and Todd were my top favorite characters of all, which means that most of my favorite parts and story moments were in the past, where I got to see everything about Brianna's grandmother.

I'm not going to give any spoilers, but Daisy does a lot of growing and basically becomes an adult toward the end of her story as a young adult. She also realizes that judging people based on their appearance or charm is incorrect and that they might be completely different than what they seem to be. 

I did not like Daisy's sister, Lillian, just like I wasn't crazy about Brianna. 

What I liked about it

The story itself, the setting, and the way the characters (or most of them, anyway) behaved (in a very natural way) are my favorite things about this book. 

I could go into some more detail but I really am afraid that I might go into spoiler territory. 

What I would also like to add, though, is that the author has an amazing way of telling us how the characters are without telling us how they are. What I mean by this is that she lets their actions speak more about them rather than being didactic and clearly specifying their personality features. 

For some of them, for example, she describes the experiences they've gone through so that we ourselves can draw the conclusion of how they might have influenced them. I really enjoyed that. 

The reason I don't like Colleen Hoover's writing, for instance, a very well-known romance author (and one that I personally do not appreciate) is that she is extremely didactic to the point of being ridiculous or boring. 

That's not the case for this book!

What I didn't like about it

The only thing that I didn't really like about this novel was Brianna. Unfortunately, I could tell pretty early that I wasn't going to be a fan of her's, and the reason for that is that not only does she resemble Lillian's temperament, being overwhelmed by her parents and bored of living at home and wanting adventure to the point that she might risk place herself in potential danger... but she's also very weird as a character.

I don't think she was actually fleshed out like a 'real person' and the point of characters in books is that they have to be more or less realistic so that we fall into the author's trap and get drawn in by the story. 

Brianna was more like an imitation of a girl rather than a girl, and I realize that this is a fictional character I'm writing about... but there was always something a little off about her. 

Whenever I got back to the 1940s, I could tell that the narrator re-became comfortable and could describe everything about those characters much easier and better. 

(You might also like: Meet Me in the Margins by Melissa Ferguson - Review)

Perhaps this is the reason I liked the past more than the present. Plus, even though both of the main female characters are part of Christian communities, I suppose I appreciated Daisy's younger version because back in the time, people used to be even more traditional/conservative and I have to say that that's how I am these days. 

All in all, it was a great story and the way it was written made it thoroughly enjoyable. I'd also like to note that I was relieved when we stopped getting Brandan's point of view, too, because I was getting a little too confused with so many characters and so many time shifts. 

Rating? 5/5 even with the things that I didn't like. I loved Daisy and Todd's story way too much to give this book a 4-star rating. 

Support this blog by getting it here (#ad): I'll Be Seeing You by Robin Lee Hatcher

Continue reading I'll Be Seeing You, Robin Lee Hatcher (Review)

Saturday, February 12, 2022

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Meet Me in the Margins by Melissa Ferguson (Review)

I’ve had a really great reading year up until now (having read 17 books by now - it’s February 12th as I am writing this).

I even tried reading the first chapter of three books to pick one or two tops out of them, but my choices were Remainder by Thomas McCarthy, The Couple at the Table by Sophie Hannah, and Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover.

One evening, I tried reading Ugly Love and it seemed quite interesting at first. But when I got to the moment (and I don’t think this is a spoiler since every romance reader wants the two main protagonists to end up together) where our girl feels attracted to Miles, a guy who not only grabbed her by the ankle the evening prior, but also tried to forcefully enter her and her brother’s apartment… I said that I am done.

I hate this trope of turning bad guys into good guys. Since when are women supposed to fall in love with their abusers (or even find them attractive)? Hello?

So that evening I was considering not reading anything more at all because I obviously DNF-ed Ugly Love (and at this point I don’t think I’m ever going to read anything by Colleen Hoover again).

But since I’m aggressively getting back into reading, I had asked for a couple of books on NetGalley and had the amazing surprise of having my request approved by Thomas Nelson for this novel – Meet Me in the Margins, by Melissa Ferguson.

I finished it last night and I have to say…

Well! Now that is a great book and a great romance novel!

I’m not going to give any spoilers, but I will note here some of the things that I absolutely adored about this book. It actually had me squeaking out of excitement and joy a couple of times, which never happens to me.

Quick summary

Savannah Cade is an assistant editor at Pennington, a publishing house that mostly deals with non-fiction. She has written a romance novel and is looking to send it to an editor, but in a series of (mildly unfortunate and very, very funny) events, she ends up hiding it in a secret place in her work building.

When she comes back to retrieve it, she notices that a small part of the manuscript was edited by a mystery editor, who added comments to the margins of the pages… Who is the mystery editor and why are they helping her?

So, my favorite things about Meet Me in the Margins were the following:
  • The absence of steamy scenes

I read enough steamy scenes to last me a lifetime and I read so many books where they appear time and again that I now consider them an author’s cheap way of getting out of creating a unique story with unique characters.

I don’t have anything against sexual tension but when it’s too much and when it’s too straightforward, I feel like that’s pretty much everything the story is about.

And any author worth their salt should be aware of how much extra steaminess can ruin a story!

Fortunately, that is not something I had to deal with in this book. After I started reading it, I did a little research on Thomas Nelson and found out that they mostly publish Christian books (I’m a devout Catholic myself) and if that’s so, I guess I now am a Christian romance book reader.

Melissa Ferguson had an amazing way of getting the two main characters together without getting them together, if you know what I mean.

We get to learn their quirks and their personalities even before the idea of them being a couple appears in our minds.

There’s no actual slow burn in this case, at least not in my opinion, and that’s because there are some other things that are important in this book - Savannah herself, her relationship with her family and friends, what she wants to do as a career (working on her manuscript), how she interacts with people at work (wink wink), and so on.

And we get so wrapped up in all of this that there is no need for any type of sexual tension whatsoever. This novel is clean and beautiful and I feel that steamy scenes would have ruined the charm, at least for me.

So, I really loved it!

  • The incredible banter

There are a lot of funny scenes in this book and once again, I can’t give too much detail here.

I like how the characters interact with one another and I love Savannah’s clumsiness and spontaneity and the way that she can’t sometimes shut up even when she’s spilling the beans on her co-workers.

She is quite refreshing, but there are plenty of other funny characters here. Her best friend, her best friend’s hobbies (and what Savannah does to help her with that), and Sav’s boss who’s a mix of ultimate seriousness and charming personality (the second being available for times outside of work hours).

The only people that I do not find funny in this book are Savannah’s family members, but you know how it is. There needs to be a way to balance things out by adding some less charming and hilarious characters.

So yeah, the banter in this book is absolutely amazing!

Perhaps it vibed with my sense of humor and that’s why I liked it so much or maybe it’s just good humor in general. Either way, it’s one of the things that make this book great!

  • The realistic characters

These people (I already see them as people, not characters) behave like normal individuals.

They have their hardships, their frustrations, their routines, and they’re also ordinary in the way they struggle with their work, deadlines, conferences, and whatever else they have to do.

They aren’t perfect in any way, so the reader automatically resonates with and can identify with them.

Besides one particular character who strives for perfection, everybody is flawed here. I love that about them.

  • The grumpy/sunshine trope (but in a different way)

We’re not talking about a grumpy/sunshine trope where the male character is just grumpy without any specific reason.

He is supposed to be like that because that’s literally his job.

I don’t like those books where there’s this stupid and unexplained tension between the two main characters where one is behaving really bad and the other is almost being abused by the first.

That is not the case here.

Even Savannah has her bad days and can’t keep up being positive when she sees how things are going around her, when she knows that there are risks to what she is doing, and when everything in her future depends on an email.

I’m sure the male character is much more complex than what we see in the book, but that’s the catch – we know that he has a great personality and that there’s more to him than what we see, even though we don’t get his POV.

He’s not just being grumpy for the sake of being grumpy. He’s authentic and attentive and he wants to make a difference in his professional and personal life. This guy is great! Sure he’s supposed to be serious, but he’s not a bad guy who turns into a good one (a trope I personally hate and that I’ve seen in so many books).

  • The story itself

The good thing is that I went into this book not really knowing too much about the story.

As per the blurb on NetGalley, Meet Me in the Margins is about a girl, Savannah, who has been working on her romance novel for a while and who has to send her manuscript to an editor she met at a conference in a limited amount of time.

I didn’t even get any info on whether there’s a love story or not… but I did look at the cover and there were two people holding books there! So that seemed promising…

First of all, I loved the pacing of this book. It was a very quick read for me because I got so curious and wanted to find out what happened in the next, and then in the next chapter, that I ended up reading until 1:30am.


The fact that it takes place in Nashville is something I also loved because I don’t really get the chance to read a lot of books set in the South of the United States.

I think what I loved the most about this story was not just the romance and the actual plot, but also the fact that Savannah discovers herself throughout it.

She realizes that she’s the most important person in her life or at least the one that will always be with her for the time she’s alive. So she starts trusting herself!

I also loved the story because it is so hopeful, besides being really funny and charming. It makes you feel that even if you are not okay, nobody is – everyone’s faking it. But what this story does is tell you that you have to put yourself and your strongest desires first, at least sometimes.

  • The setting

I don’t think I had ever read a novel where the action took place in a publishing house before.

And although Pennington is a fairly small publishing house, it is one nonetheless.

Besides the editors, I didn’t know what jobs people had in this type of office, so I was curious to find out everything about pretty much all the characters I encountered.

Besides that, the actual editing work that takes place in this book was so incredibly interesting! It was fascinating what some people (I don’t want to give spoilers here!) had to say about possible or impossible situations in Savannah’s novel.

There’s this moment when even Savannah herself, who doesn’t take criticism very well, even when it’s constructive criticism, realizes how cringey a moment in her book is. And I loved that. That made everything a lot more realistic.

I do believe this is going to be the best romance book I’ll read this year and I don’t say that lightly, because I know there are many other amazing titles being released this year.
I thoroughly recommend checking it out when it’s published – Meet Me in the Margins by Melissa Ferguson.

I’ll definitely be reading everything that this author publishes in the future and I will clearly be getting the physical copy of this book!

My favorite quote:

Life is (...) about making a bath and spending so much time reading in it the water gets all cold and my fingers go pruny. Yes, there should be fundraisers and shoebox drives and hard work, too, but it’s all about slowing down. Truly being present.

It’s about appreciating the miraculous gift that is existence. It’s about loving on others as much as you can. And yes, it’s also about appreciating what organically makes you happy and where reasonable, finding it.

*Thank you to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for giving me the chance to read this book!

Continue reading Meet Me in the Margins by Melissa Ferguson (Review)