Just in Time by Marie Bostwick, Emily Sutton-Smith, Kate Marcin, and Carol Monda (Narrator)
5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
This was a great story about three women who have all been widowed. They all lost their husbands under various circumstances and were left in different situations. Grace Saunders is technically not a widow, as her husband is living in a rehabilitation home, being kept alive by machines. She is still dealing with grief and has no desire to meet anyone or date because in her mind and heart, she is still married. Nan has been widowed for twenty years. Her children are grown and she is alone. Her dog, Blitzen, works with her to help people dealing with grief. She is extremely well off financially and runs a dog rescue. Our third character is Monica. She is not only dealing with grief, but with betrayal when she finds out he was unfaithful to her. Not only that, but she has two step-children that she is responsible for and they are not always easy. These three women meet at a grief group and become friends, helping each other deal with whatever comes their way.
I loved this story and these women. They were all dealing with so much, yet were still functioning, productive women. They became fast friends who supported each other, were loyal, caring and were women that I wish I knew. All their difficulties were realistic from trying to fun a business, trying to keep your job during restructuring, dealing with school issues, and more. I really liked the theme of homelessness and addiction. I don’t want to spoil the story so will say no more about it, except that they are important plotlines in the story. If you are looking for an uplifting story, where women support one another to become more successful, then this is the book for you. Yes there is some romance, but it is more of a vehicle to move the story forward than a major plot. I definitely recommend this one to lovers of Women’s Fiction. The narration by Emily Sutton-Smith, Kate Marcin, and Carol Monda was wonderful. Each woman had their own voice and it was perfect as the various chapters were told from different points of view. Tone, expression and inflection were used to make this a wonderful listening experience.
Seasons of an Amish Garden by Amy Clipston, C.S.E. Cooney (narrator)
4 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐ for story, 3 stars ⭐⭐⭐ for narration
This is an Amish Romance Anthology, with four stories, one for each season. All the stories take place in Bird-in-Hand and they have overlapping characters, but each story is a different couple and romance. There are themes of forgiveness, taking care of the less fortunate, acceptance, flexibility and compromise. As each story is relatively short, the fact that all the stories have the same characters, by the end of the book, I felt that they were well developed. As well, the romances did not seem like they were insta-love or moved to quickly. Overall, this was a sweet book with nice, happily ever after romances with a faith based core. The narrator, C.S.E. Cooney, is not one of my favorites. I find her voices seem forced and often sound the same. It was a pleasant listen, but not outstanding.
Once in a Blue Moon by Sharon Sala, Amy Rubinate (Narrator)
This is one of those series that can be read as standalone stories in pretty much any order. I have read all of them so far and always enjoy a visit to Blessings, Georgia. Each story has someone ending up in Blessings either looking for something/someone or they are running away from something/someone. Blessings is a haven for these people and the other residents welcome them with open arms. In this story, Cathy Terry has run from LasVegas after her divorce. She knows that her ex-husband would just as soon have her disappear than worry that she might let out some of his secrets. She ends up in Blessings for a few months to regroup, but the magic that seems to happen when someone injured or damaged shows up, is about to make it her new home.
There are several things happening in this story from cattle rustling, stalking, poverty to love, caring, forgiveness, community and generosity. There is a poor section of town where the residents are not only poor, but their homes they rent are falling apart around them. Cathy wants to help and sets her mind to it. Meanwhile her ex-husband hires a PI to find her and let him know where she is, so there is some stalking and some suspenseful moments. Of course there is romance as there is in all these books. This is a light read, with a happy ending. This is a faith based story so there is some talk about God, scriptures and church although it is not a major part of the story. I enjoy this uplifting series, as it always makes me smile. Amy Rubinate has narrated all the books in this series. She has a pleasant voice and uses her tone, inflection and expression to give the characters voices as well as to make the story more enjoyable. I do enjoy the books she narrates.