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.


 

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Heart Land by Kimberly Stuart

HEART LAND by Kimberly Stuart

Howard Books | On Sale: July 17, 2018 | ISBN: 9781501180569 | 320 pages | $15.99

Review copy courtesy of Howard/Atria Books and NetGalley

Description:  Grace Klaren has finally made her dream of living in the Big Apple and working in the fashion industry a reality. But when she’s unexpectedly fired and can’t afford the next month’s rent, Grace does something she never thought she’d do: she moves back home.

Back in Silver Creek, Iowa, Grace is determined to hate it. She rails against the quiet of her small town, where everything closes early, where there’s no nightlife, where everyone knows each other. She’s saving her pennies and plotting her return to New York when she almost runs over a man who’s not paying attention at a crosswalk. It turns out to be Tucker, her high school sweetheart whose heart she broke when she left ten years ago. They reconnect, and Grace remembers why she fell for him in the first place.

And her career begins to turn around when she finds a gorgeous but tattered vintage dress at a flea market. She buys it, rips it apart seam by seam, and re-creates it with new fabric, updating the look with some of her own design ideas. She snaps a picture and lists the dress online, and within a day, it sells for nearly $200. Suddenly, Grace has her ticket out of here.

But Grace can’t fight her growing feelings for Tucker. Sometimes when they’re together, Tucker paints a picture of what their future could be like, and it feels so real. And when she finally gains the funding to move her new business back to New York, Grace must decide where home really is—will she chase her long-held New York dream, or find a new dream here in the heartland? (publisher)

My take:  When Grace Klaren loses her dream job in New York City and returns to her small Iowa hometown she’s embarrassed to tell anyone what happened. She’ll find out if she can go home again and face the people she left behind – notably her grandmother and her first love. But she’s determined to make enough money to go back for a second try at NYC. If you grew up in a small town (like I did) you’ll recognize a lot of the characters in this warm novel. They made me laugh as they showed their good hearts and cheered Grace on. Grace wants to do them proud and at the same time breathe some life back into the local economy. She also wants to be friends with Tucker, the boy – now a man – she left behind ten years earlier. The trick will be doing it all and hurting no one. She might just have to learn how to pray.

I thought Kimberly Stuart’s story was charming and I was thoroughly entertained. Recommended to fans of small town (Christian) romance. I wouldn’t hesitate to read another of Stuart’s novels.


About the author:

Kimberly Stuart has always treasured a good story and a good laugh. When she’s not engrossed in the charming chaos of motherhood, Stuart writes stories that are intended to make readers laugh often and cry once—maybe twice. Kimberly resides in Des Moines, Iowa, with her fantastic husband and their three wily children.

FIND KIMBERLY ONLINE:

 

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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.


 

The Cottages On Silver Beach by RaeAnne Thayne

Review copy provided by HQN, Little Bird Publicity, NetGalley

THE COTTAGES ON SILVER BEACH

On-sale: June 19, 2018
$7.99 U.S. / $9.99 CAN.
ISBN-13: 978-1335007018

Description:  Years after betraying her, he’s back in Haven Point…and ready to learn the truth

Megan Hamilton never really liked Elliot Bailey. He turned his back on her family when they needed him the most and it almost tore them all apart. So she’s shocked when Elliot arrives at her family’s inn, needing a place to stay and asking questions that dredge up the past. Megan will rent him a cottage, but that’s where it ends—no matter how gorgeous Elliot has become.

Coming back home to Haven Point was the last thing bestselling writer Elliot Bailey thought he’d ever do. But the book he’s writing now is his most personal one yet and it’s drawn him back to the woman he can’t get out of his mind. Seeing Megan again is harder than he expected and it brings up feelings he’d thought were long-buried. Could this be his chance to win over his first love? (publisher)

My take:  Megan Hamilton is a talented photographer and owner of the Inn at Haven Point. She’s also quite adept at guarding her feelings. When FBI agent Elliot Bailey comes back to town she’s on high alert knowing he could bring down her brother, the prime suspect of a cold case, as well as capture her heart. What she doesn’t know is that Elliot is on leave having disobeyed a direct order. He’s nursing a physical wound and now he has to deal with the re-opened wound of loving Megan from afar but never being able to act on it. What will happen when the two are thrown together?

I love a good road trip and really enjoyed the one that put Megan and Elliot together for several hours. You’ll want to read the latest in the Haven Point series to see if they’ll be able to work through misunderstandings and perceived personal offenses to find their chance for love. As expected, I enjoyed The Cottages on Silver Beach and look forward to the promised follow-up story of Luke and Elizabeth – Megan’s brother and sister-in-law.

Note: Although this book is the 8th in the Haven Point series it can stand alone.


About the author:

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne loves words. Her love affair started as soon as she learned to read, when she used to devour
anything she could get her hands on: cereal boxes, encyclopedias, the phone book, you name it! She loves the way words sound, the way they look on the page, and the amazing way they can be jumbled together in so many combinations to tell a story. Her love of reading and writing those words led her to a fifteen-year career in journalism as a newspaper reporter and editor. Through it all, she dreamed of writing the kind of stories she loved best. She sold her first book in 1995 and since then she’s published more than 40 titles. Her books have won many honors, including three RITA® Award nominations from the Romance Writers of America and a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews.
RaeAnne finds inspiration in the rugged northern Utah mountains, where she lives with her hero of a husband and their children. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at http://www.raeannethayne.com.


 

Dreams of Falling by Karen White

Review copy courtesy of Berkley and NetGalley

Description:

On the banks of the North Santee River stands a moss-draped oak that was once entrusted with the dreams of three young girls. Into the tree’s trunk, they placed their greatest hopes, written on ribbons, for safekeeping–including the most important one: Friends forever, come what may.

But life can waylay the best of intentions….

Nine years ago, a humiliated Larkin Lanier fled Georgetown, South Carolina, knowing she could never go back. But when she finds out that her mother has disappeared, she realizes she has no choice but to return to the place she both loves and dreads–and to the family and friends who never stopped wishing for her to come home.

Ivy, Larkin’s mother, is discovered badly injured and unconscious in the burned-out wreckage of her ancestral plantation home. No one knows why Ivy was there, but as Larkin digs for answers, she uncovers secrets kept for nearly fifty years–whispers of love, sacrifice, and betrayal–that lead back to three girls on the brink of womanhood who found their friendship tested in the most heartbreaking ways. (publisher)

My take:  Dreams of Falling is told via dual timelines moving from the 1950s to 2010. Karen White’s story is one of friendship and love that changed the lives of all involved – including future generations. The novel has a sultry setting replete with the humid, salty air of coastal Carolina, a town where everyone “knew you when…”, and secrets. Lots of secrets. It’s a time of transition for the three friends who are ready to burst forth on the world having just graduated from high school. They (and the future generations) will discover how strong they can be. They’ll find that in order to survive their mistakes they’ll “have to learn to live with their choices”. Falling isn’t necessarily bad if there’s someone there to catch you. And that someone might not be who you’d expect. I enjoyed this novel but there were times when I was confused about the generational relationships. That took me out of the story at times – but I’m not sure it would for other readers. So I’ll recommend it – especially to fans of southern fiction and Karen White.


 

Best Beach Ever by Wendy Wax

Description:  Forced to rent out or lose their beloved Bella Flora after the loss of their renovation-turned-reality-TV show Do Over, Maddie, Nikki, Avery, Kyra, and Bitsy move into cottages at the Sunshine Hotel and Beach Club believing the worst is over. Only to discover just how uncertain their futures really are.

Maddie struggles with the challenges of dating a rock star whose career has come roaring back to life while Nikki faces the daunting realities of mothering twins at forty-seven. Avery buries herself in a tiny home build in an attempt to dodge commitment issues, and Kyra battles to protect her son from the Hollywood world she once dreamed of joining. And Bitsy is about to find out whether the rewards of seeking revenge will outweigh the risks.

Luckily, when the going gets tough, the ladies of Ten Beach Road know that their friendship–tried and tested–can chase away the darkest clouds and let the sun shine in…  (publisher)

My take:  Best Beach Ever is the 6th book in the Ten Beach Road series. I recommend reading the series in order but you could still enjoy this novel if you haven’t.

When we left the ladies of Ten Beach Road in the last installment they were facing financial ruin, heartbreak, and huge life-changing events. They pick up at that point in Best Beach Ever. At this point in the series none of the women are reluctant to share when they feel someone needs to hear their advice – that’s what good friends do, right? From the beginning they supported each other and worked to achieve their common goals and they continue to do so in this novel. I enjoy how Wendy Wax shows strong women working together and learning to pick themselves up when they stumble. You can accomplish a great deal when you have the support of good friends.

Best Beach Ever was an enjoyable read and left me hoping for more in the series. Not all threads were wrapped up at the end so perhaps there will be another book.


Praise for the novels of Wendy Wax

“If you’re a sucker for plucky women who rise to the occasion, this is for you.”—USA Today

 

“Fans of Jane Green and Mary Alice Monroe will adore Wax’s lively characters, witty dialogue, and heartfelt prose.”—Booklist 

 

“Wax’s Florida titles [the Ten Beach Road novels] are terrific for lovers of women’s fiction and family drama, especially if you enjoy a touch of suspense and romance.”—Library Journal 

 

[Wax] writes with breezy wit and keen insight.”—The Atlanta Journal Constitution


 

The Sugarhouse Blues by Mariah Stewart

Review copy from Gallery Books and NetGalley

THE SUGARHOUSE BLUES

The Hudson Sisters Series, Book 2

by Mariah Stewart

Gallery Books

May 15, 2018

9781501144929 (trade paperback)

$16.00 (trade paperback)

Description:  From New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart comes more “catnip for women’s fiction fans” (Booklist) in the second novel of the Hudson Sisters series.

Allie, Des, and Cara, each having her own reasons for wanting a share of their father’s estate, meet in the grand Victorian home in which he grew up, only to be greeted by another secret he purposely hid from them: his sister Bonnie. The women reluctantly band together to take on Fritz’s challenge, working with a local contractor to begin the renovations financed by an account Fritz had set up for the task. While the restoration appears to go smoothly at first, it soon becomes apparent that the work will be more extensive than originally thought, and Des, elected to handle the money, needs to find ways to stretch out the remaining savings while searching for new sources of funding.

As strangers linked only by their DNA try to become a family, the Hudson sisters also try to come to terms with the father they only thought they knew. In the process, each woman discovers her own capacity for understanding, forgiveness, love, and the true meaning of family. (publisher)

My take:  Mariah Stewart’s second book of the Hudson Sisters series picked up where the first ended. It’s the story of three sisters who share the same father and have been tasked with restoring his family’s historic theater in his Pennsylvania hometown. They will receive their inheritance if they can complete this huge assignment. First they have to find a way to be comfortable working together.

Two of the sisters share the same parents and have grown up with a sibling rivalry that was more on Allie’s part than Des’s. That resentment seems to grow now that they’re living under the same roof and working on this huge project. Can they work past their issues and come to value what they truly have as adults?

I love the progression of this storyline. The pacing seems just right. Des will find out what can happen when she lets go of her insecurities where relationships are concerned. The story of Des and Seth brought a smile to my face. Adding in the dog rescue facet made The Sugarhouse Blues a gem of a novel for me. I recommend picking up the first book, The Last Chance Matinee, to learn how the three sisters meet and then read The Sugarhouse Blues.


About the author:

Mariah Stewart is the award-winning New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of numerous novels and several novellas and short stories. A native of Hightstown, New Jersey, she lives with her husband and two rambunctious rescue dogs amid the rolling hills of Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she savors country life and tends her gardens while she works on her next novel. Visit her website at MariahStewart.com, like her on Facebook at Facebook.com/AuthorMariahStewart, and follow her on Instagram @Mariah_Stewart_Books.