Friday, April 6, 2018

The Wife Between Us



Synopsis (from Amazon): When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.

You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife.
You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love.
You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.
Assume nothing. 
Twisted and deliciously chilling, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen's The Wife Between Us exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage - and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.
Read between the lies.



One (or more) Sentence Summary: Holy cow....what a great suspenseful book that kept me on the edge of my seat.  The Wife Between Us has so many twists, you will not be able to figure it out on your own.  I thought I knew what was going on, nope.  I thought I had it figured out by the end, wrong again.  This would make a great movie! The Wife Between Us is a MUST read!

Would I Read Other Books by the Author:  I would love to read another book written by Greer and Sarah!






Greer Hendricks spent over two decades as an editor at Simon & Schuster. Prior to her tenure in publishing, she worked at Allure magazine and obtained her masters in journalism from Columbia University. Her writing has been published in The New York Times and Publishers Weekly. Greer lives in Manhattan with her husband and two children. The Wife Between Us is her first novel.
Sarah Pekkanen is the internationally and USA Today bestselling author of seven previous novels. A former investigative journalist and feature writer, her work has been published in The Washington PostUSA Today, and many others. She is the mother of three sons and lives just outside Washington, D.C.


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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The Mistletoe Inn



Synopsis (from Amazon):  The second holiday love story in New York Times bestselling author Richard Paul Evans’s Mistletoe Collection.

At thirty-two Kimberly Rossi, a finance officer at a Lexus car dealership, has had her heart broken more times than she wants to remember. With two failed engagements, a divorce and again alone with no prospects, she hardly seems the type to dream of being a published romance author. Dreading another holiday alone, she signs up for The Mistletoe Retreat, a nine-day writing retreat in Burlington, VT. Deep inside Kimberly knows she’s at a junction in her life and it’s time to either fulfill her dream or let it go. The other reason she decides to attend the conference is because famed romance writer, H.T. Cowell, once the best selling romance writer in America, and the author whose books instilled in her the desire to be a writer, will be speaking in public for the first time in more than a decade.

In one of her breakout sessions Kimberly meets another aspiring writer, and one of the few men at the conference, Zeke, an intelligent man with a wry wit who seems as interested in Kimberly as he is in the retreat. As Kimberly begins to open up to him about her stories and dreams, she inadvertently reveals her own troubled past. As Zeke helps her to discover why her books fail to live up to their potential she begins to wonder if he’s really talking more about her life than her literature. But as she grows closer to him, she realizes that Zeke has his own darkness, a past he’s unwilling to talk about.

The theme of The Mistletoe Inn is that like literature, relationships must be lived with passion and vulnerability to succeed.



One (or more) Sentence Summary: Mistletoe Inn was an easy and enjoyable read.  I didn't realize until now that it was book two of a series.  Given that, it didn't take anything away from the story and it stands on its own.  I liked the characters, especially Kimberly and her dad.  The story was pretty predictable once it got to the writers conference.  I also just found out Mistletoe Inn was made into a TV movie and I believe it is available on Netflix. I will be checking it out!

Would I Read Other Books by the Author: I have read many of Richard Paul Evans books and find them all enjoyable.  I will read other books by him, including book 1 and book 3 of the Mistletoe series.




Richard Paul Evans is the #1 bestselling author of The Christmas Box. Each of his more than thirty novels has been a New York Times bestseller. There are more than thirty million copies of his books in print worldwide, translated into more than twenty-four languages. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the American Mothers Book Award, the Romantic Times Best Women’s Novel of the Year Award, the German Audience Gold Award for Romance, two Religion Communicators Council Wilbur Awards, the Washington Times Humanitarian of the Century Award and the Volunteers of America National Empathy Award. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife, Keri, and their five children. You can learn more about Richard on Facebook at Facebook.com/RPEFans, or visit his website, RichardPaulEvans.com.



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Monday, April 2, 2018

Speak No Evil




Synopsis (from Amazon): In the long-anticipated novel from the author of the critically acclaimed Beasts of No Nation, a revelation shared between two privileged teenagers from very different backgrounds sets off a chain of events with devastating consequences.

On the surface, Niru leads a charmed life. Raised by two attentive parents in Washington, D.C., he’s a top student and a track star at his prestigious private high school. Bound for Harvard in the fall, his prospects are bright. But Niru has a painful secret: he is queer—an abominable sin to his conservative Nigerian parents. No one knows except Meredith, his best friend, the daughter of prominent Washington insiders—and the one person who seems not to judge him.
When his father accidentally discovers Niru is gay, the fallout is brutal and swift. Coping with troubles of her own, however, Meredith finds that she has little left emotionally to offer him. As the two friends struggle to reconcile their desires against the expectations and institutions that seek to define them, they find themselves speeding toward a future more violent and senseless than they can imagine. Neither will escape unscathed.
In the tradition of Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah, Speak No Evil explores what it means to be different in a fundamentally conformist society and how that difference plays out in our inner and outer struggles. It is a novel about the power of words and self-identification, about who gets to speak and who has the power to speak for other people. As heart-wrenching and timely as his breakout debut, Beasts of No Nation, Uzodinma Iweala’s second novel cuts to the core of our humanity and leaves us reeling in its wake.

One (or more) Sentence Summary: When I first heard about Speak No Evil, I was told it was a coming of age book with a collision of culture, race and sexuality.  I couldn't agree more.  Speak No Evil is all that and much more.  It is a very relevant book of our world today and is so well written.  I would love to see this on schools reading lists.  I immediately was pulled into Niru world and felt his struggles.  Next, I was pulled into Meredith's world and the connection she had with Niru.  I was stunned by what we find out from Meredith that I never saw coming.  I won't spoil it for you.  Speak No Evil is a must read book.



Would I Read Other Books by the Author: Yes I would and I hope there are many more to come.


Uzodinma Iweala is also the author of Our Kind of People, a work of nonfiction. He lives in New York City and Lagos, Nigeria.


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Friday, March 30, 2018

Not Working





Synopsis (from Amazon): Claire Flannery has just quit her office job, hoping to take some time to discover her real passion. The problem is, she’s not exactly sure how to go about finding it. Without the distractions of a regular routine, Claire confronts the best and worst parts of herself: the generous, attentive part that visits her grandmother for tea and cooks special meals for her boyfriend, Luke, and the part that she feels will never measure up and makes regrettable comments after too many glasses of wine. What emerges is a candid, moving portrait of a clear-eyed heroine trying to forge her own way, a wholly relatable character whose imperfections and uncanny observations highlight what makes us all different and yet inescapably linked.



One (or more) Sentence Summary: Not Working is a quick and easy read.  Don't we all wish we could up and quit our jobs!  I enjoyed the journey that Claire took us on while discovering herself.  



Lisa Owens was born in 1985, and is a graduate of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. She worked in publishing for six years, and holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. NOT WORKING is her first novel. She lives in London.

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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Other People's Houses - Excerpt



On Sale April 3rd Buy it Here!



Synopsis: For Frances Bloom, driver-in-residence of her local carpool crew, school dropoff is a chaotic if not predictable affair. Until one of Frances’s steely-eyed kindergarten charges sends her to retrieve forgotten school supplies. That’s when Frances stumbles on her friend Anne Porter— perfect, impeccable Anne—having a 9:00 am quickie with a younger man who is definitely not her husband.

The affair exposes, to comedic effect, dormant insecurities, neuroses, and strife in the neighborhood. As the carpool line-up unravels one gossip session at a time, the novel alternates between the perspectives of the four families involved: the down-to-earth, level-headed Blooms; the seemingly perfect Porters; the eccentric lesbian couple Sara and Iris; and the mysterious Hortons, hiding a sad secret.

Waxman, a former ad copywriter, wields pitch-perfect dialogue, capturing how the chaotic aftermath of the affair plays out across the block behind closed doors, in scenarios alternately tender and preposterous. It will all lead up to the portentous return of Anne’s boyfriend, in a final plot turn that tests the carpool crew indelibly and forces their reliance on each other into alarming perspective.

Waxman’s bubbly skewering of her characters’ idiosyncrasies coupled with her irrepressible humor sets OTHER PEOPLE’S HOUSES apart from typical suburban satire.

Life in the carpool lane will never be the same. 

Other Books by the Author: I enjoyed The Garden of Small Beginnings, Abbi's first novel.  You can check out my review here

Must Read Excerpt (leaves you wanting more!):  Frances pulled into the elementary school lot and Ava got out, sighing as if she were a fourteen-year-old Victorian child disembarking for her day down the mine. She pulled open the door and swung her arm wide.
“Medium-size children may now escape. Mind the gap, and watch out for speeding moms on cell phones.”
The children had already unbuckled and piled out, high-fiving Ava as they passed her. Kate stopped, and Frances turned to see what was up. The little girl’s face was a study in conflict.
“What’s wrong, honey?”
Kate looked at Frances, and her chin wobbled.
“I left my toilet roll tubes at home.”
“Oh.” Frances looked at her eldest child. Ava shrugged, looking back inside the open minivan.
“They aren’t in the car.”
“Oh, OK.” Frances smiled at Kate. “I’m sure the teacher will have lots of extras.” She herself had, over time, sent in three thousand toilet roll tubes. For all she knew they were building a particle collider out of them, or an accurate re-creation of the New York subway system. Let’s hope they didn’t use the obvious choice for subway trains.
“No, I have to have my own ones.” Kate’s eyes were filling with tears, her shit-fit indicator was dropping to DEFCON 3. “It’s for the class project. Everyone else will have them.”
Frances weighed her options. On the one hand Kate was only six, and would not only survive but would forget the trauma of not having had toilet roll tubes. But on the other hand, she was a member of the Yakuza-esque organization known as Miss Lollio’s First Grade Class, whose members fell on the weakest like wolves on a lamb. Forgetting to bring toilet roll tubes and having to borrow some was a Noticeable Event to be avoided at all costs. It wasn’t on the level of peeing oneself, of course, it wasn’t going to give rise to a nickname you couldn’t shake until college, but it wasn’t great.
“My mommy put them in a bag, but she forgot to give them to me.” A note of accusatory steel had entered her voice. Frances gazed at the little angel, whose mother had been heard calling her Butterblossom. Kate’s eyes had gone flat like a shark’s. She knew she would get what she wanted, the only question was when. I am younger than you, old lady, her eyes said, and I will stand here until age makes you infirm, at which time I will push you down, crunch over your brittle bones, and get the toilet roll tubes I need.
“Alright, Kate. I’ll go back and get them after I drop Ava, OK, and bring them back to school for you.” Frances knew she was being played, but it was OK. She was softhearted, and she could live with that.
“Suckah . . .” Ava headed back to her seat, shaking her head over her mother’s weakness, a weakness she loved to take advantage of herself.
“Thanks, Frances!” Kate beamed an enormous smile, turned, and ran off—the transformation from tremulous waif to bouncy cherub instantaneous. Behind her in the line of cars, someone tapped their horn. OK, the brief honk said, we waited while you dealt with whatever mini crisis was caused by your piss-poor parenting, because we’re nice like that, but now you can get a move on because we, like everyone else in this line, have Shit to Do. Amazing how much a second of blaring horn can communicate.
Frances waved an apologetic hand out of the car window, and pulled out of the gate.
She dropped the other kids and was back at Anne’s house in a half hour. Having carpool duty wasn’t the onerous task the other parents thought it was: All three schools were close to home, and all four families lived on the same block. As Frances ran up to Anne’s door she looked over and saw her own cat, Carlton, watching her. She waved. He blinked and looked away, embarrassed for both of them.
She knocked softly on the door, but no one answered. Maybe Anne had gone back to sleep. She turned the handle and pushed open the door, peering around. Yup, there was the bag of toilet roll tubes. She grabbed it and was about to shut the door again when she saw Anne lying on the floor, her face turned away, her long hair spilling across the rug.
“Anne! Holy crap, are you OK?” But as she said it her brain started processing what she was really seeing. Anne, on the floor, check. But now she’d turned her head and Frances realized she was fine. In fact, she was better than fine. Frances had instinctively stepped over the sill and now she saw that Anne was naked, her face flushed, a man between her legs, his head below her waist.
“Shit . . .” Frances dropped her eyes, began to back out, “Sorry, Anne, Kate forgot her toilet roll tubes . . .” Stupidly she raised her hand with the Whole Foods bag in it because, of course, that would make it better, that she’d interrupted Anne and Charlie having a quickie on the living room floor. It was OK, because she was just here for the toilet roll tubes. Nothing to see here, move along.
The man realized something was wrong, finally, and raised his head, looking first at Anne and then turning to see what she was looking at, why her face was so pale when seconds before it had been so warmly flushed.
Frances was nearly through the door, it was closing fast, but not before she saw that it wasn’t Charlie at all. It was someone else entirely.
Frances closed the door and heard it click shut.




Abbi Waxman is a chocolate-loving, dog-loving woman who lives in Los Angeles and lies down as much as possible. She worked in advertising for many years, which is how she learned to write fiction. She has three daughters, three dogs, three cats, and one very patient husband.

She is the recipient of most helpful parent award from her daughters preschool. That was many years ago. But still. 


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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The Royal Delivery (Another MUST read)

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


Synopsis (from Amazon): Don't miss the heartwarming, laugh-out-loud conclusion of The Crown Jewels Romantic Comedy Trilogy for fans of both Bridget Jones and The Shopaholic…

After one year of marriage, Crown Prince Arthur and his lovely, albeit accident-prone wife, Princess Tessa, are preparing to bring an heir to the tiny kingdom of Avonia. With all eyes on Tessa, she's determined to be one of those fabulously fit pregnant women. She could do it too if it weren't for all the freshly-baked scones. Soon dubbed the Cowntess of Camembert, Tessa wants to go into hiding until after the baby is born, but royal life won't wait, and she needs to figure out how to make the best of a desperate situation and win the people over once and for all.

Prince Arthur never thought he'd find himself involved in horribly awkward conversations about the first day of his wife's last period, but that's precisely what happens after that plus sign shows up on the pregnancy test. With a baby on the way, Arthur’s overprotective streak comes out in spades, and he finds himself attributing ill-intentions to everyone he meets, from the vagina-fixated obstetricians to the potential pedos everywhere. 

Will Arthur calm down in time to welcome the baby? Will Tessa manage to figure out how to be mother to the kingdom’s next heir? And most importantly, will the happy couple still be happy when the baby arrives?

Get your copy today and be part of the feel-good fairy tale! 




One (or more) Sentence Summary: I absolutely, absolutely, absolutely love this series. The Royal Treatment, The Royal Wedding and now The Royal Delivery are too funny and my review will not do the book justice. In The Royal Delivery, Tessa is pregnant (duh) with twins! Having birthed twins myself, I have to say Melanie nailed it: all the emotions, hormones, fear, crazy fights, more crazy thoughts, and worry. Of course she delivered it with humor (not the case when I was pregnant).  All the characters in previous books are present and make the book even that much better (if that is possible). Love every single one of them. The entire Crown Jewels Romance is a must read series and you will not be disappointed. LOVED IT! 

In one scene Tessa keeps dreaming they lose the baby (didn't know it was twins) in the palace.  I kept having dreams of leaving my twins underneath tables at restaurants.  The emotional rollercoaster and flowing tears are all too real as well, especially when hit with the news you are expecting twins.  I remember crying for at least a month after finding out (and I found very early). In fact, one embarrassing time, I was sitting in the middle (smack dab middle) of a small restaurant with my boss.  He simply asked how is everything going and I burst into tears right there stating very loudly, I am pregnant.....with twins.  Of course everyone in the restaurant was looking at us with very speculatively expressions on their faces.  He was so good at defusing the situation and I apologized to his wife, a lot!  So Tessa and Arthur.....I get it!

I think Melanie Summers is cross between Meg Cabot and Sophie Kinsella with a little bit of Janet Evanovich (Plum series, craziness). I swear I don't know where Melanie comes up with her writing ideas but they are laugh our loud (no matter where you are and how many people look at you like you are crazy). I simply can't enough and hope beyond hope there is a book 4.  If not Tessa and Arthur, maybe Nikki and Xavier??? 

Seriously, pick up the entire series, you will not be disappointed.  In  fact, you will have wished you read them sooner. 

#Can'tGetEnough:CrownJewelsRomance.

Oh I have a brilliant idea. The Crown Jewels Romance HAS to be made into a movie.  For heaven sakes, it would be excellent!  

Would I Read Other Books by the Author: No doubt about it....YES!  Check out my reviews on The Royal Treatment (where I first fell in love with Tessa and Arthur) and The Royal Wedding.



Melanie Summers currently resides in Edmonton, Canada, with her husband, three young children, and their goofy dog. When she's not writing romance novels, she loves reading (obviously), snuggling up on the couch with her family for movie night (which would not be complete without lots of popcorn and milkshakes), and long walks in the woods near her house. Melanie also spends a lot more time thinking about doing yoga than actually doing yoga, which is why most of her photos are taken ‘from above’. She also loves shutting down restaurants with her girlfriends. Well, not literally shutting them down, like calling the health inspector or something. More like just staying until they turn the lights off. Melanie is a member of the Romance Writers of America, as well as the International Women's Writing Guild. Melanie would love to hear from you! She does her best to respond to all inquiries and emails personally. If you would like her to attend a book club meeting via Skype please contact her to book a date. Contact her at mjsummersbooks@gmail.com or visit www.mjsummersbooks.com.

Melanie - please, please be writing book 4.  It is a must have for all of us who LOVE the Crown Jewel series (The Royal Treatment, The Royal Wedding and The Royal Delivery).

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Sunday, March 25, 2018

Live Your Life: 14 Days to the Best You

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



Synopsis (from Amazon): Do you feel like you're stuck in a rut? Overwhelmed by stress? Struggling to generate the momentum needed to improve your circumstances? Discover a 14-day program to kickstart a new and improved you. 

Psychotherapist Dr. Ann LeFevre has dedicated her life to helping clients break through boundaries and embrace their full potential. And now, she's here to help you do the same!
  
Live Your Life: 14 Days to the Best You is a transformative resource for exposing your mental blocks and building a bridge to success. Through daily lessons and easy-to-follow action items, Dr. LeFevre will guide you along the path of self-discovery, growth, and acceptance. 

In Live Your Life, you'll discover: 
  • How to pinpoint your sources of dissatisfaction and enact meaningful change 
  • How to acquire new skills in the pursuit of your goals 
  • How to reframe your story through the lens of compassion 
  • How to manage stressors and reduce the risk of stress-induced health issues 
  • How to create a strategy for taking your life to the next level, and more! 

Dr. LeFevre's inspiring resource is your guide for taking back control of your life. If you like daily actionable steps, self-exploration, and time-tested tips, then you'll love this motivating book. 

As a bonus, readers are invited to download a free Companion Workbook, and to view brief, informative videos from Dr. LeFevre's website to augment learning. To view Dr. LeFervre's website visit restorebodyandsoul.com.


One (or more) Sentence Summary:  Live Your Life is a very easy read.  Each chapter is labeled so you have a pretty good idea of theme for the day.  This makes it easy if you need to go back and work on topic.  Also, at the end of each chapter are thinking points and action items to help you conquer the topic.  


I did really good days 1 - 3 and fell apart day 4.  The good news, you can jump right back in and there is no need to beat yourself up (what's the point?).  This is when I download the Companion Workbook (it is free) to help me through my rut.  I highly recommend using the workbook.

Live Your Life is a book that I will have to go back to as I am not very good at stick to everything.  I may have to modify the book to be 14 weeks instead of 14 days or Dr. LeFevre can come live with me for 14 days and keep me focused! 

I think my favorite chapter/task was Chapter 9, Do It Anyway. I realized that when my kids say, I don't feel like doing xxx now and I reply with something like, I don't care what you feel like doing, I said do it.  So why is okay that when I don't feel like doing something.....I don't?  Chapter 9 is helping me get it done!




Ann LeFevre is the creator and owner of Restore Body and Soul, launched in 2017 with the goal of meeting the therapeutic needs of the whole person using research-backed Western and time-tested Eastern techniques. Dr. LeFevre released her first book, Live Your Life: 14 Days to the Best You in January 2018. Dr. LeFevre has been a social worker for nearly 20 years, and has her bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees in social work. She's been a practicing psychotherapist since 2002. She also became a massage therapist in 2016, and a certified acupressurist in 2017. Dr. LeFevre made the decision to combine social work and massage therapy after noticing that even though her psychotherapy clients reported feeling better as the result of addressing unresolved or longstanding issues, they were still tense, had poor posture and chronic health problems, and they still weren't sleeping very well. She recommended that her clients receive therapeutic massage, attend mindfulness and other wellness classes, and seek out holistic treatments, but they rarely did. It took a great amount of time and effort to find a reputable massage therapist who understood their concerns, and classes and holistic treatments that fit their specific needs at the right time. So, she decided to eliminate those barriers and provide a broad range of services in one location with the same provider... and Restore Body and Soul was born. Dr. LeFevre decided to publish her first book as a way to summarize lessons and tips she's taught her psychotherapy clients over the past 15 years, and also included some newer lessons she's learned through doing massage therapy. Dr. LeFevre resides in the San Francisco Bay Area, and she continues to see private psychotherapy clients and massage clients, while also offering small classes for insomnia treatment, and workshops on self-acupressure and other health and wellness topics.


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