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


 

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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.


 

The Summer Sail by Wendy Francis

By Wendy Francis

May 1, 2018 * Touchstone * Trade Paperback Original * $16.00 * 978-1- 5011-8891- 6

Review galley from Touchstone and NetGalley

Description:  After not seeing her friends for a year, Abby decides to invite Caroline, Lee, and their families aboard the Bermuda Breeze cruise ship. As the ship pulls away from the pier, everyone is looking forward to a week of lounging by the pool, sipping sunset cocktails, and reminiscing together. But soon enough, they realize their adult problems won’t just disappear at the beach or during cocktail hour.

Hard-working Caroline anticipates several crucial days with her boyfriend, Javier, who she may leave if he doesn’t propose on this trip. Single mom Lee desperately wants to win back the affections of her formerly sweet daughter Lacey, who after her first year in college, has returned home a much more difficult person who is harboring a secret. Abby, the mother hen of the group, will renew her vows with her husband, Sam. But the couple is hiding a major problem from everyone else, including their twin sons, Chris and Ryan.

THE SUMMER SAIL is a vacation they won’t soon forget, but not for the reasons they expect. (publisher)

My take:  In her new novel Wendy Francis tells the story of three “forever friends”. They bonded twenty years earlier when they met in college. Now, as one is set to renew her marriage vows, they are at much different places in life. One is a successful magazine writer, one is a pre-school teacher with a empty nest at home, and one has just been given life-changing news. They’ll find out if they can still share their secrets, disappointments and joy on an eight-day cruise to Bermuda. It’s a tale of friendship, loyalty and life. Told in a breezy, enjoyable style I found it a very fast read that had me reminiscing about my own forever friends. I’d love to cruise to Bermuda with them and was glad to be along for the trip with Abby, Lee and Caroline.


About the author:

Wendy Francis is the author of the novels The Summer Sail, The Summer of Good Intentions, and Three Good Things. A former book editor, she has written for Good Housekeeping, The Washington Post, The Improper Bostonian, and Cognoscenti. She lives outside Boston with her husband and son.

 

Photo credit:  Claudia Starkey


Praise for THE SUMMER SAIL:

“Every reader longs for the kind of female friendships Francis has created in The Summer Sail… Hope and heart fill these fast-turning pages.” —Lynda Cohen Loigman, author of The Two-Family House

 

“What could be more fun than a summer cruise with old friends, along with all their hopes, fears, and extra pounds, not to mention husbands, children, and the one who can’t commit—yet.  A thoroughly entertaining summer read!”

—Shelley Noble, author of The Beach at Painter’s Cove


 

How To Walk Away by Katherine Center

Description:

Margaret Jacobsen has a bright future ahead of her: a fiancé she adores, her dream job, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in one tumultuous moment.

In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Margaret must figure out how to move forward on her own terms while facing long-held family secrets, devastating heartbreak, and the idea that love might find her in the last place she would ever expect. (publisher)

My take:  I’ve enjoyed all of Katherine Center’s novels and her newest, How To Walk Away, was no exception. The story is about a young woman dealing with life after a plane crash in which the pilot, her fiancé, walked away without a scratch and she was left unable to walk. It’s about learning to deal with a new normal, learning to look for hope and joy in places you wouldn’t have expected to find them. I loved all of the characters and how Center brought them through their challenges. Recommended to fans of novels about families who aren’t as perfect as they might seem to the rest of the world. I love those novels.


Advance praise for HOW TO WALK AWAY:

“A heartbreak of a novel that celebrates resilience and strength.” —Jill Santopolo, bestselling author of The Light We Lost

If you just read one book this year, read How to Walk Away.” —Nina George, New York Times bestselling author of The Little Paris Bookshop

“Warm, witty, and wonderfully observed.” —Emily GiffinNew York Times bestselling author of First Comes Love

“Sympathetic and refreshing!” —Elinor Lipman, bestselling author of The Family Man

“I can’t think of a blurb good enough for this novel…poignant, funny, heartbreaking.” —Jenny Lawson, bestselling author of Furiously Happy


Pub. date:  May 15, 2018

Buy links


Welcome To Moonlight Harbor by Sheila Roberts

Description:  Once happily married, Jenna Jones is about to turn forty, and this year for her birthday—lucky her—she’s getting a divorce. She’s barely able to support herself and her teenage daughter, but now her deadbeat artist ex is hitting her up for spousal support…and then spending it on his “other” woman.

Still, as her mother always says, every storm brings a rainbow. And when she gets a very unexpected gift from her great-aunt Edie, things seem to be taking a turn for the better. Aging Aunt Edie is finding it difficult to keep up her business running The Driftwood Inn, so she invites Jenna to come live with her and run the place. It looks like Jenna’s financial problems are solved!

Or not. The town is a little more run-down than Jenna remembers, but that’s nothing compared to the ramshackle state of The Driftwood Inn. Aunt Edie is confident they can return it to its former glory, though Jenna feels like she’s jumped from the proverbial frying pan into the beach fire.

But who knows? With the help of her new friends and a couple of handsome citizens, perhaps that rainbow is on the horizon after all. Because, no matter what, life is always good at the beach. (publisher)

My take:  Newly divorced Jenna and her very unhappy fourteen year old daughter move to the shore to live with Jenna’s elderly aunt. Rent is free and they can help get Aunt Edie’s inn back in shape – all while hoping to find the rainbow at the end of the storm aka Jenn’s life.

In her typical style Sheila Roberts brings her characters through easily relatable situations – if not for the reader, surely the reader knows someone who has been through similar life events. It’s a story of new beginnings and being open to possibilities.

I enjoyed Welcome to Moonlight Harbor. It’s a great start to a new series. Recommended to fans of the author, contemporary romance and beach town settings.


 

The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen

  • Title:  The Tuscan Child
  • Author:  Rhys Bowen
  • Pages:  329
  • Genre:  Historical Fiction
  • Published:  February 2018 – Lake Union Publishing
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley; Little Bird Publicity

Description:  From New York Times bestselling author Rhys Bowen comes a haunting novel about a woman who braves her father’s hidden past to discover his secrets…

In 1944, British bomber pilot Hugo Langley parachuted from his stricken plane into the verdant fields of German-occupied Tuscany. Badly wounded, he found refuge in a ruined monastery and in the arms of Sofia Bartoli. But the love that kindled between them was shaken by an irreversible betrayal.

Nearly thirty years later, Hugo’s estranged daughter, Joanna, has returned home to the English countryside to arrange her father’s funeral. Among his personal effects is an unopened letter addressed to Sofia. In it is a startling revelation.

Still dealing with the emotional wounds of her own personal trauma, Joanna embarks on a healing journey to Tuscany to understand her father’s history—and maybe come to understand herself as well. Joanna soon discovers that some would prefer the past be left undisturbed, but she has come too far to let go of her father’s secrets now… (publisher)

My take:  The Tuscan Child is the story of two families who never would have met if not for WWII. Lord Hugo Langley’s plane was shot down over a tiny town in Tuscany. He was eventually discovered by a young woman from the town, Sophia Bartoli.

The story unfolds in a dual-timeline told from the perspectives of Lord Hugo and his daughter Joanna. I thought that worked well in the development of the plot. I liked the story well enough but I didn’t feel connected to the characters until the last few chapters. That could all be on me though so don’t let that dissuade you from reading the book.

The descriptions of Tuscany and the food especially are lovely. The mystery involving Lord Hugo and Sophia was interesting and all seemed to be solved at the end. I think readers who like the era of WWII in Italy and a story of survival against all odds will find The Tuscan Child an interesting novel.


About the author:

Rhys Bowen is the New York Times bestselling author of over thirty mystery novels. Her work includes In Farleigh Field, a standalone novel of World War II; the Molly Murphy mysteries, set in 1900s New York City; the Royal Spyness novels, featuring a minor royal in 1930s England; and the Constable Evans mysteries about a police constable in contemporary Wales. Rhys’s works have won multiple Agatha, Anthony, and MacAvity awards. Her books have been translated into many languages, and she has fans from around the world, including the 12,000 who visit her Facebook page daily. She is a transplanted Brit who now divides her time between California and Arizona. Connect with her at rhysbowen.com.

Photo credit: John Quin-Harkin


Praise for Rhys Bowen

In Farleigh Field

“This well-crafted, thoroughly entertaining thriller from Agatha Award-winner Bowen follows the lives of three childhood friends…. Soon it’s a game of spy versus spy, and with every twist and turn, the reader is unsure whom to trust.”
—Publishers Weekly

“Instantly absorbing, suspenseful, romantic and stylish.”

—Lee Child, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

“Rhys Bowen is one of the very best fiction writers of the day. With a deep understanding of the wounded human heart and an uncanny ability to capture the quiet emotions and the grand scale of war, she rises above her contemporaries. This is magnificently written and a must read.”

—Louise Penny, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

The Royal Spyness Mysteries

“Wonderful characters…A delight.” —Charlaine Harris, New York Times bestselling author

“This is a pitch-perfect book, which will charm you in one sentence, chill you in the next.” —Laura Lippman, winner of the Edgar, Shamus, Anthony and Agatha Awards

“Georgie’s high spirits and the author’s frothy prose are utterly captivating.” —The Denver Post

“The perfect fix between seasons for Downton Abbey addicts.”
—Deborah Crombie, New York Times bestselling author of The Sound of Broken Glass

“A smashing romp.” —Booklist

The Molly Murphy Mysteries

“Perceptive and poignant writing… make us look forward to Molly’s return.” —Chicago Tribune

“A charming combination of history, mystery and romance.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Well written and fast paced, with a twist that will leave readers truly surprised. This novel is not to be missed.”
―RT Book Reviews


Other Titles by Rhys Bowen

In Farleigh Field

Molly Murphy Mysteries

  • Murphy’s Law
  • Death of Riley
    For the Love of Mike
    In Like Flynn
    Oh Danny Boy
    In Dublin’s Fair City
  • Tell Me, Pretty Maiden
  • In a Gilded Cage
    The Last Illusion
  • Bless the Bride
    Hush Now, Don’t You Cry
  • The Family Way
    City of Darkness and Light
  • The Edge of Dreams
  • Away in a Manger
  • Time of Fog and Fire

Royal Spyness Mysteries

  • Her Royal Spyness
  • A Royal Pain
  • Royal Flush
  • Royal Blood
  • Naughty in Nice
  • The Twelve Clues of Christmas
  • Heirs and Graces
  • Queen of Hearts
  • Malice at the Palace
  • Crowned and Dangerous

Constable Evans Mysteries

  • Evans Above
  • Evan Help Us
  • Evanly Choirs
  • Evan and Elle
  • Evan Can Wait
  • Evans to Betsy
  • Evan Only Knows
  • Evan’s Gate
  • Evan Blessed
  • Evanly Bodies

 

The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin plus a US Giveaway

  • Title:  The Queen of Hearts
  • Author:  Kimmery Martin
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Pages:  352
  • Published:  February 2018 – Berkley
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  Zadie Anson and Emma Colley have been best friends since their early twenties, when they first began navigating serious romantic relationships amid the intensity of medical school. Now they’re happily married wives and mothers with successful careers–Zadie as a pediatric cardiologist and Emma as a trauma surgeon. Their lives in Charlotte, North Carolina are chaotic but fulfilling, until the return of a former colleague unearths a secret one of them has been harboring for years.

As chief resident, Nick Xenokostas was the center of Zadie’s life–both professionally and personally–throughout a tragic chain of events in her third year of medical school that she has long since put behind her. Nick’s unexpected reappearance during a time of new professional crisis shocks both women into a deeper look at the difficult choices they made at the beginning of their careers. As it becomes evident that Emma must have known more than she revealed about circumstances that nearly derailed both their lives, Zadie starts to question everything she thought she knew about her closest friend.  (publisher)

My take: Kimmery Martin’s debut novel is the story of two friends, betrayal, and the possibility of forgiveness. Zadie and Emma meet in medical school and become dependable friends as they experience the ins and outs of their medical training.

There are highs and lows that I imagine only people who’ve worked in a hospital or shared the common bond of med school can truly understand. Martin’s descriptive writing kept me interested, especially when I didn’t have a clue if what was happening during procedures, etc. was realistic. Given her real life experience as an ER doctor I trusted and went along with the story. I was completely engaged in what transpired in the hospital setting and on a personal level with Zadie and Emma.

I think fans of medical dramas like Grey’s Anatomy will enjoy The Queen of Hearts. I look forward to Kimmery Martin’s next novel.


US Giveaway

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