#BookReview: Every Thing You Are by Kerry Anne King

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: October 1, 2019

Summary:

From the bestselling author of Whisper Me This comes a haunting and lyrical novel about the promises we make and the forgiveness we need when we break them.

One tragic twist of fate destroyed Braden Healey’s hands, his musical career, and his family. Now, unable to play, adrift in an alcoholic daze, and with only fragmented memories of his past, Braden wants desperately to escape the darkness of the last eleven years.

When his ex-wife and son are killed in a car accident, Braden returns home, hoping to forge a relationship with his troubled seventeen-year-old daughter, Allie. But how can he hope to rescue her from the curse that seems to shadow his family?

Ophelia “Phee” MacPhee, granddaughter of the eccentric old man who sold Braden his cello, believes the curse is real. She swore an oath to her dying grandfather that she would ensure Braden plays the cello as long as he lives. But he can’t play, and as the shadows deepen and Phee finds herself falling for Braden, she’ll do anything to save him. It will take a miracle of forgiveness and love to bring all three of them back to the healing power of music.

Review:

Kerry Anne King wrote a haunting story with a fable feel to it. The magical essence was so delightful and engaging, it kept me turning the pages. Full of colorful characters, including a cello that felt alive, “Everything You Are” is touched with whimsical charm and an enticing mystery.

I was absolutely in love with Kerry Anne King’s story-telling! She had me enraptured with her lyrical nature! Mesmerizing!

Read this book and enjoy all it’s brilliance!

5 Stars.

 

#BookReview: Happy To Meet Me: 201+ Self-discovery secrets to power up your self-esteem and recognize your self-worth. A guided journal for Women & Men by Calista J. McBride

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: January 16, 2020

Summary:

If you truly want to LOVE yourself, then keep reading…

 

What if you could find the key to living your life joyfully and free of self-doubt?

How different your life would be? Happy relationships? Abundance? Inner Peace? Joy and love?

Happy to meet Me is a writing prompts Journal for self-discovery created to explore all areas of your life.

It’s simply designed to fire up your creativity and challenge your thinking with a variety of unique writing prompts, self-discovery questions and uplifting quotes.

Each prompts support each other to create a progressive experience.

 

In this journal, you’ll discover:

Unique and engaging self-discovery writing prompts
Irresistible questions that will make you stop and think… deeply
Daily inspiration to challenge your imagination
Rare uplifting quotes

More than that, these are the Ultimate Benefits you will get from this Journal:

You’ll discover how to better accept and love your true self.
You’ll feel clear-minded, decisive, and confident.
You’ll feel naturally happier throughout your day.
You’ll gradually become more optimistic and experience positive momentum
You’ll naturally find yourself back on track with your writing habit even after a
journaling rut
You’ll feel self-empowered and find yourself free to explore life like you’ve never dared before

And much, much more!

Review:

I have been using Calista McBride’s “Happy to Meet Me” Journal every morning or evening for about 30 days now and I have to say I am completely sure it is a wonderful asset to my day. I see the changes already within myself.
I find myself looking forward to the next quote and question Calista has lined up. The thoughts flow throughout the day, too. I feel my self-awareness becoming so much more clear. My self-esteem is absolutely going to benefit from the practices in the book!
I am beyond excited to have found this journal.

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

5 Stars.

#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: Words for Anna: A Second Chance at First Love by Lara Russell

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: November 11, 2018

Summary:

In that moment, I understood why I had not been able to give up on finding her. We were not two people who travelled the world aimlessly, and we hadn’t been the whole time since we first said goodbye, when we left our birth country empty-handedly. We were a single entity, torn apart, little by little.

Set in Australia, England and South Africa in the early 2000s, Words for Anna is the heart-warming story of first love. Twelve years earlier, Anna and Daniel faced the cruelty of being forced apart as a result of one senseless letter. What happens when they are reunited and given a second chance at love?

Striving to establish a new identity, working in the Australian wine industry, Anna has had no choice but to create the best life she can for herself and her son, Mattie, in Sydney, Australia.

Meanwhile, Daniel, who has been pushing his father’s corporate agenda in the UK for years, as a means to an end, hopes that he may someday see Anna, his lost love, again.

But when they find each other in a chance meeting in Sydney, they are compelled to revisit the past. Forced to work together every day, the secrets Anna has kept for so long are gradually revealed. This, together with the separation they endured and the strange situation they now find themselves in, raises the question – Do they have any chance of rekindling their love?

Words for Anna is a moving novel about hope, resilience and rediscovery.

Review:

Lara Russell has written a captivating romance with “Words for Anna”.

Anna and Daniel’s relationship was powerful yet complex.

It was an entertaining sequence of events in this novel bringing it full circle.

I enjoyed this novel and would definitely recommend this book.

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

4 Stars.

 

#BookReview: I Said Yes by Kiersten Modglin

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Release: February 18, 2020

Summary:

Yes. The word that brought me such great joy and, eventually, such heartbreak.

When Mark asked me out for the first time, I didn’t have to think twice.
I said, “Yes.”

When he asked me to marry him just a year later, the answer came as easily as the breath that followed it.
“Yes.”

When he asked me to keep his secret, my response came too quickly.
“Yes.”

Now, in front of a judge and jury, I’ll be asked the question I never anticipated.
“Did you know who the killer is?”

The answer is second nature by now.
“Yes.”

Review:

Kiersten Modglin is well known for twists and “what just happened?” And “no way”……

“I Said Yes” is another prime example of a suspenseful page turning novel!

Early on, I thought I had it all figured out. OK – well sort of figured out, but then realized I was wrong and totally, of course! Never saw it coming!!

Full of thrilling suspense, this is another must read book!!!

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

4.5 Stars.

#BookReview: Been There, Married That by Gigi Levangie

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Reviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

Date of Release: February 11, 2020

Summary:

A hilarious new novel full of Hollywood glitz, glamour, and scandal.

When he changes the locks, she changes the rules.

Agnes Murphy Nash is the perfect Hollywood wife – she has the right friends, the right clothes, and even a side career of her own as a writer. Her husband Trevor is a bigshot producer, and from the outside it looks like they’re living a picture-perfect celebrity life, complete with tennis tournaments and lavish parties.

But the job description of a Hollywood wife doesn’t cover divorce, which is the way Agnes’ life is headed after she comes home one day to find her credit cards cancelled and the security passwords to get into her enormous LA home changed. Oh, and there’s a guy there whose job it is to tase her if she tries to enter…which she does. Needless to say, Agnes’ husband is dead set on making sure she loses big time, but Agnes isn’t the type to just lie down and take it. In a world of fremenies and hot nannies, personal psychics and “skinny” jello shots, Agnes may be losing her husband, but could that mean getting her own life back?

Been There, Married That is a drop-dead hilarious battle of wills that will make you laugh out loud, cringe, and keep turning the pages to see what crazy disaster will happen to Agnes next…and how she’ll rise from the ashes.

Review:

If you love new, modern, hip books with today’s language and the Hollywood scene, you’re gonna love “Been There, Married That” by Gigi Lavangie. Agnes is the main character who thinks she is happily married to a big name Hollywood producer. That is until he locks her out of the house and changes all the security codes! 

I enjoyed being along for the ride. These days I am not keeping up with Hollywood and I didn’t catch onto the slang. I’m old! It did, however, hold my interest and I enjoyed some of the happenings between Agnes and her husband Trevor. She has a sister that is always getting in trouble, a father who dates questionable women and a daughter that is going through being embarrassed by her mom. The characters are delightful. 

In the story Agnes is a writer who coincidently has a book or two named the same as Gigi Lavangie’s books! 

This was my first book by her and I am sure I will be reading more. This book is definitely worth your time to read and I recommend it.

4 Stars.

#BookReview: Dead Before Dying (Shadow Valley Manor #1) by Kerry Schafer

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: February 9, 2016

Summary:

Twisting and eerie, sharp and unforgettable, DEAD BEFORE DYING brings a heroine worthy of Sue Grafton to a terror worthy of Dean Koontz.

In this supernatural thriller, shot through with biting wit, Maureen Keslyn checks herself in to Shadow Valley Manor to recuperate and rehabilitate from her last job. There, she runs afoul of the stern director and makes friends with some of the other residents, mostly older, all harboring either a secret or a grudge. With secrets of her own, like why she has her own Federal Agent checking up on her, and how she injured herself in the first place, Maureen fits right in, even as she sticks out like a thorn.
But Shadow Valley isn’t just for rest–Maureen is working undercover, seeking to find and eradicate whatever forces are picking off the residents (and staff) at a grisly clip. With her resources dwindling one death at a time, and unnatural forces seething to rise up once more, Maureen’s experience fighting the supernatural will be her only hope to destroy a clever and powerful evil–and her only chance at surviving it. She’ll need people as paranoid as she is–from the sheriff, to the undertaker’s daughter, to a cook whose knife skills in the kitchen could prove deadly out of it–if she is going to bring rest to the weary, and peace to the dead…

Review:

I met the most colorful cast of characters while reading Kerry Schafer’s “Dead Before Dying”, and it was so exciting!

This was a paranormal murder mystery unlike any other! It was set in a Nursing Home called “Shadow Valley Manor”, where FBI Agent Maureen Keslyn works both diligently and humorously to solve a crime. I appreciated Maureen because she was in her 50’s! It was cool to have an older kick-a&& heroine!

Other stories are told about each elderly paranormal being living there; and I was (dare I say) enamored with the story of the 90 year old vampire. I also love how the cat warns Maureen of ghoulish things in the night! (And me…Yes, I was known to jump while reading!..lol)

There is this overall sense of creepiness, which I thought Schafer wrote wonderfully. I was totally drawn in because this story is intriguing, enticing, dark, and smoldering with the sense of need to know!!

I moved urgently through the story because I always had to know what was around the next corner!!

I highly recommend Kerry Schafer! She is so very talented at this paranormal mystery stuff! Wow! Her audible was fabulous, too!

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

4.5 Stars.

#BookReview: Lavender, Loss & Love at the Villa des Violettes (Villa des Violettes #3) by Patricia Sands

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Review: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: January 24, 2020

Summary:

A sizzling heat wave is only part of the drama unfolding on the sun-drenched Côte d’Azur …

When Kat and Philippe settle into a new season as innkeepers at the Villa des Violettes, extraordinary stories are revealed by guests. Ancestry, intrigue, and lessons in friendship are part of the narrative. As summer draws to a close, an urgent call sends Kat and Philippe back to Sainte-Mathilde where the family gathers to support each other in an emergency situation.

From the splendor of the lavender season through to the changing landscape of autumn and the festivities of the grape harvest, the Love in Provence characters face challenges, make memories and attempt to maintain their usual joie de vivre!

Review:

I felt the power of friendship and love pour out onto the pages of “Lavender, Love, & Loss at Villa des Violettes”.

Once again, Patricia Sands captured the essence of France beautifully. Each page like a photograph; only you could smell or taste it! I was taken away!

Her writing is truly delectable.

It is always a gift to sit down and visit with Kat and Philippe.

I was so delighted each time an old friend from another story stopped by, but just as tickled to meet new ones!

I was truly touched when three friends from Canada visited Villa des Violettes. I trust you will all find a piece of you among their B&B guests or interwoven into Kat’s other friends or family tales.

I will never smell or look at lavender the same.

I am thinking of a lot of my loved ones by this story.

I have been truly touched and moved. I trust you will be, too.

5 Stars.

#BookReview: The Fifth Avenue Story Society by Rachel Hauck

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Reviewer: Phyllis Jones Pisanelli

Date of Release: February 4, 2020

Summary:

An invitation to join The Fifth Avenue Story Society gives five New York strangers a chance to rewrite their own stories.

Executive assistant Lexa is eager for a much-deserved promotion, but her boss isdetermined to keep her underemployed.

Literature professor Jett is dealing with a broken heart, as well as a nagging suspicion his literary idol, Gordon Phipps Roth, might be a fraud.

Uber driver Chuck just wants a second chance with his kids.

Aging widower Ed is eager to write the true story of his incredible marriage.

Coral, queen of the cosmetics industry, has broken her engagement and is on the verge of losing her great grandmother’s multimillion-dollar empire.

When all five New Yorkers receive an anonymous, mysterious invitation to the Fifth Avenue Story Society, they suspect they’re victims of a practical joke. No one knows who sent the invitations or why. No one has heard of the literary society. And no one is prepared to bear their deepest secrets to a roomful of strangers.

Yet curiosity and loneliness bring them back week after week to the old library. And it’s there they discover the stories of their hearts, and the kind of friendship and love that heals their souls.

Review:

The writing style flowed, the character development and plot were outstanding. I could not put it down. There are 5 people who are invited to the “Story Society” in the old Winthrop library in New York City. They don’t know why they are there or why they were invited and I found that intriguing. I am not sure they ever figured it out, but they turn into friends and keep meeting.  I loved the end of the book. This was a charming and satisfying novel.

If you have read any of Rachel Hauck’s books, you know she has a bit of a “what would jesus do” theme that runs through them. She is one of my favorite authors. If you like her other books or haven’t tried one yet, don’t miss this one! 

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

5 Stars.

#BookReview: Lavender, Loss & Love at the Villa des Violettes (Villa des Violettes #3) by Patricia Sands

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Reviewer: Serena Soape

Date of Sale: January 24th, 2020

Summary:

A sizzling heat wave is only part of the drama unfolding on the sun-drenched Côte d’Azur …
When Kat and Philippe settle into a new season as innkeepers at the Villa des Violettes, extraordinary stories are revealed by guests. Ancestry, intrigue, and lessons in friendship are part of the narrative. As summer draws to a close, an urgent call sends Kat and Philippe back to Sainte-Mathilde where the family gathers to support each other in an emergency situation.

From the splendor of the lavender season through to the changing landscape of autumn and the festivities of the grape harvest, the Love in Provence characters face challenges, make memories and attempt to maintain their usual joie de vivre!

Review:

It was truly a pleasure to be back traveling alongside Kat and Philippe on their adventures.

Patricia Sands has such a beautiful gift when writing her novels and “Lavender, Loss & Love” is no exception. She has a way of capturing your interest gently at the beginning and then you are left wanting more at the end.

The happenings of the family and friends are ones that will touch your heart and soul. Not to mention the guests at the Villa des Violettes and their stories.

This is the third book in the series and I would recommend reading them all!!!! You do not want to miss out on this awesome author !!!

5 Stars.