General Blog Posts

#BookReview The Guilt Trip by Sandie Jones @MinotaurBooks @StMartinsPress #SandieJones #TheGuiltTrip #MinotaurInfluencers #SMPInfluencers

#BookReview The Guilt Trip by Sandie Jones @MinotaurBooks @StMartinsPress #SandieJones #TheGuiltTrip #MinotaurInfluencers #SMPInfluencers Title: The Guilt Trip

Author: Sandie Jones

Published by: Minotaur Books on Aug. 3, 2021

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 320

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Minotaur Books

Book Rating: 8/10

In the vein of The Other Woman, Sandie Jones’s explosive new novel The Guilt Trip will have readers gripped to the very last page.

Six friends.

Rachel and Noah have been friends since they met at university. While they once thought that they might be something more, now, twenty years later, they are each happily married to other people, Jack and Paige respectively. Jack’s brother Will is getting married, to the dazzling, impulsive Ali, and the group of six travel to Portugal for their destination weekend.

Three couples.

As they arrive at a gorgeous villa perched on a cliff-edge, overlooking towering waves that crash on the famous surfing beaches below at Nazaré, they try to settle into a weekend of fun. While Rachel is looking forward to getting to know her future sister-in-law Ali better, Ali can’t help but rub many of the group up the wrong way: Rachel’s best friend Paige thinks Ali is attention-seeking and childish, and while Jack is trying to support his brother Will’s choice of wife, he is also finding plenty to disagree with Noah about.

One fatal misunderstanding . . .

But when Rachel discovers something about Ali that she can hardly believe, everything changes. As the wedding weekend unfolds, the secrets each of them hold begin to spill, and friendships and marriages threaten to unravel. Soon, jumping to conclusions becomes the difference between life and death.


Review:

Gripping, tight, and ominous!

The Guilt Trip is a twisty, pacey, domestic thriller that delves into the complex bonds that exist between friends and family members and reminds us that behind all those happy, smiling faces often lies an abundance of devastating secrets and destructive lies.

The writing is taut and edgy. The characters are secretive, manipulative, and troubled. And the plot is suspenseful and highly entertaining as it twists, turns, and unravels all the motivations, personalities, and relationships within it.

The Guilt Trip, at its core, is a novel about marital discord, friendship, deception, jealousy, misconceptions, devious behaviours, and murder. It’s an intense, dramatic, exceptionally menacing tale by Jones, and even though it seems to be getting some mixed reviews at the moment, I thoroughly enjoyed it and am now, more than ever, eager to read the copy of The Other Woman that has been sitting on my unread shelves for far too long.

 

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 – Minotaur Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Sandie Jones

SANDIE JONES has worked as a freelance journalist for more than twenty years and has written for publications including The Sunday Times, Woman’s Weekly, and Hello magazine. She lives in Lon-don with her husband and three children. She is the author of The Other Woman, a Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine pick, as well as The First Mistake and The Half Sister. The Guilt Trip is her fourth novel.

Photo by Harriet Buckingham.

#BookReview Second Chance at Sunflower Ranch (The Ryan Family #1) by Carolyn Brown @ReadForeverPub @GrandCentralPub #ReadForever #Forever2021 #CarolynBrown #SecondChanceatSunflowerRanch #TheRyanFamilySeries

#BookReview Second Chance at Sunflower Ranch (The Ryan Family #1) by Carolyn Brown @ReadForeverPub @GrandCentralPub #ReadForever #Forever2021 #CarolynBrown #SecondChanceatSunflowerRanch #TheRyanFamilySeries Title: Second Chance at Sunflower Ranch

Author: Carolyn Brown

Series: The Ryan Family #1

Published by: Forever on Jul. 27, 2021

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 375

Format: Paperback

Source: Forever

Book Rating: 8/10

From the bestselling author of Queen of Cowboy: regrets and old heartbreaks are unearthed in this sweeping love story as hometown sweethearts get a second chance at love—and being a family.

Retired combat medic Jesse Ryan hasn’t been home much since he enlisted twenty years ago. Now he’s headed back to Texas to help take care of his aging foster parents and run Sunflower ranch. But when he gets there, he finds his parents’ live-in nurse is Addison Hall, his high school best friend and the woman he always regretted leaving behind after their one steamy night together before he shipped out. He’s not at all surprised that their chemistry is still sparking, but Jesse is shocked to learn Addy gave birth to a little girl about nine months after he left—his little girl.

​Addy has her hands full as a single mom of a nineteen-year-old daughter who suddenly wants to rebel at everything. The last thing she needs is Jesse Ryan complicating her life even further, especially since she’s always had a crush on the handsome cowboy. But the more time she spends with Jesse, the more she wonders what might happen if they finally let their friendship blossom into something more and became the family she’d always hoped for. 
 
Includes the bonus novella Small Town Charm for the first time in print!


Review:

Big-hearted, sweet, and engaging!

Second Chance at Sunflower Ranch is an emotive, second-chance romance between the driven, successful Jesse and the kind, hardworking, single mother Addy as they discover that beneath all the miscommunication and past secrets is a deeply-rooted friendship, sizzling attraction, and unconditional love that is still smouldering and certainly worth fighting for.

The writing is fluid and warm. The characters are caring, hesitant, and appealing. And the plot is a push-pull tale of relationship dynamics, familial expectations, parenthood, introspection, acceptance, forgiveness, friendship, love, romance, and new beginnings.

Overall, Second Chance at Sunflower Ranch is a charming, colourful, tender tale that is a fantastic start to The Ryan Family series by Brown with characters you can’t help but root for, a storyline with a nice mix of drama and passion, and a happy-ever-after ending that definitely leaves you with a smile.

 

This book is available now.

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

            

 

 

Thank you to Forever & Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Carolyn Brown

Carolyn Brown is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author and RITA® Finalist who has sold more than 3 million books. She presently writes both women’s fiction and cowboy romance. She has also written historical single title, historical series, contemporary single title, and contemporary series. She lives in southern Oklahoma with her husband, a former English teacher, who is not allowed to read her books until they are published. They have three children and enough grandchildren to keep them young.

Photography by Charles C. Brown.

#BookReview When All Light Fails by Randall Silvis @randallsilvis @PPPress #WhenAllLightFails #RandallSilvis #RyanDeMarcoMystery #inkedinpoison

#BookReview When All Light Fails by Randall Silvis @randallsilvis @PPPress #WhenAllLightFails #RandallSilvis #RyanDeMarcoMystery #inkedinpoison Title: When All Light Fails

Author: Randall Silvis

Series: Ryan DeMarco Mystery #5

Published by: Poisoned Pen Press on Aug. 3, 2021

Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Police Procedural

Pages: 400

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Poisoned Pen Press

Book Rating: 8/10

A new mystery from Randall Silvis, critically acclaimed master of crime fiction

When powerful men pull strings to get what they want… someone almost always ends up dead

There’s not much that would convince retired police sergeant Ryan DeMarco to take on another private investigation case, but he can’t refuse a nine-year-old Michigan girl begging for help finding her biological father. The road trip to the Upper Peninsula promises DeMarco and his partner, Jayme, a chance to heal from their last case, which ended in a traumatic brush with death for DeMarco. But things aren’t as they first appear in the woods of Michigan, and the seemingly simple paternity investigation soon morphs into something deadly.

The deeper DeMarco, Jayme, and the rest of their team dig, the more ugly truths they reveal, all while doing their best to keep one member of their team, from falling prey to her own kind of darkness. This investigation just might be the most emotionally troubling one DeMarco and Jayme have yet encountered, for there are plenty of people who will do whatever it takes to shut them down before the truth comes to light.


Review:

Menacing, compelling, and sly!

When All Light Fails is a sinister, engaging police procedural that takes you back to Pennsylvania, where after recovering from an almost fatal altercation with a former adversary PI Ryan DeMarco and his partner, Jayme Matson, find themselves immersed in an investigation that seems at the start to be a simple case of confirming the paternity of a little girl but which quickly escalates into a tragic, multiple murder in at least two jurisdictions.

The writing is crafty and intense. The characters are ruthless, determined, and impulsive. And the plot is a suspenseful tale full of twists, turns, manipulation, desperation, duplicity, corruption, intrigue, self-reflection, violence, and murder.

Overall, When All Light Fails is a shrewd, pacey, action-packed fifth novel in the Ryan DeMarco series by Silvis, and even though it can be easily enjoyed as a standalone story, I highly recommend reading the first four novels in the series to truly appreciate the continuity of the storyline and the depth in characterization.

 

This book is available now.

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

           

 

 

Thank you to Poisoned Pen Press for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Randall Silvis

Randall Silvis is the internationally acclaimed author of over a dozen novels, one story
collection, and one book of narrative nonfiction. Also a prize-winning playwright, a
produced screenwriter, and a prolific essayist, he has been published and produced in
virtually every field and genre of creative writing. His numerous essays, articles, poems and short stories have appeared in the Discovery Channel magazines, The Writer, Prism International, Short Story International, Manoa, and numerous other online and print magazines. His work has been translated into 10 languages.

Silvis’s many literary awards include two writing fellowships from the National
Endowment for the Arts, the prestigious Drue Heinz Literature Prize, a Fulbright Senior Scholar Research Award, six fellowships for his fiction, drama, and screenwriting from the Pennsylvania Council On the Arts, and an honorary Doctor of Letters degree awarded for “distinguished literary achievement.”

Photo courtesy of Author's Website.

#BookReview Dark Roads by Chevy Stevens @ChevyStevens @StMartinsPress #DarkRoads #ChevyStevens #SMPInfluencers

#BookReview Dark Roads by Chevy Stevens @ChevyStevens @StMartinsPress #DarkRoads #ChevyStevens #SMPInfluencers Title: Dark Roads

Author: Chevy Stevens

Published by: St. Martin's Press on Aug. 3, 2021

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 384

Format: Hardcover

Source: St. Martin's Press

Book Rating: 9/10

The acclaimed and beloved author of Still Missing is back with her most breathtaking thriller yet.

The Cold Creek Highway stretches close to five hundred miles through British Columbia’s rugged wilderness to the west coast. Isolated and vast, it has become a prime hunting ground for predators. For decades, young women traveling the road have gone missing. Motorists and hitchhikers, those passing through or living in one of the small towns scattered along the region, have fallen prey time and again. And no killer or abductor who has stalked the highway has ever been brought to justice.

Hailey McBride calls Cold Creek home. Her father taught her to respect nature, how to live and survive off the land, and to never travel the highway alone. Now he’s gone, leaving her a teenage orphan in the care of her aunt whose police officer husband uses his badge as a means to bully and control Hailey. Overwhelmed by grief and forbidden to work, socialize, or date, Hailey vanishes into the mountainous terrain, hoping everyone will believe she’s left town. Rumors spread that she was taken by the highway killer—who’s claimed another victim over the summer.

One year later, Beth Chevalier arrives in Cold Creek, where her sister Amber lived—and where she was murdered. Estranged from her parents and seeking closure, Beth takes a waitressing job at the local diner, just as Amber did, desperate to understand what happened to her and why. But Beth’s search for answers puts a target on her back—and threatens to reveal the truth behind Hailey’s disappearance…


Review:

Unsettling, twisty, and intricate!

Dark Roads is a tortuous, disturbing mystery that introduces us to Beth Chevalier as she heads to Cold Creek, British Columbia, to investigate the horrific murder of her younger sister, Amber, after her body is found brutalized on the side of Cold Creek Highway, a lonely stretch of road where multiple women have suspiciously disappeared, including local Hailey McBride, over the past several decades.

The writing is brisk and sharp. The characters are tormented, vulnerable, and scarred. And the plot told from alternating POVs and using a back-and-forth style is an eerie whodunit full of twists, turns, lies, deception, familial drama, depravity, violence, and murder.

I can honestly say I have yet to read a novel by Stevens that I didn’t really enjoy, and Dark Roads is no exception. It’s a taut, tense, gripping tale that packs a real punch and is a spine-chilling reminder, especially for those of us who grew up hearing about this real-life crime this tale is loosely based on, that evil can often live comfortably amongst us, merely hidden behind masks of normality.

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 Chevy Stevens

CHEVY STEVENS lives on Vancouver Island with her husband and daughter. When she isn’t working on her next book, she’s hiking with her two dogs on her favorite mountain trails and spending time with her family. Chevy's current obsessions are vintage Airstreams, Hollywood memoirs, all things mid-century modern, and stand-up comedians--not necessarily in that order. Her books, including Still Missing, a New York Times bestseller and winner of the International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel, have been published in more than thirty countries.

 

Photo by Poppy Photography.

#BookReview Love Next Door (Lakeside #1) by Helena Hunting @helenahunting @AmazonPub @ThomasAllenLTD #LoveNextDoor #HelenaHunting #LakesideSeries

#BookReview Love Next Door (Lakeside #1) by Helena Hunting @helenahunting @AmazonPub @ThomasAllenLTD #LoveNextDoor #HelenaHunting #LakesideSeries Title: Love Next Door

Author: Helena Hunting

Series: Lakeside #1

Published by: Montlake Romance on Jul. 27, 2020

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 304

Format: Paperback

Source: Thomas Allen & Son

Book Rating: 10/10

When Dillion Stitch left her hometown, she had no intention of going back. But when her brother gets into trouble, Dillion reluctantly agrees to return home to take her place at the family business.

Being back in Pearl Lake after all these years feels familiar, but also brings a few surprises. She’s quick to notice that someone new has shown up at the cottage next door. Dillion gets more than an eyeful when she goes to check out the newcomer and meets Donovan “Van” Firestone—her beloved neighbor’s grandson—in all his unclothed glory.

Having gotten off to a rocky start, it’s not long before they begin bickering with each other all over town. All that back and forth inevitably sparks an undeniable attraction. But Dillion’s family has issues, Van’s family resents him, and neither Dillion nor Van feels truly at ease in the small town. For these Pearl Lake exiles, home isn’t just where the heart is—it’s where things get complicated.


Review:

Sincere, sexy, and sophisticated!

Love Next Door is a heartfelt, adorable tale that features the sweet, spirited Dillion and the handsome, dependable Van as they navigate a relationship that includes undeniable attraction, smouldering tension, a legacy bursting with memories and mementoes, families mired in drama and troubles, and one unforgettable kiss from a long time ago.

The writing is smooth and fluid. The characters are generous, charismatic, and kind. And the plot is an irresistible mix of family, friendship, introspection, tender moments, witty dialogue, passion, emotion, and swoon-worthy romance.

Overall, Love Next Door is another emotional, playful, charming read by Hunting that has without a doubt become one of my new all-time favourites and is an absolutely brilliant start for this new Lakeside series.

This book is available now.

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

             

 

 

Thank you to Thomas Allen & Son for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Helena Hunting

Helena Hunting is the author of The USA Today and NYT bestselling PUCKED Series. She lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She writes everything from romantic sports comedy to new adult angst.

Photograph courtesy of Author's Website.

#BookReview All the Little Hopes by Leah Weiss @Sourcebooks @sbkslandmark #AlltheLittleHopes #LeahWeiss #bookmarkedbylandmark

#BookReview All the Little Hopes by Leah Weiss @Sourcebooks @sbkslandmark #AlltheLittleHopes #LeahWeiss #bookmarkedbylandmark Title: All the Little Hopes

Author: Leah Weiss

Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark on Jul. 27, 2021

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 368

Format: Paperback

Source: Sourcebooks Landmark

Book Rating: 9/10

From the acclaimed author of If the Creek Don’t Rise comes a Southern story of friendship forged by books and bees, when the timeless troubles of growing up meet the murky shadows of World War II.

Deep in the tobacco land of North Carolina, nothing’s the same since the boys shipped off to war and worry took their place. Thirteen-year-old Lucy Brown is curious and clever, but she can’t make sense of it all. Then Allie Bert Tucker comes to town, an outcast with a complicated past, and Lucy believes that together they can solve crimes. Just like her hero, Nancy Drew.

That chance comes when a man goes missing, a woman stops speaking, and an eccentric gives the girls a mystery that takes them beyond the ordinary. Their quiet town, seasoned with honeybees and sweet tea, becomes home to a Nazi prisoner-of-war camp—and more men go missing. The pair set out to answer the big question: do we ever really know who the enemy is?

Lush with Southern atmosphere, All The Little Hopes, is the story of two girls growing up while war creeps closer, blurring the difference between what’s right, what’s wrong, and what we know to be true.


Review:

Poignant, optimistic, and intriguing!

All the Little Hopes is a mysterious, heartwarming tale that sweeps you away to North Carolina in the early 1940s when war is raging overseas, “real bad men” seem to be disappearing in the small town of Riverton, and two thirteen-year-old girls from different backgrounds, Lucy Brown, an inquisitive young girl who yearns to be an amateur detective just like her favourite literary character, Nancy Drew, and Allie Bert Tucker, a young, poor girl with no formal education who is sent to live with her aunt after her mother dies during childbirth become the best of friends.

The prose is rich and expressive. The characters are quirky, curious, and vulnerable. And the plot is a heartfelt, coming-of-age tale about life, love, loneliness, heartbreak, war, loss, grief, guilt, hope, family, and friendship.

Overall, All the Little Hopes is a beautifully written, informative, absorbing tale with intriguing characters that I devoured from start to finish. It’s the first book I’ve had the chance to read by Weiss, but it definitely won’t be my last, and it is undoubtedly the perfect choice for anyone who loves the historical fiction genre.

This book is available now.

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

            

 

 

Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Leah Weiss

Leah Weiss was born in North Carolina and lives in Virginia. She retired in 2015 from a 24-year career as an Executive Assistant at Virginia Episcopal School and published her debut novel, IF THE CREEK DON’T RISE in August, 2017; it has sold over 100,000 copies. ALL THE LITTLE HOPES will be released in July 2021. Leah writes full time, enjoys meeting with book clubs and speaking about finding the story and the characters to tell it.

Photo courtesy of Author's Website.

#BookReview We Are the Brennans by Tracey Lange @CeladonBooks #WeAreTheBrennans #CeladonBooks #CeladonReads #partner

#BookReview We Are the Brennans by Tracey Lange @CeladonBooks #WeAreTheBrennans #CeladonBooks #CeladonReads #partner Title: We Are the Brennans

Author: Tracey Lange

Published by: Celadon Books on Aug. 3, 2021

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 288

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Celadon Books

Book Rating: 9/10

In the vein of Mary Beth Keane’s Ask Again, Yes and Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s The Nest, Tracey Lange’s We Are the Brennans explores the staying power of shame—and the redemptive power of love—in an Irish Catholic family torn apart by secrets.

When twenty-nine-year-old Sunday Brennan wakes up in a Los Angeles hospital, bruised and battered after a drunk driving accident she caused, she swallows her pride and goes home to her family in New York. But it’s not easy. She deserted them all—and her high school sweetheart—five years before with little explanation, and they’ve got questions.

Sunday is determined to rebuild her life back on the east coast, even if it does mean tiptoeing around resentful brothers and an ex-fiancé. The longer she stays, however, the more she realizes they need her just as much as she needs them. When a dangerous man from her past brings her family’s pub business to the brink of financial ruin, the only way to protect them is to upend all their secrets—secrets that have damaged the family for generations and will threaten everything they know about their lives. In the aftermath, the Brennan family is forced to confront painful mistakes—and ultimately find a way forward, together.


Review:

Affecting, nuanced, and immersive!

We Are the Brennans is an intense, captivating, multi-generational story that delves into the complex bonds and emotional ties between family members and immerses you in a tale about confronting the past, accepting the things you cannot change, rediscovering one’s self, learning to trust, and moving on.

The prose is polished and smooth. The characters are conflicted, loyal, and scarred. And the plot told from multiple POVs is an exceptionally absorbing tale about life, loss, love, secrets, resentment, regret, acceptance, forgiveness, familial drama, friendship, loneliness, miscommunication, and passion.

Overall, I found We Are the Brennans to be a beautiful mix of hope, healing, and heart that is not only a moving, emotive, stunning debut by Lange but definitely a must-read for anyone who loves a well-written, meaty family saga.

This novel is available on August 3, 2021.

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

            

 

 

 

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

 

About Tracey Lange

Born in the Bronx and raised in Manhattan, Tracey Lange comes from a large Irish family with a few secrets of its own. She headed west and graduated from the University of New Mexico before owning and operating a behavioral healthcare company with her husband for fifteen years. While writing her debut novel, We Are the Brennans, she completed the Stanford University online novel writing program. Tracey currently lives in Bend, Oregon, with her husband, two sons and their German Shepherd.

Photo courtesy of Author's Goodreads Page.

#BookReview Deny Me by Karen Cole @Mobius_Books @QuercusBooks #DenyMe #KarenCole #MobiusBooksUS

#BookReview Deny Me by Karen Cole @Mobius_Books @QuercusBooks #DenyMe #KarenCole #MobiusBooksUS Title: Deny Me

Author: Karen Cole

Published by: Quercus on Jul. 27, 2021

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 287

Format: Paperback

Source: Mobius Books US

Book Rating: 8.5/10

From the bestselling author of Deliver Me comes a gripping new thriller with a twist you’ll never see coming!

Thirty-two-year-old Jessica is newly divorced and has returned home to live with her parents whilst she puts the pieces of her life back together. But Jessica isn’t the only one with problems, as her mother, Jean, has recently been diagnosed with dementia.

Shortly after Jessica’s arrival, one of the neighbours falls to her death, in what appears to be a terrible accident. However, Jean claims that the woman was murdered by her husband and that she witnessed the whole thing.

With Jean’s memory rapidly deteriorating, her family dismiss her story, believing Jean is confused. But when Jessica learns that the couple next door’s marriage may have been in trouble, she begins to wonder if her mother did see something after all.

Jessica is determined to discover the truth, but soon uncovers much more than she bargained for…


Review:

Ominous, tense, and clever!

Deny Me is a sharp, compulsive, psychological thriller that delves into all the deep, dark secrets people keep even from those closest to them and highlights just how easily people can be emotionally manipulated, controlled, and exploited by those they love.

The writing is crisp and edgy. The characters are distressed, unreliable, and vulnerable. And the plot unfolds subtly into a murky tale full of twists, turns, surprises, familial drama, lies, scandal, secrets, manipulation, wickedness, deception, tragedy, mental illness, and murder.

Overall, Deny Me is another crafty, sinister, engaging tale by Cole that kept me engaged from the very first page and has now, without a doubt, solidified her status on my must-read authors 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 Karen Cole

Karen Cole grew up in the Cotswolds and got a degree in psychology at Newcastle University. She spent several years teaching English around the world before settling in Cyprus with her husband and two sons, where she works at a British army base as a primary school teacher. She recently completed the Curtis Brown writing course where she found her love of writing psychological thrillers.

#BookReview Only for You by Barb Curtis @barb_curtis @readforeverpub @grandcentralpub #ReadForever #Forever2021 #BarbCurtis #OnlyForYou #SapphireSprings

#BookReview Only for You by Barb Curtis @barb_curtis @readforeverpub @grandcentralpub #ReadForever #Forever2021 #BarbCurtis #OnlyForYou #SapphireSprings Title: Only For You

Author: Barb Curtis

Series: Sapphire Springs #2

Published by: Forever on Jul. 27, 2021

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 319

Format: Paperback

Source: Forever

Book Rating: 10/10

Barb Curtis returns to Sapphire Springs with this heartwarming romance where a small-town bakery owner finds herself in a fake relationship with the man she’s always pined after.

Will a fake relationship between two friends lead to true love?

After having his heart broken on national television, Tim Fraser knows only one way to stop the gossip about his love life-a new girlfriend. The problem is, he’s done with romance forever. A fake relationship with his friend and Sapphire Spring’s sweetest baker, Emily Holland, seems the perfect solution to getting rid of his newfound fame, but their fleeting fauxmance is stirring up the kinds of feelings Tim has sworn off for good.

Emily has secretly lusted after Tim for years, but pretending her feelings are all for show never factored into her fantasy. Still, her decades-long crush makes it impossible to say no to Tim’s proposal. But with each date, the lines between pretend and reality blur, giving Tim and Emily a tantalizing taste of life outside the friend zone . . . if they can find the courage to give real love a chance.


Review:

Cute, romantic, and utterly beguiling!

Only For You is an uplifting, highly entertaining tale that takes you on a journey into the life of Emily Holland, a kind, considerate, young baker who finds herself inadvertently faking her true feelings for the one man, Tim Fraser, who she’s always secretly adored when he requires a temporary, pretend girlfriend to ward off his newly acquired, unwarranted stardom.

The writing is smooth and sweet. The characters are charismatic, supportive, and endearing. And the plot is a delightfully irresistible mix of friendship, family, fame, life, community, introspection, misunderstandings, secrets, and ultimately true love.

Overall, Only For You is another lighthearted, cosy, lovely addition to the Sapphire Springs series that I absolutely devoured and which I can confidently say has quickly solidified Curtis on my must-read authors list.

This book is available now.

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

            

 

 

Thank you to Forever & Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Barb Curtis

A happily-ever-after-crafter at heart, Barb Curtis’ love for writing began with a quick-witted style column, and her background in marketing led to stints writing print and web copy, newsletters, and grant proposals. The switch to fiction came with the decision to pair her creativity with her love for words, and crafting characters and settings she could truly get lost in. Barb happily lives in a bubble in rural New Brunswick with her husband, daughter, and dog. You’ll find her restoring the century-old family homestead, weeding the garden, and no doubt whistling the same song all day long.

Photograph courtesy of read-forever.com.

#BookReview Shoulder Season by Christina Clancy @christi_clancy @StMartinsPress #ShoulderSeason #ChristinaClancy #SMPInfluencers

#BookReview Shoulder Season by Christina Clancy @christi_clancy @StMartinsPress #ShoulderSeason #ChristinaClancy #SMPInfluencers Title: Shoulder Season

Author: Christina Clancy

Published by: St. Martin's Press on Jul. 6, 2021

Genres: General Fiction, Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 336

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: St. Martin's Press

Book Rating: 8/10

The small town of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin is an unlikely location for a Playboy Resort, and nineteen-year old Sherri Taylor is an unlikely bunny. Growing up in neighboring East Troy, Sherri plays the organ at the local church and has never felt comfortable in her own skin. But when her parents die in quick succession, she leaves the only home she’s ever known for the chance to be part of a glamorous slice of history. In the winter of 1981, in a costume two sizes too small, her toes pinched by towering stilettos, Sherri joins the daughters of dairy farmers and factory workers for the defining experience of her life.

Living in the “bunny hutch”—Playboy’s version of a college dorm, surrounded by a twelve-foot high barbed-wire fence (to keep the men out, and the girls in)—Sherri gets her education in the joys of sisterhood, the thrill of financial independence, the magic of first love, and the heady effects of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. But as spring gives way to summer, Sherri finds herself caught up in a romantic triangle––and the tragedy that ensues will haunt her for the next forty years of her life.

Shoulder Season follows Sherri from her fledgling days as a bunny, when she tries to reinvent herself before she even knows who she is, to the woman she becomes years later. From the Midwestern prairie to the California desert, from Wisconsin lakes to the Pacific Ocean, this is a story of what happens when small town life is sprinkled with stardust, and what we lose—and gain—when we leave home. It’s about the brief but intoxicating experiences of our youth, and how they have the power to shape the rest of our lives. With a heroine to root for and a narrative to get lost in, Shoulder Season is a sexy, evocative tale, drenched in longing and desire, that captures a fleeting moment in American history with nostalgia and heart.


Review:

Engaging, dramatic, and informative!

Shoulder Season is an absorbing, intriguing tale that takes us to East Troy, Wisconsin during the 1980s when The Lake Geneva Playboy Club was the place to be, girls were excited for more than just marriage, and Sherri Taylor would quickly change from a naive, small-town girl to a bunny whose eyes would be opened wide to a world of sex, drugs, fortune, and fame.

The writing is vivid and expressive. The characters are young, impressionable, and impulsive. And the plot takes us from the 1980s to the present day and tells the story of a life filled with loss, love, loneliness, grief, coming-of-age, friendship, discontent, insecurity, and sexual awakening.

Overall, Shoulder Season is a captivating, candid, heartbreaking tale by Clancy that isn’t exceptionally exhilarating but is nevertheless an insightful tale that takes us back to a different era and does a wonderful job of reminding us that everyone who enters our lives, no matter how briefly, impacts, shapes, and defines it.

 

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 in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Christina Clancy

CHRISTINA CLANCY is the author of The Second Home. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Sun Magazine and in various literary journals, including Glimmer Train, Pleiades and Hobart. She holds a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and lives in Madison, WI with her family.

Photo by James Bartelt.

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