Bittersweet by Shirlee McCoy

  • Title:  Bittersweet
  • Series:  Home Sweet Home #3
  • Author:  Shirlee McCoy
  • Pages:  352
  • Published:  July 2017 – Zebra
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  In Benevolence, Washington, the Lamont family’s luscious handmade chocolates are a beloved tradition—and the sweetest of comforts. And for the most reserved of the three Lamont sisters, they’re a much-needed way to challenge the past, rekindle hope—and make happiness for a lifetime.
 
Caring family and friends, tranquil streets—ex-prosecutor Willow Lamont wishes these could make her feel truly at home. She’s back to help her grandfather manage Chocolate Haven, a long-held dream come true. But she’s struggling to make their unique fudge—and to cope with a secret trauma that haunts her. Yet when she finds an abandoned baby who breaks her heart wide open, she wonders how long she can hide her emotions—especially from warm, handsome, and way too nosey Deputy Sheriff Jax Gordon.
 
Always an outsider, Jax knows more than he should about loss. But he didn’t expect his difficult search for baby “Miracle’s” mother would reveal such a vulnerable side to the accomplished, beautiful woman he’s always admired. Earning Willow’s trust is the hardest thing he’s ever had to do. Yet between her honesty and courage, he’s longing to fill her life with rekindled joy—and a forever of irresistible love.  (publisher)

My take:  Bittersweet is the story of Willow Lamont and Jax Gordon – two people who survived horrific events when they were young. Both dealt with their traumas in their own way and grew to be upstanding adults who only hoped to outrun their bad memories. When Willow returns to the small town where she grew up to help at her family’s chocolate shop she runs into Jax, a school friend from when they both lived in Benevolence. Neither has a problem with being friends but can they deal with what could happen if the underlying attraction they feel becomes more? Fate has plans of her own when a baby comes on the scene late one night. No spoilers here! This is the first of author Shirlee McCoy’s books I’ve had a chance to read. I thought it was a sweet and heart warming story about learning to trust and move forward. I’d definitely read another book by McCoy. Recommended to fans of the author and contemporary romance.


Praise for Shirlee McCoy’s Sweet Haven

“Fans of Debbie Macomber will appreciate McCoy’s sweet, funny, heartwarming romance with its friendly, small-town setting.” —Booklist (starred review)

“A delicious small‑town treat.” —Library Journal

*

Praise for Home Sweet Home

“The latest in McCoy’s Home Sweet Home series is a heartfelt story that will touch your heart. With her engaging storytelling, McCoy brings us characters with substance who are clear, distinctive, and endearing. Willow is a strong, courageous, and vulnerable heroine and Jax is a compassionate, reassuring hero who compliments her. A well-crafted plot filled with raw emotion and conflict is the highlight of this tender story of love, loss, and healing.”- RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

“McCoy has created two wounded souls and sent them on an unforgettable journey of healing. Readers will find this emotional roller-coaster ride of a story as compelling as it is heartwarming.”– Booklist 


 

Secrets of the Tulip Sisters by Susan Mallery

  • Title:  Secrets of the Tulip Sisters
  • Author:  Susan Mallery
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Pages:  416
  • Published:  July 2017 – Harlequin Books
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  Kelly Murphy’s life as a tulip farmer is pretty routine—up at dawn, off to work, lather, rinse, repeat. But everything changes one sun-washed summer with two dramatic homecomings: Griffith Burnett—Tulpen Crossing’s prodigal son, who’s set his sights on Kelly—and Olivia, her beautiful, wayward and, as far as Kelly is concerned, unwelcome sister. Tempted by Griffith, annoyed by Olivia, Kelly is overwhelmed by the secrets that were so easy to keep when she was alone. 

But Olivia’s return isn’t as triumphant as she pretends. Her job has no future, and ever since her dad sent her away from the bad boy she loved, she has felt cut off from her past. She’s determined to reclaim her man and her place in the family…whether her sister likes it or not. For ten years, she and Kelly have been strangers. Olivia will get by without her approval now. 

While Kelly and Olivia butt heads, their secrets tumble out in a big hot mess, revealing some truths that will change everything they thought they knew. Can they forgive each other—and themselves—and redefine what it means to be sisters?  (publisher)

My take:  Susan Mallery’s newest contemporary romance is a stand-alone novel about the relationships of two sisters, one best friend, and the men in their lives. And they all carry big secrets that threaten to change their relationships when revealed or discovered. Told in her usual entertaining and heartfelt style, Mallery’s story pulled me in with the lovely small-town Washington state setting and the intriguing dynamics of all characters involved. Could they survive when times get messy? You’ll have to read to find out. I enjoyed this novel about learning to trust oneself and the important people in one’s life. It’s a breezy read – perfect for the beach, poolside or anywhere you care to spend a few relaxing hours.


About the author:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery has entertained millions of readers with her witty and emotional stories about women. Publishers Weekly calls Susan’s prose “luscious and provocative,” and Booklist says, “Novels don’t get much better than Mallery’s expert blend of emotional nuance, humor, and superb storytelling.” Susan lives in Seattle with her husband and her tiny but intrepid toy poodle.


 

Everything We Left Behind by Kerry Lonsdale; US Giveaway: Everything We Keep

  • Title:  Everything We Left Behind
  • Series:  Everything We Keep #2
  • Author:  Kerry Lonsdale
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction; Suspense
  • Pages:  348
  • Published:  July 2017 – Lake Union Publishing

Description:  Two months before his wedding, financial executive James Donato chased his trade-laundering brother Phil to Mexico, only to be lost at sea and presumed dead. Six and a half years later, he emerges from a dissociative fugue state to find he’s been living in Oaxaca as artist Carlos Dominguez, widower and father of two sons, with his sister-in-law Natalya Hayes, a retired professional surfer, helping to keep his life afloat. But his fiancée, Aimee Tierney, the love of his life, has moved on. She’s married and has a child of her own.

Devastated, James and his sons return to California. But Phil is scheduled for release from prison, and he’s determined to find James, who witnessed something in Mexico that could land Phil back in confinement. Under mounting family pressure, James flees with his sons to Kauai, seeking refuge with Natalya. As James begins to unravel the mystery of his fractured identity, danger is never far behind, and Natalya may be the only person he can trust.

My take:  I enjoyed Everything We Keep – book 1 in the series so I was excited to read  Everything We Left Behind. Book 2 picks up where the first left off so I recommend reading in order. In the new book Kerry Lonsdale gives readers James’ perspective of the events that changed his life. It’s an intriguing story that involves family dysfunction, criminal activities, and the unimaginable fall-out one man will be forced to confront. The chapters alternate between present day and several years earlier which allows James’ story to develop fully. I liked this novel a lot and look forward to Everything We Give – in summer 2018.


About the author:

Kerry Lonsdale is the Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon Kindle bestselling author of Everything We Keep and All the Breaking Waves. She resides in Northern California with her husband and two children. Learn more about Kerry at http://www.kerrylonsdale.com.


US Giveaway of Book 1: Everything We Keep

Please click here and fill out the form

Giveaway ends on July 31, 2017


Sunday Post

Book arrivals:  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

   

Last week on Bookfan:

      

Reading plan for this week:

   

Beach House For Rent by Mary Alice Monroe

  • Title:  Beach House For Rent
  • Series:  Beach House #4
  • Author:  Mary Alice Monroe
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Pages:  416
  • Published:  June 2017 – Gallery Books
  • Source:  Publisher; Tandem Literary

Description:  New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe returns to her beloved Isle of Palms to tell the poignant, charming story of two women, one summer, and one very special beach house.

When Cara Rutledge rents out her quaint beach house on Isle of Palms to Heather Fordham for the entire summer, it’s a win-win by any standard: Cara’s generating income necessary to keep husband Brett’s ecotourism boat business afloat, and anxiety-prone Heather, a young artist who’s been given a commission to paint birds on postage stamps, has a quiet space in which to work and tend to her pet canaries uninterrupted.

It isn’t long, however, before both women’s idyllic summers are altered irrevocably: the alluring shorebirds—and the man who rescues them—begin to draw Heather out of the shell she’s cultivated toward a world of adventure, and maybe even love; at the same time, Cara’s life reels with sudden tragedy, and she wishes only to return to the beach house that had once been her port amidst life’s storms. When Heather refuses to budge from her newfound sanctuary, so begins the unlikeliest of rooming situations. While they start out as strangers, as everything around the women falls apart they learn that the only thing they can really rely on is each other.

And, like the migrating shorebirds that come to the island for the summer, these two women of different generations must rediscover their unique strengths so by summer’s end they, too, can take flight in ways they never imagined possible.  (publisher)

My take:  Beach House For Rent is the story of two women who find themselves at an unexpected crossroads in their respective lives. Heather is a gifted artist who also lives with an undercurrent of guilt and anxiety.  Cara has been knocked hard by a loss she didn’t see coming. Her calming, lovely beach cottage will play a part in the future of both women as each figures out a path to take. I love how Mary Alice Monroe weaves an environmental theme through her novels. In this book the shore birds take center stage, as well as the loggerhead turtle. The parallels drawn between the wildlife and the women drew me through the story to the promising conclusion. I’m hoping there will be another book to follow in the Beach House series. Recommended to fans of the author and novels with a gorgeous shore setting with a sweet romance.

Note:  Even though this is the fourth book in the Beach House series it’s the first book I’ve read. No worries – it can stand alone. That said, I’ll be sure to read the previous three books soon because the first book is now being adapted to a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie by the Hallmark Channel, starring three-time Golden Globe nominee Andie MacDowell, who is also an executive producer.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

MARY ALICE MONROE is the award-winning, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty novels (A Lowcountry Wedding, A Lowcountry Christmas, The Summer Girls, The Summer Wind, The Summer’s End, The Beach House, Beach House Memories), and was recently named a 2018 inductee into the South Carolina Academy of Writers Literary Hall of Fame. She is an active conservationist and lives in the lowcountry of South Carolina. Learn more at maryalicemonroe.com.


Praise for BEACH HOUSE FOR RENT & Mary Alice Monroe 

“Mary Alice Monroe writes gorgeously, with authority and tenderness, about the natural world and its power to inspire, transport, and to heal. Readers will love this story of two unforgettable women—one reeling from an unexpected tragedy, the other drawn into a daring and passionate new love.”
Susan Wiggs, #1 New York Times bestselling author

*
“Readers interested in environmental fiction highlighting endangered birds, turtles, and lands will delight in this latest novel featuring women who need the healing power of nature.” —Library Journal, starred review
*
“Mary Alice Monroe understands that a house is never just a house. As we revisit The Beach House, we  are immersed in the heartbeat and pulse of her South Carolina Lowcountry as never before. Monroe’s singular ability to blend the natural world with the emotional world allows for a gorgeous novel, wondrously bittersweet and life-affirming. No one else tells an insightful and powerful story quite like Mary Alice Monroe—and in BEACH HOUSE FOR RENT, you won’t be able to stop reading—for even that glass of sweet tea.” —New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan Henry
*
“There is no way to describe Monroe’s writing style other than to say it is uniquely wonderful. She has a heart for the lowcountry and the talent to bring it to life.” —Huffington Post
*

“Every book Mary Alice Monroe has written has felt like a homecoming to me.” —New York Times bestselling author Pat Conroy


SUMMER 2017 TOUR DATES:

Thursday, June 15 — Spartanburg, SC
Friday, June 16-18 — Nantucket, MA
Monday, June 19 — Charleston, SC
Tuesday, June 20 — Charleston, SC
Tuesday, June 20 — Kiawah Island, SC
Wednesday, June 21 — St. Simon’s Island, GA
Wednesday, June 21 — Savannah, GA
Thursday, June 22 — Bluffton, SC
Thursday, June 22 — Florence, SC
Friday, June 23 — Pawleys Island, SC
Friday, June 23 — Ocean Isle Beach, NC
Saturday, June 24 — Mt. Pleasant, SC
Saturday, June 24 — Isle of Palms, SC
Sunday, June 25 — Summerville, SC
Tuesday, June 27 — Augusta, GA
Tuesday, June 27 — Decatur, GA
Wednesday, June 28 — Peachtree City, GA
Wednesday, June 28 — Woodstock, GA
Thursday, June 29 — Kingsport, TN
Thursday, June 29 — Knoxville, TN
Friday, June 30 — Chattanooga, TN
Saturday, July 1 — Vero Beach, FL
Sunday, July 2 — Wellington, FL
Tuesday, July 4 — Rehoboth Beach, DE
Wednesday, July 5 — Collegeville, PA
Thursday, July 6 — Brielle, NJ
Saturday, July 8 — Strongsville, OH
Thursday, July 13 — Westerville, OH
Saturday, July 15 — Mt. Pleasant, SC
Thursday, July 27 — Santa Clarita, CA
Friday, July 28 — Signal Hill, CA
Saturday, July 29 — Palos Verde, CA
Tuesday, August 1 — Huntington Beach, CA


The Cafe by the Sea by Jenny Colgan

  • Title:  The Cafe by the Sea
  • Author:  Jenny Colgan
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Pages:  416
  • Published:  June 2017 – William Morrow Paperbacks
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  Years ago, Flora fled the quiet Scottish island where she grew up — and she hasn’t looked back. What would she have done on Mure? It’s a place where everyone has known her all her life, where no one will let her forget the past. In bright, bustling London, she can be anonymous, ambitious… and hopelessly in love with her boss.

Yet when fate brings Flora back to the island, she’s suddenly swept once more into life with her brothers (all strapping, loud, and seemingly incapable of basic housework) and her father. Yet even amid the chaos of their reunion, Flora discovers a passion for cooking — and find herself restoring a dusty little pink-fronted shop on the harbor: a café by the sea.

But with the seasons changing, Flora must come to terms with past mistakes… and work out exactly where her future lies…

My take:  Flora might enjoy living in London, a place where no one knows her as anything but the young, bright paralegal. She likes her friends, her work is ok, and she has an enormous crush on her boss. But when she’s sent back to her island home (that’s as far north as one can get before the north pole) for work she feels the walls of everything that happened before closing in. Will she be able to mend some fences in her family that she’d torn down when she last left? Can she look at the island with new eyes while showing her boss around the place? Jenny Colgan’s story, as usual, is full of heart, lovely characters, and the possibilities that are within reach if they just take a chance. I loved Flora’s family, the island itself, and how everything played out. Recommended to fans of the author and breezy contemporary fiction.


 

Review: Indigo Lake – plus author guest post by Jodi Thomas

  • Title:  Indigo Lake
  • Series:  Ransom Canyon #6
  • Author:  Jodi Thomas
  • Pages:  432
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Published:  July 2017 – HQN Books
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  Two families long divided by an ancient feud. Can a powerful love finally unite them? 

Blade Hamilton is the last of his line. He’s never even heard of Crossroads, Texas, until he inherits land there. Riding in on his vintage Harley-Davidson, Blade finds a weathered ranch house, an empty prairie and a dark river that cuts a decisive path between the Hamilton’s land and that of their estranged neighbors. 

When Dakota helps a stranger on the roadside, she isn’t prepared for the charisma of the man on the motorbike—or for the last name he bears: Hamilton, of her family’s sworn enemies, representing all she’s been raised to loathe. The problem is, it looks like Blade is in town to stay, and there’s something about his wolf-gray eyes she just can’t ignore. 

Lauren Brigman feels adrift. Unhappy in work and unlucky in love, she knows she ought to be striving for more, but she’s never truly at peace unless she’s at home in Crossroads. If the wider world can’t satisfy her, is home truly where her heart is?  (publisher)

My take:  I love going back to Crossroads, Texas and seeing what’s new with the people we’ve met in previous Ransom Canyon series books and meeting new ones. Indigo Lake introduces readers to Blade and Dakota – two people who don’t think love will ever find them. Blade is a man whose job takes him in every direction so he’s never put down roots. He plans to sell the ancestral home (he didn’t know about until recently) he’s inherited and move on. Dakota’s life revolves around her job, studying, and taking care of her older sister and grandmother. She doesn’t have time for a relationship. And besides, their families are in a feud! It was fun watching these two become important to each other. It was also fun seeing Lauren Brigman’s life progress in a way she didn’t dare hope. I thought it was very sweet (in a good way) how Jodi Thomas made that happen. Of course, there are the usual quirky characters and inept criminals who added the element of suspense as well as humor to the novel. I enjoyed it all and wonder if there will be more to come in the Ransom Canyon series. I hope so!

Note:  Included at the end of this book is the Ransom Canyon series introductory novella Winter’s Camp.


Author post:

When I started INDIGO LAKE, I wanted to write a love story happening in the middle of an old feud.

Blade Hamilton is a man who has no family ties. Since he turned 18, he’s been on his own. When he find out he’s inherited a little farm from a father he never knew, he rides down to Texas from Denver on his Harley to take a look. (Fun note and photo: I had to learn a little about Harleys.)

Sell the place and ride away is his plan, until he meets Dakota Davis and falls into the middle of a hundred-year-old feud. Legends and curses seem to keep them apart, but an attraction neither can deny keeps pulling them together.

Blade  finds himself surrounded by legends and a deep family history as he falls in love with a woman who is afraid to step on his land and has a grandmother who regularly threatens to kill him.

As Blade is drawn into an investigation in town, he truly finds home for the first time in his life. I know you will love Blade and Dakota’s story.

Good news for Ransom Canyon fans, WINTER’S CAMP  is included in the back of INDIGO LAKE!

Hope you enjoy both,

Jodi Thomas 

INDIGO LAKE is available wherever books are sold and at http://www.HQNBooks.com

INDIGO LAKE JODI THOMAS $7.99 U.S. ISBN-13: 978-0-373-79936-7


Praise for the Ransom Canyon series:

“Thomas sketches a slow, sweet surrender.” –Publishers Weekly on the RANSOM CANYON series

“A pure joy to read.” –RT Book Reviews on the RANSOM CANYON series

“Western romance legend Thomas’s Ransom Canyon will warm readers with its huge heart and gentle souls.” –Library Journal


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