The Christmas Wishing Tree by Emily March

The Christmas Wishing Tree by Emily March

September 2018 – St. Martin’s Press

Giveaway win from the publisher

Description:

Sometimes life’s most magical journeys bring you back to where it all began…From New York Times bestselling author Emily March comes The Christmas Wishing Tree, an enchanting account of the magic and miracle of Christmas.

A man who loves adventure and the open sea, Devin Murphy returns for a short Christmas trip to his small hometown of Eternity Springs. Immersed in the joy and magic of the holiday season all around him, he doesn’t hesitate to play along when a young boy phones Santa to ask for a very special wish. Devin never guesses that a wrong number has the potential to make everything in his life so right.

Jenna Stockton adopted Reilly when he needed a mother and she intends to keep him safe. A small town across the country called Eternity Springs seems like a good place to hide from their past without any complications —until sexy Santa himself discovers her secrets. When Devin proposes a daring plan to face down the danger together and defeat it once and for all, she is tempted. Maybe Devin really is capable of making wishes come true? Perhaps in a Christmas wish they’ll both find the miracle they’ve been looking for all along… (publisher)

My take:  I’ve been meaning to try the Eternity Springs series for a long time so after winning a giveaway of The Christmas Wishing Tree from Nise’s blog I decided to jump in there (it’s #15 in the series!). I didn’t feel lost so it can stand alone. It’s a sweet story about a little boy who wants a dad for Christmas. Eventually he and his mom end up in Eternity Springs and discover a Christmas season unlike any they’ve ever experienced. There’s some drama, some romance, and a great community of people that make me want to go back to book one and read the entire series. Recommended to fans of small town romance with a Christmas theme.


 

Good Enough To Eat by Stacey Ballis

TItle:  Good Enough To Eat

Author:  Stacey Ballis

Genre:  Fiction

Published:  September 2010 – Berkley

My take:  Melanie lost half her body weight and then lost her husband – to her best friend who is twice Mel’s new size.  Mel already had a new business in the works so when the divorce was final she used her settlement to buy a condo and moved on with her life. She’d been a lawyer but now used her new healthy lifestyle as the basis for her business – Dining By Design – a healthy food take-away store.

The employees of Dining By Design are more than coworkers to Melanie. They’ve all had their own struggles in life and offer  each other unconditional support. I truly enjoyed each character and the depth they added to the novel.

Melanie knew she needed to work through her trust issues – especially with men. She found a chance to do that with a handsome filmmaker.  She also had Carey, a diet/nutrition coach who guided her along the way. Everyone should have a Carey – she really helped Melanie maintain balance in her life .

I really liked this novel. I could relate to Mel’s food issues and I liked the Chicago setting. I think fans of chick lit will enjoy Good Enough to Eat. A treat for readers: recipes!

Source:  Giveaway win.

The Violets of March by Sarah Jio

Title:  The Violets of March

Author:  Sarah Jio

Genre:  Fiction

Published:  April, 2011 – Plume

My take:  Emily Wilson’s marriage to the perfect man has gone south. After she signs the divorce papers she heads to her great-aunt’s home on Bainbridge Island, Washington. She holds fond memories of summer vacations spent at the big house on the sound and hopes to find comfort and time to heal. On the day she arrives she discovers a diary in the guest room nightstand. She reads it and finds herself consumed with solving a mystery that involves her relatives and family friends.

Emily also captures the attention of two men on the island. One she dated as a teen and the other is a handsome artist who lives not far from her great-aunt’s house. What she doesn’t expect is the connection one may hold to the mystery in the diary.

Reading The Violets of March was a nice way to spend a snowy weekend. Jio’s detailed descriptions gave me a good sense of the beautiful island. I thought the mystery was interesting and I liked the characters. All made for a good tale of lost loves and fresh starts. I look forward to reading Sarah Jio’s second novel: The Bungalow.

Source:  Giveaway win

Lucky in Love by Deborah Coonts

Title:  Lucky in Love

Lucky O’Toole Vegas Adventure series

Author:  Deborah Coonts

Genre:  Mystery/Light Romance

Published:  January 2012 – MPS

About:  (from the Goodreads synopsis) Lucky O’Toole, the vice president of Customer Relations for the Babylon, one of Las Vegas’s most over-the-top strip properties, is seriously regretting booking a reality television show, The Forever Game, in the hotel’s small theater.

The four contestant-couples add their own mischief to the incendiary mix normally available in Sin City while competing for a Las Vegas wedding extravaganza. The host of The Forever Game, Trey Gold, appears interested only in keeping the spotlight on himself while the contestants run wild, sampling all Vegas has to offer and threatening to blow the whole show out of the water.

Not only must Lucky keep the couples from killing each other, killing their relationships, or ending up on the front page of the Review-Journal, she has to navigate her own rocky road of love. Teddie, her live-in lover, seems ready to chase a new career as a singer, leaving Vegas . . . and Lucky . . . behind. And the Babylon’s new French chef seems determined to muddy the murky waters of love even further.

My take:  Lucky in Love is a novella and Love is the key word. It’s not the usual mystery adventure that I’ve come to expect in the series. This week Lucky O’Toole’s primary job is to keep the reality show contestants focused on showing up at the appointed times. Each couple has their own agenda which keeps Lucky busier than normal. On top of everything else she’s worried about the possible changes in her relationship with her boyfriend Teddie.

If you’ve read the previous two novels in the series you’ll recognize characters who make brief appearances. It was fun to see them – especially Teddie.

I enjoyed this short visit to Vegas and Lucky O’Toole’s world. The next book in the series, So Damn Lucky, will be published in February. I can’t wait to read it!

Source:  Giveaway win

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

Title:  The Peach Keeper

Author:  Sarah Addison Allen

Genre:  Magical Realism; Women’s Fiction

Published:  March 2011 – Bantam

About: (from the Goodreads synopsis) It’s the dubious distinction of thirty-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam—built by Willa’s great-great-grandfather during Walls of Water’s heyday, and once the town’s grandest home—has stood for years as a lonely monument to misfortune and scandal. And Willa herself has long strived to build a life beyond the brooding Jackson family shadow. No easy task in a town shaped by years of tradition and the well-marked boundaries of the haves and have-nots.

But Willa has lately learned that an old classmate—socialite do-gooder Paxton Osgood—of the very prominent Osgood family, has restored the Blue Ridge Madam to her former glory, with plans to open a top-flight inn. Maybe, at last, the troubled past can be laid to rest while something new and wonderful rises from its ashes. But what rises instead is a skeleton, found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, and certain to drag up dire consequences along with it.

Now, thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the dangerous passions and tragic betrayals that once bound their families—and uncover truths of the long-dead that have transcended time and defied the grave to touch the hearts and souls of the living.

My brief take:  Sarah Addison Allen serves up another feast for the senses in her latest book The Peach Keeper. The magical realism woven throughout the novel is what I like most in her books. Well, that and her characters. I really enjoyed Willa and Paxton’s path to friendship. They helped each other get past the expectations of others and started to live their own lives. The same held true for Paxton’s friend Sebastian as well as her brother Colin. They all learned that happiness meant taking risks. It’s a lovely story and I look forward to Sarah Addison Allen’s next book.

Fate never promises to tell you everything up front. You aren’t always shown the path in life you’re supposed to take. But if there was one thing she’d learned in the past few weeks, it was that sometimes, when you’re really lucky, you meet someone with a map.  p.242

Source:  Giveaway at Life in the Thumb (Thanks, Staci!)

Disclaimer:  See sidebar. I was not compensated for my review.

Dark Deceptions by Dee Davis

Dark Deceptions (A-Tac, #1)Back of the book: A-Tac is an elite CIA unit masquerading as faculty at an Ivy League college. Brilliant, badass, and seemingly bulletproof, the members of A-Tac are assigned to the riskiest missions and the most elusive targets.

TORN BETWEEN DUTY AND DESIRE
Covert operations expert Nash Brennon has spent the last eight years trying to forget Annie Gallagher, his former field partner and the only woman he ever loved. Annie betrayed him when he needed her most, then vanished without a trace. Now suddenly she’s back in the game – this time as a suspected traitor and threat to national security.
Annie’s son has been kidnapped by political terrorists. The price for his life? Assassinate a UN ambassador. When Nash and his group find her, the smoldering passion between Annie and the man she swore she’d never contact again blazes out of control. But can Nash trust her? The stakes couldn’t be higher: Their enemy’s endgame is personal, and one false move could cost them their lives.

~

My review: Dark Deceptions is the first book in the A-Tac series by Dee Davis.  The A-Tac team is an off-the-books CIA unit that tackles seemingly impossible missions. This time they need to find a kidnapped boy who happens to have a  strong connection to Nash, a current member of the team.  They also need to find out who assassinated a high-ranking official and then tried to frame Annie, a former CIA operative and Adam’s (the kidnapped boy) mother.

I loved the pace of the novel.  Davis builds from a stark beginning and escalates to a breathtaking ending.  There’s a side mystery that runs in the background – is someone sabotaging the A-Tac team and if so, who and why?  I look forward to seeing how that thread travels through the series.

If you’re a fan of romantic suspense give this series a try.  I’ve read the second book and can’t wait to read the third.