#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.

 

#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.

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Author Bio:

Rochelle B. Weinstein is the USA Today and Amazon bestselling author of emotionally driven women’s fiction, including This Is Not How It Ends, Somebody’s Daughter, Where We Fall, The Mourning After, and What We Leave Behind. Rochelle spent her early years in sunny South Florida, always with a book in hand, raised by the likes of Sidney Sheldon and Judy Blume. Before becoming a full-time writer, Rochelle lived in Los Angeles, where she handled advertising and promotions for major film studios and record labels at LA Weekly. After returning to Miami, she continued her passion for entertainment as a music-industry executive at the Box Music Network. When she’s not writing, Rochelle loves to hike, read, and find the world’s best nachos. She is currently working on her sixth novel. Please visit her at www.rochelleweinstein.com.

Live Interview:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#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: 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: 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: 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.