Tuesday, June 18, 2019

In the Swim of Things

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


Synopsis (from Amazon):  Ocean-loving Kyra Goodwin had to give up her dream of becoming the female Jacques Cousteau in order to take care of her father and brother, but being a mermaid at the Cape Cod Aquarium is pretty fintastic as far as alternative careers go.

Of course, life as a half-fish/half-woman isn’t all sunken treasure and Ariel twirls. Kyra has to deal with perpetually pruney fingers, eyes irritated by saltwater, and bratty kids on the daily, plus her glam alter ego can make dating really weird. (So many men have pervy siren-of-the-sea fantasies!) When she meets hunky surfer Cade, and he’s into her without knowing what she does for a living, Kyra thinks she’s finally won the romance lottery.

Unfortunately, Kyra’s plans for a carefree summer of catching waves with her new boyfriend run aground when Sea Star Beach, a place that holds great sentimental value for her, is taken over by a big-city developer who wants to build an exclusive resort. Kyra’s crusade to save her beloved beach threatens both her job and her relationship with Cade as does her growing closeness with her irresistibly broody merwrangler, Declan, whose precocious daughter is intent on playing matchmaker.

When a new family drama arises just as Kyra receives an offer that would turn her greatest desire into reality, she’s torn. Will she do what’s expected of her, or dive in and follow her heart?



One (or more) Sentence Summary: What a great summer read!  I loved it.  Who knew you could be a mermaid and get paid for it? I would have never guessed it was such hard work either.  

What makes a great summer read? Here is my list: a beach, hot romance, steamy sex, strong female, and a great ending that leaves me wanting a sequel.  In the Swim of Things had all of the above, plus some unknown gems that eventually comes out.

The story take place on the Cape.  Kyra is a strong female and fights for what is right. She puts her family needs before her own needs and wants.  She sacrificed a lot for her father and brother.  She held rallies, fought the corporate big-wigs when they took over her special beach.  She never gives up.

Kyra meets Cade at a yoga class and they hit it off immediately. He is a hot professional surfer.  He treats Kyra very well and has decided to make the Cape his home now that he is retired.  You know something must be missing - who can have it that good?  Cade works for the corporate big-wigs that bought the beach.  The same beach Kyra is fighting for the town to get access to again.

Declan works with Kyra at the aquarium as her merwrangler (helps her get everywhere) and makes sure she is safe in the water.  Recently divorced (and sexy), Declan keeps to himself and appears to be moody.  However, Kyra and Declan have always had a good relationship.  What kind of good relationship? I won’t tell.

In the end only one guy ends up with Kyra, who could it be; the hot surfer or the sexy merwrangler? I would also love a sequel!

Would I Read Other Books by the Author: I have read two other books by Tracie Banister.  Twin Piques and Izzy As Is




An avid reader and writer, Tracie Banister has been scribbling stories since she was a child, most of them featuring feisty heroines with complicated love lives like her favorite fictional protagonist Scarlett O'Hara. Her work was first seen on the stage of her elementary school, where her 4th grade class performed an original holiday play she penned. (Like all good divas-in-the-making, she also starred in and tried to direct the production.)

Tracie’s dreams of authorial success were put on the backburner when she reached adulthood and discovered that she needed a "real" job in order to pay her bills. Her career as personal assistant to a local entrepreneur lasted for 12 years. When it ended, she decided to follow her bliss and dedicate herself to writing full-time. She is the proud winner of the 2017 Independent Press Award (Romantic Comedy) and a Bronze Medal in the 2017 Readers’ Favorite Awards (Chick Lit).

Although Tracie swore she’d never write a sequel to any of her books, the character of Izzy Alvarez, who first appeared in In Need of Therapy, would not be denied. Izzy As Is is Tracie’s fifth novel, and she hopes readers enjoy this return trip to Miami.

Tracie blogs about books and other fun stuff at http://traciebanister.blogspot.com/

You can subscribe to her author newsletter, The Banister Buzz, here: http://eepurl.com/by0VAv


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Monday, June 17, 2019

Crimes Past + Giveaway

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




Synopsis (from Amazon):  It’s a bittersweet reunion for Mac Faraday when members of his former homicide squad arrive at the Spencer Inn. While it is sweet to attend the wedding of a late colleague’s daughter, it is a bitter reminder that the mother of the bride had been the victim of a double homicide.

The brutal slaying weighing heavy on his mind, Mac is anxious to explore every avenue for a break in the cold case—even a suggestion from disgraced former detective Louis Gannon that one of their former friends is the killer. 

When the investigator is brutally slain, Mac Faraday rips open the cold case with a ruthless determination to reveal which of his friends is a cold-blooded murderer.


One (or more) Sentence Summary:  I have enjoyed all the Lauren Carr books I have read so far.  Crimes Past, falls right into that category.  Crimes Past is part of the Mac Faraday series.  I recently reviewed the first book in the series, It's Murder, My Son and this is the 13th book in the series.  However, you do not need to read them in order.  They are stand-alone books, for sure. 

Lauren always has lots of characters in her novels.  Even though this was the 13th book, the characters (and animals) that were in the first book are introduced in a way for first time readers of the series to get to know them.  Even as reader of a previous book in the series, it was not over done.  It gave me a refresher of whose who.  I don't care for books that take chapters re-introducing characters (this was not the case here).

As typically of a Lauren Carr book, Crimes Past involved more than one mystery (or murder) that Mac is solving.  The book starts out with a wedding and a murder that took place 16 years ago at the Inn that Mac owns.  Present day, the sister of the murdered bride 16 years ago, is about to get married at the Inn.  Mac and his half brother David are determined to solve the 16 year old case.  However, who can they trust?  There seems to be some bad cops involved in the murder. 

Wacky neighbors are another thing that does not add up and Mac knows something is off.  Gnarly, Mac's trained MWD dog and the town mayor (yes the dog), is the cause of a neighbors dislike. In trying to figure out the neighbor and her dislike of Gnarly (come on, he is the Mayor), Mac stumbles into another murder.   

In the end, Mac solves both murders, but I never figured it out.  There are a lot of twists and turns and just when I thought I had the answers, I didn't.  Great books with great characters (and animals), lots of things going on (more than one murder to solve) and will keep you guessing.

Would I Read Other Books by the Author: I really enjoyed It's Murder, My SonWinter Frost,  Ice and Murder by Perfection.  I am looking forward to reading other books by Lauren. 
 


Check out what others are saying on the iRead Book Tour


Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns! Now, Lauren has added one more hit series to her list with the Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries. Set in the quaint West Virginia town of Harpers Ferry, Ice introduces Chris Matheson, a retired FBI agent, who joins forces with other law enforcement retirees to heat up those cold cases that keep them up at night. Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor. Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, and three dogs, including the real Sterling, on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with the author: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Instagram
Buy Crimes Past:    Amazon ~ Audible     Add to Goodreads

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Monday, June 10, 2019

This Is Home

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




Synopsis (from Amazon):  From the author of book club favorite The Salt House comes a deeply affecting novel about a teenage girl finding her voice and the military wife who moves in downstairs, united in their search for the true meaning of home. 

Sixteen-year-old Libby Winters lives in Paradise, a seaside town north of Boston that rarely lives up to its name. After the death of her mother, she lives with her father, Bent, in the middle apartment of their triple decker home—Bent’s two sisters, Lucy and Desiree, live on the top floor. A former soldier turned policeman, Bent often works nights, leaving Libby under her aunts’ care. Shuffling back and forth between apartments—and the wildly different natures of her family—has Libby wishing for nothing more than a home of her very own.

Quinn Ellis is at a crossroads. When her husband John, who has served two tours in Iraq, goes missing back at home, suffering from PTSD he refuses to address, Quinn finds herself living in the first-floor apartment of the Winters house. Bent had served as her husband’s former platoon leader, a man John refers to as his brother, and despite Bent’s efforts to make her feel welcome, Quinn has yet to unpack a single box.

For Libby, the new tenant downstairs is an unwelcome guest, another body filling up her already crowded house. But soon enough, an unlikely friendship begins to blossom, when Libby and Quinn stretch and redefine their definition of family and home.

With gorgeous prose and a cast of characters that feel wholly real and lovably flawed, This Is Home is a nuanced and moving novel of finding where we belong.






One (or more) Sentence Summary: What a really unusual (in a good way) story.  I really liked all the characters and how their stories were all inter-related. My favorite character was Libby who is connected to every person in the book.  She is young, smart, strong, kind, concerned for others, and independent.  That is a lot for a young teen to take on and she does it so well.  She has a lot of role models too that are all part of the story.

Her dad, Bent - ex-military and current day police officer, is over-protective, but rightfully so. Libby's mom left them when Libby was very young to "find herself."  She returned with cancer and soon died leaving Bent with medical bills.  They moved into a 3 apartment house owned by Bent's sister, Lucy house.  Lucy and Desiree (Bent's other sister) live in the top apartment, Libby and her dad live in the middle apartment and a new tenant has moved into the bottom apartment.

As everyone's own story unfolds, we get to know the new tenant and realize that her and Bent already know each other.  Everyone in the story is dealing with their own personal battle and I loved how they are all there for each other when it counts the most.  

I really enjoyed This is Home.  Just like the title, it made me feel right at home!  

Would I Read Other Books by the Author:  After reading This Is Home, I listened to The Salt House and really enjoyed it too! 




Lisa Duffy is the author of This is Home and The Salt House. The Salt House was named by Real Simple as a Best Book of the Month, one of Bustle’s Best Debut Novels by Women, a She Reads Book Club selection, and Refinery 29’s Best Beach Reads. She lives in the Boston area with her husband and three children.


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Saturday, June 1, 2019

The Favorite Daughter

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

Synopsis (from Amazon):  Ten years ago, Lena Donohue experienced a wedding-day betrayal so painful that she fled the small town of Watersend, South Carolina, and reinvented herself in New York City. Though now a freelance travel writer, the one place she rarely goes is home—until she learns of her dad’s failing health.

Returning to Watersend means seeing the sister she has avoided for a decade and the brother who runs the family’s Irish pub and has borne the burden of his sisters’ rift. While Alzheimer’s slowly steals their father’s memories, the siblings rush to preserve his life in stories and in photographs. As his secret past brings Lena’s own childhood into focus, it sends her on a journey to discover the true meaning of home.

One (or more) Sentence Summary: I loved returning to South Carolina for The Favorite Daughter.  Right from the very first chapter, Patti pulled my in, big time.  Shocking first chapter sets the tone for the story.  Lena's father's illness brings her home (nothing else would), we learn about more than one family secret.  The Favorite Daughter is a great book about hurting, healing and moving on for the sake of family.  Really, what else matters?  I really enjoyed The Favorite Daughter.  Even though the cover suggests a summer read, this book can be read anytime of the year!

Would I Read Other Books by the Author: I have read The Bookstore at Water's End (click here for the review).  I would love to read all her other books.  I love the cover of Driftwood Summer and Between the Tides (which is on my to read shelf).  


Patti Callahan Henry is a New York Times bestselling author whose novels include The Bookshop at Water’s EndThe Idea of LoveThe Stories We Tell, and Driftwood Summer. As Patti Callahan, she’s the author of the USA Today bestseller Becoming Mrs. Lewis. Short-listed for the Townsend Prize for Fiction, and nominated multiple times for the Southern Inde­pendent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Book Award for Fiction, Patti is a frequent speaker at luncheons, book clubs, and women’s groups.

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Thursday, May 30, 2019

It's Murder, My Son + Giveaway

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





Synopsis (from Amazon):  What started out as the worst day of Mac Faraday’s life would end up being a new beginning. After a messy divorce hearing, the last person that Mac wanted to see was another lawyer. Yet, this lawyer wore the expression of a child bursting to tell his secret. This confidence would reveal Mac as heir to undreamed of fortunes, and lead him to the birthplace of America’s Queen of Mystery and an investigation that will unfold like one of her famous mystery novels.

Soon after she moves to Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, Katrina Singleton learns that life in an exclusive community is not all good. For some unknown reason, a strange man calling himself “Pay Back” begins stalking her. When Katrina is found strangled all evidence points to her terrorist, who is nowhere to be found.

Three months later, the file on her murder is still open when Mac Faraday, sole heir to his unknown birth mother’s home and fortune, moves into the estate next door. Little does he know as he drives up to Spencer Manor that he is driving into a closed gate community that is hiding more suspicious deaths than his DC workload as a homicide detective. With the help of his late mother’s journal, this retired cop puts all his detective skills to work to pick up where the local investigators have left off to follow the clues to Katrina’s executer.


One (or more) Sentence Summary: This was my first Mac Faraday story.  I enjoyed all the characters and want to vacation on Deep Creek Lake.  Mac finds out his birth mother is a famous mystery series author and that she has been murdered.  Oddly, a main character in her books fits Mac to a T.  Over night he went from being a cop to being a millionaire, owning a mansion and a hotel.  Now he is determined to solve his mother's murder.

There are a lot of characters in the story and at first it was hard to keep them all separate. Once I did, the story moved really fast.  There were a few different stories going on at once and I couldn't wait to figure them out. As typical of me, I didn't figure it out and was happy with how everything was resolved.  However, leaving the door open for the second book. 

Lauren always has a great animal or two in her stories.  Gnarly took center stage in It's Murder, My Son.  He was a military dog (German Shepard) who was honorably discharged. He is on crazy dog that seems to find trouble.

Would I Read Other Books by the Author: I really enjoyed Winter Frost,  Ice and Murder by Perfection.  I am looking forward to reading other books by Lauren.  If I counted right, there are 12 more Mac Faraday books in the series!  


Check out what others are saying on the iRead Book Tour



Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns! Now, Lauren has added one more hit series to her list with the Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries. Set in the quaint West Virginia town of Harpers Ferry, Ice introduces Chris Matheson, a retired FBI agent, who joins forces with other law enforcement retirees to heat up those cold cases that keep them up at night. Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor. Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, and three dogs, including the real Sterling, on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with the author: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Instagram


Amazon 

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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Excess Baggage

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




Synopsis (from Amazon):  Stuck in a dead-end relationship, Erica Bennett finds herself daydreaming of her first holiday romance. She was 15, and it was exciting, new, and full of possibilities...and Jack Lawson was hot as hell. That kind of thing leaves a mark.
So when her friends suggest a girls' holiday to Luna Island, it's exactly what she needs to take her mind off things. What she doesn't expect is to spot Jack - a much older, hotter version of him - across the hotel lobby.
Their attraction is still there, and it isn't long before sparks fly, but 15 years is a long time. They aren't the same people they were back then, and besides, it's only a week, right? Is it a second chance at something real, or will their excess baggage ruin their shot at love after they leave Luna Island?

One (or more) Sentence Summary:  I adored Excess Baggage!  Erica is daydreaming about her a romantic holiday when she was 15 and who happens to be across the lobby? Jack,... from 15 years ago.  We jump right into a very steam pool scene and it just continues to get hotter as the story progresses.

Okay, now that is out of the way, Erica is an absolute hoot.  Everything adventure they go on, she comes out of it with some sort of mishap. Most of the time it involves her bathing suit.  She really made the book very funny.  I can't imagine all thing that happened to her every time she step out to have fun.  She just rolled with it. I am seeing a lot of white bathing suits in the stores this year and I just find myself laughing as I think of Erica. She is too funny.

What will become of Erica and Jack after 15 years? What happens when Erica's boyfriend (whom she broke up with over text) shows up on Luna Island with a ring? I can't spoil it for you.

Would I Read Other Books by the Author:  For sure....I would love to read about the girls on vacation with Erica (Brooke is book 2 and Alice is book 3). Laura's story telling and sense of humor reminds me a lot of one of my new favorite authors, MJ Summers (Melanie Summers).  They need to meet and I have to be there!  P.S. Melanie let's meet Laura in the UK, eh?

Laura has a ton of other books that look great and I can't wait to get my hand on them. 
  • The Debt & Doormat Series (3 books)
  • Tequila & Tea Bags
  • Dopey Women (should buy it just for the man on the cover)
  • Sex, Snow & Mistletoe
  • One Month Til I Do Series (2 books)
  • Road Trip
  • Heath, Cliffs & Wondering Hearts



Amazon Best Seller Laura Barnard lives in Hertfordshire, UK and writes romantic comedy or 'chick lit' as its so often described. In her spare time she enjoys drinking her body weight in tea, indulging in cupcakes the size of her face and drooling over hunks like Jamie Dornan, Ryan Gosling and Leo Dicaprio. 
She enjoys wearing yoga pants and reading fitness magazines while sitting on the sofa eating chocolate. She's a real fan of the power nap, loves setting her friends up together and of course READING! 
She writes not to get rich or famous, but because she LOVES writing. Even if one person tells her they enjoyed her book it makes the midnight typing worth it!


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Sunday, May 26, 2019

What Book(s) Is In Your Beach Bag?


I was looking for an old post and stumbled upon this one from 2011 and thought what a great idea to ask you all....What Book(s) Is In Your Beach Bag?  Leave me a comment letting me know at least one of the books you plan on reading this summer.  I love book suggestions.


Here is what is in my beach bag this summer.  Let's hope I do better than 2011.  See an update below on the books from 2011.

1. In the Swim of Things by Traci Banister 

2. The Summer on Mirror Lake by JoAnn Ross

3. The Summer Guests by Mary Alice Monroe

4. The Summer of Sunshine & Margot by Susan Mallery  

5. A Thread So Fine by Susan Welch

6. Life and Other Inconveniences  by Kristin Higgins

7. Donna Has Left the Building by Susan Jane Gilman

8. One More Lie by Amy Lloyd 

9. Chasing Kate by Christina George

10. A Bend in the Stars by Rachel Barenbaum

11. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman 


Here is my list from 2011....some I still haven't read.  Shame (shame) on me. 


1. Holly's Inbox, Scandal in the City bu Holly Denham. Loved the first book and it is great chic lit? 2019 update: See link to review - 5 Stars - A Must Read


2. The Daughters by Joanna Philbin. I really wanted to support this young author and I love her dad! 2019 update: Read it, but never wrote the review.  I would give it 3 Stars - A Good Read.


3. Pricelss by Nicole Richie. Seriously, I was sucker for the synopsis. 2019 update: Never read it and might have let a friend borrow it.


4. In Office Hours by Lucy Kellaway. Loved the first one and this was one of my London purchases! 2019 update: I read it, loved it (5 Stars - A Must Read) and for some reason didn't write a review.  Here is link to Martin Lukes, Who Moved My Blackberry by Lucy Kellaway (that mentions it).


5. Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo. This sounds so amazing! 2019 update: Read it, loved it, featured it in a giveaway. 


6. Princess for Hire by Lindsey Leavitt. Sounds like something one of my favorite authors (Meg Cabot) would write. 2019 update: I read all three books and loved them (5 Stars - A Must Read) but have no idea why I didn't write a review.  Princess for Hire, The Royal Treatment, and Farewell to Charms.


7. Good Harbor by Anita Diamant. My mom asked me to read it years ago and I still haven't. 2019 update - still haven't read it (hanging my head on this one - shame on me).


8. Little Blog on the Prairie by Cathleen Davitt Bell. All I can think is...modern day Laura Ingalls! 2019 update: I did read (last summer) and it was really cute.  I never wrote a review - 3 Stars - A Good Read.


9. Between the Tides by Patti Callahan Henry. Bought it last summer because the cover caught my eye. 2019 update: Another, shameful....still haven't read it. I have read 2 other of Patti's books and enjoyed them.


10. Wicked Girls, A Novel Of The Salem Witch Trials by Stephanie Hemphill. I love books like this! 2019 update:  I tried and tried, but I couldn't get in too.  I hate to even type it.


11. Another Summer by Georgia Bockoven. I want to read other books by GB, but thought I would start at the beginning. 2019 update: I still haven't read this, but read 2 other of Georgia's books and enjoyed them.


12. Lipstick in Afghanistein by Roberta Gately. I have heard so many good things about this book. 2019 update: 5 Stars - A Must Read.


13. Momzillias by Jill Kargman. Another chic lit I bought in London. 2019 update:  I read it and loved it.  No idea why I didn't write a review.


14. The House on Oyster Creek by Heidi Jon Schmidt. I bought this last summer and haven't read it (love the cover too). 2019 update: Still love the cover, but haven't read it yet (I know....)

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