Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

#BookReview The Borgia Confessions by Alyssa Palombo @AlyssInWnderlnd @StMartinsPress

#BookReview The Borgia Confessions by Alyssa Palombo @AlyssInWnderlnd @StMartinsPress Title: The Borgia Confessions

Author: Alyssa Palombo

Published by: St. Martin's Griffin on Feb. 11, 2020

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 432

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: St. Martin's Press

Book Rating: 9/10

During the sweltering Roman summer of 1492, Rodrigo Borgia has risen to power as pope. Rodrigo’s eldest son Cesare, forced to follow his father into the church and newly made the Archbishop of Valencia, chafes at his ecclesiastical role and fumes with jealousy and resentment at the way that his foolish brother has been chosen for the military greatness he desired.

Maddalena Moretti comes from the countryside, where she has seen how the whims of powerful men wreak havoc on the lives of ordinary people. But now, employed as a servant in the Vatican Palace, she cannot help but be entranced by Cesare Borgia’s handsome face and manner and finds her faith and conviction crumbling in her want of him.

As war rages and shifting alliances challenge the pope’s authority, Maddalena and Cesare’s lives grow inexplicably entwined. Maddalena becomes a keeper of dangerous Borgia secrets, and must decide if she is willing to be a pawn in the power games of the man she loves. And as jealousy and betrayal threaten to tear apart the Borgia family from within, Cesare is forced to reckon with his seemingly limitless ambition.

Alyssa Palombo’s captivating new novel, The Borgia Confessions, is a story of passion, politics, and class, set against the rise and fall of one of Italy’s most infamous families–the Borgias.


Book Rating: 9/10

Rich, fascinating, and immersive!

The Borgia Confessions is a compelling, informative tale set in Rome from 1492 to 1498 that tells the story of Rodrigo Borgia’s children, primarily Cesare, the Archbishop of Valencia who entered the church to please his father against his own true passion for battle and desire to become a condottiere; as well as that of Maddalena, a pious, palace servant who was not only loyal and friendly but a temptation too strong to resist.

The prose is vivid and alluring. The characters are bold, ruthless, and driven. And the plot is a sweeping saga that gives an insightful view into the sacrifices, struggles, hopes, fears, treachery, and entangled relationships of one of the most powerful families of Renaissance Italy.

The Borgia Confessions is, ultimately, a story about life, loss, love, politics, power, war, corruption, greed, fervour, desires, and sacrifice. It’s a perceptive, absorbing, well-written tale by Palombo that does a beautiful job of highlighting her impressive research and considerable knowledge into the infamous House of Borgia and their undeniable influence on both the Vatican and Italian history.

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 Alyssa Palombo

ALYSSA PALOMBO is the author of The Violinist of Venice, The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence, and The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel. She is a recent graduate of Canisius College with degrees in English and creative writing, respectively. A passionate music lover, she is a classically trained musician as well as a big fan of heavy metal. When not writing, she can be found reading, hanging out with her friends, traveling, or planning for next Halloween. She lives in Buffalo, New York.

Photograph by Jennifer Hark-Hameister.

#BlogTour #BookReview #Excerpt An Everyday Hero by Laura Trentham @LauraTrentham @StMartinsPress @smpromance

#BlogTour #BookReview #Excerpt An Everyday Hero by Laura Trentham @LauraTrentham @StMartinsPress @smpromance Title: An Everyday Hero

Author: Laura Trentham

Series: A Heart of a Hero #2

Published by: St. Martin's Griffin on Feb. 5, 2019

Genres: Women's Fiction, General Fiction

Pages: 336

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: St. Martin's Press

Book Rating: 9/10

From award-winning author Laura Trentham comes an emotionally layered novel about redemption, second chances and discovering that life is worth fighting for.

At thirty, Greer Hadley never expected to be forced home to Madison, Tennessee with her life and dreams of being a songwriter up in flames. To make matters worse, a series of bad decisions and even crappier luck lands her community service hours at a nonprofit organization that aids veterans and their families. Greer cannot fathom how she’s supposed to use music to help anyone deal with their trauma and loss when the one thing that brought her joy has failed her.

When Greer meets fifteen-year-old Ally Martinez, her plans to stay detached and do as little as possible get thrown away. New to town and dealing with the death of her father in action, she hides her emotions behind a mask of bitterness and sarcasm, but Greer is able to see past it and recognizes pieces of who she once was in Ally. The raw and obvious talent she possesses could take her to the top and Greer vows to make sure life’s negativities don’t derail Ally’s potential.

After Greer is assigned a veteran to help, she’s not surprised Emmett Lawson, the town’s golden boy, followed his family’s legacy. What leaves her shocked is the shell of a man who believes he doesn’t deserve anyone’s help. A breakthrough with Ally reminds Greer that no one is worth giving up on. So she shows up one day with his old guitar, and meets Emmett’s rage head on with her stubbornness. When a situation with Ally becomes dire, the two of them must become a team to save her—and along the way they might just save themselves too.


Review:

Heartfelt, uplifting, and sweetly romantic!

An Everyday Hero is a compelling, touching tale that reminds us of the enduring emotional, physical, and psychological effects of war on those in the military and their families and highlights the incredible healing power that friendship, trust, love, and music can have.

The prose is clear and fluid. The characters are wounded, stubborn, and empathetic. And the story is a beautiful tale about life, loss, grief, family, ambition, forgiveness, introspection, patriotism, community, PTSD, pride, resilience, and love.

Overall, An Everyday Hero is another emotional, absorbing, enchanting tale by Trentham that is a wonderful addition to a series, A Heart of a Hero, that is quickly becoming one of my all-time favourites.

This novel is available now.

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

                

 

 

 

EXCERPT:

Chapter 1

“Disorderly conduct. Public intoxication. Resisting arrest.” Judge Duckett put down the paper, linked his hands, and stared over his reading glasses from his perch behind the bench with a combination of exasperation and fatherly disapproval.

Greer Hadley shifted in her sensible heels and smoothed the skirt of the light pink suit she’d borrowed from her mama for the occasion. “I’ll give you the first two, Uncle Bill—” The judge cleared his throat and narrowed his eyes. “Excuse me—Judge Duckett—but I did not resist arrest.”

“That you recall.” Deputy Wayne Peeler drawled the words out in the most sarcastic, unprofessional manner possible.

She fisted her hands and took a deep breath. The impulse to punch Wayne in the face simmered below the surface like a volcano no longer at rest. But ten o’clock on a Monday morning during her arraignment was not the smartest time to lose her temper, and she’d promised herself not to add to her string of bad decisions.

She sweetened her voice and bared her teeth at Wayne in the facsimile of a smile. “I recall plenty, thank you very much.”

Truth was she didn’t recall the minute details, but the shock of Wayne’s whispered offer on Saturday night to make her troubles go away for a price had done more to sober her up than the couple of hours spent in lockup waiting for her parents.

Dressed in his tan uniform, Wayne adjusted his heavy gun belt so often she imagined he got off every night by rubbing his gun. Giving him a badge had only empowered the part of him desperate for respect and approval. His nickname in high school, “the Weasel,” had been well earned.

Unfortunately, she was the unreliable narrator of her life at the moment and no one would trust her recollections. Judge Duckett, her uncle Bill by marriage until he and her aunt Tonya had divorced, rustled papers from his desk.

The ethics of her former uncle acting as her judge were questionable, especially considering they had remained close even after he’d remarried, but if nepotism is what it took to make this nightmare go away, then she wouldn’t be the one to lodge a complaint.

“A witness claimed you were sitting quietly at the end of the bar until a song played on the jukebox. What was the song?” Her uncle glanced at her over his glasses again, which made him look like a stern teacher.

“‘Before He Cheats’ by Carrie Underwood.” She forced her chin up.

 

 

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

 

About Laura Trentham

LAURA TRENTHAM is an award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance. She is a member of RWA, and has been a finalist multiple times in the Golden Heart competition. A chemical engineer by training and a lover of books by nature, she lives in South Carolina.

#BlogTour #BookReview #Excerpt The Military Wife by Laura Trentham @LauraTrentham @StMartinsPress

#BlogTour #BookReview #Excerpt The Military Wife by Laura Trentham @LauraTrentham @StMartinsPress Title: The Military Wife

Author: Laura Trentham

Series: A Heart of a Hero #1

Published by: St. Martin's Griffin on Feb. 5, 2019

Genres: Women's Fiction, General Fiction

Pages: 352

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: St. Martin's Press, NetGalley

Book Rating: 9/10

An emotionally layered novel about family, loss and what it means to be a military wife.

Harper Lee Wilcox has been marking time in her hometown of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina since her husband, Noah Wilcox’s death, nearly five years earlier. With her son Ben turning five and living at home with her mother, Harper fights a growing restlessness, worried that moving on means leaving the memory of her husband behind.

Her best friend, Allison Teague, is dealing with struggles of her own. Her husband, a former SEAL that served with Noah, was injured while deployed and has come home physically healed but fighting PTSD. With three children under foot and unable to help her husband, Allison is at her wit’s end.

In an effort to reenergize her own life, Harper sees an opportunity to help not only Allison but a network of other military wives eager to support her idea of starting a string of coffee houses close to military bases around the country.

In her pursuit of her dream, Harper crosses paths with Bennett Caldwell, Noah’s best friend and SEAL brother. A man who has a promise to keep, entangling their lives in ways neither of them can foresee. As her business grows so does an unexpected relationship with Bennett. Can Harper let go of her grief and build a future with Bennett even as the man they both loved haunts their pasts?


Review:

Absorbing, moving, and incredibly uplifting!

The Military Wife is a tender, heartfelt story that delves not only into the emotional and psychological struggles and hardships of being part of the military and the effects they have on both the enlisted themselves and their loved ones, but also the patience, understanding, support, and trust required to maintain a relationship and individuality under those conditions.

The prose is effortless and well turned. The characters are scarred, genuine, and endearing. And the story is a mesmerizing tale about life, loss, love, forgiveness, grief, familial drama, friendship, community, courage, resilience, and moving on.

Overall, The Military Wife is a beautifully written tale with a lovely mix of hope, grit, emotion, and romance that exceeded my expectations. It’s an impressive start to the “A Heart of a Hero” series and I can’t wait for the publication of book #2.

This novel is available now.

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

                                            

 

 

EXCERPT:

Chapter 1

Present Day

Winters in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, were temperamental. The sunshine and a temperate southerly breeze that started a day could turn into biting, salt-tinged snow flurries by afternoon. But one thing Harper Lee Wilcox could count on was that winter along the Outer Banks was quiet.

The bustle and hum and weekly rotation of tourists that marked the summer months settled into a winter melancholy that Harper enjoyed. Well, perhaps not enjoyed in the traditional sense . . . more like she enjoyed surrendering to the melancholy. In fact, her mother may have accused her of wallowing in it once or twice or a hundred times.

In the winter, she didn’t have to smile and pretend her life was great. Not that it was bad. Lots of people had it worse. Much worse. In fact, parts of her life were fabulous. Almost five, her son was happy and healthy and smart. Her mother’s strength and support were unwavering and had bolstered her through the worst time of her life. Her friends were amazing.

That was the real issue. In the craziness of the summer season, she forgot to be sad. Her husband, Noah, had been gone five years; the same amount of time they’d been married. Soon the years separating them would outnumber the years they’d been together. The thought was sobering and only intensified the need to keep a sacred place in her heart waiting and empty. Her secret memorial.

She parked the sensible sedan Noah had bought her soon after they married under her childhood home. Even though they were inland, the stilts were a common architectural feature up and down the Outer Banks.

Juggling her laptop and purse, Harper pushed open the front door and stacked her things to the side. “I’m home!”

A little body careened down the steps and crashed into her legs. She returned the ferocious hug. Her pregnancy was the only thing that had kept her going those first weeks after she’d opened her front door to the Navy chaplain.

“How was preschool? Did you like the pasta salad I packed for your lunch?”

“It made me toot and everyone laughed, even the girls. Can you pack it for me again tomorrow?”

“Ben! You shouldn’t wantto toot.” Laughter ruined the admonishing tone she was going for.

As Harper’s mom said time and again, the kid was a hoot and a half. He might have Harper’s brown wavy hair, but he had Noah’s spirit and mannerisms and humor. Ben approached everything with an optimism Harper had lost or perhaps had never been gifted with from the start. He was a blessing Harper sometimes wondered if she deserved.

“Where’s Yaya?” She ruffled his unruly hair.

Of course, her mom had picked an unconventional name. “Grandmother” was too old-fashioned and pedestrian. Since she’d retired from the library, she had cast off any semblance of normalcy and embraced an inner spirit that was a throwback to 1960s bra burners and Woodstock.

“Upstairs painting.” Ben slipped his hand into Harper’s and tugged her toward the kitchen. Bright red and orange and blue paint smeared the back of his hand and arm like a rainbow. At least, her mom had put him in old clothes. “Yaya gave me my own canvas and let me paint whatever I wanted.”

“And what did you paint?” Harper prayed it wasn’t a nude study, which was the homework assignment from her mom’s community college class.

“I drew Daddy in heaven. I used allthe colors.” The matter-of-factness of his tone clawed at her heart.

No child should have to grow up only knowing their father through pictures and stories. Her own father had been absent because of divorce and disinterest. He’d sent his court-ordered child support payments regularly until she turned eighteen but rarely visited or shown any curiosity about her. It had hurt until teenaged resentment scarred over the wound.

Noah would have made a great dad. The best. That he never got the chance piled more regrets and what-ifs onto her winter inspired melancholy.

“I’m sure he would have loved your painting.” Luckily, Ben didn’t notice her choked-up reply.

He went to the cabinet, pulled out white bread and crunchy peanut butter, and proceeded to make two sandwiches. It was their afternoon routine. Someday he would outgrow it. Outgrow her and become a man like his daddy.

She poured him a glass of milk, and they ate their sandwiches, talking about how the rest of his day went—outside of his epic toots. His world was small and safe and she wanted to keep it that way for as long as possible.

Her mom breezed into the kitchen, her still-thick but graying brown hair twisted into a messy bun, a thin paintbrush holding it in place. Slim and attractive, she wore paint-splattered jeans and a long-sleeve T-shirt that read: I make AARP look good. Harper pinched her lips together to stifle a grin.

“How’s your assignment coming along?” Harper asked.

“I’m having a hard time with proportions. It’s been a while, but I’m pretty sure my man’s you-know-what shouldn’t hang down to his kneecaps.”

Harper shot a glance toward Ben, who had moved to the floor of the den to play with LEGOs. As crazy as her mom drove her, she was and would always be Harper’s rock. The irony wasn’t lost on her. As hard as she’d worked to get out of Kitty Hawk and out of her mother’s reach when she was young, she’d never regretted coming home.

“It’s been a while for me, too, but that’s not how I remember them, either.”

“A pity for us both.” Her mother pulled a jar of olives out of the fridge and proceeded to make martinis—shaken, not stirred. She raised her eyebrows, and Harper answered the unspoken question with a nod. Her mom poured and plopped an extra olive in Harper’s. “How was work?”

Harper handled bookkeeping and taxes for a number of local businesses, but a good number closed up shop in the winter. “Routine. Quiet.”

“Exactly like your life.”

Harper sputtered on her first sip. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I hate seeing you mope around all winter.” Her mom poked at the olive in her drink with a toothpick and looked toward Ben, dropping her voice. “He’s been gone five years, sweetheart, and you haven’t gone on so much as a date.”

“That’s not true. I went to lunch with Whit a few weeks ago.”

“He was trying to sell you life insurance. Doesn’t count.”

Harper huffed and covered her discomfort by taking another sip. “What about you? You never date.”

 “True, but your father ruined me on relationships. I have trust issues. You and Noah, on the other hand, seemed to get along fine. Or am I wrong?”

“You’re not.” Another sip of the martini grew the tingly warmth in her stomach. Their marriage hadn’t been completely without conflict, but what relationship was? As she looked back on their fights, they seemed juvenile and unimportant. It was easier to remember the good times. And there were so many to choose from.

She touched the empty finger on her left hand. The ring occupied her jewelry box and had for three years. But, occasionally, her finger would ache with phantom pains as if it were missing a vital organ.

“You’re young. Find another good man. Or forget the man, just find something you’re passionate about.”

“I’m happy right where I am.” Harper hammered up her defenses as if preparing for a hurricane.

“Don’t mistake comfort for happiness. You’re comfortable here. Too comfortable. But you’re not happy.”

 “God, Mom, why are you Dr. Phil–ing me all of sudden? Are you wanting me and Ben to move out or something?” Her voice sailed high and Ben looked over at them, his eyes wide, clutching his LEGO robot so tightly its head fell off.

“You and Ben are welcome to stay and take care of me in my old age.” Her mom shifted toward the den. “You hear that, honey? I want you to stay forever.”

Ben gave them an eye-crinkling smile that reminded her so much of Noah her insides squirmed, and she killed the rest of her drink. She was so careful not to show how lonely she sometimes felt in front of Ben.

“Harper.” Her mom’s chiding tone reminded her so much of her own childhood, she glanced up instinctively. Her mom took her hand, and her hazel eyes matched the ones that stared back at Harper in the mirror. “You’re marking time in Kitty Hawk. Find something that excites you again. Don’t let Ben—or Noah— be your excuse.”

Harper looked to her son. His chubby fingers fit the small LEGO pieces together turning the robot into a house. She had built her life brick by brick adding pieces and colors, expanding, taking pride, until one horrible day she’d stopped. Maybe her mom was right. Was it time to build something new?

 

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

 

About Laura Trentham

LAURA TRENTHAM is an award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance. She is a member of RWA, and has been a finalist multiple times in the Golden Heart competition. A chemical engineer by training and a lover of books by nature, she lives in South Carolina.

#BookReview Not Her Daughter by Rea Frey @ReaFrey_Author @StMartinsPress

#BookReview Not Her Daughter by Rea Frey @ReaFrey_Author @StMartinsPress Title: Not Her Daughter

Author: Rea Frey

Published by: St. Martin's Griffin on Aug. 21, 2018

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 352

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: St. Martin's Press, NetGalley

Book Rating: 9/10

Emma Grace Townsend. Five years old. Gray eyes. Brown hair. Missing since June.

Emma Townsend is lonely. Living with her cruel mother and clueless father, Emma retreats into her own world of quiet and solitude.

Sarah Walker. Successful entrepreneur. Broken-hearted. Abandoned by her mother. Kidnapper.

Sarah has never seen a girl so precious as the gray-eyed child in a crowded airport terminal—and when a second-chance encounter with Emma presents itself, Sarah takes her, far away from home. But if it’s to rescue a little girl from her damaging mother, is kidnapping wrong?

Amy Townsend. Unhappy wife. Unfit mother. Unsure she wants her daughter back.

Amy’s life is a string of disappointments, but her biggest issue is her inability to connect with her daughter. And now she’s gone without a trace.

As Sarah and Emma avoid the nationwide hunt, they form an unshakeable bond. But her real mother is at home, waiting for her to return—and the longer the search for Emma continues, Amy is forced to question if she really wants her back.

Emotionally powerful and wire-taut, Not Her Daughter raises the question of what it means to be a mother—and how far someone will go to keep a child safe.


Review:

Riveting, affecting, and unique!

Not Her Daughter is a thought-provoking, clever, tight thriller that highlights just how fine the line between criminal intent and morally acceptable behaviour can be when it comes to the protection of children.

The writing is taut and emotive. The characters are complex, troubled, and authentic. And the plot told from dual points of view and alternating timelines, before-and-after the kidnapping, builds subtly to create tension and suspense as it unravels piece-by-piece all the motivations, actions, personalities, and relationships within it.

Not Her Daughter at its core is a novel about family, relationships, secrets, parental abuse, abduction, and the lengths one will go to protect, care, and love a child. It’s expressive, absorbing, unnerving, and without a doubt an exceptional debut for Frey.

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 Rea Frey

Rea Frey is the author of four nonfiction books. NOT HER DAUGHTER is her debut novel.

When she’s not exercising, mothering, adulting, wifing, eating, or writing about herself in the third person, you can find her hard at work on her next book and ghostwriting for other people.

#BookReview The Subway Girls by Susie Orman Schnall @susieschnall @StMartinsPress

#BookReview The Subway Girls by Susie Orman Schnall @susieschnall @StMartinsPress Title: The Subway Girls

Author: Susie Orman Schnall

Published by: St. Martin's Griffin on Jul. 10, 2018

Genres: Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 320

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: St. Martin's Press, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8/10

In 1949, dutiful and ambitious Charlotte’s dream of a career in advertising is shattered when her father demands she help out with the family business. Meanwhile, Charlotte is swept into the glamorous world of the Miss Subways beauty contest, which promises irresistible opportunities with its Park Avenue luster and local fame status. But when her new friend—the intriguing and gorgeous fellow-participant Rose—does something unforgivable, Charlotte must make a heart-wrenching decision that will change the lives of those around her forever.

Nearly 70 years later, outspoken advertising executive Olivia is pitching the NYC subways account in a last ditch effort to save her job at an advertising agency. When the charismatic boss she’s secretly in love with pits her against her misogynistic nemesis, Olivia’s urgent search for the winning strategy leads her to the historic Miss Subways campaign. As the pitch date closes in on her, Olivia finds herself dealing with a broken heart, an unlikely new love interest, and an unexpected personal connection to Miss Subways that could save her job—and her future.

The Subway Girls is the charming story of two strong women, a generation apart, who find themselves up against the same eternal struggle to find an impossible balance between love, happiness, and ambition.


Review:

Charming, alluring, and lighthearted!

The Subway Girls is set in New York City during the late 1940s, as well as present day, and is told from two different perspectives, Charlotte, a young woman who yearns to have a career and be more than just a wife and mother, and Olivia a marketing executive who’s determined to prove she deserves the same recognition and success as her male counterparts.

The prose is precise and effortless. The characters are ambitious, independent, creative, and strong. And the plot, alternating between past and present, is a nostalgic, fascinating tale of life, love, deception, betrayal, heartbreak, perseverance, friendship, family, romance, and the world of marketing.

The Subway Girls is a well-written, exceptionally researched novel that highlights Susie Orman Schnall’s incredible knowledge into the Miss Subway advertising campaign that graced the inside of NY Subway cars from 1941 to 1976 and reminds us that even though we’ve come so far the work-life balance is still a very real struggle for professional women today.

 

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 and NetGalley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Susie Orman Schnall

Susie Orman Schnall is the author of the novels THE SUBWAY GIRLS, THE BALANCE PROJECT, and ON GRACE. She grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. Her writing has appeared in publications including The New York Times, The Huffington Post, POPSUGAR, Writer’s Digest, and Glamour. In addition, she has spoken extensively on work-life balance and is the founder of The Balance Project interview series. She lives in Purchase, NY, with her husband and their three sons.

#BookReview Emerald Coast by Anita Hughes @hughesanita @StMartinsPress

#BookReview Emerald Coast by Anita Hughes @hughesanita @StMartinsPress Title: Emerald Coast

Author: Anita Hughes

Published by: St. Martin's Griffin on Aug. 1, 2017

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 296

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: St. Martin's Press, NetGalley

Book Rating: 7/10

Lily Bristol arrives at a luxurious resort in Sardinia for the grand opening of her newest home furnishing store on the Emerald Coast. Thirty-two and newly divorced, she’s ready to handle things on her own. At least until her private butler, Hector, escorts her to a beautiful suite where she notices a suspiciously familiar pair of men’s slippers and shaving kit. Lily is horrified. Her ex-husband Oliver moved out of their restored Connecticut farmhouse six months ago, but they booked this trip when they were trying to save their marriage and never cancelled the reservation. Oliver, a food critic for the New York Times, is here covering Sardinia’s hottest new restaurant. The only other available room is the adjoining suite; and worse, Oliver isn’t alone. He’s brought a twenty-something named Angela with him.

Lily is determined to make do and enlists Hector to find her a suitable man. But it’s not as easy to find new love as they both expected. When Lily and Oliver find themselves alone on a very important night, they turn to each other. Sparks begin to fly, but can they be together without breaking each other’s hearts?

Set on the glamorous Italian island, EMERALD COAST is a touching and humorous story about marriage and the difficulty of finding love and happiness at the same time. With the summer season winding down, Hughes’ latest will have you soaking in the last rays of summer sun and dreaming of endlessly warm days.


Review:

Sweet, uplifting, and romantic!

Emerald Coast, the latest novel by Hughes, takes us into the lives of the recently divorced Lily and Oliver and reminds us of the complicated ups and downs of marriage, the importance of appreciating what we have, accepting the things we can’t change, and understanding that honesty and trust truly are the backbone of love and happiness.

The prose is exceptionally descriptive. The characters are successful, driven, and quirky. And the plot is a charming mix of life, friendship, family, introspection, jealousy, forgiveness, drama, courage, new love, old love, sex, and mouth-watering cuisine. 

Emerald Coast is the second novel I’ve read by Hughes and even though I would have liked to connect with the characters a little bit more when it comes to writing a lighthearted, easy read set in a tropical paradise and full of all the glitz and glamour of the rich and famous she nails it.

If you haven’t already had a chance to read my review of White Sand, Blue Sea be sure to check it out here:

 

This book is available now.

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

                                          

 

 

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

 

About Anita Hughes

ANITA HUGHES is the author of Monarch Beach, Market Street, Lake Como, French Coast, Rome in Love, Island in the Sea, Santorini Sunsets, and Christmas in Paris. She attended UC Berkeley’s Masters in Creative Writing Program, and lives in Dana Point, California where she is at work on her next novel.

#BookReview The Idea of You by Robinne Lee @robinnelee @StMartinsPress

#BookReview The Idea of You by Robinne Lee @robinnelee @StMartinsPress Title: The Idea of You

Author: Robinne Lee

Published by: St. Martin's Griffin on Jun. 13, 2017

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 372

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: St. Martin's Press, NetGalley

Book Rating: 9/10

When Solène Marchand, the thirty-nine-year-old owner of a prestigious art gallery in Los Angeles, takes her daughter, Isabelle, to meet her favorite boy band, she does so reluctantly and at her ex-husband’s request. The last thing she expects is to make a connection with one of the members of the world-famous August Moon. But Hayes Campbell is clever, winning, confident, and posh, and the attraction is immediate. That he is all of twenty years old further complicates things.

What begins as a series of clandestine trysts quickly evolves into a passionate relationship. It is a journey that spans continents as Solène and Hayes navigate each other’s disparate worlds: from stadium tours to international art fairs to secluded hideaways. And for Solène, it is as much a reclaiming of self, as it is a rediscovery of happiness and love. When their romance becomes a viral sensation, and both she and her daughter become the target of rabid fans and an insatiable media, Solène must face how her new status has impacted not only her life, but the lives of those closest to her.


Review:

Sophisticated, alluring, and extremely passionate! 

This is a thought-provoking, intriguing novel that reminds us that women can be confident, powerful, intelligent, attractive, sexual beings at any age and that being famous often has many drawbacks.

The prose is genuine and raw. The characters are authentic, honest, multi-layered, and appealing. And the plot sweeps you away into an engaging saga about motherhood, independence, responsibility, age disparity, stardom, art, seduction, desire, lust, love and unquenchable chemistry.

This a wonderful debut for Lee. It’s an exquisite love story with palpable emotion, strong narration and an ending, which I logically understand but still wish was different, that will resonate with you long after you finish the final page. 

This novel is due to be published on June 13, 2017.

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 Robinne Lee

ROBINNE LEE is an actor, writer and producer. A graduate of Yale University and Columbia Law School, Robinne was born and raised in Westchester County, New York. Robinne has numerous acting credits in both television and film, most notably opposite Will Smith in both Hitch and Seven Pounds. She recently completed shooting Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, playing Ros Bailey. Robinne currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children. The Idea of You is her first novel.

#BookReview After the Fall by Julie Cohen @julie_cohen @StMartinsPress

#BookReview After the Fall by Julie Cohen @julie_cohen @StMartinsPress Title: After the Fall

Author: Julie Cohen

Published by: St. Martin's Griffin on May 2, 2017

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 400

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: St. Martin's Press, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8.5/10

From the author who brought you Dear Thing, Julie Cohen, comes After the Fall — a poignant, beautifully heartbreaking novel about what it means to be family, the ties that bind us, and the secrets that threaten to tear us apart.

When an unfortunate accident forces Honor back into the lives of her widowed daughter-in-law, Jo, and her only granddaughter, Lydia, she cannot wait to be well enough to get back to her own home. However, the longer she stays with Jo and Lydia, the more they start to feel like a real family. But each of the three women is keeping secrets from the others that threaten to destroy the lives they’ve come to know.

Honor’s secret threatens to rob her of the independence she’s guarded ferociously for eighty years.

Jo’s secret could destroy the “normal” family life she’s fought so hard to build and maintain.

Lydia’s secret could bring her love―or the loss of everything that matters most to her.

One summer’s day, grandmother, mother and daughter’s secrets will be forced out in the open in a single dramatic moment that leaves them all asking: is there such a thing as second chances?


Review:

Thought-provoking, reflective and deeply moving!

This is an intriguing novel that emphasizes the enduring mental and emotional anguish that can be caused by underlying grief, secrets, guilt, family dynamics, sexuality struggles, friendship and loneliness and emphasizes the importance of acceptance, closure, forgiveness and love.

The prose is expressive and clear. The characters are consumed, troubled, wounded and real. And the character-driven plot interweaves the lives of these three generations of women as they learn to cope, survive, support and love each other unconditionally.

This truly is an absorbing, emotional novel that is incredibly captivating and will tug at your heartstrings from start to finish.

This is the first novel I have ever read from Julie Cohen but I can tell you it definitely won’t be my last.

 

This novel is due to be published on May 2, 2017. 

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

                                            

 

 

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

 

About Julie Cohen

Julie Cohen grew up in Maine, USA, and studied English at Brown University, Rhode Island and Cambridge University in England. She moved to the UK permanently to research fairies in Victorian children’s literature at the University of Reading, and then taught English at secondary level. She now writes full time and is a popular speaker and teacher of creative writing. She lives with her husband and their son in Berkshire. She is also the author of Dear Thing and Where Love Lies.

#BookReview The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence by Alyssa Palombo @AlyssInWnderlnd @StMartinsPress

#BookReview The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence by Alyssa Palombo @AlyssInWnderlnd @StMartinsPress Title: The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence

Author: Alyssa Palombo

Published by: St. Martin's Griffin on Apr. 25, 2017

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 320

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: St. Martin's Press, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8/10

A girl as beautiful as Simonetta Cattaneo never wants for marriage proposals in 15th Century Italy, but she jumps at the chance to marry Marco Vespucci. Marco is young, handsome and well-educated. Not to mention he is one of the powerful Medici family’s favored circle.

Even before her marriage with Marco is set, Simonetta is swept up into Lorenzo and Giuliano de’ Medici’s glittering circle of politicians, poets, artists, and philosophers. The men of Florence―most notably the rakish Giuliano de’ Medici―become enthralled with her beauty. That she is educated and an ardent reader of poetry makes her more desirable and fashionable still. But it is her acquaintance with a young painter, Sandro Botticelli, which strikes her heart most. Botticelli immediately invites Simonetta, newly proclaimed the most beautiful woman in Florence, to pose for him. As Simonetta learns to navigate her marriage, her place in Florentine society, and the politics of beauty and desire, she and Botticelli develop a passionate intimacy, one that leads to her immortalization in his masterpiece, The Birth of Venus.


Book Rating: 8/10

This is an intriguing interpretation about the life of Simonetta Cattaneo, a young, intelligent girl who became known as the “Most Beautiful Woman of Florence” and who developed a close, intimate relationship with the famous Renaissance painter, Sandro Botticelli.

It is a story about familial responsibilities, duty, strength, coming-of-age, friendship, art, passion, desire, loss and love.

Simonetta was a feminist ahead of her time who understood quickly that her beauty was both a gift and a curse, and who ultimately longed and strived in her regrettably short life to be known and loved for her knowledge and mind instead.

The prose is smooth and fluid, and the storyline takes us back to the mid-to-late 1400s to the city of Florence when politics, learning and the liberal arts were revered and who you knew was certainly more important than what you knew.

This certainly is a well written, vivid, rich story, and even though there is not much known about Simonetta’s life and the events that led up to Botticelli’s immortalization of her in his famous painting, Palombo has done a remarkable job of taking those historical facts and surrounding them with fiction that is passionate, alluring and incredibly captivating.

 

This novel is due to be published on April 25, 2017.

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

                                            

 

 

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

 

About Alyssa Palombo

ALYSSA PALOMBO is the author of The Violinist of Venice, The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence, and The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel. She is a recent graduate of Canisius College with degrees in English and creative writing, respectively. A passionate music lover, she is a classically trained musician as well as a big fan of heavy metal. When not writing, she can be found reading, hanging out with her friends, traveling, or planning for next Halloween. She lives in Buffalo, New York.

Photograph by Jennifer Hark-Hameister.

#BookReview White Sand, Blue Sea by Anita Hughes @hughesanita @StMartinsPress

#BookReview White Sand, Blue Sea by Anita Hughes @hughesanita @StMartinsPress Title: White Sand, Blue Sea

Author: Anita Hughes

Published by: St. Martin's Griffin on Apr. 11, 2017

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 288

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: St. Martin's Press, NetGalley

Book Rating: 7/10

Olivia Miller is standing on the porch of her mother and stepfather’s plantation style villa in St. Barts. They have been coming here every April for years but she is always thrilled to see the horseshoe shaped bay of Gustavia and white sand of Gouverneur’s Beach. This trip should be particularly exciting because she is celebrating her twenty-fifth birthday and hoping that Finn, her boyfriend of four years, will propose.

The only person who won’t be here is her father, Sebastian, who she hasn’t seen in twenty years. He’s a well-known artist and crisscrosses the globe, painting and living in exotic locations like Kenya and China. When Sebastian walks unexpectedly walks through the door and floats back into Olivia’s life like a piece of bad driftwood she never knew she wanted, she starts to wondering if her world is too narrow. She questions the dreams and the relationship she’s always thought she wanted. But there seems to be more to the story than an innocent fatherly visit, and Olivia must decide if love is more important than truth.

Set on St. Barts, the jewel of the Caribbean, WHITE SAND, BLUE SEA is a heartwarming story about romance and adventure, and most importantly, about knowing yourself, and what makes you happy.


Review:

Charming, engaging and lighthearted!

In this new novel by Hughes we are transported to the beautiful island of St. Barts complete with pristine beaches, exquisite restaurants, designer boutiques, and million-dollar yachts and are swept into a story that delves into the complexities of maternal, paternal and romantic relationships and highlights the importance of honesty and communication.

The writing is descriptive and smooth. The characters are an appealing variety of young and mature; unsure and grounded; stable and peripatetic; loved and secure. And the plot is a sweet journey about discovering oneself, appreciating what you have, letting go of the past and the power of unconditional love.

Overall, this is an enjoyable, easy read that is a nice choice for a relaxing, sunny afternoon.

 

This book is due to be published on April 11, 2017. 

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

                                          

 

 

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

 

About Anita Hughes

ANITA HUGHES is the author of Monarch Beach, Market Street, Lake Como, French Coast, Rome in Love, Island in the Sea, Santorini Sunsets, and Christmas in Paris. She attended UC Berkeley’s Masters in Creative Writing Program, and lives in Dana Point, California where she is at work on her next novel.

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