Sunday Post

Book arrivals:

the hero big girl panties gwynneth ever after the lemon orchard

Last week on Bookfan:

Books I read last week:

  • Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid

We’ve reached the end of June – also known as Audiobook Month (JIAM). I want to give a shout out to Xe Sands who coordinated (and was executive producer of) the Going Public…in Shorts project this month. It was a pleasure to participate in this amazing project with Arielle DeLisle. You can see our post here.

Happy reading!

So long, Google Reader

As you must know by now Google Reader will be no more as of Monday, July 1. This week I decided to give Bloglovin’ a try. If it works, great. If not, I’ll try out another means of following blogs.

Here’s a screenshot of the homepage:

Screen Shot 2013-06-27 at 5.24.16 PM

Once I’ve read a blog post it automatically dims in the reader. In the few days I’ve used Bloglovin’ I’m happy with the look and ease of navigating to blogs, marking blogs read, etc. If you haven’t decided how to replace Google Reader take a look at Bloglovin’. It was super easy (one click) to move the blogs I follow from Google Reader to Bloglovin’. I also downloaded the app for iPad.

You can follow my blog via email subscription or click the Bloglovin’ button – both are in the sidebar near the top.

More Than You Know by Nan Rossiter

more than you know - rossiter

  • Title:  More Than You Know
  • Author:  Nan Rossiter
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  April 2013 – Kensington
  • Source:  Review copy from the author

Synopsis:  Losing her father on the night she was born could have torn Beryl Graham’s family apart. Instead, it knitted them together. Under their mother’s steady guidance, Beryl and her older sisters, Isak and Rumer, shared a childhood filled with happiness. But now Mia Graham has passed away after battling Alzheimer’s, and her three daughters return to their New Hampshire home to say goodbye.
Swept up in memories and funeral preparations, the sisters catch up on each other’s lives. Rumer and Isak have both known recent heartache, while Beryl has given up hope of marriage. But surprising revelations abound, especially when they uncover Mia’s handwritten memoir. In it are secrets they never guessed at–clandestine romance, passionate dreams, joy and guilt. And as Beryl, Rumer, and Isak face a future without her, they realize it’s never too late to heed a mother’s lessons–about taking chances, keeping faith, and loving in spite of the risks… (back cover)

My take:  When the three Graham sisters come together to prepare for their mother’s funeral they find out things they never new about her – shocking things. She left a memoir that told them everything and gave them a new perspective of her life. She raised her three daughters alone after a car crash took the life of her husband on the night of their 5th anniversary. They thought she never remarried because she couldn’t imagine loving anyone else but their father. Her memoir tells them the real story.

Though dismayed by what they’ve learned, they take to heart the lesson to never take life for granted and to appreciate especially the mundane events of everyday life. Timely advice because all three are at crossroads in their personal lives.

More Than You Know is a novel of faith and family that will resonate with many readers. I enjoyed it.

*Note:  At the end of the novel Nan Rossiter shared a couple of recipes made by the Graham sisters. I’ve made copies and plan to try both!

The Newcomer by Robyn Carr

Manually Released

  • Title:  The Newcomer (Thunder Point series #2)
  • Author:  Robyn Carr
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Published:  June 2013 – Harlequin
  • Source:   Publisher

Synopsis (publisher):  Single dad and Thunder Point’s deputy sheriff “Mac” McCain has worked hard to keep everyone safe and happy. Now he’s found his own happiness with Gina James. The longtime friends have always shared the challenges and rewards of raising their adolescent daughters. With an unexpected romance growing between them, they’re feeling like teenagers themselves-suddenly they can’t get enough of one another. 

And just when things are really taking off, their lives are suddenly thrown into chaos. When Mac’s long-lost ex-wife shows up in town, drama takes on a whole new meaning. Mac and Gina know they’re meant to be together, but can their newfound love withstand the pressure?

My take:  Robyn Carr put family dynamics right at the forefront in the second book of the Thunder Point series. It was easy to relate to the difficulties of raising a family in the 21st century. There are several types of family units in this book and I thought they were depicted honestly and believably. Issues concerning hormonal teenagers, cyber bullying, the uncertainty of family stability are just a few of the themes.

Mac and Gina are the main characters but running a close second are Cooper and Sarah (from the first book The Wanderer). Changes out of their control threaten their relationship and test their ability to trust. The two couples aside, the emphasis of this book seemed to be on the children involved. I like that aspect and hope it continues with each book.

After enjoying the Virgin River series for years I’m now fully on board with the people of Thunder Point and can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:

the wishing tree blackberry summer finding colin firth a hundred summers

Last week on Bookfan:

Books I read last week:

  • More Than You Know by Nan Rossiter

Happy reading!

The Widow Waltz by Sally Koslow

the widow waltz

  • Title:  The Widow Waltz
  • Author:  Sally Koslow
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  June 2013 – Viking
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  Ben Silver had it all—a successful law practice, a New York apartment overlooking Central Park, a beach house, fine art, club memberships. Yet when a massive coronary fells him while training for the New York City Marathon, it’s revealed that his life was a lie. He’s left his wife, Georgia Waltz, and their two daughters almost penniless.
Georgia must now rally to support her family while mourning a husband whose private enigmas keep surfacing. To her surprise, she also discovers that it may even be possible to find new love in the land of Spanx and wrinkles. Meanwhile, her daughters must face the responsibilities of adulthood that they have avoided and put their hidden talents to work.

My take:  When golden boy Ben Silver dies his wife and daughters find out he wasn’t quite the man they thought he was. Their lives have changed overnight and they’re left to solve a mystery – why did he leave them without the expected inheritance but instead needing to sell off possessions in order to live? 

As mother and daughters slowly get their bearings they begin to move forward in directions they’d never anticipated. Georgia Waltz is witty and sometimes snarky. At first she grated on me but I soon understood her defense mechanisms and enjoyed her take on her new life. I especially appreciated that Koslow addressed dating in middle age realistically and with humor. I think there are a lot of readers our there who would love more novels with strong 50-something women dealing with life-changing events.

Filled with colorful characters The Widow Waltz is an entertaining novel that could be read in a few hours. The Widow Waltz is about acceptance and forgiveness and what being a family means – and sometimes it’s not what you’d expect.

Going Public…In Shorts with Arielle DeLisle

spoken freely

June is Audiobook Month (JIAM 2013). The audiobook community is giving back by teaming with the Going Public Project by offering a serialized audio story collection. All proceeds will go to Reach Out and Read literacy advocacy organization.

Throughout June, 1-2 stories will be released each day on the Going Public blog and on author/book blogs. The story will be free (online only – no downloads) for one week. In collaboration with Blackstone Audio, all the stories will be available for download via Downpour. The full compilation will be ready June 30th.

The full schedule of the story release dates and narrators are at Going Public. Engineering and Mastering are provided by Jeffrey Kafer and SpringBrook Audio. Graphic design provided by f power design and published by Blackstone Audio. Project coordination and executive production by Xe Sands.  – Mary Freeman

My narrator partner for the Going Public…In Shorts project is Arielle DeLisle.

Thank you, Arielle, for guest posting today!

*  *  *

I’m honored to participate in “Going Public… In Shorts” with so many other amazing narrators. There’s such a great supportive community among narrators and we’ve donated these recordings in hopes of raising money for the non-profit, Reach Out and Read.

I came to audiobooks through a workshop 4 years ago from Pat Fraley, a simply amazing and generous teacher. For 13 years I worked in radio, doing commercial voiceover and production. I’d always held an interest in voice acting beyond a 30 second spot, and Pat’s workshop turned a spark into a wildfire (and listening to Jim Dale read the Harry Potter series was one heck of an introduction to the art-form at its best!) We say recording audiobooks is a marathon and in 2012 I ran 33 of those long races. I’m being more selective now that my daughter will turn 2 this fall and she’ll get a younger brother or sister (we love surprises!) in late October. She currently requests my bedtime renditions of “Big Red Barn” and “How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?” My favorite commercially released titles I’ve performed are “The Righteous” series by Michael Wallace and “The Black Stiletto” series by Raymond Benson.

For this project, I chose to narrate Kate Chopin’s “A Pair of Silk Stockings.” It first appears to be about a woman getting sucked into the trap of consumerism and it echoes the over-simplified perceptions of economic issues many people face today. However, because it’s Chopin, the story cuts deeper than that. The main character wants to live with the freedom she once had in simpler times, and is desperately trying to make this one day exist in a bubble as something for herself, in lieu of the frazzled, non-stop life she now lives. I hope you enjoy it and keep listening to the “Going Public… In Shorts” series in honor of June is Audiobook month!

Great choice, Arielle. I loved your performance!

Click here to see Arielle’s Going Public post


Spotlight on: Sweet Salt Air by Barbara Delinsky

Sweet Salt Air will be available tomorrow, June 18. I’ll read it  later this summer but today I want to spotlight it. I think it sounds great!

sweet salt airOn Quinnipeague, hearts open under the summer stars and secrets float in the Sweet Salt Air

Charlotte and Nicole were once the best of friends, spending summers together in Nicole’s coastal island house off of Maine. But many years, and many secrets, have kept the women apart. A successful travel writer, single Charlotte lives on the road, while Nicole, a food blogger, keeps house in Philadelphia with her surgeon-husband, Julian. When Nicole is commissioned to write a book about island food, she invites her old friend Charlotte back to Quinnipeague, for a final summer, to help. Outgoing and passionate, Charlotte has a gift for talking to people and making friends, and Nicole could use her expertise for interviews with locals. Missing a genuine connection, Charlotte agrees.

But what both women don’t know is that they are each holding something back that may change their lives forever. For Nicole, what comes to light could destroy her marriage, but it could also save her husband. For Charlotte, the truth could cost her Nicole’s friendship, but could also free her to love again. And her chance may lie with a reclusive local man, with a heart to soothe and troubles of his own. Bestselling author and master storyteller Barbara Delinsky invites you come away to Quinnipeague…

* * *

About the author:  BARBARA DELINSKY has been published in twenty-eight languages worldwide. A lifelong New Barbara DelinskyEnglander, Delinsky earned a B.A. in psychology at Tufts University and an M.A. in sociology at Boston College. Delinsky enjoys knitting, photography, and cats. She lives in Needham, Massachusetts.

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:

home to whiskey creek the husband's secret wind chime point

Last week on Bookfan:

Books I read last week:

  • The House at the End of Hope Street by Menna van Praag
  • Eventide by Kent Haruf

Claire Cook chat alert!

(Click below for the chat link)

claire cook talk

To find out more please visit the BookTrib main site at

To read more about Claire Cook visit her page on BookTrib

Happy reading!

Heart Like Mine by Amy Hatvany

heart like mine

  • Title:  Heart Like Mine
  • Author:  Amy Hatvany
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  March 2013 – Washington Square Press
  • Source:  Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley

Synopsis:  When a young mother dies under mysterious circumstances, those she leaves behind begin looking for answers in the past—and find a long-buried secret they could have never imagined.

Thirty-six-year-old Grace McAllister never longed for children. But when she meets Victor Hansen, a handsome, charismatic divorced restaurateur who is father to Max and Ava, Grace decides that, for the right man, she could learn to be an excellent part-time stepmom. After all, the kids live with their mother, Kelli. How hard could it be?

At thirteen, Ava Hansen is mature beyond her years. Since her parents’ divorce, she has been the one taking care of her emotionally unstable mother and her little brother—she pays the bills, does the laundry, and never complains because she loves her mama more than anyone. And while her father’s new girlfriend is nice enough, Ava still holds out hope that her parents will get back together and that they’ll be a family again.

But only days after Victor and Grace get engaged, Kelli dies suddenly under mysterious circumstances—and soon, Grace and Ava discover there was much more to Kelli’s life than either ever knew.

Narrated by Grace and Ava in the present with flashbacks into Kelli’s troubled past, Heart Like Mine is a poignant and hopeful portrait about womanhood, love, and the challenges of family life. (Publisher)

My take:  Heart Like Mine is a compelling novel about a family that has gone through divorce and what happens when the mother dies. Amy Hatvany’s characters are completely believable and that made the book an emotional read. The children carry the grief from the loss of their mother as they move in with their father, Victor, and his fiancé, Grace. 

Victor and Grace had just become engaged and then Kelli, his ex-wife, died. They were hardly prepared to be parents – in fact they’d agreed they didn’t want to have children together. Victor didn’t want to add to his family and Grace had never wanted to be a mother. That all changed when Kelli died. It was easy to feel the tension between all four of the main characters. Life hadn’t been easy before Kelli died and now it was difficult to move forward. But Grace does her best because she feels badly for the children and she loves Victor. The challenges seemed to stack up as both kids began to act out. That’s when it got really believable and I wondered if Victor and Grace’s relationship would survive.

Heart Like Mine is a story about a family overcoming tragedy to become even stronger moving forward. I liked it. A readers club guide is included at the end.

Author website
Facebook Page

Guest Post by Jodi Thomas

One thing I love about blogging about books is hosting authors to tell readers about their new books. Jodi Thomas has been a guest at Bookfan several times over the years. Her Harmony series is a favorite of mine so I’m happy she’s here today to tell us about the newest book in the series.

You can read my review of Can’t Stop Believing here.

*  *  *

When I began writing CAN’T STOP BELIEVING, I wanted to write a story about second chances.  Like they always do, characters began to dance in my head, jumping up and down wanting to tell their stories.  Some authors develop characters with long can't stop believingoutlines and background studies.  I pretty much just wait around for them to drop by, sit down and tell me their stories.

Cord McDowell did just that.  He’d completely destroyed his life one night just before he turned eighteen.  Seven years later no one in Harmony wanted to talk to him, much less be his friend.  If he hadn’t inherited his parents little farm, he’d have had nothing and the farm was in so much trouble he had to work in town to keep from losing it.

Nevada Britain, Cord’s neighbor, has always had the best of everything only now alone, she fears for her life.  Using her last chance, she makes Cord an offer he can’t refuse.  An offer that will either destroy them both or save all they value, including a love born of need and fired in trust.

I’m over my ‘after the book’ blues that always hits when a book is finished.  I’ve moved on to another story, but these characters will always be in the back of my mind like old friends.  I hope for all of you they will be that as well.

Enjoy the journey,

Jodi Thomas

*  *  *


Jodi Thomas is the NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of 37 novels and 11 short story collections. In June 2011 WELCOME TO HARMONY, the first book in the Harmony series, won a RITA, the highest award for women’s fiction.  Jodi currently serves as the Writer in Residence at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:

goodie bag sand castle bay forever, interrupted

Last week on Bookfan:

  • The Mad Earl’s Bride – review
  • Can’t Stop Believing – review

Books I read last week:

  • Benediction by Kent Haruf (audio)
  • The Newcomer by Robyn Carr

NetGalley Wellnes ChallengeI’ve joined the NetGalley Wellness Challenge and attended the first Webinar on Thursday. It was helpful in explaining how NetGalley works and reminded bloggers of the basics for using the site. If you’re a book blogger I recommend joining the challenge. There’s another webinar before the end of the month.

Happy reading!

Can’t Stop Believing by Jodi Thomas

can't stop believing

  • Title:  Can’t Stop Believing  – Harmony series, #6
  • Author:

    Jodi Thomas

  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction, Series
  • Published:  June 2013 – Berkley

  • Source:  Publisher


Cord McDowell gave up his freedom at eighteen when he went to jail for a crime he didn’t commit. Now, ten years later, he’s about to give it up again for a piece of land. Nevada Britain, his neighbor, has just made him an offer he can’t refuse: If he’ll marry her, she’ll sign over a section of property that their families have been fighting over for a hundred years. Nevada refuses to explain why, but Cord knows the bargain is in his favor. He just has one condition—she has to sleep in his bed every night for as long as their doomed marriage lasts. Nevada only wants to maintain her family’s legacy—and redeem herself for a wrong she did Cord years ago. But as she spends more time with her husband by necessity, she discovers something unexpected—a love so deep it takes her breath away.

My take:  I wasn’t sure what to expect when I read the synopsis of the newest book in the Harmony series. Not to worry though. This story of two broken people coming together in hopes of gaining what they thought was all they’d need in life is just what I’ve come to expect from Jodi Thomas – a book I didn’t want to put down.

There’s heartbreak, drama, mystery, humor, and a sweet love story. I should point out that reading the series from the first book is highly recommended but, if that’s not possible, Can’t Stop Believing can stand on its own. That said, we do catch up on characters from previous books in the series. Those story lines made the book even more enjoyable.

I loved the theme of the possibility of second chances that ran through the novel. From Cord and Nevada to Ronny and Marty to  innkeeper Martha Q and a new man in town – they all found that second chances were within reach if they were willing to take a chance and never stop believing.

If you’re a fan of the Harmony series or any of Jodi Thomas’s books I think you’ll love Can’t Stop Believing. And if you haven’t read a Jodi Thomas book I suggest you start with the first in this series – Welcome to Harmony – and enjoy getting to know the people of Harmony, Texas.

The Mad Earl’s Bride by Loretta Chase

mad earl's bride

  • Title:  The Mad Earl’s Bride
  • Author:  Loretta Chase
  • Genre:  Historical Romance; Novella
  • Published:  June 2013 – Avon Impulse
  • Source:  A review copy was provided by the publisher

Synopsis (publisher):  The Mad Earl’s Bride originally appeared in the print anthology Three Weddings and a Kiss.

Gwendolyn Adams is about to propose to an earl. On his deathbed.

Gwendolyn Adams isn’t shocked at being asked to save a handsome earl’s dying line, even when she learns the prospective bridegroom is seriously ill and possibly insane. She’s quite a good nurse, after all, and her family is famous for producing healthy male children. Those stories about his riding the moors half-naked on a pale white horse? Extremely intriguing—especially after she gets her first look at the gorgeous lunatic.

The Earl of Rawnsley wants only to lose what’s left of his mind in peace and privacy. But his busybody relatives have saddled him with a surprise bride and orders to sire an heir forthwith. (And they say he’s mad?) But with Gwendolyn, his health is returning, and his resistance … crumbling. Is it possible that love is the finest madness of all?

My take:  The Mad Earl’s Bride is an entertaining story. I enjoyed the main characters – Dorian, a tormented man and Gwendolyn, a bright, beautiful young woman who thinks she can help him and thereby help herself.

Is Dorian destined to die the same horrible death as his mother? Or can his new wife figure out what’s wrong with him and find a cure? After all, she’s smarter than any doctor he’s ever met.

Packed with details, it’s an interesting and somewhat dark novella. Could it be the start of a new series? I don’t know but I think if you’re a fan of Loretta Chase you’ll enjoy The Mad Earl’s Bride.

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:

house at the end of hope street we live in water the last queen

Last week on Bookfan:

  • Review: The Secret Life of Lady Julia by Lecia Cornwall

Books I read last week:

Freebie alert (at Amazon until midnight June 2):  If you enjoy humorous Regency Romance you can get Penelope by Anya Wylde by clicking on the title link.


On Thursday my morning walk took me through this lovely spot

Happy reading!