One Wish by Robyn Carr

  • One Wish (Feb24)Title:  One Wish
  • Series:  Thunder Point #7
  • Author:  Robyn Carr
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Published:  February 24, 2015 – Mira
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  Grace Dillon was a champion figure skater until she moved to Thunder Point to escape the ruthless world of fame and competition. And though she’s proud of the quiet, self-sufficient life she’s created running a successful flower shop, she knows something is missing. Her life could use a little excitement. 

In a community where there are few eligible singles, high school teacher Troy Headly appoints himself Grace’s fun coach. When he suggests a little companionship with no strings attached, Grace is eager to take him up on his offer, and the two enjoy…getting to know each other. 

But things get complicated when Grace’s past catches up with her, and she knows that’s not what Troy signed up for. Faced with losing her, Troy realizes Grace is more than just a friend with benefits. He’s determined to help her fight for the life she always wished for but never believed she could have—and maybe they can find real love along the way.  (publisher)

My take:  I think one of the things I enjoy most about Robyn Carr’s small town romances is that she understands regular people. They’re people probably like most of the people I (or any reader) know.  The Thunder Point series is one I love going back to whenever there’s a new book. It’s always a comfort read and I like to see what characters from previous books are up to as well as meet new ones.

I loved the story of Grace and Troy, two secondary characters from earlier books. They never gave each other a second thought – until they did. They have so much in common that they seem perfect for each other. And then things start happening that Grace has to explain. She’s not exactly who people thought she was. There’s much more to the local flower shop owner than anyone would have imagined. Will the people in her Thunder Point life, especially Troy, be able to deal with the “new” Grace?

One Wish is about knowing that it’s not what you don’t have that’s important, but more what you do have. And those things don’t always come with a price. The most valuable are priceless.

Not every thread of this story is tied up by the last page. I like that continuity into the next book and look forward to reading it. If you like small town romance you need to read the Thunder Point series.

#FitReaders Weekly Check-in

FitReaders2015

 

  • Sat:     11,110
  • Sun:     3,793
  • Mon:  13,296
  • Tue:    10,672
  • Wed:   11,009
  • Thu:     6,114
  • Fri:     12,829

We’ve been in the deep freeze this week. That’s all I’ll say about the weather. Hoping for a few more steps next week.

Treadmill reading:

Inside the O'Briens (Apr7)  the traveling tea shop (Mar3)

Hearth Stone by Lois Greiman

  • Hearth Stone (Feb24)Title:  Hearth Stone
  • Author:  Lois Greiman
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  February 24, 2015 – Kensington
  • Source:  Publisher

My take:  Hearth Stone is the story of a young woman whose life takes a turn in a new direction, much to her distress. Sydney was raised in privilege by a rigid father, a cold grandmother, and several nannies. When an injury changes everything she’s forced to rethink her future. She sets off on a journey to finding new meaning in her life. What she doesn’t expect is to find that her old life was based on lies.

Sydney arrives in South Dakota at her newly purchased ranch. She immediately starts to rehab the barn and house and then finds an injured horse that most would put out of its misery. She insists on trying to save it – much like the ranch is saving her.

Helping her with the work on the ranch and the injured horse is Hunter. He’s a mysterious man but she soon realizes he’s one of the good guys. Another person who shows up one day to work is Vura and her young daughter Lily. Vura is a talented carpenter with secrets of her own. Hunter, Vura and Lily are all instrumental in Sydney finding her true calling.

I had a bit of trouble with the way Sydney spoke at first. Her conversation seemed so affected but it became clear that it was a coping mechanism when speaking to Hunter (and a couple of other minor characters). As they got to know each other she loosened up.

Overall I enjoyed this novel and recommend it to fans of Contemporary/Women’s Fiction.  It’s an uplifting story and I look forward to reading more from Lois Greiman.

The Wednesday Group by Sylvia True

  • The Wednesday Group (March3)Title:  The Wednesday Group
  • Author:  Sylvia True
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  March 3, 2015 – St. Martin’s Griffin
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  Gail. Hannah. Bridget. Lizzy. Flavia. Each of them has a shameful secret, and each is about to find out that she is not alone… Gail, a prominent Boston judge, keeps receiving letters from her husband’s latest girlfriend, while her husband, a theology professor, claims he’s nine-months sober from sex with grad students. Hannah, a homemaker, catches her husband having sex with a male prostitute in a public restroom. Bridget, a psychiatric nurse at a state hospital, is sure she has a loving, doting spouse, until she learns that he is addicted to chat rooms and match-making websites. Lizzy, a high school teacher, is married to a porn addict, who is withdrawn and uninterested in sex with her. Flavia was working at the Boston Public library when someone brought her an article that stated her husband had been arrested for groping a teenage girl on the subway. He must face court, and Flavia must decide if she wants to stay with him. Finally, Kathryn, the young psychologist running the group, has as much at stake as all of the others. 

As the women share never-before-uttered secrets and bond over painful truths, they work on coming to terms with their husbands’ addictions and developing healthy boundaries for themselves. Meanwhile, their outside lives become more and more intertwined, until, finally, a series of events forces each woman to face her own denial, betrayal and uncertain future head-on.  (publisher)

My take:  I was first drawn to this novel by the synopsis. I’ve never read anything that dealt with sex addiction and was curious about how it would be handled in the form of a novel.

Sylvia True’s characters run the gamut of different types of women. That said, they had one thing in common – their husbands were all sex addicts and in some kind of therapy. One way or another each woman found her way to a support group for partners of sex addicts – The Wednesday Group. The group was run by a graduate student intent on impressing her supervising professor (who was intent on becoming the next president of the university).

Each woman in the group is at a different stage of dealing with her partner’s addiction and it’s effect on her life. It was interesting to watch the group sessions play out. One woman was in complete denial about her relationship with her husband, another was too timid to take control of her situation, one was too busy keeping up appearances of a perfect life, and another, newly pregnant, was so angry she constantly acted like an out-of-control child having a tantrum. There was another woman who left the group when her husband decided to return to Greece for a job and a second chance with his wife.

There were times when I felt almost voyeuristic while reading about the different couples. I could understand why they reacted to their situations the way they did but after a while I wondered why a couple of the women didn’t divorce their husbands. Sex addiction has to be almost insurmountable, I would think. It’s a terrible breach of trust and attacks the partner’s self-esteem. I thought the author really brought that point to the forefront.

There are a lot of things book groups could discuss about The Wednesday Group. I found True’s book to be an almost addictive read. That said, it’s not a feel-good novel but it is one that will make you think.

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

second chances (Apr14)  the moment of everything (audio)  a touch of stardust (Feb17)  the traveling tea shop (Mar3)

Last week on Bookfan:

An Appetite for Violets   the rebellion of miss lucy ann lobell (Feb17)

Currently reading:

Inside the O'Briens (Apr7)

#FitReaders Weekly Check-in

FitReaders2015

  • Sat:     5,788
  • Sun:  13,893
  • Mon:   7,107
  • Tue:     5,121
  • Wed:  16,157
  • Thu:  10,555
  • Fri:      6,685

Fitbit steps were inconsistent but I had a few good days that helped the average. It’s cold here in the upper midwest and we have about a foot of snow on the ground so no outdoor walking for me. Sending good thoughts to people in Boston and the rest of New England as they get another snow storm this weekend.

Read on the treadmill:

Never Too Late (Mar31)  Inside the O'Briens (Apr7)

How was your week?

The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell: A Novel by William Klaber

  • the rebellion of miss lucy ann lobell (Feb17)Title:  The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell: A Novel
  • Author:  William Klaber
  • Genre:  Historical Fiction
  • Published:  February 2014 – St. Martin’s Press
  • Source:  Publisher

From the synopsis:  The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell is the fictionalized account of Lucy’s foray into the world of men and her inward journey to a new sexual identity. It is her promised memoir as heard and recorded a century later by William Klaber, an upstream neighbor. Meticulously researched and told with compassion and respect, this is historical fiction at its best.  (publisher)

My take:  Lucy’s husband left her seven months before their daughter was born. That was a good thing. For the next three years she lived with her parents and siblings. She had a couple of jobs that paid a fraction of what a man would be paid for the same work. That fact, coupled with her mother wanting her to marry a repugnant man with three children of his own, was the impetus behind Lucy’s decision to transform herself and leave her parents’ home in 1855 to find work. In doing so she had to leave her daughter with her parents. She wanted to make a new life for her daughter and could see no other way except to leave her behind. Thus began a courageous journey that took Lucy from New York state all the way to Minnesota and back.

Skip ahead to the 20th century when author William Klaber and his wife moved to the area of  Lucy’s early life. A local historian filled him in on Lucy and said he’d hoped to find her rumored memoir and then write her story. Instead he only had newspaper clippings and letters that he wanted to hand off to Klaber because he no longer felt up to writing the book. Klaber had some of the factual bones to Lucy’s story but there were wide sections of time, with no details to be found, that needed to be told. That’s when he decided to tell her story as a fictionalized memoir with imagined chapters to fill the gaps.

I found The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell to be a compelling look at what it was like to be a woman of the 1800s who didn’t fit normal standards and expectations. No spoilers here but I will say Klaber’s novel is heartbreaking yet inspiring and one I won’t soon forget.

I think book groups would find many aspects of the story worthy of discussion not the least being what it was like to be a woman in 19th century America. I appreciated the epilogue (The Apparent Widow) and the Afterward that explain the factual and fictional aspects of Lucy’s life as related by Klaber.

Spotlight/US Giveaway: An Appetite for Violets by Martine Bailey

An Appetite for Violets

 

Synopsis:

“That’s how it is for us servants. No one pays you much heed; mostly you’re invisible as furniture. Yet you overhear a conversation here, and add a little gossip there. Then you find something, something you should not have found.”

Irrepressible Biddy Leigh, under-cook at the foreboding Mawton Hall, only wants to marry her childhood sweetheart and set up her own tavern. But when her elderly master marries the young Lady Carinna, Biddy is unwittingly swept up in a world of scheming, secrets, and lies. Forced to accompany her new mistress to Italy, she documents her adventures and culinary discoveries in an old household book of recipes, The Cook’s Jewel. Biddy grows intrigued by her fellow travelers, but her secretive and unconventional mistress is the most intriguing of all. At last in Italy, Biddy becomes embroiled in a murderous conspiracy, knowing the secrets she holds could be a key to a better life, or her downfall.

Inspired by eighteenth-century household books of recipes and set at the time of the invention of the first restaurants, An Appetite for Violets is a literary feast for lovers of historical fiction. Like Jo Baker’s Longbourn, it opens a window into the fascinating lives of servants, while also delivering a suspenseful tale of obsession and betrayal.  (publisher)


 

Martine-for-Nurnberg-Site[1]About the author:

An amateur cook, MARTINE BAILEY won the Merchant Gourmet Recipe Challenge and was a former UK Dessert Champion, cooking at Le Meurice in Paris. Her recipes have appeared in many publications including Good HousekeepingOlive Magazineand Green and Black’s Chocolate Recipes. Martine lives in Cheshire, England. This is her first novel.


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An Appetite for Violets

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

first time in forever (Puffin Island #1)  the time between by Karen White  the house on olive street  the coincidence of coconut cake (July21)

Last week on Bookfan:

Nightingale  Hero (Feb3)

Currently reading:

Never Too Late (Mar31)


As usual my blogiversary got past me. Bookfan turned 7 last Wednesday. I’d like to thank everyone who visits and leaves comments. It’s so much fun to be able to discuss books with so many great readers! A big thanks to authors, publicists and publishers who’ve introduced me to so many wonderful books.

#FitReaders Weekly Check-in

  • FitReaders2015Sat:   17,048
  • Sun:  10,770
  • Mon: 12,073
  • Tue:   10,468
  • Wed:  12,043
  • Thu:     9,437
  • Fri:     10,476

Last Saturday was a big day for steps because I was in TWO Fitbit challenges – one with bloggers and another with my relatives. Don’t think I can do that very often but it was fun :)  How was your week?

Read on the treadmill:

new uses for old boyfriends (Feb26)

Hero by Samantha Young

  • Hero (Feb3)Title:  Hero
  • Author:  Samantha Young
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Published:  February 2015 – NAL
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  Alexa Holland’s father was her hero until her shocking discovery that her mother and she weren’t his only family. Ever since, Alexa has worked to turn her life in a different direction and forge her own identity outside of his terrible secrets. But when she meets a man who’s as damaged by her father’s mistakes as she is, Alexa must help him.

Caine Carraway wants nothing to do with Alexa’s efforts at redemption, but it’s not so easy to push her away. Determined to make her hate him, he brings her to the edge of her patience and waits for her to walk away. But his actions only draw them together and, despite the odds, they begin an intense and explosive affair.

Only Caine knows he can never be the white knight that Alexa has always longed for. And when they’re on the precipice of danger, he finds he’ll do anything to protect either one of them from being hurt again….  (publisher)

My take:  Hero by Samantha Young (the first book of hers I’ve read) is the story of Alexa and Caine – two very wounded people who’ve survived on sheer determination.

Caine is motivated to be successful in spite of his history. Alexa wants to live her own life and hopefully one day apologize to the person whose life was changed forever because of her father. I really liked these two characters. Young’s story was as I would expect for the two made even more enjoyable by their constant push and pull at work and outside of the office. Everything went up a notch about 75% in the novel and moved the plot forward in a way I wondered what the heck would happen next.

The epilogue had me smiling as I turned the final page. Hero is a steamy and addictive read and I look forward to exploring Young’s backlist the next time I need to escape into a good contemporary romance.

Spotlight/Giveaway(US): The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Nightingale

Description

In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.

FRANCE, 1939

In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France… but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne’s home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can… completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war.  The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France–a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.  (publisher)


Hannah, Kristin_Credit Charles BushAbout the author:

KRISTIN HANNAH is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty-one novels. A former lawyer turned writer, she is the mother of one son and lives with her husband in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii.
Photo credit: Charles Bush

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Nightingale

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

new uses for old boyfriends (Feb26)  the rebellion of miss lucy ann lobell (Feb17)  Never Too Late (Mar31)

Last week on Bookfan:

the marriage charm (Jan27)   Girl Before a Mirror (Jan27)Vine   candle's christmas chair

Currently reading:

the rebellion of miss lucy ann lobell (Feb17)

#FitWalkers Weekly Check-in and a review: Candle’s Christmas Chair by Jude Knight

  • FitReaders2015Sat:   10,657
  • Sun:   6,463
  • Mon: 10,494
  • Tue:    11,935
  • Wed:   12,725
  • Thu:    12,576
  • Fri:      10,097

Another week of indoor walking. I try not to wish time away but Spring can’t arrive soon enough. Hoping all my New England friends are well and have dug out from the blizzard. You’ve been in my thoughts.

Read on the treadmill:

candle's christmas chair  Little Beach Street Bakery (3:31:15)


 

  • candle's christmas chairTitle:  Candle’s Christmas Chair
  • Author:  Jude Knight
  • Genre:  Historical Romance; Christmas
  • Published:  December 2014 – Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Source:  Author

Synopsis:  When Viscount Avery comes to see an invalid chair maker, he does not expect to find Min Bradshaw, the woman who rejected him 3 years earlier. Or did she? He wonders if there is more to the story. For 3 years, Min Bradshaw has remembered the handsome guardsman who courted her for her fortune. She didn’t expect to see him in her workshop, and she certainly doesn’t intend to let him fool her again.  (author)

My take:  When author Jude Knight let me know her novella was free on Amazon I checked it out and promptly downloaded it to my Kindle. I enjoy historical romances and love when there’s a Christmas theme.

Candle is a nickname for Viscount Randall Avery. He’s quite tall and has red hair, hence the nickname. He met Minerva at a house party three years ago and couldn’t forget her even though it seemed she wanted nothing more to do with him. Min had been told, by an unreliable source it turns out, he only wanted her for her money. She quickly left the party without saying goodbye. What a shock for both when they met again in Min’s workshop. Candle was there to order a wheelchair for his mother.

Min was determined not to get involved with Candle. The differences were too much to overcome – he a peer and she a shopkeeper’s daughter. Candle took that as a challenge and set to work at winning Min’s heart and trust. This part was so charming that I don’t want to spoil it for other readers except to say I learned quite a bit about the language of flowers. I also found the wheelchair aspect of the novella quite interesting.

Knight included a bit of drama that I was happy didn’t go down a predictable road. I enjoyed this novella and recommend it to fans of the author and historical romance.

Note:  Check Jude Knight’s website for buy links for various retailers and to read about her other books.


 

Girl Before a Mirror by Liza Palmer

  • Girl Before a Mirror (Jan27)VineTitle:  Girl Before a Mirror
  • Author:  Liza Palmer
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  January 27, 2015 – William Morrow
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  An account executive in a Mad Men world, Anna Wyatt is at a crossroads. Recently divorced, she’s done a lot of emotional housecleaning, including a self-imposed dating sabbatical. But now that she’s turned forty, she’s struggling to figure out what her life needs. Brainstorming to win over an important new client, she discovers a self-help book–Be the Heroine, Find Your Hero–that offers her unexpected insights and leads her to a most unlikely place: a romance writers’ conference. If she can sign the Romance Cover Model of the Year Pageant winner for her campaign–and meet the author who has inspired her to take control of her life–she’ll win the account. 

For Anna, taking control means taking chances, including getting to know Sasha, her pretty young colleague on the project, and indulging in a steamy elevator ride with Lincoln Mallory, a dashing financial consultant she meets in the hotel. When the conference ends, Anna and Lincoln must decide if their intense connection is strong enough to survive outside the romantic fantasy they’ve created. Yet Lincoln is only one of Anna’s dilemmas. Now that her campaign is off the ground, others in the office want to steal her success, and her alcoholic brother, Ferdie, is spiraling out of control. 

To have the life she wants-to be happy without guilt, to be accepted for herself, to love and to be loved, to just be–she has to put herself first, accept her imperfections, embrace her passions, and finally be the heroine of her own story.  (publisher)

My take:  I so enjoyed this novel about a woman’s journey to accepting herself for who she really is – not the person she thought she should strive to be in order to be accepted by others (her parents, professors, boss, etc.). Liza Palmer’s story is funny, heartbreaking, poignant, and ultimately uplifting. I think many women will relate to some aspect of Anna’s personal life or career issues. I found her likable and sympathized with her struggles.

I love the way Palmer tells a story and she didn’t disappoint with Girl Before a Mirror. I liked it all. From Anna’s cheerful colleague, Sasha, to Lincoln, the dashing hero, to Helen, the encouraging and inspiring mentor – they all combined to help Anna figure things out. It’s an entertaining novel that I’ll recommend to friends.

Spotlight Tour: Ignite Your Book Website – Get Amazing Deals on eBook Bestsellers!

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