#BookReview: Lavender, Loss & Love at the Villa des Violettes (Villa des Violettes #3) by Patricia Sands

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Sale: January 24th, 2020

Summary:

A sizzling heat wave is only part of the drama unfolding on the sun-drenched Côte d’Azur …
When Kat and Philippe settle into a new season as innkeepers at the Villa des Violettes, extraordinary stories are revealed by guests. Ancestry, intrigue, and lessons in friendship are part of the narrative. As summer draws to a close, an urgent call sends Kat and Philippe back to Sainte-Mathilde where the family gathers to support each other in an emergency situation.

From the splendor of the lavender season through to the changing landscape of autumn and the festivities of the grape harvest, the Love in Provence characters face challenges, make memories and attempt to maintain their usual joie de vivre!

Review:

It was truly a pleasure to be back traveling alongside Kat and Philippe on their adventures.

Patricia Sands has such a beautiful gift when writing her novels and “Lavender, Loss & Love” is no exception. She has a way of capturing your interest gently at the beginning and then you are left wanting more at the end.

The happenings of the family and friends are ones that will touch your heart and soul. Not to mention the guests at the Villa des Violettes and their stories.

This is the third book in the series and I would recommend reading them all!!!! You do not want to miss out on this awesome author !!!

5 Stars.

#BookReview: The Art of Remembering by Alison Ragsdale

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: July 16, 2019

Summary:

Professional ballerina, Ailsa MacIntyre, is at the peak of her career when her world is shattered by a shocking diagnosis. Life-saving surgery leaves her with a fractured memory, little recollection of her husband, Evan, and none of her career as a principal dancer.

While recuperating at home, Ailsa hears beautiful music coming from the apartment upstairs, and the sound of the grand piano at the hands of a talented new neighbor sparks her muscle memory. As her recovery progresses, the broken pieces of her past gradually re-emerge, a picture not quite as idyllic as Evan would have her remember. Ailsa must navigate the conflicting visions of her past, and potential future, as they collide.

Review:

First let me begin with, that I am so glad that this was our monthly book club pick for January.  I was excited to read this and was not disappointed.

Alison Ragsdale has written a beautiful, poignant novel with “The Art of Remembering”.

I flew through this book and read it in 2 evenings. The flow of the story and the way the book is written had me not wanting to put it down.

Ailsa’s relationship with her husband Evan, both before and after her surgery were complex. It is said that sometimes you have to look at things from an entirely different angle to see it from another perspective.

When re-examining from this new “after surgery” perspective, things were much different and she had to work through things and determine what path was her true destiny. Likewise, she had to re-examine the relationship with friends and family.

This was thought-provoking and I asked myself if I would have chosen familiarity or would I have ventured out into the unknown?

There were parts of the book that made me sad for Ailsa, but there were even more happy moments where I caught myself smiling and overjoyed.

Alison Ragsdale is definitely becoming one of my favorite authors. So far I have read two of her novels, and have added more to my to-be-read list after reading this novel as well as “Tuesday’s Socks” recently.  I highly recommend that you check her books out!!!

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

5 Stars.

#BookReview: This Is Not How It Ends by Rochelle B. Weinstein

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date Of Release: January 1st, 2020

Summary:

From USA Today bestselling author Rochelle B. Weinstein comes a moving novel of hearts lost and found, and of one woman torn between two love stories.

When Charlotte and Philip meet, the pair form a deep and instant connection. Soon they’re settled in the Florida Keys with plans to marry. But just as they should be getting closer, Charlotte feels Philip slipping away.

Second-guessing their love is something Charlotte never imagined, but with Philip’s excessive absences, she finds herself yearning for more. When she meets Ben, she ignores the pull, but the supportive single dad is there for her in ways she never knew she desired. Soon Charlotte finds herself torn between the love she thought she wanted and the one she knows she needs.

As a hurricane passes through Islamorada, stunning revelations challenge Charlotte’s loyalties and upend her life. Forced to reexamine the choices she’s made, and has yet to make, Charlotte embarks on an emotional journey of friendship, love, and sacrifice—knowing that forgiveness is a gift, and the best-laid plans can change in a heartbeat.

This Is Not How It Ends is a tender, moving story of heartbreak and healing that asks the question: Which takes more courage—holding on or letting go?

Review:

There’s nothing like reading a book and feeling like I am walking alongside the main character. That is exactly what Rochelle Weinstein brings to life in “This Is Not How It Ends”!!

Every moment in Charley’s life was so beautifully written that I felt truly touched every time she was affected, changed, elated or hurt by anything. My skin would tingle, tears would flow down my cheeks, I’d need to breathe deeply, I’d pet my dogs more! They loved me reading this book! This is how visceral it was! I was there! It was an experience!

I think every woman will find a piece of herself in this story. I was in love with Charley!

The relationship with her Mother touched my soul. The love triangle created was palpable! Intense! Lovely!

Rochelle Weinstein is a truly gifted storyteller. She writes for our hearts, to our hearts!  Oh….Also! You’ll find yourself stopping to write down quotes and take notes….It’s that Awesome!!

5 Stars.

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Author Bio:

Rochelle B. Weinstein is the USA Today and Amazon bestselling author of emotionally driven women’s fiction, including This Is Not How It Ends, Somebody’s Daughter, Where We Fall, The Mourning After, and What We Leave Behind. Rochelle spent her early years in sunny South Florida, always with a book in hand, raised by the likes of Sidney Sheldon and Judy Blume. Before becoming a full-time writer, Rochelle lived in Los Angeles, where she handled advertising and promotions for major film studios and record labels at LA Weekly. After returning to Miami, she continued her passion for entertainment as a music-industry executive at the Box Music Network. When she’s not writing, Rochelle loves to hike, read, and find the world’s best nachos. She is currently working on her sixth novel. Please visit her at www.rochelleweinstein.com.

Live Interview:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#BookReview: The After Wife: A Novel by Melanie Summers

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: January 10, 2020

Summary:

From author Melanie Summers, comes a heartfelt and uplifting tale of love, loss, and letting go…

After losing her husband, writer Abigail Carson has all but given up on life. Having spent the last year cocooned in her Manhattan apartment, Abigail is suddenly forced to find a new home where she can stretch her dwindling savings. Intent on isolation, she moves to a tiny village in Nova Scotia where she’ll have no one to interrupt her solitude.

Little does Abigail realize that small-town life offers far less privacy than the big city. With neighbors knocking on the door bearing homemade treats and invitations, Abby soon finds herself immersed in the lives of the people of South Haven. She forms an unlikely friendship with Liam Wright, the handyman renovating her dilapidated cottage, and his daughter, seven-year-old Olive.

As the dark cloud engulfing Abigail lifts, she begins to believe she may have found love again. But just as Abigail is ready to leap, she discovers Liam carries with him a shocking secret that will ultimately cause everything to unravel. Abigail must decide if she will turn away from his pain or open her heart in the most hopeless of circumstances.

Insightful, enchanting, and filled with hope, The After Wife reminds us of the importance of human connection and the inseparable nature of love and survival.

Review:

Melanie Summers has written a truly endearing novel which is exactly as described, “a heartfelt and uplifting tale of love, loss, and letting go…”

“The After Wife” tells a story that will sit and resonate after you are finished.

Abby’s relationship with Liam throughout the story was touching and emotional yet complicated in so many ways.  My favorite character was Olive, Liam’s daughter. Olive was so honest and memorable. And well of course Walt the cat – he was a fun character in this novel too.

You will laugh, smile and probably shed a tear or two throughout the novel. I know I did.

At the end, I asked myself, would I have made the same decisions that they did or would I have chosen a different path? 

This is my first book by this author but am very glad that I found her!

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

4 Stars.

#BookReview: The Lucky Ones by Kiersten Modglin

E47319DC-5D19-4EBE-A387-AAD51C53464DReviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: January 17, 2020

The Lucky Ones is FREE with Kindle Unlimited!
Get your copy of The Lucky Ones today: https://amzn.to/2QIhS30
Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2sFjqCB

Summary:

They were supposed to die.

Five years ago, the residents of the Gerbera subdivision in the small town of Fallen Oaks were brutally murdered in their beds. The only survivors, now called The Fallen Oaks Five, were children—practically strangers at the time, forever connected by the weight of all they witnessed.

Now grown, the anniversary of their families’ deaths approaches and the Fallen Oaks Five receive letters of warning: the killers are still out there and they aren’t finished with them.

In a race against time and murderers who remain both faceless and nameless, the Five must return to their old homes in order to piece together the events of a night they’d all rather forget. Their old town is riddled with secrets, and every person they come into contact with is a suspect. With everything at stake, can the Five solve the mystery and finally learn the truth about the night that cost them everything? Or will they find themselves victims of a fate they should’ve succumbed to years ago?

 

Review:

Kiersten Modglin has done it again!!!

The twists and turns in “The Lucky Ones” had me shaking my head and going “Are you kidding me?”

I was enthralled with this novel from the moment I picked it up. Kiersten Modglin has away of grabbing you and keeping hold until you read the shocking ending.

It was emotional yet complicated and exhilarating at the same time!!!

If you are looking for action packed thrillers, you must read “The Lucky Ones”, and all of her other books, too….You cannot go wrong and you will not regret it!!!

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

5 Stars.

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#newreleases #suspense #newbooks #books2read #psychologicalthriller #darkreads #newreleasebooks #bookworm #books #ebooks #bookrecs #bookrecommendations #fivestarreads

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#BookReview: Lenses, Lust, and Murder (Crystal Coast Cases #2) by A.M. Ialacci

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Reviewers: Serena Soape

Date of Release: January 6, 2020

Summary:

When Allie Fox became a private investigator, she envisioned herself solving crimes and keeping her hometown of Carteret County a safe place. Instead, to her great regret, she’s found herself trailing cheating husbands and tracking check kiters. All that changes when her autistic brother, Ryan, discovers a body near the Cape Lookout Lighthouse. Now, Allie is diving headfirst into the investigation.

Everyone in town loved the victim, or so they’re saying. Yet Allie soon discovers many at the Cape have shocking secrets they would kill to keep hidden. As she closes in on the truth, a frightening attempt is made on her life. Can she unravel the clues to reveal the murderer’s identity before becoming their next victim?

Review by Serena Soape:

A.M. Ialacci has written a captivating mystery that had me wondering all the way to the end – whodunit….. and yes I was totally surprised when I found out who the culprit was!

“Lenses, Lust and Murder” was a well written novel with easy-to-like characters.

The main character, Allie does a phenomenal job working hard to crack the case of the murder at Cape Lookout Lighthouse.

Allies’s brother Ryan was one of my favorite characters. They had a very special relationship that was a key factor in solving the murder.

I have read all of A.M. Ialacci’s books and have enjoyed them all. These are definitely action-packed, unexpected and will keep you turning the pages.

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

4.5 Stars.

#BookReview: The Vanishing (Fogg Lake #1) by Jayne Ann Krentz

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: January 7, 2020

Summary

From New York Times bestselling author Jayne Ann Krentz comes a new gripping romantic suspense trilogy fraught with danger and enigma.

Forty years ago in the small town of Fogg Lake, “The Incident” occurred: an explosion in the cave system that released unknown gases, causing peculiar effects on its residents, such as strange visions and ominous voices. Not wanting the government to get involved, they chalked it up to the hallucinogenic effects of mushrooms. Little did they know these effects would linger through the generations….

Residents Catalina Lark and Olivia Dayton have been best friends for years and own an investigation firm together, using what they call the “other sight” to help with their business. When Olivia goes missing, Cat frantically begins the search for her alone when the town does nothing about it. When scientist Slate Trevelyan shows up, she has no choice but to accept his help even though there’s something about him she just can’t trust. The duo discovers someone is hunting the two witnesses of a murder in Fogg Lake fourteen years ago—the very one Cat and Olivia witnessed as teens, one that they couldn’t prove happened. Cat and Slate’s search for Olivia takes them down a rabbit hole that is far more dangerous and mysterious than they ever expected, and with a killer in their midst, neither of them can foresee who will come out alive.

Review:

Wow !!!! You will be saying the same thing after you read this novel!!

Jayne Ann Krentz has me on the edge of my seat from the beginning all the way to the unpredictable ending.

I started this novel tonight and couldn’t put it down. I finished it in less than 3 hours!

Fogg Lake and the mysteries surrounding this town were exhilarating and mystical. The characters were exciting and captivating.

I was truly entranced with “The Vanishing”.

This is a must read, you do not want to miss this one !!! I am anxiously waiting for the next book in this trilogy.

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

5 Stars.

#BookReview: The Moonshiner’s Daughter by Donna Everhart

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: December 31, 2019

Summary:

Set in North Carolina in 1960 and brimming with authenticity and grit, The Moonshiner’s Daughter evokes the singular life of sixteen-year-old Jessie Sasser, a young woman determined to escape her family’s past . . .

Generations of Sassers have made moonshine in the Brushy Mountains of Wilkes County, North Carolina. Their history is recorded in a leather-bound journal that belongs to Jessie Sasser’s daddy, but Jessie wants no part of it. As far as she’s concerned, moonshine caused her mother’s death a dozen years ago.

Her father refuses to speak about her mama, or about the day she died. But Jessie has a gnawing hunger for the truth–one that compels her to seek comfort in food. Yet all her self-destructive behavior seems to do is feed what her school’s gruff but compassionate nurse describes as the “monster” inside Jessie.

Resenting her father’s insistence that moonshining runs in her veins, Jessie makes a plan to destroy the stills, using their neighbors as scapegoats. Instead, her scheme escalates an old rivalry and reveals long-held grudges. As she endeavors to right wrongs old and new, Jessie’s loyalties will bring her to unexpected revelations about her family, her strengths–and a legacy that may provide her with the answers she has been longing for.

 

Review:

“The Moonshiner’s Daughter” grabbed me from the very beginning and did not let go.

The characters were interesting and well written.

There were a few surprises in the story that caught me off guard. The end had me gaping open-mouthed….. literally !!!!!

Historical Fiction is not my typical genre, but I have to say I’m glad I took this book for a whirl!

I definitely recommend this book by Donna Everhart! Hopefully you will enjoy it as much as I did.

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

4 Stars.

#BookReview: Wrapped in the Stars by Elena Mikalsen

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: February 19, 2018

Summary:

Struggling with guilt over her sister’s death and the stress of her medical residency, Maya Radelis runs away to Scotland. A robin seems to lead her to an antique shop, where she finds a century-old engagement ring. But what is the ring’s history? She follows the slim paper trail, wondering if it is only coincidence that her dreams reveal the story of a Swiss woman physician who wore the ring during World War I.

In Paris she meets fellow New Yorker David Fischer, a lawyer with family in Switzerland as well as America. He helps Maya follow the memories stored in the ring as they lead her around Europe. The attraction between David and Maya grows, and when they discover a connection between the ring and David’s family, they learn, bit by bit, more about the ring’s earlier owner. Will Maya’s own life have the same tragedy of lost love?

Review:

Elena Mikalsen took me away to so many different places in “Wrapped in The Stars”. I listened to it on Audible and I feel that made the visits feel like really getaways!

Maya’s story before and after she found the ring was like a vacation through Edinburgh, Paris and other European countries to find the origin of the ring.

I loved the characters and how they were woven into the ring’s story.

romances were yet complex. These love stories were nostalgic and magnificent.

Throughout the book, I found myself trying to figure out the ring’s story myself and when I thought I had it figured out, it was only to find out that I was wrong.

The different chapters going from present to the past was not confusing and kept me wanting to listen.

I was totally enthralled listening to this Audible book read by Ginger Wiseman. The narration was great. I highly recommend this version!

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

5 Stars.

#BookReview: Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: December 31, 2019

Summary:

In this warm and witty romance from acclaimed author Kate Clayborn, one little word puts one woman’s business—and her heart—in jeopardy . . .

Meg Mackworth’s hand-lettering skill has made her famous as the Planner of Park Slope, designing beautiful custom journals for New York City’s elite. She has another skill too: reading signs that other people miss. Like the time she sat across from Reid Sutherland and his gorgeous fiancée, and knew their upcoming marriage was doomed to fail. Weaving a secret word into their wedding program was a little unprofessional, but she was sure no one else would spot it. She hadn’t counted on sharp-eyed, pattern-obsessed Reid . . .

A year later, Reid has tracked Meg down to find out—before he leaves New York for good—how she knew that his meticulously planned future was about to implode. But with a looming deadline, a fractured friendship, and a bad case of creative block, Meg doesn’t have time for Reid’s questions—unless he can help her find her missing inspiration. As they gradually open up to each other about their lives, work, and regrets, both try to ignore the fact that their unlikely connection is growing deeper. But the signs are there—irresistible, indisputable, urging Meg to heed the messages Reid is sending her, before it’s too late . . .

Review:

“Love Lettering” has a little bit of mystery weaved into a heartwarming romance. The romance between Meg and Reid was difficult and emotional at times but the way they worked through situations was always profound and thought-provoking. I often found myself asking if I would have done the same things.

It did have a bit of a slow start for me but I was turning pages soon enough once it grabbed me and never put it down after that.

I felt like I learned a lot about The “Lettering” profession, which I knew nothing of prior. It has definitely left a mark with me as I catch myself looking around at signs and writing.

This was my first Kate Clayborn novel and I am excited to read future works.

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

4 Stars.