The Favorite Daughter by Patti Callahan Henry

favorite

Pages: 364

Publisher: Berkley

Published: June 4, 2019

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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.

My Review:

A beautifully written story on a horrible disease. I could not imagine losing bits and pieces of my dad daily. I have a hard enough time dealing with normal memory loss as he ages.

Be prepared to be shocked, happy and then crying so hard the pages in your book become water-logged.

A must-read in 2019 new releases!

The Summer Guests by Mary Alice Monroe

summer

Pages: 368

Publisher: Gallery Books

Published: June 11, 2019

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

NetGalley: Late August is a beautiful time on the Southern coast—the peach trees are ripe, the ocean is warm, and the sweet tea is icy. A perfect time to enjoy the rocking chairs on the porch. But beneath the calm surface bubbles a threat: it’s also peak hurricane season.

When a hurricane threatens the coasts of Florida and South Carolina, an eclectic group of evacuees flees for the farm of their friends Grace and Charles Phillips in North Carolina: the Phillips’s daughter Moira and her rescue dogs, famed equestrian Javier Angel de la Cruz, makeup artist Hannah McLain, horse breeder Gerda Klug and her daughter Elise, and island resident Cara Rutledge. They bring with them only a few treasured possessions they can fit in their vehicles. Strangers to all but the Phillips, they must ride out the storm together.

During the course of one of the most challenging weeks of their lives, relationships are put to the test as the evacuees are forced to confront the unresolved issues they have with themselves and with each other. But as the storm passes, they realize that what really matters isn’t what they brought with them to the mountains. Rather, it’s what they’ll take with them once they leave.

My Review: Mary Alice Monroe is my go to Southern writer every summer. I live for her view of the beach, sea life and Southern family drama. It allows me a vacation when I can’t take one.

The Summer Guests is a different summer southern read. The focus is on how a hurricane displaces more than people. Families have to find shelter for their pets from million dollar horses to the tiniest puppy. Living so far from the ocean, these are concerns I do not think about when listening to the news. Monroe does an exceptional job of letting one know about this issue.

Fans of southern fiction need to add this to their “must read” list for the summer. You will not be disappointed.

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

Death Threads (A Southern Sewing Circle #2) by Elizabeth Lynn Casey (aka Laura Bradford)

death

Pages: 288

Publisher: Berkley

Published: May 5, 2010

Rating: 4 stars

Goodreads:
Yankee librarian Tori Sinclair is basking in the warmth of her new circle of friends from South Carolina’s Sweet Briar Ladies Society sewing circle. That is until local author Colby Calhoun reveals an unflattering secret about the town’s historic past-and then disappears, leaving a bloody trail behind him. And when Tori begins to see a pattern of the townsfolk’s age-old Southern pride standing in the way of justice, she knows it’s time to unravel the mystery.

My review:
This series is for fans of anything Southern and book related. You cannot get more perfect than a library set in South Carolina. If you add in the love for Little House (Laura Ingalls Wilder) that Tori has then we have the winning trifecta in my humble opinion.

I am not a person who views sewing as relaxing. I am more in the ranks of our dear sweet Leona who along with her twin sister is a hoot. You will find yourself chuckling quite frequently while reading. The idea of the handsewn library book bags for nursing home residents has really touched my heart. My mom is currently in a long term rehabilitation to get her leg strength back and seeing the nursing home part of the rehab center is so sad. I wish more public libraries had the capability to make sure nursing home residents had access to books.

A part of me wants to gobble this series up as quickly as I can read but the smart part of me is telling myself to slow down since there are only 12 books in this wonderful series and I have already read two. I am limiting myself to one book a month in this series.

Sew Deadly (Southern Sewing Circle #1) by Elizabeth Lynn Casey

sew

Pages: 290 (eBook)

Publisher: Berkley

Published: August 4, 2009

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Tori has moved from Chicago, IL (the North) to Sweet Briar, SC (the South) and it hasn’t been easy. The vernacular is different, the previous librarian, Dixie, does not like her, and most of all she is the number one murder suspect. Can Tori overcome all these difficulties and make a home and friends in Sweet Briar?

An entertaining read, especially if you are a fan of sewing. This book made me constantly think of my Mamaw who loves to sew and create beautiful work. I wish I enjoyed sewing, Tori made it seem like the perfect relaxation technique.

I am already a fan of Tori and her library. I lost track of how many times I wanted to jump into the book and straight into the Children’s room and grab a copy of Little House on the Prairie and lose myself for hours.

I was a tad disappointed on the cozy mystery murder aspect of the book. Several times I thought I had missed pages as it jumped in and out of the murder mystery with little or no details I am used to reading in cozy mysteries. The big reveal of the murderer never really happened. No big scene between Tori and her murderer. Now, we do need to realize this was a very early work of the author. Her current mystery series (An Amish Mystery series) is one of the best out there. If you haven’t already guessed the author’s other known name is Laura Bradford.

I have already marked this as a series I am continuing and finishing in 2019. I cannot wait to see what Tori does with the library. Who knows, maybe I will take up a sewing project will reading this series.

In Cold Chocolate (A Southern Chocolate Shop #3) by Dorothy St. James

chocolate

Pages: 263 (ebook)

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: September 11, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

“Penn” is still making her place in Camellia Beach, SC and finding her inner chocolatier. It is the season of sea turtle hatching and Penn wants to become a turtle volunteer. In order to do so she joins Althea and the other turtle volunteers to watch a nest for possible hatching. As they are watching they notice a house has left outdoor lights on. Althea goes to get cardboard to cover the light and Jody, Penn’s nemesis, shows up with guns a blazing, truly. Unfortunately, Jody finds herself on the wrong end of the law when all signs point to her in the murder of the beach’s playboy, Cassidy. Can Penn prove Jody’s innocence?

I have really enjoyed this series this year. Penn has grit and determination of a Southern lady even though she is from Wisconsin. She has her mother’s blood in her that is for sure. I enjoy her spars with the police chief and detective. Detective Gibbons is one of my favorite characters. I believe he has a crush on Penn. I’m not a big love triangle kind of person but I hope something starts to happen in the love arena between Penn and Gibbons. Harley needs a run for his money.

This is the perfect book for all sea turtle lovers and cozy mystery fans. An enjoyable read for any time of the year.

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

Playing with BonBon Fire (A Southern Chocolate Mystery #2) by Dorothy St. James

playing with bonbon fire

Pages: 349 (eBook)

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Published: March 13, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Penn is finding her way as the owner of her grandma’s chocolate shop as well as organizing a beach music festival to bring in the crowds. As a favor, her sister has asked music star Bixby Lewis to perform and with the fame comes the crazy fans. Was the murder of the local a mistaken identity for Bixby as Bixby claims or is there something deeper going on? Can Penn solve the crime before damage is done?

This is the second book in A Southern Chocolate Shop Mystery and it has proven to be a winner for me. I feel in love with Penn’s character right away. She has already proven she is strong with overcoming her background of a loveless childhood. She moves to a new town and new state and starts overcoming adversity with trying to find out who her mother is and fighting family members left and right for the knowledge she is seeking.

I have not read the first book in the series (I think I am seeing a pattern for me) but I was able to follow along with who the characters were and how they related to each other. I really want to see how the friendship/relationship between Penn and Harley progresses. Harley seems like a real sweetheart but is he too soft for Penn who has a wall up around her heart?

Thank you Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for an advanced copy to read in exchange for an honest review based on my own thoughts.