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LITTLE BROKEN THINGS: A Novel ~Nicole Baart

Monday, December 18th, 2017

LITTLE BROKEN THINGS is a very good read and although about family dysfunction it is a story that could be true for many individuals and is very believable and interesting.  I enjoyed reading every page and did not hurry through to the finish even though I was not sure I had figured out the truth early on in the read.

The Sanford family lives in a small town and the father figure had sold real estate and was quite successful.  He got along famously with his son Jack but was rather tough on his daughters Nora and Quinn.  Liz the mom was a stay at home provider and found herself distant from her grown children.  The family was dealing with the loss of their father, Liz was trying to figure out what came next in her life and Jack’s wife was expecting the first grand child.   Quinn and her artist husband had just returned home and were living in a family rental unit and Nora had all but disappeared from their lives.  There were secrets that made a difference!

Nora surprises Quinn by suddenly, with no explanation and vowed secrecy, drops off a child for her to keep hidden and safe.  Little Lucy is quiet and sullen and has an interesting connection to the Sanford family.  The mystery needs to be solved.

There is a good deal about sexual predators and drug usage in the story and definitely Nora is on the run a great deal of the time.  The story includes interesting ideas about what is a loving relationship and how to be on one’s own, what should be done next to live life?  Lots of questioning until there is resolution for the child and path finding for the members of the family; it is very nice storytelling.

The family was well respected in the community and daughters were expected to go to college and come home to marry their sweetheart producing the next generation of the community.  The secrets would change the pattern over and over.  What the community did not know about this family kept them pillars and leaders.

I liked the book very much because of the character names also, as one of the characters has one of my daughter’s names and that of course made the story fun.  And the characteristics described for the name were very much in keeping with my child’s characteristics.

I definitely would recommend this story and I thought it was timely about drugs and sexual predation, which is big time in the news at this time and an important subject to bring to the light.

Nicole Baart is the mother of five children from four different countries. The co-founder of a non-profit organization, One Body One Hope, she lives in a small town in Iowa. She is the author of seven previous novels, including, most recently, The Beautiful Daughters. Find out more at NicoleBaart.com.

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SEEDS OF REVENGE: A Green House Mystery (Book #3) ~Wendy Tyson

Monday, November 13th, 2017

SEEDS OF REVENGE is the third book about Megan Sawyer’s small town of Winsome, Pennsylvania.  Megan has left being an environmental lawyer to come home and manage her family farm, the small store and café, and start her life over again.  Her husband was killed in Afghanistan and she needed to do something else. The story begins as she is heading home from Philadelphia where she has been trying to sell her micro-greens to restaurants and she is plowing through the first snowstorm of the season.

In her sturdy truck, Megan picks up a young woman who is having car trouble and so is trying to walk to town. Rebecca Fox is starting a new business and is going to live with her Aunt.    The Fox family is about to have a reunion as arranged by the Aunt and this is not a happy experience and Megan is drawn into the fray when Rebecca’s father is murdered.

Apparently this small town has experienced two other murders and Megan has been very helpful in finding the truth, even when her farm is implicated.  She is definitely a very clever and intelligent person.  She has lots of family drama to unravel of her own and I think there will be another book or two until everything is revealed.

The story is full of lots of small town connections and folksy family events as the reader is in the lead up to Christmas.  We can enjoy the family members and the caroling parties and also the Great Aunt who writes mystery novels.  4 of her books are about revenge murders and are playing an important role in this particular story.

We are also treated to some interesting food treats and a daring amount of Holiday Cookies.

ABOUT WENDY TYSON

“Wendy Tyson’s background in law and psychology has provided inspiration for her mysteries and thrillers. Originally from the Philadelphia area, Wendy has returned to her roots and lives on a micro-farm with her husband, sons, and two dogs. Wendy’s short fiction has appeared in literary journals, and she’s a contributing editor and columnist for The Big Thrill and The Thrill Begins, International Thriller Writers’ online magazines. Wendy is the author of the Allison Campbell Mystery Series and the Greenhouse Mystery Series.”  (PR SHEET)

This book was sent to me as an advanced copy for review by: Larissa Ackerman, Claire McKinneyPR, LLC

It was a good read and I know a number of my readers will enjoy reading all three books.  A nice little romance is blooming and the characters are interesting and you just might find them next door.   A delightful read and a good escape that I can recommend.

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THE FUTURE SHE LEFT BEHIND: A Women’s Novel ~Marin Thomas

Monday, October 30th, 2017

THE FUTURE SHE LEFT BEHIND was sent to me by Penguin Random House, publicist Roxanne Jones, for review.  The program sheet began with this paragraph:

If life as you knew it fell to pieces, and you had the chance to start again fresh, what would you do?  And would you bring your grumpy mother-in-law along for the ride?  Katelyn Pratt, a forty-year-old, newly divorced mother of two, grapples with such questions in Marin Thomas’s humorous and heartwarming tale of self-discovery.”

This sounded like a good read and I was interested.

It was a delightful story and well worthy of a good read and time spent turning the pages.  I personally did not find it humorous – heartwarming yes and it built a complacency in myself and also brought of the idea of why was I not more accepting of this is just how life is and isn’t Katelyn handling it so well.  Her goal was stepping up in life and not having to worry about money and with all the changes she was still in that position in her life.  She had the luxury of finding herself and discovering her own future.  There is sadness in the story and the working through of the next steps and there is some challenge in finding satisfaction where one is planted.  Ultimately, there is a savvy hair stylist who is up to date on her abilities and not stuck in the past – helping folks to move on and forward.

I think there are a great many more women who are facing divorce who do not have the financial freedom that Katelyn has achieved.  Who even though they had spent 19 years in a comfortable marriage they were now in a tooth and nail battle to retain some of those finances and to forge a future and survival for themselves and their children.  Most women would have to struggle and would be hard pressed to have relationships to fall back onto at the point of crisis.  Both women in the story were compelled to find the importance of relationship to assist their forward movement.

From St. Louis to small town Texas was not a huge leap as neither women even for their lifestyles and education had learned to fully problem-solve or had a larger worldview.  Neither one of the women was a “global” thinker and their contemplations centered around just what they all ready knew and their creativity seemed to be closed off and not explored.  Can a woman come home again?  I think the answer is yes, particularly if she has just changed location and never truly left home. The characters seem incomplete.  I found the sub-characters infinitely more interesting and much less boring.

Marin Thomas is the award-winning author of more than twenty-five novels, including the Cash Brothers series and THE PROMISE OF FORGIVENESS.

“Marin Thomas writes Women’s Fiction for Berkley and western romances for Harlequin and Tule Publishing. To date she has contracted over 35 projects for Harlequin. Her first women’s fiction novel, The Promise of Forgiveness, released March 2016 and her second novel, The Future She Left Behind releases September 2017. Marin is also a member of the Tall Poppy Writers

Marin grew up in Janesville, Wisconsin and attended college at the University of Arizona where she played basketball for the Lady Wildcats and earned a B.A. in Radio-TV. Following graduation she married her college sweetheart in a five-minute ceremony at the historical Little Chapel of the West in Las Vegas, Nevada. Marin and her husband currently live in Phoenix, Arizona, where she spends her free time junk hunting and researching her next ghost tour.”  (Amazon page)

A good end of the summer read when one wants to recall the days at the fair and the beach and yet be ready for autumn with new pencils and notebook in hand-possibly a new hairdo.  Certainly in the Romance category with the sense of escape tucked right between the cover.

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The Sweet Life
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Everything We Keep

THE PROMISE OF PIERSON ORCHARD: A Novel ~Kate Brandes

Monday, May 8th, 2017

THE PROMISE OF PIERSON ORCHARD is a mix of environmental issues and how small town land owners are coping with their reduced circumstances in Pennsylvania.  The tale is wrapped around two brothers who love the same woman and were abandoned by their mother.  I was hopeful about the story and about the premise.  The descriptions were good and one could feel the trauma that the town was experiencing clearly.

The gas company, ironically called Green Energy (What a fraud – like clean coal! Good choice by the author to point out another deception) and they are purchasing lease agreements to drill for gas, pay the landowners and also do fracking within each field.  With the loss of coal production in the area, the town’s people are desperate for income and futures, many sign up for lease agreements right away.  Then occurs an accident and bad weather.

One brother is trying to save his family orchard and his wife is adopting organic measures for her section of the trees.  They want their water to remain clean.  One brother is trying to sell the gas leases.  The boys’ mother, now an environmental lawyer is called upon to help folks understand and provide a solution and reconnect with her sons.  THE PROMISE OF PIERSON ORCHARD is a warm, sweet story with a bundle of deceptions.  Maybe a good Midwest story but not a very promising educational story for those who have been working on the environment and Greening our world – too wishy, washy.

Several reviewers related the story to Barbara Kingslover’s PRODICAL SUMMER; I can only feel a slight connection.  Whereas SUMMER really did dig deeply into the community feelings and frustrations, it truly added the ballast of how to help minds change and move towards reconciliation of old beliefs, economic frustrations, and the work that needs doing to protect an environmental future that “wins” for everyone – especially the earth.   Then again maybe many readers will enjoy this story because of the “love” story and the infertility issues of the main couple?   Would the story be a helpful teacher towards the environmental issues? I just do not know.

A TLC Book Tours review book.  Definitely in the Women’s Fiction category, a good read – THE PROMISE OF PIERSON ORCHARD

About the Author:

An environmental scientist with 20 years of experience, Kate Brandes is also a watercolor painter and a writer of women’s fiction with an environmental bent. Her short stories have been published in The Binnacle, Wilderness House Literary Review, and Grey Sparrow Journal. Kate is a member of the Arts Community of Easton (ACE), the Lehigh Art Alliance, Artsbridge, the Pennwriters, and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Kate lives in a small town along the Delaware River with her husband, David, and their two sons. When she’s not working, she’s outside on the river or chasing wild flowers.

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