#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: 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.

#BookReview: Killer Secrets by Sherrie Orvik

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: June 5, 2019

Summary:

Small towns can have big secrets; this one’s a killer.

Ten years after Elyse Benson’s father and younger sister are brutally murdered and her mother institutionalized for the crime, a disturbing phone call compels Elyse to return home. She expects closure. Instead, she becomes a target.

Ten years ago, Sheriff James Warrick’s father made a deadly mistake during a murder investigation, the truth of which James has vowed to bury. However, when Elyse comes crashing into James’ life in need of protection, in order to help, he might be forced to confront the ghosts he’s been trying so hard to put to rest.

As they work to unravel Elyse’s past, together they discover that they have much more in common than either could have imagined—and that the secret they share could be a killer.

Review:

From the moment this story began, my heart started racing. Sherrie Orvik gave us a total visceral experience from beginning to end in “Killer Secrets”.

Elyse and James entered my life like no other characters in a very long time. There was a sense of urgency that was so palpable it was literally jumping off the pages, almost needing me to stand up as I read the first chapter!

This book does need to come with a warning for those that have suffered any serious trauma, because Sherrie Orvik writes every ounce so very well. I have complex-PTSD and have suffered serious personal trauma, and came out the other end of this book feeling wonderfully vindicated, because an author finally got our voice exactly right!! That is a beautiful thing, my friends!! 

I was in love with Elyse and more in love with James.

I found myself both scared and comforted often at the same time…

This is a must read for any suspense or thriller readers out there. With a twist of romance.

It would be a shame if you missed it!

5 Stars.

#BookReview: Flip-Flops After 50: And Other Thoughts on Aging I Remembered to Write Down by Cindy Eastman

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date Of Release: April 8, 2014

Summary:

Flip-flops After 50 will amuse, enlighten, and provoke readers to think about the topics that affect all of us. Who hasn’t dealt with the emotions from family events, stress from lousy jobs, or the bittersweet feelings when the kids leave home? Not to mention body image, high school reunions, and parenting. Eastman’s conversational style and easy humor tackle the sublime and the ridiculous, the sacred and the profane. After a certain age—and it’s no secret that it’s 50—Eastman argues that attitudes change for the better. Making decisions gets easier, although there’s no guarantee that life does. Even so, her writing allows us to take a look at our own issues with the reassuring handholding of a confidante.

Review:

This is a super, want to dive into book, once you open it! Each chapter leads you to the next vignette that Cindy Eastman shares with us to enlighten us to our own path in “Flip-Flips after 50”…and it is stunning! It’s wild how much I connected to her story. I learned so much along the way, and will definitely take some lessons to travel further along my journey.

I love how gently everything was shared. I felt like I was in conversation with a friend.

I highly recommend this book to women. Women of any age…at least I am going into my 50th birthday warmed with this 200 page book and a pair of flip-flips. I am very grateful.

5 Stars.

#BookReview: The Clergyman’s Wife: A Pride and Prejudice Novel by Molly Greeley

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: December 3, 2019

Summary:

For everyone who loved Pride and Prejudice—and legions of historical fiction lovers—an inspired debut novel set in Austen’s world.

Charlotte Collins, nee Lucas, is the respectable wife of Hunsford’s vicar, and sees to her duties by rote: keeping house, caring for their adorable daughter, visiting parishioners, and patiently tolerating the lectures of her awkward husband and his condescending patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Intelligent, pragmatic, and anxious to escape the shame of spinsterhood, Charlotte chose this life, an inevitable one so socially acceptable that its quietness threatens to overwhelm her. Then she makes the acquaintance of Mr. Travis, a local farmer and tenant of Lady Catherine..
In Mr. Travis’ company, Charlotte feels appreciated, heard, and seen. For the first time in her life, Charlotte begins to understand emotional intimacy and its effect on the heart—and how breakable that heart can be. With her sensible nature confronted, and her own future about to take a turn, Charlotte must now question the role of love and passion in a woman’s life, and whether they truly matter for a clergyman’s wife.

Review:

“The Clergyman’s Wife” by Molly Greeley really walks in the path alongside Jane Austen’s “Pride & Prejudice”. I felt the same tempo, magic and slow passage of time as when I read Jane Austen. There is nothing better than a book that makes you want to stop time!

I loved Charlotte Lucas, so it was wonderful to revisit with her.

Often these Austen retellings feel forced, and definitely not taken in stride; but that does not happen here. I truly felt taken away….Taken away in the beautiful use of language, and and a truly magnificent storyline.

You’ll need some time to spend frolicking with Charlotte and her family and friends through her days, because you won’t want to put the book down.

I hope that Molly Greeley has more stories in the making that are of this classical fraction, because she sure hits the nail on the head. This is certainly her wheelhouse.

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

5 Stars.

#BookReview: Honestly, We Meant Well by Grant Ginder

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: June 11, 2019

Summary:

The Wright family is in ruins.

Sue Ellen Wright has what she thinks is a close-to-perfect life. A terrific job as a Classics professor, a loving husband, and a son who is just about to safely leave the nest.

But then disaster strikes. She learns that her husband is cheating, and that her son has made a complete mess of his life. So, when the opportunity to take her family to a Greek island for a month presents itself, she jumps at the chance. This sunlit Aegean paradise, with its mountains and beaches is, after all, where she first fell in love with both a man and with an ancient culture. Perhaps Sue Ellen’s past will provide the key to her and her family’s salvation.

With his signature style of biting wit, hilarious characters, and deep emotion, Grant Ginder’s Honestly, We Meant Well is a funny, brilliant novel proving that with family, drama always comes with comedy.

Review:

The dysfunction jumps off of the pages with each turn in Grant Ginder’s, “Honestly, We Meant Well”; and it is deliciously raw and delightful.

From the moment we meet Sue Ellen Wright we are brought into an amazing mess! While she believes everything with her family is running smoothly, everything is truly like a house of dominoes that are falling.

When she accepts a job offer in Greece, we are taken on a dramatic and hilarious journey with the Wright family. Ginder knows Greece thoroughly, and brings it to life for us!

It’s truly a stunning island. I fell in love.

It’s a truly entertaining, vibrant and charismatic story.

I immediately bought all of Grant Ginder’s Novels! I cannot wait to read about his next family….

4 Stars.

 

 

 

#BookReview: The Murder List by Hank Phillippi Ryan

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: August 20, 2019

Summary:

“An exhilarating thrill ride that keeps you turning pages.. Ryan deftly delivers a denouement as shocking as it is satisfying.”–Liv Constantine, bestselling author of The Last Mrs. Parrish and The Last Time I Saw You

Law student Rachel North will tell you, without hesitation, what she knows to be true. She’s smart, she’s a hard worker, she does the right thing, she’s successfully married to a faithful and devoted husband, a lion of Boston’s defense bar, and her internship with the Boston DA’s office is her ticket to a successful future.

Problem is–she’s wrong.

And in this cat and mouse game–the battle for justice becomes a battle for survival.

The Murder List is a new standalone suspense novel in the tradition of Lisa Scottoli

and B. A. Paris from award-winning author and reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan.

At the Publisher’s request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Review:

Hank Phillipi Ryan’s triangular approach that is used to introduce each character to us in “The Murder List” was a winning combination. It was such a wicked playing field! So ferociously intense you didn’t know who you could trust! Such a beautiful gift in a thriller!

Rachel is a Howard Law Student married to Jack, one of the finest Defense Attorney’s in Boston. Rachel must work with Jack’s nemesis, Assistant District Attorney, Martha to complete her internship for Law School. Deliciously intense!

It is so thrilling..you will not want to stop reading!

Rachel wants to get on the  Murder List. To be part of the team defending the people being accused of murder. But. How do you get on this List? Is there more than one type of Murder List???

This story is nothing short of exhilarating! I was taken away with the courtroom drama, political games, and crimes. Everything had me gripped to the pages….Hank Phillipi Ryan truly has a gift for writing the riveting novel with twists you don’t expect and one that you certainly do not want to put down until you get to the very. last. word.

And, then you have to sit…and absorb everything you just read.

Brilliant!

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

5 Stars

#BookReview: The Fourteenth of September by Rita Dragonette

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: September 18, 2018

Summary:

On September 14, 1969, Private First Class Judy Talton celebrates her nineteenth birthday by secretly joining the campus anti-Vietnam War movement. In doing so, she jeopardizes both the army scholarship that will secure her future and her relationship with her military family. But Judy’s doubts have escalated with the travesties of the war. Who is she if she stays in the army? What is she if she leaves?

When the first date pulled in the Draft Lottery turns up as her birthday, she realizes that if she were a man, she’d have been Number One—off to Vietnam with an under-fire life expectancy of six seconds. The stakes become clear, propelling her toward a life-altering choice as fateful as that of any draftee.

The Fourteenth of September portrays a pivotal time at the peak of the Vietnam War through the rare perspective of a young woman, tracing her path of self-discovery and a “Coming of Conscience.” Judy’s story speaks to the poignant clash of young adulthood, early feminism, and war, offering an ageless inquiry into the domestic politics of protest when the world stops making sense.

Review:

I was honored to have been able to read Rita Dragonette’s Novel “ The Fourteenth of September” during the 50 year Anniversary of the actual date that this story was wrapped around.

You see this is the year 1969, and the first Draft Lottery for the Vietnam War is 19 year old Judy Talton’s Birthday, September 14.  The awareness that if she were to have been born a man was so emboldened within her, that she makes choices that are going to be pivotal for her entire future.

Judy is in college on an Army Scholarship, and with this comes a certain level of responsibility. So does being the daughter of a Mother that served in World War II. Choosing her own path at this time in history was obviously not an easy one. Rita Dragonette wrote an absolutely stunning, beautiful, powerful and heartfelt story; one that finally is being heard!

It will leave your heart bleeding as lottery numbers are called. You will cry out for Veterans. You will truly empathize so often, because you will feel as if you are truly part of each scene. You see, let me try to explain! There will be no separation between you and Rita Dragonette’s Story….because you won’t feel like you are reading it as an outsider looking in; she takes you inside each moment in time. It is more than saying “I felt like I was there”…it’s deeper!! It’s almost Visceral!!

I cannot applaud this novel enough, because I could discuss it forever…

And, I will recommend it for the next 50 years!

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

5 Stars.

Side Note:

One of my Favorite Covers!

I have such a better understanding of what my Uncle, and husbands Uncle went through. A better understanding of their families..and their traumas.

It is a book that will make you think..What choices would you have made?

Perfect Book Club Book! High School Requirement!

Thank you Rita, for opening my eyes!

#BookRelease, #BookReview & #BookGiveaway: Love, Jane By Katie Blanchard

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Jane always longed for security and thought she found it when she married Stewart. When stress takes a toll on their marriage, she hires yoga instructor Shana to help him, but finds that sometimes inviting a stranger into your home means they never leave.

Tossed out of her home and marriage, penniless, while Shana sleeps in her place, Jane is brutally attacked. With help from Billy, the cop who saved her life, Jane takes on a new identity to hide from the man who assaulted her. Hiding is exhausting, but she’s not sure who to trust. Even Billy has past ties to her husband.

While the cops hunt for her attacker, a run-in with Shana exposes a secret that could result in a new madman on Jane’s tail– Stewart. Both women are in peril and Jane must decide if she can help the woman who ruined her marriage.

Will she be able to save them both or is the danger closer than either of them imagines?

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Katie Blanchard does it again with “Love, Jane”!

We all met the steadfast Jane Voss in “Dear Anna” and now we are afforded the opportunity to learn her backstory. It is not often that an author takes us on this journey and what an awesome idea this is. I found it to be not only super exciting, but; realized how truly powerful learning her history was.

The theme that runs vibrantly through this novel is that “Girls Stick Together” and…it bleeds into (or out of) “Dear Anna”. That is the beauty of how Katie Blanchard wrote these novels; you can read them in either order.

The depth with which each character is driven is triumphant! I truly felt compelled to care for each character. Her character development is flawless.

The most magnificent part of this novel was that Jane’s ex-husband, Stewart plays one of the strongest characters in the storyline, yet we never meet him, or even see him from a distance. He is so hated by me. He is so vile, and disgusting….It is pure talent that can give this type of power to a character that is unseen.

I was totally taken away! I not only recommend this book…I give it high praise!

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

5 Stars.

—-Annie Horsky McDonnell

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Katie Blanchard is an author of women’s fiction and suspense. Her debut novel, ‘Pressing Flowers’ is available for purchase through Amazon. Katie resides in Southwestern, Pennsylvania where she spends most of her days chasing two children. When they give her a moment, she’s found crocheting on the couch. You can find out more about Katie and her upcoming releases at www.authorkatieblanchard.com, or follow her on Facebook. http://bit.ly/KBlanchardFBPage

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