Love to read as one may guess

When Mountains Move: A Novel

When Mountains Move - Julie Cantrell I received a copy of When Mountains Move by Julie Cantrell in exchange for an honest review.

After Millie’s marriage to Bump she hoped things would get better for her, but life throws her another curveball – what should she do now?

From the very beginning, I could not help but get caught up in this book. I really felt such sadness for Millie, but at the same time I felt joy as well. Millie had found joy, but she was so caught up in the nightmare of her past and keeping some of it a secret that she at times only glimpsed her joy. My favorite character, however, was Oka, I absolutely loved her wisdom.

This book shows that we cannot persecute ourselves for the past and the behavior of others who hurt us. Great read!

Shake Down the Stars

Shake Down the Stars - Renee Swindle I received a copy of Shake Down the Stars by Renee Swindle in exchange for an honest review.

Since the death of her young daughter and her subsequent divorce Piper is afloat in a world of guilt. She can’t move on even though her ex-husband seems to have done so…. She is consumed by guilt and clings to the past with a suffocating vengeance.

This was a very well-written book and it was heartbreakingly emotional to see the angst in Piper’s life. I would say though that it was very frustrating as well to see her self destructive behavior. Piper had very little family support and most of her healing came through friends who gave her what she needed to help her move on, sometimes friends can be the family you never had.

This was a great read, not light at all and very emotional as we enter Piper’s world.

Killer Image (Allison Campbell Mystery #1)

Killer Image (Allison Campbell Mystery #1) - Wendy Tyson I received a copy of Killer Image by Wendy Tyson in exchange for an honest review.

Allison Campbell is an image consultant in Philadelphia. She has a thriving business with a very eclectic clientele. Then her most recent client comes along – the daughter of a White House hopeful and Allison’s past and present collide. Her teen client is accused of murder and no one believes her innocence except Allison.

This was a very intriguing story – kept me guessing until the very end. The characters were great, I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite because there were quite a few that I liked, a lot. I see that this is the first in the series, I can’t wait to read the others! It was great from beginning to end…

Must Love Sandwiches (The Bartonville Series, #1)

Must Love Sandwiches (The Bartonville Series, #1) - Janel Gradowski I received a copy of Must Love Sandwiches by Janel Gradowski in exchange for an honest review.

This was a very cute, quick read. The characters were good, but they were all seemingly confused by their own perceptions. I found Emma to be particularly over the top with her paranoia, but I think Daisy's lack of self confidence would be more relatable to most of us.

The Prayer Box

The Prayer Box - Lisa Wingate This book was well-written, I found the characters intriguing, particularly Iola. This was like two books and the lives of the characters seemed to run parallel to each other, but in a different time. Tandi, I understand was trying to make better choices, not successfully though, and was at risk of recreating her past for her children. Those letters written by Iola told a completely different story, because Iola’s plight was not of her making, but she seemed to live in hope and faith for the people she loved. This was an inspirational story for sure, we are not our past and we all can, with faith, set the course for a better future.

Is This All There Is?

Is This All There Is? - Patricia Mann I received a copy of Is This All There Is? by Patricia Mann in exchange for an honest review.

This story could be very relatable to many of us. The development of the characters were believable where we saw how the scene was set for a marriage to go off-track. I felt for Beth and for her family, she put herself in a very bad situation where she struggled to ignore her conscience and made everything much worse. This story is very intense, at least for me it was, and it was very scary to see how we can wreck what we have to find some elusive “thing” that we think we need.

Thirty-Two Going On Spinster (Spinster Series)

Thirty-Two Going on Spinster - Becky Monson I received a copy of Thirty Two Going on Spinster by Becky Monson in exchange for an honest review.

This book was so funny, poor Julia questions her every move and thinks everything to death which stresses her out unnecessarily, but had me in stitches. She and her friend Brown have an interesting relationship and when Jared joins them it gets even funnier. I like how the relationships between the characters develop and the support they offer each other. I like the changes that occur in the book, what seemed hopeless and daunting in life can turn out to be the best thing to ever happen to us, all it takes sometimes is a step of faith.

Between Friends

Between Friends - Amanda Cowen I received a copy of Between Friends by Amanda Cowen in exchange for an honest review.

Megan and Ben have been friends since they were children and they’re both getting ready to attend their friends’ destination wedding and during a friendly drink the night before their departure, Ben proposes a coin toss… If it’s heads they sleep together and then the coin is tossed - everything changes. Megan can’t believe that Ben could ever really feel the same way about her as she feels for him and can’t decide how to fix their friendship to have everything like it was before – they have always been the best friends – what should they do!!!

This was such a cute story, how could you not love it! It was fun to read, filled with neurotic friends and fun…. I love the friendship between Megan and Ben and I was rooting for them from the get-go, how could I not, they were truly nice people and they both deserved to kick their friendship up a notch. Their playful bantering and supportive friendship deserved to be so much more. It was absolutely charming!

Mandatory Release

Mandatory Release - Jess Riley Graham and Drew were high school friends who met up again after years of disillusionment where love is concerned. This time around they meet up at work – a prison no less, where they are both employed, Graham is still trying to deal with his disability and Drew is reeling from a broken heart. The attraction they feel for each other is confusing and so they just keep plodding onward through the hurt until they find they way – to who knows where and to whom???
I thought this book was awesome! The sense of humor was rather warped, but I could not help but laugh in spite of the circumstances. I really liked the characters, they were just people trying to find some type of “normal” in their twisted world. Drew and Graham were by far my favs, so sad for them, having to deal with situations that were not entirely of their making. I would absolutely recommend, this book is about rolling with the punches in life and dealing with life the best way we can.

Stupid By Choice

Stupid By Choice - Leighton Summers I received a copy of Stupid by Choice by Leighton Summers in exchange for an honest review.

This book tells the story of Melanie St. John, an obvious Daddy’s Girl, trying to find love in a world where money seems to be no object, but love seems to be ever elusive. She and her older sister and friends are all trying to find their Prince Charming for different reasons and their struggles to find it were sometimes humorous and sometimes quite heartbreaking.

I did like the story and found the characters to be have “larger than life”, dysfunctional personalities. How could they not in a world where almost everyone seemed to be rich and be so self-centered! There were many characters in the book, so be prepared, this is not a short read! There were some twists to the plot that I definitely could not ever forsee and so much sadness that I did shed some tears for sure. All in all it was a good read, but as I said, not a short one.

Playing Tyler (Strange Chemistry)

Playing Tyler - T. L. Costa Tyler is a teen boy who feels like he has to take care of his brother Brandon, who is in rehab again and his mother who can’t seem to move on since the death of his father and her son Brandon who does not seem to be able to kick his drug habit. Tyler spends his time gaming trying to escape reality and he is recruited by his mentor Rick to test out a new game and then he meets the game’s designer and falls for her. Then things start getting strange with the game and he can’t figure out what’s real…..
This writer totally captures the imagination of the gaming teen and their world. It was an exciting story and an absolute page turner. I could feel Tyler’s feeling of being overwhelmed with the stress of looking after his brother and mother. Sometimes I could feel his mental anguish having to deal with his ADHD which the author portraying very realistically like his rambling thoughts which would not stop and he could not stop it, but then he had so much to think about really. This is very modern day story with some twists which could make for a really good movie.

Trust Me

Trust Me - Joan Callahan Beth Carter is a single mom of four boys, who are a handful to say the least, and even with a line of odd clients and a very busy life with her four very funny boys, she’s lonely.

There is a hilarious line up of patients and those boys are a riot for sure! I really liked the balance of strife in the lives of the characters and the humor to be found even in the less than adequate situations. Life is not perfect, but what can we do? This book had some real laugh out loud moments and I did indeed laugh in spite of the situations…Really good read!

Wedding Belles (Sassy Belles)

Wedding Belles - Beth Albright I loved this book! This is the second book in the Belles series… Vivi is finally getting married to her prince charming Lewis Heart and she and her best friend Blake O’Hara are fixin’ for the wedding of the century! They’ve got amazing event planners to work with and family and friends helping them. All the characters were a hoot, even Dallas who could be annoying to some. There was so much support and family and in spite of everything going on, my heart was filled with joy and excitement. I was rooting for Vivi and Lewis from the get go… It was filled with Southern charm and love. I can’t wait to start reading Sleigh Belles…

Is This Tomorrow: A Novel

Is This Tomorrow: A Novel - Caroline Leavitt I received a copy of Is This Tomorrow by Caroline Leavitt in exchange for an honest review.
Ava Lark is trying to make a life for herself and her twelve year old son, Lewis, in a suburban Boston neighborhood. As a divorcee in the 1950s life is somewhat difficult and being a single working mother only made some of the other neighbors view Ava with suspicion. When one of her son’s closest friends disappear the neighbor jump at another excuse to make life for Ava and her son, Lewis even worse.
This book was one of the most emotional I have ever read and very thought provoking. Any parent reading this is absolutely sent to a part of their “cannot go there” horror. There were quite some twists and turns that nothing could have prepared me for and I felt so sad for Ava having to live a life that was not of her making and the blame her son placed on her for a situation he, as a child, could surely not understand. The prejudices against Ava, both for being divorced and Jewish was at a time when there was so little tolerance for the plight of others, maybe to some degree, has our world evolved much? But the fortitude Ava showed in the face of the odds placed against her was admirable for sure. It was good to see the children, Lewis and Rose grow up, but so sad when the truth was found… it makes me wonder if the truth would always set us free?? Not light reading, but very well written.

For The Love of Cupcakes

For The Love of Cupcakes - anita kushwaha I received a copy of For the Love of Cupcakes in exchange for an honest review.
In this book we meet Priya Patel who dreams of having her own bakery one day. She’s completed her training and right now she is gaining experience at Sugarplum Fairy Cakes. The only thing is her boss, Helen Bouffant is anything but a “fairy” to her employees. An order is messed up and Helen blames Priya for it and she gets even more horrible, if that was all possible. Priya quits and with the encouragement of friends and family decides to go for her dream.
This book was “sweet” – filled with great characters and an amazing support group for Priya to help her make her dream come true. Helen was quite the “Cruella DeVille” of this story, she had some real issues for sure. I loved the recipes for the cupcakes , so this book would be a yummy read for the foodie in all of us – really who does not love cupcakes!

Love and Other Subjects

Love and Other Subjects - Kathleen Shoop Carolyn Jenkins is a teacher in an urban school and she is finding it very difficult to reach the children in her class. They children have difficulty in accepting anyone can care about them and their circumstances. Carolyn also is seemingly infatuated with a man she meets by chance and wonders if it is the love she has been seeking.
This book was great, Carolyn’s two roommates are very strong women in their own way. They all try to make a difference and are also struggling to find their way in this life. I love their support for each other with their penchant for telling each other the truth. In some ways their personalities were a little too strong, but hey, no one is perfect, even in books. This brings to light the difficulties some teachers face to inspire our children to learn and also it is not a profession for the emotionally fragile.

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