Last Summer Review


Last Summer: A Novel (Paperback)


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


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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.

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Only Ever Her Review


Only Ever Her (Paperback)


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With such a long winter here in the Midwest, it was the cover of this novel that first intrigued me. It drew out feelings of warmer weather and sunshine and having previously enjoyed The Things We Wish Were True, I was eager to dive in.

This one took a little longer to draw me in. Maybe it was my confusion over how all the characters related or some of the secondary storylines. The premise is perfection — a bride disappears days before her wedding. Is it cold feet or foul play?

Whalen writes the story as we get closer and closer to the big day. We follow different characters’ viewpoints as to what happened to Annie Taft. I love the idea of small secrets bubbling to the surface with Annie missing and how they play off each other. When finished, I felt like some seams were still left undone and some plot points didn’t get enough “air time” while others had too much.

I will say this was a quick read and the second half moves at a much faster pace. Once you get a feel for the characters, you’ll yearn for the conclusion. The small town feel works well within this novel and if you’re looking for a good mystery to grab for a plane ride or a day away, you’ve found it.

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

Sunset Beach Review


Sunset Beach: A Novel (Hardcover)


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If you are looking for the ultimate beach read this summer, look no further. Mary Kay Andrews brings her sandy beaches and charm to her newest release, out now.

Listen, I read my fair share of heavy thrillers. I can also go to the other extreme of what some might refer to as “chick lit” or romance. This is the perfect blend of both. In fact, for those who enjoy cozy mysteries, this is one you’ll definitely want to pick up.

Drue Campbell is down on her luck with the loss of her mom and a string of bad jobs that are not helping with her income. When she receives an offer from her estranged father to come work for him, she heads to Florida’s west coast.

I loved the characters in this and what a kickass heroine Drue was. Her interactions with her family (blood and step) had me grinning and it was a read I looked forward to getting back to each night.

This one is on the longer side but the story moves quickly and hopefully you are as eager as I was to follow Drue as she tried to solve two mysteries, all while balancing her new job and relationships.

My thanks to Tandem Literary and the publisher for a review copy.

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

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The Beantown Girls Review


The Beantown Girls (Paperback)


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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.

The Songbird Review & Giveaway

The Songbird (Hardcover)


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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.
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Go On, Girl Review & Giveaway

Go On, Girl (Paperback)


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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.
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Rush Review & Giveaway

Rush: A Novel (Hardcover)


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Mix together The Help and Erin Brockovich and you are presented with Lisa Patton’s newest tale, taking place in 2016 at the University of Mississippi during sorority rush.

When I was in college, I personally chose not to pledge.  However, many friends did and reading this book gave some clear (and fun) insight into how the process works.  It was entertaining to see it from the point of view of the pledges, as well as sorority staff and pledges’ parents.

I love how this book is told through the viewpoints of Miss Pearl, longtime African-American housekeeper of the Alpha Delts house; Cali Watkins, a new freshman trying to find her way; and Wilda, Cali’s dorm neighbor and close friend’s mother.  Through their viewpoints, we meet the remaining staff of the sorority house as well as other pledges and their families.  You’ll find a character you love to hate, always a pleasure.

This book will translate so well to screen.  Miss Pearl just came alive off the page.  As I was reading, I felt as if I was watching the movie in my head.  We may as well just call Viola Davis right now, save the casting director a step.

If you want to relive your college days or are just looking for the next great Southern novel, I recommend you stop the search because you’ll find it in Rush.  Can’t wait to hear your thoughts after finishing.

My thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

About the author: Lisa Patton, best selling author of Whistlin’ Dixie in a Nor’easter, Yankee Doodle Dixie, and Southern as a Second Language, is a Memphis, Tennessee native who spent time as a Vermont innkeeper until three sub-zero winters sent her speeding back down South. She has over 20 years experience working in the music and entertainment business, and is a graduate of the University of Alabama. The proud mother of two sons, eight bonus children, and eleven grandchildren, Lisa lives in the rolling hills of Nashville with her husband and their four-legged furry daughter named Rosie.

Thanks to the publisher, I have one finished copy to give away to a lucky reader.  U.S. only, please.  Enter on the Rafflecopter.
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Heaven Adjacent Review & Giveaway

Heaven Adjacent (Paperback)


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Catherine Ryan Hyde has an ability to teach her characters something in every novel she writes, all while leaving the reader feeling hopeful at the turn of the last page.  Her newest is no different.

This one is the story of Roseanna, a NYC lawyer who leaves her job and home behind after the death of her coworker and friend.  She settles in a small farmhouse in the country where she meets her squatters, a group of people who won’t seem to leave the property.  Expecting peace and solitude, she is disrupted by their presence and tries to figure out the best way to get them to go.

I definitely appreciated the message of this novel.  Compared to her past few books, this one lacked a little bit of plot for me.  But that didn’t take away from that feeling of wanting to run away from it all.  I’m sure many with a high-stress job will find this book relatable.

I also love how she incorporates animals into every story.  They become as much of characters as their human companions.  And I appreciated how this story was not wrapped up with a big velvet bow.  The situations were realistic and there were still life lessons to be learned.

My thanks to he publisher for the review copy.

About the author:  Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of thirty-three published books. Her bestselling 1999 novel, Pay It Forward, adapted into a major Warner Bros. motion picture, made the American Library Association’s Best Books for Young Adults list and was translated into more than two dozen languages for distribution in more than thirty countries. Her novels Becoming Chloe and Jumpstart the World were included on the ALA’s Rainbow List; Jumpstart the World was also a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards and won Rainbow Awards in two categories. The Language of Hoofbeats won a Rainbow Award. More than fifty of her short stories have been published in many journals, including the Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, the Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and the Sun, and in the anthologies Santa Barbara Stories and California Shorts, as well as the bestselling anthology Dog Is My Co-Pilot. Her short fiction received honorable mention in the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest, a second-place win for the Tobias Wolff Award, and nominations for Best American Short Stories, the O. Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Three have also been cited in Best American Short Stories.

Hyde is the founder and former president of the Pay It Forward Foundation. As a professional public speaker, she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with AmeriCorps members at the White House, and shared a dais with Bill Clinton. An avid equestrian, photographer, and traveler, she lives in California.

Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy to give away to a lucky reader.  U.S. only, please.  Enter on the Rafflecopter.
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Boardwalk Summer Review & Giveaway

Boardwalk Summer: A Novel (Paperback)


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Having read and reviewed Meredith’s debut, The Dressmaker’s Dowry, I was eager to get my hands on her newest.  Might I say I enjoyed this one even more?  You guys, this is the perfect beach read.

Alternating between Santa Cruz in 2007 and 1940, we are first introduced to Violet Harcourt, a beauty queen with a troubling secret.  In 2007, Marisol Cruz, a single mother and waitress, is doing everything in her power to preserve the town’s history when she first notices a photograph of Violet.  Her research leads to some startling discoveries.

I was completely swept up in both stories and couldn’t wait to find out more background.  It was obvious that a lot of historical research was done and the author had me hooked from the first chapter.  I felt all the characters were fully formed and made the right choices given their backgrounds.

For me, and what kept me from a full 5 stars, was just the coincidence of how a few storylines played out.  Instead of it being a surprise, I just felt it was too convenient and unrealistic.  I don’t want to share more as to avoid spoilers.  That being said, I will be thrilled to continue reading Meredith’s work.

If you are a fan of historical fiction, this is such a light read and would be perfect for a beach bag or plane ride.  In fact, I started it on the plane and would have finished if not for my lack of sleep the 3 days prior.

My thanks to the publisher for a review copy.

About the author: USA Today bestselling author Meredith Jaeger was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, the daughter of a Swiss father and an American mother. While working for a San Francisco start-up, Meredith fulfilled her dream of writing a novel, the result of which was The Dressmaker,s Dowry. Meredith lives in Alameda with her husband, their infant daughter, and their bulldog.

 

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