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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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review 2017-07-31 05:25
The Beach Inn
The Beach Inn - Joanne DeMaio

By: Joanne Demaio

ASIN: B06XRHJCX9

Publisher: Joanne Demaio

Publication Date: 5/16/2017 

Format: Kindle

My Rating:  5 Stars

What another fantastic summer beach read! 

Join me for Blog Tour Stop July 31! 

A longtime favorite New England author, Joanne DeMaio returns following the unforgettable summer beach series (2017) BEACH BREEZE, with her latest THE BEACH INN, as we continue the journey with the memorable characters of charming Stony Point, a beach town on the coast of Connecticut.

Having read ALL of DeMaio’s books, and an avid fan of her work 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. 

“Much of grief and sadness is like the tide here at Stony Point, the way it comes and goes.”

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. However, now he feels like Neil is not there to give him inspiration any longer. He can no longer hear his voice. 

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 feels cheated. Jason feels as though he has lost his brother all over again. 

Picking up from the last book, Jason returns to his wife and home, and attempts to help Sal’s mom Elsa, 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. The town rallies to convince her to stay and move on with her plans. 

Elsa DeLuca is determined to leave; however, it is time for an inn-intervention. Operation "Make Elsa Smile." Will their efforts be enough to change her mind? They will need to come up with something big and momentous. 

Sal wanted this beach inn to be the premier destination on the Connecticut coast. 

Celia was also filled with sadness over the life she and Sal would never have. She has gone back to Addison. Even though his visit to their town this past summer was brief. Will Jason try and convince her to return? She also is full of surprises. 

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 has left her job to take care of her loved ones. What is next for her? New beginnings?

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. 

. . . “Grieving is okay because it comes from love.” 

 



Michael, Sal’s friend from New York has delivered 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 sale of the house. 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.

Everyone is out of sorts with the grief. 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? 

Have they lost themselves when they lost Sal? Is this what he would have wanted?

"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." 

A time of healing and rediscovery. The best place to start over . . . by the sea. They each will need plenty of love and magic connections in order to pull off the impossible. 

A true demonstration of how people handle grief differently. Plus some new unexpected adventures are in store and hopefully, Sal is smiling down at all the new events unfolding. 

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! 

If you enjoy Debbie Macomber and Sherryl Woods, you will devour Joanne Demaio’s storytelling. Characters which linger long after the book ends.

Join me for Blog Tour July 31 to highlight this special book THE BEACH INN and this special talented author. Always on my best book list! 

JDCMustReadBooks

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/03/26/The-Beach-Inn
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review 2017-05-16 05:10
Before the Rain Falls
Before the Rain Falls: A Novel - Camille Di Maio

By:  Camille Di Maio 

ISBN: 9781503939974

Publisher: Lake Union 

Publication Date: 5/16/2017

Format: Other

My Rating: 5 Stars +


From the bestselling author, Camille DiMaio of The Memory of Us, the smashing debut landing on my Top 50 Books of 2016 returns with another stunning follow-up, equally as gripping.

An enthralling modern mystery: BEFORE THE RAIN FALLS —Beautifully written and incredibly poignant, a story of love, loss, and redemption. 5 Stars + Top Books of 2017

A tragic tale which will restore your faith and strength of the human spirit to rise despite adversity― A courageous woman who keeps a dark secret and makes tremendous "sacrifices" that will change her family forever.

Emotional and intriguing. At the same time— a timeless love story, reminding us that often in our darkest hour, hope shines a candle to light our way.

Set in humid South Texas (author's hometown San Antonio), a dual storyline (almost three), alternating between Della’s dark and horrific experiences of the 1940s; her parents: Herman and Eva, and sister Eula (the beloved songbird); and Paloma (grandmother Abuela) and Mick’s present-day search for answers―paths destined to cross, decades apart.

Two sisters. A death. Two mysterious portraits. One found, another lost. A town in need of hope and much-needed rain.

Told in alternating chapters between the 1940s and present day. A washed-up journalist and a young doctor cross paths while searching for the truth behind the mystery murder decades earlier.

Della Lee and Tomas Trujillo had been married only four hours when it happened, their newly minted future ripped apart by an ivory-handled knife.

Tomas said he understood why she’d done what she did. But the fairy tales that Della had imagined for them ever since that day were over. Someone had attempted to break that bond.

She made a choice that would change her world forever, and alter the path of someone she holds dear.

Texas 1943— Eula Lee had been murdered. The tiny border town was devastated for the second time by the Lee family. The daughter everyone cherished. Della Lee Trujillo was convicted. Guilty of murder in the death of her younger sister.

"The drops of rain make a hole in the stone, not by violence, but by oft falling."—Lucretius



Alternating from Puerto Pesar—Present Day: Della was back in the place that consumed her memories through seventy years in prison. Now, in her nineties. Tomas had lived in the house for a few years until going off to war, but he had the foresight to take care of all the legal bits that Della never had the chance to consider.

It was not until she returned to her childhood home that phantoms and memories stirred her, making it impossible to rest. There were births, deaths, marriages, joys, sorrows that were absorbed into these walls.

Did their ghosts mingle, along with those of Herman, Eva, Tomas, and Durla—all watching her this old woman in this old house? The painting, the shrine, the beloved girl. Where was the second one?

She looked back at her life. The forties —when she learned to be a champion, catcher of greased pigs. The fifties— when she discovered a love of reading. The sixties— when she sabotaged her chance at parole. And yet they seemed like yesterday.

The days in which her sister was no longer the belle of Puerto Pesar— drawing crowds from around the country to the little church on Sunday mornings. The days instead when Eula resided six feet below the parched soil in the churchyard.

These were her Freedom Days. She would walk around without bars to block the view. That was one kind of freedom. It was the freedom in telling your secrets before it was too late. Her guilt over not being a good enough caregiver for her sister.

Della had a story and she was ready to tell it. This would be the Truth Days.

Present Day: Mick Anders, a reporter for the Daily Talk in Boston, looking for a story to revive his career. He is in Texas to research the origins of a church painting depicting a “crying girl”. He is staying at the La Palma Inn the only lodging in the small border town of Puerto Pesar. He is struggling with his own battles.

His editor wanted him to lie low regarding a fiasco with a senator (backstory here). He had been told to work his magic in this Podunk town and turn the story into a Pulitzer winner. Go to Texas until his other deal blew over. Two weeks of leave. His orders were to find a knockout story or he was finished. No per diem of course since this was not a real assignment.

His girlfriend Stephanie had taken the keys to the Lexus and kicked him out of their condo. He was going to get a story and spin straw into gold and return to the newspaper as the prodigal son.

The area had not had rain for one hundred and eighty-two days. The photo had shown rosaries and holy cards outside the church as people begged for salvation from this hell. Would he discover the mysteries of this family before the rain falls? Before the woman dies without telling her story. He wanted to be the one.

It all boiled down to this: A portrait found in a thrift store and was thought to be leaking tears. The image of a young girl about four years old. Eula Lee, whose father owned the fish cannery that had been the town’s largest employer at the time. Her sister had murdered her years later. Della Lee had gone to prison and recently returned to the family house after seventy years of incarceration.

However, what was the real story?

The people of the town had enjoyed a regional notoriety for a while. Then the heat, the drought, and skepticism sent people away. Mick had received his Hail Mary pass. “Had one mistake, one reckless grasp at advancement been worth banishment to a Hades what seemed so out of place in a civilized country?"

And could any kind of salvation be found in a convicted nonagenarian and the portrait of a long-dead girl named Eula?”

Mick meets Paloma Vega by chance, who is back in her hometown to help her grandmother recover from a heart attack. An unexpected meeting. He does not realize how this girl and her family will change his life.

Present Day: Paloma Vega. She had moved away ten years earlier. She was a bona fide New Yorker now and grew up in Puerto Pesar. She had a restless heart. She graduated from high school and received a letter from her father in Connecticut. There was a trust large enough for her college and grad school.She had to leave her sister Mercedes who was only six at the time. At nineteen she left for a new future.

Now a few months away from thirty, she was a different person. Four years at NYU, four more at Columbia for medical school, and a two- year residency and a job offer for a permanent position. Her dad would be proud.

Her sister, Mercedes was only sixteen. How was she going to communicate or help her? Who was this creature with the dark eyeliner and darker mood? How would she reach her? She is feeling guilty.

Abuela’s own mother had been a product of the Depression and learned to hoard items for reuse. She had only made four visits in ten years. Not often enough to visit the intricacies of her sister growing up or her grandmother growing old.

Puerto Pesar. Family. There was something comforting about returning home, even if you’d dreamed of leaving it. She had done what any girl from a small border would do when her upper-class father offered her a way out; escaped. She had been too young to think twice. Too starry-eyed to feel guilty.

Until recently. The hospital had agreed to hold her new position for a month so she could go home and help Mercedes take care Abuela after her heart attack. This was the woman who had raised her while her own mother flitted in and about town.

Abuela needed her, even if she denied it. So here she was. She could never repay her grandmother for all she had done raising Paloma and then Mercedes while holding down three jobs to do so. Paloma quickly realized the toll her absence had taken on her sister. What could she do about it in the short period of three weeks while here?

Past 1943: The author takes us back to Goree State Farm for Women— Della Lee Trujillo was sentenced to life in prison, with the possibility of parole in twenty years and would live out those days at Goree State Farm in Huntsville. At the prison, there she met the musical group and friends, the Goree Girls. The good, bad and ugly. Not much good.

Tomas had said he would wait for her. She drove him away.

On the way to prison, the driver had something else in mind and pulled over at the motel. She had never been with a man, not even her own husband.

Reporters wondered why she killed her sister. To others, she was not a victim help by a captor. She was a convicted murderer being lawfully transported by an agent of the state. She was now helpless. The violation. The humiliation. She could not think about the future ahead of her. No one would listen to a murderer.

While in prison . . . she was consumed with darkness. She feared for her life. She was angry with her mother for leaving, with her father for checking out, with her sister for dying. Eddie for raping her. They had all failed her, and because of them, she failed Tomas.

Everyone thought she was a murderer. It had been her wedding day. In prison, she could not read his letters. She loved him too much to make him sacrifice his happiness for her. She was stubborn. She had to raise a headstrong Eula.

It was all about Eula. It had always been about her. Della and Eula only two years apart. Essentially, momma and daughter. Eula had an effect, on everyone. She had a fearsome temper. The same look on her mother’s face on that last day at the beach with the painter. An unspoken triumph.

However, was she really a murderer? Who was she protecting?

“Regret. A word she knew intimately. Only three people knew the truth about what happened that day, and two of them resided in this cemetery.”

Present day: Paloma and Mick meet, while in town. . . Two East Coasters here for a brief time.

The scandals of the Lee family had been talked about for years. Mick and Paloma discuss speaking with Abuela to find out more about Della Lee. She would know stories to help point him in the right direction. Abuela begins telling what she remembers. She is recently home from the hospital and weak.

Where it all started: She recalls a trip where Eva and the girls and the painter went out of town. Eva packed up and left while Herman was at work and the little girls were in the house alone until he returned. Two young girls, ages six and four. Eva never came back. Herman retreated from everything except his office and the girls had to fend for themselves.

Della Lee was no murderer. Her mother had thought she was innocent. There was no proof and it was complicated by the fact Della pled guilty. However, uncle Tomas was convinced of her innocence.

Tomas came back from service defeated by Della rejection. He volunteered for combat and joined the Marines, and turned down a safe post with the army locally. Was Eula like Eva? Carrying on with the boys—rages. But to everyone else a saint?

DiMaio takes us back to the Lee family when they came to Puerto Pesar around the turn of the century. Herman fell for a local girl Eva. She was troubled, beautiful. Some said she was unfaithful. Herman Lee had money. They had a daughter, Della and a few years later another girl named Eura. The mid-twenties and Herman was a slave to keep Eva happy.

Then along came a vagabond from El Paso. He earned his keep as he went along painting landscapes and portraits. They said his name was Teddy Brown. Eva and Teddy caused quite the scandal. The husband was busy with work and she would meet him at the coast.

Herman Lee found out something about the painter Teddy Brown and he died in an airplane crash on his way to Europe. A tragedy. Two young girls left alone. Eula’s troubles started when her mother left. The paintings.

Mick is drawn into the story and, Paloma is a real distraction for him. Seeing the painting, and going to her grandmother’s house. However, he was here for a reason.

He needed to meet Della Lee, now ninety years old and lived alone. This woman seemed normal. How strange it must be for her at this age reentering the real world. He had come originally to see the portrait of her sister. Santa Bonita. He soon comes to respect this woman. Why had her mother gone away for ten years and then go find her? They lost a mother so young and a father so tragically.

“Things aren’t always as they seem. Don’t assume you know everything you might have read about me is the truth. Only I know the truth. And the only other two who did have long since died.”

 




An exclusive interview with the woman herself. Incarcerated for seven decades. He needed this knockout story. He felt alive. Difficult to think this woman could have murdered anyone. Mick must learn the mysteries behind Eula. He hoped she could hang on and have enough strength to get it all out.

"Sacrifice is sanctifying." Mick was learning this family was about religion. However, it was cryptic. What drove her to murder her sister if so much had gone into protecting her?

There were also two portraits. One of Eula and one of Della. A story which needed to be told before it could be snatched away, as so many other things in here past. Holding on to things so deeply driving you to do things that seem inexplicable.

So much fun reading about the tales of the Goree Girls All Strings Band! The friendships of these women. The letters from poor Tomas pouring out his heart. A doctor and a journalist pulled into this saga.

Two people from the East Coast, visiting a small border town, and transformed by a place that did not even show up on most maps.

At 95% was dying to learn what happened that night. This lady can write folks! She has a knack for tugging at your heart strings and never letting go.

A beautifully told, tragic tale. Women enduring facing insurmountable hardships. Loved ones separated. Choices and consequences which trickle down through generations. A sacrifice. A strong parallel between the generations.

With memorable characters, and conceptual depth, and heart-pounding tension, DiMaio’s novel is one that simply unputdownable. I love this author! From her first book, I knew this one possessed a God-given talent. A gifted storyteller.

Both timeline stories were equally developed, absorbing, and engaging. The characters jump off the page and you feel their intense pain, agony, and difficult decisions. Both heartbreaking and a very satisfying ending. This saga and its characters will remain with long after the book ends.

There are also religious tones with both her books regarding Roman Catholicism and its distinctive beliefs including certain doctrines, beliefs, and sacraments: Other distinctive Catholic practices include veneration of saints, use of the crucifix, and the use of rosary beads in prayer.

Through all the pain, loss and tragedy there is hope and life gives us surprises and something beauty out of tragedy when we least expect. For fans of historical, women’s, literary and contemporary fiction as well as romance, suspense, and modern mystery.

Perfect for fans of Nicholas Sparks, Charles Martin (Long Way Gone), Richard Paul Evans, Fredrik Backman, Catherine Ryan Hyde, Karen White, Kristin Hannah, Katherine Hughes (The Secret and The Letter), Sarah Jio, Kate Morton, Lisa Wingate, and Diane Chamberlain.

I adore the author’s book trailers: They are powerful, moving, emotional and will immediately draw you into the lives of her characters. Oh, and the stunning cover . . .

View Book Trailers:
Before the Rain Falls
The Memory of Us

What a great way to spend a Saturday! Set aside the time—Unputdownable. Spectacular—another smashing hit by Camille DiMaio! Fans, you will want to pre-order BEFORE THE RAIN FALLS, now.

In the meantime, if you have not read The Memory of Us , highly recommend. Would love to see both these played out on the wide screen. Movie worthy!

A special thank you to the author, Lake Union, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

 

 JDCMustReadBooks

 


Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/01/08/Before-the-Rain-Falls
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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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review 2016-12-14 10:11
The Marriage Lie
The Marriage Lie - Kimberly Belle
ISBN: 0778319768
Publisher: MIRA
Publication Date: 12/27/2016
Format: Other
My Rating: 5 Stars

Top Books of 2016
 
Talented author, Kimberly S. Belle returns following The Ones We Trust (2015) and The Last Breath (2014), with a deliciously domestic psychological suspense thriller, THE MARRIAGE LIE.

“A page-turning” grip-lit. An exploration of the complex lies, betrayal, and dark secrets of a marriage. Do you really know your partner?

A happy husband and wife living in Atlanta, GA. Iris and Will Griffith, are approaching their seventh anniversary. They have their dream Victorian home on a quiet street in Inman Park with the porch and working on a baby to complete their family.

Will is headed out of town for a three- day business trip to Orlando, FL and gives Iris a beautiful anniversary ring, the night before. He is a Sr. Software Engineer with a consulting firm and has a conference to attend.

Iris is a school counselor at the exclusive K-12 Lake Forrest Academy in a leafy suburb of Atlanta. They are a privileged and elite tribe of troubled kids with wealthy parents of surgeons, news anchors, socialites, and professional athletes.

Soon the horrific news comes that Liberty Airlines Flight 23 has crashed, shortly after taking off from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to Seattle Washington. All 179 passengers are presumed dead. However, it was not Will’s plane. He was on his way to Orlando. Safe, correct? However, he is not answering his phone.

Iris soon learns William Matthew Griffith was on that plane. How could this be? This has to be a mix-up. However, as Iris begins investigating, frantic with worry and fear over this unsettling news, she learns there was no conference for Cyber Security for Critical assets: An Intelligence Summit.

He cannot be dead. It was not possible.

Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. The stages of grief. How could a man headed to Orlando end up on a westward-bound plane? How could he have died? Could the conference have been moved to a different location? Was there another woman? Had he been cheating? Was he leading a secret life on the west coast?

Iris finds he booked a one-way trip. He booked two tickets in opposite directions. Why? Iris goes from heartbroken to being furious. He lied. How could he do this to her? To them? Terror overwhelms her.

With the help of her twin brother, Dave she begins digging into Will’s past. However, the question is, "does this lie override their seven years of marriage?" Does it erase their love?

Will said he grew up in Memphis and moved to Atlanta straight out of grad school at the University of Tennessee. His entire life had been on the east coast, not west. His parents were dead, and he had no siblings. He never talked of friends or family. Besides his colleagues and acquaintances his only high school friend residing in Costa Rica.

 



They had eloped when they married, with only her brother and his partner, James, and her parents, as witnesses. She knew his childhood wasn’t pleasant, but nothing something he talked about.

How well did she know her husband? Iris is determined to get answers. A pilot error. What if Will is not dead? How could he leave her here all alone unarmed and clueless to fight this battle? She wants to defend him; however, she is unsure.

She and her husband shared a home, a life, and the past. Their relationship had been built on trust and honesty. There had never been any reason for either of them to be jealous or suspicious. Until now.

Who is this Corban Hayes showing up from Will’s gym? She does not even know this guy. How could she mourn a guy she longer is certain she knows?

Could her husband be a wanted criminal, a serial killer, or a rapist, or a murderer? Nothing is as is appears. His job, his past, their life. Has it all been a lie? Money missing. Crazy messages. Something is not right. Does she want him to be dead, or face the fact he is not the person she married?

Things start getting weird, and she and her brother Dave begin to uncover more about Will’s dark past, leading us to more twists and turns, and the explosive conclusion! (great ending!)

From money, lies, deceit, blackmail, and betrayal. Innocent lives, justice, revenge. A twisty gripping ride and with each turn, you do not know whom to truth. Reliable? The author does an outstanding job of weaving the mystery and suspense with the deep dark secrets for a wild adventurous ride.

Psychological suspense and family drama with a perfect marriage on the exterior, yet beneath the façade; a marriage with dark secrets and lies with fatal repercussions. A chilling and haunting tale. Also a nice tie in with the student Eva. Those with money and those without--when money does not always provide happiness.

An ideal choice for book clubs and group discussions (as always, Belle includes an extensive guide). A thought-provoking question: To what extent does a person’s past influence or define one’s future.? There are many emotional complex decisions and moral dilemmas sprinkled throughout the novel. The what ifs; if faced with similar circumstances?

As always I enjoy re-visiting with the cool parts of Atlanta which I lived for many years, the Historic neighborhoods, landmarks, restaurants, and the wonderful Beltline. I could imagine myself back there! Belle's descriptions are so vivid.

I loved Dave, Iris’s twin brother. Kimberly adds just the amount of wit and humor with the psychological suspense and mystery, for a nice balance. I knew the first book I read by Belle, she would be an author to follow. Each book is unique, crossing several genres- love her writing style!

For fans of domestic suspense: Sandra Brown, Paula Treick DeBoard, Kate Moretti, Susan Crawford, Laura McNeill, and Paula Daly will enjoy this twisty look "behind closed doors" of a marriage.

A special thank you to the author, MIRA, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Cover love- The paperback is stunning!

JDCMustReadBooks

Three years in a row! My Top Book List for each year.

 


2014 The Last Breath
2015 The Ones We Trust
2016 The Marriage Lie

 

 

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/05/01/The-Marriage-Lie
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