Tag Archives: Women’s Fiction

Review: Cottage by the Sea by Debbie Macomber

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A seaside town helps one young woman rediscover hope and healing in a brand-new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber.

After tragedy strikes, Annie moves in to the summer cottage where her family vacationed when she was a child. Soon Annie finds herself making new friends, even developing a romance with a quiet and mysterious painter. And as she becomes part of the community, Annie learns that the surest way to heal is by making a difference in the lives of those around her.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Debbie Macomber has created a perfect read in, Cottage by the Sea. It was heart lifting, inspiring, and emotionally charged. Anyone who wanted a sweet, yet clean romance will find it here. I love how the writer engaged me into her character’s roles and lives. Their troubles come tumbling after just like the waves that crashed the beach shore. Sometimes they just needed to embrace their struggles and fears, before they could move forward. Love, peace, and healing are included as themes for this book. The choice between a successful career and a caring place to call home are a temptation. Annie chose one. Cottage by the Sea was entertaining. The characters were realistic. I felt like I have known them for years. This story felt like Hallmark channel movie. I fell in love. Overall, I would recommend this title to all readers.

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Review: Where Hope Begins by Catherine West

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

In the aftermath of her husband’s act of adultery and abandonment, Savannah must finally face the ghosts that haunt her and discover for herself whether authentic faith, grace, and ultimate healing really do exist.

When her husband of twenty-one years leaves her, Savannah Barrington believes she’s lost almost everything she’s ever loved. With her daughter in college and her son in boarding school, Savannah retreats to her parents’ lake house in the Berkshires, where hope and healing come in the form of an old woman’s wisdom, a little girl’s laughter, a touch of magic, and a handsome man who’s willing to risk his own heart to prove she’s still worth loving.

But when her husband asks to reconcile, Savannah is faced with the hardest challenge of all: Forgiving the unforgivable. Somehow she must find freedom from the chains of their past and move forward, or face an unknown future without him.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West is one of the most heart wrenching tales ever. I was quickly absorbing this novel and the characters were like real people to me. Their struggles, sadness, hope, and disappointment scratched at my heart. Leaving behind tiny marks. Love is so powerful it can destroy everything the main character believes in or gives her the strength to find her way through it all. It appeared that God left the woman featured in this story. Yet as I dug further, that became less true. Sometimes our paths get distorted and lost along the way. Then, they become clear again. But until we can see clearly, patience and hope is required.

Savannah lost her husband of twenty years due to common issues that most couples face. Loss, grief, and broken marriages. But what they had before their loss and grief was love for each other. And faith in God. However, that all came crashing down when they suffered and lost their way. Savannah lost her faith when her husband broke her heart. Not knowing what to do or where to go, she stumbled like a lost soul in a desert storm. Then, hope came in the form of Brock and his daughter. Together they help Savannah heal and find the strength and peace in her life once more. Overall, I loved this story. It felt realistic and was engaging from the beginning. It was easy to relate and connect with all the characters. In the end, I recommend this stunning emotional journey to all readers.

Review: The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER  •  FEATURING AN EXCLUSIVE NEW CHAPTER

GoodReads Choice Awards Semifinalist 

“Moving . . . a plot that surprises and devastates.”—New York Times Book Review

“A masterful epic.”—People magazine

“Mesmerizing . . . The Women in the Castle stands tall among the literature that reveals new truths about one of history’s most tragic eras.”—USA Today

Three women, haunted by the past and the secrets they hold

Set at the end of World War II, in a crumbling Bavarian castle that once played host to all of German high society, a powerful and propulsive story of three widows whose lives and fates become intertwined—an affecting, shocking, and ultimately redemptive novel from the author of the New York Times Notable Book The Hazards of Good Breeding.

Amid the ashes of Nazi Germany’s defeat, Marianne von Lingenfels returns to the once-grand castle of her husband’s ancestors, an imposing stone fortress now fallen into ruin following years of war. The widow of a resister murdered in the failed July 20, 1944, plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Marianne plans to uphold the promise she made to her husband’s brave conspirators: to find and protect their wives, her fellow resistance widows.

First Marianne rescues six-year-old Martin, the son of her dearest childhood friend, from a Nazi reeducation home. Together, they make their way across the smoldering wreckage of their homeland to Berlin, where Martin’s mother, the beautiful and naive Benita, has fallen into the hands of occupying Red Army soldiers. Then she locates Ania, another resister’s wife, and her two boys, now refugees languishing in one of the many camps that house the millions displaced by the war.

As Marianne assembles this makeshift family from the ruins of her husband’s resistance movement, she is certain their shared pain and circumstances will hold them together. But she quickly discovers that the black-and-white, highly principled world of her privileged past has become infinitely more complicated, filled with secrets and dark passions that threaten to tear them apart. Eventually, all three women must come to terms with the choices that have defined their lives before, during, and after the war—each with their own unique share of challenges.

Written with the devastating emotional power of The Nightingale, Sarah’s Key, and The Light Between Oceans, Jessica Shattuck’s evocative and utterly enthralling novel offers a fresh perspective on one of the most tumultuous periods in history. Combining piercing social insight and vivid historical atmosphere, The Women in the Castle is a dramatic yet nuanced portrait of war and its repercussions that explores what it means to survive, love, and, ultimately, to forgive in the wake of unimaginable hardship.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck is an outstanding tale. One that brings me back to the past during the start of WWII. The lives that were lost, held captive, and tortured during this time brings back an unforgettable sadness. Families torn apart and gone…with only their memories living on…

I am a huge historical buff especially for WWII. Hitler is by far one of the worst devils ever presented to this world. How it went on for so long…still bugs me. The lives of the characters is amazing. The Holocaust and the German support of Hitler are explored on these pages.

Three women who are strong, determined, and battling their future head on…I instantly was taken with each of them. Their stories were so real. It was like I was living through each one of them. Brilliant story telling on Jessica Shattuck’s part. Her book carries a lot of history as well as entertainment. Themes of survival, hope, and love are found in this novel. I highly recommend it to all readers.

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: Goodbye Cruller World by Ginger Bolton

Synopsis:

Named after her beloved tabby, Deputy Donut, Emily Westhill’s donut shop in small-town Fallingbrook, Wisconsin, is doing so well, she’s expanding into catering weddings. But a killer is about to crash the reception . . .

Normally, Emily’s eyes tend to glaze over when prospective brides go on about their wedding plans. But when the owner of the clothing shop, Dressed to Kill, asks Emily to design a donut wall for her reception, she’s immediately sweet on the idea. With the help of her father-in-law and business partner–the former police chief of Fallingbrook–she hangs the treats from dowels on the wall so guests can help themselves.

But that night, when the groom ends up on the floor with signs of poisoning, Emily suspects someone has tampered with her treats. When the groom dies, there’s no way to sugarcoat it: she’s got a murder on her hands. Despite a list of suspects as long as the guest list, Emily vows to find out who created the killer confection to save her shop’s reputation and keep the bride out of handcuffs. She’ll have to move fast . . . before the poisoner takes a powder.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Goodbye Cruller World by Ginger Bolton is one of the best cozy murder mysteries I have read lately. The characters are so real. The cast of characters are funny, charming, and deadly if crossed. Themes of family, love, and food can be found inside this book. Ginger Bolton created an a very entertaining piece of fiction.

The main question was how far does our love push us and how far is too, far? An older sister takes raising her younger sister way too seriously…Jenna was right in saying, that her older sister, Suzanne, is smothering her. When one cannot be allowed to marry a man whether he was decent or not, is not up to anyone but the bride. Yet things do not go as planned and get sticky pretty fast.

Emily is the main protagonist. She owns a bakery with her father-in-law. Emily lost her husband and her interest in weddings isn’t high. But then, she was asked to do a baking thing, and Emily is all in…until the groom is found dead eating one of her creations. Who poisoned him and why? Emily will work hard to find who the killer is to save her business and her friend aka the bride.

Another lovable character is Brent. Brent is a police officer who is deeply interested in Emily. Emily likes Brent, too. Plus, her feline cat, Dep, likes him as well. Brent ran miles just to get to a deadly scene where Emily is involved. The man deserved happiness and medals in my book. His personality is fun.

Overall, I would highly recommend Goodbye Cruller World to all readers. I got swept up immediately. The danger made it fast-paced. Ginger Bolton’s writing was engaging to follow. I truly loved her characters and how the scenes played out in the end. It was amazing. Never a boring moment and plenty of action.

Review: Poppy Harmon Investigates by Lee Hollis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Lee Hollis begins a delightful new series in which Poppy Harmon and her friends find that life after retirement can be much busier—and deadlier—than any of them ever anticipated . . .

When Poppy goes from complacent retiree to penniless widow in a matter of weeks, the idea of spending her golden years as the biggest charity case in Palm Springs renders her speechless. With no real skills and nothing left to lose, Poppy uses her obsession with true crime shows to start a career as a private eye . . .

But after opening the Desert Flowers Detective Agency with help from her two best friends, Violet and Iris, Poppy realizes that age brings wisdom, not business—until she convinces her daughter’s handsome boyfriend, Matt, to pose as the face of the agency. It’s not long before Matt’s irresistible act snags a client desperate to retrieve priceless jewelry burglarized from an aging actress at the Palm Leaf Retirement Village. Or before Poppy stumbles upon the bloodied body of the victim’s arch rival . . .

In a flash, Poppy’s innocent detective gig is upstaged by a dangerous murder investigation riddled with slimy suspects and unspeakable scandal. As she and her team uncover the truth, Poppy must confront the secrets about her late husband’s past and swiftly catch a killer lurking around the retirement community—even if it means turning her world upside down all over again. 

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Poppy Harmon Investigates by Lee Hollis is an interesting twist to a new mystery series. It’s similar to Miss Fisher and Murder She Wrote. I love murder mysteries with a strong woman sleuth. That’s exactly what I found here. Poppy Harmon is the new detective lady in town and she’s definitely worth following in this book.

The book cover led me thinking that Poppy Harmon was in her tense ties when she is in fact, in her 60’s. I can picture Poppy dressing like the woman pictured on the cover except for the heels…considering her age.

Poppy Harmon is a retired actress left with no money. She then works on finding an income and the choice she makes will make readers laugh out loud. Poppy decided to run her own detective agency with a little help from friends and her daughter’s boyfriend. Like most women sleuth just beginning their epic journey, Poppy lands herself in trouble. Mayhem, murder, and humor are displayed across these entertaining pages.

Overall, I would recommend this new series to all readers. There is plenty of action, intrigue, and peril moments that adds to the suspense of the plot. Fast-paced with exciting characters, Lee Hollis sucked me into her world of fiction. 

 

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: Crime & Punctuation by Kaitlyn Dunnett

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

After splurging to buy her childhood home in the Catskills, recently widowed Mikki Lincoln emerges from retirement as a freelance editor. With her ability to spot details that others fail to see, it’s not long before Mikki earns clients–and realizes that the village of Lenape Hollow isn’t the thriving tourist destination it was decades ago. Not with a murderer on the loose . . .

When perky novice writer Tiffany Scott knocks at her door holding a towering manuscript, Mikki expects another debut novel plagued by typos and sloppy prose. Instead, she finds a murder mystery ripped from the headlines of Lenape Hollow’s not-too-distant past. The opening scene is a graphic page-turner, but it sends a real chill down Mikki’s spine after the young author turns up dead just like the victim in her story . . .

Mikki refuses to believe that Tiffany’s death was accidental, and suspicions of foul play solidify as she uncovers a strange inconsistency in the manuscript and a possible motive in the notes. Then there’s Tiffany’s grandmother and husband, who aren’t exactly on friendly terms over the local area’s planned rejuvenation efforts . . .

Unable to convince police that they are focused on the wrong suspect, Mikki must rely on her keen eyes to catch the truth hidden in Lenape Hollow. As she gets closer to cracking the case, only one person takes Mikki’s investigation seriously–the cunning killer who will do anything to make this chapter of her life come to a very abrupt ending . . .

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Crime & Punctuation by Kaitlyn Dunnett caught my attention with just the title alone. I was immediately drawn into what the plot may have held. Once I started reading, I was even more curious. The book quickly introduced me to the main protagonist. Mikki Lincoln is an older widowed woman who moves back to her family home. A home that needs major improvements such as updated plumbing for modern use. Her money is fading…and then, she begins work as a freelance editor. That’s when the story really starts. A young client approached her with a new book. One that holds more history than fiction. But what Mikki will soon find out is that it may contain the details she needs to solve a current murder investigation and an older one.

Kaitlyn Dunnet’s writing was well-done. I could visualize the the older woman as she worked to solve the crime committed. Her home was easy to see as well. The plot spun fast once the freelance editor finally dug into her client’s novel…after that, I was swept into a journey filled with danger, suspense, and chaos. It was engaging to read. I liked Mikki. Yes, she was older than a I would have liked for her character in this type of story, but she made it work. The trouble that came with her client’s death was fun to follow. Overall, I would recommend this title to readers everywhere.

Review: Journey to Munich by Jacqueline Winspear

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Working with the British Secret Service on an undercover mission, Maisie Dobbs is sent to Hitler’s Germany in this thrilling tale of danger and intrigue—the twelfth novel in Jacqueline Winspear’s New York Times bestselling “series that seems to get better with each entry” (Wall Street Journal).

It’s early 1938, and Maisie Dobbs is back in England. On a fine yet chilly morning, as she walks towards Fitzroy Square—a place of many memories—she is intercepted by Brian Huntley and Robert MacFarlane of the Secret Service. The German government has agreed to release a British subject from prison, but only if he is handed over to a family member. Because the man’s wife is bedridden and his daughter has been killed in an accident, the Secret Service wants Maisie—who bears a striking resemblance to the daughter—to retrieve the man from Dachau, on the outskirts of Munich.

The British government is not alone in its interest in Maisie’s travel plans. Her nemesis—the man she holds responsible for her husband’s death—has learned of her journey, and is also desperate for her help.

Traveling into the heart of Nazi Germany, Maisie encounters unexpected dangers—and finds herself questioning whether it’s time to return to the work she loved. But the Secret Service may have other ideas. . . .

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Journey to Munich by Jacqueline Winspear is a historical novel that took me back to Nazi Germany. It would have been more beneficial to me, if I had read the previous books in this series. I would have loved getting to watch the main protagonist, Maisie Dobbs grow and work her way through each plot. This journey had its filling of danger, intrigue, and mystery. The focus was on the secret service and their recapturing of a war prisoner from Germany. This is where famous Maisie Dobbs came into the factor. She is sent to retrieve that prisoner being released from Germany.

Maisie Dobbs has worked as a detective and nurse. Her knowledge is great. She has been avoiding her family. Loss, grief, and moving forward are just a few of the things Maisie went through in this story. I was able to connect with the character. She was strong, determined, and restless mostly. Always needing something to preoccupy herself.

I enjoyed the historical time period and how it was captured for my entertainment. I felt like I did get sent back into time. However, the government spies and handling was strange. It didn’t feel like it was good representation of how they operated. But still, this was a work of fiction, and thus, it could be anyway the writer wanted it. The gossip and other minor characters were fun to follow. Priscilla is an interesting lady. I really liked her. She made me laugh and feel like I was right there the whole time. Journey to Munich offered action, adventure, and suspense. I was happy with the plot. It wasn’t fast-paced but it was steady enough that I did not give up on it. There were plenty of risk that made reading this novel worth it. Overall, I recommend it to readers everywhere.

 

 

 

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: I’ll See You in Paris by Michelle Gable

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

After losing her fiancé in the Vietnam War, nineteen-year-old Laurel Haley takes a job in England, hoping the distance will mend her shattered heart. Laurel expects the pain might lessen but does not foresee the beguiling man she meets or that they’ll go to Paris, where the city’s magic will take over and alter everything Laurel believes about love.

Thirty years later, Laurel’s daughter Annie is newly engaged and an old question resurfaces: who is Annie’s father and what happened to him? Laurel has always been vague about the details and Annie’s told herself it doesn’t matter. But with her impending marriage, Annie has to know everything. Why won’t Laurel tell her the truth?

The key to unlocking Laurel’s secrets starts with a mysterious book about an infamous woman known as the Duchess of Marlborough. Annie’s quest to understand the Duchess, and therefore her own history, takes her from a charming hamlet in the English countryside, to a decaying estate kept behind barbed wire, and ultimately to Paris where answers will be found at last.

Rating: 3-stars

Review:

I’ll See You in Paris by Michelle Gable sounded like an interesting story according to the plot summary. Yet, it was too dragged out and too slow for my taste. The mystery of who was the young woman’s father and when she finds out was just stretched out too much. I wanted there to be more action and more of an emotional journey. Sure, I was able to understand the protagonist’s frustration and determination to find answers. But I really could not connec with her. The ending made me connect to her finally but it was still was not the best.

The plot was heartfelt, sad, and sent me traveling to the past. Secrets and mystery combined to create a story of love, hope, and peace. Women who loss loved ones  are connected by blood. Figuring out the real father of a young proved harder than one thought. There was a promising future for this tale but it fell flat to me. I had to push myself to keep reading it.

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: Louisiana Catch by Sweta Vikram

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A grieving daughter and abuse survivor must summon the courage to run a feminist conference, trust a man she meets over the Internet, and escape a catfishing stalker to find her power.
Ahana, a wealthy thirty-three-year-old New Delhi woman, flees the pain of her mother’s death, and her dark past, by accepting a huge project in New Orleans, where she’ll coordinate an annual conference to raise awareness of violence against women. Her half-Indian, half-Irish colleague and public relations guru, Rohan Brady, who helps Ahana develop her online presence, offends her prim sensibilities with his raunchy humor. She is convinced that he’s a womanizer.

Meanwhile, she seeks relief from her pain in an online support group, where she makes a good friend: the mercurial Jay Dubois, who is also grieving the loss of his mother. Louisiana Catch is an emotionally immersive novel about identity, shame, and who we project ourselves to be in the world. It’s a book about Ahana’s unreliable instincts and her ongoing battle to determine whom to place her trust in as she, Rohan, and Jay shed layers of their identities.

Louisiana Catch is a triumph. In Ahana, Sweta Vikram has created an unforgettable character, strong, wise, and deeply human, who’ll inspire a new generation struggling to come to terms with their identity in a world of blurring identities.” –KARAN BAJAJ, New York Times bestselling author, The Yoga of Max’s Discontent

“In Louisiana Catch, Sweta Vikram brings life to the complex human rights issue of violence against women. Through one woman’s journey to make sense of her past and ultimately heal, Vikram shows us that yoga can reconnect us to ourselves, and that by empowering others, we transform our own lives.” –ZOE LEPAGE, Founder, Exhale to Inhale

Louisiana Catch perfectly captures what it means to be human in a digital world, where support groups meet online, love interests flirt on Twitter, and people get confused with personas. Equal parts tender and playful, moving and hopeful, Vikram’s prose connects us with timeless truths about grief and redemption in a satisfyingly modern way.” –STEPHANIE PATERIK, Managing Editor, Adweek

Learn more at http://www.SwetaVikram.com
From Modern History Press, http://www.ModernHistoryPress.com

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Louisiana Catch by Sweta Vikram is like a drug. It pulls you into its depth and hooks you inside of its journey. This was one epic path that the writer lead me on…I was intrigued. A woman, Ahana, finds herself in one of the most complicated and dangerous situations a woman should never be found in, yet Ahana does. She lost her mother and she soon becomes a victim to her husband’s brutal sexual torment.

Rape is ongoing issue women worldwide still face. This issue should be solved yet so many fall victim. Some never survive that form of destruction, both physically and emotionally. I found myself crying for Ahana. Her losses are so great and many. People she should be able to trust turn out to be the worst. I felt the fear, the risks, and the danger as the plot carries me from beginning to end. Ahana is a strong female protagonist. She may loose her way occasionally but eventually finds it. No one is perfect. Life is messy.

Sweta Vikram captures my attention with the devasting events and the suspense of what will come from it. I felt sympathy and a connection instantly to Ahana. I really liked her. Her colleague, Rohan, is another great character. He was there helping her. Or trying to help her when she was in a bad situation. From the beginning to end of her journey, Rohan supports Ahana. Ahana at times made me want to shake her, for her carelessness but she has grown into a wonderful woman at the end of her journey. This is one unforgettable character that will forever live in the minds of readers like me and countless others. There are so many things that drag readers into Ayana’s sad yet powerful story. Overall, I would recommend this novel to all women including those who have been abused. It shows that even though the world is a dark place, there too, is a light that will eventually shine bright.

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: The High Tide Club by Mary Kay Andrews

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Weekenders comes a delightful new novel about new love, old secrets, and the kind of friendship that transcends generations.

When ninety-nine-year-old heiress Josephine Bettendorf Warrick summons attorney Brooke Trappnell to her 20,000 acre barrier island home, Brooke is puzzled. Everybody in the South has heard about the eccentric millionaire mistress of Talisa, but Brooke has never actually met her. Josephine’s cryptic note says she wants to discuss an important legal matter, but why enlist Brooke and not the prestigious Atlanta law firm she has used for years? Brooke travels to Shellhaven and meets the cagey Josephine, whose home is a crumbling pink mansion at the edge of the turquoise sea.

Over the course of a few meetings, Josephine spins a tale of old friendships, dark secrets, betrayal, and a long-unsolved murder. She is hiring Brooke for two reasons: first, to protect her island from those who would despoil her land, and second, to help her make amends with the heirs of the women who were her closest friends, the girls of The High Tide Club—so named because of their youthful skinny dipping escapades—Millie, Ruth, and Varina. To fulfill a dying woman’s wishes, Brooke must find Josephine’s friends’ descendants and bringing them together on Talisa for a reunion of women who’ve actually never met. But in doing so, Brooke unleashes the makings of a scandal that could make someone rich beyond their wildest dreams…or cause them to be in the crosshairs of a murderer….

The High Tide Club is Mary Kay Andrews at her Queen of the Beach Reads best: a story shrouded in mystery, Spanish moss, verandah cocktails, 1940s dinner dances, love lost, and possibly…love found.

Praise for The Weekenders:

“This book has all the makings of a beach read…The perfect blend of drama, humor, intrigue, and just a touch of murder.” —Bustle

“Andrews has this ‘perfect beach read’ label down pat—and then some. The Weekenders is not just good, it is beyond good… Summer doesn’t truly begin without a Mary Kay Andrews book in your beach bag, so here is another winner and Top Pick just for you.” —RT Book Reviews (Top Pick)

“Andrews’ novels…are the epitome of relaxing yet involving summer reads, and her latest is no exception.” —Booklist

Rating: 3.5-stars

Review:

The High Tide Club by MaryKay Andrews is a good read. It goes back and forth a lot between the last and present moments. This switching sort of lost me on what was happening. I felt bad for the characters. I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I had hoped. Usually, I love the characters that I meet. Here, I felt sorry for them but didn’t really care that much. The thing she that happened in the past shouldn’t happen to any young girls. But it did. The story was sad, intense, and heartbreaking. Themes of friendship, loyalty, and consequences are found inside this book. A group of girls keep a secret and it costs them in the process. Now, years later, most of them are dead but their children live on…it’s up to the last remaining friend to set things right. Secrets come out and so do the tears.

Review: A Bicycle Made for Two

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The first in the new LOVE IN THE DALES romantic comedy series, set in a beautiful Yorkshire village.

Chock-full of colourful characters, bawdy wit and a bit of love and passion for good measure.

In a lost corner of the Yorkshire Dales, Lana Donati runs a medieval theme tourist trap restaurant with her brother. As a distraction to help them get over losing the father they loved dearly, and as a tribute to his passion for the beautiful area they live in, Lana hatches a plan to boost business for everyone by having the Grand Départ route pass through their village.

But this entails getting the small community to work together to convince the decision-makers that their beloved village is Tour material. Not an easy task when the people involved include Lana’s shy, unlucky-in-love brother Tom, the man-eating WI chair Yolanda, bickering spouses Gerry and Sue, arrogant celebrity Harper Brady, and Lana’s (attractive) arch-nemesis, former pro-cyclist turned bike shop owner, Stewart McLean, whose offbeat ideas might just cost them everything.

From the author of The Honey Trap and Meet Me at the Lighthouse, this is a rural romance for lovers of Fiona Gibson, Sue Moorcroft and Penny Parkes’ Larkford series.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

A Bicycle Made for Two by Mary Jayne Baker is an emotional story. It is both sweet and sad. Some humor is planted within this romantic journey. The path of pain, loss, grief, and healing are told here. Family, second chances, and love are the other major themes featured in this novel. Lana is a strong female protagonist. Her dad is is constant pain due to terminal cancer. Her and her brother Tom, end up losing their father. While working the family business, Lana meets Stew. A cousin of a jerk. Their romance has its ups and downs like a real life relationship. I was not sure what the final outcome of their relationship would be. Mary Jayne Baker kept me entertained. I loved her plot. It was steady, heartfelt, and realistic. Overall, I recommend this women’s fiction tale to all readers.

Review: Man of My Dreams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

She wants to make him pay. But will it cost her everything she’s ever wanted? After spending over a decade in the Air Force, Staff Sergeant Elena Garcia is more than ready to ditch her uniform for some girlie clothes and high heels. Starting over in a quaint town in Washington, her dream of becoming a romance writer is finally within her reach. But when a rival from her past comes barreling back, Elena will stop at nothing to make Captain Daniel Grant pay for making her life a living Hell seven years ago. With destiny on her side, Elena plans her ultimate vendetta. Feeling fate has answered his prayers, Daniel is ready to show the sexy and feisty staff sergeant what kind of man he can truly be and finally make up for his past mistakes. But can Elena let go of the past to find a future with the one man that she vowed to destroy?

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Man of My Dreams by Stephanie Aviles is an entertaining romantic story. I loved the main characters. They were strong and charming. Their personalities made it easy to connect with them. Both characters were amusing to follow. One is attracted but is fully set to make a man pay for his mistakes. The other is attracted but wanting to make up for his past mistakes. It seems like their plans just got messy, complicated, and hotter. Romance, women’s issues, and second chances are discussed in this novel. I enjoyed the electoral charge that came from the characters. This book was more character driven. Their actions made me enjoy reading their dilemmas. Fate is partially cruel and partially not. Man of My Dreams is full of heat, emotions, and action. Overall, I recommend this fascinating romance to all.

Review: The Perfect Hope (book 3)

Synopsis:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts introduces you to the Montgomery brothers – Beckett, Ryder, and Owen – as they bring an intimate bed-and-breakfast to life in their hometown.

Ryder is the hardest Montgomery brother to figure out – with a tough-as-nails outside and possibly nothing too soft underneath. He’s surly and unsociable, but when he straps on a toolbelt, no woman can resist his sexy swagger. Except, apparently, Hope Beaumont, the innkeeper of his own Inn BoonsBoro…

As the former manager of a D.C. hotel, Hope is used to excitement and glamour, but that doesn’t mean she can’t appreciate the joys of small-town living. She’s where she wants to be – except for in her love life. Her only interaction with the opposite sex has been sparring with the infuriating Ryder, who always seems to get under her skin. Still, no one can deny the electricity that crackles between them…a spark that ignited with a New Year’s Eve kiss.

While the inn is running smoothly, thanks to Hope’s experience and unerring instincts, her big-city past is about to make an unwelcome – and embarrassing – appearance. Seeing Hope vulnerable stirs up Ryder’s emotions and makes him realize that while Hope may not be perfect, she just might be perfect for him…

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Hot, sexy, and sweet!

The Perfect Hope by Nora Roberts was exactly that. It felt so real and believable. The deeper I got into the story, the more I wanted to keep reading it. The beginning and middle sort of felt slow/steady that I didn’t realize how fast the ending got u till I was done. The characters are out of this world charming. I love them all. Feisty, unpredictable, and entertaining to follow. Ryder and his woman were my favorite couple featured in this whole series. Overall, I recommend this sexy romance to all.

Review: The Last Boyfriend (book 2)

Synopsis:

Owen is the organizer of the Montgomery clan, running the family’s construction business with an iron fist – and an even less flexible spreadsheet. And though his brothers give him grief for his compulsive list making, the Inn BoonsBoro is about to open right on schedule. The only thing Owen didn’t plan for was Avery MacTavish….

Avery’s popular pizza place is right across the street from the inn, giving her a first-hand look at its amazing renovation — and a newfound appreciation for Owen. Since he was her first boyfriend when they were kids, Owen has never been far from Avery’s thoughts. But the attraction she’s feeling for him now is far from innocent.

As Avery and Owen cautiously take their relationship to another level, the opening of the inn gives the whole town of BoonsBoro a reason to celebrate. But Owen’s hard work has only begun. Getting Avery to let down her guard is going to take longer than he expected — and so will getting her to realize that her first boyfriend is going to be her last….

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Last Boyfriend by Nora Roberts is the next book in this great series. This part continues where the other left off. I followed Avery and Owen as they took their relationship further. Only it feels like their relationship is being stretched into three books. I love the story and the characters; however, I would have preferred if their story was told in one book. Owen knows exactly what he wants. Avery seems to be holding out and that frustrates me like crazy. The question I kept asking is why. The plot is sweet, engaging, and fun to read. But it’s their relationship that isn’t going at the speed I’d wish. Other than that is still a good read that I recommend to others. Romantic, family orientated, and tasteful.

Review: The Next Always (book 1)

Synopsis:

The historic hotel in Boonsboro has endured war and peace, changing hands, even rumored hauntings. Now it’s getting a major facelift from the Montgomery brothers and their eccentric mother. Beckett is the architect of the family, and his social life consists mostly of talking shop over pizza and beer. But there’s another project he’s got his eye on: the girl he’s been waiting to kiss since he was fifteen.

After losing her husband and returning to her hometown, Clare Brewster soon settles into her life as the mother of three young sons while running the town’s bookstore. Busy, with little time for romance, Clare is drawn across the street by Beckett’s transformation of the old inn, wanting to take a closer look . . . at the building and the man behind it.

With the grand opening inching closer, Beckett’s happy to give Clare a private tour – one room at a time. It’s no first date, but these stolen moments are the beginning of something new – and open the door to the extraordinary adventure of what comes next . . .

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Next Always by Nora Roberts is a sweet heartfelt story. Her characters feel real. Beckett is remodeling an older building into a hotel. He’s very attracted to a single mother of three boys, Clare. Clare is just as attracted to Beckett. Hope, new beginnings, and second chances at a happily ever after are major themes of this book. It is entertaining. It engages me further into the characters’ lives. Overall, I would recommend this romantic book to all.

Review: Murder in an Irish Churchyard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The village of Kilbane in County Cork, Ireland, has a new garda–and her first case is a grave matter indeed . . .

It’s official! Siobhán is now Garda O’Sullivan, and her five siblings couldn’t be prouder. While brother James runs Naomi’s Bistro, Siobhán is doing her part to keep the village safe. Of course, Kilbane is pretty quiet compared to a place like Dublin, where Macdara Flannery has gone to be a detective sergeant.

Then one night the local priest summons Siobhán to the church cemetery. There’s a dead man in the graveyard–aboveground. He lies shot on a blanket of freshly fallen snow, hand stretched out toward a nearby headstone. He’s a stranger, but the priest has heard talk of an American tourist in town, searching for his Irish ancestor.

A detective sergeant is dispatched from Dublin to assist with the case, and as fate would have it, it’s Macdara. After his parting, things are awkward between them, but they have to work together. They learn the victim was from Dublin–Dublin, Ohio, that is. And when his family members are located and told of his murder, the plot thickens. Siobhán begins to dig for a motive among the gnarled roots of the family tree. But as long-buried secrets are unearthed, she and Macdara will need to stay two steps ahead of the killer or end up with more than one foot in the grave.

Rating: 4-.5-stars

Review:

Murder in an Irish Churchyard by Carlene O’Connor is the third installment to this enjoyable cozy mystery series. Humor, family drama, and an Irish heritage are woven into this book. Siobhán is the leading protagonist and sleuthing detective. I really like her personality. She’s reliable and well-known for solving crimes. This time, an unknown person ends up dead in the church yard. No one knows who he is. Siobhán gets called in by the priest to check it out. She hasn’t even started her new career officially and yet Father wants her to head this murder case. Father is also another likable character. Easy to love him. Carlene O’Connor heats up the story as Siobhán takes the case. I was hooked. The plot is intriguing and the who done it theme kept going through my mind until the mystery was solved. I had to keep reading! It was fun getting lost within this third novel. I would love to see more of these wonderful characters…overall, I highly recommend this mystery to all readers.

Review: Hearts Entwined (Anthology)

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Four top historical romance novelists team up in this new collection to offer stories of love and romance with a twist of humor. In Karen Witemeyer’s “The Love Knot,” Claire Nevin gets the surprise of her life awaiting her sister’s arrival by train. Mary Connealy’s “The Tangled Ties That Bind” offers the story of two former best friends who are reunited while escaping a stampede. Regina Jennings offers “Bound and Determined,” where a most unusual trip across barren Oklahoma plains is filled with adventure, romance, and . . . camels? And Melissa Jagears’ “Tied and True” entertains with a tale of two hearts from different social classes who become entwined at a cotton thread factory.

Each tale is a fun blend of history and romance that will delight readers.

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Hearts Entwined is a super sweet collection of historical romances. Each story bares a different cast of characters as well as hardships. These writers have unique writing styles.

The Love Knot featured a story of one sister receiving her sister’s baby via train carried by her past lover. Claire gets the surprise of her life. From there, loving her nephew like her own child and working on her relationship with her love, Claire has her hands full. It was heartfelt. I love Claire. She’s a good woman.

The Tangled Ties that Bind featured two young lovers who grew apart. Now, one of them returns back home to pursue his heart. Yet his love isn’t interested. The suspense of what happened next between the two kept me hooked. I had fun following this story. It tempted me. Conor thought he did the right thing. While Maggie felt like her left her for good.

Bound and Determined was really interesting. It involved a heard of camels! That was rare in a story such as this one. Two young people meet in this journey. One is a young man needing to mature, so he is assigned military work. The other is a daughter of a military man. Both find a lot more than they were expecting.

Tied and True featured a love between a poor man and a rich woman. Both are strong, independent, and stubborn. In this tale, the woman did the chasing. She also went a long way, to try and catch her love’s heart. I felt connected to her. Her hope and determination made me like her all the more.

Review: The Lost Castle

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Launching a brand-new series, Kristy Cambron explores the collision of past and present as she discovers the ruins of a French castle, long lost to history.

A thirteenth century castle, Chateau de Doux Reves, has been forgotten for generations, left to ruin in a storybook forest nestled deep in France’s picturesque Loire Valley. It survived a sacking in the French Revolution, was brought back to life and fashioned into a storybook chateau in the Gilded Age, and was eventually felled and deserted after a disastrous fire in the 1930s.

As Ellie Carver sits by her grandmother’s bedside, she hears stories of a castle . . . of lost love and a hidden chapel that played host to a secret fight in the World War II French resistance. But her grandmother is quickly slipping into the locked-down world of Alzheimer’s, and Ellie must act fast if she wants to uncover the truth of her family’s history.

Sparked by the discovery of a long forgotten family heirloom, Ellie embarks on a journey to French wine country to uncover the mystery surrounding The Sleeping Beauty–the castle so named for Charles Perrault’s beloved fairy tale–and unearth its secrets before they’re finally silenced by time.

Set in three different time periods–the French Revolution, World War II, and present day–The Lost Castle is a story of loves won and lost, of battles waged, and an enchanted castle that inspired the epic fairy tales time left behind.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Lost Castle by Kristy Cambron is an interesting historical journey. A young woman is wanting to learn everything she can about her family history. Her grandmother provides the clues but is slipping away fast into Alzheimer’s. The clock is ticking fast, and Ellie Carver must find the answers. Soon, I was following her as she traveled to a castle that has holds so many secrets. Many generations of women, and their historical time periods were brought to life in this engaging tale. Captivating and intriguing, I was hooked. The Lost Castle peaked my interest. What were the women’s lives like…and how it all ties in with the present, kept me reading. Ellie is a good character. Her personality makes her easy to like. Overall, I enjoyed traveling back in time with The Lost Castle. I recommend it to all.

Review: A Passionate Hope

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Hannah and her husband, Elkanah, share a deep and abiding love, for each other, for their God, and for his tabernacle at Shiloh. Greatly disturbed by the corruption of the priests, they long for restoration and pray for a deliverer. But nothing changes as the years pass. Years that also reveal Hannah to be barren.

Pressured by his family to take another wife, Elkanah marries Peninnah, who quickly begins to bear children. Disgraced and taunted by her husband’s new wife, Hannah turns again to prayers that seem doomed to go unanswered. Do her devotion and kindness in the face of Peninnah’s cruelty count for nothing? Why does God remain silent and indifferent to her pleas?

Travel back to the dusty streets of Shiloh with an expert guide as Jill Eileen Smith brings to life a beloved story of hope, patience, and deliverance that shows that even the most broken of relationships can be restored.

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

A Passionate Hope by Jill Eileen Smith is a wonderful Jewish tale of love, hope, faith, and forgiveness. During this time period, the struggles were harder. Especially, when their coveted ark disappears. Yet they still remain hopeful and obedient to God. I liked how Hannah turns to prayer when life brings her curveballs. She is strong, independent, and faithful. She is an inspiration to all women. Jill Eileen Smith’s historical fiction is well-written. It engages me to follow Hannah as her life dramatically changes for good to problematic to good again. Her love of her husband and God are strong. Hannah felt sad, angry, and hurt when her husband married another women. I wanted to hug her immediately. Her pain is real. It is easy to connect with her on many levels. The title is exactly what this book is about…and I recommend this read to others.

Review: Phoebe’s Light

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Phoebe Starbuck has always adjusted her sails and rudder to the whims of her father. Now, for the first time, she’s doing what she wants to do: marrying Captain Phineas Foulger and sailing far away from Nantucket. As she leaves on her grand adventure, her father gives her two gifts, both of which Phoebe sees little need for. The first is an old sheepskin journal from Great Mary, her highly revered great-grandmother. The other is a “minder” on the whaling ship in the form of cooper Matthew Mitchell, a man whom she loathes.

Soon Phoebe discovers that life at sea is no easier than life on land. Lonely, seasick, and disillusioned, she turns the pages of Great Mary’s journal and finds herself drawn into the life of this noble woman. To Phoebe’s shock, her great-grandmother has left a secret behind that carries repercussions for everyone aboard the ship, especially her husband the captain and her shadow the cooper. This story within a story catapults Phoebe into seeing her life in an entirely new way–just in time.

In this brand-new series, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher brings her signature twists and turns to bear on a fascinating new faith community: the Quakers of colonial-era Nantucket Island.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Phoebe’s Light by Suzanne Woods Fisher is an enlightening Quaker journey. I love historical novels that take me back in time and hold me captive. The main cast of characters were interesting. They felt three-dimensional. The Quaker language and cultural is captured on every page. Phoebe wanting a different life than the one she has on land leaves for a life at sea. Until she leaves home, Phoebe does not realize just how much being on land means to her. Marrying the sea captain brings a whole new adventure to her life. Quipped with a journal from her great-grandmother, Phoebe learns a lot. Phoebe is wanting an adventure. That is exactly what she gets. Matthew is another main character that was easy to like. He’s a good man. Phoebe’s Light is inspiring in many ways especially, to women. Secrets, murder, and an emotional rollercoaster ride…all inside this intriguing story. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book.

Review: The Recipe Box

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Bestselling, beloved author of The Charm Bracelet spins a tale about a lost young woman and the family recipe box that changes her life.

Growing up in northern Michigan, Samantha “Sam” Mullins felt trapped on her family’s orchard and in their pie shop, so she left with dreams of making her own mark in the world. But life as an overworked, undervalued sous chef at a reality star’s New York bakery is not what Sam dreamed.

When the chef embarrasses Sam, she quits and returns home. Unemployed, single, and defeated, she spends a summer working on her family’s orchard cooking and baking alongside the women in her life–including her mother, Deana, and grandmother, Willo. One beloved, flour-flecked, ink-smeared recipe at a time, Sam begins to learn about and understand the women in her life, her family’s history, and her passion for food through their treasured recipe box.

As Sam discovers what matters most she opens her heart to a man she left behind, but who now might be the key to her happiness.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

The Recipe Box by Viola Shipman is a heartfelt journey. Themes of family, love, and second chances are brought to life on these pages. I felt connected to the characters instantly. It was like I knew them for years. The pacing was steady yet emotional. The struggles were believable. Sam is a young woman who left her comfort to find her way in life. Only it did not turn out the way she had hoped. Frustrated and broken, Sam returns back home to find herself. Being back home, gave Sam all she needed. It was sweet, inspiring, and beautiful. Overall, I recommend it to all.

Review: Last Stop in Brooklyn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

It’s the summer of 1894, and an infidelity case has brought PI Mary Handley to a far corner of Brooklyn: Coney Island. In the midst of her investigation, Mary is contacted by a convicted man’s brother to reopen a murder case. A prostitute was killed by a Jack the Ripper copycat years ago in her New York hotel room, but her true killer was never found. Once again it’s up to Mary to make right the city’s wrongs.

New York City’s untouchable head of detectives, Thomas Byrnes, swears he put the right man behond bars, but as Mary digs deeper, she finds corruption at the heart of New York’s justice system, involving not only the police, but the most powerful of stock titans. Disturbing evidence of other murders begins to surface, each one mimicking Jack the Ripper’s style, each one covered up by Thomas Byrnes.

As Mary pieces together the extent of the damage, she crosses paths with Harper Lloyd, an investigative reporter. Their relationship grows into a partnership, and perhaps more, and together they must catch a killer who’s still out there, and reverse the ruthless workings of New York’s elite. It’ll be Mary’s most dangerous, most personal case yet.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Last Stop in Brooklyn by Lawrence H. Levy is an interesting plot. I was curious who was behind all the jack-the-rippers killings and how far the corruption went. Murder, danger, and risks are shown here. I liked the main protagonist, Mary. I found it unusual for a woman during her time to be a PI but still it was good. A bit of romance is hinted in the relationship between Mary Harper. Both of their careers made this even more engaging to read. After reading this novel, the question of why the police are always terrible at catching the bad guys has seemed to frightening. I see a pattern of this happening in the real world as well as the fictional one here. Overall, this story had every hook that kept me intrigued until the last page. I would recommend this historical murder mystery to others.

Review: A Vicarage Reunion

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Welcome to Thornthwaite, a quaint village tucked up in England’s beautiful but rainy Lake District… where homecomings and surprises await the four Holley sisters…

Esther Holley, the eldest in the family, has always had her life firmly in control until a miscarriage knocks her off course. Two months later, still emotionally spinning, she separates from her husband Will, a sheep farmer and man of few words and moves back in with her parents.

Life as a singleton thirty something living in her parents’ house is miserable, but Esther is determined to re-boot her life, including going on a few unfortunate dates. She’s shocked when tight-lipped Will shows up on her doorstep determined to woo her back. They’ve been married for seven years, but Will wants to return to the beginning, dating and getting to know each other again.

New challenges face them as they start over–and new chances too. Can Esther and Will save their marriage, especially when faced with the hardest decision of all?

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

A Vicarage Reunion by Kate Hewitt is a heartfelt women’s fiction story. Romance, marriage, miscarriage and family life are put to the test. A journey that sucked me in from the first page. A young married couple have been suffering silently for a long while. Until one day, the wife decides she can’t take it anymore. Losing their baby, was the last straw for Esther. Esther is a daughter of a vicar. She knew her faith should be stronger but she felt broken, sad, and unhappy. Esther decided to leave her good husband Will. Only fate has plans that neither adult saw coming. Will loves his wife and alway will love her. He felt sad, broken, and unhappy that she left him. Worried about what he did to make her leave, Will goes about trying to woo his wife back into his arms.

It was so easy to like the characters. Relating to the married couple was like breathing in air. Their personalities made them believable. Heartache, fear, and their little flaws make way for a path of discovery, renewal, and acceptance. Both Esther and Will have a lot to figure out before they can get their lives back in-order.

Overall, A Vicarage Reunion, is sweet, thoughtful, and deep. I enjoyed following the protagonists as they fell and rose. Their dilemmas were understandable. The story was clean, well-developed, and engaging. I highly recommend this title to all readers.

Review: The Resurrection of Joan Ashby

Synopsis:

I viewed the consumptive nature of love as a threat to serious women. But the wonderful man I just married believes as I do―work is paramount, absolutely no children―and now love seems to me quite marvelous.

These words are spoken to a rapturous audience by Joan Ashby, a brilliant and intense literary sensation acclaimed for her explosively dark and singular stories.

When Joan finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, she is stunned by Martin’s delight, his instant betrayal of their pact. She makes a fateful, selfless decision then, to embrace her unintentional family.

Challenged by raising two precocious sons, it is decades before she finally completes her masterpiece novel. Poised to reclaim the spotlight, to resume the intended life she gave up for love, a betrayal of Shakespearean proportion forces her to question every choice she has made.

Epic, propulsive, incredibly ambitious, and dazzlingly written, The Resurrection of Joan Ashby is a story about sacrifice and motherhood, the burdens of expectation and genius. Cherise Wolas’s gorgeous debut introduces an indelible heroine candid about her struggles and unapologetic in her ambition.

Rating: 3-stars

Review:

The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas sparked my curiosity. The title sounded interesting but what it entailed was a young woman being snarled up by an unwanted journey of motherhood. Her husband wanted kids. But they made a pact-no kids…yet when it happens, her husband is so over joyed by the news that she just lets it go. I can’t sympathize with this woman. If she really didn’t want kids that much she could have had surgery done before this accident. Yet, she didn’t and it is consuming her inside and out…

Cherise Wolas is a great writer. Her words are good. I just did not feel connected to the main protagonist no matter how much I tried. She felt cruel and ridiculous to me. She really did not do anything to prevent her worst nightmare from happening. She blames her husband. Joan wants nothing but her career in writing. This tale is all about her regaining that direction again. A terrible marriage and an unlikable character made me distance myself from this journey.

Review: Maybe This Tme

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Maybe This Time is the next heartwarming contemporary romance from Nicole McLaughlin in her Whiskey and Weddings series.

Jen Mackenzie has been knocked down more than a few times, but she always gets up and makes sure she has the last word. It’s the reason she now considers herself equal parts self-sufficient and free-spirit. But since losing her job and trying to help her mother beat cancer, real life—and her occasional careless choices—have begun to catch up with her. Her one saving grace: The Stag, a boutique distillery that has become Kansas City’s go-to wedding venue. The only catch: One of the owners, TJ Laughlin, happens to be the one man who somehow manages to make Jen feel inadequate.

TJ has secretly had a thing for Jen since high school. Now, as her new boss, it’s a daily struggle between revealing his feelings and wringing her beautiful neck. Only one thing is for certain: he can’t stand idly by and watch the woman he cares for struggle. She may be convinced that accepting TJ’s help is a weakness. But all he sees in Jen is beauty and strength, inside and out. As things finally heat up between them, can TJ find a way to convince Jen that love is about give and take—and having it all, together?

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Maybe This Time by Nicole McLaughlin is sweet contemporary romance. Two young adults with completely different background have always crushed on each other. Turns out, that all this time, they still love one another. But neither one knew what the other was dealing with as they were teens.

TJ comes from a wealthy rich lifestyle. Yet, he’s super smart, hardworking, and a gentleman, TJ isn’t anything like his other male peers. He has always stuck up for Jen. Harbored a secret crush on her ever since they shared their first school project together. TJ had a mother who still lives with his jerk of a father. A father who sleeps with other men’s wives and thinks nothing of it. TJ’s mom loves him though. Jen is opposite of him in background and personality.

Jen can be super confident like TJ. Except that when it comes to TJ and his kind, she loses her confidence. Jen sees herself as this woman who still can’t control her life, is dirt poor, and can’t do anything right. Yet she handles her bar tending well. She can also, handle wedding clients at the Stag for her bosses. TJ is one them. Jen can sing and loves theater. Her personality is wonderful. Colorful at times when she’s feeling angry or hurt. But overall, she’s a strong independent woman who can do anything. Jen’s mom is going through cancer again…and Jen thinks her mom is going through medicine therapy to get well…only she’s not.

Maybe This Time is exactly as it presents itself. Maybe, the characters will finally get together forever. And maybe they can find their happiness. Love, work, and family are hardships they both share. Together, they can get through anything, if they let themselves. I laughed and cried while reading this book. Nicole McLaughlin writes well. I fell fast for the characters. Colorful, bright, and what an exciting journey! Overall, I recommend this novel to readers everywhere.

Review: Sisters Like Us by Susan Mallery

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The grass is always greener on your sister’s side of the fence…

Divorce left Harper Szymanski with a name no one can spell, a house she can’t afford and a teenage daughter who’s pulling away. With her fledgling virtual-assistant business, she’s scrambling to maintain her overbearing mother’s ridiculous Susie Homemaker standards and still pay the bills, thanks to clients like Lucas, the annoying playboy cop who claims he hangs around for Harper’s fresh-baked cookies.

Spending half her life in school hasn’t prepared Dr. Stacey Bloom for her most daunting challenge—motherhood. She didn’t inherit the nurturing gene like Harper and is in deep denial that a baby is coming. Worse, her mother will be horrified to learn that Stacey’s husband plans to be a stay-at-home dad…assuming Stacey can first find the courage to tell Mom she’s already six months pregnant.

Separately they may be a mess, but together Harper and Stacey can survive anything—their indomitable mother, overwhelming maternity stores and ex’s weddings. Sisters Like Us is a delightful look at sisters, mothers and daughters in today’s fast-paced world, told with Susan Mallery’s trademark warmth and humor.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Sisters Like Us by Susan Mallery is funny, realistic, and the most engaging women’s fiction novel, that I’ve ever read. This, is a story about the relationships between mothers and daughters. Quirky, sweet, and heartfelt were these pages. It felt like it was nonfiction but entertaining like fiction. Yet, it really is fiction…which made me like it even more. Susan Mallery captured life between these women perfectly. They fought, cried, and laughed. But in the end, they love and respect each other. No matter what, the were there for each other.

First, there is Harper. A forty-two-year-old divorced woman. Harper is raising her daughter on what little her ex gives and what she can make as a single mother. Life isn’t easy to balance. Harper works so much she forgets to listen and spend more time with her daughter. Her daughter feels like Harper doesn’t love her anymore. She never listens. Just works all the time.

Second, there’s Harper’s mom, who forced Harper to give up her dreams and live the life she lived. Harper’s mother is always telling Harper how to raise her own daughter and how she’s lacking as a mother figure. Harper and her sister always have to tiptoe around their mother. Fear of not having their mom happy or proud of them keeps them having secrets.

Third, is Harper’s sister, Stacey. Stacey is a lab researcher. Super smart and gorgeous, Stacey is happily married and expecting. Only her mother doesn’t know…then, there’s the fear of her not loving her own child and not being a good mother. Stacey’s husband defends her and is willing to stay as a stay-at-home dad. He loves Stacey. Yet she fears she lose both him and their child.

Fourth, is Harper’s daughter. This girl has had it rough as a teen. Her parents divorce, her friends move, and another friend accuses her of being boring. She feels like her mother doesn’t listen to her at all. Her grades are slipping in some classes and she’s not sure what she wants to study for college. Then, there’s her father who breaks his promises and doesn’t do anything with her. To make things even more complicated, there’s Lucas. He’s the next door guy. Always paying her mom for doing his stuff. He respects Harper and her daughter. In fact Harper’s daughter feels like a daughter he never had. I love the sweet moments when the girl tells him stuff that makes him uncomfortable and she needs advice….it was both funny and heartfelt. Also, a new guy her age moves in with her aunt. Ashton is super hot…and it’s not long before she crushes on him…

Overall, Sisters Like Us is amazing. It’s so easy to love and understand. The characters were believable. The scenes were interesting. There was a rollercoaster of emotions as the plot unfolded. I enjoyed reading this novel. After reading this, I can’t wait to see what Susan Mallery comes up with next. I highly recommend this to readers worldwide.

Review: Beneath the Summer Sun

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Jennie Troyer knows it’s time to remarry, and with two men pursuing her, she doesn’t have to look far. But after the pain she’s experienced, can she open her heart to love?

It’s been four years since Jennie’s husband died in a farming accident. Long enough that the elders in her Amish community think it’s time to shed her grief and remarry for the sake of her seven children. What they don’t know is it isn’t grief that’s holding her back, but rather a fear of a repeat of her abusive marriage.

Leo Graber has known–and loved–Jennie since they were children, and he’d hoped to court her when they were teenagers. But when he was fourteen, Paul’s father died suddenly in his arms. Ever since he’s been afraid of the searing pain of loss that comes from opening himself up to love. Now Jennie’s free again, and he’s fighting to have the courage not to lose her a second time.

Nathan Walker is a Mennonite book salesman who makes it a point to stop by Jennie’s farm as often as he can. He’s grown to care for her, but he knows he has no right to court her unless he resolves his own struggle with his faith. He will have to change everything about his life in order to join the Jamesport Amish community. But would he be embracing a new life or running from his old?

The path isn’t clear for any of them. These three people, drawn together by circumstances and God’s plan, must come to grips with their pasts in order to discern God’s plan for their futures and find peace beneath the summer sun.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Beneath the Summer Sun by Kelly Irvin is an interesting tale. One full of faith, hope, and love. Three protagonists have their own dilemmas to face. The question of them being able to move forward and find happiness caught my attention. Pain, loss, and fear cloud the characters as they struggle to face their issues. Clean and heartfelt, I felt like I was there with the characters.

Kelly Irvin has created a believable plot. Jennie is scared to love again after her abusive marriage. But with all of her kids, she needs a man in her life. Nathan is looking for love too, but he struggles accepting his faith. He must first find that before he can love anyone. Leo like Jennie has faced a loss. He lost his father and struggled with wanting to save others especially Jennie. But his fear of not being able to save someone he loves has him stuck in a rut.

A love mess with two Christian men chasing after one widow, made me smile. It gave a shed of lightness to Jennie’s dark marriage and to Leo’s loss. Having a third character brought out a little more in Leo. It gave me more of the push he needed to go after Jennie. Jennie is super easy to connect to…her situation made her likable. She felt real. I really liked her.

Beneath the Summer Sun was a sweet journey. A path to finding oneself and one’s heart. Having faith helped these characters face their lives in the present. Slow but steady, I think these characters will have found what they’re looking for in life. Overall, I enjoyed reading this novel.

Review: Alaska Nights

Alaska Nights: Daddy's Little Helper\Because of the Baby

 

 

 

Synopsis: 

LONELY MEN IN HARD LUCK, ALASKA, LOOKING FOR WOMEN.

OUR TOWN MIGHT BE COLD, BUT OUR HEARTS ARE WARM!

Location: north of the Arctic Circle. Population: 150 (mostly men!). But the three O’Halloran brothers, who run a bush-plane charter service called Midnight Sons, are heading a campaign to bring women to town.

Daddy’s Little Helper

Mitch Harris is a friend of the O’Hallorans, and he’s responsible for law and order in Hard Luck. He’s also the widowed father of a little girl, although he never talks about his marriage. But it’s not long before seven-year-old Chrissie decides that her new teacher, Bethany Ross, is the perfect candidate for wife and mom!

Because of the Baby

Matt Caldwell, Charles O’Halloran’s brother-in-law, is an easygoing charmer, and still in love with his ex-wife. Karen’s still in love with him, too. Her reaction to him the night of his sister’s wedding certainly proved that. It also left her pregnant Now Matt wants her to marry him again and not just because of the baby!”

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Alaska Nights by Debbie Macomber is a sweet heartfelt book. Containing two novellas inside, I was intrigued. Both stories were about second chances, new beginnings, and love. Love pops up even when the characters least expect it to…the, there’s secrets that are waiting to burst. A father never knowing he had a child and a woman who has yet to tell her ex about the baby they just created together. Funny, realistic, and steady. These characters bring a lot of drama, humor, and friendship wherever they go.

Daddy’s Little Helper was the cutest of the two novellas. A little girl goes about setting up her father and new teacher. Imagine an eight-year-old asking such serious questions about age, love, and marriage. Chrissie Harris wants a brother or a sister. But she cant have either one unless her dad marries. And she won’t stop trying to setup her dad with her brand new teacher, Bethany Ross.  Bethany Ross just moved out to Alaska. Her goal was to find out what her birth dad was like. It so happens her birth father is like her in many ways. Mitch Harris lost his wife when their daughter, Chrissie, was just a baby. He and his wife didn’t get along…marriage isn’t something he wants until, he meets Bethany Ross.

Because of the Baby is a novella about husband and wife trying to patch things up…Karen Caldwell, divorced her husband. Thinking he’s being just as childish as before. Switching careers, spending his entire inheritance, Bethany is worried he’s just like her father. But Matt Caldwell is nothing like Karen’s dad. Instead, he’s just trying to find the career he wants and will enjoy doing. Neither one expected him to finally find his calling. Then, there’s their marriage on the line. Matt is doing everything he can to win back Karen’s hand in marriage. However, there’s also a tiny surprise that might just be the fix they needed to bring them closer. A baby does wonders…

Overall, I enjoyed reading Alaska Nights. A book containing two stories in the Alaska series. Men needing women in their lives. Women who can’t resist the Alaskan men makes for an interesting journey. Debbie Macomber has proved that she can definitely write well. Her two fictional worlds felt so real. I recommend this collection to all.

 

 

Review: Because It’s Christmas

Because It's Christmas: The Christmas Basket\Merry Ex-Mas

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Can Christmas bring the gift of a second chance?

The Christmas Basket by Debbie Macomber

Ten years ago, Noelle McDowell and Thomas Sutton fell secretly in love. Secretly because their mothers had been locked in a bitter feud for decades. But despite the animosity between Sarah McDowell and May Sutton, Noelle planned to elope with Thom. Until he jilted her.

This Christmas, two things happen when Noelle comes home to celebrate the holidays. The feuding mothers find themselves working together to fill Christmas baskets for charity. And Noelle and Thom discover they’re still in love. Can family rivalries be set aside? Will Sarah’s daughter have a second chance with Mary’s son? Maybe she will…this Christmas!

Merry Ex-Mas by Sheila Roberts

Cass Wilkes has been looking forward to her daughter Danielle’s Christmas wedding—until Dani announces that she wants her father, Cass’s ex, to walk her down the aisle. Then her friend Charlene arrives at their weekly chick-flick night in shock. She’s just seen the ghost of Christmas past: her ex-husband, Richard, who left a year ago when he ran off with the hostess from her restaurant. Now the hostess is history and he wants to kiss and make up. Hide the mistletoe!

And bring out the hot buttered rum, because the holidays aren’t easy for Ella O’Brien either. Ella, newly divorced, is still sharing the house with her ex while they wait for the place to sell. The love is gone. Or is it?

Two delightful stories. Two writers known and loved for their Christmas novels!

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Because It’s Christmas by Debbie Macomber and Shelia Roberts is a great 2-1 book. Two wonderfully written novellas combined for this Christmas season. Each story featured lessons to learn, forgiveness, and love. Of course the obstacles for these characters seemed like they were never going to happen…but then with these writers’ talent, Christmas miracles may just come true.

The Christmas Basket by Debbie Macomber is about a feud between two mothers. Once best friends, now enemies. For years, they have antagonized each other over one simple mistake. It soon goes too far, creating a distance between their children who are in love with one another. It did remind me a bit of Romeo and Juliet but with a more positive telling than a deadly one. Here, the lesson of forgiveness, friendship, and rekindling love is open. I enjoyed the trouble between the mothers more than I did of the two love birds featured in this tale.

Merry Ex-Mas by Shelia Roberts wasn’t my favorite tale. It was more heartbreaking than the previous story. It was about broken relationships. Some were fixable while others were not. Even though some things couldn’t be fixed the theme of counting one’s blessings was huge. A mother is thankful for her kids even though she didn’t have a love in life. Couples facing dilemmas and having to make decisions was believable. The way it was told felt real. It was more like real-life than a fictional tale with a happy ending. Sometimes, there just isn’t a happy or sad ending but just a closure of finding a peace within yourself. That was what the ending was about…finding peace in the character’s life. Former exes bring trouble to the women in this novella.

Review: Sugar and Spice and All Those Lies

Synopsis:

Cooking a wonderful meal is an art. An act of love. An act of grace. A gift that affirms and gives life—not only does it nurture those who partake of the meal; it also feeds the soul of the creator. These are lessons Gina learns from her mother, daughter of an unfortunate French chef.

Gina is a young woman born to poor parents, a nobody keen to taste life outside the world she was born into. A world that exposes her to fascinating people gripped by dark motives. Her passion for cooking is all she has to help her navigate it.

She gets lucky when she’s chosen to cook at a Michelin-starred restaurant in the San Francisco Bay Area where customers belong to a privileged class with money to spare for a dinner of inventive dishes costing hundreds of dollars. In this heady, scintillating atmosphere, she meets new friends and new challenges—pastry chef Marcia, filthy rich client Leon, and Brent, a brooding homicide detective. This new world, it turns out, is also one of unexpected danger.

Can the lessons Gina learned from her mother about cooking and life help her survive and thrive in this other world of privilege, pleasure, and menace?

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Sugar and Spice and All Those Lies by Evy Journey is a contemporary readers like myself won’t forget. The plot itself is this dark edgy vibe to it with a hint of romance. It’s more dangerous than anything. Friendships are tested, broken, and destroyed. Romances begin so fast and end just as quick as they started. From a sexy filthy rich man to a regular average joe, the main protagonist has her hands full. Being seduced by a rich man can be nice…but with comes unwanted danger. Unexpected events occur and kept me intrigued. I felt both sympathy for the bad ones at first but I felt even more sorry for the protagonist. Her pain is both a physical and emotional one. What a rollercoaster…

Evy Journey has created three-dimensional characters. I could see, hear, and feel everything they did. It was crazy. One moment Gina’s work life goes from being busy good to a nightmare. Her past friendship comes out and it gets worse with each page. I felt connected to Gina. She’s a hard worker and a good person.

Gina comes from a poor family. Inherited her skills of cooking from her family, Gina works her butt off in the food industry. She has finally landed herself at a top star restaurant and her personal life unwinds completely. All it takes is for one rich customer and a former best friend to bring the unexpected and disasters to Gina. What Gina thought she knew will change as the course of events escalate out of control. Life threatening, deadly, and stunning…scenes kept me turning the pages.

Leon is the filthy rich customer who wants nothing but Gina. However, he’s dating her best friend. Talk about issues and complications. Here, this was the first warning bell for Gina,,yet she didn’t think things would turn out for the worse…

Imagine trusting a best friend one moment and then fighting for your life…

That’s what happened to Gina…not once but twice.

Pastry chef, Marcia, is the other best friend that Gina has. I really liked Gina until I noticed her crazy moment over the “brooding” cop, Brent. She was obsessed with him as hers until she learned he doesn’t like sweets. Luckily, Brent had that going for him…because Gina has a past that one doesn’t know until the unexpected happens…

Brent is the homicide detective that meets with Gina when the accident with her first best friend happens. From there, Brent and Gina have been in contact since. Brent soon becomes a little jealous because Gina is gorgeous and Leon is trying to take her. Brent knows something about Leon and try’s to tell Gina, but she still goes with Leon. Thinking Leon really loves her…

Romance, work, and friendships are deeply explored in this exciting piece. Evy Journey has captivated me from the beginning with this tale. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was worth reading every single last page. Sugar and Spice and All Those Lies is exactly what’s in this novel. There’s a little of all that inside…overall, I recommend this contemporary to readers everywhere.

Review: You’ve Got Fail

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

She’s driving me crazy. Or am I the one driving myself crazy? I can’t tell anymore. Ever since Scarlet Rocket showed up in the flesh, she’s turned my structured world upside down. My neatly ordered life, my hand-painted Aliens versus Vampires figurines, my expertly curated comics collection—none of these things provide any shelter from her sexy, sassy onslaught. It’s a disaster of my own making. She didn’t exist until I created her. Now, I can’t get her out of my mind, and all I want to do is get her into my bed. Never mind that she’s a thief, a liar, a con-woman. Every step she takes leaves chaos in her wake. And damn if I don’t want more of it.

Note: This is a full-length romantic comedy that will have you guffawing, or at least snorting hard.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

You’ve Got Fail by Celia Aaron has the super funny, super hot, super fun factors down completely. I couldn’t get enough of the these exciting scenes and characters. Their flaws are what make them so irresistible. A nerd who has a degree in English Lit, is buffer than most jocks, and has a heart of gold is a keeper. Plus, his own blog writing is hilarious. That is Willis. And he has an issue. Everyone thinks he’s a woman due to his blogger name Scarlet Rocket. But that’s not his only growing problem…a woman con takes his name and everything Willis built into a career could go down if he doesn’t catch her soon…

Who knew that men who play with action figures and love fantasy movies could be so freaking hot? Daphne aka Scarlet Rocket was surprised with Willis. Willis being the real Scarlet Rocket blogger. However, once Daphne realizes what kind of mark Willis is, she can’t sop using his name…and if that fates have it, neither will her PR manager.

Willis is beyond furious that the woman stealing his glory is a beautiful redhead. He happens to be a sucker for redheads…and that isn’t helping his case in stopping her. Then, he finds out she’s a thief and wants nothing more from her. That was until his PR manager uses the fake Scarlet Rocket woman to work as a clutch for Willis. Willis new problems will be controlling his lust towards the beautiful thief, keeping his relationship completely professional, and watching her to make sure no trouble comes…

Yet, life is full of surprises and the more time they spend together the more their instant chemistry sparks out of control…

You’ve Got Fail is by far the best romantic comedy I’ve come across as a reader. This, hit the spot perfectly. Sexy as hell, fun, and one that pulls me into its pages. Wow! Hot geeky nerd and a gorgeous redhead thief kept me turning the pages. Absolutely , a must have for all TBR piles! I highly recommend it to all.

Review: The Green Line Divide

Synopsis:

THE GREEN LINE DIVIDE: Romance, Travel, and Turmoils

This is a romantic travel fiction, with a touch of humour, set in two Mediterranean Islands of Cyprus and Rhodes Island of Greece.

Join Alexis and Sven, a Swedish United Nations officer on a touching, hilarious journey that carries readers to various parts of the globe to explore romance, relationships, personal growth, and culture like no other than The Green Line Divide. It is set in the two Mediterranean Islands of Cyprus and Rhodes Island of Greece.

Description:

Alexis is smart, sexy, and enthusiastic—but, like most people, she’s got a few things holding her back in life. And if she’s to ever move forward, she’s got to confront them—head on.

From failing her school exams and dealing with her father’s illness to being mistaken for a celebrity and avoiding serious relationships at any cost, Alexis’s life is riddled with complications and concerns, some harrowing and others absolutely hilarious. When she meets a svelte Swede named Sven, Alexis’s life becomes even more complicated, and her fear of commitment becomes more pronounced, placing her at a pivotal point: Can she overcome her fears and get married? Or will she search for any excuse to keep from walking down the aisle?

The Green Line Divide: Romance, Travel, and Turmoils follows Alexis’s trials and tribulations in life, love, and relationships, set against a Mediterranean backdrop rich with travel, musicals and culture. A truly informative, laugh-out-loud novel, it is sure to appeal to readers with a wide variety of interests, including tourism, hitchhiking, international history, personal growth, and stories of relationship drama.

Back Cover

Romance, humor, and drama abound in this fast-paced, playful novel—and so too, do questions and surprises. The Green Line Divide: Romance, Travel, and Turmoils encounters readers with people from various parts of the world, including exotic destinations like Cyprus and the Greek island of Rhodes. And follow a young woman named Alexis as she struggles with gamophobia and tries to come to terms with her independence, relationships, and the future.

Smitten with a handsome Swede named Sven, a United Nations officer, Alexis plans to marry him, but has a lot of issues to confront if she’s to make it down the aisle—and, as she confronts them, The Green Line Divide is sure to touch your heart, educate you, tickle your funny bone, and put a smile on your face.

Will Alexis ever marry? Or will she find an excuse to run away from it all—again? Step into this book for answers. Along the way, you’ll be entertained and learn new travel, leisure, cultures and celebrations.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Green Line Divide by Z Vally is a short novella about one independent woman escaping the fear of commitment. Alexis is a wonderful woman. Any man would be happy to have her as his. But she’s afraid to let a man into her life and heart. Then, Sven comes into her life creating chaos. Alexis will have to find the answers she’s looking for before it’s too late.

Following the protagonist was fun. Traveling the Mediterranean islands was exciting. The characters and scenes felt realistic. I could almost feel the sun beaming on me from the pages. Hear the water and feel the crazy emotional rollercoaster that’s going inside of Alexis. The Green Line Divide is fun, exciting, and heartfelt. Humor and action on every page. Overall, I recommend this romantic comedy to all.

Review: Lady Jayne Disappears

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

When Aurelie Harcourt’s father dies in debtor’s prison, he leaves her just two things: his wealthy family, whom she has never met, and his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll. Her new family greets her with apathy and even resentment. Only the quiet houseguest, Silas Rotherham, welcomes her company.

When Aurelie decides to complete her father’s unfinished serial novel, writing the family into the story as unflattering characters, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for the truth about her mother’s disappearance–and perhaps even her father’s death.

Author Joanna Davidson Politano’s stunning debut set in Victorian England will delight readers with its highly original plot, lush setting, vibrant characters, and reluctant romance.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanne Davidson Politano is similar to novels from the Bronte sisters. Strong leading female protagonists with a goal in mind. Here, there’s a bounty of mystery, intrigue, and suspense. A father’s death leaves behind a gift for his daughter. A task to finish the story of her mother’s disappearance. Just like the Bronte sisters, Aurelie uses a male pen name. Her father’s pen name. No one knows but her…from there she digs into details and searches for clues.

Lady Jayne Disappears is an interesting story. The cover and blurb peeked my curiosity. The plot was steady and mysterious. I wasn’t sure what I would find. The main character dragged me along. Following her, kept me glued to the tale. Characters were well-developed. The whole thing felt real, and it captured the time period. Joanne Davidson Politano is a great writer. Her characters have a way of luring readers like myself into her book. Overall, I recommend to readers who love a good woman’s fiction/mystery to read.

Review: When You Love a Scotsman

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author Hannah Howell sweeps readers away with the passion-filled adventures of the MacEnroy brothers, seven daring Scotsmen who take on America in her most turbulent days—and capture the hearts of the ladies each is destined to wed . . .

With danger closing in from all sides, Abigail Jenson works tirelessly to protect her small Missouri farm. She doesn’t require saving—but a handsome officer appears on horseback just as ruthless marauders set her cabin ablaze. With nowhere else to turn, Abigail allows the soldier with the seductive Highlander’s gaze to escort her to shelter in a nearby town.

Matthew MacEnroy was reluctant to join his adopted nation’s conflict—until an enemy attack wounded two of his brothers. Bravely doing battle has its price when a proud, independent beauty comes under his watch—no military man can risk the powerful emotions their attraction has unleashed. But when Matthew himself is caught in the crossfire, Abigail leads their long journey home to MacEnroy valley . . . and her caring touch sparks the promise of a bold future together.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

When You Love a Scotsman by Hannah Howell is a great read. This story wasn’t what I thought it would be. Meaning, it was exactly as the title stated…but it was different from similar titles. Here, a young woman loses her brother, pet, and both parents. The house also burnt down…leaving behind the barn if it didn’t get caught with enemy fire. Abby had to learn how to survive. She takes after her dad on shooting. A sharp eye, she has. Making the soldiers who are good guys feel less sufficient at shooting. I thought that moment was funny and sweet. A strong female protagonist took form from there.

Matthew is a solider on his was out of the war. His last stop leads him to Abby. A beautiful young woman who can shoot better than most men in the war. Her skill of stitching people also comes in handy. Matthew feels sympathy for Abby. Hearing what she has endured and watching as her parents both died in the fire during an enemy attack. Matthew drags her with them to a town house for abandoned women. There their journey only grows tighter.

Abby finds a young boy to love. A promise to a dying woman leaves her with adopting a baby instead…leaving behind the young boy. A boy brighter than his age and one determined to live with her. Abby thinks about Matthew…

Matthew can’t stop thinking about Abby. He brings her to his home along with the infant. Only time can tell where their hearts and lives will go…

Overall, When You Love a Scotsman by Hannah Howell was an interesting journey. One filled with action, adventure, and hope. Some humor humor and steam can be found within its pages. I enjoyed reading this entertaining title. This historical romance was steady paced with bits of heat, humor, and emotion.

Review: A Crazy Kind of Love

Synopsis:

In this irresistible new novel by Mary Ann Marlowe, one woman’s up-close and sexy encounter with a tabloid sensation reveals the dizzying—and delicious—dilemma of dating in the spotlight . . .

Celebrities hold zero interest for photographer Jo Wilder. That’s a problem, since snapping pics of the stars is how the pretty paparazza pays the rent. So when Jo attempts to catch a money shot atop the broad shoulders of a helpful bystander, the only thing she notices about the stranger she straddles is that he’s seriously hot. Only later does Jo learn that he’s also Micah Sinclair—one of rock’s notorious bad boys…

Soon Jo is on the verge of getting fired for missing a Micah Sinclair exclusive. Until she’s suddenly being pursued by the heartthrob himself.  But how can she be sure the musician’s mind-blowing kisses are the real deal? Her colleagues claim he’s a media whore, gambling on some free PR. But something has Jo hoping Micah’s feeling the same powerful pull that she does. A pull so strong, she can’t resist becoming his latest love, even if it means she might become the media’s latest victim . . .

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

A Crazy Kind of Love by Mary Ann Marlow is a super good contemporary tale. It was gooey and sweet. Heartache, trouble, and a whole ton of drama followed the protagonists everywhere. It was hard not to get sucked into this story. It found its way into my heart. I wanted to cry, laugh, and Hugh the female protagonist. She’s a lot stronger than she thought she was. Josie is the heart of humanity in the paparazzi business. She’s an excellent photographer who worked for the wrong business. Her boss Andy is a total jack***. His vulgar and meaning ways should have had him fired instantly. How he lasted as long as he did will always keep me guessing. Then, there’s the heroine’ best friend, Zion. He’s bi. His heart is in the right place for his BFF, and he is everything a girl could want in a loyal friend. Zion took great care of Josie in every tight situation. I applaud his character. Last but not least, is the heart throb of this novel, Micah. A famous musician. Apparently, his sister has had a bad dealing with the boss that Josie worked for…and her mistrust of Josie is understandable. Yet somehow, the two women became friends. Micah trusted his gut in that Josie is a good person. Not once did he ever doubt her on a professional or on a personal level. He made my heart melt. The issue of Josie’s pain between her and her father’s lack of presence in her life hurt like hell. I felt so sorry for her. Overall, A Crazy Kind of Love is exactly right. A Crazy Kind Love that one never expected to happen…just might happen after all. I highly recommend this novel to all.

Review: A Wedding at Two Love Lane

Synopsis:

Never say never when it comes to love.

Greer Jones has made a real name for herself at the elegant matchmaking agency Two Love Lane. For a lot of reasons—including a past engagement she broke off—practical tech expert Greer is more interested in the business of love than the experience of it, but she can’t help but covet a gorgeous wedding gown that’s the prize in an upcoming cocktail-party contest. In a moment of brazen inspiration, Greer asks a handsome Brit she’s only just met to accompany her to the party. He agrees—and Greer believes her date is a starving artist. Little does she know the truth. . .

Ford Smith, as he calls himself, is actually Stanford Elliott Wentworth Smythe, the Eighth Baron of Wickshire. Fresh off a breakup with a money-grubbing siren who deceived him all the way to the altar, Ford has no desire to fall in love—especially with Greer who, like the desired wedding gown, is beautiful but only skin-deep. But soon Ford realizes that there’s more to Greer than meets the eye. Her professionalism is matched only by her passion for life and love. . .and, best of all, she has no idea that he’s to the manor born. Could it be that true love is priceless after all?

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

A Wedding at Two Love Lane by Kieran Kramer is a wonderful tale. One woman’s journey to finding a husband. A man finding the right woman to love for the rest of his life. The story was believable and sweet. Engaging, funny, sad, and heartfelt to read. I loved following Greer, a matchmaker, who matches everyone by herself. Ford is wealthy and artistic. He almost married the wrong woman and may be the father of her kids…but meeting Greer changes everything. An emotionally entertaining story that readers like myself won’t ever forget. From going about each day in a ritual to living life fully and finding adventure. Hope, love, and happy beginnings are found, here. Overall, I recommend this enchanting novel to readers everywhere.

Review: Perennials by Juile Cantrell

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

When two estranged sisters reunite for their parents’ 50th anniversary, a family tragedy brings unexpected lessons of hope and healing amid the flowers of their mother’s perennial garden.

Eva—known to all as Lovey—grew up in Oxford, MS, surrounded by literary history and her mother’s stunning perennial gardens. But a garden shed fire and the burns suffered by one of her best friends seemed to change everything. Her older sister Bitsy blamed her for the fire—and no one spoke up on her behalf. Bitsy the cheerleader, Bitsy the homecoming queen, Bitsy married to a wealthy investor. And all the while, Lovey blamed for everything that goes wrong.

At eighteen, Lovey turns down a marriage proposal, flees from Oxford and the expectations of attending Ole Miss, and instead goes to Arizona—the farthest thing from the South she can imagine. She becomes a successful advertising executive, a weekend yoga instructor, and seems to have it all together. But she’s alone. And on her 45th birthday, she can’t help but wonder what’s wrong.

When she gets a call from her father—still known to everyone as Chief from his Ole Miss football days—insisting that she come home three weeks early for her parents’ 50th wedding anniversary celebration, she’s at wits end. She’s about to close the biggest contract of her career, the one that will secure her financial goals and set her up for retirement. But his words, “Family First,” hit too close to home. Is there hope for her estranged relationship with Bitsy after all this time?

Eva’s journey home, to the memory garden her father has planned as an anniversary surprise for her mother, becomes one of discovering roots, and truth, and love, and what living perennially in spite of disappointments and tragedy really means. Eva thought she wanted to leave her family and the South far behind . . . but she’s realizing she hasn’t truly been herself the whole time she’s been gone.

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

Perennials by Julie Cantrell is an interesting read. I found it intriguing. I couldn’t imagine having a distant and bitter relationship with my sister. The major theme  in this contemporary women’s fiction piece is forgiveness.

The main protagonist, Eva, has a great life away from her home and family. That past life is one she worked hard to get away from fast. Yet, now, her parents want her back home for their wedding anniversary. There Eva will have to face her past, her fears, and let go of her demons.

Overall, Perennials is a novel about letting go of the past and moving forward. A journey of hope, truth, and healing. Julie Cantrell can write well. Her characters were easy to relate to and follow. Their troubles were realistic. I enjoyed reading this. I recommend it to readers everywhere.

Review: To the Duke, with Love

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

There may be times when a gentleman is desperate to gain a lady’s attention, but a gentleman would never resort to desperate measures to obtain it.

A Proper Gentleman’s Guide to Wooing the Perfect Lady

Sloane Knox, the Duke of Hawksthorn is guardian for his sweet, younger sister. Due to his misguided past as one of the infamous Rakes of St James, Hawk is hoping to avoid the Season by securing a match for her before it begins. He has the perfect gentleman in mind, but for one infuriating—and unexpectedly intoxicating—obstacle: the intended groom’s own sister, Miss Loretta Quick.

Having narrowly avoided her own arranged marriage to an unacceptable nobleman, Loretta is determined that her dear brother—a gentle, good-natured soul—should marry for love. Matching wits with Hawk may be her greatest challenge yet. . .until she realizes it may also be her greatest pleasure. For the young duke’s irresistible charm has not only begun to crumble her stubborn resolve, it has claimed her heart in true love as well. . .

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

To the Duke, With Love by Amelia Grey is an intriguing regency romance. Arranged marriages and refusal to be married to the wrong person…can create an irresistible plot like this one. Wow! So, the strong heroine is a bit biased on arranged marriages. However, as I discovered, she has some right to be biased. It happened to her and didn’t bide well. She ended up vowing to be celibate and forced to live alone in the country. But, she has a loving brother who dotes on her. He comes with her. Feeling like she finally accepted her fate…a Duke arrives. Causing chaos to her quiet lifestyle. Their banters are playfully wicked and charming.

I couldn’t stop laughing. They really are a couple to follow and love. Their siblings make it even more entangled and exciting. Temptation, isolation, humor, and sexy characters that have enticed readers like me, to read till the ending. What a perfect way to end this adventure…Amelia Grey has stunned me to the core with the level of depth from her characters and the visual scenes that are unforgettable. Overall, I recommend this historical romance to all.

Review: Lucy’s Book Club for the Lost and Found

Synopsis:

Sometimes you’ve got to run away to find yourself…

Twenty-four-year-old Lucy needs a fresh start. Forever single, frustrated with her studies and dreaming of writing a novel she can’t start, she gives up everything to run a little library in the leafy village of Tilley Moreton.

Lucy loves reading books almost as much as she loves fixing other people’s problems, so starting a book club seems like the perfect opportunity to do both. As she meets her new members, it’s clear she’s going to have her work cut out for her. Handsome but silent Callum is the biggest puzzle of them all…

But Lucy’s meddling begins to cause more problems than it solves, and she starts to think she should have kept out of everyone’s business. No one is more surprised than Lucy when Callum steps in to help. Could there be more to him than people think?

Callum secretly dreams of escaping his family and starting one of his own. Is Lucy crazy to think she could be the one? When he goes into business with her brother, is it the sign she’s been looking for? Or is he using her to get ahead?

As inspiration for her novel finally begins to flow, will Lucy follow her head, or her heart to find the happy ending she’s been longing for?

An utterly uplifting, emotional page-turner that will bring tears to your eyes and a smile to your face. Perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan and Milly Johnson.

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Lucy’s Book Club for the Lost and Found by Emma Davies is a sweet heartfelt tale. The entire book was one happy story. Each of the characters struggled with their own issues. Callum struggles with insecurities and shyness. Hattie is a single mum. Lia is taking care of her mum who suffers from Alzheimer’s. Oscar feels lonely. All of these characters add a bit to the overall story. Lucy is a young woman who meddles into other people’s lives. This, causes for messy situations and for making new friends. I enjoy any journey that offers friendships, talk of books, and new beginnings like this one did. The pacing was steady. There wasn’t a ‘I must read this…before bedtime’ or an ‘OMG, this is amazing!’ moments…so, be prepared. However, it was clean and entertaining.

Review: Someone to Wed







Synopsis:

A very practical marriage makes Alexander Westcott question his heart in the latest Regency romance from the New York Times bestselling author of Someone to Hold.

When Alexander Westcott becomes the new Earl of Riverdale, he inherits a title he never wanted and a failing country estate he can’t afford. But he fully intends to do everything in his power to undo years of neglect and give the people who depend on him a better life. . . . 
A recluse for more than twenty years, Wren Heyden wants one thing out of life: marriage. With her vast fortune, she sets her sights on buying a husband. But when she makes the desperate–and oh-so-dashing–earl a startlingly unexpected proposal, Alex will only agree to a proper courtship, hoping for at least friendship and respect to develop between them. He is totally unprepared for the desire that overwhelms him when Wren finally lifts the veils that hide the secrets of her past. . . . 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Someone to Wed by Mary Balogh is a must read! I was immediately hooked. The plot line is addictive. Intrigue got me hard. 

The female protagonist is a recluse. By her birth she went through an ordeal most haven’t especially from being within a not so poor household. Yet, Wren suffered greatly. That past is part of her journey in healing. She lets her birthmark define her. Shutting herself away from people and life in general. Her birthmark covers the whole half of her face. A purplish mark that will not go away. Wren feels hideous because of it. She’s at the point now, that she should wed. Wren wants a husband and a family of her own. However, she thinks no one would want her…and she has more than enough money to buy a husband. 

Then, there’s Alex. He is beyond good looking but has a heart of gold. He feels something for his recluse neighbor. Her marriage proposal struck him hard. She thought she wasn’t worth marrying. All because of her birthmark. But her cold opinion of herself keeps Alex away from her. But something about her has him rethinking it. There were moments when he got to see her without wearing a veil and where she smiled or laughed. Those few precious moments showed Alex the real woman inside of Wren. Wren just needed to believe in herself…

A marriage of convienece. Alex needs the money and Wren wants a husband. Except Alex won’t marray her unless she can see herself as a person of greater value than what she holds herself as. And they must have affection…

Little do they know it…but affection has been and is being felt on both sides…

Wren’s horrible past comes to light and her journey of healing is due to Alex and his family. Their acceptance of her despite her birthmark, helps Wren get the courage she needs to walk among them without fear. Little by little she learns to be braver and find herself with a life of joy…

Someone to Wed is about facing fears. Overcoming those obstacles that bound the protagonist to her previous life. Good things can happen, if we open ourselves to the chance. Taking risks, trusting, and falling in love are themes throughout this beautiful tale. I couldn’t stop reading it. Overall, I highly recommend Mary Balogh’s historical romance novel to all.

Review: The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck

Synopsis:

Becoming a Christian is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to Sarah Hollenbeck. Best because, well, that’s obvious. Worst because, up to this point, she’s made her very comfortable living as a well-known, bestselling author of steamy romance novels that would leave the members of her new church blushing. 

Now, Sarah is trying to reconcile her past with the future she’s chosen. She’s still under contract with her publisher and on the hook with her enormous fan base for the kind of book she’s not sure she can write anymore. She’s beginning to think that the church might frown on her tithing on royalties from a “scandalous” book. And the fact that she’s falling in love with her pastor doesn’t make things any easier.
With a powerful voice, penetrating insight, and plenty of wit, Bethany Turner explodes onto the scene with a debut that isn’t afraid to deal with the thorny realities of living the Christian life. 

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner is a sweet romantic comedy. A young woman who writes sexy tales is in love with her pastor. Her career seems to clash with her pastor’s lifestyle of teaching what’s right versus wrong. I laughed out loud a lot with this story. It was crazy good. The characters are believable. Each protagonist has a past that they felt uncomfortable with until they finally let it out the truth. Not that they lied to one another. But that it was embarrassing for them to say until the right moment. Even then they struggled a bit. It was so real. Heartfelt, realistic, and enjoyable. Sarah and Ben’s relationship is different but it’s a happy one. They both felt a pull to be together and went with it. They trusted their gut. There were some moments when I thought oh no, what’s going to happen next and other moments where I was like, yes! I loved the protagonists. Overall, I recommend this beautiful tale to readers everywhere. 

Review: Birthday Cake and Bodies

Synopsis:

When Julia plans a surprise birthday party for Barker to finally meet his family, she did not expect that party to end in murder! With Barker’s three brothers in the frame, Julia is torn between respecting the man she loves, and her need to investigate! Will Julia be able to uncover the dark family secrets that lie at the heart of cracking this case without leaving behind a trail of destruction? 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Birthday Cake and Bodies (Peridale Cafe Mystery #9) by Agatha Frost is the most exciting tale yet! Inside this book, readers get to follow the baker, Julia, as she plans and prepares for Barker’s surprise birthday party. For the party, Julia has gotten ahold of Barker’s family. They are coming to Peridale to celebrate his birthday. All should go well. But once they start to arrive, Julia is already regretting her decision for this party. 
The family members are eccentric. They are more than dysfunctional. There are multiple affairs happening within Barker’s strange family. Anger, tensions, and hatred rise. Rising to the point, somebody is willing to kill for it. 
But as always, the mystery isn’t cut and dry. One member killed a past relative. Creating a boiling point to snap among his brother. A brother who has blamed him for the death of his daughter. These two brothers are identical twins. But despite their looks, Julia, figures out how to distinguish them apart. That there helps her as she and Detective Barker investigate his family locked down in Julia’s father’s mansion. Someone is guilty and both are going to keep interrogating until they get their suspect. However, one death leads to another. The murderer thought the intended victim was gone. Only to discover the wrong person was murdered. Imagine the grief! Then, another body pops up…and it might not be too late for this new victim. Then, another family relative ends up almost dead. The same one who caused some of the trouble to begin with…but that’s not all. A member of the family is gay and hiding it for reason ps that are insane. Another is dating said gay person for the wrong reasons and two other relatives cause Barker even more stress by posting their troubles and mistreatment online. This all just adds to the craziness of the murder plot. 
In the background, Julia is worried that this murder is all her fault. Jessie, Julia’s adoptive daughter, has broken it off with her boyfriend because she doesn’t want him to leave for the army. So, she’s struggling with the breakup…and then, there’s Julia’s stepmother who is in the said mansion where the murder occurred and is about to go into labor. Julia definitely has her hands full in this novel. 
I loved it! Agatha Frost never disappoints. Her characters always bring out the humor, romance, and drama that makes this a spectacular read. There was never a dull moment. So many suspects and so many details that it might be hard for Julia to solve…overall, I highly recommend this book. 

Review: Fruit Cake and Fear 

Synopsis:

The 8th book in the BESTSELLING Peridale Cafe Cozy Mystery series! 
A storm hits Peridale with disastrous effects. Barker’s cottage is destroyed, forcing him to move in with Julia, but she has more to worry about than him leaving his socks around and not putting the toilet seat up. Julia is shocked when the storm also uncovers a secret basement underneath her cafe and even more shocked when she finds the body of a teenage girl who has been missing for twenty years.
The cold case team rushes in, pushing Julia out of her cafe and leaving her to unravel the truth of the past one thread at a time. When she realises the girl, Astrid, was the daughter of Evelyn, the eccentric B&B owner, Julia vows to piece together the events that led to Astrid being trapped in a basement for decades. How did the girl die, and more importantly who killed her? Julia hunts for clues to a case the village had almost forgotten about so she can bring Evelyn the peace she deserves, but will she be able to do it in time before somebody she loves suffers a similar fate? 

Book 8 in the Peridale Cafe Cozy Mystery series! Can be read as a standalone but will be enjoyed more as part of the series. A light, cozy mystery read with a cat loving and cafe-owning amateur female sleuth, in a small village setting with quirky characters. Written in British English. No cliffhanger, swearing, gore or graphic scenes! 



Rating: 5-stars

Review:

In this eighth novel, in the Peridale Cafe Cozy Mystery series, I was in love! Agatha Frost has once again worked her magic words over me. The plot was just as enticing, juicy, and hilarious as always. The same group of characters like Dot, Barker, Julia, and Jessie are still around. I was excited. This latest murder mystery case, had me intrigued. A dead girl’s body finally found after twenty years. She went missing and was never found until a storm lead to her body. The whole town went into shock and gossip over it. The dead girl’s remains haunt Julia as the case keeps going. What caused the death, who did it, and why? Just like that, I was hooked. Fruit Cake and Fear is everything I expected it to be. Funny, deadly, and sweet. Unlike the previous cases, this one, happens on Julia’s birthday. That’s one way to celebrate…overall, I love this writer’s work. Agatha Frost never disappoints. In fact, there’s another book out after this one. I can’t wait to dig in…this, is a must read series. Once you start, you can’t stop reading it…

Review: Amanda Wakes Up

Synopsis:

The Devil Wears Prada meets Primary Colors in this wickedly funny debut novel about a bootstrapping young reporter who lands a plum job at a big-time cable news station and finds her ambitions and her love life turned upside down.
When Amanda Gallo, fresh from the backwater of local TV, lands the job of her dreams at FAIR News—the coveted morning anchor slot—she’s finally made it: a six-figure salary, wardrobe allowance, plenty of on-air face time, and a chance to realize her dreams, not to mention buy herself lunch. Amanda Wakes Up takes off as Amanda feels for the first time that she can make her mom and her best friend proud and think about an actual future with her boyfriend, Charlie. But she finds her journalistic ideals shredded as she struggles to keep up with the issues in a ratings-crazed madhouse—battling for hair and makeup time, coping with her sexist (but scathingly handsome) coanchor, Rob, mixing up the headlines with pajama modeling on the street, and showing Benji Diggs, her media maestro boss, that she’s got what it takes.
As the news heats up in a hotly contested election season and a wild-card candidate, former Hollywood actor Victor Fluke, appears on the scene, Amanda’s pressure-cooker job gets hotter as her personal life unravels. Walking a knife’s edge between ambition and survival, and about to break the biggest story of her career, Amanda must decide what she’s willing to give up to get ahead—and what she needs to hold on to save herself. 

Rating: 4-stars

Review

Amanda Wakes Up by Alisyn Camerota is a great read. This story, brings to life the daily struggles of a journalist. Media coverage, ethics, and politics all swarmed into an interesting novel. The pacing was steady. But the plot was worth reading. I took to the main protagonist, Amanda Gallo. Her personality was of an ambitious woman trying to climb up and make her career in broadcast journalism by also keeping herself intact. I enjoyed the realities of the situations the character experiened. It definitely was a journey to follow. Overall, Amanda Wakes Up is a must read for all readers especially, women. A lot of social themes were explored here.