Last Summer Review


Last Summer: A Novel (Paperback)


New From: $10.99 USD In Stock
Release date: July 9, 2019.
buy now

Often while I read this book, I kept thinking the title was Lost Summer. Funnily enough, that title works just as well for this story, one of Ella Skye, a journalist who, after a traumatic accident, wakes up in the hospital with no memory of the events leading up to it and forgetting everything she’s lost.

Seeking to remember her life prior to the accident, she accepts an assignment to interview survivalist Nathan Donovan, who seems to know more about her than the reverse.

Full of steam and surprises, fans of domestic suspense will gravitate toward this plot line. I found all the settings captured in Ella’s time with Nathan so well described that I felt I was on location with them.

If you’re looking for a book that would be perfect for a weekend getaway, this one is a sure bet. The pages flew by and the settings would work well, whether it’s the dead of winter or a hot summer day with the sun shining. Lonsdale has a knack for both romance and suspense and I look forward to what she’s cooking up next.

My thanks to Little Bird Publicity and the publisher for the review copy.

About the author: Kerry Lonsdale is the Wall Street Journal, Amazon Charts, and #1 Amazon Kindle bestselling author of the Everything seriesEverything We KeepEverything We Left Behind, and Everything We Give—as well as All the Breaking Waves. She resides in Northern California with her husband and two children. Learn more about Kerry at www.kerrylonsdale.com.

Have You Seen Luis Velez Review & Giveaway


Have You Seen Luis Velez? (Paperback)


New From: $10.99 USD In Stock
buy now

Nobody writes stories of intergenerational friendship better than Catherine Ryan Hyde. She did an exceptional job with it in Allie and Bea and again with this new release.

Aside from the story, which includes a mystery, character growth, and fun supporting cast, you get some humdingers of life lessons, brought to you by 17-year-old Raymond Jaffe and 92-year-old Millie Gutermann. These characters balance each other so perfectly and just set the stage for a heartwarming plot, even amidst the few bouts of tragedy.

Raymond is a character I won’t soon forget. I hope my son grows to be as equally kind and good intentioned as he is. I love how even in his youth, he was able to teach Millie a thing or two about his generation.

With elements thrown in of Pay it Forward, readers who still need to be told there is good in this world need to pick this up. With so many current events shared constantly via social media that are hard to stomach, this book, when finished, should put a smile on your face and be one you want to pass along and share with others.

My thanks to Little Bird Publicity and Lake Union for the review copy.

I have one copy to share with a lucky reader. U.S. only, please. Enter on the Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Fallen Mountains Review


Fallen Mountains (Paperback)


New From: $10.39 USD In Stock
buy now

Whether you are here for the mystery, drama, or the secrets bubbling up from the past to change the course of the future 17 years later, you are in for a treat.

Something about these characters comforted me. And I credit Grant with that, that it was so easy to fall in step with their story, having just been introduced. As soon as I turned the first page, I was caught up in their world.

This is the story of a very small town in Pennsylvania and its inhabitants. You know, the sort of town where there is one sheriff, no crime, and “Everybody knows your name.” That is until longtime resident, Transom Schultz, goes missing. Transom comes from money, and he has more one than person who wouldn’t mind if his disappearance was forever. Told between the Before his disappearance and After, the story alternates. As it does, secrets from the past rise to the surface, and you’ll be left questioning what really happened.

The story flowed so easily. While it was a slow burn, it still had me furiously flipping pages to the ultimate conclusion. So much was packed into this gem that I felt like I had known this town and its people forever.

Grant clearly has a love of the land and that shines through these pages. She poses ethical questions that would make this a great choice for book clubs. You can download the author’s guide for book clubs here.

I urge you to pick this one up because no matter your favorite genre, this will fit right in. My thanks to the author for the copy.

In Another Time Review & Giveaway


In Another Time: A Novel (Paperback)


New From: $12.53 USD In Stock
buy now

I am someone who has the hardest time suspending disbelief, especially when reading or watching something contemporary. Then I got my hands on 11/22/63 by Stephen King and sped through all 849 pages at a pace I couldn’t believe. Last year I read The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain and thought it was her best book to date.

Cantor, like King, manages to create not only a love story involving time travel, but kept historically accurate by writing about real events, just using fictional characters. Readers, suspend your disbelief, because this is a book you too will end up loving.

Yes, it’s a love story between Max and Hanna. But it’s also a love story between Hanna and her violin. I can’t say classical music generally gets me giddy and excited but I felt the love for this instrument. It brought the characters peace and in one case, was the difference between life and death.

When I first read Margot by Cantor, I knew I’d be a huge fan of hers moving forward. She is able to be inventive while holding true to history, all of which can be said with her newest story.

If you like historical fiction, characters that come alive off the page, and books where the pages keep turning, you’ll want to make this your next read.

My thanks to Get Red PR for the review copy.

I have one copy to give away to a lucky reader. U.S. only, please. Enter on the Rafflecopter. a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Beantown Girls Review


The Beantown Girls (Paperback)


New From: $10.99 USD In Stock
buy now

Usually with historical fiction, you have your story set in another place and time, and follow the events that happened. The story can be outstanding, as you are transported.

Jane Healey truly blew me away with this novel. Not only was it a new story attached to World War II, which is so hard to do these days, but it was filled with romance, adventure, laughter, and most importantly, a story of friendship.

She tells the history of the Clubmobile Girls, women who joined the Red Cross towards the end of the war, who showed up making doughnuts and coffee and provided a morale boost to those fighting on the front lines. Sometimes they were there to dance with them, and other times they brought them mail.

I’m not sure how close these girls got to the front lines necessarily, but in this fictionalized version, they sure did. I loved the connection between Fiona, Dottie, and Viv. I wanted to join their trio because they seemed like such a fun bunch. Fiona, the leader and level-headed one, whose intention to travel to Europe during the war really served a different purpose. Dottie, whose shyness worked well as a schoolteacher back home, but needs to find out how to fit in now. And Viv, ready to offer a dance or a smile to anyone who might need it. This courageous group’s strength and stamina were tested during the war.

You’d be surprised, but I often found myself smiling through this book. At times it was a difficult subject matter but Healey managed to make it a heartwarming read and teach me about these girls, a part of history I knew nothing about. I cannot wait to pick up her debut now.

My thanks to Get Red PR for the review copy.

For Better and Worse Review

For Better and Worse (Paperback)


New From: $4.25 USD In Stock
buy now

Given the overload of psychological thrillers, especially domestic suspense, in the recent years makes coming up with an original story that much harder.  When I read Best Friends Forever last year, I was very impressed with what a page-turner it was.  That made me eager to read Hunt’s second venture into this genre.

Natalie and Will Clarke met in law school, fell in love, and got married.  Fast-forward to their only child, Charlie, in 5th grade, when a scandal shakes their small town.  How far will this couple go to protect their child and their marriage?  Given that Natalie is a criminal defense attorney, she knows the system inside and out and knows she has to take matters into her own hands.

Will didn’t seem as fully formed as a character to me as Natalie.  He did get his own section he narrated in the book, which helped, but I was so used to Natalie it always took me a minute to realize it was his turn.  It made sense she ran the household and was more in control, but he did play an essential part to this story.

I loved chit-chat and gossip amongst the neighbors as the scandal broke loose.  The expression “gossip is nature’s telephone” really rings true here.  (See what I did there?)  I had a couple issues with execution and thought the story would slowly fizzle out at the end but was pleasantly surprised at its finish.

Trigger warning for child abuse.  A tough subject to cover but Hunt does so in a way that it’s not the story’s sole focus.  For book clubs looking for more of a suspense story, there’s lots that can be discussed with character motivations in this read.

My thanks to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for the review copy.

About the author: Margot Hunt is a USA TODAY bestselling author. Her latest book, FOR BETTER AND WORSE, was praised by Book of the Month as being the best thriller of the year. “A twisty tale for fans of domestic thrillers.” (Kirkus Reviews).

Connect with Margot

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Be sure to follow the tour for more reviews and chances to win a copy!

The Songbird Review & Giveaway

The Songbird (Hardcover)


New From: $16.23 USD In Stock
buy now

I started this book in the midst of a super blizzard through the Chicagoland area.  Snow coming down about 1-2” per hour and all I could see was white.  Just the cover was such a sight.  It made me dream of warm weather and spring.  All the light colors and fresh green turned my frown upside down, as they say.

Marcia Willett is a new-to-me author and was put on my radar by the kind publicity team at St. Martins Press.  Reading this novel reminded me of why I love Maeve Binchy books.  The characters are fully fleshed out, the setting, so descriptive.  These characters felt like they could walk off the page to my home, and we could sit down to tea and have a lengthy conversation.

The story starts with Tim, who confides in his coworker Mattie that he needs a sabbatical from work and home.  She recommends her family’s estate of Brockscombe.  It’s where her sister’ lives with her husband and child and his parents reside.  Tim finds immediate comfort and quickly becomes an extended family member.  As you read along, you discover secrets these characters are holding.

I will say that this is not a plot-heavy or plot-driven novel.  Yes, things happen, secrets are revealed, and we learn more about the characters.  It’s a gentle read, perfect for curling up in bed with a cup of tea over the weekend.

My thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

About the author: The Songbird is MARCIA WILLETT’s eighteenth novel to be published in the U.S. Her novels are available in seventeen countries around the world. She lives in Devon, England.

Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy to give away to a lucky reader.  U.S. only, please.  Enter on the Rafflecopter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

How to Get Your Screen-Loving Kids to Read Books for Pleasure Review & Giveaway

This is a book I’m keeping on my keeper shelf because I know I’ll reach for it time and time again.  It’s a great resource and reference for any parent or educator who is frustrated with screen time and is just out of ideas on how to proceed.

When presented with the opportunity to read this book, I wasn’t sure right away as I saw it was written for middle schoolers and adolescents.  I have much younger kids but still see them on a screen way too often.  And as someone who works full-time, I admit that occasionally it becomes a babysitter while I’m in a meeting or have to finish a task.  My 6-year-old has lost his love for toys now that he has an iPad available at all times.  But at the same time, I don’t want to shove a book in his hand and take away his willingness to want to read.  So I figured it could be adapted to the younger crowd.

And it was.  I love how it’s written for parents who have no background in education.  I mean, I’m a book blogger and refuse to fall asleep unless I read first.  My daughter has started to do this too.  My son is harder to get through to.  Now that he has started learning to read and can get through Dr. Seuss and Mo Willems, it’s more common but I still would like less screen time.

There’s a ton of recommended books that Newton provides no matter what subject matter or interest the child has.  I even wrote a few down that sounded right up my alley.  And she definitely provides outside-the-box strategies for encouraging reading at all times, even when driving in the car or there’s a group of kids together.

This book can easily be read in 2 hours and will even give you ways to encourage speaking about reading and gives gift suggestions.  It can also appeal to those who love screens by making a movie date out of a book that is just recently adapted.  I definitely recommend having it available or gifting it to a special teacher for the holidays.

About the author: Kaye Newton lives outside Nashville, TN with her husband, three kids, and two lively dogs. “Incision Decisions”, her first book, won a silver medal at the 2017 Readers’ Favorite Awards.

My thanks to the author for the review copy and for providing a copy for a giveaway.  U.S. only, please.  To enter, leave a comment answering “What is your struggle with screen time?”  One random commenter will be chosen on Sunday, October 28.

Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners Review & Giveaway

 

 

‘Tis the season of pumpkin spice, apples fresh off the trees, and the chance to open our windows and let the cool air in.  While I love that about fall, I also get excited about books moving from the beach to the holidays.  Give me a fluffy blanket and a mug of something hot and I’m in heaven.

This debut novel had me in stitches and will be a fun read for you this fall.  It is drama mixed with humor, heart, and scenes straight out of a Ben Stiller movie.

While the title might have you thinking this is a straight-up Christmas read, have no fear if that’s not what you’re looking for.  It is not holiday centered.  The holidays make an appearance but the story focuses on The Baumgartners: matriarch Violet, newly retired patriarch Ed, and their daughter, Cerise, who has a secret she’s been keeping from her parents.  Add in friends, lovers, and a weather girl, and you have a recipe for hilarious hijinks.

If you enjoyed This is Where I Leave You or the show Brothers & Sisters starring Sally Field, definitely get yourself a copy of this book.  As I was reading, both of those kept popping into my head.  So it’s obvious how well this book will translate to screen if given the opportunity.  I will save the casting director some time and recommend Kelly Bishop for the role of Violet.  She reminded me so much of Emily Gilmore and would just be perfect for this part.

I also loved the articles and letters between chapters.  It had a Young Jane Young feel to it and was a fresh break from the main plot line.

My thanks to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for the review copy.

Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy to give away to a lucky reader.  U.S. only, please.  Enter on the Rafflecopter.  And be sure to follow the tour for more chances to win!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author: GRETCHEN ANTHONY is a Minnesota-based writer and humorist whose work has been featured on scarymommy.com, medium.com and thewritelife.com. She’s also spent decades as a ghostwriter and has written for some of the best personal brands in the United States, from CEOs to doctors and start-up superstars to BBQ pros. Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners is her first novel.

Connect with Gretchen

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Go On, Girl Review & Giveaway

Go On, Girl (Paperback)


New From: $12.99 USD In Stock
buy now

There seems to be a new genre of books being published lately.  Ones with moms being the central focus.  All of the drama and cattiness that you’d see in a kindergarten classroom I’m reading about in fiction among mothers.  But it’s realistic as can be.

Liane Moriarty brought it back in Big Little Lies and Laurie Gelman made it laugh-out-loud funny in Class Mom.  Hilary Grossman’s new novel brings it center stage as the Forest River PTA dishes out more drama than you’d find in a Meryl Streep movie.  For those without children (yes, you’ll enjoy it too), I’m almost afraid to admit that some moms do act this way.

Go On, Girl tells the story of Sydney Clayton who is basically coerced into joining the PTA or else she runs the risk of her daughter losing her friendships.  Welcome to a drama-filled year.  Amidst it all, there are touching moments between friends and relationships built.  I really enjoyed the dialogue between Sydney and her husband, Craig.  It felt so relatable to me since I am also a working mom dealing with the kids  AND everything that goes with that — after-school activities, sports, homework, etc.

This is a perfect book to read while waiting in the carpool line or in between doctors’ appointments.  It was a nice palate cleanser between some heavier reads.

You can now read all of Hilary’s books digitally for $3.99 or less!

My thanks to the author for a review copy.

About the author: By day, Hilary Grossman works in the booze biz. By night she hangs out with her “characters.” She has an unhealthy addiction to denim and high heel shoes. She’s been known to walk into walls and fall up stairs. She only eats spicy foods and is obsessed with her cat, Lucy. She loves to find humor in everyday life. She likens life to a game of dodge ball – she tries to keep many balls in the air before they smack her in the face. She lives on Long Island. To find out more of what Hilary is up to check out her Facebook page  or find her on Twitter.

Thanks to the author, I have one ebook copy to give away to a lucky reader.  Click on the Rafflecopter to enter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway