Review

The Christmas Wishing Tree by Emily March

book coverPublished: St Martin’s Press
Date: 25th September 2018
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 320
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Rating 4.5 stars
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A man who loves adventure and the open sea, Devin Murphy returns for a short Christmas trip to his small hometown of Eternity Springs. Immersed in the joy and magic of the holiday season all around him, he doesn’t hesitate to play along when a young boy phones Santa to ask for a very special wish. Devin never guesses that a wrong number has the potential to make everything in his life so right.

Jenna Stockton adopted Reilly when he needed a mother and she intends to keep him safe. A small town across the country called Eternity Springs seems like a good place to hide from their past without any complications —until sexy Santa himself discovers her secrets. When Devin proposes a daring plan to face down the danger together and defeat it once and for all, she is tempted. Maybe Devin really is capable of making wishes come true? Perhaps in a Christmas wish they’ll both find the miracle they’ve been looking for all along…

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The Christmas Wishing Tree was a delightful read. I always love returning to Eternity Springs, and this time I was hooked by the tension engendered from what Devin might do. Would he remain in Australia or fit in with a special person and live in Eternity Springs?

Jenna and her son Reilly are being harassed quite seriously by a stalker, and after some nasty experiences they have ended up in Eternity Springs. And of course that’s the right place to come to when you are hurting. Celeste for a start will have something up her sleeve and there is a whole arsenal of very capable people who can look into this matter.

I enjoyed the characters, Devin of course is as soft as marshmellow – when it counts and Jenna is such a great mother. Reilly is delightful and his journey of discovering all about how Christmas counts and what its all about is perfect.

I loved the humor, as well as the range of emotions the story evoked in me. It was full of beloved characters from Eternity Springs, yet easily could be picked up as a stand alone.

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Emily March Website                             Twitter: @EmilyMarchBooks
Facebook: Emily March                         Pinterest: Emily March

Buy Links:

Macmillan
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books-a-Million
Indie Bound
Powells

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Over The Teacups, Review

Over the Teacups #10 with Kristan Higgins and Cathy Lamb

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book coverWhy? I like any book by Kristan Higgins so I was absolutely keen to read this one.

Plot This is about three friends who have weight issues and body image issues – their struggles and their joys. Their families and loves.

What Appeals to me? An extremely well written book that explores hugely important themes in today’s world. Like body image, attitudes around that, other people’s kindness and unkindness. It’s about family struggles too. Parenting.

This book is so sad and so funny at various spots.

It took me  a little while to like the woman characters, but they grew on me. I It really isn’t an easy book to read in some ways, its confrontative.

And so… I think its an extremely important book, and would be excellent as a book club read. So much to talk about you’d need a few sessions!

 

book coverWhy? I thoroughly enjoy any book ever written by Cathy Lamb. Thanks to a blogger I was introduced to her books. This one was one I had that I hadn’t read, its like saving up something special.

Plot  Boss Mom Jaden has loved her son Tate since he was born. Born to her sister Brooke (a drug addict). Tate has a large head, so he has had a good deal of teasing to deal with. But… he is the most loveable of characters. Jaden takes him as her own when Brooke walks out after his birth. Now he is seventeen and he so wants to fly, to play basketball, to be accepted by other. And Jaden is so against that because a knock to the head could cause serious problems for Jaden because he has a shunt going from his brain to his heart.

What Appeals to me? I totally love the characters that Cathy Lamb conjures up. They are so full of warmth and feeling. And humour! Irreverent humour. I love the way she explores and shares someone who is different and so fully a wonderful human being.  It invites us to be open and kind and accepting and really celebratory of all the differences in people.

And so… I do have one more book to read by Cathy Lamb, her one that is due out on the 30th of October titled The Man She Married. I don’t even know what its about. It doesn’t matter. Its written by Cathy Lamb. That’s all I need to know.

Review

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date. And here we are!

Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join them!

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Do you visit around on the It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? link. I try to randomly choose where to go, so that I visit a variety of book blogs. I decide on a pattern and off I go.  It does have a little danger though, because invariably I end up with at least one or two books I really want to read!  Rush was one such book I met on my blog travels ( not necessarily this link up), and I decided to read. I would never have come across it otherwise. The blessing of the internet and how it is introduced me to so many books.

What I read this week.

I finished listening to Crimes Against a Book Club – a fun listen.

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And I read these from the library and loved them.

I also read one review book, a new one in the Haven Point series by this author.

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What I am currently reading.

One from the way back TBR pile on my bookshelves, randomly chosen, using random.org. Otherwise when I go to choose a random one, I wave my hand around, close my eyes and then point and then go “No, not that”. So I was tough, randomly chose a shelf then randomly chose a book!

And listening to my classic for a reading challenge – almost finished it.

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Plans for my next read…

A review book from NetGalley

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Review

Between You And Me by Susan Wiggs

Book CoverPublished: William Morrow
Date: June 26th 2018
Format:  Hardback
Pages: 356
Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Rating of book
Goodreads callout

Caught between two worlds, Caleb Stoltz is bound by a deathbed promise to raise his orphaned niece and nephew in Middle Grove, where life revolves around family, farm, faith—and long-held suspicions about outsiders. When disaster strikes, Caleb is thrust into an urban environment of high-tech medicine and the relentless rush of modern life.

Dr. Reese Powell is poised to join the medical dynasty of her wealthy, successful parents. Bold, assertive, and quick-thinking, she lives for the addictive rush of saving lives. When a shocking accident brings Caleb Stoltz into her life, Reese is forced to deal with a situation that challenges everything she thinks she knows—and ultimately emboldens her to question her most powerful beliefs.

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Do you ever read a book slowly, especially as you get to the end. Read a few pages, walk away and do something else. And then go back. That’s what I did as I came to the final pages of this book. I just didn’t want to leave Reese, Caleb, Hannah and Jonah.

Both Reese and Caleb are similar in that parental expectations loom large in their respective lives. Reese is the only child of two very successful doctors… and they want to her too to climb to the top of the medical tree. But is it what she herself wants, where does her passion in medicine lie?

Caleb has lived his life in the Amish community, but only stays there because of a promise to his brother John to watch over Hannah and Jonah, his niece and nephew as they grow. His struggle revolves around what he really believes and what he has promised.

While this story situates the faith struggle in the Amish community, this question of what is true and right for a person, applies to any faith community I believe. Every religious group has its wonderful and positive attributes and… the darkness of beliefs somehow that have become twisted and well… stupid!  We all need to ask – what is life giving? And this story explores that very much.

So in short, a book that I identified with and really enjoyed.

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Review

Sold on a Monday by Kristina Morris

Published: Sourcebooks
Date:  28th August 2018
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 352
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Rating 4.5 stars
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The sign is a last resort. It sits on a farmhouse porch in 1931, but could be found anywhere in an era of breadlines, bank runs, and broken dreams. It could have been written by any mother facing impossible choices.

Inspired by an actual newspaper photograph that stunned the nation, Sold on a Monday is a powerful novel of love, redemption, and the unexpected paths that bring us home.

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Sold on a Monday by Kristina Morris is the story of reporter Ellis, secretary to the Chief of a newspaper Lily, and the mother and children that Ellis takes a photo of and places in the newspaper for a story, not exactly on purpose. The title says “2 Children for Sale”. He didn’t intend it to happen like that but it has.

As a result two children are sold, a mother disappears and Ellis and Lily are left wondering.  Lily has a secret of her own, and a desire to be a writer if only she can break through the male barrier to that. And she is the persevering kind.

Ellis does make good from the story that goes with the photo, but… he is a man of conscience and so begins a journey that he and Lily undertake to ensure that the sold children are safe and thriving. What they find out disturbs them enough to have them undertake a sometimes quite dangerous mission to recover the children.

The story is one that kept me engaged the whole way through. It was both sad and heartwarming and I really liked both the setting and the characters. Very satisfying.Bitmoji
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Review

Night Magic by Emilie Richards

Book coverPublished: Emilie Richards
Date: 15th August 2018
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 335
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Source: Author

Rating
Goodreads callout

Skeeter is more than the maverick people usually see. The man who sells caricatures on Jackson Square has caught the eye of a gallery owner in New York, and now he can create the art he really wants to–if he’s willing to make the leap.

Skeeter must make another leap. He and Daffy have met before, and their latent attraction ignites immediately. Still, before they can move forward, Skeeter has to tell her the truth about his past. And Daffy, who has specialized in short-term relationships, must now face the reason why.

As Daffy and Skeeter delve deeper into the world of voodoo, danger is all around them. They must find a way to stop the exploitation of Daffy’s client. But as they do, will they be able to overcome their own difficult pasts to find a future they can share?

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Night Magic rounds out the New Orleans Nights trilogy by Emilie Richards. This is an entirely new book, the previous two were updated and republished. This one completes a series I was so happy to have the opportunity to read. Thanks to the wonderful phenomenon of Indie publishing.

I had loved Skeeter – especially in book one, and so it was with anticipation of a book I’d enjoy I opened up Night Magic. I had been hoping that Skeeter would still have a bit of the bad boy in him, but truly I don’t really think he ever was. He has a heart of gold and incredible talent as an artist. As well he’s open to a new relationship.

Daffy is a psychologist trying to crack open the world of a small group of teenage girls who are very tight lipped. She’s good at her job, astute and caring. But… she herself has some left over issues from childhood that truly are holding her back.

The baddie in this story? Well that would be one of the other characters and a whole lot of hokum pokum voodoo hoodoo.  It’s a race against time to track down the person, place and time to uncover who and what is at the root of the mysterious goings on.

Full of New Orleans flavour this is a highly entertaining and satisfying story. And… I got my wish – this story ended just as I was hoping.

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Over The Teacups, Review

Over The Teacups #9

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Book CoverWhy? I’ve seen some very good reviews for this book, plus I’ve enjoyed a few previous books written by Karen White.

Plot Larkin returns home to the south when her mother has an accident. She left there 10 years ago when some kind of embarrassing event happened and she has sworn never to go back. Until now. Right into a mystery that slowly unravels about family and secrets and friendship and love.

What Appeals to me? Strangely enough for me – this time the writing. I love the similes, the way the plot is structured, the different time periods that meld perfectly. The little touches of humour that every so often would surprise a laugh out of me. The characters, especially CeeCee, Bitty and Larkin.

And so… I read this from the library, and it was so new, I think I as the first to read it, what a delight! However I want this book to go onto my shelf at home… so I’ll be buying my own copy. When it comes out in paperback. Hardback a little pricey!

book coverWhy? Any romance story I have read by Ainslie Paton is always slightly different to any other one I have read. Her plots are refreshing and fun.

Plot. This is the story of Caleb Sherwood and Finley Cartwright. Both out to help others but Caleb’s family do it in a very interesting way, is it above board or not? Hmm. What will Finley think when she gets hooked in as Caleb’s partner or… one night wife. One thing though – in one or two places TMI! I don’t need or want it, thanks.

What Appeals to Me? Learning about the con was fun! I wonder does it really work! I liked that the story points out the greed and huge ego of many of the rich and famous in this world and how many of them avoid taxes and avoid making real donations. Oh yes, I could name the people on the news who fit this scenario!!

And so... I loved how the Sherwood family were pushing back. Another quirky and charming book from this author.

book coverWhy? A good friend put this into my hand and highly recommended it.

What is it about? This is the memoir written in 2017 by Edith Eger, originally from Hungry. She is Jewish and in 1944 was taken to Auschwitz. Yes readers it is horrific, but see her spirit and beliefs. And amazing how she made it out of there at the end of the war. It is not only about this period in her life, she goes on to live in the USA and eventually her experiences enable her to help many, many others. She is still alive and in her nineties.

What Appeals to me? Well its eye opening. Its mind blowing. It is full of wisdom and insight and beauty. Oh my, what an inspiring woman. I am inspired by her.

And so… Well of course I had to google her! I watched a few You Tube videos. I saw her do her high kick! I want to learn from her. I want you to read it!!!

As I most likely have to return this hardback, I have bought the Kindle copy which is an obscenely low price.

Review

How to Keep a Secret by Sarah Morgan

book coverPublished: HQ
Date: 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages: 462
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating of book

Goodreads callout

Lauren has the perfect life…if she ignores the fact it’s a fragile house of cards, and that her daughter Mack has just had a teenage personality transplant. Jenna is desperate to start a family with her husband, but it’s… Just. Not. Happening. Her heart is breaking, but she’s determined to keep her trademark smile on her face.

Nancy knows she hasn’t been the best mother, but how can she ever tell Lauren and Jenna the reason why?

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Well what can I say! I loved this book for sure. It has all the elements I like. It is always hard to slot this kind of book into a genre. I’d like to say Women’s Fiction, which says to me it has a woman’s viewpoint, tackles some relevant to life issues and often contains a bit of a romantic element. All of which this book has in spades. But… then lots of readers don’t like the term Women’s Fiction, for very many valid reasons. So whatever!

This book is a departure for Sarah Morgan as she usually writes straight out contemporary romance, and I like her books in that genre too. However this is more and I salute her for it, and I wish with all my being she writes more books in this vein. Just some of the one liners alone will bring me back at some point to read this book.

It is about family, what goes right in it and what doesn’t and how when it doesn’t the choices and challenges it throws. Its about sisters, I loved both of them. Its certainly about mother/daughter relationships and that was an interesting exploration. I fell in love with Miss Teen Mack and her difficulties. Its about love strained, love lost and love found. And … secrets!

It is a stand alone book, so go for it.

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Review

Best Beach Ever by Wendy Wax

Book coverPublished:Berkley
Date:  April 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages: 391
Genre: Mainstream Fiction

Rating 4.5 stars
Goodreads callout

Forced to rent out or lose their beloved Bella Flora after the loss of their renovation-turned-reality-TV show Do Over, Maddie, Nikki, Avery, Kyra, and Bitsy move into cottages at the Sunshine Hotel and Beach Club believing the worst is over. Only to discover just how uncertain their futures really are.
Maddie struggles with the challenges of dating a rock star whose career has come roaring back to life while Nikki faces the daunting realities of mothering twins at forty-seven. Avery buries herself in a tiny home build in an attempt to dodge commitment issues, and Kyra battles to protect her son from the Hollywood world she once dreamed of joining. And Bitsy is about to find out whether the rewards of seeking revenge will outweigh the risks.

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I close Best Beach Ever by Wendy Wax with a sigh of satisfaction. I’ve had a few laugh out moments, wiped a tear away and generally loved being back with the women who form this strongly forged band of friendship.

So Maddie is still with rock star Will and finding her way in that relationship, and how will it affect her life at Mermaid Point and her beloved Kyra and Dustin.

Krya meanwhile is coping with being on the set of a movie with Dustin who as a four year old is playing the part of a son who is kidnapped. There is plenty of tension on the set, because of course the main stars and director are Dustin’s loved Dad and his wife Tonja.  Alongside that Troy the cameraman (of old) has turned up in a whole new way.

Nikki is coping with twins, or rather not coping, plus she isn’t happy about her weight gain and slow return of her body to its previous size. And… horror of horrors she has the perfect Nanny who could help all go smoothly, if only she could let her.

And as for Avery, she loves Chase but she is no way prepared to make a full commitment, and that makes Chase really disappointed and well… see what he gets up to.

Finally we have Bitsy, out to get her revenge on the husband who stole all her money and hived off with it and a girl friend. All I say is “Go Bitsy”. Finally she is getting up off the ground and taking a look at her situation.

You might have guessed this is a series and Best Beach Ever is #6. I’ve really enjoyed all of them, these women have certainly had many a challenge and together they’ve made it through.

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Review

Bayou Midnight by Emilie Richards

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Published: Emilie Richards   2nd Edition
Date: 15th July 2018
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 305
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Source: Author

Rating
Goodreads callout

Homicide detective Sam Long is determined to solve his latest case, but he can’t move forward without help. His best witness to arson and murder is a little girl, and whatever she saw on the night of the fire is safely locked away in her mind.

The last thing Sam wants is to consult with anyone, especially Dr. Antoinette Deveraux, a beautiful psychologist trained in hypnosis. He’s certain there’s no place for someone like compassionate Antoinette in a murder investigation. But when she unlocks the child’s memories, Antoinette unlocks something primal and compelling in Sam’s own heart.

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Bayou Midnight is the second book in the New Orleans trilogy by Emilie Richards. It is a revised and updated version of a previously published book. These books are set in New Orleans before hurricane Katrina changed it up so much.

As a reader not familiar with this part of the world I have to say I was fascinated by the setting that Emilie Richards describes so well.   I was on my computer researching who cajuns are and their history.  I know the author dearly loves this place, myself I’d be a little nervous, but it certainly is unique.

This is a romantic story about Antoinette – a psychologist and Sam the policeman. We met both in the previous book, and Sam was  someone  I really didn’t like. He was a very suspicious and prickly man, although very loyal and once a friend – always a friend.

In this book he has all these same qualities, plus we see a gentle compassionate side, and that same prickly veneer. He is totally against getting involved and yet very attracted to the lovely Antoinette. I liked her very much, although she has one foible that could lead her into ill health if she kept it up.

The suspense part is that someone is trying to blow up an oil rig and damage an oil company who have been poor employers.  Sam is on the case, but he doesn’t seem to get anywhere until suddenly it is very close to home.

I loved the writing and the descriptions in this book and of course really the characters are just so adorable.  I am so waiting for Night Magic which is Skeeter’s story – a friend of Sams.  This will be a totally new story because back in the bad old days of publishing they thought he was too much of a bad boy to have a book. Oh my! Little did they know then. For my taste he has been cleaned up a bit too much in Book 2 so I hope he still has his attitude when his book now comes to life next month. We shall see!