#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: 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: Wrapped in the Stars by Elena Mikalsen

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: February 19, 2018

Summary:

Struggling with guilt over her sister’s death and the stress of her medical residency, Maya Radelis runs away to Scotland. A robin seems to lead her to an antique shop, where she finds a century-old engagement ring. But what is the ring’s history? She follows the slim paper trail, wondering if it is only coincidence that her dreams reveal the story of a Swiss woman physician who wore the ring during World War I.

In Paris she meets fellow New Yorker David Fischer, a lawyer with family in Switzerland as well as America. He helps Maya follow the memories stored in the ring as they lead her around Europe. The attraction between David and Maya grows, and when they discover a connection between the ring and David’s family, they learn, bit by bit, more about the ring’s earlier owner. Will Maya’s own life have the same tragedy of lost love?

Review:

Elena Mikalsen took me away to so many different places in “Wrapped in The Stars”. I listened to it on Audible and I feel that made the visits feel like really getaways!

Maya’s story before and after she found the ring was like a vacation through Edinburgh, Paris and other European countries to find the origin of the ring.

I loved the characters and how they were woven into the ring’s story.

romances were yet complex. These love stories were nostalgic and magnificent.

Throughout the book, I found myself trying to figure out the ring’s story myself and when I thought I had it figured out, it was only to find out that I was wrong.

The different chapters going from present to the past was not confusing and kept me wanting to listen.

I was totally enthralled listening to this Audible book read by Ginger Wiseman. The narration was great. I highly recommend this version!

I received a copy of this Audible book from the author in exchange for 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: Killer Secrets by Sherrie Orvik

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: June 5, 2019

Summary:

Small towns can have big secrets; this one’s a killer.

Ten years after Elyse Benson’s father and younger sister are brutally murdered and her mother institutionalized for the crime, a disturbing phone call compels Elyse to return home. She expects closure. Instead, she becomes a target.

Ten years ago, Sheriff James Warrick’s father made a deadly mistake during a murder investigation, the truth of which James has vowed to bury. However, when Elyse comes crashing into James’ life in need of protection, in order to help, he might be forced to confront the ghosts he’s been trying so hard to put to rest.

As they work to unravel Elyse’s past, together they discover that they have much more in common than either could have imagined—and that the secret they share could be a killer.

Review:

From the moment this story began, my heart started racing. Sherrie Orvik gave us a total visceral experience from beginning to end in “Killer Secrets”.

Elyse and James entered my life like no other characters in a very long time. There was a sense of urgency that was so palpable it was literally jumping off the pages, almost needing me to stand up as I read the first chapter!

This book does need to come with a warning for those that have suffered any serious trauma, because Sherrie Orvik writes every ounce so very well. I have complex-PTSD and have suffered serious personal trauma, and came out the other end of this book feeling wonderfully vindicated, because an author finally got our voice exactly right!! That is a beautiful thing, my friends!! 

I was in love with Elyse and more in love with James.

I found myself both scared and comforted often at the same time…

This is a must read for any suspense or thriller readers out there. With a twist of romance.

It would be a shame if you missed it!

5 Stars.

#BookReview: Evening in the Yellow Wood by Laura Kemp

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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: 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.