Review: Everything She Didn’t Say

Everything She Didn't Say

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

In 1911, Carrie Strahorn wrote a memoir entitled Fifteen Thousand Miles by Stage, which shared some of the most exciting events of 25 years of traveling and shaping the American West with her husband, Robert Strahorn, a railroad promoter, investor, and writer. That is all fact. Everything She Didn’t Say imagines Carrie nearly ten years later as she decides to write down what was really on her mind during those adventurous nomadic years.

Certain that her husband will not read it, and in fact that it will only be found after her death, Carrie is finally willing to explore the lessons she learned along the way, including the danger a woman faces of losing herself within a relationship with a strong-willed man and the courage it takes to accept her own God-given worth apart from him. Carrie discovers that wealth doesn’t insulate a soul from pain and disappointment, family is essential, pioneering is a challenge, and western landscapes are both demanding and nourishing. Most of all, she discovers that home can be found, even in a rootless life.

With a deft hand, New York Times bestselling author Jane Kirkpatrick draws out the emotions of living–the laughter and pain, the love and loss–to give readers a window not only into the past, but into their own conflicted hearts. Based on a true story.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Everything She Didn’t Say by Jane Kirkpatrick is one of the most engaging historical novels I have read. It’s based on a true woman’s story. A journey out west. That back then, was both dangerous and risky. Yet, Carrie still went with her husband. A strong man trying to make a living for him and his wife. I really liked this couple. However, I felt sympathy towards Carrie constantly. Her husband, Robert, always failed to notice how he fails her. Lack of affection, deeper affection than what he gives is not there. Carrie swore to love him through bad, good, rich and poor. Her strength to move forward was admirable. Jane Kirkpatrick’s writing brought to life this memoir of a story and made it engaging to follow. I wanted to learn all there was to Carrie and her journey. It was a sad read. Overall, I would recommend this to readers everywhere.

Review: White as Silence, Red as Song by Alessandro D’Avenia

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Hailed as Italy’s The Fault in Our Stars, this Italian bestseller is now available for the first time in English.

“I was born on the first day of school, and I grew up and old in just two hundred days . . .”

Sixteen-year-old Leo has a way with words, but he doesn’t know it yet. He spends his time texting, polishing soccer maneuvers, and killing time with Niko and Silvia. Until a new teacher arrives and challenges him to give voice to his dreams.

And so Leo is inspired to win over the red-haired beauty Beatrice. She doesn’t know Leo exists, but he’s convinced that his dream will come true. When Leo lands in the hospital and learns that Beatrice has been admitted too, his mission to be there for her will send him on a thrilling but heartbreaking journey. He wants to help her but doesn’t know how—and his dream of love will force him to grow up fast.

Having already sold over a million copies, Alessandro D’Avenia’s debut novel is considered Italy’s The Fault in Our Stars. Now available in English for the first time, this rich, funny, and heartwarming coming-of-age tale asks us to explore the meaning—and the cost—of friendship, and shows us what happens when suffering bursts into the world of teenagers and renders the world of adults speechless.

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

White as Silence, Red as Song by Alessandro D’Avenia is emotionally just as good as The Fault in Our Stars. I was hooked. The sadness swept me up within its current. Immediately, I felt the love, the pain, and the loss. But there was also hope and happiness to be gained. The characters are young and have a lot to to learn. Especially, Leo. He is hopelessly in love with a girl who ends up with cancer. That cancer eats away at her until, she passes. I was just as anguished as Leo. But I enjoyed watching Leo fall and then slowly rise up, again. He found a new hope. A new direction that involved love. Love is red. Silence is white. The original girl of his heart, teaches him lessons that help Leo move forward in life. His family was supportive. This YA novel was completely sad, engaging, and beautiful. I recommend it to readers everywhere.

 

Review: The Girl From Spaceship Earth by Patricia Ravasio

The Girl from Spaceship Earth

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The true story of a life intertwined with the utopian ideas of an American genius.

A mind-blowing two-day interview with iconic futurist Buckminster Fuller in 1982 Chicago leads an overeager advertising copywriter to promise she’ll share his urgent messages with the world. She has no idea what she is getting herself into, scarcely understanding what he is talking about.

When his dire predictions come true on America’s worst day (9/11) she must face up to her commitment, which morphs into a fiery obsession thanks to unsettling discoveries about Bucky’s archives further confirming the truth of his warnings. Her outsized passions threaten her relationships and her sanity as she grapples furiously to bring his ideas back into the world.

This heartrending karmic tell-all memoir is about climbing out of comfort zones to find your own voice and make a difference in the world. It also gives readers a charming introduction to the ideas of a long lost genius you’ve probably never heard of.

Rating: 5-stars

Review: 

The Girl From Spaceship Earth is a true story. One that is rare. A man with things to share with the planet ends up giving only one live interview. The young female journalist, ends up breaking her promise. But when what he predicts comes true, she rushes to tell the world. By then, was it too late? Could life be saved? The story held a sad, heartbreaking, yet dangerous outcome. And still we see evidence of those predictions becoming reality. I was deeply engaged with this book. The pages made it impossible to stop reading. These are things our planet needs to hear. Read it, now!

Review: The Governess Game by Tessa Dare

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The second unforgettable novel in USA Today bestselling author Tessa Dare’s Girl Meets Duke series.

He’s been a bad, bad rake—and it takes a governess to teach him a lesson.

The accidental governess…

After her livelihood slips through her fingers, Alexandra Mountbatten takes on an impossible post: transforming a pair of wild orphans into proper young ladies. However, the girls don’t need discipline. They need a loving home. Try telling that to their guardian, Chase Reynaud: duke’s heir in the streets and devil in the sheets. The ladies of London have tried—and failed—to make him settle down. Somehow, Alexandra must reach his heart… without risking her own.

The infamous rake…

Like any self-respecting libertine, Chase lives by one rule: no attachments. When a stubborn little governess tries to reform him, he decides to give her an education—in pleasure. That should prove he can’t be tamed. But Alexandra is more than he bargained for: clever, perceptive, passionate. She refuses to see him as a lost cause. Soon the walls around Chase’s heart are crumbling… and he’s in danger of falling, hard.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Tessa Dare has captured my whole heart and soul with this read. I was swept up by the bad guy rep who cares more than he admits about his two little wards. I was amazed that such a playboy could be so sweet. I felt myself melt into puddles every time! Chase thought his was not responsible enough for the girls. Two family members lost their mother was were moved from place to place. No one wanting them. Until Chase…He takes them in despite their bad behavior. There’s more to their behavior than Chase can see. When a sexy clock worker is taken under his care to be the governess, Chase cannot resist her. Alex met Chase in a bookstore. He obviously doesn’t remember her at all. Despite feeling so invisible, Alex takes care of her charges. Both little girls managed to wrap their ways around Alex’s, Chase’s, and my heart. Trouble, mischief, humor, action, and love are filled in this heart melting book. I could not stop reading, The Governess Game. 

 

Review: All We Ever Wanted was Everything by Janelle Brown

All We Ever Wanted Was Everything

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A smart, comic page-turner about a Silicon Valley family in free fall over the course of one eventful summer.

When Paul Miller’s pharmaceutical company goes public, making his family IPO millionaires, his wife, Janice, is sure this is the windfall she’s been waiting years for — until she learns, via messengered letter, that her husband is divorcing her (for her tennis partner!) and cutting her out of the new fortune.

Meanwhile, four hundred miles south in Los Angeles, the Millers’ older daughter, Margaret, has been dumped by her newly famous actor boyfriend and left in the lurch by an investor who promised to revive her fledgling post-feminist magazine, Snatch. Sliding toward bankruptcy and dogged by creditors, she flees for home where her younger sister Lizzie, 14, is struggling with problems of her own. Formerly chubby, Lizzie has been enjoying her newfound popularity until some bathroom graffiti alerts her to the fact that she’s become the school slut.

The three Miller women retreat behind the walls of their Georgian colonial to wage battle with divorce lawyers, debt collectors, drug-dealing pool boys, mean girls, country club ladies, evangelical neighbors, their own demons, and each other, and in the process they become achingly sympathetic characters we can’t help but root for, even as the world they live in epitomizes everything wrong with the American Dream. Exhilarating, addictive, and superbly accomplished, All We Ever Wanted Was Everything crackles with energy and intelligence and marks the debut of a knowing and very funny novelist, wise beyond her years.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

All We Ever Wanted was Everything by Janelle Brown is a realistic story of how one event during the summer turned a family’s world upside down. Each member has their own struggle. One with divorce from her cheating husband, a daughter with boys, a sister with her career, and one sister who is broke. They all live together trying to make sense of their lives and find themselves. The news media is cruel and depicts the mother as a greedy woman wanting of all her husband’s money. While her husband and father of her children is spot lighted as a decent man full of power. I felt sad for the family of women. Yet despite their troubles they came out stronger and better. Messy, complicated, funny, and engaging, this novel was entertaining to read. I enjoyed meeting the Miller women. It sort of reminded me of The Little Women.

Review: Tear Me Apart by J.T. Ellison

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The follow-up to her critically acclaimed Lie to Me, J.T. Ellison’s Tear Me Apart is the powerful story of a mother willing to do anything to protect her daughter even as their carefully constructed world unravels around them.

One moment will change their lives forever…

Competitive skier Mindy Wright is a superstar in the making until a spectacular downhill crash threatens not just her racing career but her life. During surgery, doctors discover she’s suffering from a severe form of leukemia, and a stem cell transplant is her only hope. But when her parents are tested, a frightening truth emerges. Mindy is not their daughter.

Who knows the answers?

The race to save Mindy’s life means unraveling years of lies. Was she accidentally switched at birth or is there something more sinister at play? The search for the truth will tear a family apart…and someone is going to deadly extremes to protect the family’s deepest secrets.

With vivid movement through time, Tear Me Apart examines the impact layer after layer of lies and betrayal has on two families, the secrets they guard, and the desperate fight to hide the darkness within.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Tear Me Apart by J.T. Ellison is another great tale. It has the mystery, intrigue, and dark edge to it like all of her previous books. However, the pacing was what almost stopped me from reading the book. It felt dragged. In the beginning there was no action or dialogue that made me want to dig in further. I felt myself wanting to quit until the middle of the book when the story finally gripped me. I should be hooked in from the beginning. But I was not. I love this writer’s work. Every book is unpredictable as to which way she writes. This one kept me wondering…until the clues came straight out which gave away too much in my opinion.

The story was about a family a family being torn apart by deception. The main characters is dying and relied on her parents to help save her. Only to find out, they are not her parents after all. Can you imagine being a family all those years only to discover that when it really counts, the truth come out…or sort of does. Mindy’s predicament is a tough one. Then there is someone wanting to keep things hidden. Only time will tell if Mindy survives and whether her family is completely destroyed. Overall, Tear Me Apart by J.T. Ellison was a good book. But not as great as her previous ones.

Review: One Perfect Kiss by Jaci Burton

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The New York Times bestselling author of Love Me Again returns to the town of Hope, Oklahoma where school is in session and love rules the playbook.

Josie Barnes has always craved a sense of home. She’s found that in Hope, Oklahoma–she bought a house, has a new job as an English teacher at Hope High, she’s made wonderful friends, and she’s taking in stray animals that no one else wants. Now she’s flirting with fellow teacher and hot high school football coach Zach Powers. But he’s almost too good to be true, and Josie learned long ago not to trust in the too-good-to-be-true, because it has always let her down.

A former pro football player, Zach had to pull back when a career-ending knee injury forced him to rethink his future. Now he’s happy calling plays as Coach. If he could just get Josie Barnes to stop benching his players for their poor grades, life would be perfect. Instead, she drives him crazy as the stern teacher at school and the sexy woman of his dreams outside of the classroom. He knows she’s been hurt in the past, but he wants to be that guy she can trust.

The one thing Josie has never been able to count on is the people closest to her. But Zach intends to show her that what they have between them is a textbook case of love.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

One Perfect Kiss by Jaci Burton is a romantic contemporary romance read. It was simple, fast-paced, and heartfelt. I loved the funny yet fun banters between football coach and English teacher. Both feel an undeniable attraction towards each other. Good looks, intelligence, and a passion for helping others in need made this a sweet story.

Josie is experiencing family issues from her past and present. Her mother is struggling to keep a job and to stay drug free. Her mother is always calling her for help…more like more money for drugs. Yet somehow, Josie finds the courage to not feel bad about giving into her mother’s needs. Then, there’s her stereotyping towards men like Zach. Good looking yet popular men. However, Zach keeps proving to Josie that there’s more depth to him than just his looks.

Overall, I would highly recommend this novel. It had themes of overing coming one’s fears, relationships both romantic and family wise, and friendship. I fell in love with the characters. Their journey was one that melts my heart and makes me swoon.

Review: Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’m Over

Airports, Exes, and Other Things I'm Over

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A bad storm, two canceled flights, stuck in an airport with a hot stranger and the guy who broke her heart… what could go wrong?

After Sari caught her boyfriend Zev cheating on her, their romantic Florida vacation was ruined. She can’t get back to NYC soon enough. Unfortunately, mother nature may have different plans. A huge storm is brewing in the Northeast, and flights all over the country are getting canceled—including Sari’s. She winds up stuck at the airport for hours. With Zev!

When another stranded passenger (a hot NYU guy) suggests a connecting flight to Boston, Sari jumps at the chance. But when her mom freaks out about her traveling alone, she has no choice—she has to include Zev, and somehow survive being trapped with the guy who broke her heart!

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’m Over by Shani Petroff is one YA romance that swept me up quickly. I couldn’t read fast enough. The plot was that juicy…and addictive. The characters felt real. Their dilemmas had me laughing, crying, and left wondering what next.

A young finds her her boyfriend in an unexpected situation. To Sari, it looked like betrayal and felt like it too. Her boyfriend, Zev, tried to explain but Sari wasn’t having any of it. She just wanted to leave immediately and be rid of him. But love, if  real, doesn’t back down nor die. Nor does it give up that easily. Sari will have to find the answers to how to deal with the shocking betrayal and decide where her and Zev’s fate lie.

Shani Petroff had me hooked. This book was a lot of fun. I really like the teenagers that were created. First love, kisses, and the confusion of what to do in those cases led me back to a time when I too, was that young. Overall, I recommend this romantic and heartfelt tale to all readers.

Review: The Duke With the Dragon Tattoo by Kerrigan Byrne

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The bravest of heroes. The brashest of rebels. The boldest of lovers. These are the men who risk their hearts and their souls—for the passionate women who dare to love them…

He is known only as The Rook. A man with no name, no past, no memories. He awakens in a mass grave, a magnificent dragon tattoo on his muscled forearm the sole clue to his mysterious origins. His only hope for survival—and salvation—lies in the deep, fiery eyes of the beautiful stranger who finds him. Who nurses him back to health. And who calms the restless demons in his soul…

A LEGENDARY LOVE

Lorelai will never forget the night she rescued the broken dark angel in the woods, a devilishly handsome man who haunts her dreams to this day. Crippled as a child, she devoted herself to healing the poor tortured man. And when he left, he took a piece of her heart with him. Now, after all these years, The Rook has returned. Like a phantom, he sweeps back into her life and avenges those who wronged her. But can she trust a man who’s been branded a rebel, a thief, and a killer? And can she trust herself to resist him when he takes her in his arms?

“Byrne is a force in the genre.”—RT Book Reviews

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo by Kerrigan Byrne is a fun filled historical adventure. A young man goes after a bad man. This leads him to life in prison and where he meets his friends. A group of other men in jail for lesser crimes banding together like brothers. Ash ends up being beaten to death due to switching a cell with a friend. That friend still lives thanks to Ash for that day. Ash is then found by a young woman. She nurses him back to health. They become best of friends…and their attraction grows. Ash has to keep reminding himself to wait…that his friend is too young for where his heart and thoughts take him. Her deceitful older brother ends up taking Ash to a life of misery and hell. Ash fights his way through it all by thinking of his lady friend. Until one day he does find her again…only to find she’s about to marry an old man. Ash’s anger gets the best of him. He kidnaps her and her lady friend. Taking them both to his ship. Ash forces her to marry him. Only his plans keep falling apart…Ash will have to fight again to save his lady. But he must also find a way to gain back her trust. Only then, can he have her heart…

This novel was funny, heartbreaking, and romantic. The intensity of the attraction from both Ash and his lady is engaging to follow. It’s full of sweet and innocence. Two injured and bullied people coming together to form a long lasting relationship. Only it gets taken from them, and as the years grow, they lose each other. The characters were believable. I loved them. Ash had so much hell to go through, I was surprised he lived as long as he did. Overall, I would highly recommend this pirate historical romance to all.

 

Review: On Turpentine Lane by Elinor Lipman

On Turpentine Lane

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

At thirty-two, Faith Frankel has returned to her claustro-suburban hometown, where she writes institutional thank-you notes for her alma mater. It’s a peaceful life, really, and surely with her recent purchase of a sweet bungalow on Turpentine Lane her life is finally on track. Never mind that her fiancé is off on a crowdfunded cross-country walk, too busy to return her texts (but not too busy to post photos of himself with a different woman in every state.) And never mind her witless boss, or a mother who lives too close, or a philandering father who thinks he’s Chagall. When she finds some mysterious artifacts in the attic of her new home, she wonders whether anything in her life is as it seems. What good fortune, then, that Faith has found a friend in affable, collegial Nick Franconi, officemate par excellence . . .

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

On Turpentine Lane by Elinor Lipman is a romantic comedy for 30-year-olds. Faith is engaged to a man named Stuart. Stuart appeared to be nothing more than a douchebag as the cool character, Nick said. I had to agree. Honestly, I could not fathom why Faith allowed her fiance, Stuart, to travel alone with her credit card/card number. He never tried to contact her. The few times he did, it was like hi and bye. I felt no romance from him to Faith. Faith was just as her name suggested. She was faithful to her fiance. Stuart made me hate him with every page. Faith for some reason stuck with Stuart longer than I would have liked. However, she had to find herself, juggle her dysfunctional family, and a friendship that turned into more. Nick is the best character in this read. He was likable from the beginning to end. Overall, the plot was quirky, entertaining, but very slow.

Review: Miramar Bay by Davis Bunn

Miramar Bay (Miramar Bay #1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

In the tender, heartwarming tradition of Nicholas Sparks, this compelling novel of two strangers in a small coastal town marks a romantic tour de force for internationally bestselling author Davis Bunn.

He had not come all this way just to break another woman’s heart.

When Connor Larkin boards a late night bus in downtown LA, he’s not sure where he’s going or for what he’s looking. Putting his acting career and his fiancee on hold, he’s searching for something he can’t define, a part of himself he lost on the road to success. Once he dreamed of being a singer in the classic style of Sinatra and Bennett. But his lean good looks soon landed him in movies as the sexy bad guy and in the arms of a famous young heiress. Now, with his wedding day approaching, Connor finds himself stepping into the sleepy seaside town of Miramar Bay where one remarkable woman inspires him to rethink all of his choices.

She needed to know his secrets, and to see if he’d tell her the truth.

Sylvie Cassick is nothing like the pretentious starlets back in Hollywood. The daughter of a nomadic painter, she’s had to work hard for everything unlike Connor’s fiancee. When Connor hears familiar music drifting out of Sylvie’s restaurant, he feels as if he’s finally come home. Sylvie isn’t sure what to think when this impossibly handsome stranger applies for a waiter’s job. Yet once he serenades her customers and slowly works his way into her heart she realizes there’s more to him than he’s letting on. And Connor realizes he’s found his destiny.

But as the outside world encroaches, threatening their fragile bond, Connor will have to risk losing everything to gain the life he longs for, and be the man Sylvie deserves.

Filled with bittersweet longing, Miramar Bay is an unforgettable journey through doubt and desire to the truth that can be discovered along the road less taken.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Miramar Bay by Davis Bunn is similar to novels by Debbie Macomber, Sheila Roberts and Sherryl Woods. It was about a woman wanting to spend time with her father and own a restaurant without the debt. She also wanted to know what it felt like to have a man love her. I could totally relate to the last one. Then, there was Connor. He’s a man on a mission. His life is missing something and he doesn’t stumble across it until he meets, Sylvie. Sylvie is a strong ordinary woman working her butt off to live. Unlike, Connor and his former love. Two opposites found each other making something beautiful. The plot was engaging but felt too slow for me. Otherwise, it’s a great contemporary tale.

Review: Red Velvet Crush by Christina Meredith

Red Velvet Crush

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Rock music, a broken family, challenging sisters, and the crush of first love—Red Velvet Crush has everything you need in a summer read. For fans of Nick & Norah’s Infinite PlaylistEleanor & Park, and This Song Will Save Your Life.

Teddy Lee’s mother ran off when she was in second grade. And ever since, Teddy Lee, the often-overshadowed middle kid, has tried to keep her family together. But her older brother Winston usually keeps himself busy with smoking, drinking, and girls, and who knows what else. Her younger sister Billie is occupied with her shoplifting habit and boys . . . and who knows what else. So when Teddy Lee finally takes the songs she’s always written and forms a band, maybe it’ll bring everyone closer together, maybe it’ll be her time to shine. Unless Billie steals the spotlight—and the boy—just like she always does. Christina Meredith explores the complicated relationship of sisters—both the unconditional love and the unavoidable resentments—in a novel full of music, urgency, the first blushes of love, and the undeniable excitement of hitting the road.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Red Velvet Crush by Christina Meredith is a deep story of two sisters. One of them is always being overshadowed by the other one. Teddy Lee just wants her family to be a family again. So, she comes up with an idea and let it roll. But it isn’t too long before her sister, Billie once again takes over…and things go down hill from there. I liked Teddy. She seemed likable and wanting what’s good for others. Her family is in this broken weird phrase. One that cannot be shaken. Her father loves her and her sister. He raised them when the mother left and still sends stuff to Billie despite what she does. Christina Meredith realistically displayed a dysfunctional family, teenagers, and dreams. I found it all interesting.

Review: I’m Not Missing by Carrie Fountain

I'm Not Missing

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

When Miranda Black’s mother abandoned her, she took everything—the sun, moon, and stars—and Miranda found shelter in her friendship with Syd, who wore her own motherlessness like a badge of honor: Our mothers abandoned us. We won’t go begging for scraps.

When Syd runs away suddenly and inexplicably in the middle of their senior year, Miranda is abandoned once again, left to untangle the questions of why Syd left, where she is—and if she’s even a friend worth saving. Her only clue is Syd’s discarded pink leopard print cell phone and a single text contained there from the mysterious HIM. Along the way, forced to step out from Syd’s enormous shadow, Miranda finds herself stumbling into first love with Nick Allison of all people and learning what it means to be truly seen, to be finally not missing in her own life.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

I’m Not Missing by Carrie Fountain is a heartfelt YA novel. I followed a young Latina girl as she went through abandonment from her mom and her so-called best friend, Sydney. The girls relationship felt more one-sided. Miranda was more of a friend to Sydney than Sydney was to her. I was glad that Miranda didn’t have such a toxic friend in her life. It was sad but in a good way. Miranda is a protagonist that was easy to love. She’s bright, kind, and energetic. Her life seemed empty until she fell in love with a guy. Nick is a top boy scout and is headed to Harvard. Miranda is headed to Brown. Their colleges are pretty close…and it’s up to them to see where their stars lay.

Carrie Fountain had me falling in love with her characters. A young girl trying to step out into the light after being hidden away by a friend. Sydney was rude, obnoxious, and overbearing. She kept her friend in the dark, literally. The two girls had one connection other than that, they were complete opposites. I cried, laughed, and cheered as Miranda found herself. She totally blossomed by the ending. Overall, this novel was spectacular.

Review: The Atomic City Girls by Janet Beard

The Atomic City Girls

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

In the bestselling tradition of Hidden Figures and The Wives of Los Alamos, comes a riveting novel of the everyday women who worked on the Manhattan Project during World War II

“What you see here, what you hear here, what you do here, let it stay here.”

In November 1944, eighteen-year-old June Walker boards an unmarked bus, destined for a city that doesn’t officially exist. Oak Ridge, Tennessee has sprung up in a matter of months—a town of trailers and segregated houses, 24-hour cafeterias, and constant security checks. There, June joins hundreds of other young girls operating massive machines whose purpose is never explained. They know they are helping to win the war, but must ask no questions and reveal nothing to outsiders.

The girls spend their evenings socializing and flirting with soldiers, scientists, and workmen at dances and movies, bowling alleys and canteens. June longs to know more about their top-secret assignment and begins an affair with Sam Cantor, the young Jewish physicist from New York who oversees the lab where she works and understands the end goal only too well, while her beautiful roommate Cici is on her own mission: to find a wealthy husband and escape her sharecropper roots. Across town, African-American construction worker Joe Brewer knows nothing of the government’s plans, only that his new job pays enough to make it worth leaving his family behind, at least for now. But a breach in security will intertwine his fate with June’s search for answers.

When the bombing of Hiroshima brings the truth about Oak Ridge into devastating focus, June must confront her ideals about loyalty, patriotism, and war itself.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Atomic City Girls by Janet Beard gave a realistic yet deep look into women and their roles during war especially, in 1944. The story told how two women who have goals go about obtaining them. But not all ends up well. June wanted to learn more about their missions and is successful. Her friend Cici wanted a husband and she had for a time but then lost even that. One got what she wanted while the other sort of lost out on hers. But even when Cici’s life ended up a disaster she somehow holds herself up and keeps moving forward. I liked that about her. Then, there was the African American mistreatment that was explored. I felt as though I was transported back in time. The poor group suffered greatly at the hands of the white people. It hurt to watch as Joe lived in fear. He worked to protect his family and keep them safe. I felt overjoyed to see how Joe and his family survive through the tough times in their world. It made this book so much more than just a work of fiction. It combined history and strong themes to make an entertaining yet emotional story. All three main characters were brave, bold, and good people. It showed how they moved forward despite what life brought them. They made lemonade out of lemons. Overall, it was a good read.

Review: California Summer by Anita Hughes

California Summer

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

“The perfect beach read!” —Mary Alice Monroe, New York Timesbestselling author of Beach House Reunion.

“Tender and triumphant…California Summer made my heart sing. —Allison Winn Scotch, New York Times bestselling author of Between Me and You

Anita Hughes’s California Summer is a charming and beautiful love story about a former Hollywood producer who trades her cast list in for cookbooks in the hopes of following her dreams and finding new love.

Ben and Rosie are Hollywood’s newest director/producer dream team. After hitting it big at Sundance, it seems that their ten years of love and hard work are finally paying off. Rosie is happy making independent films, but Ben wants the A-List celebrity package: a house in Beverly Hills, fancy cars in the driveway, and his name on the biggest blockbusters. He’s willing to do anything, even sleep with the most famous producer in town, to get them.

Rosie is devastated by Ben’s affair, and she decides to take a break from show business. She accepts her best friend’s invitation to spend the summer at her parents’ estate in Montecito. It’s far away from L.A., the perfect place to start over.

In Montecito, Rosie meets a colorful cast of characters including Rachel, who owns a chocolate store, and Josh, a handsome local who splits his time between surfing and classic cars. Suddenly Rosie has new friends and a new purpose. She starts a business in the village, and her luck seems to be turning around. But Rosie knows all too well that success comes with a price, and the price might be losing love…again.

California Summer is a touching and romantic story about following your dreams but not letting them get in the way of love.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

California Summer by Anita Hughes is definitely for fans of Samantha Chase, Brenda Novak, and Debbie Macomber. Here, I got to meet a young woman who finds betrayal where she least excepts it. From there, she moves forward creating a new life. New friends, following a dream, and maybe, even a new romance. But balancing her dreams and a new love seems impossible…this story is about finding the courage to chase after one’s dreams. It is sweet, engaging, and had me rooting all the way. California Summer is an easy read. The pacing is steady and fun.

Anita Hughes introduces Rosie. She lives with her love until she finds him breaking her heart. After the betrayal, Rosie leaves her old life. Starting a new one, seems like the best thing. Until she falls in love again. Fear, challenges, and acceptance are featured on these pages. I am in love with all the characters. Rosie is determined to keep everything she wants in her new life. But whether that happens is to be seen. Josh is a handsome man who makes Rosie believe in love again. Suddenly, the future looks bright. Overall, I recommend this contemporary to all readers.

 

Review: Maybe for You by Nicole McLaughlin

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

She’s never had a no-strings fling. He’s never had anything else. But maybe this time will be an exception?

After a year of mourning her fiancé, Alexis Parker has worked hard to rediscover what she wants out of life. Fresh out of the military and back stateside, her brother offers her a marketing job at the Stag Distillery. Ready for a new challenge, Alexis agrees to accompany her new co-worker Jake Cooperon a Stag cross-country promotional tour. He may have an infamous playboy reputation, but Alexis is surprised to find out that there is more to him than meets the eye. And she likes what she sees. . .

Jake promised Alexis’s brother that he’d be an absolute gentleman. Of course, that was before he and Alexis hit the road, and they both agree that what Alexis’s big brother doesn’t know won’t hurt him. The plan: to keep their fling confined to the RV, and everything will go back to normal once they head home. Things progress in ways neither of them could have imagined, and Jake realizes that he and Alexis make a perfect mix. Can he convince her that he’s ready to shake things up and give true love a shot?

Rating: 5-stars

Review: 

Maybe for You by Nicole McLaughlin is both sad and a happy journey. A young woman loses her parents, and then her fiance. Alex feels like she can never love anyone for fear of losing them. Yet she is falling in love with her best friend, Jake. Jake is known for not having relationships. But with Alex, it feels right. Being with her, Jake feels happy. He now has to prove to her that they’re made for each other. Happiness can exist once more. But the journey will be totally chaos.

Nicole McLaughlin’s book made me cry and laugh. The characters just have a way of pulling my heart into their life story. They swept me up into their beautiful chaos. Love, fear, and new beginnings…that’s what this book explored. Plans can be difficult. One path closes but another one opens. Alex is a strong yet determined woman to show that she can move forward. Losing a loved one is never easy; however, she held her own. Jake was the good man. Always being there for her, Jake made me swoon from page one. He is this irresistible man that every woman dreams about…overall, I highly recommend this romantic tale to all readers.

 

Review: Blythe of the Gates by Leah Erickson

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Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Blythe of the Gates by Leah Erickson is a deep emotional story that pulled me in from the start. The main characters went through a life of hell before they got to where they were. A young baby boy left in blood at a nunnery, was then working on a farm where he was abused, and then left as an orphan. He soon worked in a carnival where he meet an older man. One that had magic. The magic drew him in unlike anything else. It held promise of a better, happier life. Yet, the things we want in life are not always what we need. The boy becomes the magician. He meets our lady protagonist. From there, she has lived in fear of her husband. A sadness swept over me  like an ice-cube going down my back. It was depressing. She ended up living a rich lifestyle but was abused by the magician. Her happiness sapped out of her. Until, Sean…a man as ordinary as her. He makes her happy but not perfectly happy. Things spiral out of control and our lady find herself in one chaotic mess after another.

Blythe of the Gates featured themes such as marriage, abuse, and moving forward. Luna and her husband were both lost souls looking for happiness. After reading this novel, I am still not sure if Luna will ever find it. Her husband managed to  find a temporary form of happiness but it still never gave him the full satisfaction that he desired. This story was epic. The pages were dark, engaging, and mysterious…I enjoyed reading it. Overall, I recommend this book to fans of Unfortunate Events. It has the same resemblance but better.

 

 

Review: Sore Today, Strong Tomorrow

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A little progress each day adds up to BIG results!

We make it easy to track your progress with our beautifully created Fitness Planner for women. This planner is made with YOU in mind. We have included: The Plan Ahead Weekly Schedule to highlight your current stats in line with your goals for the week. Notes page to give you plenty of room to journal, add notes about progress or track info. Weekly Meal Plan Chart to track every meal, snack & water intake – with plenty of room to write all the details! Strength Training Exercise Chart to record specific exercises, cardio & cool-down. Monthly Work Out Tracker to see your overview and consistency on a monthly basis. Monthly Habits Chart & Tracker which is a unique area to write down the habits you want to establish in your everyday life and track your commitment to them.

 

If you are looking to be your BEST self, stop here and order this fitness planner. While you’re at it, get one for your sister, best friend or even Mom! Keeping track of your goals has never been easier!

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Sore Today, Strong Tomorrow is a great fitness journal. It has an easy way of tracking how much water you drink daily, as well as your fitness goals. The pages are well-organized. I can easily keep track of what exercises I want to do and which ones I completed. This journal allowed me to post my positive and negative thoughts as I worked out each day/week/month. I would recommend it to others.

Review: Second Chance at Two Love Lane by Kieran Kramer

Second Chance At Two Love Lane

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

From USA Today bestselling author Kieran Kramer, comes Second Chance at Two Love Lane, a fast-paced tale about the intoxicating effects of fame and what happens when a past romance is rekindled behind the silver screen.

Sometimes love is waiting in the second act…

In her professional career, Ella Mancini plays matchmaker at Two Love Lane but, in her personal life, she takes the stage at the Dock Street Theatre. Now she has a chance at a new role in a Hollywood movie that happens to be filming in Charleston—one that features a big-name actress, Samantha Drake. Long ago, Ella passed up a major audition while awaiting a marriage proposal. Not only didn’t she get the role; she never got the ring, either. Instead, her boyfriend Hank went on to become a huge film star…leaving her, and all her dreams, behind.

But now Hank’s back in Charleston, cast as the male lead in the same movie Ella’s in. In spite of the dramatic tension off-screen, he and Ella try to stay cool onset. But when their old feelings start to heat up—at the same time leading-lady Samantha tries to play cupid—all bets are off. How can Hank convince Ella, after all this time, that she’s the one he really wants to be with in real life—and that some happy, rom-com endings really can come true?

 

“Readers who enjoy works by Nora Roberts and Luanne Rice will want to give Kramer a try.”—Library Journal

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Second Chance at Two Love Lane by Kieran Kramer is a sweet heartfelt story of second chances. New beginnings await a young pair. Their future lies in their hands. I loved the father-daughter bond. It was engaging…and brought me a little closer to the main protagonist. I felt her passion for theater, as well as her love for her father. Ella is a woman who leaves people liking her. Her personality if warm. Determined and ready, Ella leaves to tackle a college career. She will be the first to get a degree in her family. I felt the happiness bloom inside of her. A young guy catches her attention early and it is from there that they have a connection. Love on the horizon…or is it? They proved they have the heat and attraction, but they need more if there is to be a future together. Overall, I loved the fiery banters and chemistry that was displayed on every page. Tugging at me heart, I will never forget this story.

 

Special Guest: Elyse Douglas Author of The Lost Mata Hari Ring

Image result for elyse douglas author

You Are a Real Character

by Elyse Douglas

A young teacher at a small town high school—married, in her 20’s, with aspirations to become a television journalist—was accused of murdering her husband.

In the weeks before her arrest, she appeared on television several times, making emotional pleas, asking anyone with knowledge of the murder to please come forward to assist the police in locating the person who had killed her dear, kind husband.

This is a true story that took place on the East Coast a few decades ago.  The killer turned out to be a 15-year-old boy from the school where the teacher taught, who said he was her lover.  He testified that she helped plan the murder, so it would look like a burglary.

Of course, everyone in the community was stunned.  Many said, “It was so out of character.  She was so nice and good.  How could she have killed her husband?”

My uncle Ted was not a big man, but he always bought shirts that were much too large for him.  He usually wore old baggy jeans and a cotton shirt that covered him like a gown.  If the wind blew brisk, the shirt would puff out like a balloon.

Whenever anyone asked him why he wore those big shirts, he’d say, “Small, medium, large, extra-large… all the same price.  I get more value for my money.”  He wore a medium, but an extra-large had more fabric, so instead of buying a medium, he’d buy the extra-large.

My Aunt May would say, with weary resignation, “Ole Ted Boy is a character, ain’t he?”

Cussing Helen and soft-spoken Wayne were the parents of a best friend.  Helen was a contractor and Wayne a caterer.  She built houses and he built wedding cakes.  People would often say, “Shouldn’t it be the other way around?” Meaning shouldn’t Helen be the caterer and Wayne the contractor?

Helen would say, “I can’t build a damn cake and he can’t build a friggin’ doghouse, and that’s okay with us.”

These characters had been happily married for over twenty years.

One writer said, “In every novel I’ve written, I began with a character, and allowed the drama to emerge out of human nature and relationships.”

As a young girl, I recall being fascinated by people: how they dressed; how they talked, their choice of words; their beliefs and opinions.  I soon discovered that everyone—without exception—was a character, and I would write down aspects of their character in a notebook.

From a young age, I observed that people often say one thing but do another; that guilt can ruin an entire lifetime; that laughter often masks great pain.  I would ask myself, why?

Invariably, in my own life, I’ve learned that what people say about someone else usually says more about them than the other person.  I’ve learned that what people think will make them happy doesn’t, especially, if it’s obtained too easily.  Instead, they get disenchanted and feel the frantic need to chase after the next happiness.  (This can be a great driving force for an entire novel.)  I’ve observed that true happiness mostly comes from sacrifice, tenderness, patience, and a good sense of humor.

When I began writing novels, I learned that I could drop any flawed, colorful character into nearly any plot and the story would sail off and hold the reader’s interest.

So, I usually begin my stories with a character who is struggling with fate, a painful secret, or a buried fear.  In our latest novel, The Lost Mata Hari Ring, a Time Travel Novel, the protagonist is plagued by nightmares from a past life, which she learns are a consequence of painful events and bad choices that left her estranged from her daughter.  After our protagonist time travels and meets the love of her life, she must then face herself as she was in the past and reconcile with her daughter, so that she can move on with her life in the present.

I love writing about romantic discovery and relationships, where characters meet that special someone who attracts and challenges them.  Over the course of the story, it is the relationship that helps to change and expand the protagonist from a tiny bud into a glorious rose.  The once frightened, flawed character finally grows up and blossoms.  She doesn’t just find herself, but she is free to create a new and authentic life.

As the great playwright George Bernard Shaw said, “Life isn’t about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.

A quote that I have never forgotten was one I first read in junior high school:

Character is destiny.

—Heraclitus

 

 

 

The Lost Mata Hari Ring: A Time Travel Novel by [Douglas, Elyse]

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Up-and-coming actress, Trace Rutland, has had nightmares about a tragic past ever since she was a little girl. She struggles with her everyday life, finally seeking help from a hypnotherapist.

While under hypnosis, she inadvertently experiences a tragic past life in Paris, in 1916, during the First World War.

Later, while visiting a wealthy man’s private Mata Hari collection, Trace is drawn to a glittering ring, once worn by the convicted spy. Trace is enthralled. When she’s alone, she slips the ring on and is swiftly hurled into the past. There, she must face herself as she was in the past, while struggling to change the course of her destiny.

When she meets the handsome Edward Kenyon Bishop, a World War I British flying ace, she falls in love. She is swept away into a journey of suspicion and treachery, and must fight for her life.

Can she survive the past? Can she return to the present? Can true love endure for all time?

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

The Lost Mata Hari Ring is so much like The Time Traveler’s Wife. The plot is full of mystery, intrigue, and a bit of romance. There is plenty of action to follow. I was never bored. I am hooked. It captures my interest from the first chapter. Time travel that allows a young woman to find her past and move past her nightmares. This journey in time, gives Trace a new beginning and a sense of peace. I easily was swept into the story as I followed Trace reconnecting with her past life and accepting her present one. Trace is a strong character that was likable. I can connect with her without difficulty. Overall, I recommend this novel to all readers.

Enter to Win a Copy of The Lost Mata Hari Ring

To enter into the free giveaway: participants must be from the US; like this post; comment on this post, and share on social media. Tell your friends to enter! Contest ends Sunday, July 22, 2018 at 11 PM Central Time. 

 

Review: Cooper’s Charm by Lori Foster

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

One summer, two sisters and a chance to start over…

Before the burglary that shattered her confidence, Phoenix Rose had a fiancé, a successful store and a busy, happy existence. After months spent adrift, she takes a job at the lakeside resort of Cooper’s Charm. Surrounded by beautiful scenery, friendly colleagues and a charismatic, widowed boss, Phoenix is slowly inching her way back into the world.

Visiting Cooper’s Charm to check up on her little sister, Ridley Rose impulsively agrees to fill in as housekeeper. Still reeling from an ego-bruising divorce, she finds satisfaction in a job well done—and in the attention of the resort’s handsome scuba instructor.

For Phoenix and Ridley, Cooper’s Charm is supposed to be merely temporary. But this detour may lead to the place they most need to be, where the future is as satisfying as it is surprising…

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Cooper’s Charm by Lori Foster is about second chances. Friendships, fresh starts, and a bit of romance can be found on the pages. The story is sweet, steady-sometimes slow, and engaging. I felt it tug my heart in some places. Other spots in the book dragged a little. It felt like there were more details than was needed. The main female character seemed sad and distant. Her new job was just the thing to stir up her life. It like she came back to the living. Cooper, her boss, was real likable. He had this way of dragging me further into the plot. Charming, hard-working, and kind, Cooper was a great character to follow. Overall, it was a good story about letting go of the past and moving forward.

 

Review: I Hate Everyone, Except You by Clinton Kelly

I Hate Everyone, Except You

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Bestselling author and television host Clinton Kelly pens a hilariously candid, deliciously snarky collection of essays about his journey from awkward kid to slightly-less-awkward adult.

Clinton Kelly is probably best known for teaching women how to make their butts look smaller. But in I Hate Everyone, Except You, he reveals some heretofore-unknown secrets about himself, like that he’s a finicky connoisseur of 1980s pornography, a disillusioned critic of New Jersey’s premier water parks, and perhaps the world’s least enthused high-school commencement speaker.

Whether he’s throwing his baby sister in the air to jump start her cheer-leading career or heroically rescuing his best friend from death by mud bath, Clinton leaps life’s social hurdles with aplomb. With his signature wit, he shares his unique ability to navigate the stickiest of situations, like deciding whether it’s acceptable to eat chicken wings with a fork on live television (spoiler: it’s not). Clinton delves into all these topics—and many more—in this thoroughly unabashedly frank and uproarious collection.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

I Hate Everyone, Except You is a deeper look into the man many have come to love. Clinton Kelly has always appeared to be this perfect well-put together man. I could never imagine him doing anything that was well-done.  His taste and mannerisms come alive in this journey. A journey through his younger years and into the man he is now. I found it quite interesting. There’s more depth to this celebrity than I thought originally. He’s funny, bold, and learns along the way. Watching him fail, wasn’t really failure…it was success in if it didn’t feel so at the time. Failure moments teach and change us. Clinton Kelly grew as he approached his station in his life and career. I loved his caring demeanor towards his family. He and his step-dad went from not liking each other to liking each other. I think we all can learn something from this memoir. Apply it to our own journeys and grow from them. Overall, I Hate Everyone, Except You was inspiring and motivational. The pages held a lot of humor making this feel nothing like a typical memoir.

Review: Set the Night on Fire by Laura Trentham

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Cottonbloom is the perfect place for starting over, finding your way back home–and falling head over heels. . .

Ella Boudreaux has a lot to prove to her family, friends, and foes–and to herself. So when her marriage ends she decides to invest her energy and money into a place that brings back some of Ella’s happiest memories: the Abbott brothers’ garage. Maybe, if she puts her mind to it, she can teach skeptical, stubborn Mack Abbott how to make the business a true success. Which would be a lot easier if the hunky mechanic didn’t make her motor run quite so fast…and hot.

Mack was furious when his brother, Ford, sold his share of the business. He’s in no rush to team up with a wealthy divorcee who shows up to the garage in stilettos–and the longest, sexiest legs he’s seen in forever. But Ella’s grit and determination won’t quit…and soon Mack can see that she’s been down a few rough roads herself. Neither Mack nor Ella can deny the fierce attraction that’s revving up between them. Could it be that true love has been in the backseat all along…and they’ve finally found the key?

Rating: 5-stars

Review: 

Set the Night on Fire by Laura Trentham is an exciting romantic read. I loved the fierce protectiveness that Mack feels towards Ella. At first, he didn’t want her anywhere around him, but getting to know her changed all of that. Her determination sparked a fire inside of Mack. One that he tried to diminish but was helpless in shaking off. His attraction towards the beauty only increased. As other characters from the previous books and new ones came onto the scene it only sparked more of an interest to keep on reading. I ended up finishing the entire read in one sitting. Fast-paced packed with action, hot scenes, and humor to make the pages fly by…I was impressed.

Laura Trentham’s latest novel, wasn’t just a hot romance that I could not put down. It went deeper than that. It displayed the family and marriage abuse that Ella went through in her life. It gave me a glimpse into her loss. Losing a family member is never easy. The car mechanic garage meant and reminded Ella of her older brother. It was sentimental value to her. Plus, the brothers that worked it became like family to her. Despite what hell life brought to Ella, she bounced back. She became stronger and more independent. But she was also able to put some trust into the tough as nails mechanic aka Mack. Mack has his own personal struggles as well. I loved the depth and meaning this book brought. It was more than just a romance. It was life. Overall, I would highly recommend this romantic story to all readers.

Review: Judy Moody (Mood Martian) by Megan McDonald

Mood Martian (Judy Moody #12)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

It’s Backwards Day, so Judy Moody double-dares herself to become Queen of the Good Mood for one whole week. Can she do it?

Will the real Judy Moody please stand up? In honor of Backwards Day, Judy Moody decides to turn that frown upside down, make lemonade out of lemons, and be nice to stinky little brothers. In fact, Judy becomes a NOT moody, cool-as-a-cucumber neat freak for one whole entire day. But when her combed hair, matching outfits, and good moods hang around for days after, her friends begin to worry. Could this smiley Judy be an impostor?

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Judy Moody: Mood Martian by Megan McDonald is the best novel yet. In this tale, I got to watch Judy Moody show a different side to herself than her usual self. In fact, her family started to think she wasn’t really Judy…at all. The change was pleasant and welcoming.

Judy Moody is a young girl who has a wild imagination and a good heart. She wants to be good, but her plans always went wrong. There was always a big oops, somewhere if not everywhere she went.

I was surprised by how much Judy changed and grew up. Her personality is still creative as ever. I laughed a lot. Her and Stink will always be my favorite two characters in this series.

Judy Moody: Mood Martian is about Judy trying not to be her usual Moody self. Readers familiar with the series all know how moody Judy Moody can get at times. Her ways of accomplishing not being moody was interesting! I definitely recommend this book story to all. Judy did make a lot of boo boos as usual, but she somehow ended up at the top. I liked the themes and the new adventure presented. The illustrations were great. They went well with each chapter. Overall, I highly recommend this book to readers everywhere.

Review: House of Belonging by Andrea Thome

House of Belonging (Hesse Creek #3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: 

Who can we count on? The family we’re born into, or the one we create for ourselves?

Renowned chef Laina Ming walked away from the culinary spotlight and an unhealthy relationship—one that still haunts her a year later. She’s trying to start fresh in the Rocky Mountains, opening a concept restaurant on the banks of the Roaring Fork River, where she hopes she’ll be able to express her passion for food and bury her heartache.

Horse rancher Logan Matthews moved to Aspen to be near his sister and her husband, grateful for his newfound family. Since a chance meeting with Laina the previous summer, Logan’s been enchanted. But she doesn’t want anything to do with him—which makes her all the more appealing.

Despite Laina’s efforts to protect her heart, Logan has been on her mind, too—and he has a way of turning up in the most unexpected places. Can they learn to trust one another and finally find the sense of belonging they’ve both been searching for?

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

House of Belonging by Andrea Thome is so much more than it appears. I thought it was about a woman or women overcoming an obstacle and moving forward. Yes, it was about that. But it had more depth and emotion than I knew. The journey that each character went through to get to where they ended up was heartfelt. I could not be happier. They were so realistic. I felt as if I lived right beside them for years. Sad, funny, and charming-Andrea Thome hooked me. I couldn’t stop reading. One chapter turned into several and then I was finishing the whole book. Love, new beginnings, and a promising future were shown here. I enjoyed it. Overall, I would recommend this inspirational and heart warming tale to fans of Hallmark, Debbie Macomber, and Susan Mallery.

 

Review: 101 ?s You Need to Ask in Your Twenties by Paul Angone

101 Questions You Need to Ask in Your Twenties: (And Let's Be Honest, Your Thirties Too)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Adulting got you down?

Whether you just polished off your college graduation cake, are in your twenties or thirties struggling through a quarter-life crisis, you’re simply trying to figure out how to become all grown up, or you’re a parent looking for that perfect college graduation gift or Christmas gift for your twentysomething, 101 Questions You Need to Ask in Your Twenties is the book for you. 

To find important life answers in your 20s, you need to start with good questions. Author, speaker, and blogger Paul Angone has dedicated the last 12 years to helping twentysomethings and in this book he culminates his work to give readers wisdom through major life questions like: 

What’s the best way to know if you’re actually ready to get married?
Where’s the future of work headed and what does having a successful career look like today?
How do I make a choice when I don’t know what to choose?
How do I stop networking and start “relationshipping”?
Why do some people have great marriages while others have complete wrecks before they even make it to the highway?
Am I seeing the other side of people’s Instagram photos (you know, the side they’re not exactly posting pictures of)?
What are the Pivotal Plot Points of my story?
Do I have anyone on my “Dream Team”?
After his success with 101 Secrets for your Twenties and connecting with millions of twentysomethings around the world through speaking engagements and his blog AllGroanUp.com, Paul Angone captures the hilarious, freakishly-accurate assessment of life as a modern-day twentysomething (and thirtysomething) facing real Millennial problems, but now he’s digging even deeper. 

If you’re drowning your anxieties in Netflix and ice cream, are afraid you’re failing, going crazy, or both, or are just longing for a little guidance to get past “just getting by,” grab this book and start thriving in the most “defining decade” of your life.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

101 Questions You Need to Ask in Your Twenties is an easy to read book that I found intriguing. Once I started to read, I just kept on reading it. There were a lot of great questions found here. Then there were the typical questions one would have asked this writer. I found interesting how he went through each question with a flair that made it not boring. It was nothing like what I had expected. No dull boring words filling up pages that would fall on deaf ears. Instead, I got exactly what the book said I would get. A deep thorough examination of myself. In other words, I got to explore where I was at, what I was doing, and where do I want to be.

Paul Angone is a motivational speaker. I did not need to read the back blurb to see that. Instead, I just read his book. I can see the intelligent words and wisdom they offered. It was like flashing a light into a dark tunnel. It inspired hope. The writing was clear and organized. Each chapter was divided into a particular subject with some of the writer’s own personal experience attached. I did not feel alone. This book, made me feel like I was understood and being heard. As a twenty-something, I had no clear idea where I was headed. But reading this book, I know where to go and what needed to be done. Overall, I would recommend this book to high school students and those who planned to enter college. It was a great read.

Review: Beyond Chains by Mark Anthony NZE

BOOK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Michael Nnaji is a dedicated cleric, and an exceptionally, brilliant young man that bluntly, refuses to perpetrate sinister acts, his superior in their ministry orchestrates.

His refusal puts him in chains and he’s faced with a choice, accept the proposition, and become a multi millionaire or refuse to compromise his faith, and continue suffering behind bars.

He prays ardently, for divine intervention, and hopes to be let off the hook some day.

Out of the unconditional love, Sandra has for him, she assures him that she will see to his freedom but the allegation against him is so grievious, and only a miracle – a quick one can save him from a damnable incarceration.

An expository of the ills that prominent personalities commit in the African society.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Beyond Chains by Mark Anthony NZE is entertaining African urban fiction read. There were more urban fiction elements to this novel than Christian ones. The main protagonist, Michael Nnaji, is stuck in a bad position when his superior uses his power to control Michael. Michael is a likable character with many flaws. Giving a more realistic appeal to readers. I found his position to be intriguing. There were many ways it could escalate out of control. But he does have a choice to do what is right…making a tough choice is harder especially when the readers like myself is driven into Michael’s society. His society operates differently than most. This gives way to action, suspense, and evil versus good. I enjoyed how the author showed me what it was like being behind bars as a black men and how one’s hope can quickly diminish. Overall, Mark Anthony NZE has created a great plot that pulls readers in fast and leaves their hearts racing.

Author Interview: MarkAnthony NZE

BOOK

Meet Author MarkAnthony NZE

Interview with MarkAnthony NZE 
ULM: When did you first decide to become an author? Why?
NZE: The decision came, over two decades when I was in high school and, it was due to my voracious reading of novels.
ULM: How would you describe your character, Michael Nnaji?
NZE: My main character, Michael Nnaji is affable, brilliant, and honest with an unwavering faith.
ULM: What inspired you to create your book, Beyond Chains?
NZE: The inspiration to create Beyond Chains came as a result of some of the malpractices I witnessed in churches, and contemporary African societies generally, and Nigeria particularly.
ULM: What themes will readers find within your book?
NZE: They’re basically; perseverance, uprightness, and the absolute belief in good always triumphing over evil irrespective of how long the latter must have gone before the former.
ULM: Describe Beyond Chains, using only three words.
NZE: Beyond Chains is iconoclastic, classic, and interesting.
ULM: What boundaries are pushed and tested inside of your book, Beyond Chains?
NZE: Faith and integrity.
ULM: What was it like creating your antagonist for this story?
NZE: It was challenging as well as fascinating.
ULM: What other projects are you planning to write, if any?
NZE: Currently, I am at work on another phenomenal novel which is directed towards helping the young generation discover exactly what they’re called on earth to do and not stepping into areas that they will struggle till the rest of their lives without making any impact.
ULM: Where can readers find you and your work online?
NZE: They can simply visit me at my website; www.markanthonynze.com

Review: From Nothing by Ken Goldstein

From Nothing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Victor Selo had blown up his life. A wannabe rock star turned tech savant, he’d wagered his Silicon Valley executive position on a corporate inside straight and lost. Having security escort him out of the building was the best thing that happened to him that day. The rest left him in the hospital, broken, broke, and with no prospects. That’s when a shadowy stranger with questionable motives came with an offer: a chance to get his life back – and better – if he simply cooperates. It would require becoming invisible for a while, but he would be hiding in the spotlight, playing guitar in a Vegas cover band. Reluctantly, Victor accepts and begins an odyssey he never could have imagined. One that involves a charismatic lead singer who owns the stage but aspires to own an Elvis wedding chapel, a mesmerizing woman who can play anything on her keyboards and can really play with Victor’s head, and two specters from his old life offering competing devil’s bargains. Suddenly, multiple futures are opening up in front of Victor. All of them offer opportunity – and each comes with potentially catastrophic risk. Populated with a wide array of colorful characters, brimming with reflections on everything from love to God to the price of commitment, and backed by a great soundtrack, From Nothing is an endlessly engaging work of fiction that will resonate like your favorite song.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

From Nothing by Ken Goldstein is unlike any novel I have read. It carries so much punch and intrigue that I could not put it down. The tale carries me through one man’s journey from a corporate world to the lifestyle of a rock star. This book shows what happens when the main character rolls like a dice on a gambling table. The chances are fifty-fifty and the risks are high. An opportunity of taking a new road to life comes with consequences. But this character keeps rolling; making the best with each roll. I liked the do not look back attitude and how Victor moves forward despite his past life being destroyed. The remaining cast varied in positions and levels of life. It was quite interesting to follow them. The main focus was redemption for Victor. It was a long yet tough journey for him, whether he found it or not, is up for discovery. I enjoyed watching Victor grow as a man throughout novel. He went from being someone to nothing then to somebody going somewhere. His future held hope. Overall, I would recommend this read to all. There’s a little of everything for readers to like, relate to, and connect with…

Review: A Lady’s Guide to Selling Out by Sally Franson

A Lady's Guide to Selling Out

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A brilliant young woman navigates a tricky twenty-first-century career—and the trickier question of who she wants to be—in this savagely wise debut novel in the tradition of The Devil Wears Prada. 

Casey Pendergast is losing her way. Once a book-loving English major, Casey lands a job at a top ad agency that highly values her ability to tell a good story. Her best friend thinks she’s a sellout, but Casey tells herself that she’s just paying the bills—and she can’t help that she has champagne taste.

When her hard-to-please boss assigns her to a top-secret campaign that pairs literary authors with corporations hungry for upmarket cachet, Casey is both excited and skeptical. But as she crisscrosses America, wooing her former idols, she’s shocked at how quickly they compromise their integrity: A short-story writer leaves academia to craft campaigns for a plus-size clothing chain, a reclusive nature writer signs away her life’s work to a manufacturer of granola bars.

When she falls in love with one of her authors, Casey can no longer ignore her own nagging doubts about the human cost of her success. By the time the year’s biggest book festival rolls around in Las Vegas, it will take every ounce of Casey’s moxie to undo the damage—and, hopefully, save her own soul.

Told in an unforgettable voice, with razor-sharp observations about everything from feminism to pop culture to social media, A Lady’s Guide to Selling Out is the story of a young woman untangling the contradictions of our era and trying to escape the rat race—by any means necessary.

Rating: 3.5-stars

Review:

A Lady’s Guide to Selling Out by Sally Franson has some promising parts to its story. However, other parts just fell flat. I loved the book cover. It was pretty to the eye. The book blurb also caught my attention made me think, OMG-This book is it!  But the main character was just going through the motions without any effort on her part. It appeared she put effort into not being the same kind of sell out yet she was just that.

Casey is a main protagonist that made me want to like her. However, I was only half-way liking her. There were her attempts to be good that made her likable. She just didn’t accomplish it on any scale. Casey is supposed to be the hero…

Anything with books or about writing in fiction has caught my full interest. This tale had the ingredients but they weren’t used right. I just did not feel emotionally attached at all to Casey. Yes, I loved how she loved books etc…and her romantic relationship with the Ben was the best part of this novel. Overall, it was good but could have been better.

 

 

Review: Savage Liberty by Eliot Pattison

Savage Liberty (Duncan McCallum #5)

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The fifth installation of Eliot Pattison’s Bone Rattler series follows the exiled Scotsman Duncan McCallum to the stepping-stones of the American Revolution

Acclaimed author Eliot Pattison continues his Bone Rattler series as Duncan McCallum is drawn into dark intrigue surrounding the Sons of Liberty in this gripping thriller set in the early days of the American revolution.

Pattison’s deep historical knowledge and attention to detail brings a young America to life, immersing the reader in the atmosphere and events that were to lead to the American rebellion. Protagonist Duncan McCallum is lead into a mystery of murder, treachery, and intrigue with Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and a secret society of American patriots organizing to resist the British throne.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Savage Liberty by Eliot Pattison is a novel that sent me back in time. I love following Scottish characters. I have never read a novel, where they were never not in trouble. There was always something going wrong to keep the action steady. Duncan MaCallum’s life was interesting. Death was constantly hanging over his head. Duncan is a strong, determined, and stubborn man. He appeared foolish but is not. He is braver than most men. His relationship with the strong-willed woman, Sarah, is beautiful. Both are good people struggling to survive in their new world. Boston was a place of danger, violence, and uprising. Duncan was smart to leave there but somehow it still chased after him. The time period was captured perfectly. Eliot Pattison created this story in way that deeply engaged me in all the characters’ lives. I felt as though I just lived through them all. Overall, I would recommend this to history fans and historical fiction lovers. This was fun to follow.

Review: Not that I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser

Not That I Could Tell

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: 

When a group of neighborhood women gathers, wine in hand, around a fire pit where their backyards meet one Saturday night, most of them are just ecstatic to have discovered that their baby monitors reach that far. It’s a rare kid-free night, and they’re giddy with it. They drink too much, and the conversation turns personal.

By Monday morning, one of them is gone.

Everyone knows something about everyone else in the quirky small Ohio town of Yellow Springs, but no one can make sense of the disappearance. Kristin was a sociable twin mom, college administrator, and doctor’s wife who didn’t seem all that bothered by her impending divorce—and the investigation turns up more questions than answers, with her husband, Paul, at the center. For her closest neighbor, Clara, the incident triggers memories she thought she’d put behind her—and when she’s unable to extract herself from the widening circle of scrutiny, her own suspicions quickly grow. But the neighborhood’s newest addition, Izzy, is determined not to jump to any conclusions—especially since she’s dealing with a crisis of her own.

As the police investigation goes from a media circus to a cold case, the neighbors are forced to reexamine what’s going on behind their own closed doors—and to ask how well anyone really knows anyone else.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Not that I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser is one of the most intriguing drama mysteries that I’ve read. This was similar to Pretty Little Liars and Big Little Lies. A lot of deception is found, here on the pages. Just when the characters think they know everything, their neighborhood gets shaken upside down.  Secrets, drama, and mystery were combined making this a page turner. I was deeply engrossed with the characters’ lives and how they were connected. My curiosity was snatched immediately by this writer.

A group of women sit outside, sipping their wine. Too much to drink, and one of them disappeared. Nobody knows what happened to their missing neighbor or why. Kristen seemed to have the perfect life and a divorce that was just about closed, when she was found missing.

The ending was sort of surprising in a way, but I kind of predicted  what was going to happen. It felt like the same kind of plot as other books but on a grown adult level. The story was easy to get lost within…but like I said it was predictable in many ways due to similarities. Otherwise, great mystery novel.

 

Review: 3 Hour Dad by Adam Hourlution

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Based on actual events

One day Adam, just your average, typical guy receives a call from his mother-in-law (to be !) summoning him to the hospital following his girlfriend being rushed in with suspected appendicitis only to discover that she is in fact having contractions and has been admitted to the labour ward.

This heart-warming and true story invites readers to step into Adam’s shoes and experience what it is like to be a 3 Hour Dad.

A portion of sales are donated to a random act of kindness project. For more information please read the about me section at the end of the book.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

This story is a man’s journey into finding out he was about to become a father. Both parents were not aware of the pregnancy, and the reader is able to flow the path of the father finding out just how much his life is going to change.

At some parts of the story, it is difficult to follow, but you are quickly able to rejoin the discovery. As a real-life story, 3 Hour Dad is great for anyone who enjoys to take part in the lives of others and their embarkment into new territories and stages of life.

 

Review: Before and Again by Barbara Delinsky

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

From Barbara Delinsky, the New York Times bestselling author of Blueprints and Sweet Salt Air, a brand-new novel about a woman in hiding finding the courage to face the world again.

Mackenzie Cooper took her eyes off the road for just a moment but the resulting collision was enough to rob her not only of her beloved daughter but ultimately of her marriage, family, and friends—and thanks to the nonstop media coverage, even her privacy. Now she lives in Vermont under the name Maggie Reid, in a small house with her cats and dog. She’s thankful for the new friends she’s made—though she can’t risk telling them too much. And she takes satisfaction in working as a makeup artist at the luxurious local spa, helping clients hide the visible outward signs of their weariness, illnesses, and injuries. Covering up scars is a skill she has mastered.

Her only goal is to stay under the radar and make it through her remaining probation. But she isn’t the only one in this peaceful town with secrets. When a friend’s teenage son is thrust into the national spotlight, accused of hacking a powerful man’s Twitter account, Maggie is torn between pulling away and protecting herself—or stepping into the glare to be at their side. As the stunning truth behind their case is slowly revealed, Maggie’s own carefully constructed story begins to unravel as well. She knows all too well that what we need from each other in this difficult world is comfort. But to provide it, sometimes we need to travel far outside our comfort zones.

From a multimillion-selling master of women’s fiction, Before and Again is a story of the relationships we find ourselves in—mothers and daughters, spouses and siblings, true companions and fair-weather friends—and what kind of sacrifices we are or aren’t willing to make to sustain them through good times and bad.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Before and Again by Barbara Delinsky is a fast paced plot. The story is about a family’s life that gets turned upside down when they loose their only daughter. A five-year-old girl, dead on impact of another car hitting them. The mother was driving the car. Since then, life has beennothing but hell for the parents. A divorce, separation, guilt, shame, and grief immediately consumed me. I felt an instant sympathy for the family, especially the mother. It was intense. Sad, horrifying, and just one big emotionally charged journey. What started out as a sad and dark road, soon proved to hold some hope and light for this couple. I loved how realistic and how I was shown what was happening.

The situations were not easy but I could easily see all of this happening in real life. It’s difficult to lose a loved one, especially one that was so young and in the mother’s care at the time…the physical and emotional trauma would be hard. Yet Barbara Delinsky showed that there is always a light at the end of the long dark tunnel. We may lose ourselves but not all is lost. There is hope for a future…overall, I would recommend this to readers everywhere.

 

Review: The Woman Behind the Waterfall by Lenoroa Meriel

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Heartbreak and transformation in the beauty of a Ukrainian village

For seven-year old Angela, happiness is exploring the lush countryside around her home in western Ukraine. Her wild imagination takes her into birds and flowers, and into the waters of the river.

All that changes when, one morning, she sees her mother crying. As she tries to find out why, she is drawn on an extraordinary journey into the secrets of her family, and her mother’s fateful choices.

Can Angela lead her mother back to happiness before her innocence is destroyed by the shadows of a dark past?

Beautiful, poetic and richly sensory, this is a tale that will haunt and lift its readers.

“A strange and beautiful novel” – Esther Freud, author of Mr Mac and Me, Hideous Kinky, Peeless Flats

“Readers looking for a classic tale of love and loss will be rewarded with an intoxicating world” – Kirkus Reviews

Rating: 3.5-stars

Review:

The Woman Behind the Waterfall by Leonora Meriel is a deep emotional tale. One that reads like poetry. It was a bit too slow and stretched out for my tastes when it comes to the pacing. However, the story presented was interesting. Reading this novel, made me sad. It felt like everything was crashing down around the mother and daughter. The mother made some wrong choices and feels regret. Her daughter is a ray of sunshine and innocence. Their love for each other is all they have. This book was different than what I usually read. Not exactly what I expected but unique. Overall, those looking for an emotional yet strong theme on family may love reading this.

Review: The Art of Fully Living by Tal Gur

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Master the art of fully living, one life goal at a time.

Do you want to experience your one life—your whole life—to its fullest measure?

In this stirring book, author, blogger and lifestyle entrepreneur, Tal Gur offers his own transformational journey as an inspiring example and practical guide to implementing the art of fully living to its fullest potential. You’ll learn how to actualize your potential by forging all aspects of your life through the process built into your life goals.

Once you discover “the art of fully living,” there is no going back; it will feel unacceptable to settle for less than your dreams—and what’s more, you’ll dream even more wildly, aspiring to action with greater clarity of purpose, broader horizons of possibility, and holistic vision across all areas of your life.

The very structure of this book models Tal’s immersive approach to goal-driven living: each chapter of The Art of Fully Living is dedicated to a year of focus—socializing, fitness, freedom, contribution, love, adventure, wealth, relationship, spirituality, and creativity—and follows Tal’s endeavors as he works toward fulfilling 100 life goals in only 10 years.

This daunting ambition, springing from one late-night conversation among friends and a gnawing discontentment within the typical “success” story, becomes extremely relatable through Tal’s bold storytelling; what’s more, the deep lessons learned become immediately applicable for your own purposes as Tal thoughtfully extracts the actionable wisdom from his own experiences to articulate the principles and techniques of “the art of fully living.”

The Art of Fully Living takes you along the exhilarating ride of Tal’s journey while illuminating your own possible life-goal trajectory: as Tal relates how he socialized nonstop in vibrant Melbourne to master English and trained intensively to complete Ironman New Zealand and practice ancient Thai martial arts, you’ll learn how to apply immersion to achieve your own life goals; as Tal describes how he eliminated his crushing student debt in one year and attained financial and location independence, you’ll learn how to simplify your life, recognize your own present wealth, and turn your passions into a living; and as Tal animates his experiences learning to surf and salsa, to drum in a troupe and compose electronic music, and to write this very book, you’ll learn how to let your intuition be your guide, reveal your authentic core, and achieve flow—among the myriad other adventures and take-aways that fill this book.

Tal not only introduces the idea that the art of fully living is another skill to master but also guides you through honing this skill with chapter lessons and actionable key takeaways.

This is especially for you if you find yourself frustrated often, feeling low, or if you’re struggling while asking yourself “What do I REALLY want?”

You will find your calling.
You will define your life goals.
You will discover how to leverage your strengths to achieve your dreams.
You will know what it means to be truly free.
You will be fulfilled by the path you have chosen to take from this point on.

Can you imagine what the world would be like if everyone discovered and did what made them feel fully alive?

Your dreams are your dreams for a reason; they are rooted in your deepest understanding of who you want and can become.

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

The Art of Fully Living by Tal Gur is an excellent nonfiction book to read. It has many lessons about life that anyone, including myself can apply to their life. This book, was different than others that I have read in the past. The writer has gone on this journey for his own life and the way he tells it was enjoyable to read. I normally read mostly fiction because they can keep my attention. However, this memoir like guide was educational and refreshing to read. There were a lot of pointers that made me rethink the way I was going about my own life’s dreams. Overall, I recommend this book to all.

 

Review: Beach House Reunion by Mary Alice Monroe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Whisking you back to the shores of her bestselling Beach House series, Mary Alice Monroe weaves together a tale of the struggles and triumphs of the historic Rutledge family of Charleston, South Carolina. Beautifully wrought and rich with keen insight, this is an illuminating tale of new beginnings, resilience, and one family’s enduring love.

Cara Rutledge returns to her Southern home on the idyllic Isle of Palms. Everything is comfortingly the same, yet each detail is rife with painful memories. Only through reconnecting with family, friends, and the rhythms of the lowcountry can Cara release the hold of the past and open herself to the possibility of a new love, career, and hope for the future.

Meanwhile, her niece Linnea, a recent college graduate who doesn’t know where her life will take her, leaves her historic home in Charleston, with all its entitlement and expectations, and heads to her aunt’s beach house. On the island, she is part of the freer, natural ocean lifestyle she loves, rejoining the turtle team, learning to surf, and falling in love. Remembering the lessons of her beloved grandmother, Lovie, the original “turtle lady,” Linnea rediscovers a meaningful purpose to her life and finds the courage she needs to break from tradition.

In this heartwarming novel, three generations of the Rutledge family gather together to find the strength, love, and commitment to break destructive family patterns and to forge new bonds that will endure long beyond one summer reunion.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Beach House Reunion by Mary Alice Monroe is a great read featuring family, relationships, commitment, and love. A family torn by traditions and new beginnings is found inside these pages. A daughter who went to college, earned her degree, and is home looking for a job. Her father is pushing her to work for him. Her brother is forced to go to the same college as his dad and to work for the family business. This caused a tidal wave that is felt by the whole family. The mother is wanting her daughter to uphold the same principles she holds for the family. Then, there’s an aunt who lost her love, adopted a baby, and is tackling on a new relationship. In the background, are the sea turtles that come back every 2-3 years to build a nest and lay new eggs. I loved how an older sea turtle came back to the beach and was found to have survived a shark atrack. The aunt in the family is finally returning back home to her beach house to stay. Her niece helps with babysitting while finding her own way in life. The plot was engaging, realistic, and steady. There was action, romance, and a destructive family force to be dealt with…but it was dragged out a little too much for me. Choices are presented and will be made. Where the characters and future of the sea turtles lie, is a journey for readers to find out…overall, it was a good story.

Review: Honeysuckle Dreams by Denise Hunter

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

After Brady Collins’ ex-wife dies, he receives devastating news—his nine-month-old son Sam isn’t his son at all. And Sam’s wealthy maternal grandparents want custody of the child. Brady knows he’s in for the fight of his life. But regardless of what any blood test says, Sam is his son, and Brady will go to any lengths to keep him.

Brady’s attorney tips him off that one major life change would virtually assure him of winning guardianship of baby Sam at the final hearing: an impending marriage. And his friend Hope is willing to step in as the loving and devoted fiance.

Local radio celebrity Hope Daniels has been driven by a solitary goal her entire life, and after a happy accident she’s finally offered her dream job. But if the truth comes out about her arrangement with Brady, she may miss the chance of a lifetime and stand in the way of a dear friend’s dreams.

As Brady and Hope make sacrifices to help each other in their times of need, they risk uncovering a truth neither of them expects to find.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Honeysuckle Dreams by Denise Hunter is a sweet tale full of sacrifices and hope. Two friends are battling for things they want in life. However, when the push comes to shove they put aside their dreams for a better future than they hoped for…

Brady is a decent man and going to be a wonderful father. His trouble broke my heart. I felt sympathy for him right away. It was easy to connect with Brady due to his circumstances. Losing a loved one and then finding out that your newborn isn’t yours to begin with…is a whole new level of difficulty that no one wants to have. Yet Brady is dealing with them all. Then, the pressure from his wife’s family is giving him even more trouble. But hope and promises lie with his friend, Hope.

Hope is a determined woman willing to get what she wants. Yet something keeps pulling her towards Brady and his newborn that she cannot deny. A new future with new possibilities is hard to let go of when the hear is being torn.

Honeysuckle Dreams is exactly as it sounds. Hope and dreams colliding causing for an adventure of a lifetime. Overall, I was entertained from beginning to end. I would recommend it to readers everywhere.

Review: Becoming the Talbot Sisters by Rachel Linden

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Twin sisters Waverly and Charlie Talbot have drifted far apart as they pursue opposite dreams of stardom and service to the poor. On an astonishing journey across Central Europe, they must come together to face their fears, find their courage and fight for what they love.

Celebrity chef Waverly Ross has built a successful career with her home-entertaining show Simply Perfect. Yet she and her husband, Andrew, have never been able to realize the true desire of Waverly’s heart: to become a mother. Meanwhile Waverly’s twin sister, Charlie Talbot, buries her bitter disappointment and shattered idealism beneath a life spent serving others as an international aid worked in Budapest, Hungary.

When the beloved aunt who raised them passes away, Waverly and Charlie come together in their grief after living years on separate continents. Struck by a fierce desire to bridge the distance between them, Charlie offers Waverly and her husband the selfless gift of surrogacy.

But soon the sisters find they are each in danger of losing their jobs, seemingly putting their dreams on hold once again. When Waverly shows up unannounced in Budapest with a plan to rescue Simply Perfect, the sisters embark on an adventure across Central Europe that could save them both from occupational hazards. Though the twins haven’t had to rely on each other since childhood, an unforeseen dangerous turn in their journey across Europe forces them to stand together to save their careers, the baby, and each other.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Becoming the Talbot Sisters by Rachel Linden is an awe inspiring tale of the bond between two sisters. Being an older sister, I can relate to these sisters. My baby sister has moved away to pursue her dreams, and I felt like we drifted apart. But we still love each other and are there when we need each other. The same can be shown in this book with the Talbot sisters. Their aunt passes away and that starts their reunion in becoming closer. From there their journeys become messy, complicated, and scary. But they now, have each other in their lives again and from there they learn and help each other. I loved the protrayal of the sister bonding moments, the emotional rollercoaster each one took, and the sacrifices they made. It was a steady piece of fiction. The plot was heartfelt and realistic. Overall, I recommend it to readers.

Review: Hurricane Season by Lauren K. Denton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Betsy and Ty Franklin, owners of Franklin Dairy Farm in southern Alabama, have decided to put life’s disappointments behind them. At least in theory. Ty manages their herd of dairy cows, while Betsy busies herself with the farm’s day-to-day operations and tries to forget the longing for motherhood set deep in her heart. But when Betsy’s free-spirited younger sister Jenna drops her young daughters off at the farm to attend a two-week art retreat in Florida, Betsy’s carefully constructed wall of self-protection begins to crumble.

As those two weeks stretch much farther into the hot Alabama summer, Betsy and Ty learn to navigate the new additions in their world and revel in a home that’s suddenly filled with the sound of laughter and life. Meanwhile, record heat promises to usher in the most active hurricane season in decades.

Four hundred miles away, Jenna is fighting her own battles. She’d once been free to travel and pursue a career in photography, but all that changed with the appearance of two pink lines on a plastic stick and a boyfriend who hit the road. At Halcyon art retreat, she finally has the time and energy to focus on her photography. As the summer continues, she wonders how her rediscovered passion can fit in with the life she’s made back home with her two children.

When Hurricane Ingrid aims her steady eye at the Alabama coast, Jenna must make a decision that could affect both her and her children’s futures, and Betsy and Ty find themselves protecting their beloved farm as well as their own hearts.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Hurricane Season by Lauren K. Denton is a fascinating women’s fiction piece. Here, are two sisters with different lives. One wants children the other feels pulled down by her children. As one sister and her husband deal with two girls in their home, a season of storms brews ahead. This season of storms is both a physical and emotional journey. Both sister are experiencing storms in their personal lives as well as the physical ones threatening their lives. I found interesting. The story was realistic and heartfelt. I felt sorry for the sister and her husband who were trying to have children. The characters and their struggles tugged at my heartstrings. Overall, I recommend this beautiful engaging tale to all readers.

Review: If I Live by Terri Blackstock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Casey is hiding again—in Memphis this time—but it’s different now. She knows without a doubt that Dylan believes her and is doing all he can to help bring Brent’s killer to justice. He’s become an unexpected friend . . . and even, maybe, something more. Hope makes everything more bearable.

Casey makes a deal with the DA to turn over all the evidence she and Dylan have gathered against Keegan and Rollins—only to discover that the DA is in league with them too. After a desperate escape, who can they possibly turn to now?

Time is running out for Casey, but master suspense writer Terri Blackstock will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the last, utterly satisfying page.

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

If I Live by Terri Blackstock is suspenseful. The danger and intrigue build up with every page. I was hooked. This novel, had all the right elements to keep my interest. I have not read the previous books before this one and was able to follow along just fine. The characters felt real. Their situation went from super bad to worse in seconds. What had been a hopeful turn, turned out to backfire on them. Casey and Dylan are easy to like and relate to…their troubles and decisions made them believable. I felt sorry for them both. Overall, this novel was packed full of action, risks, and hope. I would recommend it to readers worldwide.

Review: Until There Was Us by Samantha Chase

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

He’ll have to play his cards just right for her to take a chance on him…

Megan Montgomery has always been careful…except that one time she threw caution to the wind and hooked up with a sexy groomsman at her cousin’s wedding. But that was two years ago—so why can’t she stop thinking about Alex Rebat?

Alex has been living the good life. He loves his job, has a great circle of friends, and doesn’t answer to anyone. The problem? There’s only one woman he wants and she ran out on him after one amazing weekend. But now that Megan’s coming back to town, Alex hopes he can convince her to take another chance on him…and on a future that can only be built together.

Montgomery Brothers Series:

Wait for Me (Book 1)
Trust in Me (Book 2)
Stay with Me (Book 3)
Return to You (Book 4)
Meant for You (Book 5)
I’ll Be There (Book 6)
Until There Was Us (Book 7)

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Until There Was Us by Samantha Chase is the most emotionally charged book I’ve read so far. A young woman has had to work so hard to prove to her father that she is just as good as her brothers. Yet he has never once taken notice until she proved him she was just that good. However, she finds out that having her dad’s approval could mean an unwanted life with him constantly telling her how to run her life. Her brother Christian had always been their father’s favorite. But after what their dad did to him, he’s turned into ‘the stone man’. That visit with her brother helped them both. She got to see her brother and understand what would happen if she let her dad give her a job. Then, there the issue of her working too much. She is trying to fix that but it’s harder than saying she can. But there’s a special man who can help make her feel happy again. If only she lets him into her life and heart. Megan was burned once and her self-esteem isn’t as great as it should be. Megan is a determined, bright, and good person. I really liked her. I felt like her and I could be best friends for life. Plus, she has a secret…

Alex is a therapist. He’s so caring it’s hard not to like the man. Also, he’s just as sexy as he is sweet. Alex loves the outdoors and is best of friends with Megan’s cousin. Alex met Megan at a family wedding and they hit it off from there. But since then, Megan blew him off and has hidden from Alex. Life gets in the way, and Alex finds he’s still in love with her. Maybe, her coming back in his life is a positive sign. But knowing Megan, the road to convincing her to give them a chance will be tough.

Samantha Chase has created another amazing feel good title. It’s sexy, hot, and engaging as hell. I loved it! I could not stop reading it. I was held in suspense as to what would occur between Alex and Megan. They seemed perfect for each other yet…it was a constant tug of war. Samantha has placed a little bit of her awesome pug into this story! Maylene, is the beautiful yet sassy pug inside this heartfelt tale. I thought it was pretty cool to meet her as well. Overall, I highly recommend this contemporary novel to all readers.

 

Review: Confessions of a Red Herring by Dana Dratch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

As a reporter, she’s used to covering the news.
Now she’s the headline.

Alex Vlodnachek has been a reporter for 12 years, a P.R. rep for three months, and a murder suspect for all of 24 hours. When her agency’s double-dealing CEO is stabbed, scheming co-workers cast the new redhead as a compelling red herring. The story is media catnip—especially her salacious nickname: Vlod the Impaler.

Even Alex has to admit she looks guilty.

Out of a job and under suspicion, Alex is running low on cash, when she’s visited by a second disaster: her family. Soon her tiny bungalow is bursting with her nearest and not-so-dearest. To keep herself out of jail—and save what’s left of her sanity—Alex returns to her reporting roots. She goes undercover to reclaim her life, break the story, and unmask a murderer. Pretty much in that order.

What she doesn’t know: The killer also has a to-do list.
And Alex is on it.

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Confessions of a Red Herring by Dana Dratch is the first to a new cozy mystery series. Murder, mayhem, and suspense all wrapped in one great plot.  I instantly took a liking to the main character, Alex Vlondnachek. Her vibrant nature called to me. She’s the woman I see myself being best friends with…she has seen,,heard, and witness enough craziness to tell anyone. Her work life is total chaos. The employers have no sens of morals and Alex seems to hold up the fort with professional attitude and decor. The things they expect her to do…well, I can definitely understand her frustration. Alex is framed for a crime she didn’t commit. Her whole life went from handling crazies at work to being put on the spotlight as a murderer. Alex being a former reporter must find out who did commit the murder she’s being framed for and why. That’s where her friend, Trip, came…together they can maybe find the killer before it’s too late.

Dana Dratch combines family drama and humor in a way that was intriguing. I was rolling my eyes and laughing so hard, I cried. Alex’s family isssues is hilarious. Her youngest brother sells his farm and marries a girl without having money, a job, or a place to live in…luckily her other brother is a lawyer and can help her with legal advice. Being convicted of a murder is not something Alex took lightly. The cast of characters were easy to like. They felt real. There was no easy road for Alex or her family which made this book even better. I love a plot that can hold my attention to the end and be realistic, too. Confessions of a Red Herring is engaging, funny, and full, of adventure. I recommend this mystery to all readers.

 

Review: Glam Squad & Groomsmen by Samantha Chase

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Dressing up as a bride once a week is all fun and games until you come face to face with your ex.

Penny Blake loves her job with Enchanted Bridal. She gets to model wedding gowns and help brides plan for their big day. And yet…she’s wanting a little more. Besides wishing for her own happily ever after, she has big dreams of making her own contribution to the business in the form of her own glam squad. Her bosses all think it’s a great idea, but right now she’s needed in other ways – like helping out with the groomsmen.

Was there any greater form of torture than having to help your sister plan her wedding?

That’s what Spencer Buchanan is facing and although he goes into it with a bit of an attitude, running into the girl who got away – three times! – suddenly made this whole wedding planning thing a lot more bearable. Moving back home was never part of his plan, but once Spencer sees Penny again, all bets are off. And having her help him with his fittings on his tux turn into his favorite pastime ever!

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Glam Squad & Groomsmen by Samantha Chase is an exciting and addictive tale. I loved how to young people who has always loved each other have found a way to each other again. It was heartfelt, funny, and charming. The man was sexy as hell and one I would love to keep. Spencer is the man that make women dream of happily ever afters. Penny is the leading female protagonist and she’s awesome, too. Her personality is fun to watch. Going from running away to forcing to reckon with her past love, she has grown a lot in this book.  Marriage, weddings, and second chances are the themes of this journey. I loved every moment of it. Hot, emotional, and and sweet just the way I like my romance stories. Overall, I recommend this book to readers everywhere.

Review: The Family Gathering by Robyn Carr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

An exceptional storyteller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr beautifully captures the emotionally charged, complex dynamics that come with being part of any family. Readers will laugh and shed a few tears as they discover what it means to be loved, supported and accepted by the people who mean the most.

Having left the military, Dakota Jones is at a crossroads in his life. With his older brother and youngest sister happily settled in Sullivan’s Crossing, he shows up hoping to clear his head before moving on to his next adventure. But, like every visitor to the Crossing, he’s immediately drawn to the down-to-earth people and the seemingly simple way of life.

Dakota is unprepared for how quickly things get complicated. As a newcomer, he is on everyone’s radar—especially the single women in town. While he enjoys the attention at first, he’s really only attracted to the one woman who isn’t interested. And spending quality time with his siblings is eye-opening. As he gets to know them, he also gets to know himself and what he truly wants.

When all of the Jones siblings gather for a family wedding, the four adults are drawn together for the first time in a way they never were as children. As they struggle to accept each other, warts and all, the true nature and strength of their bond is tested. But all of them come to realize that your family are the people who see you for who you really are and love you anyway. And for Dakota, that truth allows him to find the home and family he’s always wanted.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: ROBYN CARR is an award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than fifty novels, including the critically acclaimed Virgin River, Thunder Point and Sullivan’s
Crossing series, as well as highly praised women’s fiction such as Four Friends and The Summer That Made Us. Robyn and her husband live in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can visit Robyn Carr’s website at http://www.robyncarr.com.

 

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Family Gathering by Robyn Carr is a heartfelt story. It has themes about family, community, and relationships. I loved how the characters were all like one big family. The family members of the main characters were interesting as well. They added more zest to the plot.

A good looking man returns back home. All the women want him except for one. While we have heard this same plot line so many times, it’s the emotional journey and risks these characters take to follow their hearts. That is what makes it so different. Everything from their personalities to yer actions give the plot a different tune. I enjoyed watching them grow and grow together as a community. The sense of belonging was strong. The struggles and fears made all of these characters stand out to me. The Family Gathering contains some romance and a whole lot of action to keep readers, like myself engaged. Overall, I recommend it to everyone.

Review: Entwined Hearts-The Sunset of Alzheimer’s Disease and More of Life’s Realities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

As author JJ Janice reflects on her surprise connection with a mother-daughter duo, she finds herself, an outsider, overwhelmed by mysteries regarding the short time it took for her to become a new member in this tight-knit family with a complicated past. How did she get here? What forces are at work? Why was she chosen to be a witness?

Using her diary as guide, she sifts through layers of her imagination and shares her story in Entwined Hearts. It chronicles the ascent of forgiveness by and for three women who perhaps least expect it–all in two short years. Through the stories of Anita, who suffers from Alzheimer’s; Lynn, Anita’s daughter who struggles with bi-polar disorder; and Janice, a friend to both, it investigates how relationships change and endure through challenges.

Though this memoir touches on the difficult topics of Alzheimer’s, bipolar disorder, stress, drugs, incarceration, and alcoholism, it also looks at the world with kind generosity and love–a love that connected three unlikely women.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Entwined Hearts: The Sunest of Alzheimer’s Disease and More of Life’s Realities by JJ Janice is a great read. It covers a lot of topics such as alcoholism, Alzheimer’s, and bipolar disorders. This book took a piece of my heart. My own grandmother is suffering from Alzheimer’s. It has gone from forgetting something to having to repeat things many times during the day to her. It is emotionally hard because we have to remember to be patient with her. The book discussed the stages of Alzheimer’s, the path of the Alzheimer’s person fading from who they were into someone that one wouldn’t recognize. This road is painful for all who are involved. Overall, this nonfiction book was encouraging to read. I cried because a I know there are no cures for Alzheimer’s. It’s one of the most unpreventable diseases. I still carry hope that one day there will be a cure. I recommend this book to all readers.

Review: Think Like a Winner, Act Like You Won

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Are you fed up with not getting the results you want from life?
Do you want to know what it feels like to taste success in every area of your life?
If you are, then it’s time to make a stand, start believing in yourself and Think Like a Winner, Act Like You’ve Won.

Inside these pages, you are about to discover yourself. You will learn how you can achieve the success that you’ve always dreamed of, just by making a few positive changes to the way you act, such as:

Making up your mind
Taking action
How to think like a winner
Developing your character
Forming good habits
And more…

Many self-help books go into great detail about how you can attain success. Think Like a Winner, Act Like You’ve Won shows you exactly how it can be done in the most concise method you have ever encountered.

Without wasting more of your precious time and without expending vast amounts of effort, you can now be the success you always wanted to be.

Get your copy of Think Like a Winner, Act Like You’ve Won now and start believing in yourself today!

 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Think Like a Winner, Act Like You’ve Won by Carl Mathis is a great book to start of the new year with…it is one of those essential books to read. It reminds me of what you are and can do now, instead of what you’re trying to  become. Success is measured differently. Success is the determination to stick with what you have and use that to get to where you need to be. Success is not about how much money you have nor what you possess. It is not giving up and working with what you have. Many of us have talents for different things. We just need to find ours and then go from there. The writer stresses on uses the knowledge and information you have to climb forward. This, is true. However, many of us, like myself included have trouble finding out what we know and can do well enough to be successful in our lives. That’s where this book walks us through the process. Overall, I enjoyed reading this nonfiction guide and recommend it to all.

 

Review: Traits and Emotions of a Salvageable Soul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

All people have their own remarkably intrinsic value, and it’s time we recognize it in ourselves and share it with the people in our lives.

From the wisdom of elders comes Traits and Emotions of a Salvageable Soul: A Conversation with a Touch of Class, a guide to growing and healing ourselves so that we can live the quality of life we were always meant to live. From life’s hard lessons, Crawford offers the reader encouragement and truth, a path for using life’s challenges to overcome and even thrive.

Don’t give up, he reminds us. Every one of us has great potential and purpose. We just need to have faith in ourselves and courage.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Traits and Emotions of a Salvageable Soul by Keeshawn C. Crawford is an uplifting yet inspiring nonfiction boo. The pages bring a sense of calm into readers like me. Life is challenging and tends to wear us down as humans. This book has a way of pushing one back up, encouraging one to bloom fully again. The writer makes me feel cared about…when I fell, the writer’s words gave me a hand to get back on track. Sure, I struggle with loving myself. Always comparing myself to others. Feel like I do not compare…I fall short of expectations. Yet this book digs through that emotion and causes for a newfound joy, an inspiration to not give up hope. Overall, I recommend this self-help guide to readers everywhere.

 

Review: As Bright as Heaven

As Bright as Heaven

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

From the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life and A Bridge Across the Ocean comes a new novel set in Philadelphia during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, which tells the story of a family reborn through loss and love.

In 1918, Philadelphia was a city teeming with promise. Even as its young men went off to fight in the Great War, there were opportunities for a fresh start on its cobblestone streets. Into this bustling town, came Pauline Bright and her husband, filled with hope that they could now give their three daughters–Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa–a chance at a better life.

But just months after they arrive, the Spanish Flu reaches the shores of America. As the pandemic claims more than twelve thousand victims in their adopted city, they find their lives left with a world that looks nothing like the one they knew. But even as they lose loved ones, they take in a baby orphaned by the disease who becomes their single source of hope. Amidst the tragedy and challenges, they learn what they cannot live without–and what they are willing to do about it.

As Bright as Heaven is the compelling story of a mother and her daughters who find themselves in a harsh world, not of their making, which will either crush their resolve to survive or purify it.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner is a wonderful journey. Packed full of emotions, action, and risks…I was hooked. A family that survives the war but barely gets through the flu war. Losing a mother is difficult. The husband and children were great to follow. I felt their pain as though it were my own. Susan Meissner wrote a story that is sad, heartfelt, and engaging.  An emotional journey that I will never forget. Overall, I recommend this

Review: Black Fatherhood: Trials & Tribulations, Testimony & Triumph

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Fatherhood is one of the most challenging jobs in the world, and it becomes even tougher when one must combat harmful stereotypes.

In his work, Khalid Akil White actively challenges the negative stereotype of the “Black Father.” White is both a father himself and a professor of African American studies. With these dual qualifications, he is the perfect candidate to combine personal stories with cultural context. White holds the image of the “irresponsible Black man” up to the light and fully engages with it. His work is a tender, moving argument against the stereotype of the absentee Father.

The men interviewed are certainly not absent. Instead, they have used the stereotype as a way to structure their own stories about the challenges of Fatherhood. Dr. Steven Millner discusses his drive to continue his family’s legacy of cohesiveness while Eric Jay Handy recalls an encounter with his own father and its impact on his parenting style. Dr. Sydney Sukuta compares cultural expectations of Fatherhood in Zimbabwe to those of America. Jamal Bey challenges traditional gender roles as a stay-at-home dad. These men and others deepen the social discourse surrounding Black Fatherhood and regale readers with stories of both struggle and triumph.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Black Fatherhood by Khalid Akil White is a fascinating piece of literature. I have always been curious on co-parenting and what it was like for single black fathers. These pages covered both topics well. It gave a deep inside view to outsiders like me on these fathers journey of parenthood. Parenthood is composed of both the ups and downs when raising children. Being single makes that harder. Being a single father is harder yet.  Each father represented a new set of emotions and struggles.  I was captivated.  For fathers everywhere, this is a must read.  It shows what happens and how fathers can still stay on top. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book.

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