#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.

#BookReview: Memory House by Bette Lee Crosby

Reviewer: Serena Soape

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 picked up “Memory House” yesterday and could not put it down until I had finished.

Who needs sleep when you are reading Bette Lee Crosby?

I loved the story of Annie’s life and how all of the characters were developed. The moment when I heard names that I recognized was a turning point for me. I was surprised to hear that characters from other Bette Lee Crosby novels were part this story. I thoroughly enjoyed that!! It was a Wow moment for me!!

Ophelia was someone that I wished that I could meet in person. What a sweet woman.

I had times where I was a little sad but then the happy moments that balanced them out!

I am anxious to read the next book in this Series.

I would absolutely recommend that you read this book, as well as her other books.

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.

#BookReview: Katie Lyn’s Guarded Heart (Sweethearts of Country Music #4) by Marie Savage

Reviewer: Serena Soape

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Summary:

Book Release Date: September 27, 2019

When six musicians come together to form an all-girl country band, The Sweethearts of Country Music are born. But can they balance their musical worlds with their personal lives?

Lead singer, Katie Lyn Bishop, is ready for her first holiday in her new home in Nashville and she can’t wait to spend it with her three-year-old daughter, Madison. Unfortunately, her ex-husband, Trevor shows up after a four-year absence, suing for custody of their daughter, not to mention a hefty chunk of Katie Lyn’s profits.
The band’s attorney, Alec O’Donnell, assures her that’s not going to happen. But Alec’s interest is more than professional. He and Katie Lyn have a past—and there are skeletons in his closet that are best left in the dark. As he goes to battle against her ex, he worries his personal feelings will interfere with protecting her in court—and that if she finds out the truth, it could ruin everything.

Swirling rumors have the media targeting Katie Lyn wanting answers. Can Alec protect her? Will the secrets destroy not only her relationship with Alec, but the entire safety nest she’s built for her and Madison? Or is Alec exactly what she needs to truly make her new house a home?

The Sweethearts of Country Music series includes six books by six different authors. Each novel features a member of the band as she struggles to balance music and love.

Review:

Marie Savage’s Novel “Katie Lyn’s Guarded Heart” was such a sweet and entertaining story. While Katie Lyn had a complicated past and emotional relationships the story was heartfelt and at times both intense and poignant.

Katie Lyn’s life was not easy but she overcame so much…….

Marie Savage is very talented at character development, you’d enjoy getting to know her characters.

I finished this book in one night and was pleasantly surprised with the ending.

I have read a number of her books and definitely recommend them.

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

4 Stars.

#BookReview: The Art Of Remembering by Alison Ragsdale

Reviewer: Annie McDonnell

AD7B3629-6F43-4429-B0BD-211AEB03ADC6Summary:

Professional ballerina, Ailsa MacIntyre, is at the peak of her career when her world is shattered by a shocking diagnosis. Life-saving surgery leaves her with a fractured memory, little recollection of her husband, Evan, and none of her career as a principal dancer.

While recuperating at home, Ailsa hears beautiful music coming from the apartment upstairs, and the sound of the grand piano at the hands of a talented new neighbor sparks her muscle memory. As her recovery progresses, the broken pieces of her past gradually re-emerge, a picture not quite as idyllic as Evan would have her remember. Ailsa must navigate the conflicting visions of her past, and potential future, as they collide.

Review:

Music and dance come together like never before in Alison Ragsdale’s Novel “The Art Of Remembering”. My heart was fully captivated as I turned the pages.

When I first started reading this story, I fell immediately in love with Ailsa. She proved to be an awe-inspiring character and one that will stick with me for a long time to come. I realized along the way..this was her story, just as much as it was Alison’s. The fact that she brought her this much to life was just stunning to me!

Ailsa is a professional ballet dancer that falls ifll and has to recover from brain surgery and memory loss. Her neighbor upstairs plays music that just may be able to help her remember things she has forgotten; which include her husband, her friends and her dancing. Honestly…Herself.

I was blown away by the beauty with which her story is written. It’s as if love is actually weaved within the pages leaving Ailsa’s soul laying bare for us to see. The pain. The raw, dirty suffering. The need and want for her to remember!

The enlightenment that came along the way as she looked recovery in the face was truly a heartfelt, gripping, and breathtaking story.

You will feel better and even stronger for knowing this story!

Ailsa will touch your heart and she will definitely sit there a while. Maybe even dance, too.

You will Remember Ailsa! 🎶

5 Stars.