Monday, February 13, 2017

Review: A Million Little Things

About the Book:

Zoe Saldivar is more than just single—she's ALONE. She recently broke up with her longtime boyfriend, she works from home and her best friend Jen is so obsessed with her baby that she has practically abandoned their friendship. The day Zoe accidentally traps herself in her attic with her hungry-looking cat, she realizes that it's up to her to stop living in isolation. 

Her seemingly empty life takes a sudden turn for the complicated—her first new friend is Jen's widowed mom, Pam. The only guy to give her butterflies in a very long time is Jen's brother. And meanwhile, Pam is being very deliberately seduced by Zoe's own smooth-as-tequila father. Pam's flustered, Jen's annoyed and Zoe is beginning to think "alone" doesn't sound so bad, after all. 

My Comments:

The book is primarily about three women:  Zoe and Jen are probably in their early thirties and Pam is Jen's mom. 

 Jen is married and the mother of an eighteen month old who does not talk, at all.  She was already on the high-strung "supermom" side--organic everything, no chemicals or dirt in the house etc--but the lack of speech is highly concerning and no one else seems concerned, which makes her even more anxious. 

Zoe  just broke up with her long-term boyfriend because they wanted different things from their relationship, but now she is trying to start living the life she wants.  Part of that is dating Jen's brother. Part of that is exploring her career options.  Just when things look like they are falling into place, she gets some news that changes everything--or does it.

Pam is a couple of years younger than I am.  She's a grandmother and a widow.  She volunteers at a center that helps new businesses get off the ground or expand, though that tread of the story never really seemed to connect with the others.  She meets Zoe's dad at a party and accepts a lunch date with him, without really considering it a date.  She doesn't want to forget her husband, she really isn't ready to move on--or is she?

I liked the strong supporting characters.  Lucas was Jen's husband's partner.  During the course of the story he moves from being someone she dislikes and resents to being "like a big brother".  He is the one person in her life who seems unafraid to tell it like it is to her, and he convinces her to get the help she needs.  Steve, Jen's brother and Zoe's love is a real sweetheart.  Pam's traveling buddies, a group of widows she met on a cruise shortly after her husband died, sound like a lot of fun--women who are now alone but who aren't letting life leave them behind.  

For those who care, there are a couple of graphic romantic scenes.

I'd like to thank the publisher for making a review copy available via Edelweiss.  Grade:  B. 

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Preview: Starlight Bridge by Debbie Mason


Author: Debbie Mason
Series: Harmony Harbor, #2
On Sale: February 28, 2017
Publisher: Forever
Mass Market: $7.99 USD
eBook:  $5.99 USD

A second chance for romance...

Hidden in Graystone Manor is a book containing all the dark secrets of Harmony Harbor, and Ava DiRossi is determined to find it. No one—especially not her ex-husband, Griffin Gallagher—can ever discover what really tore her life apart all those years ago. With Griffin back in town, it's more important than ever that she find the book before someone else does. Because her ex is still angry with her for leaving him. And he still has no idea Ava never stopped loving him...

Ava is no longer the vibrant, happy woman Griffin had once loved and married, and he would do anything to bring back the sparkle to her brilliant green eyes. But what's never changed are the sexy sparks of attraction between Ava and Griffin, and he won't give her up again without a fight. He knows there's the real possibility of a future together...if the truth doesn't burn the bridge between them forever.

Debbie Mason:

Debbie Mason is the USA Today bestselling author of the Christmas, Colorado series and Harmony Harbor series. Her books have been praised for their "likable characters, clever dialogue, and juicy plots" (RT Book Reviews). She also writes historical paranormals as Debbie Mazzuca. Her MacLeod series has received several nominations for best paranormal as well as a Holt Medallion Award of Merit. When she isn't writing or reading, Debbie enjoys spending time with her very own real-life hero, three wonderful children and son-in-law, two adorable grandbabies, and a yappy Yorkie named Bella.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Maybe Its You: My Review

About the Book:

ER nurse Sloane Ferrell escaped her risky past—new name, zip code, job, and a fresh start. She’s finally safe, if she avoids a paper trail and doesn’t let people get too close. Like the hospital’s too-smooth marketing man with his relentless campaign to plaster one “lucky” employee’s face on freeway billboards.
Micah Prescott’s goal is to improve the Hope hospital image, but his role as a volunteer crisis responder is closer to his heart. The selfless work helps fill a void in his life left by family tragedy. So does a tentative new relationship with the compassionate, beautiful, and elusive Sloane Ferrell.

Then a string of brutal crimes makes headlines, summons responders . . . and exposes disturbing details of Sloane’s past.

My Comments:

Like Candace Calvert's other books, Maybe Its You features a nurse and is set in a hospital.  As we get to know her through the story, we realize that she is running from something and figure it is only a matter of time  until it catches her.  Calvert does a good job of making readers wonder who is working with the bad guy.  While the climax of the story was somewhat unrealistic, I enjoyed the romantic elements.

As it is published by Tyndale Press, Maybe Its You is considered Christian fiction.  However, the Christian elements are subtle--this is basically a clean medical romance.  

I'd like to thank the publisher for making a review copy available via NetGalley.  Grade:  B.  

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Review: The Orphan's Tale

About the Book:

Sixteen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier and being forced to give up her baby. She lives above a small rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep… When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the child that was taken from her. And in a moment that will change the course of her life, she snatches one of the babies and flees into the snowy night. 

Noa finds refuge with a German circus, but she must learn the flying trapeze act so she can blend in undetected, spurning the resentment of the lead aerialist, Astrid. At first rivals, Noa and Astrid soon forge a powerful bond. But as the facade that protects them proves increasingly tenuous, Noa and Astrid must decide whether their friendship is enough to save one another—or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything.

My Comments:

The book begins in the present day, with an old woman visiting a museum to see a circus train, and it is obvious she is doing more than looking at an artifact from someone else's life.  The story then moves back in time to World War II and becomes the story of two young women.

Noa is Dutch, and became pregnant via an affair with a German soldier, so not only was she disgraced for her pregnancy, she was also one who consorted with the enemy.  She gave birth in a Nazi maternity home and her child was put up for adoption.  Since her parents had disowned her she had no place to go.  While cleaning a railway station she saved a Jewish baby boy from almost certain death and then finds herself on the run to keep him secret.  

The other young woman, Astrid,  is a Jew who we meet as her husband, a Nazi officer, informs her that they must divorce.  She is from a family that owns a circus and she returns to her parents' home, planning to re-join the circus.  Unfortunately, she cannot find them.  Fortunately the neighbors, who also own a circus, take her in and give her a false identity.  

Noa eventually finds her way to the circus and the book is the story of the relationship between the two women, and their relationships with the men in their lives.  Since the book is set during WWII, we know that the lives of Noa's "adopted" baby and Astrid are constantly in danger, as are the lives of those who knowingly harbor Jews.  

The question running through my mind throughout the whole book of course was the identity of that old woman. Was she Astrid?  Noa?  One of their friends?  

Pam Jenoff did a great job of capturing both the mundane parts of everyday life in the circus and the fear of discovery that permeated life for Noa and Astrid.  We see the absolute evil in some Nazis and yet realize that others really are human, with good and bad.  Set in wartime, it is a book that includes death and loss but in the end, there is hope.

I'd like to thank the publisher for providing a review copy via NetGalley.  Grade:  B+

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