Friday, July 1, 2016

Release Day! Lowcountry Stranger by Ashley Farley and My Thoughts

Happy Release Day!


Lowcountry Stranger by Ashley Farley
Series: Sweeney Sisters #2

Print and e-book, 284 pages
Published July 1, 2016 by Leisure Time Books


Family Drama, Southern Style.

There's a stranger in town. And it’s no coincidence when she shows up uninvited at a Sweeney family wedding. All eyes are drawn to this urchin who seems to have washed in with the tide. Before the night is over, the doe-eyed waif charms young and old with her street smarts and spunky personality. For better or worse, Annie Dawn is here to stay.

The memorable Sweeney sisters from Her Sister’s Shoes have returned with more suspense and family drama to hold you spellbound until the dramatic conclusion. As she approaches the next stage of her life as an empty nester, Jackie is torn between expanding her fledgling design business and spending these last precious months with her boys before they fly the coop. Her own worst enemy, Sam is terrified of making a commitment to Eli Marshall, handsome police officer, true love of her life. Her resolve is tested when a ghost from her past shows up after nearly two decades. Faith nurtures her seven-year-old daughter who is recovering from the trauma of her abusive father. Is the threat in the past, or is there more danger on the horizon? The sisters seek guidance from their mother, Lovie, a true Southern matriarch who shows them how to respond to adversity with grace and dignity.

Things are heating up in the Lowcountry. The Sweeney sisters remind us, once again, that being a part of a family is about more than sharing the same DNA.

My thoughts about Lowcountry Stranger ~~

(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—'A gentle breeze in the late afternoon of the early June rustled the Spanish moss draped from the live oak trees, bringing with it the smell of the salty marsh to those gathered on the lawn for the wedding of the youngest of the Sweeney sisters.'

Another wonderful trip to the Sweeney sisters' world. I really enjoyed the first book in this series and I really like Sam, Faith, and Jackie. In this story, Faith is getting married and moving on with her life after the trauma she and her daughter experienced. But then a stranger shows up at the wedding and turns everyone's world upside down. What is it about this young girl who has entranced so many members of the Sweeney family?

I love the relationships that the sisters have with each other. They don't always get along or agree with one another but they are always there for each other when they need to be. I really enjoy reading these kinds of stories and it's interesting watching the gals as they journey through life and go through their trials and tribulations. None of them are perfect but I am struck by how loving and supportive everyone in this whole family is.

I have loved every story that I have read by Ashley Farley and I just fell in love with the Sweeney sisters in the first book in this series, Her Sister's Shoes. Lowcountry Stranger is a wonderful continuation of the life of the Sweeney sisters.

There are three sisters, so I assume that there are going to be three books. Yay for us! Anyway, I think that's the number. What do you say Ashley, will there be more than three? That would be awesome!


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Book #1 in the Sweeney Sisters Series
Read my thoughts here.

About the Author


Ashley Farley grew up in the salty marshes of South Carolina, but she now lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband and two young adult children. 

Ashley writes books about women for women. Her characters are mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives facing real-life issues.

Set in the South Carolina Lowcountry and packed with Southern charm and memorable characters, the SWEENEY SISTERS SERIES chronicles the lives of three sisters—Samantha, Jackie, and Faith—who struggle to balance the demands of career and family while remaining true to themselves.

Scottie Darden, a thirty-year-old photojournalist from Richmond, Virginia, makes impulsive decisions that lead her to trouble in the ADVENTURES OF SCOTTIE series.

Connect with Ashley



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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Santorini Sunsets by Anita Hughes ~ My Thoughts

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Santorini Sunsets

Santorini Sunsets by Anita Hughes
Paperback and e-book, 304 pages
Expected publication: August 2nd 2016 by St. Martin's Griffin

The seventh intoxicating love story by Anita Hughes, set in beautiful Santorini, Greece. When a Hollywood superstar and a NYC society girl fall in love, sparks fly and secrets are revealed.

Brigit Palmer is thrilled to be on the Greek Island of Santorini. She's here for her wedding to Hollywood heart-throb Blake Crawford, one of America's most eligible bachelors. Brigit's parents have rented a villa, and soon guests will arrive from all over the world for the intimate ceremony.

Brigit is a New York socialite, and she's just given up her position at a Manhattan law firm to run her father's philanthropic foundation. Things are finally falling into place. Love, career, family. Everything is going so well...until she steps into the garden and sees her ex-husband Nathaniel hiding in the rose bushes.

Nathaniel, a failed novelist, announces that Blake sold the rights to the wedding to HELLO! Magazine for two million dollars (donated to charity), and he is the reporter assigned to write the story. Everyone expects Brigit to have her happily ever after, including her mother who taught her how to lead the perfect lifestyle, her younger sister Daisy who impatiently wishes for her own love story, and of course, her fiancé. Things are supposed to work out for them. But when Brigit discovers an unsettling secret about Blake, she questions everything she's ever believed about love, and wonders if she's better off alone.

Told in Anita Hughes' spectacularly descriptive prose, Santorini Sunsets is a story about family bonds, first loves, and the question of when to let go and when to hang on as tight as you can.

My thoughts about Santorini Sunsets ~~

(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—'Brigit walked down the circular staircase and glanced around the living room of the villa. Every surfacethe antique grand piano, the mahogany coffee table, even the pastel-colored love seatswas covered with wedding presents.'

Brigit is sure that she knows what she wants. And then she discovers that people are not what they first appeared to be. She just wants to be happy and loved but did she throw her one chance at true happiness and love away all those years ago? Can she find it again with Blake? Or is he the problem?

I loved my little trip to Santorini and I enjoyed living the high life with Brigit and her fiancĂ©, Blake, even if it was only in my head. Santorini Sunsets is the first Anita Hughes book that I have read and I enjoyed her writing style and her descriptive passages. I really felt like I was there in the Greek Islands with the family and the wedding party. Such a beautiful story in so many ways!

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion. 


About the author

Anita Hughes

Anita Hughes was born in Sydney, Australia and had a charmed childhood that included petting koala bears, riding the waves on Bondi Beach, and putting an occasional shrimp on the barbie. Her writing career began at the age of eight, when she won a national writing contest in The Australian newspaper, and was named "One of Australia's Next Best Writers." (She still has the newspaper clipping.)

She received a B.A. in English Literature with a minor in Creative Writing from Bard College, and attended UC Berkeley's Masters in Creative Writing program.

Her debut novel Monarch Beach was released in June 2012, followed by Market Street and Lake Como in 2013. French Coast and Rome in Love were released in 2015.

Island in the Sea was released in April 2016 and Santorini Sunsets will be released in August 2016.

She lives in Dana Point, CA with her family, where she interrupts her writing to watch the glorious sunsets.

Connect with Anita



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Monday, June 27, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? June 27, 2016


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!

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Not a very exciting week, this past week. The weekend was busy with grandkids, which is always wonderful. At work, a woman retired last week after working in our library for 35 years. That is just amazing to me, 35 years at the same job. She is a reader so I am sure she is looking forward to more reading time. I know I would be! Not sure what our plans are for the upcoming 4th of July/3 day weekend but I am sure it will be busy. Happy reading everyone! 

Click on the book image to read more on Goodreads.

What I'm currently reading/listening to

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Crushed (The Heart of Napa #1)
by Deborah Coonts
I loved Deborah's Lucky series and I'm excited to be reading her new one.

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Look Again
by Lisa Scottoline
(audiobook)
I think she is going to be added to my 'must-read' author list.

What I recently finished

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Lowcountry Stranger (Sweeney Sisters #2)
by Ashley Farley
Loved this! My thoughts will be posted on Friday.

Santorini Sunsets
Santorini Sunsets
by Anita Hughes 
Another new author to add to my 'must-read' list! My thoughts will be posted later this week.

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Things We Once Held Dear
by Ann Tatlock
An okay read and book discussion at book group.

What I am going to read next

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Falling
by Jane Green

I really love my reading life!

What are you reading this week?


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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Book Spotlight Giveaway! One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis


I have sooooo many books! I have a ton of print books and probably even more e-books. The Book Spotlight Giveaway feature that I post every Saturday is a way for me to clear my shelves and to share some of the many books I have. There are a lot of different reasons that I might be letting some of my books go, the biggest one is that when we moved 2 years ago I discovered how many books I really do have. This feature is a way for my to cull my collection and to give someone else the opportunity to enjoy them.

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The book that I am featuring today, One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis, is an ARC that I read for a book tour in December. I really liked the book and you can read my thoughts below. 

Good luck and be sure to stop back next week!

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One Step Too Far

One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis
Print and e-book, 304 pages
William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (December 1, 2015)

An apparently happy marriage. A beautiful family. A dream home. So what makes lawyer Emily Coleman—a woman who appears to have everything—get up one morning and walk right out of her life to start again as someone new?

Deliberately losing herself in London, Emily quickly transforms herself into Cat. Along with her new name, she finds a new home in a shared house in North London teeming with an odd assortment of flatmates, and a new job as a receptionist.

Soon Cat has buried any trace of her old self so well, no one knows how to find her. But she can’t bury the past—or her own painful memories. As the days turn to months, thoughts of all she’s left behind begin to consume her. She cannot outrun the ghosts that haunt her, no matter how hard she tries to elude them. And soon, she’ll have to face the truth of what she’s done—a shocking revelation that may push her one step too far. . . .



My thoughts about One Step Too Far ~~
(originally posted December 10, 2015)

From the very first chapter, we learn that Catherine, aka Emily, is running away from something; running away from her family and running away from the only life she knows. We don't know why she is running away and we spend the rest of the story learning how she reinvents herself and how she puts the past behind her.

The not knowing is what drew me into this story. I just had to find out what was so terrible that this woman would give up the man she loved and her treasured little boy as she tried to erase them from her life.

Along the way we met some great characters who become a part of Cat's new life. Some of them are good for her and good to her and then there are others who only bring her down. She quickly learns who she can trust. Cat is a twin and I thought the relationship between Cat and her sister was a very interesting part of the story. They are as different as night and day and the dynamics between them kept the story very interesting.

This was a great read and kept my attention throughout. Like I said, I had to find out what was so bad that Emily felt she had to leave her life and start a new one. And the twists at the end made the overall story very satisfying.

About the author

Tina Seskis

I grew up in Hampshire, England, where my father worked at Heathrow for British Airways and my mother was in sales. My parents bestowed upon me a certain degree of eccentricity: my dad amongst other things built a boat in the front garden on our commuter belt housing estate, moved us into a touring caravan when our new house wasn’t built, and took us all over the world with his free air travel and limited budget. I think part of my story-telling is shaped by those experiences.

I studied business at the University of Bath and then worked for over twenty years in marketing, advertising and online sales, with varying degrees of success, before starting to write.

I originally wrote One Step Too Far for my mum, whilst attending a local writing class on a Thursday afternoon. I completed my second novel When We Were Friends (formerly called A Serpentine Affair) in 2011. It took me way longer to finally get the books published, and One Step Too Far is now available in over 60 countries.

I live in North London with my husband and son, and currently write full-time(ish). You can follow my daily tribulations with writing, dogs, mice, moths etc on Twitter at @tinaseskis or on my Facebook page.

Connect with Tina



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Friday, June 24, 2016

The Last Dreamer by Barbara Solomon Josselsohn ~ My Thoughts and a Giveaway!

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The Last Dreamer

The Last Dreamer by Barbara Solomon Josselsohn
Paperback and e-book, 228 pages
Published December 15th 2015 by Lake Union Publishing

Iliana Passing—wife, mother, and former acclaimed journalist—gave up her career to start a family. Almost fifteen years later, despite how much she loves her husband and kids, she can’t help wondering how she ended up with a life spent carpooling and running errands.

Ready to get back into the journalism game, Iliana searches for an exciting lead. When she discovers that Jeff Downs, the heartthrob star of an old TV show and her girlhood crush, now owns a nearby textile company, she thinks she’s found her story: teen celebrity and its aftermath. But as Iliana gets to know Jeff, the two grow closer than she ever could’ve imagined. Now that her teenage dream has walked into her present-day reality, how far will she go to entertain an old fantasy?

My thoughts about The Last Dreamer ~~

(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—'Hey Stuart! I read on the Business Times website yesterday that you've been named editor in chief. Congratulations! Seems like yesterday when we were churning out news stories together, doesn't it?'

Don't we all have that fantasy of our past being so much better than our present? If only we would have..... Well, Iliana is a bit dissatisfied with her life and has a chance to relive part of her past. Will she find out that it was everything she shouldn't have left behind?

I really enjoyed The Last Dreamer but I can't say that the main character, Iliana, was a person I would have liked to have in my life. But hey, we don't all have to love the main character, do we? A character that stirs emotions in us is a great character. Ilania finds herself lying to everyone around her in order to live out her fantasy and she can't just be happy with what she's got.

The Last Dreamer is a wonderful story that made me stop and think about my past and the paths I took to get where I am today. I'm pretty sure there were some things I would have done differently but I would want the end of the path to be right where I am today.

Special thanks go out to TLC Book Tours for sending copies of 
The Last Dreamer to my book club.


About the author

Barbara Solomon Josselsohn

Barbara Solomon Josselsohn is a New York-based novelist and freelance writer. Her first novel, The Last Dreamer, from Lake Union Publishing, debuts in December, 2015. Her articles and essays appear in a range of publications, including Consumers Digest, The New York Times, Parents Magazine, American Baby, Westchester Magazine, The Journal News, and Westchester Home, as well as online at BrainChildMag.com, ConsumerSearch.com and GrownandFlown.com.

Barbara also teaches adult writing classes at the Scarsdale Library in Scarsdale, New York, and conducts a magazine writing course for children each summer at the Scarsdale-based JCC-Midwestchester. She is a frequent presenter at local writing workshops for children.

Barbara began her career as a reporter and editor with HFN, a trade magazine covering the home furnishings business. She has a B.A. in English from Binghamton University and an M.A. in English from the University of Connecticut, and has studied fiction writing at Sarah Lawrence College and Manhattanville College.

She is currently working on her second novel.

Connect with Barbara

Website | Twitter | Goodreads


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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Release Day: Sunshine Beach by Wendy Wax ~ My Thoughts

Happy Release Day!

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Sunshine Beach

Sunshine Beach (Ten Beach Road #4) by Wendy Wax 
Series: Ten Beach Road #4
Print and e-book, 432 pages
Published: June 21st 2016 by Berkley

In this brand-new summer read by the USA Today bestselling author of The House on Mermaid Point, three women join forces to bring a historic seaside hotel back to life…

There’s nothing that a fresh coat of paint and a few glasses of wine can’t fix…

After losing their life savings in a Ponzi scheme, Maddie, Avery, and Nikki have banded together to make the most of what they have left, using their determination, ingenuity, guts, and a large dose of elbow grease. It’s Maddie’s daughter Kyra who stumbles across a once glorious beachfront hotel that has fallen into disrepair. The opportunity to renovate this seaside jewel is too good to pass up—especially when they come up with the idea of shooting their own independent television show about the restoration. What could possibly go wrong?

Everything. With the cameras rolling, Maddie’s second-chance romance with her all-too-famous new boyfriend gets complicated, Avery struggles with grief over the loss of her mother, and Nikki’s reluctance to commit to the man who loves her could leave her to face the biggest challenge of her life. Even the hotel seems to be against them, when their renovation uncovers a decades-old unsolved murder which just might bring their lives tumbling down all over again…

My thoughts about Sunshine Beach ~~

(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—'She climbed onto the diving board and waited until she has an audience. Waited for the fathers to look up from their newspapers. The mothers to stop fingering the smooth ivory mah-jongg tiles.'

I have been wanting to read the Ten Beach Road series for quite awhile. When I saw Sunshine Beach, book number 4, offered I jumped at the chance to read it. Even though it was book four and I am one who likes to read books in a series in order, I really enjoyed this look at the lives of Maddie, Avery, Nikki, and Kyra.

I have to admit that it took me a few pages to warm up to some of the characters, just because I was lacking some of the backstories that made them who they are. But once I was able to understand how all the characters related to each other, I found myself completely engaged in the story.

Now that I have spent some time in the Ten Beach Road world, I will be looking forward to another trip back. I need to go back and start with book #1 so I can really connect with these four fabulous women.

I received a copy of this book from First to Read in exchange for my honest opinion. 


About the author

Wendy  Wax

I write novels that explore friendship, self-discovery and the challenges life brings us, leavened with a touch of humor. I'm proud of all my books and perhaps best known for my "Ten Beach Road" titles including the USA Today bestsellers, Ten Beach Road and The House on Mermaid Point, and for While We Were Watching Downton Abbey.

I was born in St.Petersburg, Florida and grew up on St. Pete Beach within spitting distance of the Gulf of Mexico. I went, appropriately enough, to Sunshine Elementary School where recess and art class sometimes took place on the beach, and the highlight of every school year was the annual fish broil.

It’s hard to be a type-A personality when you grow up in such a laid back environment, but I managed. Convinced that you were expected to know how to read BEFORE you showed up for school, I forced a neighbor friend to teach me to read at the age of five. I’ve been reading ever since.

Books, in all forms, are one of my greatest pleasures and best forms of escape. And they’ve had a major impact on my life.

I went to the University of Georgia after reading Gone with the Wind one too many times. For a while I re-read Margaret Mitchell’s classic yearly, saw the movie whenever it played within twenty miles, and could quote large passages from memory. Today I have a growing GWTW collection, and the time I spoke at the Margaret Mitchell House was an incredible thrill.last

After college I worked in radio, television, and film. Like Olivia in 7 DAYS AND SEVEN NIGHTS, I’ve done live talk radio. I hosted a show in the eighties called Desperate & Dateless, and while I was never locked in an apartment for a week with a webcam rolling as she was, I did fall in love. Happily, the man who swept me off my feet consults with financial types and understands the bottom line. Unlike Olivia’s nemesis, Matt Ransom, my husband has never, to my knowledge, advised anyone to ‘love the one they’re with.’ We live in Atlanta with our two sons.

Connect with Wendy


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