Review

Summer on the Island. Brenda Novak

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Published: Harlequin
Date:  5th April 2022
Source: Publicist via NetGalley

After the death of her US senator father, Marlow Madsen travels to the small island off the coast of Florida where she spent summers growing up to help her mother settle the family estate. For Marlow, the trip is a chance to reconnect after too long apart. It’s also the perfect escape to help her feel grounded again—one she’s happy to share with friends Aida and Claire, who are hoping to hit reset on their lives, too.

A leisurely beachfront summer promises the trio of women the opportunity to take deep healing breaths and explore new paths. But when her father’s will reveals an earth-shattering secret that tarnishes his impeccable reputation and everything she thought she knew about her family, Marlow finds herself questioning her entire childhood—and aspects of her future. Fortunately, her friends, and the most unlikely love interest she could imagine, prove that happiness can be found no matter what—as long as the right people are by your side.

Three friends arrive on the island of Teach in Florida for three momths of summer. And before the summer is out things will change, some paths will be taken and some won’t. As well for Marlow daughter of the senator the past will catch up and things long kept secret will be revealed.

There are wounds to be explored and lived with, and decisions to be made about how once secrets are revealed what is the best way to go on with life.

I really liked the friendship of the three women, and while things were not easy they were worked through. For two of the women it was a most unusual start to their friendship. For Marlow a new chance is given for love and romance. Each of the women face challenges that stretch them and they grow. For Marlow’s mother, Eileen – perhaps the biggest challenge of all.

People make mistakes, some deal with them and grow, some don’t. The story invites compassion and understanding for those who are in need of it and deserve it.  Readers who are triggered by unfaithfulness may find this story not for them. On the other hand it could be just right for them.

Review

Carolyn Brown Riverbend Reunion

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“Riverbend, Texas, doesn’t look like the crossroads of anywhere. But for four high school besties reuniting after twenty years, it’s a place to unpack a lot of baggage.

Risa’s for divorce, Mary Nell’s been kicked to the curb by her leech of a boyfriend, and Haley was just blindsided by a shocking family secret. But restless army veteran Jessica Callaway, looking to plant roots, has an idea: corral her fellow former cheerleaders and renovate an abandoned church smack-dab in the middle of three dry counties into a bar. Throw in a grill and Wade Granger—a onetime nerd turned surprisingly crush-worthy investor—and their lives are on tap for a turnaround.

My Thoughts

Riverbend Reunion by Carolyn Brown is l about a group of friends all coming back together after leaving school twenty or more years ago.  Along with them come the delightful sixteen year old twins belonging to Risa one of the women. Each of the women have had challenges to face and now they are ready to take on a new life.

As it happens Jessica’s being left an old church gives them the opportunity to do something entirely new. Plus Wade another ex military person is along for the ride as well.

This story is about found family, friendship and good will. It also has something to say about religion when it goes completely daft and ridiculous.

It does lack some tension and the plot tdid not  make me want to pick it up at every moment. and perhaps could have been more finely edited.

It’s a low-key, warm hearted read with of course everything working out well and hearts that were hurt are now mending and moving on.

Review

Twilight Shadows

Twilight Shadows

Republished: by Emilie Richards
Date: 1st June 2022
Source: from the author

When private investigator Kelley Samuels’s best friend and partner asks her to be the maid of honor at her wedding, she can’t refuse. After all, wearing a frilly dress and dealing with the bride’s mother are minor irritations.

Then on the trip down the aisle, all hell breaks loose. Between barrages of gunfire and a lunatic seemingly intent on wiping out the wedding party, Kelley has to protect guest and film action hero Griff Bryant. While neither Griff, intent on playing a real life hero, nor Kelly herself can capture the shooter, when the smoke clears, no one is really sure who the gunfire was meant for.

Kelley, a former child star, has a clear-eyed view of the film industry, and when she’s cornered into becoming Griff’s pretend lover and real-life bodyguard, she can’t wait for the assignment to end. But as she and Griff encounter more violence, and his pre-teen daughter is endangered, too, Kelley finds herself deeply involved with the man she’s supposed to protect.

Kelley knows she can protect Griff from harm, but how can she protect her own heart?

Emilie Richards now republishes the second book in her Palm Springs Confidential books. We get up close and personal with Kelley, the partner of Felice, the heroine of the first book.

I was hooked into this story straight away, I loved the characters, the Hollywood setting grabbed me, the mystery, the action, the suspense and the tension between Kelley and Griff. I did like Tara – Griff’s twelve year old daughter and Kelley’s dog too, I just wanted more of them!

I liked that we caught up with Felice and Josiah, and that we first renew our acquaintance at their action filled wedding. It’s not the only time we meet them as they play small but important roles later on. Twilight Shadows and Desert Shadows are named so, because private investigators are sometimes referred to as shadows. I rather liked that little nugget of information. Kelley and Felice are private investigators.

This story really engaged my emotions and I was left feeling very satisfied and happy as the book ended. Well as happy as a reader can be when a book you love ends!

Review

My Pick from the Modern Mrs Darcy Summer Reading Guide.

Summer RG

Each year Anne Bogel and her team come out with the summer reading guide. (You can get your own copy). This year some are back list books, and I have read some of them. This week I am looking at the five I want to read. Next week I’ll mention five I have read and liked.

The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd. One I have already mentioned as one I want to read. Even since then I have seen great reviews for this book, so even more decided to read it.  Library request in.

Book Lovers by Emily Henry.  Yes had already marked this as one I’d read. I am on the request list at the library for this one.

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Gramus. I hadn’t thought of reading this one but have seen a few good reviews for it and I would certainly like to try it. I have put a request in at the library and am number 68! So must be popular. There are 10 copies.

The BodyGuard  by Katherine Centre. I already had this one in mind and as I have read Katherine Center before, I know I will want to buy this is some format.

What We Were Promised by Lucy Tan. This is a bit of a wild card book for me. It is set in Shangai and is about a particular family and deals with things like rich v poor, urban v rural and old v new values.  It’s a back list book It’s available at the library and I will put in a request when I see I have a space for reading it. There are no reserves on the book as it is a 2018 book.

So any top book worm the guide you’d be drawn to reading?

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Review

A Mother’s Heart. Carmel Harrington

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Published : Bookouture
Date: 23rd  May 2022
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

“When Rachel met handsome Irish widower Lorcan it was a whirlwind romance. Her family back in New Zealand thought it would never last. But it did, and they were so happy. Bringing up two children hadn’t been in her life plan, but it had become her joy, and she was as proud of them as if they were her own.

She’d say to them “even though you didn’t grow in my tummy, you grew in my heart”, and they’d all laugh, knowing they were loved. Their little family wasn’t quite the same as everyone else’s, but it was beautiful, it was happy, it was home.

Until now. Because when Lorcan’s life is taken in a tragic accident, it feels like Rachel’s world has died with him. She knows in her heart that she wants to take the children back to the country she grew up in. Where she’d have support, because they’d be surrounded by her family. Where she could grieve and heal; and the children could have a new start.

However, she doesn’t count on the children’s own grandparents. Their blood relations, who say Rachel isn’t their real mother, and so can’t take them away from Ireland. Who say they won’t let her.

As Rachel finds herself fighting against the only people who might love the children as much she does, everyone will have to ask – what makes a parent? What makes a home? And with whom do the children of her heart have a future?”

A Mother’s Heart is a beautiful bittersweet yet heartwarming read. My heart ached for the ever gracious Rachel, who was an excellent mother to 5 year old Dylan and 8 year old Olivia. The three of them have been through the wringer with Lorcan’s death. And now one set of grandparents seem determined to take Rachel on and challenge her for the children’s care and loyalty.

As the story unfolds about this blended family, some secrets are eventually revealed that shed light where there has been mystery. Eventually things work out for them all, but not before there is much tension and heartache.

I liked all the characters. Rachel is a fantastic mother, and so giving and patient with the grandparents especially Sheila who is so picky. It was easy to feel annoyed with Sheila (as the reader) but also I had sympathy for her as well. She feels threatened and fearful of losing her grandchildren. A grandparent wants to be close to their grandchildren, it’s and important relationship.

The setting ranges between New Zealand and Ireland. Oh yes! Loved that little detail. Of course I did. Rachel is a New Zealander, I have to say I was on their side over the custard for the trifle! Rachel has family in New Zealand she is close to and her heart longs to be with them. But… her children are Irish with all their relatives in Ireland. What a dilemma.

This is a page turning, thought provoking story that encourages us to see things from all angles and to choose love and kindness and happiness, and to appreciate the wonder of family. I really loved this book.

Review

Sarah Morgan. Beach House Summer

Beach House Summer

Published: Harlequin Books
Date: 17th May 2022
Source: Publicist via NetGalley

When Joanna Whitman’s famous ex-husband dies in a car accident, she doesn’t know what to feel. Their dysfunctional marriage held more painful secrets than she cares to remember. But when she discovers that the young woman with him in the crash is pregnant, Joanna feels compelled to act, knowing exactly how brutal the media spotlight will be on celebrity chef Cliff Whitman’s ex-wife and his mysterious female friend.

Ashley Blake can’t believe it when Joanna shows up in her hospital room and suggests they hide away at her beach house on a sleepy stretch of California coast. Joanna should be hating her, not helping her. But alone and pregnant, Ashley can’t turn down Joanna’s offer. Yet she knows that if Joanna ever found out the real reason Ashley was in that car, their tentative bond would shatter instantly.

Joanna’s only goal for the summer is privacy, but her return causes major waves in the local community, especially for the man she left behind years ago. All Ashley wants is space to plan for her and her baby’s future, and to avoid causing any trouble for Joanna. But as secrets spill out under the hot summer sun, this unlikely friendship is about to be put to the test.

Beach House Summer by Sarah Morgan is a delightful summer read. It draws the reader in with a bit of a small mystery at the beginning about Ashley and Cliff. 

Joanna begins out as a person in hiding – mostly from the press. She has had a few bad experiences in her earlier life and that plus the present pressure of the press hounding her has made her want to curl up into herself. But… her personal assistant and later Ashley have things to say about that.

Ashley is pregnant and alone, or so she thinks. She has fled from an unsure situation into the fire. When Joanna takes an interest in her, things look up for her. Together both of them support each other and help build each other up into stronger women.

This is a story about small community, second chances, growing up, friendship, sibling relationship, parenting and of course some romance. The characters had me on their side and I loved the setting of the house, and the way things all get sorted out, mainly by talking things out and finding what is important in each person’s heart.

photoAuthor Bio:

Sarah Morgan is a USA Today and Sunday Times bestselling author of contemporary romance and women’s fiction. She has sold more than 21 million copies of her books and her trademark humour and warmth have gained her fans across the globe. Sarah lives with her family near London, England, where the rain frequently keeps her trapped in her office. Visit her at http://www.sarahmorgan.com

Social Links:
Author Website
Twitter: @SarahMorgan_
Facebook: Sarah Morgan
Instagram: @sarahmorganwrites
Goodreads

Buy Links: 
BookShop.org
Harlequin 
Barnes & Noble
Amazon
Books-A-Million
Powell’s 



Review

Lost Coast Literary. Ellie Alexander

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Published:  Sweet Lemon Press

Date: March 29th 2022

Source:Publisher via NetGalley

Book editor Emily Bryant finds herself unexpectedly in the charming town of Cascata on California’s Lost Coast, holding the keys to her grandmother’s rambling Victorian mansion. While sorting through her grandmother’s things, Emily learns that to inherit the estate she must edit old manuscripts. It’s a strange request from a family member who was basically a stranger.

Emily quickly realizes that there’s something different about these manuscripts. Any changes she makes, come true. At first, she embraces the gift. She has a chance to help characters find true love or chart a new course for their future. Only things go terribly wrong. Her edits have the opposite effect. The sweet and funky seaside community of Cascata is reeling from the chaos Emily has created. Everything she thought she believed about her family and her past is in jeopardy, and no amount of re-writing can fix the damage she’s done.

Then she finds one last manuscript. If Emily can get this edit right, then maybe she’ll have a chance to create a new narrative for herself and everyone around her.

A reader may be acquainted with Ellie Alexander’s mystery books, but this is not one of them. It is a delightful step out into an entirely different story. It is set up on the Lost Coast of the Northern West Coast of the USA.

Narrowing in further, it is set in the most wonderful Victorian mansion. Note the front copy of the book. I want to visit it, it is full of books and hidden nooks. It is to this house that Emily arrives at after being summoned by her Uncle after her grandmother dies.

Emily is an aspiring editor in New York and it takes some pulling to get her to come to Lost Coast Literary, the name of her grandmother’s house.

Emily has been estranged from the Lost Coast side of her family, and as she carries out some of her grandmother’s wishes she becomes acquainted with them and the local community, and did I say – the house!

I’ll leave the rest for you if you by chance read this book. I suspect any lover of books and a bit of magical realism would enjoy it. As Ellie Alexander I note on her website runs writing courses for aspiring writers, I believe within these pages too may be some hints.

A fun book to read and have your heart touched by.

Review

Emilie Richards and Desert Shadows.

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Republished by: Emilie Richards
Date:
Source: From the author.

Was rebellious Sister Felicia, the nun who sneaked cigarettes and went swimming in the nude, for real? Or was she a cool assassin, an impostor who had come to the Palm Springs convent in order to murder world-famous humanitarian? — Undercover agent Josiah Gallagher thought he’d figured out the mysterious nun whose beauty kept him awake at night. Then he and the ”sister” found themselves stranded in the desert, with only a slim chance for survival.

Sister Felicia’s bravery during their desperate desert trek inspired Gallagher to tenderness–and solved the mystery of her presence at the convent. But though he knew he’d met his match, this was no time to give in to passion. He was no saint and she was no sister, but they might never get away alive unless they relied on a wing and a prayer.

Emilie Richards has now regained control of some of her earlier books and has been updating them and reissuing them.  Desert Shadows was first published in 1992. As I didn’t know anything of Emilie Richards books in those days, the fact she can refresh and present these books to todays readers is perfect.  In my opinion the updating has been successful and reads really well in 2022, good writing is good writing – whenever it was written.

We first meet Felice in a convent, where she is undercover of all things.  At first as a reader you don’t realise this, but it doesn’t take long to see she has quite different motives to what you’d expect. She is there to watch over someone and protect them. But soon she is involved in a number of dangerous situations that had me reading on to see what was going to happen next.

I loved the setting of Palm Springs and the characters – Felice and Josiah – who as they work through one dangerous situation after another, finally work out what they mean to each other. Good romantic suspense.

I look forward to the next book Twilight Shadows that takes up the story of Kelley, Felice’s partner.

Desert Shadows   Emilie Richards.  Find on  Goodreads   Amazon

 

Review

April Reading Wrap Up

Total books read this month: 13

New to me authors:

Mary Ellen Taylor. * Will certainly read her again.

Books

4 books were for review
3 audiobooks.
5  print from my shelf
1 library book

 Book for April

So many good books, but choosing this one, it was a back list book and just hit the right spot for me and the right time.

Sweet Salt Air

Looking forward to reading in May

Look Back at Goals for April

Five books read from my print TBR – yes.

Some reading accomplished from Pride and Prejudice, up until Mr Darcy proposes and Lizzy is shocked!

Read one library book.

Main Reading Goals for May

Same as for April above.

Linking up with Nicole from FeedYourFiction Addiction.

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Review

The Vanishing Type. Ellery Adams

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Published: Kensington
Date: 26th April 2022
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

While January snow falls outside in Miracle Springs, North Carolina, Nora Pennington is encouraging customers to cozy up indoors with a good book. Even though the shop and her bibliotherapy sessions keep Nora busy during the day, her nights are a little too quiet—until Deputy Andrews pulls Nora into the sci-fi section and asks her to help him plan a wedding proposal.

His bride-to-be, Hester, loves Little Women, and Nora sets to work arranging a special screening at the town’s new movie theater. But right before the deputy pops the question, Nora makes an unsettling discovery—someone has mutilated all her store’s copies of The Scarlet Letter, slicing angrily into the pages wherever Hester Prynne’s name is mentioned.

The coincidence disturbs Nora, who is one of the few in Miracle Springs who knows that Hester gave up a baby for adoption many years ago. Her family heaped shame on her, and Hester still feels so guilty that she hasn’t even told her future husband. But when a dead man is found on a hiking trail just outside town, carrying a rare book, the members of the Secret, Book, and Scone Society unearth a connection to Hester’s past. Someone is intent on bringing the past to light, and it’s not just Hester’s relationship at stake, but her life. . .

The Vanishing Type is #5 in The Secret, Book and Scone Society. By now we know Nora Pennington – owner of the bookshop and her three friends well. Hester owner of the Gingerbread House Bakery, Estella owner of  a salon and spa and June about to take up a new job. What stands out is that these women share so much of themselves with each other and are there to support each other through any trial.

This time the focus is on Hester, or quite a bit of the mystery has to do with Hester. As her past rushes up to meet her it throws her into a spin and at times things just get too much for her. But… remember – trusty friends. There is a mystery about some books, some damage to books and one or two murders.  It takes awhile for all the clues to build up until finally as the reader you start to suspect just one or two.

The mystery is just part of the book’s appeal, this book and others in the series is full of book talk. Enough to delight any reader’s heart aside from murder and mystery. I was really pleased to note I knew of some of the books and had read some of them. It’s such fun to see what books crop up. Plus the bookshop with Nora and the wonderful helper Sheldon provide book happiness.

Another cozy mystery in this series that furthers the characters stories and makes me already looking forward to another.