Spotlight/Review: Our House by Louise Candlish

Our House by Louise Candlish

Berkley Hardcover; August 7, 2018

Review copy courtesy of Berkley

Description:  (content provided by the publisher)

“An artfully plotted, affecting page-turner…Candlish manages to stash a couple of trump cards, setting up a truly killer climax. American fans of domestic suspense will want to see more from this talented author.” Publishers Weekly, STARRED review

 

“The last line will make you literally shout with shock.” —Good Housekeeping


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Spotlight/Review: Dune Drive by Mariah Stewart

DUNE DRIVE by Mariah Stewart

Spend your summer on Cannonball Island!

Book 12 of The Chesapeake Diaries series On sale July 31, 2018!

Mass Market Paperback • Price: $7.99 • ISBN: 9781501154416 eBook • Price: $7.99 • ISBN: 9781501154423

Review copy provided by the publisher and NetGalley

Book description:

Always believing she was an ugly duckling, Chrissy Jenkins thought she had finally turned into a swan when her real-life Prince Charming swept her off her feet. But as his true character began to crack his perfect facade, Chrissy realized that not only was she better off without him, but that she was the only one who had the power to transform her life.

Returning to her ancestral home on Cannonball Island for a family wedding, Chrissy is reintroduced to a legacy she’d all but forgotten. In choosing to stay on the island, she reboots her life, successfully reinventing herself as a chef at Blossoms, an up-and-coming restaurant in St. Dennis. But despite her newfound self-confidence, she still doesn’t trust her taste in men. So when she meets Jared Chandler, a handsome ship salvager staying at the inn while he conducts a nearby recovery operation, Chrissy’s certain she can keep him as a friend—even though he’s everything any woman would want in a man. As fellow newcomers, together they discover the charm of the historic bayside town and explore the idyllic island.

But when Chrissy agrees to be Jared’s date for his father’s wedding, they embark on a weekend that will find them each seeing the other in a completely different light, one that will change their lives forever. (publisher)

My take:  When Chrissy Jenkins finally says enough is enough and flees an abusive relationship she runs to where she knows she’ll be safe and wanted – her great-grandmother’s home on Cannonball Island. Her Gigi will care for her but also encourage her to stand up and take control of her life. And that’s exactly what Chrissy does. Along the way she finds a job doing what she loves most and also reconnects with an acquaintance who could become much more.

It’s a story of starting over, learning to trust, and finding important answers to questions that have bothered Chrissy her entire life. I really enjoyed this latest installment of The Chesapeake Diaries series. Dune Drive can stand alone so don’t let the fact that it’s book 12 make you think you need to read the series in order. Mariah Stewart does a great job catching you up with pertinent details about each character.


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.


 

Excerpt:

Chrissie stretched one leg as close to the water as she could and with her big toe traced her name onto the surface, the way she had when she was a child. The water was cold, true spring being just around the corner, and the chill ran up her leg, but it made her feel alive. Her brother, Luke, once told her that writing your name on the Chesapeake meant you were part of it, would always be part of it. She wondered where Luke was now, and if writing his name on the bay had brought him back from time to time.

When their parents, Stephen and Dorothy, divorced, Luke went with their father, and one-year-old Chrissie stayed with their mother. As far as Chrissie knew, neither father nor brother had ever looked back. It was as if the earth had opened up and swallowed Stephen and Luke Jenkins body and soul, as far as she was concerned. Chrissie wouldn’t recognize either of them if they stood in front of her. Her father had been from the mainland and had no ties to the island except her mother. Once that bond had been broken and her mother remarried and moved to Pennsylvania, Chrissie figured her father had no reason to return. If her mother had heard from either of them, she’d never told Chrissie, and the few times Chrissie’d asked, her questions were ignored.

The last time Chrissie had asked, her mother had snapped, “That’s the agreement we made, no contact, and I’m sticking by it. So far, he has, too. What difference could it make now? He’s never been part of your life. He never wanted to be. Leave it alone, Chrissie. Don’t ask me again.”

To Chrissie, it was unforgivable on the part of both her parents—her mother for not telling her why her father left, and her father for never coming back. Once she’d started examining her life in earnest a year ago, it hadn’t been difficult for her to figure out that being abandoned by her father had contributed to the fact that her self-esteem had been so low she’d permitted herself to be abused. That her mother would never tell her why had only added to her poor self-image: as a child, she’d assumed he’d left because she was a bad girl. What other reason could there have been? Now, as an adult, she realized there’d had to be something other than that, that while children see everything that happens through their eyes as it relates to them, the constant arguing between her parents had probably been about something else. Try as she might, though, her mother would never tell her what that something had been.

She still thought of her father with a mixture of anger and longing. Had he ever remarried? Was he still alive? And Luke . . . ? She had no idea if he was dead or alive, either.


 

Spotlight on Summer Releases

Time to spotlight a few summer releases. Watch for reviews in the weeks ahead

A story of reconnection, lost love, and the power of faith, Heart Land follows a struggling fashion designer back to her small Iowa hometown as she tries to follow her dreams of success and finding true love.

Howard Books:  July 17, 2018

 

 

 

A seaside town and its eclectic community help one young woman reclaim the light after darkness in a brand-new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber.

Ballantine:  July 17, 2018

 

 

 

From New York Times bestselling author Meg Waite Clayton comes BEAUTIFUL EXILES, a tantalizing page-turner about Martha Gellhorn and Ernest Hemingway, two literary icons who had one of the most volatile, electrifying relationships of the 20th century.

Lake Union:  August 1, 2018

 

 

From the author of The Balance Project comes a dual-timeline narrative featuring a 1949 Miss Subways contestant and a modern-day advertising executive whose careers and lives intersect.

St. Martin’s Griffin:  July 10, 2018

 

 

 

In New York Times bestselling author Beth Harbison’s most emotional novel ever, a fractured family must come together at a beach house haunted by the past.

St. Martin’s Press:  July 24, 2018

 

 

 

New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart returns to her beloved Chesapeake Diaries series with a charming beachside romance that is “everything you love about small-town romance” (#1 New York Times bestselling author Barbara Freethy).

Pocket Books:  July 31, 2018

 

 

New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins is beloved for her heartfelt novels filled with humor and wisdom.  Now, in her newest novel, GOOD LUCK WITH THAT, she tackles an issue every woman deals with: body image and self-acceptance.

Berkley:  August 7, 2018

 

 

From an internationally acclaimed author, a disturbing and addictive novel of domestic suspense where secrets kept hidden from spouses cause shocking surprises that hit home…

Berkley:  August 7, 2018

 

 

Set in modern day Oxford, Mississippi, on the Ole Miss campus, bestselling author Lisa Patton’s RUSH is a story about women—from both ends of the social ladder—discovering their voices and their empowerment.

St. Martin’s Press:  August 21, 2018

 

 


 

Spotlight/US Giveaway: The Book of M by Peng Shepherd

Morrow, on sale 6/5/18, ISBN: 9780062669605, $26.99

About The Book of M: (content courtesy of the publisher)

Set in a dangerous near future world, THE BOOK OF M (Morrow, on sale 6/5/18, ISBN: 9780062669605, $26.99) tells the captivating story of a group of ordinary people caught in an extraordinary catastrophe who risk everything to save the ones they love—a sweeping debut that illuminates the power that memories have not only on the heart, but on the world itself.

One afternoon at an outdoor market in India, a man’s shadow disappears—an occurrence science cannot explain. He is only the first. The phenomenon spreads like a plague, and while those afflicted gain a strange new power, the magic comes at a horrible price: the loss of all their memories.

Ory and his wife, Max, have escaped the Forgetting by hiding in an abandoned hotel deep in the woods. Their new life feels almost normal, until their greatest fear happens to them, and Max’s shadow disappears too. Knowing that the more she forgets, the more dangerous she will become to the person most precious to her, Max runs away while Ory is out foraging for supplies—but he refuses to give up what little time they have left together. Desperate to find Max before her memory disappears completely, Ory follows her trail across a perilous, unrecognizable world, braving the threat of roaming bandits, the call to a new war being waged on the ruins of the capital, and the rise of a sinister cult that worships the shadowless.

As they journey, they search for answers: for Ory, about love, about survival, about hope; and for Max, about a mysterious new force growing in the south that may hold the cure.

This haunting, thought-provoking, and beautiful novel explores fundamental questions of memory and love—the price of forgetting, the power of connection, and what it means to be human in a world turned upside down.  THE BOOK OF M has the unique post-apocalyptic world building of Station Eleven, the dangerous quest for salvation of The Passage and the stunning magical realism and incredible love story that made Exit West a finalist for the Man Booker Prize.


About the author:

Prior to her earning her Creative Writing MFA from NYU on a full scholarship, Peng earned an MA in International Studies and Diplomacy from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. She worked for several years in the private security industry in both London and Washington DC, where she helped provide protective services to companies operating in hostile environments and war zones, even completing a short-term deployment to Iraq. This experience has given Peng a diverse perspective that she uses to highlight compelling, complex characters from around the globe—India, Iran, etc.—to create a dynamic cast.

 


Praise for The Book of M

“… Sheperd’s debut is graceful and riveting, slowly peeling back layers of an intricately constructed and unsettling alternate future.”— Publishers Weekly 

“Eerie, dark, and compelling, this will not disappoint lovers of The Passage (2010) and Station Eleven (2014).” — Booklist

“First-time novelist Shepherd has crafted an engaging and twisty tale about memory’s impact on who or what we become. For aficionados of literary dystopian fiction such as Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven or those who enjoy stories of cross-country travel.”    — Library Journal

“I was both disturbed and inspired by Max’s and Ory’s journey through apocalypses large and small. Peng Shepherd has written a prescient, dark fable for the now and for the soon-to-be. The Book of M is our beautiful nightmare shadow.” — Paul Tremblay, author of The Cabin at the End of the World

The Book of M is exciting, imaginative, unique, and beautiful. Shepherd proves herself not just a writer to watch, but a writer to treasure.” — Darin Strauss, bestselling author of Half a Life

The Book of M does a million smart things, but the smartest is to entertain us at the highest level. Peng Shepherd has written a brilliant story that takes the hours and breath away. As you chase Ory and Max, it’s hard to pin down just what makes this book so satisfying—a voice that’s as emotionally compelling as Gone Girl, a novel that’s as thrilling as The Stand.  Prepare to fall in love with your own shadow. And to lose sleep. Shepherd is urgently good, and has written one of those books that makes you look up at two in the morning, to a world that’s new, newly scary, and freshly appreciated: what all the great stories do.” — David Lipsky, New York Times bestselling author of Absolutely American


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Spotlight of Upcoming Titles on the TBR list

Time to spotlight a new season of books that have found their way to my house. I think they all sound terrific! Content provided by the publishers. 

 

Welcome to your perfect summer escape: THE SUMMER SAIL by Wendy Francis (on sale May 1 2018; Touchstone; $16.00 Trade Paperback Original; 978-1-5011-8891-6) has all the elements of a refreshing summer cruise—pink-sand beaches, exotic cocktails, and of course, some secrets buried deep below the surface.

THE SUMMER SAIL, which unites three former college roommates as they embark on a vacation to Bermuda with their families in tow. But they soon realize their adult problems won’t disappear at the beach or during cocktail hour. Illness threatens, the bond between parent and child is strained, and true love seems always just out of reach. It’s a vacation they won’t soon forget, but not for the reasons they expect.

 

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Weekenders comes a delightful new novel about new love, old secrets, and the kind of friendship that transcends generations. The High Tide Club is Mary Kay Andrews at her Queen of the Beach Reads best, a compelling and witty tale of romance thwarted, friendships renewed, justice delivered, and true love found.

 

 

 

 

Now, in her sixth book in a series that was inspired by her own childhood summers, Wendy Wax picks up where One Good Thing left off in BEST BEACH EVER (Berkley Trade Paperback Original; May 22, 2018; $16.00). Fans will delight in catching up with familiar beloved characters and new readers will have no problem sinking into the witty and uplifting story that’s equal parts authentic and charming.

After a recent forced move and the loss of their renovation reality TV show Do Over, the friends of Ten Beach Road—Maddie, Nikki, Avery, Kyra, and Bitsy—think things can’t get any worse, but they soon discover just how uncertain their futures are.

 

 

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).

 

 

 

 

 

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Night the Lights Went Out comes an exquisite new novel about best friends, family ties and the love that can both strengthen and break those bonds.

New York Times bestselling author Karen White crafts evocative relationships in this new contemporary women’s fiction novel about best friends who share a devastating secret, set in the Lowcountry of South Carolina.

 

 

 

The Lost for Words Bookshop is a compelling, irresistible, and heart-rending novel, perfect for fans of The Storied Life of AJ Fikry and The Little Paris Bookshop.

Loveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look carefully, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are some things Loveday will never, ever show you. Into her hiding place – the bookstore where she works – come a poet, a lover, and three suspicious deliveries. Someone has found out about her mysterious past. Will Loveday survive her own heartbreaking secrets?

 

From New York Times bestselling author Catherine Ryan Hyde comes a bittersweet novel about healing old wounds and finding a new place to call home…

Roseanna Chaldecott spent her life as a high-powered lawyer in Manhattan. But when her best friend and law partner dies suddenly, something snaps. Unsure of her future, Roseanna heads upstate on one tank of gas and with no plans to return.

 

 

 

A seaside town helps one young woman rediscover hope and healing in a brand-new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber.

After tragedy strikes, Annie moves in to the summer cottage where her family vacationed when she was a child. Soon Annie finds herself making new friends, even developing a romance with a quiet and mysterious painter. And as she becomes part of the community, Annie learns that the surest way to heal is by making a difference in the lives of those around her.

 

 

The Book of Summer is now available in paperback – published by St. Martin’s Griffin, on-sale May 8, 2018, $16.99). Michelle Gable uses the faded pages of a guest book to transport readers back in time and introduce them to the inhabitants of Cliff House, a century-old summer home. There’s Ruby Packard, a bright-eyed newlywed on the eve of World War II, her granddaughter, Bess Codman, who returns to Cliff House after years away, and Bess’s mother, a notorious town troublemaker. Due to erosion, the once grand, Nantucket-set compound will soon fall into the sea. But before it does, Bess must pack up the house and deal with her mother, who refuses to leave. In the process, Bess uncovers the tantalizing secrets housed within its aging walls.

 

Hailed one of the best debut novels of 2017 by Goodreads Reader’s Choice Awards, POPSUGAR, and BookBub. Perfect for fans of THIS IS US and readers of Jodi Picoult. With some 5,700+ ratings and 1,074+ reviews on Goodreads averaging 4.19 stars along with 19,460 users on the want-to-read list. Praised as “an impossible-to-put-down” by the Associated Press, “marvelous” by Booklist (starred review), “a perfect choice for book clubs” by Library Journal (starred review) and “an absolutely stunning book,” by RT Book Reviews, Abby Fabiaschi’s tender story, I Liked My Life is available in paperback on May 8, 2018 (St. Martin’s Griffin, 978-1250161062).

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lemonade Year by Amy Willoughby-Burle

Description:
LOVE. LOSS. AND SECOND CHANCES.

Nina’s once-sweet life has unexpectedly turned sour. Her marriage is over, her job is in jeopardy, and her teenage daughter is slipping away from her. Then her father dies and issues with Nina’s mother come to a head; her estranged brother, Ray, comes home; and her sister, Lola, is tempted to blow a big family secret out of the water. They say the truth will set you free, but first it will make a huge mess of things.

All Nina’s got left is her final photography assignment shooting images for the book 32 Ways to Make Lemonade. Well, that and the attention of a younger man, but Oliver’s on-again-off-again romantic interest in her ebbs and flows so much she is seasick. And then Jack, her ex-husband, shows up, wanting to get back together.

As Nina struggles to find a way through her complicated relationships and to uncover her true path, she discovers just how valuable a second chance at life and happiness can be.

My take:  I think anyone who has waded through grief will, on some level, be able to relate to the characters in Amy Willoughby-Burle’s novel. Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, a relationship, or an expected life path, the characters in The Lemonade Year must come to terms and move forward in their new reality. Nina’s internal dialogue moved the plot along as she acted and then questioned those actions. It was an honest and straightforward perspective of people who learn to slowly face their fears with the goal being the possibility of getting a second chance – even though it might not be the second chance they expect. Recommended to fans of novels involving messy family dynamics.


“The Lemonade Year is a smart, satisfying romance that balances life’s sour moments with its sweet ones.” –Foreword Reviews 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Amy Willoughby-Burle is a writer and teacher living in Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband and four children. She writes about the mystery and wonder of everyday life. Her contemporary fiction focuses on the themes of second chances, redemption, and finding the beauty in the world around us. She is the author of a collection of short stories entitled Out Across the Nowhere and a contributor to the anthology Of Mist and Magic.

Connect with Amy online:
Website: https://amywilloughbyburle.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmyWilloughbyBurle/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmyWBurle
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amywritesfiction/

THE LEMONADE YEAR
by Amy Willoughby-Burle
(Shadow Mountain/Deseret Books, 4/3/18)
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Purchase Links

 

Spotlight on: The Lost Season of Love and Snow by Jennifer Laam. Plus a US/Canada giveaway

St. Martin’s Griffin; on-sale January 2, 2018

Description:

The unforgettable story of Alexander Pushkin’s beautiful wife, Natalya, a woman much admired at Court, and how she became reviled as the villain of St. Petersburg.

At the beguiling age of sixteen, Natalya Goncharova is stunningly beautiful and intellectually curious. At her first public ball during the Christmas of 1828, she attracts the romantic attention of Russia’s most lauded rebel poet: Alexander Pushkin. Finding herself deeply attracted to Alexander’s intensity and joie de vivre, Natalya is swept up in a courtship and then a marriage full of passion but also destructive jealousies. When vicious court gossip leads Alexander to defend his honor as well as Natalya’s in a duel, he tragically succumbs to his injuries. Natalya finds herself reviled for her perceived role in his death. In her striking new novel, The Lost Season of Love and Snow, Jennifer Laam helps bring Natalya’s side of the story to life with vivid imagination―the compelling tale of her inner struggle to create a fulfilling life despite the dangerous intrigues of a glamorous imperial Court and that of her greatest love.

 


About the author:

JENNIFER LAAM is the author of The Secret Daughter of the Tsar and The Tsarina’s Legacy. She earned her master’s degree in History from Oakland University in Michigan and her bachelor’s degree from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA. She has lived in Los Angeles and the suburbs of Detroit, traveled in Russia and Europe, and worked in education and non-profit development. She currently resides in Northern California.

 

Website: https://jenniferlaam.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jenniferlaam.writer/?ref=bookmarks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jenlaam?lang=en

 

Discussion Guide: https://images.macmillan.com/folio-assets/discusion-guides/9781250121882DG.pdf


Excerpt:

From The Lost Season of Love and Snow by Jennifer Laam. Copyright © 2017 by the author and reprinted with permission of St. Martin’s Press, LLC.

________

A man says he will die for you. A woman is taught to lower her gaze and blush before hiding once more behind a silken fan. Men are given to self-aggrandizement, while women flatter egos and keep men tied to this earth. Such is the way of the world, or so I was taught in the days before I gained a reputation as the villain of St. Petersburg.

I know better now.

When a man declares he will die for you, sometimes a woman must take him at his word. For to allow one’s husband to perish on the field of honor is a shameful affair, worse even, than murdering him by your own hand.

The solemn men who gather at our flat fall silent as my husband draws his final breath. A prickly chill, like the first wave of a fever, washes over me as I realize my husband is gone. The sorrow tightens my chest and clamps down, squeezing until I think my body will snap in two. I sway on my feet and believe I will faint. Only the invisible force of my will keeps me upright. Dark blood still seeps from his abdomen and a sharp metallic scent clings to the air.

For two days my husband had been one of the waking dead, suffering a cruel and lingering death. Though I was not present at the duel where he fought to defend my honor, the image of Alexander collapsing, his blood staining the snow crimson, haunts my every thought. I have slid into despair, veering between hysteria and hopelessness, while Alexander’s wound festered and his once vibrant face distorted with agony.

His friends stand in a semicircle around his body, backs erect, mouths set in stern lines, and expressions stoic even as their eyes dampen with tears.

“What a waste,” I hear one of them mutter. “A genius lost over a woman.”

The words echo in my head. I was the wife of a distinguished man of letters, the greatest in our land, and I let his life slip through my fingers. These men suppose I care only for material comforts and romantic diversions and don’t believe I possess the wits about me to appreciate my husband’s talent. Rumormongers have convinced them I love the empty-headed Georges d’Anthès or have fallen prey to the advances of our iron-jawed tsar. They consider my behavior traitorous, as terrible in its own way as if I had joined the ranks of the Napoleonic soldiers who once threatened our very heartland.

I will confess to basking too long in the attention of Georges and even the tsar himself, yet I am no Jezebel, merely human, as vulnerable to flattery as any other creature. Much as I may wish to do so, I cannot change the past. The damage is done. A fresh wave of tears threatens and subsides, as though nothing remains inside me to expel. I wonder how long I will live with the torment of my guilt and the censure of those who claim to love my husband.


US/Canada Giveaway

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