Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Where We Fall by Rochelle B. Weinstein

By all accounts, Abby Holden has it all. She’s the mother of a beautiful teenager and the wife of a beloved high school football coach. And all it took to achieve her charmed life was her greatest act of betrayal.

Coach Ryan can coax his team to victory, but he can’t seem to make his wife, Abby, happy. Her struggles with depression have marred their marriage and taken a toll on their daughter, Juliana. Although this isn’t the life he’s dreamed of, he’s determined to heal the rifts in his family.

Chasing waterfalls and documenting their beauty has led photographer Lauren Sheppard all around the world. Now it has brought her back home to the mountains of North Carolina—back to the scene of her devastating heartbreak.

For the first time in seventeen years, a trio of once-inseparable friends find themselves confronting past loves, hurts, and the rapid rush of a current that still pulls them together.


My Thoughts 
I just randomly went and picked a book off my shelf a few weeks back and I was so happy that this fall beauty fell into my hands.
Such a sad, tragic love story that has its moments of pure joy along with its moments of utter misery when you see how the pain has hit each individual character of this book.
Abby seems to have the makings of a perfect life - the handsome husband, the beautiful daughter, the house - basically the cookie cutter perfect life.  Not all things are as perfect as what they seem when you are on the outside looking in.
But what if that "perfect" family came at a price?  At the downfall and heartache of your best friend?
Abby always wanted Ryan but....he was in love with Lauren - Abby's best friend.
But one day Lauren took an amazing opportunity and went to see the world and photograph some of the most amazing waterfalls...but little did she know that her "best friend" would take advantage of her boyfriend in his time of need and rope him in by...you guessed it...getting pregnant.
How could Lauren deal with that?  She couldn't go back and watch their lives unfold together so she stayed away for what seemed like an eternity.
One day she came back...Abby was in the midst of a breakdown...what will happen at this end of this mess?   Will Lauren get her lost love back?  Will Abby get better and keep her family in tact?



Drink Selection
Every tragic love story needs to have a drink to go along with the rough times and that wine is known as Scandelicious!  Deep, bold and sultry! 

Rating
I really enjoyed the story and thought the characters wove an interesting web and I give it 5 wine glasses!



About the Author
Hi readers and friends! I'm Rochelle Weinstein, and I love to read as much as I love to write. Check out my women's fiction novels, WHERE WE FALL, THE MOURNING AFTER, & WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND, or visit my shelf to see what I've been enjoying. If you're an aspiring author, please contact me with any questions you might have regarding the writing process. Happy Reading!

Link to Purchase
Amazon 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Review - The Hideaway by Lauren K Denton

When her grandmother’s will wrenches Sara back home from New Orleans, she learns more about Margaret Van Buren in the wake of her death than she ever did in life.

After her last remaining family member dies, Sara Jenkins goes home to The Hideaway, her grandmother Mags's ramshackle B&B in Sweet Bay, Alabama. She intends to quickly tie up loose ends then return to her busy life and thriving antique shop in New Orleans. Instead, she learns Mags has willed her The Hideaway and charged her with renovating it—no small task considering Mags’s best friends, a motley crew of senior citizens, still live there.

Rather than hurrying back to New Orleans, Sara stays in Sweet Bay and begins the biggest house-rehabbing project of her career. Amid Sheetrock dust, old memories, and a charming contractor, she discovers that slipping back into life at The Hideaway is easier than she expected.

Then she discovers a box Mags left in the attic with clues to a life Sara never imagined for her grandmother. With help from Mags’s friends, Sara begins to piece together the mysterious life of bravery, passion, and choices that changed Mags’s destiny in both marvelous and devastating ways.

When an opportunistic land developer threatens to seize The Hideaway, Sara is forced to make a choice—stay in Sweet Bay and fight for the house and the people she’s grown to love or leave again and return to her successful but solitary life in New Orleans.


My Thoughts 
Have I ever said how much I LOVE Southern Lit?  There is something special about the love, life and adventure that the characters lead down south that draws me in and I want to live there and experience it all for myself.
This story is no different.  It takes place in New Orleans and and Sweet Bay, Alabama.  Lauren does such an amazing job in her descriptions of the characters from their personalities to their lives.  I couldn't get enough and I wished for more.
Sara was raised by her crazy grandmother and her eclectic friends.  She never really enjoyed her upbringing and wanted to leave as soon as she could.  And she did.  All the way to New Orleans where she would opened her own consignment shop of gorgeous antique finds that she recreated.  She talks to her grandmother when she can and the last place she wants to travel to is Sweet Bay Alabama.  
Then the unthinkable happens...her grandmother passes away and she never got to say goodbye.  
Her best friend agrees to take care of her shop while she goes home to tie up loose ends and meet with the attorney.
And then it happens.  She gets sucked back into the charms of Sweet Bay and wonders if she can ever leave again?
So much happens while she's home - the reading of the will, repairs to Mags's house, meeting a charming man, meeting family she didn't know existed and falling in love with Mags friends just to name a few.
What will happen at the end of Sara's stay in Sweet Bay?  Will she get rid of it all and head back to the city she fell in love with years ago?


Drink Selection
Southern drinking at its finest, I always find the most delicious drinks come from the south!  Try this one, sounds delish - Bulleit Southern Belle! 
1 1/4 ounces bourbon whiskey (Bulleit)
1/2 ounce triple sec
12 ounces pineapple juice
1 tablespoon grenadine
2 ounces orange juice

It wouldn't be a southern drink without a little bit of Bourbon now would it?


Rating 
This book was true southern lit from the first page and I give it at least 5 wine glasses!  It was THAT good!

About the Author
Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Lauren now lives with her husband and two young daughters in Homewood, just outside Birmingham. In addition to her fiction, she writes a monthly newspaper column about life, faith, and how funny (and hard) it is to be a parent. On any given day, she’d rather be at the beach with her family and a stack of books. The Hideaway is her first novel.

I'd love to connect! Visit me at www.laurenkdenton.com, www.facebook.com/lauren.kofflerdenton, www.twitter.com/LaurenKDenton,
or www.instagram.com/laurenkdentonbooks/
 

Link to Purchase

Amazon 

 

 


Saturday, September 30, 2017

Review - London Belongs to Me by Jacquelyn Middleton

Alex Sinclair couldn’t jump on a plane fast enough. Broken from an unexpected betrayal, she flees sunny Florida for the Britannia cool of London—home of her favourite TV shows, plays, and fangirl heroes. Alex believes London is where she belongs, where she’ll heal old wounds, and chase her dream of writing for the theatre. Staying with her British friend Harry with barely a year’s rent money in her pocket, the clock is ticking.

But when a wealthy rival fueled by ambition and jealousy threatens her career and a fledgling romance, Alex once again questions her self-worth—and is left wondering if London is where she truly belongs.


My Thoughts 

I loved learning about Alex's adventures through London from her horrible shack of a closet (I mean bedroom) to her new love life with this gorgeous Irish actor.  Will her career as a writer take off or will in flounder?
She flees a relationship (heartache) from hell in FL and flies across the pond to London to start fresh and be closer to her father.
Her good friend Harry lets her stay with him and his gf and his gf's brother.  Not only is his gf the Queen Witch with a capital W but she is making Alex's life a living nightmare.
Will Alex survive this new home or will she run away to FL?  You will fall in love with this story from her adventures to love life to amazing friendships with a lot of drama along the way.

Drink Selection
At times this book and (Alex) need a stiff drink, so a great match would be a Captain and Coke.
Rating
I loved this book from beginning to end and it's 5 wine glasses for sure!


About the Author
Jacquelyn Middleton is an award-winning freelance writer with articles published by several of the most popular magazines, newspapers, and websites in North America including USA Today, Canadian Living, Best Health, National Geographic Travel, Psychology Today, The Toronto Star, Reader's Digest, Chatelaine, Today's Parent, and Flare.

She previously worked in television broadcasting, and lives in Toronto. When she's not writing, you can find her hanging out in London, waiting in a comic con line with her husband, or chasing after her bossy Schipperke. LONDON BELONGS TO ME is her debut novel. Its sequel, LONDON, CAN YOU WAIT?, a contemporary, new adult novel will be published on October 26, 2017.

Follow Jacquelyn on Twitter (@JaxMiddleton), Instagram (@JaxMiddleton_Author), or Facebook (JacquelynMiddletonAuthor), and visit her website at www.JacquelynMiddleton.com


Link to Purchase

Amazon






Monday, September 18, 2017

Review - Not Afraid of the Fall: 114 Days Through 18 Cities in 15 Countries by Kyle James

After purchasing one-way flights from New York City to Paris, Kyle James and his girlfriend Ashley quit their day jobs, planned futures, and their daily paradigms to see as much of the world as they could. In 114 days, they trekked across 15 countries and 38 cities with nothing but their backpacks, their smartphones, and each other. Not Afraid of the Fall is the unvarnished story of their off-the-cuff journey: From cliff-jumping on Croatia's untouched coasts to bathing with rescued elephants in Thailand; from crashing mopeds on mountainous gravel roads in Santorini, to hitchhiking with strangers in rental cars in Hungary.

Part travelogue memoir, part love letter to those staring at the walls of a corporate cubicle, Not Afraid of the Fall is an inspiring book that captures both the sweet mysteries of life on the road as well as an empowering narrative for anyone who has ever uttered the words "maybe next year."

My Thoughts 
What an amazing journey from beginning to end.  I love Kyle's raw yet simple style.  He tells it like it is.  He doesn't sugar coat their journey and make it sound like sunshine and rainbows from beginning to end.  He talks about the amazing waterfalls and the crystal clear beaches but he also talks about how sick he was on one part of the journey in INTRICATE detail (if you know what I mean) as well as talking about some of the dirty places they stayed along the way that would make your skin crawl. 

He talked about their amazing journey through so many distant cities I have never even thought of seeing but are now on my bucket list - Croatia sounds truly magical and who wouldn't want to bath with rescued elephants, HELLO sign me up!

I wish I had the ability and the courage to just drop everything and travel the world for several months - it sounds like a dream that someday needs to be made a reality.

Drink Selection
Kyle and Ash LOVE beer!  They especially loved to try beers that were native to their currently location.  Here are some great suggestions:
Rating
I have to get this straight to the point travel memoir 5 wine glasses!  I really enjoyed every part of it!  



About the Author
Kyle James grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and is an avid Tar Heel fan. He studied marketing, economics, and exercise science at Appalachian State University. He currently lives and writes in Asheville, North Carolina. Not Afraid of the Fall is his debut book.

Link to Purchase







Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Review - Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

From the bestselling author of All Is Not Forgotten comes a thriller about two missing sisters, a twisted family, and what happens when one girl comes back...

One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn't add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister's return might just be the beginning of the crime.
 

My Thoughts 
I will not give too many of the twists and turns away from this story.  For those who have not read it, each page is a new clue, a new piece of evidence, a new psychological look into Cass and each member of the family.
Just when I thought I knew what happened Wendy changed course on me and sent my mind into a whole new direction.
The premise of the story is that Cass and Emma have been brought up in a very difficult life.  There father left their mom (who cheated) at an early age, their mother was (is) a real piece of work and they had very interesting (to say the least) relationships with some of their family members.  
One night the two girls disappeared, never to be seen again.  What happened?  Were they kidnapped? Then one day Cass just reappears after 3 years, out of the blue.  She starts to talk of being trapped on an island and not being able to escape.
Dr.Winter, a forensic scientist, little by little loses faith in Cass's story.  There are pieces that aren't adding up and she spends every waking moment working this case.
The end will surprise you and wonder when Wendy's next book will be out!

Drink Selection
I am lucky to live near the Finger Lakes Wine Region and have gone on several wine tours and Salmon Run Riesling is delish!  
Rating 
I loved every minute of this book from beginning to end!  Amazing and well written and believable!  5 wine glass rating hands down!


About the Author 
Wendy Walker is a former attorney and investment banker in Fairfield County, Connecticut who began writing while at home raising her three sons. Her debut thriller, All Is Not Forgotten, has become an international bestseller and was optioned for film by Warner Brothers with Reese Witherspoon set to produce. The paperback will be released July 18, 2017, followed by her second thriller, Emma In The Night, on August 8. 

Link to Purchase






Sunday, September 10, 2017

Review - Final Girls by Riley Sager

Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout's knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media's attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancĂ©, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past. 

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy's doorstep. Blowing through Quincy's life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa's death come to light, Quincy's life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam's truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.


My Thoughts 
I don't even know where to begin.  There were some parts that were a little slow for me but overall the suspense was there, the characters were interesting and I couldn't stop reading.  I had to know what happened next.
A final girl - a girl that is the LONE survivor of a horrific crime and somehow seems to go on and live life (sort of) while all others die that night.
10 years previously Quincy went on vaca with her friends to Pine College and she was the only one  to return.  Lisa was also a member of this famed group after her sorority was all killed and Sam who survived the terrible night at the Nightlight Inn.
Even though these ladies have their own special club they have never officially met.
Quincy is doing well except for her addition to painkillers to get through any part of her day.  She has a handsome boyfriend, a baking blog, a nice place in the city and no memory of that night.
Then Lisa is found dead...and Sam located her.
What is happening? She thought she had put this all behind her and moved on.  Obviously someone else has different plans.
Little by little Quincy starts to remember that night...who will Him turn out to be?  Can she handle the truth?

Drink Selection
We have to pair this read with Mystery Red Wine...perfect companion to Final Girls.
Rating
I would give this book a 4.5 overall.  I really did enjoy the story and the characters drew me in.


About the Author 
Riley Sager is a pseudonym for an author who has been previously published under another name. A native of Pennsylvania, Riley is a writer, editor and graphic designer who now lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

Riley's first novel, FINAL GIRLS (called "The first great thriller of 2017" by Stephen King), will be published in 2017 in the United States, the United Kingdom and more than twenty countries around the world.

Visit Riley at www.rileysagerbooks.comwww.facebook.com/rileysagerbooks and on Twitter @Riley_Sager.
 


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Review - Where the Sweet Bird Sings by Ella Joy Olsen

In this provocative new novel, the author of Root, Petal, Thorn offers a powerful story of resilience, hope, and the secrets that, no matter how deeply hidden, can shape and ultimately unite a family. What connects us to one another? Is it shared history? Is it ancestry? Is it blood? Or is it love?

People respond to tragedy in different ways. Some try to move on. Some don't move at all. A year after her young son's death due to a rare genetic disease, Emma Hazelton is still frozen by grief, unable and unwilling to consider her husband Noah's suggestion that they try to have another child.

As the future Emma once imagined crumbles, her family's past comes into sharp relief. Searching for the roots of her son's disease, Emma tries to fit together the pieces in her genealogical puzzle. Hidden within an old wedding photograph of her great-grandparents is an unusual truth Emma never guessed at--a window into all the ways that love can be surprising, generous, and fiercely brave . . . and a discovery that may help her find her own way forward at last.


My Thoughts 
I seemed to connect to Emma from the very beginning.  Being a mother I think if I was put into her situation I would feel and act the exact same way.  She is still stuck in grief mode, after her son died of a rare genetic disorder.  Where does she go from there? She struggles to know where her place is in life going forward.
Her husband's way of coping is to suggest trying to have another child.  Is he crazy?  All she can think about minute after minute is the chance, even the slightest one, of a newborn having the same health issues...could she bare losing another in the same way?
Emma tries to pass the time by cleaning out her dear grandfather's home, he just recently passed as well.  She starts going through pictures and starts to wonder who some of these people are?  She decides to go on a quest for more information and maybe just maybe she can figure out where this rare gene came from that was passed down to her poor little one.
Emma starts to unravel an interesting chain of information, not only is it keeping her busy but it is also sparking interest into who she is and where she came from?
I couldn't put this novel down, the past has always intrigued me and I love how a tangled web of humans in our lives can create a story that we never knew. (I have to add the library full of  knowledge was amazing, I must visit!)

Drink Selection
This piece is perfectly match with a delish bottle of Pinot Noir - called Mysterious.  Very fitting I might add.
Rating 
Well deserving of a 4 wine glasses rating, a little bit of sadness, mystery and family mixed into a good read!


About the Author 
Ella Joy Olsen was born, raised, and currently resides in Salt Lake City, Utah – a charming town tucked against the massive Rocky Mountains. Most at home in the world of the written word, Ella spent nearly a decade on the Board of Directors for the Salt Lake City Public Library System (and four decades browsing the stacks). She is the mom of three kids ranging from barely-teen to barely-flown-the-nest teen, the mama of two dogs, and the wife of one patient husband.

Though she’s crazy about words, Ella is also practical, so she graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in Finance. After years spent typing boring stuff, Ella eagerly gave up her corner cubicle and started writing fiction. She has also lived in Seattle, Washington & Savannah, Georgia.

She is a member of Tall Poppy Writers, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Historical Novel Society, Binders, the Badass Writers, and the best book club ever: Salt Lake Bibliophiles.

ROOT, PETAL,THORN is her debut novel. And coming in September 2017: WHERE THE SWEET BIRD SINGS. To find out more visit www.ellajoyolsen.com, @ellajoyolsen (on Twitter).              

Link to Purchase