Tag Archives: Domestic Life

Review of The Space Between Sisters by Mary McNear with Giveaway

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About The Space Between Sisters

Return to Butternut Lake with New York Times bestselling author Mary McNear in a story where the complicated bonds of sisterhood are tested.

They are two sisters who couldn’t be more different. Win, organized and responsible, plans her life with care. Poppy, impulsive and undependable, leaves others to pick up the pieces. But despite their differences, they share memories of the idyllic childhood summers they spent together on the shores of Butternut Lake. Now, thirteen years later, Win, recovering from a personal tragedy, has taken refuge on Butternut Lake, settling into a predictable and quiet life.

Then one night, Poppy unexpectedly shows up on her sister’s doorstep with her suitcases, an aging cat named Sasquatch, and a mysterious man in tow. Although Win loves her beautiful sister, she wasn’t expecting her to move in for the summer. At first, they relive the joys of Butternut Lake. But their blissful nostalgia soon gives way to conflict and painful memories, and buried secrets threaten to tear the sisters apart.

As the waning days of summer get shorter, past secrets are revealed, new love is found, and the ties between the sisters are tested like never before . . . all on the serene shores of Butternut Lake.

My Thoughts

Great story of two sisters, as different as different can be. Despite dissimilarities their bond is strong, past heartbreaking, always there for one another as sisters should be, albeit in this instance one is grounded more than the other providing a safe haven of sorts. Reconnecting, a dark secret revealed, healing, romance, all exposed and addressed under the allure and magical spell of Butternut Lake.

A few incredibly touching and tender moments, affecting end result. Assemblage of characters along with their sketches made this a favorite of mine in the series.

Another enjoyable read taking place at Butternut Lake, as always a great cast and subject matter create a warm and fuzzy end result.

About Mary McNearMary-McNear

Mary McNear, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Butternut Lake series, writes in a local doughnut shop, where she sips Diet Pepsi, observes the hubbub of neighborhood life, and tries to resist the constant temptation of freshly made doughnuts. Mary bases her novels on a lifetime of summers spent in a small town on a lake in the northern Midwest.

Connect with Mary on Facebook.

Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of The Space Between Sisters by Mary McNear. Open to US only. Ends 6/22/16.
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Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (June 14, 2016)

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Review of The Sun in Your Eyes by Deborah Shapiro with Giveaway

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About The Sun in Your Eyes

For quiet, cautious and restless college freshman Vivian Feld real life begins the day she moves in with the enigmatic Lee Parrish—daughter of died-too-young troubadour Jesse Parrish and model-turned-fashion designer Linda West—and her audiophile roommate Andy Elliott.

When a one-night stand fractures Lee and Andy’s intimate rapport, Lee turns to Viv, inviting her into her glamorous fly-by-night world: an intoxicating mix of Hollywood directors, ambitious artists, and first-class everything. It is the beginning of a friendship that will inexorably shape both women as they embark on the rocky road to adulthood.

More than a decade later, Viv is married to Andy and hasn’t heard from Lee in three years. Suddenly, Lee reappears, begging for a favor: she wants Viv to help her find the lost album Jesse was recording before his death. Holding on to a life-altering secret and ambivalent about her path, Viv allows herself to be pulled into Lee’s world once again. But the chance to rekindle the magic and mystery of their youth might come with a painful lesson: While the sun dazzles us with its warmth and brilliance, it may also blind us from seeing what we really need.

What begins as a familiar story of two girls falling under each other’s spell evolves into an evocative, and at times irrepressibly funny, study of female friendship in all its glorious intensity and heartbreaking complexity.

My Review

A story examining the dynamics of friendship. I found myself taking inventory of my friendships to see if I am easily influenced, passive, questioning if power and/or control exists, luckily my relationships are well balance.

I found it interesting after a ‘falling out’ which led to a considerable amount of time apart, these two pick up the pieces, albeit with suspicion and questions not to mention guilt, as if a monumental interruption never occurred – betrayal isn’t easy to digest. They do wrestle with their reconnection as the story unfolds. Lee clearly the leader, Viv the follower. The duo rekindles their fragile friendship for their own reasons – known and unknown.

I enjoyed the legendary Jesse Parrish and the rock references along with Lee’s quest to learn more of her deceased father Jesse.

I do wish the plot focused less on Lee and Viv’s past friendship and more on their interaction now. The alternating of ‘then’ and ‘now’ became distracting. Difficult to bond with protagonists, simply too much telling and not nearly enough showing.

Fans enjoying a well written exploration of friendship and relationships in general will want to make room on their TBR.

About Deborah ShapiroDeborah-Shapiro-photo-credit-Lewis-McVey

Deborah Shapiro was born and raised outside of Boston, Massachusetts. A graduate of Brown University, she spent several years in New York working at magazines, including New York and ELLE, and her work has been published in Open City, Washington Square Review, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among other places. She lives with her husband and son in Chicago. The Sun in Your Eyes is her first novel.

Follow Deborah on Twitter.

Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of The Sun in Your Eyes by Deborah Shapiro. Open to US only. Ends 6/15/16.
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Publisher: William Morrow (June 28, 2016)

Review of All Summer Long by Dorothea Benton Frank with Giveaway

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About All Summer Long

Dorothea Benton Frank novels are smart and witty fiction that readers want on their bookshelf: soulful, edgy stories about realistic characters familiar to us all that explore the most deeply felt moments of life with wry humor and heart.

All Summer Long follows one charming New York couple–prominent interior designer Olivia Ritchie and her husband, Nicholas Seymour, an English professor and true southern gentleman. They are seemingly polar opposites, yet magnetically drawn together and have been in love for more than fourteen years.

As they prepare to relocate to Charleston, South Carolina, Olivia, the ultimate New Yorker, has reservations about the promise she made to retire in the Lowcountry, where Nick wants to return home and lead a more peaceful life. They are moving north to south, fast pace versus slow pace, and downsizing. Nick is ecstatic. Olivia is not. She can’t let Nick know that their finances are not what he thought. Her client list is evaporating, their monetary reserves are dwindling, and maybe that house she picked out on Sullivans Island needs too much work. Thank God for her assistant, Roni Larini, her right (and sometimes left) hand.

As they find themselves pondering the next step of their lives, Olivia and Nick travel with her billionaire clients and their friends and are swept up in the world of the ultra-rich, exploring the globe with a cast of zany eccentrics over one tumultuous, hot summer. All as Olivia grapples with what lies ahead for her and Nick.

This is a story of how plans evolve and lives change in unexpected ways, how even those who have everything are still looking for something more. Even the most successful people can often struggle to keep things together. All Summer Long asks the ultimate question: Can money buy happiness? From Sullivans Island to Necker Island to Nantucket to the beaches of Southern Spain, we’ll come to recognize the many faces of true love; love that deepens and endures, but only because one woman makes a tremendous leap of faith. And that leap changes everything.

My Thoughts

Frank reminds us there’s more to life than possessions, money, reinforcing happiness cannot be bought.

I really enjoyed Olivia and Nick, their love, strong marriage. When turbulence hits, they work it out in a constructive manner, heal their wounds and move forward. A couple understanding forgiveness, commitment and the importance of communication.

Wasn’t a huge fan of uber wealthy Bob and Maritza, although their trivial issues and vapidity added plenty of entertainment and excitement. In the end, this troubled couple inadvertently taught Olivia and Nick what’s important along with being thankful for what you have and don’t have. Surprisingly Bob and Maritza learn a few lessons and promises are made.

Frank always crafts such lush atmospheric reads, you’ll enjoy Sullivan Island, New York and Necker Island along with rich architectural details both interior and exterior, tid bits of Lowcountry history as well. You feel the sea air on your skin, the rhythmic swaying of the yacht as you romp along with Olivia and Nick and their privileged pals all summer long.

Fun beach read, especially fans of lifestyles of the rich and famous and all the nuances accompanying the burden.

Dorothea Benton FrankAbout Dorothea Benton Frank

New York Times bestselling author Dorothea Benton Frank was born and raised on Sullivans Island, South Carolina. She resides in the New York area with her husband.

Find her on the web at www.dotfrank.com, or like her on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of All Summer Long. US residents ONLY. Ends 6/8/16
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Publisher: William Morrow (May 31, 2016)

Review of A Wedding in Provence: A Novel by Ellen Sussman

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About A Wedding in Provence

What could be more idyllic than a wedding in Provence? That’s what Olivia and Brody think when they invite their closest friends and family to spend their wedding weekend with them. But when Olivia’s older daughter from her first marriage invites a man she met on the plane to join her, the delicate balance of the entire weekend is upset. Soon Olivia’s best friend, the owner of the inn who is hosting the wedding, discovers that her husband has cheated on her. Then Brody’s mother shows up without his father, who has gone into hiding. How can one choose love in the midst of chaos? Told from the point of view of Olivia and her two daughters, A Wedding in Provence is a moving novel about love, trust, secrets and family.

My Review

I am a Francophile, so the idea of spending time in Provence was a huge draw, I only wish more emphasis reflected the lush area. The framework of the narrative showed promise but ultimately fizzled. I was fascinated by the various personalities and their interactions, however, their far fetched issues, obnoxious and overall poor, inconsiderate behavior matched with actions was so over dramatized it became ridiculous.

Every single character had a major issue conveniently reaching its ugliness during the big weekend wedding – it becomes too much and I felt as if the author was capitalizing on her hopes for my stupidity veiled in oblivion. Honestly the melodrama is really implausible and preposterous. Olivia, Brody and Fanny were the only players I could barely tolerate, the rest grated on my nerves, especially Nell and Carly – two very immature late 20 something’s. The ending was your standard quiet after the pageantry storm, predictable. A fast read perfect for the beach for those partial to a plethora of serious family theatrics.

About Ellen Sussman298633

Ellen Sussman is the New York Times bestselling author of four novels, A Wedding in Provence, The Paradise Guest House, French Lessons, and On a Night Like This. She is the editor of two critically acclaimed anthologies, Bad Girls: 26 Writers Misbehave and Dirty Words: A Literary Encyclopedia of Sex. She teaches through Stanford Continuing Studies and in private classes.

Published July 15th 2014 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2014)

Release Blast & Giveaway: His Pregnant Princess Bride by Catherine Mann

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His Pregnant Princess Brider_coverHis Pregnant Princess Bride
Bayou Billionaires #1
by Catherine Mann
Releasing February 1st, 2016 (Digital)
Releasing February 9th, 2016 (Print)
Harlequin Desire

About His Pregnant Princess Bride

 A princess and a Southern billionaire are expecting twins! Only from USA TODAY bestselling author Catherine Mann! 

His focus is on his family’s football dynasty. Louisiana billionaire Gervais Reynaud has no time for romance. But he can’t say no to a tryst with Erika Mitras. True, she’s a princess, but in no way prim…or proper. Their time together is unbelievable…and all too short.

When Erika said goodbye, she meant it. But now she must tell Gervais the truth. He’s about to be a father…to royal twins. After leaving her overbearing family, Erika wants nothing from Gervais. But the tempting tycoon just may charm her into a future she desires all too much

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Buy Links:
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Excerpt

His dark eyes heated her with memories as he strode toward her. His long legs ate the ground in giant slices, his khakis and sports jacket declaring him in the middle of a work day. He stopped in front of her, his broad shoulders blocking the sun and casting his handsome face in shadows. But she didn’t have to see to know his jaw would be peppered with the stubble that seemed to grow in seconds after he shaved. Her fingers – her body – remembered the texture of that rasp well.

Her breath caught somewhere in her chest.

He folded his arms over his chest, just under the Hurricanes logo stitched on the front of his jacket. “Welcome to the States, Erika. No one mentioned your intention to visit. I thought you don’t like sports.”

“And yet, here I am.” And in need of privacy out of the bright Louisiana sun and the even brighter curious eyes of his team and staff. She needed space and courage to tell him why she’d made this unexpected journey across the Atlantic to this muggy bayou state. “This is not an official royal visit.”

“And you’re not in uniform.” His eyes glided over her wrap around dress.

“I’m out of the service now.” About to return to school to be a nurse, the career field she’d hoped to pursue in the military but they would not allow her such an in-the-field position, instead preferring to dress her up and trot her around as a figure-head translator. “I am here for a conference on homeopathic herbs and scents.” A part of her passion in the nursing field, and a totally made up excuse for being here today.

“Are you here to share specially scented deodorant to my players? Because they could certainly use it.” His mouth tipped with a smile.

“Are you interested in such a line?” Still jet-lagged from the transatlantic flight, she was ill-prepared to exchange pleasantries.

“Is that why you are here? For business?”

She could not just banter with him. She simply could not. “Please, can we go somewhere private to talk?”

He searched her eyes with for a long moment before gesturing over his shoulder. “I’m in the middle of a meeting with sponsors. How about supper?”

“I am not here for seduction,” she stated bluntly.

“Okay.” His eye brows shot upward. “I thought I asked you to join me for gumbo, not sex. But now that we’re talking about sex–”

“We are not.” She cut him short. “Finish your meeting if you must, but I need to speak with you as soon as possible. Privately. Unless you want your personal business and mine overheard by all of your team straining to listen.”

She definitely was not ready for them to hear she was pregnant with the heir to the Reynaud family dynasty.

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About Catherine MannCatherine

USA Today bestseller and RITA Award winning author Catherine Mann writes contemporary romance for Berkley, Harlequin, Sourcebooks and Tule. With over sixty books released in more than twenty countries, she has also celebrated six RITA finals, an RT Reviewer’s Award finalist, three Maggie Award of Excellence finals and a Bookseller’s Best win. Catherine and her flyboy husband live on the Florida coast where they brought up their 4 children – and still have 5 four-legged, furry “children” (aka pets). Catherine is an active volunteer with an animal rescue, serving on their Board of Directors and fostering over 200 puppies, ill dogs, and dogs with service/working potential.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Giveaway

Grand Prize winner to get Three (3) books from Catherine Mann & Joanne Rock’s backlist plus loofah, Victoria’s Secret lotion and heart shape cookie cutters. Second Prize winner to get downloads of two Runaway Bride stories by Catherine Mann & Joanne Rock. See entry form for complete details.
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