Tuesday, August 13, 2019

What Do You Believe is Real?


I was sent a copy of The World Breaks Everyone  by Create Space Press.  I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.

What happens when the world does not seem to be the way you thought?  What if the very people you referred to as family  suddenly became people  you didn’t recognize?  Then what if it happened to a teenager whose world is totally rocked  by their circumstances?  In The World Breaks Everyone by Lauren Clark,  these  circumstances describe Olivia Jacob’s  life.  

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Every day, I wake up certain of only three things: I am responsible for my mother’s death. My father has vanished. Someone wants me dead. I’m on the run. It’s me against the world. I cannot let it break me. When sixteen-year-old Olivia Jacobs and her celebrity chef father are brutally attacked after his French Quarter restaurant opening, the shell-shocked Olivia finds herself on the run on the streets of New Orleans. Who wants her dead? And why?

My Thoughts: 

When Lauren Clark switched genres and began writing in the suspense genre,  I looked forward to seeing what the story would be like. I loved Sister Dear, but I did not love the World Breaks Everyone.  There is a compelling premise to the story, but the pacing of the story was long and drawn out.  The story is told in alternating chapters between Kate and  Olivia in alternating chapters. The chapters are short and written well.  

I love Lauren Clark as an author but will look forward to her next read.
To purchase a copy of The World Breaks Everyone here.

Rating:

4/5

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

A Walk Down Irish History Lane with Kristy Cambron


Thank you to Thomas Nelson for giving me a copy of Castle on the Rise by Kristy Cambron.  I was given this copy in exchange for an honest review.

 I have always wanted to travel to the United Kingdom.  Ireland would be one of the countries on my bucket list to visit.  In Castle on the Rise , readers continue with the characters that they fell in love with in The Lost Castle.  Let’s meet the next castle located in Ireland.

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“When Laine Forrester travels overseas to attend her best friend’s vineyard wedding, she expects to find the bride on the brink of a fairy-tale life. But after a series of unforeseen setbacks, it seems the storybook lives they’d imagined are suddenly ripping apart.
With hopes of resurrecting a happy ending, Laine agrees to accompany the newlyweds to the groom’s home in Ireland—never expecting she’d be the one drawn in by its wide-open moors, backroads bordering the Irish Sea, and a mysterious castle that dares to keep its secrets hidden.
From the storied streets of Dublin to the shores of the Emerald Isle, Laine is drawn in to the land and its rich history. The castle ruins whisper stories of Issy—a photojournalist battling through the 1916 Easter Rising, and Maeve—the castle’s lady of legend, fighting for survival through the 1798 rebellion that started it all.
Spanning more than two centuries, Castle on the Rise unites the legacy of three women who must risk mending the broken places within for life, love, and the belief that even through the depths of our pain, a masterpiece of a story can emerge.” (Amazon)
My Thoughts:
I absolutely loved novel one of the Lost Castle series.  I loved the fairy tale aspect of the story that incorporated Sleeping Beauty.  Novel two  Castle on the Rise, I liked but not as much as the previous novel.  I enjoyed learning about Irish history and the Easter uprising.  Ms. Cambron chose a different direction for the plot of this story.  Liane is a relatable character and I was interested in her story and the connections to the Irish castle. Ellie a character from the first book had challenges that were hard for me to enjoy reading with being a breast cancer survivor.   I liked this novel but did not love it.
  I look forward to the Painted Castle  and the finale of the series. Can be preordered here.  
Rating:
4/5


Sunday, August 4, 2019

Spotlight: Visiting the Magnificent Mrs. Mayhew by Milly Johnson



Please welcome Milly Johnson to Writer's Corner. Today I am featuring her latest novel The MAGNIFICENT MRS. MAYHEW.  It should also be considered for your next summer read.  I have an excerpt below of this novel.    Here are what others have said about her work. 


"Milly Johnson, the Queen of Feel-Good Fiction and The Sunday Times bestselling author, is back with a "glorious, heartfelt novel" (Rowan Coleman, New York Times bestselling author) about a woman trying to find her own place in the world, who through love, loss, and the kindness of strangers, discovers everything she needs in a village by the sea. "

Purchase a copy of The MAGNIFICENT MRS. MAYHEW here.  

Chapter 1

DOORSTEPGATE, 11 A.M.

As Sophie stood in the middle of them all, the moment strangely crystalized for her, as if time had frozen solid and she was able to study everything at leisure, appreciate how odd it was to be surrounded by familiar people in the house she had lived in for eight years and yet still feel as if she had been dropped from a great height into a roomful of strangers.

            She saw her mother seated, holding a cup of tea in one hand and the accompanying china saucer in the other, talking to her father, who was standing, one hand slotted stiffly in his jacket pocket; his default pose, as if he were a catalogue model. Mother was talking to him and Father had a polite smile of concentration on his face. Standing next to him, her parents-in-law, Clive and Celeste, looking serious and focused as if they were building up to jumping out of a plane. Sophie’s husband, John, deep in conversation with the top pick of his aides: Parliamentary Assistant (London) Rupert Bartley-Green; Senior Communications Director and Press Officer Len Spinks; Chief of Staff Edward Mayhew, who also happened to be John’s eldest brother; and Executive Office Manager (Cherlgrove) Findlay Norris. Between his two governmental bases and the office that looked after his investment and property portfolio, John had more staff than the POTUS, although there was an opening for a girl Friday (London) now, since his last one was currently enjoying her fifteen minutes of fame. The “people” of breakfast and daytime TV, and every program that attracted those the media chose to concentrate its temporary but brightest lights on, were no doubt already negotiating appearance fees with her “people.” Why is it always someone in that junior assistant/intern/researcher role who topples the boss? thought Sophie. Weren’t there enough cautionary tales of littered corpses to warn any man in a high-profile position—who really should know better—what dark and treacherous waters he elected to dip into when he chose a pretty, young, ambitious swimming companion? A pond with a hundred signs around it, all lit up with massive red neon lettering and strings of exclamation marks: warning. danger. come any closer and you’re a bloody idiot!!!!!

            It would have been easy for the other woman to fall in love with her husband, though; if that were what it was. John could sell ice to the Eskimos, coal to Newcastle, toys to Santa, and all the other clich├ęs. Charm personified, absurdly handsome, moneyed, intelligent, refined—oh yes, John F. Mayhew was the full package. Sophie could guess how quickly Rebecca Robinson would have become ensnared in his net, even thrown herself into it willingly, because she had done the same thing fourteen years ago, when she was eighteen.

            She’d met him at the Christmas Ball when she was in her first year at Cambridge University, studying French, and he was in his last year studying business and politics. He’d been absolutely wrecked on champagne and told her he was going to marry her, before his friends dragged him off for yet more alcohol. She didn’t think much about it until Valentine’s Day, when their paths collided again at a private party. She spotted him long before he noticed her, which gave her the luxury of studying him unseen. He wasn’t her dream type at all, but he was extremely magnetic, and from the way he held himself, it was more than obvious he knew what his best qualities were. He was long limbed and lean, and she imagined him as a human equivalent of a well-bred racehorse, something pampered and valued. Greek-statue profile, midbrown hair that flopped into his eyes— and what eyes they were: puppy-brown, intense, seductive. Eventually, as if detecting the heat in her gaze, his eyes swept around to hers, locked, and she felt powerless, as if she were a hen and he a fox. He sliced through the banks of students that stood between them, mouth stretching into a killer smile, and when he reached her, said:

            “Well, if it isn’t you again. Where have you been hiding yourself?”

            And from that moment they were a couple. Sophie forgot all about swooning over the rugby player who was in her class, which was a shame because he would end up captaining England and was a thoroughly nice chap, but John F. Mayhew engulfed her brain and was all she could think about.

            John F. was going to be richer than Croesus and prime minister one day, he said, and she didn’t doubt that he would be. She could easily forecast his future: top of the tree in his chosen profession, women would adore him, men would want to be him, magazine reporters would queue up outside his door to take photos of the beautiful home he lived in. His children would be perfect and well behaved. Maybe they’d be her children, too. Maybe this was the man her old headmistress Miss Palmer-Price told her would be the one to carry her along in the grip of his force field.

            The “F” stood for Fitzroy, he told her postcoitus in bed on the night he took her virginity. His great-great-great-grandfather— Donal F. Mayhew—and his best friend, Patrick, had decided to escape the great Irish famine by emigrating to America in the late 1840s. But an Irish heiress fell hook, line, and sinker for the strong and handsome—if impoverished—gypsy Donal and he changed his mind about going. Donal and his wife eventually moved to London, where his determination both to shake off the label of male “gold digger” and to better himself drove him to build up a fortune in his own right selling property, metal, alcohol, ship parts; anything legal or illegal to trade in order to make a profit. Across the pond, Patrick’s family’s fortunes improved with every generation, too. His great-grandson John F. Kennedy became president of the United States of America. The Kennedys, John said, had stolen the idea of using the “F” from the Mayhews, and in doing so had cursed themselves. As if he couldn’t get any more fascinating, traveler magic was thrown into the mix.

            By April Sophie could not imagine living without John F. Mayhew; then in May she found that she’d have to, because he dumped her for the fabulously rich wild child Lady Cresta Thorpe. Sophie was heartbroken. John graduated with honors and spent a year touring the world with Cresta, who had dropped out of university, far preferring to indulge her habits of clubbing, cocktails, and cocaine. His life, so she gleaned from gossip, was shining and golden as hers slipped further into the dark and depressing. Her coursework suffered and she started self-medicating with alcohol to blot out the pain. She also realized that the girls she’d thought of as friends weren’t that hot in a crisis. She had never been good at gathering friends. The beautiful, insubstantial people were attracted to her, but the really nice people found her own good looks intimidating.

            It took Sophie a long time to get over losing John F. Mayhew, partly because she didn’t have a group of hard-core pals to help chase him out of her heart. She buried her true feelings deep as she had been taught to at school, threw herself into her studies, never let anyone see how wounded she was. Her heart had just about healed by the time she graduated, give or take the scar he had left.

            Months later, Sophie had been working as a temp at the London headquarters of the glossy magazine Mint when she heard that they were to run a feature on a young, successful investment banker, a high-risk taker and up-and-coming politician, at home in his recently acquired, stupidly expensive bachelor penthouse. His name was John F. Mayhew. Sophie’s heart started to race. She wangled it so she accompanied the reporter and the photographer, desperate to show herself off at her best to him: content, happy, preened, and perfect— unattainable and indifferent. Or so she thought.

            He was overjoyed to see her, ridiculously so, and she was gracious enough not to dampen his delight with a long-overdue rebuke for dumping her so callously. He asked her out to dinner and she accepted, merely for old times’ sake, sure that if he asked to see her again, she would politely refuse, walk away, having shut the door firmly in his face this time.

            He had never forgiven himself for the caddish way he had behaved, he said in Le Gavroche. He’d been glamoured by Cresta’s glitzy veneer, but it was mere infatuation. He hadn’t realized how much he felt for Sophie until he lost her. Sophie was in love with him all over again before the dessert menus had been delivered to them.

            Six months after the photos of his bachelor pad had been published, John F. Mayhew had moved out and into Park Court, a beautiful, if run-down, country residence—a wedding present from his parents for himself and his new bride-to-be, the sublime Miss Sophie Calladine. She ignored that little voice inside her that warned her about the speed of all this, the worm burying into her happiness. Is this the real deal, Sophie, or are you just grateful to be loved?

            To a woman starved for affection, the full spotlight of his attention was blinding, disorientating—of course she knew this. She had gulped it like air seeping through a hole in a vacuum. For that reason, it would be too easy to let that worm convince her that genuine love was not her primary reason for accepting John’s marriage proposal: but it was, it really was. It had to be said, though, that her heart was whooping considerably that she had also earned parental approval for her choice of husband, and she could even hear the echoes of applause from her old headmistress, nodding consent from the afterlife: I knew you’d be a credit to St. Bathsheba’s in the end, Sophie, like your sisters and your mother before you. But she did love him very much. Enough to have sacrificed her own wants and needs on his altar for the past eight and a half years. Enough to be standing here with her heart ripped open in this roomful of people who were looking at her to mend her marriage. Because by doing that, Sophie Mayhew would mend everything.

About the author: 

Milly Johnson is The Sunday Times bestselling author of numerous novels about the universal issues of friendship, family, love, betrayal, good food, and the little bit of that magic in life that sometimes visits the unsuspecting. Milly is a columnist for her local newspaper and is also an experienced broadcaster on radio and TV. She can be booked via the Women Speakers Agency for motivational speaking events. Milly is patron of several charities, including Yorkshire Cat Rescue and The Well at the Core. Her publishers call her The Queen of Feel-Good Fiction, and together they are aiming to spread as much joy as possible with every book published. Find out more at her website or follow her on Twitter.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Where Is Your Loyalty?

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for giving me a copy of Exposed by Lisa Scottoline.  I was given this copy in exchange for an honest review.

I have not read many of Lisa Scottoline novels.  Her Rosato and DiNunzio series might have a new fan.  For those of you who have not read this series.  It chronicles the relationship between Mary DiNunzio and her partner Bennie Rosato.  What happens when a new client causes a division in the firm?  Where will loyalties  lie between the neighborhood  and the firm?

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“Mary DiNunzio wants to represent her old friend Simon Pensiera, a sales rep who was wrongly fired by his company, but her partner Bennie Rosato represents the parent company. When she confronts Mary, explaining this is a conflict of interest, an epic battle of wills and legal strategy between the two ensues―ripping the law firm apart, forcing everyone to take sides and turning friend against friend.
SOMETIMES LOYALTY CAN BE LETHAL.” (Amazon)
My Thoughts:
I really liked this novel. I liked it better than the one stand-alone novel  that I read.  I think I could become a fan of the Rosato and DiNunzio series.  Rosato and DiNunzio are both great characters and can lead a story.   This series of novels plays heavily to the author’s strength in her legal background.   I loved that the chapters are short and the pacing is good.   One great read  for the beach this summer.
Rating:
4.5/5
You can purchase a copy of Lisa’s current  Someone Knows here.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Are You Afraid to Touch?


What if you were born with an allergy that would not allow you to touch another human being?  And they could not touch you? How would you survive?  How could you participate within society?  In Colleen Oakley’s novel Close Enough to Touch her main character Jubilee Jenkins lives with these issues.  Can one truly understand this journey?

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“Jubilee Jenkins has a rare condition: She's allergic to human touch. After a nearly fatal accident, she became reclusive, living in the confines of her home for nine years. But after her mother dies, Jubilee is forced to face the world - and the people in it - that she's been hiding from.
Jubilee finds safe haven at her local library, where she gets a job. It's there she meets Eric Keegan, a divorced man who recently moved to town with his brilliant, troubled adopted son. Eric is struggling to figure out how to be the dad - and man - he wants so desperately to be. Jubilee is unlike anyone he has ever met, yet he can't understand why she keeps him at arm's length. So Eric sets out to convince Jubilee to open herself and her heart to everything life can offer, setting into motion the most unlikely love story of the year.” (Amazon)

My Thoughts:

I loved this story!  It was well narrated!  I listened to it as an audio book and felt transported to another world.  I also loved that the main character worked for a library, although I don’t think a library would stay open in a blizzard.  I have always said that there is always a little truth in fiction.  The truth explored here is Jubilee’s allergy to touch and how she comes to live in the world around us.   While many people may have an illness, it does not mean that they need to be excluded from community or just being around other people.  Sometimes it also takes courage from the person who has the illness to reach out especially if they have been rejected in the past. 

On a side note I hope that people will learn from Jubilee’s story and not be afraid to serve those in need.

Preorder a copy of Colleen’s next novel You Were There Too  here.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

I Know a Secret!


Are you ready for one juicy tale?  I promise to take you to Nantucket where there are some nice beaches.  You might also learn a little about the culture of Nantucket.  Then you might meet the people, and it only takes one to spread a rumor!  The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand shares what a big impact small secrets can have on one community.


“Nantucket writer Madeline King has a new novel coming out, and it's got best seller potential. But Madeline is terrified, because in her desperation to revive her career she's done something reckless: reveal the truth behind an actual affair involving her best friend, Grace. And that's not the only strain on Madeline and Grace's friendship. One fateful night the two women argue, voicing jealousies and resentments that have built for 20 years. Bereft of each other, they get caught in the snares of a mysterious and destructive stranger.”(Amazon)
My Thoughts:
I liked this novel.  It was not one of my favorites by this author.  I thought the author did well communicating how gossip plays havoc with people’s lives.  It was illustrated well by the characters  Grace and Madeline’s relationship.  It is shocking to me sometimes what people will believe without knowing all the facts.  The novel is entertaining and of course if chronicles well the Nantucket summer.  I loved how the author wrapped up the novel having some of the characters make different choices that would ultimately make them happier in the end.  I listened to this novel in audibles and thought it was narrated well. 
Purchase a copy of The Summer of 69 here.
Rating:
4/5



Saturday, June 22, 2019

Are You Ready for Some Summer Suspense with Mary Alice Monroe?

It is that time of year again when Mary Alice Monroe sends out a new story into the world.  This year her story is The Summer Guest.  You will see some familiar characters and some new ones.  The story focuses this year on animals escaping a hurricane, or more specifically horses.   Pull up a chair and sit back with a glass of tea and escape to  North Carolina. 

Late August is a beautiful time on the Southern coast—the peach trees are ripe, the ocean is warm, and the sweet tea is icy. A perfect time to enjoy the rocking chairs on the porch. But beneath the calm surface bubbles a threat: it’s also peak hurricane season.

When a hurricane threatens the coasts of Florida and South Carolina, an eclectic group of evacuees flees for the farm of their friends Grace and Charles Phillips in North Carolina: the Phillips’s daughter Moira and her rescue dogs, famed equestrian Javier Angel de la Cruz, makeup artist Hannah McLain, horse breeder Gerda Klug and her daughter Elise, and island resident Cara Rutledge. They bring with them only the few treasured possessions they can fit in their vehicles. Strangers to all but the Phillips, they must ride out the storm together

During the course of one of the most challenging weeks of their lives, relationships are put to the test as the evacuees are forced to confront the unresolved issues they have with themselves and with each other. But as the storm passes, they realize that what really matters isn’t what they brought with them to the mountains. Rather, it’s what they’ll take with them once they leave.

About The Author:
Mary Alice Monroe is the New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty books, including the Beach House series: The Beach House, Beach House Memories, Swimming Lessons, Beach House for Rent, and Beach House Reunion. She is a 2018 Inductee into the South Carolina Academy of Authors’ Hall of Fame, and her books have received numerous awards, including the 2008 South Carolina Center for the Book Award for Writing, the 2014 South Carolina Award for Literary Excellence, the 2015 SW Florida Author of Distinction Award, the RT Lifetime Achievement Award, the International Book Award for Green Fiction, and the 2017 Southern Book Prize for Fiction. Her bestselling novel The Beach House is also a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. An active conservationist, she lives in the low country of South Carolina. Visit her on her website  and on Facebook.

Purchase a copy of The Summer Guest here.