#BookReview: A Dog’s Hope by Casey Wilson

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Book Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: March 6, 2020

Summary:

There are some things in life that only a dog can teach you.

A poignant, heart-wrenching, but ultimately uplifting novel about the unbreakable bond between a boy and his dog. Perfect for fans of A Dog’s Purpose, The Art of Racing in the Rain and Marley and Me.

In the farming town of Riverside in Washington, Toby Fuller is feeling more alone than ever. Nothing Toby did was ever good enough for his father, but he never expected his father to leave, to abandon him and his mother forever. He loses hope, until a scruffy golden retriever called Buddy follows him home from school.

Though he’s struggling to walk, Buddy matches Toby step for step, never taking his eyes off him, as if Toby is all he needs in the world. And from that day on Buddy never leaves Toby’s side.

Buddy shows Toby a loyalty that he has never known. But then disaster strikes and Toby’s life is changed forever. Will Buddy be able to give Toby the strength he needs to carry on?

A tale of how unconditional love can bound into your life when you least expect it, giving you hope in the darkest of times.

Review:

Ahhhhh- Not only was this a beautiful cover, but a truly poignant story written on the pages between……so moving and emotionally stirring!

Casey Wilson has written a totally heart and gut wrenching novel with “A Dog’s Hope”.

Buddy was such a loyal companion to Toby and is with him through it all. I loved watching their relationship grow.

I read the last couple chapters through tears as it touched me very deeply.

I absolutely recommend this page turner! You will not want to put it down!

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

5 Stars.

#BookReview: The After Wife: A Novel by Melanie Summers

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: January 10, 2020

Summary:

From author Melanie Summers, comes a heartfelt and uplifting tale of love, loss, and letting go…

After losing her husband, writer Abigail Carson has all but given up on life. Having spent the last year cocooned in her Manhattan apartment, Abigail is suddenly forced to find a new home where she can stretch her dwindling savings. Intent on isolation, she moves to a tiny village in Nova Scotia where she’ll have no one to interrupt her solitude.

Little does Abigail realize that small-town life offers far less privacy than the big city. With neighbors knocking on the door bearing homemade treats and invitations, Abby soon finds herself immersed in the lives of the people of South Haven. She forms an unlikely friendship with Liam Wright, the handyman renovating her dilapidated cottage, and his daughter, seven-year-old Olive.

As the dark cloud engulfing Abigail lifts, she begins to believe she may have found love again. But just as Abigail is ready to leap, she discovers Liam carries with him a shocking secret that will ultimately cause everything to unravel. Abigail must decide if she will turn away from his pain or open her heart in the most hopeless of circumstances.

Insightful, enchanting, and filled with hope, The After Wife reminds us of the importance of human connection and the inseparable nature of love and survival.

Review:

Melanie Summers has written a truly endearing novel which is exactly as described, “a heartfelt and uplifting tale of love, loss, and letting go…”

“The After Wife” tells a story that will sit and resonate after you are finished.

Abby’s relationship with Liam throughout the story was touching and emotional yet complicated in so many ways.  My favorite character was Olive, Liam’s daughter. Olive was so honest and memorable. And well of course Walt the cat – he was a fun character in this novel too.

You will laugh, smile and probably shed a tear or two throughout the novel. I know I did.

At the end, I asked myself, would I have made the same decisions that they did or would I have chosen a different path? 

This is my first book by this author but am very glad that I found her!

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

4 Stars.

#BookReview: The Night Before by Wendy Walker

The NIght BeforeSummary:

Laura Lochner has never been lucky in love. She falls too hard and too fast, always choosing the wrong men. Devastated by the end of her last relationship, she fled her Wall Street job and New York City apartment for her sister’s home in the Connecticut suburb where they both grew up. Though still haunted by the tragedy that’s defined her entire life, Laura is determined to take one more chance on love with a man she’s met on an Internet dating site.

Rosie Ferro has spent most of her life worrying about her troubled sister. Fearless but fragile, Laura has always walked an emotional tightrope, and Rosie has always been there to catch her. Laura’s return, under mysterious circumstances, has cast a shadow over Rosie’s peaceful life with her husband and young son – a shadow that grows darker as Laura leaves the house for her blind date.

When Laura does not return home the following morning, Rosie fears the worst. She’s not responding to calls or texts, and she’s left no information about the man she planned to meet. As Rosie begins a desperate search to find her sister, she is not just worried about what this man might have done to Laura. She’s worried about what Laura may have done to him…

Review:

Genius Move! Wendy Walker entices us with such delightful little tidbits of information throughout this novel that we actually feel as though we are figuring it out; only we are not. This is everything a psychological thriller is supposed to be and more!

Laura is going out on her date. With Jonathan, the man she met online. Her sister Rosie is helping her get ready, but she is nervous because Laura has a history that may make this night not go quite so perfectly. She is still hopeful. Laura is also nervous because of that same history. Her mind is wandering. Does this man stand a chance? Or, Does she?

Told from various timeframes only heightened my suspense. There was so much to tell, this was perfect.

The ending was miraculous.

So, I highly recommend that you join Laura as she chooses Johnathan Fields on findlove.com and go on the date with her.

I promise you will not regret it.

Oh, and Dr. Brody. You must meet him.

5 Stars.

ps. I loved this cover.

pro_readerI would like to thank the publishers for sending me an ARC of this Novel via NetGalley.

#BookReview: Only Ever You by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

Only Ever HerSummary:

It was to be the perfect wedding—until the bride disappeared.
Annie Taft’s wedding is four days away, and it will be one of the grandest anyone can remember in her small South Carolina town. Preparations are in order. Friends and family are gathering in anticipation. Everything is going according to plan. Except that Annie herself has vanished. Did she have second thoughts? Or has something much worse happened to the bride-to-be?
While her loved ones frantically try to track her down, they’re forced to grapple with their own secrets—secrets with the power to reframe entire relationships, leaving each to wonder how well they really knew Annie and how well they know themselves.

Review:

I kept waiting for the juice! The thrill! The moment I was going to turn the page and the excitement was going to begin, but it never came! I’m not even sure what genre this book would fit into nicely.

I was expecting a suspense, thriller novel and what I got was a story about a town and all the happenings going on within its society. Sure, there was an old crime. Now there is a missing girl that was about to be married. The whole town is upset. They are all looking for her, but there are 500 things going on in the background. There is not much going on about the supposed crime. Old or new.

It all boiled down to reading a bunch of pages about people I never quite cared much about.

I cared most about Annie; the missing girl. Her character was super interesting! I spent the entire book waiting to find out what happened to her. Suspecting every single character in the book of foul play; and there are many that we meet!

It was always about “Only Ever Her” for me, the rest was just noise.

2 Stars.

pro_readerI would like to thank the publishers for sending me an ARC of this novel via NetGalley.

#Bookreview: The view from Alameda Island by Robyn Carr

1E3B1D4E-B3AF-46E4-8901-7A8AA58F36B3Summary:

From the outside looking in, Lauren Delaney has a life to envy—a successful career, a solid marriage to a prominent surgeon and two beautiful daughters who are off to good colleges. But on her twenty-fourth wedding anniversary Lauren makes a decision that will change everything.

Lauren won’t pretend things are perfect anymore. She defies the controlling husband who has privately mistreated her throughout their marriage and files for divorce. And as she starts her new life, she meets a kindred spirit—a man who is also struggling with the decision to end his unhappy marriage.

But Lauren’s husband wants his “perfect” life back and his actions are shocking. Facing an uncertain future, Lauren discovers an inner strength she didn’t know she had as she fights for the love and happiness she deserves.

Review:

This story is about the struggle of leaving a marriage behind; no matter how cruel a spouse can be, and no matter how toxic a relationship is.

Lauren meets Beau who is having similar issues and wanting to leave his marriage as well, so they form a friendship that soon starts to lean towards more.

But, can that happen with Lauren’s spouse still lingering so close by?

There is the family dynamic with the children and who they each side with, and the friends along the way.

I found that this story dragged a bit in few places and I got a little bored sometime; I have to be honest. Maybe I just didn’t really feel attached to many other characters. But, my interest in the outcome for Lauren was enough!

3 Stars.

pro_readerI would like to thank the publishers for sending me an ARC of this Novel via NetGalley

 

#BookReview & #GiveAway: Emily, Gone By Bette Lee Crosby

Emily Gone**Leave a Comment for your chance to win a copy of Emily, Gone** closes 5/1 noon

Pre-Order your copy today.

Release Day: April 30th, 2019

Summary:

A missing child sets the lives of three women on a collision course in this powerful and compelling novel by USA Today bestselling author Bette Lee Crosby.
1971.

When a music festival rolls through the sleepy town of Hesterville, Georgia, the Dixon family’s lives are forever changed. On the final night, a storm muffles the sound of the blaring music, and Rachel tucks her baby into bed before falling into a deep sleep. So deep, she doesn’t hear the kitchen door opening. When she and her husband wake up in the morning, the crib is empty. Emily is gone.

Vicki Robart is one of the thousands at the festival, but she’s not feeling the music. She’s feeling the emptiness over the loss of her own baby several months before. When she leaves the festival and is faced with an opportunity to fill that void, she is driven to an act of desperation that will forever bind the lives of three women.

When the truth of what actually happened that fateful night is finally exposed, shattering the lives they’ve built, will they be able to pick up the pieces to put their families back together again?

Review:

This is a Winner!

Emily, Gone’s true essence is that several people love Emily and this is the story of that love.

So, Bette Lee Crosby writes us a tale about how this can transpires in the life of a woman whose daughter is kidnapped one night during a music festival being held in her small town. and, the consequences that unfold.

You will be so moved that you may wonder whose side you are on. Can that even happen? Can you actually have soft feelings towards the kidnappers? Compassion?

The character development is so strong that you feel like you really know each of them. You will fall in love with some and detest others. As always, you feel like you are in Hesterville, Wynn Bluffs and all the towns in between.

I love Bette Lee Crosby’s storytelling, I cannot say that enough!

How this book wraps up is so stunning, it could not have been written any better.

Bette Lee Crosby always delivers exceptional books, but this goes beyond her typical phenomenal scope! This book was Epic!!!

I really think that this book would make a great movie.

5 Stars.

pro_readerI would like to thank the publishers for sending me an ARC of this Novel via NetGalley

#BookReview: Normal People by Sally Rooney

41jqyrmTceL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Summary:

At school Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He’s popular and well-adjusted, star of the school football team, while she is lonely, proud, and intensely private. But when Connell comes to pick his mother up from her job at Marianne’s house, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagers—one they are determined to conceal.

A year later, they’re both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years at university, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. And as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.

Sally Rooney brings her brilliant psychological acuity and perfectly spare prose to a story that explores the subtleties of class, the electricity of first love, and the complex entanglements of family and friendship.

 

Review:

I really wanted to love this novel, so I went in to it with the belief that I was absolutely going to devour it. When I began reading it, I had a really hard time with the writing; or rather, the editing.

I have learned that I prefer punctuation when reading a book. I don’t only prefer it; I really desire it. It made reading the entire story very abrupt, if that makes sense.

While understanding and sometimes enjoying the relationship between Marianne and Connell throughout the years, the book was a struggle for me. I really enjoyed their High School years the most, after that it all got a bit bland for me.

I felt no connection to this book. Maybe I am missing something, and I feel awful if I am. I am sure there are some readers that will enjoy this particular style of writing and storyline, it just was not for me.

2 Stars.

pro_readerI would like to thank the publishers for sending me an ARC of this Novel via NetGalley.

#Letters from Peaceful Lane by Janet Dailey

Letters from Peaceful LaneSummary:

Allison felt like she’d stepped into a fairy tale when she married widower Burke Caldwell. But after less than a year of marriage, he’s become removed and distant. His friends see Allison as little more than a trophy wife, his only daughter regards her as the enemy. With everyone so devoted to the memory of Burke’s first wife, Kate, how can Allison possibly compete? Then a harrowing car crash leaves Burke badly injured. But it becomes achingly clear that the woman Burke wants by his side is the wife he lost . . .

No longer able to dismiss the power Kate still holds, Allison can’t resist reading a trove of hidden letters from Kate to Burke. What she discovers sets her mind reeling. The letters give Allison an enlightening window into her husband’s heart. But will she have the courage to put aside her own fears, and grab hold of a love as big and bold as the man she once dared to marry?

 

Review:

 

Quite the heroine in this story! Allison Caldwell is married to Burke who lost his wife, Kate six years ago to cancer and he still is not completely over her; neither is the town. It seems. While his business is failing and his partner cannot be trusted, he is recovering from a car accident. Burke’s daughter Brianna is a mess all her own with a boyfriend that may be more trouble than he is worth.

After the accident Burke tells Allison to file for divorce because he cannot give her the life, he had planned on giving her since his business is failing. He had wanted her to have it all, and since she can’t, he wants her to move on. She refuses. Upon this refusal she uncovers letters from his last wife Kate that were handwritten to him. In these letters she learns a lot more about Burke.

I wasn’t too surprised by anything in the story if I am to be completely honest. I feel like mob was a bit much and could have been left out.

It was a nice read, and I did enjoy it.

I can say one particularly spectacular part of the book is the fact that we have a heroine that never gives up on her man.

Allison Caldwell was one cool character! I really did fall in love with her!

3.5 Stars.

pro_readerI would like to thank the publishers for sending me an ARC of this Novel via NetGalley.

 

#BookReview: The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton

Summary:The Perfect Girlfriend

Juliette loves Nate.

She will follow him anywhere. She’s even become a flight attendant for his airline, so she can keep a closer eye on him.

They are meant to be.

The fact that Nate broke up with her six months ago means nothing. Because Juliette has a plan to win him back.

She is the perfect girlfriend. And she’ll make sure no one stops her from getting exactly what she wants.

True love hurts, but Juliette knows it’s worth all the pain…

Summary:

What a WIN for Hamilton’s first novel!! I was blown away by the sheer creepiness of Juliette; while also almost wanting to cheer her on. It was the oddest feeling, but Hamilton delivered a story where you truly wanted Juliette to “somehow” get a piece of happiness in the end. That was part of the awe of this book to me….to feel for such a dreadful character was astounding to me. This is such a remarkably written story; not to be missed!!!

Juliette is still in love with her ex-boyfriend Nate, or rather addicted to him….

Once they break up, she does all she can to become perfect in his eyes. She becomes a flight attendant at the same airline Nate is a pilot! She changes her hair color, stalks his house while he is and is not there, lays in his bed, brushes her teeth with his toothbrush, watches him drink coffee at the corner shop from his apartment….and, all of this is nothing!! She gets unleashed!!

But, she has had a tragic backstory that you cannot help but develop feelings for. Her brother died when she was only 10. He was 4. Her childhood best friend moved away after the incident. Her school years were rough too. I wonder how her life would be if certain events were different. This part of the story makes you feel a bond of hope for her, which I found rather intense, because it felt so wrong.

Falling in love for Juliette changes everything.

Read this book!

You will devour it!!

I will read every book Karen Hamilton writes going forward!

5 Stars.

pro_readerI would like to thank the publishers for sending me an ARC of this novel via Netgalley.

 

 

#BookReview: Me for You by Lolly Winston

Me for YouSummary:

The last thing Rudy expected was to wake up one Saturday morning, a widow at fifty-four years old. Now, ten months after the untimely death of his beloved wife, he’s still not sure how to move on from the defining tragedy of his life—but his new job is helping. After being downsized from his finance position, Rudy turned to his first love: the piano. Some people might be embarrassed to work as the piano player at Nordstrom, but for Rudy, there’s joy in bringing a little music into the world. And it doesn’t hurt that Sasha, the Hungarian men’s watch clerk who is finally divorcing her no-good husband, finds time to join him at the bench every now and then.

Just when Rudy and Sasha’s relationship begins to deepen, the police come to the store with an update about Rudy’s wife’s untimely death—a coworker has confessed to her murder—but Rudy’s actions are suspicious enough to warrant a second look at him, too. With Sasha’s husband suddenly reappearing, and Rudy’s daughter confronting her own marital problems, suddenly life becomes more complicated than Rudy and Sasha could have imagined.

With Winston’s trademark humor and sweetness that will appeal to readers of Jennifer Weiner and Fredrik Backman but is uniquely her own, Lolly Winston delivers a heartfelt and realistic portrait of loss and grief, hope and forgiveness, and two imperfect people coming together to create a perfect love story.

Review:

Imagine waking up and speaking to your wife as she lay in bed only to discover that she is dead! I could not! That is what drew me in to want to read this book. I thought it was going to have all kinds of drama, but it fell short.

I didn’t find the humor that was spoken of in the summary.

The storylines that had the potential to be exciting were too short! They were over as quickly as they started.

I didn’t find myself falling in love with the main character Rudy because he just fell flat for me and did not touch my heart in any way. And, I was really trying!

Sasha, his coworker was one character that I was finding myself to caring for and her backstory was more interesting than most of the book.

I am beginning to think I may have something against piano music in department stores?? A lot of time was spent there.

Maybe that was where my boredom lied.

Without giving away the ending, I will say that I was very pleased with how the book closed.

This story may appeal to some readers, but it wasn’t to my liking.

2.5 Stars.

pro_readerI would like to thank the publishers for sending me an ARC of this novel via Netgalley.