Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Perfect Neighbors

The Perfect Neighbors
Sarah Pekkanen
Washington Square Press
Pages: 342
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About the Book: 
How well do you ever really know the family next door?

Bucolic Newport Cove, where spontaneous block parties occur on balmy nights and all of the streets are named for flowers, is proud of its distinction of being named one the top twenty safest neighborhoods in the US. It’s also one of the most secret-filled.

Kellie Scott has just returned to work after a decade of being a stay-at-home mom. She’s adjusting to high heels, scrambling to cook dinner for her family after a day at the office—and soaking in the dangerous attention of a very handsome, very married male colleague. Kellie’s neighbor Susan Barrett begins every day with fresh resolutions: she won’t eat any carbs, she’ll go to bed at a reasonable hour, and she’ll stop stalking her ex-husband and his new girlfriend. Gigi Kennedy seems to have it all together—except her teenage daughter has turned into a hostile stranger and her husband is running for Congress, which means her old skeletons are in danger of being brought into the light.

Then a new family moves to this quiet, tree-lined cul-de-sac. Tessa Campbell seems friendly enough to the other mothers, if a bit reserved. Then the neighbors notice that no one is ever invited to Tessa’s house. And soon, it becomes clear that Tessa is hiding the biggest secret of all.

My Thoughts:
Sarah Pekkanen never disappoints. I began this read knowing there was a secret, held by Tessa. I expected to discover her story as it unfolded within the pages but I did not expect the stories of her neighbors that unfolded as I read the pages of this book. The variety of topics touched upon is this novel is vast. I'm quite certain there is not a way that Sarah could have added another hot topic to the mix. The best thing about this was how well she weaves the stories together. Each new topic introduced through a character or supporting characters story left me in awe, wondering what was next in the lives of these neighbors.

The Perfect Neighbors is a great summer read.  Whether poolside, at the beach, at the park or in the cool comfort of your home, you'll find entertainment, mystery, a relatable character and an idyllic neighborhood where a group of women band together and have each others back throughout the good and bad patches that life brings.

If you've read Sarah's novels before you're sure to enjoy this novel!  If you've never read a novel by Sarah it's time to start!  Pick this one or any other but I promise once you read one, you'll read them all!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Idea of Love

The Idea of Love
Patti Callahan Henry
St. Martins Press
ISBN: 978-125-004032-9
256 Pages

Ella's life has been completely upended. She's young, beautiful, and deeply in love--until her husband dies in a tragic sailing accident. Or so she'll have everyone believe. Screenwriter Hunter needs a hit, but crippling writers' block and a serious lack of motivation are getting him nowhere. He's on the lookout for a love story. It doesn't matter who it belongs to.

When Hunter and Ella meet in Watersend, South Carolina, it feels like the perfect match, something close to fate. In Ella, Hunter finds the perfect love story, full of longing and sacrifice. It's the stuff of epic films. In Hunter, Ella finds possibility. It's an opportunity to live out a fantasy--the life she wishes she had. And more real. Besides--what's a little white lie between strangers?

But one lie leads to another, and soon Hunter and Ella find themselves caught in a web of deceit. As they try to untangle their lies and reclaim their lives, they feel something stronger is keeping them together. From New York Times bestselling author, Patti Callahan Henry, The Idea of Love asks, "Can two people come together for all the wrong reasons and still make it right?"

My Thoughts:

What do you do when you're faced with grief so strong you can barely stand? Maybe it's immobilized you? Maybe it's compounded grief, the kind where you are begging for it to end because you can't take anymore. For Ella, the heroine in this story, the reaction is to retreat. Retreat into another world, be someone else, craft her own story and relax in a made up world that is not her own, but also not foreign to her.

When Ella meets Hunter, an accomplished undercover writer of motion pictures who finds himself in a slump, she takes comfort in a stranger who knows nothing about her real life and soon one lie becomes another.  Though both Ella and Hunter are weaving tales that are not far from their own truths, both are, in fact, tales. Soon the characters wish their lies had begun as truths, as untangling them doesn't seem to be an option.

Readers will enjoy following Ella and Hunter's story. By the middle, you'll be yelling at them "Just tell the truth already!" Or, maybe not... maybe you'll connect with their plight and hope they will find happiness in each other or some other as long as they can get past their burdens and find true peace. 

This novel is a delightful read that will make you want to visit the coast and drink a Moscow Mule or Mint Julep on a covered, wrap-around porch at a local bed and breakfast or rented home on the beach. My suggestion? Curl up on your couch and let the book take you there. It's a delightful place with characters that are sure to entertain you.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Thrill Me

Thrill Me (Fool's Gold Book 20)
Susan Mallery
ISBN: 978-2-373-78898-9
263 Pages
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Maya Farlow learned the hard way to depend only on herself, so when she fell too deeply for the bad-boy charms of Del Mitchell, she did the only thing she could—she ran. Stunned, Del left Fool's Gold to make his name and fortune in extreme sports. 
Now ten years later, Maya's been hired to promote her hometown's new slogan, The Destination for Romance. The celebrity spokesman is none other than Del, the man she dumped but never forgot. Awkward! 
Although Del's not the type to hold a grudge, he's determined to avoid falling a second time for the woman who broke his heart. He's a daredevil, not an idiot. Trouble is, in all his adventures, he never found a rush as exhilarating as Maya's kiss. Maybe risking his heart will prove to be the biggest thrill of all...

My Thoughts:

Fool's Gold Book 20, 20!  You'd think by now, Mallery would have said it all, that she would be telling the same story line or repeating past ideas, but no, this is not the case at all! Susan Mallery continues to delight her readers with new, refreshing stories in her beloved fictional town of Fool's Gold. Each story brings you closer to the town as if you've known its residents all your life. It's fun to reacquaint yourself with characters whose story has already been told. It's the continuation of your most favorite books, the kind where you long to know more as the years go by because the characters stay with you and you only want the best for them. And that's just about the series...

Maya and Del's story fits perfectly within this series. There is no doubt that Mallery's readers will fall in love with these two and want to read more about them in future Fool's Gold novels. The two are perfect for each other, reminding the reader of young love that was had and lost and then rekindled because it was always meant to be, the timing just hadn't matched up correctly, until now. 

As with most stories of love and loss, there are obstacles that one is not quite sure the characters will be able to overcome unless they remove their head from their behind! Luckily, as in most romances, these two do and realize their true feelings, both finding themselves completely with each other.

This novel is a great read. You'll find yourself turning the pages, engrossed in the story and satisfied at the end. Oh, and don't worry if you haven't read the first 19 books!  Each story stands on its own, you'll just find yourself wanting to go back and read the others.  

Monday, June 6, 2016

Goodnight June

Goodnight June
Sarah Jio
284 Pages
ISBN: 978-0142180211
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Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (Goodnight Songs) is an adored childhood classic, but its real origins are lost to history. In Goodnight June, Sarah Jio offers a suspenseful and heartfelt take on how the “great green room” might have come to be.

June Andersen is professionally successful, but her personal life is marred by unhappiness. Unexpectedly, she is called to settle her great-aunt Ruby’s estate and determine the fate of Bluebird Books, the children’s bookstore Ruby founded in the 1940s. Amidst the store’s papers, June stumbles upon letters between her great-aunt and the late Margaret Wise Brown—and steps into the pages of American literature.

My Thoughts: 

It's no secret, I love Sarah Jio's writing, but what continues to amaze me about her books is the characters. Sarah creates lovable, relatable characters that her readers can identify with and champion for. This novel has a little something for every woman, touching on motherhood, relationships, sisterhood, friendship, betrayal, passion and the love that binds all those together. I love that Sarah dives into the unknown, creating a fantasy story to explain the why's, how's and who's in the life of the beloved author, Margaret Wise Brown. I must admit this story made me want to go purchase her entire collection of books by the time I was done reading it. Ms. Jio does a wonderful job of bringing to life the reality of being an author, a friend of an author, and a sense of familiarity to her characters that immerses the reader in the story. Sarah weaves a story of love, loss and discovery throughout the pages of this engrossing novel as a secretive past comes to light and helps to heal what has been hurt for so long. Simply put, it's hard to put this book down, but then again when is it easy to put Sarah's books down?