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text 2017-04-26 00:29
The Night The Lights Went Out
The Night the Lights Went Out - Karen White

There is also a giveaway for her book on my blog:  FLIGHT PATTERNS.

 

http://silversolara.blogspot.com

 


A new town, a new home, a friend you really don't want, a blog that tells the town's gossip, and Merilee has to deal with all of this along with her divorced husband and his pregnant girlfriend.

Living in Sweet Apple, Georgia, seemed like a good town to start over and for the most part it was.

Merilee was renting a house on the property of the town's oldest citizen, Sugar Preston.  Sugar was portrayed as anything but sweet, but actually she was.

Merilee and Sugar became friends and shared stories from Sugar's childhood that made sense as to why Sugar was the way she was.

Sugar and quite a few town residents had secrets, and now that Merilee arrived in town, the anonymous blog writer had more ammunition for her daily posts and Southern sayings.

As Sugar knew, there were more people in this town that had better stories than Merilee had.  Sugar's past was a soap opera in itself and filled with stories but no one dared to tell them except Sugar herself and many stories were told for the first time to Merilee.

Totally and completely enjoyed the characters and the story line of THE NIGHT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT.  Sugar was very lovable, Merilee was sweet, and I didn't like Heather from the minute I met her.

Readers of women's fiction will again be transported back to the days of Southern ​hospitality and then brought back to current day with women who keep secrets and have everything and like to flaunt it.

Ms. White has done it again with a marvelous story filled with wonderful characters with Southern charm​.  If you have ever read any of Karen White's books, you will love this book just like all of her books and not want to put the book down.

I have LOVED all of Ms. White's books, but this has to be my all-time favorite. 5/5​

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

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review 2017-04-11 12:24
The Night the Lights Went Out
The Night the Lights Went Out - Karen White

ISBN: 9780451488381

Publisher: Berkley 

Publication Date: 4/11/2017 

Format: Hardcover 

My Rating: 5 Stars + + +

 

Top Books of 2017

* Join Me. Blog Tour Host April 11 * THE NIGHT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT It’s the first novel Karen has set in her hometown of Atlanta. We are celebrating every day for two whole weeks!


Destined for the Big Screen (see my cast selection on my blog) The queen of the south, Karen White returns following Flight Patterns on my Top 50 Books of 2016 with the highly anticipated THE NIGHT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT.

As sweet as a Georgia peach, and as scandalous as Desperate Housewives’ Wisteria Lane, and Big Little Lies. Set aside the time, readers . . . you are going to love Sugar!

The Southern Queen B has created her best yet! Yay Atlanta . . . From the stunning WOW cover and the memorable characters, Karen White grabs you and pulls you into this Southern suburban neighborhood filled with drama, revenge, secrets and lies, while exploring the true meaning of friendship. It is not always as it appears.

Alternating between the 1930s Depression-era Georgia and a modern-day 2016 Sweet Apple, Georgia (fictional) suburb of north Atlanta. Let the games begin.

Meet the 3 leading ladies:
• Merilee Talbot Dunlap, newly divorcée, single mom, mysterious past
• Alice Prescott Bates, Matriarch aka Sugar Prescott, landlady
• Heather Blackford, Socialite, beautiful, perfectionist

An anonymous blogger offers up entertaining essential Southernisms any Yankee in the South should know, sprinkled throughout. “It’s never about the secret itself, but the keeping of it.”

From the wealthy private school, social climbing moms to a young single divorced mom who discover (the hard way) . . . the true meaning of friendship and the dangers of deception.

Against the modern-day scandals, we meet matriarch Sugar Prescott who is at the center of the novel. A grounding force. A courageous woman you want on your side. Sugar is wise, and has had her own share of tragedy and can relate to her new tenant, on more than one level.

Merilee Talbot Dunlap had learned in eleven years of marriage, it was the simple fact that you could live with a person for a long time and never really know him. One day the mask slips. Her husband, Michael has an affair with their daughter’s third-grade math teacher, Tammy. Merilee decides she does not want to stay in the house with all the reminders. She was traded in for a younger woman. She needs to escape from all the gossip.

However, she is unaware, it may be the lesser of two evils. What lies ahead at the new location, may be even more devastating.

Merilee is the mother of ten-year-old old daughter Lily and eight-year-old Colin. They were now moving into a quaint furnished Craftsman historic cottage (with a cellar) for tornados, located behind Mrs. Prescott’s farmhouse in Sweet Apple, GA.

The landlord is a southern matriarch and well-respected in the community. Some say she is harsh. She is known as Sugar. She is widowed (Tom was killed in the war) and no children. A mystery to some. Fascinating and eccentric to others.

Sugar Prescott (Alice Prescott Bates) is ninety-four years old (what a great character)! She lives alone in an old farmhouse on her family’s land. Her loyal best friend Willa Faye Mackenzie. Willa Faye moved to a senior living facility. While Sugar was staying put as long, as possible. A realtor had found the young mother and her two children as her new tenants.

Not that she had any desire to befriend her new tenants and neighbor, but Sugar had the feeling that Merilee was suddenly on her own and in need of help. Sugar was in a position, to understand that need more than most. She suspected but would deny if anyone asked, that she was getting soft in her old age.

Of course, Sugar did not realize this single mother would be this young and pretty. Mid-thirties. She wonders what happened to her marriage? Surely the woman had flaws. Sugar soon discovers a few. Heaven forbid, the woman does not even know how to cook, nor does she know her proper Southern graces! Sugar must teach her a thing, or two.

. . . “At least by the end of the day, you’ll know how to bake cookies and fry okra. Because it might be against the law for a Southern-born girl not to know how. Along with changing a tire.” . . .

Despite all her attempts to keep her new tenant at arm’s length, a tenuous connection had been formed. They may have more in common that they may suspect. Merilee at first thinks Sugar is a little strange and is judging her. However, soon their bond strengthens.

The best award-winning part Think: To Kill a Mockingbird This is where White always "shines" with the historical past and dual timelines. Sugar begins telling Merilee bits and pieces of her life on the farm as a girl during the Depression, starting from 1934.

Normally she is closed-mouthed about her past (in a world of oversharing), she likes keeping some things to herself. However, somehow, she feels comfortable opening up to this younger version of herself.

Sugar’s dark life during the Depression in Sweet Apple provides a very different look at life compared to the present-day of the same town, especially those in Heather’s world.

A nice edition to the story: Wade Kimball is Willa Faye’s grandson, and he looks in on Sugar. The developer, and handyman. He helps with any of the maintenance issues for Sugar and her new tenant.

As Merilee and her children begin to get settled in, she meets a variety of moms. One, in particular, Heather, which is like “perfection.” The perfect wife, mother, house, children, food, social standing, glamorous, clothes, and home (s) with the good-looking nice husband, Daniel. Merilee feels inferior next to her.

As the kids become involved in their new school and Merilee in carpools and committees. She just wants to be accepted, like a kid at school. Peer pressure is tough. Soon her daughter comes home and tells her about this anonymous blogger.

It is called: THE PLAYING FIELDS BLOG. Observations of Suburban Life from Sweet Apple, Georgia Written by Your neighbor. Who is this person and how does she know so much about their Sweet Apple lives?

The blogger dishes out a variety of gossip and offers a few Southernism tidbits for all the newbies at the end of each installment. No one knows but they think it could be a mom at Windwood since she seems to know a lot about what goes on at school, the community, and their lives. (yes it is spicy, sassy, and oh so funny)!

In the meantime, the perfectionist mother Heather at school is befriending her. Merilee gets pulled in by the attention and her affluent lifestyle. She has taken her under her wing. Merilee grabs on, desperate for new friends and acceptance. Looks can be deceiving. Of course, Sugar does not trust her. A backstory here. Merilee also has a mysterious past; however, she is not so forthcoming, until it all unravels later.

Between Sugar’s stories from the past, Merilee’s own drama with her wealthy friends in the present; the school, her children, her ex-husband, his girlfriend, and a baby on the way, worrying about measuring up to her new friend Heather, and the constant reminders of her life from an unknown blogger and social media; she feels like she is on a reality TV show.

. . . and there are some other strange happenings. Daniel and Heather are acting weird. Plus, Merilee has her own memories and guilt from the past which may be coming back to haunt her.

Then someone is murdered at the lake house (Lake Lanier). The suspicions are pointing to Merilee. Is someone setting her up? How will she prove she is innocent based on her past? What motive do they have for hurting her?

From murder, attempted murder, revenge, and a tornado. It wouldn’t be the South without a little drama and deceit sprinkled with some sugar. Female friendships are at the heart of this page-turner.

5 Stars +++ Top books of 2017! Move this one to the TOP of your list. You are going to love it! (cover obsession) Karen White just keeps getting better and better.

From southern "grit lit", a murder mystery, historical, women's fiction, domestic suspense, family drama, motherhood, social media, bullying, friendship, romance, humor, contemporary, to psychological and suspense! THE NIGHT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT has it all!

Grab a hammock, a swing, head to the beach, or a front porch rocking chair. Mark out the time and sit back and be prepared to be entertained Southern savvy style!

For my movie cast wishlist and more about this exciting book and author, Visit my Blog

A special thank you to Berkley and NetGalley for an early reading copy. I also purchased the audiobook for an outstanding Southern performance.

JDCMustReadBooks 

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Karen White is one of my favorite southern writers. As a Southerner, myself, (NC/SC, GA, FL), she makes us proud. BTW, now I know where she gets her beauty . . . from Mississippi, of course.

Book Giveaway Contest
Congrats to the winner: Amy Sullivan, Prescott Valley AZ! In celebration of upcoming blog tour:Book Giveaway April 4-11 Flight Patterns  now in paperback format, in time for beach weather.  Thanks for all the participation and entries.


I enjoyed the inspiration behind the book and Author Q&A
of what's coming next. Atlanta Magazine

Audiobook: I am currently listening. So good. Listen to Clip
Narrated by: Carolyn Cook , Susan Larkin, Tiffany Morgan.

Driving Tour with Karen Watch Video From Rena Olsen.

For more Blog Tour author tidbits

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/11/20/The-Night-the-Lights-Went-Out
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review 2017-03-09 18:47
The Guests on South Battery (Tradd Street #5) by Karen White
The Guests on South Battery (Tradd Street) - Karen White

Karen White did not let me down with this the 5th book in the Tradd Street Series. I love how well this series is written. How as she adds new characters she keeps the old ones the same. I love love love the ghosts. Ghosts are my favorite form of the paranormal genre. I also love the mystery she adds to each of the Tradd Street books.

In this book Melanie is going back to work after her marriage to Jack and the birth of their twins. Her first client on her first day has inherited and old house from someone she has never met.

Jayne Smith has no desire to own much less live in the old house so she sees Melanie to help her sell the house and to find her a new modern house. She is also looking for a job as a Nanny and Melanie just happens to be looking for one for the twins.

Melanie, Jayne and others go to the old hour to decide what to do with it. What needs to be fixed, what needs to be tossed, and what needs to be kept. The Cat is the first thing that needs to go. Melanie and Jayne see the cat but no one else does. The cat is just the first ghost that appears. Melanie during her pregnancy lost her ability to see ghosts but now that sh is no longer pregnant the sight is slowly coming back, but she still feels at times a curtain has been pulled down. So she also asks her mother for help.

I did have some idea as to how the story was going to end early int he book was was still surprised about a few things they uncovered later in the story. I really like Karen Whites writing style and as long as she writes the Tradd Street Series I will greedily grabbing up her books.

I did listen to this books audio version. I was driving home from my Daughter's by myself. It is an 8 hour trip and Melanie and the gang kept me company and entertained the whole way. Definitely made the trip go a lot faster.

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review 2017-03-03 08:28
The Night the Lights Went Out - Karen White

I loved this story. Divorced, Merilee and her two children move to a new Atlanta suburb and is renting a coach house apartment from her landlord, Sugar Prescott. Sugar lives in the big house at the front of the property. Sugar is 97 and her family used to own most of the property around the county. It all having been sold off and developed over the years. So you might say that Sugar is pretty well known. Merilee is divorced because her husband decided that just having an affair with his daughter's third grade math teacher wasn't enough, he wanted more. At least that's what the town blog says. A blog that has just recently started up and keeps everyone informed as to what's going on much to the chagrin of everyone who's mentioned, including Merilee.

Merilee has put the children into a private school where most of the mother's are your typical tennis moms with their outfits, expensive cars, homes, etc. and their leader is named Heather. She makes sure all the mom's sign up for all the committees, etc. She latches onto Merilee on day one and says she's her private project and because Merilee is a working mom, she's going to help her.

Yes, you can tell that Heather is up to something, but your not sure exactly what she's up to. Just that it's something. Yes, I caught onto who Heather really was, but did that kill the ending for me? Not in the least.

Now Sugar is one of those women who like to play it up mean and not show her nice side. However, she just can't help herself with Merilee and her kids. She tells them stories about her life, bakes them sweets, babysits and becomes like their grandma. Merilee tells her stories and they are all like a little family looking out for each other. Sugar reminds me of my granny. Of course, it doesn't start out like that. Sugar is very gruff to begin with, always correcting, never smiling and actually kind of funny in her old ways.

I can't say anymore without spoilers. However, the ending - oh my. The suspense, it felt like my heart was going to come right out of my chest.

This was my first book by this author and I will definitely be looking to read more by Karen White. This book was amazing.

Thanks to Berkley Publishing for approving my request and to Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-01-15 05:26
The Guests on South Battery
The Guests on South Battery (Tradd Street) - Karen White
Tradd Street #5
ISBN: 0451475232
Publisher: Penguin/Berkley
Publication Date: 1/10/2017
Format: Other
My Rating: 4 Stars 
 
The queen of the South, Karen White returns following Flight Patterns (2016) landing on my Top 50 Books of 2016 list and (2014) Return to Tradd Street (Tradd Street, #4) with the continuation THE GUESTS ON SOUTH BATTERY (#5) with more mystery, history, spirits, a twist of paranormal and dark family secrets.
 
"There is always a way to look past the bad to see the good."

Set in the Holy City - historic Charleston, SC, we pick up from the last book with Melanie (Middleton) and Jack Trenholm, settling into marriage with a busy lifestyle and twins, Sarah and JJ (Jack, Jr), and Jack’s daughter, Nola, a sophomore at Ashley Hall. Nola is also interested in a boy named Cooper which Jack must warm up to.

They are the owners of a historic home on Tradd Street (an interesting story from previous books), with its quirks and their dogs. The restless dead had left her along for almost a year as Melanie settled into her new life as wife and mother without the distraction of spirits needing her for something.

Jack is a bestselling author (charming, funny, and irresistible) and Melanie, a successful Realtor, is returning to work after her maternity leave. They are coming up on their first year as parents. Melanie is having a hard time finding and keeping a nanny since she likes things a certain way with her routines. This has been the reason she has been delayed getting back to work, much later than she planned.

Melanie’s first day back, feeling a bit insecure, not having lost all the baby weight, she lands a new client, Jayne Smith from Alabama, who has recently inherited a prominent historic home, the Pinckney mansion. Being an orphan, she is not related to the owner and hates old homes and has never been to Charleston.

She wants Melanie to sell it and find her a new one. Something fresh and new with lots of metal, glass, and stone. Ironically, she is a qualified nanny and does not mind Melanie’s attention to order and details. A match made in heaven.

However, Jayne is not so sure she wants to move into Melanie and Jack’s house since it is also old and historic until she decides about her own living arrangements. However, she soon learns it feels like a home and feels comfortable there.

Melanie and her mom (both with psychic gifts) decide they want to try and discover the past of the house, to warn off the spirits for Jayne to possibly decide to hold on to the home since there was a lot of history. After all, it was on South Battery near the corner of Legare, a huge white house with the portico and columns.

Button Pinckney was an acquaintance of Melanie’s and a good friend of both her mother and mother-in-law. They all went to school at Ashley Hall years ago, and her mom had attended the funeral.

Why would Jayne inherit a home from a stranger? Jayne was raised in the foster care system and was never adopted. Melanie liked her and wants to help. If they can warn off and rid the house of spirits, evil, and ghosts- maybe Jayne will decide to keep the house.

Melanie had a flash of déjà vu, since a man Vanderhorst had left her his crumbling old home that she did not want or need either, not so long ago. She knows all too well about an albatross of a house left to an unsuspecting stranger.

We meet up with Dr. Sophie Wallen-Arasi, professor of historic preservation at the College of Charleston, and Melanie’s mom, Ginette, as well as Melanie’s annoying cousin and Jack’s ex-girlfriend, Rebecca—plus her husband, Marc Longo who stole Jack’s book idea, the story of a disappearance and a murder that occurred in the twenties in her house and made it into a runaway bestseller (with Jack being dropped by his publisher as a result).

An ongoing mystery of the Pickney house. Button never married. She had an older brother-Sumter. He married Anna, another classmate and they had a daughter. She died when she was a child. Anna and Sumter divorced shortly afterward and Anna remained in the house with Button. She died about ten years later. Sumter never remarried and moved to New York after his divorce.

Melanie’s parents have recently remarried and have a good relationship. In the meantime, Melanie lets her old insecurities get in the way making her jump to the wrong conclusions. We also meet up with Detective Thomas Riley and he helps Melanie run a background check on Jayne for the nanny job and he seems to like Jayne. Melanie and Ginette are curious why a generous philanthropist decided to give her entire estate to a deserving orphan.

However, Melanie and Ginette get more than they bargained for with ghosts of the past at the old Pickney mansion. From chilling spirits, haunting ghosts, a cat, a disturbing antique doll, a hanging, a past mental illness, warnings to go away, and desperate cries of help— Jayne, Melanie, and Jayne may have more in common than they may know.
 
Under the mold, falling plaster, spirits of the past, and its sadness, they soon realize there must have been happiness before the tragedy within the walls. It may be worth the chance of a new beginning. Houses are like people. They all deserve a second chance at happiness.

Old secrets which have been buried, all come to the surface. A decades-old mystery to be solved with a shocking conclusion.

As always, Karen White is multi-talented, writing southern women’s fiction, mystery, suspense, paranormal, romance, literary, and historical, crossing many genres. Always love her tales of Charleston and the dark family secrets of the South. I especially loved the reference to Wendy Wax (very cool) —another favorite.

Charleston is such a beautiful city with its historic architecture, and always love catching up with familiar landmarks. Well-crafted and engaging. An intriguing twisty mystery with paranormal elements, enjoy catching up with familiar characters. I enjoy Jack and Melanie’s relationship and the dramas of their lives. If you love history, southern fiction, and ghost stories you will enjoy the series.

Having read and enjoyed all the books in the series, highly recommend them all! In addition to the reading copy, also listened to the audio version (nicely done as always), narrated by Aimée Bruneau, with a charming southern accent.

Looking forward to the next- hoping we hear more about Jayne's mysterious past. 
 
Cannot wait for The Night the Lights Went Out (cover love), Coming April 11, 2017.

A special thank you to Berkley and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

JDCMustReadBooks
Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/06/04/The-Guests-on-South-Battery
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