#BookReview: The Moonshiner’s Daughter by Donna Everhart

00689DCC-2CD7-4DE5-91A2-2E4FC181F309
Reviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

Date of Release: December 31st, 2019

Summary:

Set in North Carolina in 1960 and brimming with authenticity and grit, The Moonshiner’s Daughter evokes the singular life of sixteen-year-old Jessie Sasser, a young woman determined to escape her family’s past . . .

Generations of Sassers have made moonshine in the Brushy Mountains of Wilkes County, North Carolina. Their history is recorded in a leather-bound journal that belongs to Jessie Sasser’s daddy, but Jessie wants no part of it. As far as she’s concerned, moonshine caused her mother’s death a dozen years ago.

Her father refuses to speak about her mama, or about the day she died. But Jessie has a gnawing hunger for the truth–one that compels her to seek comfort in food. Yet all her self-destructive behavior seems to do is feed what her school’s gruff but compassionate nurse describes as the “monster” inside Jessie. Resenting her father’s insistence that moonshining runs in her veins, Jessie makes a plan to destroy the stills, using their neighbors as scapegoats. Instead, her scheme escalates an old rivalry and reveals long-held grudges. As she endeavors to right wrongs old and new, Jessie’s loyalties will bring her to unexpected revelations about her family, her strengths–and a legacy that may provide her with the answers she has been longing for.

Review:

“The Moonshiner’s Daughter” by Donna Everhart was a fabulous novel! When I started this book, I wasn’t sure I was going to like it and then about 10% into it,I couldn’t put it down. It grabbed me and sucked me right into that rollercoaster of a story. Oh my goodness you just have to go along for the ride. 

I wanted to hug Jessie Sasser. She was a girl who thought she knew what she stood for and fought for her convictions with all of her might. I was right there rooting for her through the whole story. I loved the school nurse Mrs. Brewer. It felt like she was the only one that took an interest in Jessie a majority of the time. 

Have you ever put a book down because you thought you knew how it was going to end and you didn’t want to see it end that way? I did with this book. About an hour later, I couldn’t stand it any longer and I had to know how it all wound up. I don’t want to give away the ending but, it was a perfect ending to the story. 

This book was so different than what I expected and I highly recommend it!

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

5 Stars.

#BookReview: Stay by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Hyde-Stay-27325-CV-JK-v3.inddReviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

Date of Release: December 3, 2019

Summary:

An unforgettable novel about the power of friendship and kindness by the New York Times bestselling author of Pay It Forward.

In the summer of 1969, fourteen-year-old Lucas Painter carries a huge weight on his shoulders. His brother is fighting in Vietnam. His embattled parents are locked in a never-ending war. And his best friend, Connor, is struggling with his own family issues. To find relief from the chaos, Lucas takes long, meandering walks, and one day he veers into the woods.

There he discovers an isolated cabin and two huge dogs. Frightened, he runs. And the dogs run with him. Lucas finds unusual peace in running with the dogs, and eventually he meets their owner, Zoe Dinsmore. Closed off and haunted by a tragic past, Zoe has given up. She doesn’t want to be saved. She wants out. But Lucas doesn’t want her to go, and he sees an opportunity to bring more than one friend back into the light. It’s either the best or worst idea he’s ever had, but Lucas isn’t giving up on Zoe or Connor.

Their unexpected connection might be the saving grace that Zoe thought she’d lost, that Connor needs, and that Lucas has been running toward.

Review:

“Stay” by Catherine Ryan Hyde is one spectacular novel! 

If you have not read this book yet, do yourself a favor and add it to the very top of your “To Be Read” pile. I can’t say this is the happiest book or the saddest book I’ve read but, it is the most satisfying and profound book I’ve read in a long time. There are a lot of life lessons to be learned in this story.

The writing was smooth and poignant. I found myself re-reading sentences and passages because they grabbed me and I didn’t want to ever forget them. This book deals with addiction, families and many thoughts of suicide. 

I woke up this morning thinking about this story and why I loved it so much when on the surface it felt so sad. This book carries with it an abundance of HOPE. What do we have in life if we don’t have hope? 

I will never forget this book.

I do not read books more than one time but, I am going to make an exception for “Stay”. This book is definitely worth another read and will be read at least one more time. Thank you Catherine Ryan Hyde for such a beautiful and profound book.

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

5 Stars.

#BookReview: Evening in the Yellow Wood by Laura Kemp

0FA86CBB-167E-46A8-8C5E-162C69EFBAFC
Reviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

Date of Release: December 12, 2018

Summary:

Abandoned by an eccentric father on the eve of her twelfth birthday, Justine Cook has lived with her fair share of unanswered questions. Now, ten years later she leaves her life in southern Michigan and heads north to the mysterious town of Lantern Creek after seeing his picture in a local newspaper. Once there, she discovers her father had been leading a double life and meets the autistic brother she never knew—a young man wis mute but able to read her mind.

When a local girl who looks like Justine is mysteriously murdered, she joins forces with sheriff’s deputy Dylan Locke to capture the killer. But the more they dig for clues to the past, the closer they come to discovering a secret someone will kill to protect. Justine begins to show signs of supernatural power and eventually must stop an immortal enemy that has hunted her family for generation

Review:

I loved “Evening in the Yellow Wood” by Laura Kemp. The Michigan girl wrote a killer book for her debut novel! I’m a Michigan girl, too and I’m so proud of Laura Kemp. Maybe I am partial but, you’ll have to read the book to find out for yourself. 

The story is outstanding. There’s a little romance, a little folklore, a little magic and a lot of intrigue. This book will keep you turning the pages to see what happens next. I couldn’t put it down. Laura’s ease with the written word shines in this book. She has captured the essence of her characters in a way that will stay with you for a long time. 

I don’t know what I was expecting when I started this book but, my expectations were blown out of the water. This is so much more than a murder mystery or a girl looking for her father. Take my word that you will want to read this book!

5 Stars.

#BookReview: The Light in the Hallway by Amanda Prowse

AB9557CA-B262-4318-A5B1-517208AD3817
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.

#BookReview: Find Me In Florence by Jule Selbo

AA1AC9B3-EF5F-4A21-9A0C-B8D5EC89E991
Reviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

Release Date: October 30, 2019

Summary:

Survival means finding the courage to dig deep and find that elusive inner strength…

Finding herself at life’s crossroads, always-dutiful Lyn Bennett jumps at the chance to teach in historic Florence, Italy; it’s an opportunity to unearth the mysterious details of her mother’s past as one of Florence’s revered Mud Angels who helped save the city during the 1966 flood – as well as to re-evaluate the choices she’s made in her life. When her husband betrays her and a best friend falls to the wayside, Lyn is devastated. When handsome and magnetic Matteo strives to help, she has to decide if she will allow the people – and the city of Florence, with its pride, vitality and beauty – inspire her to open her heart again?

Review:

Oh my, I think I have fallen in love! 

“Find Me In Florence” by Jule Selbo was so beautifully written and has so much to offer a reader. The majority of the story takes place in Florence, Italy. I’ve always wanted to go to Italy and Jule made me feel like I was there. It is such a gorgeous, ancient city. Some of their customs, foods and language were woven into the story. I enjoyed the history of the Mud Angels. They were volunteers who worked endlessly following a flood back in 1966 to save artifacts that were hundreds of years old and many times irreplaceable. There is history there that we don’t often think about because our history in the United States is so young compared to other places in the world. I love a book that teaches me things in a fun way. 

The characters were quirky, all in their own way. From the friends Lyn made, her writing students, her Italian teacher to a romantic man all women have dreamed of falling in love with. These characters leaped off the page and right into my life. I was sad when I finished the book because I am going to miss my new friends. 

I hope there is a sequel in the works! 

5 Stars.

#BookReview & #GiveAway: Spice of Love by Anya Stassiy

0A7DCE7C-EFCD-4EAB-B907-F238D0052398Reviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

Release Date: October 31st, 2019

Summary:

A Caribbean island welcomes wedding guests with the promise of romance and excitement.

Angelina, an aspiring writer and Kai, a handsome doctor spring to action during an inflight medical emergency. Angelina’s feelings stir for Kai, her high school crush. But life is complicated, he is moving to Grenada and she is dating a famous novelist. Isn’t she?

Gretchen is a single mother with a hot new look and a bold new attitude. She meets widower, Mitchel on the flight to her friend’s wedding. But is he ready for romance? And is he the man to show her what it’s like to be loved?

This tropical island will wash away what once was for these guests and introduce them to an unexpected spice, but will they like the new flavor of love?

DD3040D0-D18A-4888-A8BE-BF26DF0B04E5Review:

Do you want a good book to curl up with on a chilly fall day? Try “Spice of Love” by Anya Stassiy. I think you will find this a satisfying story. I read this novel cuddled up on my couch with my furbabies, a cozy throw and a warm cup of tea. Perfect!

A large part of this book takes place on the beautiful island of Grenada. Just what you are dreaming of as our weather turns cold because the weather there is hot and sunny. Plus, a wedding is planned and what could be better?
I liked this entertaining book and all of the characters. Although, there were several characters, the author took the time to develop and introduce them. I didn’t have a problem remembering who they are and what they mean to each other. That’s what makes this book easy and fun to read.
So, grab yourself a copy of “Spice of Love”, go to your cozy reading spot and get ready to enjoy an all around fun novel. You’ll be glad you did!

 

5 Stars.

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

F0115C99-61E6-4F03-BB63-D2711612E932Reviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

A Season For Hope – On Sale Now

Summary:

From the award-winning author of the Hometown Harbor Series, comes a new heartwarming and inspirational story for the holidays, filled with the magic of the season.

When their car breaks down, Hope and her young son, Jake, are stranded in Silver Falls the week before Thanksgiving. A woman who runs a guesthouse offers them a place to stay for a few days. The cost of the repairs is beyond Hope’s means, forcing her to stay in the tiny mountain town for an extended period.

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 charming town and its annual holiday festival captivate Hope. She fantasizes about staying in Silver Falls, where life is idyllic. As she goes about her daily routine, the family at the guesthouse suspects there’s something she’s hiding. In a moment of weakness, she divulges her secret.

A special man offers his support and works to help Hope see that romance can be more than heartaches and shattered dreams. 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 a holiday read sure to warm your heart.

Review:

Warm fuzzy feelings are what I felt reading “A Season For Hope” by Tammy L Grace and I wanted to dive right into The Magic of the Season which is the second book of the series.

This book is a lovely story that takes place during the holidays and reminds us of the reason for the season. Taking care of one another and helping those in need is what the town of Silver Falls is all about. I want to move there because this is the kind of town I want to live in!

I will be thinking about this book and it’s characters as I prepare for the holidays this year.

This is the first book I have read by Tammy L. Grace and it certainly won’t be the last. I’m going to start The Magic of the Season right now! If you love a good Christmas story, this one is for you!

The Magic of the Season

Expected 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:

Ahhhhhh!! That was such a wonderful story. It was wholesome, full of values and an all around satisfying read. If you’ve read any of Tammy L Grace’s novels and enjoyed them, I guarantee you will enjoy this story just as much. If not, this would be a great start.

When I started The Magic of the Season, I was surprised because Madison was the character who started the story; and we hadn’t met her yet. I wanted to continue with Dottie, Grant, Drew, Hope and Jake! Boy, was I happy when I turned the page to chapter two and there was the Fisher family! I love this family, all their dogs and the town of Silver Falls.

Tammy did a great job developing her characters. You forget you’re reading a book because you’re immediately immersed in the town and all of the people.

I’m sad thinking I’ll have to wait a whole year for another installment of Christmas in Silver Falls.

These books would make great stocking stuffers for anyone who loves to read!

Both Receive 5 Stars.

I received a copy of these books from the author in exchange for fair and honest reviews. 

 

#BookReview & #HolidayReads: Mistletoe at the Lakeside Resort by Susan Schild

Reviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

Expected Release Date: October 25, 2019

Summary:

USA Today Bestselling author Susan Schild writes heartwarming and funny novels about women over 40 having adventures, falling in love and finding their happily ever afters.
034758F0-6E08-4C33-9E32-CCA30540A1EC
The soon to be released MISTLETOE AT THE LAKESIDE RESORT is a Christmas novella and the third book in Susan’s popular Lakesid
e Resort series. You’ll catch up with Jenny and her gal pals, fiancé Luke, and Levi and the boys as they plan a very special Christmasfor guests at her rustic cabins on beautiful Heron Lake.

A few hints: Jenny’s been gifted a new vintage camper and has the jitters about her future with Luke. Charlotte and Ashe are at odds about their upcoming wedding, and Mama and Landis make a startling announcement.

If you’re looking for a feel good read to get into the Christmas spirit, Mistletoe at the Lakeside Resort offers cozy romance, classic Christmas carols, horse-drawn sleigh rides, and a happily ever after.

Review:

Susan Schild does not disappoint! Her new book “Mistletoe At the Lakeside Resort” was such a nice visit with friends and I really enjoyed catching up with them. Susan has an easy way of developing her characters so that you feel like you know them. I love living in their world if only for a little while. 

This is the third story in her series with the fourth one coming out in June of 2020.

So, if you haven’t read the Lakeside Resort series yet, you have time to get them read before “A Wedding At the Lakeside Resort” comes out. Who doesn’t love a wedding?

You will love these characters and want to follow then for a long time coming. 

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

5 Stars.

#BookReview: The Briar and the Rose by Laura Mills-Alcott

Reviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

679D196A-CD2A-4C06-95BB-EE2961A9C17ESummary:

THE BRIAR AND THE ROSE is Regency Era Historical Romance set in Ireland and London.

THE BRIAR…
One moment Raven is alone in the world and working as a maid in the gardens of a grand estate in Ireland; the next she finds herself handed the life of a lady by the dark and handsome Marquess of Castlereagh. Devan insists his intentions are honorable, and that he only wishes to help reunite her with her family. But Raven finds herself in a constant struggle to deny the smoldering attraction between them, and in her secret heart, wishes he wanted more.
THE ROSE…
Devan, Marquess of Castlereagh, is tormented by his past and determined to live out his days in quiet solitude at his Ireland estate. That is until Raven enters his life. With the face of an angel, the body of Aphrodite, and the tongue of a drunken Irishman, he’s never met any woman so infuriating… so seductive… so… his match.
THE LEGEND…
From historical Ireland and its mystical legends to the elegant ballrooms of Regency London, together Devan and Raven discover the truth of the past and a love so strong it cannot be denied.

Based loosely on the ballad “Barbara Allen”, and more specifically on Dolly Parton’s version of the ballad, THE BRIAR AND THE ROSE is set in Ireland and London.

Review:

I might be hooked! It has been several years since I read a historical romance and it might not be so long the next time. I loved the history behind this story. It is loosely based on the ballad of “Barbara Allen” and the old Irish folktale of “The Briar and the Rose”.

Right after I finished this book there was a documentary of country music and I was excited to hear them talking with Dolly Parton about Barbara Allen and the old Irish folktale. Have you ever had that happen to you? First, you were ignorant about something and then you hear it again within a short period of time. That was nice because now I knew something about The Briar and the Rose.
This book is definitely worth the time to read. You won’t be sorry! There is something for everyone. However you have to do it, go out and obtain a copy of The Briar and the Rose by Laura Mills-Alcott today.
I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

 

 

#BookReview: Life on Loan by Ashley Farley

Reviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

Release Date: October 8, 2019

0EC5BCCD-8F8D-40CC-ABD1-D58C97EE6B7CSummary:

It’s a surprising second act for two women who decide to rewrite their lives in this enriching novel of friendship and starting over from the bestselling author of Only One Life.

After thirty years, college friends Lena Browder and Olivia Westcoat have met again by chance at an unexpected crossroads: an airport lounge in Atlanta. Lena is running away from home and her demanding family. Olivia is trying to find her way after a painful divorce. With their old selves in the rearview, they toast to a new beginning—and it starts with a spontaneous dare.

Agreeing to trade houses for a month of rediscovery, Lena will stay in Olivia’s Charleston condo. Olivia’s retreat? Lena’s isolated river cottage in the Northern Neck of Virginia. Two perfect getaways. Thirty-four days to reset.

With fresh new perspectives and the renewal of a heartening friendship, Lena and Olivia find their passions, reinvent themselves, and reclaim what they’ve lost. When unexpected romance blooms and careers take new detours, it’s also a time for courage and risk. Now they’ll have to make hard choices to follow through on their promise for a second chance and finally have the lives they dream of.

Review:

WALLOW.  That is exactly what I wanted to do…wallow in this yummy book. It has such pretty settings, nice characters and the excitement of unlimited choices in life.

Life on Loan by Ashley Farley is a wonderful story about two women who experience midlife changing events and are forced to start over and reinvent themselves. The journey is exciting and challenging making you happy you have come along for the ride.

These two women are so likeable you feel happy, sad, heartbroken and frustrated with them. You want to be their friend and wish you could pick up the phone and say “What are you thinking?”. These are characters you will remember for a long while. This novel is definitely worth your time! 

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

5 Stars.