Thursday, November 15, 2018

Little Big Love by Katy Regan ~ My Thoughts


Little Big Love

Little Big Love by Katy Regan
Print and e-book, 384 pages
Published June 5th 2018 by BERKLEY

About a Boy meets Parenthood in this smart, big-hearted love story about a family for whom everything changed one night, a decade ago, and the young boy who unites them all.

Ten-year-old Zac Hutchinson collects facts: octopuses have three hearts, Usain Bolt is the fastest man on earth. But no one will tell him the one thing he wants to know most: who his father is and where he went.

When Zac's mother, Juliet, inadvertently admits that his dad is the only man she's ever loved, Zac decides he is going to find him and deliver his mom the happily ever after she deserves.

But Liam Jones left for a reason, and as Zac searches for clues of his father, Juliet begins to rebuild what shattered on the day that was at once the happiest and most heartbreaking of her life.

Told through the eyes of Zac, Juliet, and grandfather Mick, Little Big Love is a layered, heartfelt, utterly satisfying story about family, love, and the secrets that can define who we are.

My thoughts about Little Big Love ~~

(I love to note the first lines of the books I'm reading. First lines can really grab a reader's attention and I love seeing where the author takes the reader after their first line.)

First line—"Dear Liam, (maybe one day I will call you Dad but not yet), 

This is your son, Zac. I am writing this letter to give you an opportunity. I know you did a runner just before I was born and weren't interested in being my dad, but how could you decide if we'd never met?"

Little Big Love in an interesting look at how one event can change the rest of the lives of the ones left behind. Zac's dad takes off one day and that starts a avalanche of lies, hurt feelings, insecurities, excuses, cover-ups, and the search for answers, love, and acceptance.

Zac and his best friend Teagan come up with the Find Dad mission as they set out to find Zac's dad and get some answers. The two of them are pretty resourceful for only being 10 and I loved their determination. Along with finding the answers they were looking for, everyone else involved finds their own resolution to the events of the past.

I immediately loved Zac and Tegan. The other characters? Not so much. And then I got to know them and once I understood where they were coming from, my heart warmed to them. This is a great story that weaves the intricacies of family and secrets and makes everything stronger in the end.

I received Little Big Love from Berkley in exchange for my honest review. 

About the author

Katy Regan was born and brought up in the northern seaside town of Morecambe. Her claim to fame - aside from being possibly the only person in the world to get expelled from primary school - is that at the age of 16 she went to stage school in Surrey with Posh Spice. She worked at 19 magazine for two years before joining Marie Claire in 2002. 'Highlights' in that position included spending ten days in the buff on a nudist resort and becoming a footballer's wife for a week -- all in the name of investigative journalism.

In 2004 at the height of her career as the office roving reporter singleton, she fell accidentally pregnant by her best mate (who just remained a friend). Seeing the creative possibilities in this unconventional situation, her editor commissioned her to write a column - And then there were three! which proved so successful it ran for two years and inspired many a reader to write in to Katy with their life story. She has now taken her loyal following to her blog - The State She's In - on the Marie Claire website. She lives in south London and shares care of her son Fergus with his dad who lives across the road. ~ Goodreads

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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Wynn in Doubt by Emily Hemmer ~ My Thoughts #WynnInDoubt #NetGalley


Wynn in Doubt

Wynn in Doubt by Emily Hemmer
Print and e-book, 283 pages
Published October 6th 2015 by Lake Union Publishing 

Wynn Jeffries has wanderlust. Unfortunately, her life stalled somewhere between graduating from college and slinging drinks at the local dive bar. Stuck in a one-room apartment with no career, no boyfriend, no…life, she dreams of something more. Something amazing. Something like Oliver Reeves, her high school crush, who’s back in town and reminding Wynn of the way she used to be.

When a forgotten news clipping falls out of a book belonging to Wynn’s grandmother, a well-kept family secret is finally revealed. Is Wynn’s gypsy spirit the result of an overactive imagination, or did she inherit it from a woman so determined to live a big life, she gave up everything to have it?

Together, Wynn and Oliver attempt to put together the missing pieces of her family’s past and unravel the mystery behind her great-grandmother’s disappearance. But after so much time succumbing to fear and regret, can Wynn ditch her safe, routine life for the chance at an extraordinary future?

My thoughts about Wynn in Doubt ~~

(I love to note the first lines of the books I'm reading. First lines can really grab a reader's attention and I love seeing where the author takes the reader after their first line.)

First line—"Those lips touched my lips once. They were warm and soft and made my stomach drop three feet to the ground, right next to my pink polka-dot espadrilles."

Wynn is determined to find out the story behind the newspaper clipping that she stumbles upon when it falls out of a book. Even though her entire family is against it, she can't stop herself from pursuing the story of what really happened to her great-grandmother. Was she really the selfish women who ran out on her daughter all those years ago, like everyone says? Or was there another reason she ran away?

I loved Wynn's tenacity to find out the truth, even when she alienates her family. She also discovers an unexpected accomplice in her former high school crush, Oliver as the two of them set out to uncover the story of Lola. Along the way, Wynn learns a lot about herself and what she wants out of life. Is she like her great-grandmother or will she be happy with the life she has settled for?

I love stories like this, where the character goes on a self-discovery adventure and finds out what is important in life. Wynn in Doubt is a wonderful tale and Wynn is a beautiful soul who captured my heart.  

I received Wynn in Doubt via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. 

About the author

Emily Hemmer

Emily Hemmer was raised in the Chicago suburbs before settling in Kansas City in 1996. She was raised in a house full of women, which gave birth to her many loud OPINIONS about men, women, and the roles they play in la romance. A huge fan of romantic comedies, Emily was overjoyed to realize her college roommate could recite every word of the movie ‘Clueless,’ until she realized that was the only VHS tape her roommate owned. Emily dropped out of college and to this day, blames the listless years of her twenties on the words, “As if!”

She completed her degree after an extended eleven-year semester break during which time she got married, had kids, and became a published author. Her greatest accomplishment to date is holding the high score in Ms. PacMan at the Pizza Hut in Schaumburg, Il. ~ Author website

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Release Day! Night of Miracles by Elizabeth Berg ~ My Thoughts #NightOfMiracles #NetGalley


Congratulations Elizabeth
on the release today of
Night of Miracles!

Night of Miracles by Elizabeth Berg
Series: Arthur Truluv #2
Print and e-book, 288 pages
Published November 13th 2018 by Random House

A delightful novel about surprising friendships, community, and the way small acts of kindness can change a life, from the bestselling author of The Story of Arthur Truluv.

Lucille Howard is getting on in years, but she stays busy. Thanks to the inspiration of her dearly departed friend Arthur Truluv, she has begun to teach baking classes, sharing the secrets to her delicious classic Southern yellow cake, the perfect pinwheel cookies, and other sweet essentials. Her classes have become so popular that she's hired Iris, a new resident of Mason, Missouri, as an assistant. Iris doesn't know how to bake but she needs to keep her mind off one big decision she sorely regrets.

When a new family moves in next door and tragedy strikes, Lucille begins to look out for Lincoln, their son. Lincoln's parents aren't the only ones in town facing hard choices and uncertain futures. In these difficult times, the residents of Mason come together and find the true power of community--just when they need it the most.

"Elizabeth Berg's characters jump right off the page and into your heart" said Fannie Flagg about The Story of Arthur Truluv. The same could be said about Night of Miracles, a beautiful novel that reminds us that the people we come to love are often the ones we don't expect.

My thoughts about Night of Miracles ~~

(I love to note the first lines of the books I'm reading. First lines can really grab a reader's attention and I love seeing where the author takes the reader after their first line.)

First line—"After she has dried and put away her supper dishes, Lucille Howard sits at her kitchen table and contemplates what to do with another empty evening."

In Night of Miracles, I was transported back to the wonderful world of Arthur Truluv and the people he came to love as family, Lucille and Maddy. As the two of them go on with their lives, they are blessed by the miracles around them. They have each grown and embraced the life that they discovered when the three of them became friends.

Night of Miracles centers on Lucille and we watch as she discover the miracles of her life. But there is really only one miracle that she wants and waits for. Will she finally get her miracle?

I have always loved Elizabeth's gentle, beautiful stories, stories that seem to teach us a lesson, and this series is one of my favorites. I love the characters and love that we get to follow their lives through multiple books. And as expected when I pick up one of her books, the words are put together in such a lovely, flowing way that it's such a joy to read. I look forward to reading more stories in this series.  

I received Night of Miracles from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. 

The Story of Arthur Truluv
Book #1 - read my thoughts here

About the author

Elizabeth Berg

Elizabeth Berg is the New York Times bestselling author of many novels, including We Are All Welcome Here, The Year of Pleasures, The Art of Mending, Say When, True to Form, Never Change, and Open House, which was an Oprah’s Book Club selection in 2000. Durable Goods and Joy School were selected as ALA Best Books of the Year, and Talk Before Sleep was short-listed for the ABBY Award in 1996. The winner of the 1997 New England Booksellers Award for her body of work, Elizabeth Berg is also the author of a nonfiction work, Escaping into the Open: The Art of Writing True. She lives in Chicago.

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Release Day! The Sea Prayers by Normandie Fischer


Congratulations Normandie
on the release today of
The Sea Prayers!

The Sea Prayers by Normandie Fischer
Carolina Coast Novel #5
Paperback and e-book, 386 pages
Published November 13th 2018 by Sleepy Creek Press

A waitress, a megastar, and an ex-addict wage war for the heart of a young girl.

Thirteen years ago, a spiked drink left Agnes with a permanent reminder of the man who date-raped her.

Her daughter looks like him, sounds like him, and even listens to his platinum records (of course, the dude's a mega star because nothing is fair) but Brisa is everything Agnes has in the world. At least, she is until the day this music star sets his sights on getting himself a ready-made family. 

He's got millions of dollars, millions of fans, a high-powered legal team, and half Brisa's DNA. Agnes has a run-down house, a friend who's almost three years sober and afraid to say he loves her, and a lawyer willing to work pro bono.

Oh, and the whole town of Beaufort. That's right. She's got all those Beaufort folk at her back, praying to the God she has rejected, and not one of them is going to let Brisa go without a fight. 

I love this series and The Sea Prayers landed on my Kindle overnight. Yay! I'm so excited to start reading it! And isn't the cover just beautiful? 


About the author

I write from on board our sailboat or from on shore in coastal NC -- stories of women and families and the things that get to them. ~ Goodreads 

Connect with Normandie


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Monday, November 12, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? November 12, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's an opportunity to visit other blogs and to comment on their reads. And ... you can add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date. And here we are!


Well, it appears that winter has decided to stay. The temps are staying cold and we have at least a few flurries every day. Sometimes it amounts to something, sometimes not. I do have to admit though, it is pretty. 

Next week is Thanksgiving. We will be hosting with only 2 of our 4 kids coming over this year. So there could be up 7 to 12 for dinner. That's do-able. Time to start planning the menu, although that's usually the same every year. It's more like making the grocery list. 

It's time to get out the Christmas stories. I found several audio-books by Caroline Mickelson that I have been devouring. There are light, fun, and easy to listen to while washing the dishes or preparing dinner. I'm loving it. How about you, do you enjoy Christmas stories? 

Speaking of audio-books, I am also listening to This I Know by Eldonna Edwards. Oh my gosh, I fell in love with the narrator and the story from the very first sentence. Do you listen to audio-books? What are you favorites?
Thanks for stopping by. I hope you all have a good week. Happy reading!

What I'm currently reading

The Suspect
by Fiona Barton

This I Know
by Eldonna Edwards
Loved it from the very beginning!

Mrs. Saint Nick : A Christmas Romantic Comedy audiobook cover art
Mrs. Saint Nick
(Christmas Central #2)
by Caroline Mickelson
Let the Christmas reading begin!!

Find the whole Christmas Central series here.

What I recently finished

An Anonymous Girl
by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

The North Pole Prize
(Christmas Central #4)
by Caroline Mickelson

Miss Etta: A Novel
by Deanna Lynn Sletten
Read my thoughts here from when I read the book. The narrator is amazing. 

What I am going to read next

Just After Midnight
Just After Midnight
by Catherine Ryan Hyde

The Christmas Makeover audiobook cover art
The Christmas Makeover - A Short Story
(Christmas Central #5)
by Caroline Mickelson

I really love my reading life!

What are you reading this week?


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Sunday, November 11, 2018

New Release! Don't Let it Snow in Deadwood by Ann Charles


Don't Let it Snow in Deadwood

Don't Let it Snow in Deadwood  by Ann Charles
Series: The Deadwood Humorous Mystery #10
Kindle e-book: 185 pages
Published November 9th 2018 by Ann Charles

It’s Christmas Eve and Violet Parker has one request on her list for Santa—to make it home to her kids. Unfortunately, “home” is also the lair of her life-long nemesis, her sister Susan (aka the devil’s concubine).

Standing in Violet’s way is Old Man Winter, who slammed the Black Hills with a show-stopping blizzard. However, a little snow isn’t going to ground her sleigh, not with family counting on her to deliver Santa’s goods.

Trying to keep Christmas from turning into a candy cane calamity, Violet battles her demons and struggles through the chaos storming around her.

Can she make it through the holiday without cracking anyone’s nut?

"Keep your fingers crossed this whole holiday doesn't blow up in our faces." --Violet Parker


I absolutely love, love, love this Deadwood series by Ann Charles! She recently released book #10 in this fun and crazy world!! And.... it's a Christmas story. Yay!! More Violet, Doc, Harvey along with all the rest of her wonderful characters. And holiday fun.

About the author

Ann Charles

Ann lives in the beautiful Northern Arizona mountains with her clever husband, charming kids, and an incredibly sassy cat. After many years and several colleges, she managed to obtain her Bachelor’s Degree in English with an emphasis on creative writing from the University of Washington.

Her books are mixed-genre mysteries full of mayhem and fun, romance and comedy, and whatever else feels right. Sisters in Crime was kind enough to let her join their membership years ago. In addition, she’s been a member of Romance Writers of America for so many moons that she’s lost count.

Ann has written a bunch of contemporary, award-winning novels in multiple series full of quirky characters with whom she loves to spend time as much as reality allows. Right now, while you’re reading this, she’s probably frolicking around in another story.

While her reading preferences range from adventure to horror to mystery, ever since she tried on her first training bra, she has loved a good mix of romance, too.

When she’s not dabbling in fiction, she’s penning writing-themed articles or standing on her workshop soapbox, sharing what she has learned over the years about the writing craft and self-promotion.

Connect with Ann


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