#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: Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

DEB69DAB-BB7E-42F4-812D-9A5EA3D09FD7Reviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

Date of Release: January 14, 2020

Summary:

North Carolina, 2018: Morgan Christopher’s life has been derailed. Taking the fall for a crime she did not commit, she finds herself serving a three-year stint in the North Carolina Women’s Correctional Center. Her dream of a career in art is put on hold—until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will see her released immediately. Her assignment: restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. Morgan knows nothing about art restoration, but desperate to leave prison, she accepts. What she finds under the layers of grime is a painting that tells the story of madness, violence, and a conspiracy of small town secrets.

North Carolina, 1940: Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey, wins a national contest to paint a mural for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina. Alone in the world and desperate for work, she accepts. But what she doesn’t expect is to find herself immersed in a town where prejudices run deep, where people are hiding secrets behind closed doors, and where the price of being different might just end in murder.

What happened to Anna Dale? Are the clues hidden in the decrepit mural? Can Morgan overcome her own demons to discover what exists beneath the layers of lies?

Review:

Count me a lucky girl! I just finished Diane Chamberlain’s “Big Lies in a Small Town”.

The story follows two women in two different time periods. 

The chapters rotate between the two women. I have always had a problem with this type of book because I always feel like I am shifting gears. I understand why the author chose this format and I have to say it didn’t hamper this novel in my opinion. It was brilliant! 

I learned the difference between an artist and an art restorer. They both take a lot of talent, use different skills and different perspectives. 

It was longer in pages than I expected but, I flew through it and did not want it to end. I felt like it ended rather abruptly but, when I thought about it, I decided it was a perfect ending. I had all the information that I needed and indeed it was the perfect ending. 

This is my first book by Diane Chamberlain and it won’t be my last. I like how she built the stories of both women and how I came to care for them both. 

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

5 stars.

 

#BookReview: The Vanishing (Fogg Lake #1) by Jayne Ann Krentz

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: January 7, 2020

Summary

From New York Times bestselling author Jayne Ann Krentz comes a new gripping romantic suspense trilogy fraught with danger and enigma.

Forty years ago in the small town of Fogg Lake, “The Incident” occurred: an explosion in the cave system that released unknown gases, causing peculiar effects on its residents, such as strange visions and ominous voices. Not wanting the government to get involved, they chalked it up to the hallucinogenic effects of mushrooms. Little did they know these effects would linger through the generations….

Residents Catalina Lark and Olivia Dayton have been best friends for years and own an investigation firm together, using what they call the “other sight” to help with their business. When Olivia goes missing, Cat frantically begins the search for her alone when the town does nothing about it. When scientist Slate Trevelyan shows up, she has no choice but to accept his help even though there’s something about him she just can’t trust. The duo discovers someone is hunting the two witnesses of a murder in Fogg Lake fourteen years ago—the very one Cat and Olivia witnessed as teens, one that they couldn’t prove happened. Cat and Slate’s search for Olivia takes them down a rabbit hole that is far more dangerous and mysterious than they ever expected, and with a killer in their midst, neither of them can foresee who will come out alive.

Review:

Wow !!!! You will be saying the same thing after you read this novel!!

Jayne Ann Krentz has me on the edge of my seat from the beginning all the way to the unpredictable ending.

I started this novel tonight and couldn’t put it down. I finished it in less than 3 hours!

Fogg Lake and the mysteries surrounding this town were exhilarating and mystical. The characters were exciting and captivating.

I was truly entranced with “The Vanishing”.

This is a must read, you do not want to miss this one !!! I am anxiously waiting for the next book in this trilogy.

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

5 Stars.

#BookReview: Tuesday’s Socks by Alison Ragsdale

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: September 3, 2014

Summary:

Founder and sole employee of Mere Accounting, Jeffrey Mere is a solitary man. He has spent his entire life close to home, in the picturesque Scottish town of Pitlochry. After sixty-four years of playing it safe, with retirement looming, Jeffrey resolves to climb Ben Macdhui, Britain’s second highest peak. His decision sets off a chain of events that changes his life forever.

Challenging weather on the mountain, and an encounter with a mysterious stray dog, leave him exhilarated and inspired. When he gets home to share the news of his achievements with his ninety-one year old mother Agnes, who lives in the old-folks home in town, Jeffrey discovers that nothing is as he left it.

When a fire threatens the street where he lives Jeffrey’s selfless act of bravery transforms him from a no-body to a local hero. His renewed confidence nudges him towards Mary Ferguson, Agnes’s favorite nurse at the home, a trip to the ancient streets of Rome and a brush with the Italian underworld. Facing the possibility of losing the only woman he has ever loved, Jeffrey takes a leap of faith towards a future that he could never have imagined for himself.

Review:

Alison Ragsdale has written a charismatic feel-good novel with “Tuesday’s Socks”.

Jeffrey’s transition throughout the novel was relatable and heartwarming. Mary and Agnes and the other characters were just as charming.

I absolutely loved the shaggy dog in the story!!!

This was a truly enchanting novel and I highly recommend you read this or get the Audible version !!!!

I had the pleasure of listening to the Audible version. I absolutely loved the narration and the accents were impeccable which made me feel like I was back in Scotland again. I have visited Scotland twice for holiday and this brought back such great memories!!!!

Don’t Miss this chance to see that you can still have a coming of age story late in life!! This was fabulous!

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

5 Stars.

#BookReview: Trust Me by Hank Phillippi Ryan

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: August 28, 2018

Summary:

An accused killer insists she’s innocent of a heinous murder.

A grieving journalist surfaces from the wreckage of her shattered life.

Their unlikely alliance leads to a dangerous cat and mouse game that will leave you breathless.

Who can you trust when you can’t trust yourself?

Trust Me is the chilling standalone novel of psychological suspense and manipulation that award-winning author and renowned investigative reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan was born to write.

Review:

Hank Phillippi Ryan did it again with “Trust Me”! She had me completely spinning, and questioning everything and everyone! It was Fabulous!

Ryan has definitely cornered the market on twists and turns with these court room dramas. She is a genius!

I was so attached to Mercer Hennessey, who was just counting time since losing her husband and young daughter. So, her boss offers her the opportunity to write a true crime novel based on the Ashlyn Bryant Murder case.

This case involves the murder of a baby girl, so it hits a little too close too home for Mercer. Regardless, she still takes the job. You knew this was going to be extraordinary!!

This is a huge case in Boston and everyone is watching! The day the verdict is announced Mercer’s life is in an uproar!! and that is just the beginning….

This is where you truly start to read the book with your Eyes Wide Open!!

I could not believe the trip that Ryan has taken us on! Total Roller Coaster! Belly flipping!

Thinking about what is Trust? What is truth? This novel can leave you and your friends talking for days! Book Club going into overtime! Or your mind racing with thoughts!

Bravo!

Also! This cover! Turn it sideways! Brilliant!

I waited to write this review so it could be my last review of this decade. That is how much I admired this story and Hank Ryan Phillipi’s work! I look forward to more!

5 Stars.

#BookReview: Layover by David Bell

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Reviewer:  Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: July 2nd, 2019

Summary:

In this high concept psychological suspense novel from the USA Today bestselling author of Somebody’s Daughter, a chance meeting with a woman in an airport sends a man on a
pulse-pounding quest for the truth…

Joshua Fields takes the same flights every week for work. His life is a series of departures and arrivals, hotels and airports. During yet another layover, Joshua meets Morgan, a beautiful stranger with whom he feels an immediate connection. When it’s time for their flights, Morgan gets up to leave, leans over and passionately kisses Joshua, lamenting that they’ll never see each other again.

As Morgan slips away, Joshua is left feeling confused by what just happened between them. That’s when he looks up and is shocked to see Morgan’s face flashing on a nearby TV screen. He’s even more shocked when he learns the reason why–Morgan is a missing person.

What follows is a whirlwind, fast-paced journey filled with lies, deceit, and secrets to discover the truth about why Morgan is on the run. But when he finally thinks every mystery is solved, another rears its head, and Joshua’s worst enemy may be his own assumptions about those around him…

Review:

David Bell takes a chance meeting during a layover at the Atlanta Airport in his newest novel “Layover” and turns it into an epic cat-and-mouse game that has you on the edge of your seat. You feel as though you’ve just jumped off the bungee rope into the abyss named Morgan Reynolds.

Be prepared to not put this book down, because I was unable to. You will need to know the outcome! It it truly riveting, mind blowing, and exhilarating.

David Bell truly is a master at building suspense and keeping you there!

It’s unimaginable how fast you can read this book….I believe it’s because you get a bit frenzied…Like the characters maybe? In an amazing way of course, because he draws you into his story that much!!!

Maybe he realizes his readers are yet another character!?!?

I’ve decided to make this the last book of my Decade….And, leave on an absolute High Note!

5 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.

 

#BookReviews & #HolidayReads: A Season for Hope & The Magic of the Season (Christmas in Silver Falls #2) by Tammy L. Grace

E77591AD-7280-43CD-903F-1EE45682F47AReviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

A Season For Hope Date of Release: October 26, 2018

Summary:

From the award-winning author of the Hometown Harborseries, comes a heart-warming and inspirational story for the holidays readers describe as the perfect Christmas story.

When their car breaks down, Hope and her young son, Jake, are stranded in Silver Falls as the holidays approach. A woman who runs a guesthouse offers them a place to stay while the car is repaired.

Frightened and broke, Hope finds a part-time job, thanks to the family who owns the guesthouse. Hidden beneath her strong work ethic and cheerful demeanor, Hope conceals a private mystery. A secret she can’t reveal.

As the Christmas season nears, the small town nestled beneath the snowy mountains and its annual holiday festival captivate Hope, while the family at the guesthouse suspects there’s something she’s hiding. In a moment of weakness, she divulges her secret.

Will an offer of help destroy her life and all she cherishes, or will it be the gift she needs to triumph over her past?

A Season for Hope is a charming story about the kindness of strangers and finding hope where you never expected it. Cozy up with the first in the Christmas in Silver Falls novellas for a holiday read sure to warm your heart.

Review:

”A Season For Hope” By Tammy L. Grace truly is one of my favorite Christmas Tales; alongside her next story. She brings you to a place you want to call home, to people you want to meet because of their genuine kindness. You will definitely want to move there…I absolutely loved Silver Falls. I know this is a book I can cuddle up with again year after year under the Christmas Tree, knowing I will be taken away to a place of joy and comfort!

The Magic of the Season

Release Date: October 24, 2019

Summary:

Will a city girl forced to spend the holidays in her small hometown recapture the magic of the season?

Madison hasn’t visited Silver Falls since she left the snowy mountain winters behind for the beaches of California twenty years ago. In the midst of the annual Christmas festival, an accident forces her to return and manage her mom’s candy business at the Sugar Shop.

Grant hasn’t seen her since she left for college, but remembers spending summers at the lake with the skinny, plain girl he and everyone used to know as Sugar. The contemporary advertising executive he encounters now is anything but plain.

Will Grant’s kindness, the charm of Silver Falls, and the caring community open Sugar’s heart to all she’s been missing?

The best-selling author of A Season for Hope, the tale readers describe as the perfect Christmas story, delivers a touching sequel with the second in her Christmas in Silver Falls series in this new festive novella that pairs perfectly with a cup of cocoa in front of a blazing fire.

Review:

Absolutely love these types of Christmas Stories where the City Mouse lands back home in her old hometown after becoming all prettied up! Tammy L. Grace had me at Hello with “The Magic of The Season”! Full of  joy, love, smiles, happiness and all that makes Christmas Bright! This is absolutely one of my favorite Holiday Reads this year!!

Both Receive 5 Stars.

 

#BookReview: Next Day Gone by J.C. Wing

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date Of Release: December 17, 2019

Summary:

In the fall of 1998, four girls disappeared in Redwood, a small town just outside of Asheville, North Carolina. All of them were young. All of them were beautiful. None of them were found alive. Drew’s mother, Willow, was one of those girls.

Sixteen years later, Paige, Drew’s girlfriend, disappears from school. When she’s found dead, the details of her murder are eerily similar to his mother’s. Residents fear the return of the Sleeping Beauty Strangler, and Drew’s family is thrown back into the spotlight.

Things are a bit different this time around because Drew has seen the killer.

What’s worse is the killer knows it.

Can he untangle the details of both murders while under the watchful gaze of the killer? Can he keep his loved ones safe, or will he die before bringing the murderer to justice?

Review:

J.C. Wing has written a suspenseful, “never would have guessed it”, novel with “Next Day Gone”.

This page turner was gripping and spine tingling.

I was totally hooked from the first chapter.

There were definitely some emotional heart-breaking moments in this novel.

At the conclusion, I was truly in awe.

This was my first book by J.C. Wing but I will definitely be looking into other books.

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

4.5 Stars.