Coming Home Again

I am a reader who finds an author they love and dive in head first. I will attempt to read every book that author writes. Let us be realistic though there is no way I would be able to read every Danielle Steel book thats ever been published. Unless I was a full time reader who did not have to work a full time job. (Anyone know how this is possible?) haha.

Well one of the authors I have ready almost all of her work is Christine Nolfi. She is incredibly talented at creating a story that draws your senses in and makes you feel like you are there. Her Sweet Lakes series hooked me right away. Since then I have gone on to read everything I can by her. I have also been lucky enough to connect with her thru Instagram @christinenolfi and Facebook. Not only is she a talented writer, but also a brilliant and sweet women to get to interact with.

Most recently Nolfi has written The Road She Left Behind, (Lake Union Publishing) a heartbreaking and emotional story of Darcy and her journey.

Synopsis:

Darcy left her life and all she had know about 8 years ago after the loss of her father and sister. She has not spent more then a year in any place she has lived. She is summoned home by her mothers longtime housekeeper when her nephew Emerson has run off and been gone for more then a day at only 8 years old.

Arriving home is no celebration as her mother is not happy at her return.

Rosalind, Darcy’s mother, has a little secret of her own. She has a genetic heart condition that is starting to affect her daily life. Emerson has noticed but feels that he needs others to help him find out what is wrong with his grandmother.

As the family rallies to help Rosalind battle her illness Darcy finds love back in the arms of her former boyfriend who also happens to be one of the people who has watched over Emerson all these years.

A family pulled together by something that could also tear them apart. This is brilliantly written.

If you decide this is a book you need to get your hands on I say go for it. You will not be disappointed. Also, If you do please leave me a comment below with your thoughts on the book.

Happy Reading!

Late Start Summer

Summer is finally arriving here in New England. With the cold, raining spring we just got thru I don’t think many of us thought we would be approaching Memorial Day weekend with a forecast of nice weather. BBq’s, beach days and lots of time outside with family and friends are finally here. Oh, and lots of ice cream stand visits. Girl has to have her vice’s right!

No matter what your plans are for this summer I personally feel that having a good book selection is key to any summer day off. Let’s face it majority of us do not get the entire summer off to just enjoy lounging by the pool or beach all day, even when we wish we could. So having a plan of what books you want to conquer this summer is key! Here are a few of my top picks for this beach read season.

When We Left Cuba

By: Chanel Cleeton  

Berkley Publications 2019

If you have not read her last book Next Year In Havana (2018) I would recommend grabbing that first. Both novels revolve around the Perez family as they navigate leaving Cuba during Fiedel Castro’s reign. They are driven to Florida and create a new life in the USA with every intention of returning to Cuba when it is safe to do so. However, as time goes on this turns out to be close to impossible within their lifetime. When We Left Cuba revolves around Beatriz Perez and her life as she continues to forge her own path in life without the help of her family. She works with the CIA to attempt to aid in removing Castro from power.

If you enjoy historical fiction this would be one for you.

The Southern Side of Paradise

By: Kristy Woodsen Harvey  

Gallery Books 2019

A Beautiful story of Ansley and her three daughters who have returned home to Peachtree Bluff and following their story as the girls navigate their lives. This is the final book in the three part series of Slightly South of Simple and The Secret to Southern Charm following the family. In the final book the family is handling Emerson’s new found illness and the discovery that Sloane and Caroline’s biological father is Jack, Ansley’s first love and now current love.

A lighthearted story of family getting thru life’s struggles together. Would recommend starting with book one to get the whole story of the family.

A Stranger on The Beach

By: Michele Campbell

St. Martin’s Press 2019

Caroline has what appears to be a perfect life. She has a husband and daughter, they are wealthy, own a place in the city as well as a beach house of many people’s dreams. Caroline is thrown by the discovery of her husband looking to get a divorce as it seems out of the blue. He arrives at their beach house party with a women who is not his wife which causes a stir among their acquaintances. Caroline finds herself seeking comfort in the local bartender with a criminal past.

As the story unfolds many secrets arise while Aiden the bartender is being dragged thru the ringer. He is arrested for the presumed murder of Caroline’s husband, while there is still no body. A mystery with twists and turns that you will not want to put down.

A psychological thriller you will thoroughly enjoy.

I really hope this helps you to start off that summer reading list for 2019 on a high note. I will continue to add more summer reads as the summer continues!

Happy reading!

Against Nature

There are times when I feel like all I want to do is read something that keeps me guessing, jumping and on the edge of my seat. Against Nature by Casey Barrett was just what I was hoping for.

Synopsis:

Being a PI is a tough career but for Duck Darley it just became a whole lot more complicated. He is just working and living his life with his son when he receives a message from his former partner.

Class has somehow gotten herself tied into two murder investigations and gets herself arrested. Darley is now stuck trying to find out what really happens all while keeping his son safe.

*Note this book was a free review copy courtesy of Suzy Approved Book Reviews. All opinions are based on my own personal opinions and feeling on this book.

Against Nature

By: Casey Barrett

Kensington Books

More Than Words

Sometimes a book title says it all. More than Wordsby Jill Santopolo is truly just that. This novel is filled with raw emotions, that for me, hit extremely close to home. I am an emotional reader (and am emotional person) and this one had me in tears for many chapters. Her loss was similar to what I have been struggling with the past two months of 2019. We recently lost my grandfather (my mother’s father) early in January very suddenly, followed by my grandmother (my father’s mother) on February 1st. Two people in my family that I am been close with. I say am close with because I have to believe that they are still with me even if they are not physically by my side.  As I picked up this novel, I knew from prior reads by Santopolo I would most likely be filled with emotions and sometimes that is just what you need.

Synopsis 

The main character Nina suffers a great loss, losing her father to due to illness far too soon. She is thrown into a state of sadness while also being very aware of what will now be expected of her. Her family legacy is tied to Gregory hotels, that she will now be taking over. She is coming to a realization that she is now alone with no immediate family. She does have her boyfriend and longtime best friend Tim and his family. Tim’s parents were in business for Nina’s father and were her parents long time best friends.

Shortly after her father’s passing Nina discovers her father still owned a house in upstate New York that had been her mother’s getaway. She decides a night away from the city would be good for her. She heads up there to discover it basically untouched since her childhood. Searching thru old memories in the home she discovers a letter from her mother to her father explaining that she knew of his affair and that she knows he did not end it. That was also the night her mother died in a car accident.

Nina’s whole world is now shifting as she questions everything she has known and stood for over her life. The way she had her whole life planned out the way her father would have approved of and how her father had molded her thru her life. Now she can let go and become her own women. She is strong, smart and ready to take on her new challenges.

A beautifully written emotionally packed novel that you don’t want to miss. I would give this one five stars (ten if I could). 

More Than Words

By: Jill Santopolo 

Putman Publishing 

2019

No Exit

Have you ever picked up a book and thought it was going to be predictable, similar to all the rest or just were not expecting too much from it?

Well I hate to admit that sadly that is how I felt when I picked up No Exit by Taylor Adams. For one reason or another I feel that the synopsis of the book did not do it justice. I was blown away by this read!

First off, the female lead character is an incredibly damaged person with a lack of confidence. She is traveling to head to see her mother who is dying of pancreatic cancer. She ends up stuck in an awful blizzard and ends up having to pull over at a rest stop or risk getting stuck on the side of the road. 

She is not alone at the rest stop. There are four other people, or so she thinks just four, who are also trapped along with her. She is hesitant to even make conversation with any of them. She heads out in an attempt to find cell service to call her mother, but when she is heading back in she notices something odd in the large van next to her car. There is a small girl locked in a cage inside. 

Analyzing the situation and how she can go about saving this little girl from the person who has taken her she creates a plan. However, every step of her plan continues to be fouled up as she learns more and more about the people she is trapped with. 

Will Darby have the strength and will power to save this Jay and save herself? 

This book was very well written and so descriptive that you feel as though you are fighting alongside Darby. Be warned there are some gruesome scenes that will give you chills and make you cringe. 

This is one I gave a five-star rating as it was a book I could not put down without wanting to know what was next. 

No Exit 

By: Taylor Adams 

William Morrow (Imprint of Harper Collins Publishing) 

Five Feet Apart

As each month start I look forward to the announcements of book club selections for the various book clubs I read with. Well February didn’t disappoint, and for the first time in about four or five months I was excited for each and every one of the selections. I was eager to dive into them, and my first selection was without a doubt the perfect combination of emotions and uplifting hope that I needed during the start of this year.

I choose to start my month with Five Feet Apartby Rachael Lippincott, a story about the lives of Stella and Will and how they handle living every day with the struggles of CF (cystic fibrosis). This was not a topic I had much knowledge of going into this (and let’s be honest I still have minimal knowledge) but Lippincott was able to showcase small issues that affect a person with CF on a day to day basis. 

Some things I learned from reading was that people who have CF cannot be within six feet of other CF patients. This must be one of the most incredibly hardest things to implement in their lives. When you think of others who have health issues they are able to seek support from others with similar conditions. Yet, a CF patient can’t really go into many situations like this due to their condition. Of course, online has made it a bit easier for us to connect, but sometimes this is just not the same. This is the relationship that Stella, the main character of the book, has with Poe. Poe and Stella have been in the same hospital together on and off for years and have developed a great friendship. They are able to skype, talk on the phone and are able to keep their six feet distance within the hospital environment. 

When a new patient is introduced into the picture Stella begins to feel things she never has before. Thru her will to want to fix and help everyone in their treatments she is able to get Will to open up and fall for her. They develop a relationship that pushes the boundaries of their CF by breaking the rules and keeping five feet apart vs the six feet recommended to CF patients. 

In a twist at the end Stella and Will must take the hardest step they ever have and distance themselves completely. 

If you are looking for an emotionally gripping, teenage romance story this would be one to pick up. It reminded me lightly of John Green’s, The Fault in Our Stars

I gave this one a Four-star rating. 

Five Feet Apart 

By: Rachael Lippincott 

Simon & Schuster

2018

The Night Olivia Fell

A heartbreaking story of losing someone to soon. Abi Knight, mother to Olivia, is woken in the night about her daughter.  This is every mothers’ biggest fear as she soon finds out that her daughter has had an accident and is brain dead. To make matters worse the doctors are telling Abi that Olivia is pregnant, so she is unable to be taken off of life support. As she is sitting by her daughter in the hospital she brings to the attention of the doctors and nurses that there are unnatural bruises on her wrists. 

As time continues by it seems to Abi that no one on the police department is really taking the case seriously. She also realizes that they have dropped the ball on the investigation by not searching for her phone, computer or digging into any of the days leading up to the suspected murder. Abi takes it into her own hands with the help of Anthony an investigator from Seattle to uncover what really happened to Olivia.

While the story bounces back and forth between the past to present and Abi to Olivia you get a sense of the relationship between them. You also get the sense that Olivia feels that a small white lie or omission of facts can keep everyone happy. She doesn’t break up with her boyfriend right away out of fear that he is already sad and depressed due to his parents’ divorce. She doesn’t tell her best friend she is dating and in love with her brother. She doesn’t tell her mother she is searching out and has found out who her biological father is. This leaves the list of potential suspects who could have caused her fall. 

If you enjoy a story that keeps you changing theories and guessing right up until the end then you will love this one. 

The Night Olivia Fell 

By: Christina McDonald 

Simon & Schuster 

February 5, 2019 

An Honest Review

Over the last few years of building my review reputation I have grown not only in my writing, but also in my thought process. I think when you start on this journey you want to make everyone happy in hopes that they will continue to want to work with you. 

There are so many questions that bounce thru your head when you go to write a review. What if I didn’t enjoy the story? What if it just wasn’t a genre I typically enjoy? What if the way the author writes doesn’t translate well in my mind? What if you are approached to do a review for a genre you don’t typically read? 

These are all very real, very honest questions you need will ask yourself thru this journey! For myself I keep a running and every changing list of genres I enjoy, specific PR agencies who work within the genres and with authors you enjoy and similar authors you are open to discovering. Building these relationships are great and so helpful within this industry as is in most industries. 

The next things I look for are the lists that arrive listing what books they are working to promote. Sometimes you are asked to select which books from a list you would be interested in reading and reviewing. Let me tell you straight up……. You do not have to say yes to everything! Especially when you are starting out do not overwhelm yourself by taking on to many at once. 

A negative review

Now this was something I was so hesitant to give a bad review. What if this causes people to not want to work together? What if I get push back from others about it? 

Well you know what…. Not every book is going to be everyone’s cup of tea. You are being reached out to give honest reviews so if you don’t give an honest review then you are not doing your part. The first time I ever wrote a review that was 1 star I was so hesitant to post it. I knew it was not the popular opinion, but it was mine. My opinion was what I was being asked for so that’s what I gave.  

Just trust yourself and your instincts. Be honest and open with what you accept and what you write. 

Sophie Last Seen

Sophie was a strange child. She had an unnatural obsession with birds which she researched and memorized constantly. She also compares any human she meets to the type of bird they most closely act like. She is always filling bird feeders all around the yard of their home, so the birds are continually drawn to her. They also bring little knickknacks she sees as gifts from the birds. 

Sophie then mysteriously disappears from the local shopping mall while she is shopping with her mother. The investigation became a cold case due to lack of evidence and no leads to continue. 

As the years go by her mother Jesse continues to collect items and trash that she is deeming potential evidence in the case that has been cold for so long. She is not giving up hope that she will find out what happened to her daughter. Her husband has left her and began a new life with a new wife, her daughters best friend has become distant and is lashing out and harming herself due to stress and hallucinations of her friend.

Together Jesse and Star begin to uncover little things that may lead to finding out what happened to Sophie. 

If you enjoy a good mystery with light twists this would be one you would enjoy. 

Sophie Last Seen 

By: Marlene Adelstein 

Red Adept Publishing 

November 2018 

The Wartime Sisters

The Wartime Sisters 

Sisterly rivalry, jealousy and possibly some relationship drama is just what I expected from The Wartime Sisters.This was all huge parts of this story, but it was so much more. It was not only about blood sisters, but those friends we surround ourselves with, and how during hard times can be so important. 

Ruth and Millie are sisters who grew up in NY. Their mother treated them so differently while they grew up causing a split and jealousy between them. She saw Ruth as the smart, studious, yet not very attractive child which were qualities she deemed necessary in life to succeed. Millie was the beautiful sister who her mother always insisted would marry a wealthy man and be taken care of thru her life. Her parent’s dreams for Millie are thrown off track as she begins dating Lenny, a high school dropout who has no motivation for life, work or to become a secure person for himself or for Millie. Her father sees this as her rebelling against her parents and figures it will run its course while her mother is incredibly vocal about her distaste for this man.  

After their parent’s untimely deaths, Millie marries Lenny, while Ruth moves to Springfield, MA with her husband to a military post. 

Five years later Millie writes to her sister that she and her son need a place to live now that Lenny is gone. The two sisters have had minimal contact over the time apart, but upon arrival Ruth can tell that life has not been kind to Millie. She helps Millie to attain a job in the factory, so she can earn her way. 

Millie holds secrets of her life with Lenny close to herself until he shows up unannounced demanding money or the ring that he had proposed to Millie with. This ring however is a family heirloom to Millie and Ruth and they are determined not to give it up. 


In a twist of fate Millie finds herself surrounded by strong women on the base who are watching out for her as Lenny continues to get the ring back. 

This novel really brings a light to the relationships built between women during hard times. Family is not always just those related by blood, but those we choose to bring into our circles in life. 

The Wartime Sisters 

By Lynda Cohen Loigman 

January 22, 2019 

St. Martin’s Press