#BookReview: After the Rain by Stacey Johnston

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Reviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

Date of Release:  April 12, 2018

Summary:

When a child is born they’re a blank canvas. A canvas that is later moulded by the influences of the world around them. Those influences determine that child’s future, but they are not always kind. Some of those children will enter adulthood easily, unscathed by the harshness of life, but for others, that journey is not an easy path to follow.

And then there are those, who’s journey’s are cut short.

He only ever wanted ….. to fit in.
He only ever wanted ….. to be included.
He only ever wanted ….. to have friends.

Alec never wanted for anything.
His parents made sure of that.
But, what Alec desperately wanted, they couldn’t buy.
He just wanted to be normal……..

He could never see what the rest of us could.
Smart. Funny. Goodlooking. Sensitive.
Alec only saw what his mind wanted him to see.
And believed the false truths it told him.

BUT, I won’t allow him to become one of the lost, and when the clouds clear after the rain, I WILL make him see that he is everything WE believe him to be, and so much more……..

Review:

Stacey Johnston’s novel “After the Rain” is such a beautiful book.  It is so wonderfully written it will stay with you long after you are finished reading. 

This book gave me an idea of what an attempted suicide does to a family and the strength it takes for a spouse to deal with the mental illness of their partner. It tells the story from the perspective of both the husband and wife. I admire their love story and their strength to love each other and hold their family together. It is not easy and a lot of couples would simply give up when faced with the struggles they fought against. 

This was a truly inspiring story that I think most people would like and I highly recommend this book. 

I recieved a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

5 Stars.

 

#BookReviews & #HolidayReads: A Season for Hope & The Magic of the Season (Christmas in Silver Falls #2) by Tammy L. Grace

E77591AD-7280-43CD-903F-1EE45682F47AReviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

A Season For Hope Date of Release: October 26, 2018

Summary:

From the award-winning author of the Hometown Harborseries, comes a heart-warming and inspirational story for the holidays readers describe as the perfect Christmas story.

When their car breaks down, Hope and her young son, Jake, are stranded in Silver Falls as the holidays approach. A woman who runs a guesthouse offers them a place to stay while the car is repaired.

Frightened and broke, Hope finds a part-time job, thanks to the family who owns the guesthouse. Hidden beneath her strong work ethic and cheerful demeanor, Hope conceals a private mystery. A secret she can’t reveal.

As the Christmas season nears, the small town nestled beneath the snowy mountains and its annual holiday festival captivate Hope, while the family at the guesthouse suspects there’s something she’s hiding. In a moment of weakness, she divulges her secret.

Will an offer of help destroy her life and all she cherishes, or will it be the gift she needs to triumph over her past?

A Season for Hope is a charming story about the kindness of strangers and finding hope where you never expected it. Cozy up with the first in the Christmas in Silver Falls novellas for a holiday read sure to warm your heart.

Review:

”A Season For Hope” By Tammy L. Grace truly is one of my favorite Christmas Tales; alongside her next story. She brings you to a place you want to call home, to people you want to meet because of their genuine kindness. You will definitely want to move there…I absolutely loved Silver Falls. I know this is a book I can cuddle up with again year after year under the Christmas Tree, knowing I will be taken away to a place of joy and comfort!

The Magic of the Season

Release Date: October 24, 2019

Summary:

Will a city girl forced to spend the holidays in her small hometown recapture the magic of the season?

Madison hasn’t visited Silver Falls since she left the snowy mountain winters behind for the beaches of California twenty years ago. In the midst of the annual Christmas festival, an accident forces her to return and manage her mom’s candy business at the Sugar Shop.

Grant hasn’t seen her since she left for college, but remembers spending summers at the lake with the skinny, plain girl he and everyone used to know as Sugar. The contemporary advertising executive he encounters now is anything but plain.

Will Grant’s kindness, the charm of Silver Falls, and the caring community open Sugar’s heart to all she’s been missing?

The best-selling author of A Season for Hope, the tale readers describe as the perfect Christmas story, delivers a touching sequel with the second in her Christmas in Silver Falls series in this new festive novella that pairs perfectly with a cup of cocoa in front of a blazing fire.

Review:

Absolutely love these types of Christmas Stories where the City Mouse lands back home in her old hometown after becoming all prettied up! Tammy L. Grace had me at Hello with “The Magic of The Season”! Full of  joy, love, smiles, happiness and all that makes Christmas Bright! This is absolutely one of my favorite Holiday Reads this year!!

Both Receive 5 Stars.

 

#BookReview & #HolidayReads: A Lowcountry Christmas (Lowcountry Summer #5) by Mary Alice Monroe

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Reviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

Date of Release: October 25, 2016

Summary:

A wounded warrior and his younger brother discover the true meaning of Christmas in this timeless story of family bonds.

As far as ten-year-old Miller McClellan is concerned, it’s the worst Christmas ever. His father’s shrimp boat is docked, his mother is working two jobs, and with finances strained, Miller is told they can’t afford the dog he desperately wants. “Your brother’s return from war is our family’s gift,” his parents tell him. But when Taylor returns with PTSD, family strains darken the holidays.

Then Taylor’s service dog arrives—a large black Labrador/Great Dane named Thor. His

brother even got the dog! When Miller goes out on Christmas Eve with his father’s axe, determined to get his family the tree they can’t afford, he takes the dog for company—but accidentally winds up lost in the wild forest. The splintered family must come together to rediscover their strengths, family bond, and the true meaning of Christmas.

Review:

The novel by Mary Alice Monroe, “A Lowcountry Christmas”, is the 5th installment of her Lowcountry series. It is a wonderful addition to the series and is a story about the true meaning of Christmas and the importance of family and close friends. 

In the past, I have enjoyed her story lines and characters and when I pick up one of her books I know I am in for a treat. This book was not an exception. There were many times I wanted to be able to hug the characters because most of them were struggling with a difficult time in their lives. 

Miller was the youngest child of Jenny and Alistair. I felt so sorry for him as he struggled to come to terms with his parents not being able to afford a puppy that he fell in love with.  Who doesn’t want a young boy to have a treasured pup? 

Christmas is a time for family, friends and reading! Get a copy of this book and add a little more warmth to your holiday. Merry Christmas! 

4 Stars.

 

#BookReview: Next Day Gone by J.C. Wing

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date Of Release: December 17, 2019

Summary:

In the fall of 1998, four girls disappeared in Redwood, a small town just outside of Asheville, North Carolina. All of them were young. All of them were beautiful. None of them were found alive. Drew’s mother, Willow, was one of those girls.

Sixteen years later, Paige, Drew’s girlfriend, disappears from school. When she’s found dead, the details of her murder are eerily similar to his mother’s. Residents fear the return of the Sleeping Beauty Strangler, and Drew’s family is thrown back into the spotlight.

Things are a bit different this time around because Drew has seen the killer.

What’s worse is the killer knows it.

Can he untangle the details of both murders while under the watchful gaze of the killer? Can he keep his loved ones safe, or will he die before bringing the murderer to justice?

Review:

J.C. Wing has written a suspenseful, “never would have guessed it”, novel with “Next Day Gone”.

This page turner was gripping and spine tingling.

I was totally hooked from the first chapter.

There were definitely some emotional heart-breaking moments in this novel.

At the conclusion, I was truly in awe.

This was my first book by J.C. Wing but I will definitely be looking into other books.

I received a copy of this book by the author in exchange for fair and honest review.

4.5 Stars.

#BookReview: Not So Merry Murder by Amabel Daniels

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: December 10, 2019

Summary:

All I want for Christmas is…

Well, it certainly isn’t finding Mrs. Claus shot dead in the photo hut at Franklin’s Ma
Marlena Ridge was a nasty woman, a bitter boss, and a scornful manager at our seasonal booth for all kinds of kids to sit on Santa’s lap for an overpriced picture. But I’ve never wished her dead. Someone did, though, because there’s no mistaking the fatal wound in her gaudy, velvet holiday getup.

What’s worse is the infuriating, sexy cop in charge of the investigation, Knox James, seems to think I might know something about her murder. Or perhaps, that I could have been the one to pull the trigger.

Review:

Amabel Daniel’s “Not So Merry Murder” was a fun to read Christmas Novella.

With entertaining characters, some mystery and humor too; this was a book that held my interest throughout.

Jade was just doing her job but who knew what she was going to find Mrs. Claus dead in the photo hut?

If you are looking for a Christmas novella that is sure to keep you reading, this is the book for you.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for fair and honest review.

3.75 Stars.

#BookReview: All the Silent Voices by Elena Mikalsen

perf5.000x8.000.inddReviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: January 6, 2020

Live interview with Annie: January 7, 2020

Summary:

Twenty-one years ago, Emma Shephard was sexually assaulted and forced to leave college. She has tried to forget the trauma, building a new life as a loving wife and parent with a successful marketing career. Then her world is rocked when her rapist buys the pharmaceutical company where she works.

Now it’s an impossible choice between keeping the safe life she’s created and pursuing justice. With her marriage at risk and her child in danger, Emma finds herself at the center of ugly secrets and scandals.

Review:

Elena Mikalsen has written an action packed thriller with “All The Silent Voices”.

Emma was placed in many difficult situations, which led to complicated decisions that she had to make all through the novel. Aidan her husband and Sophie her daughter played an instrumental role in these decisions. Richard was that thorn in her side that never seemed to go away after he hurt her traumatically so many years ago.

It was hard to put this gripping action-packed book down once I started it.

I loved all of the twists and turns and was surprised more than once during the book.

I would absolutely recommend you buy this book and finding out for yourself what decisions Emma is faced with and how she deals with these life-altering choices.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for fair and honest review.

4.5 Stars.

#BookReview: Beside Herself by Elizabeth LaBan

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Reviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

Date of Release: August, 2019

Summary:

Author of THE RESTAURANT CRITIC’S WIFE and NOT PERFECT, Elizabeth LaBan’s BESIDE HERSELF, in which a woman finds out her husband had an affair and he proposes she do the same to even the score and keep the marriage intact–a story about how marriage doesn’t necessarily follow a straight line and unexpected detours might just bring you back to the place you most want to be, to Jodi Warshaw at Lake Union Publishing, by Uwe Stender at TriadaUS Literary Agency (world).

Review:

The novel “Beside Herself” by Elizabeth LaBan is definitely worthy to be your next read!

I really liked this book because I have often wondered what I would do if I found out my husband had an affair. It would definitely be the most devastating experience of my life. I know the heartbreak it has brought to my family and friends and I have wondered if it is enough of a reason to break up a family for a one-time mistake. 

This story explores the heartbreak, anger and thoughts of someone experiencing betrayal of a loved one. This author writes in such a way that you totally understand Hannah and her love for Joel. I loved Hannah and the rest of the characters in this story. I think Elizabeth LaBan did an outstanding job developing her characters. I never once wondered who a character was. They stood out individually in my mind. 

I highly recommend “Beside Herself”. I don’t think you will be disappointed. 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

5 Stars.

#BookReview: Dear Anna by Katie Blanchard

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: July 16, 2019

Summary:

The poverty-stricken past of Medeia is stained with blood that’s not hers, but it was the price paid for John to bring her into his wealthy life.

His rules made her who she is today — the perfect wife.

Only John is not the perfect husband.

He has Anna.

With vows broken and a prenup staring her in the face, Medeia refuses to go back to the shack of her childhood nightmares. Even if it means more bloodshed.

Review:

Katie Blanchard has “wowed” us with the Audible version of “Dear Anna”.

Medeia being the “perfect wife” and John being the “not so perfect” husband weaved quite the story for us.

From the very first paragraph, I was totally hooked and could not stop listening.

The twists and turns throughout kept me guessing at what might happen to the characters. It was so suspenseful and thrilling it had me on the edge of my seat!

The narration in the book was fantastic !!! It brought the captivating and gripping story to life. Each character was truly memorable!

Katie Blanchard is definitely one of my newer favorite authors and I look forward to more of her books !!!!

I received this a copy of this audiobook from the author in exchange for fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

#BookReview: The Open House: A Suspense Thriller by Janice Magerman

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Reviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

Date of Release: August 29, 2019

Summary:

Suffering from anxiety, Faye hardly steps out of her apartment, until her brother pops in for a visit and suggests they attend an open house party together. Although reluctant, she agrees to go but as the night continues on, they discover that staying home might’ve been the best option.

Review:

I just finished “The Open House” by Janice Magerman and I have to say it is quite a story. It certainly held my interest, although I found the plot different from anything I have ever read. I am not sure if this could really happen or if it was a bit of fantasy. 

This was a novella and it is a perfect short read. I would recommend this book to anyone that has a few hours to fill. You won’t feel like you wasted your time!! It was perfectly fulfilling!

Now that I have read this book, it has given me a premise for many daydreams! Do you have any co-workers you would like to do away with?  Did I catch your interest? Read this book, it was fun! 

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

4 Stars.

#BookReview: Lesson for Two(Maple Glen, #5) by Christina Butrum

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: December 13, 2019

Summary:

As a dance teacher, Cassie Mitchell lives her dream every day.
Grant Weber’s dream was shattered the day he lost his wife.

When Grant and his daughter move to Maple Glen, Cassie is all too excited about the possibility of a new student in her class. What she didn’t count on was her instant attraction to the charming widower.

Cassie didn’t expect Grant and his beautiful daughter, Alex, to fit so well into her life and they didn’t plan on welcoming someone new into theirs.

As Cassie and Grant grow closer, challenging and pushing each other in every way, it turns out the lessons they’ll be learning won’t only be for dance, but for the heart.

Review:

I was excited to be back in Maple Glen with Christina Butrum’s “Lesson for Two”. The characters in this novel are so very sweet and like-able that you just want to hug them….

There were some emotional ups and downs that left me wondering how the story would end.

The Maple Glen Series is heartwarming and I would most definitely recommend “Lesson for Two”, as well as, the other books in the series.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

4 Stars.