Blog tour: The Memory Child by Steena Holmes

blog-tour1

Synopsis:  The story of a married couple, Diane and Brian, that learn they are pregnant with their first child has come at an unfortunate time.  Brian is thrilled with the news since he has patiently waited for twelve years to become a father, however Diane is unsure of her excitement.  With her family’s dark past, her recent promotion, and Brian being called away to London for work parenthood has arrived unexpectedly.  When a year has passed and Diane is completely head over heels in love with her precious baby girl, Grace, Brian has still not returned from London.  Diane’s dark past collides with her mysterious new life and the surreal family drama is unveiled.

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the memory child

  • Title:  The Memory Child
  • Author:  Steena Holmes
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Published:  March 2014 – Lake Union Publishing
  • Source:  Publisher/Book Sparks PR

My take: The Memory Child is the first book by Steena Holmes I’ve read. Holmes kept me guessing and turning the pages to find out what was going on in this story. That’s saying a lot because character driven novels aren’t always my cup of tea. Not so with this one. It quietly got inside my brain and didn’t let go until I turned the final page.

My opinion of the characters changed more than once as the story progressed.  I liked that the novel wasn’t predictable and played with my brain a bit.

It’s an eerie and emotional story. If the publisher’s synopsis and my take make it seem like a novel you’d like to read then go get a copy! I’m glad I had the chance to read The Memory Child.

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Steena Holmes grew up in a small town in Canada and holds a bachelor’s degree in theology. She is the author of image001eleven novels and novellas, including Finding Emma, for which she was awarded a National Indie Excellence Book Award in 2012. She currently lives in Calgary with her husband and three daughters, and loves to wake up to the Rocky Mountains each morning.

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:  (linked to Mailbox Monday)  

cloud nine   the love wars the storied life of AJ Fikry(audio) all the difference

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Giveaway winners!

That’s right – two giveaway winners to announce today:

Congratulations to

Patti H.

winner of

Fly Away Cover

Fly Away by Kristin Hannah

Thanks to all who entered the giveaway!

*  *  *

Congratulations to

Anne B.

winner of

steal the north

Steal the North by Heather Brittain Bergstrom

Thanks to all who entered the giveaway!

  • Winners selected by Random.org
  • Giveaway books provided by the publishers

Blog Tour: True Blend by Joanne DeMaio

true blend

  • Title:  True Blend
  • Author:  Joanne DeMaio
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  March 2014 – CreateSpace
  • Source:  Author

Synopsis:  New York Times bestselling author Joanne DeMaio returns to small-town New England in this compelling love story where truth is veiled by secrets.

Vintage bridal shop owner Amy Trewist thinks she’ll never recover her quiet life at her beloved farmhouse on an old country road. Not after her two-year-old daughter Grace is kidnapped in an elaborate crime. On one clear morning, in mere minutes, Grace is gone and Amy’s world spins into a heartbreaking new place.

George Carbone often spends easy time with his brother. Whether at a ballgame or taking a day trip, it’s how they connect. Until one sunny day when the trip is to a bank parking lot and George is drawn into a crime he never sees coming. And into a stricken mother’s life he cannot ignore.

In a summer that simmers with the unsolved crime, George is haunted by a bankroll hidden behind kitchen tiles, by a brother who dragged him into this, and by a father who instilled in him a conscience. A conscience challenged when a young child and beautiful woman crossed paths with him and unexpectedly took hold of his heart.

Set among the red barns, lush cornfields and sparkling wishing fountain of Addison, Connecticut, True Blend is a captivating novel that steals your heart and does not let go. Because like the lace wedding gowns hanging on Amy’s clothesline, waltzing in the summer breeze, love and secrets twist and spin together in their own mesmerizing dance. (publisher)

My take:  True Blend is a bit of a departure from what I’ve come to expect from Joanne DeMaio. Yes, the setting is the small New England town I’d like to visit one day and the characters are likable and believable as usual. What’s different in this novel is the drama that occurs in the opening pages that just wouldn’t let go of me!

Amy, a widow of less than a year, and her two-year-old daughter are running errands when their life suddenly takes a turn in a different direction. Life will never be the same.  George, the man who runs the butcher shop in town, thinks he’s heading to the casino for the day with his brother. That brother has different plans and won’t take no for an answer.

George spends the following weeks doing everything he can to make Amy and Grace feel safe again. Amy’s flashbacks and Grace’s inability to speak seem insurmountable but George does his best to help them. What he didn’t expect was that his feelings for Amy would grow to love. Will she feel the same? And what will happen if she ever finds out the truth about George. What will become of George’s relationship with his only brother?

The pace of the novel is good and kept me turning the pages. I didn’t know how things would end until DeMaio skillfully pulled it all together in the final chapters. I really liked True Blend and recommend it to fans of the author and contemporary fiction.

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Joanne
Author Bio:
Joanne DeMaio is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary fiction. She enjoys writing about friendship, family, love and choices, while setting her stories in New England towns or by the sea. Her fourth novel True Blend was recently published. Currently at work on her next book, Joanne resides with her family in Connecticut. To learn more about the author, visit Joannedemaio.com. She also enjoys hearing from readers on her Facebook Page.
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You can purchase True Blend at Amazon and Barnes & Noble
true blend

Nest by Jorey Hurley

Nest

  • Title:  Nest
  • Author:  Jorey Hurley
  • Genre:  Children; Picture Book
  • Published:  February 2014 - Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
  • Source:  Publisher; Vine

My take:  What a delightful book! Follow a year (or more) in the life of the Robin family. Hurley uses few words to guide the reader but not many are needed. The gentle illustrations in pleasing colors tell the story.

Any young child and older reader will enjoy this book. I think it would be a perfect choice when looking for a book gift – I would give it as a “new baby” gift or to a new grandparent. Nest would be a great addition to any home library.

Sunday Post

Book arrivals  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

Wild Iris Ridge (June24) The Promise (June24) The Tea Shop on Lavender Lane (June24) The Blue Ribbon Jalapeno Society Jubilee

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Spotlight and Giveaway (US): Steal the North by Heather Brittain Bergstrom

steal the north

Vocally graceful and fearlessly intimate, STEAL THE NORTH (Viking; On-sale: April 14, 2014; $27.95; ISBN: 9780670786183), Heather Brittain Bergstrom’s debut novel, is a striking portrait of modern identity, faith, family, and love in all of its forms. The story, which Bergstrom deftly narrates in various voices, centers around Emmy, a California teen who discovers her mother’s past, the family she never knew she had, and an extraordinary love in the land of her birth, eastern Washington state. With atmospheric prose and engaging characters, Bergstrom has delivered a novel that will appeal to literary and commercial fiction readers alike.

Emmy Nolan is a sheltered and introverted sixteen-year-old living in Sacramento with her mom, Kate, when a phone call comes from an aunt she never knew existed. Fifteen years earlier, Kate had abandoned her only sibling, Beth, fleeing their tiny eastern Washington town and the fundamentalist Baptist church that had condemned her as a whore. Beth, who’s pregnant for what she knows is the last time after countless miscarriages, believes her only hope for delivering the baby is Emmy’s participation in a faith healing ceremony.

Emmy reluctantly goes. Despite uncovering her mom’s desperate and painful past, she soon finds she has come home—immediately developing a strong bond with her Aunt Beth and feeling tied to the rugged landscape. Then Emmy meets Reuben Tonasket, the Native American boy who lives next door. Though filled with passion, their love story mirrors those of the generation before them, who fear that their own mistakes are doomed to repeat themselves in Emmy and Reuben.

STEAL THE NORTH is an imaginative and deeply felt debut, one whose characters live at a nearly intolerable level of vulnerability. Yet, as fragile as they may seem, Bergstrom has imbued them with a tremendous inner strength, proving that the idea of home is a spiritual one, that getting over the past is hope for the future, and that the bond between family is truly unbreakable. Reminiscent of Sara Gruen, Sue Monk Kidd, and Ann Patchett, Heather Brittain Bergstrom is a  remarkable new voice in contemporary fiction.

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Bergstrom’s magnetic debut resonates on several levels, but first and foremost it is a poignant story of the love between two mismatched teens… The reader becomes involved in this thoroughly engaging first novel’s denouement because of how perceptively Bergstrom has drawn her central characters.” —Booklist

A strong debut… The book is far more than a story of love or belief, and its layers are peeled away as the narrative progresses. Bergstrom takes the reader so deeply into the characters.” Publishers Weekly

 “A carefully crafted family drama.” —Kirkus

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About the author:  Heather Brittain Bergstrom has won fiction awards from The Atlantic MonthlyThe Chicago TribuneNarrative Magazine and others, and a story was named a distinguished and notable story for The Best American Short Stories in 2010. Her short fiction has been published in several literary journals and anthologies. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing. She is from eastern Washington and now resides in northern California. For more info check out her website at http://heatherbrittainbergstrom.com.

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Giveaway:

The publisher is offering one copy to a reader from the US

Please click here for details and fill out the form

Giveaway has ended

Spotlight and Giveaway (US): Fly Away by Kristin Hannah

Fly Away Cover

BOOK BLURB:  As teenagers in the seventies, Tully Hart and Kate Mularky were inseparable. Tully, with her make-up and her halter tops, was the coolest girl in school. Kate, with her glasses and her high water jeans, was the geeky outsider. But chance and circumstance brought them together and through the decades they were devoted to each other. This was the story of Tully and Kate which began on a quiet street called Firefly Lane. Best friends forever.

But sometimes stories end, and we have to find a way to begin again.

Now, years later, Tully is a woman trying to deal with the loss of her best friend. She wants to fulfill her promise to Kate—to be there for Kate’s children, but it’s a promise she has no idea how to carry out. What does brash, lonely, ambitious Tully know about being part of a family?

Kate’s daughter, sixteen-year-old Marah Ryan, is as lost in her grief as Tully is…until she falls in love with a young man who makes her smile again and leads her into his dangerous, shadowy world.

Tully’s mother, Dorothy Hart, is an unstable woman who abandoned her child too many times in the past and ultimately broke her heart. Now, when Tully is in danger of losing everything and is more vulnerable and alone than she’s been since she put those rough childhood years behind her, Dorothy returns once more, desperate for another chance to be a good mother. But can she be trusted this time? To help her daughter, Dorothy must face her darkest fears and reveal the terrible secret in her past—only then can she become the mother her wounded daughter needs.

In Fly Away, tragedy will bring these three women together and set them on a poignant, powerful journey of redemption. Each has lost her way and they will need each other—and maybe a miracle—to transform their lives…

 

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Hannah_72dpi (2)

KRISTIN HANNAH is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty-one novels. A former lawyer turned writer, she is the mother of one son and lives with her husband in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii. Visit her at www.kristinhannah.com or on Facebook.

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Giveaway of one copy to a reader from the US

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Giveaway closed

Spotlight/Giveaway (US): Mimi Malloy, At Last! by Julia MacDonnell

Mimi Malloy, At Last!_COVERMEET MIMI MALLOY: A daughter of the Great Depression, Mimi was born into an Irish-Catholic brood of seven, and she has done her best to raise six beautiful daughters of her own. Now they’re grown, and Mimi, a divorcée, is unexpectedly retired. But she takes solace in the comforts of her new life: her apartment in the heart of Quincy, the occasional True Blue cigarette, and an evening with Frank Sinatra on the stereo and a highball in her hand. Yet her phone is arguably the busiest in greater Boston—it rings “Day In, Day Out,” as Ol’ Blue Eyes would say. Her surviving sisters love to gab about their girlhood, and her eldest, Cassandra, calls every morning to preach the gospel of assisted living. And when an MRI reveals that Mimi’s brain is filled with black spots—areas of atrophy, her doctor says—it looks like that’s exactly where she’s headed, to spend her days in one of those “storage facilities for unwanted antiques.”

Yet as Mimi prepares to take a stand, she stumbles upon an old pendant, and her memory starts to return—specifically, recollections of a shockingly painful childhood, including her long-lost sister, Fagan, and the wicked stepmother she swore to forget.

Out of the ashes of Mimi’s deeply troubled history, Julia MacDonnell gives us a redemptive story of the family bonds that break us and remake us. MIMI MALLOY, AT LAST! (Picador Hardcover / $25.00 / ISBN: 978-1-250-04154-8 / April 8, 2014) is an unforgettable novel, alive with humor, unexpected romance, and the magic of hard-earned insight: a poignant reminder that it’s never too late to fall in love and that one can always come of age a second time.

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“A triumph and a delight!…I wouldn’t trust anybody who couldn’t fall for Mimi Malloy, At Last!” —Mary Kay Andrews, New York Times bestselling author of Ladies’ Night

“Julia MacDonnell has written a love letter to sisterhood, Frank Sinatra, late-in-life romance, and the enduring ties of family. The book’s narrator calls to mind a Boston Irish Olive Kitteridge, as peppery as she is big-hearted. Mimi Malloy, At Last! will make you laugh, cry and relive your own past.” Sally Koslow, author of The Widow Waltz and The Late, Lamented Molly Marx

“I gulped down Julia MacDonnell’s juicy novel of revealed memories and startling characters….Mimi proves that some revelations take living long enough to have. Extraordinary.” —Molly Peacock, author of The Paper Garden

Mimi Malloy, At Last! is funny, wise, and devastating. Julia MacDonnell writes with tender insight, letting Mimi’s old memories crack the defense of humor, allowing the buried truths of her family and childhood to shine through….I loved it.”
Luanne Rice, New York Times bestselling author

“The end of life becomes an unexpected beginning in Julia MacDonnell’s moving, funny masterpiece about love, memory, and the family ties we sometimes need to untangle. Absolutely captivating.” —Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You and Is This Tomorrow

“I love Mimi! Such a feisty, endearing, hilarious character—yet also very vulnerable as the threads of her painful Irish-American past begin to unravel. Julia MacDonnell’s fluent writing beautifully observes the iniquities of old age and the complexities of family. But also the benefits of both. What a wonderful book.” —Hilary Boyd, author of Thursdays in the Park

“Humorous and poignant… MacDonnell captures perfectly the family dynamics between sisters, mothers, and daughters, as if she were sitting in on their gab sessions, taking copious notes. For readers who enjoy Maeve Binchy and Rosamunde Pilcher, this is a highly engaging family chronicle, with a healthy dose of Irish history laced in as well.”—Deborah Donovan, Booklist

“Lightened by her sharp wit, feisty Mimi’s saga is a sometimes troubling but ultimately triumphant tale of aging, the Boston Irish immigrant experience, and redemption. MacDonnell’s first novel in 20 years (after A Year of Favor) will appeal to anyone who loves a good story with a strong heroine.”
—Library Journal, Nancy H. Fontaine, Norwich Public Library

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Julia MacDonnell_cred_Gabriel P. ChangJULIA MACDONNELL’s fiction has been published in many literary magazines, and her story “Soy Paco” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her journalism has appeared in The Boston Globe, the New York Daily News, and the Columbia Journalism Review, among other publications. A tenured professor at Rowan University, she is the nonfiction editor of Philadelphia Stories. This is her first novel in twenty years.

Photo credit: Gabriel P. Chan

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Giveaway

One copy to a reader from the US

Please click this link to fill out form

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Sunday Post

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Under a Summer Sky (June)  the glass kitchen (July)  Homecoming Nowhere But Home

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  • Mimi Malloy, At Last by Julia MacDonnell

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 US Giveaways alert!

Mimi Malloy, At Last!_COVER Fly Away Cover steal the north

I’m heading out for some R&R this week but I’ve scheduled some giveaways on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Check back and enter the giveaways. Good luck!

Happy reading!

 

Betting the Rainbow by Jodi Thomas

betting the rainbow (April 3)

  • Title:  Betting the Rainbow
  • Series:  Harmony, #7
  • Author:  Jodi Thomas
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Published:  April 2014 – Berkley
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis: Sisters Abby and Dusti Delaney have spent their entire lives on Rainbow Lane, but they dream of something bigger. So when a poker tournament comes to town, Dusti is determined to win enough money to pay for Abby to finish school. Enlisting expert Kieran O’Toole to teach her the game, Dusti feels the sparks fly as they play their hands. But Kieran refuses to stand in the way of her dream, even if it means losing her forever…
After a year of traveling, Ronny Logan is settling into a home on Rainbow Lane, but that’s all the settling she’ll be doing. Ronny refuses to fall for anyone, regardless of the chemistry she has with her neighbor Austin Hawk. Still, something undeniable begins to grow between the two loners — if only they can let their barriers fall and open their hearts… (publisher)

My take:  If you’re a fan of the Harmony series I have no doubt you’ll love Betting the Rainbow. If you haven’t read any of the Harmony series you’ll want to start with the first book (Welcome to Harmony) and enjoy getting to know the fine people of this small Texas town. It’s one of my favorite series!

So, now that I’ve gushed a bit about Jodi Thomas’s books let me tell you about the newest. A few lingering plots from previous books come to the forefront in Betting the Rainbow. Ronny is just back from a world tour that began after losing her first love. She’s taking some time to herself at a secluded lake rental just outside of Harmony. Turns out there’s a neighbor and he quietly works his way into her life and heart – at the same time she does the same to him. I enjoyed watching an unexpected love develop between Ronny and Austin.

More than a lingering plot, Reagan and Noah find themselves splitting up until a surprise is found in one of Rea’s apple crates. Rea comes up with an ultimatum for Noah but doesn’t put it into words. He has to decide where he’ll allow life to take him all on his own. These two have been dancing around each other since the first book. We’ve seen them grow and mature and fall in love.

And then there are some new characters: Abby and her sister Dusti. They had to give up their dreams to take care of their sick mother and the farm. Now they exist trying to keep the farm afloat while thinking about where they wish they were. With the chance to win some money that would enable their dreams to start to come true Dusti enlists their childhood friend Kieran to teach her how to win at poker. He’ll do it but wonders what he stands to lose by getting close to the girl of his dreams.

I love the down-home warmth of Thomas’s stories and characters. The narrative always makes me feel like she’s telling me the story. My eyes are closed and I’m listening to a warm, comforting voice telling me about the town of Harmony and the people who live there. And when I turn the last page I smile. Every book, every time.

Guest blog by Jodi Thomas author of Betting the Rainbow

betting the rainbow (April 3)Whenever I start a book I always begin with the research. One by one the characters come to me, sit down and begin telling me their story. As I start to write I always find I have to do research.
You’d think after 40 books that I’d know all about Texas, but that will never be true I’m afraid. The research took me in a direction I never expected in BETTING THE RAINBOW. As with all my books I like to tell more than one story at a time but those stories weave around one another making readers feel like they are moving through a town with people getting mixed up in the problems of others at the same time they try to solve their own mysteries.

The story in BETTING THE RAINBOW is set amid a few weeks of summer when the whole town becomes involved in a fund raiser to benefit the town library. Instead of the usual things groups do to raise money, the friends of the library decide to hold a poker night with a grand prize being a buy-in to a huge game in Las Vegas.

Dusti Delaney sees the game as her one chance to change her and her sister’s lives. Betting the rainbow is a term used in poker when a player decides to bet it all on one pot and that is what Dusti is willing to do.

Only problem for me as the writer…I didn’t know how to play poker. Research. I talked a friend into taking me to a weekly game out in the country. Thirty bucks later, I had the basics of how to play. Next I read every book I could find on Texas Hold’em and how women survive in the game. I talked to poker players and asked endless questions. Then, one called me to join her at the Cracker Barrel for breakfast. In the middle of our pancakes she said, “I’m going to Vegas to play next week. Come along with me.” I booked my plane, talked a friend into going with me, and packed before lunch. I wasn’t there to watch the game. I was there to watch the people.

So, come along with me on a great adventure with the people of Harmony as they hunt wild hogs, learn to play poker and fall in love on a lake off Rainbow Lane.

Life is a gamble and like Kenny Rogers says, “You got to know when to hold’em. Know when to fold’em. And know when to walk away.”

I’m betting you’ll walk away happy when you finish BETTING THE RAINBOW.

Jodi Thomas

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BETTING THE RAINBOW Release date: April 1, 2014 Publisher: Berkley
ISBN: 978-0-425-26840-7 Retail price: USA $7.99

Order BETTING THE RAINBOW at  www.jodithomas.com 

Thomas is a master at creating damaged yet appealing characters, and their expressions of love — as siblings, as friends, as partners — are intense and beautiful. Their paths to happiness are interwoven in an intricate tapestry with the tournament as backdrop, combining in an epic tale of the kind of love that lasts forever – Publishers Weekly (starred review) on BETTING THE RAINBOW. 

jodithomas

Jodi Thomas is the NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of 39 novels and 12 short story collections. A four-time RITA winner, Jodi currently serves as the Writer in Residence at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.
Author Links:

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Thanks for visiting, Jodi. I like the unique library fundraiser and the research you did for the story :)  I hope readers will come back later today to read my review of BETTING THE RAINBOW.  Hint: I loved it!

The Comfort of Lies by Randy Susan Meyers

the comfort of lies

  • Title:  The Comfort of Lies
  • Author:  Randy Susan Meyers
  • Genre:  Fiction
  • Published:  January 2014 (paperback) – Washington Square Press
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  Five years ago… Tia fell into obsessive love with a man she could never have. When she became pregnant, Nathan disappeared, and she gave up their baby for adoption.  Caroline reluctantly adopted a baby to please her husband. Now she’s questioning whether she’s cut out for the role of wife and mother. Juliette considered her life ideal: solid marriage, two beautiful sons, and a thriving business. Then she discovered Nathan’s affair. He promised he’d never stray again, and she trusted him.

Now… When Juliette intercepts a letter to her husband that contains pictures of a child who deeply resembles him, her world crumbles once more. How could Nathan deny his daughter? What other secrets is he hiding? Desperate for the truth, Juliette goes in search of the little girl, and before long the three women are on a collision course with consequences that none of them could have predicted.  (publisher)

My take:  The Comfort of Lies is a story about the fall-out from an affair between a married father of two and the 24 years old woman who worked for him. When she conceives he ends the affair and confesses to his wife. The story really becomes one of how the affair affects many people: Nathan’s family, Tia – the young woman, the adoptive couple, and Savannah – the child.

This is one of those books that is impossible not to become emotionally invested. Meyers’ characters are so well-wrought that it was easy for me to feel at least a bit of sympathy for most. Written from the various characters’ POV the reader learns details that flesh out each character. This story is not just about the affair. Each character grapples with issues that  readers will connect with to some degree.

I’ve thought about this novel quite a bit since finishing – one of my signs of a good book. I liked it and think it would be a great choice for book clubs. There’s a readers guide included.

Sunday Post

Book arrivals  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

down by the river by L. Stepp (May27) the danger in tempting an earl (July29) the hitwoman and the family jewels how about never - is never good for you?

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  • Review: Four Friends by Robyn Carr
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Come Home to Me by Brenda Novak

come home to me

  • Title:  Come Home to Me
  • Series:  Whiskey Creek, #6
  • Author:  Brenda Novak
  • Genre:  Romance
  • Published:  March 2014 – Harlequin MIRA
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis: Home is where her heart is. When Presley Christensen returns to Whiskey Creek with her little boy after two years away, she has completely changed her life. She’s made peace with her past and overcome the negative behavior that resulted from her difficult childhood. Now she’s back in the small town that was the closest thing to “home” she ever knew — the town where she can be with the sister who’s her only family. 

There’s just one catch. Aaron Amos still lives in Whiskey Creek, at least until he moves to Reno to open a branch of the Amos brothers’ auto body shop. And no matter how hard she’s tried, Presley hasn’t been able to get over him. Seeing him again makes the longing so much worse. But she hopes she can get through the next few months, because she can’t fall back into his arms…or his bed. She’s come too far to backslide now. And there’s a secret she’s been guarding — a secret she’ll do anything to protect.  (publisher)

My take:  Usually when you get to the sixth book in a series the reader has expectations of former secondary characters getting their time in the spotlight and most likely finding their happily-ever-after. In that regard, Brenda Novak’s sixth book in the Whiskey Creek series fits the mold.

What I didn’t expect was a secret (other than the one alluded to in the synopsis) that will probably threaten the future of the people who think they’re doing the right thing for the happiness of another character. 

Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.  - Sir Walter Scott

That secret was a major distraction to my reading experience. While I liked that Presley and Aaron had worked hard on their personal growth and had positive goals and ambitions I couldn’t get past their participation in a plan that will have a lasting impact on the lives of many.

So, it may seem like I didn’t like Come Home to Me but I like getting emotionally involved in the outcome of any book I read. This book definitely evoked emotions and I look forward to the continuation of “the secret” story line in which the characters involved will hopefully come to their senses!

Four Friends by Robyn Carr

four friends

  • Title:  Four Friends
  • Author:  Robyn Carr
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Published:  March 2014 – Harlequin MIRA
  • Source:  Publisher

My take:  From time to time Robyn Carr writes straight Women’s Fiction. She’s one of my favorite Romance authors but I’ve enjoyed her other novels as well.

In Four Friends we meet, well, four friends whose lives are about to change. The novel opens with Andy tossing her husband’s things on the front yard while her friends wait for her to join them on their regular early morning walk. She’s had it with his refusal to keep their marriage vows – so marks the end of her second marriage.

Sonja, the meditation and yoga loving friend, soon hears her husband say he can’t take her controlling ways anymore and he’s leaving.

Gerri, the friend who seems to have it all – great husband, kids, job – is shocked by information unwittingly revealed to her that will change life as she knows it.

And then there’s BJ, the new neighbor on the block who ignores the other three – until she doesn’t. She’ll become important to them all in ways they never expected. And they’ll do the same for her.

I really enjoyed Four Friends and I think women of a certain age will as well. I liked how Carr addressed, in a relatable way,  the issues being experienced by the women. They all find themselves reassessing and redefining what’s important. I think many readers will be able to see a bit of themselves in one or maybe more of the friends.

I think Four Friends would provide good discussion for a book group. There’s a readers’ guide included at the end.

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Blossom Street Brides by Debbie Macomber

blossom street brides (vine)

  • Title:  Blossom Street Brides
  • Series:  Blossom Street, #10
  • Author:  Debbie Macomber
  • Genre:  Romance
  • Published:  March 25, 2014 – Ballantine Books
  • Source:  Publisher

My take:  I love my visits to Blossom Street.  I haven’t read all of the previous books but I plan to.  This time we catch up with Lydia, the owner of the yarn shop on Blossom Street – A Good Yarn. Life is good for Lydia, her husband and two children. Her mother has health issues that concern her but daughter Casey dotes upon her grandmother which eases Lydia’s worries a bit. These days Lydia is trying to solve the mystery of who is placing baskets of knitting projects around the city with directions to take the finished project to A Good Yarn. Business sure has picked up!

Lydia’s display window features a baby blanket that catches the eye of almost everyone. She has trouble keeping the yarn for the project in stock. Two women in particular are waiting for the next order to arrive. Lauren, a young woman who works down the street wants to knit the blanket for the baby her younger sister expects. Lauren would give anything to be married and pregnant. Bethanne just found out her son and his wife are expecting. She can’t wait to start knitting for her first grandchild.

After realizing her long-time boyfriend has no intention of proposing Lauren puts together a “husband list” – a list of qualities she wants in a husband. She’ll soon find that what she always thought was important is not what she really wants.

Bethanne is a newlywed and living in Seattle while her husband lives in California.  They see each other on weekends and know they can’t keep living this way. Bethanne’s daughter refuses to give her blessing to her stepfather. After all, her father wanted to reunite with her mother when his second marriage (the one he left his family for) fell apart. Bethanne feels torn between her new life and her daughter.

Blossom Street Brides is typical Debbie Macomber. She writes good stories that are quite addicting – at least they are to me! She has such an easy style that grabs me from the first page and leaves me smiling as I turn the last. I can’t wait for my next visit to Blossom Street.