The Secret Ingredient of Wishes by Susan Bishop Crispell

  • the secret ingredient of wishesTitle:  The Secret Ingredient of Wishes: A Novel
  • Author:  Susan Bishop Crispell
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction; Magical Realism
  • Pages:  304
  • Published:  September 2016 – Thomas Dunne Books
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  26-year-old Rachel Monroe has spent her whole life trying to keep a very unusual secret: she can make wishes come true. And sometimes the consequences are disastrous. So when Rachel accidentally grants an outlandish wish for the first time in years, she decides it’s time to leave her hometown—and her past—behind for good. 

Blog Tour: The Life She Wants by Robyn Carr

  • the life she wants (9:27)Title:  The Life She Wants: A Novel
  • Author:  Robyn Carr
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Pages:  368
  • Published:  September 27, 2016 – Mira
  • Source:  Publisher; Little Bird Publicity

My take:  Emma Shay’s wealthy husband committed suicide after being found guilty of running a Ponzi scheme leaving Emma to deal with the fallout alone in New York City. She decided to try to start over by going home to California where she at least had a friend who knew that none of what happened was her fault. She found a place to live and eventually a job that would get her on her feet, just barely. When the job didn’t work out she swallowed her pride and asked a former friend for a job in her housecleaning business.

The Life She Wants is about second chances – in life and in relationships. Emma learned a lot from her former life in New York, most importantly that money can’t buy happiness. Going back to where she’d started in life made her realize what she valued most and gave her courage to make things right with the people she cared about. Emma’s friend Riley had lessons to learn as well. She’d been angry about how her life changed fifteen years earlier and needed to lighten up and let people into her life.

Robyn Carr’s story pulled me in from page one. I rooted for Emma and eventually Riley to turn their lives around and find the life each yearned for. The secondary characters and storylines added interesting layers to the novel. I’m wondering if a certain detective from this book will turn up in another someday. His story seemed a bit unfinished. Regardless, I enjoyed The Life She Wants very much.


About the author:

Carr_Robyn_11_Col“I’m frequently asked what it is about my stories that make them so popular. I think it’s the sense of community and that combination of romance and women’s fiction,” says author Robyn Carr. “I’m naturally drawn to strong, capable female characters, and when I begin a story, I ask myself, ‘What is she up against?’ It’s very empowering to read about women like ourselves as they resolve the issues that threaten their happiness and peace of mind. It’s also empowering to watch smart women choosing and falling in love with men of honor and integrity.”

The author of more than 40 novels, Robyn reaches a wide audience with her writing. In addition to her touching novels, she’s written historical and contemporary romance, as well as a gripping thriller. “This is the best job I’m ever going to get wearing pajamas,” she says of her writing career.

Originally from Minnesota, Robyn and her family have seen much of the country, thanks to her husband, Jim, and his career in aviation. After the two high school sweethearts married, Jim joined the air force. They’ve lived in Texas—all four corners—Alabama, Florida, California, Utah, Arizona and Nevada.

The couple moved to Henderson, Nevada, so Jim could explore a new business opportunity. “At first, being a Midwest girl at heart, I said, ‘Oh, no, not another desert!’ It didn’t take me long to fall in love with the beauty of Nevada—and the unrivaled spectacle of Las Vegas!”

Robyn well remembers how she began her career as an author more than 25 years ago. “I was trained as a nurse but found it impossible to get work because my husband was constantly being transferred. At the time, I was reading a lot of genre fiction for the sheer entertainment value, and I thought to myself, ‘I can write this!’”

And how was her first foray into the world of literature received? “It was universally panned. I thought I had written Gone with the Wind, but in actuality it was complete trash.” In fact, it was on her third try that Robyn finally succeeded in becoming a published author.

Now that Robyn’s two children are grown—and finally out of the house—she has the luxury of a little free time. “Until my kids grew up, I didn’t realize that a person could have hobbies other than laundry,” she jokes. But it turns out not to be hobbies that keep Robyn busy when she isn’t writing— she has found her niche in community service.

She has mentored a seniors’ memoir-writing group, attends book club chats in and out of state whenever possible and is working with her local library on the Carr Chat Series, a program centered on fund-raising and visiting-author events that bring writers, their books and the community together. “It is the people in my life that fill the well,” she says. “Especially the people who share my love for books and writing.”

Q&A with Robyn Carr -plus a US Giveaway

Today I’m happy to post a Q&A with author Robyn Carr. It was provided by Little Bird Publicity and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Stop back tomorrow for my review of her new novel The Life She Wants.

the life she wants (9:27)

Q: On the surface, it seems like Emma Shay had the life that a lot of people would want—a rich husband, a beautiful home, expensive clothes, a full household staff. But we soon learn that her life was not the fairytale it appeared to be. What made you want to explore the darker side of that kind of monetary and material wealth, and what do you think it actually means to have a “rich life?”

A: Money can be fun but it’s a tool, nothing more. There are so many wise sayings that apply – “It is a wealthy man who knows he has enough.” Or one of my favorites, “If you marry for money you’ll earn every dime.” Why? Because money is a convenient tool but the love of money is soulless. When Emma is finally free of the burdens and complications of wealth, when she earns her money and simplifies her life she feels richer.

I think one has a rich life when one has people who love her, friends and hopefully family, or at least the family one collects, when one has health and a positive outlook on life. Some of the happiest people I’ve known didn’t have much material wealth. Real wealth comes from knowing who you can depend on, who you can trust, who will be there for you when you need someone – maybe just to talk.

I know that billionaire romances are very popular but I’ve never been enamored of them. I find the problems of the incredibly rich to be boring and lifeless. There’s joy in challenge and I take pride in hard work. In a job well done. People are not important to me if they’ve amassed wealth – they’re valuable to me if they’ve collected wisdom. Professor Cornel West said he didn’t necessarily admire intelligence – Hitler was brilliant after all. He admired wisdom.

Q: After losing her husband and washing her hands of his sullied fortune, Emma returns home to California to rebuild her life and start over from scratch. Part of this involves reconnecting with old places and people she has not seen in over a decade. What inspired this idea of reconnection, of a prodigal returning home after a long absence?

A: I’m fascinated by relationships and one of the stickier ones we grapple with is women’s relationships with other women. There is no way to describe the heartache when best friends split up – it’s almost as bad as a divorce. I wanted a close look at that – both Emma and her former best friend, Riley, did unforgiveable things. Can they overcome it? Should they? Sometimes we pass our time with a friend and have to move on; sometimes it’s not too late. I never know how these issues will be worked out until I write about it. I have to spend some time with the characters, find out what they need, what kind of people they are, what they need.

Women behaving badly fascinates me, also. We’ve all experienced deep hurt from a friend and we all know how hard that is to overcome. How would Emma and Riley deal with their betrayal? That’s what I wanted to know.

Q: Emma and Riley are both people who have suffered betrayals and trauma in their romantic relationships. What makes Emma so open to finding love again, and what makes Riley so wary of it? Was it fun to write the two different sides of that coin?

A: I think Emma is surprised to find love and with, of all people, an old friend who she feels safe with. She was so alone in her marriage, so unloved and neglected. Riley, on the other hand, sees falling in love as a danger – the one and only time she fell for someone it destroyed her cherished friendship and left her adrift in a very difficult world as a single mother.

It was much more fun to write about a lost friendship than it is to live it! Everyone has had the experience of being dumped by a best friend and it’s horribly painful. And there’s always two sides to every story but we’re usually so determined to be right, we never try to understand the other side of the story. In this book I get to look at both of their perspectives without prejudice and it’s something to learn from. And I think the reader, like the writer in this case, will wonder to the very last page if they can resume their friendship.

Q: You’re known for your fantastic book series—at every event you do people beg you to write more Virgin River and Thunder Point books! Does this novel have any characters that you want to explore in future books? If not, what was it like working on a self‐contained story like this, and how does writing a standalone novel differ from, say, writing the first book of a planned series?

A: I love both – the stand alone and the series. In the stand alone novel there is a beginning, middle and end and there’s no continuing story. There’s a reason I don’t write about these same people up to their death. Novels are about conflict. A reunion story, as so many of my readers suggest, is about a lot of people in the process of living happily ever after and it’s very sweet, and very boring. Once my characters have reached their satisfactory happily ever after, we should be able to imagine them living contentedly, without great conflict. We don’t really want to see these beloved characters who have become friends struggle endlessly – that becomes frustrating and we’ll ask ourselves “Why can’t they get a handle on their lives?”

What I love about the standalone is that a specific set of challenges has been overcome and there should be satisfaction. Now the rest of their lives belongs to the reader and the reader’s imagination.

Q: We have to ask, what’s next for you? What are you working on right now?

A: I’m at work on the second Sullivan’s Crossing novel, no title yet. It should be ready soon and out the beginning of April 2017.


US Giveaway

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Ends September 28, 2016

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Spotlight/US Giveaway: The Spice Box Letters by Eve Makis

the spice box letters (9:13)

About the Book:

Katerina longs to know why her late grandmother, Miriam, refused to talk about the past, especially when she inherits a journal and handwritten letters stashed in a wooden spice box, cryptic treasures written in Armenian, Miriam’s mother tongue. On vacation in Cyprus, Katerina finds the key to unlocking her grandmother’s secrets and discovers a family legacy of exile and loss. Aged seven, Miriam was expelled from her home in Eastern Turkey and witnessed the death of her beloved brother Gabriel, or so she believed.

Katerina sets out on a fact-finding mission across the island and solves a mystery that changes her life and lays the ghosts of her grandmother’s turbulent past to rest. My Big Fat Greek Wedding meets Sarah’s Key in this gripping family saga, set during the tragic start of the Armenian genocide in 1915 Turkey, spanning the ups and downs of a family separated by the devastating aftermath in 1985 Greece.


About the Author:

EVE MAKIS studied at Leicester University and worked as a journalist and radio presenter in the UK and Cyprus before becoming a novelist. Eve is a part time tutor in creative writing at Nottingham University. She is married with two children and lives in the UK and Cyprus.


Praise for The Spice Box Letters:

“Reading The Spice Box Letters is like sitting down to a delicious Armenian dinner hosted by an ebullient family with a riveting and sorrowful tale to tell. Makis’ story goes to some dark places, but her warmth and light touch keeps this engaging novel aloft.  You will come away impressed by the resilience of her wonderful characters—and craving Armenian delicacies. (I devoured a chunk of halva while reading this book.) I deeply enjoyed this novel.” —Sharon Guskin, author of The Forgetting Time

 

“With humor, heartbreak and lyrical prose, Eve Makis has woven a moving tale of resilience in the face of tragedy.  I thoroughly enjoyed The Spice Box Letters.”  —Maggie Leffler, author of The Secrets of Flight

 

The Spice Box Letters is a beautifully evocative novel that moves from past to present and affirms the enduring love of family and explores the tragic, unsettling wake of the Armenian genocide. Eve Makis has written a novel that should be read, contemplated, and read again.” —Peter Golden, author of Wherever There Is Light

 

“Heartwarming, funny, tragic, and uplifting…the story has a feel good factor to equal My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” —Narinder Dhami, author of Bend It Like Beckham

 

“Fans of Victoria Hislop’s prose or Khaled Hosseini’s storytelling will love The Spice Box Letters, for Eve Makis’s latest novel is remarkable. It deserves to be an international bestseller and I have no doubt it will pick up an award or three. Beautifully written with inventive structure, compelling characters, historical horrors, and natural humor, it’s a rich feast.”— Notts Lit (UK)

 

“I would advise buying a packet of tissues before you start reading this extraordinary novel which depicts the human cost of war. The novel is peppered with vividly evoked scenes of the physical, emotional, and mental trauma that many Armenian families went through during the massacre of their people in WWI.” —Pamreader

 

“Makis has done her research, and the historical details of 100 years ago ring true, as do finely drawn characters like Katerina’s great-uncle, the cantankerous, memorable Gabriel. Add some mouth-watering descriptions of food and you have a warm, affecting tale to savor.”— LeftLion Magazine (UK) 


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the spice box letters (9:13)

Giveaway ends September 22, 2016

Absalom’s Daughters by Suzanne Feldman

  • Absalom's DaughtersTitle:  Absalom’s Daughters: A Novel
  • Author:  Suzanne Feldman
  • Genre:  Fiction
  • Pages:  272
  • Published:  July 2016 – Henry Holt & Co.
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  Self-educated and brown-skinned, Cassie works full-time in her grandmother’s laundry in rural Mississippi. Illiterate and white, Judith falls for “colored music” and dreams of life as a big city radio star. These teenaged girls are half-sisters. And when they catch wind of their wayward father’s inheritance coming down in Virginia, they hitch their hopes to a road trip together to claim what’s rightly theirs.

In an old junk car, with a frying pan, a ham, and a few dollars hidden in a shoe, they set off through the American Deep South of the 1950s, a bewitchingly beautiful landscape as well as one bedeviled by racial striving and violence. Absalom’s Daughters combines the buddy movie, the coming-of-age tale, and a dash of magical realism to enthrall and move us with an unforgettable, illuminating novel.  (publisher)

My take:  Cassie grew up with her mother (Lil Ma) and grandmother in a small Mississippi town. Their walls were papered with magazine pages and that’s how Cassie learned how to read.  One day she learned about her father – a man she’d never met. He was white and her grandmother, wanting a grandchild who could pass for white, had encouraged Lil Ma to let him father her child. But Grandmother’s idea didn’t work –  Cassie’s skin wasn’t light enough. When Cassie meets her father’s white daughter, Judith, the two form an initially uneasy alliance.

After a few years Judith finds out her father (who left his white family) is set to receive an inheritance. She’s going to find him, get some of his inheritance so she can go to New York City and become a star. Since Cassie is also his progeny she convinces her to come with Judith to make her claim. They set off on a road trip that was at times funny, frightening, and magical. The girls learn life lessons along the way – two being to never give up on your dreams and never forget the past.

While I liked the novel it seemed like a book that would be read in a high school literature class. Nothing wrong with that, just thought I’d mention my impression. I think readers in that age group would especially enjoy Absalom’s Daughters.


About the author:

Feldman, Suzanne (Tim Stephens)Suzanne Feldman, a recipient of the Missouri Review Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize and a finalist for the Bakeless Prize in fiction, holds an MA in fiction from Johns Hopkins University and a BFA in art from the Maryland Institute College of Art. She is the author of award-winning science fiction titles like Speaking Dreams and The Annunciate, published under the pen name Severna Park. Her short fiction has appeared in NarrativeThe Missouri ReviewGargoyle, and other literary journals. She lives in Frederick, Maryland.

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Always a Cowboy by Linda Lael Miller

  • always a cowboy (9:1)Title:  Always a Cowboy
  • Series:  The Carsons of Mustang Creek #2
  • Author:  Linda Lael Miller
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Pages:  384
  • Published:  August 2016 – HQN Books
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley; Little Bird Publicity

Description:  He’s the middle of the three Carson brothers and is as stubborn as they come—and he won’t thank a beautiful stranger for getting in his way! 

Drake Carson is the quintessential cowboy. In charge of the family ranch, he knows the realities of this life, its pleasures and heartbreaks. Lately, managing the wild stallions on his property is wearing him down. When an interfering so-called expert arrives and starts offering her opinion, Drake is wary, but he can’t deny the longing—and the challenge—she stirs in him. 

Luce Hale is researching how wild horses interact with ranch animals—and with ranchers. The Carson matriarch invites her to stay with the family, which guarantees frequent encounters with Drake, her ruggedly handsome and decidedly unwelcoming son. Luce and Drake are at odds from the very beginning, especially when it comes to the rogue stallion who’s stealing the ranch mares. But when Drake believes Luce is in danger, that changes everything—for both of them. (publisher)

My take:  Drake Carson is the head of his family’s ranch. All his life he’s wanted to carry on the tradition of tending the ranch that’s been in his family for several generations. He cares about the land and the animals who live there. That includes the cattle and the predators that threaten them.

Luce Hale cares about animals and the environment and plans to write her dissertation about the wild horses that roam the Carson ranch. Drake sees them as a nuisance and threat to his horses and land. She hopes to convince him to find a humane way to deal with the wild horses. Eventually these two find a mutual respect and even more.

The second book in the Carsons of Mustang Creek series was enjoyable and I learned a bit about wild horses – I’ve heard about them before but didn’t know much about them. The novel ends a bit abruptly but I still liked it. The scenes with Drake’s brothers and the rest of the family were fun and a bit exciting near the end. If you enjoyed the first book in the series I think you’ll love Always a Cowboy.


Miller_Linda Lael_09-2

About the author:  The daughter of a town marshal, Linda Lael Miller is the #1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of more than 100 historical and contemporary novels, most of which reflect her love of the West. Raised in Northport, Washington, the self-confessed barn goddess pursued her wanderlust, living in London and Arizona and traveling the world before returning to the state of her birth to settle down on a horse property outside Spokane.

Linda traces the beginning of her writing career to the day a Northport teacher told her that the stories she was writing were good, that she just might have a future in writing. Later, when she decided to write novels, she endured her share of rejection before she sold her first title to a publisher in 1983. Linda then successfully published historicals, contemporaries, paranormals, mysteries and thrillers before coming home, in a literal sense, to concentrate on novels with a Western flavor. For her devotion to her craft, the Romance Writers of America awarded her their prestigious Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. In 2016 Linda will receive a Lifetime Achievement award from RT Book Reviews. Currently the Hallmark Movie Channel is developing a series based on Linda’s Big Sky Country novels.

For more information about Linda and her novels, please visit lindalaelmiller.com


 

Spotlight/US Giveaway: Letters from Paris by Juliet Blackwell

Letters from Paris

About Letters from Paris:

After surviving the accident that took her mother’s life, Claire Broussard worked hard to escape her small Louisiana hometown. But these days she feels something lacking. Abruptly leaving her lucrative job in Chicago, Claire returns home to care for her ailing grandmother. There, she unearths a beautiful sculpture that her great-grandfather sent home from Paris after World War II.

At her grandmother’s urging, Claire travels to Paris to track down the centuries old mask-making atelier where the sculpture, known only as “L’inconnue”—or the Unknown Woman—was created. With the help of a passionate sculptor, Claire discovers a cache of letters that offer insight into the life of the Belle Epoque woman immortalized in the work of art. As Claire uncovers the unknown woman’s tragic fate, she begins to discover secrets—and a new love of her own.


About the author:

Juliet Blackwell was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, the youngest child of a jet pilot and an editor. She graduated with a degree in Latin American studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and went on to earn master’s degrees in anthropology and social work. While in graduate school, she published several articles based on her research with immigrant families from Mexico and Vietnam, as well as one full-length translation: Miguel León-Portilla’s seminal work, Endangered Cultures. Juliet taught medical anthropology at SUNY–Albany, was producer for a BBC documentary, and worked as an elementary school social worker. Upon her return to California, she became a professional artist and ran her own decorative painting and design studio for more than a decade. In addition to mainstream novels, Juliet pens the New York Times bestselling Witchcraft Mysteries and the Haunted Home Renovation series. As Hailey Lind she wrote the Agatha Award–nominated Art Lover’s Mysteries series. She makes her home in northern California, but spends as much time as possible in Europe and Latin America. Visit her online at JulietBlackwell.net, Facebook.com/JulietBlackwellAuthor and @JulietBlackwell.


Praise for Juliet Blackwell’s The Paris Key:

“Blackwell’s novel has all of the components that the best novels are made of: an intriguing and compelling storyline, an extremely likable protagonist, a dreamy location and a small dash of suspense and mystery.”—RT Book Reviews

 

“Better than a travel guide because it carries the essence of friendship, food, drink, story, and history that one can only convey through Parisian residents. Delightful and highly recommended!” —The Best Reviews 


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Letters from Paris

Giveaway ends on September 14, 2016

Spotlight/US Giveaway: A Gift of Love by Tony Cointreau

a gift of love

A Gift of Love
Lessons Learned From My Work and Friendship with Mother Teresa
by Tony Cointreau
Published by Prospecta Press
Hardcover: 200 pages
September 6, 2016; $20.00 US/$25.00 CAN; 9781632260499

Description

Stories from a life of caregiving for others that will help those who have the responsibility and the privilege of caring for a loved one at the end of his or her life.

After experiencing a comfortable childhood as an heir to the Cointreau liquor fortune, and having had a successful career in show business, Tony Cointreau felt that he needed something more meaningful in his life. This led him to spend twelve years as a dedicated volunteer in Mother Teresa’s hospices in New York and Calcutta, helping more than one hundred people while they went through the process of dying.

Every family eventually has to deal with caregiving and the end of life, and Tony’s friends kept pleading with him to write his experiences so that when they had to face it, perhaps for the first time, they would have a better idea of the simple things they could do to help their own loved ones during those last months, weeks, days, or hours.

This book is Tony’s answer to those requests. His overall approach to caregiving for the living as well as for the dying shines through in each chapter, both in practical matters and in reverence for the privilege of sharing in life’s momentous transitions.


Author Bio

Tony Cointreau, author of A Gift of Love: Lessons Learned from My Work and Friendship with Mother Teresa, is a member of the French liqueur Cointreau family. He was born into a life of wealth and privilege, growing up among the rich and famous. His maternal grandmother was an opera star, and Tony’s own voice led him to a successful international singing career. His paternal heritage put him on the Cointreau board of directors. But he felt a need for something more meaningful in his life—and his heart led him to Calcutta and Mother Teresa.

Tony’s childhood experiences—an emotionally remote mother; a Swiss nanny who constantly told him, “Mother only loves you when you’re perfect;” an angry, bullying older brother; and a sexually predatory fourth-grade schoolteacher—convinced him that the only way to be loved is to be perfect. He set out on a lifelong quest for a loving mother figure and unconditional love, and he found it with Mother Teresa and her work. She became another mother for him, as he describes in his memoir, Ethel Merman, Mother Teresa… and Me.

Tony volunteered in Mother Teresa’s hospices for twelve years, learning to give unconditional love, and helping more than one hundred people while they were dying.

For more information please visit http://tonycointreau.com


Reviews for Tony Cointreau’s Work
“I was so interested in your life with Ethel Merman . . . she was a gifted and fascinating woman. And of course Mother Teresa is smiling down. I don’t think she would ever be anything but enthusiastic about your life and its far-ranging activity. Your book is a wonderful story that nobody else can tell. I even think your family background is fun! You are a Cointreau, but then you also had the important entertainer career — I don’t think they make many more like you.”
— Helen Gurley Brown, Author and iconic editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine

Tony Cointreau’s friendship with my mother was one of her life’s true blessings. Naturally comfortable in the brightest light of her stardom and the softest light of her vulnerable heart, Tony shared an everyday intimacy with Ethel like a second son . . . like my brother.
— Bob Levitt, Ethel Merman’s son

Dear Tony,
I am glad to know that you have experienced joy in sharing our works of love for the poor in our home for AIDS patients. Thank you for your generous gift of love. Please pray for me as I do for you.
God bless you,
— Mother Teresa, Missionaries of Charity


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a gift of love

Giveaway ends September 12, 2016

The Last Treasure by Erika Marks

  • the last treasureTitle:  The Last Treasure: A Novel
  • Author:  Erika Marks
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Pages:  368
  • Published:  August 2016 – NAL Accent
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  From the author of It Comes in Waves and The Guest House comes a novel of three lives entangled in the secrets of the sea and the enduring bonds of love.

As students with a shared passion for shipwrecks, Liv, Sam, and Whit formed a close bond searching for the mysterious Patriot, a schooner that disappeared off the Carolina Coast in 1812 with Aaron Burr’s daughter Theodosia aboard. But as the elusive ship drew them together, love would bring them even closer—and ultimately tear them apart.

It’s been seven years since Liv left Sam to be with Whit, and the once close-knit trio went their separate ways. Liv has given up her obsession with Theodosia Burr to focus on her career as a salvage diver and her passionate but troubled marriage to the reckless and hedonistic Whit. But when a diary of Theodosia’s is discovered in a collector’s estate, she is pulled back to the world of the Patriot, this time with startling new clues to what might have really happened. 

Diving back into the lost history of the Patriot could be just what Liv needs to find closure to a mystery that still haunts her. But when she and Whit reunite with Sam for one last salvage in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, buried romantic tensions begin to resurface, and once again Liv must choose between two men with very different hearts. (publisher)

My take:  The Last Treasure is one of those books that grabbed me from the start. I didn’t expect to read it as quickly as I did but I couldn’t stop reading. There’s the romantic triangle of Liv, Sam and Whit, a mystery that might never be solved, and diving for treasure – what’s not to love?!

The three meet in college and form a friendship that pulls in different directions over the years. Liv wants to solve the mystery of what really happened to Theodosia Burr (see description above). Sam and Whit want to help her find answers while figuring out where each is headed in life. She has real-life responsibilities that limit her choices and possibly have her feeling drawn to the wrong person.

I loved how Erika Marks’ story played out for Liv as well as Theodosia. I thought the then and now narrative revealed complex characters at a good pace and gave depth to the plot. Recommended to fans of the author and contemporary fiction. It was a perfect weekend read.

Family Tree by Susan Wiggs

  • Family Tree by Susan Wigg (8:9:16 Wm Morrow)Title:  Family Tree
  • Author:  Susan Wiggs
  • Pages:  368
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  August 2016 – William Morrow
  • Source:  Publisher; Edelweiss

My take:  Annie Rush is a producer of a television cooking show starring her husband Martin. Annie learned to cook from her grandmother who taught her that just as every recipe has a key ingredient, one’s life is mapped by key events. When Annie discovers her husband in a compromising position she knows this is one of those key events. If that isn’t enough Annie is about to experience a monumental key event.

Susan Wiggs’ story is one of second chances and the willingness to keep going, even under the most dire circumstances. Annie, Fletcher (a man from her past), and even her own parents discover what it takes to go for a second chance in life. Sometimes that means starting from where you are and other times it is starting over from scratch.

If you’re a fan of Susan Wiggs I think you’ll like Family Tree as much as I did. I loved the Vermont setting and all the foodie details. (My review galley didn’t contain any recipes so I don’t know if finished copies will.) It’s a fast read that I thoroughly enjoyed.  Recommended to fans of the author and contemporary fiction.

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott

  • you will know me (7:26)Title:  You Will Know Me: A Novel
  • Author:  Megan Abbott
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Pages:  352
  • Published:  July 2016 – Little Brown
  • Source:  Publisher; Tandem Literary

My take:  You Will Know Me is the story of a family dedicated to the success of one of their children. Devon is a talented gymnast on track to make elite level and ultimately the Olympic team. The hopes of her family, coaches, and other families connected to the gym rest on her shoulders. She seems to take it all in stride until the dynamics of the gym are shaken by the death of someone close to everyone. What follows this event has everyone questioning their relationships and loyalty to each other.

I imagine there are some similarities in what it takes to become an actual elite gymnast – and how entire families are affected by the necessary sacrifices in favor of the gymnast – to the characters in this novel. I found it to be a compelling read that was difficult to put down – especially since I’d just watched most of the Rio Olympic gymnastics competition. Although I figured out the whodunit early on I thought it was an interesting novel all around.

Sunrise Crossing by Jodi Thomas: Author Guest Post and My Review

sunrise crossing (9:1)

Guest post by Jodi Thomas:

I believe in love, the kind that lasts a lifetime.  My grandfather met my grandmother at a barn raising.  She was fifteen and he was seventeen.  They wrote letters back and forth for a year, then the next spring he drove a buckboard back to her place and married her that day.  They were married 64 years and their children say they never saw them argue.  It may not always work out that way in real life, but I like to think it should in fiction.

One of my main characters in SUNRISE CROSSING is Clint Montgomery, a widower who sold the house he built for his wife a month after she died to a woman passing through.  Parker Lacy always meant to return, but she runs a very successful art gallery and never has the time until a friend of hers needs a hideout.  Parker is totally unaware that Clint has spent ten years watching over her place.  To the world Clint seems to be only a hard, cold, rancher, but to Parker he’s the one man she can trust. They are as different as they can be, but find love even though both swear they are not looking for it.

For those of you who love a good love story, SUNRISE CROSSING  is the book for you.   Maybe because I believe in love and I love reading happy endings, but this book was so fun to write.

So, saddle up and ride with me through SUNRISE CROSSING.

Jodi Thomas

http://www.jodithomas.com/

www.facebook.com/jodithomasauthor

www.twitter.com/jodithomas/


I hope you’ll take a few moments to watch this video to see where Jodi Thomas found her inspiration for the Ransom Canyon series.


  • sunrise crossing (9:1)Title:  Sunrise Crossing
  • Series:  Ransom Canyon #4
  • Author:  Jodi Thomas
  • Pages:  384
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Published:  August 2016 – HQN Books
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  Return to peaceful Crossroads, Texas, where community comes first and love thrives in the unlikeliest places… 

Yancy Grey is slowly putting his life back together after serving time for petty theft. As he rebuilds an old house, he finally has a sense of stability, but he can’t stop thinking of himself as just an ex-con. Until one night, he finds a mysterious dark-haired beauty hiding in his loft. But who is she, and what secret is she protecting? 

The art gallery Parker Lacey manages is her life—she has no time for friends, and certainly not lovers. But when her star artist begs Parker for help, she finds herself in a pickup truck, headed for the sleepy town of Crossroads. A truck driven by a strong, silent cowboy… 

Gabe Snow has been a drifter since he left Crossroads at seventeen after a violent incident. When he accepts a job in his hometown, he’ll have to decide whether he can put the worst night of his life behind him and build a future in the community that raised him.  (publisher)

My take:  Sunrise Crossing is another good Ransom Canyon book that has Jodi Thomas’ usual mix of romance, drama and humor. In this story we have characters who have every reason to give up on life but through circumstances and connections made in Crossroads the case for not giving up begins to gather strength for all of them.

Tori can’t survive another minute under the thumb of her mother and step-father. She’s a talented artist who has a total meltdown in front of a gallery owner who becomes her guardian angel. Parker, the gallery owner, has lived under a cloud most of her life knowing she probably wouldn’t live much past the age of forty – like the rest of her family. Before succumbing she’d like to help Tori find a safe place to live and even thrive. The person to help them is a man she’s only met once but he’s their only hope. We also get to know Yancy a little better. He’s made an appearance in each book of the series and it’s been fun to see him develop into a more confident  person. There are a few more storylines that I hope will continue in future books.

I enjoyed Sunrise Crossing and all the supporting characters Jodi Thomas introduced. It’s one of the things I like about her books – the characters who seem so familiar to anyone who has lived in a small town. As usual, I can’t wait to see what happens next in Crossroads, Texas.