"Ginny and William Owens have grown comfortable in their "empty nest". Their youngest child moved out 5 years ago. They enjoy their quiet times, Ginny volunteering at church, William reading his newspapers and working in the gardens. A nice relaxing life.
Then their daughter Lillian arrives for an unexpected "visit" with newborn baby Phillip and 3-year old Olivia in tow. Husband Tom is "home, buried in work."
Then a few days later Stephen arrives with his pregnant wife Jane for a short weekend visit. Stephen is going to be the stay-at-home Dad when the baby arrives and Jane will return to her high pressure, high paying job just 3 short weeks after the baby is born.
Daughter Rachel is not far behind, her life is crashing around her both financially and emotionally as her boyfriend leaves her. She needs some time at home to sort things out.
Ginny and William's empty nest is soon overflowing with family and their entire summer will be disrupted as their children are all facing very difficult issues. The days of a kiss, a hug, and a band-aid are long over. They have put the parenthood hats back on the help their children as only parents can.
Life as a parent never ends, whether your kids are 2 or 62, until of course the parent is no longer alive. Part of being a parent is to always be there for your children, no matter what they are facing.
I LIKED IT!!!!
This is a wonderful debut novel depicting modern family life and problems, bringing a family together to cope, learning responsibility and forgiveness and how to survive life today in this fast-paced world.
I must say William and Ginny showed so much patience as their home was overtaken by their children but I can say that is what parents do today. A lot of children are living at home longer or moving home just because with this economy they can't make it on their own. It doesn't even have to be the problems this family faced. It is hard for young people to make it on their own today and a lot of them stay longer than a summer.
This story was nicely paced, the characters were very relate-able, and I really liked the dialogue between all the characters, very well written. The story is interspersed with humor and wit that makes the story even more real and enjoyable.
This would be a great summer beach read. Another perfect "escape" story.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Hachette Book Group.. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.""
"Darien Gee, the author of Friendship Bread takes us back to Avalon, Illinois, population 4243.
Madeline's Tea Salon is the place residents meet and catch up and even occasionally get together as a group like the members of The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society founded by Bettie Shelton. Under Bettie's guidance, even the most reluctant of Avalon's residents come to terms with their past and make bold decisions about their future.
Isabel Kidd is fixing up her ramshackle house while sorting through the complications of her late husband's affair. Ava Catalina is mourning the love of her life and helping her young son grow up without his father. Local plumber Yvonne Tate is smart, beautiful, and new to Avalon, but finds that despite a decade of living life on her own terms, the past has a way of catching up--no matter where she goes. And Frances Latham, mother to a boisterous brood of boys, eagerly anticipates the arrival of a little girl from China--unprepared for the emotional roller coaster of foreign adoption.
Bettie has helped so many people and now she is facing a trial of her own. Everyone needs to come together and create something truly memorable just for her.
Darien Gee writes about friendship and she does it masterfully. I was actually sad when I reached the last page. Bettie may not be adored by everyone in Avalon but she sure is the glue that holds the town together. She believes the answer to every problem is scrapbooking and saving memories. It is also the community of scrapbookers and their families that gather together to share their projects and support each other through good times and bad.
While Bettie is the main character of this story, the supporting characters are written just as well. A few characters return from Gee's first story but we are introduced to new ones as well. There are several prominent supporting characters. You need to take your time, this is not a book to rush through, so you can really get to know these fabulous. characters and their stories. I said in my review of Friendship Bread that is was a story to be savored and the same is true with this story. The characters are rich and their stories feel real. One story line reminds me of similar circumstances in the Miss Julia Series by Ann B. Ross.
Gee has written another heartwarming and inspiring story that you will want to share with all your friends. I can only hope that this is not our last trip to Avalon. Both books are fabulous and can be read as stand alone but you will want to read both and then you will want to bake bread, start scrapbooking and get together with all your friends and family. The recipes and scrapbooking tips are a real added bonus."
"ILLUSTRATED BY BOBBI SWITZER
This week I was given the pleasure of reviewing my first children's book and it was so much fun. My 2 year old grandson and I sat down and read the book. Then he had everyone reading to him about Bailey's Day and he even sat quietly and "read it" himself several times.
Bailey's Day is about a dog who truly "owns" his owner. Bailey's owner is a mailman and when he sets off to work that's when Bailey's fun begins. He meets his friend, Frankie the wiener dog, and their travels start, the swimming pool, the park, the taco stand. Bailey has to keep watching for his "Dad" the mailman, so his isn't caught on his adventures.
Bailey is a real dog and is really owned by author/mailman Robert Haggerty. The book includes several pictures of the real Bailey enjoying his day. This part of the book was a real hit at our house, owning 2 dogs ourselves, some of the pictures look a little familiar.
This is a truly wonderful children's book. It is a book that will grow with my grandson as we continue to read it to him and when truly learns to read himself. This book earns a top rating from Grandma but more importantly it is GRANDSON APPROVED!!
"Story's sister Holly needs help. Her husband has invited some of his employees to their house to relax for the weekend. Now she not only has to find ways to entertain them but also feed them. The kitchen in Holly's house is state or the art but it is foreign territory as she can't cook at all. With Story's help they pull off breakfast and then Story takes them on a tour of her hives. They are enjoying themselves until one of the guests drops dead and Story becomes the prime suspect. It seems the carrot juice she served at breakfast contained poison.
This is the last thing Story needs. Johnny Jay can't stand her and he will try to pin this on her for sure. Plus her hunky boyfriend Hunter just moved into her house with her and a dead body can tend to take away that romantic feeling. She has no choice but to comb through the clues and close the case herself.
The Queen Bee of the cozy is back again with another tale that is as sweet as honey! I love it!
If this fictional town were real it would be about a 45 minute drive from my house. I love the way Wisconsin shines in these stories from our crazy names of our "tongue twisting burgs"
to the beautiful scenery and the caring people. Each and every character is unique, real and believable, even the bad ones. Pity Party Patty just cracks me up and she was in the middle of it this time. Even with her unusual past, deep down we all have a P.P. Patty in our lives.
Hannah Reed writes a smart mystery with the perfect amount of humor set is a place that is a beehive of activity.
Bee smart and buzz over to the bookstore and pick this one up today. You will Bee thanking me!!! BUZZ! BUZZ! BUZZ!"
"Meet Sunny Coolidge, a New York journalist who has returned home to Kittery Harbor, Maine, to take care of her father after his heart attack. She finds work at the local travel agency for Ollie Barnstable a.k.a "Ollie the Barnacle"" but she hopes it is temporary and that she will be able to land a job at a local newspaper.
She is surprised one day when Ada Spuance, the eldery woman everyone calls "the cat lady" comes into the office and asks Sunny to help her find a winning lottery ticket. Sunny is not sure the winning ticket even exists but agrees to help Ada search her cat filled home. She thinks there may be a story she can write for the paper to impress the editor enough to hire her.
Sunny arrives to begin her search and she has a "Shadow", a stray tomcat has followed her right up to the house. When there is no answer at the front door they stroll around to the back of the house and find an open entrance to the basement. Her investigative nature pushes her forward and she discovers poor Ada Spuance dead at the bottom of the stairs.
Did her fall have something to do with the lottery ticket? Was it an accident or MURDER? With her tomcat sidekick Sunny is going to find out. "Following the trail of the purrloined ticket" Sunny and her feline friend better be careful or the made find their very own tickets punched.
Sunny made some interesting decisions which made this a very interesting mystery. I may not have agreed with her actions but they set in action quite a chain of events. Shadow's inquisitive nature also drove this story. They are purr-fect partners.
It had several humorous moments, but the ladies of the neighborhood, especially one special lady, sneaking rich, sweet and "unhealthy" food to Sunny's dad really made me giggle.
This is a light hearted romp with plenty of suspects in a quirky little town. It is a great start to a series that shows much promise."
"Set in Hope's Crossing, Colorado. Claire Bradford is the owner of a successful bead shop. She is a single mom with two kids living a predictable life. She has no time for romance. At least that is what she keeps telling herself. So why does her best friend's younger brother Riley seem so darn sexy and hot? He has returned to be the the new chief of police of this boring little town when he was some big shot on the police force in California. It just doesn't make sense.
A string of robberies leads to a tragic accident that forces Claire to accept help from her friends, even from Riley McKnight. The accident ends up affecting the whole town. Things get ugly when it is found teenagers are involved in the robberies and it starts to rip the town apart.
A mysterious "Angel of Hope" inspires a small group and then the whole town to plan an event to help bring everyone back together. A bit of romance also starts to blossom making for a very interesting summer.
I was swept away by many things in this book. The friendships of the people who visit Claire's shop, the long term relationships of the people of Hope's Crossing, seeing someone you have known all your life differently after time has passed, and the effect the "Angel of Hope" has on this town.
If I was ever lucky enough to win the lottery or come into a great deal of money I would want to be just like the "Angel of Hope", helping people anonymously with things they need. The way the angel inspired the people of Hope's Crossing was really uplifting.
The characters in this story are so engaging and well developed. You want to be part of everything they are doing.
I haven't read Harlequin in quite awhile because they were started to feel the same story just with different names but that is definitely not the case with this story. This book is about so much more than the romance. Claire needs to break out of a life she has trapped herself in. Riley has so many reasons for coming home and for staying away as long as he did. Claire's mother has issues that need to be dealt with. Claire's ex-husband and his new younger, pregnant wife live right in town. Thayne interweaves and blends all their lives together wonderfully along with many other residents of the town of Hope's Crossing. I love the way she writes and her descriptions of people and places were a delight."
"Catherine McLeod works for The Journal in Denver. She is covering a story about the Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes filing to reclaim their 27 million acres of land. Someone doesn't want her to know the details of this deal because she becomes the target of an assassin. She has narrowly escaped his attacks as she continues to uncover many secrets about a conspiracy that leads way back into the past and the founding of Denver itself. She also learns about her own heritage.
I enjoyed this book very much not only for the current mystery but the immense amount of Native American history contained in this story. At times it was a little hard to follow, but after reading this book I did a little research into the treaty and it can be very hard to understand on its own. Coel's ability to wrap a entire story around it is masterful. The author is a historian and said to be an expert in the Arapaho Indians and it shines through clearly in her work. I am sure that is why her other series is so successful as well."
"Frieda Klein believes the world is out of control and the only thing we can control is what is inside our own heads. Yes, she is a psychotherapist. A very obsessive compulsive one at that. She spends her free time walking the streets of London to clear her head and get her thoughts in order.
Frieda has a patient that keeps having recurring dreams for a child that looks just like him. He and his wife have been unable to conceive and it has tormented him so that he is very near a mental break. When she learns of the disappearance of 5 year old Matthew Farraday and sees his resemblance to the child her patient has described he feels she must notify someone is charge of the investigation. She never imagined she would be working with the chief investigator to find the boy.
It is very important to lay out a really good foundation when starting a new mystery series and these authors (Nicci Gerrard + Sean French) have done an excellent job. Revealing enough about the primary characters to immerse us in the current story but leaving us intrigued about where these characters will go and grow in future installments.
Frieda Klein is a perfect imperfect protagonist. She already has many layers. Reuben is a troubled soul that continues to emerge. Josef is a mystery himself and because of his background adds a little humor to a very intense story. Inspector Karlsson is a tough nut to crack but we can see a relationship with Frieda moving forward. The primary character to this story, Alan, was very well written as he struggled through his pain and dealt with a therapist he thought had betrayed him and had secrets revealed about his life that he never could have fathomed. All the characters are flawed which gives them so much depth.
The mystery is extremely complex and suspenseful. A few white knuckle moments. These are experienced authors with several other bestsellers. They know how to create a thrilling tale to keep us turning those pages. It starts slow and builds. I am anxious to see where the next Frieda Klein takes us."
"Eliana Menino is a very strong woman. When she learns that her father has missed a few loan payments to their investors and their family vineyard is about lost after four generations of hard grueling work she steps in to make a deal of her own. She offers to work off the debt herself in service to a man she calls "Demonio".
She has never left her beautiful home in Brazil but when Hale Forester agrees to her terms she leaves her beautiful exotic home and flies to Napa Valley on Forester's private jet.
It doesn't take long for Eliana to realize the Hale Forester is not the ruthless man she thought he was or that he does have the power to break her heart. Both their lives are about to change.
Oh this book was so good!!! It has all the necessary elements of the perfect romance, obsession, passion, intrigue, heat, betrayal and love. The settings were superb, the characters engaging. The difference in cultures was well portrayed. It is a well written memorable story as smooth as a fine wine and yet as steamy as Eliana's home of Brazil. I was drawn in before the end of the first page and could not escape its spell until the final word. It was a story I didn't want to end so I am thrilled to learn there is a sequel coming soon!!
This is a perfect beach read or the perfect book to escape into at any time of year! The sequel can not be published soon enough! Cheers Rhiannon, I loved this story!!!"
Vintage kitchenware and cookbook collector Jaymie Leighton and her high school friend Kathy Cooper have been at odds for years but Jaymie has no idea why. She decides it is time to find out what she did that makes Kathy hate her so much. She needs to confront her so they can put whatever happened behind them.
But when she finds Kathy dead after the 4th of July fireworks along with her Depression era glass bowl she realizes there will not be any reconciliation. With her fingerprints all over the bowl and their rocky past she is not surprised to be the prime suspect of her murder.
Did the killer frame her on purpose? If so, she is ready to mix it up, because solving crimes is vintage Jaymie Leighton...
I was "Bowled Over" by this marvelous mystery. This story had so many twists I almost got whiplash. So many secrets, so many suspects. I Loved It!
Jaymie has a huge heart and that always leads her right in the center of trouble. She needs to clear her name. With her many odd jobs she comes into contact with almost everyone in town. She has Valetta for backup, who knows the skinny on just about everyone in the area. Even Anna has info to help Jaymie find the killer. Jaymie just has to put all the clues together.
There's also a bit of romance in this story but unfortunately Jaymie's romantic path is a bit cloudy. Her sister Becca's path is pretty clear yet again. Jaymie has given herself a six month deadline to decide how she feels about the men in her life. The next book should be very interesting!
Victoria Hamilton has dished up another fun and entertaining winner!
Freezer I'll Shoot (A Vintage Kitchen Mystery) will be released November 5th and I want it today!!!"