The Book Charmer (Dove Pond #1) by Karen Hawkins

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Pages: 369

Publisher: Gallery Books

Published: July 30, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I am ashamed to admit I have had this on my NetGalley account for almost a year. The excerpt was intriguing but it seemed every time I started to read the book I lost interest. It is personal. I have a parent who is showing signs of dementia and I had a hard time reading about Mama G. Finally during this time of social distancing I opened up the book and was entranced. It was still hard to read regarding dementia but it actually helped me process what I am going through.

The book is filled with a little magic, a little romance and a lot of agapae love. You find yourself believing things will be alright in the grand scheme of things. Faith in yourself and others will get you through most anything.

I agree with a few other reviews I’ve read that the ending felt rushed but that was ok. It is kind of like real life in that we have months that are filled to capacity with things and other months that are not.

I am ready to read the next book in the series which I believe may be coming out this summer.

I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher, Gallery Books, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: New York Times bestselling author Karen Hawkins crafts an unforgettable story about a sleepy Southern town, two fiercely independent women, and a truly magical friendship.

Sarah Dove is no ordinary bookworm. To her, books have always been more than just objects: they live, they breathe, and sometimes they even speak. When Sarah grows up to become the librarian in her quaint Southern town of Dove Pond, her gift helps place every book in the hands of the perfect reader. Recently, however, the books have been whispering about something out of the ordinary: the arrival of a displaced city girl named Grace Wheeler.

If the books are right, Grace could be the savior that Dove Pond desperately needs. The problem is, Grace wants little to do with the town or its quirky residents—Sarah chief among them. It takes a bit of urging, and the help of an especially wise book, but Grace ultimately embraces the challenge to rescue her charmed new community. In her quest, she discovers the tantalizing promise of new love, the deep strength that comes from having a true friend, and the power of finding just the right book.

“A mesmerizing fusion of the mystical and the everyday” (Susan Andersen, New York Times bestselling author), The Book Charmer is a heartwarming story about the magic of books that feels more than a little magical itself. Prepare to fall under its spell.

The Grace Kelly Dress by Brenda Janowitz

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Pages: 384

Publisher: Harlequin – Graydon House Books

Published: March 3, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: A beautiful 3 generational story that will leave you filled with hope and love. I loved how it showed the importance of honoring our past. Our past helps make up who we are today whether we realize it or not.

My favorite storyline was the bride’s mother. There were many surprises that when revealed tied so much together and made the story.

The title is what drew me to this book as I remember reading a paperback over and over again throughout middle and high school about Grace Kelly. The cover had a picture of her in her wedding dress. I wish I still had the book.

This book is for all romance, fiction, and fans of weddings.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Harlequin – Graydon House Books through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above reviews are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Two years after Grace Kelly’s royal wedding, her iconic dress is still all the rage in Paris—and one replica, and the secrets it carries, will inspire three generations of women to forge their own paths in life and in love.

Paris, 1958: Rose, a seamstress at a fashionable atelier, has been entrusted with sewing a Grace Kelly—look-alike gown for a wealthy bride-to-be. But when, against better judgment, she finds herself falling in love with the bride’s handsome brother, Rose must make an impossible choice, one that could put all she’s worked for at risk: love, security and of course, the dress.

Sixty years later, tech CEO Rachel, who goes by the childhood nickname “Rocky,” has inherited the dress for her upcoming wedding in New York City. But there’s just one problem: Rocky doesn’t want to wear it. A family heirloom dating back to the 1950s, the dress just isn’t her. Rocky knows this admission will break her mother Joan’s heart. But what she doesn’t know is why Joan insists on the dress—or the heartbreaking secret that changed her mother’s life decades before, as she herself prepared to wear it.

As the lives of these three women come together in surprising ways, the revelation of the dress’s history collides with long-buried family heartaches. And in the lead-up to Rocky’s wedding, they’ll have to confront the past before they can embrace the beautiful possibilities of the future.

When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O’Neal

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Pages: 348

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Published: July 16, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Review: My friend recommended this book and I am so glad she did. It was excellent. A very strong drama with a lot of heartaches. Beautifully written. Strong female characters.

Goodreads: Her sister has been dead for fifteen years when she sees her on the TV news…

Josie Bianci was killed years ago on a train during a terrorist attack. Gone forever. It’s what her sister, Kit, an ER doctor in Santa Cruz, has always believed. Yet all it takes is a few heart-wrenching seconds to upend Kit’s world. Live coverage of a club fire in Auckland has captured the image of a woman stumbling through the smoke and debris. Her resemblance to Josie is unbelievable. And unmistakable. With it comes a flood of emotions—grief, loss, and anger—that Kit finally has a chance to put to rest: by finding the sister who’s been living a lie.

After arriving in New Zealand, Kit begins her journey with the memories of the past: of days spent on the beach with Josie. Of a lost teenage boy who’d become part of their family. And of a trauma that has haunted Kit and Josie their entire lives.
Now, if two sisters are to reunite, it can only be by unearthing long-buried secrets and facing a devastating truth that has kept them apart far too long. To regain their relationship, they may have to lose everything.

Stitches in Time (The Deacon’s Family #2) by Suzanne Woods Fisher

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Pages: 330

Publisher: Revell

Published: October 1, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: Stoney Ridge, Pennsylvania has to be one of the most interesting towns to live in as there is never a dull moment. For this visit we had a surprise deacon election, a need for foster parents and a trampoline terrorizing sheep just to name a few.

Woods went in a direction that I’ve not seen before in Amish fiction and maybe that is because I’ve not read enough yet. She incorporated a group of African American foster children. I loved it as it promoted positive love among races. I’m not saying that to start a race\discrimination discussion. I’m saying because this is what we need for our future. Families want children to live no matter skin color, country of origin or difference in religious background. Kids just want to be wanted and loved.

The premise of the story is We all have dropped stitches in our life like dear of trusting others and we need someone to be out stitch in time to fix our dropped stitch. I found the imagery of knitting and not leaving a dropped stitch as it would cause a hole very fitting and beautiful. If we don’t go back and mend our dropped stitches in life we can’t be our best. I know I have dropped stitches I need to fix. I think we all do.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Revell, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Detachment had worked well as a life strategy for horse trainer Sam Schrock. Until he met Mollie Graber . . .

New to Stoney Ridge, schoolteacher Mollie has come to town for a fresh start. Aware of how fleeting and fragile life is, she wants to live it boldly and bravely. When Luke Schrock, new to his role as deacon, asks the church to take in foster girls from a group home, she’s the first to raise her hand. The power of love, she believes, can pick up the dropped stitches in a child’s heart and knit them back together.

Mollie envisions sleepovers and pillow fights. What the 11-year-old twins bring to her home is anything but. Visits from the sheriff at midnight. Phone calls from the school truancy officer. And then the most humiliating moment of all: the girls accuse Mollie of drug addiction.

There’s only one thing that breaks through the girls’ hardshell–an interest in horses. Reluctantly and skeptically, Sam Schrock gets drawn into Mollie’s chaotic life. What he didn’t expect was for love to knit together the dropped stitches in his own heart . . . just in time.

Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to the little Amish church of Stoney Ridge for a touching story of the power of love.

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

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Pages: 400

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: January 14, 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Review: Wow, what a story told by two main characters 78 years apart. I was so captivated that I read 60% of the book in one day. Every moment I could I was stealing time to read a few pages here and there until I could sit down with the book and read until the end.

As I read, I would forget that both Anna Dale and Morgan were only in their early twenties’ They both seemed so much older. They both experienced such tragedies at a young age that forever changed their futures. I don’t think I had that much bravery at their age.

Big Lies in a Small Town has a few triggers for sensitive readers. It deals with mental illness, alcoholism, rape, suicide, and foul language (the F word). Everything pertained to the story and made it the excellent book it is.

This book is available from your favorite retailer on January 14, 2020. I am already getting it for my mama to read.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: North Carolina, 2018: Morgan Christopher’s life has been derailed. Taking the fall for a crime she did not commit, she finds herself serving a three-year stint in the North Carolina Women’s Correctional Center. Her dream of a career in art is put on hold—until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will see her released immediately. Her assignment: restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. Morgan knows nothing about art restoration, but desperate to leave prison, she accepts. What she finds under the layers of grime is a painting that tells the story of madness, violence, and a conspiracy of small-town secrets.

North Carolina, 1940: Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey, wins a national contest to paint a mural for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina. Alone in the world and desperate for work, she accepts. But what she doesn’t expect is to find herself immersed in a town where prejudices run deep, where people are hiding secrets behind closed doors, and where the price of being different might just end in murder.

What happened to Anna Dale? Are the clues hidden in the decrepit mural? Can Morgan overcome her own demons to discover what exists beneath the layers of lies?

Grateful American by Gary Sinise

 

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Pages: 305

Publisher: HarperCollins – Zondervan

Published: February 12, 2019

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

My Review: An interesting look in how Gary Sinise became one of the most prominent military and first responders supporters. It was nice to read about an actor who uses his popularity for a good thing. As a daughter of a Korean War and retired Army, I want to say thank you to him for caring and helping those in need.

In regards to his personal life, I had no idea he has been married to his wife for 40+ years. Congrats. What an accomplishment in these modern times. I also did not know all the movies he has been in and now want to try and watch them all.

If you are looking for a positive Hollywood story Grateful American is the book for you. Available now from your favorite book retailer.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, HarperCollins – Thomas Nelson, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: As a kid in suburban Chicago, Gary Sinise was more interested in sports and rock ‘n’ roll than reading or schoolwork. But when he impulsively auditioned for a school production of West Side Story, he found his purpose–or so it seemed.
Within a few years, Gary and a handful of friends created what became one of the most exciting and important new theater companies in America. From its humble beginnings in a suburban Chicago church basement and eventual move into the city, the Steppenwolf Theatre Company launched a series of groundbreaking productions, igniting Gary’s career along with those of John Malkovich, Joan Allen, Gary Cole, Laurie Metcalf, Jeff Perry, John Mahoney, and others. Television and film came calling soon after, and Gary starred in Of Mice and Men (which he also directed) and The Stand before taking the role that would change his life in unforeseeable ways: Lieutenant Dan in the Academy Award-winning Forrest Gump.

The military community’s embrace of the character of the disabled veteran was matched only by the depth of Gary’s realization that America’s defenders had not received all the honor, respect, and gratitude their sacrifices deserve. In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, this became Gary’s mission. While starring in hits like Apollo 13, Ransom, Truman, George Wallace, CSI: NY, and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, Gary has worked tirelessly on behalf of those who serve this country, entertaining more than a half-million troops around the world playing bass guitar with his Lt. Dan Band, raising funds on behalf of veterans, and eventually founding the Gary Sinise Foundation with a mission to serve and honor America’s defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need.

Grateful American is the moving, entertaining, profoundly gripping story of how one man found his calling: to see that those who defend this country and its freedoms are never forgotten.

As the Tide Comes In by Cindy Woodsmall

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Pages: 352

Publisher: WaterBrook & Multnomah

Published: August 21, 2018

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Review: A beautiful story of heartache, love, and trust God.

I read this story in under twelve hours as I could not put it down. My poor husband had to finish fixing dinner as I was not stopping. Tara’s story will worm its way into your heart and soul and will not let go. You will find yourself crying and not even realizing it.

Beware if you are experiencing a hard time with grief over losing a loved one. This book is all about how to learn to let the hurt go, turn it over to God and cherish the memories you have with the loved one. When you are ready I would recommend reading it as it may help heal your pain.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, WaterBrook & Multnomah, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: A New York Times best-selling author releases her first southern novel, a Steel Magnolias-meets-Sweet Home Alabama story set on St. Simons Island.

When an unthinkable loss sends Tara Abbott’s life spiraling out of control, she journeys from North Carolina to Georgia’s St. Simons Island. Although confused and scared, she hopes to find answers about her past – her life before the years of foster care and raising her two half-brothers as a young adult. Will she find steady ground on the island, surrounded by an eccentric-but-kindhearted group of older women called The Glynn Girls and a determined firefighter? Or will the truth splinter what’s left of her identity into pieces?

Fan Mail (An Aspen Adams Novel of Suspense #2) by Daryl Wood Gerber

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Pages: 247

Publisher: Beyond the Page Publishing

Published: November 12, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: Fan Mail is just as good as Desolate Shores. Aspen and her niece are a good team both in the investigation of murders and as a family unit. I didn’t want to stop reading from the moment I opened the book.

Please tell me a third book is on its way soon. I can’t wait to see who gets murdered next and how it helps Aspen overcome her past.

Clean romance as a side story, very few curse words, if any, but there are triggers of physical abuse, drug abuse and of course murder.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Beyond the Page Publishing, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Agatha Award-winning and national bestselling author Daryl Wood Gerber returns with a dark new novel of suspense . . .

An adoring fan and a string of murders: a demented show of love that leaves no one safe . . .

Local celebrity news anchor Gloria Morning is used to receiving declarations of love and praise in her weekly fan letters, but when a Lake Tahoe doctor is murdered and she gets an anonymous note telling her it was done for her glory, her appreciation turns to panic. Unsure of where else to turn, she enlists the help of novice private investigator Aspen Adams. No sooner does Aspen begin digging into who sent the macabre note than another murder occurs, followed by another note, and she soon realizes she’s up against a ruthless and deranged killer.

Working with scant clues and a puzzling array of potential suspects, Aspen is determined to unearth the elusive connection between the victims and her client. But as the body count grows and the murderer remains a mystery to both her and the police, Aspen discovers she’s gotten closer to the killer than she ever imagined, and now she must risk everything she holds dear to stop the killings, including her own life . . .

Desolate Shores (an Aspen Adams Novel of Suspense) by Daryl Wood Gerber

desolate

Pages: 239

Publisher: Beyond the Page Publishing

Published: August 13, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: I was blown away by Desolate Shores. The story was full of action and kept me on my toes trying to guess the killer. Every time I thought I guessed it a new red herring would be introduced. Any author that can achieve that with me is a go-to author.

I loved the side story with Aspen’s niece, Candace. I can’t wait to read more in this series to see how their relationship progresses. I feel so invested in their story that I have to know more.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Beyond the Page Publishing, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Daryl Wood Gerber, the national bestselling and Agatha Award-winning author of the Cookbook Nook Mysteries, returns with a novel of gripping suspense . . .
A chilling murder, an elusive killer, and a family mystery that hits too close to home . . .

After finding the body of her best friend on the icy shores of Lake Tahoe, Aspen Adams refuses to stand by and watch as the local sheriff’s department begins their search for the killer. Launching her own investigation, she’s soon confronted with a growing array of secrets—both about the friend she thought she knew and about many of the people in her own life. As fragmentary clues and escalating dangers threaten to derail her, she must also cope with the disturbing behavior of her deadbeat sister and troubled teenage niece.

Determined to overcome her personal demons over past failures, Aspen is driven to unravel the conflicting evidence and a shifting range of suspects to bring the killer to justice, even as a family trauma unfolds that threatens to upend her life. And as her investigation inexorably leads her to a shocking discovery and taunts her with a solution that is just out of reach, Aspen realizes that the killer wants nothing more than to see her and her niece dead . . .

The Body in the Gravel (A Jazzi Zanders Mystery #3) by Judi Lynn

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Pages: 274

Publisher: Kensington

Published: September 24, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review: My favorite visit to River Bluffs.

When I first started the series I was not a big fan but liked it enough to stuck with it. I’m so glad I did. I’m loving it and finding myself eagerly awaiting the next installment.

I love the closeness of Jazzi’s family and Ansel has finally gone from feeling like a controlling man to one who just loves his woman with everything he’s got. The more you get to know Ansel’s family the more you realize how lucky he is to have moved to River Bluffs.

There is the illusion of sex but nothing descriptive so I consider a clean read. No paranormal activity for those who are opposed. Recipes are usually included as Jazzi likes to cook as well as flip houses. No foul language that I can think of.

Each book can be read as a stand-alone but I always suggest reading in order.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Kensington, through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.

NetGalley: Even in a lovely town like River Bluffs, Indiana, flipping houses can be a challenge. Especially when there’s the proverbial skeleton in the closet—and a literal corpse in the driveway . . .

House-flipper Jazzi Zanders has her work cut out for her. Her latest flip, which she co-purchased with her fiancée Ansel and cousin Jerod, is a three-story fixer-upper that’s more of a droopy-downer. One corner of the house is sinking and needs to be jacked up with a new cement foundation. That costs money. And causes headaches. And creates a work environment that’s not only hostile, but it’s also downright deadly . . .

Jazzi knows it’s a tough job. Which is why she hired Darby to lay the cement. But when Darby gets into a fiery argument with the furnace man—and then never shows up to lay gravel for the driveway—Jazzi starts to wonder if the rumors about Darby are true. Did he kill his wife and son and bury them in the yard as some folks claim? When Darby’s dead body comes pouring out of a gravel truck, murder upstages the real estate market as her biggest concern . . .