“As the Tide Comes In”–Review

517prxxWd1L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Hello, bloggers! I hope you’re enjoying some new books. Here’s my latest review.

Never knowing her real family, Tara Abbott grew up in foster care. At 18 years old, she’s asked to look after her estranged half-brothers, who may end up in foster care if no other family members can take them in. Tara eventually agrees, putting her life plans on hold to become a mother to these boys she grows to love.

Years later, an unthinkable loss happens and Tara loses her sense of direction in her life. She ends up leaving her home in North Carolina for Georgia’s St. Simon’s Island to find answers to her past. Once she’s there, however, disorientation takes over and she’s caught between what’s real and what’s imaginary. She, then, meets a group of older women who call themselves the Glynn Girls—Luella, Julep, Sue Beth, and Dell—along with a young firefighter, named Gavin. While the Glynn Girls and Gavin try to help her in her time of grief, all Tara wants is to be left alone. But no one’s giving up on her. Will Tara eventually be able to make peace with her grief and finally let everyone else in?

Although this is a decent story of love, loss, and hope, I’m not quite sure how I feel about the book. It’s not a bad story, in my opinion, but I guess it just didn’t move me. I did, however, like the scenes with Luella and Charles. No matter, I recommend this novel for fans of Christian fiction. Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

*I received this book from the Waterbrook Multnomah launch team, in exchange for an honest review.

*As the Tide Comes In will be available on August 21, 2018.

About the authors: Cindy Woodsmall is the New York Times and CBA best-selling author of over 20 works of fiction and nonfiction with more than a million copies sold. Her books have been featured on ABC’s Nightline and on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. She lives outside Atlanta with her husband.

Erin Woodsmall is a writer, musician, wife, and mom. She has edited, brain-stormed, and researched books with her mother-in-law, Cindy Woodsmall, for almost a decade. The two also coauthored The Gift of Christmas Past: A Southern Romance.

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“Exhibit Alexandra”–Review

518kDHHwmRL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_He thought he knew everything about her, until she went missing.

The story begins with Alexandra Southwood’s disappearance. While the police are investigating her disappearance and questioning her husband, Marc, Alexandra finds herself held against her will in a strange room. She’s forced to watch news clips of her coping husband and daughters who are desperately seeking information on her whereabouts. While held in the strange room, Alexandra thinks back to her memories when she met Marc, leading up to the life they’d eventually build together.

Meanwhile, Marc is keeping contact with the police. When he’s informed of his wife’s bloody belongings that were found, the case goes from missing person to a murder investigation. While friends and family tell him that he may have to accept that his wife’s gone, Marc thinks otherwise. He cannot—will not—accept that his wife is dead. He loves her too much. They’ve always been so happy…

Until months later—while the case is still going on—Marc comes across some letters addressed to Alexandra which may prove that she may not have been so happy after all. Marc, then, embarks on his own journey to find her, to finally get the answers to questions he’s asked for months.

I did like where the story was going. Once I learned the reason behind her disappearance, it made me so mad. In a good way, of course. I just couldn’t believe it, though. No worries, I won’t leave spoilers. All I can do is recommend you read the book. Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

*FTC Disclosure: I received this copy from Blogging for Books, in exchange for an honest review.

About the author: Natasha Bell grew up in Somerset and studied English literature at the University of York. She holds an MA in the humanities from the University of Chicago and an MA in creative writing from Goldsmiths. She lives in southeast London.

“Our Little Secret”–Review

51zVxxBPhDL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_They say you never forget your first love. What they don’t say, though, is that sometimes your first love won’t forget you…

…a compulsive debut about a missing woman, a tangled love triangle, the secrets we keep, and the secrets we share.

Sitting in a police station interrogation room for hours, Angela Petitjean is being questioned regarding a missing woman, Saskia Parker. Although Angela claims she knows nothing, all evidence points to her. Meanwhile, Homicide Detective J. Novak believes Angela is guilty. While he continues to question her, Angela tells her story from a decade ago, when she met HP in high school. They’d gone from being friends to being in love. And then it all changed when Angela went away to college, their love story suddenly falling apart. Then Saskia came into their lives.

I really enjoyed reading this story. The narration was well-written and I was curious to know more, although I had occasional frustrations with Angela and HP because of their choices, but that’s what made the story worth reading. Of course, I won’t spoil anything, but as the story progressed, I didn’t feel sorry for Angela or HP. No matter, I had to know where it all was going to end. If you’re interested in checking out the book, you’ll know what I mean.

Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

Our Little Secret will be available on April 24, 2018.

*I received this copy from St. Martin’s Press, in exchange for an honest review.

About the author: Roz Nay grew up in England and studied in Oxford University. She has been published in The Antigonish Review and the anthology Refuge. Roz has worked as an underwater fish counter in Africa, a snowboard videographer in Vermont, and a high school teacher in both the UK and Australia. She now lives in British Columbia, Canada, with her husband and two children. Our Little Secret is her first novel. For more info, click here. You can also follow her on Twitter.

“Lift and Separate”–Review

41+3RiLE6kLAfter 33 years of marriage, Marcy Hammer is shocked and heartbroken when her husband, Harvey, the head of a global lingerie empire, says that he’s leaving her.  Although his clothes have been removed from the closet, Marcy still has high hopes that he’ll reconsider.  It’s just a midlife crisis, he claims.  After all, they’ve been married for a long time and they could work out whatever the issues are.  However, Marcy learns that Harvey has been having an affair with his much younger, 32DD fitting model.

While they’re technically separated, Marcy now has to figure out how to go on living without Harvey.  But how will she do it, she wonders?  She’s in her late fifties and feels it’s almost impossible to start over.  With love and support from her friends and adult children, however, she starts learning how to be on her own—even on occasions when she’s close to falling apart.

Along the way, though, Marcy is struck with more surprises and family troubles, including one involving her new, once-in-a-lifetime best friend.  Will she be able to handle it all, along with the fact that her marriage is ending?

This was a great story, with excellent narration, as well.  I enjoyed the humor in each chapter.  With one surprise after another, I thought, “This poor woman.  Isn’t she already going through enough?” While she’s trying to cope, Harvey constantly returns with a new excuse.  What’s Marcy to do?

I’m happy that the author, Marilyn Simon Rothstein, sent me this copy for an honest review, so now I can share it with you all.  As always, feel free to post your comments.  Happy reading!

About the author:  For more than twenty-five years, Marilyn Simon Rothstein owned an advertising agency in Connecticut. She grew up in New York City, earned a degree in journalism from New York University, began her writing career at Seventeen magazine, and married a man she met in an elevator.

Marilyn received a Master of Arts in liberal studies from Wesleyan University and a Master of Arts in Judaic Studies from the University of Connecticut.

“Definitions of Indefinable Things”–Review

51GZ8uMd5rL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_“My name’s Reggie. I’m seventeen. My worldview is that we’re all spiraling toward a vast and gaping obscurity we can’t escape, and if we’re lucky, we’re doing so alone. Also, I despise you. And by you, I mean the general human population.”

Reggie Mason believes that, as long as she doesn’t let anyone in, she can’t get hurt. It’s become her defense mechanism. During a quick trip to CVS to pick up her Zoloft prescription, she meets Snake, who happens to be waiting at the pharmacy for his Prozac refills. When Reggie actually lets Snake into her life, she seems to have mixed feelings for him. After all, Snake is smug, arrogant, and he can be a bit too forward. Needy, perhaps. He has an addiction to Twizzlers. And he’s an aspiring film-maker who wants to include Reggie in his work-in-progress. That’s just about everything that makes him attractive.

As the two get to know each other more, it isn’t long before Reggie finds out that Snake has an ex-girlfriend, Carla Banks—a popular queen bee and ex-childhood friend of Reggie’s—who is seven months pregnant. Now that the three of them are in each other’s lives, they endure an awkward journey of mental breakdowns, lame shopping trips, disappointed parents, boring proms, and one embarrassing birthing class. Throughout that journey, Reggie has to get to the bottom of everything that has led to her depression, and that even though—to her—people can be scary, they’re worth having in her life.

This story was worth the read, in my opinion. Oftentimes, I’d get annoyed with Reggie because of her constant mixed feelings toward Snake. She hated him, yet she loved him. He’d summon her and she’d go running to him, even though she swore they weren’t anything to each other. But I think that’s what made the story interesting. They both were struggling with their own problems and were in search of happiness, as well as trying to figure out what happiness was. If you love YA, check out this book.

Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

*Definitions of Indefinable Things will be available on April 4, 2017.

*I received this copy from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, in exchange for an honest review.

About the author: Whitney Taylor is an English and psychology major from Virginia, who likes to pretend she is a supermodel from New York City. This is her first novel. You can follow her on Twitter. For more info on the author, click here.

“The Wayfarer Trilogy”–Review

511m9sm0mgl-_sx323_bo1204203200_-2Hello bloggers!  Although I’d read the last two books in the Wayfarer Trilogy awhile back, I’m happy for having the opportunity to finally read the first book, The Secret Language of Women, by Nina Romano.

Set in a war during the Boxer Rebellion in China, star-crossed lovers, Lian, a Eurasian healer, and Giacomo Scimenti, an Italian sailor, meet.  Because of superstition, history, and customs, Lian and Giacomo are separated yet try to find a way back to each other.  Then Lian is forced into marrying a man to whom she was promised long ago.  When she is forbidden from her profession as a healer, frowned upon by her unbound feet, and enduring her husband’s and in-laws’ demanding ways, Lian turns to Nushu, the women’s secret writing which expresses her hopes for the future.

When Lian realizes enough is enough, she embarks on her own quest for freedom—even if it will come with a costly price.  Not only does she risk everything in hopes of reuniting with Giacomo, she learns a lot more about herself along the way and what she’s willing to endure to be happy again.

I liked Giacomo and now that I’ve read his story, the next two books made a bit more sense to me.

51gnxdwxitl-_sx324_bo1204203200_Lemon Blossoms, the second book in the trilogy, takes place in Italy, where Angelica Domenico resides in a blossoming lemon grove on an island governed by volcanoes and earthquakes.  During an accident from her childhood, Angelica faces the importance of maintaining her purity.  She begins to question it all even more after she endures the trauma of her aunt’s death during a difficult childbirth.  Because of that, including her fear of intimacy, she decides she’s going to commit her life to the convent, even though her parents forbid it.

Things start to change, however, when Giacomo Scimenti stops by the family shop, leaving Angelica confused and afraid of her feelings toward him, including her future in the convent.

I liked this book, even more, especially when certain chapters mentioned some Italian recipes.  I hope to, one day, visit Italy.  Aside from that, it was a good story with likable characters.

51yi1la3zhl-_sx327_bo1204203200_The final book, In America, takes place in 1920s New York.  Marcella Scimenti—the daughter of the characters in the previous book—is young, beautiful, and ambitious.  The handsome neighborhood boy is in love with her, she has a large family, and she has dreams of moving to Hollywood to sing.  Although her parents forbid her to pursue a singing career, Marcella is willing to stick by her own stubborn ways and do what it takes.  During the economic depression, she learns the importance of friendships, promising suitors, and life as a modern working woman with certain expectations of her tradition-bound family.  Later on, Marcella’s fate is tested when she learns of a devastating family secret, leaving her to choose what is really important in life.

I’m happy for having the opportunity to read this trilogy and I loved some of the helpful advice Marcella was given in the third book.  It just left me thinking, “Wow.  I wouldn’t have thought of it that way.”  No spoilers, of course, so I’ll just encourage you to check out this wonderful trilogy.

Feel free to post your comments, of course.  Happy reading!

For more info on the author, click here.  Also, you can follow her on Twitter.

“The Taste of Air”–Review

416syijurlIt all changes with a phone call.

Nell Williams, a wife and full time mother, receives a phone call regarding her mother, Mary Ellen Reilly.  While Mary is supposed to be residing in an assisted-living facility in Massachusetts, apparently she’s been in a hospital in Vermont.  Confused by this new information, Nell contacts her sister, Bridget, and hops on a plane to Vermont.  By the time the sisters arrive, they learn that Mary has been seriously ill and is barely capable of speaking, so getting any information is going to be a lot more difficult.

While they’re there, the sisters eventually learn that Mary has been living another life, with a cottage of her own and a connection to two men—including the local residents—who claim to have known Mary for years.  But who are they to Mary?  And is it possible that they’re connected with Nell and Bridget?

During their stay in their mother’s hideaway, Nell and Bridget start to uncover more secrets from Mary’s past, leading them to question their own lives and decisions for the future.

I’m happy I’ve had the opportunity to read this book.  Each chapter contained many surprises and it left me wanting more.  I especially liked the descriptions of the settings in Vermont. (I hope to, one day, visit the place.)  I also enjoyed reading the chapters from Mary’s past.  No worries, I won’t spoil a thing, but I will recommend you check out this book.  As always, feel free to post your comments.  Happy reading!

About the author: Gail Cleare has written for magazines, newspapers, Fortune 500 companies, and AOL.  Her award-winning advertising agency represented the creators of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  She was the turtle Leonardo’s date for the world premier of the second movie, and got to wear a black evening gown and sparkly shoes.  Gail lives on an 18th century farm in New England with her family and dogs, cats, chickens, black bears, blue herons, rushing streams, and wide, windy skies.  She loves organic gardening and nature photography and can often be found stalking creatures with a 300 mm lens.  Check her out on Twitter.