Spotlight/US Giveaway: The Fever by Megan Abbott

the fever

ABOUT THE BOOK:
The panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community.

In the idyllic community of Dryden, Tom Nash is a popular high school teacher and the father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and Deenie, a diligent student with a close-knit group of friends-who are all horrified one day in class when Deenie’s best friend, Lise, is struck by a terrifying, brutal, and unexplained seizure. As Lise clings to life in the hospital, the seizures systematically infect more teenage girls, one by one, sending the entire town into terrified, questioning chaos. Is there a dangerous virus at work? Is it something in the school itself? Are the girls faking it? Who or what is to blame-and who will be next?

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town’s fragile idea of security.

 

EARLY PRAISE FOR THE FEVER:
“An unforgettable inquiry into the emotional lives of young people… It’s also a powerful portrait of community, with interesting echoes of The Crucible…Abbott may be on her way to becoming a major writer.”–Booklist, Starred Review

“Thrilling...a gripping story fueled by razor-sharp treachery, jealousy, hormones, and the insecurities of teenage girls.”–Publishers Weekly

“The book to beat… in the “Is it the next ‘Gone Girl’?” sweepstakes.”–Janet Maslin, New York Times 

“The lives of teenage girls are dangerous, beautiful things in Abbott’s stunning novel… Abbott expertly ratchet[s] up the suspense…nothing should be taken at fact value.” –Kirkus, Starred Review

“THE FEVER is deliciously, page-turningly ‘no, no, leave me alone, I’m almost done!’ Abbott nails both the reality of being a teenage girl and the hyper-reality of memory.” –BookRiot

“No one understands the social dynamics of teenage girls better than Megan Abbott…settling into THE FEVER, one realizes that Abbott is setting a rhythm, one that’s measured and paced with the brilliance of one of the best living mystery writers.” –Grantland


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Megan Abbott is the Edgar Award-winning author of six previous novels. Her writing has appeared in the New1R_Megan_Abbott_(credit_Drew_Reilly)[1] York Times, Salon, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, The Believer, Los Angeles Review of Books, Detroit Noirand Queens Noir among other places. She received her PhD in literature from New York University. She lives in New York and recently served as the John Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi. Currently, she is working on the screenplay for her novel, Dare Me, soon to be a major motion picture.

Author photo credit: Drew Reilly

THE FEVER BOOK TOUR:
June 17, 7:00pm ET | Book Court | Brooklyn, NY 
June 18, 7:00pm ET | WORD with Julia Fiero | Brooklyn, NY 
June 20, 7:00pm ET |Brookline Booksmith with Stona Fitch | Brookline, MA 
June 22, 3:00pm ET | Nicola’s Books | Ann Arbor, MI 
June 23, 7:00pm ET | Barnes and Noble | Troy, MI 
June 24, 5:00pm ET | Square Books | Oxford, MS 
June 25, 6:30pm CT | Murder by the Book | Houston, TX 
June 26, 7:00pm CT | Book People | Austin, TX 
July 1, 7:00pm MT | Poisoned Pen with Jeff Abbott | Phoenix, AZ

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GIVEAWAY

One lucky reader from the US will win a copy of The Fever

Please click here to enter

GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED

Spotlight and Giveaway (US): The Glass Kitchen by Linda Francis Lee

the glass kitchen (July)The Glass Kitchen (St. Martin’s Press; June 17, 2014) by Linda Francis Lee is a novel about three Texas belles who move to New York City to open a restaurant all the while discovering the basic principles about family, true love, and ultimately food.

Echoing Shakespeare’s The Tempest, The Glass Kitchen follows Portia Cuthcart as she flees Texas in a storm of controversy and is washed up on the island of Manhattan with no job and no money. But what she does have are her grandmother’s magical cookbooks that have been passed down through generations of women. Portia is a talented cook born with the “knowing” – an amazing ability to know what to serve on what occasions and predict events that have not yet occurred. Even though she has suppressed this feat for years, Portia must decide whether or not to use it again when she meets her widowed neighbor, Gabriel Kane, who has his hands full with two daughters on the cusp of womanhood and a family full of secrets, rivalries, and betrayals. With the help of her sisters and an unlikely hero, will Portia be able to claim what she wants deep down inside?

Separated into a six-course meal and filled with numerous mouth-watering recipes and meal plans, The Glass Kitchen is sure to tickle your taste buds and delight your senses. Linda Francis Lee will have you hooked from cover-to-cover.

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About the author:

LINDA FRANCIS LEE is a native Texan now living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The author of twenty books that are linda francis lee picpublished in twenty countries, when Linda isn’t writing she loves to run in Central Park and spend time with her husband, family, and friends.

Buy the book

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Giveaway (US)

Please click here for a chance to win one copy of The Glass Kitchen

GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED

ALSO:

Check out the Sweeps for a chance to win a Kitchen-Aid Mixer

Sweeps ends June 30, 2014

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

looking for salvation at the DQ autumn getaway (LTER) evergreen (July8)

Last week on Bookfan:

Currently reading:

  • The House on Mermaid Point by Wendy Wax

I also won a gift card from Suko’s Notebook. It was in celebration of her 6th Blogiversary. How lucky am I? I can’t wait to buy some books :)

 

Happy reading!

Review/Giveaway (US): Under a Summer Sky by Nan Rossiter

Under a Summer Sky (June)

  • Title:  Under a Summer Sky
  • Author:  Nan Rossiter
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction; Christian Fiction
  • Published:  April 2014 – Kensington Books
  • Source:  Author

Synopsis:  The old Cape Cod house that Laney Coleman shares with her minister husband Noah and their five boys is usually brimming with cheerful chaos. There’s nothing fancy about the ancient kitchen or the wooden floors scuffed by the constant parade of activity and the clicking claws of their two Labrador retrievers. It’s a place to savor the sea breeze wafting through the windows, or sip coffee on the porch before another hectic day begins. This summer, life promises to be even busier than usual, because Noah’s younger brother, Micah, wants to hold his upcoming wedding on their property.
Though thrilled that Micah has found happiness after past heartache, Laney is apprehensive about having her home turned upside down. She has other concerns too–her youngest son is being bullied at school, and Noah’s father is not the robust patriarch he once was, in mind or body. As the bride and groom’s large, close-knit families gather, there will be joyful celebration but also unexpected sorrows and revelations, and a chance to store up a lifetime of memories during the fleeting, precious days of summer…  (publisher)

My take:  Nan Rossiter has done it again. She wrote a wonderful multi-generational story that will resonate with many readers. It certainly did with me.  I related most with Laney. She really has her hands full as she balances a job, motherhood and being wife of a minister. She even agrees to host a wedding at their home after her husband volunteers. As most mothers do, she quietly deals with other issues at the same time.

A side note:  when my kids were growing up one of our favorite TV shows to watch together was Seventh Heaven. If you’re unfamiliar with the show it was about the life of a minister, his wife and kids. This novel gave me the same feel as that show – which I think is high praise! We loved it and I enjoyed Under a Summer Sky just as much.

Noah, Laney’s husband, delivered a sermon that struck an emotional chord with me. It was about appreciating and being present in every moment – especially the small moments. You never know when the last time you do something will be the last time. Anyway, when I finished that chapter I had to stop and wipe my eyes.

Under a Summer Sky celebrates family connections and the truly important things in life. I’ll be sharing this novel with my sisters and close friends.

Recommended.

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GIVEAWAY!

Nan Rossiter has offered a copy to a US reader

Please click here to enter

Giveaway is closed

The Never Never Sisters by L. Alison Heller

the never never sisters (June)

  • Title:  The Never Never Sisters
  • Author:  L. Alison Heller
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Published:  June 2014 – NAL Trade
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  Sometimes you just need to get away….  
Marriage counselor Paige Reinhardt is counting down the days to summer, eager to reconnect with her workaholic husband at their cozy rental cottage in the Hamptons. But soon a mysterious crisis at Dave’s work ruins their getaway plans. Paige is still figuring out how to handle the unexplained chill in her marriage when her troubled sister suddenly returns after a two-decade silence. Now, instead of enjoying the lazy summer days along the ocean, Paige is navigating the rocky waters of a forgotten bond with her sister in the sweltering city heat.
 As she attempts to dig deeper into Dave’s work troubles and some long-held family secrets, Paige is shocked to discover how little she knows about the people closest to her. This summer, the self-proclaimed relationship expert will grapple with her biggest challenge yet: Is it worth risking your most precious relationships in order to find yourself?  (publisher)

My take:  I love reading about family dynamics and marriage. I think L. Alison Heller did a great job with both and found myself relating to a few things. All of the characters are interesting and real. When I say that I mean I know people who are similar. They are believable.

The story wasn’t predictable and I enjoyed where she took her characters as they grappled with small and large issues. I wasn’t sure what impact their actions/decisions would have which, along with Heller’s engaging style, kept me reading almost nonstop.

The Never Never Sisters is a novel about love, truth, and trust between family members, spouses, and new friends. I enjoyed it and recommend you add it to your summer reading list. I’ll be adding the author’s first novel The Love Wars to my list.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 L. Alison Heller grew up in Connecticut and attended Bates College in Maine. After graduation, she wandered dreamily authorPhoto L Allison Helleraround the eastern seaboard, temping and interning and shelving books before landing in Chapel Hill, North Carolina where she enrolled at the University of North Carolina School of Law. In 2000, she graduated from UNC with honors and moved to New York City and toiled in several law firms, growing increasingly nostalgic for those days of dreamy wandering. Alison opened her own family law and mediation practice in 2006 to help couples divorce with their sanity intact. Alison currently lives in Brooklyn NY with her family. Alison is the author of THE LOVE WARS (Penguin NAL). Her second novel, THE NEVER NEVER SISTERS (Penguin NAL), is scheduled for June 2014.
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Visit L. Alison Heller’s website

Like her on Facebook

Follow her on twitter

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Purchase The Never Never Sisters:

AMAZON
BARNES & NOBLE
BAM
INDIEBOUND
GOOGLE PLAY
POWELL’S

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

small blessings the elephant whisperer the hurricane sisters the homecoming (August26)

Last week on Bookfan:

  • Mini-reviews:  Fool’s Gold series #4,5,6 by Susan Mallery  (audiobooks)
  • Review:  Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews

Currently reading:

  • Breakwater Bay by Shelley Noble
  • The Hurricane Sisters by Dorothea Benton Frank

Happy reading!

Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews

Save the Date

  • Title:  Save the Date
  • Author:  Mary Kay Andrews
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction; Contemporary Romance
  • Published:  June 2014 – St. Martin’s Press
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  A Savannah florist is about to score the wedding of a lifetime—one that will solidify her career as the go-to-girl for society nuptials. Ironically, Cara Kryzik doesn’t believe in love, even though she creates beautiful flower arrangements to celebrate them. But when the bride goes missing and the wedding is in jeopardy, Cara must find the bride and figure out what she believes in.  Maybe love really does exist outside of fairy tales after all. Told with Mary Kay Andrews’ trademark wit and keen eye for detail, mark your calendars for Save the Date!  (publisher)

My take:  I enjoy Mary Kay Andrews’ novels. I like her wit and eye for detail as mentioned in the synopsis. If you’re not fond of detailed descriptions be ready for a book heavy with wedding flowers and house restoration details. Me? I enjoyed reading about it all.

I also liked Cara and Jack’s story. They had chemistry but are they willing to give in and risk their hearts for a chance at love? There’s a bit of mystery in the disappearance of the bride of the wedding that will solve all of Cara’s financial problems. She has to find that bride! And something is up with Cara’s assistant at the shop.

Will Cara ever catch a break? You’ll have to read to find out. Save the Date is the perfect book to take to the beach this summer.

Mini Reviews: Only Mine; Only Yours; Only His – by Susan Mallery

I decided 2014 is the year for me to catch up in the Fool’s Gold series.

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  • audible only mineTitle:  Only Mine
  • Series:  Fool’s Gold #4
  • Author:  Susan Mallery
  • Narrator:  Tanya Eby
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Published:  July 2011 – Brilliance Corporation
  • Source:  Purchased

Synopsis:  Her town’s lack of men may make headlines, but it isn’t news to Dakota Hendrix. The beautiful blonde has bigger problems to deal with, such as overseeing the romance reality competition filming in Fool’s Gold. Screening eligible bachelors is a difficult enough task, but Dakota hits an unexpected snag when a sexy stranger comes to town. Finn Anderssen will do anything to keep his twin brothers — the perfect contestants — off the show. Despite Dakota’s better judgment, she finds herself drawn to the mysterious outsider. Like her, Finn knows about heartbreak and how a family can fall apart, so she doesn’t dare to hope for anything more than a fling. After all, even in the Land of Happy Endings, finding true love is never as easy as it looks on TV. (publisher)

My take:  The synopsis tells you what you need to know about Only Mine. I liked Dakota and Finn’s story a lot. They are a good match. Life has forced the two to give up on certain dreams. Can they find even better dreams together? I enjoyed finding out! The minor characters had fun story lines which made the book even more entertaining. As usual, Tanya Eby did a nice job with the narration.  Her performance always adds to the story.

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audible only yours

  • Title:  Only Yours
  • Series:  Fool’s Gold #5
  • Author:  Susan Mallery
  • Narrator:  Tanya Eby
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Published:  August 2011 – Brilliance Corporation
  • Source:  Purchased

Synopsis:  Montana Hendrix has found her calling — working with therapy dogs. With a career she loves in a hometown she adores, she’s finally ready to look for her own happily ever after. Could one of her dogs help her find Mr. Right… or maybe Dr. Right? Surgeon Simon Bradley prefers the sterility of the hospital to the messiness of real life, especially when real life includes an accident-prone mutt and a woman whose kisses make him want what he knows he can’t have. Scarred since childhood, he avoids emotional entanglement by moving from place to place to heal children who need his skillful touch. Can his growing feelings for Montana lead him to find a home in Fool’s Gold, or will he walk away, taking her broken heart with him?  (publisher)

My take:  The mayor of Fool’s Gold wants Montana Hendrix to convince Dr. Simon Bradley to put down roots in Fool’s Gold. The hospital needs more good specialists like him but he has no interest in staying in one place for long. He wants to travel the world performing surgery on children who wouldn’t normally have access to world-class care.  He’s also running from any emotional attachments and will not let the likes of Montana Hendrix become a reason to stay. They hit it off but then it becomes more serious and Simon is scared by his feelings for her. Will he be willing to rethink his future? I thought Susan Mallery wrote a touching story and Tanya Eby’s performance was just right.

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audible only his

  • Title:  Only His
  • Series:  Fool’s Gold #6
  • Author:  Susan Mallery
  • Narrator:  Tanya Eby
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Published:  August 2011 – Brilliance Corporation
  • Source:  Purchased

Synopsis: Wedding bells are ringing in Fool’s Gold, but not for Nevada Hendrix. Her triplet sisters are engaged, and even her mother has a more active love life than she does. Determined to make a fresh start, she applies for her dream job, only to discover that her new boss is her first love. Maybe she could overlook the fact that they’ve seen each other naked, but she’ll never forget the way he broke her heart.

Tucker Janack agrees to Nevada’s “business only” ground rules. After all, love is a trap that the construction millionaire has avoided his whole life. But when great business partners turn out to be so much more, every rule gets broken. Will either of them be willing to try again…or will their past get in the way?

My take:  This book was all over the place but nonetheless entertaining. I enjoyed Nevada and Tucker’s story. They have an uncomfortable history but are intent on getting past that. The connected story lines were interesting (Jo’s secret is revealed) and wacky (Cat, the artist who was Tucker’s former lover). Add to that Nevada’s mother who reconnects with her old boyfriend and you’ve got an entertaining book. Tanya Eby’s narration was spot on with all the voices.

Sunday Post

Book arrivals  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

the stories we tell (Sept4)  After I Do (July 1)

Last week on Bookfan:

Currently reading:

  • The Possibilities by Kaui Hart Hemmings

Happy reading!

 

The Glass Kitchen sweeps

the glass kitchen (July)

This summer I’ll post a Spotlight/Giveaway of THE GLASS KITCHEN by Linda Francis Lee and then, a few weeks later, a review. Today I want to tell you about an exciting sweeps.  It’s for a KitchenAid Professional Mixer and 1 of 10 copies of THE GLASS KITCHEN!

For some reason I wasn’t able to get the cool widget to show in my post so please click this link to enter the sweeps. The link takes you to the widget. Good luck!

Eligibility:  Only open to residents of 50 United States and D.C., age 18 and older at the time of entry. Void in Puerto Rico and where otherwise prohibited by law. Employees, and members of their families, of Sponsor, its parent, subsidiaries, and affiliates are not eligible to enter. This promotion is intended for viewing in the United States only and shall only be construed and evaluated according to United States law. You are not authorized to participate in the sweepstakes if you are not located within the United States.”

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About THE GLASS KITCHEN:

With The Glass Kitchen, Linda Francis Lee has served up a novel that is about the courage it takes to follow your heart and be yourself. A true recipe for life. 
Portia Cuthcart never intended to leave Texas. Her dream was to run the Glass Kitchen restaurant her grandmother built decades ago. But after a string of betrayals and the loss of her legacy, Portia is determined to start a new life with her sisters in Manhattan . . . and never cook again. But when she moves into a dilapidated brownstone on the Upper West Side, she meets twelve-year-old Ariel and her widowed father Gabriel, a man with his hands full trying to raise two daughters on his own. Soon, a promise made to her sisters forces Portia back into a world of magical food and swirling emotions, where she must confront everything she has been running from. What seems so simple on the surface is anything but when long-held secrets are revealed, rivalries exposed, and the promise of new love stirs to life like chocolate mixing with cream. 

The Glass Kitchen is a delicious novel, a tempestuous story of a woman washed up on the shores of Manhattan who discovers that a kitchen—like an island—can be a refuge, if only she has the courage to give in to the pull of love, the power of forgiveness, and accept the complications of what it means to be family.  (publisher)

Before We Kiss by Susan Mallery

Before we Kiss

  • Title:  Before We Kis
  • Series:  Fool’s Gold #14
  • Author:  Susan Mallery
  • Published:  May 2014 – Harlequin
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  Former pro-football kicker Sam Ridge has notoriously bad luck with women—from cheaters to fame chasers. Still, the gorgeous brunette at the bar in Fool’s Gold looks harmless—until she takes him home and he discovers a room devoted to securing a man, for life. 
Dellina Hopkins never guessed that storing gowns from a friend’s bridal boutique would chase away her first and only fling. After her parents died, she skipped her “wild youth” to raise her sisters. She doesn’t want forever from Sam, but one night—all night—would’ve been nice. 
His clean getaway gets messy when his firm hires Dellina to plan an event. As long hours lead to late nights, the two succumb to temptation again. Has Sam’s luck finally changed? Or this time, will Dellina be the one to run?  (publisher)

My take:  This book was a lot of fun. Sure it had it’s emotional moments but, that aside, I also laughed a lot while reading it.  Sam and Dellina’s love story was a good one but even more entertaining were their family members. His uninhibited, inappropriate information sharing parents and her sister who had to find a way to make her boyfriend propose after asking him to wait – they added a lot of humor to the story.

Susan Mallery also set up future books in the Fool’s Gold series by having Mayor Marsha take a mysterious trip to New Zealand. I look forward to those books. I can see a never-ending source of books for this series and I’ll probably want to read them all.  Recommended to fans of the series and small town contemporary romance.

Spotlight/Giveaway (US): Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews

Save the Date

ABOUT THE BOOK
With her trademark wit and gift for storytelling, Andrews delivers the perfect bouquet of intrigue and romance when Savannah florist Cara Kryzik lands the wedding of the season. Brooke Trapnell and Harris Strayhorn, part of Savannah’s high society, hire Cara to be their wedding planner for their July wedding at Cabin Creek, the Strayhorn plantation in the South Carolina low country. Cara kicks into high gear, relieved she will finally be able to pay off the debt she owes her father. With only six weeks to plan the wedding, Cara, along with her dependable assistant Bert, is determined to solidify her career as the go-to-girl for society nuptials.

In the midst of all the planning, Cara finds herself falling for Jack Finnerty, the “dognapper” who accidently steals her golden doodle Poppy when she runs out the door one hot summer morning. Recently divorced, Cara no longer believes in love and is focused on keeping her stressed-out clients happy. Until the chic new florist from Charleston, Cullen Kane, decides to open up shop in Savannah and do whatever it takes to destroy her business, and in the process, her relationship with Jack. And when the bride goes missing putting the wedding in jeopardy, Cara must find her and figure out whether love really does exist outside of fairy tales after all.

 PRE-ORDER: 

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books a Million
Indiebound

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mka-author

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mary Kay Andrews is the New York Times bestselling author of 22 novels including Ladies’ Night, Christmas Bliss, Spring Fever, Summer Rental, The Fixer Upper, Deep Dish, Blue Christmas, Savannah Breeze, Hissy Fit, Little Bitty Lies, and Savannah Blues.

 

PRAISE FOR LADIES’ NIGHT (now out in paperback)
“Bestseller Andrews is at the top f her game, delivering a smart, funny, perfect-for-summer read with a hopeful heart.”–Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Her newest novel offers another engaging and satisfying tale of life, loss, and love.” –Booklist

“Andrews presents a delightful novel…A wonderful blend of action, repartee and offbeat characters in a just-plain-fun story. Humorous and witty, and as entertaining as a good night out.” –Kirkus Reviews

“Mary Kay Andrews’ novels have become a summer staple like a new pair of sandals. The New York Times bestselling author returns with the perfectly mixed cocktail of romance, mystery and comedy…” –Raleigh News & Observer

“This is her best book yet, and it combines all of the strengths we have come to expect from this audacious and beguiling author.” –Huffington Post

“Mary Kay Andrews blends heartache and hilarity in a story line filled with surprises.” –Southern Living

“A court-ordered therapy session is the site of the action in Andrews’s zesty, amusing latest…” –People

“If there were a literary genre dedicated to great beach books, the novels of Mary Kay Andrews would set its standard for excellence.” –Cape Gazette

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GIVEAWAY

One copy of SAVE THE DATE to a US reader

Please click here and fill out the form

GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED

Good luck!

The Beekeeper’s Ball by Susan Wiggs

the beekeeper's ball

  • Title:  The Beekeeper’s Ball
  • Series:  Bella Vista Chronicles, #2
  • Author:  Susan Wiggs
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance; Women’s Fiction
  • Published:  June 24, 2014 – Harlequin MIRA
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  Isabel Johansen, a celebrated chef who grew up in the sleepy Sonoma town of Archangel, is transforming her childhood home into a destination cooking school—a unique place for other dreamers to come and learn the culinary arts. Bella Vista’s rambling mission-style hacienda, with its working apple orchards, bountiful gardens and beehives, is the idyllic venue for Isabel’s project…and the perfect place for her to forget the past. 
But Isabel’s carefully ordered plans begin to go awry when swaggering, war-torn journalist Cormac O’Neill arrives to dig up old history. He’s always been better at exposing the lives of others than showing his own closely guarded heart, but the pleasures of small-town life and the searing sensuality of Isabel’s kitchen coax him into revealing a few truths of his own. 
The dreamy sweetness of summer is the perfect time of year for a grand family wedding and the enchanting Beekeeper’s Ball, bringing emotions to a head in a story where the past and present collide to create an unexpected new future.  (publisher)

My take:  Susan Wigg’s lush descriptions drew me right into The Beekeeper’s Ball. Seriously, I’d love to enroll in Isabel’s cooking school and take in all Bella Vista has to offer!

Mac, an accomplished author, has arrived to write Isabel’s grandfather’s story. He was part of the Danish Resistance during WWII and, along with a few other people in Isabel’s life, came to the US when the liberation began. Magnus (the grandfather) has quite a story to tell Mac. He wants to get that story out because the truth needs to be told. That theme winds through the novel. Mac encourages Isabel to tell her truth – to herself and her loved ones. That takes extraordinary courage and she’s not sure she has it in her.

Another storyline is one that involves Isabel’s father. He died in a tragic crash on the day she was born. Isabel never had reason to doubt this truth she’d been told by her grandparents. They raised her because her mother died after giving birth to Isabel. Mystery begins to swirl around this storyline and I expect it to continue in the next book of The Bella Vista Chronicles.

I enjoyed the message of the dual stories in the book:  Magnus and his friends rising to help in the Danish Resistance before moving to a new homeland and Isabel and Mac rising to help the people in their lives. The past is the past. Embrace the future.

Note:  Although I haven’t yet read the first book in the series (The Apple Orchard) I didn’t feel lost. Wiggs did a good job explaining references to events and people from that book.

Mimi Malloy, At Last: A Novel by Julia MacDonnell

Mimi Malloy, At Last!_COVER

  • Title:  Mimi Malloy, At Last
  • Author:  Julia MacDonnell
  • Genre:  Fiction
  • Published:  April 2014 – Picador
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  Meet 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 evenings 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, while 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 “a storage facility for unwanted antiques.”
Mimi knows her mind is (more or less) as sharp as ever, and she won’t go down without a fight. As she prepares to take her stand, she stumbles upon an old pendant of her mother’s and, slowly, her memory starts to return—specifically, recollections of a shocking and painful childhood, a sister who was sent away to Ireland, and the wicked stepmother she swore to forget.

My take:  Mimi Malloy’s daughters are so annoyed that she refuses to take care of herself despite her doctor’s warnings of stroke and certain death. She also will not leave her low-income apartment for a beautiful new senior home. She likes her independence and familiar surroundings, thank you very much.

When Mimi’s sister’s young grandson works on a genealogy project for school Mimi is asked to fill out a family history. She’s not one to live in the past so this is about the last thing she wants to do. After a little pestering she does as asked and that’s when she starts being visited by sisters and others who’ve passed. It’s as if they are leading her to discover details of their early lives that she remembers quite differently from the others.

Julia MacDonnell’s characters seemed so familiar to me. It was like watching and listening to my mother and her sisters gab at reunions when I was a young girl. Were the details the same? No. But the characteristics and era were. They grew up in tough times and had responsibilities way beyond their years. When someone “fell” she tried her best to get back up and move on. As Mimi’s daughters listen to their aunts and mother they realize they didn’t know them as well as they thought.

There’s so much more to the novel. The decisions made during tough times changed lives and are remembered quite differently by Mimi, her sisters, and her daughters. Their acceptance of the various perspectives lead to understanding on a new level.

I really liked this novel of family dynamics and perseverance and will recommend it to family and friends next time we’re together – there’s a reunion this summer!