Thursday, November 30, 2017

Christmas at Mistletoe Cove by Holly Martin

What They Say......Christmas has arrived at Hope Island, promising snowflakes, surprises and plenty of seasonal joy. So snuggle up and fall in love at Mistletoe Cove …

Growing up on Hope Island, Eden Lancaster always believed that if you wished hard enough for something, dreams really could come true. But Eden’s greatest wish is also her biggest secret: she has been completely in love with her childhood friend, the charming and attractive Dougie Harrison, for as long as she can remember. And he has no idea. 

When Dougie leaves his successful life in New York to return home to Hope Island for good, Eden can’t escape her feelings. Her heart is full of hope that her romantic dreams are finally, at long last, going to come true…

This Christmas could change everything. But can a lifelong friendship really turn into the perfect romance? And will Eden get the happily ever after she’s always wished for?

Christmas at Mistletoe Cove is like a warm hug on a cold winter’s day. The perfect treat this Christmas for fans of Debbie Johnson, Cathy Bramley and Miranda Dickinson.

What I Say.....This is the third book in the Hope Island series and I have loved all three.  I know that a lot of people sneer at chick lit type books, but for me they are mind clearing.  I have recently read two serious books, and sometimes I just want to read a happy book.  Holly Martin's books are always comforting and relaxing to read.

Eden is a successful business woman, and her family is near and dear to her.  But her heart went to America with Dougie, although she never let him know.  These were small characters in the previous books, so it's so cool to start reading about their thoughts and daily lives because you haven't paid them a lot of attention before.

Dougie is coming back to Hope Island to start another business with his buddy, although he keeps saying there is something else that brought him back.  

Eden is thrilled but can't even entertain the idea that she might be what brought him back.  Her self-esteem is so low that she actually believes that magic is what is bringing them together.  She begins trying to "break the spell" because if she can't have him without magic, she doesn't want him at all.  We really can be our own worst enemies!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Snowflakes, Iced Cakes and Second Chances by Sue Watson

What They Say.....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?

A laugh-out-loud festive treat that will give you the tingle of freshly-hung tinsel. Perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan, Abby Clements and Debbie Johnson. 

What I Say.....This books starts out on a somber note.  Chloe is trying to start her life over after her marriage breaks up.  She is a publicist with a specialty around food and restaurants, which is how she met her husband.  But as his career grew, she felt like she was left behind.
Once they started to experience fertility issues and repeated miscarriages, their marriage really fell apart. What I liked about the story is that they helped you see the story from both sides, via Chloe's insights, but that made it a little frustrating that it took her so long to see that her husband was hurting as badly as she was.
However, now Gianni's new restaurant is a bit of a disaster, as he is trying to bring high class micro food to a sleepy seaside town.  And he's too stubborn to listen to anyone, except maybe Chloe.
Spoiler alert, they save the restaurant and their marriage - that's what makes it the perfect Christmas book!

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Monday, November 27, 2017

Head Over Heels by Jill Mansell

What They Say......Welcome to Jill Mansell's wonderful world! In the picturesque village of Upper Sisley, everyone thinks they know their neighbors, but nobody knows what scandalous surprise is going to happen next. 

Love is always just around the corner in a Jill Mansell novel - with a few surprises and a lot of humour on the way to happiness

Jessie has kept the identity of her son Oliver's father a secret for years. She's stunned when she discovers that the man in question, actor Toby Gillespie, has just moved in next door. The truth's about to come out. One glance at Oliver, and a little mental arithmetic, and Toby has the situation sussed. Meeting the son he never knew he had is the shock of a lifetime. It's a shock, too, for Toby's wife, the beautiful Deborah, though she seems to take it in her stride. Would Deborah be so relaxed if she knew just how close Toby wants to get to the mother of his firstborn? As the attraction between them flares up again, Jessie just can't see her way to a happy ending. But no one is quite what they seem, and there are more surprises to come...


What I Say.....When an old boyfriend, Toby(a famous actor) moves back into the village, Jessie is shocked and worried.  She has never told him that he has a son.  A son that is now grown and starting his own life.  But a son that looks an awful lot like his father.

Toby isn't thrilled to know that he had a son who grew up without knowing him, but adapts quickly.  His beautiful wife accepts the situation with grace, although that may be because her attentions are frequently elsewhere, they seem to have a don't ask, don't tell type of marriage.

There is some weirdness as Toby's daughter seems to think she's in romantic love with her new brother -that provided a little ick factor.  In the meantime, there's a local bachelor falling in love with a messy divorcee.  And Toby and Jessie are finding their attraction may be rekindled.

Another great Jill Mansell book - it's so easy to get lost in her characters!  It always makes me want to move to England because it seems like all you have to do to find your true love is to move to a new neighborhood!  She usually doesn't write so many cheating characters though, that was a bit of a bummer.

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Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg

What They Say.....An emotionally powerful novel about three people who each lose the one they love most, only to find second chances where they least expect them—from New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Berg

For the past six months, Arthur Moses’s days have looked the same: He tends to his rose garden and to Gordon, his cat, then rides the bus to the cemetery to visit his beloved late wife for lunch. Sometimes in the evening he’ll take a walk and stop to chat with his nosy neighbor, Lucille. It’s a quiet routine not entirely without its joys. The last thing Arthur would imagine is for one unlikely encounter to utterly transform his life. 

Eighteen-year-old Maddy Harris is an introspective girl who often comes to the cemetery to escape the other kids at school and a life of loss. She’s seen Arthur sitting there alone, and one afternoon she joins him—a gesture that begins a surprising friendship between two lonely souls. Moved by Arthur’s kindness and devotion, Maddy gives him the nickname “Truluv.” As Arthur’s neighbor Lucille moves into their orbit, the unlikely trio bands together, helping one another, through heartache and hardships, to rediscover their own potential to start anew.

Wonderfully written and full of profound observations about life, The Story of Arthur Truluv is a beautiful and moving novel of compassion in the face of loss, of the small acts that turn friends into family, and of the possibilities to achieve happiness at any age.

What I Say....I loved, loved, loved this book.  Very much in the vein of A Man Called Ove, a little different but still just as good.  

Arthur visits his wife's grave every day, and there he notices a teenager hanging around.  Maddy is trying to avoid school and her father, who is grieving in his own way.  As they begin to share experiences, their bond begins to grow.  

Arthur tolerates his overbearing neighbor, Lucille, who is lonely in her own way.  However, Lucille gets a sudden second chance at happiness that will alter her life as well.

I don't want to reveal too much, not because there are huge plot twists because there aren't.  These are just lives lived well, that become even better when they give of themselves to others. 

I loved this book and I want everyone to read it!  I'm not even reading anyone else's reviews because I don't want my opinion to be swayed at all.  This book made me HAPPY!

Weekly Book Haul.....November 26, 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 has flown by!  I mean flown!  My daughter had her wedding reception  two weeks ago and I had loads of family and friends here, so I wasn't able to blog as I was busy enjoying the company.  Everyone's departures were a little bit staggered, so the empty house didn't seem so shocking when everyone was gone.  

Now we've had a four day weekend, and I spent a lot of it with others so today really feels like the first normal Sunday I've had for a while. I went hiking this morning, then out to breakfast, now I'm watching the Bears play. Then I'll move onto the Hallmark Christmas movies.  In other words, the perfect winter Sunday (even though it's 82 degrees).

I was pretty excited to get an advanced copy of Kristin Hannah's new book!  I think my favorite book by her was Night Road.  That book was everything.  

And I bought a self-help book so New Years must be right around the corner.

Great Alone by Kristin Hannah.....

Alaska, 1974.
And for a family in crisis, the ultimate test of the human spirit. 
From the author who brought you the phenomenon of The Nightingale.

Live Like You Give a F**K! by Nicola Findley.....Boss a bitch? Diet a hot
mess? Broke after payday? Ghosted on tinder?
If life feels like a constant hangover why not take five f**king minutes for yourself to decide what you really want. Slam on the brakes, kick off your heels and unplug from the social media circus.
Stop Surviving - Start Thriving
Live Like You Give A F**K will show you how to create the future you want, not the one that’s been shoved down your throat. It will shake and wake you from the hypnosis of modern living. The triple shot of empowerment, confidence and motivation will unleash the badass in you.
Nicola Findlay is the straight-talking, bold, coaching diva who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. If you ask her advice about your lame partner she’ll give you a bitch slap, tell you to raise your standards and get rid of that loser. She’s your best friend, your enemy, your punchbag and your cheerleader. Some people call her a diva, some people call her a badass bitch but whichever you decide you will get results. WARNING: If you’re afraid of a few swear words on a page put this book down and go cry to your Mama. I’m not here to offend anyone.  I’m here to tell you how to rock your world, and because I’m so passionate about it I’ll be shouting and swearing from the rooftops.

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick.....In this
poignant and sparkling debut, a lovable widower embarks on a life-changing adventure.
Sixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed at precisely 7:30 a.m., just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. He dresses in the same gray slacks and mustard sweater vest, waters his fern, Frederica, and heads out to his garden. 

But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam's death, something changes. Sorting through Miriam's possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he's never seen before. What follows is a surprising and unforgettable odyssey that takes Arthur from London to Paris and as far as India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife's secret life before they met--a journey that leads him to find hope, healing and self-discovery in the most unexpected places. 

Featuring an unforgettable cast of characters with big hearts and irresistible flaws, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper is a curiously charming debut and a joyous celebration of life's infinite possibilities.

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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?  

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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.

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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!

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