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review 2017-04-22 03:21
One Good Thing
One Good Thing (Ten Beach Road Novel) - Wendy Wax
Ten Beach Road Novel #5
ISBN:  978-0451488619
Publisher: Berkley 
Publication Date:  4/25/2017
Format: Other
My Rating:  4.5 Stars 

 

Southern storyteller, Wendy Wax returns following Sunshine Beach #4 Top Book of 2016 with my favorite summer series ONE GOOD THING (#5 Ten Beach Road). We continue the journey with the gals, each at a crossroad both personally and professionally, with critical decisions to be made.

A tale of four women trying to rebuild more than their lives. Before you can fix it up, you might have to tear it down…

From friendships, humor, loyalty, and self-discovery — each of the characters is looking for “one good thing” to be thankful for their nightly gathering discussion. However, with everything going on and so many unsettled issues, often they find it hard to think of the good, versus the bad happenings.

This time around, Maddie, Kyra, Avery, and Niki receive a surprise visit from their former investor/sponsor and friend, Bitsy Baynard (Palm Beach matron).

Unfortunately, her husband decides to take all his wealthy wife’s money and makes off with a younger woman, leaving her penniless and homeless. Bitsy is too proud to tell the gals what is going on in her perfect life and shows up looking for a place to stay with her dog.

Bitsy assumes she can have the money back she invested in the project, which of course is still tied up. Her pampered rich lifestyle is no longer and she is forced to move into the small one bedroom Sunshine Hotel cottage, which is quite small since meant to be a vacation cottage, not for year-round living, especially someone like Bitsy.

 




She had an Ivy League education and has volunteered to coordinate galas and events over the years and she knew how to hire help. However, she has no marketable job skills. At her age, was going to be hard to start over with nothing.

All the characters’ lives are up in the air. They are unsure what is going on with the TV show, and at the same time, they need to sell off the last real estate design project/real estate to pay their debts and not risk losing Bella Flora.

Madeline Singer and William Hightower (age 62) are back. William is on the road with his music career and wants Madeline to come along as they continue their relationship. However, she has her own life even though it is difficult to spend time apart.

However, she worries about him out of the road without her and all the women and his addiction; and having to communicate with his new assistant. They are trying to grab any time they can to be together. (love this couple)

They all had suffered from the Malcolm Dyer’s Ponzi scheme; however, they had become stronger and bonded when they started over with their TV show, Do Over. Rebuilding their lives. However, life has its ups and down.

The ladies had recently renovated the Sunshine Hotel and hoped would be their own version of Do Over. They had quit the network publicly and they were being sued for breach of contract and claiming that the name Do Over does not belong to them.

 



Kyra has put up the house as collateral to have money for their projects until the cottages sold/and the show they had filmed. Daniel, her celebrity husband gave her the house to live in with her mom and dad and son, Dustin. She has kept this as a secret until things worked out. Plus he wants to turn Dustin into a Hollywood star.

Their only real hope of income was finishing and selling the documentary of their renovation of the midcentury Sunshine Hotel, featuring the reopened investigation into the mysterious death and disappearance that had taken place there. They were all under a lot of pressure, which did not make for a whole lot of creative thinking.

Nikki is pregnant with twins and is miserable with her hormones, weight gain, and the summer heat. Joe (FBI) and Nikki have moved in together in one of the new cottages at the Sunshine Hotel. However, he and his family are pressuring her to get married before the babies are born. After the problems with her brother, she is unsure of her capability of being the perfect wife and mother.

Avery is dealing with her boyfriend, Chase’s teenage son’s drinking problems, and his erratic behavior. Maddie’s ex-husband Steve is still hanging around; however, has his real estate license now, and trying to help sell the cottages.

However, the gals will need to pull together and utilize all their creative skills in order to survive the storms and surprises of life. They each must be strong and be able to always come up with a least One Good Thing!

PS This series reminds me a little of Schitt's Creek which I love, and cannot wait for Season 4! (watched every episode). Both are about having it all, losing it, and starting over in an entirely different direction. Humorous and heartwarming.

Love these ladies. This time around the gals have more challenges than usual and have not moved on to a new exciting project yet, dealing with things left over from the last book.

Even though this installment did not offer the same excitement as the others, I enjoyed it and again found Maddie to be my favorite character. However, also nice to see Bitsy realize her worth when having to do without money. A good example of the resilience of women when faced with challenges of life, mixed with humor.

My #OneGoodThing is being able to live in South Florida overlooking the water; work from home office in a T-shirt, leggings, and flip flops!

Highly recommend this talented Atlanta Southern Author and all the books in the series. A perfect beach read. As always love the Florida coastal setting and familiar places. Looking forward to seeing what is coming next for these four ladies!

 



Ten Beach Road #1
Ocean Beach #2
Christmas at the Beach #2.5
The House on Mermaid Point #3
Sunshine Beach #4

A special thank you to Berkley and NetGalley for an early reading copy. (cover love)!

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/09/02/One-Good-Thing
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review 2017-04-19 15:54
Luck in the Shadows (Flewelling)
Luck in the Shadows - Lynn Flewelling

Back before I discovered the amazing and sometimes awful world of slash fanfiction, I grew interested in a somewhat similar phenomenon, though more muted, in published science fiction and fantasy by women, featuring gender transgressions (well, transgressions in those days) amongst mostly male characters. Marion Zimmer Bradley, Ursula Le Guin, Storm Constantine and others seemed to me the late twentieth century successors to a conversation that started with homoerotic undercurrents in the work of sentimental historical novelists like D.K. Broster.

 

The first two novels of this series were recommended to me long ago (though I can't remember by whom) as being in that same fantasy tradition. This first in the series, which I enjoyed, barely merits the "homoerotic" tag - we have only the beginnings of sexual awareness in the youthful protagonist, Alec, and a little bit of reported, suppressed attraction from the himself attractive somewhat older man, Seregil. What it does have is lots of solid world-building, along with a good cast of supporting characters, including a number of strong and disparate women. If I had a quibble at all, and it only occurred at the end, it was that the plot, which I found well-paced, was in fact rather obviously divided in two, with a detailed set-up of a dark magic threat in the first half, not fully resolved but then lost in the political/fraudulent machinations of the nobles in the second half. A serious threat to Seregil is averted in each half, but how or whether the two strands are otherwise connected has yet to be revealed. In a fantasy series, I'm much more inclined to forgive this kind of partial lack of conclusion, because the series, obviously, has to continue.

 

By and large the writing was good and the tone well-maintained. I was very occasionally lifted away from the page by some lapse into slanginess that I would have queried if I had been editing the book. If I've been stingy with my stars (as usual), it is only because I am anticipating with some pleasure that I may be able to push the rating up when Seregil and Alec achieve more of their destiny in the next book.

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review 2017-04-09 05:52
The Widow of Wall Street
The Widow of Wall Street: A Novel - Randy Susan Meyers

By:  Randy Susan Meyers

ISBN: 9781501131349

Publisher:  Atria Books

Publication Date: 4/11/2017 

Format:  Hardcover

My Rating: 5 Stars 

 

Randy Susan Myers returns following Accidents of Marriage (2014) with her latest riveting domestic suspense, THE WIDOW OF WALL STREET bold and edgy an inside look at betrayal in a marriage.

The blind love, lies, dark secrets; the unraveling, devastation, and the need to rebuild a life after the fallout of Wall Street and a fraudulent husband's Ponzi scheme. Was the wife living in denial?

Phoebe and Jake met when they were teens. Jake and Phoebe come from different backgrounds. Jake is obsessed with money and success. He wants and needs a different future than his childhood. He thinks this will earn him the respect he craves.

Phoebe makes a wrong decision, leading her to guilt and loyalty to Jake. They marry, despite her overbearing mom’s warning.

He soon excels and opens a brokerage house. Things go well. However, soon greed, power, and money get in the way. He is dishonest. He thinks it is temporary. He has a private fund. A Ponzi scheme. A crime soon to be uncovered. The time bomb. Fraud.

Phoebe is blind to it all. The money is flowing – wealth, prestige, homes, and power,

Starting from Nov 2009, we learn Jake is now in prison. They have lost everything. Phoebe takes a Greyhound bus to the upstate NY correctional prison. She despises him. He still has her under his thumb, worrying about what she is wearing and appearances. He still has not acknowledged his part in the disaster.

However, Phoebe is struggling. She has taken her husband’s side over her children, causing a huge strain. Her children are strangers to her now. She must face Jake’s crime. The wife of a demon.

Her entire marriage had been a battle against being known only as Jake’s wife—now she feared the battle could be over for good. She had become a widow to a living man and a childless mother.

How did they get to this place? People wondered if she knew. Was she this naïve? She trusted this man. Her life is shattered. How many people has he fooled? A monster.

The author takes us back to the early days to the 1960s, where we hear from two points of view: Phoebe and Jake. The roller coaster ride from mansions, and wealth to prison.

When yet another tragedy occurs, Phoebe is forced to make a decision. She has to cut Jake free, even though he felt he could straddle the world on other’s people’s legs. Love and loss. Survival. He had squandered and cheated people and fooled millionaires, and lessons never learned.

Can Phoebe survive this disaster and come out whole once again? A different person perhaps?

The author does an outstanding job with the couple's journey from both perspectives. What a ride. The dark secrets of a husband and his scheming. A financial empire crumbling. The betrayal. From domestic suspense to psychological.

If you enjoyed the Madoff miniseries, (good), assured to find THE WIDOW OF WALL STREET engaging. Of course, in Palm Beach we hear his name often; however, Trump has taken over the spotlight here on the island.

Randy Susan Myers tackles highly charged topics, telling deeply personal stories of women. Their complexities, fear, pride and despair are woven brilliantly into the absorbing narrative.

Fans of Jodi Picoult, Diane Chamberlain, (A Stolen Marriage) Kimberly S. Belle (The Marriage Lie) and Liane Moriarty (Big Little Lies) will appreciate the complex relationships and the emotional inner lives of women in crisis.

Read the backstory.

A special thank you to Atria and NetGalley for an early reading copy.

JDCMustReadBooks

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/09/01/The-Widow-of-Wall-Street
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review 2017-04-08 21:53
The Hideaway
The Hideaway - Lauren K. Denton

By: Lauren K. Denton 

ISBN: 9780718084226

Publisher: Thomas Nelson--FICTION

Publication Date: 4/11/2017 

Format: Paperback 

My Rating:  5 Stars 

 

Top Southern Debut 2017! 

 

“A story both powerful and enchanting: a don’t-miss novel in the greatest southern traditions of storytelling.” —Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author

 

 

Storyteller Lauren K. Denton, a new voice in Southern fiction delivers a smashing debut, THE HIDEAWAY. Making me want to return to my southern front porch and curl up for a long leisurely nostalgic afternoon while being transported with this beautiful love story.

My vote for Southern Debut of 2017!

Set in Sweet Bay, Alabama in the Deep South, we meet Dot, a friend of Mags (Mrs. Margaret Van Buren), a tenant of The Hideaway. The Hideaway was once a booming Bed and Breakfast; however, over the years it has turned into a home for eccentric seniors (bohemian) style, artists, and the free-spirted looking for an escape; you came and never left.

As the book opens, Dot (husband, Bert) are seniors living at the house. She is admiring the latest Southern Living article featuring Maggie (Mag)’s granddaughter, Sara who owns a highly successful interior design shop in New Orleans.

People tend to arrive at this charming inn and they fall in love and decide to never leave.

Mag’s daughter, Jenny is deceased and she helped raise her granddaughter Sara. Mags was very unconventional and some called eccentric. Sara was embarrassed by her lifestyle growing up. Mags has never told her own story to Sara. By the time she had moved in with her at age twelve, Sara was at that critical age where there were peer pressure and friends’ opinions.

Sara turned out to be a stronger woman because of who Mags turned out to be. If Mags had remained under her parents’ thumb, worrying about how other perceived her, she would have been a wispy shadow of a real woman.

Sara loved the French Quarter in the Big Easy. She was proud of her shop, Bits and Pieces. She has no time for a man, relationship, or anything other than her shop. She has restored an old shotgun house and filled it with restored furniture, and antiques. A bit of everything. Her assistant manager, Allyn was always there to help out (loved him).

Her mind always went back to Sweet Bay to see Mags, her grandmother. However, she was too busy with the shop to visit more often.

However, when Sara receives the news from Mag’s attorney, she knows it is too late to spend time with her eccentric little grandmother. She had left her for greener pastures in New Orleans, but Mags was her only family. Her grandmother has passed always. Now she has regrets for not making the time.

What would happen to the house now that Mags was gone?

"The Hideaway was always full of friends and lovers, mothers and daughters, secret keepers, and secret-spillers, straight talkers and soft shoulders. We had hurt and we had joy, but I wouldn't have it any other way."


It had not been a proper bed-and-breakfast since she was a kid. As she got older, she became more aware of the unusual living arrangements. It might have been a legitimate B&B at one time, but over the years it had become a senior citizen commune with a revolving door. A long layover for people on their way to Florida retirement glory.

The old Victorian which was once a beauty, now in a poor condition. It was formerly in all the travel guides as the Southern Sight to See. They would all be shocked to see it now.

Sara soon learns she has inherited the inn and the resident seniors. She is to bring the inn back to its glory days. However, in the process, Sara soon learns there was much more to her grandmother than she ever knew.

The author takes us back to 1960's to learn about Margaret's parents, family and how she met her husband to be. The man she married. A man her family wanted her to marry. A banker. After he began cheating, over and over, she escapes to The Hideaway. A solace for many.

After meeting the original owner, whose husband died, the inn was not the prestigious Gatsby house it was previously in its hay day. Margaret comes under a false name and soon gives up the rich life, pearls and pillbox hats, for a simpler life. One she adored.

Mags meets William, a man who changes her life. A wood maker, who teaches her the important things in life. The man who held the key to her heart. However, her old life comes back to complicate things. She chooses the bohemian life, so different that the one she had previously. Mag’s past changed her from quiet to bold. Weak to strong.

Sara soon discovers more and more about her grandmother and the mysterious man in her life from the past. However, she may be more like her grandmother than she knows. She decides to remodel The Hideaway per her grandmother’s wishes.

In the process, she meets the handsome contractor which slowly changes her perspective. In addition, she encounters challenges with the residing seniors, now part of the family, and a developer who wants the land, after all the work. Plus she has her life and shop in New Orleans. She never wanted to return to Alabama. Much less run an inn.

However, just when she is about to wrap up the renovation and make plans to return to New Orleans, the old nasty developer is threatening to take away the historic dream, for a condo new project development, until someone intercepts, which changes more than one life. Sweet surprises for many.

Compelling and Inspiring! Rich in history, character, and lots of heart, Denton bridges the gap from past to present with a heartwarming and charming southern tale of family and friendship. The important things in life. A thought-provoking takeaway on a journey to self-discovery.

Do we really know our parents and grandparents? We all need to slow down, listen, and hear the intriguing stories from past generations which will enrich our lives while helping us to understand their struggles and sacrifices. After all, they helped mold us to become the person we are today. I loved Mags!!

For fans of southern, historic, Christian, women’s and contemporary fiction.

Those who enjoy authors: Viola Shipman, Nicholas Sparks, Beth Hoffman, Patti Callahan Henry, Susan Rebecca White, Mary Ellen Taylor, Lisa Wingate, Kristy Woodson Harvey, Mary Kay Andrews, Joanne DeMaio, Donna Ball, Debbie Macomber, Sherryl Woods, Laura Lane McNeal, Camille de Maio, Wendy Wax and Karen White, will enjoy this newfound author.

Well-written, a must read. Cannot wait to see what’s next from this exciting new talented author!

A special thank you to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for an early reading copy.

JDCMustReadBooks

 



Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/01/01/The-Hideaway
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review 2017-03-28 05:18
Beach Breeze
Beach Breeze - Joanne DeMaio

By: Joanne Demaio 

ASIN: B06WD4QFZ2

Publisher: Joanne Demaio 

Publication Date:  3/7/2017 

Format: Kindle 

My Rating: 5 Stars 

 

Blog Tour, Coming March 28.

A long time favorite New England author, Joanne DeMaio returns following Wishing on Snowflakes and Beach Blues (2016) 2016 Best New England Summer & Holiday Reads with her latest BEACH BREEZE, as we continue the journey with the memorable characters of charming Stony Point, a beach town on the coast of Connecticut.

Having read all DeMaio’s books, was anxious to catch up with the characters we have come to love and care about, as family and close friends. There has been a lot of tragedy and some of the characters (more than others), are having a very difficult time with their grief and loss.

An entire community has been shaken to the core, with the loss of a dear friend, Salvatore Deluca. He came into their lives and brought second chances to many. He made a huge impact (larger than life attitude, touching many), and his presence will not soon be forgotten.

Jason is having a particularly hard time. He had a second chance to live when his brother Neil died nine years earlier in an accident. He was able, to walk away after the wreck with the help of a prosthetic leg, below the knee. He also was given a chance at love two years earlier when Maris unexpectedly returned to Stony Point and his life. They married a year earlier.

Then Sal came into their lives like a breath of fresh air. Someone for Jason to fish with. Someone to talk with about construction, design, his father’s Vietnam war stories, and his brother. It felt as though Neil had returned in the guise of Sal. He had just given the eulogy and left shortly afterward.

 

He was asking himself if he had run out of chances. Everyone was concerned about him but he was not ready to face everyone and his grief. He is not sure he will be anytime soon. He did not get to say good-bye to his friend. He feels cheated. Jason feels as though he has lost his brother all over again.

. . . “In his happiness, he’d been foolish enough to forget one important lesson: On any given day, hour, or minute, life can spin out from under you. It happened nine years ago, when he lost his brother, and Jason nearly didn’t survive the day. So it’s important to be wary and not trust happiness, not too much.”

In addition, Sal’s mom Elsa is also making some drastic decisions, since the passing of her son. She had planned to renovate the Bed and Breakfast Inn (the old Foley’s cottage) and Jason was the architect. However, now she is putting a stop to the project and putting it up for sale; ready to return to Italy.

Celia is also filled with sadness over the life she and Sal will never have. She is also considering going back to Addison. Their engagement only last two days before Sal’s heart surgery. Sal, age 36, would be dearly missed by everyone. Even though his visit to their town this past summer was brief.

Maris is also making changes in her life. She had returned to Stony Point from a Chicago fashion career to settle her father’s estate and reunited with her sister Eva. Now Maris is considering quitting her job since it appears the people in town need her more now than ever.

Everyone was supposed to make a pack not to make any sudden grief-motivated decision that they would regret in time. Not until at least six months had passed. There were many who wanted to pack up and leave their paradise to escape their loss and pain.

Michael, Sal’s friend from New York is back in town to deliver all of Sal’s messages and letters, as well as few surprises for those he left behind. Emotions run high. Jason is out of control and pushing everyone away.

Cliff and the entire community hold an inn-intervention. The entire family is in crisis. They try and stop the tag sale. Elsa does not want to think about the business team: Jason, Celia, and Lauren. It was to be the future Ocean Star Inn, and now Sal was gone, Celia has left, and her dream had evaporated into the sea’s midst.

Jason is also upset thinking he no longer hears his brother for inspiration. Now Elsa DeLuca no longer needs his service. He had been so excited about the plans.

Everyone is concerned about the Inn and their loss. A place that holds all their friend’s history. However, will Jason and Elsa be able to bond and carry on with their dreams in Sal’s loving memory as well as the rest of their friends and community?

“It’s never the end, even when we really believe it is.”

Just when Jason thinks he has reached his lowest, Sal has a surprise for him to honor his brother. He had written special notes for everyone. Where second chances happen in the most unexpected ways. New beginnings.

From sadness, love, loss, friends, and special memories of the sea, we get a sneak peak (excerpt) from Joanne’s upcoming book, THE BEACH INN, coming May 16. Where we continue with the special friends of this charming seaside community. Coming up is "Operation, Heal Jason’s heart."

 



Appears there are some big changes coming. The toughest challenge―learning to heal, love and trust again. Looking forward to seeing what lies ahead.

"A new season of love, adventure, and heart-healing awaits in the quaint seaside village of Stony Point. So pull up a sand chair and book your stay for a page-turning getaway in The Beach Inn."

If you have not read Joanne Demaio’s books, you are missing a rare treat. Full of emotion, heart, and soul, with vivid descriptions and settings, memorable characters and sea breezes which transport you.

Highly recommend reading in order, to enhance your overall reading experience. Still hoping for a Hallmark TV series.

JDCMustReadBooks

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/02/01/Beach-Breeze
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