Acquired Book By: I have been participating in the Christian Fiction & Clean Reads Reading Safari readathon for the past three years now. I have found the readathon to be personally enriching as it is a wonderful month of respite for book bloggers who want to focus on reading outside their blog schedules and tuck into the gentler side of fiction which is Inspirational Fiction (ie. INSPY). A portion of INSPY is Christian Fiction however, INSPY overall encompasses all faiths and religious backgrounds as it is faith-inspired literature. As a participant of the readathon – each reader moves through the event at their own pacing – seeking stories to read, authors to get to know socially online and reading the stories which interest them throughout the readathon. As you participate there is a chance you can win a book or several throughout the month. This year I am reading a mixture of stories I’ve won during past CFSRS readathons, stories I’ve won through bookaways with Christian Fiction authors or bloggers as well as stories on my shelf from my personal library as well as borrowing INSPY stories in print and audio from my local libraries.
I won a bookaway during #CFSRS18 wherein I received a copy of “Magnolia Storms” direct from the author Janet W. Ferguson which she happily surprised me with inscribing! I was not obligated to post a review on behalf of this novel and have elected to do so for my own edification as well as continuing to share my bookish and readerly life on Jorie Loves A Story. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
NOTE: The Press Materials seen on this book review were courtesy of the author’s Media Kit and are used with permission of the author as stated on her page.
Why I wanted to read this story:
I have been wanting to read this lovely ever since it first arrived – however, the past few years have been unique years wherein what I have wanted to read hasn’t always aligned with the ability to read the stories. I attempted to start reading the books I had won during the first year of the readathon last July – however, try as I had – something always pulled me away. I was just thankful I was able to read any INSPY last July as it seemed like the month was taking me up in its tides and not allowing me the grace to settle into the stories which give my heart such an uplift to read.
This year, about two months ahead of the readathon (or as I thought it would be – as I hadn’t known it was switched from July to August until the end of June) I started pulling the stories off my shelves I felt I might be inclined to read this year. I had more than enough to choose from as INSPY Lit is one of my favourite areas of literature to explore – as seen on my 70 Authors Challenge and through my Story Vault wherein I house my review archives. I knew I was going to read more Love Inspired this year – both Contemporary & Suspense whilst I had a few blog tours in August for Harlequin Heartwarming & Love Inspired respectively – however, I wasn’t going to count those in my readathon goals. I like to use the readathon to read the stories already in my personal library, won in bookaways and/or which can become borrowed through my local libraries in either audio or print; whilst seeking out INSPY Fiction on Scribd in audiobook as well.
What first drew my eye into the premise of ‘Magnolia Storms’ when I requested it as one of my book choices in  was the fact this was rooted in the after effects of Hurricane Katrina and storm seasons in the Gulf. Being a traveller during Katrina and having had many conversations with the evacuating families who were fleeing out of its path who had found themselves where I had been at the time in Birmingham, Alabama was quite the experience. Most were on their way back to Louisiana, others were going west to either Colorado or Houston, Texas whilst others were staying in Birmingham as they were given a warm welcome. I couldn’t blame them – it was a friendly city.
Storms in any variety are a part of our everyday lives – they bring destruction and they bring a kind of wrath that is hard to understand. They have after effects that are felt long and wide after a storm has passed. Look at the cities decimated by tornadoes every year and you will see how powerful and how hard it is to find mercy in the dawn after those storms have passed. Hurricanes like their tornado cousins cause emotional trauma and personal loss.
I used to read and watch a lot of natural disaster stories – for reasons which are elusive to me, however several pushed me a bit over the edge of what I could handle – especially if it involved flash flooding, earthquakes, wildfires or a deluge of tornadoes. I had had my fill at the time and only recently re-watched one of my favourites which was about tornadoes affecting a power plant [Atomic Twister] which started Mark Paul Gosselaar and Sharon Lawrence – as it was available for free via Roku. It was hard to believe how terrifying it was all over again and how hard it was to watch one of the team sacrifice his own life to save everyone else when it come to going into the contaminated room to give the team more time to save the plant.
This first novel of the Coastal Hearts series felt like a beautiful segue into Realistic INSPY Fiction which combines the drama of living in today’s world as we each face the different (and complicated!) storms which set to unravel our internal and external worlds. It is how we choose to rise through those unforeseen adversities which seek to challenge our perspectives on life and how we want to be living – but with faith, hope and a bit of grit to get through those challenging hours – we can all seek solid ground on the other side of the ‘storms’. This is why I wanted to read “Magnolia Storms” and this year is the best year I believe for me to ‘meet’ the story as who hasn’t been shuffling their own sea of storms crashing ashore this 2020?
Places to find the book:
on 20th August, 2017
Format: Trade Paperback
The Coastal Heart series:
Magnolia Storms(book one)
Falling for Grace(book two)
The Art of Rivers (book three)
Star Rising (book four)
Published by: Southern Sun Press
Formats Available: Trade Paperback and Ebook
Converse via: #ContemporaryRomance, #INSPYRomance, #INSPYbooks,
as well as #SouthernLit and #CoastalHearts
This story received my award for Best INSPY Contemporary Romance.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: