#BookReview: True to Me by Kay Bratt

CBD7996D-2A95-4112-98DF-503A22A8B4DDReviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: December 10, 2019

Summary


From the bestselling author of Wish Me Home comes a breathtaking novel about the secrets that families keep and one woman’s illuminating search for the truth.

Quinn Maguire has a stable life, a fiancé, and what she thinks is a clear vision for her future. All of that comes undone by her mother’s deathbed confession—the absentee father Quinn spent thirty years resenting is not her real father at all. With that one revealing whisper, Quinn embarks on a journey to Maui, her mother’s childhood home, a storied paradise that holds the truth about her mother’s past and all its secrets Quinn is determined to uncover.

But settling on the island has its complications, and with the fiancé she left behind questioning every choice she makes, Quinn’s quest for her truth is even more difficult than she expected. As time passes and she digs deeper into her family history and her own identity, one thing becomes clear: Maui is as beautiful as she’d always imagined, and its magic is helping uncover the woman that Quinn was always meant to be.

Review:

Kay Bratt has written a beautiful heartfelt novel with “True To Me”.

Quinn’s truly emotional journey was one that instantly drew me in and had me right there with her through the happy and the sad times. Complex and tear jerking at times! I loved this story and found it hard to put down!

I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone looking for an emotional journey!

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

5 Stars.

#BookReview: Guarding the Princess (Faking It #3) by Marika Ray

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: November 6, 2019

Summary:

I hired a new bodyguard. I should have guarded my heart instead.

Charlotte
The way out of my gilded cage was clear; the reward, freedom.
Fall in love and get married before my twenty-first birthday and I can give up the throne I don’t want.

Unfortunately, the boyfriend I propose to turns me down just days before my birthday and my mother, the Queen, summons me back to my country.
New plan: fake a boyfriend.

Ryker
First rule of bodyguarding: don’t get involved personally with clients.
I’m only supposed to get her back to Regora safely and on time.
But then she cries on my shoulder when I catch her running away and she shares her family secret.
Now I want to protect her heart. The only problem is princesses don’t fall for bodyguards. Not in real life.

Review:

Marika Ray has written yet another entertaining, enchanting, romantic comedy with “Guarding the Princess”.

It was hard to put this book down once I picked it up.

Charlotte was such a fun character, she kept me laughing throughout the story.

Ryker was unique and was afraid of his feelings.

Put this all together and you have one perfect read!

I have read all three of the books in the Faking It Series and tremendously enjoyed all of them.

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

5 Stars.

#BookReview & #ChristinesFamilyFavorites: Winter Flower by Charles Sheehan-Miles

DE181759-E0D3-4CA8-8488-80FB87E4FCDAReviewer: Christine Davis

Release Date: June 4, 2019

Summary:

From the bestselling author of Just Remember to Breathe and The Last Hour, a shocking and poignant story of a family on the brink of destruction and the transformational events that could bring them back together—or tear them apart.

Every day, Cole Roberts reminds himself that life wasn’t always this bleak. He was once passionately in love with Erin. Sam used to be an artistic and lively kid. They hadn’t always lived in a shabby two-room house in rural Alabama, where he runs a mediocre restaurant in the middle of nowhere.
That was before Brenna disappeared. It was before Cole lost his job and they lost their home.

Every day it gets worse. Erin drinks wine out of the bottle and spends her days with a tormented expression, searching the web for signs of their daughter. Sam hides in his room and rarely speaks. And Cole works himself to a stupor for a paycheck a fraction of the size of his old salary.

Until one day a phone call changes everything.

winter flower is at once a tragic tale of the disappearance of a child; struggling with gender identity; of the dark world of sex-trafficking and the transformation and healing of a family. Sheehan-Miles’s longest novel delves into the depths of family life—and how, sometimes, we can heal and find restoration.

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Review:

Tragic events can alter a family faster than anything else. In Charles Sheehan-Miles’s book “Winter Flower” tragedy takes it’s toll on one family barely holding it together in the first place.

A swirling mass of horrible happenings tear through a family and brings forth some of the worst people civilization has to offer to aide in their suffering. Yet, strength and love holds on and slowly helps repair some of the damage. Will time heal all wounds or erase the past? Does it ever?

I was riveted to this realistic gritty story. Characters would repulse me and others had me cheering for the true grit they showed under unimaginable sorrows! This book takes humanity at its best and worst and weaves an unforgettable tale!

When ever the chance happens upon you in your favorite book store or pursuing a beloved ebook site, you look and see “Winter Flower”,  do yourself a favor and get a copy!

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

5 Stars.

#BookReview: Find Me In Florence by Jule Selbo

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Reviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

Release Date: October 30, 2019

Summary:

Survival means finding the courage to dig deep and find that elusive inner strength…

Finding herself at life’s crossroads, always-dutiful Lyn Bennett jumps at the chance to teach in historic Florence, Italy; it’s an opportunity to unearth the mysterious details of her mother’s past as one of Florence’s revered Mud Angels who helped save the city during the 1966 flood – as well as to re-evaluate the choices she’s made in her life. When her husband betrays her and a best friend falls to the wayside, Lyn is devastated. When handsome and magnetic Matteo strives to help, she has to decide if she will allow the people – and the city of Florence, with its pride, vitality and beauty – inspire her to open her heart again?

Review:

Oh my, I think I have fallen in love! 

“Find Me In Florence” by Jule Selbo was so beautifully written and has so much to offer a reader. The majority of the story takes place in Florence, Italy. I’ve always wanted to go to Italy and Jule made me feel like I was there. It is such a gorgeous, ancient city. Some of their customs, foods and language were woven into the story. I enjoyed the history of the Mud Angels. They were volunteers who worked endlessly following a flood back in 1966 to save artifacts that were hundreds of years old and many times irreplaceable. There is history there that we don’t often think about because our history in the United States is so young compared to other places in the world. I love a book that teaches me things in a fun way. 

The characters were quirky, all in their own way. From the friends Lyn made, her writing students, her Italian teacher to a romantic man all women have dreamed of falling in love with. These characters leaped off the page and right into my life. I was sad when I finished the book because I am going to miss my new friends. 

I hope there is a sequel in the works! 

5 Stars.

#BookReview & #ChristinesFamilyFavorites: A Thousand Roads Home by Carmel Harrington

DE181759-E0D3-4CA8-8488-80FB87E4FCDAReviewer: Christine Davis

Summary:

Warm, powerful and unforgettable, Irish Times best-selling author Carmel Harrington’s new novel is about second chances, friendship and unlikely heroes.

‘Where is home?’ DJ asked.
‘Wherever the people you love are.’ Ruth replied.

Single mother, Ruth, and her son, DJ, have never truly fitted in, but that didn’t matter, so long as they were together. When their home comes under threat, their quiet life will change forever.

DJ meets Tom, a man who ten years ago walked out of his house and never looked back. Ruth, DJ and Tom have all felt like outsiders. Burdened with grief and insecurities, they are not living their best lives. But together, these three ordinary people will do an extraordinary thing…

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Review:

How does the world look to you? Through the eyes of Irish author Carmel Harrington’s characters in her new book “A Thousand Roads Home” the world takes on different meanings.

One man sees the world through the eyes of the homeless and lost. One woman sees the world through the uncontrollable confusion of autism. And a young boy finds the world an unstable place where home is hard to find.

My heart was captured by this compelling story of what home is and where to find it. This book illustrates how fragile people can be when life’s more difficult moments breaks down the human spirit. Then those same broken pieces can be scraped back together with loyalty & love!

This book has the capability of delivering one into a story more completely, with insightful views, like not many other books or authors I have read.

Pick a road, any road, just make sure it leads you down the path to purchasing a copy of this amazing book! I found myself, thanking myself, for buying this memorable tale!

4 Stars.

#BookReview & #GiveAway: Spice of Love by Anya Stassiy

0A7DCE7C-EFCD-4EAB-B907-F238D0052398Reviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

Release Date: October 31st, 2019

Summary:

A Caribbean island welcomes wedding guests with the promise of romance and excitement.

Angelina, an aspiring writer and Kai, a handsome doctor spring to action during an inflight medical emergency. Angelina’s feelings stir for Kai, her high school crush. But life is complicated, he is moving to Grenada and she is dating a famous novelist. Isn’t she?

Gretchen is a single mother with a hot new look and a bold new attitude. She meets widower, Mitchel on the flight to her friend’s wedding. But is he ready for romance? And is he the man to show her what it’s like to be loved?

This tropical island will wash away what once was for these guests and introduce them to an unexpected spice, but will they like the new flavor of love?

DD3040D0-D18A-4888-A8BE-BF26DF0B04E5Review:

Do you want a good book to curl up with on a chilly fall day? Try “Spice of Love” by Anya Stassiy. I think you will find this a satisfying story. I read this novel cuddled up on my couch with my furbabies, a cozy throw and a warm cup of tea. Perfect!

A large part of this book takes place on the beautiful island of Grenada. Just what you are dreaming of as our weather turns cold because the weather there is hot and sunny. Plus, a wedding is planned and what could be better?
I liked this entertaining book and all of the characters. Although, there were several characters, the author took the time to develop and introduce them. I didn’t have a problem remembering who they are and what they mean to each other. That’s what makes this book easy and fun to read.
So, grab yourself a copy of “Spice of Love”, go to your cozy reading spot and get ready to enjoy an all around fun novel. You’ll be glad you did!

 

5 Stars.

#BookReview & #ChristinesFamilyFavorites: The Center of the World by Jacqueline Sheehan

DE181759-E0D3-4CA8-8488-80FB87E4FCDAReviewer: Christine Davis

Summary:

In New York Times bestselling author Jacqueline Sheehan’s evocative and emotionally compelling novel, a mother and her adopted daughter each embark on a journey of self-discovery in the wake of a stunning revelation.

How do you keep a secret so huge that it could devastate everyone you care about? For Kate Malloy, the answer is simple: one lie at a time. That’s how she has protected her daughter for more than a dozen years, shielding her from a terrible truth. Sofia, a fifteen-year-old soccer star living in New England, believes she was born in Mexico and legally adopted by Kate. But a posthumous letter from her stepfather tells Sofia a different story—one of civil unrest and bloodshed, death-defying heroism and child-smuggling, harrowing sacrifice and desperate decisions.

Sofia’s trust in her mother is shattered. At last Kate must do what she knows is right—accompany Sofia back to Guatemala, the place where Kate found horror and heartache but also the greatest joy of her life. As mother and daughter confront the damage done by years of dangerous yet necessary deceptions, they discover how much love, hope, and happiness may still remain—if they have the courage to face their past.

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Review:

The teen years can be full of changes that can have everlasting effects on a young girl. Not every teen girl finds out everything about her life is not what she thought it was! How could her mother keep the truth hidden for so long under so many lies? A mother who risked her life many years ago and lost her true love to save her

Jacqueline Sheehan’s novel “The Center of The World” brings readers face to face with the terrible civil war in Guatemala during the 1990s. And how, through the gruesome carnage of that war, a family was born.

I was drawn into this book with rememberances of Guatemala ten years later. A time that I was there doing the same thing the main character was; overseas study for college credit. I was at the same towns, market places and with Mayan Indians learning and sharing with them, just like Sheehan’s character. But I saw only what was after the war, unlike in the book, being there for the war!

This book is a tribute to what great lengths the love of a mother, the heart of a good friend and the strength of the binding ties of family can have on one’s life. You will be in tears and cheering while you travel along the reading road to The Center of the World!

5 Stars.

 

#BookReview: Controlling Shelly Fagan by Olive Dunn

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Summary:

Have you ever loved someone so much it took your breath away?

A captivating, unforgettable love story, Olive Dunn restores glory to the romance genre with this intense and provocative novel.

Controlling Shelly Fagan is a riveting romance novel that will guide readers through a tantalizing journey of a young woman whose life has been dominated by secrets and deceit. She trusted her parents—only to discover years later they lied.

A first love, an endless love. Shelly Fagan at seventeen loved Chris Johnson with every ounce of her being. Forced away from him and everything she knew and loved, she was hidden in a convent, pregnant and alone. Now, at age thirty-six and married to another man, a life-changing event takes Shelly back to the same small Indiana town where it all began.

This novel will take you back to 1967—a year of music, sex, freedom, laughter, love, and Vietnam.

Controlling Shelly Fagan is a gripping emotional story that will stay with you.You grow up, but you never forget. You can’t forget.

Review:

Olive Dunn clearly shows us how lies and deceit can hurt a family and friendships in her novel “Controlling Shelly Fagan”.

This a deeply poignant story telling us about Shelly and her very difficult life. From her teenage years through her mid-thirties we watch her maneuver through so much heartbreak; because of what happened to her as a teenager and then all of the unimaginable choices she had to make as an adult.

There were many times where my heart truly broke for her. I kept wondering what choice she would make when she came to certain crossroads and wondered would I have done the same???

I must admit that I was surprised a couple of times as I thought the story was headed a different direction, only to be taken the opposite.

I thoroughly enjoyed this from cover to cover! Olive Dunn’s Debut novel surely was wonderful, I hope she writes more!

4.5 Stars.

#BookReview & #SpookyReads: “Evening in the Yellow Wood” by Laura Kemp

87FB7773-4864-4FF8-A5E9-C5E05BC51E8BReviewer: Christine Davis

Summary:

Abandoned by an eccentric father on the eve of her twelfth birthday, Justine Cook has lived with her fair share of unanswered questions. Now, ten years later she leaves her life in southern Michigan and heads north to the mysterious town of Lantern Creek after seeing his picture in a local newspaper. Once there, she discovers her father had been leading a double life and meets the autistic brother she never knew—a young man who is mute but able to read her mind.

When a local girl who looks like Justine is mysteriously murdered, she joins forces with sheriff’s deputy Dylan Locke to capture the killer. But the more they dig for clues to the past, the closer they come to discovering a secret someone will kill to protect. Justine begins to show signs of supernatural power and eventually must stop an immortal enemy that has hunted her family for generations.

305CD7F0-468B-415F-8E50-FF77E152596DReview:


A daughter’s need to find her father is a powerful one. Laura Kemp sends her main character into a world of danger, a world beyond what normal people would expect!

“Evening in The Yellow Woods” is a novel chocked full of suspense, mystery and paranormal activities! You think you know what is going on, then *** BAM *** the story twists and your taken down another amazing path!

I enjoyed Kemp’s easy style of writing that leads you through this original take on what one would do for family.

Kemp tosses in plenty of spectral phenomenons in this book to keep any ghost loving reader hooked from beginning to end!

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

4 Stars.

#BookReview: Beneath Pale Water by Thalia Henry

Reviewer: Annie McDonnell

8ED82A28-4526-48C3-8832-0F2790B71019Summary:

Set amidst the physical and psychological landscapes of New Zealand’s southern hills and grasslands, Beneath Pale Water is a social realist and expressionistic novel that follows a triangle of three damaged individuals – a sculptor, a vagrant and a model – who have grown calcified shells against the world. Their search for identity and belonging leads them into dangerous territory that threatens both their sanity and lives. As their protective shells crack they are left vulnerable – both physically and emotionally – to the high country winds and their own conflicts that, ultimately, might free or destroy them.

Review:

I found this to be one of the most lyrical novels I have read in a long time. It was quite refreshing to read a book that I actually had to decipher the underlying meaning to.

The imagery was just stunning. I felt totally transported. It stirred my soul.

It was truly a beautiful dance between these characters that had me guessing right up until the end. I absolutely hated to put it down when necessary.

I highly recommend this book to anyone that wants to take a break from the everyday story.

This Novel will win awards, and the author is going to write wondrous stories!

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

5 Stars.