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#A Family of Strangers by Emilie Richards–Review–4 Stars

family of strangers:.850.jpgNew Captivating Novel by Emilie Richards              Coming 6/25/19!

 

The Family of Strangers is a thought-provoking novel, with complex characters, toxic family dynamics, and a compelling plot.

The Gracey sisters, Ryan and Wendy, were almost like strangers to one another. In fact, Ryan had very few memories of her sister. Wendy had been away most of the time in college when Ryan was a toddler.  And, although Ryan’s parents loved her, Ryan always felt second best to their golden child, Wendy.

After leaving the house to live on her own, Ryan rarely heard from her sister. She was content, though, even without close family connections. Ryan was more than surprised when Wendy contacted her, asking for help. And, although, the sisters had never been close, Ryan packed up her things, moved into Wendy’s home, and cared for her two nieces. But when days turned into weeks without Wendy’s return, Ryan became suspicious. Ryan was sure that her sister was lying to her.  So Ryan, along with two friends, began an investigation.

A Family of Strangers is an enjoyable read. There are several surprises in this mystery. The pace, however, slows the story down at times. 

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

~4 out of 5 stars~

 

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Bio

Emilie Richards is the USA Today bestselling author of seventy plus novels in several different genres including romance, mystery and women’s fiction. Published in more than twenty-one countries and sixteen languages, her most recent novel is The Swallow’s Nest, a June 2017 trade paperback and hardcover release from Mira Books. She’s won the RITA from Romance Writers of America and multiple awards from RT Book Reviews, including one for career achievement. Ten of her books have been made into television movies in Germany. 

Emilie finds relationships of all kinds intriguing and perplexing, and exploring that great diversity of possibilities is her passion. Having lived in nine states and briefly in Australia, she’s also determined to discover how the places we live help make us the people we are.

Right now Emilie divides her time between Sarasota, Florida and Chautauqua, New York, when she and her husband aren’t visiting their four children and grandchildren

 

 

 

 

 

#Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner–Review–4 Stars–#NetGalley

Mrs. Everything::.jpg 850.jpgJennifer Weiner’s Newest Release–Coming 6/11/19!

 

Mrs. Everything tells the story of two sisters, with very different personalities and struggles. Jo, the oldest sister, was a tomboy, and at odds with her mother most of the time.  Bethie, on the other hand, was the princess of the family, and their mother’s favorite daughter. The girl’s father showered the two sisters with love. But, he took Jo under his wing, and protected her, when her mother was being exceptionally unreasonable and wrathful.

Jo and Bethie both made it to adulthood, but not before life’s hardships and trials battered and bruised them. After being weighted down with dark secrets, emotional scars and baggage, acceptance and healing for the sisters were within reach. 

Mrs. Everything would make a great book-club choice. There are several areas of interest in this book, growing up in the 1950s, complex family relationships, homosexuality, dark secrets, and self-acceptance. Although the book covers serious subjects and brings the reader through a gamut of emotions, it’s not a depressing read. The author sprinkles humor throughout the book. Mrs. Everything is an enjoyable and thoughtful read.

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

~4 out of 5 stars~

 

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Bio (from author’s page on Amazon)

Jennifer Weiner is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of fourteen books, including Good in Bed, The Littlest Bigfoot, and her memoir Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing. A graduate of Princeton University and contributor to the New York Times Opinion section, Jennifer lives with her family in Philadelphia. Visit her online at JenniferWeiner.com

#Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin–Review–4 stars–#NetGalley

Mistress of the Ritz::.jpg 850.jpgMelanie Benjamin’s Newest Novel–Coming 5/21/19!

 

Mistress of the Ritz is an engrossing historical fiction novel. It tells the story of Blanche and Claude Auzello during WWII, in occupied France. After a quick, whirlwind romance in Paris, Claude and Blanche married. Claude never considered the possibility that his new American wife would have difficulty in accepting her role as a French wife. He should have. Claude expected Blanche to cook, clean, satisfy his needs, and then look the other way when he took a mistress. Blanche assumed that her husband would be faithful to her. She realized too late that she’d made a big mistake. Although their marriage was turbulent, bitter, and hurtful, they stayed together.

Blanche enjoyed her role as mistress of the Ritz until the Nazis stormed in, took over, and used the Ritz as their headquarters. During the German Occupation, the Auzello’s marriage difficulties rose to a new destructive level. Blanche looked upon her husband with disgust whenever he bowed to the Nazis and fretted over them. She was also fed up with him leaving in the middle of the night to be with another woman. So, Blanche changed, made friends, drank, and worked on a new purpose for her life. And, Claude didn’t like it one bit. Claude really wanted to tell Blanche his secret. He wasn’t convinced though, that she was trustworthy enough. What Claude didn’t realize was, that Blanche was hiding something as well. A secret, that was as dangerous, and risky as his own.

Although the pace of the book slows down at times, it is still captivating and enjoyable. If you love reading WWII historical fiction books, this may be just the read for you.  

Thank you, Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy.

~4 out of 5 stars~

 

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Bio (from author’s page on Amazon)

Melanie Benjamin was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. An avid reader all her life–as a child, she was the proud winner, several years running, of the summer reading program at her local library–she still firmly believes that a lifetime of reading is the best education a writer can have.

While attending Indiana University–Purdue University at Indianapolis, Melanie performed in many community theater productions before meeting her husband, moving to the Chicago area and raising two sons. Writing was always beckoning, however, and soon she began writing for local magazines and newspapers before venturing into her first love, fiction.

By combining her passion for history and biography, she has found her niche writing historical fiction, concentrating on the “stories behind the stories.” Her most recent novel, THE GIRLS IN THE PICTURE, tells the fascinating and timely story of the first true female partnership – and enduring friendship – in Hollywood, between the silent film star Mary Pickford and her collaborator (and first woman to win an Academy Award for Best Screenplay), Frances Marion. 

Her previous novels, THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE, and THE AVIATOR’S WIFE, were New York Times, USA Today and IndieBound best sellers. Her first novel, ALICE I HAVE BEEN, was a national bestseller; this was followed by the critically acclaimed THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MRS. TOM THUMB. Her next novel will be out in May, 2019. 

She and her family still live in the Chicago area; when she’s not writing, she’s gardening, taking long walks, rooting for the Cubs–

And reading, of course.

 

#Sunset Beach by Mary Kay Andrews–Review–4.5 Stars–#NetGalley

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A well-written, romantic, and captivating cozy mystery.

Coming 5/7/19

 

Drue hadn’t seen her father for over twenty years. Her parents divorced when she was very young, and her dad had never been part of her life. So when he showed up at her mom’s funeral, Drue was taken back. She was especially suspicious when he offered her a job. Drue accepted the offer, however. Because how bad could working be in a legal office? But when Drue started at her position, she was blown away. Not only was her high school frenemy her superior, but she was also married to Drue’s father. That, however, would only be the first of many surprises.

While Drue was working, she noticed how rude and unfair some of her dad’s clients were being treated. But after becoming emotionally involved with one of the clients, Drue started her own investigation. She discovered a missing person’s file in a place it should never have been. Her research was bringing up more questions than answers. And, in some way, Dru knew her father was involved. But to what degree? Drue was determined to find out.

Sunset Beach has a bit of everything in it, intrigue, humor, and romance. Very well done.

Thank you, St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy.

~4.5 out of 5 stars~

 

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Bio (from author’s page on Amazon)

Mary Kay Andrews is the New York Times bestselling author of The High Tide Club, The Beach House Cookbook, The Weekenders, Beach Town, Save the Date, Christmas Bliss, Ladies’ Night, Spring Fever, and Summer Rental, all from St. Martin’s Press, as well as Savannah Breeze, Blue Christmas Hissy Fit, Little Bitty Lies and Savannah Blues, all Harper Collins. On May 7, 2019, St. Martin’s Press will release her 26th novel, SUNSET BEACH

A former reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, she wrote ten critically acclaimed mysteries, including the Callahan Garrity mystery series, originally under her real name, Kathy Hogan Trocheck. The Callahan mysteries were recently re-released by Harper Collins, as Mary Kay Andrews writing as Kathy Hogan Trocheck. 

A native of St. Petersburg, FL (and a diplomate of the Maas Bros. Department Store School of Charm), she started her professional journalism career in Savannah, GA, where she covered the real-life murder trials which were the basis of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. 

As a lifelong “junker” the author claims to know the location of every promising thrift store, flea market and junkpile in the southeastern United States, plus many parts of Ohio. 

She has a B.A. in newspaper journalism from The University of Georgia (go Dawgs!), and is a frequent writing teacher and lecturer at workshops and book festivals.

Married to her high school sweetheart, she is the mother of two grown children and a proud grandmother. When not on book tour, she divides her time between Atlanta and Tybee Island, GA.

 

#The Abolitionist’s Daughter by Diane C. McPhail–#NetGalley–Review-4 Stars

the abolitionists daughter::.jpg 850.jpgA Story of Forgiveness, Redemption, and Love–  

Coming 4/30/19

 

The Abolitionist’s Daughter takes place in Greensboro, Mississippi, during the Civil War. Judge Matthews despised slavery, with a passion, yet he owned an abundance of slaves. Some might think that he was a hypocrite, but he wasn’t. The judge would buy slaves who were severely abused by their owners or about to be separated from their families. He would educate the slaves and care for their needs. And, even though it was illegal to grant slaves their freedom, the judge prepared freedom papers for each one. He wanted to be ready, for whenever their liberation day came. His daughter, Emily, was his best advocate. The judge worried, however, that his controversial anti-slavery practices lessened the number of suitors for his daughter. He was right. So when a young doctor, Charles Slate, asked to marry Emily, the judge readily gave his consent. He feared, however, that he might have made a mistake. 

Ms. McPhail crafts The Abolitionist’s Daughter with enough authentic details, and local dialect, that the characters came to life. She also depicts the ugliness and horrors of slavery in this story, as well as the kind and understanding way some owners cared for their slaves. This book is about love, loyalty, forgiveness, abuse, and redemption. I found the pacing slow at times, but the story captivating. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this historical fiction novel.  

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

~4 out of 5 stars~

 

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Bio (from author’s page on Amazon)

Diane C. McPhail is an artist, writer, and minister. In addition to holding an M.F.A., an M.A., and D.Min., she has studied at the University of Iowa distance learning and the Yale Writers’ Workshop, among others. Diane is a member of North Carolina Writers’ Network and the Historical Novel Society. She lives in Highlands, North Carolina, with her husband, and her dog, Pepper.

#The View from Alameda Island by Robyn Carr–Review–4.5 stars-#NetGalley

the view from almeda island:::::.jpg 850.jpgDon’t Miss Robyn Carr’s Newest Novel–Coming 4/30/19!

 

The View from Alameda Island is an engaging, well-written, character-driven novel. It is a book about toxic marriages, self-centeredness, blended families, guilt, and healing. 

Beau and Lauren have suffered under abusive spouses for years. But when the two of them decided that it was time to end their toxic marriages, their spouses couldn’t believe, that they were being dumped.

Once the decision to divorce was made, life became very tough for both Beau and Lauren. The two of them had met by accident but became close friends and great support for one another. Their soon to be ex-spouses, became vicious, in unexpected, and unlawful ways. Although The View from Alameda Island is a bit over-the-top, it does, however, shine a spotlight on the ugly agony that a family unit breakup causes. It also shows the reader that although it is painful to leave toxic relationships, there is life and healing after them.

Thank you, Mira Publishing and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy. I loved it.

~4.5 out of 5 stars~

 

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Bio (from author’s page on Amazon)

Robyn Carr is a RITA® Award-winning, eleven-time #1 New York Times bestselling author of almost sixty novels, including the critically acclaimed Virgin River series. The third novel (THE FAMILY GATHERING) in her fan-favorite new series, Sullivan’s Crossing, will be released in April 2018. Robyn is a recipient of the Romance Writers of America Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award 2016 and in 2017, VIRGIN RIVER was named one of the HarperCollins 200 Iconic Books of the past 200 years. Robyn and her husband live in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can visit Robyn Carr’s website at http://www.RobynCarr.com.

 

#The Ash Family by Molly Dektar–Review 4-Stars-#NetGalley

The Ash Family::.jpg 850.jpgNew Release-The Ash Family-by Molly Dektar—4/9/19

 

Nineteen-year-old Berie was on her way to college when a charismatic man, she met, changed her mind. Bay represented everything that Berie was looking for, freedom, saving the environment, and belonging to a family. Even though Beri’s mother worked, scraped, and sacrificed to send her daughter to college, Berie followed her new friend Bay, instead. 

Beri was told she could stay at the Ash farm for three days or for the rest of her life. When Beri decided to stay on, she was accepted into the Ash family and given a new name. It was a culture shock, at first, for Beri, when she was required to relinquish her possessions, work long hours on the farm, and bathe only once a week. But, once Beri, aka Harmony, had the new routine down, she felt good. And, the longer Harmony stayed, the more comfortable she became with the leader’s strange thinking, and the Ash family’s backward way of doing things. It was all wonderful until Harmony realized that when people left the farm, they usually didn’t survive. 

I enjoyed this book and found the storyline fascinating. I am always amazed at how easy it is for some people to accept a cult’s teaching and then become trapped in that lifestyle. A friend tried to help Harmony escape, but it was the Ash family’s leader who had Harmony’s loyalty. 

Thank you,  Simon & Schuster and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy.

~4 out of 5 stars~

 

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Bio (from author’s page on Amazon)

Molly Dektar is from North Carolina and lives in Brooklyn. She received her MFA from Brooklyn College, where she was awarded the Himan Brown Award and the Brooklyn College Scholarship for Fiction. She is a graduate of Harvard College and was the recipient of the Louis Begley Fiction Prize, the David McCord Prize for the Arts, and the Charles Edmund Horman Prize for Creative Writing. The Ash Family is her first novel.