Read My Unexpected Hope by Tammy L. Gray Online


After a year of grieving her divorce and living a life permanently stuck on pause, Laila Richardson is finally ready to have her own happy ending. Then a listing for a quaint cottage in another town answers her prayers for a fresh beginning—one that will bring her closer to her new boyfriend, Ben. Unfortunately, in her small town of Fairfield, Georgia, letting go of the paAfter a year of grieving her divorce and living a life permanently stuck on pause, Laila Richardson is finally ready to have her own happy ending. Then a listing for a quaint cottage in another town answers her prayers for a fresh beginning—one that will bring her closer to her new boyfriend, Ben. Unfortunately, in her small town of Fairfield, Georgia, letting go of the past is virtually impossible. No one wants to see her move on, including the man who destroyed her heart to begin with.Chad Richardson has spent years in misery but finally has his life on somewhat stable ground. When he learns his ex-wife is dating, he knows it’s time to go back and fight for the life he abandoned. Bolstered by his newfound sobriety, Chad has every intention of winning back the woman he loves, even if that means facing old demons that are waiting for him to fail.Passions run deep as two souls searching for a second chance find the courage to let go of old patterns. Can they recognize that their dreams are still possible, even when forged from a broken past?...

Title : My Unexpected Hope
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781542045797
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 332 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

My Unexpected Hope Reviews

  • Heidi Robbins (Heidi Reads...)
    2018-11-27 23:25

    This is a great follow up novel to My Hope Next Door. I highly recommend reading that book first. In both books there is a powerful theme of redemption and forgiveness. There is a trio of friends who have promised loyalty to each other since childhood, and they grow into adulthood together with neglectful or dysfunctional families as the result of addiction and substance abuse. Katie and Chad have been best friends and understand the darkness in each other, and Laila is Chad's girlfriend and love of his life. Katie and Chad fall into the cycle of substance abuse, and the first book shows Katie's path out of addiction and into a new life with God as the center. This book continues where that one left off, and tells Chad's story of recovery and his struggle to win Laila back when she starts to make a new life for herself. While there are dark and heavy issues explored, there is a current of hope that emerges as Laila and Chad begin to finally communicate and share long-held secrets. It takes time to build trust again, and I was rooting for them even when they were too discouraged in themselves. Plenty of angst and drama, but also romantic moments and sweet fun interactions as the two soul mates find their way back to each other and themselves despite overwhelming obstacles.(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)

  • Carrie Schmidt (Reading is My SuperPower)
    2018-11-21 03:03

    I will tell you right now that this is not an easy read but oh it’s so worth it.Laila and Chad’s story is powerful, raw, and gripping. I cried (more than once) for each of them individually and for their relationship. There is such a gutwrenching mix of emotion on these pages – agony, confusion, desperation, grief, anger, betrayal, elation, hope, love, and yes plenty of sparks a’flying chemistry.These emotions run so high and so passionately throughout the story that the romantic tension is also fully charged. In one scene, in the middle of a rather heated discussion, Chad states “Well, then I guess I have nothing to lose”, backs Laila against the wall and kisses her quite soundly. (I may have read that scene more than once. Ahem.) They love each other so deeply – and have for years – that despite the way they’ve hurt each other they also can’t quite walk away. And swoonlicious ‘we-used-to-be-married’ kisses come with a turn-the-heat-up ‘I-know-your-lips-well’ disclaimer, so reading them requires fans, fainting couches, and freezers.Romance and intense emotions notwithstanding, there is a thread of redemption that shines even brighter as two lost souls find their home. In each other. In life. And in grace.Bottom Line: My Unexpected Hope is beautiful, emotional, poignant, heart-wrenching, and realistically hope-full. For anyone who has loved someone that struggles with addiction, this book is also healing. Gray gets soul-deep with her characters and their inner battles and the end result is a book that is impossible to put down.(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book)first seen at Reading Is My SuperPower

  • Candice Valdez
    2018-11-21 00:05

    Wow! I could not put this book down. It gave me all the feels. Even though Chad had been a jerk for many years, I found myself rooting for him still. I felt like this book portrayed an addict accurately and did not hold anything back. I LOVED the chemistry. It is wonderful when a book can make you feel the spark between the characters without it getting physical. That is my favorite kind of book and Tammy Gray did a beautiful job from beginning to end.

  • Ashley Ann Martin
    2018-11-19 04:23

    I received an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Where do I begin? I've been a fan of Mrs. Gray since I read Shattered Rose a few years ago. Part of the draw to her books, for me, is her uncanny ability to be real. Life is hard. We all have our struggles and issues...even addictions. Tammy didn't sugarcoat any of these things in her writing. She's honest about the troubles Chad and Laila face as Chad tries to overcome his addictions on his own. We meet Laila and catch a glimpse of Chad in My Hope Next Door. If you haven't read it yet, strongly encourage you to do so! Their heartbreaking story begins in that book. Without giving away spoilers, the best way to give my opinion is to tell you to read this book. If you know someone who is struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, read it. If you don't, read it anyway. Chad and Laila's story is a reflection of Christ's love and healing power. We are nothing without Him. And with Him, he will use us in ways we cannot imagine. Just like He used Laila in an innocent child's life. Just like he used Katie (from MHND) in helping Chad overcome and see the Light. Just like he used Ben, in ways Laila never imagined.Interested now? Read it, you won't be disappointed.

  • Madison
    2018-11-16 22:13

    My Unexpected Hope is a realistic and enjoyable Christian contemporary novel. Strong characters and tough life situations combine in this story of love, broken marriages, second chances, addiction and recovery, and faith. Laila is trying to put her life together and move on from her past. She is planing to move and has a new and wonderful boyfriend - embracing anything that puts her far from the small town of Fairfield where she has lived all her life and the hurt of her broken marriage. Chad Richardson knew that this was his last chance to get sober and stay sober. When he learns that Laila is starting to move on he knows it is time to return home and try to save his marriage. But his return home does not go as smoothly as he plans and he will have to give everything he has to start over and convince Laila he is a new man.My Unexpected Hope is the companion novel to My Hope Next Door. They have crossover storylines but can both be read as standalone novels. I really enjoyed My Hope Next Door, and My Unexpected Hope brings the same mix of relateable, realistic, and flawed characters who are desperate to overcome their mistakes and create a new life for themselves. I found Laila to be a wonderful character. She is so strong. She has always supported the people she loves, gave Chad so many chances but knew that he needed an ultimatum if he was ever going to get serious about getting sober. Now she is trying to create a new life away from the hurtful memories of the destruction of her marriage and the neglect of her childhood. She also has a new-found faith that is helping her to navigate her new choices and her desire to be stronger about looking after herself as well as those she loves. At times I didn't like Chad all that much. There is no denying his connection with Laila, a bond, history, and chemistry that runs deep, but he tends to be manipulative, even as he struggles to change, to be a new man. But isn't that so realistic of life and human nature? No one is perfect. Laila doesn't want perfection from Chad, she just wants honesty.This book doesn't pull its punches about the very real nature of addiction and recovery. It addresses the issues of faith and forgiveness in the midst of very real, very hard challenges. It also celebrates new chances, starting over, and the intimacy of marriage.I enjoyed reading My Unexpected Hope and recommend it for readers who enjoy contemporary novels about romance, marriage, deep personal challenges, and faith.The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.Find more reviews, reading age guides, content advisory, and recommendations on my blog Madison's Library.

  • Kara
    2018-12-10 01:27

    This is not an easy story to read, but oh so worth it! Because Laila and Chad's journey is fraught with pain and hurt. And lots of it. Much like their best friend Katie's story (My Hope Next Door, which I loved!), they've both made a few (or several) wrong choices and the consequences are gut-wrenching for them. But these two characters could not be in more capable hands than Ms. Gray's because she excels in filling characters' difficult trajectories with bits of hope. So don't let the fear of hard scare you away!I admit to not quite being sure I liked Laila in book one, but I was intrigued by her. She's one tough cookie, this lady! :) Watching as she struggles to figure out how lovable she truly is and to be able to forgive herself, as well as Chad, is a beautiful redemption. It's a hard road to get there, but once she arrives...ah my heart! It broke so many times during this story, but by the final pages it was mended whole again. And Chad. So many times I wanted to shake him! But as he grew stronger in his faith walk, so, too, did my appreciation for him. Neither he nor Laila have it easy, but they refused to give in completely and became wonderful examples of hope!The title of the book truly describes what happens during the story. For all the hard and yucky things these characters have to endure, their friends, and ultimately their Father above, refuse to let them surrender! And hope is reborn again and again, much like our real lives. That's what I love most about Ms. Gray's stories, I think. The rawness of the emotions felt, the very real heartbreak that exists and is so easily related to. The layers upon layers in the characters, who never seem to fit into just one box of personality, precisely how we human beings are. We're complicated! And her characters show it. She writes about serious things, things we've either experienced or possibly know someone who has. She takes her readers to difficult places, yet never lets us forget that love never gives up. That grace and mercy and forgiveness are actually possible, no matter how impossible they may seem!And she ends it all with hope of the good yet to come in the characters lives long after the final pages are closed. The reader only has to trust where she intends the journey to go. And it's worth it, friends. Believe me. :)**I received a complimentary copy from the author via Netgalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

  • Mia
    2018-12-06 21:24

    I applaud Tammy L. Gray for tackling a heartbreaking and sensible topic with such graciousness and understanding!In "My Unexpected Hope" we follow the story of Laila and Chad. Both are former best-friends of Katie Stone from the first book in the series "My Hope Next Door". I believe to better understand the dilemmas involving these characters it is best to read from the first book in the series. However this book will give you enough insight to give the reader an idea of these characters’ stories. Laila and Chad are childhood best friends and love birds. They have both suffered immense trauma growing up and have clenched desperately to their intense relationship, as one ended up being the lifeline of the other. However, bad choices have made their marriage end in heartbreak and divorce. My heart really broke for both of them. Laila, for her personal story of abandonment during childhood and into adulthood, and, Chad, for losing his way into an addiction. This subject was dealt honestly, with enough content to make me understand how difficult the situation was for both characters. Chad's personal struggle was delt with care and sincerity, without judging or appraising his attitude, but also by genuinely pointing out how many of their bad choices were made as a way of self-condemnation. However, the details weren't in a way that gave this book a dark and somber feeling.I thought it was very smart how the author chose to give a glimpse of their past history with bittersweet memories for us to understand their story – what brought them together and what tore them apart.Back in town to face his demons and try to win back his wife, Chad will have to be brave and open to find the source that can keep him strong and help him through temptations and challenges ahead. Laila, on the other hand, is ready to say goodbye to the past and start over. At least she thinks she is… was she doesn’t realize is that she is running and hiding.With the help of a fantastic set of secondary characters, Laila and Chad came out of this journey stronger, wiser, more in love and with a faith that is able to move mountains.*Many thanks to the publisher for providing me a copy in exchange for my honest review

  • Denise Hershberger (100 Pages per Hour)
    2018-11-26 22:20

    I love that Gray writes books that push the boundaries of Christian Fiction. I love that this book deals with really difficult problems like alcoholism, drug addiction, abuse, and divorce because it keeps readers like myself from only reading easy, happily ever after books that only leave a smile on my face. I really liked that there were times in this book that I wasn't smiling because that is truly realistic. Life isn't always sunshine and roses.I also loved how unpredictable this book was! Gray surprised me a couple of times with turns of events that I didn't expect. I get tired of books that are too easy to figure out so that was a lovely change of pace.I really liked how we got to watch both Laila and Chad grow in this book. And I loved that it wasn't always easy growth either. I especially liked Chad's dedication and how well Gray portrayed the difficulties he faced as a result of both his childhood and his addictions. I also liked how Laila found healing through volunteering. I think my favorite part of this book was the honesty. So many books gloss over the hard stuff or leave it out completely and Gray doesn't do that. She writes about the gritty hard stuff and even pushes deeper as she helps her characters find hope. I received a copy of this book through the publisher and NetGalley. This is my honest review.

  • Susan Snodgrass
    2018-11-17 23:15

    I've never read this author before when someone recommended her to me. I love discovering new authors, so I thought I'd give it a chance. I won't list the synopsis here. You can read it for yourself.This book is not an easy book to read. It is not a little feel good inspirational story to warm your heart. Although it will warm your heart, it will also break your heart. There is pain aplenty here, pain that comes from just being treated badly and then pain that comes from the choices people make. But it's also a story of redemption. A story of grace. And a story of mercy. God is good. Even in the bad times, times when a person thinks there's no way out, that no one cares. God is always there. Always.There was a lot of backstory, I believe here, because now that I've read it, I understand there was one that came before. Even though the story was good, it would have been better, I believe, had I read the first book. * I was given a preview copy of this book by the publisher via Net Galley. My opinion is entirely my own.

  • Beth Erin
    2018-12-09 21:24

    Full review on Faithfully Bookish often use the phrase “beauty from ashes” to describe stories that illustrate God’s restorative grace in action yet “beauty from flaming ruins” seems more appropriate here. The depth of pain and destruction from living in a culture of addiction and abuse are difficult for those of us who have not experienced it to comprehend.This story is filled with authentically flawed characters, complex situations, and tangled emotions. If you like your books fluffy, neat, and tidy this one might not be for you but if you’re like me and crave stories that will challenge your thinking and raise your level of compassion, don’t miss My Unexpected Hope.I requested the opportunity to read this book through the author. The opinions expressed are my own.

  • Vikki Vaught
    2018-11-21 21:27

    My MusingsWhat an outstanding book. A was pulled in from the first page and remained holes until the last. Great characters and a fantastic plot. So glad I found this amazing series. Happy ☺reading 📚!

  • C bond
    2018-12-07 23:07

    netgalleyexcellent well developed read. I really liked this book

  • Dana Michael
    2018-11-17 20:59

    Wow! Sometimes a book can really settle into your soul and bring out all kinds of emotions. This one did that for me. This book deals with the hero, Chad who has an addiction to alcohol. He has been an addict almost since his first drink. His wife, Laila who has been a loving and supportive wife until his almost overdose, had enough. She filed for divorce. This book is about recovery, forgiveness, and reconciliation. There is also a bit of suspense too. This author is a favorite of mine. She does an excellent job of pulling me into the pages right there with the characters. I feel their pain. I feel their loss. I feel their longing for more. I feel their love. I'm always a huge fan for the under dog. I love to cheer them on. There is victory, or can be. It's never too late to reclaim the years the locusts have eaten. This book was an inspiration to me and I loved every single page. I highly recommend this book and I do pray there is more to come in this series.*I was given a copy of this book via netgalley by the publisher and was under no obligation to leave a review.

  • Saloni
    2018-11-23 23:13

    *I received a free ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion in any way.* My Rating - 4 To begin with, I could not put the book down once I picked it up and thus ended up starting and finishing it up in 4 hours straight!The book starts with describing the life of Laila which is monotonous, working in the bar, meeting the same people because she lives in the town of Fairfield where everyone seems to have their nose stuck up in other people's businesses.However, unknown to the people of Fairfield she has a boyfriend named Ben. Until Ben one day turns up at her workplace and the whole town finds out!Chad had been a jerk for many years but is currently stable and sober! When he learns his wife (too be precise - ex-wife) has moved on and found a new life he returns back to his home town to win back his wife and return to a life he abandoned.I am not one for second chances especially once involving addicts!That said I still could not help rooting for Chad!I immediately took liking to the characters (even Chad - I still can't believe it).You can actually feel the emotions the characters go through and it's heart wrenching.Chad's guilt! Laila's exhaustion! Ben's insecurities! everything was portrayed beutifully and more importantly in a very lucid language. What did I love ?The relationships not just between the main characters but also the other smaller one's.1. SIERRA - I just loved that girl and everything related to her was heartfelt.2. Laila and Joe's conversations - Amazing writing style - credits to the author3. This book doesn't hold back! Mind you! It describes the life and problems of an addict with so much accuracy you might just have to close your eyes and take a deep breathe even while reading!4. Chad's insecurities and the way they're described was just so amazing and that's what led to me rooting for Chad! through the book.5. COOPER - Ah! you can't ever forget him! Amazing character and definitely well - written.6. The Twist - The plot twists! Well, though you're kind of expecting them but they do get you!7. The new Laila - the assertive one where she voices her mind and what she feels!8. Her confrontation with Sierra's mom - so emotional! so amazing!9. Lastly Chad and Laila's past - Those small excerpts were so wonderfully written that they held me through the book and I was pinning for more of those "good times".Why not 5 stars ?There were times when I wanted to keep the book aside because the parts got a little too obvious or I felt like the story turning towards that happy ever after.Mainly I think it was due Laila being a bit too easily forgiving her mother as well as Chad in the beginning however later after Laila's character development that just abruptly changes. (I liked the new Laila)(view spoiler)[SIERRA - How could the author do this!! There was no ending there! I loved the conversations between Laila and Sierra so much and I just thought there would be something! There must be something more (maybe even an epilogue involving Sierra please please please I need it!) (hide spoiler)]Throughout the book the plot had been nicely woven secrets and truths revealed at perfect timings made the book gripping !P.S Would definitely read another book by the author!

  • Lydia (Overweight Bookshelf)
    2018-11-27 21:08

    Dear readers, divorce, substance abuse, emotional trauma and heartbreak are real. If they are not a part of your personal reality, it is easy to disregard them or not have them at the forefront of our reading experience. But do you know what else is real? Healing, redemption, forgiveness, atonement, and grace. These two dichotomies coexist with unrestrained poignancy in Tammy L Gray's latest novel, My Unexpected Hope. All of these elements, both the raw and the joyful, are catalysts for one of the most soul stirring, impassioned and expressive love stories I have read this year. Laila and Chad are alternatively heart-wrenching, passionate, infuriating, and humbling. As each layer of their story is stripped back and new truths and hurts are exposed, more life is breathed into these dynamic characters who become indelibly settled into your heart. My Unexpected Hope dares readers of inspirational fiction to step beyond their comfort zone and acknowledge life's hardships while simultaneously beholding the beauty of hope. I rejoice that there are authors like Tammy L Gray who craft stories that recognize that a character's trajectory does not end with a ring, I do, and happily ever after. I highly recommend that the readers first familiarize themselves with these characters in Tammy Grays's RITA award winning novel, My Hope Next Door, although either novel can be enjoyed as a stand alone.**Disclosure: Review copy provided by the author. All opinions are my own.**

  • Carolyn
    2018-11-21 05:12

    Chad, Laila et al are about as messed-up a bunch of friends as you'll find, all raised (barely) in highly-dysfunctional homes. Having previously read My Hope Next Door, I questioned at the outset whether Tammy Gray could make me care about any of them. (Particularly Cooper, who's come a long, long way in this book.)Thanks be to God, I don't have any first or secondhand knowledge of addictions like the ones portrayed in the book, but I do know something about the difficulty in overcoming habitual sins and creating new starts, which is the heart of My Unexpected Hope.This is by no means a lighthearted romance though there are a few lighter moments and just enough tender memories between Chad and Laila to keep the story from becoming too dark.By the last quarter of the book, I was highly invested in Chad's battle for sobriety and his reunion with Laila, just as the author introduced enough twists to leave me frustrated when I had to step away from my Kindle and tend to my duties.Well-written and compelling!I was provided a copy of this book by the author. All opinions in this review are my own.

  • Pat
    2018-12-14 21:59

    I'm just blown away. I have been anxiously awaiting Chad and Laila's story ever since reading My Hope Next Door. My Unexpected Hope certainly did not disappoint. The reality of it shook me and carried me through such a range of emotions. At church this morning I heard of a 28 year old girl who had come to last Wednesday night's service and gone forward, then was found dead the next day from an overdose. This resonated with me. One of my own granddaughters lived through much of the same reality. Her life is now filled with light and she and her husband have two beautiful children and a living relationship with the Lord. Reading this book was so realistic and even painful -- seeing the terrible pain and torment that addiction causes, not only for the individual but for all those who dare to love them. And, ultimately, the freedom that is only found in HIM. This was an excruciating and beautiful love story. Also as much as Cooper was a thorn in my side in Katie's story, I'm hoping that we may yet be reading his own story of love and redemption. Thank you, Tammy L. Gray. You never disappoint. I received an advance copy of this book for an honest review (and can't wait till the actual book and audiobook is released so I can share it with my daughters and granddaughters).

  • April
    2018-11-21 00:13

    4+ StarsWhile this novel is hard to put down and grips you, this is not a feel good, inspirational novel. It is hard hitting, with real problems and struggles; it is honest and fresh, and it is worth the read.Gray has once again crafted a story that engages, that stirs, and that reads not like a fairtytale, but as if these are living breathing people you might encounter. Characters who are broken, and all too imperfect, but looking to find their way. I love the journey Gray takes us on as they work through their issues, move into faith and learn more about themselves and others along the way.

  • Rebecca Martin
    2018-12-02 03:27

    ‘“How did you find your way back?’ His words were weak, a whisper. ‘I woke up one day and had lost everything. My life had no value. I had no value. And then this wonderful man showed me that I was priceless, a child of the King, and loved. So, when I feel lost or afraid—which I still do, sometimes—I cling to my new identity now. I refuse to believe the lie.” Chad stared into the sky, his shirt damp, rain clinging to his cheeks. ‘I feel worthless. All the time.”’We all have those times that we feel like a failure. This is so much worse. Chad Richardson has not only destroyed his life by choosing substances over everything but, he has trampled upon everyone, most of all his wife Laila. After a string nasty relapses, Chad leaves town leaving chaos in his wake. He has a secret that makes running seem like the only option. He finds the willpower to get clean and wants to have a triumphant return after he receives his one year sobriety chip but, a call in the middle of the night leaves him questioning his plan. What he wants more than anything is to win back the heart and trust of his now ex-wife (due to a non-contested divorce) but, he may already be too late. Laila Richardson wants desperately to just move on. Move on from the wreckage that was her marriage to her high school sweetheart Chad, move out of the town she was born and raised in, and finally move on with a new man. Why can’t she have the fairytale ending? She has the man and the plan, even the cute little cottage. She thinks she is right on track when, a bombshell shows back up on her front porch after years without so much as a word. I won’t spoil the book for you but, man this is an awesome book! Picking up a few months after “My Hope Next Door” left off, you see Laila in the best place she has been in a long time. She is on the road to mending a broken relationship with her childhood best friend, Katie (the main character from My Hope Next Door). Through this relationship she is seeing that she can’t change Chad. Chad must make the decision to change himself. This takes a huge weight off her shoulders. However, it still doesn’t fill the hole in her heart.Chad’s life has drastically changed in the last nine months. He has gotten sober, got a job, kept the job, and started building a life outside of the drug world. Chad is a living testament to all the struggles of those faced with a life of addiction. However, his struggles are only just beginning when he stands face-to-face with Laila on what was once “their” front porch. “My Unexpected Hope” is so much more than a love story. Tammy L. Gray weaves a life-like epic that will have you riding a full range roller-coaster of emotions throughout. Trust is so easy to lose but, so hard to win back. Can Chad regain the trust of Laila and ultimately rebuild the marriage he let fall apart? Can Laila see past years of hurt and broken promises from the one who vowed to cherish her above all else? Read “My Unexpected Hope” by Tammy L. Gray to find out.**Note: I did receive an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  • JaneReads
    2018-11-19 05:08

    Review can be seen here. Wow! I felt for these characters so much, much more than I expected to. There were quite a few difficult situations addressed throughout - the constant fight of trying to overcome an addiction, friends and family who are addicted, and the heartache these things bring. Laila thinks she is ready to move on from her past and start over, but is she really? I felt so much for Laila (and cried with Chad at one point). I did not want to like Chad but I just couldn’t help myself, after getting to know him more I was cheering for him to be happy. I was pleased that he appeared to be getting on the right track and when he struggled I cried with him or yelled at him to be strong. His struggles were dealt with honest and openly and felt real. Nothing was sugar-coated. I could feel how much he loved Laila and his struggle between wanting her and wanting the best for her. The secondary characters helped (and forced) Laila and Chad to deal with their emotions, actions, thoughts and faith. Cooper might have had his own issues but he was a true friend to Chad and his support might just end up costing him everything. God can and will use us in ways that we cannot picture, this was shown in many different aspects throughout, such as the way he used Laila in a little girl’s life, the way he used Katie helping Chad, and the way he used Ben in Laila’s life. I especially enjoyed the flashbacks to the teenage years. I do wish there had been more focus given to the times that the characters turned to God for help. Chad and Laila’s story is wonderful example of Christ’s love and His healing power. I was very pleased with the ending.

  • Sarah Shewey
    2018-12-08 00:04

    A very real look at how addictions can affect all types of relationships. I found myself really rooting for Chad. Just a warning - this book will suck you in and you won't want to put it down!

  • Tawny
    2018-12-15 04:57

    From the very beginning, Laila and Chad’s story was one that intrigued me. When I finally got the chance to read Tammy L. Gray’s "My Unexpected Hope," I knew I would not be able to put the book down!It has been a year since Chad and Laila’s divorce was finalized. Wanting her happily ever after, Laila tries to move on. She has found a new place to live in a nearby town and a man who treats her right. However, letting go of the past and moving forward are hard things to do in the small town of Fairfield, Georgia. When Chad learns that his ex-wife has started dating, he knows it is time to go back home. He finally has a stable job and almost a year of sobriety under his belt. Hoping to win back the love of his life, he heads to Fairfield. But will Laila forgive him? Will Chad be able to be the man Laila needs?This story, much like "My Hope Next Door," tackled the very real subject of addiction. But that is one thing I love about Miss Tammy’s books: her characters and storylines involve material that is real and applicable to anyone. While it is nice to read a story about a prince falling in love with a commoner, it is not likely to happen to everyone. However, having a friend or family member fall into the trap of addiction is more common. I also love the way that Miss Tammy weaves Truth into these fictional tales, too. It is nice to connect with the problems of a story, but it feels even better to find the solution. Knowing exactly what the characters need the most and waiting for them to grasp the concept is one of my favorite parts of reading Christian fiction. Overall, I think this is a must read if one desires a novel full of romance, drama, forgiveness, and truth. If I had to give "My Unexpected Hope" a rating, I would give it five out of five stars!I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

  • Iola
    2018-11-20 05:12

    Tammy L Gray writes fiction about broken characters who’ve done stupid things, who are now trying to pull themselves out of the hell they have created. My Unexpected Hope is no exception.It’s the story of Laila and Chad, united by their common family histories of drug and alcohol abuse and addiction, and separated by those same addictions. Laila eventually kicked Chad out, unwilling and unable to be with someone who showed every sign of turning into his father, or her mother. Now he’s back. But can she trust him? I didn’t enjoy An Unexpected Hope as much as I enjoyed My Hope Next Door. However, that might be like saying I didn’t enjoy Hitchcock’s Vertigo as much as I enjoyed Rear Window, given that My Hope Next Door won the 2017 RITA award from Romance Writers of America for Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements.My main issue was Chad. I liked him, and wanted him to succeed in his quest for sobriety. But his characterisation wasn’t even, and while he was convinced he was Laila’s soul mate, I wasn’t. There was no reason for them to be together beyond their extensive shared history. My other reason could be that I’m not a fan of the Other Woman or Other Man trope, because it always means a perfectly nice character ends up hurt (as happened in this case).My Unexpected Hope isn’t a comfortable read.It’s full of conflict and angst as two messed-up people try and sort their lives out. But it’s an excellent story of redemption, and well worth reading. It can be read as a standalone novel, although those who have read My Hope Next Door will enjoy seeing Katie and Cooper again. Well, perhaps not Cooper.Thanks to Waterfall Press and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

  • Carol Collett
    2018-12-07 23:25

    My Unexpected HopeBy Tammy L. GrayThis is a love story between Laila and Chad, but Chad destroyed their marriage with his alcoholism and drug addiction. Chad asked Laila several times for another chance, stating he would give up his addictions, but his attempts at breaking his habits always failed. Then, fearing for his life, Chad fled the area to avoid a large debt owed to his drug dealer, Slim. Ultimately, Laila divorced Chad and attempted to start a new life. Later, she started dating a fine Christian man named Ben.Chad finally did stop his alcohol and drug use, with the help of his Christian mentor, Mike; Chad had not used for nine months and had kept a full-time job for five months, attempting to get enough money to repay Slim and get out from under Slim’s coercion. Chad’s plan was to go home after a year of sobriety to convince Laila that he had changed and to ask her to take him back. Out of the blue, Chad and Laila’s friend, Cooper, called Chad and told him he better get back home, as Laila was seeing someone else. Chad was devastated, but did return home within a few days to try to win Laila back. There are a lot of bumps in the road as Chad tries to show Laila how much he still loves her, that he is clean of alcohol and drugs, and that he wants to spend his life with her. Laila was very resistive, but God has a way of guiding people in the direction he wants them to go.This is a must-read story about a real problem in the world today and how divine intervention can change lives. There is so much more to this amazing story, but you need to read it to get the full benefit.

  • Amy
    2018-11-29 01:00

    This is the first Tammy Gray book I have picked up. It seems from this, and other covers I have looked at, that she chooses to write about some really tough life scenarios. The dark side of life, can be one many a soul can in reality in today's society get completely lost in. Lost, with no hope for anything other than the new norm. While I didn't particularly enjoy this book, the topic is not one you relish in or feel any joy reading about. I also found a good chunk of this plot very one dimensional, but maybe that's just the way a drug user & alcoholic life looks. So, I won't fault the author for writing that way. This story tackles many agonizing trials for the main two characters - Laila & Chad, but touches on the real struggle of close friends, who are not immune to their own private battles. There's a lot that's depressing here, hence the lack of joy within the book, that I'm usually looking for when I read. I was surprised at some of the text too, it's not entirely clear of intimate language, and there lacked enough focus on God, for to me genuinely feel there was a path to redemption being taken as implied at the end. The very minor sub plot of Sierra, a little girl who has suffered much similarities to Laila, was a nice way to open the door for healing. I think we could have had more of that developed within the book, I found that to bring more hope that the sole focus being on Chad's changes. It was a little one sided for me.I received this eARC from Netgalley & Waterfall Press. This is my honest review.

  • Stephanne
    2018-12-10 04:14

    One thing I love about Tammy L. Gray is that she doesn't shy away from the stories few inspy authors are brave enough to tackle. Bulimia? (Shattered Rose) Gasp!! Alcoholism? Divorce? Addiction? In a Christian fiction book?! What?!?! Real life in fiction. Those are the kinds of stories Gray tells. And she tells them well. I had a hard time connecting with Laila for the longest time and I remember thinking "what is it about her that makes her feel so closed off?" And then I read it... right there in the pages of the book. She felt closed off because she WAS. Laila had taken so many hits throughout her childhood and early adulthood that she forged walls no one could cross as a means of protecting herself. And the brilliance in Tammy's writing, whether intentional or not, is that it wasn't just Ben or Chad and the other supporting characters in the book that repeatedly hit that wall--it was me, the reader, as well. As Laila's walls came down, brick by brick, she came alive and I felt that connection I aspire to feel in the books I read. I want to know that somehow, in some way, I can relate to the characters I'm reading about. I don't have any history with drug addiction in my family or with anyone I am close to, nor do I share any of Laila's past experiences, but I do understand walls... and I can definitely relate to Laila's having built hers. Because I myself was on the outside of the wall Laila had constructed, I got to see/feel some of what it was like for her when those walls came down and others began to creep into her life again. The freedom and the HOPE and the forgiveness that came from breaking those personal barriers down. And that was definitely an #allthefeels moment. The only thing I have to say about My Unexpected Hope (MUH) is that while it is billed as a standalone novel, there is quite a bit of backstory taken from My Hope Next Door (MHND). I have read that one as well, but wish I had read it again before reading MUH as there were times I got incredibly distracted by the backstory and was too busy trying to remember how everything unfolded in MHND that I couldn't focus on MUH. Would I have suffered the same curiosities if I hadn't read MHND and knew just enough of the backstory to make me determined to remember every piece of it--I don't know. But I will say I definitely recommend reading MHND first. Phew! That's a lot of acronyms!All that said... if my recommendations are at all taken into consideration by the "powers that be"... I recommend a third story of HOPE--for poor Cooper. ;-)

  • Barb
    2018-11-18 01:09

    After a year of grieving her divorce and living a life permanently stuck on pause, Laila Richardson is finally ready to have her own happy ending. Then a listing for a quaint cottage in another town answers her prayers for a fresh beginning—one that will bring her closer to her new boyfriend, Ben. Unfortunately, in her small town of Fairfield, Georgia, letting go of the past is virtually impossible. No one wants to see her move on, including the man who destroyed her heart to begin with.Chad Richardson has spent years in misery but finally has his life on somewhat stable ground. When he learns his ex-wife is dating, he knows it’s time to go back and fight for the life he abandoned. Bolstered by his newfound sobriety, Chad has every intention of winning back the woman he loves, even if that means facing old demons that are waiting for him to fail.Passions run deep as two souls searching for a second chance find the courage to let go of old patterns. Can they recognize that their dreams are still possible, even when forged from a broken past?I WON THIS KINDLE BOOK ON GOODREADS. I might never have found Tammy Gray's writing if not for Goodreads. It was a very poignant read. Takes you into the lives of a user and his family. It was so personal, i could only read a few chapters at a time. Very emotional book. 5 stars.

  • Susan K
    2018-11-30 04:23

    Romance, Clean, Christian faith elements, series, but stand alone.This was a very moving, touching read. The dilemma that Laila faces as she tries to start a new life after a divorce from the love of her life who struggled with addictions, is complicated as Chad returns to their hometown.Myriad events, and circumstances, including Laila's new love interest seem to make Chad's hopes of reconciliation and rekindling of their deep love possible. Chad is approached by those who pulled him down in the past, and struggles to keep his commitment to sobriety. Laila is hesitant to trust him again after their stormy past that was complicated by his multiple substance abuse.This was such a heartfelt, emotional read. Laila's choice, and Chad's hopes, along with his conviction and determination to beat his substance abuse, his struggles to stay sober and clean, the complexities, and of course, their history, and still strong attraction, made for a compelling read. Their is definite discussion of substance abuse, and the effects. Strong side characters also strengthened the story line. A surprise at the end, and some twists, made for a great ending!I will be excited to read the other characters the author intends to write about. Always grateful to have found a new author to read!I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

  • Julie
    2018-11-22 03:12

    Wow! This book blew me away. I keep thinking 'this book can't be topped' and Tammy L. Gray just tops each one. I didn't think it could get better than the last one...and it did!This story is a spin of from My Hope Next Door. It's the story of Laila and Chad. You don't have to read the other book to enjoy this one, it can stand alone.Laila is a strong young woman married to the childhood love of her life, but addiction tears her marriage to shreds. She is finally getting back on her feet and moving on with her future, when her ex-husband, Chad, shows up. He's sober and clean and he wants her back. But how do you rebuild trust when it's been broken? And is it worth it?I have been in a similar situation in my life, trying to rebuild trust with someone once it was broken. It's so difficult. We didn't even have the added addiction issues. I felt like I was reading real life..and my heart just pounded for them. Gut wrenchingly wonderful. Laila and Chad draw you in and you won't want to come up for air until you know what is going to happen. Well worth every minute it took to read!I was provided a copy of this book by the author. All opinions in this review are my own.

  • Terri Wangard
    2018-12-02 23:26

    I read My Unexpected Hope because the description sounded intriguing. A year after getting divorced, Laila finally sees a chance to begin again. Her ex-husband Chad, a recovering alcoholic who hears she’s dating, returns to win her back.The story proved a lot grittier than I expected. Laila works as a bartender, an occupation foreign to my lifestyle. Chad is driven by demons I have no concept of. His former drug dealer is ruthless and seemingly untouchable. This isn’t a relaxing novel.Their friend Katie, who led Chad down the road of drugs and alcohol, has now turned her life around and married a pastor’s son. Turns out, this is a sequel to Katie’s story, and it might be better to read My Hope Next Door first.A satisfying ending made me glad I persevered when I preferred to read happier books. Author Tammy Gray writes true-to-life characters and culturally relevant plotlines. Here she portrays a lifestyle too many people are trapped in, and it promotes empathy in those not bearing the cross of drug and/or alcohol abuse.I received a free copy in exchange for my honest opinion.