Brief take: Rainy Day Friends by Jill Shalvis

Rainy Day Friends by Jill Shalvis

Published:  June 19 2018

William Morrow Paperbacks

ARC courtesy of William Morrow Paperbacks and LibraryThing Early Reviewers

Description:  Six months after Lanie Jacobs’ husband’s death, it’s hard to imagine anything could deepen her sense of pain and loss. But then Lanie discovers she isn’t the only one grieving his sudden passing. A serial adulterer, he left behind several other women who, like Lanie, each believe she was his legally wedded wife. 

Rocked by the infidelity, Lanie is left to grapple with searing questions. How could she be so wrong about a man she thought she knew better than anyone? Will she ever be able to trust another person?  Can she even trust herself?

Desperate to make a fresh start, Lanie impulsively takes a job at the family-run Capriotti Winery. At first, she feels like an outsider among the boisterous Capriottis. With no real family of her own, she’s bewildered by how quickly they all take her under their wing and make her feel like she belongs. Especially Mark Capriotti, a gruffly handsome Air Force veteran turned deputy sheriff who manages to wind his way into Lanie’s cold, broken heart—along with the rest of the clan.

Everything is finally going well for her, but the arrival of River Green changes all that. The fresh-faced twenty-one-year old seems as sweet as they come…until her dark secrets come to light—secrets that could destroy the new life Lanie’s only just begun to build. (publisher)

My brief take:  This was such an enjoyable contemporary romance. It has a sympathetic heroine, a yummy hero (and his wonderful extended family) and a crazy plot. If you love Jill Shalvis or if you’re a fan of laugh-out-loud romance that will also tug your heartstrings you’ll want to read Rainy Day Friends. This is the second in the Wildstone series but it can absolutely stand alone.


 

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Brief take: How To Keep A Secret by Sarah Morgan

How To Keep A Secret by Sarah Morgan

Narrator:  Laurel Lefkow

Length:  11 hrs. 16 min.

Published: July 10, 2017 Harlequin Audio

Borrowed from my library via Hoopla

My brief take:  I like novels about secrets and this one had plenty. The characters all seem to have secrets and their lives are in a state of flux. There’s Nancy, mother of two grown daughters and grandmother of a 17-year-old.  One daughter is a recent widow and the other wants nothing more than to have a child. Granddaughter Mac finds out the most important people in her life deceived her in a big way. Nancy is on the cusp of finally living the life she craves – but first she’ll have to make some tough decisions. Juicy secrets and the lovely Martha’s Vineyard setting all combined for a novel that made a long solo car trip surprisingly quick.


 

Cottage By The Sea by Debbie Macomber

Cottage By the Sea by Debbie Macomber

Pub. date:  July 17, 2018 – Ballantine

Review galley courtesy of Ballantine and NetGalley

Description:  Annie Marlow has been through the worst. Rocked by tragedy, she heads to the one place that makes her happy: Oceanside in the Pacific Northwest, the destination of many family vacations when Annie was a teenager.
   
Once there, Annie begins to restore her broken spirit, thanks, in part, to the folks she meets: a local painter, Keaton, whose large frame is equal to his big heart—and who helps Annie fix up her rental cottage by the sea; Mellie, the reclusive, prickly landlord Annie is determined to befriend; and Britt, a teenager with a terrible secret. But it is Keaton to whom Annie feels most drawn. His quiet, peaceful nature offers her both comfort and reprieve from her grief, and the two begin to grow closer.

Then events threaten to undo the idyll Annie has longed for. And when the opportunity of a lifetime lands in her lap, she is torn between the excitement of a new journey toward success and the safe and secure arms of the haven—and the man—she’s come to call home.

In this heartwarming tale, Annie finds that the surest way to fix what is damaged within is to help others rise above their pain and find a way to heal.  (publisher)

My take:  Cottage By The Sea is Debbie Macomber’s new stand alone novel. Following a tragedy Annie Marlow is faced with starting her life over. She returns to the little beach town where her family vacationed when she was young. It is a way to connect to everything she has missed from her past and soon becomes a way to create her future. With the help of new friends, all with issues of their own, that’s exactly what she does. The novel deals with some serious themes such as loss of loved ones, domestic abuse, and hoarding. Macomber conveys the emotions without getting too heavy which is what I’ve come to expect from her.


 

The Lido by Libby Page

The Lido by Libby Page

Expected pub. date: July 10, 2018 – Simon & Schuster

Review galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:  Rosemary Peterson has lived in Brixton, London, all her life but everything is changing.

The library where she used to work has closed. The family grocery store has become a trendy bar. And now the lido, an outdoor pool where she’s swum daily since its opening, is threatened with closure by a local housing developer. It was at the lido that Rosemary escaped the devastation of World War II; here she fell in love with her husband, George; here she found community during her marriage and since George’s death.

Twentysomething Kate Matthews has moved to Brixton and feels desperately alone. A once promising writer, she now covers forgettable stories for her local paper. That is, until she’s assigned to write about the lido’s closing. Soon Kate’s portrait of the pool focuses on a singular woman: Rosemary. And as Rosemary slowly opens up to Kate, both women are nourished and transformed in ways they never thought possible.

In the tradition of Fredrik Backman’s A Man Called Ove, The Lido is a charming, feel-good novel that captures the heart and spirit of a community across generations—an irresistible tale of love, loss, aging, and friendship. (publisher)

My take:  When the neighborhood swimming pool known as the lido is set to be sold many people are upset. Rosemary, in her eighties, has a special attachment to the place. It has played a big part in her life. The local newspaper sends a young reporter, Kate, to cover the rumored sale of the lido. Kate, who deals with anxiety and panic attacks, wants to interview Rosemary for her article but it won’t be as easy as that. Rosemary agrees but only if Kate will swim at the lido with her. Just about the last thing Kate wants to do is buy a swim suit and then go swimming. But she’ll do it for the story. What follows is the story of a community and a place that is important to them all. A story of an unexpected friendship for Rosemary and Kate – at opposite ends of life but kindred spirits all the same. It’s a story about never losing hope. If you’re looking for a warm hug of a book about life this could be one for you. I’m so happy I had a chance to read it and I was really glad to have a box of Kleenex nearby as I finished reading.

Note: Check out pics of the real Brockwell lido here.


 

Heaven Adjacent by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Review copy courtesy of Lake Union and Little Bird Publicity

Lake Union Publishing | June 19, 2018
Paperback: $14.95 | ISBN: 978-1503900394
eBook: $4.99 | ASIN: B076KYS66K

Description: Roseanna Chaldecott wants just one thing: peace and quiet. After the sudden loss of her lifelong best friend and law partner, Roseanna abandons her cushy yet unfulfilling life as a New York City lawyer and drives into the countryside without a firm destination in mind. As the car is just about out of gas, she stumbles upon the place she didn’t even know she was looking for: a tiny
house on a beautiful patch of green, tucked away in the hills, with a “For Sale” sign out front. Not a few hours later, Roseanna is the proud owner of this little slice of paradise and committed to a new
life away from the city.
But in HEAVEN ADJACENT (Lake Union Publishing; on sale June 19th, 2018), there’s a catch: Roseanna isn’t the only person enamored by her peaceful hideaway. On the first night in her new
abode she meets Patty and her five-year-old daughter Willa, who’ve been living on the property and can’t afford their own place. Soon others start traveling through, and as Roseanna explains why she exchanged her comfortable lifestyle for the simplicity of a shack in the woods, a few passersby become additional squatters interrupting her silence and solitude. Though she is adamant their days on the property are numbered, she reluctantly lets them stay.
Back in Manhattan, no one knows Roseanna’s whereabouts for months, not even her remaining ex-law partner, Jerry, or her estranged son, Lance. But after the New York Times runs an article about
Roseanna and the peculiar array of metal sculptures she’s created, Lance arrives to convince her to return home—and Jerry threatens her with a hefty lawsuit for abandoning the firm. As she comes to grips with the possibility of losing everything, Roseanna begins to ask herself what—and who—matters the most to her, and whether the isolation she yearned for is truly the cornerstone of her next chapter in life.
The author of more than 30 books, including the critically-acclaimed novel Pay It Forward, Catherine Ryan Hyde presents readers with a middle-aged woman who still has a lot to learn about who she really is, and a cast of characters who chip away at the hard exterior she’s built up over the hectic life that’s passed her by. As Roseanna beings to accept a new reality free of material wealth, she discovers that she is rich in something that can’t be replaced: family. HEAVEN ADJACENT is a novel about realizing life is too short to put off happiness, and that shows the people we celebrate each day with should make us the most joyful of all. (publisher)

My take:  Roseanna’s approach to work was do it for as long as it took to ensure she could retire at some point and enjoy a comfortable life. When her best friend who held the same mindset suddenly died Roseanna made a change that bewildered her coworkers, family and even herself.

This is a story about resetting one’s priorities. Filled with quirky characters who were part of Roseanna’s new life this novel made me chuckle at times and it made me think about the possibilities that are always around us – but are we brave enough to consider making changes. I really enjoyed it. It’s the third of Catherine Ryan Hyde’s novels I’ve read and, just like the previous ones, it left me with a warm feeling and very happy to have read it. Recommended.


About the author:

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of 33 published books. Her bestselling 1999 novel, Pay It
Forward, was adapted into a major Warner Bros. motion picture, made the American Library
Association’s Best Books for Young Adults list, and has been translated into more than two dozen
languages in 30 countries. More than 50 of her short stories have been published in journals, and her short fiction received honorable mention in the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest, a second-place win for the Tobias Wolff Award, and nominations for Best American Short Stories, the O. Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Three have also been cited in Best American Short Stories.
Hyde is the founder and former president of the Pay It Forward Foundation.


 

The Lost For Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland

Finished copy courtesy of St. Martin’s Press

Description:  Loveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look carefully, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are some things Loveday will never, ever show you.

Into her hiding place – the bookstore where she works – come a poet, a lover, and three suspicious deliveries.

Someone has found out about her mysterious past. Will Loveday survive her own heartbreaking secrets? (publisher)

My take:  With her life determined by the adults when she was a young girl, Loveday grows up relying on no one but herself and her love of books. As a young adult aging out of the foster system she found comfort in the used bookstore where she got a job that paid the rent for a bed sit and gave her access to books. She’s always on her guard knowing only she can protect herself from what life can deal out. Equal parts charming, sad, humorous and life-affirming The Lost for Words Bookshop is filled with quirky characters who hold their own secrets. I enjoyed it all and recommend it to bibliophiles and people who love a love story. Discussion questions and a conversation with the author are included at the end.


About the author:

Stephanie Butland lives with her family near the sea in the northeast of England. She writes in a studio at the bottom of her garden, and when she’s not writing, she trains people to think more creatively. For fun she reads, knits, sews, bakes, and spins. She is an occasional performance poet.


Praise for The Lost For Words Bookshop:

“The latest from Butland is an appealing novel about love’s many forms and the power of books. Rich characterizations, a vibrant bookstore setting, and several poignant Wednesday poetry nights will have readers hoping for a sequel.” – Publishers Weekly

“Witty and irreverent…a bibliophile’s delight.” – Matthew Sullivan, author of Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore

“Burns fiercely with love and hurt. A rare and beautiful novel.” – Linda Green, bestselling author of While My Eyes Were Closed

“Filled with mystery and intrigue, Butland’s latest takes readers on a literary journey via chapters that jump through time and are named for distinct genres of crime, poetry, history and travel. Lovers of literature will enjoy this mix of contemporary women’s fiction and mystery.” – Library Journal


 

Sailing Lessons by Hannah McKinnon

Sailing Lessons by Hannah McKinnon

Published June 5th 2018 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books

Review galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:  On the shores of Cape Cod, the Bailey sisters reunite with their long-lost father for a summer of hope and forgiveness in this heartfelt novel from the author of the “sharp and evocative” (Kirkus Reviews) Mystic Summer, The Lake Season, and The Summer House, sure to appeal to “fans of Elin Hilderbrand” (Booklist).

Wrenn Bailey has lived all her life on Cape Cod with her mother Lindy, older sister Shannon, and younger sister Piper. Growing up, life was dictated by the seasons with sleepy gray winters where only the locals stayed on, followed by the sharp influx and colorful bustle of summer tourists who swept up the elbow of the Cape and infiltrated their small paradise.

But it wasn’t just the tourists who interrupted Wrenn’s formative years; her father—brilliant but troubled photographer Caleb—has long made a habit of drifting in and out of his girls’ lives. Until the one summer he left the Cape and did not return again.

Now, almost twenty years later, Caleb has come back one last time, suffering from pancreatic cancer and seeking absolution. Wrenn and her sisters each respond differently to their father’s return, determined to find closure. But that means returning to the past and revisiting old wounds—wounds that cause the tightknit Bailey women to confront their own wishes and wants, and admit to their own wrong-doings over the years. In a place that brings both great comfort and great pain, the Bailey sisters experience a summer on the Cape that promises not only hard endings, but perhaps, hopeful new beginnings. (publisher)

My take:  A momentous event resulting in the sudden absence of their father shaped the lives of three young girls. Each had her own perception of the event and was followed into adulthood with the effect of their loss. The novel takes place on beautiful Cape Cod – a setting I love reading about. Sailing Lessons is a story of forgiveness – what can happen when one is allowed to forgive or be forgiven. I had no problem finding sympathy for all of these flawed characters – a credit to author Hannah McKinnon. Recommended to fans of novels about less-than-perfect families. Last year I enjoyed The Summer House and now I look forward to reading the rest of McKinnon’s books.