Sweetshop of Dreams by Jenny Colgan

Sweetshop of Dreams

A novel in recipes!

A delicious rom-com about finding yourself and breaking out of routines, The Sweetshop of Dreams is full of tempting desserts, family secrets, and second chances.

In London, Rosie has a busy life. A job that is okay. A boyfriend who was rather bland and a momma’s boy. But who is she to complain?

When her mother asks her to check in on her Aunt Lilian who runs a sweetshop in Lipton but is having the issues that come with age and she is not one to ask for assistance. Rosie is thinking just a quick trip to sell the sweets shop and put her aunt in a facility and she’ll be back in London.

Lilian is not thrilled with someone coming to stay and poke through all of her things. It may be a sweets shop but it’s full of memories of love won and lost, decisions made and regretted.

Rosie sees this and while she works to get Lilian out of her depression and healthy again, she also brings new life to the sweet shop and soon it’s a project. She loves it. All the old-fashioned candies and the bright and eager smiles of the children and adults who are re-living their own childhoods through the smells and taste of their favorites.

When Rosie meets the dark and brooding Stephen while helping the local doctor, she begins to think maybe she won’t settle for a ho hum life in London.

Such a sweet treat to read this one. I went straight away to the Edinburgh candy!

NetGalley/ Sourcebooks Out now!

Three Dreamers A Memoir of Family by LORENZO CARCATERRA

Three Dreamers: A Memoir of Family

“By the time you reach my age,” he writes, “you have witnessed too much loss to not be aware of what lies ahead.”

From the author of Sleepers and an incredible body of work, Carcaterra takes us down a totally different road with Three Dreamers.

This is the homage to the three women in his life who taught him to be strong, kind as well as how to tell a killer story. We are talking about his Grandmother, Nonna Maria where he spent summers on an island called Ischia off the coast of Naples.

I loved this woman. She was kind, funny, and strong. She had survived the war and come out even stronger and now she is happy to have this boy she can share her life with in the summers because she knows his home life is hard.

Rafaella, his mother, spends her days in an abusive marriage, miserable and dreading the future. She is really negative and goes through some stuff and that in itself teaches her son lessons he will need in his future.

And third, his beloved Susan. Wife, editor, and his best cheerleader. For thirty years they loved each other until her death from cancer. Their faith in each other and the complete support he found was inspiring.

What did he learn from these amazing women? Find your joy. Overcome your circumstances. Give life your all.

What a beautiful tribute to these three women. What a beautiful memoir.

NetGalley/April 27th, 2021 Random House Ballentine



HER THREE LIVES by CATE HOLAHAN

Her Three Lives

“All human beings have three lives. Public, Private, and Secret” Gabriel Garcia Marquez

A very appropriate quote to start off the book. This standalone thriller is the latest from Holahan and it’s a twisty one.

Greg is a recently divorced architect who met Jade, twenty years his junior and fell head over heals for her six months ago. His ex-wife, Leah, got the house and the grown kids so Jade and Greg are living in a rental while their forever home is built and with Jade pregnant they will all be glad when things calm down.

Jade’s public life is pretty good. She’s a media influencer and designer. She is in love with Greg, having a baby and living the good life. Only divorce after 25 years and two kids is not going to be a love fest. The kids hate her and the ex is a nut.

Jade’s private life is complicated. When one evening she and Greg are going out. She is still in the bathroom when she hears the doorbell and then hears screaming. Running out of the bathroom she’s met by an intruder. While Greg survives, the baby does not. Someone deliberately made sure the baby did not live.

As they try to piece together what happened and why, I kept thinking someone was trying to gaslight them. But who? And why? Greg goes into full security mode and installs cameras in every room, alarms, and trackers. He’s also very paranoid.

Jade’s secret life is not as bad as she believes it to be, but when you leave it off of your dating profile, it becomes something that could hurt you.

With the ‘help’ of Violet, Greg’s daughter, he begins to doubt Jade. Is she trying to kill him for money? Was she even pregnant and why is she visiting a prison?

Oh what a tangled web this was. These kids were just vile and their mother a loon.

So what did I think? It was a good idea for a book, but to me there was no sense of urgency and Greg was a pretty limp character.

NetGalley/ April 20th, 2021 Grand Central Publishing

WHAT YOU NEVER KNEW by JESSICA HAMILTON

What You Never Knew

Meet the Bennett family. June, May and their mother. Imagine finding out that everything you believed about your family was a lie.

The book is told from the POV of May and June. One is dead and one is alive. June is all grown up now with her own family. When her sister dies, she finds out that the place they loved the most, Avril Island, which her family owned and where her father disappeared in a mysterious way had not been sold as their mother told them, but is still sitting waiting for her.

Feeling lost and looking for answers, June heads to the island. But not everyone is welcoming and there are as many secrets as trees. Things begin happening that are hard to explain. And the answers she gets are shocking.

The point of view May tells is rather disjointed, but then she is dead. I have to say the ending left me unsatisfied. The writing seemed a bit stiff. This is not anything like The Lovely Bones that it is compared to.

NetGalley Reviews/ April 13th, 2021 by Crooked Lane Books



THE GOOD SISTER by SALLY HEPWORTH

The Good Sister

Fern and Rose are twins. And as different as two people could be. Rose is married and seems to be happy with life except for the fact that she can’t get pregnant.

Fern is more of a free spirit but has severe sensory issues. The world and it’s inhabitants are a bit too extra for her.

But they both have secrets. Rose protected Fern from their crazy mother. Or did she?

Rose manipulates Fern into having a baby for her. And as soon as she is pregnant Rose turns into someone Fern doesn’t know at all.

I loved Fern. She has all these issues but she finds love with someone who understands them perfectly. But in the end, will she be able to stand up to Rose? Or will her mother actually save the day and expose who is the sociopath here?

That was some ending! Did not see that coming!

NetGalley/ April 13th, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press

 

 

 

THE DROWNING KIND by Jennifer McMahon

Be careful what you wish for.

It’s 1929, and 37- year- old Ethel Monroe, watches her husband play with the local children and is desperate to give him a child of his own. She’s tried everything, including superstitious legends about keeping a robin’s egg in your bra. Nothing is working. Until her husband takes her to a fancy hotel in Vermont where there is a spring that seems to be able to cure the sick.

The fancy new resort caters to people coming to take the waters. Well, not the town people. They know all about the springs. When the owner befriends Ethel she also tells her a secret. The spring can grant wishes. But we all know nothing is free, there is always a cost. And the cost Ethel will pay will ensure that her family and their family will always be at the springs.

Cut to now and we meet Jax. Jax is a social worker. She works with trauma victims and children. Maybe she chose that path because her sister was haunted by mental illness. Lexie hasn’t been in touch with reality for a long time so when Jax finds nine missed calls from her sister and a voice mail that is scary and manic, she ignores them. The next day Lexie is found dead. Drowned in the pool full of spring water. Black as the devil’s soul and already quite crowded.

As she cleans up the house and all the paperwork and journals that Lexie had, she realizes that Lexie was researching not only the history of their family but the history of the property and the springs. Measuring them at different times and areas and recording the depth and what she saw. Now she wants Jax to join her.

McMahon is brilliant at ghost stories. Tales we tell around the campfire and scare ourselves silly. I am not ashamed to say I lost a fingernail to this book. Spooky, ghastly, ghostly, this one is twisted and horrific. Just the way I like them.

NetGalley/ April 06, 2021 Gallery Scout Books

The Sweet Taste of Muscadines by Pamela Terry

The Sweet Taste of Muscadines: A Novel

In this intimate debut novel, a woman returns to her small Southern hometown in the wake of her mother’s sudden death–only to find the past upended by stunning family secrets.

Lila Bruce Breedlove is going home. Home to Wesleyan, Georgia, having left as soon as she could, she isn’t looking forward to going back. While she and her brother, Henry, left and went on to make their own way up north, Abigail, their younger sister stayed. Which makes sense to Lila as Abigail was more like her mother.

Geneva, their overbearing mother has been found dead. Feet up in the muscadine arbor. The same arbor that Lila used as a hiding place as a child. But what in the world was she doing in there? Lila and Henry know they need to go home and find out what happened as well as deal with their past.

In a small southern town appearances are more important than the facts. And the facts that come out as they go about closing out their mother’s life are going to turn everything they ever thought they knew upside down.

Being from a small Georgia town, this could have been any number of people I knew. My own mother just died and good grief the things we found out! Ms. Terry understands this side of southern culture well. I was moved and I laughed as well.

Very well done!

NetGalley/  April 20th, 2021





TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE by Carola Lovering

Too Good to Be True

From the author of Tell Me Lies, comes a new and twisty story of lies, revenge and love.

Three points of view here, Heather, Burke and Skye. Three people who could not be more different and yet are joined by a bond that only two of them know about.

Heather had a hard life and blames Skye’s mother for that and the death of her little brother years ago. But Heather can hold a grudge! Even her husband, Burke, isn’t sure about her. But she has a plan and for better or worse she drags Burke in.

Skye is trying to live her life on her own terms. With unlimited funds, you would think that would be a piece of cake. It is not. And when she meets Burke, well sparks fly.

But is any of it real? And how far is Heather willing to go in order to exact revenge on a dead woman?

Twisty and full of flawed characters just trying to get by in life. The ending was very satisfying.

NetGalley/ March 2nd, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press

Spread Love, Not Germs. XOXO

I just finished a week of long-hauler syndrome. Again. It seems my new normal is one week out of the month I will be feeling exactly as I did with Covid. It’s horrible. The unending fatigue. Fever. Coughing and breathing treatments. But am I complaining? Well, yes. Do you know me? But seriously I’ll take that over OU Boy’s weird after effects. Blood Clots are not on my bucket list. At least I am off the steroids now and not biting any heads off.

After cruising through December and January in shorts, February is coming in cold. It started as a small shower that froze and people lost their minds. There were 30 car pile-ups on the interstates. Dead cows on the highway and people in no way prepared for this. Today we have cold again. 19 degrees. Plus little snow flurries now and again.

I have been hibernating and dealing with Covid. Deaths of our grandmothers. Deaths of friends and the unmitagated gall of Texans refusing to wear masks in the Marriott. Marriott is very good about standing by their employees however so now you can’t get in without a mask. Can’t. Open. The. Door. One of our residents who was recovering away from his house from Covid is now back in hospital with liver failure and gall bladder surgery. This is not something to take lightly.

Coming up on the anniversary of The Eye thing. 5 years. 4 years today since the first surgery. Still have 12 stitches in there. Not too worried about them. My eye feels great and although it hurt to give up the contacts, I’d rather keep the eye.

Between reading and watching The Magicians again, we are pretty content. I made a huge crock of Irish Stew this morning and it is simmering in the oven beside a loaf of whole grain bread I made.I figured out that baking heats up the house.

So Sunday is Valentine’s Day. But not in our house. Every husband and child was born on that day so it’s not my day. We made reservations at the Tea Room for the Valentine Chocolate High Tea on Monday. We love that.

Everyone still hanging in there? I sure hope so. Stay warm and safe and be nice. Seriously.

xx P

The Unwilling by John Hart

The Unwilling

Set in the South at the height of the Vietnam War, The Unwilling combines crime, suspense and searing glimpses into the human mind and soul in New York Times bestselling author John Hart’s singular style.

This book had a little bit of everything in it. The Vietnam War, family secrets, misunderstandings,coming of age,gun running and even murder.

Gibson is the youngest of three brothers. His brothers Robert and Jason are twins. Robert and Jason both were drafted in the war and only one comes home. It’s not the one their mother wanted to come home and now Gibson is on lockdown. His mother controls his entire life. And isn’t about to let him get mixed up with Jason.

Jason wants a relationship with Gibson, but has no idea how to go about it. So they go behind their parents backs. Gibson is drawn to Jason and is determined to find out all he can about him. Spending an entire day with him and two young ladies seems like a good way however, one of whom is certifiable crazy. The day goes from bad to worse when the pass a prison bus and Tyra literally shows her bum. One person on the bus however, recognizes Jason and knows who will pay for that information.

Soon after Tyra is savagely murdered. And I do mean Savagely. There is nothing spared here. Jason is immediately a suspect and Gibson is under suspicion as well.

His brother does have a dark side and when he is caught with a lot of cash and weapons, he goes back to jail.

While he is there things become much clearer. There is a puppet master behind all of this and Jason will get out of jail when X says he can.

This was so twisty and insane I do hope there will be a follow up!

Well Done!

NetGalley/ February 2nd, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press