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review 2017-10-19 04:55
Lilac Lane
Lilac Lane (A Chesapeake Shores Novel) - Sherryl Woods

A Chesapeake Shores Novel #14

By: Sherryl Woods

ISBN: 9780778331339

Publisher:  MIRA

Publication Date: 10/17/2017

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 4 Stars

 

Sherryl Woods returns with her popular Chesapeake Shores series following (2015) Willow Brook Road Chesapeake Shores, #13 with LILAC LANE (#14) —From Ireland to Chesapeake Shores – A magical place for healing and a little romance.

This time around we catchup with Moira and Luke O’Brien and their baby girl, Kate. Of course, with Nell and many of the familiar characters and places we love.

Moira is concerned about her mom, Kiera. Her husband Peter’s unexpected death was shocking after her second chance and raising her children on her own. Moria wants her to come and live in Chesapeake. 

A steady dose of the O’Briens will restore her spirits. She had wasted years of bitterness and regrets after Moira’s dad left. She had taken a chance on love and now he was gone.

Maybe she could tell her she needs help with the baby, but possibly she can get her a job at the Irish pub, keeping an eye on the chef and making sure he does not stray too far from the proper Irish recipes. 

Her mom needed the family. With much persuasion, she agrees to come to charming Chesapeake Shores as a consultant. She can always return to Dublin. 

She rents a lovely cottage on Lilac Lane and is feeling good being part of a family. However, soon learns her neighbor is none other than Bryan Laramie, the not so pleasant and annoying chef at the pub, with whom Kiera is constantly at war with. 

Moira soon sees the electricity between her mom and Bryan (similar to the relationship between her own relationship with Luke), when they first met. 

However, Kiera thinks he is infuriating. 

Of course, if you know the O’Briens they never mind their own business and the clan is always meddling to make sure everyone is happy.

Bryan, on the other hand, has his own past. He had enough broken hearts to last a lifetime and was still recovering from this last one.

Then his long-lost daughter shows up and both Bryan and Keira may have more in common than they may know. Plus, as always, there is always a community-wide event to ignite the flames.

With two complex personalities, it was time for the annual Fall Festival Irish Stew cook-off. And this town does nothing better than “stir the pot.”

 

 



With some competition, stubbornness, clever planning, Irish recipes, sacrifices, meddling, bets, some risks, and of course a little romance, to demonstrate love conquers all.

If you enjoy heartwarming stories of strong family bonds and authentic characters, Chesapeake Shores will draw you into their world with open arms. For fans of Debbie Macomber, Joanne Demaio, Mariah Stewart, and Susan Wiggs. 

LOVE the Chesapeake Shores series (TV series and have read all the books in the series)— among many of her other books. A longtime fan of Sherryl Woods, starting in my younger years (before Goodreads) thru today. I love the idyllic settings, vivid descriptions, and intriguing characters. 

Looking forward to hopefully Season 3 since Season 2 just wrapped up. Always look forward to the Sunday show. It makes me want to return to these books and read them for the second time. Sherryl allows you to escape and travel without leaving your home. It is the next best thing to being there. An ah moment. 

Many thanks to MIRA and NetGalley for an advanced reading copy. I also listened to the audiobook, narrated by Christina Traister for an engaging listening experience.

In addition, I am very excited about the highly anticipated A Small Town Love Story: Colonial Beach, Virginia Coming Nov 14, 2017, on my Top 20 Books coming Nov. Part memoir, part oral history. The author gives us a rare and intimate look at Colonial Beach, Virginia. 

Readers you will want to add this to your library collection and your must-read list.

JDCMustReadBooks

 

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/08/14/Lilac-Lane
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review 2017-10-18 17:54
Before We Were Yours
Before We Were Yours - Lisa Wingate

By: Lisa Wingate

ISBN: 9780425284681

Publisher: Random House

Publication Date: 6/6/2017 

Format: Hardcover

My Rating:  5 Stars +++

 

Master storyteller, Lisa Wingate returns following her heartwarming Carolina Series The Sea Keeper's Daughters with her best yet, BEFORE WE WERE YOURS Top Books of 2017— A powerful story within a story inspired by one of American’s most horrific real-life adoption scandals. (stunning front cover)!

A haunting, beautifully written and emotional story of family, sisters, human connections and the strong bonds of love. From good versus evil, deeply-buried secrets, and injustice, to triumph in the face of adversity.

With two storylines, two families generations apart— the bridge between past and present. Before We Were Yoursalternates between the historical story of the Foss Children and the modern-day story of Avery Stafford.

Present day: We meet Avery Stafford. 30 years-old, graduated top of her class from Columbia Law and works for US attorney’s office. A successful career as a federal prosecutor, a fiance’ and an upcoming wedding. 

She returns home to South Carolina to help her father, a high-profile politician. He is up for re-election and has some health problems (cancer) and undergoing chemo. Of course, he wants Avery to step into his shoes with a political career.

Avery’s grandmother, Judy is a ghost of her former self. They are keeping it from the media due to the fact they have moved her to an upscale luxury facility. They are currently dealing with a scandal of wrongful death and abuse cases involving eldercare, so they do not want people pointing fingers. Of course, the decision to move to her this facility was not political—her doctor recommended. 

They are heartsick about her cruel descent into dementia. Before they moved her to the nursing home, she escaped her caretaker and staff and was found wandering at a business complex near a mall where she formerly shopped. Ironically, since she cannot even remember their names. 

While touring on the nursing homes (not as luxurious as Judy's), Avery encounters a woman. She calls Avery, Fern. The nurse called the woman, May Crandall. 

 




Through the mind and voice of May, she has triggers from the past. She thinks of Queenie her mother and Camellia. Thinking back to the Mississippi riverbank to Memphis. The night there was no returning. 

Past: Memphis 1939. A twelve-year-old girl Rill. She lives on a riverboat and helps take care of her four young siblings. Life is difficult. However, there are complications during the birth at the hospital and the children are snatched, while Rill was in charge. 

They are thrown into an orphanage. They are told they will be returned to their parents. Rill must keep her siblings together. However, they find evil and something more sinister than they could ever imagine. 

“I want a pain that has a beginning and an end, not one that goes on forever and cuts all the way to the bone.” 

From past to present, Avery is haunted by this woman in the nursing home. Is there a connection? She had on her grandmother’s bracelet. Her curiosity has been piqued by her sad story. Does this woman May, know her grandmother Judy? 

There is no way Avery can let this drop. Secrets from the past. She goes back to her grandmother’s letters and notes. 

Who is Trent Turner in Edisto? He does not seem helpful. What is he hiding? 

Amidst the suspense and intensity while Avery tries desperately to piece together the mystery of her family’s past, we hear the heartbreaking story of sisters and children taken against their will. Ripped from their biological parents. 

A true to life story of Georgia Tann, the director of a Memphis-based adoption organization which basically kidnapped and sold children to wealthy families for many years. Thousands of birth families would never know what became of their children.

“But the love of sisters needs no words. It does not depend on memories, or mementos, or proof. It runs as deep as a heartbeat. It is as ever-present as a pulse.” 

If you have read any of Lisa Wingate’s stories, you know she writes of family, love, and deep connections. A master storyteller, her books are thought-provoking, inspiring, emotional, and deeply moving. Her passion shines through as she shares her stories from the heart to her readers.

Normally when reading a dual time timeline story, I find the historical one the most intriguing. However, in this case, both stories are equally as compelling, since the present-day story still revolves around its own past family history. 

As in sex and child trafficking today, the abuse and devastation continue to destroy lives and futures of innocent children. The monsters target the poor, single mothers, or those on welfare. In this haunting yet true story of babies and children being kidnapped and abused, molested, and mistreated while waiting for the big payday. Some were stolen from birth and siblings and parent’s lives forever to be ripped apart. 

Well-researched, the author offers details as to the number of children who vanished under Georgia Tann’s management range as high as five hundred. Thousands more disappeared into adoptions for profit in which names, birth dates, and birth records were altered to prevent biological families from finding their children. This went on from the 1920s-1950s and was not fully brought to justice until 1996.

From the author: “If there is one overarching lesson to be learned from the Foss children and from the true-life story of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society, it is that babies and children, no matter what corner of the world they hail from, are not commodities, or objects, or blank slates, as Georgia Tann so often represented her wards; they are human beings with histories and needs, and hopes, and dreams of their own.”

Lisa Wingate is at the top of her game. Having read all 8 total works in the Carolina Heirlooms’ series, have been an avid fan of the author’s writing. 

However, BEFORE WE WERE YOURS, really showcases her strength to blend both historical with modern-day stories in a powerful way to capture the heart and most intimate feelings of her characters and the dual timelines. Resilience and the power of love. 

“The heart never forgets where we belong.”

I had the opportunity of reading this book well before its publication date in June; however, I was dealing with my dad’s illness in North Carolina, his death, funeral, and executor of his estate. Playing catch up with reviews/postings I missed this summer. A special thank you to Random House and NetGalley for an advanced reading copy.

I enjoyed this book so much, purchased the audiobook for my personal library and listened again this past week. Emily Rankin and Catherine Taber are ideal narrators and in sync with Lisa Wingate’s poignant story. 

“Do we carry the guilt from the sins of past generations? If so, can we bear the weight of that burden? Trent” ― Lisa Wingate, Before We Were Yours

Highly recommend! If you can only read one book this year, this would be the one. Wingate fully understands the power of story. If this does not win Historic Fiction of the Year, I will be shocked. Ideal for book clubs and further discussions. 

If you have not viewed the The Book Club Kit, by Random House— highly recommend, to enhance your reading experience. Well done!

For fans of Charles Martin, Susan Meissner, Kristin Hannah, Sally Hepworth, Nicholas Sparks and Diane Chamberlain. 

As the author mentions in an interview, “In the end, both the modern-day and historical characters in Before We Were Yours are willing to risk everything else for one all-important thing—a place to be authentic and people to be authentic with. That’s what I love most about the book.”

Your fans agree. Cannot wait to see what’s next from this talented author. No wonder it still ranks today as #7 Most Read book on Amazon. Totally captivating!

“No matter how much we may love the melody of a bygone day or imagine the song of a future one, we must dance within the music of today, or we will always be out of step, stumbling around in something that doesn’t suit the moment.” ― Lisa Wingate, Before We Were Yours

JDCMustReadBooks

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/12/01/Before-We-Were-Yours
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-10-17 23:02
Book review : YOU Caroline Kepnes
You: A Novel - Caroline Kepnes

September 29- October 11

        When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card. There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting. As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder. This book was all kinds of fucked up but I really enjoyed it . 

Review :This book is about Joe who becomes obsessed with a girl who came into the bookstore he works at he ends up stalking her and ends up taking the guy she's fucking hostage and eventually kills him . Beck and Joe are both terrible people Beck is very fake and her friend peach is totally obsessed with her . Joe and Beck end up dating and what I think is more creepy about this book it's not saying Beck it says YOU . Joe realizes peach is in his way and tries to kill her also and eventually does . Beck pulls away from Joe and Joe ends up seeing someone else but he's still obsessed with Beck but they end up getting back together but she finds out about everything all the creepy stuff of her's he was storing and he keeps her hostage in the bookstore in the basement and he ends up killing her this book was so fucked up .

       

Quotes : The problem with books is that they end. They seduce you. They spread their legs to you and pull you inside. And you go deep and leave your possessions and your ties to the world at the door and you like it inside and you don't want for your possessions or your ties and then, the book evaporates.”

 

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review 2017-10-17 21:33
Little Secrets
Little Secrets - Anna Snoekstra

By: Anna Snoekstra

ISBN: 9780778331094

Publisher: MIRA

Publication Date:  10/17/2017 

Format:  Paperback 

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

 

Anna Snoekstra returns following her dark and edgy debut, Only Daughter, with her second psychological suspense thriller, LITTLE SECRETS — an arsonist, a cop, porcelain dolls, a stranger, dark secrets, mystery, and a journalist are all part of a dying town. 

Rose Blakey is living in the small town of Colmstock, Australia. a small town. She is tired of the dead-end job at the Eamon’s Tavern Hotel and her dead-end life. 

After the car factory shut down the town had quickly lost its sense of purpose. Small enough to have a strong community, but big enough that you could walk down the street without recognizing every person you passed.

Everything and everyone seemed broken and ugly. People were not friendly. Crime was up. People had meth habits. She wanted out. She is a journalist. 

The local paper had closed with all the setbacks. She was still on a list for a larger national paper. It had been a wealthy town with its grand buildings. Now cracked and weathered. 

The mines closed in the eighties. The newspaper closing, had been the worst for her. 

A boy had died. Ben Riley. He had been only thirteen and was brain damaged. He acted like a kid instead of a teen but everyone liked him. His parents owned the local grocery store. 

A fire at the courthouse. Bored teens or a psycho? Since the high school had been closed down, the crime was worse. 

Then there was Senior Sergent Frank Ghirardello. He was hot for Rose since she started working there. His partner Bazza was a good looking buy. Frank could picture them double dating. Mia, Rose’s friend with Bazza and he with Rose.

She had written about everything including the search for the arsonist. Regardless of the topic, there were endless rejections. 

Rose wonders about the mysterious newcomer, Will. 

Then someone was leaving porcelain dolls on the doorsteps of houses. Plus the dolls looked like the little girls in the respective home. Creepy. 

 



If she does not get a good paying job, she will never escape this dark town. She was living on borrowed time. Most people in the town had given up, trying to escape. She would not give up on her dreams. 

She would write about the “Porcelain Terror in Colmstock.”After all, everyone loved a good mystery. Is there a link to child molesters and pedophiles?

There is also the mum, stepfather, and the younger siblings. If she could learn more about the fire and person behind the dolls, it would help her stories.

Rose gets caught up in the stories. She may be making things worse. She needs to dramatize the stories for flair. The person who had left the dolls was marking his victims. Some monster had her sister.

“Hack journalist wanting their piece of the pie, religious groups looking for a cause, children’s groups trying to find a new level of outrage, they were all here.”

The entire town felt changed, paranoid and suspicious. It was her fault. Did the truth matter? 

. . . "People didn’t care about human life like she’d thoughts they did. People cared about purity, they cared when something unexpected happened, something that confirmed the deep-seated fears they already held. They wanted black and white, someone was good or someone was bad and nothing in between."

If something didn’t sound good in a headline, it wasn’t news. 

From a bleak remote town pulled down by its economic misfortunes and crime, there is a sense of ongoing claustrophobic darkness infiltrating the town. 

Gloom and doom. A town of devastation. From police misconduct, an old mine, desperation, drug trafficking, as well as being overwhelmed by arson attacked and the highly publicized porcelain doll case. 

On an emotional level, there is betrayal, dark secrets, revenge, tension, domestic abuse, anger, rage, friendship, menace, evil, lust, unhappy families, and envy. A need to protect. A means of survival. Fear. Coverups. 

The author creates Rose, a complex woman who wants nothing more than to escape this Aussie town. She is desperate. However, how far will she go? 

Not a "feel good" kind of book; however, some intriguing twists and turns you do not see coming. Several of the characters had plans, with good intentions in the beginning, but their plans unravel and ignite a spark which spirals out of control. Creating havoc for many. The butterfly effect. 

The author does a good job of creating that “Noir” feeling and a sense of dark foreboding lurking with mystery, suspense, and tragedy — throughout the book. 

A lot of tug-and-pull between characters; at war, with one another and themselves. The characters are deeply flawed and everyone seems to wear a mask. A good pick for Halloween. 

A town full of little secrets and big lies. For those who enjoyed Big Little Lies and The Blackbird Season,  in a rural darker Australian remote setting. 

A special thank you to MIRA and NetGalley for an advanced reading copy. 

I also purchased the audiobook, narrated by Saskia Maarleveld(love her accent) for an engaging listening experience.

JDCMustReadBooks

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/09/11/Little-Secrets
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review 2017-10-17 08:30
Cardinal Cabin
Cardinal Cabin - Joanne DeMaio

By:  Joanne  DeMaio

ISBN:  B074DZSDFS

Publisher: Joanne Demaio

Publication Date: 9/12/2017

Format: Kindle 

My Rating: 5 Stars  

Blog Tour Host Oct 18  

 

Congrats, the author's 10th Novel! 

 

CARDINAL CABIN A magical nostalgic holiday escape —with an ideal New England snowy rustic storybook setting! Great to catch up with familiar characters from DeMaio's previous books.  Join me Oct 18 Blog Tour Host. 

Bestselling author, Joanne Demaio returns to magical New England following The Beach Inn (summer) and her famous Christmas editions: Wishing on Snowflakes, a holiday collection of two books—Snowflakes and Coffee Cakes and Snow Deer and Cocoa Cheer with her latest holiday getaway to CARDINAL CABIN — another enchanting holiday adventure of unexpected love and humor, surrounded by a magical snowy rustic setting.

"Making the birds even more special, folklore has it that cardinals grant wishes . . . When you see a cardinal, make a wish. But the important part. . . After making the wish, close your eyes, tight. . . If the cardinal is still there when you open your eyes, legend has it your wish will come true."

Frank Lombardo (33) and his sister Gina own Addison Boathouse, the crown jewel of Addison. Serving a dual purpose, the summer months it is the main attraction for outdoor events with kayaks and canoes. 

During the winter months, it is known for its weddings and Christmas party season as a premier waterfront venue at Snowflake Lake. With weeks of decorating the final touches are being completed. The brother-sister team carry out the legacy of their dad's business, turning it over to them to carry on. 

Gina is married with a son and wants her brother to find love. He does not like discussing his single-status with his prying sister. He has purchased the large English Tudor home from his parents and she is bugging him about not decorating it for Christmas. Why bother? What for? 

In addition to this business, he also is a part-time lumberjack at the cabin rentals. 

Gus Haynes, the owner in his seventies, and getting older and with his wife’s passing, needs help with the rustic cabins nestled in the snowy woods among the silver and sugar maples, willows, birch and elm trees. 

From splitting logs to keep the wood burning stoves, snow clearing, and the seasonal chores of the property.

Of course, his sister reminds him he is taking himself "off the market" by working out in the woods for Gus on the weekends. After all, “who do you ever expect to meet out in the woods?” She urges him to be spontaneous. “Find yourself a girl for the holidays.” 

The last thing Frank wants is holidays and weddings. He enjoys escaping in the woods to keep his mind occupied away from match-making and his sister pushing him into a romance. 

Little does Frank know he may stumble upon the girl of his dreams in these same woods.

Penny Hart has never ridden on a snowtorcycle before; however, appears this is the only way around in the woods to her rented cabin, driven by Gus. 

Cardinal Cabin is among the small little charming rustic A-frame cabins and bungalows surrounding a secluded lake. She is here for a two-week stay and no one knows her whereabouts, except for Gus, the driver.

Penny Hart, (33) is single and in marketing with a travel company— Addison’s Suitcase Escapes. She is hiding out for two weeks for a merry mystery. A secret undisclosed destination even to her coworkers. 

She must furnish clues and people will need to guess her location. The winner will receive a getaway to the respective location. She must keep a low profile while here so her secret stays safe during the promotion. 

“Guess Travel Agent’s Holiday Hideaway for a Chance to Win the Getaway.” On Christmas Eve one lucky entrant will be drawn to win an all expense weekend getaway at Hart’s secret New England locale. 

‘Tis the season for adventure and Yuletide surprises, plus an unexpected romance. 

As much as she treasures her own cozy apartment, she is excited when she sees her cabin all decorated for Christmas with even a tree. She has the feeling she has stepped into a woodland fairy tale. 

The true beauty and magic were the many cardinals. . . "Each one looked like pretty red ornaments on the soft, snow-laden pines." 

Then she spots a handsome lumberjack. Just like an old-fashioned movie or a nostalgic wintry postcard. She slips and falls on the ice and her cocoa travel mug and journal goes flying along with her blanket. Guess who spots her and picks her up?

Frank even kisses her before he thinks about what he is doing. Spontaneity? All he knows is that her name is Penny and she fell in the snow. They both are shocked and delighted at the same time. A mystery woman? A mystery man? They are embarrassed but excited. However, both decide they will get back to work and pretend this never happened. But can they? 

Penny has to start with clues. She needs to keep her mind on her work, not a romance with a man she just met. She has to be creative with photos so as not to give too much away. 

In the meantime, readers get to reacquaint themselves with characters from previous books at Whole Latte Life coffee shop and catch up with Wes and Jane and their upcoming wedding, among others.

Frank soon learns Penny’s identity as well as Gus. Gus is a true romantic at heart and his wife loved the Cardinal Cabin. With a little "added help" and creative planning from Gus (he reminds me of Santa), the two lovebirds are pushed towards one another. 

We also catch up with Greg (Wes' brother from a previous book) the doctor, which is not a welcome visit from Frank’s perspective. He always is after the ladies. 

However, pictures are worth a thousand words. Appears there is a spark of romance in the woods. But can the magic of this quaint New England town keep these snowy sweethearts together? Will cardinal wishes come true?

. . . "The magic of travel isn't always about how far you roam. It's about keeping your curiosity and sense of adventure even while close to home. Life can then take you in new and surprising directions." 

 

 



From the hush of the woods, soft and calming, to the sparkling white snow, twinkling lights, and crackling fire, Joanne transports readers to a picturesque setting for her annual holiday edition with vivid imagery, descriptive holiday delights, and lovable characters. 

With a little magic, romance, nostalgia, silver bells, and holiday cheer another heartwarming story! (loved Gus's character)

Being from South Florida, where it is sunny and warm year round, I look forward to my annual trip to wintry New England without the costly travel expense and extensive planning. Just turn down the A/C, close the shutters, grab a throw and a cup of tea or espresso and the author takes you on a magical adventure from the comfort of your own home. 

I am especially fond of rustic, and miss my log cabin in Big Canoe, GA surrounded by deer, trees, lakes, and blankets of snow. This charming story took me back to those fond memories of past Christmases in the mountains.

If you have not read Joanne Demaio books, you are missing a rare treat. I have read all her books and anxiously await the next. I continue to say, her series are prime for the Hallmark Channel! Still looking forward to each of them "coming alive" on the big screen.

JDCMustReadBooks

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/07/04/Cardinal-Cabin
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