Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani

  • Title:  Kiss Carlo
  • Author:  Adriana Trigiani
  • Genre:  Historical Fiction
  • Pages:  544
  • Published:  June 2017 – Harper
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  It’s 1949 and South Philadelphia bursts with opportunity during the post-war boom. The Palazzini Cab Company & Western Union Telegraph Office, owned and operated by Dominic Palazzini and his three sons, is flourishing: business is good, they’re surrounded by sympathetic wives and daughters-in-law, with grandchildren on the way. But a decades-long feud that split Dominic and his brother Mike and their once-close families sets the stage for a re-match. 

Amidst the hoopla, the arrival of an urgent telegram from Italy upends the life of Nicky Castone (Dominic and his wife’s orphaned nephew) who lives and works with his Uncle Dom and his family. Nicky decides, at 30, that he wants more—more than just a job driving Car #4 and more than his longtime fiancée Peachy DePino, a bookkeeper, can offer. When he admits to his fiancée that he’s been secretly moonlighting at the local Shakespeare theater company, Nicky finds himself drawn to the stage, its colorful players and to the determined Calla Borelli, who inherited the enterprise from her father, Nicky must choose between the conventional life his family expects of him or chart a new course and risk losing everything he cherishes.

From the dreamy mountaintop village of Roseto Valfortore in Italy, to the vibrant streets of South Philly, to the close-knit enclave of Roseto, Pennsylvania, to New York City during the birth of the golden age of television, Kiss Carlo is a powerful, inter-generational story that celebrates the ties that bind, while staying true to oneself when all hope seems lost.

Told against the backdrop of some of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies, this novel brims with romance as long buried secrets are revealed, mistaken identities are unmasked, scores are settled, broken hearts are mended and true love reigns. Trigiani’s consummate storytelling skill and her trademark wit, along with a dazzling cast of characters will enthrall readers. Once again, the author has returned to her own family garden to create an unforgettable feast. Kiss Carlo is a jubilee, resplendent with hope, love, and the abiding power of la famiglia.  (publisher)

My take:  Adriana Trigiani is back with a tale about a big family who live in South Philadelphia. It’s the post-WWII years and people are optimistic about getting back to finding the American dream and all that entails. Trigiani’s characters are relatable yet sometimes larger than life. They have important lessons to learn and are mostly grateful when they do. Most important was finding one’s true purpose and how to recognize it when it appeared. As serious as that sounds there are also laugh-out-loud moments. As in all of her novels, Trigiani’s attention to detailed descriptions left no question in my mind what the setting in any given scene looked like. Her novels often seem cinematic to me and I’d love to see this one on the big screen. With a nod to Shakespeare and Italian operas, Trigiani has written a very heartfelt and entertaining novel. I enjoyed every page.


 

One Wrong Turn by Deanna Lynn Sletten

  • Title:  One Wrong Turn
  • Author:  Deanna Lynn Sletten
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Pages:  204
  • Published:  June 2017 – Lake Union Publishing
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

My take:  One Wrong Turn by Deanna Lynn Sletten is the story of Clay and Jess. They met, fell in love, married and had two daughters. Life didn’t continue that smoothly though. Clay made a wrong turn and fell into the grip of alcohol, just as his own father had. Jess never faltered in her love for him as he went into rehab time after time. Her vow of “for better or for worse” truly meant something to her. When she could no longer remain stagnant in his decisions she finally made her own decision to protect herself and their daughters. Fast-forward to a couple of years later. Jess was getting ready to open a B&B and while running errands one day is involved in a car accident. Life changed for everyone. Clay, gone from his daughters’ lives for two years, must step up and handle things. Can he ever make his family whole again? One Wrong Turn is a heartfelt story of redemption, second chances, and never giving up. Recommend to fans of novels about family drama.


About the author:

Author Deanna Lynn Sletten believes in fate, love at first sight, soul mates, second chances, and happily ever after. When she initially started writing women’s fiction and romance, she decided to self-publish her first three novels. Since then, she has published twelve books—including Finding Libbie, her second book with Lake Union Publishing. She lives in a small town in northern Minnesota and is married with two grown children. When she’s not writing, she enjoys relaxing in a boat on the lake and walking the wooded trails around her home with her beautiful Australian shepherd.

Her blog: www.deannalynnsletten.com
Twitter: @DeannaLSletten
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DeannaLynnSletten


 

Serenity Harbor by RaeAnne Thayne

  • Title:  Serenity Harbor
  • Author:  RaeAnne Thayne
  • Series:  Haven Point #6
  • Pages:  384
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Pub. Date:  June 27, 2017 – HQN Books

Description:  Computer-tech millionaire Bowie Callahan is about the last person that schoolteacher Katrina Bailey wants to work for. As far as she can see, he’s arrogant, entitled and not up to the task of caring for his young half-brother, Milo. But Kat is, especially if it brings her closer to her goal of adopting an orphaned little girl. And as her kindness and patience work wonders with Milo, she realizes there’s more to sexy, wary Bo than she’d ever realized. 

Bo never imagined he’d be tasked with caring for a sibling he didn’t know existed. Then again, he never pictured himself impulsively kissing vibrant, compassionate Katrina in the moonlight. Now he’s ready to make her dream of family come true…and hoping there’s room in it for him, too… (publisher)

My take:  Serenity Harbor is the newest book in RaeAnne Thayne’s Haven Point series. It’s the story of Bowie and Katrina, two people who aren’t looking for love. Bowie’s life took an unexpected turn when he found he had a little brother he didn’t previously know existed. Now he’s responsible for the little boy who is on the autism spectrum. He has no idea how he can juggle seeing to Milo’s needs as well as work a full-time job. Katrina is the answer to his prayers. Turns out, he can help her. She’s in the middle of complicated adoption proceedings of a little girl in Columbia. When Bowie offers Kat a sizable amount of money to care for Milo until permanent help arrives she can’t refuse him. That money will help her with adoption costs so she accepts the offer. What she didn’t see coming was the attraction to Bowie. She’d been concentrating only on bringing Gabi home to Haven Point – not her love life. She’d made so many mistakes in that area before that she’s going to set her sights on making Gabi’s life better and forget about romance.

I so enjoyed this story of people finding out that perspective can change your idea of how life should go. Yes, a few things worked out much easier than they probably would in real life but this is a novel and I just went with it. I love the series, the characters and the setting and recommend it fans of the author and contemporary, small town romance.


About the author:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne finds inspiration in the beautiful northern Utah mountains where she lives with her family. Her books have won numerous honors, including six RITA Award nominations from Romance Writers of America and a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews magazine. RaeAnne loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at http://www.raeannethayne.com.


 

The Darkest Corner by Liliana Hart

  • Title:  The Darkest Corner
  • Series:  Gravediggers #1
  • Author:  Liliana Hart
  • Pages:  368
  • Published:  May 2017 – Pocket Books
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Liliana Hart’s first book in her suspenseful Gravediggers series, featuring an elite group of mysterious men who might be dead to the world, but are also tasked with saving it—and no one can ever know.

The Gravediggers aren’t exactly what they seem. They’re the most elite of the world’s fighting forces—and all they have in common is that they’ve been betrayed by the countries they’ve died for. Because they are dead. To their country, their military, and their families.

Sometimes the dead do rise…

Deacon Tucker is a dead man walking. A former black ops agent, he was disavowed and stripped of all honor before being recruited as a Gravedigger. But his honor and good name no longer matter, because no one knows he’s alive, and he’ll never get the recognition he deserves. His mission is simple: save the world or die trying. And for God’s sake, don’t ever fall in love. That’s a rule punishable by death. The kind of death a man can’t be brought back from.

Tess Sherman is the only mortician in Last Stop, Texas. She has no idea how Deacon Tucker ended up in her funeral home, but she’ll eat her hat if he’s only a funeral home assistant. Deacon is dangerous, deadly, and gorgeous. And she knows her attraction to him can only end in heartache.

Deacon is on a mission to stop the most fatal terror attack the world has ever known—what’s known as The Day of Destiny—a terrorist’s dream. But when he discovers Tess has skills he can use to stop them, he has to decide if he can trust her with secrets worth dying for. And, most important, he has to decide if he can trust her with his heart. (publisher)

My take:  The Darkest Corner is an enticing introduction to Liliana Hart’s new Gravediggers series – especially for readers like me who don’t often dip into the Romantic Suspense sub-genre. It has a team of amazing special ops agents who are intent on seeing each mission through to the intended outcome. Each member has special abilities that make him an integral part of the elite group.  I thought the way they came to the team was clever. Of course there’s romance involved in the story and I enjoyed the chemistry Deacon and Tess shared. Most of all, I found the drama of the Gravediggers’ missions exciting and look forward to seeing what Hart has planned for them in the next book.

Note:  I read a copy of the book from the publisher but also used an Audible credit. I really enjoyed the narration of Jonathan Todd Ross and Devra Woodward and will use another credit for the next book in the series.

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