#BookReview: Crushing It by Lorelei Parker

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: June 30, 2020

Summary:

In life, as in gaming, there’s a way around every obstacle . . .

To pitch her new role-playing game at a European conference, developer Sierra Reid needs to overcome her terror of public speaking. What better practice than competing in a local bar’s diary slam, regaling an audience with old journal entries about her completely humiliating college crush on gorgeous Tristan Spencer?

Until the moderator says, “Next up, Tristan Spencer . . .”

Sierra is mortified, but Tristan is flattered. Caught up in memories of her decade-old obsession as they reconnect, Sierra tries to dismiss her growing qualms about him. But it’s not so easy to ignore her deepening friendship with Alfie, the cute, supportive bar owner. She and Alfie were college classmates too, and little by little, Sierra is starting to wonder if she’s been focusing her moves on the wrong target all along, misreading every player’s motivations.

Maybe the only winning strategy is to start playing by her heart . . .

Review:

“Crushing It” was an entertaining and funny rom-com /chick-lit with a little bit of sexy slipped in there.

This novel by Lorelei Parker was engaging and witty. I literally laughed loud a few times at some of the crazy adventures that Sierra had.

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:

Bouncing all over the north throughout her childhood, Lorelei Parker grew up believing she was a Yankee. However, raised by transplanted Alabamans, she was destined to eventually wind up in the south. After graduating from Auburn University, she disappointed her entire family by defecting to SEC rival University of Florida and eventually settled as far north as central Virginia for grad school in French literature. After a major career shift and a brief detour through New York City, she now works as a computer programmer in Charlottesville. In her free time, when she isn’t playing video games, she writes contemporary romantic comedy.

 

 

 

#BookReview: Husband Material by Emily Belden

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: December 30, 2019

Summary:

Sometimes love is unpredictable…

Twenty-nine-year-old Charlotte Rosen has a secret: she’s a widow. Ever since the fateful day that leveled her world, Charlotte has worked hard to move forward. Great job at a hot social media analytics company? Check. Roommate with no knowledge of her past? Check. Adorable dog? Check. All the while, she’s faithfully data-crunched her way through life, calculating the probability of risk—so she can avoid it.

Yet Charlotte’s algorithms could never have predicted that her late husband’s ashes would land squarely on her doorstep five years later. Stunned but determined, Charlotte sets out to find meaning in this sudden twist of fate, even if that includes facing her perfectly coiffed, and perfectly difficult, ex-mother-in-law—and her husband’s best friend, who seems to become a fixture at her side whether she likes it or not.

But soon a shocking secret surfaces, forcing Charlotte to answer questions she never knew to ask and to consider the possibility of forgiveness. And when a chance at new love arises, she’ll have to decide once and for all whether to follow the numbers or trust her heart.

Review:

Spunky! Lovable! Uplifting! Super-Cute Read from Emily Belden!

“Husband Material” was so hilarious and light hearted considering Charlotte is a widow with a pretty heavy story to share. She is hiding this reality from everyone until her husbands urn shows up on her doorstep, being delivered 5 years after his death.

This story wraps up her past, present and possibly future in a Beach Bag Worthy Romantic Comedy! I loved her! If there is a fictional character I’d want to be friends with, Charlotte is definitely that girl!

Anytime is a great time to get to know Charlotte Rosen!

4 Stars.

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Author Bio:

Emily Belden is a food journalist, social media marketer, and storyteller. She is the author of the novels Hot Mess and Husband Material, and of Eightysixed: A Memoir about Unforgettable Men, Mistakes, and Meals. After she tiled her bedroom floor in over 60,000 pennies – all heads up for good luck – she was a guest on The Today Show and her story was covered by media outlets across the country. A Chicago native, Emily lives with her rescue dog in the West Loop, conveniently close to many of the city’s best restaurants.

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*

#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.

 

#BookReview: Lines We Cross (Nickel Bay Brothers #1) by Marika Ray

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: March 19, 2020

Summary:

Small towns were made for second chances…even if it’s your best friend’s sister.

Skylar Rae
I’m getting by just fine on my own when the boy who stole my heart and ran away twelve years ago shows up in town again. He’s a big shot baseball player now, needing my help to rehab his knee. If he’d just lay off the flirting and the dimples he throws with each grin, I might be able to do my job. Good thing I’m not dumb enough to fall for him a second time.

Max
I promised my best friend I would never make a move on his little sister. I kept that promise—if you don’t count that one kiss senior year—but now that we’re adults and I’m moving back home, all bets are off. Skylar Rae isn’t the same person I knew twelve yearsago and neither am I. It’ll take a lot more healing than I expected to see if she and I can cross that line again.

Review:

Marika Ray has written a heartfelt and touching romance with “Lines We Cross”.

This is the first novel in the Nickel Bay Brothers Series.

The relationship between Skylar and Max had both its good and difficult moments.

The character development for all of the brothers along with Skylar and Max was fantastic.

Nickel Bay seems like the perfect little town to either visit or live in.

This was a fun and entertaining novel that kept me wanting to turn the page all the way to the end.

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

4 Stars.

#BookReview: Seek – Project XOL (BookOne) by Amabel Daniels

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Reviewer- Serena Soape

Date of Release: April 14, 2020

PreOrder Here:

Summary:

It’s been months since Cassidy Shaw has heard from her mother, Rosa, a world-renown scientist. When she does, it’s in the form of an urgent edict to retrieve a key. Arriving at Rosa’s apartment in Cincinnati, Cassidy encounters strangers. One man who seems determined to silence her. The other, could he be her savior?

Luke Dixon enters the fray, believing his neighbor is being attacked. Never one to ignore someone in distress, he’s then shocked to realize he’s the one needing rescue. Bound together through violence, Cassidy and Luke must come to trust each other as they embark on a search, armed only with the key and Rosa’s cryptic directions. It’s a journey with unexpected answers and decades-old research. A search with more questions…and a lethal enemy who returns when least expected.

Review:

Amabel Daniels’ “Seek: Project XOL” is a mysterious action-packed novella.

The story kept me on the edge of my seat, wondering what was going to happen next.

The evolving relationship between Cassidy and Luke was something that I did not imagine.

This is definitely an unexpected brilliant cliffhanger and I am anxiously awaiting 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.

#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.

 

#BookReview: The Sunday Potluck Club (The Sunday Potluck Club, #1) by Melissa Storm

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: March 31, 2020

Summary:

New friends can be found in unexpected places. For Bridget and Amy, that place was the cancer ward of an Anchorage hospital. Now, as each struggles to overcome loss, they lean on each other for support—sharing suppers, laughter and tears.

Bridget and Amy aren’t about to let hardship knock them down—Bridget plans to return to her veterinarian school studies, Amy to her position as a second-grade teacher—but neither feels quite ready. And so the Sunday Potluck Club is born, a way for Bridget, Amy, and other women who have lost a loved one to find solace and understanding. Savoring favorite dishes while sharing memories and the comfort of connection, the members of the Sunday Potluck Club nourish body and soul.

As weeks go by and the group grows in unforeseen ways, both Bridget and Amy areinspired to find greater purpose. Amy reaches out to a student whose father bravely faces his own struggle. Bridget volunteers at the local animal shelter, rehabilitating dogs whose unconditional love will bring others a chance to heal. And with the help of a very special man, Amy is realizing that there’s always room at the table for love and rekindled joy . .

Review:

Melissa Storm has written such charming and entertaining novel with “ The Sunday Potluck Club”.

The relationships between old friendships and new are pushed with the decisions they are forced to face, whether they feel like they were ready or not. This close-knit group of friends had experienced so much loss yet they helped each other through the tough times.

The dogs and cats in the story kept it entertaining too and I am definitely a sucker when it comes to animals.

A couple of my favorite quotes:

“It is not about what you have, it is about what you do.”

“Dogs are better than dudes, they should put that on a poster.”

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

5 Stars.

Also: There is an intro to “Wednesday Walks and Wags” – the next book – which I am looking forward to. 🐾 🐾

#BookReview: One plus Two (Maple Glen #6) by Christina Butrum

 

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: February 28, 2020

PreOrder Here:

Summary:

Hannah Michaelson wants nothing more than a fresh start and a safe place to stay. The only problem? She’s stranded roadside in a small town in the middle of winter. Even worse? Her sister’s baby is asleep in the back seat.

Carter Mitchell has one goal in life—to be the best mechanic he can be while running a successful shop. That, and to avoid love at all costs. But when his family calls on him to help a distressed woman on the side of the road, he doesn’t hesitate. Certain that he can stay strong in the face of the stranger’s beauty, he agrees to help.

Soon enough, the rugged mechanic realizes there’s more to Hannah’s extended stay in Maple Glen than he realized. His aunt is playing matchmaker again, but there’s something Hannah isn’t telling him.

Review:

It was so nice to be taken back to the romantic whimsical town of Maple Glen with “One Plus Two”.

Christina Butrum has a way of drawing you in with a touching, heartfelt story that keeps you reading until you see how it ends.

The characters in this book do not disappoint and you will especially fall in love with Hannah and Grace right from the beginning. Oh yes! You cannot forget about Carter! He was one of my favorites. And who doesn’t love Fran, the town matchmaker?!

This can be read as stand alone, however the characters from the previous books are definitely part of the backstory.

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

4 Stars.

#BookReview: Words for Anna: A Second Chance at First Love by Lara Russell

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: November 11, 2018

Summary:

In that moment, I understood why I had not been able to give up on finding her. We were not two people who travelled the world aimlessly, and we hadn’t been the whole time since we first said goodbye, when we left our birth country empty-handedly. We were a single entity, torn apart, little by little.

Set in Australia, England and South Africa in the early 2000s, Words for Anna is the heart-warming story of first love. Twelve years earlier, Anna and Daniel faced the cruelty of being forced apart as a result of one senseless letter. What happens when they are reunited and given a second chance at love?

Striving to establish a new identity, working in the Australian wine industry, Anna has had no choice but to create the best life she can for herself and her son, Mattie, in Sydney, Australia.

Meanwhile, Daniel, who has been pushing his father’s corporate agenda in the UK for years, as a means to an end, hopes that he may someday see Anna, his lost love, again.

But when they find each other in a chance meeting in Sydney, they are compelled to revisit the past. Forced to work together every day, the secrets Anna has kept for so long are gradually revealed. This, together with the separation they endured and the strange situation they now find themselves in, raises the question – Do they have any chance of rekindling their love?

Words for Anna is a moving novel about hope, resilience and rediscovery.

Review:

Lara Russell has written a captivating romance with “Words for Anna”.

Anna and Daniel’s relationship was powerful yet complex.

It was an entertaining sequence of events in this novel bringing it full circle.

I enjoyed this novel and would definitely recommend this book.

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

4 Stars.