#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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#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 Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

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Reviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

Date of Release: May 14th, 2019

Summary:

Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.

Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky.

Review:

What a fun book to read! 

“The Unhoneymooners” by Christina Lauren was so much fun to read. I haven’t giggled so much while reading a book. EVER!  If you like comedy, you will love this book. It is one laugh after another. 

Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of serious moments. There are also moments that will make you swoon. 

I have not read any other books by Christina Lauren and the next time I need something light and funny, I’ll be looking for one of their books. It was a deliciously fun divergence from my normal choice of books.

5 Stars.

 

 

 

 

 

#BookReview: Almost Just Friends (Wildstone #4) by Jill Shalvis

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Reviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

Date of Release: January 21, 2020

Summary:

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis returns to Wildstone with the touching story of finding your place in the world—and the people who make it home.

Piper Manning’s about as tough as they come, she’s had to be. She raised her siblings and they’ve thankfully flown the coop. All she has to do is finish fixing up the lake house her grandparents left her, sell it, and then she’s free.

When a massive storm hits, she runs into a tall, dark and brooding stranger, Camden Reid. There’s a spark there, one that shocks her. Surprising her further, her sister and brother return, each of them holding their own secrets. The smart move would be for Piper to ignore them all but Cam unleashes emotions deep inside of her that she can’t deny, making her yearn for something she doesn’t understand. And her siblings…well, they need each other.

Only when the secrets come out, it changes everything Piper thinks she knows about her family, herself…and Cam. Can she find a way to outrun the demons? The answer is closer than she thinks—just as the new life she craves may have already begun.

Review:

I think I discovered a new favorite author! “Almost Just Friends” by Jill Shalvis was the second book by her that I’ve read. She really played with my emotions. I had my heart ripped out, tears running down my face, I laughed out loud and giggled many times and even got angry a few times. When an author can pull that many emotions out of me while reading a book, it becomes one of my favorites and one I won’t forget. 

I was drawn into the story and the character’s lives and could not put the book down. I literally ate, slept and read until I finished the book. The relationship between these characters and how they interacted with each other was most interesting. I really came to care for all of them and will miss them for a while. 

If you love a good story that pulls at your emotions and heartstrings, you will enjoy this book. If you have read anything else by Jill Shalvis, you will probably want to read this one too. For myself, I am going to go back and read the first two books in the series and then look forward to number five. The books in this series seem to be stand alone stories so, don’t be afraid to jump in anywhere. 

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#BookReview: After the Rain by Stacey Johnston

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Reviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

Date of Release:  April 12, 2018

Summary:

When a child is born they’re a blank canvas. A canvas that is later moulded by the influences of the world around them. Those influences determine that child’s future, but they are not always kind. Some of those children will enter adulthood easily, unscathed by the harshness of life, but for others, that journey is not an easy path to follow.

And then there are those, who’s journey’s are cut short.

He only ever wanted ….. to fit in.
He only ever wanted ….. to be included.
He only ever wanted ….. to have friends.

Alec never wanted for anything.
His parents made sure of that.
But, what Alec desperately wanted, they couldn’t buy.
He just wanted to be normal……..

He could never see what the rest of us could.
Smart. Funny. Goodlooking. Sensitive.
Alec only saw what his mind wanted him to see.
And believed the false truths it told him.

BUT, I won’t allow him to become one of the lost, and when the clouds clear after the rain, I WILL make him see that he is everything WE believe him to be, and so much more……..

Review:

Stacey Johnston’s novel “After the Rain” is such a beautiful book.  It is so wonderfully written it will stay with you long after you are finished reading. 

This book gave me an idea of what an attempted suicide does to a family and the strength it takes for a spouse to deal with the mental illness of their partner. It tells the story from the perspective of both the husband and wife. I admire their love story and their strength to love each other and hold their family together. It is not easy and a lot of couples would simply give up when faced with the struggles they fought against. 

This was a truly inspiring story that I think most people would like and I highly recommend this book. 

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

5 Stars.

 

#BookReview: Beside Herself by Elizabeth LaBan

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Reviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

Date of Release: August, 2019

Summary:

Author of THE RESTAURANT CRITIC’S WIFE and NOT PERFECT, Elizabeth LaBan’s BESIDE HERSELF, in which a woman finds out her husband had an affair and he proposes she do the same to even the score and keep the marriage intact–a story about how marriage doesn’t necessarily follow a straight line and unexpected detours might just bring you back to the place you most want to be, to Jodi Warshaw at Lake Union Publishing, by Uwe Stender at TriadaUS Literary Agency (world).

Review:

The novel “Beside Herself” by Elizabeth LaBan is definitely worthy to be your next read!

I really liked this book because I have often wondered what I would do if I found out my husband had an affair. It would definitely be the most devastating experience of my life. I know the heartbreak it has brought to my family and friends and I have wondered if it is enough of a reason to break up a family for a one-time mistake. 

This story explores the heartbreak, anger and thoughts of someone experiencing betrayal of a loved one. This author writes in such a way that you totally understand Hannah and her love for Joel. I loved Hannah and the rest of the characters in this story. I think Elizabeth LaBan did an outstanding job developing her characters. I never once wondered who a character was. They stood out individually in my mind. 

I highly recommend “Beside Herself”. I don’t think you will be disappointed. 

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

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: Never Forget (Honoring Those Who Serve #1) by Marie Savage

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: November 11, 2019

Summary:

Staff Sergeant Adam Brody is ready to put eight years of military life behind him. After witnessing his best friend and fellow soldier Mike Hargrove’s death, he carries a burden of guilt he can’t shake. Returning home to make good on a promise he made to his friend is the only way to keep his sanity and hope that one day he will be forgiven.
Mike’s widow Shannon Hargrove is not only facing eviction but the possibility of losing custody of her unborn son. Despite her efforts to make a life for herself and her baby, she faces obstacles that she may not be able to overcome by herself. With no husband, no support from family and a baby due in a few weeks, she doesn’t have the finances or the strength to continue fighting. That is until her husband’s best friend Adam, steps in to help.
Adam is duty-bound to make sure his friend’s wife and baby are taken care of, even if it means taking on a new role as a husband and father. Shannon is running out of choices and time, but is a marriage of convenience the answer? And when she begins to have feelings for her new husband, will she be betraying the love for the man she promised to never forget?

Review:

Marie Savage has written this deeply emotional novel that I enjoyed

Shannon’s heart wrenching story was one that was deep and believable.

With Veterans Day approaching, this was a truly touching story.

I have enjoyed all of Marie Savage’s books and this one is no exception.

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

4 Stars.

#BookReview: The Light in the Hallway by Amanda Prowse

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Reviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

Date of Release: November 11, 2019

Summary:

From the bestselling author of The Girl in the Corner comes the moving story of a man whose life is changed in an instant. How do you start again when you lose the only love you’ve ever known?

When Nick’s wife Kerry falls ill and dies, he realises for the first time how fragile his happiness has always been, and how much he’s been taking his good life and wonderful family for granted. Now, he suddenly finds himself navigating parenthood alone, unsurehow to deal with his own grief, let alone that of his teenage son, Olly.

In the depths of his heartbreak, Nick must find a way to navigate life that pleases his son, his in-laws, his family and his friends—while honouring what Kerry meant to them all. But when it comes to his own emotions, Nick doesn’t know where to begin. Kerry was his childhood sweetheart—but was she really the only one who could ever make him happy?

And in the aftermath of tragedy, can Nick and his son find themselves again?

 

Review:

“The Light in the Hallway” by Amanda Prowse was amazingly beautiful and wonderfully written. I could not put this book down. The story flips between two time periods in Nick’s life, the summer he was 10 years old and the present at the age of 35. I enjoyed both time periods and getting to see the characters in Nick’s life grow and develop long term relationships. 

This novel brought back so many feelings for me and at times there were tears shed. Nick was a young widower and since I was a fairly young widow, I understood everything he was experiencing. There are a wide range of emotions from the initial panic and heartbreak to finding the ability to move forward with life. 

Nick was a man who understands what love and life is all about and is not afraid to do the right thing. I would highly recommend this novel.

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

5 Stars.