Monday, November 6, 2017

The Goddesses by Swan Huntley

What They Say.....The Descendants meets Single White Female in this captivating novel about a woman who moves her family to Hawaii, only to find herself wrapped up in a dangerous friendship, from the celebrated author of We Could Be Beautiful. 

When Nancy and her family arrive in Kona, Hawaii, they are desperate for a fresh start. Nancy's husband has cheated on her; they sleep in separate bedrooms and their twin sons have been acting out, setting off illegal fireworks. But Hawaii is paradise: they plant an orange tree in the yard; they share a bed once again and Nancy resolves to make a happy life for herself. She starts taking a yoga class and there she meets Ana, the charismatic teacher. Ana has short, black hair, a warm smile, and a hard-won wisdom that resonates deeply within Nancy. They are soon spending all their time together, sharing dinners, relaxing in Ana's hot tub, driving around Kona in the cute little car Ana helps Nancy buy. As Nancy grows closer and closer to Ana—skipping family dinners and leaving the twins to their own devices she feels a happiness and understanding unlike anything she's ever experienced, and she knows that she will do anything Ana asks of her. A mesmerizing story of friendship and manipulation set against the idyllic tropical world of the Big Island, The Goddesses is a stunning psychological novel by one of our most exciting young writers.

What I Say.....Nancy and her family have moved to Hawaii, in an effort to save a marriage and to get her twin boys on the right path.  They are little fire starters, but Nancy is steadfastly minimizing their behavior. Because if she didn't, she might have to do something about it.  Same for her husband.

It's easier to go to a yoga class and focus on yourself.  After meeting her yoga teacher, Ana, Nancy become caught up in Ana's world - which is a superstitious one, one where if you give away peanut butter sandwiches to the homeless, it will provide protection for you from the universe.  

All of the signs are there that Ana is a liar and manipulating Nancy, but she is an expert at ignoring and excusing things she doesn't want to see.

But all that ignoring builds up to an emotional explosion, for everyone.  Can Nancy's family survive?  

 photo signature_zpsc91ef999.png

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Weekly Book Haul.....November 5, 2017

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly book meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, The Sunday Post is another great site hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.  The Sunday Salon is a Facebook page where great readers share what they've read this week and Mailbox Monday is a weekly roundup of the new books people have received.

November feels like it's going to fly by.  We had my daughter's bridal shower yesterday, it was so much fun!  It's such a great feeling when you see your children happy.  The reception is in two weeks and so many out of town friends and family are coming in, so I also have that to look forward to.  It will make a great kick off for a really special holiday season.

Today I get to to attend my first meeting of a book club I was invited to join.  The first book we read was The Things We Carried by Tim O'Brien.  Not going to lie, I hated it.  It was a series of short stories about Viet Nam.  It was gritty, and dirty and hopeless.  Not my cup of tea at all.

I added way too many books to my TBR shelf this week,but thank God it's winter!  Time to read!

Raising the Dad by Tom Matthews.....In Raising the Dad, John Husted’s life
is complicated, although not in any remarkable way. His marriage has slipped into a state of passionless functionality. His teenage daughter is growing distant and mean. His older brother—a washed-up heavy-metal singer—is fresh out of jail, and his mother is slipping away to dementia. 

And then an incredible secret about the family is forced upon John. By the time he finds a way to resolve the situation as best he can, the relationships within his family are changed forever in shocking and profoundly moving ways.

The Recipe Book by Viola Shipman.....Growing up in northern Michigan,
Samantha “Sam” Mullins felt trapped on her family’s orchard and 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.

The Trouble With Twelfth Grave by Darynda Jones.....Ever since Reyes
Farrow escaped from a hell dimension in which Charley Davidson accidentally trapped him, the son of Satan has been brimstone-bent on destroying the world his heavenly Brother created. His volatile tendencies have put Charley in a bit of a pickle. But that’s not the only briny vegetable on her plate. While trying to domesticate the feral being that used to be her husband, she also has to deal with her everyday life of annoying all manner of beings—some corporeal, some not so much—as she struggles to right the wrongs of society. Only this time she’s not uncovering a murder. This time she’s covering one up. 

Add to that her new occupation of keeping a startup PI venture—the indomitable mystery-solving team of Amber Kowalski and Quentin Rutherford—out of trouble and dealing with the Vatican’s inquiries into her beloved daughter, and Charley is on the brink of throwing in the towel and becoming a professional shopper. Or possibly a live mannequin. But when someone starts attacking humans who are sensitive to the supernatural world, Charley knows it’s time to let loose her razor sharp claws. Then again, her number one suspect is the dark entity she’s loved for centuries. So the question becomes: Can she tame the unruly beast before it destroys everything she’s worked so hard to protect?

The Sisters of Glass Ferry by Kim Michele Richardson.....Glass Ferry,
Kentucky, is bourbon country. Whiskey has been a way of life for generations, enabling families to provide and survive even in the darkest times. Flannery Butler’s daddy, Beauregard “Honey Bee” Butler, was known for making some of the best whiskey in the state, aged in barrels he’d take by boat up and down the Kentucky River until the rocking waters turned the spirits smooth and golden. Flannery is the only person Honey Bee ever entrusted with his recipes before he passed on, swearing her to secrecy as he did so. 

But Flannery is harboring other secrets too, about her twin sister Patsy, older by eight minutes and pretty in a way Flannery knows she’ll never be. Then comes the prom night when Patsy—wearing a yellow chiffon dress and the family pearls—disappears along with her date. Every succeeding year on the twins’ birthday, Flannery’s mother bakes a strawberry cake, convinced that this is the day Patsy will finally come home. But it will be two tumultuous decades until the muddy river yields a clue about what happened that night, compelling Flannery to confront the truth about her sleepy town, her family’s past, and the choices she and those closest to her have made in the name of love and retribution . . .

Woman Last Seen in Her Thirties by Camille Pagan.....At fifty-three,
Maggie Harris has a good marriage and two mostly happy children. Perpetually anxious, she’s also accumulated a list of semi-reasonable fears: falling air conditioners, the IRS, identity theft, skydiving, and airbag recalls. But never once did Maggie worry that her husband of nearly thirty years would leave her.
On the day Adam walks out the door, everything that makes Maggie secure goes with him. Only then does she realize that while she’s been busy caring for everyone else, she’s become invisible to the world—and to herself.
Maggie cautiously begins to rebuild her life with a trip to Rome, a new career, and even a rebound romance. But when a fresh crisis strikes and an uncertain future looms, she must decide: How much will she risk to remain the woman she’s just become?

Christmas in the Second Chance Coffee Shop by Kellies Hailes....Tis the
season for second chances…

Serena Hunter loves her new life in the sleepy Devonshire countryside! It’s a world away from her crazy past as the wife of American bad boy rock star, Ritchie Dangerfield.
Now she spends her days making delicious chocolate using milk from the local dairy and she finally feels that everything is back on track. That is, until her handsome ex-husband arrives in the village to win her back…
Away from the limelight, Serena gets to know Ritchie all over again and realises that maybe a second chance at love is the Christmas miracle she’d been dreaming of all along?

The Hush by John Hart.....It’s been ten years since the events that changed
Johnny Merrimon’s life and rocked his hometown to the core. Since then, Johnny has fought to maintain his privacy, but books have been written of his exploits; he has fans, groupies. Living alone in the wilderness beyond town, Johnny’s only connection to normal life is his old friend, Jack. They’re not boys anymore, but the bonds remain. 

What they shared. What they lost. 

But Jack sees danger in the wild places Johnny calls home; he senses darkness and hunger, an intractable intent. Johnny will discuss none of it, but there are the things he knows, the things he can do. A lesser friend might accept such abilities as a gift, but Jack has felt what moves in the swamp: the cold of it, the unspeakable fear.

 photo signature_zpsc91ef999.png

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

One Day in December by Shari Low

What They Say.....By the stroke of midnight, a heart would be broken, a cruel truth revealed, a devastating secret shared, and a love betrayed. Four lives would be changed forever, One Day in December

One morning in December... 
Caro set off on a quest to find out if her relationship with her father had been based on a lifetime of lies. 
Lila decided today would be the day that she told her lover's wife of their secret affair. 
Cammy was on the way to pick up the ring for the surprise proposal to the woman he loved. 
And Bernadette vowed that this was the day she would walk away from her controlling husband of 30 years and never look back. 
One day, four lives on a collision course with destiny...

What I Say....Oh the things that can happen in one day!  And to so many people who don't even realize they are connected.

I love Shari Low's books and one of the best things is how the characters reappear in different books.  Cammy has been in trouble before, so I was hoping for good things for him, but geez, he really doesn't have great taste in women!

Lila was horrible, but I still felt sorry for her because everyone could see what was coming a mile away, but when you are young and beautiful, you just don't think the rules of life apply to you.

Following them all through the course of the day was a bit nerve wracking because you just knew the car wreck was coming and there was nothing you could do to stop it, and you certainly couldn't look away.

But it's a Shari Low book, so the people who deserve a happy ending got one!  Love her books!

 photo signature_zpsc91ef999.png

Monday, October 30, 2017

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz

What They Say.....Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe from New York Times bestselling author, Melissa de la Cruz, is a sweet, sexy and hilarious gender-swapping, genre-satisfying re-telling, set in contemporary America and featuring one snooty Miss Darcy.

Darcy Fitzwilliam is 29, beautiful, successful, and brilliant. She dates hedge funders and basketball stars and is never without her three cellphones—one for work, one for play, and one to throw at her assistant (just kidding). Darcy’s never fallen in love, never has time for anyone else’s drama, and never goes home for Christmas if she can help it. But when her mother falls ill, she comes home to Pemberley, Ohio, to spend the season with her family.
Her parents throw their annual Christmas bash, where she meets one Luke Bennet, the smart, sardonic slacker son of their neighbor. Luke is 32-years-old and has never left home. He’s a carpenter and makes beautiful furniture, and is content with his simple life. He comes from a family of five brothers, each one less ambitious than the other. When Darcy and Luke fall into bed after too many eggnogs, Darcy thinks it’s just another one night stand. But why can’t she stop thinking of Luke? What is it about him? And can she fall in love, or will her pride and his prejudice against big-city girls stand in their way?

What I Say....I had a long discussion with a friend about this book.  Because I didn't enjoy it.  In fact, I'm struggling to finish it.  So I said I probably just wouldn't review it.  She pointed out to me that she reads another blogger, but doesn't really trust her reviews because she rates every book a 4 or 5 (out of 5).  She felt like bloggers should be honest in their reviews, after all, you can't love every book, right?

This is true, but St. Martin's is my favorite publisher, and so many of the authors that I love publish through them.  But I won't be a coward, I'll give an honest review.  

Let me first say, if you follow my blog, you know I love Christmas books.  And I love Pride and Prejudice, so I had great hopes, plus Melissa de la Cruz is an established author, so what could go wrong?  The answer is I don't know, but something did.

I felt no sympathy towards Darcy.  Her parents were cardboard characters, the romance with Luke felt fake. All of these grown adult boys live with their parents and are just sitting there waiting for people to come throw pebbles at their windows?

Based on the description of Darcy's goals and life, it was hard to believe that she would have any interest in Luke, which made it hard to invest in the story. It just lacked the humor you find in most Christmas books.

Read any of de la Cruz other books, she writes The Descendents series, the Blue Blood series, The Witches of East End series, they are all great and showcase her talent.

 photo signature_zpsc91ef999.png

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Weekly Book Haul.....October 29, 2017

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly book meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, The Sunday Post is another great site hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.  The Sunday Salon is a Facebook page where great readers share what they've read this week and Mailbox Monday is a weekly roundup of the new books people have received.

Fall is finally landing in Arizona!  The weather here is perfect right now, hanging around the high 80's and getting cool at night.  That only means one thing, Christmas books!  I don't know why, but I just love the chick lit Christmas books.  I think they are so stress free for me, I always know there will be a happy ending and it's just so relaxing to read them.

I was in San Francisco last weekend for my daughter's wedding, and after walking all day, it was a pleasure to crawl into bed and read at night.  I plowed through three Beatriz Williams books, The Secret Life of Violet GrantAlong the Infinite Sea, and I'm currently halfway through Tiny Little Thing.  I think Violet Grant was my favorite, but I always enjoy her books.  I love her collaborations with Karen White and Lauren Willig too, and they should have a new one out soon.  The Forgotten Room was one of my favorite books last year.

All of my adds this week are Christmas related.  I feel like I'm in a bit of a rut lately - does anyone have a new author to recommend?  I got the latest Sue Grafton - used to love her but the last few books have been underwhelming, and the reviews of the Y book are pretty concerning.  A lot of "couldn't finish" which is never a good sign.  I feel like I'm ready to read some new authors.

Christmas at Hope Cottage by Lily Graham.....In the little village of
Whistling, with its butterscotch cottages and rolling green hills, snow is beginning to fall. Christmas is coming, and Emma Halloway is on her way home.

When thirty-year-old food writer Emma Halloway gets dumped then knocked off her bike, she’s broken in more ways than one, and returns to her family’s cosy cottage in the Yorkshire Dales. Emma hasn’t been back in some time, running from her crazy relatives and her childhood sweetheart, Jack Allen.

Emma’s grandmother is determined to bake her back to health and happiness, as the Halloways have done for generations. Surrounded by old friends and warm cinnamon buns, Emma starts to believe in her family’s special talents for healing again. But then in walks Jack with his sparkling hazel eyes, stirring up the family feud between them. 

As the twinkly lights are strung between the streetlamps, Emma remembers just why she fell for Jack in the first place... and why a Halloway should never date an Allen.

The infuriating new lodger, Sandro, doesn’t believe anyone should have to choose between love and family. With a little bit of Christmas magic, can Emma and Jack find a way to be together, or will Emma find herself heartbroken once more?

Snowflakes, iced Cakes and Second Chances by Sue Watson.....Escape to
Devon for blustery walks along the beach, hot chocolate with extra marshmallows and proof that miracles really do happen, especially at Christmas.

A year after she separated from her husband, Gianni, on Christmas Day, Chloe’s heart is still in pieces as she unpacks the decorations for her first ever festive holiday alone. That is, until the phone rings…

It seems Gianni’s new seaside restaurant is in trouble and Chloe must go to Appledore to save the business – and him. Equally famous for his experimental culinary extravaganzas and his explosive temper, Gianni has been really stirring up a sensation with the locals – and not in a good way! 

As pans fly and the temperature in the kitchen rises, Chloe’s calming influence and magic touch might just get critics back on side in time to save the restaurant from sinking like a sad soufflĂ©. But will it be enough to save their marriage? 

Chloe came to Appledore in search of her Christmas sparkle, but when the snow clears, will she finally find the way back to her husband’s heart?

Christmas Promises at the Little Wedding Shop by Jane Linfoot.... 

Christmas arrives at Brides by the Sea, Cornwall’s enchanting and most adorable little wedding shop.

There’s nothing more magical than a winter wonderland wedding, and the girls are determined to make this festive season their most romantic yet.
The champagne is on ice while the mistletoe is hanging from every nook, and the exquisite lace and pearl-encrusted dresses, glistening like the frosted shop windows, are waiting to be chosen.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and romance is most definitely in the crisp winter air- with promises, proposals and Christmas kisses aplenty…
What will the season bring, in this enchanting fourth book of ‘The Little Wedding Shop by the Sea’ series?

 photo signature_zpsc91ef999.png