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#BookReview Stay Awake by Megan Goldin @megangoldin @StMartinsPress #StayAwake #MeganGoldin #StMartinsPress #SMPInfluencers

#BookReview Stay Awake by Megan Goldin @megangoldin @StMartinsPress #StayAwake #MeganGoldin #StMartinsPress #SMPInfluencers Title: Stay Awake

Author: Megan Goldin

Published by: St. Martin's Press on Aug. 9, 2022

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 352

Format: Hardcover

Source: St. Martin's Press

Book Rating: 9/10

Liv Reese wakes up in the back of a taxi with no idea where she is or how she got there. When she’s dropped off at the door of her brownstone, a stranger answers―a stranger who now lives in her apartment and forces her out in the cold. She reaches for her phone to call for help, only to discover it’s missing, and in its place is a bloodstained knife. That’s when she sees that her hands are covered in black pen, scribbled messages like graffiti on her skin: STAY AWAKE.

Two years ago, Liv was living with her best friend, dating a new man, and thriving as a successful writer for a trendy magazine. Now, she’s lost and disoriented in a New York City that looks nothing like what she remembers. Catching a glimpse of the local news, she’s horrified to see reports of a crime scene where the victim’s blood has been used to scrawl a message across a window, the same message that’s inked on her hands. What did she do last night? And why does she remember nothing from the past two years? Liv finds herself on the run for a crime she doesn’t remember committing as she tries to piece together the fragments of her life. But there’s someone who does know exactly what she did, and they’ll do anything to make her forget―permanently.

In the vein of SJ Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep and Christopher Nolan’s cult classic Memento, Megan Goldin’s Stay Awake is an electrifying novel that plays with memory and murder.


Review:

Tight, sinister, and gripping!

Stay Awake is a propulsive, intense mystery that introduces us to Liv Reese, a disoriented, troubled young woman who, after waking in the back of a cab with a pocket full of cash, a bloodied knife, arms covered in messages to not fall asleep, and no idea how she got there, finds herself visiting old jaunts and doing whatever she can to try and remember and piece together the last two years of her life since the day her life was violently turned upside down and her memories all but disappeared.

The writing is taut and brisk. The characters are resourceful, confused, and persistent. And the plot told using a mixture of flashbacks and alternating POVs unravels quickly into an intricate, action-packed tale full of twists, turns, secrets, surprises, questionable personalities, duplicitous motivations, manipulative actions, parasitic relationships, violence, and ruthless murder.

Overall, Stay Awake is an unpredictable, chilling, entertaining tale by Goldin that was a little nutty in all the best ways while also being engaging, engrossing and impossible to put down.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                

 

 

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Megan Goldin

MEGAN GOLDIN worked as a correspondent for Reuters and other media outlets where she covered war, peace, international terrorism and financial meltdowns in the Middle East and Asia. She is now based in Melbourne, Australia where she raises three sons and is a foster mum to Labrador puppies learning to be guide dogs. THE ESCAPE ROOM was her debut novel.

Photograph courtesy of Author's Goodreads Page.

#BookReview Bend Toward the Sun @kisscrafter @smpromance @StMartinsPress #JenDevon #BendTowardtheSun #SMPRomance #SMPInfluencers #StMartinsPress

#BookReview Bend Toward the Sun @kisscrafter @smpromance @StMartinsPress #JenDevon #BendTowardtheSun #SMPRomance #SMPInfluencers #StMartinsPress Title: Bend Toward the Sun

Author: Jen Devon

Published by: St. Martin's Griffin on Aug. 9, 2022

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 384

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: St. Martin's Press

Book Rating: 10/10

Two imperfect people. One year under the sun. A love story you won’t ever forget.

Rowan McKinnon doesn’t believe in love. With a botany PhD, two best friends who embrace her social quirkiness, and some occasional no-strings sex, she has everything she needs. But she hides deep wounds from the past—from a negligent mother, and a fiancé who treated her like a pawn in a game. When an academic setback leads Rowan to take on the restoration of an abandoned vineyard, she relishes the opportunity to restore the grapes to their former glory.

She does not expect to meet a man like Harrison Brady.

An obstetrician profoundly struggling after losing a patient, Harry no longer believes he is capable of keeping people safe. Reeling, Harry leaves Los Angeles to emotionally recover at his parents’ new vineyard in Pennsylvania.

He does not expect to meet a woman like Rowan McKinnon.

As their combative banter gives way to a simmering tension, sunlight begins to crack through the darkness smothering Harry’s soul. He’s compelled to explore the undeniable pull between them. And after a lifetime of protecting herself from feeling anything, for anyone, Rowan tries to keep things casual.

But even she can’t ignore their explosive connection.


Review:

Alluring, intimate, and sweet!

Bend Toward the Sun is a heart-tugging, enchanting tale that takes you into the lives of two main characters. Rowan, a young woman who is thoughtful and hardworking but much more comfortable surrounded by plants than other people, and Harry, a caring obstetrician who is struggling to overcome a professional loss that has left him traumatized and emotionally astray.

The writing is heartfelt and tender. The characters are supportive, layered, and loving. And the plot is a touching tale of family, friendship, self-discovery, happiness, taking chances, growth, healing, tender moments, light drama, community, and new beginnings.

Overall, Bend Toward the Sun is an uplifting, absorbing, magical debut by Devon that was so much more than I ever expected and one which I undoubtedly highly recommend.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

            

 

 

Thank you to SMP Romance – St. Martin’s Press for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Jen Devon

Jen Devon wrote her first romance when she was eight. Now she writes vivid, cinematic love stories about imperfect people finding their perfect match. A former biology academic and lecturer, she currently works in the tech industry and dreams of writing full-time. She’s an avid gardener, photographer, and boardgamer, a thrift store enthusiast and unapologetic nerd. She’s a mom of six (three kids, three rescue mutts) and lives in central Ohio with her engineer husband. Bend Toward the Sun is her first book.

Photo Credit: Maya D Photography

#BookReview The Secret Letter by Debbie Rix @ReadForeverPub #ReadForever #ReadForever2022 #DebbieRix #TheSecretLetter

#BookReview The Secret Letter by Debbie Rix @ReadForeverPub #ReadForever #ReadForever2022 #DebbieRix #TheSecretLetter Title: The Secret Letter

Author: Debbie Rix

Published by: Forever on Apr. 20, 2021

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 432

Format: Paperback

Source: Forever

Book Rating: 9/10

Inspired by a true story, this historical novel is a heart-wrenching, unforgettable tale of one young girl who refuses to give up on what she believes in and the strength of human kindness in a time of unimaginable heartbreak.

London, 2018: When ninety‑four‑year‑old Imogen receives a letter addressed to her in neat, unfamiliar handwriting, she notices the postmark is stamped from Germany—and it sends shivers down her spine . . .
 
Germany, 1939: Thirteen‑year‑old Magda is devastated by the loss of her best friend Lotte, cruelly snatched from her and sent to a concentration camp—the Star of David sewn on her faded brown coat. As the Nazis’ power takes hold, Magda realizes she’s not like the other girls in her German village—she hates the fanatical new rules of the Hitler Youth. So she secretly joins The White Rose Movement and begins to rebel against the oppressive, frightening world around her.

But when an English bomber pilot crashes nearby, she is faced with an impossible choice: risk the safety of her family or save a stranger and make a difference in the devastating war that has claimed the lives of so many. Little does she know, her actions will have the power to change the life of another girl, on the other side of enemy lines, forever.


Review:

Captivating, emotional, and intense!

The Secret Letter is an immersive, dual-timeline tale set in London and Germany during WWII, as well as 2018, that takes you into the lives of two main characters from completely different backgrounds and worlds, Imogen and Magda, whose lives become unimaginably entwined by the consequences of war and the actions of one brave man.

The prose is rich and expressive. The characters are resilient, determined, and brave. And the plot is an alluring, coming-of-age tale about life, loss, family, secrets, separation, desperation, tragedy, friendship, love, and the hardships and horrors of war.

Overall, The Secret Letter is an absorbing, moving, beautifully written tale by Rix inspired by real-life events that, at its heart, highlights that survival of any kind often involves moral dilemmas, action, strength, courage and beyond all else, sacrifice.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

         

 

 

Thank you to Forever and Grand Central Publishing for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Debbie Rix

Debbie Rix tells the stories of real women history has overlooked. As an ex‑journalist, she believes historical accuracy is key and she strives to weave her stories around real‑life events. Her novels have been published in several languages, including Italian, Czech, and Russian.

Debbie spends a lot of time in Italy, but when not traveling, she lives in the Kent countryside with her journalist husband, and their children, chickens, and cats.

#BookReview Can’t Look Away by Carola Lovering @StMartinsPress #CantLookAway #CarolaLovering #StMartinsPress #SMPInfluencers

#BookReview Can’t Look Away by Carola Lovering @StMartinsPress #CantLookAway #CarolaLovering #StMartinsPress #SMPInfluencers Title: Can't Look Away

Author: Carola Lovering

Published by: St. Martin's Press on Jun. 14, 2022

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 320

Format: Hardcover

Source: St. Martin's Press

Book Rating: 8.5/10

In 2013, twenty-three-year old Molly Diamond is a barista, dreaming of becoming a writer. One night at a concert in East Williamsburg, she locks eyes with the lead singer, Jake Danner, and can’t look away. Molly and Jake fall quickly and deeply in love, especially after he writes a hit song about her that puts his band on the map.

Nearly a decade later, Molly has given up writing and is living in Flynn Cove, Connecticut with her young daughter and her husband Hunter—who is decidedly not Jake Danner. Their life looks picture-perfect, but Molly is lonely; she feels out of place with the other women in their wealthy suburb, and is struggling to conceive their second child. When Sabrina, a newcomer in town, walks into the yoga studio where Molly teaches and confesses her own fertility struggles, Molly believes she’s finally found a friend.

But Sabrina has her own reasons for moving to Flynn Cove and befriending Molly. And as Sabrina’s secrets are slowly unspooled, her connection to Molly becomes clearer––as do secrets of Molly’s own, which she’s worked hard to keep buried.

Meanwhile, a new version of Jake’s hit song is on the radio, forcing Molly to confront her past and ask the ultimate questions: What happens when life turns out nothing like we thought it would, when we were young and dreaming big? Does growing up mean choosing with your head, rather than your heart? And do we ever truly get over our first love?


Review:

Brisk, sinister, and tight!

Can’t Look Away is a gripping psychological thriller that takes you on a journey into the life of the sweet, lonely Molly Hunter as she juggles living in a small community, being a caring wife and mother, ongoing struggles with infertility, memories of an all-consuming relationship that changed her life forever, and a new friend who is too good to be true.

The prose is crisp and tense. The characters are secretive, troubled, and vulnerable. And the plot using flashbacks and a back-and-forth, past/present style, intertwines and unravels quickly into a menacing tale of family, friendship, deception, lies, drama, manipulation, jealousy, secrets, revelations, tragedy, betrayal, and young love.

Overall, Can’t Look Away is another taut, tortuous, riveting tale by Lovering that highlights just how fine the line between love and obsession can truly be and reminds us that every choice, good or bad, always has a consequence.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

           

 

 

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Carola Lovering

Carola Lovering is the author of TELL ME LIES (Atria Books) and TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE (St. Martin's Press). She attended Colorado College, and her writing has appeared in W Magazine, National Geographic, Outside, and Yoga Journal, among other publications. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and son.

Photo courtesy of Author's Goodreads Page.

#BookReview Husband Material by Alexis Hall @RaincoastBooks @SourcebooksCasa #AlexisHall #HusbandMaterial #LondonCalling #SourcebooksCasa

#BookReview Husband Material by Alexis Hall @RaincoastBooks @SourcebooksCasa #AlexisHall #HusbandMaterial #LondonCalling #SourcebooksCasa Title: Husband Material

Author: Alexis Hall

Series: London Calling #2

Published by: Sourcebooks Casablanca on Aug. 2, 2022

Genres: Contemporary Romance, LGBTQIA

Pages: 432

Format: Paperback

Source: Raincoast Books

Book Rating: 9/10

Wanted:
One (very real) husband
Nowhere near perfect but desperately trying his best

In BOYFRIEND MATERIAL, Luc and Oliver met, pretended to fall in love, fell in love for real, dealt with heartbreak and disappointment and family and friends…and somehow figured out a way to make it work. Now it seems like everyone around them is getting married, and Luc’s feeling the social pressure to propose. But it’ll take more than four weddings, a funeral, and a bowl full of special curry to get these two from I don’t know what I’m doing to I do.

Good thing Oliver is such perfect HUSBAND MATERIAL.


Review:

Sweet, charming, and outrageously entertaining!

Husband Material is an amusing, spirited tale that takes us back into the life of Luc O’Donnell and Oliver Blackwood as their two-year relationship is put to the test during a stressful, emotional season of exes, friends, and co-worker weddings and an unexpected family death.

The writing is clever and witty. The characters are supportive, patient, and multilayered. And the plot is a push-pull tale full of life, love, familial responsibility, workplace comedy, tender moments, hilarious mishaps, sharp banter, pressure, expectations, grief, closure, friendship, acceptance, and swoon-worthy romance.

As some of you may remember, Boyfriend Material was one of my top reads of 2020, so when I heard Hall would be writing a second book about these much-loved characters, I was beyond ecstatic, and he didn’t disappoint. Husband Material is another dramatic, humorous, romantic tale that confirms that Luc and Oliver have definitely found contented, committed domesticity together and is the perfect way to wrap up this duology I highly recommend.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

               

 

 

Thank you to Raincoast Books & Sourcebooks Casablanca for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Alexis Hall

Alexis Hall lives in a crumbling gothic manor that he inherited in mysterious circumstances. He is a genial host provided you swear that you will under no circumstances venture into the west wing.

#BookReview The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie by Rachel Linden @uplitreads @BerkleyPub #themagicoflemondroppie #rachellinden #uplitreadscampaign

#BookReview The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie by Rachel Linden @uplitreads @BerkleyPub #themagicoflemondroppie #rachellinden #uplitreadscampaign Title: The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie

Author: Rachel Linden

Published by: Berkley Books on Aug. 2, 2022

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 352

Format: Paperback

Source: Uplit Reads

Book Rating: 10/10

An uplifting novel about a heartbroken young pie maker who is granted a magical second chance to live the life she didn’t choose. . . . from the bestselling author of The Enlightenment of Bees.

Lolly Blanchard’s life only seems to give her lemons. Ten years ago, after her mother’s tragic death, she broke up with her first love and abandoned her dream of opening a restaurant in order to keep her family’s struggling Seattle diner afloat and care for her younger sister and grieving father. Now, a decade later, she dutifully whips up the diner’s famous lemon meringue pies each morning while still pining for all she’s lost.

As Lolly’s thirty-third birthday approaches, her quirky great-aunt gives her a mysterious gift–three lemon drops, each of which allows her to live a single day in a life that might have been hers. What if her mom hadn’t passed away? What if she had opened her own restaurant in England? What if she hadn’t broken up with the only man she’s ever loved? Surprising and empowering, each experience helps Lolly let go of her regrets and realize the key to transforming her life lies not in redoing her past but in having the courage to embrace her present.


Review:

Charming, hopeful, and tender!

The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie is a touching, uplifting tale that takes you into the life of Lolly Blanchard, a young woman who gave up her own dreams ten years ago to come home and run the family diner and help take care of her younger sister after her mother died, as she embarks on a journey to complete at least one of her teenage goals before her upcoming thirty-third birthday of living in another country, owning her own restaurant, falling in love, helping her family be happy forever, or owning her own horse with a little help from three magic lemon drops courtesy of her Aunt Gert which will transport her to another time and place and allow her to live another life for one day.

The prose is heartfelt and smooth. The characters are multilayered, genuine, and conflicted. And the plot is an absorbing tale about life, loss, love, grief, family, friendship, relationship dynamics, introspection, heartbreak, and hope, all interwoven with a thread of magical realism.

Overall, The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie is a beautifully written, must-read book that tugs at the heartstrings, makes you think of all those what ifs, and reminds you that life is complicated, love is powerful and everlasting, and things often happen for a reason.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

            

 

 

 

Thank you to Uplit Reads for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Rachel Linden

Rachel’s taste for adventure and interest in people first led her to a career as an international worker with a faith-based aid organization, and her experiences living and traveling in more than fifty countries around the globe continue to provide excellent grist for her stories. She loves writing novels that combine so many of her favorite things – strong women facing big challenges, food, travel, and second chances at love. Rachel enjoys crafting bittersweet stories of struggles and triumphs infused with a touch of magical realism and with ultimately happy, or at least very hopeful, endings.

Currently Rachel lives with her husband and children on a sweet little island near Seattle. When she’s not dreaming up a new story, she enjoys camping with her family in their pop top campervan, exploring the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, eating sushi, and having grand adventures in far flung places.

#BookReview The Hookup Plan by Farrah Rochon @ReadForeverPub @GrandCentralPub #ReadForever #ReadForever2022 #FarrahRochon #TheHookupPlan #TheBoyfriendProject

#BookReview The Hookup Plan by Farrah Rochon @ReadForeverPub @GrandCentralPub #ReadForever #ReadForever2022 #FarrahRochon #TheHookupPlan #TheBoyfriendProject Title: The Hookup Plan

Author: Farrah Rochon

Series: The Boyfriend Project #3

Published by: Forever on Aug. 2, 2022

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 368

Format: Paperback

Source: Forever

Book Rating: 9/10

Strong female friendships and a snappy enemies-to-lovers theme take center stage in this highly anticipated romantic comedy from the USA Today bestselling author of The Dating Playbook.

Successful pediatric surgeon London Kelley just needs to find some balance and de-stress. According to her friends Samiah and Taylor, what London really needs is a casual hookup. A night of fun with no strings. But no one—least of all London—expected it to go down at her high school reunion with Drew Sullivan, millionaire, owner of delicious abs, and oh yes, her archnemesis.

Now London is certain the road to hell is paved with good sex. Because she’s found out the real reason Drew’s back in Austin: to decide whether her beloved hospital remains open. Worse, Drew is doing everything he can to show her that he’s a decent guy who actually cares. But London’s not falling for it. Because while sleeping with the enemy is one thing, falling for him is definitely not part of the plan.


Review:

Sassy, charming, and sweetly romantic!

The Hookup Plan is a heartwarming, amusing, enemies-to-lovers romance that transports you to Austin, Texas and into the lives of London Kelly, an intelligent pediatric surgeon who is juggling the end of her residency, offers from across the country in far more prestigious facilities, and a temporary arrangement that sees her falling into bed with her adversary from high school, and Drew Sullivan, a successful businessman who has his work cut out for him between coming to grips with the guilt over his mother’s death, auditing a hospital in need of serious financial help, and convincing his high school crush to give him a chance to woo her out of the bedroom as well as in.

The writing is heartfelt and light. The characters are hardworking, passionate, and stubborn. And the plot is a push-pull tale full of familial responsibility, workplace drama, tender moments, witty banter, expectations, friendship, community, chemistry, and love.

Overall, The Hookup Plan is the third and final story in the Boyfriend Project series, and even though it’s a little bittersweet to say goodbye to these three strong, independent women we’ve come to know and love over these past three novels, it is nevertheless a superb ending to a fabulous series that I highly recommend and will undoubtedly miss.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

            

 

 

Thank you to Forever and Grand Central Publishing for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Farrah Rochon

USA Today bestselling author Farrah Rochon hails from a small town just west of New Orleans. She has garnered much acclaim for her Holmes Brothers, New York Sabers, Bayou Dreams and Moments in Maplesville series. When she is not writing in her favorite coffee shop, Farrah spends most of her time reading, cooking, traveling the world, visiting Walt Disney World, and catching her favorite Broadway shows. An admitted sports fanatic, Farrah feeds her addiction to football by watching New Orleans Saints games on Sunday afternoons.

Photography by Tamara Roybiskie.

#BlogTour #BookReview The Three Dahlias by Katy Watson @Mobius_Books #TheThreeDahlias #KatyWatson #MobiusBooksUS

#BlogTour #BookReview The Three Dahlias by Katy Watson @Mobius_Books #TheThreeDahlias #KatyWatson #MobiusBooksUS Title: The Three Dahlias

Author: Katy Watson

Published by: Mobius on Jul. 26, 2022

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 304

Format: Hardcover

Source: Mobius Books US

Book Rating: 9/10

Three rival actresses team up to solve a murder at the stately home of the author who made them famous – only to discover the solution lies in the stories themselves. A contemporary mystery with a Golden Age feel, perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and Jessica Fellowes.

In attendance: the VIP fans, staying at Aldermere; the fan club president turned convention organizer; the team behind the newest movie adaptation of Davenport’s books; the Davenport family themselves – and the three actresses famous for portraying Lettice’s 1930s detective, Dahlia Lively.

National treasure Rosalind King, from the original movies. TV Dahlia for thirteen seasons, Caro Hooper. And ex-child star Posy Starling, fresh out of the fame wilderness (and rehab) to take on the Dahlia mantle for the new movie.

Each actress has her own interpretation of the character – but this English summer weekend they will have to put aside their differences, as the crimes at Aldermere turns anything but cosy.

When fictional death turns into real bodies, can the three Dahlias find the answers to the murders among the fans, the film crew, the family – or even in Lettice’s books themselves?


Review:

Humorous, atmospheric, and mysterious!

The Three Dahlias is a clue-like murder mystery set in England on the estate of the late mystery writer extraordinaire Lettice Davenport, as long-time fans, family members, as well as some of the cast and crew from the past and present movie and tv adaptions converge for a convention and weekend to celebrate their love for her 1930s based Dahlia Lively series, but when things don’t go as smoothly as expected and bodies start racking up quickly the three actresses lucky enough to be chosen to play the famed female detective decide to work together and use everything they know from fiction to solve the real-life crimes playing out right in front of them.

The prose is witty and light. The characters are quirky, intelligent, and intriguing. And the plot is a well-paced, engaging whodunit full of secrets, greed, suspects, deduction, red herrings, amateur sleuthing, and the unlikeliest of friendships.

Overall, The Three Dahlias is a cosy, satisfying, entertaining read by Watson that was so much fun with all its intricacies and drama, and which I do hope, and was slightly hinted at, may just be the first in a multitude of books in a series that would definitely have a spot on my must-read list.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

            

 

 

Thank you to Mobius Books US for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Katy Watson

Growing up in a family of murder mystery addicts, KATY WATSON learned early to look for means, motive and opportunity.

After studying English Literature - with a sideline in crime fiction - at Lancaster University, she set about teaching herself to write her own stories, while also experiencing enough of the world to have things to write about.

Two careers, a lot of air miles, one husband, two children, three houses and forty five published books for children and adults later, lockdown finally gave her the means, motive and opportunity to create her own murder mystery - with the aid of her scientist husband's knowledge of potions. Three Dahlias is the result.

 

#BookReview Paradise Girls by Sandy Gingras @smpromance @StMartinsPress #ParadiseGirls #SandyGingras #smpromance #SMPInfluencers #StMartinsPress

#BookReview Paradise Girls by Sandy Gingras @smpromance @StMartinsPress #ParadiseGirls #SandyGingras #smpromance #SMPInfluencers #StMartinsPress Title: Paradise Girls

Author: Sandy Gingras

Published by: St. Martin's Griffin on Jul. 5, 2022

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 320

Format: Paperback

Source: St. Martin's Press

Book Rating: 8/10

Sandy Gingras’s Paradise Girls features a broken engagement. A ruined vacation in paradise. One adorable little girl. The perfect recipe for the chance of a lifetime…

Mary Valley is in a funk. She’s a writer for home magazines, but she’s lost touch with what home means. Her life seems meaningless. The last house she wrote about was a gazillion-dollar mansion with a moat! Plus, she’s estranged from her daughter, CC and granddaughter, Larkin and mired in a dead-end relationship with her boss.

Daniel is a man adrift since his son Timmy was killed in Afghanistan. He’s living on a houseboat in Florida with Timmy’s three-legged dog, Tripod and taking tourists out on fishing charters. But his life is on the edge. He’s painting his houseboat black, and he can’t stop thinking about “getting lost at sea.”

When Mary’s boss tells her he’s spending Christmas with his ex, she books a trip with her family to The Low Key Inn, a hotel on the edge of the Everglades. But things go wrong from the get-go. CC bails out of the vacation, and Mary is stuck with an unhappy Larkin. The hotel is dated and down-on-its-luck, and perhaps its owner is a witch. Then Mary meets Daniel, casts a hook into his head and wrecks his boat.

This is the story of how wounded people can help each other heal, how lost people can help each other find their way home. How life can become a love story…


Review:

Sweet, heartwarming, and tender!

Paradise Girls is an optimistic, engaging novel that takes us into the lives of three main characters. Mary, a kind-hearted young grandmother who, after her recent breakup with the man she thought she would spend the rest of her life with, decides to embark on a little getaway to regroup and discover what she truly desires. Daniel, a divorced father who, after losing his only son in Afghanistan, decides to lead a simpler life involving a houseboat and his late son’s three-legged dog, Tripod. And Ollie, a widow who is just beginning to struggle with her love for a dilapidated inn and her need for something more.

The prose is sweet and reflective. The characters are caring, supportive, and generous. And the plot is a compelling tale of life, loss, family, friendship, generosity, self-discovery, support, consideration, happiness, taking chances, companionship, new love, and the intricacies of mother-daughter relationships.

Overall, Paradise Girls is a cosy, charming, uplifting debut by Gingras with its small-town charm, endearing characters, heartfelt storyline, and reminder of how important it is at any age to find that place that truly feels like home.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

            

 

 

Thank you to SMP Romance – St. Martin’s Press for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Sandy Gingras

Sandy Gingras is the author and illustrator of over twenty gift books. She’s also published fiction, poetry and narrative non-fiction, and she won the Debut Dagger Award for mystery writing in 2012, for her story Beached. She’s designed hundreds of products for national stationery companies and owns two retail stores of her own. She lives on an island six miles out to sea in a happy cottage on the bay with her husband and a dog named Turtle. Paradise Girls is her debut novel.

Photo Credit: Sandy Gingras

#BookReview The Unkept Woman by Allison Montclair @MinotaurBooks @StMartinsPress #MinotaurInfluencers #AllisonMontclair #TheUnkeptWoman #SparksAndBainbridgeMysteries #SMPInfluencers

#BookReview The Unkept Woman by Allison Montclair @MinotaurBooks @StMartinsPress #MinotaurInfluencers #AllisonMontclair #TheUnkeptWoman #SparksAndBainbridgeMysteries #SMPInfluencers Title: The Unkept Woman

Author: Allison Montclair

Series: Sparks & Bainbridge Mystery #4

Published by: Minotaur Books on Jul. 26, 2022

Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 304

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Minotaur Books

Book Rating: 9/10

Allison Montclair returns with the fourth Sparks & Bainbridge mystery, The Unkept Woman: London, 1946, Miss Iris Sparks–currently co-proprietor of the Right Sort Marriage Bureau–has to deal with aspects of her past exploits during the recent war that have come back around to haunt her.

The Right Sort Marriage Bureau was founded in 1946 by two disparate individuals – Mrs. Gwendolyn Bainbridge (whose husband was killed in the recent World War) and Miss Iris Sparks who worked as an intelligence agent during the recent conflict, though this is not discussed. While the agency flourishes in the post-war climate, both founders have to deal with some of the fallout that conflict created in their personal lives. Miss Sparks finds herself followed, then approached, by a young woman who has a very personal connection to a former paramour of Sparks. But something is amiss and it seems that Iris’s past may well cause something far more deadly than mere disruption in her personal life. Meanwhile, Gwendolyn is struggling to regain full legal control of her life, her finances, and her son – a legal path strewn with traps and pitfalls.

Together these indomitable two are determined and capable and not just of making the perfect marriage match.


Review:

Suspenseful, immersive, and engaging!

The Unkept Woman is a clever, mysterious tale set in London post-WWII that takes you into the lives of two main characters. Miss Iris Sparks, the former intelligence agent, now partner in a matchmaking service whose previous personal life may make her the primary suspect in the murder of a young woman with a complicated past, and Mrs. Gwendolyn Bainbridge, a young mother and widow who’s ongoing accidental associations with the criminal underworld may once again set back her struggle to regain the legal independence she so desperately desires

The prose is vivid and smooth. The characters are sharp, plucky, and intriguing. And the plot is a well-paced, entertaining mystery full of secrets, suspicions, espionage, duty, friendship, flirtation, duplicity, and fun.

Overall, The Unkept Woman is a rich, atmospheric, highly entertaining tale by Montclair that is the fourth title in the Sparks & Bainbridge Mystery series and is also, in my opinion, the perfect choice for anyone who is looking for an amusing, lighthearted historical whodunit to pick up.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

            

 

 

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press – Minotaur Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Allison Montclair

ALLISON MONTCLAIR grew up devouring hand-me-down Agatha Christie paperbacks and James Bond movies. As a result of this deplorable upbringing, Montclair became addicted to tales of crime, intrigue, and espionage. She now spends her spare time poking through the corners, nooks, and crannies of history, searching for the odd mysterious bits and transforming them into novels of her own. She is the author of the Sparks & Bainbridge historical mystery series, which begins with The Right Sort of Man.

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