Thursday, 20 September 2018

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Audiobook, 12 pages
Published June 13th 2017 by Simon Schuster Audio 
Genre: Fiction/Historical Fiction
Kristine's Thoughts:

I listened to this book and I was blown away. It was an absolutely stunning story that I found I couldn't get enough of. I wanted to know everything about the famous Evelyn Hugo and her many husbands.

Evelyn requested Monique to tell her life story to even though nobody knew why. At 79 years old, the academy award winning actress was finally ready to tell her true story. That included all seven of her husbands and her one true love. Monique couldn't figure out why she would want her to write Evelyn's biography but saw the benefit it would be to her career and future.

The reader (or listener in my case) was then swept away in Evelyn's story starting in the 50's and continuing through decades. She revealed her transformation from a nobody to a Hollywood starlet that everyone wanted a piece of. Without giving anything away, she revealed the lengths she went to in order to get what she wanted, to hide what she needed, and the true story behind each of her husbands.

As I listened to this book I often forgot that Evelyn Hugo was a fictional character. She felt as real and famous as she was penned in the book. It made me think about the lives of real famous people of that era and even now. How much of what we have seen is actually real and how much is just a publicity stunt?

Ambition and love were at the forefront of Evelyn's story and I found myself getting lost in it. As her entire story was revealed, so was Monique's connection to her life and it left me speechless.

I loved this book and highly recommend it!

About the Author
Taylor Jenkins Reid is the author of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, One True Loves, Maybe in Another Life, and two other novels. She lives in Los Angeles.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Review: Sail Away with Me (Blue Moon Harbor #3) by Susan Fox

Bookseller Iris Yakimura grew up on Destiny Island and it’s the only place where her painful shyness doesn’t cripple her. An avid romance reader, she believes that one day the right man will come along—one who loves her just the way she is. She never imagines that man will arrive in time for the holidays, like a gift. Or that he’ll be a celebrity musician with a bad boy vibe—and a warm 
heart . . .

Julian Blake spent most of his teens on Destiny Island, before fleeing a mentor turned abuser. Music saved him. He has avoided the island, but now his injured father needs him. Plagued by unsettling memories, Julian’s solace comes from surprising places—and from smart, stunning Iris. When he feels compelled to expose his abuser, will Iris find the courage to stand by his side in the spotlight that will ensue—much less embrace a love that might take her far from home? . . 

Paperback, 368 pages

Expected publication: September 25th 2018 by Zebr

Terri's Thoughts

** I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!**

This is the third in the Blue Moon Harbor series.  While I had read the first in the series, I had somehow missed the second.  Characters were referenced and present from the second book however it did not impact the ability to follow along in this book.

I may have mentioned in my review of the first story and I will repeat it in this review.  I really appreciate that the setting of this book (and series) is set in Canada and written by a Canadian author.  Many of the references were familiar to me and lets be honest, in this day and age it is important to support as much Canadian content as possible.  I even appreciated the reference to the official languages act although I do not support its inequity on a national level.

This story was a touching one dealing with the ugly subject sexual assault.  This part of the story is what captured me.  In the shadows of such ugliness, beautiful things came to light such as friendship, family and supporting each other no matter what.  It really was touching.

On the flip side, I have to admit that Iris really got on my nerves.  I know plenty of shy people, including myself and I just couldn't identify with her shyness that was so crippling.  While I can assume that it does exist, it didn't feel realistic to me.  While I am shy, I am able to function in society and work without cowering away from the world.  I certainly wouldn't reject happiness because of it.  The fact that it was such a major part of discussion throughout the book prevented me from fully getting behind her.  As a result I have some mixed feelings about the story.  On the bright side, what Iris lacked for me, Julian made up for.

Overall I liked this story, I just didn't love it.

About the Author

Susan is a Pacific Northwester with homes in Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia. She has degrees in law and psychology, and has had a variety of careers, including perennial student, computer consultant, and legal editor. Fiction writer is by far her favorite, giving her an outlet to demonstrate her belief in the power of love, friendship, and a sense of humor.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Review: America's Sweetheart by Jessica Lemmon

Allison: When I left for California, I gave myself a new name and never looked back. Now my carefully crafted good-girl image is getting torn to shreds in the press thanks to my Oscar-winning A-hole of an ex-boyfriend. So I escape to the only safe haven I know and trust—my hometown—to take a breather while I plot my triumphant Hollywood comeback. However, when I arrive at my parents’ house, Jackson Burke answers the door instead. And suddenly the past comes rushing back. . . .

Jackson: First kiss. First time. First love. Yep, Allison Murphy and I shared a lot of firsts back in the day. When she left, she took half my heart with her. Now she’s back in town, and even though I swore I’d keep my distance, her parents hired me to remodel their house, and I’m going to finish the job. But one hot kiss later, suddenly the press is calling us the next big celebrity couple. Sure, I’ll play the part, for Allison’s sake—but I refuse to let her close enough to break my heart all over again. . . .

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: October 2nd 2018 by Loveswept
Series: Real Love #5
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Kristine's Thoughts:
** I received an advanced readers copy from Loveswept via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!**

America's Sweetheart is the fifth book in the Real Love series but it can be read as a stand alone. I have read some of the books in the series but not all of them and it did not impact my enjoyment of this book at all.

Allison and Jackson were high school and college sweethearts who were together for more than four years before Allison's move to California and her path to stardom separated them. Ten years passed and then a devastating scandal happened. Allison returned home to hide out only to find Jackson spending most of his time in her childhood home doing a massive renovation. You can imagine the sort of things that lead to. This is a second chance romance at its very cutest and best.

I have read a few of Jessica Lemmon's books from this series and others but it has been a little while so I forgot. I forgot how much I enjoyed her writing and her characters. There is a sweetness mixed with sexiness that made me smile as I turned the pages. She definitely knows how to pull at the romantic heartstrings of her readers. Allison and Jackson were so sweet together and it was easy to pull for them. First loves, first everything really so who wouldn't want a happily ever after for them. I know I certainly did. However, the star of the book was not the famous one (for me) but the small town business owner with the giant heart. Yes I am talking about Jackson. I adored everything about him and his unselfish ways. He was always putting Allison first at the risk of his own happiness. Sigh... I admit to a little book crush.

Fans of second chance romances will really enjoy this book. It had the perfect combination of sweet and sexy. It simultaneously pulled at the heart strings and heated up the pages creating the perfect balance. I am really glad that I had the opportunity to read America's Sweetheart and for the reminder of how much I enjoy Lemmon's writing in this genre. Now I need to go back and read the ones I missed!

About the Author
A former job-hopper, Jessica Lemmon resides in Ohio with her husband and rescue dog. She holds a degree in graphic design currently gathering dust in an impressive frame. When she’s not writing super-sexy heroes, she can be found cooking, drawing, drinking coffee (okay, wine), and eating potato chips. She firmly believes God gifts us with talents for a purpose, and with His help, you can create the life you want.

Jessica is a social media junkie who loves to hear from readers.

Connect with Jessica

Monday, 17 September 2018

Review: Forever Found by Allyson Charles

Head vet at the Forever Friends animal rescue shelter, Gabriel Moretti is known as the Dog Whisperer because of his gift for soothing rambunctious patients. But it’s the two-legged species that has him, and his libido, working overtime. Marla Popov single-handedly saved the shelter from financial ruin. But the bossy trust funder is even more irritating than her snooty Standard Poodle. You’d think keeping his attraction on a short leash would be a no-brainer for Gabe. Unfortunately, Marla is also
smart, beautiful, and intriguing . . .
Most of her life, people have been eager to tell Marla just what she wants to hear. So now that she’s nearing forty, she doesn’t expect to be refused—especially by a sexy younger man like Gabe. She also doesn’t expect it to sting so much. But when she discovers a scheme involving illegal dog fights, she gets a chance to show what she’s truly made of. And as she and Gabe team up to fight it, they discover a surprising respect for each other—and passion that might just grow into love. . .

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: October 9th 2018 by Lyrical Shine

Terri's Thoughts

** I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!**

This was the second book in the Forever Friends series.  I had not read the first however took the chance that I could read this without missing anything...although I may go back and read Brad's story.

I am a massive dog lover.  My dog is by my side almost 24/7 as I am lucky enough to work from home and she is my pride and joy.  I didn't know how I would handle this storyline since it is about animal cruelty.  Fortunately any details of the actual dog fighting was left mainly off of the page but there are some descriptions of some survivors at the shelter.  This is fair warning for other out there like me who thought the storyline might be too much.

The main story was Marla and Gabe, the most unlikely couple.  Talk about polar opposites....or maybe not.  The more I think about it, if I met these people in real life they would annoy the heck out of me.  Gabe was constantly grumpy albeit hot.  I don't care how hot someone is, if they are constantly a downer and impolite that would wear off very quickly.  On the flip side, Marla was constantly sticking her nose in other peoples business and making impulsive stupid decisions. They shouldn't have seen anything in each other. Maybe they really work together so that they are not inflicted on others? I say this in jest as they actually did work as a couple.  While I feel the "feelings" aspect came on way to quickly, it does fall in line with the regular formula of these stories.

The highlight of the story for me was the supporting cast of characters both two legged and four legged.  I loved Maddie the poodle with her attitude and devotion to her master.  I laughed as I saw some of the same character traits that I observe daily with my dog.  I also loved Dax.  He just seemed to me to be a perfect train wreck.  I am glad to see the next book in the series will feature him.

Totally random but I do feel the need to comment on one statement that was mentioned in the book.  The statement that said "everyone likes Hawaiian pizza".  This statement made me laugh the most.  While I agree that it is great, my friends and I sat around the table literally five days ago having a 30 minute debate on the merits of pineapple on pizza.  Let me tell you that there is a very passionate camp of people out there who feel differently!  I digress...

For me this book was a good read.  Entertaining, not too long and best of all featured several dogs!

About the Author

Allyson Charles lives in Northern California. She’s the author of the "Pineville Romance" series, small-town, contemporary romances published by Lyrical Press. A former attorney, she happily ditched those suits and now works in her pajamas writing about men’s briefs instead of legal briefs. When she’s not writing, she’s probably engaged in one of her favorite hobbies: napping, eating, or martial arts (That last one almost makes up for the first two, right?). One of Allyson’s greatest disappointments is living in a state that doesn’t have any Cracker Barrels in it.


Sunday, 16 September 2018

Review: Kiss Her Goodbye by Susan Gee

Kirsten Green is my best friend.

Kirsten Green has gone missing.

I killed Kirsten Green. Seventeen-year-old Hayley Reynolds is unwanted at home, and an outsider at school. Pushed away by her best friend Kirsten Green, she makes a deliberate, chilling decision – if Kirsten can't belong to her, then she won't belong to anyone...

DI Beverley Samuels has the body of a schoolgirl on her hands – a murder that brings back the hauntingly painful memories of the case she's tried so desperately to forget. There's something deeply disturbing about this crime – and yet with little hard evidence it's up to her to decide who she will believe...

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: September 18th 2018 by Aria 
Genre: Thriller/Young Adult
Kristine's Thoughts:

** I received an advanced readers copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!**

I always like to start with the positive so I will mention how much I liked the cover of this book. In fact, it is what drew me to it in the first place. Then I read the synopsis and I knew I had to have it.


I found this book so boring that it took me two weeks to get through it. Not only was it boring but it was so ridiculously repetitive. Was Hayley's favourite band New Order? In case that didn't translate well it was my really bad attempt at sarcasm. References to the band were so numerous that I started to hate them just a little.

I didn't like any of the characters. Of course, I wasn't meant to like Hayley but I couldn't even get behind or appreciate the creepy, messed up villain that she was meant to be. DI Beverley Samuels was just as messed up as Hayley and her story was so long winded and dull that it really hurt the bigger picture. The entire thing moved at a snails pace.

In my opinion, even a twist couldn't save this book. It was definitely not for me.

About the Author
Susan Gee was a finalist in the Good Housekeeping Novel Competition and the Daily Mail ‘Write a Best Seller’ Competition. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Manchester University.

'Kiss Her Goodbye' is her first novel.

Susan lives in Stockport with her husband and two children.

Connect with Susan

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Review: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Crazy Rich Asians is the outrageously funny debut novel about three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting, and scheming that occurs when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season.
When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn't know is that Nick's family home happens to look like a palace, that she'll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia's most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back. Initiated into a world of dynastic splendor beyond imagination, Rachel meets Astrid, the It Girl of Singapore society; Eddie, whose family practically lives in the pages of the Hong Kong socialite magazines; and Eleanor, Nick's formidable mother, a woman who has very strong feelings about who her son should--and should not--marry. Uproarious, addictive, and filled with jaw-dropping opulence, Crazy Rich Asians is an insider's look at the Asian JetSet; a perfect depiction of the clash between old money and new money; between Overseas Chinese and Mainland Chinese; and a fabulous novel about what it means to be young, in love, and gloriously, crazily rich.

Hardcover, 403 pages
Published June 11th 2013 by Doubleday

Terri's Thoughts

I was at a dinner party the other night and someone brought up this book.  Upon my return home I saw the movie trailer on TV and thought this was a sign that I must pick up the book.  If there was any chance I would be going to see the movie, I of course had to read the book first.  I chose to listen to the audio book version for this.

I am not going to go in to any details of the plot as this book was published in 2013 and the movie has been out for at least a month so I think most people know what it is about by now.  Instead I am just going to spit out random thoughts that crossed my mind as I listened to the story.

The burning question I have is if any of this story is based on reality?  Seriously, do people like this actually exist out there?  I would like to think no but fear the answer is probably yes.  The shallow and me, me, me attitudes of the folks in this story is truly obnoxious (not all but most).  It also made for a pretty funny read.  I couldn't even imagine running in these social circles however I think I could have a heyday with it in small doses.

I had a difficult time envisioning how/why this story was adapted in to a movie as it was mostly superficial however there was an underlying depth within that I suspect is more what the movie focused on.  For the most part you had to dig deep to find this depth as the story mainly focused on the opulence and extravagance of the filthy (or should I say crazy) rich Asian jet set.

I am currently conflicted as I see this book is actually part of a series.  While I had some good laughs and the ending was left quite open, I don't know if I want to invest more time with these characters.  They were just so extremely "crazy".  I will probably go see the movie and then decide if I want to finish the series.

I had a good time with this story but I am not sure I am convinced about what the hype is all about.  The jury is out for me.

About the Author

Kevin Kwan is the author of "Crazy Rich Asians," the international bestseller now being adapted as a major motion picture. The sequel, "China Rich Girlfriend," will be released on June 16, 2015. Born and raised in Singapore, Kwan has called Manhattan home for the past two decades but still craves pineapple tarts and a decent plate of Hokkien mee.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Review: The Diplomat's Wife by Pam Jenoff

How have I been lucky enough to come here, to be alive, when so many others are not? I should have died.… But I am here.

1945. Surviving the brutality of a Nazi prison camp, Marta Nederman is lucky to have escaped with her life. Recovering from the horror, she meets Paul, an American soldier who gives her hope of a happier future. But their plans to meet in London are dashed when Paul's plane crashes.

Devastated and pregnant, Marta marries Simon, a caring British diplomat, and glimpses the joy that home and family can bring. But her happiness is threatened when she learns of a Communist spy in British intelligence, and that the one person who can expose the traitor is connected to her past.

Series: The Kommandant's Girl #2
Genre: Historical Fiction

Kristine's Thoughts:

The Diplomat's Wife is the second book in the Kommandant's Girl series but it can be read as a stand alone. It told the story of what happened Marta, who played a significant role in the ending of the first book, after that book ended. I listened to the audiobook of The Diplomat's Wife.

I did not enjoy this book near as much as the first book. I found it to be extremely unrealistic and completely predictable at the same time. Also, I was not a fan of the narrator for this audiobook and I feel like it really impacted how much I enjoyed the story. This has been an issue with many audibooks for me but I felt it more strongly in this one. My problem is the way the narrator (female) voices male characters. The tone, cadence and everything else makes it sound like the male voices are never serious even when they are suppose to be really serious. I'm not sure if it is just me that notices this or if I just imagine them speaking differently in my head. It was very distracting .

What really bothered me with this book was the way Marta was so willing to jump in and help even though she had a baby to think about. Not only did she leave without hesitation but turned down the opportunity to go home when she had the chance and put herself in even more danger in the process. There wasn't much thought of the child which made it hard for me to like her character. When I am not a fan of a character it makes it hard for me to like the story or care what happens to her.

I really enjoyed The Orphan's Tale (not part of this series) and I liked The Kommandant's Girl  and listened to all three of them on audiobook. I think I may have enjoyed this book a little more if I had read it. Pam Jenoff's next book comes out in February 2019 and I have an ARC of it. It will be interesting to see if I enjoy reading her books more than listening to them. I am a fan of her work, just not this particular book.


About the Author

Pam is the author of several novels, including her most recent The Orphan's Tale, an instant New York Times bestseller. Pam was born in Maryland and raised outside Philadelphia. She attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and Cambridge University in England. Upon receiving her master’s in history from Cambridge, she accepted an appointment as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Army. The position provided a unique opportunity to witness and participate in operations at the most senior levels of government, including helping the families of the Pan Am Flight 103 victims secure their memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, observing recovery efforts at the site of the Oklahoma City bombing and attending ceremonies to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of World War II at sites such as Bastogne and Corregidor.

Following her work at the Pentagon, Jenoff moved to the State Department. In 1996 she was assigned to the U.S. Consulate in Krakow, Poland. It was during this period that Pam developed her expertise in Polish-Jewish relations and the Holocaust. Working on matters such as preservation of Auschwitz and the restitution of Jewish property in Poland, Jenoff developed close relations with the surviving Jewish community.

Having left the Foreign Service in 1998 to attend law school at the University of Pennsylvania, Jenoff is now employed as an attorney in Philadelphia.

Pam is the author of The Kommandant's Girl, which was an international bestseller and nominated for a Quill award, as well as The Diplomat's Wife and Almost Home.

Connect with Pam


Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Review: The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton

From the bestselling author of The House at Riverton and The Secret Keeper, Kate Morton brings us her dazzling sixth novel, The Clockmaker's Daughter.

My real name, no one remembers.
The truth about that summer, no one else knows.

In the summer of 1862, a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor on the banks of the Upper Thames. Their plan: to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared; a priceless heirloom is missing, and Edward Radcliffe’s life is in ruins.

Over one hundred and fifty years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London, uncovers a leather satchel containing two seemingly unrelated items: a sepia photograph of an arresting-looking woman in Victorian clothing, and an artist’s sketchbook containing a drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river.

Why does Birchwood Manor feel so familiar to Elodie? And who is the beautiful woman in the photograph? Will she ever give up her secrets?

Told by multiple voices across time, The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a story of murder, mystery, and thievery, of art, love, and loss. And flowing through its pages like a river is the voice of a woman who stands outside time, whose name has been forgotten by history, but who has watched it all unfold: Birdie Bell, the clockmaker’s daughter

Hardcover, 496 pages

Expected publication: October 9th 2018 by Atria Books

Terri's Thoughts

**I received an advanced copy of this book by the publisher Atria via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!**

It is no secret that Kate Morton is one of my favorite authors.  From the time I accidentally stumbled across The Forgotten Garden while browsing through the bookstore with latte in hand, I have been hooked.  I have read all of her works up until now and I am always anxiously awaiting her next work. I was so excited to be approved an advanced copy.

This book took me while to read.  Not because of the content but because life got in the way and I could only devote a few minutes a day to get through it.  Normally I would devour it in a day, maybe two.  I think this may have impacted my enjoyment a little bit because I didn't get to enjoy that indescribable feeling I get when I get lost in her words.  I wish I could explain that feeling, others may know what I am referring to, perhaps the haunting feeling you get when a story sticks with you long after the last word is read?

This story stayed true to form following a story between the present and the past as it slowly weaves its way to its conclusion.  In this case the story was told through multiple perspectives, not just through two characters.  While adding extra layers of depth, I have to admit that I did have a hard time keeping all of the characters straight.  I think it would have been easier for me if the chapters were titled with the characters name of whose perspective was being told.  While the year was labeled, the name wasn't and I just think it would have been easier to identify (particularly when new characters were introduced) if this was the case.  This is really my only constructive criticism.  As it was an advanced copy I had, perhaps this has already been done in the final published copy.

That aside, the story was still wonderfully devastating as all of her other work has been to date.  While it may have been confusing at times as new characters were introduced, it was genius in how Morton managed to make all of the individual stories weave together in to the greater story.  I have no clue how she managed to keep the link between them all and make such a compelling story.  I also appreciated how the loose ends were tied up on all of the stories.  Talk about completely random people all being connected to one place!

Although I knew what was going to happen as soon as I read Lucy's story, instead of spoiling it for me, it gave me that sense of foreboding as I anticipated how it would play out.  I have a love/hate relationship with this feeling but it is part of the reason I keep coming back for more.

As mentioned previously, I love Kate Morton's stories.  Everytime I read one of her works I feel like she has written a story that was custom made just for my ideal read.  While this did not end up being my favorite work of hers, it still delivered what I expect from her.  All fans of historical fiction should read this book as well as all of her others.  I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!

About the author

KATE MORTON was born in South Australia, grew up in the mountains of south-east Queensland and now lives with her family in London and Australia. She has degrees in dramatic art and English literature, and harboured dreams of joining the Royal Shakespeare Company until she realised that it was words she loved more than performing. Kate still feels a pang of longing each time she goes to the theatre and the house lights dim.

"I fell deeply in love with books as a child and believe that reading is freedom; that to read is to live a thousand lives in one; that fiction is a magical conversation between two people - you and me - in which our minds meet across time and space. I love books that conjure a world around me, bringing their characters and settings to life, so that the real world disappears and all that matters, from beginning to end, is turning one more page."

Kate Morton's five novels - The House at Riverton, The Forgotten Garden, The Distant Hours, The Secret Keeper and The Lake House - have all been New York Times bestsellers, Sunday Times bestsellers and international number 1 bestsellers; they are published in 34 languages, across 42 countries.

Kate's sixth novel, The Clockmaker's Daughter, will be published in September/October 2018. 


Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Review: Winter Cottage by Mary Ellen Taylor

A gripping novel about family secrets…and coming home for the first time.
Still grieving the loss of her wandering, free-spirited mother, Lucy Kincaid leaves Nashville for the faded town of Cape Hudson, Virginia. She goes to see the house she’s inherited—one she never knew existed, bequeathed to her by a woman she’s never even met. At the heart of this mystery is the hope that maybe—just maybe—this “Winter Cottage” will answer the endless questions about her mother’s past…including the identity of her birth father.
Rather than the quaint Virginian bungalow Lucy expected, Winter Cottage is a grand old estate of many shadows—big enough to hold a century of secrets, passions, and betrayals. It also comes with a handsome and enigmatic stranger, a man next in line to claim Lucy’s inheritance.
Now, as Lucy sifts through the past, uncovering the legacy of secrets that Winter Cottage holds, she’ll come to discover as much about her family history as she does about herself. In searching, she could finally find the one thing she’s never really had: a home.

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: October 1st 2018 by Montlake Romance
Kristine's Thoughts:
** I received an advanced readers copy from Montlake Romance via NetGalley in exchamge for an honest review. Thank you!**

Winter Cottage was the story of different generations of people with a house in Cape Hudson in common. It weaved back and forth in time to connect the dots to present day. Lucy inherited the cottage, which was not a cottage at all, from a woman she had never met in a town she had never heard of that had a direct link to her recently deceased mother. With nowhere else to go and in the hopes of getting some answers she travelled from Nashville with her mother's dog to do just that. The cottage came with some conditions though. Lucy had to live there for at least a month and and all of the money attached to it was meant only for renovations to the house. On top of that, she wasn't the only one wanting the house or land attached to it. Also, she seemed to unintentionally inherit a young girl as well.

I was all in with this book. This was the type of book that I generally always enjoy. A story with secrets that span generations that unfold to make sense of the present. I wanted to know what Lucy's connection to the past was and why she was gifted the house. The house swept me away and I was enjoying all aspects of it. In this type of story I normally enjoy the past story the most but I found myself enjoying Lucy and the present day story equally as much. I especially enjoyed her relationship with her unintentional house guest and I wanted to know why her mother left and never looked back.

The story flowed nicely and it was easy to get caught up in the plot and the setting. I found Cape Hudson and it's characters so charming and easy to like. I almost felt like I was there and experiencing everything with Lucy in the present and Beth and Claire in their respective pasts. It was no wonder that I was able to finish this book so quickly. One sitting was all it took.

This was the first book for me by Mary Ellen Taylor but judging by how much I enjoyed it, it certainly won't be the last. I very much look forward to what she comes out with next and will be sure to check out her previous work.

About the Author
Mary Ellen Taylor grew up in a southern family that embraced stories of all kinds, from a well-told anecdote to a good yarn or a tall tale. It may have been inevitable that Taylor would take her storytelling heritage to new heights, moving beyond the oral tradition to become a published author.

Taylor, who finds cooking and baking to be important creative outlets, explores some of the challenges and comforts of those pursuits in her Alexandria set novels THE UNION STREET BAKERY, SWEET EXPECTATIONS, AT THE CORNER OF KING STREET and THE VIEW FROM PRINCE STREET. The novels, which explore themes of family, adoption, belonging and personal history, are influenced by her life and family. Both her grandmother and her daughter were adopted, as is Daisy McCrae, the protagonist in her first novel written as Mary Ellen Taylor, THE UNION STREET BAKERY.

Taylor was born and has spent most of her life in Richmond, but also lived in Alexandria for four years. She received her degree in English from Virginia’s Hollins University, and worked in marketing and sales before she became convinced she could write and sell one of the many stories swirling in her head. Today, twenty-eight of her romance and suspense novels and five novellas written as Mary Burton have been published, earning praise from readers and reviewers and have made her a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. THE UNION STREET BAKERY was her first novel as Mary Ellen Taylor.


Monday, 10 September 2018

Review: Right All Along (Willamette Valley #3) by Heather Heyford

Come home to Ribbon Ridge, a close-knit community in the heart of Oregon's wine country. In Heather Heyford's newest offering, childhood friends reunite and discover that time apart has only deepened their feelings for each other . . .

These star-crossed lovers could be the perfect pairing!

From the time they were in grade school, graphic designer Harley Miller-Jones believed that Jack Friestatt was her destiny--until she was blindsided by Jack's sudden engagement to another, right after high school graduation. Ten years have passed. Now Harley's back in Ribbon Ridge, successful beyond expectation, intent on buying a bed and breakfast--an independent woman ready for the next chapter in her life.

Jack Friestatt has his hands full managing his winery, precocious twin daughters, and an iron-handed family matriarch. But behind the gentleman farmer's handsome exterior beats an empty heart. Life has taught Jack some tough lessons and now the lonely widower is ready for a new life partner. But has he learned enough to win back the woman whose world he once turned upside down?

Paperback, 352 pages
Expected publication: September 25th 2018 by Lyrical Press, Inc 

Terri's Thoughts

**I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!**

I have read plenty of Heyford's work at this point to know that I can always rely on her to provide an entertaining read that won't leave me disappointed.  I think this one may be my favorite so far.

The reason why?

Aside from the usual easy to read style that I grown to know from Heyford, the main reason for me is that this is the first one of her books that takes place in wine country that doesn't spend too much time talking about wine.  Yes it is there, Jack runs a vineyard after all.  I must be clear, I hate wine.  I hate everything about it, vineyards bore me (I've toured a few), I don't like the taste (especially red, although I have found a white that may make me a convert), and most of all I hate the smell (again especially red).  The fact that this story spends a little less time on the details of everything wine made the story more interesting.

The characters were flawed but likeable.  The children were cute.  I could envision myself in that house!

At the end of the day, if you are already a Heyford fan than you will be pleased with this book.  If you are not familiar and are a fan of this genre (or wine) then I recommend you try this series.

Lastly, I apologize to all of the wine lovers out there if any of my comments offended you.  Let me know if you want to talk martini's instead :-)

About the Author

Heather Heyford writes contemporary romance novels set in the wine country, where she visits frequently to drink pinot noir research books.

Heather sold her first romance series in 2014 to Kensington Publishing’s then-new digital imprint, Lyrical Press. After gaining a following in digital, her first mass market paperback series launched in 2018 with The Sweet Spot, a contemporary love story set in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.