#BookReview: The Good Neighbors by Kiersten Modglin

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: June 23, 2019

Summary:

Good neighbors invite you over for dinner, bring you baked goods to welcome you to the neighborhood, and wave hello at the mailbox.

Good neighbors do not destroy your life.

When Bryant and Harper Page move to Lancaster Mills, their first encounter with their new neighbors—Jason and Tori Fuller: beautiful, strange, and terrifying—is anything but a warm welcome. Despite their hesitations, the Pages are intrigued by the people they now share a street with. As their curiosity gets the best of them, they discover that there’s much more to the Fullers than meets the eye. Their new neighbors have secrets, that much is obvious, but just how dangerous could they be?

With two haunting shadows lingering over their house and lives, the Pages’ relationship is tested in every way. What exactly makes a good neighbor? And what makes a good neighbor bad?

Review:

Kiersten Modglin definitely nails down the unexpected!

“The Good Neighbors” was a shocking, impassioned, nail-biting story told about neighbors that will totally make you question yours for a hot second!!

I was never sure who to trust! It was crazy!

Page Flipping! Second Guessing! Mind boggling….Kiersten Modglining!! 😉

4 Stars.

#BookReview: Behind Every Lie by Christina McDonald

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: February 4, 2020

Summary:

If you can’t remember it, how do you prove you didn’t do it?

Eva Hansen wakes in the hospital after being struck by lightning and discovers her mother, Kat, has been murdered. Eva was found unconscious down the street. She can’t remember what happened but the police are highly suspicious of her.

Determined to clear her name, Eva heads from Seattle to London—Kat’s former home—for answers. But as she unravels her mother’s carefully held secrets, Eva soon realizes that someone doesn’t want her to know the truth. And with violent memories beginning to emerge, Eva doesn’t know who to trust. Least of all herself.

Told in alternating perspectives from Eva’s search for answers and Kat’s mysterious past, Christina McDonald has crafted another “complex, emotionally intense” (Publishers Weekly) domestic thriller. Behind Every Lie explores the complicated nature of mother-daughter relationships, family trauma, and the danger behind long-held secrets.

Review:

Christina McDonald tests the levels of trauma someone can handle in one lifetime without splitting at their very core in her novel “Behind Every Lie”.

A magnificently complex, gripping and unexpected family story that left me breathless.

Stunning at every turn because of the thrill ride I was on!

With such flawless storytelling!

….waiting patiently for Christina McDonald’s next book announcing proudly I’m an über fan!!

5 Stars. (wishing I could give more)

#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: 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.