The Last Chance Matinee by Mariah Stewart

  • the-last-chance-matineeTitle:  The Last Chance Matinee
  • Series:  The Hudson Sisters #1
  • Author:  Mariah Stewart
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Pages:  384
  • Published:  March 2017 – Gallery Books
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  When celebrated and respected agent Fritz Hudson passes away, he leaves a trail of Hollywood glory in his wake—and two separate families who never knew the other existed. Allie and Des Hudson are products of Fritz’s first marriage to Honora, a beautiful but troubled starlet whose life ended in a tragic overdose. Meanwhile, Fritz was falling in love on the Delaware Bay with New Age hippie Susa Pratt—they had a daughter together, Cara, and while Fritz loved Susa with everything he had, he never quite managed to tell her or Cara about his West Coast family.

Now Fritz is gone, and the three sisters are brought together under strange circumstances: there’s a large inheritance to be had that could save Allie from her ever-deepening debt following a disastrous divorce, allow Des to open a rescue shelter for abused and wounded animals, and give Cara a fresh start after her husband left her for her best friend—but only if the sisters upend their lives and work together to restore an old, decrepit theater that was Fritz’s obsession growing up in his small hometown in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains. Guided by Fritz’s closest friend and longtime attorney, Pete Wheeler, the sisters come together—whether they like it or not—to turn their father’s dream into a reality, and might just come away with far more than they bargained for. (publisher)

My take: The Last Chance Matinee is the story of three women who, upon the death of their father, discover sisters they hadn’t known about before his passing. They meet at the reading of his will and are shocked to learn about each other. Des and Allie had the same mother and father. Cara grew up an only child of a free-spirited mother and Fritz who travelled for work much of the time. It all made sense now.

A stipulation of their inheritance is they must bring back to life the theatre in Fritz’s hometown. The small town of Hidden Falls, Pennsylvania, situated in the Poconos, will become the women’s home until the project is completed. That doesn’t seem to bother Des or Cara but Allie has a huge problem since it will mean she has to leave her fourteen year old daughter who lives with her ex-husband part of the time. Allie is angry about many things and deals with her problems by drinking.

Des is a former child star (who never wanted to be in television) who found the quiet life as an adult in Montana and devoting herself to animal rescue. She’s excited about the renovation project and the prospect of starting a rescue in Hidden Falls.

Cara left her New Jersey shore yoga studio (and her former husband who was now engaged to a former friend) in the care of her co-worker. Knowing it’s in good hands she looks forward to being project manager on the theater rehab. She also loves the idea of having sisters, an aunt, and a niece when she thought she had no family at all.

The Last Chance Matinee introduces the characters and the storyline of Mariah Stewart’s new series. There’s a focus on Cara getting a new chance at life and love which I enjoyed. I liked reading about the resurrection of the theatre and all it meant to everyone involved.

Recommended to fans of Mariah Stewart and contemporary fiction. I look forward to reading what happens in the next book!


Praise for The Last Chance Matinee:

“The combination of a quirky small-town setting, a family mystery, a gentle romance, and three estranged sisters is catnip for women’s-fiction fans, and the backdrop of the faded movie palace adds a fascinating element to the story. Stewart’s lively, warmhearted series starter [The Last Chance Matinee] will have readers eagerly awaiting the second installment.”  —Booklist

“A good read, with a nice blend of mystery, family drama, and romance. Readers will look forward to the next installment.”  —Library Journal


About Mariah Stewart:

Mariah Stewart is an award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of numerous novels as well as several novellas and short stories. She lives with her husband and two rambunctious rescue dogs amid the rolling hills of Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she savors county life and tends her gardens while she works on her next novel. Visit her at mariahstewart.com and follow her on Facebook.com/AuthorMariahStewart and on Instagram @mariah_stewart_books.

Note:

Mariah Stewart’s separate series, the bestselling Chesapeake Diaries, has been a favorite with readers since 2010. The eleventh installment, The Chesapeake Bride, will publish August 29, 2017.


THE LAST CHANCE MATINEE

by Mariah Stewart

  • Publication Date: March 21, 2017
  • Publisher: Gallery Books
  • $16.00 Trade Paperback Original
  • ISBN: 9781501144905
  • Fiction
  • Book 1 in the Hudson Sisters series

Look for Book 2 in 2018 and Book 3 in 2019!


Blog Tour:

March 21st

USA Today Happy Ever After – Down & Dirty Q&A

Happy Mom Blogger

Up ‘Til Dawn Book Blog

Devilishly Delicious

Collectors of Book Boyfriends

Tome Tender Book Blog

Uniquec’s Book Blog

March 22nd

The Book Nympho

Books and Bindings

Rockin’ and Reviewing

Lovey Dovey Books

Community Bookstop

Bubble Bath Books

Sour Puss Reviews

March 23rd

The Blonde Bookworm

Bookfan

I Wish I Lived in a Library

PNW Bookworm

Mesha’s Corner

The Librarian (Authors on the Air Global Radio Network) – Interview 7:00 pm ET

March 24th

Kritters Ramblings

My Novelesque Life

Reviews by Crystal

Novelgossip

Romance Junkies

March 25th

Abigail Books Addiction

Rainy Day Reviews

Books According to Abby

Once Upon A Page

That Book Lady Blog

March 26th

Dawn’s Reading Nook

March 27th

Suzy Approved Book Reviews

March 28th

The Written Word(s)

March 29th

Hardly A Goddess

March 30th

Lit Living Mom

March 31st

Tiff Scribes

April 1st

Bigreadersite’s Blog

April 3rd

Staircase Wit

Visit @xoxoafterdark for Monday Matinee Giveaway! #MondayMatinee

April 7th

Svetlana’s Reads and Views

April 10th

Visit @xoxoafterdark for Monday Matinee Giveaway! #MondayMatinee

April 14th

Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

April 17th

Visit @xoxoafterdark for Monday Matinee Giveaway! #MondayMatinee

April 21st

Community Bookstop

April 24th

Visit @xoxoafterdark for Monday Matinee Giveaway! #MondayMatinee

May 25th

First for Women

Review in First for Women magazine’s June 19th print issue, on stands May 25th!

 


Events with Mariah Stewart:

Tuesday, March 21st, 7:00 pm

  • Barnes & Noble
  • Concord Mall
  • 4801 Concord Pike
  • Wilmington, DE 19803

Sunday, March 26th, 4:30 pm

  • “An Afternoon With The Author – Mariah Stewart”
  • Hockessin Bookshelf
    7179 Lancaster Pike
    Hockessin, DE 19707

Wednesday, April 5th, 6:30 pm

  • The Doylestown Bookshop
  • 16 S. Main Street
  • Doylestown, Pa 18901

Tuesday, April 11th, 7:00 pm

  • Towne Book Centre
  • 220 Plaza Drive – Ste B3
  • Collegeville, PA 19426

 

 

 

Finding Our Forever by Brenda Novak

  • finding-our-foreverTitle:  Finding Our Forever
  • Series:  Silver Springs #1
  • Author:  Brenda Novak
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Pages:  224
  • Published:  March 2017 – Harlequin Special Edition
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

My take:  Cora Kelly was adopted as an infant by affluent parents and lived a good life. That didn’t stop the need to know who her birth parents were and why they gave her up. When her search leads to her birth mother will she be prepared for the answers.
Cora, an art teacher, interviews at the school for troubled boys that was founded by Aiyana, her birth mother. The person who hired her is Eli, one of Aiyana’s adopted sons. Cora is stunned to know that her birth mother would let her go but adopt several sons. One more question that needs an answer. Eli will figure prominently in Cora’s story. They have an attraction to each other that neither bothers to fight. Lots of intimate scenes for these two. On one level that kind of bothered me. On another level it was understandable.
I thought the resolution of Cora and Eli’s story was surprisingly quick and pat. I can live with that. Finding Our Forever is the first in a new contemporary romance series by Brenda Novak. I liked it and look forward to reading the books that follow.


 

Forever a Hero by Linda Lael Miller

  • forever-a-heroTitle:  Forever a Hero
  • Series:  The Carsons of Mustang Creek #3
  • Author:  Linda Lael Miller
  • Pages:  384
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Published:  March 2017 – HQN Books
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley; Little Bird Publicity

Description:  For the youngest Carson brother, finding—and fixing—trouble seems to be all in a day’s work.

Mace Carson doesn’t consider himself a hero. Back in college, he came upon a woman in trouble and intervened—but he was just one irate Wyoming cowboy with his boots planted firmly on the side of right. Now a successful vintner, Mace is shocked to be reunited with the woman he saved. But it turns out she’s in Wyoming on business…a corporate executive representing the company that wants to buy his winery. Only, he’s not selling. 

Kelly Wright has never forgotten that horrible night ten years ago when Mace came to her rescue, has never forgotten him. The surprising success of a winery in the middle of ranch country has brought her to Mustang Creek, and she’s secretly thrilled to discover Mace at the helm. Reluctant to mix business with pleasure, Kelly vows to keep things professional, until her attacker is released from prison and comes for vengeance…against both of them. (publisher)

My take:  It was fun to return to Wyoming and to see what was new with the Carson family in Forever a Hero. Linda Lael Miller’s stories about three brothers connected to the family ranch had me from the start. And it drew to a fitting close with this book.

It had to be fate ten years ago when Mace Carson rescued Kelly Wright from an attacker on their college campus. But because of circumstances there was no chance to have more of a relationship at that time. He’d be remembered by Kelly as her hero. They both moved on with their lives. One failed marriage and ten years later Kelly is working for a company that wants to buy Mace’s wine – all of his wine. He may not want to sell but he’d like to get to know Kelly more and maybe convince her to work for him. All bets are off when the man who attacked her is released from prison. Could he possibly be the person who sent her a menacing text? Once again, Mace is ready to step up and keep her safe.

This book is typical Miller in that the romance is so nice, it’s filled with funny people and pets, and the setting is spectacular. Those reasons are why I keep picking up her books and look forward to the next one. Recommended to fans of Linda Lael Miller and contemporary romance.


lindalaelmiller_authorphotoAbout the author:

“First Lady of the West” Linda Lael Miller has written more than 100 contemporary and historical novels. She was awarded the prestigious Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award from the Romance Writers of America in 2007 and the RT Book Reviews Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.


PRAISE FOR THE CARSONS OF MUSTANG CREEK TRILOGY

“[A] marvelous contemporary Western trilogy launch…fraught with amazing chemistry.” — Publishers Weekly Starred Review on Once a Rancher

“Another deftly crafted western romance by a true master of the genre, [Once a Rancher] continues to showcase this author’s truly impressive storytelling talents. A riveting read from beginning to end.” — Midwest Book Review on Once a Rancher

“Miller’s deep knowledge and love of the West shine through in a refreshing, tender romance that sees another Carson brother blissfully bite the dust and seamlessly bring fans up-to-date with characters they’ve come to love.” Library Journal on Always a Cowboy

“Longing has a way of overcoming doubts, and readers will root for this appealing couple. The glimpses of ranch life and the extended Carson family make this a Western to remember.” — BookPage on Always a Cowboy

“Miller writes some of the best cowboy books around.” — BookTrib on Always a Cowboy


Spotlight on Starlight Bridge by Debbie Mason

mason_starlightbridge_blogtour

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: STARLIGHT BRIDGE Author: Debbie Mason Series: Harmony Harbor, #2

On Sale: February 28, 2017 Publisher: Forever

Mass Market: $7.99 USD eBook: $5.99 USD

starlight-bridgeA second chance for romance…

Hidden in Graystone Manor is a book containing all the dark secrets of Harmony Harbor, and Ava DiRossi is determined to find it. No one—especially not her ex-husband, Griffin Gallagher—can ever discover what really tore her life apart all those years ago. With Griffin back in town, it’s more important than ever that she find the book before someone else does. Because her ex is still angry with her for leaving him. And he still has no idea Ava never stopped loving him…

Ava is no longer the vibrant, happy woman Griffin had once loved and married, and he would do anything to bring back the sparkle to her brilliant green eyes. But what’s never changed are the sexy sparks of attraction between Ava and Griffin, and he won’t give her up again without a fight. He knows there’s the real possibility of a future together…if the truth doesn’t burn the bridge between them forever.  (publisher)

My take:  Starlight Bridge is the second full-length novel in the Harmony Harbor series. It’s set in Graystone Manor run by an extended family that has recently seen their matriarch (and great-grandmother) pass. The fate of the Manor is in the hands of her descendants. They must unanimously agree to keep the inn running or sell it and split the proceeds.

In Starlight Bridge we have Griffin who has never gotten over losing Ava. She was forced to end their relationship when an event occurred over a decade ago. Now that circumstances have brought them together again will they get a second chance?

One interesting aspect of the series is that the deceased has not departed Graystone Manor. She seems to be overseeing (with the help of her friends who are still alive) the reunion of several grandchildren with the love each let get away. There’s also the matter of a tell-all journal of sorts that is hidden somewhere in Graystone Manor. If that book is found the secrets of many could be made known to all.

Debbie Mason’s series is light-hearted for the most part. The novels also have serious issues that the main characters must deal with in order to move forward. I enjoyed Starlight Bridge and, because of some foreshadowing at the end of this novel, look forward to reading the next book in the series.


debbie-mason-credit-debbie-mazzuraABOUT THE AUTHOR

Debbie Mason is the USA Today bestselling author of the Christmas, Colorado and Harmony Harbor series. Her books have been praised for their “likable characters, clever dialogue and juicy plots” (RT Book Reviews). When she isn’t writing or reading, Debbie enjoys spending time with her very own real-life hero, three wonderful children, two adorable grandbabies, and a yappy Yorkie named Bella in Ontario, Canada.

 Author  Website   Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   Goodreads

harmony-harbor

THE HARMONY HARBOR SERIES

Series Page on Goodreads

  • MISTLETOE COTTAGE, #1
  • CHRISTMAS WITH AN ANGEL, #1.5
  • STARLIGHT BRIDGE, #2
    PRIMROSE LANE, #3


Starting Over on Blackberry Lane by Sheila Roberts

  • starting-over-on-blackberry-laneTitle:  Starting Over on Blackberry Lane
  • Series:  Icicle Falls #10
  • Author:  Sheila Roberts
  • Pages:  384
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Pub. Date:  February 28, 2017 – MIRA
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  Stefanie Stahl has a husband with renovation ADD. He can’t seem to finish anything he starts and her house is littered with his “projects.” If he doesn’t smarten up, she swears she’s going to murder him and bury him under the pile of scrounged lumber in the backyard.  

Her friend Griffin James is suddenly single and thinking maybe she needs to sell her fixer-upper and follow her career bliss up the ladder of success, even if that scary ladder is clear across the country. Getting her place ready to sell proves harder than she originally thought. She needs help.  

She’s not the only one. Cass Wilkes, their neighbor, has an empty nest—with a leaking roof. When her ceiling crashes in, she knows it’s time to do something. When Grant Masters offers his handyman services at a fund-raiser auction, the three women go in together to outbid the competition and win their man. (Cass’s friends think she should win Grant in a different way, too!) Now it’s time to make some improvements…in their houses and their lives.  (publisher)

My take:  If you’ve kept up with Icicle Falls series you’ll enjoy seeing what the group of friends are up to. The thing I’ve enjoyed most about the series is the support felt by the women of all ages in the group. If you haven’t read any of the series you don’t have to worry – this book can stand alone.

Stef, Griffin and Cass are at the point where life needs to change. The thing is, how can they start that change? Stef will find out that there’s power in her words and how she chooses those words is very important. Griffin has dreamed of taking her photography to the next level but her current life situation is dragging her down. Cass is almost an empty-nester and feels the whole world passing her by. And now she has a leaky roof. What next?!

In typical Sheila Roberts style, she had me laughing and cheering her characters on as each dealt with the obstacles placed in her way. I loved how she drove home the point that we should live the heck out of life for as long as we can. Recommended to fans of the series, Sheila Roberts, and recipes mentioned in the novel.


 

The Young Wives Club by Julie Pennell

  • the-young-wives-clubTitle:  The Young Wives Club
  • Author:  Julie Pennell
  • Pages:  320
  • Genre:  Southern Fiction
  • Published:  February 2017 – Atria/Emily Bestler Books/Alloy Entertainment
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  In Toulouse, Louisiana finding your one true love happens sometime around high school. If you’re lucky, he might be the man you thought he was. But as four friends are about to find out, not every girl has luck on her side in this charming debut novel perfect for fans of The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Desperate Housewives. 

Laura Landry’s quarterback husband was her ticket out of Toulouse. But when a devastating football injury sidelines him, they’re forced to move back to the small town she was so desperate to leave. As Brian starts drinking instead of rehabbing his knee, Laura must reevaluate what her future looks like…and if it includes her husband.

For years, Madison Blanchette has been waiting for bad-boy musician Cash Romero to commit to her. When wealthy George Dubois asks her out, she figures she may as well wait in style. Life with George means weekend trips to New Orleans, gourmet meals, and expensive gifts. At first she loves how George’s affection sparks Cash’s jealousy, but when George proposes to Madison, she finds herself torn between two men…

All Claire Thibodeaux wants is to be the perfect wife and mother. If she can do everything right she won’t end up like her mom, a divorced, single parent trying to make ends meet. But when Claire’s husband Gavin, a well-respected local pastor, starts spending late nights at work and less time in their bed, she can’t help but fear that history is about to repeat itself…

Gabrielle Vaughn never thought she’d end up with someone like her fiancé. The son of a prominent congressman, Tony Ford is completely out of her league—which is why she lied to him about everything from having a college degree to the dark truth about her family. She knows she has to come clean, but how do you tell the love of your life that your entire relationship is a lie?

As these young wives come together to help each other through life, love, and heartbreak, they discover that there are no easy answers when it comes to matters of the heart.  (publisher)

My take:  The Young Wives Club is about a group of friends who grew up together in a small Louisiana town where everyone goes to the same school and the same social events, etc. It’s the norm to marry young and the dream is to live happily ever after.

The friends learn that dreams don’t always come true. Some will learn that what they thought was their dream really wasn’t. They’ll all find out that they have the power to change their circumstances.

I thought Julie Pennell’s debut novel was sweet and had a good message. It’s a story told with a lot of heart and humor. My problem with reading it is my fault – I’m just not the right age demographic. I think younger women (late teens – twenties) might get more from reading it than I did. I could be wrong so if the publisher’s synopsis grabs your attention then you should read it!  I enjoyed Pennell’s writing style and would definitely take a look at her next book. Recommended to fans of Southern Chick-Lit.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Julie Pennell grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana, where she ate her weight in crawfish, used the word “y’all” a lot, and wrote a weekly “Teen Scene” column for the local paper. After graduating from college, she moved to New York to work at Seventeen magazine and later Alloy Entertainment as a digital editor. She lives in New York City with her husband and is a regular contributor to Teen Vogue, TODAY.com, and The NestThe Young Wives Club is her first novel.

THE YOUNG WIVES CLUB by Julie Pennell

Emily Bestler Books/Atria Books Paperback | ISBN: 9781501136467 | On sale: February 14, 2017 | 320 pages | $16.00


FIND JULIE ONLINE:

Website: http://juliepennell.blogspot.com/

Twitter: @juliepens

Instagram: @juliepens

 

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Guest Post by author Jodi Thomas plus my review of Wild Horse Springs by Jodi Thomas

wild-horse-springs

Today author Jodi Thomas is here with a guest post about her new book WILD HORSE SPRINGS:

Now and then when a writer is working on a series, one of the characters steps from the shadows and comes alive. This happens to me often, maybe too often.  My sons say they are afraid I’ll name one of my characters in the will. 🙂

But, Sheriff Dan Brigman started as a character in someone else’s story.  book 1, Ransom Canyon.  He was a good guy.  An honest man like most of the men I’ve met in law enforcement.  As the series continues he proved to be a good friend, a concerned father and a man the town of Crossroads could depend on.

Only, Dan never had anyone to love.  His wife had loved her career far more than him and their daughter.  Then, he was the sheriff in a small town.  How does the sheriff date?  The only women he met were usually speeding or bailing their husband out of jail.  He wouldn’t even let friends set him up with their unmarried relatives for fear of hurting their feelings when he didn’t ask for a second date.

Soooo, finally in WILD HORSE SPRINGS the sheriff’s chance comes.  One night, in the middle of a deserted highway, he finds a fancy ladies boot in the center of the road.  It has him wondering what kind of woman would own such a boot and his quest begins. When he finally finds her, she’s as beautiful and wild as he guessed she might be.

As the weeks passed, this story almost wrote itself.  Some nights I couldn’t wait to get back to it and see what happened to Brandi and her sheriff. Now, finally, WILD HORSE SPRINGS is about to hit the stands.  I’m excited to share it with readers.

Come along with me and see what happens when the sheriff finds the lady who fits the fancy boot. 

Jodi Thomas 


  • wild-horse-springsTitle:  Wild Horse Springs
  • Series:  Ransom Canyon #5
  • Pages:  384
  • Author: Jodi Thomas
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Published:  January 2017 – HQN Books
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

My take:  The Ransom Canyon series continues with Wild Horse Springs (book 5). In the small town of Crossroads, Texas (on the edge of Ransom Canyon) it’s finally time for steady Sheriff Dan Brigman to find some happiness (with the help of a lovely Country singer just passing through the area) – but the people in his life keep pressing the pause button. His daughter Lauren finds an excuse to come home from Dallas where her post-college life isn’t working out how she’d planned. When she gets back to Crossroads she’s met by the two men from her past who could help or hinder life going forward.

For a charming, small town like Crossroads there’s a dark undercurrent lately that most of the residents would be shocked to know about. The Sheriff has his hands full with a crime of arson to solve and a case of a child in peril that threatens to tear his heart out (as well as the reader’s).

Then there’s a Texas Ranger who goes for a nighttime ride that’s interrupted when his horse tosses him into the Canyon. Lucky for him a certain park Ranger finds him and calls for help. She takes control of his life from that moment (since he’s in the hospital and helpless) including making his ranch house a safe place for one of Crossroads’ favorite sons. There’s a lot going on in this novel.

Yes, there are a good deal of dramatic events in this story but also a lot of heartfelt and upbeat moments. Told in Thomas’s usual warm, folksy style, Wild Horse Springs is a strong addition to the series and I look forward to reading the next book.


About the author:

A fifth generation Texan, Jodi Thomas chooses to set the majority of her novels in her home state. With a degree in Family Studies, Thomas is a marriage and family counselor by education, a background that enables her to write about family dynamics. Honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Thomas enjoys interacting with students on the West Texas A & M University campus, where she currently serves as Writer In Residence.

Commenting on her contribution to the arts, Thomas said, “When I was teaching classes full time, I thought I was making the world a better place. Now I think of a teacher, or nurse, or mother settling back and relaxing with one of my books. I want to take her away on an adventure that will entertain her. Maybe, in a small way, I’m still making the world a better place.”

When not working on a novel or inspiring students to pursue a writing career, Thomas enjoys traveling with her husband, Tom, renovating a historic home they bought in Amarillo, and “checking up” on their two grown sons.

For more information, check out Jodi Thomas’s website.