#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.

#BookReview: The Undertaker’s Assistant: A Captivating Post-Civil War Era Novel of Southern Historical Fiction by Amanda Skenandore ~ 5⭐️

Date of Release: July 30, 2019

Summary:

“The dead can’t hurt you. Only the living can.” Effie Jones, a former slave who escaped to the Union side as a child, knows the truth of her words. Taken in by an army surgeon and his wife during the War, she learned to read and write, to tolerate the sight of blood and broken bodies–and to forget what is too painful to bear. Now a young freedwoman, she has returned south to New Orleans and earns her living as an embalmer, her steady hand and skillful incisions compensating for her white employer’s shortcomings.

Tall and serious, Effie keeps her distance from the other girls in her boarding house, holding tight to the satisfaction she finds in her work. But despite her reticence, two encounters–with a charismatic state legislator named Samson Greene, and a beautiful young Creole, Adeline–introduce her to new worlds of protests and activism, of soirees and social ambition. Effie decides to seek out the past she has blocked from her memory and try to trace her kin. As her hopes are tested by betrayal, and New Orleans grapples with violence and growing racial turmoil, Effie faces loss and heartache, but also a chance to finally find her place . . .

Review:

Amanda Skenandore reminded me of The Reconstruction Era, an era in our history I had forgotten about. This story is one of my favorite’s this year. It is rich in actual-history, which had me looking everything up to teach myself more about this era.
Effie Jones is a character I would love to sit and talk with. She is a strong, powerful survivor!
Reading a book that makes me smarter is always an ace in the hole!!
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

#BookReview: The Mountains Sing by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai ~ 5⭐️

Date of Release: March 17, 2020

Summary:

With the epic sweep of Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko or Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing and the lyrical beauty of Vaddey Ratner’s In the Shadow of the BanyanThe Mountains Sing tells an enveloping, multigenerational tale of the Tran family, set against the backdrop of the Viet Nam War. Tran Dieu Lan, who was born in 1920, was forced to flee her family farm with her six children during the Land Reform as the Communist government rose in the North. Years later in Hà Noi, her young granddaughter, Hương, comes of age as her parents and uncles head off down the Ho Chí Minh Trail to fight in a conflict that will tear not just her beloved country but her family apart.

Vivid, gripping, and steeped in the language and traditions of Viet Nam, The Mountains Sing brings to life the human costs of this conflict from the point of view of the Vietnamese people themselves, while showing us the true power of kindness and hope. This is celebrated Vietnamese poet Nguyen Phan Que Mai’s first novel in English.

Review:

“The Mountains Sing” is a glorious novel which sweeps across land, generations and hearts. This is a novel you must open and absorb and get to know. Intimately!

Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai is someone you must get to know because you can feel the pulse of her novel being of generous mind and spirit, even though it is about her families experience with the Vietnam War!! To be a witness was a privilege!

Both Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai & “The Mountains Sing” will leave you feeling inspired!

Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai writes this story as if she is making a call to your soul to bring peace to the world! She wants us to read between the lines, and see and feel even more than her words! It is her writing that grabs you and won’t let go!

She pours this very essence onto her pages! You walk this journey with her. You weep, you bleed, you ache, yet….you still look up at the sun!

Quế Mai’s call to peace is heard as we flip the pages!! I trust that as her novel made its way around the globe, hearts are being moved like mountains and they are singing!!

“The Mountains Sing” has a clear message.

I believe this book is a gift to those who read it! To know more about Quế Mai is an honor! She is an entrancing author!

“The Mountains Sing” needs to be read by everyone!

It is a rare gem that I will never forget.

5 Stars.

#BookReview: A Child Lost(Henrietta and Inspector Howard #5 by Michelle Cox ~ 5⭐️

Date Of Release: April 28th, 2020

Summary:

A spiritualist, an insane asylum, a lost little girl . . .

When Clive, anxious to distract a depressed Henrietta, begs Sergeant Frank Davis for a case, he is assigned to investigating a seemingly boring affair: a spiritualist woman operating in an abandoned schoolhouse on the edge of town who is suspected of robbing people of their valuables. What begins as an open and shut case becomes more complicated, however, when Henrietta―much to Clive’s dismay―begins to believe the spiritualist’s strange ramblings.

Meanwhile, Elsie begs Clive and Henrietta to help her and the object of her budding love, Gunther, locate the whereabouts of one Liesel Klinkhammer, the German woman Gunther has traveled to America to find and the mother of the little girl, Anna, whom he has brought along with him. The search leads them to Dunning Asylum, where they discover some terrible truths about Liesel. When the child, Anna, is herself mistakenly admitted to the asylum after an epileptic fit, Clive and Henrietta return to Dunning to retrieve her. This time, however, Henrietta begins to suspect that something darker may be happening. When Clive doesn’t believe her, she decides to take matters into her own hands . . . with horrifying results.

Review:

Michelle Cox saved the best story for last! At least for now! “A Lost Child” is a true stunner! It has everything, and I fell right into this rabbit hole! It was too exciting! Of course, it tugged at my heart strings because of the lost child! But, what a story! Michelle sure can deliver a well-researched, heartfelt, mysterious story that you don’t want to put down. She is on the pulse of what readers want!
I give Michelle Cox’s writing the highest praise!

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

5 Stars.

#BookReview: A Veil Removed(Henrietta and Inspector Howard #4)by Michelle Cox ~ 5⭐️

Date of Release: April 30th, 2019

Summary:

Murder is never far from this sexy couple . . . even during the holidays! 

Their honeymoon abruptly ended by the untimely death of Alcott Howard, Clive and Henrietta return to Highbury, where Clive discovers all is not as it should be. Increasingly convinced that his father’s death was not an accident, Clive launches his own investigation, despite his mother’s belief that he has become “mentally disturbed” with grief. Henrietta eventually joins forces with Clive on their first real case, which becomes darker—and deadlier—than they imagined as they get closer to the truth behind Alcott’s troubled affairs. 

Meanwhile, Henrietta’s sister, Elsie, begins, at Henrietta’s orchestration, to take classes at a women’s college—an attempt to evade her troubles and prevent any further romantic temptations. When she meets a bookish German custodian at the school, however, he challenges her to think for herself . . . even as she discovers some shocking secrets about his past life.

Review:

Without a doubt Michelle Cox is a master-craft writer and researcher! When delving into “A Veil Removed” I never expected to learn so much about Chicago in the 1930’s. I felt like I was there alongside Henrietta & Clive! It was breathtaking to be swept away and deeper into the book as I flipped pages. Between the murder mystery, love and romance and high adventure, I was extremely satisfied while reading this novel! Nothing like reading a book that covers everything!

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

5 Stars.

#BookReview: What Happened That Night by Sandra Block ~ 4.5 ⭐️

Date of Release: June 5th, 2018

Summary:

One moment Dahlia is a successful Harvard student. The next, she wakes up from a party, the victim of a brutal assault. Her life veers into a tailspin, and what’s worse, her memory of the attack has been ripped away, leaving a cold rage in its wake.

Now, years later, Dahlia is a tattooed paralegal suffering from PTSD, still haunted by that night. Until one day, a video surfaces online, and Dahlia sees her attack for the first time. Now she knows what happened to her. And she knows who to blame. Her rage is no longer cold, but burning, red hot.

And she is about to make everyone pay.

Review:

Sandra Block never disappoints! “What Happened That Night” has serious subject matter that Sandra handled beautifully.

Rape is a tough subject to write about, but it definitely needs to be; when it is penned by the right person! This is one of those books!

Dahlia is the survivor of a rape that she had forgotten for years, yet the trauma of it was still experienced within her body.

Sandra Block teaches us all a lesson about rape survival as we read a thriller that has us on the edge of our seats, as we scream for justice to be served!

From the very first page I was enthralled and engaged, so much so, I couldn’t put the book down. I read this is one sitting!

I am a huge fan!

4.5 Stars.

#BookReview: How to Fail at Flirting by Denise Williams ~ 4⭐️

657D9FD4-C6E7-4BB0-A4A9-25DC857710A7
Date of Release: December 1st, 2020

Summary:

One daring to-do list and a crash course in flirtation turn a Type A overachiever’s world upside down.

When her flailing department lands on the university’s chopping block, Professor Naya Turner’s friends convince her to shed her frumpy cardigan for an evening on the town. For one night her focus will stray from her demanding job and she’ll tackle a new kind of to-do list. When she meets a charming stranger in town on business, he presents the perfect opportunity to check off the items on her list. Let the guy buy her a drink. Check. Try something new. Check. A no-strings-attached hookup. Check…almost.

Jake makes her laugh and challenges Naya to rebuild her confidence, which was left toppled by her abusive ex-boyfriend. Soon she’s flirting with the chance at a more serious romantic relationship—except nothing can be that easy. The complicated strings around her dating Jake might destroy her career.

Naya has two options. She can protect her professional reputation and return to her old life or she can flirt with the unknown and stay with the person who makes her feel like she’s finally living again.

Review:

While “How to Fail at Flirting” was a bit too steamy for my taste, the Rom-Com was simply too entertaining to complain about anything in this book!

Denise Williams is a super talented writer! I was impressed with how she integrated serious issues like abuse into this story. I was enamored!

I recommend this book to chick lit lovers that like a little spice!

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley! I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

4 Stars.

 

#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.

#BookReview: The Queen of Tuesday by Darin Strauss ~ 5⭐️

Date Released: August 18, 2020

Summary:

This indelible romance begins with a daring conceit—that the author’s grandfather may have had an affair with Lucille Ball. Strauss offers a fresh view of a celebrity America loved more than any other.

Lucille Ball—the most powerful woman in the history of Hollywood—starred in America’s first big-time interracial marriage. She owned more movie sets than did any movie studio. And she more or less single-handedly created the modern TV business. And yet Lucille’s off-camera life was in disarray. While acting out a happy marriage for millions, in private she suffered. Her partner couldn’t stay faithful. ed to manage her fame with the demands of being a mother, a creative genius, an entrepreneur, and, most of all, a symbol.

The Queen of Tuesday—Strauss’s follow-up to the National Book Critics Circle Award winner Half a Life—mixes fact and fiction, memoir and novel, to imagine the provocative story of a woman we thought we knew.

Review:

I love this cover! It is one of my favorite’s this year!

Darin Strauss has written a novel that not only brought me back to my childhood years, but resurrected Lucille Ball into the 21st-century because I saw this story in vivid colors! It was truly riveting!

“The Queen of Tuesday” reminded me of how I felt watching the “I love Lucy” show. Thoroughly engrossing! Never mind the entertainment!

Darin’s vision and delivery is Exemplary! I am in awe of his writing style! I was enamored with his mix of fiction and memoir! He has left me wanting to know more!

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

5 Stars.

I’m addicted again, I now own I Love Lucy Tee-Shirts, A Mug and a Bobble-Head! All because of this book! This is how much I loved it!

#BookReview: The Last Correspondent by Soraya Lane ~ 5⭐️

Date of Release: November 1st, 2020

Summary:

When journalist Ella Franks is unmasked as a woman writing under a male pseudonym, she loses her job. But having risked everything to write, she refuses to be silenced and leaps at the chance to become a correspondent in war-torn France.

Already entrenched in the thoroughly male arena of war reporting is feisty American photojournalist Danni Bradford. Together with her best friend and partner, Andy, she is determined to cover the events unfolding in Normandy. And to discover the whereabouts of Andy’s flighty sister, Vogue model Chloe, who has followed a lover into the French Resistance.

When trailblazing efforts turn to tragedy, Danni, Ella and Chloe are drawn together, and soon form a formidable team. Each woman is determined to follow her dreams ‘no matter what’, and to make her voice heard over the noise of Europe is a perilous place, with danger at every turn. They’ll need to rely on each other if they are to get their stories back, and themselves out alive. Will the adventure and love they find be worth the journey of their lives?



Review:

Always championing female roles in war, Soraya Lane really nails it for me with “The Last Correspondent”! The pulse of this novel beats like that of the human heart because you actually believe you are there alongside Ella, Danni & Chloe.
Being drawn in like this, the connection is beyond moving…..it almost sings!
How can you be a female reader and not fall in love with these woman? It resonated with me on so many levels.
I couldn’t help but think of the many strong women in history that give us the rights we have today as women.
So, in closing this book, I was so grateful for authors like Soraya Lane! Authors that dig deep to do the research to share these stories with us. Stories that help us celebrate these women.
Because even if the stories are fiction, you know these women existed!
Soraya wrote a book of strong women that sings of pride, gratitude and remembrance! I will never forget this story!!
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

5 Stars.