Action · Adult Fiction · Book Review · Crime · Novella · Romance · Women's Fiction

Desolation (La Famiglia Book 1)

Thank you to author AJ Alexander for the gifted copy of Desolation. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis

des·o·la·tion
/ˌdesəˈlāSH(ə)n/

noun
1. a state of complete emptiness or destruction.
2.anguished misery or loneliness.

Before La Famiglia gave me purpose, desolation ruled my existence. Pain was my constant companion until I met Francesca Giordano – the Boss’s daughter.

My mission is to protect her, at any cost.

With a price on her head, I will tear down heaven and hell to protect what’s mine.

Review

AJ Alexander is a new to me author and I am SO, SO glad that I discovered her!! In this book, AJ Alexander writes of a mafia princess and the man who is tasked with protecting her. Since this author was a new to me author, I had no idea what to expect walking into this story. However, at 84 pages, this novella did not disappoint. This book started with action and the action continued throughout. AJ Alexander pulled me in from page 1 and didn’t let go until page 84. I enjoyed the characters that AJ Alexander created and their interactions with each other. I also really liked how quickly AJ Alexander explained the the history of the characters and then continued on with the meat of the story. AJ Alexander writes in a way that makes you believe that you are part of the action and adventure of the story and makes you like the characters instantly. I was actually sad that this book was so short, and would have loved for it to go on longer. I am so glad that I discovered AJ Alexander and can’t wait to read more of her books!!!

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Book Review · FIction · Romance · Women's Fiction

What Happens in Paradise

In April I participated in a Buddy Read with the We Be Book’N Book Club. I love Elin Hilderbrand books, so I couldn’t wait to jump in.

Summary

Meet Irene Steele. A year ago Irene was shocked to hear the news that her husband, a successful business man and father to her sons, was killed in a helicopter crash. What she was even more shocked to hear was that her husband had been leading a double life on the island of St. John, where there was another woman that loved him too.

Through a series of circumstances, Irene and her son’s find themselves back on the island of St. John. They are there to learn the truth about the husband/father they thought they knew and unravel the mystery of who this man actually was. As Irene and her son’s learn more about the man they thought they knew, they also learn more about themselves and begin to think about putting the pieces back together and forging a future.

This is the 2nd book in the Paradise Series by Elin Hilderbrand.

Review

I have read many of Elin Hilderbrand’s books over the years, and as always, she does not disappoint with the story she tells. Elin Hilderbrand does a wonderful job in weaving together the tragedy that a family suffers after the death of a loved one, along with positive plans for the future and happiness. What could have been a dark depressive book, was a wonderful story of loss, grief, love, uncertainty, and hope for the future. Elin Hilderbrand’s style of writing pulls you into the story and weaves you into the lives of the charters in the story she is telling. She braids you into their lives in a way that makes you believe that you are part of their family and part of the life they are living. And when you finish a book, they always leave you wanting more and wondering what happens to the charters after you read the last page. I love Elin Hilderbrand’s books and will continue to read each one she publishes!!!

Of note, this is the 2nd book in the Paradise Series. I did not realize this when I began this book and really wish I would have read the first book in the series first. If you take anything away from this review, other than Elin Hilderbrand is a fantastic author, take away that you should read this series in the order that they were written.

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About the Author

Elin Hilderbrand lives on Nantucket with her husband and their three young children. She grew up in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, and traveled extensively before settling on Nantucket, which has been the setting for her five previous novels. Hilderbrand is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the graduate fiction workshop at the University of Iowa.

Book Review · FIction · Women's Fiction

The Ruby of the Sea

For this book I partnered with Suzy Approved Tours and Peggy Lampman. Thank you Suzy for the invitation to join this tour and thank you Peggy Lampman for the gifted copy of The Ruby of the Sea. All opinions in this review are my own.

Synopsis

Meet Linnea Chandler. For the last 15 years she has been aimlessly traveling the country, trying to find happiness, while running from her fear of the sea. Linnea returns to her hometown of Key West, Florida and although this is home, this is where the heart of her phobia of the sea lives. While she has kept this secret for years, she comes to find out that maybe keeping it a secret was not the best idea. After all, kept secrets sometimes come back to bite you when you least expect them to and can put wedges between loved ones.

Back home, Linnea reunites with her sisters, her parents, and the 19th century lighthouse that her family has called home since she was little. The lighthouse carries a troubled past and a frightening myth…a myth that if Linnea is honest with herself, eerily mirrors the mystery that is her younger sister.

The three sisters must decide to what extremes they are willing to protect the secrets that they carry. Can they ignore the lighthouse’s history and the fatal shipwreck in 1857 that caused so much pain? Can they defy a hurricane that is threatening to pummel their town? And when their world is upended, do the women have the strength to move forward?

Review

While this book was slow to start for me, once I got into the book I really enjoyed the story. While I thought that this was just going to be another story about three sisters coming together to clear the air of all that they have been through and are going through, I am glad to say that I was wrong. Peggy Lampman’s writing was full of wonderful and not so wonderful surprises! While I am not a huge fan of books that have multiple narrators, Peggy Lampman did a wonderful job of keeping each of the sister’s stories separate, while at the same time weaving them all together. While I was not sure I was going to like this book with how slow it started for me, I am glad that I stuck it out or I would have not learned of the sister’s tales and all that it takes to keep a family together during hard times.

Of note, Peggy Lampman writes of mental health troubles in this book. Since I am a social worker and work with people with mental health troubles, I am always interested in how people portray them. Will they give the issue the attention that it deserves while not overwhelming the reader? Without giving the story away, I think that Peggy Lampman did a great job of describing what one goes through with a mental illness. She did a great job of showing the severity of what those affected go through, while at the same time telling a beautiful story of the person affected and how the family is affected as well. I can only hope that other authors would take the same care with the subject of mental illness as Peggy Lampman did.

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About the Author

Peggy Lampman’s passion is writing women’s fiction, which provokes the mind and touches the heart. She uses contemporary themes as a means to break down relationship, familial and cultural barriers. Her novels, THE PROMISE KITCHEN, THE WELCOME HOME DINER and THE RUBY OF THE SEA, reflect this fascination. Of particular pleasure to her is developing flawed characters-living in and reconciling with-the shadows cast by their equally flawed parents.

She grew up in Alabama and planted roots in her college town of Ann Arbor, Michigan where she owned a specialty food store and wrote a food column for the Ann Arbor News and MLive

After earning a bachelor’s degree in communications, summa cum laude, from the University of Michigan, she moved to New York City, where she worked as a copywriter and photographer for a public relations firm. After moving back to Ann Arbor, her college town, she opened a specialty foods store, the Back Alley Gourmet. Years later, Peggy sold the store and started writing a weekly food column for the Ann Arbor News and MLive. Lampman writes the popular blog www.dinnerfeed.com. She is currently writing her fourth book.

Audiobook · Book Review · Contemporary · Contemporary Romance · FIction · Romance · Women's Fiction

Not the Girl You Marry

Synopsis

Meet Jack Nolan. Jack is a journalist, but instead of covering politics, like he wants to be doing, he is stuck at an internet media company as the “how-to” guy. Jack is fed up with writing “fluff articles” and wants more than anything to break into the world of politics. In order to move up in his career, Jack strikes a deal with his boss to write one final “farewell” piece: How to Lose a Girl. Jack thinks this should be easy task, that is, until he meets Hannah Mayfield.

Meet Hannah Mayfield. Hannah is an event planner and her only focus is climbing the career ladder. Hannah is know for her events with professional sports players, but nobody thinks that she will ever be able to plan weddings. In order to secure a promotion, Hannah must prove to her boss that she has range, which includes planning a romantic wedding, which she dreads.

Jack and Hannah meet. Hannah thinks that he is the perfect man to date for a couple of weeks to show her boss that she is not scared of feelings. And Jack decides to use Hannah as his “How to Lose a Girl” girl. But then, Jack and Hannah’s fake relationship starts to feel real. Jack is no longer sure that Hannah is the one he wants to lose for his article and Hannah begins to think that Jack is not just some guy she will date for a couple of weeks.

What will Jack and Hannah put first…their promotions or their relationship? Read Not the Girl You Marry to find out!!!

Review

I listened to this book in the car driving to and from work. As I began to listen, this felt a lot like the movie “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.” While the base of the story was very similar, I think Andie J Christopher‘s characters that she created where fantastic. I loved Jack and Hannah as well as all of the minor characters in the book. I thought they were both funny, charming, and just a little “crazy” (in a good way, of course!!!). Jack and Hannah and their banter back and forth made this story stand out from the movie “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.” It shaped the story that made me what to continue listening long after my drive had ended. Andie J Christopher does a wonderful job with her descriptions of characters as well as the situations they are in. It is easy to picture each part of the story in your mind’s eye and see it all unfolding before you! While this was first book of Andie J Christopher that I have read, I will for sure be checking out her other books!!!

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Meet the Author

USA Today Bestselling author Andie J. Christopher writes edgy, funny, sexy contemporary romance featuring heat, humor, and dirty talking heroes that make readers sweat. She grew up in a family of voracious readers, and picked up her first Harlequin Romance novel at age twelve when she’d finished reading everything else in her grandmother’s house. It was love at first read. It wasn’t too long before she started writing her own stories — her first heroine drank Campari and drove an Alfa Romeo up a winding road to a minor royal’s estate in Spain. Andie lives in the Nation’s Capital with her French Bulldog, Gus, a stockpile of Campari, and way too many books.

Adult Fiction · Book Review · Book Spotlight · FIction · Historical Fiction · Romance · Women's Fiction

Book Spotlight and Partial Review: A Woman of Substance

I was alerted to this book, A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford, after Suzy, from Suzy Approved Book Tours sent out an email about the 40th anniversary of this book. I honestly had never heard of this author or the book. I am so glad that Suzy told me about this book!!!

Synopsis

Meet Emma Harte – the iron-willed force behind a thriving international enterprise. Growing up, Emma lived in poverty until she honed her skills, learned to survive, became a woman, and vowed to make her mark on the world.

As one of the richest women in the world, Emma has everything that she could ever want…except, the one man she could never have. Emma’s life has taken her through 2 marriages, 2 wars, and generations of secrets as well as numerous successes. As Emma gets older, greed and envy consume those who are the closest to her. Now Emma finds herself in the position of needing to outwit her enemies and face her past in the same way she built her empire. Will Emma be able to do it or will everything Emma has built come crashing down around her?

Review

While I did not have a chance to finish the entire book before this post was due, what I did read was wonderful. Barbara Taylor Bradford does a fantastic job of introducing the characters of the book in a wonderfully descriptive way – in a way that lets you picture them in your mind’s eye perfectly. In addition, while this story jumps time periods, Barbara does a good job letting you know exactly what time period you are in. Finally, I really enjoyed the style of writing Barbara Taylor Bradford has. Her writing style pulls you into the story and allows you to see the the story from each of the characters point of views.

While I did not have time to finish this book, I will for sure continue to read it as I can’t wait to see what happens!!

Book Review · Contemporary Romance · FIction · Romance · Women's Fiction

The Unexpected Wedding

This month I had the opportunity of partnering with Goddess Fish Promotions to review the book “The Unexpected Wedding” by Debra Elizabeth.

Synopsis

Meet Lady Elizabeth. She may be a partner in a booming wedding business at Barrett Castle in Northern England, but she has had nothing but bad dates lately. Elizabeth can’t figure out if the bad dates are because she likes to share her opinions and business sense, or if she is just in a rut. But then her brother and sister in law invite her to travel to San Diego. While Elizabeth isn’t excited by the idea, she decides there is nothing to lose as she is having no success in England finding a boyfriend.

Meet Jackson “Jack” Stanfield. As a computer programmer, he does not date much as he believes computers are far more simple than complicated people. Then one day, Jack’s college buddy invites him to a BBQ, which he reluctantly agrees to attend. But then he meets Lady Elizabeth and is suprised by the immediate reaction he has to her.

Will Elizabeth finally find love? Will Elizabeth pull Jack out of his shell? Make sure to pick up “The Unexpected Wedding” to find out!

Review

This was a cute book. I am not sure there is any other way to describe it. It was shorter than most books I read, but it didn’t matter as the story was quick to pull you in and keep you interested throughout the book. I was pleasantly surprised by the way Debra Elizabeth presented and described the characters of Elizabeth and Jack. Instead of the female character being the one talking about all the feelings she was having and “mooning” over the male character, Debra provided a platform where each of the characters had a chance to express the feelings they were having for each other. This was so, so wonderfully refreshing!

While I thought the story was going to be about Elizabeth and Jack’s romance, Debra Elizabeth threw a bit of a curve ball into the story! While it was a minor part of the story, compared to the love story, the curve ball was a great addition to the story and added wonderful, descriptive writing about the characters as well as the story line.

Like I said, this book was cute and I enjoyed every minute of this story! For sure worth the read!!

Excerpt

Jack walked toward the back door. When he was almost there, he saw a vision—a stunning young woman with blonde curls cascading down her back. When she turned at his approach, the last rays of the sun enveloped her silhouette, giving her an ethereal dreamy quality. She was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen, and he felt the breath leave his body as he stood staring open-mouthed. He’d never had such a reaction to a woman before. It was new and an unnerving experience.

“Did you want something?” she asked.

Jack continued to stare, totally captivated by this woman and her beautiful cornflower blue eyes. He knew she was talking, but he didn’t hear a word, just a lyrical melody.

The young woman waved her hand in front of his face. “Hello, can I get you something?”

That broke his trance and Jack felt heat climb up his neck. “Huh? Oh god. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to stare,” he stammered.

“It’s quite all right. Now do you want something, a beer perhaps?” she asked.

“You’re British?”

The young woman’s eyes traveled down to her feet and back up again before she looked at him. “Last time I looked, yes,” she chuckled.

What an asinine thing to say!

 “Shall we start again?” she asked. “I’m Elizabeth and you are?”

Jack gave himself a mental shake. “Oh, please forgive me. I’m not used to making a complete fool of myself before I’ve even uttered a single word. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Elizabeth. I’m Jackson, um Jack, that is.”

“Well, Jackson um Jack, it’s a pleasure to meet you. Now, would you like a beer?”

He chuckled. “Yes, please. That would be good.”

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GIVEAWAY

Debra Elizabeth will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click the link HERE to enter!!!

Adult Fiction · Book Review · FIction · Romance · Women's Fiction

This is Not How it Ends

This month I was pleased to be a part of Suzy Approved Book Tours and review the book This is Not How it Ends by Rochelle B. Weinstein. I never read any of Rochelle B. Weinstein, and when I saw the synopsis of this book, it sounded like a good read, that I just had to get my hands on.

Synopsis

Charlotte and Phillip meet on a flight to Missouri. Their connection was instant. They fell in love quickly and moved to the Florida Keys with plans to marry. However, as Charlotte wants to begin planning a wedding with Phillip, he is suddenly pulling away, leaving Charlotte to second guess everything they have built together.

Charlotte and Ben met in the grocery store after Ben’s son Jimmy had an anaphylactic reaction to nuts. Ben froze and Charlotte saved Jimmy’s life. Charlotte and Ben an instant connection and Charlotte suddenly feels pulled toward Ben.

Charlotte finds herself torn. Should she go for the love that she has always wanted or should she go for the love she knows that she needs? After a hurricane passes through the Florida Keys, Charlotte’s life is upended and she ,must reexamine the choices she has made throughout her life and look at choices that she will have to make in the future.

This is Not How it Ends is a book about an emotional journey of love, friendship, and sacrifice. Will Charlotte’s plans go off without a hitch, or will her best-laid plans change in a heartbeat?

Review

I really enjoyed this book by Rochelle B. Weinstein. The book started out a little slow, but the story quickly picked up steam. The writing in this book was enough to capture me and keep me turning the pages. It was fun to read a story that bounced back and forth between the past and present and then suddenly come colliding together into a story that tugged at my heart strings and left me wanting to continue reading page after page, long after I should have turned out the lights and gone to bed. Rochelle wrote this book in such a way that you felt what the characters felt. When they hurt, you hurt. When they were left questioning, you too where left questioning. While this book is not a quick read by any means, it is a book that is more than worth it to sit down and take the time to walk through the lives of Charlotte, Phillip, and Ben. I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I can not wait to read more books by Rochelle B. Weinstein.

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