annie mcdonnell, Annie’s Favorites, book review, Contemporary Fiction, Literary Fiction, Netgalley, Random House, womans fiction

#BookReview & #BESTBOOK2020: The All-Night Sun by Diane Zinna ~5⭐️

Date of Release: July 14th, 2920

Summary:

A lonely young woman gets too close to her charismatic female student in this propulsive debut, culminating in a dangerously debauched Midsommar’s Eve.

“Memorable and meaningful.”—Claire Messud, New York Times bestselling author of The Burning Girl

Lauren Cress teaches writing at a small college outside of Washington, DC. In the classroom, she is poised, smart, and kind, well-liked by her students and colleagues. But in her personal life, Lauren is troubled and isolated, still grappling with the sudden death of her parents ten years earlier. She seems to exist at a remove from everyone around her until a new student joins her class: charming, magnetic Siri, who appears to be everything Lauren wishes she could be. They fall headlong into an all-consuming friendship that feels to Lauren like she is reclaiming her lost adolescence.

When Siri invites her along on a trip home to Sweden for the summer, Lauren impulsively accepts, intrigued by how Siri describes it: “Everything will be green, fresh, new, just thawing out.” But once there, Lauren finds herself drawn to Siri’s enigmatic, brooding brother Magnus. Siri is resentful, and Lauren starts to see a new side of her friend: selfish, reckless, self-destructive, even cruel. On the last night of her trip, Lauren accompanies Siri and her friends on a seaside camping trip to celebrate Midsommar’s Eve, a night when no one sleeps, boundaries blur, and under the light of the unsetting sun, things take a dark turn.

Ultimately Lauren must acknowledge the truth of what happened with Siri and come to terms with her own tragic past in this gorgeously written, deeply felt debut about the relationships that come to us when things feel darkest–and the transformative power of female friendship.

Review:

To say that Diane Zinna moved me with her story would not be fair, because it was more than that. She stood above every other book I read this year!!

She writes about grief with an original way to approach it.

The “All-Night Sun” is a lyrical journey that promises to open your heart! Even open your eyes to new ways of seeing the English language!

Diane gave words new meanings.

You will see things differently; they’ll be brighter! Whisper louder! Call to you!! Because you’ll notice even the small things…Diane has taught us how to look through life with a new lense of appreciation.

The world opens up without edges because her story feels so smooth and utterly beautiful!

Let me be blunt –

This book excited me! I tell everyone about it!! Diane is breathtakingly talented!

This may be her debut novel, but the essence screams she has been writing successful Literary Fiction novels for years!

5 Stars. My Favorite Book this year!

annie mcdonnell, Annie’s Favorites, book review, Fiction, Literary Fiction, William Morrow, womans fiction

#BookReview: You and Me and Us by Alison Hammer ~ 5⭐️

Date of Release: April 7, 2020

Summary:

The heartbreaking, yet hopeful, story of a mother and daughter struggling to be a family without the one person who holds them together—a perfect summer read for fans of JoJo Moyes and Marisa de los Santos.

Alexis Gold knows how to put the “work” in working mom. It’s the “mom” part that she’s been struggling with lately. Since opening her own advertising agency three years ago, Alexis has all but given up on finding a good work/life balance. Instead, she’s handed over the household reins to her supportive, loving partner, Tommy. While he’s quick to say they divide and conquer, Alexis knows that Tommy does most of the heavy lifting—especially when it comes to their teenage daughter, CeCe. 

Their world changes in an instant when Tommy receives a terminal cancer diagnosis, and Alexis realizes everything she’s worked relentlessly for doesn’t matter without him. So Alexis does what Tommy has done for her almost every day since they were twelve-year-old kids in Destin, Florida—she puts him first. And when the only thing Tommy wants is to spend one last summer together at “their” beach, she puts her career on hold to make it happen…even if it means putting her family within striking distance of Tommy’s ex, an actress CeCe idolizes.

But Alexis and Tommy aren’t the only ones whose lives have been turned inside out. In addition to dealing with the normal ups and downs that come with being a teenager, CeCe is also forced to confront her feelings about Tommy’s illness—and what will happen when the one person who’s always been there for her is gone. When the magic of first love brings a bright spot to her summer, CeCe is determined not to let her mother ruin that for her, too.

As CeCe’s behavior becomes more rebellious, Alexis realizes the only thing harder for her than losing Tommy will be convincing CeCe to give her one more chance.  

You and Me and Us is a beautifully written novel that examines the unexpected ways loss teaches us how to love.

Review:

Tissues! Intensely powerful story about losing your “anchor”! Both Individually and for the family. Alison Hammer draws a beautiful scenario of loss within a family and how it effects them, and how they work through it. This is a lesson on grief! This is a love letter to those left behind, those feeling less whole when they lose someone.

“You and Me and Us” will bring you to tears. It will make you examine parts of your life. It will help you see the beauty left in still learning to really live!

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

5 Stars.

annie mcdonnell, Annie’s Favorites, Book Release, Fiction, Friendship Fiction, womans fiction

#New Re-Release & Book Review – The Bridge Club by Patricia Sands ~ 5⭐️

Date of Release: December 7th, 2020

Summary:

A re-release with added content to celebrate the tenth anniversary of The Bridge Club!

• 2010 Foreword Reviews Book Of The Year (General Fiction)
• 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Awards (First Novel)
• 2012 Indie Excellence Book Awards – Womens Fiction

2010 ~ What starts as a monthly card game, turns into forty years that span a woman’s journey from youthful optimism to the challenges and opportunities presented as the years pass. The complexities of women’s friendships are played out through a maze of inevitable scenarios. Laughter and tears lead to a crisis that challenges principles and proves the power of friendship.

2020 ~ The Bridge Club Tenth Anniversary edition has not changed the main story but now the original Epilogue is built into the final chapter. A new Epilogue brings the women together ten years later to celebrate their 75th birthdays and reflect on how the decision at the end of the original story impacted the next decade.

The Bridge Club is a story for anyone who cares about friendship. Not simply the “Hi, how are you?” type, but the kind that weathers all storms, unselfishly celebrates triumphs, and hums along year after year with never an unkind word. It does exist.

If you already share a friendship like this, you will relate to the women of The Bridge Club. If you don’t, perhaps the story will inspire you to find it.

Review:

The “Bridge Club 10 year Anniversary” is a love letter to the strength & loving bonds of friendship! Dives deep into all of the facets of friendship and their other relationships! 

Once again, Patricia Sands had given us characters that we never want to say goodbye to, so it was wonderful picking up where we left off! Catching up was so satisfying, I found myself fully invested again!

When I closed the book, I wished I’d had my own Bridge Club! These Bridge Games breed loving and supportive friendship!

Patricia Sands proves she is a leader in female friendship storytelling.

– Best Cover 2020.

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

5 Stars.

About Author:


Bestselling author Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada, when she isn’t somewhere else, and calls the south of France her second home. An admitted travel fanatic, she can pack a bag in a flash and be ready to go anywhere … particularly the south of France. With a focus on travel, women’s issues and aging, her stories celebrate the feminine spirit and the power of friendship.

Her award-winning 2010 debut novel, The Bridge Club, is a book-group favorite, and The Promise of Provence, which launched her three-part Love in Provence series (followed by Promises to Keep and I Promise You This), was a finalist for a 2013 USA Best Book Award and a 2014 National Indie Excellence Award, an Amazon Hot New Release in April 2013, and a 2015 nominee for a #RBRT Golden Rose award in the category of romance. Her fifth novel, Drawing Lessons, was released by Lake Union Publishing on October 1, 2017.
Lavender, Loss & Love, ~A Season of Surprises ~and The First Noel make up the the Villa de Violettes series, based on the Love in Provence characters.
The Bridge Club ~ Tenth Anniversary edition ~ is her latest release.

Sands also contributes to such Francophile websites as The Good Life France and Perfectly Provence and loves to visit Book Clubs either live or on ZOOM! Info on her website.

Find out more at Patricia’s Facebook Author Page, Amazon Author Page or her website. There are links to her books, social media, and a monthly newsletter that has special giveaways, photography from France, and sneak peeks at her next book. She loves hearing from readers.

Patricia has led six 10-day tours of the French Riviera and the countryside of Provence. She will be co-hosting another ‘Sold Out’ women’s tour of Provence in September 2021 with her good friend Deborah Bine aka The Barefoot Blogger.

Find out more at Patricia’s Facebook Author Page, Amazon Author Page, Goodreads or her blog where you will find links to her books, social media, and monthly newsletter. She loves hearing from readers, so don’t hesitate to email her.

Follow her on Instagram @patricialsands

Patricia is represented by Pamela Harty of The Knight Agency.

Book Release, book review, Fiction, Lake Union, Netgalley, Serena’s Favorites, womans fiction

#BookReview: No Place Too Far by Kay Bratt ~ 5⭐️

Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: 9/1/2020

Summary: 

Maggie Dalton was forced to uproot her entire life to protect herself and her son. Just when she thinks she’s outrun her past, she’ll have to face her fears in this emotional and suspenseful novel by the bestselling author of Wish Me Home.

After a year on the move, single mom Maggie Dalton has found a safe haven with her son in Maui. It’s the perfect spot to settle down now that her relentless stalker is finally behind bars. Maggie finds a new job and a new life thanks to some help from her best friend, Quinn, who urged her to come start over in paradise. But when signals suggest her stalker is back, Maggie realizes Maui might not be the safe oasis she thought.

Quinn knows all about facing the past. Tenuously reunited with her biological family after thirty years, she’s still coming to terms with her childhood—along with guilt, secrets, and mysteries yet to be resolved. And just as she’s starting to figure out where she fits in with her family, a name from the past threatens them all.

With that fear comes a choice for both women: abandon the lives they’ve been building on Maui, or find the courage to finally stop running and fight for the happiness they deserve.

Review:

The “By the Sea” series by Kay Bratt is one that I have enjoyed tremendously since the first book.

This is the second book in the series and it left me wanting more and I am certainly happy to hear that book 3 is in the works.

There are many dynamic and enchanting characters but Maggie and Quinn are definitely in the spotlight for this novel.

This is definitely a novel with a few twists along the rocky road with  so many family things going on.

I definitely felt the beauty of Maui when reading “No Place Too Far”.

The “from the author” at the end provides a glimpse into Kay Bratt’s life – so be sure to read all the way to the end.

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

5 Stars.

 

book review, chick lit, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, womans fiction

#Book Review: Wednesday Walks & Wags by Melissa Storm ~ 5⭐️

Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: 8/25/20

Summary:

  • In the rapidly blooming courtyard beneath Bridget Moore’s new Anchorage apartment, the signs are unmissable: spring has come. As she unpacks boxes, Bridget hopes that she too is moving forward. With her tight schedule—college, working as a vet tech, volunteering at the animal shelter, caring for her beloved dogs—Bridget strives to keep too busy to register the pain of losing her mother just months ago.

    Bri new neighbor, Wesley, also seems to be running from something—quite literally. He and his two energetic dogs jog by twice a day. It isn’t long before their paths intersect at their complex’s weekly dog-walking group. Bridget’s fellow members of the Sunday Potluck Club encourage her to enjoy Wesley’s company, though they understand all too well how tricky it can be to navigate life after loss.

    But just as nature rebounds after the toughest winter, Bridget’s friendships, both human and canine, are a reminder that llove and joy go on. With each weekly dog walk, Bridget is rediscovering the simple pleasures that mean so much. A warm smile, a sun-drenched evening, a waggy tail—little by little, they may help Bridget find the path to happiness again…

REVIEW:


“Wednesday Walks and Wags” is the 2nd book in the Sunday Potluck Club Series by Melissa Storm. I read the first book and to get the back story on the characters, it is definitely helpful to read that first. Though it could be read as stand alone too.

Any book with dogs instantly attracts me. One with many dogs, well that is even better.

This romantic page-turner had me enraptured in Bridget’s life from page one.

With the recent emotional turmoil, Bridget has had a tough go and is trying to get on the right track. Runs with complicated neighbor Wesley fits into that puzzle nicely until the mysterious nature of some actions leaves her questioning her relationship with him.

This novel truly shows us the powerful dynamics that these four women have and how they work through everything handed down to Bridget is truly endearing.

I certainly hope that there are more books coming in this series.

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

5 Stars.

book review, BookSirens, Fiction, womans fiction

#BookReview: Our Garden by Rose Finches ~ 4⭐️

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: October 25, 2019

Summary:

A magical garden . . . four stories are woven into one.

Josie is independent and self-sufficient. She is content with the life she has rebuilt for herself, but her body is saying something else. Her health is troubling her and she has to face her problems as she can’t keep pretending that everything is okay. Will she find the courage to look for answers?

Georgie is an adventurous free spirit and is always on the move. Her van is her home and companion, until she comes into town and finds all her certainties questioned. Will she find a real home?

Alison is controlling and is tired of her golden cage. Her marriage is on the rocks and who she thought she was, is changing. Will she find out who she really is?

Bethanne is warm and kind. Her Tea Shop is becoming a success thanks to her skills as a baker and her welcoming personality. Despite her achievements she still suffers from self-esteem issues. She wants to find love, but doesn’t think she deserves it. Will she be able to let love find her?

The Green Frog Community Garden shows them that a community is built on the magic of coming together.

Review:

This heartfelt novel about the charming “garden” was a powerful novel about many circumstances with family and friends in this small town that led to turmoil as well as some happy endings. The garden was a beautiful place that I could imagine easily with the excellent imagery given.
I was instantly drawn in to this thought provoking novel and read this book in practically one sitting.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through BookSirens in exchange for fair and honest review.

4 Stars.

 

annie mcdonnell, Annie’s Favorites, Author interview, book review, Fiction, Friendship Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Southern Fiction, womans fiction

#BookReview & #AuthorInterview: Little Tea by Claire Fullerton ~ 5⭐️

43D35A14-A0F5-4CB5-8E15-74C27DA1D80EReviewer: Annie McDonnell

Date of Release: April 28th, 2020

Summary:

Southern Culture … Old Friendships … Family Tragedy
One phone call from Renny to come home and “see about” the capricious Ava and Celia Wakefield decides to overlook her distressful past in the name of friendship.
For three reflective days at Renny’s lake house in Heber Springs, Arkansas, the three childhood friends reunite and examine life, love, marriage, and the ties that bind, even though Celia’s personal story has yet to be healed. When the past arrives at the lake house door in the form of her old boyfriend, Celia must revisit the life she’d tried to outrun.
As her idyllic coming of age alongside her best friend, Little Tea, on her family’s ancestral grounds in bucolic Como, Mississippi unfolds, Celia realizes there is no better place to accept her own story than in this circle of friends who have remained beside her throughout the years. Theirs is a friendship that can talk any life sorrow into a comic tragedy, and now that the racial divide in the Deep South has evolved, Celia wonders if her friendship with Little Tea can triumph over history.

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Review:

I’ve just discovered a rare gem!

Beloved author, Pat Conroy left behind a legacy that weaves it’s way through so much of southern fiction, but I trust he stopped by Claire Fullerton’s pen and whispered some of his wisdom! The proof is in her novel “Little Tea”!

She has that same knack of real-life, honest storytelling wrapped in beautifully eloquent prose.  Every word being composed so harmoniously with the next.

So refreshing!

Speaking of racism and social issues with both gentle heart and pulsating tension.

Love and relationships are lovely, exuberant, determined and even heartbreaking. When everything is cracking open like a broken glass on the hot Memphis asphalt, the sun is still shining through it.

Claire Fullerton speaks of the South and being a Southerner as a status only a few can attain. Almost a deserving right! The highest of honors! I love that she reveres the South so deeply and sincerely. She writes about the South with such love, you can sense her devotion! She elevates the Southern voice!! Claire is a true gift to both Southern and Literary Fiction!

I was completely enamored and enraptured with this story and each of characters. I even found myself beginning to put the book down one night, only to chose not to because I was just too captivated with even the places and more!! I just couldn’t sleep!

That same night, I found I was reading the last sentence, and I knew without a doubt I had been introduced to one of the most talented writers of our time!

In closing, I look forward to reading Claire Fullerton’s Collection! Time to order every single book!

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

5 Stars.

Look, I GOT THEM!! I am all set now!

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Author Bio:

Claire Fullerton is the author of Little Tea, which is set in the Deep South and concerns female friendship, Southern culture, healing the past and the changing times of the racial divide. Little Tea is a Faulkner Society finalist and the August 2020 book club selection of the Pulpwood Queens book club. Her novel, Mourning Dove, is a 9-time award winner set on the genteel side of 1970’s Memphis, Claire’s novel, Dancing to an Irish Reel, a Kindle Book Review and Readers’ Favorite award winner is set on the west coast of Ireland, where she once lived. Claire’s first novel is a paranormal mystery set in two time periods titled, A Portal in Time, set in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Claire contributed to the book, A Southern Season with her novella, Through an Autumn Window, set at a Memphis funeral. She writes of the Deep South, the family dynamic, and the hidden emotions that motivate a character. She hails from Memphis, and lives in Malibu, CA. with her husband and 3 German shepherds. Claire is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Literary Agency. https://www.clairefullerton.com

Order Here:

 

 

Live Interview:

annie mcdonnell, Annie’s Favorites, Blog Tour, Book Giveaway, book review, Book Tour, British & Irish Literature, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Literary Fiction, Serena’s Favorites, womans fiction

#BlogTour, #BookReview & #Giveaway: Dignity and Grace by Alison Ragsdale

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Dignity & Grace by Alison Ragsdale

Date of Release: July 27, 2020

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Summary:

On her 21st birthday, gifted cellist Iona Muir receives a package from her estranged father containing a letter from her mother, Grace, a talented musician who tragically died ten years earlier. Reeling from what she reads, Iona soon discovers a mysterious, faded photograph of Grace, hidden inside her cello case.

Honoring her mother’s request, Iona visits Grace’s beloved music teacher, taking the first step on an emotional trail of discovery that has been left for her. As Grace’s story unfolds, Iona gains a deeper insight into the mother she lost and the heartbreaking truth about Grace’s last months. The more Iona learns, the more she is drawn back to her family home, on the remote Scottish island of Orkney, and to her father.

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Serena visited Scotland, too! She Loved Edinburgh Castle!

Reviewer: Serena Soape

Alison Ragsdale has touched my heart deeply with this poignant, heart-wrenching novel.

With recently losing my mom, “Dignity & Grace “ evoked many emotions from the very first page when Iona received the package from her Dad about the things that her mother wrote her so many years ago.

The characters were magnificently interesting as they were introduced during Iona’s emotional journey. I felt like I was sitting next to Iona as she traveled from place to place.

Alison Ragsdale has a brilliant writing style that never disappoints, through both the smiles as well as the tears.

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

5 Stars.

I never visited Scotland! But, Alison Ragsdale truly had the Orkney Islands and the Ring of Brodgar to Edinburgh Come alive for me!

Reviewer: Annie McDonnell

Every once in a while I meet a book that stops my heart from beating so often I find myself actually catching my breath! Stirring my Soul a bit Loose!

“Dignity & Grace” by Alison Ragsdale moved me, both profoundly and evocatively! I was enamored with the British vernacular and sharp writing! All of the Characters I adored! I was taken away completely, from place to person to emotion! All levels! I was deep into this novel!

Losing her Mum’s very essence changed the vibration of Iona’s life. This is the story of Iona’s aching reach to regain it once again. Iona is coming full circle with a wondrous guide in Grace!

I was capturing the very heartbeat of this experience! Extremely palpable! From Orkney to Edinburgh! From first learning to play the cello to becoming a gifted cellist, Iona played her way into my heart!

I was drawn to the Cello because it was such a huge character! I felt it’s cries!! Such Aloneness….It’s unbearable aches!! It’s Pains…it’s relief!! It’s Release….It’s love for its owner! The Cello has a voice and a heart like a human, and the way Alison used this instrument and its music is breathtaking! It came alive!

Rhythmically, Alison’s story moved me gently between tears of anger and laughter and sadness. Like the cello playing it’s own life’s song!

Written with tender hearted story-telling and super smart accuracy for its serious subject matter, Alison Ragsdale scores a standing ovation from me!

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

5 Stars.

Side-bar I must include for myself outside of my review, Annie:

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You see, this story was personal for two reasons.

First, I was my (step)Mother’s caregiver for the last nine months of her life. She had decided both graciously and heroically that it was time to stop her treatments for Breast Cancer. I had already been a volunteer for years at Hospice, so I was well-equipped at end-of-life care with Dignity. I was determined that my Mom was going to have the very best End-of-Life experience! Each day was anew for us. It was beautiful. Poignant yet celebratory. She actually thanked me for creating an extremely special time for her. Fun! She called it! It has been my highest honor. I felt as though Grace was my Carmela. The letters evoked extreme emotions from me. Iona laying her head in Grace’s lap was truly my experience in life! #TissuesToTheMax

Alison truly understands the end of life experience.

Secondly, I have a neurological disorder, which I am now in the “tremor”, and “in-bed-all-the-time” phase. I understand choosing to remain in the heart of my home, as a Grace did. While it’s not ALS, it is in the same classification, and they are both on the Compassionate Allowance List for Social Security Disability. My end of life will be quite similar, and knowing this is difficult. Reading Alison’s book, I’m realizing my truth, I also have a lot going through my head. I believe if I had a daughter, I would have chosen to leave something like letters. “Dignity & Grace” has me realizing, my heart breaks that there is no one I’m leaving behind, so I need to find my persons! I’m thinking my nephews Xander & Adam will be my Legacy’s! I realized no one will be looking in the mirror and seeing my image, or missing much of anything about me because I haven’t accomplished much. So, I’m determined to write a story!

Alison hit the nail on the head with neurological changes in the body, and what it does to the people around you.

I also googled a lot of the places in the story! It was too overwhelming not too! I had to know if they were real.

Dignity & Grace” is a call to action for me! I’m on it!!

I’m going to leave part of me somewhere! Thank you, Alison Ragsdale for this reminder!

E96AFACA-0D25-46BE-B16F-E35BF7A47DC3Author Bio:

Originally from Edinburgh, Alison now lives in the US with her husband and dog. Educated in England, she holds an MBA from Leicester University.

Alison’s Amazon best sellers include: TUESDAY’S SOCKS, THE FATHER-DAUGHTER CLUB, FINDING HEATHER, A LIFE UNEXPECTED, THE ART OF REMEMBERING and THE LIAR AND OTHER STORIES.

THE FATHER-DAUGHTER CLUB was awarded the 2016, IPPY Bronze medal for Best regional fiction – Europe.

A LIFE UNEXPECTED, was awarded a 2018, IPPY Bronze medal in the Popular Fiction category.

THE ART OF REMEMBERING, debuted as an Amazon best seller, was honored as a finalist in the 2019 American Fiction Awards, was a finalist in the 2020 Eric Hoffer Award, was a BookBub Best Book Club Book pick and was nominated for the Goodreads Readers Choice Award.

THE LIAR AND OTHER STORIES, a collection of short stories was released on May 12th, 2020.

Ms. Ragsdale’s seventh novel, DIGNITY AND GRACE, will be released on July 27th, 2020.

For more information: www.alisonragsdale.com.

 Order Here:

Or, From Annie’s Local Indie Bookshop, Book Hampton:

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https://www.bookhampton.com/book/9781733037754

Giveaway:

0B335780-BF64-4039-9A45-2B124EC4B838Tell us one thing you’d like to pass on, or leave to the next generation! Words of wisdom! Please post directly in the comments!

*One “Dignity & Grace” EBook winner will be announced when Annie returns from her temporary leave of absence.

Thank you!

The Write Review loved

“Dignity & Grace” by Alison Ragsdale!!!

and we really appreciate you stopping by our

Blog Tour Stop

FOR KATE ROCK BOOK TOURS.

book review, Contemporary Romance, Serena’s Favorites, womans fiction

#BookReview: Side Trip by Kerry Lonsdale

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: July 7, 2020

Summary:

An unforgettable and breathtaking novel of love, loss, and the unexpected routes that life takes from Amazon Charts and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Kerry Lonsdale.

With her deceased sister’s Route 66 bucket list in hand, California girl Joy Evers sets out on a cross-country road trip to meet up with her fiancé, checking off the bullets along the way.

Singer-songwriter Dylan Westfield has a serious case of wanderlust and a broken-down car. Stuck at a diner between LA and Flagstaff, he meets Joy, his complete opposite. She’s energetic. He’s moody. She’s by the book. He’s spontaneous. She believes in love at first sight. He thinks love is a complicated mess. But Joy has a brand-new convertible.

They strike a deal. She’ll drive him to New York. He’ll pay for gas. Only three rules apply: no exchanging of last names; what happens on the road, stays on the road; and if one of them wants to take a side trip, they both must agree.

A heart-stirring love story that spans a decade, Side Trip explores what-if. What if Joy and Dylan had exchanged last names? What if he’d told her she made him believe love was worth the risk? And what if they hadn’t made that second deal when they couldn’t say goodbye?

Review:

If I could give this book more than 5 stars, I absolutely would.

The poignant emotional “side trips” that Kerry Lonsdale took me on were heart-wrenching and I had tears in my eyes more than once while reading “Side Trip”.

I was instantly drawn in from the very first page and was on the edge of my seat!

Even heartbroken, but I had to continue …… I had to know how it all ended!!!

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

5 Stars.

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Author Bio:

Kerry Lonsdale is the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Amazon Charts & #1 Kindle bestselling author of standalone and series-based emotionally charged domestic drama. A mash-up of domestic suspense, family drama, and contemporary romance, her novels straddle genres, and with over twenty-seven foreign language translations, they appeal to a wide, global audience. She lives in Northern California with her husband, teenage son and daughter, two cats, and an aging Golden Retriever convinced she’s still a puppy. When Kerry’s not writing, she can be found binge-watching anything with big CGI effects or high drama. She’s a sucker for stories about second chance romance, strong women overcoming odds, and families with dark secrets.

Website:

Homepage

Order Here:

annie mcdonnell, book review, chick lit, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, womans fiction

#BookReview: You Were There Too by Colleen Oakley

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: January 7, 2020

Summary:

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?

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.

Review:

Colleen Oakley totally shocked me with the last scenes of “You Were There Too”! This story was poignant, intense and beautiful! With a completely unexpected ending! I had to remind myself to breathe!

The story of Mia Graydon and the boy, Oliver she was dreaming of grew extremely intense after they met in person. It was quite the ride!  I was so invested in Mia’s choices. It was as if each decision reflected upon my life somehow.

Colleen Oakley really made me think long and hard about my Dreams and my thoughts on destiny and listening to those little hints about fate that I sometimes ignore as I walk through my life.

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

4 Stars.

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Author Bio:


Colleen Oakley’s novels have been named best books by People Magazine, Us Weekly, Library Journal, and Real Simple, and both were long-listed for the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize. Formerly the editor-in-chief of Women’s Health & Fitness and senior editor of Marie Claire, her articles and essays have been featured in The New York Times, Ladies’ Home Journal, Women’s Health, Redbook, Parade, Marie Claire and Martha Stewart Weddings. She lives in Atlanta with her husband, four kids and the world’s biggest lapdog, Bailey. Her fourth novel THE INVISIBLE HUSBAND OF FRICK ISLAND will be published by Berkley/Penguin in summer 2021.