#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: 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.

 

#BookTour, #BookReview & #Giveaway: Lies that Bind by Ashley Farley

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Reviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

Lies That Bind

(Exclusive Book Tour with @Katerockbooktours)

Author: Ashley Farley

Release Date: January 14, 2020

Leisure Time Books-(Self Published)

Book Tour Dates: January 7 -Jan 30

PreOrder Here:  https://amzn.to/2P02G07

$3.99 pre-order on Kindle

Summary:

About the book:

From the Best Selling Author of Only One Life and Life On Loan comes Lies That Bind.

A suspenseful story of three women who, in search of freedom from the lies that bind them, experience personal growth, discovery, and forgiveness.

Ten years ago, Stuart Carpenter was killed in a single-car accident after retrieving his daughter, Reese, from college. The first responders to the accident saw no evidence of her, and she’s been neither seen nor heard from since. A decade later, Reese’s mother, Eva, struggling to make it through her days, holds out hope her daughter is still alive.

Maggie, on the rebound after the breakup of a long-term relationship, rushes into marriage with a man she knows little about. On the surface Eric is a stable man and a good provider, but when his job takes them from Oregon to Virginia, his dark side begins to show. Eric is ready to start a family. Maggie is more interested in pursuing a career as an investigative journalist. Eric will do whatever it takes to get his way.

On a snowy Sunday in early March, Maggie befriends her across-the-street neighbor, Eva, who confides in Maggie about her missing daughter. The story intrigues Maggie, and she can’t stop thinking about Reese. When Eric’s controlling behavior turns abusive, Maggie uses the investigation of Reese’s disappearance as an opportunity to go undercover.

Maggie travels from Virginia to Ohio to Washington DC, unraveling the secrets of the dysfunctional family that drove a young woman to a desperate act of survival.  

Review:

I’M SO SLEEPY!!

I shut my light off last night with the intention of going to sleep but, sleep wouldn’t come. It was because of Ashley Farley’s new novel “Lies That Bind”. I just had to turn my light back on and finish the book. 

Oh my gosh! She has done it again. Farley has a way with character development that draws you into their story. You have to know what is going on and what happens next. This is the second book I’ve read by her and I experienced the same level of involvement.

I feel like I know these folks.

My heart races as I flip pages, my heart mourns when they suffer loss and my heart jumps for joy when they triumph. You can’t ask for better than that! 

What a fun way to start the new year!

Thank you Ashley Farley for another enjoyable read. 

I recieved a copy of this book from Kate Rock Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

GIVEAWAY: ONE (1) eBook COPY! TO ENTER JUST LEAVE A COMMENT ABOUT YOUR INTEREST AND WE WILL DRAW A RANDOM WINNER ON                       FRIDAY, JANUARY 10, 2020.

To Follow Ashley Farley:

Book trailer: https://ashleyfarley.com/lies-that-bind/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6916019.Ashley_Farley

Instagram: www.instagram.com/ashleyhfarley

Facebook:  https://m.facebook.com/ashleywfarley

Website: www.ASHLEYFARLEY.net

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/ashley-farley

@ashleyhfarley @katerockbooktours @katerocklitchick #LiesThatBind #womensfiction #suspense #booktour #southernfiction #leisuretimebooks #bestsellingauthor

#BookReview & #ChristinesFamilyFavorites: One Last Summer by Victoria Connelly

DE181759-E0D3-4CA8-8488-80FB87E4FCDAReviewer: Christine Davis

Date of Release: February 5, 2019

Summary:

They have the whole summer ahead of them. Is it enough to rekindle the friendship they once shared?

Harriet Greenleaf dreams of spending the summer in a beautiful ancient priory on the Somerset coast with her two best friends—but her dream is bittersweet. On the one hand, it’s a chance to reconnect three lives that have drifted apart; on the other, she has a devastating secret to share that will change everything between them forever. First to arrive is Audrey—the workaholic who’s heading for a heart attack unless she slows down and makes time for herself. Then Lisa, the happy-go-lucky flirt who’s always struggled to commit to anyone—or anything. Ever the optimist, can Harriet remind them of the joy in their lives and the importance of celebrating good friendship before it’s gone?

Through the highs and lows of a long, glorious summer, these three women will rediscover what it means to be there for each other—before they face the hardest of goodbyes

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Review:

How do you say goodbye? Knowing you’ll never see those you love ever again! Victoria Connelly takes this question to the heart and answers it in the most body and soul consuming way in her amazing novel “One Last Summer”

If you knew your time was soon going to be up on this Earth, how would you handle it? The main character in Connelly’s tale has to answer this question and does so in a beautifully constructed answer. She gathers love all around her and shares her last summer with her dearest of heart before cancer claims her.

This story struck me to the core. At a time I was in my own battle with cancer. My heart and mind got absorbed into this timely tale for me and I came away with tears streaming down my cheeks!

I have recommended books before but not one as strongly as I would this one! Take this book with you favorite hankie, curl up at your best reading spot and be prepared to have an emotional time with a beautiful tale of love, strength and friendship!

5 Stars.

#BookReview: True to Me by Kay Bratt

CBD7996D-2A95-4112-98DF-503A22A8B4DDReviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: December 10, 2019

Summary


From the bestselling author of Wish Me Home comes a breathtaking novel about the secrets that families keep and one woman’s illuminating search for the truth.

Quinn Maguire has a stable life, a fiancé, and what she thinks is a clear vision for her future. All of that comes undone by her mother’s deathbed confession—the absentee father Quinn spent thirty years resenting is not her real father at all. With that one revealing whisper, Quinn embarks on a journey to Maui, her mother’s childhood home, a storied paradise that holds the truth about her mother’s past and all its secrets Quinn is determined to uncover.

But settling on the island has its complications, and with the fiancé she left behind questioning every choice she makes, Quinn’s quest for her truth is even more difficult than she expected. As time passes and she digs deeper into her family history and her own identity, one thing becomes clear: Maui is as beautiful as she’d always imagined, and its magic is helping uncover the woman that Quinn was always meant to be.

Review:

Kay Bratt has written a beautiful heartfelt novel with “True To Me”.

Quinn’s truly emotional journey was one that instantly drew me in and had me right there with her through the happy and the sad times. Complex and tear jerking at times! I loved this story and found it hard to put down!

I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone looking for an emotional journey!

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

5 Stars.

#BookTour, #BookReview, #AuthorSpotlight, & #Giveaway: More Than by Diane Barnes

1798C4E2-9668-4819-B9C2-F2968E715622Reviewer: Serena Soape

Release Date: October 29, 2019

 Summary:

“You are obese, Mrs. Moriarty.”
Peggy Moriarty is stunned. She knows she’s let herself go a bit, but she thinks her young, skinny doctor is exaggerating. Her husband’s death fourteen years ago left her to raise their twins, Grace and Greg, alone. But now that they’re teenagers, doing their own things, her only hobby is watching Messages from Beyond, a show about a medium who connects the grieving with their deceased loved ones.

When the twins leave for college, they give Peggy a gift certificate for an exercise class. At first, Peggy is insulted. But once the sting wears off, she realizes if she gets in shape, she might gain the confidence she needs to go on her favorite TV show and talk to her husband one last time.

With help from her new friends at the gym and Carmen Tavarez, the mother of Grace’s boyfriend, Peggy begins to emerge from her prolonged grief and spread her wings. She may soon discover that her sum is more than a mother,
a widow, and her body.

E81DD5F0-BE71-41C4-AE30-757C884CD07AReview:

Diane Barnes has written “More Than” about Peggy and her life starting when the doctor tells her that she is obese. It’s all the unbelievable result of sadness.

The story definitely kept my interest right from the start and was hard to put down!!! I loved the characters and how they all interacted with Peggy.  Peggy’s various circles were all rather entertaining, whether it was at boot camp with her friends home. I just enjoyed everybody.

Peggy’s story is one that would definitely be relatable to so many people that struggle with the same issues that Peggy has. But it’s “More Than” that!! It’s about resilience and pushing through! Peggy’s perseverance through Boot Camp, which she did more than once; was inspiring.

I found myself wanting to get back into exercising after reading this book. Now that should tell you something!

This was my first book for Diane Barnes, but definitely see more in my future.

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

 

4 Stars.

8D27A1BF-B88F-4111-898B-499110E4672A
Author Spotlight:

Writer, Reader, Ridiculous Amount
of Chocolate Eater. 

How many people get to do what they love? Since I was old enough to hold a pencil, I’ve loved writing. Today, I’m fortunate enough to have two careers that give me the opportunity to write. By day, I write marketing copy and corporate communications for a company in the healthcare market. After hours I pen fiction.  I’m also a voracious reader and can sit for hours, preferably on a beach or by a pool, devouring good books.

I live outside of Boston with my husband. I don’t talk like a Bostonian, but some people still detect Southern California in my accent from the years I lived there. When I’m not writing or reading, I’m at the gym, running, or playing tennis, trying to burn off the ridiculous amounts of chocolate and ice cream I eat.

 

Follow Diane:

Website: https://www.dianembarnes.com/   Instagram:  @DianeBarnes777


GIVEAWAY –    3 eBooks. Just leave a comment that you’d like a copy  and that you’ll post a review. Giveaway Closes on Friday, November 1st, 2019.

#BookReview: Controlling Shelly Fagan by Olive Dunn

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Summary:

Have you ever loved someone so much it took your breath away?

A captivating, unforgettable love story, Olive Dunn restores glory to the romance genre with this intense and provocative novel.

Controlling Shelly Fagan is a riveting romance novel that will guide readers through a tantalizing journey of a young woman whose life has been dominated by secrets and deceit. She trusted her parents—only to discover years later they lied.

A first love, an endless love. Shelly Fagan at seventeen loved Chris Johnson with every ounce of her being. Forced away from him and everything she knew and loved, she was hidden in a convent, pregnant and alone. Now, at age thirty-six and married to another man, a life-changing event takes Shelly back to the same small Indiana town where it all began.

This novel will take you back to 1967—a year of music, sex, freedom, laughter, love, and Vietnam.

Controlling Shelly Fagan is a gripping emotional story that will stay with you.You grow up, but you never forget. You can’t forget.

Review:

Olive Dunn clearly shows us how lies and deceit can hurt a family and friendships in her novel “Controlling Shelly Fagan”.

This a deeply poignant story telling us about Shelly and her very difficult life. From her teenage years through her mid-thirties we watch her maneuver through so much heartbreak; because of what happened to her as a teenager and then all of the unimaginable choices she had to make as an adult.

There were many times where my heart truly broke for her. I kept wondering what choice she would make when she came to certain crossroads and wondered would I have done the same???

I must admit that I was surprised a couple of times as I thought the story was headed a different direction, only to be taken the opposite.

I thoroughly enjoyed this from cover to cover! Olive Dunn’s Debut novel surely was wonderful, I hope she writes more!

4.5 Stars.

#BookReview: All About Evie by Cathy Lamb

Reviewer: Jennifer Bryan-Vawser

Expected Publication Date: October 29th, 2019

FE17B06C-2AEC-4962-88DF-AC5262115E8ESummary:

Set against the natural beauty of the San Juan Islands in the Pacific Northwest, acclaimed author Cathy Lamb’s latest novel tells the emotionally compelling story of one woman’s life-changing discovery about her past . . .

As a child, Evie Lindsay was unnerved by her premonitions. As an adult, they have become a simple fact of life—sometimes disruptive but also inescapable, much like her quirky, loveable family.  Evie’s mother, Poppy, and her aunts, Camellia and Iris, are well known on San Orcanita island for their free-spirited ways and elaborately decorated hats. Their floral shop and Evie’s bookstore draw streams of visitors all summer long. This season promises to be extra busy: Evie’s sister, Jules, is getting married on the island.

As Jules plans her unconventional wedding, she arranges to do a DNA test with her mother, sister, and aunts, to see how much accepted lore about their heritage holds true. The results blow apart everything Evie has grown up believing about herself and her family. Spurred on by the revelations, Evie uncovers the real story of her past. But beyond her feelings of shock and betrayal, there are unexpected opportunities—to come to terms with a gift that has sometimes felt like a curse, to understand the secrets that surrounded her childhood, and to embrace the surprising new life that is waiting for her …

Review:

“All About Evie” is one of those books that will make you laugh out loud one minute and ugly cry the next!

Cathy Lamb has a unique writing style. The story was both entertaining and intriguing. You can tell she really took her time in developing each of her characters.

Evie has had premonitions for as long as she can remember. Sometimes they are a blessing and other times they are a curse.

She lives with her mother and 3 aunt’s. They are a fun, colorful bunch! They are strong, independent, witty, hilarious and crazy; you can not help but fall in love with them all.

Evie loves books, she owns her own bookstore and she has a huge love for her pets. All 10 of them! The one thing I really loved was how each of her beloved pets played a roll in the story. I especially loved her cat, Garfield.

There are twists I did not see coming and Evie had some really tough decisions to make. 

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

4 Stars.

#BookReview: Beneath Pale Water by Thalia Henry

Reviewer: Annie McDonnell

8ED82A28-4526-48C3-8832-0F2790B71019Summary:

Set amidst the physical and psychological landscapes of New Zealand’s southern hills and grasslands, Beneath Pale Water is a social realist and expressionistic novel that follows a triangle of three damaged individuals – a sculptor, a vagrant and a model – who have grown calcified shells against the world. Their search for identity and belonging leads them into dangerous territory that threatens both their sanity and lives. As their protective shells crack they are left vulnerable – both physically and emotionally – to the high country winds and their own conflicts that, ultimately, might free or destroy them.

Review:

I found this to be one of the most lyrical novels I have read in a long time. It was quite refreshing to read a book that I actually had to decipher the underlying meaning to.

The imagery was just stunning. I felt totally transported. It stirred my soul.

It was truly a beautiful dance between these characters that had me guessing right up until the end. I absolutely hated to put it down when necessary.

I highly recommend this book to anyone that wants to take a break from the everyday story.

This Novel will win awards, and the author is going to write wondrous stories!

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

5 Stars.

#BookReview: Memory House by Bette Lee Crosby

Reviewer: Jennifer Bryan-Vawser

84962035-138A-4837-A2EF-00C26B567402Summary:

IS IT POSSIBLE FOR A MEMORY TO OUTLIVE ITS OWNER?

Ophelia Browne knows the answer is yes. She knows because she’s been granted the unique gift of finding and caring for those forgotten memories. But now she’s nearing ninety, and Browne women seldom live beyond ninety.

Before time runs out Ophelia must find a successor. Someone who can take hold of the gifts and keep the memories from fading.

When broken-hearted Annie Cross shows up on the doorstep of The Memory House Bed and Breakfast, Ophelia knows she is the one. The two women forge a bond of friendship as they sip magical dandelion tea and share stories. When Annie starts to sense the memories Ophelia is delighted, but then a thread of violence begins to unravel and Ophelia fears things have gone too far.

Review:

I don’t know how “Memory House” is only my second book by Bette Lee Crosby!

I feel like I have been missing out on an extraordinary author!

This book took me on a powerful journey!

I felt so involved in these characters lives, Ophelia was so well-written and by far one of my favorite character’s written into a storyline.

Ophelia’s memories pull at your heart strings. She made me feel as if I were living through her memories. I felt so many emotions, there was joy, sadness and most of all love.

“A good memory is something you have to live with for awhile, let it settle in and become part of who you are”

This book captured my heart!

I look forward to reading the series and many more books by Bette Lee Crosby!

I highly recommend this book to everyone that loves a good heartwarming story!

5 Stars.