“The House we grew up in” by Lisa Jewell is a masterpiece!! It has one of the best covers, if you were to “judge a book by its cover”, this is it! Perfectly Cracked egg! Perfectly Cracked up family!

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http://chicklitplus.com/book-review-the-house-we-grew-up-in-by-lisa-jewell

Wow!  Read this book.  Lisa Jewell is now on my “must-read and collect this authors novels” list.  This is one story that I am not certain I can truly give a proper review without spoiling the book for anyone, so bear with me, please…………………………..(use link to read the rest)

#BookReview: “Stillwater Rising” Struck by how well Steena Holmes tells this heartwrenching story.

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After reading the pre-quell to this story (Before the Storm), I waited for “Stillwater Rising” to be available, like a child waiting for Santa to arrive on Christmas Eve.  Needless to say, when I had the book in my hand, I had to read it in one sitting.  I was surprised to learn that Steena Holmes has even more to tell about the town of Stillwater Bay, Washington, USA.  But, really?  Isn’t that her style?

Steena Holmes has the power to grip her readers, and have them hold on tight, as she always has more to share about a character, an event, or a town.  Stillwater Bay is no different.

Just when you think there cannot be possibly more….she gifts you with another addition to the story.  At the end of this book, we get a little glimpse in to the next story in her Stillwater Bay Series, called “Stillwater Deep”.  So, here I am waiting for “Santa” again. J

Stillwater Bay Elementary had school shooting.  Gabriel Berry was the teenage shooter. He shot and killed ten students and two teachers, before killing himself.  You can only imagine what this town goes through after such an event.  That is exactly what Steena shares in this novel.  And, just as she did in “Before the Storm”, it is told with real ease, heart and dignity.

The characters in this story are all suffering a loss, each in a different way.  This book is about how they get through it, or try to….and, about how a community can Rise again from this tragedy.

Again, like “Before the Storm”, this is a book I will never forget. Steena Holmes delivers another brilliant story.

5 Stars.

You will never forget this story!! The Memory Child by Steena Holmes…

This was psychological thriller I read in one sitting. I had to know the ending!

It has been a long time since a book was so gripping, and the characters were intensely driven with back stories, and I was love-struck instantly with the love that Brian and Diane shared.

Brian and Diane are your typical A-type personalities in business and get caught up in what is more important in life…the perfect money making job, the perfect place to call home, or to have a child and begin a family.

I will leave you with that, because to tell you anymore is too much.

Enjoy the Ride!

The Memory Journal by Steena Holmes

Steena Holmes has yet to disappoint.  All of her stories are simply fantastic, and should not be missed.

The Memory Journal is companion novella to Steena Holmes 5 Star Novel, The Memory Child.  I was so excited when I heard about this novella, because Steena has the gift of bringing you back a story you loved, by learning more about a certain character, or hearing the same story from another character’s point of view.

Diane and Charlie have a wonderful relationship as sisters, and they have always been there for one another.  Dealing with tragedies together thickens their bond for one another.  They lost their mother and younger brother when they were just children, and the reason for this loss is what drives this story, and what drives their fears.

The Memory Child was the story of Diane, and The Memory Journal is the story of Charlie.  Charlie is a lovely sister, and woman in society.  She works as a Pediatric Nurse for Doctors without Borders.  She and her fiancé, Marcus are stationed in the Congo.  This shows how Charlie’s tragedy turned in to a beautiful gift to the world.  She loved taking care of children, and Doctors without Borders makes that possible.

However, she is called home when her sister, Diane is hospitalized for a psychosis, that they now know runs in the family.

There are a lot of pieces of Charlie’s life that she is not sharing with Marcus, but she needs to open up before losing him.  The journals she finds help her not only deal with the past, but share it with Marcus.

The question is; Does Marcus still want to stay with all of Charlie’s secrets?

Steena is a gifted writer, and if you let her slip through your fingers, you will be missing so much.

One of the most important fictional stories I have ever read

Steena Holmes does it again, flawlessly telling a very difficult story with ease, heart and dignity to all characters involved. This had to be a difficult story to decide to tell, as it is a heart-wrenching story of a school shooting that took place at the local Elementary School in Stillwater Bay, Washington, USA.
The shooter was a 16 year old boy named Gabriel Berry. When we hear of these stories in the headlines, we often forget that the Mother of the shooter is mourning the loss of her child and the tragedy their child caused. Steena taught me that Gabriel’s Mother, Julie deserves as much support as the parents and families of the other victims. Ostracizing is not an option! What a wake-up call that was!! Impressive storytelling to say the least.
We are introduced to a flurry of families within this close knit community, with the main characters all being the closest of friends. We are introduced to a group of women that gather each month to get a break to just “be”. There is Charlotte, Jenn, Ann-Marie, Lacie, and even Julia; Gabriel’s mother. I fell in love with everyone’s family, history, and each woman tugged at a different part of my heart strings.
One of the most touching sentences was “a senseless act as the world looked on”. When these types of events happen, families cannot mourn in private. Steena Holmes gave me an entirely new outlook. I am grateful for having read this story.
You will walk away feeling different about these events. You will put the book down with a tear rolling down your check, googling to see when the sequel comes out.
My heart broke, and I anxiously wait to learn how this community heals.
This was one of the most important fictional stories I have ever read, to say the least.

Whimsical with a Perfect Twist

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The Witch of Belladonna Bay by Suzanne Palmieri
I was utterly enraptured by Suzanne Palmieri’s novel. This story is told with such embraceable Magic, like a pouring out of one’s soul; speaking of things like intuition and “shine” in a rather poetic prose. Byrd would occasionally speak directly to the reader, which was quite original, and made it more intense. Suzanne Palmieri wrote this story in the way a quilt maker tells a story.
Her Art is story-telling.
It was a very different approach to writing, and I devoured every sentence. This is literary genius with a lighter punch (meaning easy to understand….like silk…..”an easily gliding approach to storytelling”). This is a novel that will remain with you, whether it is because of the magic, intuition or beauty within the story. You choose. But, either way; this is a book I recommend for everyone to read.
This is a “Just plain fun to read” novel!
There are a lot of stand-alone sentences. I loved that!! It will bring out the “dreamer” in you. It would be hard-pressed not to see magic, shine, and glowing in the least expected places, once you put this book down.
We are introduced to a wonderful array of characters, Bronwyn “Wyn” and Byrd being the most involved; as every inch of this book comes back to them.
Wyn and Byrd both grew up in Magnolia Creek, Alabama. Only Why left to head north when her mother died. She was 17, and truly on the lam; she was running, staying away…and not remembering. Her first stop was Manhattan, where she met her boyfriend Ben, and they moved to upstate NY , together fo r7 years. I was in amazement as to how this relationship unfolds.
Wyn was gone for 14 years, missing her Brothers marriage, the birth of her niece, Byrd (now 11), and so many other significant events…..only to return when her best friend, Charlotte is found murdered; and Jamie, Charlotte’s son went missing. Wyn’s brother Patrick (Paddy) confessed to the murders, and was in prison for the crimes. Although no one believed he committed the crimes, he did confess; so in jail….He remained. The things we do for love. Whimsical, smart, ignorant or not, we do them for love.
Wyn comes home with the hopes of figuring it all out! She does not believe that her brother could have killed Charlotte, and she was determined to find Jamie’s body (alive or dead). She is going to get her brother out of jail, even if it meant building a case of reasonable doubt. This means letting go of her “Yankee” ways. She has to truly come home…..and, like she states in the novel “She was Southern Belle mixed with Rattlesnake”. She did not lie. Rattlesnake is coming out.
There are quotes in this book that are now going on my refrigerator: “Truth is worse than soap in your eyes”, “Family can be such a foul business”, and, “Heaven equals moving air sometimes”. There was a breeze on my face yesterday, and now it will mean something to me more than air just passing by. My loved ones that have gone to heaven are within that breeze!! But, the quotes about Truth and Family most likely hits home for a lot of us, it did for me.
Byrd has a penchant for ‘words of the day’, and they were glorious words. This story is almost like living in a dream; a fantastically magical one.
I did not want this book to end, and when I had to put it down; I could not wait to return to it.
I hate that it ended; but, it was perfection. Beginning to end.

“Sweet Dreams” is the first Novella I have ever read! Again, Steena Holmes is a hit!

Steena novella book two

This is the first novella I have ever read, and I am officially seriously addicted. This is the author’s version of a TV mini-series!
To pack such a wallop of information so extraordinarily interesting in under 40 pages was unbelievable to me.
Lexi is running a new pastry shop called “Decadent Sweets”, which is next door to “Descendent Events” business establishment. The idea behind this is that they would work with other up and coming businesses revolving around a love for pastries, sweets, celebrations, travel, and anything involving chocolate.
We are introduced to a chapter of the lives involving about a dozen intriguing people.
I cannot wait for future books involving these characters! They each have their own story to tell.

Here’s to watching my next football game!

The One & Only – Emily Giffin

I may not know much about football logistics, but Emily Giffin’s character Shea had me “getting” the game, more than I had in all the years of watching it myself at your typical football party. So, for all of you that may dislike this novel for the mere fact that you do not like football, or “Texas Loving Football fans”; I suggest you read this, because it is not about the football…it is about the way life compares to it.  And, you do not need to understand plays, stats or anything else.  Shea Rigsby and Coach Clive Carr will tell you all you need to know.

The book begins with a tragedy that weaves a web throughout the entire book.

Shea Rigsby is at the core of this story about the circumstances surrounding love and loyalty intersecting.  I am sure a lot of people will judge this book for its morale epicenter, but that is exactly why I cherished it.  Emily Giffin went out on a ledge to bring us a book that would truly challenge our own personal ethics code.  Isn’t that what a good book is all about, anyway!  Giving us all something to talk about!

This is not your typical run-of-the-mill romantic, easy-going, chick-lit novel.  She goes beyond that, as I gasped at certain parts because I was so tickled by her story telling.  She took turns introducing vivid characters that were unexpected.  Until the very last sentence I had no idea what was going to happen.   That is enough to keep you turning the page.

The bottom line is that Shea is a woman who knows what she wants, but; is she willing to lose her best friend, mother, job, and entire family in the process.

Here’s to watching my next football game! 

As Coach Carr said in the book; “You’re either in our out.  No Fair-weather fan’s allowed”

Isn’t that a lot like life??

 

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The Theory of Opposites by Allison Winn Scotch

Willa (a.k.a. William) Chandler-Golden is a woman living as peaceful as possible, or at least she thinks she is, but she is far from it! She believes in (air quotes) No rocking the boat! So, when her husband Shawn starts showing signs (even proof) of dishonesty, Willa holds tight to the fact that if she asks no questions, her life will stay safe between the four walls of their marriage. The problem was their life was growing beyond the four walls, and Shawn was trying new things without Willa. I was shaking the book, because I wanted to knock her upside the head. Literally! I am thinking “ASK QUESTIONS” Willa! So, this book had to be read in ONE sitting. Ok, TWO! I needed to sleep and wake up to begin again. Not happy I had to stop. LOL.
She grew up hearing that everything happens for a reason, when it is meant to happen; as her father dedicated his whole life to the belief that “you are where you are meant to be, when you are meant to be there”, he was on television talking about it for years after his book release. People were drawn to it, as if it were life’s very instruction manual.
This was a bit of a “Self-Help” Book for me, and I can see it being that way for many women…I mean, come on; you want to know something you (air quotes) rock the boat; if you want something you (air quotes) go after it…Not everything will just come to you. You will decide by the end of this book, which way you live.
So, when Willa’s life goes on a gigantic tailspin; she and her friend, Vanessa map out their own destiny.
This book is written for our times for sure! It was fun to read, as it had texts, facebook comments, tweets, etc. in it. It was exciting to read.
Totally amusing Beach Read! Go get it and find out if you stay in a marriage that was supposed to be, or leave it to go for something you want more.
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Cavendon Hall by Barbara Taylor Bradford

This book stands alone. Read it. Fall in Love.
This book stands alone.
Read it.
Fall in Love.

I thoroughly enjoyed the shows “Downton Abbey” and “Upstairs, Downstairs”, so when I read the synopsis of this novel, I knew I would love it or hate it; by comparison. Bradford’s novel is its very own story of a family and their caretakers.
Bradford weaves the web of lives, secrets and lies between Servants and the Upper Class at Cavendon Hall, and of English Society from 1913-1920;. I could not believe the abundance of storylines Bradford’s novel had to share. Each of them could have been their own novel. I had to read the last paragraph and line a few times; hoping for a second book. I wanted to know what happens to Miles and his love for Cecily.
Occasionally you fall in deep serious like with a novel, and this is one of them! I enjoyed each character in Bradford’s novel, just as you do on the television screen. A great writer helps you paint a picture! Bradford’s was beautiful. I may have disliked some characters, like Deidre and Felicity, but; I will admit if I like everyone something gets lost in the story. I already miss them, as you miss the season break between “Downton Abbey”. The question is, will there be a wine and tea named “Cavendon Hall”! I think there should be, or Bradford needs to consider it! If there is, I would enjoy a glass of wine or cup of tea as I learn of the life of Daphne and Hugo. What becomes of Charles? Charlotte?
The Ingham’s are the family of the house, while the Swann’s run the house. To be fair, the Ingham’s needed the Swann’s; just as the Swann’s needed the Ingham’s. They share an oath that has been honored for centuries. This Oath has lived on for centuries, and each family member goes through a lot to uphold that solemn vow. The question is, can the deepest secrets between each person regarding an attack on Daphne Ingham before her ‘Coming Out” party. Will any of these lies make its way past the four walls of this house?
While I sensed a bit of boredom more than half-way through the novel; I am so pleased that I finished it. Everything was neatly wrapped up in unexpected ways. I believe I got “bored” because I thought I knew where Bradford was going with the storyline. But,
I was wrong. Do not compare “Cavendon Hall” to the television shows you believe this novel to be similar to. It stands Alone.
Read it. Go Fall In Love.