#BookReview: The Light in the Hallway by Amanda Prowse

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Reviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

Date of Release: November 11, 2019

Summary:

From the bestselling author of The Girl in the Corner comes the moving story of a man whose life is changed in an instant. How do you start again when you lose the only love you’ve ever known?

When Nick’s wife Kerry falls ill and dies, he realises for the first time how fragile his happiness has always been, and how much he’s been taking his good life and wonderful family for granted. Now, he suddenly finds himself navigating parenthood alone, unsurehow to deal with his own grief, let alone that of his teenage son, Olly.

In the depths of his heartbreak, Nick must find a way to navigate life that pleases his son, his in-laws, his family and his friends—while honouring what Kerry meant to them all. But when it comes to his own emotions, Nick doesn’t know where to begin. Kerry was his childhood sweetheart—but was she really the only one who could ever make him happy?

And in the aftermath of tragedy, can Nick and his son find themselves again?

 

Review:

“The Light in the Hallway” by Amanda Prowse was amazingly beautiful and wonderfully written. I could not put this book down. The story flips between two time periods in Nick’s life, the summer he was 10 years old and the present at the age of 35. I enjoyed both time periods and getting to see the characters in Nick’s life grow and develop long term relationships. 

This novel brought back so many feelings for me and at times there were tears shed. Nick was a young widower and since I was a fairly young widow, I understood everything he was experiencing. There are a wide range of emotions from the initial panic and heartbreak to finding the ability to move forward with life. 

Nick was a man who understands what love and life is all about and is not afraid to do the right thing. I would highly recommend this novel.

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

5 Stars.

#BookReview: Love, Jane by Katie Blanchard

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Date of Release: November 12, 2019

Summary:

Jane always longed for security and thought she found it when she married Stewart. When stress takes a toll on their marriage, she hires yoga instructor Shana to help him, but finds that sometimes inviting a stranger into your home means they never leave.
Tossed out of her home and marriage, penniless, while Shana sleeps in her place, Jane is brutally attacked. With help from Billy, the cop who saved her life, Jane takes on a new identity to hide from the man who assaulted her. Hiding is exhausting, but she’s not sure who to trust. Even Billy has past ties to her husband.

While the cops hunt for her attacker, a run-in with Shana exposes a secret that could result in a new madman on Jane’s tail– Stewart. Both women are in peril and Jane must decide if she can help the woman who ruined her marriage.

Will she be able to save them both or is the danger closer than either of them imagines?

Review:

“Love, Jane” by Katie Blanchard – Wow, just Wow!!!!!

What can I say????

I finished this gripping thriller in one day and was totally enthralled from the very beginning.

I was literally sitting on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next !!! The twists in this novel were mind-blowing!!!

This was a fantastic read!!! I cannot wait for the next book!!!!

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

5 Stars.

#BookReview: A Rocky Divorce by Matt Coleman

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Reviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

Date of Release: December 11, 2019

Summary:

Raquel “Rocky” Champagnolle is an antisocialite. Swift-thinking. Stiff-drinking. Quick with a joke between Cape Cods, but would rather get lost in a book than a nightclub. Nevertheless, when divorce leaves her stripped bare of everything except wit and a winning smile, Rocky does the unthinkable. She joins the Junior League of Texarkana.

Brimming with blondes, the Junior League affords Rocky the opportunity to sip cocktails and make fun of wealthy people. She even starts to eye-roll her way into a little philanthropy until Junior League matriarch Waverly St. Laurent insults Rocky’s weight. After that, Rocky refuses to put her skills to use solving a string of home invasions plaguing Texarkana’s wealthiest benefactors. Instead, she channels her contempt into spurning the usual Junior League fundraising efforts in favor of transforming a pack of soccer moms into drug dealers.

But then Waverly St. Laurent mistakes her husband for the home invader and shoots him dead. And Rocky finds all the inspiration she needs to awaken her greatest talent. Not solving mysteries. Spite. When Rocky’s finished, Waverly St. Laurent may find herself guilty of killing her husband to cover up a string of decades-old murders. In addition to her greatest crime: fat-shaming Rocky Champagnolle.

Review:

LAUGH OUT LOUD FUNNY!

“A Rocky Divorce” by Matt Coleman is a worthwhile read. Personally, I found the beginning of the book a little slow. Looking back, I think it was necessary to get to know Rocky, the main character. 

Rocky whose real name is Raquel is a rather brash young woman not afraid to speak her true feelings. She doesn’t hold back! Rocky is an elementary school teacher who gets herself involved in solving crimes and problems. She is so irreverent she mercilessly tickles the funny bone. 

Matt Coleman takes you on a rollercoaster ride with his first book in a new series. You will want to jump in and enjoy the ride. I can’t wait for the next installment to see what Rocky is going to do next.

You’re gonna love her! 

4 Stars.

#BookReview: The Butterfly Recluse by Therese Heckenkamp

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: August 13, 2019

Summary:

Learning to love is like learning to fly . . .

Eccentric. Weird. Crazy. Whatever people call her, Lila doesn’t mind. Most of the time. She finds solace in her sheltered world by raising butterflies and surrounding herself with their gentle beauty. They’re all she needs.

Most of the time.
Until a motorcycle-riding stranger roars up her driveway, invading her safe haven, throwing her life off-kilter, and forcing her to question everything. Persistent and stubborn, Harvey Sanford may be just what she needs—or everything she doesn’t.

He’s easy on the eyes, but hard on her emotions. What exactly is he after, and what is he not telling her? Should she safeguard her heart or follow it?

As a summer wedding approaches, Lila must decide how much she’s willing to risk for a chance at true happiness. In one intense night of desperation and revelation, she must confront her darkest fears—and hopefully discover that with faith and courage, shattered dreams can be restored, damaged hearts can love again, and broken wings can heal . . . maybe even fly.

A clean, inspirational, sweet summer romance!

Recommended for fans of contemporary Christian romance.

Review:

Therese Heckenkamp has written a beautiful novel with “The Butterfly Recluse”.

Lila’s story and the way the butterflies were woven into everything was phenomenal. I picked this book up one night and finished it the next. Hard to put down but I had to sleep!!!! Watching Lila discover herself was truly endearing, and that’s what held my interest.

There were some twists in the story that I did not expect and were pleasantly surprising.

The characters were well written and very relatable.

This was my first book by Therese Heckenkamp and will absolutely be searching out more soon!!!

I definitely recommend this book !!!

I received this in exchange for fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

#BookReview & #HolidayReads: Alone for the Holidays by Vivien Mayfair

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: July 16, 2019

Summary:

Snow is falling hard near the picturesque town of Woodstock, Vermont, with its scrumptiou bakeries, brightly lit storefronts, and twelve-foot Main Street Christmas tree. Romance is in the air for everybody except spicy Russian Clara Neverov, recently divorced, bitter, and alone for the holidays. As an acclaimed romance author, she revels in her solitary life relying only on Internet book groups for her socialization under a fake American name pulled from childhood memory and her best friend’s photo.

Giving up on Christmas after too many of them alone, she adores the solitary life free from Scrooges and messy entanglements. When a mysterious editor from a Goodreads book group she cares about shares a sad story about being alone for the holidays after his wife passes away, she accidentally invites him to spend them with her.

The only problem is that her snowy country cottage is nowhere close to the magical Santa’s wonderland that she described. In fact, it closely resembles the undergrown Grinch’s lair on a bad day.

The situation goes from bad to worse when Finn Jacobs drops an email that he’s on his way to spend Christmas with her. He doesn’t mention an arrival date and he believes her to be a trim blond bookshop clerk instead of her real identity as an overweight author with unruly espresso hair and black eyes. With some festive holiday intervention, icy roads slam her truck right into his car, where she quickly finds herself desperately scrambling for another false identity, terrified he’ll learn the truth.

When an unexpected storm snows them in while their cars are being repaired, Clara continues the ruse as somebody else with hopes that her online dream man will come to love her as she is and not as the fantasy women in his mind. The only way she can do that is to give him the Christmas of a lifetime.

There is one thing that is for sure, that spending Christmas alone is no longer an option. Lose yourself in this sweet holiday romantic tale of hope, second chances, and forgiveness during the most magical time of the year.

BONUS MATERIAL: Delicious tried-and-true family holiday recipes as seen in the book. Treat yourself to a cheesy chicken crunch-top casserole, dreamy peppermint dark chocolate mochas, a white chocolate peppermint cake, a melt-in-your-mouth pot roast, buttercream frosted cutout cookies, and many more.

The perfect Christmas short story novelette ideal for sweet romance fans of authors like Debbie Macomber, Nora Roberts, Brenda Novak, Holly Martin, and Jenny Hale.

Review:

Vivian Mayfair’s “Alone for the Holidays” was a whimsical and entertaining holiday romance. The characters were funny and relatable.

Clara had many secrets which caused turmoil that she had to overcome throughout this novelette.

Bonus with some yummy recipes!!!

Overall this was a fun romance! I am going to definitely check out her other books.

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

4 Stars.

#BookReview: Now That You’ve Gone by Fiona Gartland

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: October 19, 2019

Summary:

“I’ve witnessed many sordid things in my life. As a stenographer at the Criminal Courts of Justice, I thought I’d seen how low a human being might stoop. But one week into O’Malley v O’Malley and I’d decided there was nothing uglier than a bitter break-up.”

Stenographer Beatrice Barrington is back and working in the family law courts in Dublin when a friend seeks her help. Georgina O’Donnell’s husband, Andrew Dalton, has been murdered and the gardaí are keeping her in the dark. Georgina thinks Beatrice might be able to find some answers through her friend, retired detective Gabriel Ingram.

There has been a rift between Beatrice and Gabriel, but she agrees to do what she can. She contacts him and discovers he now has a lodger in Number 9, Oxmantown Road – a young woman with her own secrets.

Together Beatrice and Gabriel begin to uncover Andrew Dalton’s past. Then a stranger who says he is an old friend of Andrew’s appears and claims that the dead man owed him money. The pressure becomes too much for Georgina, and Beatrice finds herself trying to protect her friend and her family.

But who is she protecting them from?

Review:

Of course, I was enamored with Fiona Gartland’s novel “Now That You’ve Gone”, being that it is a story based in Dublin, Ireland. My favorite place on earth! She truly took me on a trip while I read her story and that was glorious.

Only this story was much more the beautiful city of Dublin, it was a story wrapped up in a dead man, court room drama, and two girlfriends trying to sort it all out.

It was intriguing, inviting and; dare I say, even a bit fun to read! They’re were twists I did not expect!

This is the second book in the series, but could definitely be read as a stand alone. I know I would thoroughly enjoy Book 1. Fiona Gartland is a gifted story teller!

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

4 Stars.

 

#BookReview: The Shape of the Atmosphere by Jessica Dainty

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: November 2016

Summary:

Gertie MacLarsen believes she was given ugliness at birth. Growing up in an estranged home, the only times she feels beautiful are the nights her father comes in to show her the stars. The day of her 16th birthday, the same day that Sputnik traverses the sky, Gertie’s life is irrevocably changed. After a family

tragedy, her elusive and alcoholic mother sends her to Willow Estate, a private mental institution, where she is thrown into a world of harsh therapies, dangerous hospital politics, and, surprisingly, a sense of family.

Within the walls of Willow Estate Sanatorium, Gertie finds awfulness and grace, terror and family. From hydro and shock therapy, to first love, to rape and suicide, the only thing Gertie is sure of from day to day is that growing up is not a choice and that forgiveness and acceptance are perhaps the greatest gifts anyone can give. As Gertie learns her fellow patients’ stories, she realizes she is not the only one alone in this giant universe and that finding yourself sometimes means letting the past versions of yourself go and letting others help you define your own center of gravity.

Set against the historical backdrop of the early space race, THE SHAPE OF THE ATMOSPHERE features a spectrum of supporting characters that bring the dramatic setting to life and a plot that explores what it means to know yourself in a world that never stops expanding and changing, and that humanity is possible, in any universe.

Review:

Meeting one of the strongest young characters I have in a long time in Jessica Dainty’s “The Shape of Atmosphere” was one of the best surprises. This is a coming of age novel set in the 1950’s wrapped around history learning more about the Universe and the Mental Health Institutions that existed at the time.

Gertie MacLarsen is a complex teenager that I fell in love with from the first page. I was her champion right through to the last page. This is a truly compelling, provocative and enlightening read.

It made the size of my room actually pulsate and sound louder than it was, because this book gave all I had more meaning.

I highly recommend this story to anyone that likes to read about a character that struggles to grow to become themselves. Knowing your heart breaks wide open..Trust there is hope on the other side.

For the fighting spirit!

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

5 Stars.

 

 

 

#BookReview & #Giveaway: Hounds of the Basket Stitch (Black Sheep Knitting Mysteries #11) by Anne Canadeo

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Release Date: October 29, 2019

Giveaway: Autographed Print Copy. Please leave comment below by Sun., Nov. 3, 2019 to qualify.

Summary:

The Black Sheep Knitters come to the aid of two sisters–one a victim and one a suspect . . .

Maggie Messina knows that knitting is not only enjoyable, it also calms both the mind and soul. She’s happy to visit two sisters, Holly and Rose Piper, and teach them some simple stitches, while the rest of the Black Sheep knitters tag along. Dana Haeger has known the young women since they were children and is the closest thing to family the Pipers now have. Dana is especially concerned about Rose, who has been easily overwhelmed ever since a car accident many years ago. She is at her best managing the houseful of hounds that she rescues and shelters, while Holly runs the family nursery and remains devoted to Rose’s care. The lesson goes well, but the knitters are troubled about the sisters living alone in such a remote corner of Plum Harbor.

Their worst fears are realized when Holly is attacked in her greenhouse and the building set ablaze. Rose is found unconscious nearby, her dogs running wild. When she wakes, her memory is blank. Holly is hospitalized and unable to offer even a clue. The Black Sheep suspect a mysterious drifter who had talked his way into a few days of wages, and just as quickly, disappeared. Or was it their estranged stepbrother, Toby, full of family grievances and eager to make a claim on the estate? Or, heaven forbid . . . was it Rose? Hovering over all these questions like an ominous shadow is a dark secret from the sisters’ past.

While it seems everything is unraveling, the knitters will need to keep their wits as sharp as their needles to prove Rose’s innocence and stop a killer from striking again.

Review:

Anne Canadeo “Hounds of the Basket Stitch” is a charming, cute, and entertaining novel that involves one of my favorite things……… dogs. So, you cannot go wrong!

The mystery of the story was not only captivating; it kept me wanting to turn the pages because of all of the twists! I never knew what was coming next.

Along with the mystery, there is so much more involved in the story; such as, family, friendship and even, a serendipitous romance. I especially loved the knitting group, the doggie rescue and the Bonus Recipes..shhh! Not sure if I should’ve told you about that.

I was totally enthralled and anxious to find out – whodunnit?

This was the first book I read by Anne Canadeo, but will be adding more to my TBR list.

I’m hooked!

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

5 Stars.

#BookReview: Guarding the Princess (Faking It #3) by Marika Ray

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: November 6, 2019

Summary:

I hired a new bodyguard. I should have guarded my heart instead.

Charlotte
The way out of my gilded cage was clear; the reward, freedom.
Fall in love and get married before my twenty-first birthday and I can give up the throne I don’t want.

Unfortunately, the boyfriend I propose to turns me down just days before my birthday and my mother, the Queen, summons me back to my country.
New plan: fake a boyfriend.

Ryker
First rule of bodyguarding: don’t get involved personally with clients.
I’m only supposed to get her back to Regora safely and on time.
But then she cries on my shoulder when I catch her running away and she shares her family secret.
Now I want to protect her heart. The only problem is princesses don’t fall for bodyguards. Not in real life.

Review:

Marika Ray has written yet another entertaining, enchanting, romantic comedy with “Guarding the Princess”.

It was hard to put this book down once I picked it up.

Charlotte was such a fun character, she kept me laughing throughout the story.

Ryker was unique and was afraid of his feelings.

Put this all together and you have one perfect read!

I have read all three of the books in the Faking It Series and tremendously enjoyed all of them.

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

5 Stars.

#BookReview: No Time for Goodbyes (No Brides Club, #7) by Christina Butrum

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Reviewer : Serena Soape

Release Date: November 1st, 2019

Summary:

When six friends make a pact not to let love get in the way of their careers, the No Brides Club is born. But could meeting the right man at the wrong time cause them to break their vows to each other?

Brooke Collins thought she had everything she wanted. Since relocating from her small town to work as an Oncology Nurse at one of Manhattan’s most respected children’s hospitals, she’s worked hard to make a life for herself in the big city. When a life-threatening emergency takes place back home, every choice she has made in the past three years is suddenly called into question.

As a firefighter, Austin Jensen knows how to handle a fire, but that doesn’t help when dealing with old flames. When his ex comes back to town and old feelings begin to resurface, he begins to wonder if the connection between them is worth risking getting burned again.

Sparks fly in this sweet, second chance romance as Brooke finds new reasons to stay in Lawson Heights and leave her life in the city behind while Austin remains unsure of what their future may be. Should they fan the flames or douse them with water and walk away for good?

Review:

Christina Butrum has once again written a sweet and from the heart romance with “No Time for Goodbyes”.

Brooke has life all figured out until she must head back home. When things feel like they are upside down, she is able to find some stability with Austin.

In the midst of making these decisions, it seems like they were always meant to be, but is she willing to uproot her life, abandon the No Brides Club and start life with Austin. You will have to read to find out.

This was my first read in The No Brides Club, so it can definitely be read as a stand alone. However, I am anxious to read the others !!!!

I have read many of Butrum’s books and all of them have been great !!!!

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

4 Stars.