2018 Book Year in Review

Whew! Another (reading) year has passed. I set a goal to read at least seventy-five new books and I far exceeded that. Somehow, I read over 110. This does not include titles I re-read. I was very happy with the books I chose this year. The majority I rated four stars, but around 40 percent of them earned five stars from me.

READING GOALS

At the beginning of this year, I set some reading goals for myself. Honestly, I didn’t do as well with these as I would have liked. The two goals I did manage to accomplish were to quit more books and to read more non-fiction. My non-fiction consisted mainly of biographies and film history. I read about the friendship between James Stewart and Henry Fonda, interviews with classic film stars, books on costume design, biographies on Jean Arthur, Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Ava Gardner and one about the last years of Bette Davis’ life. Continue reading “2018 Book Year in Review”

Book Review -The Long Walk

Last year I had the privilege of reviewing The Bridge, a debut novel by Jill Cox. Not only did I fall in love with the story and its’ characters, but it also turned out to be one of my favorite books of the year. I’ve been impatiently waiting since then for the continuation of Meredith and Pete’s story. Set to release October 16, The Long Walk is finally here! And it is worth the wait.

RELATED: The Bridge Book Review -A Clean YA Love Triangle
SYNOPSIS

Meredith Sullivan has three new goals after Paris:

Hang out all summer with her new boyfriend.
Convince her brother to dump his girlfriend, Kate.
Walk into senior year at Highgate College like a boss.

But then an unexpected tragedy sends the Sullivans back to their Irish roots. And when a childhood dream bubbles up through the cracks in her life, Meredith can’t help but wonder if this new path was her true destiny all along.

From Ireland to Oregon, from Paris to Shanghai, follow Meredith into a future she never imagined. Because sometimes, the story is more important than the ending.

MY REVIEW

I should have known when the opening line was, “fairy tales are lies” that The Long Walk would be nothing like I expected. While The Bridge has its’ serious moments it is a much more light-hearted and humorous story. The Long Walk however, takes an unexpected turn. There is a shocking twist early on that significantly impacts the lives of all the characters, particularly Meredith and Pete. If these two books were dessert, The Bridge would be a crème brulee; sweet with a hard outer shell that reveals its’ form and substance, but easily digestible. The Long Walk is more of a chocolate torte; rich with unexpected depth, weighty with a touch of bitterness to balance out the sweetness.

For the full review, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat.

Book Review -Royally in Trouble

SUMMARY

As a former member of a popular girl-band, Paisley Sutton knows what it means to be in the spotlight. So after she takes on an event- planning gig for the new Sugar Creek Renaissance faire, she’s counting on a smooth opening night. But when one of the cast is murdered, Paisley knows her event has gone lethally off-script.

When her old flame Beau is named the prime suspect, Paisley enlists the help of her trigger-happy ex-CIA grandmother and aunt. As she tries to keep the faire alive and fights off her matchmaking family, she uncovers secrets that might just get her killed. Can Paisley shine a light on the killer in time, or will the faire be her final curtain call? Continue reading “Book Review -Royally in Trouble”

Book Review -Rose in Three Quarter Time

I’m a romantic at heart. Over the years I’ve read many romances which I’ve loved. But every now and then I run across a book which isn’t just a romance but also thoroughly romantic. Have you ever read a novel(la) which is a love story with a city? My first experience with this was Rachel McMillan’s Love in Three-Quarter Time. It achieved the impossible, supplanting my long held love for all things Paris with a new one for Vienna -a city I’ve never even seen. That love affair grows and expands with McMillan’s second Vienna novella, Rose in Three Quarter Time.

SYNOPSIS

Rose MacNeil is a gifted, but undiscovered violinist when Oliver Thorne first meets her after a performance. Oliver, once a talented cellist, is now a famous conductor for the Ranier Quartet in Vienna after an accident ruined his ability to play. Rose dazzles Oliver both personally and professionally. He encourages her to stick around Vienna until a spot in his orchestra opens up. In the meantime the two strike up a friendship, bumping into each other and wandering around the beautiful, historic city.

Rose finally gets her chance and is offered the position of first chair. However, her visa is denied. Oliver, desperate not to lose her, and Rose, desperate to hold onto her big break, enter into a marriage of convenience. But Oliver’s contract has a strict morals clause which prohibits relationships with members of the Quartet, so they must keep their new relationship a secret.

This isn’t the only challenge Oliver and Rose face. Oliver tries to keep to his self-imposed vow to love Rose from a safe emotional distance and respect her wish for friendship only. Rose finds herself falling for her friend as they live together and she sees the real man behind the fame and position. Add in a hauntingly gorgeous city and the romance of their mutual love of music and these two may just find themselves breaking all their own rules.

For my full review of this delightful story, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat.

 

 

Book Review -Written in the Stars & Written in the Dust Duology

SUMMARY 

No one is happy about beauty queen Brooke Landgon’s return to Hope Canyon, Arkansas, least of all Brooke herself. Not her old friend Holly Christian, nor Holly’s friend Hunter Pierce, and definitely not Brooke’s first love Gatlin Moore. But after her marriage fails and her grandmother dies leaving Brooke her house, return she does. Brooke has a lot of fences to mend in Hope Canyon, but she would rather hole up at her grandmother’s house and ignore everyone. But that’s almost impossible in a town this small.

Holly is dealing with her own wish to hide after her fiance dies without telling anyone he had broken up with her. She just can’t tell the truth about the town’s golden boy without hurting everyone. So she strikes an odd bargain with her estranged childhood friend. She will give Brooke a place to stay and help Brooke while she fixes up her grandmother’s house if Brooke will act as a buffer for all the well-wishing citizens of Hope Canyon.

But these two ladies are as different as chalk and cheese. Not to mention, there are two men harboring some long-simmering feeling towards these two opposites. Hunter has always been in love with Holly, but was the third wheel in a lopsided friendship with Holly and her fiance Chad. While Gatlin is still boiling mad at Brooke’s abandonment of him years ago.

It’s amazing what the return of a prodigal can stir up in one small town. Change is on the horizon for four people who have forgotten how tight the past can tie people together. Continue reading “Book Review -Written in the Stars & Written in the Dust Duology”

Book Review -The Heart Between Us

SUMMARY

Megan Jacobs always wished for a different heart. Her entire childhood was spent in and out of hospitals, sitting on the sidelines while her twin sister Crystal played all the sports, got all the guys, and had all the fun. But even a heart transplant three years ago wasn’t enough to propel Megan’s life forward. She’s still working as a library aide in her small Minnesota hometown and living with her parents, dreaming of the adventure she plans to take “once she’s well enough.” Meanwhile, her sister is a successful architect with a handsome husband and the perfect life—or so Megan thinks.

When her heart donor’s parents give Megan their teenage daughter’s journal—complete with an unfulfilled bucket list—Megan connects with the girl she meets between the pages and is inspired to venture out and check off each item. Caleb—a friend from her years in and out of the hospital—reenters her life and pushes her to find the courage to take the leap and begin her journey. She’s thrown for a loop when Crystal offers to join her for reasons of her own, but she welcomes the company and the opportunity to mend their tenuous relationship.

As Megan and Crystal check items off the bucket list, Megan fights the fears that have been instilled in her after a lifetime of illness. She must choose between safety and adventure and learn to embrace the heart she’s been given so that she can finally share it with the people she loves most. Continue reading “Book Review -The Heart Between Us”

Book Review: The Truth Between Us

SUMMARY

Nine years to win her. Three years to love her. And one decision that destroyed it all.

April Duncan was raised with three clear truths: the family name is absolute, ambition and success rule over every emotion, and love always comes with strings attached. Image was everything in her carefully crafted world… until the mirror cracked.

Sean Taylor was April’s best friend, the one man who taught her it was okay to let her guard down and to rely on someone. She trusted him. She loved him. Which made his deception the darkest kind of cruelty.

Now, nearly a year later, she’s ready to leave her failed engagement in the past and get back her life and her estranged family, even if it means dating a man solely for his connections. She’ll never again choose love over loyalty.

Sean has spent his entire life breaking barriers, facing challenges, and never giving up. Until one impossible choice destroyed his future and left him no option but to flee from the woman who annihilated his heart.

Now he’s back in Bentwood and determined to make her hear the truth and rebuild the trust he shattered. But April has become a mere shell of the woman who claimed his heart long ago.

Winning her back is more than just seizing a victory, because if he fails… the girl he’s loved for a lifetime will disappear forever. Continue reading “Book Review: The Truth Between Us”

Book Review -Running Barefoot

SUMMARY

When Josie Jensen, an awkward 13-year-old musical prodigy crashes headlong into new-comer Samuel Yazzie, an 18-year-old Navajo boy full of anger and confusion, an unlikely friendship blooms. Josie teaches Samuel about words, music and friendship, and along the way finds a kindred spirit. Upon graduation, Samuel abandons the sleepy, small town in search of a future and a life, leaving his young friend behind. Many years go by and Samuel returns, finding Josie in need of the very things she offered him years before. Their roles reversed, Samuel teaches Josie about life, love, and letting go. Deeply romantic and poignant, Running Barefoot is the story of a small town girl and a Native American boy, the ties that bind them to their homes and families, and the love that gives them wings. Continue reading “Book Review -Running Barefoot”

Book Review -Settling Up

SUMMARY

Statistics professor Lauren Sinclair uses her affinity for numbers as a way to deal with anxiety and her deficient social skills. For years she has also put her personal life on hold as she works towards her professional goals. Lauren decides that settling down and getting married might help her gain tenure at her university so with her sister’s help she reactivates her online dating accounts. But none of the men meet her stringent percentage weighed list of standards.

Meanwhile after spotting a bald spot she heads to the casino to de-stress with her favorite blackjack dealer. Only she exposes her hairless shame to the tattooed, sexy new dealer who is subbing for her former sounding board. In spite of her embarrassment Lauren feels a bond with Mack and they form a friendship. He agrees to give her feedback on her dating candidates and she gives him a safe place to process his grief over his deceased wife. But will Lauren ever find a Mr. Right who matches her detailed list?

MY THOUGHTS

A reader can fall in love with many things about a book; a writing style, the genre,  story line or setting. But ya’ll, I totally fell in love with Lauren Sinclair in Settling Up! Continue reading “Book Review -Settling Up”

Book Review -Engaged in Trouble

SUMMARY

When former girl band member Paisley Sutton receives news that she has inherited a wedding planning business back in her hometown of Sugar Creek, Arkansas, she leaves L.A. thinking to complete the terms of her late aunt’s will so she can sell Enchanted Events to finance her musical comeback.

Only neither the business nor her hometown are quite the charmless, out of date places she remembers. Instead she returns, to a surprisingly modern, thriving company and a revitalized Sugar Creek. Both begin to challenge her plans and perceptions, as do the people she had left behind. Paisley begins to feel the tug on her heartstrings, thanks to her adventurous ex-CIA grandmother, good friend and cousin Emma and her new next door neighbor and old crush, Beau Hudson.

When bridezilla Sasha, who is engaged to Paisley’s ex-fiance, winds up dead in the middle of an appointment with Paisley and in Enchanted Events’ building, Paisley becomes the prime suspect. Continue reading “Book Review -Engaged in Trouble”