Posted in 2020 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Giveaways Literary Escapes New Release Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Who Rescued Who by Victoria Schade #Review / #Giveaway

who rescued who
Who Rescued Who
Women’s Fiction
Setting – England
Publisher: Berkley (March 24, 2020)
Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-10: 0593098838
ISBN-13: 978-0593098837
Kindle ASIN: B07TSWP85J

Where can you turn when the world turns against you? When Elizabeth Barnes’ life fell apart she never imagined that she’d be rescued by a new friend on four paws. 

 

The plan was simple: Elizabeth would ignore the fact that she was unjustly fired from her dream job, fly across the pond to settle an unexpected inheritance in her father’s home country and quickly return to reclaim her position among the Silicon Valley elite.

 

But when Elizabeth stumbles upon an abandoned puppy, she’s shocked to realize that her brief trip to England might turn into an extended stay. Her strict itinerary is upended completely by the pup’s dogged devotion, and soon the loveable puppy helps her to connect with a tight-knit community of new friends on two legs and four, from the aunt and uncle she didn’t know existed, to a grumpy coffee shop owner to two very opinionated sheep. Along the way Elizabeth is confronted by long-kept family secrets, hard truths about her former life and a new romance that might lead her to question everything she knows about love. Because sometimes rescue magic happens on both ends of the leash.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I needed a change of pace in my reading and picking up this book was the perfect choice.

Elizabeth Barnes was flying high until she wasn’t. Fired from a job she loved she was at loose ends until she finds out she had family she knew nothing about and an inheritance to boot. We follow Elizabeth across the pond as she settles her father’s affairs. She had planned just a quick trip so she can get back home and find new employment. But a cute little homeless puppy has her extending her stay. She starts to feel at home in this unique community especially when she feels a romantic spark with one of the town’s residents. Finding her family and learning the truth about her father’s distancing while learning some truths about herself could change her life.

It was the cover that really caught my attention. As a mom to two border collie/blue heeler mixes, one who looks a bit like the dog on the cover, I just couldn’t say no to those eyes. What I found between the covers was delightful.

Elizabeth was a workaholic driven by likes and clicks who was forced to slow down upon arrival to the English countryside with limited internet access. She doesn’t adjust easily but finds several things to fill her time including a border collie mix pup and a handsome co-owner of a local brewery. She also takes on a huge task for her newly-found uncle that reveals something they have in common. All the characters in the book are well crafted and really evolve over the course and right up to the end of the story. The story has a slow build so readers really get to know the wonderful people of Fargrove.

Ms. Shade finds a great balance between family life, romance and some lovable 4 legged creatures. All the twists are so well-plotted. The story feels much more based in reality than other romantic comedies I have read of late. The author also describes each setting so clearly, and there are many. I felt like I was getting a bird’s eye view of all of the action, walking right along in my wellies taking in everything the setting had to offer.

This story gave me the warm and fuzzies. This book actually rescued me and gave me a nice break from some things I was dealing with. Thank you, Ms. Shade, for the Perfect Escape.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Victoria Schade is a dog trainer and speaker who serves as a dog resource for the media and has worked both in front of and behind the camera on Animal Planet, as a co-host on the program Faithful Friends and as a trainer and wrangler on the channel’s popular Puppy Bowl specials. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, her dogs Millie and Olive, and the occasional foster pup.

who rescued who

Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

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something you like here and become a follower.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in Great Escapes Book Tours Spotlights

Clearing in the Woods by Phyllis M. Newman – #Spotlight – #GuestPost – Great Escapes Book Tour @phyllismnewman2

Clearing in the Woods
by Phyllis M. Newman

I am pleased to shine the spotlight on Clearing in the Woods today!

About Clearing in the Woods

Clearing in the Woods
Women’s Psychological/Crime Fiction
Publisher: Independently published (October 31, 2019)
Paperback: 321 pages
ISBN-10: 1701629364
ISBN-13: 978-1701629363
Digital ASIN: B07ZTZMTVS

Roberta escapes her humdrum middle-class existence and the persistent ache of her dead mother’s secrets by fleeing to Alaska. Having abandoned everything she’d spent her life building, Roberta remakes herself in another place, doing anything other than responding to the demands of her self-absorbed husband, her entitled kids, and her Pottery Barn home. Taking her first job since college, and a small room above a tourists’ shop, she contemplates new vistas. She never expected, however, to find romance in the form of a handsome federal agent involved in murder and mayhem.And it is murder and mayhem, and the discovery of other’s secrets, that causes Roberta to run for her life into the Alaskan wilderness…


Thank you for the opportunity to introduce Clearing in the Woods. My story presents Roberta Blankenship as an unhappy wife and mother who has lived a life of sacrifice, one that denies herself for the sake of her entitled adult children and her ungrateful husband. After years of pushing aside her own hopes and dreams to promote those of her family, Roberta rebels. We’ve all been there, right? But Roberta takes it to the next level and flees to Alaska, the farthest point she can get from the Midwest without a passport, to start a new life on her own terms.

Roberta is a flawed yet sympathetic character. She is both cynic and romantic, jaded and enthusiastic, willfully ignorant and prescient. My goal was to create an unlikeable character, one who is self-absorbed and angry, and then transform her into someone we can all identify with. To accomplish this, I employed classic fairy tales, which are rich in symbols and archetypes. Insight into the meanings of these tropes and classic roles allows the reader to understand the tales, and therefore life, on a deeper level.

In her quest for self-fulfillment, Roberta repeatedly defies the rules that fairytales endeavor to teach us:

Don’t go into the woods alone.

You must not stray from the path.

Don’t question authority.

Beware of a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

You must be home by midnight.

Don’t talk to strangers.

Only innocence and goodness are rewarded with undying love.

Roberta refuses to play by the rules and embraces the world on her own terms. This leads to harrowing experiences including kidnapping, deceit, and murder. As a result, Roberta must face her dark side (the archetypal witch in classic tales) and reach some profound understanding, making connections that tap into deeper levels of consciousness to bridge a universal truth. Roberta rejects what she knows and what is expected of her to thrive and survive. She eventually is forced to become the classic heroine who takes the initiative, who grows in strength and understanding beyond her wildest dreams. After all, fairy tales are essentially about a kind of death and rebirth, leading to powerful transformations.

At the beginning of Roberta’s travails, she is a dreamy, cerebral character haunted by missed opportunities, beset by anger and resentment weighted by the isolation and alienation experienced by the career homemaker. By the end of Roberta’s story, she has not only saved her own life, she has also discovered the truth about her current circumstances and about her life in general. In other words, she has prevailed in the most meaningful and effective way possible. She has solved the mystery of the crimes surrounding her and comes to understand the story behind her mother’s unhappiness, something that heretofore has blighted Roberta’s existence.

Roberta’s story is one of discovery and transformation, just like in the fairy tales we all grew up with. I have established character and foreshadowed events by referencing not only fairy tales, but also pop-culture, classic literature, and mythology. This helps the story resonate with charm and humor, making Roberta’s world profoundly real.

About Phyllis M. Newman 

PHYLLIS NEWMAN

Phyllis M. Newman is a native southerner. Born in New Orleans, she spent formative years in Florida, Iowa, Mississippi, and on a dairy farm in Ross County, Ohio. After a long career in finance and human resources at The Ohio State University, she turned her attention to writing fiction. She published a noir mystery, “Kat’s Eye” in 2015, a Gothic mystery, “The Vanished Bride of Northfield House” in 2018, and the suspense thriller “Clearing in the Woods” in 2019. Today she lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband and three perpetually unimpressed cats, none of whom venture far from home.

Author Links

Website,    Twitter      Facebook 

Purchase Link – Amazon 

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Posted in 2020 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

In An Instant by Suzanne Redfearn #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @SuzanneRedfearn

In an Instant
by Suzanne Redfearn

About In An Instant

In An Instant
Thriller/Women’s Fiction
Setting – California
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (March 1, 2020)
Paperback: 331 pages
ISBN-10: 1542006589
ISBN-13: 978-1542006583
Digital ASIN: B07NVD1276

A deeply moving story of carrying on even when it seems impossible.

 

Life is over in an instant for sixteen-year-old Finn Miller when a devastating car accident tumbles her and ten others over the side of a mountain. Suspended between worlds, she watches helplessly as those she loves struggle to survive.

 

Impossible choices are made, decisions that leave the survivors tormented with grief and regret. Unable to let go, Finn keeps vigil as they struggle to reclaim their shattered lives. Jack, her father, who seeks vengeance against the one person he can blame other than himself; her best friend, Mo, who bravely searches for the truth as the story of their survival is rewritten; her sister Chloe, who knows Finn lingers and yearns to join her; and her mother, Ann, who saved them all but is haunted by her decisions. Finn needs to move on, but how can she with her family still in pieces?

 

Heartrending yet ultimately redemptive, In an Instant is a story about the power of love, the meaning of family, and carrying on…even when it seems impossible.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

As soon as I read the synopsis for this book I knew I had to read it and OMG I am glad I did.

A long weekend and the Miller family along with neighbors that are like family, Finn’s best friend Mo, Chloe’s boyfriend Vance and Bingo, the family dog all load into the Miller Mobile to go to Big Bear for skiing, snowboarding, and family fun.

They arrive at their cabin to unload and unpack but soon hit the road again to go to Grizzly Manor for dinner. The snow started falling while they were inside and quickly turns into a full-blown blizzard.

Along the way, they stop to pick up Kyle whose car is now stranded in a snowbank. It is slow going but then a buck in the road has Finn’s dad hitting the brakes and the camper starts to slide and tumble over the side of the mountain.

Finn doesn’t survive, but she can see and hear everything. She is trapped between heaven and hell on earth as she watches her family deal with her death and try to save themselves.

_____

The story is told from Finn’s point of view so readers are able to see and feel everything that unfolds. The depth of each character evolves as we see how they react to the horrendous tragedy. It is a very emotional tale and I was completely riveted to the pages. Powerful, gripping and revealing.

I think this story really hit me in the heart because I have lost a child. Different circumstances but I always feel like he is with me every day even after almost 5 years. I will say I dealt with my grief and still deal with my grief differently that the characters in this story but everyone handles loss in their own way.

When I reached the end of the book I wiped the tears from eyes and read the Author’s Note and learned this book is based on a true memory she had. Thankfully no one died then but my tears started flowing all over again. She told this story in such an amazing way. As a reader, I could feel the cold, my heart ached with the pain, and anger flared more than once.

Ms. Redfearn also included a special needs child in this story. Again, my emotions rolled by the way this child was treated. Heartwarming to fierce anger to heartbreaking. His part of the story has stuck with me almost more than Finn’s.

In An Instant is a story that will make you think and may even leave you breathless at times.

This quote is one I want to keep and maybe have it etched permanently somewhere:

“Reach for the stars or the moon or another universe altogether, and shine so bright you blind everyone around you, and though I am gone, carry me with you, but only as lightness and never as weight.”

I look forward to reading more books by this author.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Suzanne Redfearn

Suzanne Redfearn

Suzanne Redfearn is the award-winning author of three novels: Hush Little BabyNo Ordinary Life, and In an Instant. In addition to being an author, she’s also an architect specializing in residential and commercial design. She lives in Laguna Beach, California, where she and her husband own two restaurants: Lumberyard and Slice Pizza and Beer. You can find her at her website, SuzanneRedfearn.com, on Facebook at SuzanneRedfearnAuthor, or on Twitter @SuzanneRedfearn.

Purchase Links – Amazon  B&N 

Also by this Author

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in E-Book Challenge Reviews 2019 Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

Versions of Her by Andrea Lochen – #Review


Versions of Her
Women’s Fiction (Fantasy)
Setting – Wisconsin
Red Adept Publishing (July 1, 2019)
Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-10: 1948051346
ISBN-13: 978-1948051347
Kindle ASIN: B07TF4YBBH

On the surface, Melanie Kingstad-Keyes’s life is the picture of success. She’s a tenure track professor at a prestigious university and has a perfect husband. But a recent miscarriage has left her reeling and her marriage tenuous. Selling her family’s Lake Indigo summer home, which she hasn’t visited in fifteen years, feels like the perfect distraction from her problems. Now, she only needs to persuade her younger sister, Kelsey, to go along with her plan.

Stuck in a dead-end job, Kelsey Kingstad bounces from one doomed relationship to the next as she struggles to jumpstart her adult life. Carrying the guilt of her mother’s untimely death, Kelsey is reluctant to let go of the Victorian house filled with memories of her mom and their childhood.

When the sisters find a mysterious hidden door, Melanie and Kelsey discover that they can directly view their mother’s younger years and learn all the secrets she never shared with them. Delving into her memories is fun at first, but Melanie and Kelsey quickly uncover difficult truths, throwing their own life choices into question and making them wonder if they ever truly knew their mother. Visiting the past may help them find closure, but the cost could be steeper than they realize.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Sisters can be as different as night and day and that is the case with Melanie Kingstad-Keyes and Kelsey Kingstad. Melanie has always been driven and Kelsey is more laid back. But Melanie has recently suffered a miscarriage and the life she has planned so carefully may not come to fruition. Kelsey is having trouble dealing with her mother’s death and it is affecting her life. Their father has remarried and left the area. They try to get together for the holidays.

Melanie has decided it is time to sell the family’s summer home on Indigo Lake. She has the blessing of her father but Kelsey isn’t so sure she is ready to let go. But Melanie goes ahead and sets up a meeting with a realtor and tells Kelsey to meet with her. They find the home in worse shape than expected, but Melanie is sure they can get everything ship-shape and ready to sell quickly. She decides that after her miscarriage some time away from her husband at Indigo Lake is just what she needs.  It will give her a chance to think while overseeing the repairs the house needs.

Soon after she arrives Melanie makes a surprising discovery and can’t wait to share it with Kelsey. She has found a hidden door that opens into a hidden room. That room enables some amazing things to happen. Things that give the girls pause. Things that shock them and things that make them rethink their lives.

____

I just skimmed the synopsis provided by the publisher before I started reading and I think it gives too much away. That being said, I hesitate to say too much because I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone. But I really enjoyed discovering the treasure of the story and what it encompassed right along with the Kingstad sisters instead of expecting it and knowing what it entailed. I really got caught up in the mystery room and wish so much for one of my own.

This story was incredibility well-written. The characters were all introduced well and depth was built over the course of the book. I feel the sister dynamic was realistically portrayed. Being the younger sister in my family I did identify with Kelsey and could see some of Melanie’s traits in my sister. It is clear the sisters have a strained relationship and they needed this time together. Kelsey’s dog, Sprocket was a great unifier and brought some humor into the story. The other characters we meet all have a purpose and are fleshed out as time passes.

I love that the story is set in my home state of Wisconsin. There are a lot of lakes throughout the state with plenty of homes surrounding them. The author did a great job of describing the area and bringing it to life. I could easily imagine all the activities that happened there over the years.

Versions of Her is a heartwarming story filled with memories. It also a clear message. I found the story to be filled with emotions and growth. Melanie and Kelsey took a journey within these pages and I was happy to go along for the ride.

This is not the type of story I would typically read but I found it to be entertaining and memorable and a Perfect Escape!

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About Andrea Lochen

Though Andrea Lochen had dreamed of being an author since the third grade, she didn’t realize creative writing was “an actual thing” until she stumbled upon the program at the University of Wisconsin as a college freshman.  After graduating from college, she earned her Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Michigan and later achieved her dream of becoming a published author.

 

Andrea is now the author of three novels: The Repeat YearImaginary Things, and Versions of Her.  She teaches creative writing at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee at Waukesha, encouraging young writers to learn the craft and pursue their own writing dreams.  She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, two small children, and their adorably fluffy dog, Maddy.  In her free time, she likes to bake cupcakes and cakes, see musicals and plays, and read as much as humanly possible.

Author Links – Author Website – Facebook – Twitter  –  Goodreads –  BookBub  –  Publisher: Red Adept Publishing

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in E-Book Challenge Giveaways Reviews 2019 You Read How Many Books Challenge

#Review / #Giveaway – A Daughter’s Truth by Laura Bradford @KensingtonBooks @bradfordauthor


A Daughter’s Truth
Women’s Fiction/Amish
Setting – Pennsylvania
Kensington (May 28, 2019)
Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1496716485
ISBN-13: 978-1496716484
Kindle ASIN: B07H1ZQY11

Emma Lapp tries to be the perfect daughter, to earn the loving embrace of her family and her Amish community in Pennsylvania. Yet she can’t quite win her mother’s smile—or her forgiveness for a transgression Emma can’t quite place . . .

Emma knows she’s a reminder of her mother’s greatest sorrow, having been born on the same day Mamm lost her beloved sister. The one bright spot has been the odd trinkets anonymously left at her aunt’s grave each year on Emma’s birthday—gifts Emma secretly hides because they upset her parents. But the day she turns 22, a locket bears a surprise that sends her on an unexpected journey . . .

Searching for answers, Emma travels to the English world and finds a kinship as intriguing as it is forbidden. But is this newfound connection enough to leave behind the future she’d expected? The answers are as mysterious, and as devastating, as the truth that divides Emma from the only family, and the only life, she’s ever known . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Laura Bradford introduces us to Emma Lapp, a 22-year-old Amish woman whose whole life gets turned upside down. The oldest of six children, Emma’s birthday has always had a somber tone. Emma was born the same day her Aunt Ruby died. Emma’s mother mourns her sister’s death heavily. Losing a loved one takes a toll and Emma does her best to be sensitive to her mother’s feelings. But the woman’s attitude toward Emma has never been the same as her attitude toward the other children. Emma works so hard but nothing she does can bring a smile to her mother’s face the way the other children do.

Each year Emma’s birthday begins with a trip to the cemetery. Each year when they arrive there is a small gift left by someone on the grave. It makes her mother sad and her father angry. The gift is quickly tossed in the trash. When Emma turns 7 and every year after she wakes early to go to the cemetery by herself to take the gift and hide it away, both to ease her parent’s pain and because the trinkets bring her a little bit of joy. On the morning of her 22nd birthday, she finds a very special gift, a locket with a picture inside that has her questioning everything about her life. Her need to find answers takes her to forbidden places. The answers she finds are surprising and could come with a very high price. Her life could change in profound ways.

Like her story, A Portrait of a Sister, Ms. Bradford takes her readers and her characters on an emotional roller coaster. Emma’s struggle was real and affected so many people. My emotions clearly mirrored Emma’s. While Emma has led a sheltered life and was only educated through the 8th grade, we see a very determined, strong, and smart woman emerge as the story continues. She learns so much and gets some great advice to help her to make some hard decisions.

Again, you can see that the author has researched the ways of the Amish to paint a very rich detailed story for her readers. The story is so well written. The characters are portrayed realistically and the dialogue flows easily. From the hiding place in a tree to a new litter of kittens in the barn, from Emma’s special rock by the pond to the long country road she travels, I could easily picture everything. A bird’s eye view of Emma’s journey is both heartbreaking and heartwarming.  There is also a poignant lesson taught by the end of this novel. Something everyone should take to heart.

I loved this story and escaped right into it! The author has a way of making her readers truly care about her characters. I was invested in Emma’s Life from beginning to end. She is also a character I wouldn’t mind visiting again. The author leaves us in a great place but Emma has a lot more life ahead of her.

Like the first one, this story is a story that will stick with me. Also, like the one before, the book receives my Paradise Rating earning a spot on my Best Reads List for this year.

Fans of Amish fiction will love this story. If you are a fan of this author’s Amish Mystery series you really need to cross over and read this book and the one before it.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About The Author

While spending a rainy afternoon at a friend’s house more than thirty years ago, Laura Bradford (a.k.a. Elizabeth Lynn Casey) fell in love with writing over a stack of blank paper, a box of crayons, and a freshly sharpened number two pencil. From that moment forward, she never wanted to do anything else.

Today, Laura is the national bestselling author of the Amish Mysteries, the Jenkins & Burns Mysteries, the Tobi Tobias Mystery Series, The Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries and the Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries (written as Elizabeth Lynn Casey).

In June 2018, Laura debuted her first-ever women’s fiction novel, Portrait of a Sister.  Her second, A Daughter’s Truth was released on May 28, 2019.

Laura is a former Agatha nominee and the recipient of an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award in romance. In her free time, Laura enjoys making memories with her family, traveling, baking, and visiting the sea lions at the Central Park Zoo. For more information and all the latest book news, visit her website at www.laurabradford.com.

Author Links

Website     Facebook     Twitter   Pinterest

 

Also by Laura Bradford



Coming September 24, 2019


 


Click here for more books by Laura Bradford.

Click Here for books written as Elizabeth Lynn Casey.

Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Giveaways Literary Escapes Read The Printed Word Challenge Reviews 2019 You Read How Many Books Challenge

#Review / #Giveaway – In Dog We Trust (Black Dog Bay Novel) by Beth Kendrick @BerkleyPub


In Dog We Trust
(Black Dog Bay Novel Book 5)
Women’s Fiction/Romantic Comedy
Setting – Delaware
Berkley (January 8, 2019)
Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 0399584250
ISBN-13: 978-0399584251
Kindle ASIN: B07CG1XTHN

From the author of Once Upon a Wine, a new novel set in the charming seashore town of Black Dog Bay, Delaware.

When everything has gone to the dogs . . .

When Jocelyn Hillier is named legal guardian for the late Mr. Allardyce’s pack of pedigreed Labrador retrievers, her world is flipped upside down. She’s spent her entire life toiling in the tourism industry in Black Dog Bay and never expected to be living the pampered life of a seasonal resident in an ocean side mansion, complete with a generous stipend. But her new role isn’t without its challenges: The dogs (although lovable) are more high-maintenance than any Hollywood diva, the man she wants to marry breaks her heart, and she’s confronted at every turn by her late benefactor’s estranged son, Liam, who thinks he’s entitled to the inheritance left to the dogs.

Jocelyn has worked too hard to back down without a fight, and she’s determined to keep her new fur family together. As she strives to uphold the “Best in Show” standards her pack requires, Jocelyn finds love, family, and forgiveness in the most unexpected places.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Jocelyn Hillier and her mom do tons of laundry each week for the guest houses rented out in Black Dog Bay. Due to a freak almost accident, she finds herself with a part-time job too. Dog sitter for a group of show dogs owned by Mr. Allardyce. She doesn’t care much for him but she loves his dogs. When Allardyce passes away Jocelyn is stunned to find he not only named her legal guardian for his dogs but entrusted her with the house they live in and plenty of cash to see to their every need.

Shortly after the reading of the will, her new boyfriend breaks up with her and Allardyce’s son files a lawsuit to overturn the will. He is not happy to lose his inheritance to a pack of dogs. Jocelyn also needs to deal with the dog’s trainer and their dog show schedule all while one of the dogs is due to deliver a litter of pups any day. With a lawyer trying to advise her of ways to make everyone happy, she decides to take them all on and do everything she can to keep the canines together and with her.

I was thrilled to be back in Black Dog Bay – “the best place in America to bounce back from your breakup. Home to Better Off Bed-and-Breakfast, the Eat Your Heart Out bakery, and the Whinery bar, Black Dog Bay offers a haven for the suddenly single.”  While the books in this series all take place in the same Delaware town, they can all be read as stand-alone and in any order.  

I really liked Jocelyn. She had her hands full not only with the dogs but with the laundry business as well, because her mother is recovering from back surgery. My husband had back surgery right before Christmas so I can totally relate to the care and recovery and the efforts of those helping with that recovery. At first, this character didn’t really show her strength by as the story continued the fight inside her really emerged.  She fought for the dogs and she fought for herself. After a while, she even opened her heart to someone new. Her best friend Bree was there every step of the way, encouraging her on. Friends their whole lives and always there for each other.

Like any great Romantic Comedy, there is a love interest for Jocelyn, in fact, there are two. I wanted to jump right into the pages and punch the first guy right in the nose. He put on a great front at first, but his true colors were soon out for all to see. The second guy was the complete reverse, a jerk to start with, but then he came to his senses.

This is a wonderful lighthearted story. Life, family, romance, dogs, and humor fill these pages. It would make an excellent Hallmark Movie. The ending is a happily ever after as expected, but it is told in a delightful way.  I really enjoy the way Ms. Kendrick tells a story.

I loved this story. It was a fun read, a perfect escape for me!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author
Beth Kendrick is the author of several novels, including Cure for the Common BreakupThe Week Before the Wedding, and The Lucky Dog Matchmaking Service. She lives in Arizona with her family and a pair of unruly rescue dogs. Find out more about her and her books on her webpage here.


 

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in E-Book Challenge Reviews 2018 You Read How Many Books Challenge

#Review – Castaway Cottage by Joanne DeMaio

Castaway Cottage
Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Continuing Series
Setting – Connecticut
Self Published (May 12, 2018)
Paperback: 408 pages
ISBN-10: 1717066216
ISBN-13: 978-1717066213
Kindle ASIN: B07C726YJC

Every cottage tells a story. It’s a saying Jason Barlow returns to as an architect designing New England beach homes. The latest cottage story he hopes to tell rises from the Stony Point sand: the last-standing cottage on the beach. It’s the sole survivor–something Jason can relate to–as surrounding cottages washed out to sea in long-ago hurricanes.

The owners aren’t budging, though, keeping Jason’s proposed renovation at bay. But with some help from the beach friends, the tide turns for Jason’s new venture. Problem is, that weathered cottage on the beach? It holds secrets darker than its gray seaworn shingles. And secrets don’t stay buried in this little Connecticut beach town; they wash ashore or get dug up from the sand.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We are back in Stony Point and Jason Barlow is trying to nail down his next project for his new cable show. The cottage he has picked out has quite a history, much more than he knew about the place. Now he just needs to get the owners to agree to his plans. Also, a typo on a marriage certificate turns one marriage topsy-turvy. Would a vow renewal ceremony get things back to normal?

This saga continues to draw me in with each new installment. We follow these characters through good times and bad. Through laughter and tears, their lives continue, at times jarring their friendships, and sometimes strengthening them. So much has happened over the course of these stories.

Again Elsa shines as she tries to mother the whole crew through everything. With her inn not yet open she has time to take on another event all while doing her best to help everyone and keep their lives on an even keel. I am anxious for the inn to open, but I don’t know how she is going to be able to handle it all even with Celia’s help.

This cast of characters has to live in one of the most beautiful locations I could ever imagine. I am so envious of the view they see each and every day when they wake up, go through their days and then settle in for the night. Joanne DeMaio’s words have painted every part of this place so clearly, my imagination doesn’t even have to work to virtually take me there.  The sea, the sky, the cottages, the diner, the flowers, just everything is crystal clear.

So much is left up in the air as this installment concludes I can hardly wait for the next book to be released. It will be pure joy to return to Stony Point. My virtual bags are already packed.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

joanne demaio

About the Author

Joanne DeMaio is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary fiction. She enjoys writing about friendship, family, love, and choices while setting her stories in New England towns or by the sea. Currently, at work on her next book, Joanne lives with her family in Connecticut.

To learn more about the author, visit Joannedemaio.com. She also enjoys hearing from readers on her Facebook Page.


Check out my reviews of the previous books here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

 

Posted in E-Book Challenge Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge Reviews 2018 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Review – Portrait of a Sister by Laura Bradford @KensingtonBooks

Portrait of a Sister
Women’s Fiction/Amish
Setting – Pennsylvania
Kensington (June 26, 2018)
Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1496716469
ISBN-13: 978-1496716460
Kindle ASIN: B07638XPNG

Katie Beiler was always the follower to her twin sister Hannah’s lead. That is until Hannah left their Amish upbringing for an English life—leaving Katie to find her own footing in a world that no longer looks as it once did . . .

Katie has always imagined her life being just like Mamm’s. It’s why she chose baptism and why she’ll soon marry Abram Zook. But ever since Hannah left, the only thing that truly makes Katie smile is the sketchpad in which she indulges her talent for drawing faces—a sin that, if discovered, could get her shunned by her family, her friends, and even Abram. Yet Katie sees her secret pastime as the only way to quiet a growing restlessness she’d just as soon ignore. That is until their Mamm’s untimely death brings Hannah back home to Pennsylvania, with a new outlook on life, a man she adores, and, soon, an invitation for Katie to visit her in New York City.

Suddenly, Katie is experiencing a freedom she’s never had, in a world she never imagined. She’s also spending time in the company of a fellow dreamer, someone who sees her as strong and brave and makes her laugh. But it’s when Hannah shows Katie’s drawings to a gallery owner that she truly finds herself at a crossroads between the only life she’s ever known and the powerful lure of an unfamiliar future.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

As a fan of this author’s cozy mysteries, I was very excited to learn she was branching out from the cozies to tell this story. Well, let me just say she hit it out of the park!

Twins Katie and Hannah Beiler may look alike but now grown up their lives have taken very different directions. After their Rumspringa, Katie was baptized and prepared for her Amish life to continue. Hannah left her Amish life and moved to New York for an English way of life. Katie had a hard time after her sister left but she found solace in a sketch pad she purchased while away. She has a lot of talent, but drawing people’s faces is a sin that could have her shunned. When her mother dies, Hannah comes home. Hannah is so happy with her English life. She has a job, an apartment and a boyfriend. She wants Katie to join her in New York at least for a visit. When their father approves the trip for Katie, she is very unsure about his decision. She boards the bus and realizes what happens next could change her life forever.

I was immediately drawn in by Katie’s story. With Hannah gone Katie has many responsibilities for her family. With her mother ill and then dying, those responsibilities grow exponentially. Her marriage to Abram Zook is on hold until her next younger sister can care for the family. Hannah is off living her life and Katie has dreams too. Reading this story was like riding an emotional roller coaster. The weight of Katie’s decisions was very heavy and her sister seemed to not realize the difference between the decision she made and the one that Katie was making.

Ms. Bradford is an outstanding storyteller. She does her research and that brings the reality of this story to life. The struggle Katie was facing was detailed and reverberated off the pages. I loved reading both about Katie’s home life and her New York experience. I have never been to New York City and I am not Amish but I think my reactions would be similar to Katie’s. That city can be quite intimidating. I have always found the Amish way of life very interesting. We have a community not too far from us here in Wisconsin.  I also enjoyed her descriptions of Katie’s drawings. The words sketched the pictures in my mind perfectly.

This author has written strong, poignant, Portrait of A Sister. I absolutely loved this story. Katie’s story will stick with me for a long time.

Fans of Laura Bradford’s Amish mysteries and Amish Fiction fans will enjoy this story. She has made a wonderful debut into Women’s Fiction too!

This book exceeds a 5-star rating! It will definitely be on my Best Reads of 2018 list and receives my Paradise Rating!

About The Author

While spending a rainy afternoon at a friend’s house more than thirty years ago, Laura Bradford (a.k.a. Elizabeth Lynn Casey) fell in love with writing over a stack of blank paper, a box of crayons, and a freshly sharpened number two pencil. From that moment forward, she never wanted to do anything else.

Today, Laura is the national bestselling author of the Amish Mysteries, the Jenkins & Burns Mysteries, the Tobi Tobias Mystery Series, The Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries and the Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries (written as Elizabeth Lynn Casey).

In June 2018, Laura will debut her first-ever women’s fiction novel, Portrait of a Sister.

Laura is a former Agatha nominee and the recipient of an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award in romance. In her free time, Laura enjoys making memories with her family, traveling, baking, and visiting the sea lions at the Central Park Zoo. For more information and all the latest book news, visit her website at www.laurabradford.com.

Author Links

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Also by Laura Bradford



Coming November 27, 2018

Click here for more books by Laura Bradford.

Click Here for books written as Elizabeth Lynn Casey.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in Spotlights

#Spotlight – The Port Elspeth Jewelry Making Club by Holly Tierney-Bedord


I am excited to shine the Spotlight on The Port Elspeth Jewelry Making Club today.
Holly Tierney-Bedord is a new to me Wisconsin author.
I hope to be squeezing her books into my schedule soon!

The Port Elspeth Jewelry Making Club
Women’s Fiction / Mystery / Suspense
Independently Published (June 7, 2018)
Paperback: 404 pages
ISBN-10: 1983102954
ISBN-13: 978-1983102950
Kindle ASIN: B07DFTDNXY

From the author of Sweet Hollow Women comes a new novel for fans of Liane Moriarty and Megan Abbott about the secrets that hide in the shadows of even the most ordinary-seeming lives. 

~2013~ Idyllic Port Elspeth, Connecticut is rocked by tragedy. Shortly after their high school graduation, Evangeline Maddingly, daughter of one of the town’s wealthiest old-money families, and Oliver Prescott, son of one of the town’s wealthiest new-money families, are found dead in an isolated cabin in the woods outside of town. The circumstances surrounding their untimely deaths are murky at best, thanks in large part to a sweeping effort from those in power to shut down any negative publicity that could harm the reputation of the pristine, oceanside community.

~Five years later~ A small group of strangers gathers to create jewelry for one of Port Elspeth’s many fundraisers. Before long, friendships are forming and old secrets are being revealed. Along with discovering how to make a perfect pair of chandelier earrings or cabochon necklace, these unlikely sleuths find themselves at the heart of solving the murders that took place half a decade earlier.

 

About the Author

Holly Tierney-Bedord is the author of several novels and novellas including Sweet Hollow Women, Murder at Mistletoe Manor, Bellamy’s Redemption, and Surviving Valencia. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin. Visit her website at www.hollytierneybedord.com where you can connect to her blogs and subscribe to her newsletter.

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Check out all her books! 

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent
Posted in E-Book Challenge Literary Escapes Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge Reviews 2018 You Read How Many Books Challenge

#Review – Hightail It to Kinsey Falls (Kinsey Falls Series) by Gayle Leeson

Hightail It to Kinsey Falls (Kinsey Falls Series)
Women’s Fiction
1st in Series
Setting – Tennessee
Grace Abraham Publishing (May 22, 2018)
Print Length: 139 pages
Kindle ASIN: B07C46H3WH

Hightail It to Kinsey Falls

All work and no play make Jade a dull girl.

Jade Burt can do without her grandmother’s meddling in her love life. But when Millie finds an abandoned baby possum, it leads her to Caleb Young. Caleb would be perfect for Jade! When Jade meets Caleb, it’s hard to argue with her grandmother’s choice. Still, Jade is determined to push Caleb away, but his friendship with Millie concerns her. What if he’s a slick con man trying to take advantage of a sweet old lady? Jade needs to figure Caleb out before he breaks her grandmother’s heart…and Jade’s too!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

If you need a break in your day from the stress and strife this is a perfect story for you.

An old shopping mall has been converted to a retail/residential facility. Stores on the lower floor with micro-apartments on the upper floor split into 2 sections. One side for senior citizens and the other side for young professionals. There is a community center were residents and shop owners can gather or hold events too.  Jade Burt owns Nothin’ But Knit, one of the retail shops and her grandmother, Millicent Fairchild, lives in one of the apartments upstairs.

Millie on her way to visit Jade notices an animal near her path. She quickly realizes it is a baby possum and scoops it into her now empty makeup bag and rushes into the pet store next to her granddaughter’s store. Hightail It Pet Supply and Grooming. There she meets Caleb, one of the young professional residents who is working at the store while he gets his graduate degree. Millie decides then and there that she needs to bring Jade and Caleb together. They are perfect for each other.

The characters in the story are fabulous. I love the whole idea of blending these two age groups together. The YPs are so welcoming and willing to help the seniors and the seniors feel the need to bake and cook for the YPs. Having them get together for a welcoming event was delightful. The Kinsey Falls Living and Retail Community Center is a great idea and something I would love to see everywhere. The animal that brought everyone together gave the author the opportunity to shine a light on Wynnwood Wildlife Rehabilitation, a non-profit taking care of animals in need. She also shines a light on an illness and it’s side effects that usually effects seniors.

This author usually writes cozy mysteries. I am so happy she has now brought her wonderful writing style to Women’s Fiction. I am excited about this series and am anxiously awaiting book #2.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

 

 

Gayle Leeson is a pseudonym for Gayle Trent. I also write as Amanda Lee. As Gayle Trent, I write the Daphne Martin Cake Mystery series and the Myrtle Crumb Mystery series. As Amanda Lee, I write the Embroidery Mystery series.

I live in Virginia with my family, which includes my own “Angus” who is not an Irish wolfhound but a Great Pyrenees who provides plenty of inspiration for the character of Mr. O’Ruff. I’m having a blast writing this new series! But, never fear, I’m also working on a new cozy mystery series as well.

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Pinterest     Instagram

Purchase Links:


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Writing as Gayle Trent



Writing as Amanda Lee


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”