Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn

Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn

Expected publication date:  Dec. 31, 2019 – Kensington Books

Digital galley courtesy of Kensington and NetGalley

Description:  Meg Mackworth’s hand-lettering skill has made her famous as the Planner of Park Slope, designing custom journals for New York City’s elite. She has another skill too: reading signs that other people miss. Knowing the upcoming marriage of Reid Sutherland and his gorgeous fiancée was doomed to fail is one thing, but weaving a secret word of warning into their wedding program is another. Meg may have thought no one would spot it, but she hadn’t counted on sharp-eyed, pattern-obsessed Reid . . .
 
A year later, Reid has tracked Meg down to find out how she knew that his meticulously planned future was about to implode. But with a looming deadline and a bad case of creative block, Meg doesn’t have time for Reid’s questions—unless he can help her find her missing inspiration. As they gradually open up to each other, both try to ignore deepening connection between them. But the signs are there—irresistible, indisputable, urging Meg to heed the messages Reid is sending her, before it’s too late . . .  (publisher)

My take: The whimsical and charming first chapter hooked me and I was happy the feeling carried through the rest of the novel. Meg (a letters girl) and Reid’s (a numbers guy) relationship begins in an unexpected way which I enjoyed reading about. Kate Clayborn built on that with a steady pace that kept me interested and turning the pages. There’s friendship, attraction, drama, love between several characters (best friends, new friends, colleagues), The Brooklyn setting was perfect. I liked the sign game created by Reid that helped him and Meg become better acquainted. The ability to read signs would be helpful in their future. I liked that both Meg and Reid showed subtle growth, learned to take a breath and consider things from another perspective before reacting. All in all, a fresh and fun love story. I look forward to seeing what Clayborn writes next.


About the author:

Kate Clayborn is a two-time RITA Award finalist and author of the critically acclaimed Chance of a Lifetime series. She lives in Virginia, where she’s lucky enough to spend her days reading and talking about all kinds of great books. At home she’s either writing, thinking about writing, or–during long walks around her fabulous neighborhood—making her handsome husband and sweet-faced dog listen to her talk about writing.

Visit Kate Clayborn online at: www.KateClayborn.com
Instagram: /KateClayborn.Author
Facebook: /KateClaybornBooks
Twitter:
/KateClayborn

 

LOVE LETTERING
By Kate ClaybornKensington Books, an imprint of Kensington Publishing
On Sale: December 31, 2019 / Fiction / Trade Paperback
$15.95 ($21.95 CAN) / 978-1-4967-2517-2


The Last Affair by Margot Hunt

The Last Affair by Margot Hunt

Published:  November 26, 2019 – MIRA

Digital galley courtesy of MIRA and NetGalley

Description: Nora Holliday is not that kind of woman. Not the kind who has an illicit affair with a married man. But Josh Landon is everything Nora’s alcoholic husband isn’t. And now she and Josh are so infatuated, they can’t stay away from one another.

Abby Landon, Josh’s daughter, is home from college nursing a broken heart. She’s seeking solace, not more scandal, so when she catches her dad kissing Nora, she vows to take the homewrecker down.

And as for Abby’s mother and Josh’s wife, Gwen? To anyone on the outside looking in, the mother of two appears to be living the ideal suburban life.

Until she winds up dead.

The serene seaside town of Shoreham has always been the perfect place to raise a family—not somewhere housewives are brutally murdered. So who killed Gwen Landon, and how many twisted secrets will be exposed as the vindictive plot comes undone?  (publisher)

My take:  The Last Affair is the story of Nora and Josh. They are both in unhappy marriages so when fate throws them together they grab the chance for some happiness. That happiness lasts until they are found out by Josh’s twenty-something daughter. She waits until the right time to spill the beans which unleashes a series of events that could bring down both families. The novel starts with a dead body so I felt a sense of impending violence while reading. I just wasn’t sure how or when it would occur – and at whose hand. The final scene makes me think there could be a sequel – either that or it’s just a really creepy final scene. The Last Affair was an addictive read for me – a one day read –  and I recommend it to fans of stories about revenge.


 

A Bookshop in Berlin by Françoise Frenkel

A Bookshop in Berlin by Françoise Frenkel

Published:  Dec. 3, 2019 – Atria Books

Book courtesy of Atria and NetGalley

Description: In 1921, Françoise Frenkel—a Jewish woman from Poland—fulfills a dream. She opens La Maison du Livre, Berlin’s first French bookshop, attracting artists and diplomats, celebrities and poets. The shop becomes a haven for intellectual exchange as Nazi ideology begins to poison the culturally rich city. In 1935, the scene continues to darken. First come the new bureaucratic hurdles, followed by frequent police visits and book confiscations.

Françoise’s dream finally shatters on Kristallnacht in November 1938, as hundreds of Jewish shops and businesses are destroyed. La Maison du Livre is miraculously spared, but fear of persecution eventually forces Françoise on a desperate, lonely flight to Paris. When the city is bombed, she seeks refuge across southern France, witnessing countless horrors: children torn from their parents, mothers throwing themselves under buses. Secreted away from one safe house to the next, Françoise survives at the heroic hands of strangers risking their lives to protect her.  (publisher)

My take:  A Bookshop in Berlin is the first hand account of Françoise Frenkel and her life leading up to and including the WWII years. With WWI behind them she and her husband left Paris and opened the first French bookshop in Berlin in 1921. He eventually went into exile in France (was later rounded up and died in Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland) while she stayed behind to run the shop. After Kristallnacht she fled Berlin for France and was eventually rounded up while trying to enter Switzerland. Her experiences were difficult to read but, at the same time, riveting. Not all people had her strength and determination but many did. It’s an amazing story that I’m glad I had the chance to read. Recommended to fans of memoirs of this era. I appreciated the documents and photos included at the end of the book.


About the author:

Françoise Frenkel was born in Poland in 1889. Her memoir, originally published in 1945 as Rien où poser sa tête (No Place to Lay One’s Head), was rediscovered in an attic in southern France in 2010 and republished in the original French as well as in a dozen other languages. This is its first publication in the United States. Frenkel died in Nice in 1975.

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Christmas in Silver Springs by Brenda Novak

Christmas in Silver Springs by Brenda Novak

Published:  October 2019 – MIRA

Digital galley courtesy of MIRA and NetGalley

Description: Come home to Silver Springs for the holidays, where broken hearts learn to love again…together.

So much for forever. When Harper Devlin’s rock star husband ditches her on his way to the top, she takes her two daughters to her sister’s place in Silver Springs for the holidays, hoping family can heal her broken heart. But comfort comes in unexpected places when she crosses paths with local Tobias Richardson.

The moment Tobias spots Harper, he recognizes a sadness he knows all too well. After spending thirteen years in prison paying for his regretful past, Tobias is ready to make amends, and maybe helping Harper is the way to do it. But offering her a shoulder to cry on ignites a powerful attraction and a desire neither saw coming.

Fearing her reaction, Tobias doesn’t reveal his checkered past. He’s falling hard, and if Harper finds out, he’ll lose her for good, especially because her famous ex is now trying to win her back. Secrets have a way of coming out, but maybe this Christmas will bring Tobias the forgiveness—and the love—he deserves. (publisher)

My take:  Christmas in Silver Springs is book 6 in Brenda Novak’s Silver Springs series. It could stand alone but there are characters who figure into this novel who were featured in previous books so if you’ve read the series in order you’ll appreciate the context even more.

Tobias Richardson is looking for a second chance at life. He paid the price for horrible choices and results when he was a teen. Now released from prison he yearns that fresh start and he wants to make amends. He didn’t count on meeting Harper. She doesn’t know anything about his past but knows she likes the person he is. Recently divorced and the mother of two young girls she’s spending the Christmas holiday in Silver Springs with her sister and family. Can this new friendship with Tobias grow into something more? What happens when Harper’s ex-husband has second thoughts about their divorce? Tobias’s past might come back to haunt him and could effect his relationship with Harper.

If you’re a fan of the series I think you’ll enjoy the latest installment. I like a character who earns a second chance at a good life. Tobias was easy to cheer on.


BIO: Brenda Novak, a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author, has penned over sixty novels. She is a six-time nominee for the RITA Award and has won the National Reader’s Choice, the Bookseller’s Best, the Bookbuyer’s Best, and many other awards. She also runs Brenda Novak for the Cure, a charity to raise money for diabetes research (her youngest son has this disease). To date, she’s raised $2.5 million. For more about Brenda, please visit http://www.brendanovak.com.

SOCIAL LINKS:

TWITTER: @Brenda_Novak

FB: @BrendaNovakAuthor

Insta: @authorbrendanovak 

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An Alaskan Christmas by Jennifer Snow

An Alaskan Christmas by Jennifer Snow

Published:  September 2019 – HQN

Digital galley courtesy of HQN and NetGalley

Description: In Alaska, it’s always a white Christmas—but the sparks flying between two reunited friends could turn it red-hot…

If there’s one gift Erika Sheraton does not want for Christmas, it’s a vacation. Ordered to take time off, the workaholic surgeon reluctantly trades in her scrubs for a ski suit and heads to Wild River, Alaska. Her friend Cassie owns a tour company that offers adventures to fit every visitor. But nothing compares to the adrenaline rush Erika feels on being reunited with Cassie’s brother, Reed Reynolds.

Gone is the buttoned-up girl Reed remembers. His sister’s best friend has blossomed into a strong, skilled, confident woman. She’s exactly what his search-and-rescue team needs—and everything he didn’t know he craved. The gulf between his life in Wild River and her big-city career is wide. But it’s no match for a desire powerful enough to melt two stubborn hearts… (publisher)

My take: Dr. Erika Sheraton is devoted to her career. She’s a surgeon at a large hospital in Anchorage, Alaska. When ordered to take a two week vacation (something she’s never done) she heads back to the Alaska mountain town where she grew up. She stays with her best friend who just happens to have a handsome brother, Reed. They have an instant attraction that continues to grow into something neither of them expected. He’s on the area Search and Rescue team which figures prominently in the plot. I liked the main characters, the challenges and decisions they faced, and enjoyed how Jennifer Snow brought them to their HEA. I look forward to book two in the Wild River series.


Author Bio: Jennifer Snow lives in Edmonton, Alberta with her husband and four year old son. She is a member of the RWA, the Alberta Writers Guild, Canadian Authors Association and SheWrites.org. Her first Brookhollow book was a finalist in the Heart of Denver Aspen Gold contest and the Golden Quill Award. More information can be found at http://www.jennifersnowauthor.com.

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @JenniferSnow18

Facebook: @jennifersnowbooks

Instagram: @jensnowauthor

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Buy Links: 

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Meg and Jo by Virginia Kantra

Meg & Jo by Virginia Kantra

Published:  Dec. 3, 2019 – Berkley

Digital galley courtesy of Berkley and NetGalley

Description: The timeless classic Little Women inspired this heartwarming modern tale of four sisters from New York Times bestselling author Virginia Kantra.

The March sisters—reliable Meg, independent Jo, stylish Amy, and shy Beth—have grown up to pursue their separate dreams. When Jo followed her ambitions to New York City, she never thought her career in journalism would come crashing down, leaving her struggling to stay afloat in a gig economy as a prep cook and secret food blogger.

Meg appears to have the life she always planned—the handsome husband, the adorable toddlers, the house in a charming subdivision. But sometimes getting everything you’ve ever wanted isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

When their mother’s illness forces the sisters home to North Carolina for the holidays, they’ll rediscover what really matters.

One thing’s for sure—they’ll need the strength of family and the power of sisterhood to remake their lives and reimagine their dreams.  (publisher)

My take: Meg and Jo is inspired by Little Women and not a retelling. That increased my enjoyment of the novel. Honestly, I read and loved Little Women when I was a ‘tween back in the 1960s but I haven’t revisited in the decades since. Virginia Kantra’s story centers around older siblings Meg and Jo. Meg is married with twin toddlers. Jo lives in NYC, writes a food blog and works in a restaurant. Both sisters are trying to stay in control of the moving parts of their lives. Sometimes they are successful and sometimes not so much. Life will change for both when their mother has a health crisis and needs them to take over the running of the farm until she is well again. This is a family story full of the usual dynamics and challenges. When all the siblings come home they fall back into the rolls they had as young girls. There’s a lot of truth in that – at least I could relate. There are twists and turns and things fall into place perhaps a bit too easily but I liked Meg and Jo and look forward to reading Amy and Beth’s story.


 

The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland

The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland

Published:  Oct. 29, 2019 – St. Martin’s Griffin

Book courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:

For fans of Josie Silver’s One Day in December, The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae is a wholly original, charismatic, and uplifting novel that no reader will soon forget.

Ailsa Rae is learning how to live. She’s only a few months past the heart transplant that—just in time—saved her life. Now, finally, she can be a normal twenty-eight-year-old. She can climb a mountain. Dance. Wait in line all day for tickets to Wimbledon.

But first, she has to put one foot in front of the other. So far, things are as bloody complicated as ever. Her relationship with her mother is at a breaking point and she wants to find her father. Then there’s Lennox, whom Ailsa loved and lost. Will she ever find love again?

Her new heart is a bold heart. She just needs to learn to listen to it. From the hospital to her childhood home, on social media and IRL, Ailsa will embark on a journey about what it means to be, and feel, alive. How do we learn to be brave, to accept defeat, to dare to dream?

From Stephanie Butland, author of The Lost for Words BookshopThe Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae will warm you from the inside out. (publisher)

My take:  Take one completely engaging lead character (Ailsa), add a life-threatening condition, a sparkling cast of characters with issues of their own, and tango – well that’s a recipe for a novel that made me happy I’m a reader.

Ailsa was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and has managed to stay alive until the age of twenty-eight when a compatible heart becomes available. She thought the journey to that day was hard. And it was. But she learns that living with her new heart has a new set of challenges, not the least being brave enough to put herself out there in this new life.

The story is told through the blog she set up related to her condition, emails and texts with various people, and the story of past relationships. I hesitate to expand but I can say I’m very glad to have had the chance to read Stephanie Butland’s second novel. It’s an emotional novel and one that left me with a happy heart.


About the author:

Photograph by Elliott Franks

STEPHANIE BUTLAND lives with her family near the sea in the North East of England. She writes in a studio at the bottom of her garden, and when she’s not writing, she trains people to think more creatively. For fun, she reads, knits, sews, bakes, and spins. She is an occasional performance poet and the author of The Lost for Words Bookshop.

Book-buy link: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250242174