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


 

The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green

  • Title:  The Sunshine Sisters
  • Author:  Jane Green
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Pages:  384
  • Published:  June 2017 – Berkley Books
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  Ronni Sunshine left London for Hollywood to become a beautiful, charismatic star of the silver screen. But at home, she was a narcissistic, disinterested mother who alienated her three daughters.

As soon as possible, tomboy Nell fled her mother’s overbearing presence to work on a farm and find her own way in the world as a single mother. The target of her mother’s criticism, Meredith never felt good enough, thin enough, pretty enough. Her life took her to London—and into the arms of a man whom she may not even love. And Lizzy, the youngest, more like Ronni than any of them, seemed to have it easy, using her drive and ambition to build a culinary career to rival her mother’s fame, while her marriage crumbled around her.

But now the Sunshine Sisters are together again, called home by Ronni, who has learned that she has a serious disease and needs her daughters to fulfill her final wishes. And though Nell, Meredith, and Lizzy have never been close, their mother’s illness draws them together to confront the old jealousies and secret fears that have threatened to tear these sisters apart. As they face the loss of their mother, they will discover if blood might be thicker than water after all… (publisher)

My take:  Jane Green’s newest novel is about a family of women: A narcissistic mother in failing health and her three grown daughters who want nothing to do with her or each other.  She sees a chance to change things by bringing her girls together before she dies.

Nell, Meredith and Lizzy know something is up when their mother requests they come home immediately. It’s not a problem for Nell who lives nearby but Meredith lives and works in London and Lizzy is incredibly busy with her pop-up restaurant venture in New York. They drop everything and head home to see what’s going on. The sisters will soon discover things about themselves, their mother and each other.

I liked this novel for its good intentions. It touches on a few serious topics while managing to keep a fairly light tone. But a few things seemed a bit pat – most notably with one daughter’s life going in an unexpected direction almost overnight. I didn’t have a problem with that direction, just how fast it happened. That issue aside, I recommend The Sunshine Sisters as a light read for fans of domestic fiction and Jane Green.


 

The Beach At Painter’s Cove by Shelley Noble

  • Title:  The Beach At Painter’s Cove
  • Author:  Shelley Noble
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Pages:  432
  • Published:  June 2017 – William Morrow Paperbacks
  • Source:  Publisher

My take:  The Beach at Painter’s Cove is the story of the Whitakers – a wealthy and eccentric New England family who are on the brink of losing the fabled Muses by the Sea mansion. Through the decades Muses hosted the most notable stars of the art world – a place where artists could practice their craft or just get away and be themselves.

Granddaughter Issy will go down fighting in order to keep her grandmother’s home in the family. That’s not the only issue she’ll face. There are also frustrating family dynamics, intrigue, and general misunderstandings that work into the plot of this multi-generational story. Despite all that, she reconnects with old friends, her grandmother and great-aunt, and a delightful niece who seems to share a lot in common with Issy.

The novel is filled with interesting characters, a lovely setting, and the lesson that change is not always a bad thing. I enjoy a good family drama and that’s exactly what I got with Shelley Noble’s The Beach at Painter’s Cove. A book club guide is included.


About the author:

Shelley Noble is a former professional dancer and choreographer. She most recently worked on the films Mona Lisa Smile and The Game Plan. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and Liberty States Fiction Writers.


 

The Summer House by Hannah McKinnon

  • Title:  The Summer House
  • Author:  Hannah McKinnon
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Pages:  336
  • Publish date:  June 6, 2017 – Atria/Emily Bestler Books
  • Source:  Publisher

My take:  The Merrill family is meeting at their summer house at the Rhode Island shore to celebrate their father’s 75th birthday. Flossy, their mother, has planned the perfect party that will take place on the last night of their week together. She only hopes her adult children won’t kill each other before that night. Each one brings their own drama with them and thinks nothing of reliving sibling rivalries, perceived slights, etc. Paige, the eldest, feels like she’s losing control of her life. Middle child Samuel and his husband lost out on a chance to adopt and worry they’ll never get another chance. Youngest daughter Clem, a widow of two years, is just beginning to feel like she can move forward in her new life as a single parent of two young children. I especially loved the parents, Richard and Flossy.

The Summer House takes place over the course of one week. I loved the setting, the messy family dynamics, and how easy it was to relate to Hannah McKinnon’s characters. One of my favorite scenes is when one of the children gives a speech at the birthday party – it was quite emotional. I really enjoyed my time with this novel and recommend it to fans of the author and family dramas. It makes my  2017 Favorites List, for sure.


About the Author:

Hannah McKinnon is the author of The Lake Season and Mystic Summer. She lives in Fairfield County, Connecticut, with her family, a flock of chickens and two rescue dogs.

FIND HANNAH McKINNON ONLINE:

Website: http://hannahmckinnon.com

Twitter: @hannahmckinnon

Facebook: Hannah McKinnon – Author

THE SUMMER HOUSE by Hannah McKinnon

Emily Bestler Books Paperback | ISBN: 9781501162800 | On-sale: June 6, 2017 | 320 pages | $16.00
eBook ISBN: 9781501162817, $9.99

ORDER:


 

Summer Dance by Nan Rossiter

  • Title:  Summer Dance
  • Series:  Nantucket #2
  • Author:  Nan Rossiter
  • Pages:  352
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  May 2017 – Kensington
  • Source:  Publisher

My take:  Summer Dance is the story of Sally Adams. We met Sally in the first book of the Nantucket series. She was the love of the protagonist’s uncle Coop in that book (Nantucket).

Sally has always wanted to write a book and decides that a memoir would be the way to go. Her life was deeply impacted by the death of her mother when Sally was a little girl. Her father made sure she was fed, clothed and educated but wasn’t able to give her much direction in the important things in the life of a girl. He did tell her that humans “make mistakes. Hopefully, we learn and move on…and God forgives us.” The decisions regarding her education and religion would guide her life for decades. That had positive and negative consequences but all made for a good memoir.

Sally could be a frustrating character but, at the same time, very human. She seemed to find forgiveness for almost everyone in her life but herself. Guilt consumed her and she felt undeserving of true happiness because of her sins. From the time she was a little girl she knew if she wasn’t good she wouldn’t get to heaven to see her mother someday. Sally strove to be a ‘good Catholic’. So, while it was frustrating for this 21st century Catholic to read about those mid-20th century days I also felt sympathy for Sal. Ultimately she was a good person who tried her best and had many people who loved her.

I like a ‘book within a book’ novel and Nan Rossiter did a great job with it. Sally’s life was filled with good times as well as times of heartache – much like anyone. Summer Dance is a wonderful companion to the first book and I hope this saga will continue. There are a couple of loose ends at the close of the novel that seem a natural lead-in to a book 3.

Recommended to fans of the author, a Nantucket setting, and family sagas. Also included is a Reading Group Guide as well as a sneak peek chapter of the first book in the series.


Advance praise for Summer Dance:

“Rossiter returns to the characters from her novel Nantucket in this coming-of-age story.” – Publishers Weekly 

“Continuing the story started in Nantucket, Rossiter revisits the New England island with a quiet look back at one woman’s past with the man she loved…It’ s a pleasant love story fit for a summer read.”– RT Book Reviews 


About the author:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Nan Rossiter’s adult fiction is often compared to the work of Nicholas Sparks – especially her first novel, THE GIN & CHOWDER CLUB. Nan’s second novel, WORDS GET IN THE WAY, is an uplifting story about a single mom whose young son has autism. Her third novel, MORE THAN YOU KNOW, touches on the bonds of sisterhood and the tragedy and despair of Alzheimer’s. UNDER A SUMMER SKY ties the first three books together in an unexpected way, and NANTUCKET touches on the difference time can make, the truths that never alter, and the bittersweet second chances that arrive just in time to steer a heart back home. FIREFLY SUMMER is an uplifting story of the resilience of sisterhood and the bright glimpses of joy and solace that, like fireflies after rain, can follow the deepest heartaches, and Nan’s new novel, SUMMER DANCE, brings together characters from her acclaimed novel NANTUCKET in a powerful, heartwarming love story that bridges past and present.

Nan is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and is also the author-illustrator of several books for children including, most recently, THE FO’C’SLE: HENRY BESTON’S OUTERMOST HOUSE, called “a lovely vision of one man’s communion with nature” by Publisher’s Weekly.

Nan lives in rural Connecticut with her husband, two handsome sons and a black Lab named Finnegan.

To learn more visit http://www.nanrossiter.com


 

Good Karma by Christina Kelly

  • Title:  Good Karma
  • Author:  Christina Kelly
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Pages:  320
  • Pub. Date:  June 6, 2017 – Harper Paperbacks
  • Source:  Publisher; Edelweiss

Description:  After almost forty years in New Jersey, Catherine, Ralph, and their beloved Boston Terrier Karma are hitting the road, relocating to a gorgeous, serene island off the coast of Savannah, Georgia, where Catherine can work on her backhand and Ralph can hit the links. But upon their arrival in the Seven Oaks gated community, it becomes apparent that Catherine and Ralph’s visions of retirement couldn’t be more different. While Catherine is intrigued by their quirky neighbors, Ralph’s golf-and-poker routine seems to be interrupted only by his flirtations with their zealous real estate agent. 

As the pair drift further apart, Catherine cannot help but sense her marriage is at risk. Then, she meets recent widower Fred at the dog park. United by their dogs, they embark upon a friendship that could be something more—until she discovers that he’s not quite what he seems. As she sorts out fact from fiction and discovers what sorts of secrets might be hiding behind Seven Oaks’ pristine picket fences, she’ll have to make a decision affecting her future happiness and her chance at newfound love.  (publisher)

My take:  You work hard your whole life with the goal being retirement in a nice place where you can enjoy life, your spouse, and keep doing the things you love. That’s what Catherine assumed would happen when she and her husband made the move south to a lovely gated community near Savannah. What she didn’t expect was that he would want to enjoy activities without her. Every day. She’s feeling ignored, uncared for, and lonely.

Fred’s wife died a while ago. He’s wading through grief but trying to keep a foot in the day-to-day. His dog is the reason he goes out each day – mainly to the local dog park where he sees other community residents. He’s seventy-five and wondering if his best years are behind him. There are more characters who can relate to the same feelings as Catherine and Fred and they all intersect in unexpected ways at Seven Oaks.

Good Karma is a quirky, poignant, entertaining novel that I enjoyed and think will strike a chord with readers of a certain age or readers looking for something a little different.


 

Allie and Bea by Catherine Ryan Hyde

  • Title:  Allie and Bea
  • Author:  Catherine Ryan Hyde
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Pages:  350
  • Pub. date:  May 23, 2017 – Lake Union Publishing
  • Source:  Publisher; Little Bird Publicity

Description:  Bea has barely been scraping by since her husband died. After falling for a telephone scam, she loses everything and is forced to abandon her trailer. With only two-thirds of a tank in her old van, she heads toward the Pacific Ocean with her cat—on a mission to reclaim what’s rightfully hers, even if it means making others pay for what she lost.

When fifteen-year-old Allie’s parents are jailed for tax fraud, she’s sent to a group home. But when her life is threatened by another resident, she knows she has to get out. She escapes only to find she has nowhere to go—until fate throws Allie in Bea’s path.

Reluctant to trust each other, much less become friends, the two warily make their way up the Pacific Coast. Yet as their hearts open to friendship and love from the strangers they meet on their journey, they find the courage to forge their own unique family—and begin to see an imperfect world with new eyes.  (publisher)

My take:  Allie and Bea is the story of two unlikely traveling companions. Allie is a teenager on the run and Bea is a seventy-something widow who recently lost everything except her van and a few other items. When their paths cross the two form an uneasy alliance as they set off on a road trip that will be full of lessons neither expected to learn.

I found Catherine Ryan Hyde’s writing style so comfortable to read. I was invested in the characters and their plight. I liked how they challenged themselves and each other to persevere in such dire circumstances. Even though they experienced some daunting events it was an uplifting read for me. Bea found that change wasn’t necessarily a negative thing and Allie learned that the world isn’t as black and white as she’d thought. A new perspective could create appreciation for even the most basic things. It’s a lovely novel that I recommend to fans of the author and contemporary fiction.


About the author:  Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of thirty-two published books. Her bestselling 1999 novel, Pay It Forward, adapted into a major Warner Bros. motion picture starring Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt, made the American Library Association’s Best Books for Young Adults list and was translated into more than two dozen languages for distribution in more than thirty countries. Her novels Becoming Chloe and Jumpstart the World were included on the ALA’s Rainbow List; Jumpstart the World was also a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards and won Rainbow Awards in two categories. The Language of Hoofbeats won a Rainbow Award. More than fifty of her short stories have been published in many journals, including the Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, the Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and the Sun, and in the anthologies Santa Barbara Stories and California Shorts as well as the bestselling anthology Dog Is My Co-Pilot. 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. As a professional public speaker, she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with AmeriCorps members at the White House, and shared a dais with Bill Clinton.