Window on the Bay by Debbie Macomber

Window on the Bay

A heartwarming story of two very strong and independent women. Jenna and Maureen have been best friends forever. Their dream was to go to Paris together after graduation from college. At the last minute, Maureen gets pregnant and has to get married. A short-lived event. Jenna, a nurse, marries Kyle, a surgeon. Bad idea. After having been a single mom for 20 years, she is now an empty nester.

Neither of the friends is into dating. But the house is awfully quiet now. Maybe it’s time to re-create themselves. Plan that trip to Paris now. Until each of them stumbles awkwardly into men they wouldn’t have looked twice at until they did.

Debbie always looks at the bright side of things in her books. Yes, there is heartbreak, misunderstandings, and dreams deferred, but in the end, I was crying like a baby. Because that is what her books do. They make you feel. The characters are so very human and make mistakes, but they are good people. I always feel as if I just had a true heart to heart with my grandmother after one of her books.

NetGalley/July, 16th 2019 by Ballantine Books

THE WISDOM OF SALLY RED SHOES by RUTH HOGAN

 

The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes

Twelve years ago Masha lost her toddler son, Gabriel. That loss has changed her forever. She is living in a state of grief. Her friends now are the ones who lie forever in her local cemetery where she visits every day and if she isn’t there, she is practicing drowning in the local pool.

Sally is the local odd ball. She dresses odd and feed crows and sings at the cemetery. She may sound daft, but she is a very wise woman who had a much different life at one time. Most of the women in this story have lived lives of joy and deep sorrow. The question is how does one live with such pain?

In the next town over a woman is dying of cancer. Her 15-year-old son Mattie is her primary concern. A long time ago Alice did something horrible and now she must make it right before she dies and leaves her son alone.

This was a real slow starter for me. Rambling and I was frustrated when I got to the end and thought, “Really?”.

NetGalley/June 11th 2019 by Crooked Lane Books

 

 

 

the summer retreat by Sheila Roberts

The Summer Retreat

When Celeste Jones finds out her year-long boyfriend is a liar and a cheat, she packs up her swimsuit and heads to Moonlight Harbor to spend some time with her sister, Jenna.
There were some interesting characters in this one. It was a bit to rambling for me and I kept having to go back and see who was who. A first for DNF.
NetGalley/April 23rd 2019 by MIRA

Sweet Tea and Sympathy ( A Southern Eclectic Novel) by Molly Harper

Gallery Books Release on November 21st.

Sweet Tea and Sympathy (Southern Eclectic, #1)

Beloved author Molly Harper launches a brand-new contemporary romance series, Southern Eclectic, with this story of a big-city party planner who finds true love in a small Georgia town.

Nestled on the shore of Lake Sackett, Georgia is the McCready Family Funeral Home and Bait Shop. (What, you have a problem with one-stop shopping?) Two McCready brothers started two separate businesses in the same building back in 1928, and now it’s become one big family affair. And true to form in small Southern towns, family business becomes everybody’s business.

Margot Cary has spent her life immersed in everything Lake Sackett is not. As an elite event planner, Margot’s rubbed elbows with the cream of Chicago society, and made elegance and glamour her business. She’s riding high until one event goes tragically, spectacularly wrong. Now she’s blackballed by the gala set and in dire need of a fresh start—and apparently the McCreadys are in need of an event planner with a tarnished reputation.

As Margot finds her footing in a town where everybody knows not only your name, but what you had for dinner last Saturday night and what you’ll wear to church on Sunday morning, she grudgingly has to admit that there are some things Lake Sackett does better than Chicago—including the dating prospects. Elementary school principal Kyle Archer is a fellow fish-out-of-water who volunteers to show Margot the picture-postcard side of Southern living. The two of them hit it off, but not everybody is happy to see an outsider snapping up one of the town’s most eligible gentleman. Will Margot reel in her handsome fish, or will she have to release her latest catch?

Molly Harper is well known for her Half-Moon Hollow books. Paranormal romance in a small Kentucky town.

Her titles never fail to crack me up! And since she is a former humor columnist that is no surprise. This new Southern Eclectic is definitely something I can get behind.

Being a Georgia girl myself, the title kind of jumped right out at me and I just knew this was going to be good. And it is.

Chicago and small town Georgia are about as far apart as you can get in a lot of ways.

I don’t think anywhere in Chicago you would find the bait store next to the funeral home, but it works.

The McCready family is full of loveable characters. Even though Margot comes to town at the behest of a family she doesn’t remember, she quickly falls in love with her cousins and aunts and uncles and maybe even the hot new principal.

She may even find out why her father never followed her mother when his wife just up and left with Margot. Could they get another chance to be family? Or will she hightail it out of there as soon as a better opportunity comes along?

These are smart, witty and downright hilarious characters and I laughed right along with everyone else!

A good read about family, assumptions, and the love of family!

This book will be out November 21st.

Netgalley/Gallery

 

who we were before by Leah Mercer

Who We Were Before

Book Blurb:

Zoe knows that it wasn’t really her fault. Of course it wasn’t. But if she’d just grasped harder, run faster, lunged quicker, she might have saved him. And Edward doesn’t really blame her, though his bitter words at the time still haunt her, and he can no more take them back than she can halt the car that killed their son.
Two years on, every day is a tragedy. Edward knows they should take healing steps together, but he’s tired of being shut out. For Zoe, it just seems easier to let grief lead the way.

A weekend in Paris might be their last hope for reconciliation, but mischance sees them separated before they’ve even left Gare du Nord. Lost and alone, Edward and Zoe must try to find their way back to each other—and find their way back to the people they were before. But is that even possible?

The story of Zoe and Edward is told alternately from each one’s point of view, as they go through the weekend in Paris.

In between are flashbacks where we learn how they met and how there was more than just the one tragedy along the way.

Grief has a way of cementing a marriage or destroying it. When it is your child, you want someone to blame, but what do you do when there is no one to blame? They both have secrets and their communication has been awful, but when it comes down to the wire, will they open up to each other and help each other heal? Or will they decide it’s best to just move on alone?

There may be some triggers in this book if you have suffered from the death of a child whether through miscarriage or illness or accidents. So be aware of that.

I am really enjoying UK lit right now. And this one was a shorter story, but emotionally gripping.

Here’s To Us by Elin Hilderbrand

Here's to Us by [Hilderbrand, Elin]

 The Book Blurb:

Three romantic rivals. One crowded house. Plenty of room for jealousy.

Laurel Thorpe, Belinda Rowe, and Scarlett Oliver share only two things; a love for the man they all married, Deacon Thorpe–a celebrity chef with an insatiable appetite for life–and a passionate dislike of one another. All three are remarkable, spirited women, but they couldn’t be more different. Laurel: Deacon’s high school sweetheart and an effortlessly beautiful social worker; Belinda: a high-maintenance Hollywood diva; and Scarlett: a sexy southern belle floating by on her family money and her fabulous looks. They’ve established a delicate understanding over the years–they avoid each other at all costs.

But their fragile detente threatens to come crashing down after Deacon’s tragic death on his favorite place on earth: a ramshackle Nantucket summer cottage. Deacon’s final wish was for his makeshift family to assemble on his beloved Nantucket to say good-bye. Begrudgingly, Laurel, Belinda, and Scarlett gather on the island as once again, as in each of their marriages, they’re left to pick up Deacon’s mess. Now they’re trapped in the crowded cottage where they all made their own memories–a house that they now share in more ways than one–along with the children they raised with Deacon, and his best friend. Laurel, Belinda, and Scarlett each had an unbreakable bond with Deacon–and they all have secrets to hide.

Before the weekend is over, there are enough accusations, lies, tears, and drama to turn even the best of friends–let alone three women who married the same man–into adversaries. As his unlikely family says good-bye to the man who brought them together–for better or worse–will they be able to put aside their differences long enough to raise a glass in Deacon’s honor?

So that is the book blurb on this one. And it’s pretty much the entire story. I am not known for reading much general women’s fiction and if this is what it looks like, I’ll stick to my own lane.

There wasn’t one redeeming character in this book. Not even the child! They were all shallow, scheming, inappropriate and just not likable at all. There was absolutely no depth here at all.

So would I recommend it? No. I’m sure you can find something better to fill your time.

 

 

Beignets, Brides and Bodies by J.R.Ripley

Grabbing my cup of Chai Tea this morning with some almond milk and nibbling a beignet. Okay, so I’m not nibbling, I am gobbling.

Beignets, Brides and Bodies: A Cozy Mystery Set in Smalltown Arizona

When we last saw Maggie Miller, she was trying to open her Beignet and Coffee shop in Table Rock, Arizona. And also trying to figure out how a dead body got into her storeroom.

Remember Clive and Johnny from the wedding shop next door? Well, when he pops into Maggie’s shop to beg a ride out to the cake shop to drop off a color swatch for the wedding cake, Maggie, who drives a Schwinn, borrows her brother in law Andy’s truck and heads out.

When Clive returns to the truck extremely shaken, he shows Maggie what he found. A body lying at the bottom of the stairs underneath a wedding cake. Now Clive and Johnny are suspects and Maggie isn’t going to stop nosing around until they are cleared.

But who to suspect? Table Rock is not exactly full of your normal everyday citizens. Think Area 51 meets new age hippies. Anyone could have done this horrible crime. Just as she thinks she has the killer figured out….bam! Plot twist! 

I love all of the oddball characters in Ripley’s books. They are people just like the people you probably know, a bit weird, but very lovable. I was right with Maggie in her thinking and was so very wrong!  Good Job, Mr. Ripley! You got me on this one!

Just one mention of Maggie trying to perfect a recipe for a chocolate beignet had me off the computer for 2 days trying to make one. Still working on that! However if you would like to make your own beignets, Cafe’ du Monde sells their boxed mix at Super Targets and specialty stores. Or if you are feeling adventurous you can whip some up in no time!

You can find all of the author’s books on Amazon!  You can find the author in New Orleans today eating beignets most likely! https://goo.gl/wk8NsU

Thank you Netgalley and Severn House. Look for the book coming out Nov.1, 2016

Beignets

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup evaporated milk
7 cups bread flour
1/4 cup shortening
Nonstick spray
Oil, for deep-frying
3 cups confectioners’ sugar

Directions
Mix water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.
In another bowl, beat the eggs, salt and evaporated milk together. Mix egg mixture to the yeast mixture. In a separate bowl, measure out the bread flour. Add 3 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add the shortening and continue to stir while adding the remaining flour. Remove dough from the bowl, place onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. Put dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours.
Preheat oil in a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F.
Add the confectioners’ sugar to a paper or plastic bag and set aside.
Roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness and cut into 1-inch squares. Deep-fry, flipping constantly, until they become a golden color. After beignets are fried, drain them for a few seconds on paper towels, and then toss them into the bag of confectioners’ sugar. Hold bag closed and shake to coat evenly.