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My Hope Next Door, by Tammy L. Gray
Katie Stone feels guilty about her past mistakes. She wants to do the right thing, but the small town where she grew up is not as forgiving. Asher Powell is the son of the towns pastor. When Katie comes to town to care for her ill mother, she moves next door to Asher. He remembers her as a mean spirited high school troublemaker. Will they find friendship in each other?
Vendor: Waterfall Press
Publication Date: 2016
RITA Award winner, Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements.
Former bad girl Katie Stone can feel the weight of her reputation settle over her as she drives home for the first time in years. Feeling deeply guilty about her past mistakes, Katie wants to do the right thing for once. But the small town where she grew up is not nearly as forgiving as she’d hoped. Despite it all, she’s determined to help her parents cope with her mother’s recent illness, and Katie finds a surprise ally in the man next door.
Asher Powell never minded being the son of a small-town pastor until a recent breakup leaves him wounded by lifelong members of his church. He remembers his new neighbor as a mean-spirited high school troublemaker, but he senses that her newfound faith and desire for forgiveness are sincere.
Through an unexpected friendship, two people from different worlds find peace, hope, and a second chance they never dreamed was possible.
stephanne25 Stars Out Of 5A sweet romance with some truth to it...October 17, 2016stephanne2Quality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Bring on the popcorn and the hot tamales because this is one of those books that makes you just want to sit back in a comfy chair with your favorite snack (or Asher's, hence the aforementioned popcorn & hot tamales) and just let time pass by while you read.
I love Tammy L. Gray's books; I've read every one. Once again, she's hit the nail on the head--NO ONE is perfect. We've all got our faults, our baggage that weighs us down and steals our hope. Robs us of joy. Threatens to burden us for a lifetime. And it's refreshing to read about characters that are true-to-life and truly flawed, just like the rest of us. Maybe it's a mistake made in a relationship--moving too far, too fast. Maybe it's being a rotten, embittered youth with a crappy attitude, an ax to grind and the reputation to match. No matter your past, the hope of redemption exists for us all.
"You can't have a future until you accept the past. That doesn't mean you have to live the way you used to, but it does mean you can't deny what made you who you are. You made mistakes. Own them and move on."
^^That was my takeaway.
All of the Katies of the world need an Asher to remind them that in spite of the ugliness of our burdens & mistakes--both past & present--there is still beauty to be found within. We've just got to OWN IT (the ugly) and MOVE ON (to what God has in store in spite of it). A little chemistry doesn't hurt, either. After all, the truth sounds a little better when it's coming from the hot web designer-by-day, carpenter-by-night next door. Amiright?!
So, like I said... get yourself a bowl of popcorn & hot tamales and settle in for a sweet romance with some truth to it. It'll leave you smiling!
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.
Rebecca ManeyGastonia, North CarolinaAge: 55-65Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Redeeming Love!October 3, 2016Rebecca ManeyGastonia, North CarolinaAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Nearly suffocating from fear and trepidation, Katie Stone limps back to her small town Georgia home at the request of her father. It's been four years, and her mother's worsening health condition has convinced Katie to pack everything she owns into her car and hope that she can maintain a low profile, while trying out her newfound faith among those who remember her previous paths of destruction.
Upon arrival, she meets her "hope next door", when neighbor Asher Powell seems to offer Katie his no-strings-attached friendship and assistance. Asher is battling serious regrets of his own, but Katie is convinced that her failures run so deep, that she will eventually bring Asher's reputation down to her level of local despise. As their feelings begin to move beyond platonic, can Katie be persuaded to drop her emotional walls and take the risk of a lifetime?
Asher would say that it takes, "Leverage. Sometimes it just takes a little distance and an extra dose of force to make a stubborn object move." . . . along with a boatload of unconditional love, "accepting her past, yet pushing her to seek out a better future".
This story explodes the perimeters of redeeming love; offering a clear glimpse of the heighth and the depth and the breadth of God's loving forgiveness displayed in broken, fragmented, and ultimately restored human relationships. What an amazing example of inspirational fiction!
AshleyMartin865 Stars Out Of 5An Amazing Story of RedemptionOctober 2, 2016AshleyMartin86Quality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0Such an amazing story from Mrs. Gray!! She's done it again! I've read everything she's written and will continue to in the future!
I was given an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. (I already preordered this book in April and I'm so glad I did!)
Katie Stone is the atypical prodigal daughter. She returns home after four years and after finding Jesus. Her story is the epitome of what it means to be a new Christian! To be fighting the past, trying to overcome temptation and create a new life that gives God glory.
Asher Powell is the quintessential preacher's kid. He lived the life he was brought up in for 25 years. And with one single mistake, his world crashes in front of him. The people he knew all his life turned their backs on him.
Katie and Asher find solace in each other. Their friendship is the definition of what God wants for us. The great thing about their friendship is how pure and honest it is. Their ability to be who they are and not be judged is refreshing. More people need to be that way!
It's my prayer that God will use this book to touch many hearts. Hearts like the people in Asher's church. Hearts like Cooper's, Laila and Chad's. Hearts like Katie's parents. And hearts like Asher and Katie. That there IS hope. Every day is a new day. To take one step, one task at a time.
You will not be disappointed in this one!
IolaNew ZealandAge: 45-54Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5So good.September 23, 2016IolaNew ZealandAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Katie Stone escaped her home town of Fairfield four years ago and has felt guilty ever since. Now her dad needs help with her mother, so shes home again. Reluctantly. Very reluctantly. But shes changed: shes no longer the drug addict who spends more time with her boyfriend than with her family. Shes become a Christian as if anyone in Fairfield is going to believe that.
Once home, she finds her new next door neighbour is Asher Powell. Asher, pastors son and town good boy, the guy she teased for being so boring all through high school. And she finds her dads new best friend is her ex-boyfriend, the person shes least in interested in spending time with. Oops.
Asher has his own issues with the church and mistakes and judgement. Its not that hes given up on God. Just the church his dad pastors, the church hes attended all his life.
My Hope Next Door was one of the best Christian novels Ive read this year. It had a clear Christian messagea message it delivers as much to the people in the church as outside.
Thanks to Waterfall Press and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
MeezCarrie5 Stars Out Of 5Reality Wrapped in Grace ... And Some Great Kisses!September 13, 2016MeezCarrieQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0Real characters dealing with real life, some really great chemistry and some really hot kisses right up my alley!
Katie and Asher have both made mistakes they regret, but they come from very different backgrounds and have very different reputations to overcome. The classic bad girl image follows Katie around town, even at home, no matter how deeply she knows she is a new person. For Asher, its just the opposite. He has to fight the pastors son reputation of being held to a higher standard by the church and by the community. Both are afraid for people to really see the depth of their failures, and both are weary of the facade each has been maintaining. One of the most beautiful and touching things to me about My Hope Next Door is watching their friendship develop and deepen long before they fall in love into one that allows them to be flawed safely with each other.
If you were a bit of a wild child before you met Jesus and youve got a past you regret, you (and Katie) will find much grace in this book. If you, like me, were the good girl but you have a moment you regret, you (and Asher though he is not a girl lol) will find much grace in this book. If you find it difficult to move beyond your reputation, you will find much grace in this book. And if youve ever been bullied or belittled by people who should have been your biggest champions, you will find much grace in this book.
You will also find some fantastically fan-requiring kisses in My Hope Next Door! And a swoonworthy hero (once he sets his mind to pursue Katie watch out!!) and a heroine youll want to hug. And an antagonist youll want to purse whomp on a day when youve returned from the library with an extra large haul at least until you find a whole lot of grace in his story too. Youll also find one of my favorite depictions of a pastor and pastors wife ever I adore Ashers parents!!! Wise and compassionate and fun and full of you guessed it GRACE.
In fact, Tammy L. Gray wraps every page of My Hope Next Door in grace. Gray doesnt shy away from the raw reality of brokenness but its written tastefully and with great care, and the spiritual elements are equally met head-on without being in your face or preachy. The main characters have an electric chemistry, but their romance is more of a slow burn and the friendship that forms first is one of my favorite things about the book. But never fear! Once the slow burn gets some heat behind it, youll need to break out your trusty fan for the kisses that follow! If you like Julie Lessmans Isle of Hope series or Kristen Heitzmanns novels, make sure you check out My Hope Next Door and Tammy L. Gray as well.
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)