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review 2017-07-01 03:45
Beach House for Rent (The Beach House) - Mary Alice Monroe

This was a decent read. I don't quite feel that it was the author's best, but it was okay for me.

Throughout the whole book, I didn't get the beach read feel. Both of the main characters were experiencing loss or were just sad. It was kind of a downer for me with that going on. It just wasn't as upbeat as most beach reads. It was very different. A good read, just not what I expected.

Thanks to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

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text 2017-05-21 08:49
20 Must Read Books Coming June
Every Last Lie - Mary Kubica
The Child - Fiona Barton
The Silent Corner - Dean Koontz
Camino Island: A Novel - John Grisham
The Good Widow: A Novel - Liz Fenton,Lisa Steinke
The Weight of Lies: A Novel - Clara Emily Carpenter
Before We Were Yours - Lisa Wingate
Secrets of Southern Girls: A Novel - Haley Harrigan
Beach House for Rent (The Beach House) - Mary Alice Monroe


Every Last Lie 

 

By: Mary Kubica 

ISBN: 978-0778319986

Publisher: Park Row Books 

Publication Date: 6/27/2017 

Format: Hardcover 

My Rating: 5 Stars

Clara Solberg’s world shatters when her husband and their four-year-old daughter are in a car crash, killing Nick while Maisie is remarkably unharmed. The crash is ruled an accident…until the coming days, when Maisie starts having night terrors that make Clara question what really happened on that fateful afternoon.

 

Tormented by grief and her obsession that Nick’s death was far more than just an accident, Clara is plunged into a desperate hunt for the truth. Who would have wanted Nick dead? And, more important, why? Clara will stop at nothing to find out—and the truth is only the beginning of this twisted tale of secrets and deceit.

 

Told in the alternating perspectives of Clara’s investigation and Nick’s last months leading up to the crash, master of suspense Mary Kubica weaves her most chilling thriller to date—one that explores the dark recesses of a mind plagued by grief and shows that some secrets might be better left buried. Read More

 

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The Child 

 

By: Fiona Barton 

ISBN: 978-1101990483

Publisher: Berkley 

Publication Date: 6/27/2017 

Format: Hardcover 
My Rating: 5 Stars 


Blog Tour Host June 27

The author of the stunning New York Times bestseller The Widow returns with a brand-new novel of twisting psychological suspense.

As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby?

As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.

 

But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn—house by house—into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women—and torn between what she can and cannot tell… Read More The Child

 

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The Silent Corner 

 

By: Dean Koontz

ISBN: 978-0345545992

Publisher: Random House

Publication Date: 6/20/2017

Format: Hardcover 

My Rating:  5 Stars


A dazzling new series debuts with a remarkable heroine certain to become a new icon of suspense, propelled by the singular narrative genius of #1 New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz.

“I very much need to be dead.”

These are the chilling words left behind by a man who had everything to live for—but took his own life. In the aftermath, his widow, Jane Hawk, does what all her grief, fear, and fury demands: find the truth, no matter what.

 

People of talent and accomplishment, people admired and happy and sound of mind, have been committing suicide in surprising numbers. When Jane seeks to learn why, she becomes the most-wanted fugitive in America. Her powerful enemies are protecting a secret so important—so terrifying—that they will exterminate anyone in their way.

 

But all their power and viciousness may not be enough to stop a woman as clever as they are cold-blooded, as relentless as they are ruthless—and who is driven by a righteous rage they can never comprehend. Because it is born of love. Read More

 

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Camino Island 

By:  John Grisham

ISBN: 978-0385543026

Publisher: Doubleday

Publication Date: 6/6/2017 
Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 5 Stars

Bestselling author John Grisham stirs up trouble in paradise in his endlessly surprising new thriller. 

Priceless F. Scott Fitzgerald manuscripts stolen in a daring heist; a young woman recruited to recover them; a beach-resort bookseller who gets more than he bargained for—all in one long summer on Camino Island.

CAMINO ISLAND, the 30th novel by bestselling author John Grisham, will be published by Doubleday on June 6, 2017, followed by his next legal thriller on October 24, 2017.  Announced first printing for each title is 1.5 million copies.
“We are thrilled to be publishing two books by John Grisham in 2017,” said Sonny Mehta, Chairman and Editor in Chief of Knopf.  “The first, CAMINO ISLAND, is a caper of the highest form.  

 

Whether writing about F. Scott Fitzgerald’s handwritten manuscripts, the worlds of bookselling and publishing, or the cat-and-mouse game between criminals and the Feds that chase them, John has outdone himself. The second novel, coming in October, is one of John’s classic, suspense-filled legal thrillers and we’ll have more to share soon.” Read More

 

Read More Entertainment Weekly 

 

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The Weight of Lies 

 

By: Emily Carpenter

ISBN: 9781477818435

Publisher: Lake Union 

Publication Date: 6/6/2017 

Format: Paperback 

My Rating: 4 Stars

In this gripping, atmospheric family drama, a young woman investigates the forty­-year­-old murder that inspired her mother’s bestselling novel, and uncovers devastating truths—and dangerous lies

Reformed party girl Meg Ashley leads a life of privilege, thanks to a bestselling horror novel her mother wrote decades ago. But Meg knows that the glow of their very public life hides a darker reality of lies, manipulation, and the heartbreak of her own solitary childhood. Desperate to break free of her mother, Meg accepts a proposal to write a scandalous, tell-all memoir.

 

Digging into the past—and her mother’s cult classic—draws Meg to Bonny Island, Georgia, and an unusual woman said to be the inspiration for the book. At first island life seems idyllic, but as Meg starts to ask tough questions, disturbing revelations come to light…including some about her mother.

 

Soon Meg’s search leads her to question the facts of a decades-old murder. She’s warned to leave it alone, but as the lies pile up, Meg knows she’s getting close to finding a murderer. When her own life is threatened, Meg realizes the darkness found in her mother’s book is nothing compared to the chilling truth that lurks off the page. Read More 

 

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Before We Were Yours  

 

By: Lisa Wingate

ISBN: 9780425284681

Publisher: Random House

Publication Date: 6/6/2017 

Format: Hardcover

My Rating:  5 Stars

Two families, generations apart, are forever changed by a heartbreaking injustice in this poignant novel, inspired by a true story, for readers of Orphan Train and The Nightingale.

Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge—until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents—but they quickly realize that the truth is much darker. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together—in a world of danger and uncertainty.

 

Aitken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions—and compels her to take a journey through her family's long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation . . . or redemption.

 

Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals—in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country—Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong. Read More 

 

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Read an Excerpt 

 

 

 

The Good Widow 

 

By: Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke

Narrator: Dara Rosenberg 

ASIN: B06ZYK58M6

Publisher: Lake Union 

Brilliance Audio 

Publication Date: 6/1/2017

Format: Audio 

My Rating: 5 Stars

Bestselling authors Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke make their suspense debut in this twisty, emotional thriller.

Elementary school teacher Jacqueline “Jacks” Morales’s marriage was far from perfect, but even in its ups and downs it was predictable, familiar. Or at least she thought it was…until two police officers showed up at her door with devastating news. Her husband of eight years, the one who should have been on a business trip to Kansas, had suffered a fatal car accident in Hawaii. And he wasn’t alone.

 

For Jacks, laying her husband to rest was hard. But it was even harder to think that his final moments belonged to another woman—one who had left behind her own grieving and bewildered fiancé. Nick, just as blindsided by the affair, wants answers. So he suggests that he and Jacks search for the truth together, retracing the doomed lovers’ last days in paradise.

 

Now, following the twisting path of that fateful road, Jacks is learning that nothing is ever as it seems. Not her marriage. Not her husband. And most certainly not his death…Read More

 

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Secrets of Southern Girls 

 

By: Haley Harringan 

ISBN: 9781492647553

Publisher: SOURCEBOOKS Landmark

Publication Date:  6/6/2017 

Format: Paperback 

My Rating:  3.5 Stars

 

Blog Tour June 6

Tour Spotlight June 6-12 

In this powerful, affecting debut, a young woman uncovers devastating secrets about the friend she thinks she killed...

Ten years ago, Julie Portland accidentally killed her best friend, Reba. What’s worse is she got away with it. Consumed by guilt, she left the small town of Lawrence Mill, Mississippi, and swore nothing would ever drag her back. Now, raising her daughter and struggling to make ends meet in Manhattan, Julie still can’t forget the ghost of a girl with golden hair and a dangerous secret.

 

When August, Reba’s first love, begs Julie to come home to find the diary that Reba kept all those years ago, Julie’s past comes creeping back to haunt her. That diary could expose the shameful memories Julie has been running from, but it could also unearth the hidden truths that Reba left buried…and reveal that Julie isn’t the only one who feels responsible for Reba’s death. Read More 

 

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Beach House for Rent 

By:  Mary Alice Monroe

ISBN:  978-1501125461

Publisher: Gallery Books

Publication Date:  6/20/2017

Format: Hardcover

My Rating:  4 Stars

Two women. One summer. One very special house.

Two women from different generations are bound together by a beloved beach house.

Cara Rutledge, 50, rents her quaint beach house on Isle of Palms to Heather Wyatt, 26, for the summer.  Heather’s anxiety keeps her indoors with her caged canaries until the shorebirds–and a man who rescues them–lure her out to the beach.

 

As the summer progresses and Heather’s heart opens to the rhythms of the island, Cara’s life reels with sudden tragedy. When their worlds shift like the sand under their feet these two very different women come together to discover their common bonds and unique strengths.  So at summer’s end they, like the migrating shorebirds that come to the island every summer, too, can take flight. Read More 

 

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Cocoa Beach  

 

 

By: Beatriz Williams 

ISBN: 978-0062404985 

Publisher: William Morrow 

Publication Date: 6/27/2017 

Format: Hardcover 

My Rating: 4.5 Stars 

The New York Times bestselling author of A Certain Age transports readers to sunny Florida in this lush and enthralling historical novel—an enchanting blend of love, suspense, betrayal, and redemption set among the rumrunners and scoundrels of Prohibition-era Cocoa Beach.

Burdened by a dark family secret, Virginia Fortescue flees her oppressive home in New York City for the battlefields of World War I France. While an ambulance driver for the Red Cross, she meets a charismatic British army surgeon whose persistent charm opens her heart to the possibility of love. As the war rages, Virginia falls into a passionate affair with the dashing Captain Simon Fitzwilliam, only to discover that his past has its own dark secrets—secrets that will damage their eventual marriage and propel her back across the Atlantic to the sister and father she left behind.

 

Five years later, in the early days of Prohibition, the newly widowed Virginia Fitzwilliam arrives in the tropical boomtown of Cocoa Beach, Florida, to settle her husband’s estate. Despite the evidence, Virginia does not believe Simon perished in the fire that destroyed the seaside home he built for her and their young daughter. Separated from her husband since the early days of their marriage, the headstrong Virginia plans to uncover the truth, for the sake of the daughter Simon never met.

 

Simon’s brother and sister welcome her with open arms and introduce her to a dazzling new world of citrus groves, white beaches, bootleggers, and Prohibition agents. But Virginia senses a predatory presence lurking beneath the irresistible, hedonistic surface of this coastal oasis. The more she learns about Simon and his mysterious business interests, the more she fears that the dangers that surrounded Simon now threaten her and their daughter’s life as well. Read More  

 

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The Beach at Painter's Cove 

 

By: Shelley Noble

ISBN:  978-0062439079

Publisher:  William Morrow

Publication Date: 6/13/2017 

Format: Paperback 

My Rating: 4 Stars

From the New York Times bestselling author of Whisper Beach comes another heartwarming story of four generations of women who reunite in their crumbling family mansion by the sea for a dramatic summer filled with love, family, secrets and sisterhood.

The Whitaker family’s Connecticut mansion, Muses by the Sea, has always been a haven for artists, a hotbed of creativity, extravagances, and the occasional scandal. Art patrons for generations, the Whitakers supported strangers but drained the life out of each other. Now, after being estranged for years, four generations of Whitaker women find themselves once again at The Muses.

 

Leo, the Whitaker matriarch, lives in the rambling mansion crammed with artwork and junk. She plans to stay there until she joins her husband Wes on the knoll overlooking the cove and meadow where they first met. Her sister-in-law Fae, the town eccentric, is desperate to keep a secret she has been hiding for years.

 

Jillian, is a jet setting actress, down on her luck, and has run out of men to support her. She thinks selling The Muses will make life easier for her mother, Leo, and Fae by moving them into assisted living. The sale will also bring her the funds to get herself back on top.

 

Issy, Jillian’s daughter, has a successful life as a museum exhibit designer that takes her around the world. But the Muses and her grandmother are the only family she’s known and when her sister leaves her own children with Leo, Issy knows she has to step in to help.

 

Steph, is only twelve-years-old and desperately needs someone to fire her imagination and bring her out of her shell. What she begins to discover at the Muses could change the course of her future. 

 

As Issy martials the family together to restore the mansion and catalogue the massive art collection, a surprising thing happens. Despite storms and moonlight dancing, diva attacks and cat fights, trips to the beach and flights of fancy, these four generations of erratic, dramatic women may just find a way to save the Muses and reunite their family. Read More 

 

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Part of The Silence 

 

By:  Debbie Howells 

ISBN: 9781496706911

Publisher: Kensington

Publication Date: 6/27/2017 

Format:  Hardcover 

My Rating: 3 Stars

From the international bestselling author of The Bones of You comes a haunting and heartbreaking new psychological thriller about the distorted nature of reality, the unreliability of memory, and the enduring power of a mother’s love.

A blighted memory. A child who seems never to have existed. A watcher in the shadows.

 

When they find Evie Sherman, battered and left for dead in a maize field, the young woman has no recollection of who she is. After three days in a hospital bed, the fog in her head begins to lift, and she remembers two names: her own, and that of her three-year-old daughter, Angel. Evie is convinced that Angel is in grave danger. But the police can find no evidence of the girl’s existence.

 

It’s clear that Evie is having some kind of mental breakdown—or is it? Even in the depths of her amnesiac darkness, Evie knows her daughter’s voice, her chameleon eyes, every precious hair on her head. So how can she be losing her mind?

 

As Evie’s grasp on reality slips away, she finds herself haunted by the same three-word warning, which she hears over and over: Trust no one. But whom is she being warned against? The police? The doctors and nurses? Or the mysterious figure who’s been watching her, who knows all her secrets, has a hidden agenda—and perhaps their own twisted version of reality. Read More 

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The Switch 

 

By:  Joseph Finder 

ISBN: 978-1101985786

Publisher: Dutton 

Publication Date: 6/13/2017 

Format: Hardcover 

My Rating: 4 Stars

A simple mix up throws one innocent man into the crosshairs of sinister government secrets and ruthless political ambitions in New York Times bestselling author Joseph Finder’s timely, electrifying new thriller.

M
ichael Tanner is on his way home from a business trip when he accidentally picks up the wrong MacBook in an airport security line. He doesn’t notice the mix-up until he arrives home in Boston, but by then it’s too late. Tanner’s curiosity gets the better of him when he discovers that the owner is a US senator and that the laptop contains top secret files.     
 
When Senator Susan Robbins realizes she’s come back with the wrong laptop, she calls her young chief of staff, Will Abbott, in a panic. Both know that the senator broke the law by uploading classified documents onto her personal computer. If those documents wind up in the wrong hands, it could be Snowden 2.0—and her career in politics will be over. She needs to recover the MacBook before it’s too late. 
 
When Will fails to gain Tanner’s cooperation, he is forced to take measures to retrieve the laptop before a bigger security breach is revealed.  He turns to an unscrupulous “fixer” for help.  In the meantime, the security agency whose files the senator has appropriated has its own methods, darker still—and suddenly Tanner finds himself a hunted man, on the run, terrified for the safety of his family, in desperate need of a plan, and able to trust no one. Read More

 

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The Lucky Ones 

 

By: Mark Edwards 

ISBN: 978-1477848272

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer 

Publication Date:  6/15/2017 

Format: Other

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

It was the happiest day of her life. Little did she know it was also the last.

When a woman’s body is found in the grounds of a ruined priory, Detective Imogen Evans realises she is dealing with a serial killer—a killer whose victims appear to die in a state of bliss, eyes open, smiles forever frozen on their faces.

 

A few miles away, single dad Ben Hofland believes his fortunes are changing at last. Forced to move back to the sleepy village where he grew up following the breakdown of his marriage, Ben finally finds work. What’s more, the bullies who have been terrorising his son, Ollie, disappear. For the first time in months, Ben feels lucky.

 

But he is unaware that someone is watching him and Ollie. Someone who wants nothing but happiness for Ben.

 

Happiness…and death.

 

The Lucky Ones is the terrifying new thriller from the #1 Kindle bestselling author of Follow You Home and The Devil’s Work. Read More

 

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Dead Certain 

 

By:  Adam Mitzner

ISBN:  978-1477822593

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date: 6/1/2017 

Format: Paperback 

My Rating: 3 Stars

Ella Broden is living a double life.


By day, Ella works as a buttoned-up attorney on some of the city’s most grueling cases. By night, she pursues her passion for singing in the darkest clubs of Manhattan.

No one knows her secret, not even Charlotte, the younger sister she practically raised. But it seems she’s not the only one in the family with something to hide. When Charlotte announces she’s sold her first novel, Ella couldn’t be more thrilled…until she gets a call that her sister’s gone missing.

 

Ella starts investigating with the help of Detective Gabriel Velasquez, an old flame in the NYPD, and what she finds is shocking. If art imitates life, then her sister’s novel may contain details of her real-life affairs. And any one of her lovers could be involved in her disappearance.

 

Desperate to bring Charlotte home, Ella works through her list of suspects, matching fictitious characters with flesh-and-blood men. But will it be too late to save the sister she only thought she knew? Read More Dead Certain

 

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The Alice Network 

 

By: Kate Quinn

ISBN: 978-0062654199

Publisher: William Morrow

Publication Date: 6/6/2017

Format: Other

My Rating:  4 Stars

In an enthralling new historical novel from national bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.

 

1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She's also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie's parents banish her to Europe to have her "little problem" taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

 

1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she's recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she's trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the "Queen of Spies", who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy's nose.

 

Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn't heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth...no matter where it leads.

 

“Both funny and heartbreaking, this epic journey of two courageous women is an unforgettable tale of little-known wartime glory and sacrifice. Quinn knocks it out of the park with this spectacular book!”—Stephanie Dray, New York Times bestselling author of America's First Daughter.  Read More 

 

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Low Tide 

 

Rarity Cove #2

By: Leslie Tentler 

ASIN: B07171R893

Publisher: Left Field Press

Publication Date: 6/12/2017 

Format: Kindle

My Rating:  4.5 Stars

REVISIT THE ST. CLAIR FAMILY IN RARITY COVE BOOK TWO!

Hollywood leading man Carter St. Clair had it all—until a brutal stalker attack nearly takes his life. Seriously injured, he returns to his hometown of Rarity Cove, South Carolina, to recover in private, his outlook on fame forever changed by someone claiming to be his “number-one fan.” 

 

Physical therapist Quinn Reese fled San Francisco to be free of her soon-to-be ex-husband, professional football player Jake Medero. Staying at her mother’s house in Rarity Cove seems like her only option until she can get back on her feet financially. When the St. Clair family makes her a lucrative offer of employment, Quinn sees the potential for starting over, even if it means working with Carter, who broke her heart years ago. 

 

As Carter heals under Quinn’s care, fragile bond forms between them. Carter also recognizes a parallel between his own stalker and the possessive pro baller who considers Quinn his property. But even as Carter steps into the role of Quinn’s protector, another dangerous storm is brewing…one for which neither of them is prepared.  Read More 

 

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The Identicals 

 

By: Elin Hilderbrand

ISBN: 978-0316375191

Publisher:  Little Brown & Co.

Publication Date: 6/13/2017 

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 4 Stars

Identical twin sisters who couldn't look more alike...or live more differently.

Harper Frost is laid-back, easygoing. She doesn't care what anyone thinks of her. She likes a beer and a shot and wouldn't be caught dead wearing anything fashionable. She's inherited her father's rundown house on Martha's Vineyard, but she can't hold down a job, and her latest romantic disaster has the entire island talking. 

 

Two beautiful islands only eleven miles apart.

 

Tabitha Frost is dignified, refined. She prefers a fine wine and has inherited the impeccable taste of her mother, the iconic fashion designer Eleanor Roxie-Frost. She's also inherited her mother's questionable parenting skills--Tabitha's teenage daughter, Ainsley, is in full rebellion mode--and a flailing fashion boutique on Nantucket in desperate need of a cash infusion. 

 

One unforgettable summer that will change their lives forever.

 

After more than a decade apart, Harper and Tabitha switch islands--and lives--to save what's left of their splintered family. But the twins quickly discover that the secrets, lies, and gossip they thought they'd outrun can travel between islands just as easily as they can. Will Harper and Tabitha be able to bury the hatchet and end their sibling rivalry once and for all? Before the last beach picnic of the season, there will be enough old resentments, new loves, and cases of mistaken identity to make this the most talked-about summer that Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket have experienced in ages. Read More 

 

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Liar 

 

By:  K.L. Slater

ASIN: B06XZWWH6L

Publisher:  Bookouture

Pub Date: 6/16/2017 

Format: Kindle

My Rating: 4 Stars

How far would you go to protect your family?

 

Single dad Ben is doing his best to raise his children, with the help of his devoted mother Judi. And then Ben meets Amber. Everyone thinks this is a perfect match for Ben but Judi isn’t so sure… 

 

There’s just something about Amber that doesn’t add up. Ben can’t see why his mother dislikes his new girlfriend. And Amber doesn’t want Judi anywhere near her new family. Amber just wants Ben and the children. 

 

The further Judi delves into Amber’s personal life, the closer she gets to shocking secrets that could change everything. And Judi must make a decision that could lead to the most disastrous consequences.

 

Liar is a compelling psychological thriller with a breathtaking twist that will keep you awake until the early hours. Perfect for fans of Behind Closed Doors, The Girl Before and The Sister.  Read More

 

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review 2017-01-31 20:31
Time Is A River by Mary Alice Monroe
Time Is a River - Mary Alice Monroe

Recovering from breast cancer and reeling from her husband's infidelity, Mia Landan flees her Charleston home to heal in the mountains near Asheville, North Carolina. She seeks refuge in a neglected fishing cabin belonging to her fly-fishing instructor, Belle Carson. Belle recently inherited the cabin, which once belonged to a grandmother she never knew -- the legendary fly fisher and journalist of the 1920s, Kate Watkins, whose life fell into ruins after she was accused of murdering her lover. Her fortune lost in the stock market crash and her reputation destroyed, Kate slipped into seclusion in the remote cabin. After her death the fishing cabin remained locked and abandoned for decades. Little does Belle know that by opening the cabin doors to Mia for a summer's sanctuary, she will open again the scandal that plagued Belle's family for generations. From her first step inside the dusty cabin, Mia is fascinated by the traces of Kate's mysterious story left behind in the eccentric furnishings of the cabin. And though Belle, ashamed of the tabloid scandal that tortured her mother, warns Mia not to stir the mud, Mia is compelled to find out more about Kate...especially when she discovers Kate's journal. The inspiring words of the remarkable woman echo across the years. Mia has been learning to fly-fish, and Kate's wise words comparing life to a river resonate deeply. She begins a quest to uncover the truth behind the lies. As she searches newspaper archives and listens to the colorful memories of the local small-town residents, the story of a proud, fiercely independent woman emerges. Mia feels a strange kinship with the woman who, like her, suffered fears, betrayal, the death of loved ones, and a fall from grace -- yet found strength, compassion and, ultimately, forgiveness in her isolation. A story timeless in its appeal emerges, with a power that reopens old wounds, but also brings a transforming healing for Mia, for Kate's descendants, and for all those in Mia's new community.

Amazon.com

 

 

Mia Landan, recovering from breast cancer treatments and an unfaithful husband, decides to retreat to the mountains of WNC, specifically Asheville area. There she takes up residence in a cabin owned by her fly-fishing instructor and friend, Belle. Belle lets her live there rent free for the summer under the one condition that she doesn't go digging into the family story behind the cabin (a scandal involving Belle's grandmother). But we need a novel length story here so of course Belle goes digging. She uncovers the tale of Belle's grandmother, Kate Watkins, a 1920s journalist and fly-fishing enthusiast herself who got involved with a married man and was then implicated in his mysterious disappearance.

 

I've lived in & around the Asheville area since 2002 and actually found a copy of this book in a local thrift shop. Always curious of books that involve my city, I immediately took this one home, figuring that the historical fiction element would also greatly appeal to me. Unfortunately this one didn't quite gel with me as I'd hoped.

 

As far as the environment itself, I thoroughly enjoyed that bit. Monroe definitely does justice to the area, offering rich descriptions of the nature around here... though at times I think she painted it a little more rustic than it actually is these days. Some passages had it sounding like Belle was leaving Mia in the wilds of Alaska or something when much of Asheville now is hardly THAT remote lol. I did like Mia in the early parts of the book but some of her decisions later on in the story chipped away at that, so by the end I was just left more with "She's alright, I guess..."

 

What really fell short was the plot. I was hoping for a truly immersive mystery around the story of Kate Watkins, especially for the time period she was living in.... who doesn't want to imagine their town back in the Roarin' Twenties?! But there wasn't too much in the way of that. The "mystery" was pretty straight forward and, to me, unfolded at a slow, bland pace.

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review 2016-11-28 00:00
A Lowcountry Christmas (Lowcountry Summer)
A Lowcountry Christmas (Lowcountry Summer) - Mary Alice Monroe Please note that I gave this book 3.5 stars, but rounded it to 4 stars on Goodreads.

I read this for the Twelve Tasks of the Festive Season.

Please do not read unless you have read all of the books in the series.

I have been reading the Lowcountry Summer books for years. There were some ups and downs. Ultimately I thought the stories involving the Muir family were good. This newest book focuses on Taylor McClellan, Harper's husband. I think the idea behind the book was good (takes a very good look at PTSD and service dogs) but the tension in the book was not really present because we already know that Taylor is alive and well with Harper, and we know that his family is okay too since they were mentioned in previous books. I did like how Monroe tied this story into "A Christmas Carol" though and I really got a kick out of that.

So I was never really interested in Taylor while reading the series. If anything, I wish this book could have followed up with the newest Muir Atticus. That would have been a nice swan song to the family. Instead this book has Taylor being happy in his life with his new wife and daughter. The book then flashes back five years to when Taylor arrived back home suffering from PTSD. The story switches between Taylor, his younger brother Miller, and then their mother Jenny.

The beginning of the book told from Taylor's POV really did not fit the book version of Taylor I had in my head up to that moment. He was way more eloquent then I thought Taylor had ever shown. The flashbacks to when Taylor goes home, interacts with his family, etc. read more like the Taylor that Harper had met and married.

The character of Miller felt off throughout the entire book. He is 10 at the beginning of this story and he does not have a "voice" like any 10 year old I have met. At certain times he sounded babyish and at other way too adult for the age he was supposed to be. He was either clueless about his family's finances or he was not clueless. But having him reacting badly to not getting a dog was not exactly making me want to get up and cheer this character. He does end up becoming more improved as the book went on, but I think that was because one Monroe has him interacting with his mother and brother more and more he felt more realistic to me.

The character of Jenny was actually written very well. Frankly I liked her POV's more than anyone else's. Maybe it would have been smart to just have Jenny's POV. I did not always get her (her having to constantly deal with her husband acting like an ass is a recurring theme) but you know she loves hers sons.

I really wish if Monroe was going to do this, she had included Taylor's father's POV as well. It seemed odd we didn't get his POV and I think if you are going to go all in about the McClellan's it would have worked much better if he got added in. The guy read like a jerk throughout the whole book until the end. I really wanted to be able to get a sense of his feelings and how he was dealing with losing his way of life, not being able to provide for his family like he wanted to, and having to acknowledge that there was something wrong with his oldest son.

The writing was fine in this book. Just a bit flowerly here and there for 10 year old Miller and older version Taylor. Also it was just weird to me the book starts off with Taylor remembering 5 years ago and the book just breaks it up to show Miller and Jenny's POV's as well as his. The book does set up the different POV's so even while reading you know who is "speaking" before each chapter.

The flow was slow to start off with. Things really don't start clicking more until Taylor gets home and his family starts to realize that something is wrong with him. I thought the whole "incident" put into the story was a bit much though. It read way too Hallmark for me and I was surprised Monroe included it. It didn't really fit the larger story she was telling.

The setting of the lowcountry is a familiar one and I do enjoy it. But this one besides location did not have the same set-up (obviously) or feel of the previous books.

The ending was okay but way too much information was spewed in the last 5 pages that left me with more questions than answers. Also I am wondering why the family scene was missing some people we know are important to Harper (her grandmother on her mother's side). Dora's son who we know is autistic also did not read as he usually does in these books. And I hated the big reveal about one of the sister's just kind of thrown out there.
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review 2016-10-11 19:10
A LowCountry Christmas
A Lowcountry Christmas (Lowcountry Summer) - Mary Alice Monroe

By: Mary Alice Monroe 

A Lowcountry Novel #5

ISBN:1501125532

Publisher:  Gallery

Publication Date: 10/25/2016

Format: Other 

My Rating: 5 Stars

A wounded warrior and his younger brother discover the true meaning of Christmas in this timeless story of family bonds.A poignant continuation of the Lowcountry Summer series.

 

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

Southern master storyteller Mary Alice Monroe returns following A LowCountry Wedding with A LOWCOUNTRY CHRISTMAS featuring Taylor McClellan, a character from previous books. A wounded warrior revisits the past, a broken man, and his journey to the present and future.

A heartwarming holiday tale of family and the true meaning of Christmas-scattered with some humor and quotes from Charles Dickens and A Christmas Carol. Past, Present, Future.

"I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!"-Scrooge, A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens.

A life-changing story of love and hope featuring a beloved family from the LowCountry. Memories from the past. Overcoming obstacles to look deeper than the glitter of the season to discover the true meaning of Christmas. A time for families together to share stories, gifts, laughter, and love.

Whether you’re meeting the Muir family for the first time, or finding them all over again. A LowCountry Christmas will stay in your heart throughout the holiday season- bringing together a family in the aftermath of a loss, and in the midst of an unfolding story of hope, with the help of one very special dog.

If you have read Mary Alice Monroe, you are aware, even though her Coastal South Carolina stories may be fiction; their impact is real. She writes richly textured books and stories that delve into the complexities of interpersonal relationships and the parallels between the land and life. Her life-changing work and environmental fiction are an inspiration to readers, worldwide.

Readers met Taylor in the LowCountry Trilogy, a wounded warrior, suffering from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). With a little help from his service dog, providing support and increased means of coping with such symptoms as hypervigilance, fear, nightmares, flight-or-fight response, and impaired memory.

Set in 2015, it is Christmas Eve, Taylor is returning home to Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina. As a Marine, he has seen his share of battles. He recalls his previous feelings at the approaching Christmas holidays. In the first five years since he had returned from Afghanistan, he barely acknowledged the holidays. There are two reasons presently,for joy in his heart – his wife and daughter. Harper and Marietta. Only three months old.

“The treasured memories captured moments from times long gone—envelope us in that matchless spirit of Christmas one season after the other, year after year, until we ourselves fade and become part of the memories.”

Thor is Taylor’s service dog, attuned to his every mood. Even when he is resting, he is monitoring his breathing and his body language. He senses his anxiety, the PTSD, and knows all the danger signals and how to deflect before his slips into the abyss. Thor is not a dog to be ignored. Part-great Dane and part-Labrador, he’s a whopping 120 pounds of devotion.

As always, Mary Alice Monroe links a connection with animals, as in all her books, with extraordinary powers. An inspiration for the book, a bond, a story of one serviceman’s return from war with PTSD, and his inspiring journey back to his home and himself through the help of his steadfast service dog.

Looking back, it was a Christmas tree that changed everything.One pivotal Christmas five years earlier. One pivotal Christmas five years earlier.

Washington, DC 2010. Taylor was going home for Christmas, the son of a shrimper. A graduate of Citadel in Charleston, the first man to graduate from college in his family. The bombs had shattered his bones and burned his body and soul. He brain was not right. The scars in his mind were the wounds that cut the deepest. He did not want to leave the hospital. It is where he felt safe. Surrounded by other servicemen.

Where do you go but home when there is no place else to go? He felt as if he were heading for a fall. Home for Christmas.

In the small fishing town of McClellanville, outside of Charleston—2010. Ten-year-old Miller McDaniel McClellan is not excited about Christmas. His dad is captain of a shrimp boat and times are tough.

The son of a long line of fisherman. His dad is a hard worker, smart and good with his hands. His mom cleans houses. They have little money. He only wants a dog – one particular puppy. Is there hope? He had singled out a golden puppy. His name was Sandy Claws. He likes to dig. They cost $300 each. He only has seventy-five dollars saved. He loves this puppy. Since his dad put the boat to dock, money was tight. Of course, his dad thinks a dog cost too much to upkeep. No dog for Christmas.

Instead, his mom is excited about his older brother coming home for Christmas. This was his Christmas present? No Xbox, no Playstation, and worst of all, no Sandy. Bah, humbug!

We hear from Jenny, Taylor, and Miller. Jenny, the mom who wants to create a home, rich with traditions, values, and morals that would instill confidence in her children. A happy time meant for laughter, sentimental gifts, and love. After all, Taylor was coming home. They had so much to be thankful for. She wanted to make both her son's dreams come true. Miller’s heart was broken.

Her older son was home safe in her arms. God had answered prayers. But something was different about him. Withdrawal. He had not really completely come home.

Taylor knew he was not the same man. He had a hard time touching people, hugging – damaged goods. He had to find the strength and courage to find his way back through the black mist. Thor gave him hope.

Miller is upset his brother has a dog (service dog), and he doesn’t. Taylor is the big war hero.

“Ghost of the Future!” he exclaimed. “I fear you more than any spectre I have seen. But as I know your purpose is to do me good, and as I hope to live to be another man from what I was, I am prepared to bear you company and do it with a thankful heart.” --Scrooge, A Christmas Carol.

With some special Christmas quotes from Charles Dickens, we visit the past, present, and future—to keep Christmas alive in our hearts all year long.

Jenny was in the middle. All she wanted was a normal happy home, not Team Scrooge. Christmas was only a week away. Miller disappears with his brother’s service dog, Thor. Everyone is worried. It is Christmas Eve and he has taken his dad’s ax and the wagon. He sets out to get a Christmas tree, since they cannot afford to buy one, and gets lost in the forest.

They are frantic, and it is getting cold. They are receiving snow, the first time since 1989, after Hurricane Hugo. A heartfelt reunion.

"I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future!”—Scrooge, A Christmas Carol.

Flash forward, to the Epilogue, Christmas 2015, Sea Breeze, Sullivan’s Island, SC, where memories come together. We catch up with the historic Harper house, where they married and had their first child. Miller now fifteen, where the family gathers around the tree, the unspoken symbol of that important Christmas when they had dug deep and fought for one another—for their survival.

For their family, their happiness, while discovering the true meaning of Christmas. They each had the chance to redeem themselves, no matter how much of a Scrooge they may have been- they are not alone.

Fans will love catching up with Mamaw, Girard, and the rest of the Muir family—Blake and Carson, Dora and Devlin, Nate, Atticus and Vivian and some special holiday recipes from the queen of Southern cooking, Nathalie Dupree, bestselling author with more than three hundred TV appearances for the Food Network, PBS, and the Learning Channel. Also included in Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking.

If you are looking for a special Christmas story to warm your heart and soul, surrounding by the beauty of the LowCountry; Mary Alice Monroe, with her own signature style, delivers a Hallmark Christmas filled with humor, joy, and love, rediscovering the true bonds of family and the special meaning of Christmas.

Especially, during this time with the aftermath and destruction of the most recent Hurricane Matthew, and the shrimpers in the area.

JDCMustReadBooks

 

2016 Top 10 Holiday Books to Read

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/05/05/A-LowCountry-Christmas
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