Sunday, August 13, 2017

Weekly Book Haul.....August 13, 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.


Summer is winding down.  Just a few more weeks of lazy summer days floating in the pool.  But then we move into an Arizona winter, which is the best thing.  It's beautiful during the day but cool enough at night to lie in front of the fireplace reading.  

One of my friends came over to swim last week and we were discussing publishers.  I remarked that St. Martin's Press was a favorite, they seem to represent many of my most followed authors and they were always so proactive in getting their books out to me.  Two days later, she texted me a picture showing me she had gotten The Wife Between Us.  

I was really happy for her, but also super green with envy.  Why hadn't I gotten it?  I've loved Sarah Pekkanen longer and I've read all of her books but somehow I wasn't going to get a copy to review?  Snubbed and betrayed by SMP.

But I bravely decided to carry on. A true hero, right?  And my strength was rewarded on Friday, when I came home to this in my mailbox.  Woohoo!  I dug right in, and it is sooooo good so far.




Here are my other, not so dramatic additions....

The Visitors by Catherine Burns.....Marion Zetland lives with her domineering older brother John in a crumbling mansion on the edge of a northern seaside resort. A timid spinster in her fifties who still sleeps with teddy bears, Marion does her best to live by John’s rules, even if it means turning a blind eye to the noises she hears coming from behind the cellar door...and turning a blind eye to the women’s laundry in the hamper that isn’t hers. For years, she’s buried the signs of John’s devastating secret into the deep recesses of her mind—until the day John is crippled by a heart attack, and Marion becomes the only one whose shoulders are fit to bear his secret. Forced to go down to the cellar and face what her brother has kept hidden, Marion discovers more about herself than she ever thought possible. As the truth is slowly unraveled, we finally begin to understand: maybe John isn’t the only one with a dark side....




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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker




What They Say.....One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn't add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister's return might just be the beginning of the crime.


What I Say.....Last year I spent one day reading All Is Not Forgotten, it was a new author to me, but I liked the premise - what if you could get treatment right away to have traumatic memories erased for your child?  Would you do it?  On the surface, I think everyone would say yes, but every decision has consequences.  It was a great read, so I was thrilled to get a copy of Emma in the Night.

I actually think I liked this book even more than her first.  Cass and Emma disappeared off of a beach one night three years ago and the police never had any clues as to where they might have went.  Now Cass has reappeared and is frantic for the police to find her sister.  She's also worried about a baby that no one knew about.

Abby, the forensic psychologist who helped to investigate the girls disappearance is back to interview Cass.  She has had grave misgivings about their mother since the beginning of this case, but she isn't sure how much of it is based on her own personal experience with a narcissistic parent.

The book starts with a mystery, moves into a different mystery and ends up with a mystery being solved that creates more questions.

This was definitely a page turner, and I never felt like I could predict what was going to happen.  I was never sure what was the truth and what was a lie.  And this all added up to a great read - this is definitely an author to follow.

Current Goodreads Rating 3.98






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Sunday, August 6, 2017

Weekly Book Haul....August 6, 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.


It's August.  My birthday month and a month that never seems to really understand it's own identity.  It's still super hot, I'm still swimming every weekend, but all I'm hearing are complaints about school supplies and all I'm seeing is first day of school pics all over my Facebook feed.

It's a 106 degrees, I have my air conditioning running non-stop, and the whole house smells like pumpkin spice, thanks to the plug ins I bought yesterday.  I do love all things fall, but I'm going to try to hang on to summer for at least another month.


For the last week, I've been sucked into the Archy McNally series by Lawrence Sanders.  I read Volume One of the series, which is the first three books.  They were just as good as I remembered - just fun, lighthearted mysteries.  It made me want to keep going through the series again.  Sanders really was a great writer - and I'm not sure if it was harder or easier to be a best selling writer back then.  If you've never read these books, take a look, I think you'll enjoy them!



Here's what I added to my TBR shelf this week.

Left to Chance by Amy Sue Nathan.....No one knows why Teddi Lerner left

her hometown, but everyone knows why she’s back.
Twelve-year-old Shayna— talented, persistent, and adorable—persuaded "Aunt Tee" to return to Chance, Ohio, to photograph her father’s wedding. Even though it's been six years since Shay's mother, Celia, died, Teddi can hardly bear the thought of her best friend's husband marrying someone else. But Teddi’s bond with Shay is stronger than the hurt.
Teddi knows it’s time to face the consequences of her hasty retreat from family, friends, and, her old flame, but when she looks through her viewfinder, nothing in her small town looks the same. That’s when she truly sees the hurt she's caused and—maybe—how to fix it. 
After the man she once loved accuses Teddi of forgetting Celia, Teddi finally admits why she ran away, and the guilt she’s carried with her. As Teddi relinquishes the distance that kept her safe, she’ll discover surprising truths about the people she left behind, and herself. And she'll finally see what she overlooked all along.





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Sunday, July 30, 2017

Weekly Book Haul.....July 30, 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.


This has been a cloudy, humid weekend in sunny Arizona.  Every time I go outside, I think about how much I would love to live by the ocean, but I know I couldn't stand the humidity.  It makes me feel so dragged down, and my hair is uncontrollable.  

I watched the first episode of Midnight, Texas last week and I was seriously underwhelmed.  Parts of it, I really liked.  But the talking cat and the glowing house were so hokey, I was turned off.  I'm going to give it a few more weeks and hope it finds its footing.

I've been re-reading the McNally series by Lawrence Sanders and they are just as fun as I remembered.  I've really enjoyed revisiting Archy McNally and his mysteries.

The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain.....In 1944, twenty-three-year-
old Tess DeMello abruptly ends her engagement to the love of her life when she marries a mysterious stranger and moves to Hickory, North Carolina, a small town struggling with racial tension and the hardships imposed by World War II. Tess’s new husband, Henry Kraft, is a secretive man who often stays out all night, hides money from his new wife, and shows no interest in making love. Tess quickly realizes she’s trapped in a strange and loveless marriage with no way out.
The people of Hickory love and respect Henry and see Tess as an outsider, treating her with suspicion and disdain, especially after one of the town’s prominent citizens dies in a terrible accident and Tess is blamed. Tess suspects people are talking about her, plotting behind her back, and following her as she walks around town. What does everyone know about Henry that she does not? Feeling alone and adrift, Tess turns to the one person who seems to understand her, a local medium who gives her hope but seems to know more than he’s letting on. 
When a sudden polio epidemic strikes the town, the townspeople band together to build a polio hospital. Tess, who has a nursing degree, bucks Henry’s wishes and begins to work at the hospital, finding meaning in nursing the young victims. Yet at home, Henry’s actions grow more alarming by the day. As Tess works to save the lives of her patients, can she untangle her husband’s mysterious behavior and save her own life?


A Guide for Murdered Children.....We all say there is no justice in this world.
But what if there really was? What if the souls of murdered children were able to return briefly to this world, inhabit adult bodies and wreak ultimate revenge on the monsters who had killed them, stolen their lives?

Such is the unfathomable mystery confronting ex-NYPD detective Willow Wylde, fresh out of rehab and finally able to find a job running a Cold Case squad in suburban Detroit. When the two rookie cops assigned to him take an obsessive interest in a decades old disappearance of a brother and sister, Willow begins to suspect something out of the ordinary is afoot. And when he uncovers a series of church basement AA-type meetings made up of the slain innocents, a new way of looking at life, death, murder and missed opportunities is revealed to him.

 Mystical, harrowing and ultimately tremendously moving, A Guide for Murdered Childrenis a genre-busting, mind-bending twist on the fine line between the ordinary and the extraordinary.










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Monday, July 24, 2017

Summer at the Little French Guesthouse by Helen Pollard


What They Say....Summer sun, chilled, white wine, and a gorgeous fiancé. Nothing could upset pure bliss ... Right?

Emmy Jamieson loves her new life in the gentle hills and sunflowers of the lush French countryside, managing La Cour des Roses, a beautiful, white stone guesthouse. With marriage to caramel-eyed Alain just round the corner, things couldn’t be more perfect.

The odd glass (gallon) of wine dulls the sound of Emmy’s mum in full motherzilla-of-the-bride mode, and the faint tinkling of alarm bells coming from Alain’s ex are definitely nothing to worry about. Guesthouse owner Rupert and a whole host of old and new friends are there to make sure nothing gets in the way of Emmy’s happiness.

But as Emmy gets close to the big day, a secret from the past throws everything decidedly off track. Will her idyllic French wedding go ahead as planned, or will Emmy run back home to England with a broken heart?



What I Say.....This is the third book in the La Cour Des Roses series and I was so happy to receive a copy to review.  I was hooked from the first book and the third one was just as good.

Emmy is finally ready to marry Alain, but it wouldn't be a summer in the French countryside without some bumps rising in the road to happily ever after.

SPOILER ALERT - BUT NOT TOO MUCH OF A SPOILER! A house fire, a troubled marriage, an unexpected pregnancy, and pushy parents are just some of the things brewing before the wedding day.  Emmy is also dealing with a contentious mother, who doesn't seem to think texting her friends for every wedding detail is any big deal.  Ugh.  I'd lose my mind, but I also don't have a handsome French boyfriend who thinks everything I do is perfect - I'd like one though.

I don't think there's much danger of Emmy running back to England with a broken heart, but her chateau wedding is definitely in danger.

All I can say is keep the series going - I love it!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Weekly Book Haul.....July 23, 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.


I'm getting pretty excited about the Midnight, Texas premiere tomorrow night on NBC.  If you weren't aware, it's going to be a TV series adaptation of Charlaine Harris's books in the Midnight series.  I'm feeling hopeful!  Maybe it will be the new True Blood - which had good seasons and bad seasons.

I have added a few reads this week, and an e-galley of an old read, the Archy McNally series.  I always liked the Lawrence Sanders books, even though they made me feel like an old lady.  I was really bummed when Sanders died.

And my giddy book moment this week came with an email offering me a copy of Alice Hoffman's upcoming book, The Rules of Magic - the prequel to Practical Magic.  That email lit up my whole day!

If You Could See Me Now by Karis Stainton....Izzy Harris should have it all
– but her boyfriend has been ignoring her for months, she’s been overlooked for a promotion, and the owner of her local coffee shop pervs on her every time she has a craving for a salted caramel muffin.

Then her life is unexpectedly turned upside down.

Izzy dumps her oblivious boyfriend, and leaps on the chance to win a big pitch at work. Needing to work closely with gorgeous colleague Alex is an added perk…

But then her best friend has her heart broken, the pitch is way more complicated than expected, and Alex is keeping secrets. Does Izzy have what it takes to help her friend, save her career and get the guy?


The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman.....Find your magic.


For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.

Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.

From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.

The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy. Thrilling and exquisite, real and fantastical, The Rules of Magic is a story about the power of love reminding us that the only remedy for being human is to be true to yourself.


The Archie McNally Series Volume One by Lawrence Sanders....A playboy PI becomes entangled with passion, murder, and unabashed greed in these
three adventures by a
New York Times–bestselling author.

Privileged bachelor Archy McNally enjoys sipping late-night port with his girlfriend of the moment and tooling around South Florida in his red Miata sports car. Only occasionally does he get around to doing actual work as a part-time investigator for his father’s law firm. In these three witty novels, he’s paid to make discreet inquiries for Palm Beach’s elite—who are rarely what they seem.
 
McNally’s Secret: When Lady Cynthia Horowitz’s priceless 1918 US airmail stamps go missing from her plantation-style mansion, McNally unearths a shocking secret that could expose his own family’s skeletons. His search thrusts him into a thickening maze of sex, scandal, blackmail, and murder.
 
McNally’s Luck: McNally’s latest assignment is a simple catnapping. But, as McNally knows, things are rarely as simple as they seem. Soon, the case of the missing foul-tempered, overweight Persian morphs into the murder of a prominent Palm Beach woman. And when McNally uncovers a chilling connection between the two cases, he’s plunged into a psychological game of cat and mouse.
 
McNally’s Risk: Checking out the background of a wealthy client’s prospective daughter-in-law should be easy—but when the people around Theodosia Johnson start being killed off, McNally must expose the murderer. Theodosia herself is the biggest mystery though. And as she sets out to seduce McNally, he’ll have to orchestrate his own scam to uncover the truth.


Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain....In 1944, twenty-three-year-old Tess DeMello abruptly ends her engagement to the love of her life when she
marries a mysterious stranger and moves to Hickory, North Carolina, a small town struggling with racial tension and the hardships imposed by World War II. Tess’s new husband, Henry Kraft, is a secretive man who often stays out all night, hides money from his new wife, and shows no interest in making love. Tess quickly realizes she’s trapped in a strange and loveless marriage with no way out.
The people of Hickory love and respect Henry and see Tess as an outsider, treating her with suspicion and disdain, especially after one of the town’s prominent citizens dies in a terrible accident and Tess is blamed. Tess suspects people are talking about her, plotting behind her back, and following her as she walks around town. What does everyone know about Henry that she does not? Feeling alone and adrift, Tess turns to the one person who seems to understand her, a local medium who gives her hope but seems to know more than he’s letting on. 
When a sudden polio epidemic strikes the town, the townspeople band together to build a polio hospital. Tess, who has a nursing degree, bucks Henry’s wishes and begins to work at the hospital, finding meaning in nursing the young victims. Yet at home, Henry’s actions grow more alarming by the day. As Tess works to save the lives of her patients, can she untangle her husband’s mysterious behavior and save her own life?


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Monday, July 17, 2017

The Address by Fiona Davis






What They Say.....After a failed apprenticeship, working her way up to head housekeeper of a posh London hotel is more than Sara Smythe ever thought she’d make of herself. But when a chance encounter with Theodore Camden, one of the architects of the grand New York apartment house The Dakota, leads to a job offer, her world is suddenly awash in possibility—no mean feat for a servant in 1884. The opportunity to move to America, where a person can rise above one’s station. The opportunity to be the female manager of The Dakota, which promises to be the greatest apartment house in the world. And the opportunity to see more of Theo, who understands Sara like no one else . . . and is living in The Dakota with his wife and three young children.

In 1985, Bailey Camden is desperate for new opportunities. Fresh out of rehab, the former party girl and interior designer is homeless, jobless, and penniless. Two generations ago, Bailey’s grandfather was the ward of famed architect Theodore Camden. But the absence of a genetic connection means Bailey won’t see a dime of the Camden family’s substantial estate. Instead, her “cousin” Melinda—Camden’s biological great-granddaughter—will inherit almost everything. So when Melinda offers to let Bailey oversee the renovation of her lavish Dakota apartment, Bailey jumps at the chance, despite her dislike of Melinda’s vision. The renovation will take away all the character and history of the apartment Theodore Camden himself lived in . . . and died in, after suffering multiple stab wounds by a madwoman named Sara Smythe, a former Dakota employee who had previously spent seven months in an insane asylum on Blackwell’s Island.

One hundred years apart, Sara and Bailey are both tempted by and struggle against the golden excess of their respective ages—for Sara, the opulence of a world ruled by the Astors and Vanderbilts; for Bailey, the free-flowing drinks and cocaine in the nightclubs of New York City—and take refuge and solace in the Upper West Side’s gilded fortress. But a building with a history as rich—and often tragic—as The Dakota’s can’t hold its secrets forever, and what Bailey discovers in its basement could turn everything she thought she knew about Theodore Camden—and the woman who killed him—on its head.

With rich historical detail, nuanced characters, and gorgeous prose, Fiona Davis once again delivers a compulsively readable novel that peels back the layers of not only a famed institution, but the lives —and lies—of the beating hearts within.


What I Say.....I enjoyed The Dollhouse so I was really excited to get an advanced copy of The Address.  I always like historical fiction, and although it started a little bit slow, I was engrossed pretty quickly.

Bailey is desperate for money and a place to live, so she takes up residence at The Dakota, a historic apartment building - at the beck and call of her party girl "cousin, Melinda.  Although they aren't technically related, they have a family bond, and right now Melinda is the only one who will give her the time of day.  

Even though Bailey does't agree with the design style Melinda is leaning towards (could anyone's taste really be that bad?), she knows she is in no position to argue - and kowtowing to Melinda has been a constant in Bailey's life since they were children.

When Bailey finds some belongings in an old trunk, she realizes that there might be more to her family story than she knew.....

There was the time hop story between the past and the present, and if I had one complaint - it would be that the present story wasn't nearly as compelling as the past.  Part of the was that i didn't really find Bailey to be that likable, and the romantic storyline was almost sterile in tone.  

I cared much more about Sara and her story, and wanted to know how she ended up in an asylum and known through history as a murderess.

All in all, another winner by Fiona Davis

Friday, July 14, 2017

Spring at Blueberry Bay by Holly Martin




What They Say.....Welcome to beautiful Hope Island where the sea sparkles, the daffodils are blooming and a blossoming romance is just around the corner…

Bella has always had a sunny outlook and caring nature, despite recently falling on hard times. When she finds a handsome homeless man on her doorstep, her kind heart tells her she must help him. So, she invites Isaac into her cottage and into her life in ways she could never have imagined…

But Isaac is not what he seems. He’s keeping a huge secret from Bella, yet he never expected to fall for this open, generous and charming woman. 

Bella can’t ignore the chemistry between her and Isaac, but she’s had her trust badly broken in her past. Will she run when she learns the truth about Isaac, or will he be the one man who can help Bella believe in love again?


What I Say.....If you have a stressful week, or the kids are driving you crazy, Spring at Blueberry Bay is the perfect book to get lost in.  

Bella is out of a job and almost completely out of money.  But when she sees a homeless man, she can't stop herself from helping him.  She invites him into her house to sleep for the night, and they find themselves instantly attracted to each other.

As Bella learns more about Isaac, her life continues to change for the better.  So why can't she trust it?

This book is full of good people, doing the right thing, and getting rewarded for it. Why can't life be like this every day?  It's totally unrealistic, unabashedly chick lit, and completely enjoyable.

Current Goodreads Rating 4.34





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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Wilding Sisters by Eve Chase



  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0399174133
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons (July 25, 2017)
  • Publication Date: July 25, 2017

What They Say....An evocative novel in the vein of Kate Morton and Daphne Du Maurier, in which the thrill of first love clashes with the bonds of sisterhood, and all will be tested by the dark secret at the heart of Applecote Manor.

Four sisters. One summer. A lifetime of secrets.
 
When fifteen-year-old Margot and her three sisters arrive at Applecote Manor in June 1959, they expect a quiet English country summer. Instead, they find their aunt and uncle still reeling from the disappearance of their daughter, Audrey, five years before. As the sisters become divided by new tensions when two handsome neighbors drop by, Margot finds herself drawn into the life Audrey left behind. When the summer takes a deadly turn, the girls must unite behind an unthinkable choice or find themselves torn apart forever.

Fifty years later, Jesse is desperate to move her family out of their London home, where signs of her widower husband’s previous wife are around every corner. Gorgeous Applecote Manor, nestled in the English countryside, seems the perfect solution. But Jesse finds herself increasingly isolated in their new sprawling home, at odds with her fifteen-year-old stepdaughter, and haunted by the strange rumors that surround the manor.

Rich with the heat and angst of love both young and old, The Wildling Sisters is a gorgeous and breathtaking journey into the bonds that unite a family and the darkest secrets of the human heart.



What I Say....I usually don't see the comparisons to other authors as being especially valuable - too often I don't see it, or it causes me to have different expectations of a book.  However, in this one, I do see the comparison to Kate Morton as being accurate.

I was just talking to a friend the other day about authors that publish 2-3 books per year vs the ones who publish a book every 2-3 year (I'm looking at you, Kate Morton) and if it really makes you more anxious for the next book or if you actually start to forget about them.   Kate Morton is a bit of both for me - I forget about her, but then if I see she's published something new,  I'll read it and remember why I liked her so much.  

But there's really been no one else like her for me, especially since I love period pieces where they go back and forth in time.  

The Wilding Sisters follows this formula.  You bounce between the story of the four Wilde girls who are sent to the country to stay with a grieving aunt and creepy uncle.  As they find excitement with the local boys, their relationships start to change as love and jealousy intrude on their close bond.

Margot is obsessed with her cousin's disappearance and cannot stop focusing on what happened to Audrey.  The village folk seem to already have convicted her Uncle even though there was no evidence that he had anything to do with it, and her Aunt seems to be mistaking Margot for her missing daughter, all of which make for an awkward summer.

Meanwhile in present day, Jesse has moved into Applecote Manor with her daughter, stepdaughter and weekend visiting husband.  Her stepdaughter is focused on the missing girl from the past, and seems to hate both Jesse and her baby girl.   

I never like to give spoilers, and there were mysteries in both storylines.  But (spoiler alert), one part that I didn't care for was why would Audrey's killer first offer one story of how she died, then give a totally different one to the same person the next day?  I kind of understood in the first story it was presented as an accident, but really in the second story, it could have been an accident too, it's never determined that it was purposeful.  Or I missed something.

The one problem with the time jump novels is that just when you get into one section, you get pulled into the next time without much warning.  It can be a little jarring at times, and I was definitely more interested in the past than the present.   But overall, it was really good, and I'll watch for Eve Chase's next book.  I wonder if it will be 2-3 years away. 

Current Goodreads Rating 4.11






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Sunday, July 9, 2017

Weekly Book Haul....July 9, 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.


I was super excited to get a copy of This Is Not the End by Chandler Baker from Booksparks.  I started reading it in the pool yesterday and it is so good!  It's based around Resurrecting - and every person gets one a lifetime to resurrect one person (can't be suicide, which is a detail I wouldn't have though of).  I'm halfway through it already.  

It's been so hot out here that the pool hasn't even felt cool enough - but I feel like a chump ever complaining about that.  

I went and saw The Beguiled last weekend - and was sadly disappointed.  I love Nicole Kidman, and I especially love her in period movies, but this movie had incredible actors in it, and it seemed like they were all holding back, it was so restrained that it felt unemotional.  I read a review that there was "sexual tension", and I was like - where was that?  The story said there was, but you didn't feel it at all, and as a result, you didn't care about the characters.  The same thing is so true in a book - if you don't care about the characters, you don't care about the story.

This Is Not the End by Chandler Baker.....If you could choose one person to
bring back tolife, who would it be? Seventeen-year-old Lake Deveraux is the survivor of a car crash that killed her best friend and boyfriend. Now she faces an impossible choice. Resurrection technology changed the world, but strict laws allow just one resurrection per citizen, to be used on your eighteenth birthday or lost forever. You only have days to decide. For each grieving family, Lake is the best chance to bring back their child. For Lake, it's the only way to reclaim a piece of happiness after her own family fell apart. And Lake must also grapple with a secret--and illegal--vow she made years ago to resurrect someone else. Someone who's not even dead yet. Who do you need most? As Lake's eighteenth birthday nears, secrets and betrayals new and old threaten to eclipse her cherished memories. Lake has one chance to save a life...but can she live with her choice?





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Saturday, July 8, 2017

Hello, Sunshine by Laura Dave



What They Say....Sunshine Mackenzie truly is living the dream. A lifestyle guru for the modern age, Sunshine is beloved by millions of people who tune into her YouTube cooking show, and millions more scour her website for recipes, wisdom, and her enticing suggestions for how to curate a perfect life. She boasts a series of #1 New York Times bestselling cookbooks, a devoted architect husband, and a reputation for sincerity and kindness—Sunshine seems to have it all. But she’s hiding who she really is. And when her secret is revealed, her fall from grace is catastrophic. What Sunshine does in the ashes of destruction will save her in more ways than she can imagine.

In our modern world, where celebrity is a careful construct, Laura Dave’s compelling, enticing novel explores the devastating effect of the secrets we keep in public…and in private. Hello, Sunshine is a fresh, provocative look at a woman teetering between a scrupulously assembled life and the redemptive power of revealing the truth.


What I Say....Sunshine is the result of our social media engineered life.  She has become a food and lifestyle guru via all the platforms, she's "internet famous".  She's about to get her own TV show, ala Rachael Ray, and everything seems to be going well - except her personal life.  She can barely be bothered to go to her own birthday party - or to look up from her phone at her husband.

But she does go to her own birthday party and the anonymous texts begin - threatening to expose her for the fraud that she is.  Sunshine doesn't know how to cook, her recipes all come from her partner's wife and she's been lying to the world.

That night her life falls apart as the anonymous source begins to spill all of her secrets on Twitter.  It's a bitter downfall via the medium that built her up.

Thus begins Sunshine's fall from grace, ending with her living on her sister's couch, a sister who doesn't like her very much, friendless, husbandless and jobless.  

At this point there's nowhere to go but up, but even that isn't easy for her.  She is face to face with the fact that people don't seem to like her very much in person, a hard pill to swallow for someone who thought she was loved by so many strangers.  And through her story, we find out she hasn't really been someone to love, disloyal to her husband and family and drinking her own koolaid.  

At times this made it hard to root for her - she kind of got what she deserved.  It was a somewhat melancholy read because there was no storybook ending, but definitely worth reading.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Curves, Kisses and Chocolate Ice Cream by Sue Watson




What They Say.....Dani’s on a mission to get her life back on track by the end of the Summer. Running, rowing, aerobics and more, but perhaps all she needs are sweet treats and a second chance? 

Twenty years ago, Dani fled Appledore with a broken-heart and a suitcase full of shattered dreams. Only now is she brave enough to put her past behind her and return for a summer selling homemade ice-cream and getting fit by doing sit-ups by the sea. 

But the new-look cafe is filled with old memories of Jude, her teenage sweetheart-turned-sour. She thinks of him every time she swirls warm sauce onto a “chocolate-bockaglory” and even with the help of Chris, her gorgeous personal trainer, the urge to break her diet is everywhere she turns. 

When Jude makes an appearance at the cafe on the eve of Dani’s birthday party, history threatens to repeat itself. Is Dani strong enough to say no? And is the love she’s been longing for much closer than she thinks? 


What I Say.....Super cute read - just straight chick lit, which is my favorite in the summer.  There is nothing more relaxing that floating in the pool reading a story that you know will end up on a good note.  It's a great way to relax after a long week of work.

Dani ran away from her hometown years ago, leaving all memories of her alcoholic mother and cruel boyfriend behind.  But she hasn't found happiness anywhere else so she decides to return to the town she loves.

With her birthday fast approaching, Dani decides to make some changes.  She is tired of being a fat girl working in an ice cream shop, wondering what everyone is thinking about her.  So she sets a goal to slim down before her birthday party, hopefully making her ex-boyfriend rue the day he gave her up.

Dani joins a local gym and promptly embarasses herself multiple times.  But she keeps going, supported by the gym's owner and trainer.  Dani keeps up her self-deprecating humor, but Chris sees through it and refuses to let her make fun of herself. 

As Dani begins to make diet changes, her confidence grows, even though she makes a ill advised interview with a local journalist who has her pose for some awkward photos that show just how much she likes ice cream......

Her birthday has arrived, and the ex-boyfriend is around, showing interest in rekindling their relationship, but now Dani isn't sure that her goals are the same.

Watching Dani's journey, surrounded by her eccentric but loving tribe made for a very good weekend.   I laughed a little, cheered on her fitness journey and enjoyed her happy ending.

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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Weekly Book Haul.....June 25, 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.


This has been a great reading week.  Yesterday, I finally read Heather Gudenkauf's book, Little Mercies.  I think I've had this book sitting on my end table for 2 years, waiting to be read.  I picked it up yesterday, started it in the pool and stayed up until midnight finishing it.  It was as good as all of her books, she is one of my favorite authors.  I think every parent has had a scary moment when their child came close to serious injury or death, and it's an experience that never leaves you.  Little Mercies makes you think about that moment, and how quick we are to judge other parents just by news stories.

It is so, so hot here.  Hit 121 degrees this week.  Going in the pool isn't even very refreshing right now, the water is 91 degrees.  But I still do it, because it's still relaxing and it's a time I don't have to feel guilty about reading.  When I read on the couch, there's always the thought in the back of my mind that there are other things I should be doing (even though I don't do them).

I didn't request much this last week, but one request filled that I am really excited about was Summer at the Little French Guesthouse.  This is the third in a series, and it is just pure summer fun.  I've read the first two and enjoyed them so much.  If you want a great way to while away an afternoon, I highly recommend them.  Warning - you will want to run away to France after reading.

Here's what I added.

The Address by Fiona Davis....Fiona Davis, author of The Dollhouse, returns
with a compelling novel about the thin lines between love and loss, success and ruin, passion and madness, all hidden behind the walls of The Dakota, New York City’s most famous residence.

After a failed apprenticeship, working her way up to head housekeeper of a posh London hotel is more than Sara Smythe ever thought she’d make of herself. But when a chance encounter with Theodore Camden, one of the architects of the grand New York apartment house The Dakota, leads to a job offer, her world is suddenly awash in possibility—no mean feat for a servant in 1884. The opportunity to move to America, where a person can rise above one’s station. The opportunity to be the female manager of The Dakota, which promises to be the greatest apartment house in the world. And the opportunity to see more of Theo, who understands Sara like no one else . . . and is living in The Dakota with his wife and three young children.

In 1985, Bailey Camden is desperate for new opportunities. Fresh out of rehab, the former party girl and interior designer is homeless, jobless, and penniless. Two generations ago, Bailey’s grandfather was the ward of famed architect Theodore Camden. But the absence of a genetic connection means Bailey won’t see a dime of the Camden family’s substantial estate. Instead, her “cousin” Melinda—Camden’s biological great-granddaughter—will inherit almost everything. So when Melinda offers to let Bailey oversee the renovation of her lavish Dakota apartment, Bailey jumps at the chance, despite her dislike of Melinda’s vision. The renovation will take away all the character and history of the apartment Theodore Camden himself lived in . . . and died in, after suffering multiple stab wounds by a madwoman named Sara Smythe, a former Dakota employee who had previously spent seven months in an insane asylum on Blackwell’s Island.

One hundred years apart, Sara and Bailey are both tempted by and struggle against the golden excess of their respective ages—for Sara, the opulence of a world ruled by the Astors and Vanderbilts; for Bailey, the free-flowing drinks and cocaine in the nightclubs of New York City—and take refuge and solace in the Upper West Side’s gilded fortress. But a building with a history as rich—and often tragic—as The Dakota’s can’t hold its secrets forever, and what Bailey discovers in its basement could turn everything she thought she knew about Theodore Camden—and the woman who killed him—on its head.

With rich historical detail, nuanced characters, and gorgeous prose, Fiona Davis once again delivers a compulsively readable novel that peels back the layers of not only a famed institution, but the lives —and lies—of the beating hearts within.


Summer at The Little French Guesthouse by Helen Pollard....Summer sun,
chilled, white wine, and a gorgeous fiancé. Nothing could upset pure bliss ... Right?

Emmy Jamieson loves her new life in the gentle hills and sunflowers of the lush French countryside, managing La Cour des Roses, a beautiful, white stone guesthouse. With marriage to caramel-eyed Alain just round the corner, things couldn’t be more perfect.

The odd glass (gallon) of wine dulls the sound of Emmy’s mum in full motherzilla-of-the-bride mode, and the faint tinkling of alarm bells coming from Alain’s ex are definitely nothing to worry about. Guesthouse owner Rupert and a whole host of old and new friends are there to make sure nothing gets in the way of Emmy’s happiness.

But as Emmy gets close to the big day, a secret from the past throws everything decidedly off track. Will her idyllic French wedding go ahead as planned, or will Emmy run back home to England with a broken heart?



















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