Showing posts with label Amanda Dykes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Amanda Dykes. Show all posts

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Review: The Kissing Tree: Four Novellas Rooted in Timeless Love by Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, Amanda Dykes, Nicole Deese

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it


Bestselling novelist Karen Witemeyer joins award-winning authors Regina Jennings, Amanda Dykes, and Nicole Deese for this Texas-sized romance novella collection. Each of the authors' unique voices is on display in stories where courting couples leave a permanent mark of their love by carving their initials into the same oak's bark.  

In Regina Jennings' Broken Limbs, Mended Fences, a small-town teacher has her credentials questioned by a traveling salesman.

In Karen Witemeyer's Inn for a Surprise, two opinionated collaborators with conflicting visions must turn a doomed business venture into a successful romantic retreat.

From Roots to Sky by Amanda Dykes follows a young WWII naval airman who heads to Texas to meet the sister of a lost compatriot.

by Nicole Deese is a modern-day romance about the groundskeeper of a historic inn who's reunited with someone from her past while she fights to save a town landmark.

My Review

I love beautiful old trees, so the theme of a tree connecting four generations really appealed to me. Because of the variety of eras and the authors writing the different stories, each was unique and incorporated the Kissing Tree in a different way. While each story and couple was interesting, I connected the most with the emotions of the first, by Regina Jennings. A dream-killing injury, a challenge to her job, a wager, and unrequited love lead to an unlikely friendship between Bella and a schoolmate from her past. I appreciated how Bella does her best to forgive and look for the good in Adam. He is back in the town he grew up in to sell the latest technology in harvesting, yet his former community has difficulty believing his promises. He and Bella both have something to prove, and the support they give each other goes a long way to make them both successful in their endeavors and relationship. They feel strongly and are compelling as they earnestly seek for solutions to their quandary.

Inn for a Surprise brings the gentle humor author Karen Witemeyer brings to all her books, and the conflicting opinions on what would please the clientele of a hotel brought fun banter as the competition between Phoebe and Barnabas teaches them to listen and compromise in order to make the inn its best. 

I most enjoyed in Roots to Sky was the long correspondence between Hannah and Luke, and the way they grew to know each other before ever meeting. The healing and slow-developing sweet romance when they finally meet is lovely.

Heartwood was a little heartbreaking, since the great old tree is coming to the end of its days. I was fascinated with Griffin's occupation of arborist and all the skills and knowledge it involves. Abby's grief over her father bleeds into her lifestyle and the way she can't leave behind his work on the grounds of the inn and move on with her own life choices. Griffin's return resurrects old hurts for both of them that they must face and resolve in order to take risks again and heal.

Disclosure statement: A complimentary copy of this book was provided from a tour group, publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley, OR was borrowed from the library, including OverDrive, OR borrowed from Kindle Unlimited, OR purchased. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are unbiased and my own.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Review: Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


In the wake of WWII, a grieving fisherman submits a poem to a local newspaper: a rallying cry for hope, purpose . . . and rocks. Send me a rock for the person you lost, and I will build something life-giving. When the poem spreads farther than he ever intended, Robert Bliss's humble words change the tide of a nation. Boxes of rocks inundate the tiny, coastal Maine town, and he sets his calloused hands to work, but the building halts when tragedy strikes.

Decades later, Annie Sawyer is summoned back to Ansel-by-the-Sea when she learns her Great-Uncle Robert, the man who became her refuge during the hardest summer of her youth, is now the one in need of help. What she didn't anticipate was finding a wall of heavy boxes hiding in his home. Long-ago memories of stone ruins on a nearby island trigger her curiosity, igniting a fire in her anthropologist soul to uncover answers.

She joins forces with the handsome and mysterious harbor postman, and all her hopes of mending the decades-old chasm in her family seem to point back to the ruins. But with Robert failing fast, her search for answers battles against time, a foe as relentless as the ever-crashing waves upon the sea.

My Review

The first word I thought of to describe the vibe of this book is otherworldly. Not in a sci-fi way, but in a beautiful hazy way like waking up and remembering what you just dreamed. The historical and contemporary stories are woven together and draw curiosity out of the reader as layers of the plot and characters are revealed and new questions arise. There is heartbreak that is inevitable from the war-time era, but healing and growth as well. The strength of Robert, Roy, their family, and the community members of Ansel is evident and I felt like Annie- like I don't quite belong but I want to because it feels like home. Her journey of discovery is lovely as her heart turns more fully to her family and really knowing them and what drives them, their motivations, their past. I loved the way the elements of the story worked together to bring a satisfying conclusion to the book.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)

Don't miss the FREE prequel novella . . .


When Savannah Mae Thorpe visits her family in New England, she learns the future of the land she's inherited is in question. She finds help from a local lumberjack--who holds a shadowed past of his own--to discover the truth of a local legend and save her land. But her expedition may have unexpected ramifications on her life--and the lives of those around her.