The One That Got Away by Melissa Pimentel

  • Title:  The One That Got Away
  • Author:  Melissa Pimentel
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Pages:  400
  • Published:  August 2017 – St. Martin’s Press
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  A modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, where a young woman comes face-to-face with a lost love, proving that the one that got away is sometimes the one you get back. Ruby and Ethan were perfect for each other. Until the day they suddenly weren’t.

Ten years later, Ruby’s single, having spent the last decade focusing on her demanding career and hectic life in Manhattan. There’s barely time for a trip to England for her little sister’s wedding. And there’s certainly not time to think about seeing Ethan there for the first time in years.

But as the family frantically prepare for the big day, Ruby can’t help but wonder if she made the right choice all those years ago. Because there’s nothing like a wedding for stirring up the past… (publisher)

My take:  Persuasion holds a special place in my heart so, while I was excited for the chance to read a retelling of the story, I was also a bit reluctant. I don’t consider myself an Austen purist, but still…

The chapters alternate between Now and Then which fleshed out the story of Ruby and Ethan who find themselves in England for the wedding of her sister to his best friend – ten years after Ruby and Ethan broke up. So, will they find a second chance or have too many years gone by? I had fun finding out. I loved the setting but what I enjoyed the most were the secondary characters – people in the village pub, members of the principal characters’ families, etc. Some of them could be members of my own family – which endeared them all the more to me. The One That Got Away is recommended to fans of modern takes on Austen novels. I’m glad I read it and am tempted to pick up the original one day soon.


About the author:

MELISSA PIMENTEL grew up in a small town in Massachusetts in a house without cable and therefore much of her childhood was spent watching 1970s British comedy on public television. These days, she spends much of her time reading in the various pubs of Stoke Newington and engaging in a long-standing emotional feud with their disgruntled cat, Welles. She works in publishing and is also the author of Love by the Book.

 

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

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MelissaPimentelAuthor/

Buy Links: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250130389


 

 

 

 

Best Intentions by Erika Raskin plus US Giveaway

  • Title:  Best Intentions
  • Author:  Erika Raskin
  • Genre:  Mystery
  • Pages:  288
  • Published:  August 2017 – St. Martin’s Press
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  Marti Trailor is a mother of three, a New York congressman’s daughter, and wife to a successful obstetrician. Tired of playing the dutiful stay-at-home mom, she jumps at the opportunity to return to her stalled career as a hospital social worker. The catch? The job is at the same hospital where her husband works, and the doctor is not so keen.

As Marti gets enmeshed in the world of the hospital—long hours, overworked doctors, entrenched and dangerous politics—she witnesses something that she cannot unsee. Marti takes it upon herself to do the right thing. But the right thing comes with unintended consequences, and before she even has time to plead innocence, Marti finds herself thrust under a dangerous spotlight.

Peeling back the layers of one woman’s precipitous journey from stay-at-home mom to murder trial defendant, Best Intentions is Erika Raskin’s sophomore gem, a domestic mystery set against a captivating emotional backdrop. (publisher)

My take:  Marti is the beleaguered wife of a successful doctor in Richmond. She is almost single-handedly raising their three children and is getting kind of fed up with the whole deal. When she’s offered a job in her chosen profession of social worker at the same hospital where her husband works, she grabs it. He’s less than thrilled but knows better than to try to change her decision. When something happens at the hospital to one of Marti’s clients her life is turned upside down and she finds herself facing a murder charge.

I thought this whodunit was okay but I had a few quibbles:  pacing – it didn’t take off for me until almost half-way in; Marti’s snarky (mostly) inner dialogue got old fast; there are a lot of stereotypes in this novel. Even though I had a good idea of what happened I wanted to see how Erika Raskin wrapped it all up – and I thought she did a decent job. Fans of a mysteries that involve hospital politics, social work, and the law might want to give Best Intentions a try.


About the author:

Erika Raskin’s debut novel, Close, was nominated for a Teen Choice Book of the Year award. Her work has appeared on public radio and publications including The Washington Post, Salon, and Washingtonian Magazine. She was a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and a panelist at the Virginia Festival of the Book.


US Giveaway

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Giveaway ends August 23, 2017


The Sisters of Blue Mountain by Karen Katchur

  • Title:  The Sisters of Blue Mountain
  • Author:  Karen Katchur
  • Genre:  Mystery
  • Pages:  320
  • Published:  April 2017 – St. Martin’s Press
  • Source:  Publisher

My take:  The Sisters of Blue Mountain is the story of Linnet and Myna. The sisters have been estranged for several years but are brought together when an unusual event occurs in their hometown.

Myna is a college professor in Florida and Linnet runs a B&B in the mountains of Pennsylvania. The inn is situated near a waterway that snow geese frequent on their migration each year. It’s a tourist draw that brings many people to the inn. This year something odd happened with the geese that has a profound effect on the town and the local businesses, including Linnet’s inn. At the same time, Myna comes home to see her relatives and to take a break from a relationship in Florida. The sisters will need to deal with some unfinished business that comes to light when a certain reporter comes to investigate the snow geese incident.

I thought The Sisters of Blue Mountain was an interesting mystery that grew to include more than the case of the snow geese. Linnet and Myna have secrets and are forced to come to terms with the truth. There’s also a murder that needs to be solved. Karen Katchur packed a lot into a few pages that seemed to turn themselves after a while. As you would expect all is wrapped up neatly by the last page. I enjoyed this unique mystery and look forward to reading more from the author.


 

The Beach House Cookbook by Mary Kay Andrews

On Sale Date: May 2, 2017
Hardcover | 272 pages
St. Martin’s Press
Cooking / Courses & Dishes
$29.99 USD, $41.99 CAD
ISBN 9781250130440, 1250130441

Description:  Perennial New York Times bestselling novelist Mary Kay Andrews brings to your kitchen a gorgeous cookbook full of her favorite recipes that Publishers Weekly has called, “a true primer on Southern cuisine.” Presented with the breezy air that have made Andrews’ novels a summertime favorite, THE BEACH HOUSE COOKBOOK is sure to find a place at your kitchen table. From an early spring dinner of cherry balsamic pork medallions and braised Brussels sprouts with bacon, to Fourth of July buttermilk-brined fried chicken, to her New Year’s Day Open House menu of charcoal-grilled oysters, home-cured gravlax, grits n’ greens casserole, and lemon cream cheese pound cake, this cookbook will supply ideas for menus and recipes designed to put you in a permanently carefree coastal state of mind all year long.

You don’t need to own a beach house to enjoy Mary Kay Andrews’ recipes. All you need is a year-round appetite for delicious, casual dishes cooked with the best fresh, local ingredients. The book’s 16 carefree, crowd-pleasing menu plans are designed around holidays and occasions (“Low Country Boil,” “After a Day at the Beach,” “Game Day Dinner,” “Lazy Weekend Brunch,” “Easter Lunch”), but the 90+ delectable recipes can be mixed and matched to highlight your favorite apps, sides, mains, desserts, and beverages. (publisher)

My take:  One of my go-to authors is Mary Kay Andrews. Her novels are always entertaining and invariably land on my favorite beach reads list. That’s why I was so excited to receive a copy of The Beach House Cookbook. Andrews compiled her favorite recipes in a beautiful cookbook. The photos are gorgeous and will tempt the reader to try each recipe. Scroll down for one of those recipes. Lemon cake is my favorite and I can’t wait to try the Lemon Cream Cheese Pound Cake!

The book is divided into theme meals such as Low Country Boil, Fourth of July Dinner; Full Moon Party, and Christmas Brunch. There are many more and each one looks amazing. I especially enjoyed the short description and credit that MKA included with each recipe.

With Mothers Day and Fathers Day coming up soon, The Beach House Cookbook would be a wonderful gift for the cook in your life. Highly recommended.


About the author:  MARY KAY ANDREWS is the New York Times bestselling author of 24 novels, including The WeekendersBeach Town, Save the Date, Ladies’ Night, Spring Fever, Summer Rental, The Fixer Upper, Deep Dish, Blue Christmas, Savannah Breeze, Hissy Fit, Little Bitty Lies, and Savannah Blues. A former features writer for The Atlanta Journal Constitution, she finds an outlet for her passion for cooking, entertaining, and decorating with vintage finds at the homes she shares in Atlanta and Tybee Island, Georgia, with her husband, Tom, and their two grown children, Katie and Andy, as well as grandchildren Molly and Griffin. THE BEACH HOUSE COOKBOOK is her first cookbook.

Connect with Mary Kay Andrews online:
 *  *  *
THE BEACH HOUSE COOKBOOK: Easy, Breezy Recipes with a Southern Accent
by Mary Kay Andrews
St. Martin’s Press (May 2, 2017)
Named one of Publishers Weekly‘s “Best Books of Summer 2017”

Lemon Cream Cheese Pound Cake
No Southern cook should be without a pound cake recipe in their repertoire. This recipe originated with my late sister Susie, who got it from her emergency room coworkers at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. Later, on the advice of famed food chemist Shirley Corriher, I upped the moistness ante with the addition of extra egg yolks, vegetable oil, and sugar. Bake it low and slow, and you’ll have a triumph.
 *  *  *
Ingredients:
  • 7 large eggs, divided
  • 3 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) salted butter, softened
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. lemon extract
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Powdered sugar, sweetened whipped cream, and lemon zest curls for garnish (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a Bundt pan; set aside.

2. Separate the eggs, reserving 5 egg whites and 7 egg yolks in separate bowls. (Save the extra whites for another use.) Beat the egg whites at high speed with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

3. Beat the sugar, butter, cream cheese, and oil with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating until the yellow disappears. Beat in the extracts.

4. Combine the flour and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three additions. Gently fold in the whipped egg whites.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour and 25 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Cut into slices, garnish with powdered sugar, whipped cream, and lemon zest, if desired, and serve.


Also from Mary Kay Andrews:

Praise for the New York Times bestseller The Weekenders – out in trade paperback May 2, 2017!
“Fast-forward to summer with this breezy mystery.” – RealSimple.com
“This book has all the makings of a beach read…The perfect blend of drama, humor, intrigue, and just a touch of murder.” – Bustle
“Atlanta’s prolific chick-lit queen returns to her roots as a mystery author with this frothy tale of divorce, shady real estate deals and murder…Venturing into plots a tad darker than usual, Andrews still finds room for humor, romance and zany characters worth spending a weekend with.” – Atlanta Journal Constitution

“Andrews’ novels, such as Save the Date and Beach Town, are the epitome of relaxing yet involving summer reads, and her latest is no exception…Andrews blends romance, intrigue, and soap-opera-like twists in this entertaining novel about a gossipy beach town.” – Booklist


One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline

  • Title:  One Perfect Lie
  • Author:  Lisa Scottoline
  • Genre:  Thriller
  • Pages:  384
  • Published:  April 2017 – St. Martin’s Press
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  On paper, Chris Brennan looks perfect. He’s applying for a job as a high school government teacher, he’s ready to step in as an assistant baseball coach, and his references are impeccable.

But everything about Chris Brennan is a lie.

Susan Sematov is proud of her son Raz, a high school pitcher so athletically talented that he’s being recruited for a full-ride scholarship to a Division I college, with a future in major-league baseball. But Raz’s father died only a few months ago, leaving her son in a vulnerable place where any new father figure might influence him for good, or evil.

Heather Larkin is a struggling single mother who lives for her son Justin’s baseball games. But Justin is shy, and Heather fears he is being lured down a dark path by one of his teammates, a young man from an affluent family whose fun-loving manner might possibly conceal his violent plans.

Mindy Kostis succumbs to the pressure of being a surgeon’s wife by filling her days with social events and too many gin and tonics. But she doesn’t know that her husband and her son, Evan, are keeping secrets from her – secrets that might destroy all of them. 

At the center of all of them is Chris Brennan. Why is he there? What does he want? And what is he willing to do to get it?

Enthralling and suspenseful, One Perfect Lie is an emotional thriller and a suburban crime story that will have readers riveted up to the shocking end, with killer twists and characters you won’t soon forget.  (publisher)

My take:  One Perfect Lie is the first of Lisa Scottoline’s books I’ve read. It would be a perfect beach/pool read or one to read on a plane (I read it in a day). It could be described a few ways but I’ll stick with a suburban crime page-turner that picks up more steam with almost every turn of the page. One Perfect Lie is filled with characters who certainly can’t be trusted and then a few chapters later you’re not so sure. I enjoyed the twists that kept me guessing. The dramatic scene near the end played out in my mind’s eye as if on a jumbo screen. I loved that. Not wanting to risk a spoiler, I’ll stop here – except to say I look forward to reading more of Lisa Scottoline’s books.


LISA SCOTTOLINE is a New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award–winning author of twenty-eight novels. She has 30 million copies of her books in print in the United States, she has been published in thirty-five countries, and her thrillers have been optioned for television and film. Lisa also writes a weekly column with her daughter, Francesca Serritella, for The Philadelphia Inquirer, and those stories have been adapted into a series of bestselling memoirs, the first of which is entitled Why My Third Husband Will Be A Dog. Lisa lives on a Pennsylvania farm with an array of disobedient pets. Visit Lisa at www.Scottoline.com, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram at @LisaScottoline


Praise for ONE PERFECT LIE

“Entertaining…This fast-paced read culminates in a daring chase that would play well on the big screen.” Publisher’s Weekly

“Readers can be assured that the author nails the high school milieu, from athletic rivalries to sexting, and…they’re in for one thrilling ride on the roller coaster” Kirkus Reviews

“Scottoline keeps the pace relentless as she drops a looming threat into the heart of an idyllic suburban community, causing readers to hold their breath in anticipation.” Booklist


 

Spotlight/US Giveaway: The Sisters of Blue Mountain

I want to Spotlight THE SISTERS OF BLUE MOUNTAIN because today is publication day. I look forward to reading it soon!

Description:

For Linnet, owner of a Bed and Breakfast in Mountain Springs, Pennsylvania, life has been a bit complicated lately. Hundreds of snow geese have died overnight in the dam near the B&B, sparking a media frenzy, threatening the tourist season, and bringing her estranged sister, Myna, to town. If that isn’t enough, the women’s father has been charged with investigating the incident. But when a younger expert is brought in to replace him on the case and then turns up dead on Linnet’s B&B’s property, their father becomes the primary suspect. As the investigation unfolds, the sisters will have to confront each other, their hidden past, and a side of Mountain Springs not seen before.

Karen Katchur has written a thrilling novel of sisters and the secrets that bind them that is sure to appeal to readers of her acclaimed first novel, The Secrets of Lake Road.


Praise for Karen Katchur:

“THE SISTERS OF BLUE MOUNTAIN is evocative, atmospheric and haunting. Equally suspenseful and heart-wrenching, Katchur expertly exposes the fault lines between sisters who share a past. I couldn’t put it down.” – Kate Moretti, New York Times bestselling author of THOUGHT I KNEW YOU and THE VANISHING YEAR

“Katchur weaves a suspenseful tale of family secrets and what it means to keep quiet. For readers who relish complex family mysteries.” – Library Journal


About the author:

Karen Katchur lives in Eastern Pennsylvania with her husband and two daughters. She is the author of THE SECRETS OF LAKE ROAD.


US Giveaway

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Giveaway ends on April 12, 2017