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If Not for You

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An emotionally stirring novel that shows how obstacles can be overcome, differences can be strengths, and sometimes a choice can seem wrong even though it s absolutely right If not for her loving but controlling parents, Beth Prudhomme might never have taken charge of her life and moved from her native Chicago to Portland, Oregon, where she s reconnected with her spirited A An emotionally stirring novel that shows how obstacles can be overcome, differences can be strengths, and sometimes a choice can seem wrong even though it s absolutely right If not for her loving but controlling parents, Beth Prudhomme might never have taken charge of her life and moved from her native Chicago to Portland, Oregon, where she s reconnected with her spirited Aunt Sunshine and found a job as a high school music teacher. If not for her friend Nichole, Beth would never have met Sam Carney, although first impressions have left Beth with serious doubts. Sam is everything Beth is not and her parents worst nightmare: a tattooed auto mechanic who s rough around the edges. Reserved and smart as a whip, Beth isn t exactly Sam s usual beer-drinking, pool-playing type of woman, either. But if not for an awkward setup one evening, Beth might never have left early and been involved in a car crash. And if not for Sam who witnessed the terrifying ordeal, rushed to her aid, and stayed with her until help arrived Beth might have been all alone, or worse. Yet as events play out, Sam feels compelled to check on Beth almost daily at the hospital even bringing his guitar to play songs to lift her spirits. Soon their unlikely friendship evolves into an intense attraction that surprises them both. Before long, Beth's strong-willed mother, Ellie, blows into town spouting harsh opinions, especially about Sam, and reopening old wounds with Sunshine. When shocking secrets from Sam s past are revealed, Beth struggles to reconcile her feelings. But when Beth goes a step too far, she risks losing the man and the life she s come to love.


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An emotionally stirring novel that shows how obstacles can be overcome, differences can be strengths, and sometimes a choice can seem wrong even though it s absolutely right If not for her loving but controlling parents, Beth Prudhomme might never have taken charge of her life and moved from her native Chicago to Portland, Oregon, where she s reconnected with her spirited A An emotionally stirring novel that shows how obstacles can be overcome, differences can be strengths, and sometimes a choice can seem wrong even though it s absolutely right If not for her loving but controlling parents, Beth Prudhomme might never have taken charge of her life and moved from her native Chicago to Portland, Oregon, where she s reconnected with her spirited Aunt Sunshine and found a job as a high school music teacher. If not for her friend Nichole, Beth would never have met Sam Carney, although first impressions have left Beth with serious doubts. Sam is everything Beth is not and her parents worst nightmare: a tattooed auto mechanic who s rough around the edges. Reserved and smart as a whip, Beth isn t exactly Sam s usual beer-drinking, pool-playing type of woman, either. But if not for an awkward setup one evening, Beth might never have left early and been involved in a car crash. And if not for Sam who witnessed the terrifying ordeal, rushed to her aid, and stayed with her until help arrived Beth might have been all alone, or worse. Yet as events play out, Sam feels compelled to check on Beth almost daily at the hospital even bringing his guitar to play songs to lift her spirits. Soon their unlikely friendship evolves into an intense attraction that surprises them both. Before long, Beth's strong-willed mother, Ellie, blows into town spouting harsh opinions, especially about Sam, and reopening old wounds with Sunshine. When shocking secrets from Sam s past are revealed, Beth struggles to reconcile her feelings. But when Beth goes a step too far, she risks losing the man and the life she s come to love.

30 review for If Not for You

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lily (Night Owl Book Cafe)

    Beth escapes her mother and moves to Portland, Oregon, where her aunt lives in order to live her own life. She gets a job as a teacher and is very excited to be independent without her mother hovering everyday. Her friend Nichole, a fellow teacher one day decides that Beth should meet up for a blind date with a guy Sam - who happens to be Nichole's husband's best friend. The date is a disaster, but what follows the rest is even more painful as Beth gets into a car accident in front of Sam and is Beth escapes her mother and moves to Portland, Oregon, where her aunt lives in order to live her own life. She gets a job as a teacher and is very excited to be independent without her mother hovering everyday. Her friend Nichole, a fellow teacher one day decides that Beth should meet up for a blind date with a guy Sam - who happens to be Nichole's husband's best friend. The date is a disaster, but what follows the rest is even more painful as Beth gets into a car accident in front of Sam and is badly bruised. They bond over the accident during her hospital stay and despite not liking each other at first - maybe they click after all? Gah, I wanted to like this I really did. I am familiar with the authors writing and enjoyed her books in the past. I did not like this one at all. This was not her best for me. I felt like Sam and Beth acted like children most of the book. If something did not go their way, they pouted, closed off and asked that maybe the other person shouldn't call them again? Really, you have been seeing each other for a month and when one cancelled plans for a reason you think they shouldn't call you again? Who, the hell does that? Their entire relationship was just giving me an eye twitch. It was suppose to be all sweet and cute and it ended up being a complete failure. I never thought these two should be together and honestly in the end it would have been a better book if they went their separate ways. I hated Beth, I really did. There is a difference between growing up sheltered and insensitive. That woman, unless it came to her, failed to count other peoples feelings, especially when she would consistently butt into their lives. What's worse? She would dig up old wounds, ones that she had no business of sticking her nose in and not for one moment consider how that might affect the person she is screwing over. That thing in the end with Sam. He opened up to her and shared a really painful thing from his past and she almost ruined him because not for one moment she stops and thought - oh gee, Sam will never be able to do anything about what I am just about to rub it into his face. It was like slashing open old wounds and rubbing salt into them over and over again. I was horrified that she couldn't see what she did wrong there. I was even more annoyed that in the end, Sam took her back. No, he should, he let her walk away. Oh, and that ending with how they got back together was really so unnecessary. On second thought, someone should consider not letting this woman drive. The only person in this book that I liked in this book was Sunshine. I thought she was the only character that did not grate my nerves, outside of Nichole and Rocco.This review was originally posted on Night Owl Book Cafe

  2. 5 out of 5

    Chris C - A Midlife Wife

    There is nothing more fun than to read a story and get this feeling that you know the characters. You connect with them on more than one level. You realize that you have read about some of them before. That little touch of awareness creeps up. Then it dawns on you. Some of these people we met in the author’s last book! And everything just blends together. But that does not mean that you have to read the first book in order to enjoy this one. Not at all. This great story is a standalone. But it is There is nothing more fun than to read a story and get this feeling that you know the characters. You connect with them on more than one level. You realize that you have read about some of them before. That little touch of awareness creeps up. Then it dawns on you. Some of these people we met in the author’s last book! And everything just blends together. But that does not mean that you have to read the first book in order to enjoy this one. Not at all. This great story is a standalone. But it is enhanced by knowing the other characters. Learning to deal with life is tough and Beth is doing it the hard way. By moving across country to stand on her own, she finds that it can be down right difficult too! But with a good friend and her Aunt by her side, she is figuring it all out. Until an accident almost derails her plans and an unexpected man becomes an important fixture in her life. If Not For You by Debbie Macomber is a delightful story about an unsuspecting love that can sneak up on us when least expected. Written with the same flair and flavor in her touching style we have come to love, this story is one that is full of innocent love with a few mistakes to learn from too. A touching and clean romance that speaks to sweet love, good friends, and living life as it should be. Includes a feel good ending that makes it all worth while as we learn opposites do attract, even in matters of the heart. * arc received for review consideration

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    I loved the prologue which whet my interest, and made me want to read on. A little drama goes a long way! The contrast of characters in Sam and Beth was interesting but not really surprising. Sam might seem a little rough with his tattoo, long hair and strong language. But he is loved by a couple of children which is kind of telling. His values are good, although his head is a little mixed up as it turns out. Beth is an only child with a mother who is a bit of a snob and rather controlling. Beth h I loved the prologue which whet my interest, and made me want to read on. A little drama goes a long way! The contrast of characters in Sam and Beth was interesting but not really surprising. Sam might seem a little rough with his tattoo, long hair and strong language. But he is loved by a couple of children which is kind of telling. His values are good, although his head is a little mixed up as it turns out. Beth is an only child with a mother who is a bit of a snob and rather controlling. Beth has to move to Portland to make her point that she is her own person, that she can stand on her own two feet, make choices for her life that will make her happy. Perhaps the choices will not earn her the approval of her mother, but then her mother's values are a little skewed. I thought the apple does not fall far from the tree because Beth got into a little meddling herself. All done with the best of intentions but was she justified? Or did those people she set out to help heal, need her gentle prod. This is a rather straight forward romantic story, with interesting enough characters and a plot that moved along well and was all tied up very neatly at the end. A light, pleasant read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tina

    First time Reading (June 2019) ***** 5 Stars Second time Reading (Oct 2020) ***** 5 Stars This is a slow moving Romance, and this is the third book in the New Beginnings. I have read book one and book two in this series. I really love the books in this series. I also love how Debbie Macomber brings characters to life, and I love there is always way more then romance in her books. This book can be read as a stand alone book. Their is a few secondly character that was in the other books, but the mai First time Reading (June 2019) ***** 5 Stars Second time Reading (Oct 2020) ***** 5 Stars This is a slow moving Romance, and this is the third book in the New Beginnings. I have read book one and book two in this series. I really love the books in this series. I also love how Debbie Macomber brings characters to life, and I love there is always way more then romance in her books. This book can be read as a stand alone book. Their is a few secondly character that was in the other books, but the main character and the storyline is new to this book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rebbie

    Beth and Sam meet up for a blind date, which doesn't go well. They dislike each other (they're total opposites) quite a bit. When Beth leaves the date, a teenager hits her car, and Sam immediately rushes in to help Beth. He never leaves her side while she's recovering. Although that premise is most definitely romantic and pulls at the heart strings, I had a hard time blindly buying into the idea that Sam would act like a loyal boyfriend mere minutes after their crappy date ended. It just doesn't Beth and Sam meet up for a blind date, which doesn't go well. They dislike each other (they're total opposites) quite a bit. When Beth leaves the date, a teenager hits her car, and Sam immediately rushes in to help Beth. He never leaves her side while she's recovering. Although that premise is most definitely romantic and pulls at the heart strings, I had a hard time blindly buying into the idea that Sam would act like a loyal boyfriend mere minutes after their crappy date ended. It just doesn't feel realistic to me, but it's minor and is easily overlooked. Beth and Sam go through more than one issue as a couple during the entirety of the book, which spans only a few months even though it feels like longer. Much of this is due to Beth sticking her nose into everybody's business (which is annoying, even if it does come from the heart). I thought the ending wrapped things up too quickly, although fans of Debbie Macomber will surely not be disappointed with it. I was hoping to see more of a resolution with the relationship between Beth's mom and her aunt Sunshine. Overall, it's a fast, decent read, and will be thoroughly enjoyable for those who gravitate toward romance novels. Thanks to netgalley.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Judy D Collins

    Debbie Macomber returns following A Girl's Guide to Moving On (New Beginnings, #2) with her third in the New Beginning Series IF NOT FOR YOU a charming fun contemporary tale of unexpected romantic connections with Macomber’s own Hallmark signature style. Second Chances. Fresh Beginnings. Self-discovery. Healing. Set in Portland, Oregon, twenty-five-year-old Beth Prudhomme has escaped the clutches of her overbearing mother, moving to a new town to teach music, near her aunt. As the book opens s Debbie Macomber returns following A Girl's Guide to Moving On (New Beginnings, #2) with her third in the New Beginning Series IF NOT FOR YOU a charming fun contemporary tale of unexpected romantic connections with Macomber’s own Hallmark signature style. Second Chances. Fresh Beginnings. Self-discovery. Healing. Set in Portland, Oregon, twenty-five-year-old Beth Prudhomme has escaped the clutches of her overbearing mother, moving to a new town to teach music, near her aunt. As the book opens she going on a blind date with a mechanic, Sam Carney. A total opposite. Mutual friends, Nichole and Rocco have made the introduction. One look at Sam made it clear they were not a good match. Definitely not, what Beth’s mom would choose. Which also makes her smile. In her mother’s eyes, Sam would be unacceptable due to his tattoos and long hair. Her mother had high expectations for her daughter’s future husband. Sam was handsome and rough around the edges. However, there is a car accident and it is Sam who stands by her. However, once she is released the bond they developed will be tested. Can they get past their differences? In addition, there is another storyline with her aunt Sunshine. Beth becomes involved in her aunt’s personal romantic affairs. Enjoyed the author’s inspiration for the book and her granddaughter’s poem, “The Warning Label No One Reads.” An easy breezy light-hearted delightful romantic spring chick-lit which Macomber’s fans will enjoy. (A beautiful cover which draws you in). A special thank you to Random House and NetGalley for an early reading copy. JDCMustReadBooks

  7. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    If Not For You Debbie Macomber Received from Netgalley IF NOT FOR YOU is the third book in Debbie Macomber's New Beginnings series. It is the story of Beth Prudhomme who is twenty five and has been under her mother's thumb since the day she was born. She decides to take control of her life and moves from Chicago to Portland where she will be closer to her Aunt Sunshine. Shortly after she makes the big move, her friend Nichole sets her up on a blind date with her friend, Sam. Beth comes from money If Not For You Debbie Macomber Received from Netgalley IF NOT FOR YOU is the third book in Debbie Macomber's New Beginnings series. It is the story of Beth Prudhomme who is twenty five and has been under her mother's thumb since the day she was born. She decides to take control of her life and moves from Chicago to Portland where she will be closer to her Aunt Sunshine. Shortly after she makes the big move, her friend Nichole sets her up on a blind date with her friend, Sam. Beth comes from money and is a well educated teacher. Sam is rough around the edges, a mechanic, and has long hair and multiple tattoos. The blind date is not what either of them expected and they both bang into each other as they are trying to get out the door to escape. As they are both driving home, Sam witnesses a car t-boning Beth! Sam is horrified and jumps out of his truck to see if he can help. Does a story get any better than that all in the first chapter? Actually it wasn't even the first chapter. It was the prologue! To say I was instantly hooked, would be the understatement of the year! Debbie Macomber writes a story that gets you hooked right from the start and never lets you go. IF NOT FOR YOU is filled with unsuspecting love, new beginnings, second chances, forgiveness, and lots of healing. The secondary characters have just as much of a story line as Sam and Beth and I love that. Beth has a huge heart and truly cares about others but she tends to stick her nose in others people's business and sometimes the results are heart breaking. Keep the tissues handy for this delightful romantic tale. Debbie Macomber always writes such wonderful and well developed characters that you cant help but care about. You will find yourself cheering for Sam and Beth to overcome their pasts and to share their secrets with each other. Debbie Macomber always makes my heart feel like doing a happy dance when I'm reading her heart warming stories. I know exactly what I'm getting when I reach for one of her books and she never lets me down. When I need a pick me up after reading a disturbing story, I always go right to Debbie Macomber. She knows exactly how to make her readers feel fuzzy and warm and keeps us smiling over and over again. If you are having troubles in your life, grab IF NOT FOR YOU and you will be amazed by how it will take your mind off of everything else.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I was provided with a copy of this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I started out really enjoying the premise of this latest book by Debbie Macomber. It is the story of Beth and Sam, who start out as two opposites and find love through a series of life altering events. We jump into the action rather quickly, which I enjoyed. I like how the two main characters are brought together by her car accident. Their relationship progressed from friendship to "dating" faster than I had an I was provided with a copy of this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I started out really enjoying the premise of this latest book by Debbie Macomber. It is the story of Beth and Sam, who start out as two opposites and find love through a series of life altering events. We jump into the action rather quickly, which I enjoyed. I like how the two main characters are brought together by her car accident. Their relationship progressed from friendship to "dating" faster than I had anticipated, but I was really enjoying the pace. Because we read the story from both perspectives, many of the issues that would complicate their relationship based on how they met were addressed really well. But then the inevitable "drama" surfaced and I started losing interest. In my opinion, both characters began to act in ways that were completely different from the way they has originally been portrayed. And then the ending came way too quickly and we were in the middle of another conflict. I think Beth's actions were explained away (and forgiven) way too quickly, especially when it came to what happened with Sam. In facat, everyone was forgiven very quickly and life moved on toward the happily ever after. There were a lot more layers to Sam's conflict and the Sunshine/Ellie drama that were never explored, which would have provided better drama than the superficial drama we had to read about for many chapters in the middle. I'm sure fans of Debbie Macomber will enjoy this book, but I was left unsatisfied. I am giving it 3 stars for the promising beginning and for the character of Sam, who I really enjoyed for the most part. But I think it could have been so much more interesting if some of the middle had been trimmed and we got a few extra dramatic chapters at the end.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    Hovered between 2 and 3 stars. Probably more 2 1/2 stars. This book would have been much better if Sunshine and Ellie were the main characters. Beth and Sam bored me and when I don't fall in love / connect with the main hero in a romance, it's over for me lol. I just didn't care for him or his contrived conflicts. And I hated how he kept calling Beth "babe". Beth was so clueless and insensitive and pushy towards the end, just like her mother! Really didn't like her at the end. Get this one from Hovered between 2 and 3 stars. Probably more 2 1/2 stars. This book would have been much better if Sunshine and Ellie were the main characters. Beth and Sam bored me and when I don't fall in love / connect with the main hero in a romance, it's over for me lol. I just didn't care for him or his contrived conflicts. And I hated how he kept calling Beth "babe". Beth was so clueless and insensitive and pushy towards the end, just like her mother! Really didn't like her at the end. Get this one from the library and save your money! Not her best!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Carla Johnson-Hicks

    Nobody does realistic, down to earth, romance stories like Debbie Macomber. This is the third book in New Beginnings series and I have really enjoyed them. They are all about second chances and taking chances on life and love to have your new Beginning. Beth Prudhomme is twenty five year old woman who has been smothered by her mother since birth. They are a well to do family and her mother thinks she knows what and who are best for Beth. Beth decides it is time to take control of her life and mov Nobody does realistic, down to earth, romance stories like Debbie Macomber. This is the third book in New Beginnings series and I have really enjoyed them. They are all about second chances and taking chances on life and love to have your new Beginning. Beth Prudhomme is twenty five year old woman who has been smothered by her mother since birth. They are a well to do family and her mother thinks she knows what and who are best for Beth. Beth decides it is time to take control of her life and moves from Chicago to Portland where she will be closer to her Aunt Sunshine. She gets a job teaching music and becomes friends with Nichole, another teacher. When Nichole sets her up on a blind date with her friend, Sam, Beth gives in after her Aunt tells her that this could be the one. Beth and Sam do not hit it off. She is polished and a little uptight, Sam is rough around the edges, a mechanic with long hair, a beard and tattoos. When dinner is over, they cannot get to the door fast enough. On the way home, Beth is t-boned and Sam witnesses the accident. He jumps out of his truck to see if he can help and holds her hand until the EMS arrives. That sets the stage for their second chance. I was hooked and could not wait to see if Sam and Beth were going to get together. There are several storylines going on in this story involving Sunshine and her sister as well as a lost love, Nichole and Sam, Sam's baggage from a previous relationship as well as Beth's growing independence. The characters are very well developed that you feel as if you know them. Beth has a huge heart and truly cares about others. She does not want to see anyone hurting and will do what she can to fix what she sees is the problem. Unfortunately, she tends to stick her nose in others people's business and sometimes the results are heart breaking. Sunshine is exactly what her name says. She is an artist who is loving, happy and wants the best for Beth. She has some regrets in her life that she wants to change. Sam is everything a male romantic hero is supposed to be. He is rough around the edges and not one to show his emotions. When he falls in love, he falls hard and will do whatever he can to make the other person happy. The book has everything. There is love, forgiveness, jealousy, unsuspecting emotions, and second chances. Yes, this is a feel good book, but it is a book that is totally believable. That is exactly what I want when I pick up a book by Debbie Macomber. If you are looking for a book to make you feel good, go through a range of emotions and root for the characters, then pick this one up. You will not be disappointed. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.

  11. 4 out of 5

    No Apology Book Reviews

    A chore to read I would like to thank Debbie Macomber, Ballantine Books, Random House, and NetGalley for allowing me to read an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Beth Prudhomme has moved to Portland, Oregon, to live near her Aunt Sunshine, because she got along far better with Sunshine than her parents in Chicago. Out from under her mother’s thumb, Beth is determined to become independent and cultivate a life for herself. Seizing new opportunities, she takes a job as a music teacher at the loc A chore to read I would like to thank Debbie Macomber, Ballantine Books, Random House, and NetGalley for allowing me to read an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Beth Prudhomme has moved to Portland, Oregon, to live near her Aunt Sunshine, because she got along far better with Sunshine than her parents in Chicago. Out from under her mother’s thumb, Beth is determined to become independent and cultivate a life for herself. Seizing new opportunities, she takes a job as a music teacher at the local high school—and agrees to a blind date. Sam Carney has been burned by love before and is terrified of being burned again. When his buddy Rocco invites him to dinner, Sam knows there’s a catch, and sure enough, Rocco—or more accurately, Rocco’s wife—wants him to meet one of her friends. After much protest, Sam gives in because he didn’t want to disappoint his closest friends. The dinner is a disaster, and both Sam and Beth leave as soon as politely possible. Neither had any interest in the other—until Sam witnesses Beth’s horrific car crash on the way home. An inexplicable bond is formed as he holds her hand while they wait for the medics…and Sam finds himself caring about a woman he’d thought he’d never see again. ________ Debbie Macomber’s writing never really suited my tastes, partially because she annoyingly toes the line between mainstream and inspirational (Christian) fiction. A few years ago I tried a few of her Blossom Street books, and though I didn’t hate them, I sure didn’t love them. But I came across If Not for You, and the cover was so pretty, and the synopsis sounded somewhat interesting, so I thought why not give it a shot? I’ve always liked opposites-attracting stories. I remained optimistic through the beginning, but by a quarter of the way through, I found myself coming up with other things I needed to do instead of reading this book. And that’s saying something for me! Usually once I start a book, few things can stop me until I’m done. But my problems with the book mounted until I wanted nothing more and nothing less than to finish it. SPOILERS Beth I didn’t dislike Beth until she’d been in the hospital for a few days. Understandably, she’s feeling kind of gross. Her friend Nichole realizes that, so she goes out and gets her a hairbrush, a comb, dry shampoo…and makeup and a curling iron. Because everyone’s top priority, in the freaking hospital, is to look fabulous. I don’t care if Sam was coming to see her every day. Beth was just in a car crash, had just fractured her hip and ribs and had her spleen, or at least part of it, removed. She should not have been worried about eyeshadows matching her skin tone or getting her hair curled. Sure, she wanted to look nice for this guy she had really started to like, but when you’re exhausted and in terrible pain, “looking nice” means a clean face, clean teeth, and maybe clean hair. And if Sam didn’t want to be with her because he hadn’t thought she’d looked pretty in the freaking HOSPITAL, then good riddance. No woman needs that kind of man. BUT Sam didn’t care if she had makeup on or if her hair was curled. He just absently said that she looked different. He was more concerned about how she was feeling, if her pain was under control. So her efforts were wasted anyway. And fact-check: at one point Beth said she wasn’t sure how unkempt she looked because she didn’t have a mirror. Um, I’m pretty sure most hospital rooms, except those in the psych department, at least have a mirror over the sink in the bathroom. And I know she was mobile and able to get to the bathroom because they had her up and walking around inside two days. Also, the hospital would have provided a comb, among other basic necessities for hygiene, so Nichole didn’t need to buy one. And a curling iron would be a BIG no-no. At the hospitals where my mom and brother work, things like curling irons wouldn’t be allowed unless approved by Maintenance. And my mom’s unit doesn’t allow the patients to wear makeup while they’re getting treated because it can irritate their skin and cause problems. So yeah, the “makeover” bit was just dumb all the way around. Okay. So Beth had this deal with her parents that they wouldn’t bother her for six months. Specifically, she didn’t want her mother calling ten times a day and flying out twice a week to nag and browbeat her. I get that. But Beth was in a car crash. She was really hurt. There’s a huge, blurry gray area here, dependent upon individual situations, but I think Beth should have suspended that deal, because seriously, wouldn’t all mothers—hell, all loved ones—want to rush to the side of the injured party and provide care and support? It’s only natural. I was horrified that Beth downplayed the severity of her accident so her parents wouldn’t be concerned, especially when Beth got that blood clot in her lung. Sure, the hospital had rushed to treat her right away and she was fine, but I’d still be freaking out a little. Blood clots aren’t trivial. They could kill you like THAT. *snaps fingers* Personally, I'd be seriously shaken. I'd want my mommy. Next, there’s this guy Kier. He’s a spoiled, arrogant, stereotypical trust fund guy from Chicago that Beth’s mother was trying to match with Beth. He shows up in town, never giving an explanation for why he was there, though it’s not-so-subtly implied that he was sent by Beth’s mom to screw up Beth and Sam’s relationship. Beth despises him—yet she inexplicably agrees to meet him for dinner. She later admits that she shouldn’t have and only did it to please her mother. She makes this huge internal announcement that she was cutting the umbilical cord. … But I don’t understand. I thought she’d already arrived at this point emotionally. I thought moving to Portland to get away from her mother was the grand cutting-the-umbilical-cord gesture. I mean, as gestures go, moving 2,000 miles across the country is about as grand as it gets. So her agreeing to dinner with Kier seemed redundant and backwards and nonsensical. I believe it would have made more sense for her character and her arc if she’d lied and excused her way out of seeing him, or even better, agreed to see him but took Sam with her. But she didn’t, so my next question is, why didn’t she just lay it all out for Sam when she told him? Why was she vague? It seemed blatantly contrived to create tension. His reaction was equally frustrating; I’ll get to that later. Anyway, watching Beth agree to go out with Kier was like watching the dumb girl in a horror film follow the strange noises to the creepy basement. I was like, “Don’t do it, you idiot!” There were a couple other moments of redundancy that frustrated me. One is when Beth is trying to figure out why her mother and aunt don’t get along. At one point Beth asks Sunshine if it was over a man. Sunshine says yes. Beth asks if his name was Peter. Sunshine confirmed, but wouldn’t tell her the story. Then a couple chapters later Beth again asks why the discord between the sisters, and Sunshine says because she loved a man. And Beth thinks internally, “Peter. It had to be him.” Like she wasn’t sure if it was him or not. And I’m sitting there like— “Well, yeah. Didn’t we already establish that?” Then, in chapter 31, Beth tells Sam that she isn’t sure what went wrong between Sunshine and Peter, she just knew her mother had something to do with it. Well, as I just explained, she knew the discord between Sunshine and her mother had something to do with a man named Peter. You could kind of put two and two together there. Furthermore, Sunshine told Beth back in chapter 26: “Ellie knew how I felt about him and stole him away from me while I was studying in Europe. He was at fault, too. When I returned, they were together. I moved to California shortly thereafter.” I’d say that explains it. Beth should have been pretty sure of what had gone down by chapter 31. At first I was disgusted with Beth meddling in other people’s relationships, but she got her what-for, so I’m disregarding it. So lastly, Beth said one of the stupidest things I’ve ever read, and she wasn’t being sarcastic: “Who knew taking care of a baby could be so demanding?” Um, anyone who knows anything about babies. Jesus. Conclusion: Beth isn’t the brightest bulb in the box. Sam Sam was a conundrum. I couldn’t get a bead on his character. In the beginning, he’s described as “not like any other guy you’ve ever dated,” “hard to explain,” “coarse,” and “unconventional." The last was elaborated with “he swore a lot,” which is an irritatingly pretentious line of reasoning. He’s got long hair, tattoos, and a beard, and he’s a mechanic. This all put me in mind of a hero a la Jay Crownover and Kristen Ashley—a bad boy that’s unpolished, unapproachable, gruff, crass, crude—maybe a criminal—but has the biggest heart on the planet, is fiercely protective, and always does what he thinks is right. A take-no-shit badass whose pride must goeth before the fall. That was not Sam, except perhaps the protectiveness. Kind of. I get the feeling that Macomber wanted him to be all that, but wasn’t capable of writing that kind of man. He seemed like a normal bachelor to me. His physical appearance wasn’t very tidy, but in my perception he wasn’t “unconventional” at all. And he cut his hair and shaved his beard when he met Beth’s parents, so then it’s just down to the tattoos and the occasional curse. Tame. So I never really knew what to think about him, and there were times when I felt Macomber didn't know what the hell to think about him, either, or perhaps left him vague on purpose so she could use him to propel the plot. For example, in the beginning it’s said that Sam adores baby Matthew and is always eager to hold him. I think the baby is even used a bit as motivation to get Sam to come to dinner (aka the blind date). But when Rocco asks him to babysit, Sam seemed like he would rather jump off a plane without a parachute, and handling a baby was completely foreign to him. He mentions that he only enjoyed holding Matthew when the parents were present, but his reaction still seems off to me. His discomfort with the baby propels the plot because he’s babysitting with Beth, and watching her with the baby and being all motherly makes him uncomfortable, leading to the second example: From the beginning, it’s made very clear by Sam and others that he avoids relationships like the plague, and it’s not hard to guess why—he’d been hurt in the past. But then he developed a bond with Beth…got to know her and like her…couldn’t wait to see her…and eventually he spent as much time with her as he could. I don’t think he put up much of a fight. At one point he tried to stay away so his growing attachment wouldn’t be obvious, but he didn’t put much effort into resisting her, resisting the budding relationship. Then after they babysat Matthew—and after he’d calmly admitted to Rocco that he’d fallen for Beth—he freaks out, saying he’s not meant to be a family man, he doesn’t want responsibilities or limitations, he doesn’t want to be in a relationship. He thinks they’re going way too fast and getting way too serious—which made me laugh out loud, because at this point they’d known each other for like, two months, and pretty much all they’d done is really low-key hanging out, half the time in the rehab center. Not moving in with each other, not proposing marriage. It seemed like he was a little nervous about falling in love and blew it ridiculously out of proportion. It seemed so staged, just like— When Beth told him that she had to cancel their undetermined plans one night because a friend (Kier) was in town and wanted to catch up. As soon as she let slip the friend was a he, Sam freaked out, accusing Beth of being embarrassed by him, wanting him to apologize for who he was, and preferring to be in the company of a man who didn’t have grease underneath his fingernails. Beth was being vague and frustrating, sure, but his reaction was unfounded and uncalled for. But it created tension, trying to spice up a pretty boring narrative. His saying he’s not meant to be a family man is made doubly ludicrous when one considers he’s constantly thinking about how much he regretted giving in to Trish and never meeting his daughter, that he’d give anything to have had her in his life. And at one point he said he loves kids. I was tempted to rant about his secret daughter, but it was such a gray area that I wasn’t really sure what to think about it myself. Conclusion: Sam made no sense and his reactions were pure plot-propulsion. A couple other tiny issues: first—Beth’s students Noah and Bailey. I have no idea why they were mentioned at all. Maybe I missed something, but it seemed to me they were completely, 100 percent unnecessary to this story. Second—Beth’s fear of water seemed fake and only an excuse to see Sam’s tattoo and get his secret-daughter conflict rolling. There had to be a more organic way to bring it up. Style-wise the writing was okay. Nothing impressive; pretty simple sentences. One thing I noticed a few times was that the verb tense was wrong. The narrative is written in past tense, which most novels are, but it remained past tense when it should have been past perfect in spots. Which isn’t a huge deal, but personally, if I’m reading along and someone mentions a past event but it’s made to sound like it’s happening at present, it’s confusing and throws me off as I backtrack and try to figure out what the author was trying to say. (I don’t always get my grammar and spelling right, either, but reviews that nobody reads are very different from finished products that cost $27.00 a pop. Do your job, editor.) And finally, this book was sooo cheesy, and not in an endearing way. Overall, I feel like Macomber had a cute idea of a couple meeting/getting together through a car crash and rehab, then didn’t know how to make it an entire story and started tossing in random tension-builders. There were good bits, but it’s not what I would expect from a writer as seasoned as Macomber. Oh, if you’re wondering about the extent of the “inspirational” theme, most of it’s isolated to a scene where Sam reads to Beth from the Bible while she’s in the hospital and a scene where Sam compares himself to David, as in David and Goliath. And there is a complete lack of sex. Like, it was never mentioned. I don’t think the word was ever even used. Which was kind of weird. Not that they needed to have sex, even off-stage, but come on—they would have thought about it. Also, this book stands alone. I never felt the need to read the first two books in the series. noapologybookreviews.com keeneyeediting.com

  12. 5 out of 5

    Anne (Booklady) Molinarolo

    Debbie Macomber has created another sweet story as well as some wonderful, sweet, and quirky characters in If Not for You. I was surprised that over 1/2 of the novel is set in both hospital/rehab facilities, but it worked as did the age old romance formula, but with a twist. Girl gets boy, girl does something to lose boy, and girl gets boy back in the end. Beth Prudhomme is a young Music teacher living in Portland, OR., finally escaping her overbearing and smothering mother. Her Aunt Sunshine ( Debbie Macomber has created another sweet story as well as some wonderful, sweet, and quirky characters in If Not for You. I was surprised that over 1/2 of the novel is set in both hospital/rehab facilities, but it worked as did the age old romance formula, but with a twist. Girl gets boy, girl does something to lose boy, and girl gets boy back in the end. Beth Prudhomme is a young Music teacher living in Portland, OR., finally escaping her overbearing and smothering mother. Her Aunt Sunshine (yep, that's her name) couldn't be happier. Beth is starting to make friends, loves her job, and is set up on a blind date. Sam Carney is a highly talented and skillful mechanic with tattoos. Definitely not the sort of guy Beth's mother would approve of or allow her daughter to date. Upon meeting both Sam and Beth tend to agree that they probably have nothing in common with each other. But they do, and it takes a car accident in which Beth is seriously injured for the couple to realize they belong together.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sally906

    I enjoyed the book - Debbi Macomber is a comfort read author for me - but there was just too much nothing in the middle so over all a great start, a great finish but a bit blah in the middle.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Char (1RadReader59)

    How do you know when it’s time to cut the apron strings? When it comes to growing up? What’s healthy and what’s not? Well, I am sure Beth Prudhomme was asking herself the same question at twenty-five years old. “When do I wing my mother.” You see Ellie Prudhomme thought she had every right to dictate every moment of every day of every year that was her daughter’s life. From who to date, what to wear, and where to go to school. She didn’t even have friends. The one thing she did do and she loved How do you know when it’s time to cut the apron strings? When it comes to growing up? What’s healthy and what’s not? Well, I am sure Beth Prudhomme was asking herself the same question at twenty-five years old. “When do I wing my mother.” You see Ellie Prudhomme thought she had every right to dictate every moment of every day of every year that was her daughter’s life. From who to date, what to wear, and where to go to school. She didn’t even have friends. The one thing she did do and she loved is playing the piano of which she had a perfect pitch. She did, however, work out a deal with the church to play the piano for a fee during the services. So that she could hide the money away for later use. She didn’t tell her mother. When she had enough she called her mother’s sister, Sunshine, which her mother doesn’t talk to, asking if she could come life with her since she applied for a teaching job. She planned her escape for the late night. But then she thought maybe she should tell her father. When she ends up in Portland, Oregon she finds that she has the job for sure and in two days after staying with her aunt she finds and the apartment too. One of the teacher’s, Nichol, she meets the first days on campus at the high school. They become fast friends. Nichol invites her over for a last-minute dinner. Turns out it will be a fix-up. Yes, a fix up with her husband Rocco’s friend, Sam Carney. When she asks questions, Nichol says she likes him a lot and so do the children they call him uncle Sam. She says he’s great with children. But that he is a mechanic, that he has long hair but keeps it neat. Let’s just say both Beth and Sam were not pleased to have been fixed up. But they liked their friends so they went along with it for this one meal. When Beth see’s Sam she doesn’t think he’s bad looking but she knows he’s not someone her mom would find acceptable. Long hair, beard, and tattoos. Not to mention that the look on his face shows that he is not even interested. After a tense dinner, both choose to not have dessert. As soon as they could they bolted, glad it was over. They both made it to the red light at the intersection at the same time. The light turns green Sam was going straight and Beth was making a right turn as she proceeded to go not seeing that a teen was going to be running a red light until it was too late. The teen was texting. She was stuck full impact. Sam sees it all happen right before his eyes. He goes to her aide. Both of their lives are forever changed in that moment. You won’t want to miss this story. Seeing how dysfunction in Beth’s life, near death experience, and Sam’s past secrets change these two forever. I give this: 5 stars. Provided by netgalley.com. Follow us at: www.1rad-readerreviews.com.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ema

    Maybe I'm at the point where I've read too many Macomber novels, but this one just didn't quite sit right with me. I expect to be completely absorbed by her books, but instead I found myself rolling my eyes.   The conflicts between Sam and Beth felt really juvenile. I never had any doubt about whether they'd stay together. Sam acts like a grumpy bear and Beth takes it all in stride. And, spoiler alert, he has another woman's name tattooed across his chest. He is portrayed as kind of a playboy, but Maybe I'm at the point where I've read too many Macomber novels, but this one just didn't quite sit right with me. I expect to be completely absorbed by her books, but instead I found myself rolling my eyes.   The conflicts between Sam and Beth felt really juvenile. I never had any doubt about whether they'd stay together. Sam acts like a grumpy bear and Beth takes it all in stride. And, spoiler alert, he has another woman's name tattooed across his chest. He is portrayed as kind of a playboy, but hadn't explained that to anyone until Beth. I don't buy it. He holds double standards to her and is passive aggressive when he has a problem. Sure, I'd buy their relationship long term, but they needed to work on it and grow together.   I couldn't help agreeing with Beth's mother when she commented on how Beth's spreading her wings led her straight into the arms of another saviour. I wish we had seen more of Beth moving to start with, about her getting her own job and teaching. There was a pair of students mentioned twice that I would have loved to see more of that would have given Beth more of her own personality.   And maybe I'm not the romantic I was, but I found it terribly challenging to believe the Sunshine subplot, of two very smart and capable people holding flames for thirty years over a relationship that lasted less than a year.   I wasn't a big fan of Macomber in a city setting. Her writing thrives with small communities where everyone knows each other. Here, she writes about Portland and Chicago but it feels like it could be absolutely anywhere else. Though I appreciate her branching out, I wish she had done more research into the feel of the cities to really capture the environment.   The role of the female in this book was another issue I had. There was very much the sentiment of thinking that a woman cannot be fulfilled unless she has children or love, preferably both. And that just drives me up the wall. There's talk about the independence of having a job, but the general sentiment is that a woman must have a man to be happy, and that really bothers me.   If you generally like Macomber, you'll probably enjoy this. I absolutely adored her last book and was really excited for this one, but I found it falling into the typical tropes of her older books.   I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    The first thing I want to say is that if you read, A Girl's Guide to Moving On, some of the characters show up in this book. Had I known that from reading the other reviews, I would have moved this up through my TBR pile faster. Beth left behind her gentile and privileged upbringing in Chicago, to move to Portland, Or to live with her hippyesque aunt, Sunshine. Determined to get out from under her mom's thumb, she embarks on an adventure to find herself. A teacher at a local high school, she get The first thing I want to say is that if you read, A Girl's Guide to Moving On, some of the characters show up in this book. Had I known that from reading the other reviews, I would have moved this up through my TBR pile faster. Beth left behind her gentile and privileged upbringing in Chicago, to move to Portland, Or to live with her hippyesque aunt, Sunshine. Determined to get out from under her mom's thumb, she embarks on an adventure to find herself. A teacher at a local high school, she gets set up on a blind date by a fellow teacher who thinks she'd be perfect for her husband's friend, Sam. The two are polar opposites in many ways and to say there was no love connection, is putting it mild. They both leave the dinner date before dessert and Beth gets in a nasty car accident that Sam witnesses. Feeling compelled to visit her since he was with her during the immediate aftermath, the two begin to fall in love - much to the chagrin of Beth's snobby mother who rushes to Oregon to make sure that her daughter doesn't make any mistakes. Add to that mix, the fact that Sunshine and her sister (Beth's mom) don't get along because of something that happened over 30 years ago and you have on your hands a sweet little story. I was skeptical of this book based on the reviews that I read but was hooked once I realized that Rocco and Nichole were back. Something about characters that continue on in other books makes my heart do a little happy dance. I do wish that the characters evolved a little bit more than they did, and I found it hard to connect to Sam, but his and Beth's story was so very sweet. As I often say with Debbie Macomber books, you won't be wowed with her prose, her books won't leave you deep in thought when you've finished them but they WILL leave you warm and fuzzy. A perfect sit inside under the blanket while the rain is coming down outside kind of book. I received this book from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review

  17. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    When I think of Debbie Macomber I think of Hallmark Christmas movies. That was until I read “A Girls Guide to Moving On”, the 2nd book in her New Beginnings Series. That’s when I learned she also writes stories with a more serious theme. “If Not for You” is the 3rd in this series, and it has a realistic story that really grabs at your heart. Ms. Macomber creates a word that is easily visualized. I love her characters, they are well developed, with good backstories. They aren’t millionaires, the When I think of Debbie Macomber I think of Hallmark Christmas movies. That was until I read “A Girls Guide to Moving On”, the 2nd book in her New Beginnings Series. That’s when I learned she also writes stories with a more serious theme. “If Not for You” is the 3rd in this series, and it has a realistic story that really grabs at your heart. Ms. Macomber creates a word that is easily visualized. I love her characters, they are well developed, with good backstories. They aren’t millionaires, they aren’t perfect, and most of all, they aren’t sappy. They are regular, everyday people. with relateable situations. Even the supporting characters carry their own subplot. Beth had to get away from her interfering mother. She had just moved to Portland, and was finally on her own. A new apartment, a job, and whole new lifestyle. She loved it and she was doing so great. She was close to her aunt, making friends, and teaching music. Reluctantly, she agreed to a blind date. A disastrous blind date. That couldn’t end it fast enough. It was mutual, both her and Sam knew right away they were too different. It could never work. Her mother could never accept a man like Sam. And Sam could never be attracted to someone so prim and proper. Then came the crash, and Sam never left her side. The storyline itself is unique, it winds around in such a way, that you’re not quite sure what will happen next. It grabs you from the beginning, with each chapter compelling you need to read on. It concludes with a satisfying ending, that ties everything up in a believable way. Now I need to read the first of the series! Please note: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Dixie-Lee Campbell

    Loved this dynamic book. The words wrapped around my heart like angel wings. It was a book I could not put down ... but sleep overtook me and choice was taken away !!! Riddled ... there is more than one emotional romance storyline happening here ... stirring from the past ... and unfolding in the present ... and moving forward .... a roller coast ride at times kept me gripping on to what might happen next. When this book is released I am definitely getting this book for my Mom to read ... she wi Loved this dynamic book. The words wrapped around my heart like angel wings. It was a book I could not put down ... but sleep overtook me and choice was taken away !!! Riddled ... there is more than one emotional romance storyline happening here ... stirring from the past ... and unfolding in the present ... and moving forward .... a roller coast ride at times kept me gripping on to what might happen next. When this book is released I am definitely getting this book for my Mom to read ... she will love it too. !!! A positive plus, each chapter heading was assigned character name. ... helped organize my thoughts moving forward into each chapter ! Sunshine made me smile. Imagined the magnificent artwork ! I enjoyed the music... loved the music.... Happiness ! Friendships ... heartfelt meddling matchmaking ... yes a wonderful thing , but not all snag free. Bumps in the roads. Family rifts are complicated . Family and friendship ... and a child mindful with a powerful heart. Faithful folks. Forgiveness and healing. <3 a book with heart from cover to cover. Much gratitude on receiving this e-arc in exchange for an honest review. ... no strings attached. ... except my heart is attached to this storyline forever. !

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jackie Lane

    This third book in Debbie Macomber's New Beginnings, is just that, new beginnings. Beth Prudhomme has moved from Chicago to get away from her controlling mother and found a job as a teacher in Portland, Oregon, where Beth teaches music in the local high school. One of Beth's, Nicole friends invites her to dinner as a setup for a blind date with her husband, Rocco's best friend, Sam Carney. As you'd expect, things did not go well between Beth and Sam and they scurry out of the dinner as soon as it i This third book in Debbie Macomber's New Beginnings, is just that, new beginnings. Beth Prudhomme has moved from Chicago to get away from her controlling mother and found a job as a teacher in Portland, Oregon, where Beth teaches music in the local high school. One of Beth's, Nicole friends invites her to dinner as a setup for a blind date with her husband, Rocco's best friend, Sam Carney. As you'd expect, things did not go well between Beth and Sam and they scurry out of the dinner as soon as it is over, foregoing dessert. On the way home, Beth is involved in a serious car crash and Sam sees it and comes to her aid. Beth is hospitalized and subsequently put into rehab. Sam visits during this time and they find they actually do have a lot in common and become good friends. From spending time together, Beth and Sam realize they want more than friendship. The problem is that they come from two different worlds. Sam is a mechanic and has long hair nad Beth comes from a wealthy family. This is where the drama sets in and we get to watch the journey of Sam and Beth and see if they can find their HEA. 4.5-5 stars

  20. 4 out of 5

    ~Mandi~

    If Not For You Debbie Macomber This was a very heart warming double romance. Beth and Sam are from two completely different backgrounds. Beth comes from a wealthy family and Sam is a mechanic. They meet on a blind date and they both can't get away from the other quick enough. But after Sam witnesses Beth get in an accident and he spends time with her while she recovers, he falls for her. Meanwhile Beth's aunt Sunshine has loved and lost. She was never able to move on from her first love. And with If Not For You Debbie Macomber This was a very heart warming double romance. Beth and Sam are from two completely different backgrounds. Beth comes from a wealthy family and Sam is a mechanic. They meet on a blind date and they both can't get away from the other quick enough. But after Sam witnesses Beth get in an accident and he spends time with her while she recovers, he falls for her. Meanwhile Beth's aunt Sunshine has loved and lost. She was never able to move on from her first love. And with Beth always trying to be the fixer she tries to make things right for her aunt. Sam and Beth go through lots of ups and downs. They have family issues to work through and secrets from the past that try to ruin their love. Great story of true love. Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an arc in exchange for my honest review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ezinwanyi Chinyere

    3.5 stars. This book was in the usual Debbie Macomber style. A nice contemporary romance with ordinary and relatable characters. While you may not love the characters, they typically remind me of people I know. It’s like watching a Saturday afternoon show on Lifetime. In fact, this one would make a good movie. Beth Prudhomme and Sam Carney were set up on a blind date by mutual friends (Nichole and Rocco from Book 2: A Girl's Guide to Moving On). A dinner at Nichole's house and boy, that first dinn 3.5 stars. This book was in the usual Debbie Macomber style. A nice contemporary romance with ordinary and relatable characters. While you may not love the characters, they typically remind me of people I know. It’s like watching a Saturday afternoon show on Lifetime. In fact, this one would make a good movie. Beth Prudhomme and Sam Carney were set up on a blind date by mutual friends (Nichole and Rocco from Book 2: A Girl's Guide to Moving On). A dinner at Nichole's house and boy, that first dinner was a disaster! Both of them came to the date with preconceived notions, so to Nichole's disappointment, they didn't click. On the way home, Beth got into a car accident and Sam was one of the first people to arrive on the scene. Beth’s misfortune paved a way for Sam to connect with her in a new way. As Beth recovered, Sam came to visit and keep her company in the hospital. They began looking forward to spending time together and a strong bond began to form. I thought it was sweet that Sam kept coming to check on Beth, but I had issues with both of them. How could a grown twenty-five year old teacher be so completely under her mother’s thumb? Beth seemed to be a sixteen-year old girl at times where Sam had the jaded attitude made him seem really old. Sam had a painful experience with a woman, so he swore off love and relationships. Yet, he went to visit Beth every chance he got because he just wanted…what exactly did he expect? Each character seemed to be the opposite of their counterpart. Beth as sweet and flexible, Sam was gruff and inflexible. Beth’s mom Ellie was pushy and judgmental while Beth’s dad seemed like he took things lighter and respected the autonomy of others. I liked Sam, but didn’t feel like his past gave him a pass to be so mean and unforgiving. He was still a stand up guy and I was rooting for him to get healing on such the tough sacrifice he made. I had a harder time liking Beth because she was pretty weak as a heroine, yet nosy as hell with other people’s issues. I do believe her heart was in the right place so she wasn't malicious in anyway. Beth was good for Sam despite her mother's objections. Ellie, Beth's mother was one of the most annoying and rude parents I've read in a long time. I am glad Beth’s dad was in the story to balance out the mother’s abrasiveness. I was so hoping Beth would put her own foot down and put her mother in check without needing Aunt Sunshine or her dad. I liked the side story of the Aunt Sunshine, which ended well after 30 years. That love story mending two broken relationships and I love it when there is healing and forgiveness. Overall, the story was a pleasant read and I look forward to reading more books in this series. I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Didi

    This third entry to Debbie Macomber's New Beginnings series is actually a sweet story about forgiveness, healing and moving forward. Only somehow the delivery of it just fell flat for me. It's a slow-paced story told alternately between the main characters and - later on - a secondary. I like the earlier part of the story where Rocco and his stepson Owen (from A Girl's Guide to Moving On) made some appearance and help liven up the introduction of the characters. The following story development w This third entry to Debbie Macomber's New Beginnings series is actually a sweet story about forgiveness, healing and moving forward. Only somehow the delivery of it just fell flat for me. It's a slow-paced story told alternately between the main characters and - later on - a secondary. I like the earlier part of the story where Rocco and his stepson Owen (from A Girl's Guide to Moving On) made some appearance and help liven up the introduction of the characters. The following story development was still fine too, even if I feel the heroine was somewhat meek. It was after two third of the book that everything started to fell apart for me; starting with Sam's weird idea and Beth's even weirder acceptance - both were uncharacteristic, after what I'd seen so far - and all went downhill from that. While I don't usually begrudge alternate POVs, there are books that just fail to reveal character's thought and engaged readers to their feeling. This is one of those for me. I couldn't really get Sam's decision in encouraging Beth dating others for a taste or saying they weren't dating when previously already admitted they were in a relationship. It felt very immature behaviour for his age. And then there's Beth being nosy and meddlesome in the name of good intentions that - for me - felt her running amok when given free reign of her life. To me it read that Beth - after fighting to get her mom to back off and let her live her life - felt it's okay to interfere in other's life just because she thought it would be good for them. What peeved me further was the halfhearted show of regret on both sides of the guilty party; only lukewarm attempt at wining back their love; no grovelling, grand gesture whatsoever. Just more of assumptions and coincidences and just kiss and make up. AGHHH!!! From something with such a potential this story turned into such a let down for me!! So yes, all casts involved managed to get their happy beginnings in the end. Others might find this satisfactory, but not this reader. If Not for You left me with unfulfilled feelings that there's too many unexplored stuff and missing pieces in the end. Advanced copy of this book is kindly provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne (Under the Covers Book blog)

    I read this book as part of my trying-new-authors adventure, it isn’t the kind of book I would normally be drawn to, but you don’t know if you don’t try right? Well I tried and although this book was okay, I am not in a rush to read more books by Debbie Macomber. It was cute but as we Brits like to say…not my cup of tea. When thinking about this book, I was struck by the first thing that occurred to me and I believe contributed to why I was unimpressed with it. There was no sex, not even a hi I read this book as part of my trying-new-authors adventure, it isn’t the kind of book I would normally be drawn to, but you don’t know if you don’t try right? Well I tried and although this book was okay, I am not in a rush to read more books by Debbie Macomber. It was cute but as we Brits like to say…not my cup of tea. When thinking about this book, I was struck by the first thing that occurred to me and I believe contributed to why I was unimpressed with it. There was no sex, not even a hint or a fade to black. This surprises me because I hate books that are just sex and you have to read through endless scenes of it I get really bored, but I do like their to be some heat which culminates to something within my romance. When I thought more about why the no sex thing bothered me I realised it’s because without this build up of heat and tension the main characters relationship came off as a budding friendship rather than a budding romance. They had no chemistry, none of the omphf that makes you think that the couple are made for one another, they just feel into platonic like which the author told us was their romantic relationship. I also found the heroine to be too naive, I don’t mind a sweet and innocent character but she was naive to the extent that she actually hurt the people around her. It made me wonder what the hell was wrong with her and why she would be so idiotic and once you start thinking that about a character it’s hard to claw that back. This book was okay, sweet and cute in parts but I won’t be reading any of the other books in this series, Macomber’s style isn’t something that suits me.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Cecelia

    When Beth Prudhomme and Sam Carney initially meet, there is NO chemistry between them. Beth is a gently bred, upper-class woman. No way does she have the time or desire to date an uneducated mechanic. Sam is not interested in Beth. After all, they have nothing in common and they have to struggle to have a decent conversation. But, due to a traumatic event, Beth’s life drastically changes. Sam was there for her when she initially gets hurt – and her opinion of him changes a lot. Sam is used to dat When Beth Prudhomme and Sam Carney initially meet, there is NO chemistry between them. Beth is a gently bred, upper-class woman. No way does she have the time or desire to date an uneducated mechanic. Sam is not interested in Beth. After all, they have nothing in common and they have to struggle to have a decent conversation. But, due to a traumatic event, Beth’s life drastically changes. Sam was there for her when she initially gets hurt – and her opinion of him changes a lot. Sam is used to dating beer-drinking gals he meets at The Dog House, the local pub. But, Beth is refreshingly different than his past girlfriends. But how can a relationship between them work? Beth has never dated seriously and all of her former beaus were chosen for her by her uppity, over-protective mom. I loved how both Sam and Beth are musicians, and they found a common bond in their music. Both Sam and Beth are dealing with past pains, which make them hesitant to love again. This story shows that opposites really do attract. It’s a simple, sweet romance that’s highly enjoyable. http://ceceliadowdy.com/blog/2017/02/...

  25. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    2.5 stars - Only because of the writing. The story - I just couldn't connect to these characters. They were boring and sometimes childish. The sub-plot and characters had some good moments, but just didn't hold it for me. I have read many DM books over the years, and have liked them, but this one was too religious for me. Sam goes to the hospital and she makes him read from the Bible when he is clearly uncomfortable! Pushy!! She hardly even knows him yet! Not for me. **Thank you to the publisher an 2.5 stars - Only because of the writing. The story - I just couldn't connect to these characters. They were boring and sometimes childish. The sub-plot and characters had some good moments, but just didn't hold it for me. I have read many DM books over the years, and have liked them, but this one was too religious for me. Sam goes to the hospital and she makes him read from the Bible when he is clearly uncomfortable! Pushy!! She hardly even knows him yet! Not for me. **Thank you to the publisher and Net Galley in exchange of an honest review.**

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    You can always depend on Debbie Macomber to give you a good story to take your mind off everything else going on around you. That said, this was not my favorite story by her but it was a fun satisfying read. Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book. All opinions are my own. As the book begins, Beth meets Sam on a blind date. They are total opposites - Beth is a music teacher and very prim and proper. Sam is a mechanic with long hair and beard. The blind date doesn't go well and its apparent th You can always depend on Debbie Macomber to give you a good story to take your mind off everything else going on around you. That said, this was not my favorite story by her but it was a fun satisfying read. Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book. All opinions are my own. As the book begins, Beth meets Sam on a blind date. They are total opposites - Beth is a music teacher and very prim and proper. Sam is a mechanic with long hair and beard. The blind date doesn't go well and its apparent that they will never see each again. On their drives home, Sam is behind Beth's car when she is hit in an intersection and hurt very badly. He runs to the car and holds her hand and then starts to visit her in the hospital and a relationship between them develops very quickly. The big questions then becomes - will they be able to find true love despite their differences and the opposition of her controlling mother? It's a fun, quick satisfying read to find out the answer to this question.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ruby

    Judging a book... you have heard the phrase more times and have memorized its meaning, however, what happens when a gruff, but handsome mechanic rescues you from yourself?! This second in Debbie Macomber's new series is a prefect example of looking on the outside and not digging deeper. When Beth first meets Sam, her first thought isn't a good one. He is rough, lower class, and well. he's a mechanic. Sam feels she is rich, snooty, and rather shallow. Maybe the first date was all they needed to r Judging a book... you have heard the phrase more times and have memorized its meaning, however, what happens when a gruff, but handsome mechanic rescues you from yourself?! This second in Debbie Macomber's new series is a prefect example of looking on the outside and not digging deeper. When Beth first meets Sam, her first thought isn't a good one. He is rough, lower class, and well. he's a mechanic. Sam feels she is rich, snooty, and rather shallow. Maybe the first date was all they needed to realize it wasn't going to work, too bad fate and a rather nasty accident decide different. I have always been a fan of good clean romance books with substance. Not just boy meets girl and instantly they are in love, but the hearty real life experience of judging and being proven wrong. In this story, you will laugh, cry, and most assuredly nod your head at the things we all done. A perfect book for a rainy day or feel good afternoon!!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Gigi Ann

    My Thoughts... As always I like a good clean romantic story, and Debbie Macomber never disappoints. As a master storyteller Ms. Macomber introduces her intriguing characters. She is attuned to her readers and infuses her characters with compassion and frailties that make them even more real. Debbie Macomber has a way with words that wind together into delightfully "feel good" stories, and this was a delightful story of family, friends and changes. This is a comfort read, and there are no big surpr My Thoughts... As always I like a good clean romantic story, and Debbie Macomber never disappoints. As a master storyteller Ms. Macomber introduces her intriguing characters. She is attuned to her readers and infuses her characters with compassion and frailties that make them even more real. Debbie Macomber has a way with words that wind together into delightfully "feel good" stories, and this was a delightful story of family, friends and changes. This is a comfort read, and there are no big surprises. If you are looking for something deeper – move right along, but if you sometimes have a bit of a sweet tooth when it comes to books, like me, you might want to consider this for a treat. Therefore, I am awarding this book 5*****cotton candy stars. I own this book and it is a part of my personal library.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    Everything Happens for a Reason and in it's own time. This is a wonderful , uplifting story of a young woman - Beth, who has finally decided to pursue her dreams and her life and move away from her domineering Mother. She moves to Oregon near to her Aunt Sunshine. Sunshine is the most upbeat, happy person Beth has known. While driving home from a blind date, a horrible accident takes place where Beth's life will change forever. She meets the love of her life, but will this relationship be cast asid Everything Happens for a Reason and in it's own time. This is a wonderful , uplifting story of a young woman - Beth, who has finally decided to pursue her dreams and her life and move away from her domineering Mother. She moves to Oregon near to her Aunt Sunshine. Sunshine is the most upbeat, happy person Beth has known. While driving home from a blind date, a horrible accident takes place where Beth's life will change forever. She meets the love of her life, but will this relationship be cast aside once her parents meet Sam? He is not exactly what her parents had in mind for their "Little Girl." Fabulous novel and I read it in 2 days. You will want to continue reading to see what is next for Beth and her family. Loved it!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    Beth moves away from home to escape her controlling mother and live a life of her own. What I liked the most about this book is the message of hope. Characters aren't evil - many of them have been hurt in the past and have issues to overcome, but they work through their problems. Beth is a sweet heroine, and I liked how she progressed to being able to stand up to her mother. Sunshine, Beth's aunt, is another good character, who was disappointed early in life but did not let that stop her and her Beth moves away from home to escape her controlling mother and live a life of her own. What I liked the most about this book is the message of hope. Characters aren't evil - many of them have been hurt in the past and have issues to overcome, but they work through their problems. Beth is a sweet heroine, and I liked how she progressed to being able to stand up to her mother. Sunshine, Beth's aunt, is another good character, who was disappointed early in life but did not let that stop her and her artistic career. This is a very good Debbie Macomber book and I will recommend it to my mother and friends who like a sweet romance. I want to thank netgalley for providing a copy of this book to read. That did not influence my review.

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