#BookReview: Killer Secrets by Sherrie Orvik

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: June 5, 2019

Summary:

Small towns can have big secrets; this one’s a killer.

Ten years after Elyse Benson’s father and younger sister are brutally murdered and her mother institutionalized for the crime, a disturbing phone call compels Elyse to return home. She expects closure. Instead, she becomes a target.

Ten years ago, Sheriff James Warrick’s father made a deadly mistake during a murder investigation, the truth of which James has vowed to bury. However, when Elyse comes crashing into James’ life in need of protection, in order to help, he might be forced to confront the ghosts he’s been trying so hard to put to rest.

As they work to unravel Elyse’s past, together they discover that they have much more in common than either could have imagined—and that the secret they share could be a killer.

Review:

From the moment this story began, my heart started racing. Sherrie Orvik gave us a total visceral experience from beginning to end in “Killer Secrets”.

Elyse and James entered my life like no other characters in a very long time. There was a sense of urgency that was so palpable it was literally jumping off the pages, almost needing me to stand up as I read the first chapter!

This book does need to come with a warning for those that have suffered any serious trauma, because Sherrie Orvik writes every ounce so very well. I have complex-PTSD and have suffered serious personal trauma, and came out the other end of this book feeling wonderfully vindicated, because an author finally got our voice exactly right!! That is a beautiful thing, my friends!! 

I was in love with Elyse and more in love with James.

I found myself both scared and comforted often at the same time…

This is a must read for any suspense or thriller readers out there. With a twist of romance.

It would be a shame if you missed it!

5 Stars.

#BookReview: Flip-Flops After 50: And Other Thoughts on Aging I Remembered to Write Down by Cindy Eastman

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date Of Release: April 8, 2014

Summary:

Flip-flops After 50 will amuse, enlighten, and provoke readers to think about the topics that affect all of us. Who hasn’t dealt with the emotions from family events, stress from lousy jobs, or the bittersweet feelings when the kids leave home? Not to mention body image, high school reunions, and parenting. Eastman’s conversational style and easy humor tackle the sublime and the ridiculous, the sacred and the profane. After a certain age—and it’s no secret that it’s 50—Eastman argues that attitudes change for the better. Making decisions gets easier, although there’s no guarantee that life does. Even so, her writing allows us to take a look at our own issues with the reassuring handholding of a confidante.

Review:

This is a super, want to dive into book, once you open it! Each chapter leads you to the next vignette that Cindy Eastman shares with us to enlighten us to our own path in “Flip-Flips after 50”…and it is stunning! It’s wild how much I connected to her story. I learned so much along the way, and will definitely take some lessons to travel further along my journey.

I love how gently everything was shared. I felt like I was in conversation with a friend.

I highly recommend this book to women. Women of any age…at least I am going into my 50th birthday warmed with this 200 page book and a pair of flip-flips. I am very grateful.

5 Stars.

#BookReview: The Clergyman’s Wife: A Pride and Prejudice Novel by Molly Greeley

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: December 3, 2019

Summary:

For everyone who loved Pride and Prejudice—and legions of historical fiction lovers—an inspired debut novel set in Austen’s world.

Charlotte Collins, nee Lucas, is the respectable wife of Hunsford’s vicar, and sees to her duties by rote: keeping house, caring for their adorable daughter, visiting parishioners, and patiently tolerating the lectures of her awkward husband and his condescending patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Intelligent, pragmatic, and anxious to escape the shame of spinsterhood, Charlotte chose this life, an inevitable one so socially acceptable that its quietness threatens to overwhelm her. Then she makes the acquaintance of Mr. Travis, a local farmer and tenant of Lady Catherine..
In Mr. Travis’ company, Charlotte feels appreciated, heard, and seen. For the first time in her life, Charlotte begins to understand emotional intimacy and its effect on the heart—and how breakable that heart can be. With her sensible nature confronted, and her own future about to take a turn, Charlotte must now question the role of love and passion in a woman’s life, and whether they truly matter for a clergyman’s wife.

Review:

“The Clergyman’s Wife” by Molly Greeley really walks in the path alongside Jane Austen’s “Pride & Prejudice”. I felt the same tempo, magic and slow passage of time as when I read Jane Austen. There is nothing better than a book that makes you want to stop time!

I loved Charlotte Lucas, so it was wonderful to revisit with her.

Often these Austen retellings feel forced, and definitely not taken in stride; but that does not happen here. I truly felt taken away….Taken away in the beautiful use of language, and and a truly magnificent storyline.

You’ll need some time to spend frolicking with Charlotte and her family and friends through her days, because you won’t want to put the book down.

I hope that Molly Greeley has more stories in the making that are of this classical fraction, because she sure hits the nail on the head. This is certainly her wheelhouse.

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

5 Stars.

#BookReview: The Moonshiner’s Daughter by Donna Everhart

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Reviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

Date of Release: December 31st, 2019

Summary:

Set in North Carolina in 1960 and brimming with authenticity and grit, The Moonshiner’s Daughter evokes the singular life of sixteen-year-old Jessie Sasser, a young woman determined to escape her family’s past . . .

Generations of Sassers have made moonshine in the Brushy Mountains of Wilkes County, North Carolina. Their history is recorded in a leather-bound journal that belongs to Jessie Sasser’s daddy, but Jessie wants no part of it. As far as she’s concerned, moonshine caused her mother’s death a dozen years ago.

Her father refuses to speak about her mama, or about the day she died. But Jessie has a gnawing hunger for the truth–one that compels her to seek comfort in food. Yet all her self-destructive behavior seems to do is feed what her school’s gruff but compassionate nurse describes as the “monster” inside Jessie. Resenting her father’s insistence that moonshining runs in her veins, Jessie makes a plan to destroy the stills, using their neighbors as scapegoats. Instead, her scheme escalates an old rivalry and reveals long-held grudges. As she endeavors to right wrongs old and new, Jessie’s loyalties will bring her to unexpected revelations about her family, her strengths–and a legacy that may provide her with the answers she has been longing for.

Review:

“The Moonshiner’s Daughter” by Donna Everhart was a fabulous novel! When I started this book, I wasn’t sure I was going to like it and then about 10% into it,I couldn’t put it down. It grabbed me and sucked me right into that rollercoaster of a story. Oh my goodness you just have to go along for the ride. 

I wanted to hug Jessie Sasser. She was a girl who thought she knew what she stood for and fought for her convictions with all of her might. I was right there rooting for her through the whole story. I loved the school nurse Mrs. Brewer. It felt like she was the only one that took an interest in Jessie a majority of the time. 

Have you ever put a book down because you thought you knew how it was going to end and you didn’t want to see it end that way? I did with this book. About an hour later, I couldn’t stand it any longer and I had to know how it all wound up. I don’t want to give away the ending but, it was a perfect ending to the story. 

This book was so different than what I expected and I highly recommend it!

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

5 Stars.

#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: The Ivy Creek Sewing Circle: Stories from the heart of Appalachia by Tammy Robinson Smith

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Reviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

Date of Release: September 15, 2019

Summary:

What happens when tragedy strikes? Well, if you are a member of The Ivy Creek Sewing Circle, your friends jump in and help you through it. That’s what happened in Ivy Creek during the summer of 1971 when Emmybeth Johnson’s family faced a heartbreaking event. Nine-year old Emmybeth is narrator to the whole episode as she watches the women of The Ivy Creek Sewing Circle gather round her family to support them during a time of crises. It’s a time when “Girl Power” becomes real in Emmybeth’s life and when she learns lessons that serve her well into adulthood. Come to Ivy Creek and witness what can transpire when women friends form a sisterhood and troubles are shared. It is a story that will in turn warm your heart, feed your soul and sometimes make you laugh out loud as you become part of the Johnson family and The Ivy Creek Sewing Circle. (Previously published as “Emmybeth Speaks.”)

Review:

I finished “The Ivy Creek Sewing Circle” by Tammy Robinson Smith last night before I went to sleep. I was totally entertained by this book which is the first of more to come in a series. This was a wholesome and refreshing novel. 

I loved that this story was told from the voice of a nine-year-old girl whose name is Emmybeth Johnson. She is a quite a character! She thinks things and then apologises to God for those nasty little thoughts. I liked hearing what she thought about her little brother and all that was going on around her and her constant conversation with God. 

This was a particularly rough year for her family and Tammy Robinson Smith showed the importance of our women friends and how they will rally around us in times of trouble. Emmybeth has many fine examples of strong women in her life. 

I am looking forward to reading more of this Appalachia series! 

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

4 Stars.

#BookReview: Honestly, We Meant Well by Grant Ginder

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: June 11, 2019

Summary:

The Wright family is in ruins.

Sue Ellen Wright has what she thinks is a close-to-perfect life. A terrific job as a Classics professor, a loving husband, and a son who is just about to safely leave the nest.

But then disaster strikes. She learns that her husband is cheating, and that her son has made a complete mess of his life. So, when the opportunity to take her family to a Greek island for a month presents itself, she jumps at the chance. This sunlit Aegean paradise, with its mountains and beaches is, after all, where she first fell in love with both a man and with an ancient culture. Perhaps Sue Ellen’s past will provide the key to her and her family’s salvation.

With his signature style of biting wit, hilarious characters, and deep emotion, Grant Ginder’s Honestly, We Meant Well is a funny, brilliant novel proving that with family, drama always comes with comedy.

Review:

The dysfunction jumps off of the pages with each turn in Grant Ginder’s, “Honestly, We Meant Well”; and it is deliciously raw and delightful.

From the moment we meet Sue Ellen Wright we are brought into an amazing mess! While she believes everything with her family is running smoothly, everything is truly like a house of dominoes that are falling.

When she accepts a job offer in Greece, we are taken on a dramatic and hilarious journey with the Wright family. Ginder knows Greece thoroughly, and brings it to life for us!

It’s truly a stunning island. I fell in love.

It’s a truly entertaining, vibrant and charismatic story.

I immediately bought all of Grant Ginder’s Novels! I cannot wait to read about his next family….

4 Stars.

 

 

 

#BookReview: Stay by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Hyde-Stay-27325-CV-JK-v3.inddReviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

Date of Release: December 3, 2019

Summary:

An unforgettable novel about the power of friendship and kindness by the New York Times bestselling author of Pay It Forward.

In the summer of 1969, fourteen-year-old Lucas Painter carries a huge weight on his shoulders. His brother is fighting in Vietnam. His embattled parents are locked in a never-ending war. And his best friend, Connor, is struggling with his own family issues. To find relief from the chaos, Lucas takes long, meandering walks, and one day he veers into the woods.

There he discovers an isolated cabin and two huge dogs. Frightened, he runs. And the dogs run with him. Lucas finds unusual peace in running with the dogs, and eventually he meets their owner, Zoe Dinsmore. Closed off and haunted by a tragic past, Zoe has given up. She doesn’t want to be saved. She wants out. But Lucas doesn’t want her to go, and he sees an opportunity to bring more than one friend back into the light. It’s either the best or worst idea he’s ever had, but Lucas isn’t giving up on Zoe or Connor.

Their unexpected connection might be the saving grace that Zoe thought she’d lost, that Connor needs, and that Lucas has been running toward.

Review:

“Stay” by Catherine Ryan Hyde is one spectacular novel! 

If you have not read this book yet, do yourself a favor and add it to the very top of your “To Be Read” pile. I can’t say this is the happiest book or the saddest book I’ve read but, it is the most satisfying and profound book I’ve read in a long time. There are a lot of life lessons to be learned in this story.

The writing was smooth and poignant. I found myself re-reading sentences and passages because they grabbed me and I didn’t want to ever forget them. This book deals with addiction, families and many thoughts of suicide. 

I woke up this morning thinking about this story and why I loved it so much when on the surface it felt so sad. This book carries with it an abundance of HOPE. What do we have in life if we don’t have hope? 

I will never forget this book.

I do not read books more than one time but, I am going to make an exception for “Stay”. This book is definitely worth another read and will be read at least one more time. Thank you Catherine Ryan Hyde for such a beautiful and profound book.

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

5 Stars.

#BookReview & #ChristinesFamilyFavorites: Carolyn’s Song: A Novella by Elizabeth Huss

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

Date of Release: December 30, 2017

Summary:

“…They would get their own full color page in the yearbook for sure. Christine with her full, glamour girl smile and Sandy with his friendly, crooked grin… Lynn sighed. That was the perfect scene. It couldn’t be any other way and be right…”
Combination locks, confusing class schedules, first love, Algebra, peanut butter crackers and a handsome senior with gray- green eyes.–And that’s just the first week of high school! Freshman Lynn James is trying her best to navigate her way through the confusing hallways of Trelawney High School. For years, her life has been all about playing violin, hanging out with her best friend Patty and spending time with her mom and dad. And, sometimes even her little sister Tabitha. But now that she’s finally in high school, Lynn senses new, unfamiliar doors opening all around her. Will Lynn be able to find her own song? Or, will she get lost in the sea of sour notes at Trelawney High?

An engaging novella about a high school girl trying to find her own path.

F2274896-8F2D-43C3-92A8-E5209B04C3F0Review:

A girl, a boy and all that everyone of us experienced during those happy, troubled and unforgettable times of High School. All this is wrapped up in Elizabeth Huss’ book “Carolyn’s Song.”

Ever look at that one boy who’s face and marvelous smile took your heart in a second flat? Then that gut punch comes when you realize “Hey, is THAT his girlfriend?” Drama of the teen years is brought front and center in this heartwarming novella by Huss.

I took a trip down memory lane with this tale of young love. Remembering my first real crush and how head over heals I felt when he returned my affections. Also brought back to life for me was the nerve wracking experience of that freshman year of high school. Huss did a super job re-creating those tender years.

Slip back on your letterman jacket and grab a Cola, sit back and enjoy a time travel adventure of your yester years with this book, you’ll have a blast!

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

4 Stars.

#BookReview, #HolidayReads & #GiveAway: Wrapped Up In Christmas by Janice Lynn

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: October 1st, 2019

Summary:

A gift of warmth
to heal two hearts…

Sarah Smith in Pine Hill, Kentucky has had her heart broken in the past. She pours herself into her work at church and into special projects—like making a quilt for a wounded warrior.

Bodie Lewis is lost. All he’s ever wanted was his career as an Army Ranger, but he wainjured in an explosion that killed his brothers in arms. In the hospital, he receives a handmade quilt. Later, he sets out on his final mission: to find and thank its maker.

Bodie expected Sarah to be an elderly lady, not a lovely young woman. When she mistakes him for a handyman, he doesn’t immediately set her straight. Instead, he sets about repairing the home she’s turning into a bed and breakfast. Sarah’s presence and the spirit of the small town bring Bodie something he thought he’d left far behind on the battlefield: hope.

This heartwarming military romance includes a free quilt pattern from the Quilts of Valor Foundation and a new Hallmark original recipe for Cinnamon Swirl Bread.

 

Review:

Janice Lynn’s “Wrapped up In Christmas” was such a charming and romantic novel.

This story had so many great aspects to it from family to friends, to Quilts of Valor organization, to learning to live after the war.

Bodie was a kind and giving soul that took Sarah by surprise from the beginning. The “butterflies” were totally entertaining and kept things exciting!

Sarah was such a sweetheart and at times my heart broke for her.

I was also deeply in love with the dog, Harry and how he was weaved throughout the story; you will too!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book !!! Definitely recommend everyone read this holiday romance!

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

4.5 Stars.

 

GIVEAWAY:  eBook COPY OF BOOK.

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