Sunday, September 15, 2019

Diapers, Drama, and Deceit
Erina Bridget Ring
When Eva Johnson is walking her newborn baby, Jill, through the park, she meets another mom named Janel and her baby, Mandy. These two moms hit it off and become friends. They decide it would be great to get together and meet with each other each week and talk all things baby! Then as more new moms start to become aware of their meeting, they want to become involved. So, what can go wrong with starting a baby group!? OH, how little do they know what they're getting into.

Diapers: How cute little babies are. But then there are times they just plain wear a mom out. Each mom has different ideas and ways they think babies should be raised and taken care of. Put all these moms into the same room and they all have their own opinions. Hmm...what can go wrong there? I love that Eva has a baby quilt that is at every baby group and it's a place that each mom gravitates to with her child. It's almost like a character in the story.

Drama: Things start to come out about the characters to each other. How much drama can there be with moms and babies? That's the understatement of the story! "Ava, your baby group is like a soap opera!" If there can be a situation that even seems wrong, then it's going to bring out the drama!

Deceit: This is the part where secrets and lies start to be revealed. There are situations that are unbelievable. "It's funny how you think you know a person but you don't really know them at all." As I was reading the pages, the level of what some of the characters were capable of had me shocked. "Everything about the women in this baby group has been crazy. How can they sleep at night doing the things they're doing?" I had to keep reading to see what happens next!

I had a lot of emotions while reading this book. There are some very sad scenes that broke my heart. I laughed at some of the craziness. It also is a book that brings the meaning of what friendship and compassion for one another can do. We never know what a difference we might make in someone's life by caring.

I enjoy Mrs. Ring's personality and writing style. It's descriptive and a bit anomalous. I particularly like all the dialogue throughout. This book is full of so many surprises and situations that I wondered how I would react if I were put in them. The mothers of Easthaven were quite the group of women who challenged each other in ways they never thought possible. They definitely redefine the term "soap opera" to the max! When I thought there couldn't be any more drama, I'd turn the page and oh, my, gosh!! Drama abounds!

I enjoyed this book very much and can't wait for the next novel Mrs. Ring is working on!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Scarred: Trey and Autumn
Tess Thompson
There are times when you take a book journey that you fall more in love with the characters and the places they live each time you visit. This is one of those stories that did just that for me. A return to Cliffside Bay and spending time with Trey and Autumn in Scarred has touched me heart and soul. Tess Thompson brought me into the lives of these two characters completely with passion that made me yearn for them to find their way to each other's hearts.

Trey and Autumn are best friends. They are comfortable with each other and do things together but they both have scars that have caused them to put up "walls" to protect themselves from being hurt. Trey wants to take it to the next level with Autumn, but he's been hurt in a relationship before. His scars are internal. Autumn doesn't feel like she's beautiful enough for Trey because of scars from an accident. Hers are external. Can Trey find it in himself to heal his heart enough to risk it to Autumn? Can Autumn find the courage to reveal what she's been hiding since the accident and trust Trey to accept her flaws? This story is one of letting go of painful pasts and heartaches. It's one of finding forgiveness and hope. It's a story that trust and faith in someone doesn't come easy. Can true love overcome and break down the walls built from the scars each one bears?
""We all have scars," Lisa said." "They make us human."...."that everyone has scars. It's what we choose to do with them that defines who we are.""

This is a great story that brings together all the characters who live in Cliffside Bay. They are friends and family that look out for each other and are connected by bonds of love and friendships. They are characters who have become like my family and friends. I love reconnecting with them in each and every book I read in this series. Tess Thompson has a wonderful gift of making these characters become living beings in my mind and I'm stepping into Cliffside Bay to be with them.

As I read this book, I turned each page knowing I was going to have my emotions tugged, my heart touched and my senses awakened. This book has surprises, twists, and drama I never saw coming. It has tenderness, romance, compassion, and hope. It has all the things that make a Tess Thompson novel one that I look forward to reading each and every time. She writes such beautiful passages that touch my heart. This one in particular:
"Shouldn't that be how all love is? Unconditional? Even when we make mistakes, we're still loved?"

I am honored to have read Tess Thompson's Scarred: Trey and Autumn. I loved it from the first page to the last. I love going to Cliffside Bay and spending time there....and I'm excited for the next book in the series. Thank you, Ms. Thompson, for this wonderful read!

Sunday, September 8, 2019

The Secrets of Lost Stones
Melissa Payne
This is a book that took me into a story that was intriguing, emotional and mysterious. The characters have a common thread but that thread has all kinds of loose ends that need to be tied together. I felt compelled to read the pages and to discover the reason and how those ends would be tied. How, what seemed like coincidental meetings, were really meant to happen and why.

What kind of secrets can a stone hold? Or is it the secrets that are held in a person's mind and heart that the stones help to reveal? The character of Lucy, the "witch of Pine Lake", holds the secrets to the answers. "I'm Lucy", she said, winking, "and I know things." She's a little, old lady who owns an old house in Pine Lake where the characters find themselves. "It was hard not to like the old woman, even if she was an odd mix of fairy godmother and witch." Her home feels like the place where the characters of Jess and Star belong and it holds them there by some mysterious force.

Jess and Star are two characters whose lives are broken. Each for different reasons. Lucy knew something. Each chapter in the book is told from the POV of Jess and Star. The threads start to connect as each of the character's pasts start to be revealed. There's a cast of characters that blend into the present to help Jess and Star begin to discover what has torn their lives apart for so many years. How are they connected? It's Lucy's mission, through crossword puzzles and questions, to tie it all together. "Lucy knew something; otherwise, Star and Jess and Chance wouldn't all be here together, and it was only a matter of time before it would all come out."

I enjoyed this book and the unusual ways the author intertwined the characters together. It's a tragic and emotional story. My heart ached for Jess and Star. How would they help to heal each other when there was so much pain carried within each one? I bonded with Lucy and her mysteriousness. Her heart for the people's loose ends that need tied together makes me love her so much.

"It takes time for all the loose ends to be in one place, but once they are, things tend to move quickly."

This is a very good debut novel for Melissa Payne. I enjoyed it very much. Her writing is very descriptive and I was taken to my home state of Colorado. I also experienced the paranormal events with a quickening heart, the suspenseful scenes with anxiousness, and the tragedies with heart wrenching sadness. There were things that happened I never expected. I loved the emotions that were pulled out of me by this story. This is a good read and I'm looking forward to reading the next book by Ms. Payne.

I want to thank Netgalley, Lake Union and Melissa Payne for the opportunity to read this book!

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

The Girl in the Aubergine Sandals
G.C. Allen
I am enthralled with this series! I know I am going on a wild and crazy, unusual and zany, hilarious and quirky experience when I read a book by G.C. Allen! I couldn't wait to read Book 3 in the Lorraine Innis series and I am totally excited that I did! I LOVED it!!!

Lorraine Innis is doubting herself after the shocking ending in "The Girl in the Diamond Studded Heels". How could she have been so wrong about Liverot? Or is she wrong? What's she going to do now? Why do things seem to go so wrong?

"The Girl in the Aubergine Sandals" is a story that takes the reader back into the beginning of Chesney's life and where he came from. What were the events that happened to him as he grew up that bring him to be the person he is? It's a story his mom starts to relive when Chesney/Lorraine calls her to ask questions he just doesn't know the answers to.

The characters in this book are uniquely individual and ones you will never forget. We meet Aunt Elinor and the impact she has on Chesney's life as he grows up. As Prudence, Chesney's mom, starts to go back into her memories, the story takes the reader back to the college days when she meets Elinor at their sorority house. Their initial introduction to each other is an amusing scene. It sets the stage for a series of assumptions between the two and starts off a string of situations. The story brings in Elinor's brother, Rodney and his arch rival, Paul. G.C. Allen throws in some outrageous characters in outrageous scenes that twist all these people together. They are the foundation of Chesney's life before he was born.

The story then transitions into Chesney's boyhood and his challenges of growing up. He has an older brother who picks on him constantly. A best friend he confides in. Parents who just don't seem to understand him. But then there's Aunt Elinor. She was an encouragement and an inspiration to him. He is special to her. "He had found someone who understood him perfectly and liked him for who he was. His parents loved him, Clodaugh liked him a lot and was rarely judgmental in her acceptance of him, but here was someone who "got" him."

I LOVE Aunt Elinor!

G.C. Allen's humor and wit bring her trademark quirkiness, zaniness and laugh-out-loud fun into this book. She also brought into the story how growing up can be heartbreaking, tough and guilt ridden. This all combines together to make Chesney the adult he becomes. Aunt Elinor bestows many things in Chesney's life with wisdom, understanding, compassion and love. She and Chesney are "cut from the same cloth". Their connection to each other is one of unconditional love.

The book is written with chapter titles that add so much to the book. I just can't help but turn more pages and see how those words become part of the story. I enjoyed the titles and how they drew me to read more to see how they tied into the next chapter. This is a feature that I really like.

So that leaves me with the question first stated. What is Lorraine going to do now? G.C. Allen left me with that unanswered question in a cliff hanger at the end of the book! I can't wait to find out what's in store for Lorraine as she continues her "mission" for justice in book four of this series called "The Girl in the Lime Green Wellies"!

I enjoy G.C. Allen's writing style and how it makes me feel. It's a feel good kind of read that goes in so many unexpected ways. This book is another unputdownable, can't turn the pages fast enough, read! For me this was the best book so far in the series! It's filled with all the things that make her writing uniqueness shine in the pages of her books. This is a five star read for me! Thank you, G.C. Allen, for this amazing read! Let the adventures continue!!!
"Every good and perfect gift is from above..."

Friday, August 30, 2019

The Missing Ones
Edwin Hill
Hester Thursby has been through a very traumatic event in the first book by Edwin Hill, called Little Comfort. The Missing Ones picks up the story and ties up some loose threads.

What's happened to Daphne? She has left behind her little girl, Kate, with Hester and Morgan. Hester has become an over protective, helicopter mom/aunt to Kate after Daphne has disappeared by choice. Going through the horrific events, with Kate along, Hester has resorted to all kinds of self reasoning to lie to Morgan about where she and Kate are to protect her. "She hadn't realized how much danger lurked in secrets, or that some things-some people-were better left lost." Then one day Hester gets a mysterious message and life takes another turn that she must see it through.

Mr. Hill took me along with Hester to the tourist island of Finisterre, Maine. This island is beautiful and an ideal place to go and spend some time to relax and enjoy the summer. Except this island holds so many secrets and mysteries. Missing children, murders, drug dealing, corrupt cops, and most of all an old abandoned Victorian house that's the center of all the drama. "Here, on the island, in this house, your truth was what you wanted it to be." I was pulled into this underground world with Hester by the very descriptive and detailed writing of Mr. Hill. It was a read that was filled with "hold on tight" suspense and action. It was twists, turns, and drama that I felt I was in the center of. I even had such a vivid experience with walking into the old Victorian and the dilapidated conditions inside with the rottenness, filth and human uncleanliness.

The characters in this book are a wide range of personalities. Each one built up with characteristics that describe them completely. There are some that I connected to and liked. The main character, Hester, is unique and one I want to keep learning about and be with as she lives and learns what it takes to survive the situations and even the personal challenges she faces. Kate is a cute little girl and her personality just drew me in. There are characters I love and then the others who are the creeps and bad guys I can't stand. All this put together makes a novel that needs each one to bring this suspense thriller to a page turning "who done what" ending with twists that are a total surprise.

I am very grateful to Mr. Hill and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book. It's one that had me guessing and being surprised through out the pages. Thank you!

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Not Again
Maria T. Henriksen
Being a teenager is a challenging time in a young person's life. It comes with changes that are sometimes difficult to adjust to and be content with in their lives. This novel takes the reader into the life of Christina De Rosa and her journey through those "teen" years. The social pressures and teenager drama can be very hard to cope with. Add a deep, dark secret that fear of exposure would ruin her life, Christina has to find her way in this emotionally and spiritually filled story.

This story is set in the 1980s and Christina is facing the age old, typical teen challenges of starting high school, hanging out with friends, to date or not to date, finding out just who the person she really is. Christina is a beautiful young lady and she is asked to be a contestant in the local Miss Blue Lagoon beauty pageant which she reluctantly agrees to enter. This is the beginning of a string of events that forms Christina's future. An unimaginable assault that destroys her self worth and the fears that drag her into deep, dark places on the inside but acting like she's just fine on the outside. "Bottling up the pain, the frustration, confusion, sadness, anger, disappointment, and betrayal ate away at my confidence and my joy. Believing I was worthless had become the beginning of the end."

The characters in this book range through a variety of personalities. Just like typical teens are. I connected with Christina. She was written with depth and emotions that most teens would relate to. She wants to be her own self but that's violently taken away. Ms. Henriksen took me on this rugged path with Christina to put the pieces of her life back together. There are characters who are there for Christina, like Avery. "I wanted him to fill the void I felt-the unworthiness, the guilt, the shame. I wanted him to stop the pain, the anguish, the torture I continued to suffer day after day, as I unwillingly and uncontrollably relived that real-life nightmare." He's her rock and support who gives her life value. She has best friends who look out for her. Then there are the characters who challenge her and are a nemesis that also help form the person she becomes.

This book is a story of a spiritual battle within Christina. It's one that isn't easy. Why does God allow things to happen? Where is He when things are falling apart? I appreciate the scripture passages that Ms. Henriksen weaves through the story at the perfect place for the message to come forth. This book delves into issues that are difficult. There are scenes that made me cringe and cry for Christina. There are situations that most teens face and the choices they make that can change their lives drastically. I love the message in this book that each individual can choose their destiny through their faith and belief in God.

I think this book is inspiring in that there is a way to overcome. It's one that I would recommend to older teens particularly because of the subject matter and situations Christina finds herself in. It's a challenge to young women to be true to themselves and be the person God created them to be.

I hope and pray the message Ms. Henriksen shares resonates with many readers. It has spoken to my heart even though it's been many years since I was a teen facing many of the same situations. God's word is eternal. I want to thank Ms. Henriksen for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

The Magic of the Season
Tammy L. Grace

This sweet novella will have you dreaming of the magic of the Christmas season. It's a romantic and adorable celebration with the people of Silver Falls...and a return visit with the characters from the first book in the Christmas in Silver Falls series, A Season of Hope. I am in the mood for Christmas after reading this endearing book.

Madison has been away from her hometown of Silver Falls for 20 years. She's established in her career and has no desire to return. Then an accident happens that requires her to return to Silver Falls and step in to work her mother's candy business right in the middle of its busiest season. Sugar, as Madison is known in her hometown, now faces a task that seem almost impossible. Will she be able to manage the business and fill all the orders that her mother has already received and committed to?

This is where the friendly and hospitable towns people come together in the Christmas spirit. It's a "family" who looks out for each other and they do whatever it takes. The adorable pups in the story add to the hominess and love. This all comes together to bring a cozy read to snuggle down, enjoy and put you into the spirit of the Christmas season.

Ms. Grace brought out all the magic of the season in her detailed descriptions of the town. All the lights, winter scenes and holiday smells of candy, cinnamon, pine and fresh falling snow. It was a winter wonderland I loved wandering into through the pages.

There is happiness, romance, love and joy that made me feel good reading this story. The characters are like family and friends I returned to visit and enjoy the holidays with. It was so wonderful experiencing The Magic of the Season with the people of Silver Falls.

Thank you, Ms. Grace, for the opportunity to read an ARC of your sweet novella. It's a magical five stars!

Diapers, Drama, and Deceit By Erina Bridget Ring When Eva Johnson is walking her newborn baby, Jill, through the park, she meets another ...