Sunday, September 27, 2015

Weekly Book Haul.....September 27, 2015





The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer, Showcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea, Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsThe Sunday Salon is a new facebook group I've joined and Monday Mailbox is hosted by Marcia to be Continued.


It was a pretty good week for me - it's starting to cool down in sunny Arizona finally, so it doesn't feel like walking into a life sized pizza oven every time I open my front door.  You dread the walk from the parking garage to your car, knowing you will be a sweaty mess by the time you get to your office. Then you get to put on a sweater, since every building in Arizona is kept around 70 degrees from June to September.  If the zombie apocalypse ever hits, I'm heading east quick.  No human could live here without air conditioning.

I've read some great books this week - And congratulations to Brooke, who won a copy of A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan!  I love doing giveaways.

One part of fall that I love is the new seasons of good TV.  I don't watch a ton of television, but there are some shows I love.  I'm looking forward to the new episodes of The Affair, and I just watched the first episode of Scream Queens, which cracked me up!  I've been watching The Mindy Project on Hulu - I was so bummed that it got cancelled by Fox.  I need to pick up Mindy Kaling's new book.

Right now, I'm reading the new Kate Morton book, The Lake House.  It's as awesome as I expected, so that review will be coming soon.

I only added a few new books this week, as my TBR is getting out of control again.  I always know it's fall when the ARC's of Christmas books start coming in.  That's one of my favorite parts of Christmas - snuggling in with a Christmas chick lit book, you know it's going to be a happy ending!


NetGalley


One Wish in Manhattan by Mandy Baggot.....It’s the most wonderful time of the year . . . to fall in love.



The temperature is dropping, snow is on its way and Hayley Walker is heading for New York with one wish on her mind…to start over. 

With her nine year-old daughter Angel, Hayley is ready for an adventure. From hot chocolates and horse-drawn carriage rides in Central Park, to ice-skating at the Rockefeller Centre, and Christmas shopping on 5th Avenue – they soon fall in love with the city that never sleeps.  

But there’s more to New York than the bright twinkly lights and breathtaking skyscrapers. Angel has a Christmas wish of her own – to find her real dad. 

While Hayley tries to fufil her daughter’s wish, she crosses paths with billionaire Oliver Drummond. Restless and bored with fast living, there’s something intriguing about him that has Hayley hooked.  

Determined to make her daughter’s dream come true, can Hayley dare to think her own dreams might turn into reality – could A New York Christmas turn into a New York Forever?  

Travel to the Big Apple this Christmas and join Hayley and Oliver as they both realise that life isn’t just about filling the minutes…it’s about making every moment count. 

Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale....An uplifting, beautiful story about never letting go of your dreams, the special magic of a 
family Christmas… and the rush of falling in love under the mistletoe

Single mother Abbey Fuller loves her family more than anything, and doesn’t regret for a moment having had to put her dreams of being an interior designer on hold. But with her son, Max, growing up, when a friend recommends her for a small design job she jumps at the chance. How hard can it be? 

Nick Sinclair needs his house decorated in time for his family’s festive visit – and money is no object. What he doesn’t need is to be distracted from his multi-million dollar business – even if it is Christmas. 

When Abbey pulls up to the huge Sinclair mansion, she has a feeling she might be out of her depth. And when she meets the gorgeous, brooding Nicholas Sinclair, she knows that she’s in real trouble… 

With the snow falling all around, can Abbey take the chance to make her dreams of being a designer come true? And can she help Nick to finally enjoy the magic of Christmas? 


Edelweiss


The Opposite of Everyone by Joshilyn Jackson....Born in Alabama, Paula Vauss spent the first decade of her life on the road with her free-spirited young mother, Kai, an itinerant storyteller who blended Hindu mythology with Southern Oral Tradition to re-invent their history as they roved. But everything, including Paula’s birthname Kali Jai, changed when she told a story of her own—one that landed Kai in prison and Paula in foster care. Separated, each holding her own secrets, the intense bond they once shared was fractured.

These days, Paula has reincarnated herself as a tough-as-nails divorce attorney with a successful practice in Atlanta. While she hasn’t seen Kai in fifteen years, she’s still making payments on that Karmic debt—until the day her last check is returned in the mail, along with a cryptic letter. “I am going on a journey, Kali. I am going back to my beginning; death is not the end. You will be the end. We will meet again, and there will be new stories. You know how Karma works.”

Then Kai’s most treasured secret literally lands on Paula’s doorstep, throwing her life into chaos and transforming her from only child to older sister. Desperate to find her mother before it’s too late, Paula sets off on a journey of discovery that will take her back to the past and into the deepest recesses of her heart. With the help of her ex-lover Birdwine, an intrepid and emotionally volatile private eye who still carries a torch for her, this brilliant woman, an expert at wrecking families, now has to figure out how to put one back together—her own.

The Opposite of Everyone is a story about story itself, how the tales we tell connect us, break us, and define us, and how the endings and beginnings we choose can destroy us . . . and make us whole. Laced with sharp humor and poignant insight, it is beloved New York Times bestselling author Joshilyn Jackson at her very best.


Booksparks


The Year of Necessary Lies by Kris Radish....One amazing year in a remarkable woman¹s life journey becomes the inspiration for generations when she takes a huge risk, follows her heart, embraces forbidden love, and unwittingly becomes the champion of a winged world that is on the brink of extinction. It’s 1903, the world is poised for drastic change, and Julia Briton is a naive, beautiful Boston socialite who suffers a series of devastating losses and discovers that her beloved husband is involved in the plume trade—the massive slaughter of birds for use in the fashion industry. When Julia is secretly ushered into the early 20th century by a group of brazen female activists, she boldly risks everything and embarks on a perilous journey to the wilds of untamed Florida, a place of great danger where men will stop at nothing to get what they want and where one man, and a faithful friend, force her to make yet more life-changing decisions. Years later, when Julia’s great-granddaughter, Kelly, discovers some hidden tape recordings in her famous great-grandmother¹s dresser and learns the real truth about Julia’s year, a year that changed the course of history, she must decide what to do with her grandmother¹s incredible legacy. Will she keep the real “secret of the year”, or will she be brave enough to follow her own heart?

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Crooked Little Lies by Barbara Taylor Sissel








What They Say.....On a cool October morning, Lauren Wilder is shaken when she comes close to striking Bo Laughlin with her car as he’s walking along the road’s edge. A young man well known in their small town of Hardys Walk, Texas, Bo seems fine, even if Lauren’s intuition says otherwise. Since the accident two years ago that left her brain in a fragile state, she can’t trust her own instincts—and neither can her family. Then Bo vanishes, and as the search for him ensues, the police question whether she’s responsible. Lauren is terrified, not of what she remembers but of what she doesn’t.
Unable to trust herself and unwilling to trust anyone else, Lauren begins her own investigation into the mystery of Bo’s disappearance. But the truth can prove to be as shocking as any lie, and as Lauren exposes each one, from her family, from her friends, she isn’t the only one who will face heart-stopping repercussions.

What I Say.....This book was good, it was a bit suspenseful, full of good characters.
Lauren is struggling to come back from a head injury, along with being a recovering addict after a bad fall led to a pain killer addiction that threatened her marriage and family.
But she thinks she is on the straight and narrow on the day she sees the town oddball, Bo walking on the side of the road.  She stops and has a brief conversation with him, and the next time she sees him, he is getting in a nice car with an older lady.
Unfortunately, that's the last time anyone sees him.  His sister and father help lead a town wide search for him, but no one has any other information on his whereabouts.
Meanwhile, Lauren is starting to feel like a suspect, and with her faulty memory and history of addiction, she even becomes afraid of what she might have done.
It was a good setup, and enough suspense to keep you hooked.  I think it was about 50-70 pages too long, because I started losing interest in the middle, but then got hooked again by the end.  
It's always disturbing to find out that the people closest to you can be the scariest........

Current Goodreads Rating 3.53

Thank you Booksparks for this ARC as part of the Fall Reading Challenge!

 photo signature_zpsc91ef999.png

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain




What They Say.....Molly Arnette is very good at keeping secrets. She lives in San Diego with a husband she adores, and they are trying to adopt a baby because they can't have a child on their own. 

But the process of adoption brings to light many questions about Molly's past and her family--the family she left behind in North Carolina twenty years before. The mother she says is dead but who is very much alive. The father she adored and whose death sent her running from the small community of Morrison's Ridge. Her own birth mother whose mysterious presence in her family raised so many issues that came to a head. 
The summer of twenty years ago changed everything for Molly and as the past weaves together with the present story, Molly discovers that she learned to lie in the very family that taught her about pretending. If she learns the truth about her beloved father's death, can she find peace in the present to claim the life she really wants?

What I Say.....Awesome book.  I read it in one day, and this was a wet book for me!  Started it floating in the pool, and finished it at midnight (my normal bedtime is 9pm!) with tears pouring into my pillow.

Molly is living a happy life in San Diego with her loving husband.  The only thing missing from their lives is a baby to complete their family.  But Molly is unable to carry a baby, so they start the adoption process. Seems like the right thing to do, but it opens up a lot of emotions for Molly.  Doors and memories that she has kept tightly shut for many years.  Even her own husband doesn't know the secrets she keeps about her family.

I loved the way the book popped back and forth between 14 year old Molly and present day Molly.  It was heart wrenching to watch adolescent Molly maneuver through the most important summer of her life, knowing what was coming.   Their whole extended family and friends were all so entangled that it was easy to understand how an adolescent girl could become so confused about what reality really was.  How can you learn to trust yourself when all of the adults around you are keeping secrets?  Add in a fast new best friend, and a hot, older guy who wants to move faster than Molly does, and you've got all the ingredients for an difficult summer.

As Molly and Aidan begin to navigate an open adoption, Molly wonders how she would really feel about having the birth mother involved in their lives, but doesn't seem to make the connection between her feelings and her past.  It certainly doesn't seem to inspire any empathy for her own adoptive mother.

I don't want to say any more because I hate spoilers, but I couldn't go to sleep until I knew how the story ended for Molly.  I fell asleep on a wet pillow, but it was so worth it!

This is my new favorite Diane Chamberlain book - and believe me, it has a lot of competition!

Current Goodreads Rating 4.27



 photo signature_zpsc91ef999.png

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Weekly Book Haul.....September 20, 2015





The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer, Showcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea, Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsThe Sunday Salon is a new facebook group I've joined and Monday Mailbox is hosted by Marcia to be Continued.

This has been a good reading week.  I got a copy of Diane Chamberlain's new book Pretending to Dance as part of the Fall Reading Challenge from Booksparks University.  This is my new favorite book of her's so far - a title that previously belong to The Secret of Ceecee Wilkes.  I read it in one day, a review will be coming.

This may be the last weekend in the pool, so I'm trying to take advantage of every afternoon hour in the sun.  Every winter, I think that I should have spent more time in the pool.  And winter is creeping up.......

NetGalley


Julia's Daughters by Colleen Faulkner....Julia Maxton can't imagine anything worse than losing one
of her three daughters—until the day seventeen-year-old Haley runs a stop sign, killing her younger sister Caitlin. Six weeks after the crash, the family is falling apart. Julia struggles not to show hostility toward Haley, but her deep-rooted anger won't go away. Her husband, Ben, has drifted away emotionally. Their youngest daughter, Izzy, is lost in the shuffle. And despite Haley's insistence that she's fine, her actions scream otherwise. 

Fearing that she's about to lose a second child, Julia decides to take Haley on a cross-country drive. Maybe somewhere between Nevada and Maine they can bridge the gulf between them. But first there will be painful questions to face—is Julia a good mother? Did she secretly love responsible, respectful Caitlin more than defiant Haley? Can Haley ever find peace with her mother—and herself—again?

In Colleen Faulkner's most thought-provoking and complex novel to date, an unthinkable tragedy becomes the starting place for a powerful journey toward healing and hope. Honest and unforgettable, Julia's Daughters explores the surprising ways that families—even the most fractured—can save each other, over and over again.

Little Girl Gone by Alexandra Burt....A baby goes missing. But does her mother want her back?

When Estelle’s baby daughter is taken from her cot, she doesn’t report her missing. Days later, Estelle is found in a wrecked car, with a wound to her head and no memory.

Estelle knows she holds the key to what happened that night – but what she doesn’t know is whether she was responsible…





The Seafront Tearoom by Vanessa Greene....The first rule of afternoon tea: never rush. Take time to
savor it. Just like friendship…


The Seafront Tearoom is an insider secret in small-town Scarborough – a beach-front haven with the best tea and cakes in town – and  journalist Charlie Harrison would love to put it on the map with a feature in her magazine. But single mom Kat Murray doesn’t want to see her favorite sanctuary overrun by tourists, and begs Charlie to seek out other options. She offers her help, as a “tea obsessive,” and so does French au pair Séraphine Moreau, whose upbringing makes her a connoisseur of everything sweet and indulgent.

Together the three women will scour the countryside for quaint hideaways and hidden gems, sharing along the way their secrets, disappointments, and dreams – and discovering that friendship, like tea, takes time to steep. But learning too that once you open your heart, the possibilities are endless. 


Booksparks


Shattered Blue by Lauren Bird Horowitz....For Noa and Callum, being together is dangerous, even
deadly. 

From the start, sixteen-year-old Noa senses that the mysterious transfer student to her Monterey boarding school is different.  Callum unnerves and intrigues her, and even as she struggles through family tragedy, she’s irresistibly drawn to him. Soon they are bound by his deepest secret: Callum is Fae, banished from another world after a loss hauntingly similar to her own.


But in Noa’s world, Callum needs a special human energy, Light, to survive; his body steals it through touch—or a kiss. And Callum’s not the only Fae on the hunt. When Callum is taken, Noa must decide: Will she sacrifice everything to save him? Even if it means learning their love may not be what she thought?
 


Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain....Molly Arnette is very good
at keeping secrets. 

She lives in San Diego with a husband she adores, and they are trying to adopt a baby because they can't have a child on their own. But the process of adoption brings to light many questions about Molly's past and her family--the family she left behind in North Carolina twenty years before. 

The mother she says is dead but who is very much alive. The father she adored and whose death sent her running from the small community of Morrison's Ridge. Her own birth mother whose mysterious presence in her family raised so many issues that came to a head. 

The summer of twenty years ago changed everything for Molly and as the past weaves together with the present story, Molly discovers that she learned to lie in the very family that taught her about pretending. 

If she learns the truth about her beloved father's death, can she find peace in the present to claim the life she really wants?


 photo signature_zpsc91ef999.png

A Giveaway of A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan


a Rafflecopter giveaway



 photo signature_zpsc91ef999.png

Saturday, September 19, 2015

A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan



What They Say....In A Window Opens, Elisabeth Egan brings us Alice Pearse, a compulsively honest, longing-to-have-it-all, sandwich generation heroine for our social-media-obsessed, lean in (or opt out) age. Like her fictional forebears Kate Reddy and Bridget Jones, Alice plays many roles (which she never refers to as “wearing many hats” and wishes you wouldn’t, either). She is a mostly-happily married mother of three, an attentive daughter, an ambivalent dog-owner, a part-time editor, a loyal neighbor, and a Zen commuter. She is not: a cook, a craftswoman, a decorator, an active PTA member, a natural caretaker, or the breadwinner. But when her husband makes a radical career change, Alice is ready to lean in—and she knows exactly how lucky she is to land a job at Scroll, a hip young start-up which promises to be the future of reading, with its chain of chic literary lounges and dedication to beloved classics. The Holy Grail of working mothers—an intellectually satisfying job and a happy personal life—seems suddenly within reach.

Despite the disapproval of her best friend, who owns the local bookstore, Alice is proud of her new “balancing act” (which is more like a three-ring circus) until her dad gets sick, her marriage flounders, her babysitter gets fed up, her kids start to grow up, and her work takes an unexpected turn. Fans of I Don’t Know How She Does It, Where’d You Go Bernadette, and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry will cheer as Alice realizes the question is not whether it’s possible to have it all, but what does she—Alice Pearse—really want?

What I Say....I really enjoyed this book.  Alice has the best of both worlds, she works part time reading books for a living and spends the other half being a stay at home mom, and helping her friend run a reading and wine night in her bookstore.

Then one day, Alice's husband has a work meltdown that culminates in him throwing a computer across the room, ending his high paying job at an upscale law firm and life as Alice knows it.

Nick decides that this is the perfect time for him to start his own law firm, and suggests that Alice return to the workforce full time in order to make up the difference in their income.  Alice is not excited about this idea, but her panic about money gets her on board quickly.

She is fortunate to find a new job at a start up of a new book store, Scroll.  This job should be a dream come true, but Alice is ambivalent from the start.  As she attempts to maneuver through a younger work force, while still giving her family the same amount of attention, she finds out what most of us already know - it's not as easy a it looks, and some part of your life always suffers.

Work isn't any type of escape for Alice either, as she struggles to get on board with selling ebooks instead of what she truly loves, paper books.  Her boss displays the usual bipolar characteristics, and then the company decides to make a complete change and leave the e-bookstore concept behind and become a video game store, an idea that Alice truly struggles with.

The one thing I really liked about this book was that it reflected real life.  Alice's husband begins flirting with alcoholism, her beloved father's cancer returns.  And she is feeling the burden of being the sole financial support for her family, while realizing that she is missing important parts of her children's every day lives.  Life isn't always easy, and sometimes when bad things happen, they seem like they come in waves.

Ultimately, Alice has to decide what her priorities are, and what does she truly want for her own life?
This a decision we all struggle with, but I think most of us just continue plodding along, undecided.

Another great debut author!  I enjoyed this book so much I'll be holding a giveaway - so sign up for a chance to win a copy!

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Sparrow Sisters by Ellen Herrick




What They Say.....With echoes of the alchemy of Practical Magic, the lushness of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, and the darkly joyful wickedness of the Witches of Eastwick, Ellen Herrick’s debut novel spins an enchanting love story about a place where magic whispers just beneath the surface and almost anything is possible, if you aren’t afraid to listen.


The Sparrow Sisters are as tightly woven into the seaside New England town of Granite Point as the wild sweet peas that climb the stone walls along the harbor. Sorrel, Nettie and Patience are as colorful as the beach plums on the dunes and as mysterious as the fog that rolls into town at dusk.

Patience is the town healer and when a new doctor settles into Granite Point he brings with him a mystery so compelling that Patience is drawn to love him, even as she struggles to mend him. But when Patience Sparrow’s herbs and tinctures are believed to be implicated in a local tragedy, Granite Point is consumed by a long-buried fear—and its three hundred year old history resurfaces as a modern day witch-hunt threatens. The plants and flowers, fruit trees and high hedges begin to wither and die, and the entire town begins to fail; fishermen return to the harbor empty-handed, and blight descends on the old elms that line the lanes.

It seems as if Patience and her town are lost until the women of Granite Point band together to save the Sparrow. As they gather, drawing strength from each other, will they be able to turn the tide and return life to Granite Point?
The Sparrow Sisters is a beautiful, haunting, and thoroughly mesmerizing novel that will capture your imagination.


What I Say....I was really excited to get this advance copy of The Sparrow Sisters because I am a huge fan of magical realism.  I think this genre can be very hard to write, it's easy to go too far and end up feeling like fantasy.

Nettie, Sorrel and Patience Sparrow are the slightly odd sisters who all live together in the family home, and work in their nursery, selling plants and flowers that always seem to be blooming no matter what the season.  Patience is the local healer, making natural remedies for the townsfolk.  This has been the way it has always been, going back to the 1800's, when her ancestor was accused of witchcraft by a hysterical town.

When a new doctor moves to town, he finds himself very irritated with Patience's practice and their first meeting does not go well.  But as you might imagine, romance blossoms. 

Then tragedy strikes in the form of a very unexpected death, and the town is torn apart with the resulting trial.

The things I loved were the details of the remedies, the fact that the women in the town bonded together to save Patience, and the descriptions of the town.

Things that I think will improve as the author gets her footing (this is her first novel) are the pacing and continuity.  At times, I felt like there was too much quick back and forth of feelings, particularly with Henry.  He went from loving Patience to not trusting her.  From not being able to wait to see her to not particularly liking her.  I thought there could have been a deeper look at what made Matty's dad change his mind within a few days.

I wish there had been more of a connection or details about the witch hunt of the past with the witch hunt of today.

But these are all just suggestions for improvement, and didn't prevent me from thoroughly enjoying the book.

Ellen Herrick has joined Alice Hoffman and Sarah Addison Allen on my must read magical realism author list.

Current Goodreads Rating 3.81

 photo signature_zpsc91ef999.png

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Weekly Book Haul......September 13, 2015





The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer, Showcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea, Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsThe Sunday Salon is a new facebook group I've joined and Monday Mailbox is hosted by Marcia to be Continued.

It's still summer to me!  I spent all day yesterday in the pool, floating and finishing The Sparrow Sisters, which I LOVED (review coming soon).  It was the perfect pool day.  100 degrees, very light breeze, water was 85 degrees.  I kept reminding myself to remember how wonderful this day was as winter approaches.  It's like torture to look at the sparkling pool in January, knowing you can't go in.

But the good part of fall is the start of football season.  Because I love the underdog, I love me some Chicago Bears.  It's like having a wayward teenager.....you love them, you know they can do it, but deep in your heart, you know they are going to let you down.

Right now, I'm reading A Window Opens, and I plan to raffle off a copy, because I'm really enjoying it and I love to support a first time author.

I am also excited about my new adds this week, including a purchase of the new Jennifer McMahon book.  I really love her books, and I didn't even know she had a new one out until I saw a review of it in one of my favorite blogs, Book Journey.

But without further ado........

NetGalley


Too Many Cooks by Dana Bate....When Kelly Madigan is offered a job abroad
right after reading a letter from her late mother urging her to take more risks, she sees it as a sign. Kelly's new ghostwriting assignment means moving to London to work for Natasha Spencer--movie star, lifestyle guru, and wife of a promising English politician. As it turns out, Natasha is also selfish, mercurial, and unwilling to let any actual food past her perfect lips.
Still, in between testing dozens of kale burgers and developing the perfect chocolate mousse, Kelly is having adventures. Some are glamorous; others, like her attraction to her boss's neglected husband, are veering out of control. Kelly knows there's no foolproof recipe for a happy life. But how will she know if she's gone too far in reaching for what she wants?

Nowhere Girl by Susan Strecker....The day Savannah was killed she was
fifteen minutes late to meet me." So begins bookseller favorite Susan Strecker's second novel of twin sisters and the murder that left one twin behind.
Savannah was the popular bad girl skipping school and moving quickly from one boyfriend to the next, so when she didn't meet Cady as promised, Cady wasn't surprised and the truth was Cady was already a bit mad at her. When Cady suddenly becomes short of breath she realizes Savannah is in trouble, but within minutes Savannah is gone.
Years later Cady, now a bestselling author of suspense, spends her time interviewing killers, hoping each interview will help her understand what happened to her sister. Despite Savannah's death, the bond Savannah and Cady share has never been broken. Savannah still comes to Cady, but the clues her sister sends don't add up until a chance encounter while researching her latest novel provides a missing piece of the puzzle.

The Dogs of Littlefield by Suzanne Berne....Littlefield, Massachusetts,
named one of the Ten Best Places to Live in America, full of psychologists and college professors, is proud of its fine schools, its girls’ soccer teams, its leafy streets, and charming village center.

Yet no sooner has sociologist Dr. Clarice Watkins arrived to study the elements of “good quality of life” than someone begins poisoning the town’s dogs. Are the poisonings in protest to an off-leash proposal for Baldwin Park—the subject of much town debate—or the sign of a far deeper disorder? Certainly these types of things don’t happen in Littlefield.

The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalan.......When Kristin Chapman agrees to let
her husband, Richard, host his brother’s bachelor party, she expects a certain amount of debauchery. She brings their young daughter to Manhattan for the evening, leaving her Westchester home to the men and their hired entertainment. What she does not expect is this: bacchanalian drunkenness, her husband sharing a dangerously intimate moment in the guest room, and two women stabbing and killing their Russian bodyguards before driving off into the night.


In the aftermath, Kristin and Richard’s life rapidly spirals into nightmare. The police throw them out of their home, now a crime scene, Richard’s investment banking firm puts him on indefinite leave, and Kristin is unsure if she can forgive her husband for the moment he shared with a dark-haired girl in the guest room. But the dark-haired girl, Alexandra, faces a much graver danger. In one breathless, violent night, she is free, running to escape the police who will arrest her and the gangsters who will kill her in a heartbeat. A captivating, chilling story about shame and scandal, The Guest Room is a riveting novel from one of our greatest storytellers.

From the Authors


Tangled Up by Robin Neeley.......Abby Stevens doesn't know what's gotten
into her, but getting tangled up nightly with the latest bachelor to Buttermilk Falls has to stop. Sure Brandon Swift's got rock hard abs and blue eyes to die for, but the Los Angles playboy is not the man for her. To end things between them once and for all, she might need some magical help. 


Brandon is settling into small-town life thanks to his new bartending gig and the cute redhead sharing his bed. He suspects she might be looking for more than a fling. After a bitter divorce and a few months of playing the field, he might finally be ready, too. 

But when Abby presents him with an enchanted cupcake that reverses his attraction to her, both discover strong feelings they didn't realize they had. Is it too late to reverse the spell? 

Beach Wedding by Bella Cruise....Three weeks. One quirky small-town. The
wedding of the year. What could go wrong?

Big-city wedding planner Ginny Austen has landed the job of a lifetime. Her new celebrity clients want a smash hit TV wedding, and they’ve got their hearts set on a quirky home-town wedding. Her home-town: Pelican Key Cove, Florida.

Ginny hasn’t been home since she high-tailed out of town the night before her high-school graduation with nothing but a vintage pink Camaro and a broken heart. She’s spent years building a life of her own, but now she’s got just three weeks to face her past and put together a dream wedding — in a town that makes ‘eccentric’ its middle name.

Ginny may be determined to stay professional, but the inhabitants of Pelican Cove have other ideas. And between her crazy aunts, a TV producer who puts Macciaveli to shame, and a downright sexy former flame, nothing about this wedding is going to plan. Can she pull off the big day with her sanity - and heart - intact? Or will her reputation go down in flames -- on national TV?
 

Booksparks


Crooked Little Lies by Barbara Taylor Sissel......On a cool October morning,
Lauren Wilder is shaken when she comes close to striking Bo Laughlin with her car as he’s walking along the road’s edge. A young man well known in their small town of Hardys Walk, Texas, Bo seems fine, even if Lauren’s intuition says otherwise. Since the accident two years ago that left her brain in a fragile state, she can’t trust her own instincts—and neither can her family. Then Bo vanishes, and as the search for him ensues, the police question whether she’s responsible. Lauren is terrified, not of what she remembers but of what she doesn’t.

Unable to trust herself and unwilling to trust anyone else, Lauren begins her own investigation into the mystery of Bo’s disappearance. But the truth can prove to be as shocking as any lie, and as Lauren exposes each one, from her family, from her friends, she isn’t the only one who will face heart-stopping repercussions.




 photo signature_zpsc91ef999.png

Monday, September 7, 2015

Star Craving Mad by Elise A. Miller




What They Say.....Maddy Braverman, thirty and single, has taught first grade at an uber-elite private school in Greenwich Village for the past six years, a hip downtown school lauded as much for its progressive pedagogy as its privileged progeny̵and its multitude of sex-crazed staff̵including the headmaster, AKA the Head Molester. Angry at herself for not moving on, Maddy gets distracted from her pity party with a new student̵Lola Magdalena, daughter of A-list celebrities Nic and Shelby Seabolt̵a last-minute addition to her class roster. 

When tragedy strikes Lola, Maddy has the chance to meet with Nic in his TriBeCa apartment. Maddy’s sexy celebrity fantasies turn to reality, leaving her breathless and spellbound. But from her front-row vantage point, Maddy learns the hard way that celebrity is not all it seems, and gets dealt a devastating blow that could leave her jobless, loveless and alone. If she could just see things clearly she could save herself from going Star Craving Mad.

What I Say.....Okay, what can I say - I enjoyed reading this book.  But when I finished, I had to think about what I consider the difference between a 3 star and a 4 star book.

Overall, I enjoyed the storyline.  I love to follow celebrity gossip, so I could completely identify with Maddy's starstruck reaction to huge celebrities invading her everyday life.

I liked James and the supporting characters.  I wish Maddy had been a little more engaging.  Which brings me to the difference between 3 and 4 stars - I liked Maddy, but I was a little put off by some of the language.  And I'm not a prude - but I guess I just don't want all the references to tampons being stuck and lost for weeks, or wondering if you are sitting in some other girl's juices on a chair.  Gross.  Unnecessary.  These type of descriptions didn't move the story forward at all, and made me not like Maddy as much.  

I thought Shelby trying to steal her children's book was a great twist to the story.  And I liked that it wasn't an easy fix.

So overall, I thought the story was a 4.  But some of the grossness took away from my overall enjoyment of the book, so I would give it 3 stars.

The Witch of Bourbon Street by Suzanne Palmieri




What They Say.....When Frances Sorrow returns home to the now dilapidated Sorrow Estate to restore her birthright, she finds herself haunted by a 100-year-old mystery only she can unravel

Set amidst the charming chaos of The French Quarter and remote bayous of Tivoli Parish, Louisiana, Suzanne Palmieri’s The Witch of Bourbon Street weaves an unforgettable tale of mystery and magic.

Situated deep in the bayou is the formerly opulent Sorrow Estate. Once home to a magical family, the Sorrows, it now lays in ruins, uninhabited since a series of murders in 1902 shocked the entire community. When Frances Green Sorrow is born, the family is on the brink of obscurity and the last remaining Sorrows cling to the hope that she is the one who will finally resurrect the glory of what once was.

However, Frances has no wish to be the family’s savior. Disillusioned, she marries young, attempting an "ordinary life," and has a son, Jack. When her marriage fails and she loses custody of her boy, she runs away to live a quiet life on the dilapidated Sorrow Estate, where she practices solitary magic amid ghosts and gardens. But when Jack disappears, she is forced to rejoin the world she left behind and solve the century-old murder that casts a long shadow over Tivoli Parish and its inhabitants in order to find her son.

The Witch of Bourbon Street is a story of love, family, redemption and forgiveness. It’s a story that bridges the nostalgia of time, and brings those that are separated back together again.


What I Say....I've read Suzanne Palmieri before and really enjoyed her.  But I struggled with this book.  Not the story, I liked the story, but there is honestly something wrong with me when it comes to New Orleans.  

I absolutely HATE anything to do with it.  I hate gumbo, I hate swamps, I hate crawfish.  But the thing I hate the most is Cajun dialect.  Reading it or hearing it, doesn't matter, it's like nails on a chalkboard for me.  I must have had a bad past life experience in New Orleans, because I've never set foot in that state  (and never would willingly).

So although I liked Frances as a character, and the ghost story, it was hard for me to get into the book because I couldn't stand reading it.  The author was very heavy on authentic dialect, which is probably the right thing, but I just couldn't get into it.

This had nothing to do with the story or Palmieri's writing - I've loved some of Pamlieri's other Witch books, but I should have known once I saw the words, "Bourbon Street" to take a pass.

The current Goodreads rating is 3.98, which is awesome.  Looks like other people don't have the unreasonable prejudice against the bayou like I do.

 photo signature_zpsc91ef999.png

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Weekly Book Haul.....September 6, 2015




The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer, Showcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea, Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsThe Sunday Salon is a new facebook group I've joined and Monday Mailbox is hosted by Marcia to be Continued.

I have actually taken the last two weeks off of blogging, not by intention, but life just got so busy that I didn't have the time.  Last week was my birthday week, and one of my best friends flew in for it.  I also had an unexpected knock on my door that Thursday night, and my sister had flown in to surprise me for my birthday!!  It was so cool - and it ended up being one of my best birthdays ever.

I threw a party for the first time in my life - I called it My Very Merry Un-Birthday party and invited lots of friends.  One of my friends brought the game Cards Against Humanity - we played it for hours and laughed so hard.  Some truly horrible things were said, but they were hilarious.

It's finally starting to cool off here in sunny Arizona.  When I lived in Illinois, 96 was considered hot, hot, hot.  Here when the forecast is in the 90's, I think it's time to start opening the windows.  The sad thing is that as soon as the nights get cooler, the pool temperature drops FAST.  We are down to 85 in the pool now, which takes a minute to get used to.  Once again, in Illinois, that would have been super warm, but here it's chilly.

But I'm ready to read and blog again!  This week, I got a copy of Kate Morton's upcoming book, which is the second most exciting book blog thing that has happened to me this year - Jane Green's ARC of Summer Secrets earlier this year being the first.

As I sat down to write this, The Fan was on TV, which made me wonder what Peter Abrahams is up to these days.  I loved his books.  He is truly one of the best mystery writers out there.  I even loved his YA Echo Falls series.  It looks like he's been writing under a pseudonym and he has a book I hadn't read yet, so another new purchase was made.


NetGalley

The Good Neighbor by Amy Sue Nathan...Things are a little rough for Izzy
Lane. Still reeling from the break-up of her marriage, the newly single mom moves back to the Philadelphia home she grew up in, five-year-old Noah in tow. The transition is difficult, but with the help of her best friends—and her elderly neighbor, Mrs. Feldman—Izzy feels like she’s stepping closer to her new normal. Until her ex-husband shows up with his girlfriend. That’s when Izzy invents a boyfriend of her own. And that’s when life gets complicated.
Blogging about her “new guy” provides Izzy with something to do when Noah’s asleep. What’s the harm in a few made-up stories? Then, her blog soars in popularity and she’s given the opportunity to moonlight as an online dating expert. How can she turn it down? But when her friends want to meet the mysterious “Mac,” someone online suspects Izzy’s a fraud, and a guy in-real-life catches her eye, Izzy realizes just how high the stakes are. That’s when Mrs. Feldman steps in, determined to show her neighbor the havoc that lies can wreak. If Izzy’s honest, she could lose everything, and everyone. Is the truth worth any cost?

The Lake House by Kate Morton....From the New York Times and
internationally bestselling author of The Secret Keeper and The Distant Hours, an intricately plotted, spellbinding new novel of heartstopping suspense and uncovered secrets.

Living on her family’s idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, innocent, and precociously talented sixteen-year-old who loves to write stories. But the mysteries she pens are no match for the one her family is about to endure…

One midsummer’s eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest child, eleven-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace. What follows is a tragedy that tears the family apart in ways they never imagined.

Decades later, Alice is living in London, having enjoyed a long successful career as an author. Theo’s case has never been solved, though Alice still harbors a suspicion as to the culprit. Miles away, Sadie Sparrow, a young detective in the London police force, is staying at her grandfather’s house in Cornwall. While out walking one day, she stumbles upon the old estate—now crumbling and covered with vines, clearly abandoned long ago. Her curiosity is sparked, setting off a series of events that will bring her and Alice together and reveal shocking truths about a past long gone...yet more present than ever.

A lush, atmospheric tale of intertwined destinies, this latest novel from a masterful storyteller is an enthralling, thoroughly satisfying read.

Christmas at Lilac Cottage by Holly Martin....Welcome to the charming
seaside town of White Cliff Bay, where Christmas is magical and love is in the air…
Penny Meadows loves her home – a cosy cottage decorated with pretty twinkling fairy lights and stunning views over the town of White Cliff Bay. She also loves her job as an ice-carver, creating breathtaking sculptures. Yet her personal life seems frozen. 

When Henry and daughter Daisy arrive at the cottage to rent the annex, Penny is determined to make them feel welcome. But while Daisy is friendly, Henry seems guarded.  

As Penny gets to know Henry, she realises there is more to him than meets the eye. And the connection between them is too strong to ignore… 

While the spirit of the season sprinkles its magic over the seaside town and preparations for the ice sculpting competition and Christmas eve ball are in full swing, can Penny melt the ice and allow love in her heart? And will this finally be the perfect Christmas she’s been dreaming of?  

Like a creamy hot chocolate with marshmallows, you won’t want to put this deliciously heartwarming novel down. 


I Bought


Pressure Drop by Peter Abrahams....A thrilling adventure set in the world of
underwater diving from acclaimed suspense novelist Peter Abrahams, aka Spencer Quinn, author of the Chet and Bernie Mysteries

Deciding on her thirty-ninth birthday that a baby is the best present she could give herself, single Manhattan public relations executive Nina Kitchener makes an appointment to undergo artificial insemination at the Human Fertility Institute. Nine months later, the nightmare begins. Just hours after she gives birth, someone kidnaps her infant son from the nursery. The police aren’t helping, the fertility institute has shut down, and Nina believes that the only way to find her baby is to learn the identity of the sperm donor.
 
Nina’s hunt for answers leads her to the Bahamas and the rich, reclusive Standish family who funded the institute. But Nina isn’t the only one investigating them. Joining forces with divorced ex–Navy SEAL and deep-sea diver Nate Matthias, Nina is unprepared for the horrors they uncover. A long-buried secret that dates back to Nazi survivors of World War II is still deadly enough to threaten Nina’s life, her baby’s, and that of the mysterious man who’s protecting her.

I Wrote




 photo signature_zpsc91ef999.png