Thursday, June 23, 2016

Little Island


By the water
Have fun!

These are Joy’s grandmother’s last words—left behind on a note. A note that Joy’s mother, Grace, has interpreted as instructions for her memorial service. And so, the far-flung clan will gather at their inn on Little Island, Maine, to honor her.

Joy can’t help dreading the weekend. Twenty years ago, a tragedy nearly destroyed the family—and still defines them. Joy, Grace, her father Gar, and twins Roger and Tamar all have their parts to play. And now Joy, facing an empty nest and a nebulous future, feels more vulnerable than ever to the dangerous currents running through her family.

But this time, Joy will discover that there is more than pain and heartbreak that binds them together, when a few simple words lift the fog and reveal what truly matters…

One (or more) Sentence Summary: I absolutely loved Little Island.  The characters make the book.  Joy, I didn't get her in the beginning but as the story is told and things are revealed to us (I am trying to not spoil it for you), her "oddness" to me in the beginning made sense.  I really grew to love her.  I thought Roger was a "loser" in the beginning of the book. Too many problems and the black sheep of the Little Family.  Boy, was I wrong.  His place in the family made so much sense once we really know him.  Tamar was the person that blew me away.  She needed so much help and in the end realizes all her past mistakes.  Of course there is Grace and Gar who I adored.  At times I thought they were both crazy, but they still really have their wits about them.  So many family dynamics (and skeletons in the closets!) that all come together so well.  Of course, I love the setting in Maine (and on an island).  My husband is from Maine and I went to graduate school in Maine.  

Favorite Character(s):  Joy is one of my favorite characters, but I also had a soft spot for Roger and Tamar.  

Setting:  An island in Maine (what a great setting....I so loved it).

Fast read/slow read:  Very fast.  I always wanted to read the next chapter...even when I was late to work.

Cover:  So, so perfect.  It makes so much sense when you read the book. It also screams summer!

Would I Read Other Books by the Author: Yes! I have read Her Sister's Shadow (click here for review) and I just received Vanishing Time!

Katharine Britton teaches at the Institute of Lifelong Education at Dartmouth College, the Writer’s Barn in Shelburne and the Writer’s Center in White River, Vermont.  She has written three screenplays, one of which is a Moondance International Film Festival winner, and has a master’s degree in creative writing from Dartmouth College.  She is the author of one previous novel, Her Sister’s Shadow, and lives in Vermont. 


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

By the Numbers

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis (from Amazon): The New York Times bestselling author of The Best of Enemies serves up a hilarious new novel of the “sandwich generation.” 

Actuary Penny Sinclair has a head for business, and she always makes rational decisions. Knowing that 60% of spouses cheat and 50% of marriages end in divorce, she wasn’t too surprised when her husband had an affair. (That he did so with a woman their daughter’s age? Well, that part did sting a bit.) She just made sure she got everything in the divorce, including their lovely old Victorian house. And as soon as her younger daughter has her hipster-fabulous wedding in the backyard, she’s trading it in for a condo in downtown Chicago...

Well within the average market time in her area, Penny gets an offer on the house. But then life happens. Her children, her parents and her ex come flying back to the nest, all in need of Penny’s emotional—and financial—support. Spread thin, Penny becomes the poster child for the “sandwich generation,” when all she really wanted to do was make managing director, buy a white couch, and maybe go on a date...

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  Again, another summer first, since this is my first Jen Lancaster book.  By the Numbers was right up my alley.  I love numbers (I am a CPA) and could relate with Penny.  By the Numbers takes us through the journey of two very spoiled and disrespectful daughters, a wedding, an ex-husband and his much younger girl friend, aging parents, close friends, competitive job/office dynamics, and reconciliation.  

Favorite Character(s):  Patrick was just too funny.  He brought humor to the book.

Fast read/slow read:  For me, it was a fast read.

Cover:  Makes so much sense once you read the book!

Would I Read Other Books by the Author: Yes, I really liked Jen's style of writing.

Jen Lancaster is the New York Times bestselling author of twelve previous books (The Best of EnemiesI Regret NothingTwisted SistersThe Tao of MarthaHere I Go AgainJeneration XIf You Were HereMy Fair LazyPretty in PlaidSuch a Pretty FatBright Lights, Big AssBitter Is the New Black). She has appeared on TodayThe Joy Behar Show, and NPR’s All Things Considered.


Monday, June 20, 2016

Sunshine Beach

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis (from Amazon): There’s nothing that a fresh coat of paint and a few glasses of wine can’t fix
After losing their life savings in a Ponzi scheme, Maddie, Avery, and Nikki have banded together to make the most of what they have left, using their determination, ingenuity, guts, and a large dose of elbow grease. It’s Maddie’s daughter Kyra who stumbles across a once glorious beachfront hotel that has fallen into disrepair. The opportunity to renovate this seaside jewel is too good to pass up—especially when they come up with the idea of shooting their own independent television show about the restoration. What could possibly go wrong?
Everything. With the cameras rolling, Maddie’s second-chance romance with her all-too-famous new boyfriend gets complicated, Avery struggles with grief over the loss of her mother, and Nikki’s reluctance to commit to the man who loves her could leave her to face the biggest challenge of her life. Even the hotel seems to be against them, when their renovation uncovers a decades-old unsolved murder which just might bring their lives tumbling down all over again.

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  This is a summer of firsts for me.  Wendy Wax is another author I have not read before.  I very much enjoyed Sunshine Beach.  I loved the whole mix of the stories in one book.  Plenty of romance, mystery, major renovation project, and coming to terms with the past.  

Favorite Character(s):  I really liked all the characters and don't really have a favorite.  I would have like to taken Nikki and shaken some sense into her.  She has a fabulous man who loves her unconditionally loves her and blows it....and subsequently finds out she is pregnant with twins....and doesn't tell him.  Come on Nikki.  

Setting:  Florida - on the Gulf of Mexico

Fast read/slow read:  Another perfect summer pace!

Cover:  I could sit on that porch all day long - it is beautiful.

Would I Read Other Books by the Author:  Yes, even though this is part of a sequel, you don't need to read the other books to understand what is going on in Sunshine Beach.  I would however, like to go back and read them.  I would have actually preferred to have read them prior to reading Sunshine Beach.  

Wendy Wax, a former broadcaster, is the author of twelve novels, including A Week at the LakeWhile We Were Watching Downton AbbeyThe House on Mermaid PointOcean Beach, and Ten Beach Road.


Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Secret Language of Sisters

Synopsis (from Amazon): When Ruth Ann (Roo) McCabe responds to a text message while she's driving, her life as she knows it ends. The car flips, and Roo winds up in a hospital bed, paralyzed. Silent. Everyone thinks she's in a coma, but Roo has locked-in syndrome -- she can see and hear and understand everything around her, but no one knows it. She's trapped inside her own body, screaming to be heard.

Mathilda (Tilly) is Roo's sister and best friend. She was the one who texted Roo and inadvertently caused the accident. Now, Tilly must grapple with her overwhelming guilt and her growing feelings for Roo's boyfriend, Newton -- the only other person who seems to get what Tilly is going through.

But Tilly might be the only person who can solve the mystery of her sister's condition -- who can see through Roo's silence to the truth underneath.

Somehow, through medicine or miracles, will both sisters find a way to heal?

One (or more) Sentence Summary: Abigail wanted to purchase The Secret Language of Sisters from school.  Any time my kids want to order a book, I say yes!  I thought she wanted this book since she is a twin.  Little did I know it had nothing to do with that, she just thought it sounded good.  Also, I had NO idea it was by Luanne Rice.  The LUANNE RICE!

My mother LOVED Luanne Rice.  In fact she arranged for her friends (they call themselves the Princesses) to go to a book signing, call in for book discussion, her friend in Connecticut to go to a book signing and me with the twins (2 years old) to a book signing in Dayton.  We have a great picture of Luanne, myself and the twins in a double stroller.  I will never forget a year later, Luanne was once again at a book signing in Dayton and I went (alone this time with a letter).  I knew that I would have too big of a lump in my throat to tell her what happened, so I wrote it in a letter.  Unfortunately, when Luanne hugged me and asked how my mother and the Princesses were, I lost it and started to cry.  My mother had just passed away after battling leukemia for a year.  

I was thrilled to see that Luanne was writing YA books and that Abigail on her own choice such a special book.  We read it together and she really enjoyed (as did I), but this review is by me....

Luanne tacked a really tough topic.  Texting, driving, accident, locked in syndrome and learning to communicate without speaking.  Very well written, kept us wanting more and loved all the different characters and how they come together as they all heal.  Really great read!

At the beginning of The Secret Language of Sisters, Tilly sent Roo a text while Roo was driving and she ends up having an accident.  Roo was always responsible and pulled over to text, so as not to text and drive.  However, she was running late due to trying to take a photo in the right light....and broke her families rule.  Everyone blames  Tilly since she sent the text.  I thought this was an interesting twist on such a hot topic.  I believe the person receiving the text should not look at their phone and could receive a text anytime driving from someone who has no idea you are in a car, let alone driving.

I asked my three kids - they agreed, Tilly should have never sent the text.  I asked my husband, he wouldn't comment as he knows he is ALWAYS texting me when he know I am driving instead of calling (via my bluetooth).  What is your position....was Tilly at fault or Roo?

Fast read/slow read:  Perfect pace.

Cover:  Love it....look at those eyes.

Would I Read Other Books by the Author:  I have (Beach Girls my favorite adult book) and I will continue to do so!

LUANNE RICE is the New York Times bestselling author of thirty one novels. THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF SISTERS will be published by Scholastic in February 2016.Her novels, including Cloud Nine and Last Kiss often center on love, family, nature and the sea, and have been translated into twenty-four languages. A number of Rice's novels have been adapted for television, including Crazy in Love for TNT, Blue Moon for CBS, the Hallmark Hall of Fame presentations of Follow the Stars Home and Silver Bells, and Beach Girls as a summer drama series for Lifetime Television. She has contributed a theatrical piece to the new off Broadway play Motherhood Out Loud. Rice loves nature and frequently writes about it. Born in Connecticut, Rice divides her time between New York City and Southern California.


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Bay of Sighs - Available Today!

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis (from Amazon): The new Guardians Trilogy novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Stars of Fortune. 

To celebrate the rise of their new queen, three goddesses of the moon created three stars, one of fire, one of ice, one of water. But then they fell from the sky, putting the fate of all worlds in danger. And now three women and three men join forces to pick up the pieces…
Mermaid Annika is from the sea, and it is there she must return after her quest to find the stars. New to this world, her purity and beauty are nothing less than breathtaking, along with her graceful athleticism, as her five new friends discovered when they retrieved the fire star. 
Now, through space and time, traveler Sawyer King has brought the guardians to the island of Capri, where the water star is hidden. And as he watches Annika in her element, he finds himself drawn to her joyful spirit. But Sawyer knows that if he allows her into his heart, no compass could ever guide him back to solid ground...
And in the darkness, their enemy broods. She lost one star to the guardians, but there is still time for blood to be spilled—the mermaid’s in the water and the traveler’s on the land. For she has forged a dangerous new weapon. Something deadly and unpredictable. Something human. 

One (or more) Sentence Summary: It has been a long, long time since I read a Nora Roberts book.  I use to read them the minute they came out.  I have no idea why I stopped, but it was probably my TBR was so long...and my book shelves full.  

I truly enjoyed Bay of Sighs from page one.  The entire cast of characters, mystery of the stars, and evil villains made one great story.  The bond that all six characters have with each other pulled me in and made me wish I was one of them.  The six train to take on the villains, research to find the star and two fall in love.  

Favorite Character(s):  My favorite character was Annika.  She was so funny and innocent all at once.  

Fast read/slow read:  Super fast read.

Would I Read Other Books by the Author: I have and would!  I really want to go back and read Stars of Fortune, Book One of the Guardians Trilogy.  Even though Bay of Sighs stands on its own, I would like to read the first book.

Nora Roberts is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 200 novels. She is also the author of the bestselling In Death series written under the pen name J. D. Robb. There are more than 500 million copies of her books in print.


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Bald Rock Island

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis (from Amazon): Can Kelcie solve the island's TWO mysteries in time? Ten-year-old Kelcie Oglethorpe's fisherman father disappeared at sea years ago. Since then, Kelcie has befriended Bald Rock Island's beloved Mr. Bartleby, a kindly man devoted to the village and its children. He often warns of a mysterious creature he once saw on the island's bald dome which towers a hundred feet above the sea, yet is hollow inside and connected to sea life by underground channels. Kelcie decides to help Mr. Bartleby solve the island's two enduring mysteries-what happened to her father, and what the sea creature might be. She learns that Mr. Bartleby was her father's lifelong best friend. During that terrible storm off the coast of Maine, Mr. Bartleby risked his own life to do everything possible to save Kelcie's dad, but no sign was ever found. Kelcie criss-crosses the island in search of clues and thinks she knows where she can find the ultimate answers. She resolves to explore the forbidden area of the island, and as she puts the final pieces of the puzzle together, a new storm arises. Can she solve the mysteries and return to safety before the new storm claims her as the previous one did her father? And what will she do when she finally confronts the mysterious creature face to face?

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  The Secret of Bald Rock Island was really good.  Mr. Bartleby tells a great tale about the monster that comes out of the sea and towers over the island.  As Kelcie tries to solve the mystery of what happened to her father, she ends up facing the monster just as a storm is getting ready to hit the island.  I really like the end, but will not spoil it for everyone.

Favorite Character(s):  Kelcie was my favorite character.  She was not afraid of anything and loved her dad very much.

Setting:  The coast of Maine....where my Dad is from.  I like books that take place near the ocean.

Fast read/slow read:  I read the book during my free reading period at school.  I thought it was a fast read.

Thanks for reading my review


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Last Mile

~ I received no compensation and opinions are 100% my own or my family. ~

Synopsis (from Amazon): In his #1 New York Times bestseller Memory Man, David Baldacci introduced the extraordinary detective Amos Decker-the man who can forget nothing. Now, Decker returns in a spectacular new thriller . . . 


Convicted murderer Melvin Mars is counting down the last hours before his execution--for the violent killing of his parents twenty years earlier--when he's granted an unexpected reprieve. Another man has confessed to the crime.

Amos Decker, newly hired on an FBI special task force, takes an interest in Mars's case after discovering the striking similarities to his own life: Both men were talented football players with promising careers cut short by tragedy. Both men's families were brutally murdered. And in both cases, another suspect came forward, years after the killing, to confess to the crime. A suspect who may or may not have been telling the truth.

The confession has the potential to make Melvin Mars--guilty or not--a free man. Who wants Mars out of prison? And why now?

But when a member of Decker's team disappears, it becomes clear that something much larger--and more sinister--than just one convicted criminal's life hangs in the balance. Decker will need all of his extraordinary brainpower to stop an innocent man from being executed.

One (or more) Sentence Summary: Another first author read.  I believe this makes about 6 of them!  The Last Mile was a great thriller, but not in a scary way (I can't do scary). There were twists and turns non-stop.  I didn't want to stop reading (listening).  All what Melvin goes through is just too much for one man to handle.  How he is not just bitter beyond belief is amazing.  Excellent story, many twists, and great read any time.

Favorite Character(s):  I really don't have a favorite character, they all work very well together and you cheer them all on (except the bad guys, but they are needed for the story).

Fast read/slow read:  I was so honored that I was able to receive this as an AudioBook.  My favorite given my life in the car (long commute to work and running kids around).  The audio was fantastic!  

Would I Read Other Books by the Author: I would like to read more by Baldacci.  My husband just picked up one of his books...I am next in line!

David Baldacci published his first novel, ABSOLUTE POWER, in 1996. A major motion picture adaptation followed, with Clint Eastwood as its director and star. In total, David has published 31 novels for adults, all of which have been national and international bestsellers; several have been adapted for film and television. His novels have been translated into more than 45 languages and sold in more than 80 countries; over 110 million copies are in print. David has also published five novels for younger readers, including the #1 bestseller THE FINISHER, which is in development for feature film. 

David received his Bachelor's degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, after which he practiced law in Washington, D.C. 

While David is involved with several philanthropic organizations, his greatest efforts are dedicated to his family's Wish You Well Foundation®. Established by David and his wife, Michelle, the Wish You Well Foundation supports family and adult literacy in the United States by fostering and promoting the development and expansion of literacy and educational programs. In 2008 the Foundation partnered with Feeding America to launch Feeding Body & Mind, a program to address the connection between literacy, poverty and hunger. Through Feeding Body & Mind, more than 1 million new and gently used books have been collected and distributed through food banks to families in need. 

David and his family live in Virginia.