Review/US Giveaway: The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews

  • the weekendersTitle:  The Weekenders
  • Author:  Mary Kay Andrews
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Pages:  464
  • Published:  May 2016 – St. Martin’s Press
  • Source:  Tandem Literary

Description:  Some people stay all summer long on the idyllic island of Belle Isle, North Carolina. Others come only for the weekends–and the mix between the regulars and “the weekenders” can sometimes make the sparks fly. Riley Griggs has a season of good times with friends and family ahead of her on Belle Isle when things take an unexpected turn. While waiting for her husband to arrive on the ferry one Friday afternoon, Riley is confronted by a process server who thrusts papers into her hand. And her husband is nowhere to be found.

So she turns to her island friends for help and support, but it turns out that each of them has their own secrets, and the clock is ticking as the mystery deepens…in a murderous way. Cocktail parties aside, Riley must find a way to investigate the secrets of Belle Island, the husband she might not really know, and the summer that could change everything. (publisher)

My take: It’s Memorial Day weekend and Riley Griggs and her daughter are waiting to board the ferry over to Belle Isle for the start of the summer season. She’s upset that her husband is a no-show since he promised he’d be there. Little does she know he’s gone – forever.

There’s a mystery (or two) to solve, some romance, and a gorgeous setting. There are some difficult family relationships especially between Riley and her mother and Riley and her daughter. Lets just say the apples didn’t fall far from the trees and the frustration of each was understandable at different times.

The Weekenders is a typical Mary Kay Andrews summer beach read. As you might expect from one of her novels there are a smattering of quirky characters, a great best-friend for Riley, and a pretty wonderful love interest for her too. I enjoyed it all and recommend you find time to read it this summer.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mary Kay Andrews is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Beach Town, Save the Date, Ladies’ Night, Christmas Bliss, Spring Fever, and Summer Rental, all from St. Martin’s Press, as well as The Fixer Upper, Deep Dish, Blue Christmas, Savannah Breeze, Hissy Fit, Little Bitty Lies, and Savannah Blues, all HarperPerennial. On May 17, 2016, St. Martin’s Press will release her 24th novel, THE WEEKENDERS. A former journalist for
The Atlanta Journal Constitution, she divides her time between Atlanta and Tybee Island, Georgia.


PRAISE FOR THE WEEKENDERS:

“Andrews blends romance, intrigue, and soap-opera-like twists in this entertaining novel about a gossipy beach town.”—Booklist

 “As her fans can already attest, Andrews has this ‘perfect beach read’ label down pat — and then some. The Weekenders is not just good, it is beyond good… Summer doesn’t truly begin without a Mary Kay Andrews book in your beach bag, so here is another winner and Top Pick just for you.”—RT Book Reviews

 “Your house has been foreclosed. Your husband is AWOL. An old flame has rematerialized. How could things get worse? Uh, your daughter’s entering puberty? That’s the kettle of fish in which the Queen of the Summer Read dumps our heroine in the fun and frothy The weekenders. Think sun, sand, romance, drama and a fine sheen of witty commentary.”—AARP


US Giveaway

Please click here and fill out the form

the weekenders

Wedding Girl by Stacey Ballis

  • wedding girl (5:19 blog tour)Title:  Wedding Girl: A Novel
  • Author:  Stacey Ballis
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Pages:  416
  • Published:  May 2016 – Berkley
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  Top pastry chef Sophie Bernstein and her sommelier fiancé were set to have Chicago’s culinary wedding of the year…until the groom eloped with someone else in a very public debacle, leaving Sophie splashed across the tabloids—fifty grand in debt on her dream wedding and one-hundred percent screwed on her dream life. The icing on the cake was when she lost her job and her home…
 
Laying low, Sophie moves in with her grandmother, Bubbles. That way, she can keep Bubbles and her sweater-wearing pug company and nurse her broken heart. But when Sophie gets a part-time job at the old-fashioned neighborhood bakery, she finds herself up to her elbows in dough and reluctantly giving a wedding cake customer advice on everything from gift bags to guest accommodations. Before she knows it, she’s an online wedding planner. It’s not mousse and macarons, but it pays the bills. But with the arrival of unexpected personal and professional twists, Sophie wonders if she’s really moving forward—or starting over from scratch…  (publisher)

My take: Sophie and her grandmother love an evening spent on the couch watching an old black and white movie. That’s kind of what this novel reminded me of – an entertaining and sweet, feel-good movie.

For the most part I really liked Sophie and I loved Bubbles, her grandmother. Bubbles added colorful comedy to Sophie’s world. She also kept her grounded while Sophie’s entire world  threw her curveballs. Her life does a 180° turn in the opening pages of the novel when her fiancé doesn’t show for their wedding. She’s left holding the bill for the extravagant wedding and eventually loses her job thus setting the plot up for the novel. And that’s just the start of the changes Sophie will deal with. I was cheering her on all the way.

I enjoyed Stacey Ballis’s novel about second chances, reconfigured futures, and unexpected possibilities. Filled with fun secondary characters, cozy Chicago neighborhoods, and fabulous food (and recipes) Wedding Girl was my kind of book. I recommend it to fans of the author, romantic stories, and foodie fiction.

The Ones Who Matter Most by Rachael Herron

  • The Ones Who Matter Most (NAL Tour)Title:  The Ones Who Matter Most
  • Author:  Rachael Herron
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Pages:  432
  • Published:  April 2016 – NAL
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  After her husband dies unexpectedly, Abby Roberts comes across something startling: wedding photographs of him with another woman, along with pictures of a baby boy. Shocked, Abby does something utterly impulsive: She embarks on a journey to discover the family her husband apparently left behind.

Money has always been tight for single mom Fern Reyes, and never tighter than now. But this month, in place of a child-support check, her ex’s pretty, privileged wife appears on her doorstep with far too many questions. Unfortunately, her young son is so taken with Abby that Fern doesn’t have the heart to send her away.

What begins as one woman’s search for truth becomes a deep bond forged between the unlikeliest of people, and the discovery that there are many ways to make a family—as long as you take care…

CONVERSATION GUIDE INCLUDED  (publisher)

My take:  I was immediately drawn into this story of two women trying to hold their heads above water. One, Abby, is newly widowed and finds out her husband was hiding another life from her. The other, Fern, drives a city bus to support her young son, ex father-in-law, and an elderly woman who lives with them. She’s not even close to making ends meet so when her monthly check from her ex doesn’t arrive she doesn’t know what she’ll do. When Abby finds out about Fern she feels compelled to get to know her.

Could these two even be in the same room together – much less, become friends? And what happens when they try? I loved Rachael Herron’s story. Even though the two main characters could be annoying at times I felt enormous sympathy for each woman. In other words, they were very human. Fern’s eleven-year-old son Matias was so endearing and quite astute in figuring out the adults in his life. The other characters (Fern’s brother, boyfriend, father-in-law and Elva) gave depth to the novel.

I loved that Abby was a botanist who carried different flowers, etc in her pocket to get various results, feelings. If only she could figure out what to carry to get the happiness she craved. If only she believed she deserved it. Fern was a tough nut – she had to be. She would protect her loved ones at all costs and she didn’t want Abby coming in and stealing her family. But one day things changed and Fern was forced to reconsider everything.

I think fans of women’s fiction, stories about what makes a family, and Rachael Herron will enjoy this novel as much as I did.

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

Happy Ever After in Christmas (6:28) The Angel's Share (7:26) the space between sisters (6:14)

Monsters- A Love Story swear on this life (blog tour 8:11) the wedding sisters (6:7)

Last week on Bookfan:

  • Review:  Britt-Marie was Here by Fredrik Backman
  • Review:  The Obsession by Nora Roberts

Britt-Marie Was Here (5:10)   The Obsession

Reading schedule for this week:

the weekenders

 

The Obsession by Nora Roberts

  • The ObsessionTitle:  The Obsession
  • Author:  Nora Roberts
  • Pages:  453
  • Genre:  Thriller; Romantic Suspense
  • Published:  April 2016 – Berkley
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  Naomi Bowes lost her innocence the night she followed her father into the woods.  In freeing the girl she found trapped in a root cellar, Naomi revealed the horrible extent of her father’s crimes and made him infamous.  

Now a successful photographer living under the name Naomi Carson, she has found a place that calls to her, thousands of miles away from everything she’s ever known. Naomi wants to embrace the solitude, but the residents of Sunrise Cove keep forcing her to open up—especially the determined Xander Keaton. 

Naomi’s new life clicks into place as easily as the photographs that are her livelihood.  But even with her new loves—including an adopted mutt, a rambling fixer-upper, and, eventually Xander—darkness follows her.  As she finds herself at home and at peace in Sunrise Cove, moving on and creating a foundation she’s not had since she fled West Virginia after her father’s horrific crimes, she realizes all too soon that her past is still not buried.  And as much as she wants to build a life, someone wants to tear hers down.  (publisher)

My take:  So, if you’re a regular reader of Bookfan you know I don’t read many thrillers. It’s a genre I’m making a point to read more of in 2016. The latest one is The Obsession by Nora Roberts.  I liked it! I think what worked for me is that Roberts put the initial crime out there in the first chapter and then veered away from it to the main character and the effect the crime had on her life.

After discovering a crime when she was eleven years old Naomi has lived her life in small bits, leaving a place when people found out who she was and where she came from. That eventually brought her to an old house in need of renovation in Washington state. Roberts devoted chapters to the renovation of the house – I liked that – and Naomi’s immersion in the small town. She experiences life as never before and believes she can really put down roots in this place. But can she keep the past from catching up with her?

Roberts’ story kept me turning the pages and wondering how everything would turn out. I would definitely read more of her thrillers/romantic suspense and recommend The Obsession to fans of the author, genre and maybe reluctant thriller readers – like me!

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

  • Britt-Marie Was Here (5:10)Title:  Britt-Marie Was Here
  • Author:  Fredrik Backman
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Pages:  336
  • Published:  May 2016 – Atria Books
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  Britt-Marie can’t stand mess. She eats dinner at precisely the right time and starts her day at six in the morning because only lunatics wake up later than that. And she is not passive-aggressive. Not in the least. It’s just that sometimes people interpret her helpful suggestions as criticisms, which is certainly not her intention.

But at sixty-three, Britt-Marie has had enough. She finally walks out on her loveless forty-year marriage and finds a job in the only place she can: Borg, a small, derelict town devastated by the financial crisis. For the fastidious Britt-Marie, this new world of noisy children, muddy floors, and a roommate who is a rat (literally), is a hard adjustment.

As for the citizens of Borg, with everything that they know crumbling around them, the only thing that they have left to hold onto is something Britt-Marie absolutely loathes: their love of soccer. When the village’s youth team becomes desperate for a coach, they set their sights on her. She’s the least likely candidate, but their need is obvious and there is no one else to do it.

Thus begins a beautiful and unlikely partnership. In her new role as reluctant mentor to these lost young boys and girls, Britt-Marie soon finds herself becoming increasingly vital to the community. And even more surprisingly, she is the object of romantic desire for a friendly and handsome local policeman named Sven. In this world of oddballs and misfits, can Britt-Marie finally find a place where she belongs?  (publisher)

My take:  The light went out in Britt-Marie’s life when she was a young girl. Feeling pretty much invisible she lives a thankless life that lacks passion.  She finally decides to leave that life and winds up in a small town as their rec center manager. This is funny because she doesn’t know the first thing about managing a recreation center. She’s really good at cleaning though…

The town is populated with quirky characters – some who sneak up on you and break your heart. Britt-Marie has found a place where, little by little, people see her, appreciate her, and maybe even need her. She starts to find hope and a chance for a new start. Will she take that chance?

It took me a while to warm up to this novel but once I did, I really liked it. I think if you enjoyed A Man Called Ove, Backman’s first novel, you might like Britt-Marie Was Here. The author again addressed the human condition in a relatable way that now makes me smile thinking back on the people of Borg.

US Giveaway: Finding Fraser by K.C. Dyer

finding fraser

Escape to Scotland with the delightful new novel that readers have fallen in love with—inspired by Diana Gabaldon’s #1 New York Times bestselling Outlander series.

I met Jamie Fraser when I was nineteen years old. He was tall, red-headed, and at our first meeting at least, a virgin. He was, in fact, the perfect man.
That he was fictional hardly entered into it…

On the cusp of thirty, Emma Sheridan is desperately in need of a change. After a string of failed relationships, she can admit that no man has ever lived up to her idea of perfection: the Scottish fictional star of romantic fantasies the world over—James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser.

Her ideal man might be ripped from the pages of a book, but Emma hopes that by making one life-altering decision she might be able to turn fiction into fact. After selling all her worldly possessions, Emma takes off for Scotland with nothing but her burgeoning travel blog to confide in.

But as she scours the country’s rolling green hills and crumbling castles, Emma discovers that in searching for her own Jamie Fraser, she just might find herself.


US Giveaway

Please click here and fill out the form

GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED

finding fraser

 

The Girl From Home by Adam Mitzner

  • the-girl-from-home-9781476764283_hrTitle:  The Girl From Home
  • Author:  Adam Mitzner
  • Genre:  Thriller
  • Pages:  336
  • Published:  April 2016 – Gallery Books
  • Source:  Publisher; FSB Associates

Description:  The acclaimed author, whose recent novel of suspense Losing Faith was declared “startling . . . a well-crafted story” (Kirkus Reviews), takes you on a gripping psychological thrill ride in this electrifying tale of a millionaire who will go to deadly lengths to get what he wants.

Jonathan Caine is a true master of the universe — a currency wizard with a trophy wife, a penthouse condo with a view of the Statue of Liberty, and the desire for more — when his world comes crashing down, spiraling him into a relentless fall from grace. Devastated, Jonathan returns to his hometown to care for his ailing father and attend his twenty-fifth high school reunion, where he becomes reacquainted with former prom queen Jacqueline Williams. Back in the day, Jackie didn’t even know Jonathan existed. Now she is intrigued by the man he has become. But their budding relationship has problems, not the least of which is Jackie’s jealous and abusive husband. Jonathan is determined to learn from his mistakes, but is he capable of complete transformation? Or will a shocking temptation test his desire for redemption beyond anything he could have imagined?  (publisher)

My take:  Jonathan Caine is a man who wants what he wants. Motivated by events that occurred when he was a child he’s willing to do almost anything to get what he wants, what will bring him happiness. He charts his own course and eventually ends up on the wrong side of the law. And that’s just the start of his downturn. 

Out of a job he goes home to New Jersey to look after his ill father. While there he connects with the girl (Jackie) of his dreams from high school at their 25th class reunion. This connection buoys him along as he tries to get his life back on track. Their connection also leads them down a path that will be life-changing for both. Because of their actions on different occasions I found myself equally liking and disliking Jackie and Jonathan. For me that’s always a good thing and adds to my enjoyment of a book.

The Girl From Home is an entertaining thriller. By choice I don’t read many in this genre but every once in a while I like to try one. Like I said, I was entertained but not in an “on the edge of my seat” way. I was satisfied with the way Mitzner wrapped things up and would definitely read more of his books.


Author Bio
Adam Mitzner, author of The Girl from Home, is a lawyer by day and the author of Losing Faith, A Case of Redemption, and A Conflict of Interest. He lives with his family in New York City.

For more information please visit http://adammitzner.com, and follow the author on Facebook

Sunday Post and a mini review

Happy May!

IMG_5334

Book arrivals:  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

Forever Beach (6:7)  The Obsession

Last week on Bookfan:

sister dear-2   Lone Heart Pass (4:26)

Reading plan for this week:

The Obsession


Mini review:

  • Change of Scene (4:5:16)Title:  Change of Scene: A novella
  • Author:  Mary Kay Andrews
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Pages:  100
  • Published:  April 2016 – St. Martin’s Press
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  This 100 page prequel novella to Mary Kay Andrews’s bestselling novel Beach Town is sure to delight fans and new readers alike.

Greer Hennessy is a movie location scout whose latest project has literally gone up in flames. After an avocado field accidentally catches fire on the set of her new movie, she is out of a job and practically run out of town. With her feisty grandmother Dearie, a Golden Age starlet who still has a lot of vigor left in her, complicating her life, Greer needs a bit of a rest. But Greer’s own mother then drops a bombshell on her that will change Greer’s life completely, and raise questions about her own father that she can’t ignore. In desperate need of a second chance, can Greer find what she’s looking for in the one last job she can get: a movie called BEACH TOWN? But first, she needs to find the perfect spot…  (publisher)

My mini review:  If you haven’t read Beach Town, Mary Kay Andrew’s most recent novel, you’ll want to read Change of Scene first. It covers the weeks leading up to Beach Town and gives a little more texture to Greer’s background.

If you’re like me and read Beach Town last year you’ll enjoy revisiting Greer’s story. I enjoyed it and recommend it to fans of the author. My thanks to the publisher for sending a review galley to me.

Guest Post and my review: Lone Heart Pass by Jodi Thomas

I’m pleased to welcome author Jodi Thomas today:

Lone Heart Pass (4:26)

When I began LONE HEART PASS two people stepped into my mind.  One, Jubilee Hamilton, who has just had all her dreams crash and the other, Charley Collins, who feels like he’s never had the chance to follow even one dream.  Both are fighting to simply survive.  Together they learn to start believing in love and form a dream, not of riches or fame, but of family.

I write the RANSOM CANYON series in a little room out back of my house that we now call the bunkhouse.  It’s not big, mission designed and almost a hundred years old.  I took down all the western art and put up white boards.  I even removed all the books except those on ranching, horses, Texas, or research I might need. Family histories of characters fill one wall and plot lines another.  When I step into the bunkhouse, I step into the world of Ransom Canyon.

One by one my characters come in and sit down to tell me their story. Jubilee and Charley came to me fully developed.  I saw them sit down in front of my desk (in my mind) and begin to tell me their story.  Charley’s love for his daughter.  Jubilee’s need to put down roots.  His knowledge of ranching.  Her fascination with keeping records and charts.  Them learning to trust one another when no one believed in either of them.

LONE HEART PASS marks my 43rd novel.  Sometimes I feel like I’ve had an extra lifetime of friends and family. It was hard writing the end to this one.  I hope you enjoy reading my story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Jodi Thomas

Description: With a career and a relationship in ruins, Jubilee Hamilton is left reeling from a fast fall to the bottom. The run-down Texas farm she’s inherited is a far cry from the second chance she hoped for, but it and the abrasive foreman she’s forced to hire are all she’s got. 

Every time Charley Collins has let a woman get close, he’s been burned. So Lone Heart ranch and the contrary woman who owns it are merely a means to an end, until Jubilee tempts him to take another risk—to stop resisting the attraction drawing them together despite all his hard-learned logic. 

Desperation is all young Thatcher Jones knows. And when he finds himself mixed up in a murder investigation, his only protection is the shelter of a man and woman who—just like him—need someone to trust.  (publisher)

My take:  Lone Heart Pass is a story about people who’ve been cast away by people who should have loved them. Whether by parents or partners each one had their trust abused so it’s no wonder they’re reluctant, no, determined not to let anyone get that close to them again.

One of the things I love about Jodi Thomas’s books is that her characters, though flawed like us all, are usually kind. Their feelings are recognizable because the reader can identify with many of them. I think that’s what makes her books comfort reads for me. Lone Heart Pass is no exception. It’s a great addition to the Ransom Canyon series. There’s romance, mystery and drama – and I enjoyed it all.

Recommended to fans of Jodi Thomas, contemporary romance and the Ransom Canyon series. I can’t wait for the next book.


1028_jodibio A fifth ­generation Texan, New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Jodi Thomas chooses to set the majority of her novels in her home state, where her grandmother was born in a covered wagon. A former teacher, Thomas traces the beginning of her storytelling career to the days when her twin sisters were young and impressionable.

With a degree in family studies, Thomas is a marriage and family counselor by education, a background that enables her to write about family dynamics. Honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Thomas enjoys interacting with students on the West Texas A&M University campus, where she currently serves as Writer in Residence.

Commenting on her contribution to the arts, Thomas said, “When I was teaching classes full­ time, I thought I was making the world a better place. Now I think of a teacher or nurse or mother settling back and relaxing with one of my books. I want to take her away on an adventure that will entertain her. Maybe, in a small way, I’m still making the world a better place.”

When not working on a novel or inspiring students to pursue a writing career, Thomas enjoys traveling with her husband, renovating a historic home they bought in Amarillo and “checking up” on their two grown sons.

For more information, please visit Jodi’s website at http://www.jodithomas.com.

4 Books to Take on Vacation – a Guest Post by Laura McNeill

bookfan mary laura mcneill guest post

4 Books to Take on Vacation

Laura McNeill

There’s nothing like diving into a new book by the ocean shore or atop a gorgeous mountain with the sunshine on your shoulders. Whether you’re vacationing on a cruise or just stealing a few hours in your own backyard, here are four books that are tried and true books light and fun enough for a getaway, but substantive enough to keep your attention.

bookfan mary 4 books to take on vacation image

1. Under the Tuscan Sun – Frances Mayes. Who doesn’t love this classic story? When literature professor Frances Mayes discovers her husband’s infidelity, she takes off for a tour of Tuscany, Italy to escape the pain. On impulse, Mayes buys a crumbling old villa and attempts to restore it to its glory. What she learns along the way helps heal her wounded heart.

2. On the Island – Tracey Garvis Graves. This novel really stole my heart. The book centers on Anna Emerson, a thirty‐year‐old English teacher who takes a job tutoring sixteen‐year‐old cancer survivor T.J. at the family’s summer home in South Asia. When their small plane crashes over the Maldives islands in the Indian Ocean, Ana and T.J. are left to fend for themselves. The pair faces danger, starvation, storms, and obstacles, falling in love along the way.

3. Flat Out Love – Jessica Park. I adored this quirky book about college student Julie Seagle who goes to live with a family friend of her mother’s in Boston. In a matter of months, Julie begins to love the Watkins family, including the reclusive youngest daughter, the brilliant brother, and the sibling who she’s never quite met … in person. Park is witty and wonderful in this fantastic novel.

4. The Castaways – Elin Hilderbrand. You’re sure to love Hilderbrand’s breezy Nantucket settings and island live. This story centers on four couples who count each other as best friends, and the fateful trip one husband and wife takes one summer afternoon. What’s revealed to each of the friends in the aftermath rocks the small coastal community. All of Hilderbrand’s novels are perfect for a summer vacation or a long afternoon spent in a hammock with sweet tea.

Be sure to check out some of my other favorite vacation‐authors including Anita Hughes, Joshilyn Jackson, Jane Green, Dorothea Benton Frank, Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke, Karma Brown, Amy Hatvany, Emily Liebert, and Mary Kay Andrews.

Do you have any favorite vacation books? I’d love to hear about them!

Bookfan Mary 4 books on vacation blurb

Bio:
Laura McNeill is the author to Center of Gravity (July 2015) and Sister Dear (April 19, 2016). When Laura is not writing or reading, she makes time to run, share pictures to Instagram, and adores the color pink!

Find Laura McNeill on social media:  Facebook  Twitter  Goodreads

sister dear-2

Best of My Love by Susan Mallery

  • best of my love (4:26)Title:  Best of My Love
  • Author:  Susan Mallery
  • Series:  Fool’s Gold #20
  • Pages:  384
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance series
  • Published:  April 26, 2016 – HQN Books
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

My take:  Shelby Gilmore, sister to Kipling who was featured in a previous book in the Fool’s Gold series, has decided it’s time to take control of her future by dealing with her issues from the past. The main issue is that she can’t trust men. Her abusive father is responsible for that. She decides to ask Aidan Mitchell, a guy she barely knows, to help her overcome that issue by being a friend. Nothing more, nothing less. If nothing else, she’ll find out if it’s even possible to be friends with a guy. But can it be that simple?

Aidan is at a point in life where he decides being friends with a woman sounds like a good plan. He has come to the realization that having an eternal string of “girlfriends” who never last more than a week might not be the greatest way to go through life. In the end, learning to trust another person could be easier for these two than learning to trust themselves.

Susan Mallery wrote an entertaining love story with an unconventional premise. Filled with many familiar characters from the series, I can say it’s not necessary to have read any of the previous novels but it was fun to see what was new in their lives. Recommended to fans of the Fool’s Gold series. I thought it was a nice, easy vacation read.

Keep Me Posted by Lisa Beazley

  • keep me posted (review 4:19)Title:  Keep Me Posted: A Novel
  • Author:  Lisa Beazley
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Pages:  320
  • Published:  April 2016 – NAL
  • Source:  Publisher

My take:  Cassie lives in New York City with her husband and young twin sons. Sid, her sister, lives in Singapore with her husband, son and young daughter. While home for Christmas Sid proposes the two sisters communicate in the coming year via the old-fashioned way, letters. Cassie agrees to give it a try.

Cassie has been out of work for a year and not completely keen on her new role as a stay-at-home-mom. She constantly doubts her ability to be a great mom and is exhausted most of the time trying. That has her too tired to be anywhere near the partner she was to her husband before the twins were born. She’s kind of in a low self-esteem rut. She starts to live for her sister’s letters and can’t get over the excitement she feels at receiving one.

Then one day a seemingly normal decision changes everything. Not long after that the old saying “Be careful what you wish for” starts playing in Cassie’s head. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop through much of the novel and when it did I was completely invested in what I hoped would be the outcome for Cassie and Sid.

Lisa Beazley’s novel is an entertaining, heartfelt and relatable story about finding what matters most. I enjoyed it and recommend it to fans of contemporary fiction – especially stories about sisters.

Sunday Post

Book arrivals (received in the past two weeks):  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

wedding girl (5:19 blog tour)  stitches in time  Once Upon a Wine (7:26 NAL)

better get to livin' (5:31)  one true loves (6:16 blog tour)  the cherry harvest

when the moon is low  Mata Hari's Last Dance (7:19)  the secrets she kept (7:26)

Last week on Bookfan:

  • Review:  Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
  • Review:  The Winemakers by Jan Moran

Eligible (4:19:16 RH)   The Winemakers (4:5)

Reading plan for this week:

the-girl-from-home-9781476764283_hr   Britt-Marie Was Here (5:10)

The Winemakers: A Novel of Wine and Secrets by Jan Moran

  • The Winemakers (4:5)Title:  The Winemakers: A Novel of Wine and Secrets
  • Author:  Jan Moran
  • Genre:  Historical Fiction/Romance
  • Pages:  368
  • Published:  April 2016 – St. Martin’s Griffin
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  In 1956, when Caterina Rosetta inherits a vineyard in Montalcino, Italy from a grandmother she’s never known, she discovers a long-buried family secret – a secret so devastating it threatens the future of everything her family has worked for. Many years before, the Rosetta family’s hard-won dreams of staking their claim in the vineyards of California came to fruition; but as an old murder comes to light, and Caterina discovers a tragedy that may destroy the man she loves, she realizes her happiness will depend on revealing the truth of her mother’s buried past.  (publisher)

My take:  The Winemakers is an old-fashioned saga of a family looking to fulfill their dreams of making their Napa vineyard a success. I loved the strong female characters who put very little above the love of family and winemaking. That said, they were governed by the patriarchal rules of society (of that time) and the church so they had great limitations on what they could do. There was also a huge secret that threatened any happiness for Caterina. This led to much unhappiness and unfulfilled dreams that would ultimately guide their actions.

The setting changes from France to Italy to California over the course of many decades. Most of the dual-storyline is set either in the 1920s or the 1950s. I enjoyed reading both storylines and thought Moran did a wonderful job of portraying both eras in all three countries.

I think anyone who enjoys a sweeping family story (which got a bit melodramatic at times) will like The Winemakers. My thanks to the publisher for sharing a copy with me.


JAN MORAN is the author of the novel Scent of Triumph, and Fabulous Fragrances I and II, which earned spots on the Rizzoli Bookstore bestseller list. A fragrance and beauty expert, she has been featured in numerous publications and on television and radio, including CNN, Instyle, and O Magazine, and has spoken before prestigious organizations, including The American Society of Perfumers. She earned her MBA from Harvard Business school and attended the University of California at Los Angeles Extension Writers’ Program.