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#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

#Maybe This Time by Jill Mansell–Review–4 stars–#NetGalley

Maybe this time::.jpg 850.jpgJill Mansell’s Humorous New Release–Coming 6/5/19!

 

Mimi left London to visit her dad. He resided in a small rural English town called Goosebrook. Along the way, Mimi spotted a man wrestling with a sheep. After confronting the man, it became evident that she had misread the situation completely. Cal, however, was sweet to Mimi and eased her embarrassment. Mimi’s mind began to fill with romantic fantasies about Cal until he informed her that he was happily married. Even though Cal’s news crushed Mimi’s spirits, she didn’t allow it to affect their friendship. She also developed a closeness to Cal’s daughter and wife. 

When tragedy struck the small town of Goosebrook, neighbors banned together or disappeared into their own private worlds. Mimi returned to her life in London. And, even though Cal never expressed romantic feelings for Mimi, she obsessed about him anyway. Years later, Mimi traveled back to Goosebrook. And, as expected, people’s lives had changed, including Cal’s. 

Although this book has a thread of sadness running through it, it also has a hefty dose of humor. Most of the characters in this book are likable. Although I didn’t become emotionally invested in any particular character, the story itself was an enjoyable read; captivating and entertaining. Jill Mansell knows how to spin a tale.  

Thank you, Sourcebooks-Landmark and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy.

~4 out of 5 stars~

 

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#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.

 

#Have You Seen Luis Velez? by Catherine Ryan Hyde-Review-5 Stars

Have You Seen Luis Velez:.jpg 850.jpgOutstanding New Novel by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Coming  5/21/19

 

Have you seen Luis Velez?,  is a thoughtful, heartfelt, and moving story. 

Most of the time, seventeen-year-old Raymond Jaffe felt like an outcast. But, when Raymond met his 92-year-old blind neighbor and befriended her; tormenting thoughts of being different or invisible, no longer concerned him. At first, Raymond assisted the elderly woman out of kindness, but Raymond quickly discovered, that he enjoyed her company. With Mrs. G, Raymond felt for the first time by an adult, understood. And because of his fondness for his neighbor, Raymond was determined to relieve her of her main worry. He wanted to find Luis Velez; Mrs. G’s dearest friend and caretaker. Mrs. G feared that something awful had happened to Luis. Unfortunately, she was right.  

Although Raymond learned some painful life lessons; he also discovered the healing balm of acceptance. It was while he was stepping out of his comfort zone, to help another, that self-confidence took root. And, while empathizing with Mrs. G, Raymond found that he was able to stand up for what was right, without fear. But, what surprised Raymond, the most was, that he no longer, felt invisible, especially around his family. 

Although unkindness is rampant in the world, there is also a lot of good. Sometimes grief and hardship overshadow what is positive in life. This book reminds us that although life is difficult, love and kindness can be found everywhere. Raymond thought of himself as unimportant. But, to Mrs. G, Raymond was a hero. He literally changed her life, and in doing so, transformed his own.  Have You Seen Luis Velez?, is a heartwarming, quality novel. It’s a story you won’t want to miss.

Thank you, Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

~5 out of 5 stars~

 

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Bio (from author’s page on Amazon)

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of more than 35 published and forthcoming books, including JUST AFTER MIDNIGHT, HEAVEN ADJACENT, THE WAKE UP, ALLIE AND BEA, SAY GOODBYE FOR NOW, LEAVING BLYTHE RIVER, ASK HIM WHY, WORTHY, THE LANGUAGE OF HOOFBEATS, TAKE ME WITH YOU, WHEN I FOUND YOU, WALK ME HOME, and DON’T LET ME GO. 

An avid hiker, traveler, equestrian, and amateur photographer, she has released her first book of photos, 365 DAYS OF GRATITUDE: PHOTOS FROM A BEAUTIFUL WORLD.

She is co-author, with fellow author and publishing industry blogger Anne R. Allen, of HOW TO BE A WRITER IN THE E-AGE: A SELF-HELP GUIDE.

Her novel PAY IT FORWARD was adapted into a major motion picture, chosen by the American Library Association for its Best Books for Young Adults list, and translated into more than 23 languages for distribution in over 30 countries. The paperback was released in October 2000 by Pocket Books and quickly became a national bestseller. Simon & Schuster released PAY IT FORWARD: YOUNG READERS’ EDITION in August of ’14. It is suitable for kids as young as eight. A special Fifteenth Anniversary Edition of the original PAY IT FORWARD was released in December of ’14

LOVE IN THE PRESENT TENSE enjoyed bestseller status in the UK, where it broke the top ten, spent five weeks on the bestseller lists, was reviewed on a major TV book club, and shortlisted for a Best Read of the Year award at the British Book Awards. Both BECOMING CHLOE and JUMPSTART THE WORLD were included on the ALA’s Rainbow List, and JUMPSTART THE WORLD was a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards. WHERE WE BELONG won two Rainbow Awards in 2013 and THE LANGUAGE OF HOOFBEATS won a Rainbow Award in 2015.

New Kindle editions of her backlist titles FUNERALS FOR HORSES, EARTHQUAKE WEATHER AND OTHER STORIES, ELECTRIC GOD, and WALTER’S PURPLE HEART are now available. Also available is THE LONG, STEEP PATH: EVERYDAY INSPIRATION FROM THE AUTHOR OF PAY IT FORWARD, her first book-length creative nonfiction. 

More than 50 of her short stories have been published in The Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train and many other journals, and in the anthologies Santa Barbara Stories and California Shorts and the bestselling anthology Dog is my Co-Pilot. Her stories have been honored in the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest and the Tobias Wolff Award and nominated for Best American Short Stories, the O’Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Three have been cited in Best American Short Stories.

She is founder and former president (2000-2009) of the Pay It Forward Foundation, and still serves on its board of directors. As a professional public speaker she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with Americorps members at the White House and shared a dais with Bill Clinton. 

For more information and book club questions, please visit the author at catherineryanhyde.com

#A Shattered Lens by Layton Green–Review–4.5 Stars

 

A shattered lens...:.:.jpg 850.jpgA Compelling New Release by Layton Green–Coming 5/28/19!

 

Joe Everson aka Preach was the best detective in Creekville, North Carolina.  Joe returned to Creekville, after fighting crime in Atlanta for a decade, where gangs, drugs, and murder ran rampant. Creekville was supposed to be easy.  And, it was, mostly. Until David, a young high school football star was murdered. The boy, Preach discovered, was the son of Claire Lourdis, the unattainable girl, he lusted after in high school. 

Preach loved his girlfriend, Ari, and thought their relationship was on solid ground, until Claire, fell into his arms. Ari ordinarily was not the jealous type, but when she found intimate texts from Claire on Preach’s phone, Ari felt betrayed. She thought she knew Preach pretty well; apparently, she didn’t. And, it hurt—a lot.

Preach knew that he should recuse himself from the case, but he just couldn’t do it. Claire needed the best. And, Preach was it.  So, Preach stayed with it, even though, meeting up with Claire was fracturing his relationship with Ari. But when fingers started to point to Claire making her a suspect, Preach didn’t know what to think. Could the woman he once cared for, murder her son? He didn’t think so. But then again, did he really know her? Would Preach be able to handcuff Claire and bring her in for questioning? He hoped he didn’t have to find out. 

If you enjoy well-written police procedurals, then this book is definitely worth checking out.  A Shattered Lens is a captivating novel, crafted with twists, turns, and surprises. 

Thank you, Seventh Street Books and Layton Green, 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)

Layton is a bestselling author who writes across multiple genres, including mystery, thriller, suspense, horror, and fantasy. He is the author of the popular Dominic Grey series, as well as other works of fiction. His novels have been optioned for film, nominated for multiple awards (including a two-time finalist for an International Thriller Writers award), and have reached #1 on numerous genre lists in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Layton is also the co-editor of International Thrills, an online magazine for ITW (International Thriller Writers) that interviews crime authors from around the world.

In addition to writing, Layton attended law school in New Orleans and was a practicing attorney for the better part of a decade. He has also been an intern for the United Nations, an ESL teacher in Central America, a bartender in London, a seller of cheap knives on the streets of Brixton, a door to door phone book deliverer in Florida, and the list goes downhill from there.

Layton lives with his family in North Carolina. You can also visit him on Facebook, Goodreads, or on his website (www.laytongreen.com).

 

#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.

 

#I’m Fine And Neither Are You by Camille Pagan–Review 4 Stars–#NetGalley

I'm Fine and Neither are You 850.jpgNew Release From Camille Pagan–Out Now!

 

I’m fine And Neither Are You is a humorous, but poignant tale about friends, secrets, and honesty.  Penelope Ruiz-Kar is overwhelmed. Her husband Sanjay is not pulling his weight.  Although Sanjay is a stay at home dad and writer, Penelope does the cooking, cleaning, disciplining of the children, as well as working a full-time, high-stress job. She’s tired, frustrated, and overwhelmed. Penelope’s only life-line was her best friend, Jenny Sweet; a person whom Penelope could share everything with. But when tragedy struck the Sweet family, Penelope realized, that she didn’t know her best friend at all.

Having lost Jenny, Penelope approached her husband about improving their relationship. The couple decided to write a short list of things each one, would like the other, to change. They also agreed on complete honesty. What Penelope didn’t count on, however, was Sanjay harboring a stinging, hurtful secret.  

I’m Fine And Neither Are You is a well-written story. Camille Pagan balances effortlessly, difficult subjects with humor.  Although this is not my favorite novel by this author, it is a captivating, insightful, and enjoyable read.

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

~4 out of 5 stars~

 

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Bio (from author’s page on Amazon)

Camille Pagán is the #1 Amazon Kindle bestselling author of five novels, including I’m Fine and Neither Are You, and Life and Other Near-Death Experiences, which was recently optioned for film. Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages. A journalist and former magazine editor, Pagán has written for the New York Times; O, The Oprah Magazine; Parade; Real Simple; Time; and many other publications and websites. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with her family. You can visit her online at http://www.camillepagan.com