#BookReview: You Were There Too by Colleen Oakley

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: January 7, 2020

Summary:

Mia Graydon’s life looks picket-fence perfect; she has the house, her loving husband, and dreams of starting a family. But she has other dreams too — unexplained, recurring ones starring the same man. Still, she doesn’t think much of them, until a relocation to small-town Pennsylvania brings her face to face with the stranger she has been dreaming about for years. And this man harbors a jaw-dropping secret of his own—he’s been dreaming of her too.

Determined to understand, Mia and this not-so-stranger search for answers. But when diving into their pasts begins to unravel her life in the present, Mia emerges with a single question—what if?

Acclaimed author Colleen Oakley delivers a heart-wrenching and unforgettable love story about a woman who must choose between the man she loves and the man fate has chosen for her in a novel that reminds us that the best life is one led by the heart.

Review:

Colleen Oakley totally shocked me with the last scenes of “You Were There Too”! This story was poignant, intense and beautiful! With a completely unexpected ending! I had to remind myself to breathe!

The story of Mia Graydon and the boy, Oliver she was dreaming of grew extremely intense after they met in person. It was quite the ride!  I was so invested in Mia’s choices. It was as if each decision reflected upon my life somehow.

Colleen Oakley really made me think long and hard about my Dreams and my thoughts on destiny and listening to those little hints about fate that I sometimes ignore as I walk through my life.

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

4 Stars.

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Author Bio:


Colleen Oakley’s novels have been named best books by People Magazine, Us Weekly, Library Journal, and Real Simple, and both were long-listed for the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize. Formerly the editor-in-chief of Women’s Health & Fitness and senior editor of Marie Claire, her articles and essays have been featured in The New York Times, Ladies’ Home Journal, Women’s Health, Redbook, Parade, Marie Claire and Martha Stewart Weddings. She lives in Atlanta with her husband, four kids and the world’s biggest lapdog, Bailey. Her fourth novel THE INVISIBLE HUSBAND OF FRICK ISLAND will be published by Berkley/Penguin in summer 2021.

#BookReview: This Won’t End Well by Camille Pagán

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: February 26, 2020

Summary:

An ingeniously witty novel about the risks—and rewards—of opening your life to new people by Amazon Charts bestselling author Camille Pagán.

No new people: that’s Annie Mercer’s vow. It’s bad enough that her boss sabotaged her chemistry career and her best friend tried to cure her with crystals. But after her fiancé, Jon, asks for space while he’s gallivanting around Paris, Annie decides she needs space too—from everyone.

Yet when Harper moves in next door, Annie can’t help but train a watchful eye on the glamorous but fragile young woman. And if keeping Harper safe requires teaming up with Mo, a maddeningly optimistic amateur detective, who is she to mind her own business?

Soon Annie has let not one but two new people into her life. Then Jon reappears—and he wants her to join him in France. She’s pretty sure letting anyone get close won’t end well. So she must decide: Is another shot at happiness worth the risk?

Review:

Camille Pagán always delivers novels where her characters crack wide open, and we get to watch as they try to heal their souls! She writes with truth and honesty about their trials and tribulations. But, we do find ourselves laughing out loud and smiling as she has them walk their path!

I adored Annie Mercer! I was rooting for her! When I closed “This Won’t End Well”, I felt very close to Annie!

This novel was written using a rather invigorating approach, that I found to be genius! It was so original! She had her protagonist Annie Mercer share texts, emails and journal entries as she told us her story!! It felt more intimate! So cool!

The very essence of this story is hope and never giving up on yourself.

Truly unforgettable!

5 Stars.

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Author Bio:

I’m the author of six novels, including This Won’t End Well, I’m Fine and Neither Are You, and the #1 Kindle bestseller Life and Other Near-Death Experiences, which was recently optioned for film. My novels have been translated into nearly two dozen languages.

I’ve written for Fast Company, Forbes, The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Parade, Real Simple, Time, and many others.

When I’m not at my computer, you’ll find me with my nose in a book, running after my two kids, or planning my next trip (most likely to Puerto Rico, where my husband was born and raised). Visit me at www.camillepagan.com.

Live Interview:

#BookReview & #NewRelease: A Summer of Surprises by Judith Keim

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: June 23, 2020

Summary:

Jill Conroy is tricked by her sister into becoming the housekeeper and cook for the summer at Seashell Cottage where Greg Campbell and his nephew, Brody, have been hired to do maintenance projects on the house. Annoyed at first, Jill soon realizes how wonderful it is to be away from her home in New York and the memories of her deceased, emotionally abusive husband. Soon the magic of the beach heals Jill enough for her to decide to move to Florida permanently to make a new life for herself. Her part-time work at a summer camp and the promise of a new job as a third-grade teacher in the fall make it seem as if her future is set. But a visit from her sister, followed by her mother, reveals secrets that surprise them all. Jill learns to accept the idea of love not only from Brody but from his daughter, Kacy, as the summer brings even more surprises.

 

Review:

“A Summer of Surprises” is a poignant novel in the “Seashell Cottage Series” that tells us all about Jill starting her life over and starting fresh on many levels.

Judith Keim has given us a charming, whimsical & emotional romance. I found myself teary-eyed a few different times while reading.

My heart broke for Jill during some of these difficult decisions that she had to make.

This was my first book in the Series and can be read as standalone.

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

5 Stars.

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Author Bio:

Judith Keim enjoyed her childhood and young-adult years in Elmira, New York, and now makes her home in Boise, Idaho, with her husband and their two dachshunds, Winston and Wally, and other members of her family.

While growing up, she was drawn to the idea of writing stories from a young age. Books were always present, being read, ready to go back to the library, or about to be discovered. All in her family shared information from the books in general conversation, giving them a wealth of knowledge and vivid imaginations.

A hybrid author who both has a publisher and self-publishes, Ms. Keim writes heart-warming novels about women who face unexpected challenges, meet them with strength, and find love and happiness along the way. Her best-selling books are based, in part, on many of the places she’s lived or visited and on the interesting people she’s met, creating believable characters and realistic settings her many loyal readers love. Ms. Keim loves to hear from her readers and appreciates their enthusiasm for her stories.

*Please Come Join Us at The Write Review when Judith Visits on July 15th at 7PM EST*

#BlogTour & #BookReview: The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: May 26, 2020

Summary:

Just after the Second World War, in the small English village of Chawton, an unusual but like-minded group of people band together to attempt something remarkable.

One hundred and fifty years ago, Chawton was the final home of Jane Austen, one of England’s finest novelists. Now it’s home to a few distant relatives and their diminishing estate. With the last bit of Austen’s legacy threatened, a group of disparate individuals come together to preserve both Jane Austen’s home and her legacy. These people—a laborer, a young widow, the local doctor, and a movie star, among others—could not be more different and yet they are united in their love for the works and words of Austen. As each of them endures their own quiet struggle with loss and trauma, some from the recent war, others from more distant tragedies, they rally together to create the Jane Austen Society.

 


C98391E4-8383-4AAD-A7BA-4AA07B422F15Review:

I love all things Austen!

As Natalie Jenner quotes in her novel “The Jane Austen Society”, ‘But one can always read Austen’; I can definitely read about her at any time!

I was enamored with the idea of a society being created to preserve Jane Austen’s home and legacy! Even if you don’t know who Jane Austen is, you will feel the pull of this desire to hold on tight to her memories, and more!

We meet each member of the Society along the way, and as they create relationships with one another we feel their bonds growing! I was touched, moved and often inspired!

With an overall message of hope, I found this book to be truly delightful!

One that often had me smiling, because it simply radiated warmth! I am so happy I had the chance to read this story!

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

4 Stars.

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Bio:

Natalie Jenner was born in England and emigrated to Canada as a young child. She obtained her B.A. and her LL.B. from the University of Toronto, where she was the 1990 Gold Medalist in English Literature at St. Michael’s College, and was Called to the Bar of Ontario in 1995. In addition to a brief career as a corporate lawyer, Natalie has worked as a recruiter, career coach, and consultant to leading law firms in Canada for over two decades. Most recently Natalie founded the independent bookstore Archetype Books in Oakville, Ontario, where she lives with her family and two rescue dogs. A lifelong devotee of all things Jane Austen, “The Jane Austen Society” is her first published novel.

 

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#BookReview: Time With Norma Jeane: A Time Travel Novel by Elyse Douglas

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: January 13, 2020

Summary:

A young woman is hurled back to 1954 to spend a week with Marilyn Monroe.

Together, they embark on their own personal journeys — one a coming-of-age — the other, Marilyn’s journey, a struggle to reconcile with her past and perhaps change the future.

Review:

I hear “Norma Jean” & “Novel” together and I often stop in my tracks. I love both fiercely! So, I had to read this novel,

Elyse Douglas brings Marilyn Monroe to life with breathtaking and genuine beauty inside and out in “Time with Norma Jeane”. Elyse captured her very essence! It was lovely.

Darla stumbled into an almost surreal adventure with Marilyn Monroe after her Mother died. Literally! Stumbling from 1998 to 1954, right in to the helping hands of Marilyn! Such an odd sensation! Fate? Time Travel?

No matter the reason, Darla was going to spend time with Marlyn! Along the way both of their lives might change…

This Time Travel novel is told so brilliantly, there is such an ease….I was in awe! Truly taken away, I could not put this story down until the very end!  I felt like I’d gone back to 1954!

I fell in love with Darla, and grew more inspired by Ms, Norma Jean!

It’s amazing what a pen can do when put to paper!

It’s super talented whimsy when Elyse Douglas holds that pen! It’s beautiful!

You won’t want the story to end! I didn’t.

5 Stars.

About the Author: (Too interesting not to share)995D1576-F33E-4A34-B6E6-E8E4C954567F


Elyse Douglas is the pen name for the husband and wife writing team of Elyse Parmentier and Douglas Pennington. Elyse began writing poems and short stories at an early age and graduated with a Master’s Degree in English Literature. Douglas grew up in a family of musicians, astrologers, and avid readers. Some of Elyse Douglas’ novels include: “Time Change,” The Summer Letters,” “Daring Summer,” The Christmas Eve Letter” and “The Christmas Town.” They reside in New York City.

 

#BookTour & #BookReview: The Liar and other stories by Alison Ragsdale

FEB91DEB-8D48-4E1E-87D8-590C59BDBAFAIt is a great pleasure to be one of Today’s Stops on Kate Rock Book Tours for “The Liar and other stories” by Alison Ragsdale! She is one of my most favorite authors! Thank you Kate Rock and Alison Ragsdale for this opportunity!

Date of Release: March 29, 2020

4E88F245-4B4A-44C0-A490-9CC195A299EFOrder Here: https://www.amazon.com/Liar-Other-Stories-Alison-Ragsdale/dp/173303773X

Website: http://www.alisonragsdale.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alisonragsdalewrites/

38A7F526-B44C-49F4-B5DE-615D91C37E93Summary: 

An accomplished liar who finally faces the truth about herself. A self-conscious lawyer who must quell her secret crush on her best friend’s fiancé. A stray dog that heals the hurt of his rescuers. A food critic who makes a startling discovery while reviewing a stylish bistro. A young widow who finds hope in the discarded wedding veil that floats out of a truck, and lands at her feet. With these, and other tales of love, regret and hope, The Liar and other stories will make you laugh, cry, and marvel at the strength of the human spirit.

Review by Annie Horsky McDonnell:

Life and all of its remarkable facets are captured by Alison Ragsdale in “The Liar and other stories”. There is so much hope and warmth pouring out onto these pages!

Each story has it’s very own heartbeat!

Ultimately, You will be moved!

Don’t miss this glimpse into Alison Ragsdale’s thoughts!

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

5 Stars.

Review by Serena Soape:

Alison Ragsdale has given us a charming yet serious series of short stories with “The Liar and other stories”.

All of the stories in the collection are believable and definitely relatable. I love how the endings told us enough but also allowed me to have my own “beyond the ending”

My favorite stories were “Homeless”, “The Guardian” and “Whisper”.

I absolutely recommend this, as well as, Alison’s other books!! You will not be disappointed !!!

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

5 Stars.

Thank you Alison Ragsdale for another amazing book!

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#BookReview: Wedding at the Lakeside Resort by Susan Schild

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: June 25, 2020

Summary:

Book 4 in the Lakeside Resort Series.

Review:

Susan Schild has written another entertaining romantic page- turner with “Wedding at The Lakeside Resort”.

It was great to be back in Lakeside Resort! Beautiful place and you gotta love the Airstream.

I loved reading about the adventures with Jenny and Luke. They had such a whimsical and believable romance.  

Cannot wait for the next book in this series!!

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

4 Stars.

 

#BookTour: A Dog’s Hope by Casey Wilson

8297BD5E-C091-45C4-B34A-F9312C2EC61BTitle:  A Dog’s Hope

 

Publication Day: March 6th  2020

 

Author:   Casey Wilson  

 

Buy  Links:       

Amazon: https://geni.us/B083XYXMLKSocial

Apple: https://apple.co/2u41lyH

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2FYLp3f 

Google: http://bit.ly/2RweWa6

 

Description:

There are some things in life that only a dog can teach you.

A poignant, heart-wrenching, but ultimately uplifting novel about the unbreakable bond between a boy and his dog. Perfect for fans of A Dog’s PurposeThe Art of Racing in the Rain and Marley and Me.

In the farming town of Riverside in Washington, Toby Fuller is feeling more alone than ever. Nothing Toby did was ever good enough for his father, but he never expected his father to leave, to abandon him and his mother forever. He loses hope, until a scruffy golden retriever called Buddy follows him home from school.

Though he’s struggling to walk, Buddy matches Toby step for step, never taking his eyes off him, as if Toby is all he needs in the world. And from that day on Buddy never leaves Toby’s side.

Buddy shows Toby a loyalty that he has never known. But then disaster strikes and Toby’s life is changed forever. Will Buddy be able to give Toby the strength he needs to carry on?

A tale of how unconditional love can bound into your life when you least expect it, giving you hope in the darkest of times.

 

770FB7EA-F696-4EF2-AA4B-121F4A24BCE0Review:

By Serena Soape

Ahhhhh- Not only was this a beautiful cover, but a truly poignant story written on the pages between……so moving and emotionally stirring!

Casey Wilson has written a totally heart and gut wrenching novel with “A Dog’s Hope”.

Buddy was such a loyal companion to Toby and is with him through it all. I loved watching their relationship grow.

I read the last couple chapters through tears as it touched me very deeply.

I absolutely recommend this page turner! You will not want to put it down!

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

5 Stars.

Review:

By Annie Horsky McDonnell

Written with all of the things you can’t buy; but, all of the emotions you can feel, “A Dog’s Hope” by Casey Wilson touches on a lot the hardships we deal with in life with grace…often seen through the eyes of a dog named, Buddy.

Such a captivating tale! So moving and touching!

The relationship between Buddy and his person are full of such love, it is beautiful.

This intensity can sometimes even hurt immeasurably.

It’s surprising what is on the other side of that pain.

Hope.

This is a story to wrap yourself up with!

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

5 Stars.

68CE303A-F198-45A0-BDBB-59175A855443Author Bio:

Casey Wilson is the author of A Dog’s Hope, published with Bookouture.

Born and raised in the United States in Nevada, she is the owner of a gorgeous golden retriever, who may or may not have inspired the dogs in her novels.

Author Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CaseyWilsonAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CaseyWilsonAuth

 

 

#BookReview: Crescent City Moon: Crescent City Series: Book 1 by Nola Nash

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: October 30, 2019

Summary:

Things put underground in New Orleans don’t often stay there. Even things that should – like bodies, and secrets.

How do you fight an enemy you can’t see that can kill on a whim? In 1820s New Orleans, on the eve of her twenty-first birthday, Zéolie Cheval discovers the mangled body of her father murdered in his bed and a maniacal voice haunting the recesses of her mind. When the priest sent to comfort her is killed while the house is swarming with police, Zéolie becomes entangled in a web of mystery that takes her from the French Quarter, to the Ursuline Convent in the Ninth Ward, and deep into the Louisiana swamps.

Officer Louis Saucier, who is losing his heart to Zéolie and his grip on logical reality, helps her find the pieces to her puzzle. The mother superior of the Ursulines offers assistance from a mediumistic nun and a voodoo priestess, blurring the lines between the spiritual and the supernatural.
After opening the family crypt to find it uninhabited, Zéolie realizes that her father lied about her mother’s death – amongst other things. Now, Zéolie must to come to terms with magic she inherited from her grandmother and the price that comes with it.

Step inside the magic and mystery of the 1820s French Quarter to see if an unlikely menagerie can help Zéolie take down a murderous maniac while she shields the officer she loves. Can she harness powers she didn’t know she had? Or, will she make the ultimate sacrifice?

Review:

It was beyond tantalizing! Nola Nash’s Novel was so alive, it had it’s very own heartbeat! That beat began to pulse along with mine, until it was racing so fast I had to remind myself to breathe!

True darkness creeped through each page of “Crescent City Moon”. I felt as though it found it’s way into the very room I was reading!! Until it reached my veins!

I look forward her next nail-biting, look-over-my-shoulder, jump-out-of-my-seat, page-flipping, fast-heart-beating, remind-myself-to-breathe, OMG-it’s-Solène! Novel!!!

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

5 Stars.

#BookReview: You Were There Too by Colleen Oakley

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: January 7, 2020

Summary:

Acclaimed author Colleen Oakley delivers a heart-wrenching and unforgettable love story about a woman who must choose between the man she loves and the man fate has chosen for her in a novel that reminds us that the best life is one led by the heart.

Mia Graydon’s life looks picket-fence perfect; she has the house, her loving husband, and dreams of starting a family. But she has other dreams too — unexplained, recurring ones starring the same man. Still, she doesn’t think much of them, until a relocation to small-town Pennsylvania brings her face to face with the stranger she has been dreaming about for years. And this man harbors a jaw-dropping secret of his own—he’s been dreaming of her too.

Determined to understand, Mia and this not-so-stranger search for answers. But when diving into their pasts begins to unravel her life in the present, Mia emerges with a single question—what if?

 

Review:

Colleen Oakley has given us an emotional and thought-provoking page-turner with “You Were There Too”.

Once I picked this up, I found myself not wanting to do anything but keep reading until I finished.

The characters were faced with many difficult and tough decisions throughout this novel.

The ending was definitely unexpected and wowed me!

I am thrilled that this was selected as our book club read this month. I have found another new author, and I look forward to reading her other books.

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

4.5 Stars.