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THE INNKEEPER’S SISTER: A Southern Romance and Historic Mystery Novel ~Linda Goodnight

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

THE INNKEEPER’S SISTER is certainly a wonderful beach read and I tucked it into my gear for a long weekend of wave watching and page turning.  I am not a great fan of Southern Romance and yet Goodnight’s characters are quite real and not so sticky sweet and the historic mystery was a nice glimpse into the reconstruction period after the Civil War.  (It did not omit that slavery was an issue – thank goodness for that)

About the Author:

“NY Times and USA Bestseller, Linda Goodnight writes novels to touch the heart as well as to entertain. Her emotional stories of hope have won the RITA, the Carol, the Reviewer’s Choice, and numerous other industry awards. A small town girl, Linda remains close to her roots, making her home in rural Oklahoma. She and husband have a blended family of eight, including two teenagers recently adopted from Ukraine. Many of her books are about family and children and rightly so, as she draws her deeply emotional stories from her surroundings, her great love of family, and from personal experiences as a nurse and teacher.” (TLC book tours page)

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THE INNKEEPER’s SISTER is also about recovery after a child has been abducted and how life goes on years later.  Two sisters have purchased an old orchard and have refurbished with skill the house into a stunning bed and breakfast.  This gives them purpose and vision and keeps Julie moving ahead and making new plans.  For Valerie it is not so important to her and she understands the value of the endeavor, but she longed to be a professional dancer and now she cannot move ahead in that direction.  She has started using alcohol to cope with her secrets and continue to hide.

Grayson Blake is a developer and he and his brother find old landmarks to refurbish and turn into 5 star restaurants.   He has come to Honey Ridge and Old Peach Orchard to revitalize an old Mill and develop a new destination restaurant.  The new construction is halted because a pile of bones has been discovered in the basement of the mill near the water wheel.   Grayson stays at the bed and breakfast and reconnects with a high school friend.  Together they find old sheet music that is actually a code that leads to some answers about the mystery and the history of the farm.

The Civil War elements of the story expose the new possibilities for the former slaves and share the details of the farm’s own love story and the role of the house as a hospital for soldiers.  Very interesting.

Over the years of reviewing books, I have read another of Linda Goodnight’s stories and thought it was quite good.  There is a caring quality to the stories and some down to earth good solutions to problems.  Time does not heal all wounds but it is certainly part of the recovery process.

I think many folks will enjoy this story and the gentle touch of the author.

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SECRETS OF THE TULIP SISTERS: A Captivating Story about Sisters, Secrets, and Second Chances ~Susan Mallery

Monday, July 31st, 2017

SECRETS OF THE TULIP SISTERS turned out to be one terrific read and I learned lots about how to grow tulips and had no idea it was so difficult and so important for Christmas time.  I just thought tulips were wonderfully beautiful field trip destination in the northern climes of my state.  The stunning beauty of the tulip fields was a delightful location for a story about secrets and romance.  Actually, it is three romances all wrapped up into one family and one good and interesting read.

About Susan Mallery

Susan Mallery is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of books about the relationships that define women’s lives—romance, friendship, family. With compassion and humor, Susan keenly observes how people think and feel, in stories that take readers on an emotional journey. Sometimes heartbreaking, often funny, and always uplifting, Susan’s books have spent more than 200 weeks on the USA Today bestsellers list, thanks to her ever growing legions of fans.

Critics, too, have heaped praise on “the new queen of romantic fiction.” (Walmart) Booklist says, “Romance novels don’t get much better than Mallery’s expert blend of emotional nuance, humor, and superb storytelling,” and RT Book Reviews puts her “in a class by herself!”

Although Susan majored in Accounting, she never worked as an accountant because she was published straight out of college with two books the same month, January of 1992. Sixteen prolific years and seventy-four books later, she hit the New York Times bestsellers list for the first time with Accidentally Yours in 2008. She made many appearances in the Top 10 before (finally) hitting #1 in 2015 with Thrill Me, the twentieth book in her most popular series, the Fool’s Gold romances, and the fourth of five books released that year.

Susan lives in Seattle with her husband, two ragdoll cats, and a tattletale toy poodle. Her heart for animals has led Susan to become an active supporter of the Seattle Humane Society. Animals play a big role in her books, as well, as she believes they’re an integral component to a happy life. (From TLC Website)

I believe that SECRETS OF THE TULIP SISTERS might be based on a friend’s life story.  The mother in this story truly is just as awful and manipulative as my childhood friend’s mother although that woman kept her family on the move constantly. This mother left her family and stayed on the move herself.

Kelly has stayed at home working with her father on their tulip farm.  She works with fancy blooms and hybrids and she works long and hard.  Her love life is not very exciting and a small, rural town is not very good at supplying partners.  Her father kept the 15 and 12- year – old daughters after their mother left and Kelly just worked her best to keep everything on track.

Olivia went to boarding school and then on to college and followed an old high school boyfriend around for a while and then was invited to join her mother in her real estate business in Arizona.   That idea was not working out so well and Olivia felt a need to keep trying to find what she was good at and what she could do for a career.  She travels north to spend time with her father and sister.  This causes the sisters to rediscover each other and the secrets to fester.

The love of a couple of really good fellows allows the girls to face up to their situations and to free up the secrets; revealing good ol’ dad’s love interest and his desire to move forward with his life too.

My book groups do not read romance books, but I think each one of them would enjoy this story as they travel for the summer and as they relax on the beach.  I enjoyed this story at the ocean and that the story was interesting had substance and was not a huge bodice ripper with no real plot. One very well written sex scene was a good distraction.  A fun read for sure.  I would recommend THE SECRETS OF THE TULIP SISTERS

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THE FORBIDDEN GARDEN: A Novel ~Ellen Herrick

Thursday, April 20th, 2017

Ellen Herrick, the author of THE SPARROW SISTERS has written another delightful tale, which is as lovely a read as a cup of tea on a rainy afternoon.  THE FORBIDDEN GARDEN is filled with beautiful descriptions that include character’s thoughts as well as the magnificence of flowers, insects, birds and trees.   The English word expressions brought me right to home and I could relate to the things my Mother and Grandmother used to say. A cozy read.

Sorrel Sparrow, the garden whisperer, has been invited to England to restore a walled Shakespearean Garden that the estate owners believe to have been cursed by the darkness of a 16th Century ancestor.  As the young woman feels the hurt and toxic vibrations of the garden she presses the family to look further and reveal the tapestries, which spell out the dark enchantments and free the current family to find a new future and release the old expectations.

THE FORBIDDEN GARDEN does bloom again and love grows.

How are we each held captive by family expectations and ancient history?  How is history freed and the door opened to new options?  What change is rendered when family secrets are exposed to sunlight and new life takes root?

Reminds me of Brunonia Barry’s THE FIFTH PETAL.  A very good read – THE FORBIDDEN GARDEN

“Ellen Herrick was a publishing professional in New York City.  After nearly 20 years in London, Ellen now divides her time between her gardens in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a small Cape Cod town.” (Book cover)

Ellen Herrick Website
Ellen Herrick Facebook
Ellen Herrick Twitter
Ellen Herrick TLC Book Tours

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THE GOODBYE YEAR: A Novel ~Kaira Rouda

Monday, September 19th, 2016

Four families from a wealthy community in California are the focus of this story.  Each family has a senior in high school and they are starting that last year.  There are some funny scenes for sure in this book, but primarily it is about the frantic moments of thinking about the future and worrying about empty nest.

The voices are both from the children and the adults and some of the fears and concerns are just amazing to behold.  All of their lives are filled with extra meetings and college representatives and for some the cost of future training is so expensive – crisis.  One mother drives her son to be just like his older brother, as she worries about what she will do after her last child leaves home.  She begins drinking.  Dad becomes a voice of reason and opens the door for son number two to find his own passion.

The perfect mom realizes that she has made her daughter her best friend and made up for her husband’s huge travel schedule with this connection.  The daughter is feeling some pressure about being the “perfect” girl at school and working around her pre-acceptance to Harvard.   A strange boyfriend is part of the scene and of course Homecoming King to this Queen.

We have a family on a tight budget and they do not know how their child will afford college, and mom has the whole family on an incredibly rigid calendar schedule, which would knock anyone to the floor in protest and yet for half the book this family muddles forward.

The step mom well is just a selfish mess and yet daughter finds away to keep her caring for her father after she leaves for college!  Actually, all the support characters are fairly fun to read in this story and even the drug problems are an interesting encounter.

TLC Book Tours sent along this fun read and I enjoyed it very much.  THE GOODBYE YEAR has over 70 4-star reviews on Amazon.

“Kaira Rouda is a USA TODAY bestselling, multiple award-winning author of contemporary fiction that sparkles with humor and heart including HERE, HOME, HOPE and IN THE MIRROR. Her latest novel, THE GOODBYE YEAR, will be released in May of 2016. Her modern romance novels are set on beaches, including the Laguna Beach series, the Indigo Island series and coming soon, the Malibu series.

She lives in Southern California with her family and is at work on her next novel. After living in Columbus, Ohio, for most of her life, she now enjoys the beach whenever possible.” (TLC Book Tours)

Kaira Rouda Twitter
Kaira Rouda Facebook

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