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Beach House Reunion by Mary Alice Monroe–4 stars

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Check-out Mary Alice Monroe’s Newest Release–Coming 5/22/18!

Cara was fifty-three-years old and experiencing motherhood for the first time. Although Cara was a highly successful businesswoman, she found bringing up a child to be more challenging. She was petrified of being inadequate. So Cara headed back to her roots for the support of her family and friends. She also wanted Hope to grow up on the Isle of Palms; like she did.

Although Cara had wonderful memories of her childhood, she also had painful ones. And seeing her brother follow in their father’s footsteps was heartbreaking. A family storm was brewing; a crisis that would bring everyone to their knees, especially her brother. No one likes pain, but as uncomfortable as it can be, pain is many times the catalyst needed to push someone onto the road to healing. 

Beach House Reunion is an emotional and well-written novel. It’s a book about, second chances, love, friendship, and forgiveness. 

Thank you, Gallery Books and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy.

~4 out of 5 stars~Review by Peg Glover

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Bio (from Author’s page on Amazon)

Mary Alice Monroe is known for her intimate portrayals of women’s lives and keen eye to setting. Monroe brings to life the many colorful people and the compelling story layers of her home–Charleston and the the beaches of the lowcountry. 

Mary Alice Monroe’s books have achieved several best seller lists including the New York Times, SIBA, and USA Today. Mary Alice has received numerous awards, including the 2014 SC Book Festival Award for Excellence in Writing, the 2015 SW Florida Book Festival Distinguished Author Award, 2008 South Carolina Center for the Book Award for Writing, The RT Lifetime Achievement Award, and the International Book Award for Green Fiction. She serves on the board of the South Carolina Aquarium, the Leatherback Trust, and the Charleston Volunteers for Literacy. Her children’s books received several awards, including the ASPCA Henry Bergh award. 

Her recent novel is the final book in a trilogy set in the lowcountry: THE SUMMER GIRLS, THE SUMMER WIND, and THE SUMMER’S END. Her next novel, A LOWCOUNTRY WEDDING, continuing the popular series, will be released in May 2016. Monroe’s novel, THE BEACH HOUSE, will be made into a Hallmark film starring Andie MacDowell.

 

 

The Optimist’s Guide to Letting Go by Amy E. Reichert–4 Stars

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The Optimist’s Guide to Letting Go is a captivating, heart-wrenching and touching story.

Lorraine realized that the easiest way to do something was not necessarily the best way. When the love of her life, Joe, died, instead of bringing up her two children alone, Lorraine sought the help of her estranged parents. Her father insisted that she marry well. Within weeks she was married to a man who would provide for her, and her children, financially. This would not be a marriage based on love though. Floyd needed a ready-made family and Lorraine, needed financial security. The catch was, unfortunately, that her children were never to know that Joe, was their real father. It would be as if he never existed. This secret would cost Lorraine, dearly.

Gina always tried to look on the bright side of life. Some days; however, it seemed to be too much of a task. Gina, loved her mother, Lorraine, she just didn’t like her, sometimes. Lorraine was always finding fault with Gina, and the way she raised, May, her daughter. Gina lost her husband two years ago and although she knew May’s coldness towards her, was just grief over losing her father; it still stung.

When Lorraine’s health failed her, Gina discovered the secret; Lorraine had buried for forty years.  Although this truth was shocking, it was the catalyst for Gina’s healing. Gina, like her mother, had married a man she loved but lost him. Vicky, Gina’s sister, had married for convenience only, so it was no surprise when she found herself, caught in a loveless marriage. Neither Gina nor Vicky could move on with their lives until they learned to truly let go; Gina, the man she lost, and Vicky, the marriage that brought her pain.

This book is about grief, letting go, and learning to live again. The Optimist’s Guide To Letting Go is a captivating story that touches the heart.

Thank you, Galley Books and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy.

~4 out of 5 stars~ Review by Peg Glover

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Bio (from Author’s page on Amazon)

Amy Reichert earned her MA in Literature from Marquette University, and honed her writing and editing skills as a technical writer (which is exactly as exciting as it sounds). As a newly minted member of the local library board, she loves helping readers find new books to love. She’s a life-long Wisconsin resident with (allegedly) a very noticeable accent, a patient husband, and two too-smart-for-their-own-good kids. When time allows, she loves to read, collect more cookbooks than she could possibly use, and test the limits of her DVR.

 

Flying At Night by Rebecca L. Brown–Review-5 Shining Stars!

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Don’t Miss Rebecca Brown’s Outstanding Debut Novel—Flying At Night. I absolutely loved it!

 

Wow, I can’t believe Flying At Night is a debut novel! This book is written with rich details, colorful characters, authentic dialogue, and a compelling plot. 

Flying At Night is told from three points of view, Fred, a nine-year-old boy with Autism, his mother, Piper, and Lance, Fred’s grandfather. My favorite was experiencing the world through Fred’s eyes.  This book is not only about Autism. It’s also about growing up in a toxic environment. Piper’s father, Lance, was a narcissist. He was cruel and abusive. He was also a famous pilot. The pain Lance caused his family is described throughout the book. Everyone had their limit, and after forty years, Lance’s wife had had enough.

Piper suffered from severe depression for years. Her father’s constant verbal and emotional abuse kept her down. Her brother left home as soon as he was able. Piper never found a way to fully free herself from her father. But, in the end, life had a way of righting itself. 

My heart broke for Piper when she thought that she might have caused her son’s autism. Piper had taken antidepressants during her pregnancy, out of necessity, not out of negligence. But the guilt she felt because of it, ate at her very soul. It took Piper a while to accept Fred’s diagnosis. She often made excuses for his quirky behavior. Piper didn’t want to see what was so obvious to others. 

I loved the professor who took Fred under his wing. He was kind, thoughtful and “got” Fred. This book put me on an emotional rollercoaster. I loved Piper and Fred from the very first page; Piper’s parents, though, not so much. 

I read Flying At Night in one sitting. I hated to put the book down for even a moment. The book is touching, beautifully written and a story that I won’t forget for a long time. 

Thank you, Berkley Publishing and Edelweiss, for my advanced review copy. I loved it!

~5 out of 5 Shining stars~ Review by Peg Glover

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Other People’s Houses by Abbi Waxman–Review–4.5 Stars

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Other People’s Houses–Coming 4/3/18!

 

Other People’s Houses is an engrossing, entertaining and well-written novel.

This book follows four families in a Los Angeles California neighborhood. Their trials, inner struggles, betrayals and most touching moments are depicted well in this story. My favorite couple is Frances and Michael Bloom. Frances was the designated carpool mom. She took the neighborhood kids plus her own three back and forth to school. Frances was the only mom who was overweight and not obsessed with her appearance. She was also the kindest most level-headed person in the group, and her husband, Michael, loved her, extra curves, and all. Frances was the star who held the neighborhood together, when one family on their street, began to crumble.

This book is all about marriage, family life, betrayal, consequences, and forgiveness. The writing in this book is witty and spot on. Frances is the main character, and her internal dialogue is absolutely hysterical. Although the story is poignant and the subject matter, serious, the author has a remarkable ability to lighten the mood, with humor. I loved it.

Thank you, Berkley Publishing and Edelweiss, for my advanced review copy.

~4.5 out of 5 stars~ Review by Peg Glover

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Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer–Review-5 Shining Stars

Before I let you go::.jpgDon’t Miss This Incredible Story!  Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer –4/3/18!

 

Before I let you go is an incredible story about love and sacrifice, and the inevitable, agonizing heartache that comes, when a person, you love, is addicted to drugs. 

Lexie has been taking care of her sister, Annie, ever since their mother mentally checked-out. When their mother started to participate in life again, she joined a religious cult and, unfortunately, her daughters went with her. Lexie escaped the community, at the age of sixteen, but couldn’t take her sister with her. 

In the cult’s religious community, girls were not allowed to stay in school after the age of fifteen. At sixteen-years-old, they began to learn the duties for being a proper housewife. They were also given a job in the community. Women soon discovered that their thoughts and opinions were best left unsaid. In the home, they had no voice at all, their husband ruled them, along with any children they had. Lexie and Annie learned after experiencing their stepfather’s painful punishments that their mother would not come to their aid. Annie, because of her rebellious nature, suffered the most. Unfortunately, by the time Annie escaped, she was emotionally broken.   

At the age of eighteen, Lexie took on the full responsibility for her sister, Annie. She became Annie’s sole provider and guardian. Lexie did her best, for her sister, but Annie was difficult. She rebelled against anyone who tried to tell her what to do. Unfortunately, Annie ended up succumbing to the ultimate oppressor and crutch, heroin. Before I Let You Go is a must read. This thought-provoking book illuminates for the reader an accurate description of the addict’s cycle of pain and remorse, and the enablers bottomless pit of agonizing grief and guilt. 

Drug addiction touches practically every family in some way, directly or indirectly. And, Kelly Rimmer’s written account of what a tortured addict experiences, as well as the guilt-ridden family members, is spot on.

I loved every page of this superbly written, poignant novel. Every sentence moved the story forward in this book. There are no wasted words, no boring pages, and no fluff. Before I Let You Go is a quality read. This is the first book that I have read by this talented author, but it won’t be my last.

Thank you, Harlequin- Graydon House Books and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy. I absolutely loved it!

~5 out of 5 shining stars~ Review by Peg Glover

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Bio (from Amazon’s Author page)

If you’d like to hear about my new releases, you can sign up for my mailing list here http://bit.ly/kellyrimmer (just copy and paste that link into your browser). I won’t ever share your email, and I’ll only email you when I release a new book.

I write contemporary women’s fiction. My novels, Me Without You, The Secret Daughter, When I Lost You and A Mother’s Confession have been published by Bookouture. 

You can find some more information about me at http://www.kellyrimmer.com.

 

Prancing Around With Sleeping Beauty by Stacy Juba-#Blog Tour-& #Review–5 Stars

I’m So Happy To Be Part of Stacy Juba’s Blog Tour

       Fooling Around With Sleeping Beauty

                        Releases Today!

 

Do you love sweet romance novels that make you laugh? Then you’ll want to check out Stacy Juba’s brand new chick lit novel, Prancing Around With Sleeping Beauty, the second book in the Storybook Valley series. The book was released March 5, and while it’s a follow-up to the popular Fooling Around With Cinderella, both novels can also be read as stand-alones. Come discover Storybook Valley, a fictional theme park in the Catskills of New York. If you love small town romance with humorous characters, theme parks, fairy tale fun, and amazing love stories, then Storybook Valley will be your new favorite series.

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This Sleeping Beauty isn’t sure she wants to wake up…

Dance instructor Rory Callahan likes to play it safe. When she meets Kyle, he’s impulsive, persistent, and her exact opposite. He’s pushing her to tango way past her comfort zone and keeping Rory on her toes more than twenty years of dance teachers ever had.

Unfortunately, he’s the grandson of her family’s archrival and she doesn’t want to disappoint them. After all, her parents imagine her as a proper princess – hence her namesake Aurora, AKA Sleeping Beauty. Complicating matters, Rory’s also dealing with a surgeon boyfriend who’s perfect for her (sort of), an obnoxious boss, and desperate dance moms. Kyle wants to change her whole life, but Rory doesn’t like the stakes. After all, princesses are the ones who get the happy endings. . .aren’t they?

My Review:

Prancing Around With Sleeping Beauty is the second novel in the Storybook Valley Series. I enjoyed book one, Fooling Around With Cinderella, so I couldn’t wait to read its sequel. Just as I knew it would be, Prancing Around With Sleeping Beauty was just as good as the first book. It’s well crafted with rich details, witty dialogue, and a captivating plot.

Rory Callahan has been teaching dance for years. Although it was comforting to know that she was a valued employee, her dream has always been, to open her own dance studio. But before that could happen, major decisions would have to be made. All of them, unfortunately, will shake up not only her world but many others as well.

Kyle Thorne has become a significant distraction for Rory. He was all, she could think about. The main problem with Rory’s preoccupation was, that she already had a steady boyfriend. She has known Brad for years. Rory was supposed to marry him. And why wouldn’t she want to? He was well-liked, good-looking, easy to be with, and a doctor. But that was just it, Rory was comfortable with Brad, but not happy or passionate. Kyle, on-the-other-hand, was spontaneous, funny, hot, and forbidden. Kyle, was also; unfortunately, the grandson of her grandfather’s greatest rival.

Rory will have to decide whether keeping the peace with those around her is worth giving up her own joy and sense of adventure. Rory has always played the peacemaker in the family, but, isn’t time for her to let go of that responsibility? Does Rory dare to risk giving up a steady job, and a boyfriend she has had for years, just for a chance at true happiness and love?

Prancing Around with Sleeping Beauty is a sweet, light, and funny romance. I loved it.

Thank you, Stacy Juba, for my complimentary copy of Prancing Around With Sleeping Beauty.

~5 out of 5 stars~Review by Peg Glover

 

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Excerpt:

Twilight had descended over the strip mall which also contained a pizza place, children’s art studio, New Age shop, bakery, and a consignment store with identical brick facades. A long sidewalk connected the storefronts. Rory’s phone chirped and she scanned a text as she strolled through the parking lot. A message from her older brother Jake, who lived in Maine.

Happy 25th. What new rose crap did you get this year?

Instead of making her chuckle, his joke elicited a sigh. She missed Jake and his toddler Quinn, but he never came home anymore thanks to a stupid fight with their parents. They went ballistic after he got a girl pregnant and accused him of ruining his life. Jake and the mother broke up, not surprising since she was a total flake, but he got an apartment a couple blocks away from her to be near his daughter. His absence meant he couldn’t take over the theme park, leaving room for Dylan to step forward.

Heading toward her car, she replied: Don’t know yet. I’m on my

Augh! Rory stumbled over something and toppled to the ground, her phone sailing through the air. Her right hand slammed against the pavement, and pain seared through her. Sitting up, she glared at the object that had blocked her path. A spiky creature in a plastic carrier glared back at her.

Rory blinked. She could accept a black cat crossing her path, but she owed her unceremonious spill to a needle-infested rodent?

“Who leaves a porcupine in the middle of the parking lot?” she demanded.

“Who trips over a huge animal carrier? Oh, right, someone who’s texting while walking.” A brown-haired guy in a khaki zookeeper uniform and boots loomed over her. She stiffened at his words until she noticed the dimples sprinkled with cinnamon freckles. He wasn’t mad, just amused. “And it’s not a porcupine. It’s a hedgehog.”

“What’s the difference? It was still in the middle of the parking lot.”

He crouched beside her. “For starters, hedgehogs have shorter quills that can’t easily come off their bodies, while a porcupine’s quills can easily detach themselves. On average a hedgehog has 7,000 quills while a porcupine has approximately 30,000. And a porcupine can grow to triple the size, between 25-and-36 inches.”

“It was a rhetorical question.” Rory risked a glance at her throbbing hand and winced. Blood dripped down her finger.

“I’ll admit that you’re worse off than Turbo. Don’t go anywhere. I’ll get the first aid kit.”

Mr. Porcupine Expert disappeared into a green van so garish, it almost distracted Rory from her pain. Painted animal heads peered out of big circles and orange letters proclaimed the monstrosity a Zoo Mobile—with paw prints forming the double ‘o’ in zoo. It wouldn’t surprise Rory if a white rabbit in a waistcoat popped out from the Day-Glo monstrosity, muttering about being late . . . for a tea party at her house using Wendy’s bumpy placemats. She groaned, deciphering the smaller words beneath the paw prints. ‘Duke’s Animal World.’

She’d always considered her family’s rivalry with Duke Thorne a bit ridiculous, but now Rory related to her granddad’s agitation. Thanks to sprawling over one of Duke’s stupid hedgehogs, she might have sprained her finger.

Shifting position, Rory glowered through the cage at the spiky black ball that had caused all the trouble. It huffed and puffed, quills poking outward, a breathing pincushion. My . . . she hadn’t realized hedgehogs had such tiny eyes. And what a cute button nose. This little guy—Turbo?—seemed skittish.

“Hey, there, Turbo,” she murmured. “Guess it was my fault, too. Did I scare you?”

“He’ll be okay.” The dimpled zookeeper reappeared with her cell phone, along with a toolbox-sized red first aid kit. He unlatched the kit, opened a box of gauze pads, and bent beside her. “Let’s apply pressure to stop the bleeding.”

“I can do it.” Rory squashed the pad against the cut, her cheeks heating, whether from his boyish good looks, or the mortification of falling over a hedgehog, she didn’t know. She hoped he couldn’t detect her blush under the lampposts’ dim glow. She rested her wrist on her knee. “What are you and Turbo doing here, anyway?”

“The art studio had a zoo night. The kids decorated animal statues and then I did a presentation. I was just about to load my last animal, Turbo, into the van when you went flying.” He jerked his thumb toward the Zoo Mobile. “I’ve also got a red-eyed tree frog, bearded dragon, chinchilla, and domestic rabbit.”

“Is it a white rabbit?” Rory muttered.

Mr. Porcupine Expert elevated a brow. “Not this time. What’s your story? What were you doing here?”

“I’m an instructor at the dance studio. We were having an open house. I got a text, and apparently, I wasn’t watching where I was going.” Rory battled the temptation to peek under the gauze.

“Let me get this straight. You’re a dancer? I thought dancers were graceful.” His brown eyes crinkled with amusement. Their shade reminded her of a caramel latte, warm and inviting.

“I am graceful! This was an isolated incident.”

“Uh-huh. I’m Kyle, by the way. And you’re . . .?”

“Rory.”

“How about I make it up to you with free zoo tickets? You can come meet Turbo’s parents. I’m sure they’ll forgive you if I explain that you’re a dancer with two left feet.”

He wore such a deadpan expression that Rory almost laughed. His dry comic delivery must enliven his presentations. Her grandmother Lois, Storybook Valley’s self-appointed entertainment director, would remark that Kyle had charisma.

Rory might enjoy touring the zoo with him, but her granddad would lock her in with the lions if she ventured onto his rival’s property. Growing up, she had never been allowed to visit Duke’s. “Thanks, but that’s okay. As I was telling Turbo here, it was my fault. I should have been more aware of my surroundings.”

She peered into the cage. Was it her imagination, or did Turbo look calmer now in Kyle’s presence? His quills had relaxed, laying down and pointing toward the back.

Kyle picked up the animal carrier and straightened to his full height. “How about I show you my passengers while you’re applying pressure? The least I can do is keep you entertained during your misery.”

After a hesitation, Rory climbed to her feet and trailed him to the Zoo Mobile. With her left hand, she finished a clumsily misspelled text to Jake, omitting mention of the accident. Otherwise, her brothers would ask her for the next month if she had tripped over any hedgehogs lately.

She leaned against the van as Kyle slid the bearded dragon’s carrier out the side door and positioned Turbo’s cage in its place. Over the next ten minutes, he explained how many bearded dragon species existed (nine) and what they ate (insects). If Rory ever appeared on a TV game show, she hoped they quizzed her on bearded dragons, porcupines, and hedgehogs.

Kyle discussed animals the same way Brad talked about robotic-assisted surgery. She wondered if Kyle had a college degree. Her guess was no. After all, how much schooling did it take to drive a Zoo Mobile? Once you memorized the spiel and learned how to care for the animals, what else was there to learn? As an employee that far down the company ladder, Kyle probably wasn’t aware of the Callahan feud.

After the bearded dragon lecture, Rory washed her cut and rubbed in bacitracin ointment. Kyle unwrapped a large Band-Aid, but instead of extending it to her, he pressed the patch over her skin. As their fingers touched, a shivery sensation whispered down Rory’s spine.

I am not attracted to the zoo guy.

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Fooling Around With Cinderella funny chick lit

Ever wondered what those cheerful theme park princesses are really thinking? When twenty-five-year-old Jaine Andersen proposes a new marketing role to the local amusement park, general manager Dylan Callahan charms her into filling Cinderella’s glass slippers for the summer. Her reign transforms Jaine’s ordinary life into chaos that would bewilder a fairy godmother. Secretly dating her bad boy boss, running wedding errands for her ungrateful sisters, and defending herself from the park’s resident villain means Jaine needs lots more than a comfy pair of shoes to restore order in her kingdom…

Check out the Storybook Valley series at these retailers:
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Kobo

And if you discover that you love the Storybook Valley books, be sure to join Stacy’s street team, the Storybook Valley Sweethearts, on Facebook for book launch activities and exclusive sneak peeks. Members will get to hear the latest Storybook Valley news before anyone else, and even read excerpts of works-in-progress and give input on cover design.

Our Secrets and Lies by Sinead Moriarty–#Review–4.5 stars

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Don’t Miss Sinead Moriarty’s Newest Release, Our Secrets and Lies, Coming 3/1/18!

 

Our Secrets and Lies is an inspirational, heartbreaking and touching story. This novel gripped my heart, sparked my anger, moved me to tears, and made me smile.

Lucy was soon to be a single parent, and her heart was broken. Tom, the father of her unborn twins, had abandoned her. He left her alone to deal with the fallout, including informing her parents of her pregnancy.

Tom was crazy about Lucy. The last thing he wanted to do was to listen to his father and leave the country. But, that’s exactly what his father demanded. And if Tom didn’t want to be cut off from his family, he had to listen to him.

Tom’s father humiliated and verbally abused Lucy. She was crushed. Lucy decided to make it her life’s mission to prove that Tom’s father was wrong. Lucy was not the lowlife that he made her out to be. So she gave up her dream of becoming a successful lawyer and devoted her life to raising her children and caring for her parents.

Although Lucy was a loving mom, she was intense and obsessed with her children, Dylan and Kelly. She didn’t realize that the pent-up anger that she’d carried for years, after being abandoned and humiliated, drove her to become overbearing with the twins. But, because of her micromanaging, Lucy almost lost them.

Unconditional love requires sacrifice and often the willingness to let go. Lucy discovered this the hard way. Painful lessons are never fun, but, it’s through them, that hearts, and lives, are changed. They are also the lessons that are rarely forgotten.

Sinead Moriarty writes a compelling, gripping and an emotional story. I loved it.

Thank you, Bookouture Publishing and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy.

~4.5 out of 5 stars~Review by Peg Glover

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