Book Series Review: Carolina Coast series by T.I. Lowe

Posted October 25, 2020 by meezcarrie in Christian, contemporary, romance, T.I. Lowe / 19 Comments


Today, I’m featuring reviews for the Carolina Coast series – Beach Haven, Driftwood Dreams, and Sea Glass Castle – by T.I. Lowe! Fair warning: these reviews are longish so if you want to just skip to the “Bottom Line” section of each, I won’t be offended 😉

BEACH HAVEN
SERIES:
Carolina Coast #1

GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Romance
PUBLISHER: Tyndale House
RELEASE DATE: April 7, 2020
PAGES: 320

Free-spirited Opal Gilbert seems to have everything she needs to keep living a happy life in Sunset Cove as she refurbishes vintage furniture to sell at her funky ocean-side boutique, Bless This Mess. Until Lincoln Cole, a new-to-town ex-Marine nursing deep wounds and harboring hurts he can’t seem to shake, wanders into her shop. Opal knows a person in need when she sees one and offers Lincoln a job in her workshop. But the brooding former soldier has no interest in Opal’s offer. Thanks but no thanks.

But then a hurricane strikes, damaging Bless This Mess. Feeling guilty for how he treated Opal, Lincoln decides to help her repair the store. And soon it becomes clear Opal wants to restore not only her business, but also help Lincoln find restoration. As much as Lincoln tries to keep her at arm’s length, Opal’s well-meaning meddling begins to heal his wounds . . . and capture his heart almost before he realizes it.

 

First, I have to say that Opal is just plain adorable. As Lincoln said, “The woman practically vibrated kookiness…” but she also exudes so much joy that you can’t help but love her. She in equal turns drives Linc batty and draws him in, until she’s worked her way behind his defenses and captured his heart. I loved how unpredictable & creative Opal is as a romance heroine; her quirkiness is offset by her perceptiveness, and discovering all the layers that make up her character is truly enjoyable.

Linc also avoids sliding into a stereotype. The wounded former Marine at first appears exactly as you’d expect – brooding, stubborn, anti-social. But the author beautifully weaves rich dimension into this hero, quickly taking him far beyond what you initially expect. In fact, his story – and his character growth throughout Beach Haven may cause a lump in your throat and a few tears in your eyes along the way.

Don’t mistake this for a heavy story, though. Lowe’s southern charm (and a bit of sass) is evident on every page, and between Opal’s relationship with her two best friends (the Sand Queens), her cooking misadventures, and her banter with Linc (i.e. her effervescence and Linc’s return grumpiness lol), there are plenty of opportunities to chuckle too. And did I mention opportunities to swoon? Have mercy, be sure to take appropriate safety measures (fan, fainting couch, maybe a freezer) when reading these books. Because between Opal’s passion for life and Linc’s suppressed (and intense) emotions, once these two figure a few things out, cue all the readerly swooning.

Perhaps my favorite part of the story, though, is the message of restoration. Opal’s shop Bless This Mess and the work she does there is a brilliantly written object lesson to parallel Linc’s journey. “…nothing was too far gone to be restored, even though its new purpose might be different from its original one.” The way Lowe presents this truth throughout the novel never strays into preachy but is organic to the story and adds that extra element that takes a book from good to fabulous.

Bottom Line: Beach Haven was my first read by T.I. Lowe but it most definitely will NOT be my last. I am evermore a fan of this author and can be seen stalking the internet for her backlist and future releases. Opal’s pure & enthusiastic open heart and Linc’s firmly entrenched walls are a formidable match but, in the age-old tradition of masterful romance authors, Lowe skillfully makes it crystal clear that each is exactly what the other needs. An absolutely exquisite story in every way!

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. In the interest of full disclosure, I also received compensation from the publisher to coordinate an instagram tour for this series with JustRead Tours, a company I partially own. All views expressed are still only my honest opinion & were not in any influenced by compensation for coordinating the tour.)

My Rating: 5 stars / fantastic!

KissingBook Level: 4 / keep your fan & fainting couch handy!

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DRIFTWOOD DREAMS
SERIES:
Carolina Coast #2

GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Romance
PUBLISHER: Tyndale House
RELEASE DATE: June 1, 2020
PAGES: 320

Josie Slater has allowed the circumstances anchoring her in Sunset Cove to become a life sentence. Since her mother’s death years before, she’s spent most of her waking hours helping her dad run the Driftwood Diner. As her best friends, Opal and Sophia, make their dreams come true, Josie watches her own art school aspirations drift on by. But when a French-speaking Southern gentleman from her past moves back from Europe, Josie is launched into a tizzy of what-ifs and I-sure-do-hope-sos.

August Bradford left Sunset Cove six years ago to sow some life oats and conquer his ambitious career goals. Finally ready to lay down some roots, the successful artist is back in town and determined to win Josie’s heart. When he enlists Josie’s help in the preparations for a children’s art camp, Josie finds herself unleashing her artistic side in a way she hasn’t since before her mother’s death. August hopes to convince Josie to paint a life with him, but the problem is convincing her to let go of her apprehensions and give him—and her dreams—a fair chance.

 

<blissful sigh>

I could really stop my review there… but I won’t. Because I neeeeeeeeed to swoon-flail (new word) over August. Oh how I love a hero who pursues the woman he loves. That gentle intention that gives meaning to every action, every word, every ‘just dropping by’ moment. There’s something about that kind of patient, purposeful romance that wraps so completely around my heart. I think because it reminds me that I am pursued by a Savior – gently, intentionally, patiently, lovingly. Reminds me that He would do anything to get to me and show me how much He loves me. My favorite kind of story is one that organically reflects The Story without feeling forced or preachy – and Lowe’s incredible talent does exactly that in Driftwood Dreams.

Josie herself is a complex character with several layers to unpack, and a carefully hidden fragility about her spirit. That’s not to say that she is weak – on the contrary, Josie is an exceptionally strong woman, even if she doesn’t realize it. I adored her relationship with the eccentric Dalma (who I want to just hug all the time), and Dalma’s antics added a great deal of humor to the story. Their unpredictable interactions infused Driftwood Dreams with wisdom and tenderness as well. And of course there are the Sand Queens – Josie’s BFF’s – Opal and Sophia. I loved following up with Opal’s story and grew more and more intrigued by Sophia’s, which we’ll see in book 3.

Bottom Line: Driftwood Dreams by T.I. Lowe is romance novel perfection. August and Josie are creative, artistic, and well-layered, and their relationship journey is absolutely beautiful. Main, secondary, and tertiary characters are all nicely drawn and each contributes in his/her own way to add dimension to the story. Lowe is a master at writing books with faith, hope, humor, tenderness, and swooniness – each element combining intrinsically with the others in such a way that neither can be omitted without losing something essential. I grinned a lot, I got a little teary, and I swooned often. A must-read for fans of Becky Wade, Denise Hunter, and Pepper Basham.

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. In the interest of full disclosure, I also received compensation from the publisher to coordinate an instagram tour for this series with JustRead Tours, a company I partially own. All views expressed are still only my honest opinion & were not in any influenced by compensation for coordinating the tour.)

My Rating: 5 stars / fantastic!

KissingBook Level: 4 / keep that fan & fainting couch handy

amazon affiliate link used


SEA GLASS CASTLE
SERIES:
Carolina Coast #3

GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Romance
PUBLISHER: Tyndale House
RELEASE DATE: August 4, 2020
PAGES: 320

Sophia Prescott is still mending from the embarrassment of a highly publicized divorce from a pro football player, and the now-single mother is back in Sunset Cove, surrounded by the supporting love of her family and the Sand Queens. Sophia doesn’t think there’s any hope for starting over until an unexpected trip to the pediatrician’s office gives her a second chance after all.

Dr. Weston Sawyer knows all about lives shattering into millions of pieces. His own all but ended when a truck driver fell asleep at the wheel and barreled head-on into his pregnant wife’s sedan, killing her instantly and leaving Wes with a soul so wounded that it has refused to heal. He packed up and left swampy southern Alabama for South Carolina with the hope of fading into the sleepy coastal town of Sunset Cove. Instead, feisty brunette Sophia Prescott will have him braving something different and entirely unexpected. If Sophia and Wes can take the leap to give love another try, they just might find that hope has a way of coming back around and weaving into one’s heart.

 

Oh Sophia. I’ve been waiting for your story since the first book in the Carolina Coast series. I could tell there were so many layers we weren’t seeing yet and I was right. Your story was so very much worth the wait. And adding Wes & his layers to the mix was exactly what your story needed. Both of you have been broken by life, heart-fragile from the loss of dreams & love & the life you thought you would be living. Yet, God is still in the business of making something beautiful from the storms of life, and your stories show that perfectly.

Can I also say here (well, i’m gonna anyway) that everyone needs surrogate big brothers like Lincoln & August??? My heart melted all over again when I saw (and heard about) how they protected Sophia. Ladies, when you find a man who will love you fiercely and will also protect your friends, you’ve got a keeper. As always, it’s good to spend more time with Opal, Josie, and the Knitting Club (aka the well-meaning & often hilarious elderly ladies in town) but it was Linc & August & Wes who stood out in Sea Glass Castle. (Side note: Do you think they would stand for a nickname like the girls have with the Sand Queens? I mean, one of them did say “I know I’d do stupid like a boss if it made my woman happy” so I think we need to make that happen haha.)

Bottom Line: Once again, T.I. Lowe takes emotionally broken characters and wraps them in grace, love, and hope, allowing us to see ourselves in each protagonist even if our life experiences have been very different. Sea Glass Castle is a perfect blend of southern sass, small town living, laughter, tears, and redemption. It can be read as a standalone (just like its predecessors) but if you’re not reading the whole series, you are really missing out.

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. In the interest of full disclosure, I also received compensation from the publisher to coordinate an instagram tour for this series with JustRead Tours, a company I partially own. All views expressed are still only my honest opinion & were not in any influenced by compensation for coordinating the tour.)

My Rating: 5 stars / fantastic!

KissingBook Level: 4 / keep those fans & fainting couches handy

amazon affiliate link used


Tonya “T.I.” Lowe is a native of coastal South Carolina. She attended Coastal Carolina University and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where she majored in Psychology but excelled in Creative Writing. In 2014, Tonya independently published her first novel, Lulu’s Café, which quickly became a bestseller. Now the author of 12 published novels with hundreds of thousands of copies sold, she knows she’s just getting started and has many more stories to tell. She resides near Myrtle Beach with her family.

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Other Books by T.I. Lowe



What about you? What makes you want to read the Carolina Coast series by T.I. Lowe? If you’ve already read the series, which character was your favorite?

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19 responses to “Book Series Review: Carolina Coast series by T.I. Lowe

  1. Suzanne Sellner

    I listened to Beach Haven earlier this year and LOVED it! After your reviews, I’ve just ordered the other two. Thank you , T. I. Lowe, for writing these books, and thank you, Carrie, for reviewing them. Reading bloggers’ reviews is my sure-fire way of selecting fabulous books to read!

  2. Patty

    I’ve only read the first book in the series so far, but I have the second one in my TBR stack! As a follow Carolina girl to author T. I. Lowe I just had to read these books when I heard about them.

  3. Gena Berchtold

    I have read every book Ms. Lowe has written – more than once or twice. I love them all.
    She touches every possible issue and emotion every woman deals with and ponders.
    What a great writer – one of my favorites!!!

  4. Winnie Thomas

    Well, you’ve convinced me that I need to read this series, my dear BFFFC! A few more books for my toppling pile! LOL

  5. Amy M.

    This series was A. Ma. Zing!! I loved every book! Mrs. Lowe writes with the perfect balance of lighthearted fun, deep meaningful friendships, heart racing romance and life challenges which are all God-centered. Can’t say enough good things about these books.
    As far as my favorite characters…..I thought Lincoln Cole was the be-all-end-all, but then August Bradford waltzed in the door and whoo-eee I’ll never look at art the same again. Him describing Josie like a rainbow turned me into a puddle of melted goo and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

  6. Mj

    I have read all of three books and they are all amazing! I really liked the characters in the books. If I had to pick a favorite it would probably be Opal! T. I. Lowe is an amazing author!!!

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