Burntown by Jennifer McMahon


Overview 

Eva grew up watching her father, Miles, invent strange and wonderful things in the small workshop behind their house on the river that runs through their old mill town. But the most important invention of all was the one that Miles claimed came from the mind of Thomas Edison himself–a machine that allowed one to speak with loved ones long passed. Smuggled out of Edison’s laboratory, the blueprints were passed down to Miles, and he’s been using them to protect Eva, her mother, Lily, and her brother, Errol, ever since.
Then, one night when a storm is raging and the river is threatening to flood, the machine whirrs to life on its own. Danger, it says. You’re in terrible danger. The next thing Eva knows is waking up on the side of the river and seeing her mother’s grim face. Eva’s father and brother are dead, their house has been washed away and an evil man is searching for them both. They need to hide.
Eva changes her name to Necco–a candy she always loved–and tries to put everything in her past behind her as she adapts to her new life off the grid. But when her boyfriend is murdered and her mother disappears, she knows that the past is starting to catch up to her.
What really happened the night of the flood? As Necco searches for the truth, her journey unites her with two women who are on desperate quests of their own. And as the trio follows the clues to solving the mystery of Necco’s past, they discover that sometimes it’s the smallest towns that hold the strangest secrets.
Review

Wow!! What a read. I don’t even know how to classify this book. Horror, murder/suspense, supernatural…it’s all in one. I so enjoyed trying to guess what happens next….I was wrong every. single. time!! 

As a young boy, Miles witnesses his mother’s murder.  His father then killed himself after being accused of the crime. Miles grows up, marries, becomes a professor at a college, has a child named Eva and builds a machine.  The machine can talk to dead people. Miles wants to talk to his mother. There is a story which surround this machine. You need to read the book to find out. It is very intriguing!  Then a flood happens and everything changes. 

Eva, or Necco, as she calls herself now, is a homeless, young girl living in an abandoned car. She has lost everyone, her dad and her brother in “the great flood” and her mom to suicide. But, is that what really occurred ? Her life begins to unravel as the knowledge about what happened starts to reveal itself. 

The story created around Eva is very uncommon. From the “great flood” to the homeless, fire-eating women, Eva becomes a strong, tough young girl living on the streets. Then she is accused of murder and everything changes once again. 

I don’t even know how to describe the suspense which runs throughout this book. Jennifer McMahon knows how to calmly build a story then completely change all expectations. Her characters are all completely different, strong and purposeful. This is a unique and non stop read. 

I received this novel from Netgalley for a honest review.  

                                 
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The Simplicity of Cider by Amy E. Reichert


Overview

Fall in love with The Simplicity of Cider, the charming new novel about a prickly but gifted cider-maker whose quiet life is interrupted by the arrival of a handsome man and his young son at her family’s careworn orchard by the author of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake and Luck, Love & Lemon Pie.
Focused and unassuming fifth generation cider-maker Sanna Lund has one desire: to live a simple, quiet life on her family’s apple orchard in Door County, Wisconsin. Although her business is struggling, Sanna remains fiercely devoted to the orchard, despite her brother’s attempts to convince their aging father to sell the land.
Single dad Isaac Banks has spent years trying to shield his son Sebastian from his troubled mother. Fleeing heartbreak at home, Isaac packed up their lives and the two headed out on an adventure, driving across the country. Chance—or fate—led them straight to Sanna’s orchard.
Isaac’s helping hands are much appreciated at the apple farm, even more when Sanna’s father is injured in an accident. As Sanna’s formerly simple life becomes increasingly complicated, she finds solace in unexpected places—friendship with young Sebastian and something more deliciously complex with Isaac—until an outside threat infiltrates the farm.
From the warm and funny Amy E. Reichert, The Simplicity of Cider is a charming love story with a touch of magic, perfect for fans of Sarah Addison Allen and Gayle Forman.

Review 

Sanna and her father run an apple orchard.  It is a hard job but both of them love it and are tied to the land and the trees. The orchard is in financial trouble.  They are also being sabotaged. Issac and Bass are really running away from home. They end up at the orchard and sparks fly.  

Sanna is a hard working, rough and tough gal. She is not one of the best characters though. I love strong female leads but I am not a fan of her rudeness and her temper. Issac and Bass make up for Sanna, especially Bass. Bass is Issac’s 10 year old son and BOY  is he a mess! 

The setting of an apple orchard is certainly unique.  I enjoyed reading about the apple trees and the making of cider. However, the story is not as fast-paced as I like. But, it is a good read, especially for travel. It is simple. I know this sounds like a bad thing, but it is not. Sometimes you need a book like this.  It does not take too much focus but keeps you immersed in the story. 
I received this novel from Netgalley for a honest review.

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On the Beach by Steve Schmale


On the Beach

By Steve Schmale

Genre: Literary Fiction

 

Lenny Decker is fleeing the American Dream while trying to comprehend its reasons and rules after being rattled from an exposure to its possibilities. Set in the mid-1990’s in a quiet California beach town, populated with a cast of unforgettable characters, and replete with examples of some of life’s crueler—yet hilarious—ironies, ‘On the Beach’ is story of what happens when one young man’s dreams bump up against reality.

 

About the Author

Steve Schmale is the author of the book of stories ‘Nobody Bats a Thousand’ and the novel ‘On the Beach’. He is a native of California where he still resides. 

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/onthebeachanovel/

Review 

I have to say this is an interesting read. Not great but has some good qualities. Lenny basically could care less. He is irreverent and flippant. This leads to some hilarious situations and outcomes.

I did enjoy the wonderful setting of a California beach town. A perfect place for Lenny to live and cause havoc. 

I will say this could have been written a little better but it is an entertaining read and keeps you laughing throughout.  

I received this novel from the author and Sage’s book tours for a honest review.
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Sunflower card! 

I just love sunflowers. I bought this Stamplistic stamp and die cut at a recent scrapbook convention.  I just love how this turned out! 


Thanks for stopping by!! 

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Beach House for Rent By Mary Alice Monroe 


Overview 

New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe returns to her beloved Isle of Palms to tell the poignant, charming story of two women, one summer, and one very special beach house.

When Cara Rutledge rents out her quaint beach house on Isle of Palms to Heather Fordham for the entire summer, it’s a win-win by any standard: Cara’s generating income necessary to keep husband Brett’s ecotourism boat business afloat, and anxiety-prone Heather, an young artist who’s been given a commission to paint birds on postage stamps, has a quiet space in which to work and tend to her pet canaries uninterrupted.

It isn’t long, however, before both women’s idyllic summers are altered irrevocably: the alluring shorebirds—and the man who rescues them—begin to draw Heather out of the shell she’s cultivated toward a world of adventure, and maybe even love; at the same time, Cara’s life reels with sudden tragedy, and she wishes only to return to the beach house that had once been her port amidst life’s storms. When Heather refuses to budge from her newfound sanctuary, so begins the unlikeliest of rooming situations. While they start out as strangers, as everything around the women falls apart they learn that the only thing they can really rely on is each other.

And, like the migrating shorebirds that come to the island for the summer, these two women of different generations must rediscover their unique strengths so by summer’s end they, too, can take flight in ways they never imagined possible.

Review
Cara decides to rent out her mother’s beach house on the Isle of Palms. To be honest, she needs the money. Cara and her husband are in debt and need some relief. Heather is an introvert and needs a place to paint for her latest commission.  It’s a win-win situation, until it’s not! 

This is a sequel to The Beach House.   I do recommend reading that one first, just so you can understand Cara and her attachment to the beach house a little better. 

To me, Beach House for Rent is not quite as good as the first book. I had a difficult time relating to Heather. She came off as more spoiled than damaged! She is an introvert(which I totally relate to) but she has major insecurity.  However, I didn’t feel very much empathy for her. I do not know if the writing did not take me there or if it was my hold up…probably me.  She did not get better as the book moved along. 

Just because I didn’t like Heather does not mean I did not like the book. The story develops a major twist and this affects Cara’s life. She moves back into the beach house with Heather. This is where the story becomes what it was meant to be! 

What is it about MAM’s books? They are so calming. It is like coming home. Her settings are so charming and the stories surrounding these settings just keep you coming back for more!


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Before Herring Cove Road, Ruth Goldman and the Nincompoop by Michael Kroft 


Overview

The Amusing and Heartwarming Prequel to the Family Saga Series, Herring Cove Road

With her mother’s death two years before, her father’s recent marriage to a woman she doesn’t get along with, and then finding herself engaged to a man she isn’t even sure she loves, Ruth Goldman has decided to take a year off to discover what she wants in life. It’s the early 1930s, and with a small savings, the support from her much older and life-long best friend (her family’s servant,) and little knowledge of the common world, Ruth sets off to Cambridge, England, where she will meet some ‘different’ characters, learn what life is like for a single, independent working woman during the depression and befriend a young man who makes up for his lack of looks with his wit, amusing idiosyncrasies and his love for practical jokes.

On her adventure of self-discovery, Ruth will find more than she ever expected. Unbeknownst to her, a secret hides within her family that will eventually enlighten her to herself and to her past and permanently change the direction of her future.

ABOUT THE SERIES

The Prequel to the unique, evocative and not-so-nuclear family saga series called Herring Cove Road where a small group of troubled individuals, dealing with their own personal issues, accidentally come together to form a family unit, and then while struggling to maintain it, are forced to deal with its dark results, such as: racism, death, murder, suicide and much more.

Taking place primarily in the 70’s, with believable characters and mostly situated in several areas of Halifax, Nova Scotia, the series chronicles the actions (and their results) of an old and introverted Jewish man, his doting and take-charge wife, a young and struggling single mother, her naive and lonely son, and a boy streetwise beyond his years.

Volume 1) On Herring Cove Road: Mr. Jew and the Goy Boy

Volume 2) Still on Herring Cove Road: Hickory, Dickory, Death

Volume 3) Off Herring Cove Road: The Problem Being Blue

Volume 4) Before Herring Cove Road: Ruth Goldman and the Nincompoop (A Love Story) 

Review

 I do not read too many series because I get tired of the same ole same ole!  This series has something different in every book. Here is my review for Volume 1. It is by far my favorite. However, this is my second favorite in the series. 

I adore Avriel. He is the perfect Nincompoop. His love for Ruth comes through loud and clear. He always “has her back”. His personality oozes off the page and he is the perfect match for Ruth.  It just takes her a little while to see it. 

Ruth is such a strong woman. She goes against the grain to be different, especially in this time period where women stayed home and had babies. Ruth is determined to make her own way.  She moves  away from home and finds a job. Granted it is a job, which she finds out later, instigated by her father.  You need to read the book to see how she reacts! 

These two are perfect for each other. Their love for each other overcomes their flaws. This is a wholesome, heartwarming series with wonderful characters. Like I said…. I just love Avriel! 

I received this novel from the author for a honest review. 



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Dating You Hating You by Christina Lauren #XOXperts


Overview

All’s fair in love and work. The first standalone romance by New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (Beautiful Bastard) is a sexy, compulsively readable romantic comedy that dives headlong into the thrill and doubt of modern love.

Despite the odds against them from an embarrassing meet-awkward at a mutual friend’s Halloween party, Carter and Evie immediately hit it off. Even the realization that they’re both high-powered agents at competing firms in Hollywood isn’t enough to squash the fire.

But when their two agencies merge—causing the pair to vie for the same position—all bets are off. What could have been a beautiful, blossoming romance turns into an all-out war of sabotage. Carter and Evie are both thirtysomething professionals—so why can’t they act like it?

Can Carter stop trying to please everyone and see how their mutual boss is really playing the game? Can Evie put aside her competitive nature long enough to figure out what she really wants in life? Can their actor clients just be something close to human? Whether these two Hollywood love/hatebirds get the storybook Hollywood ending or just a dramedy of epic proportions, you will get to enjoy Christina Lauren’s heartfelt, raucous, and hilarious romance style at its finest.

Review

Evie and Carter meet at a party. Well, maybe they are “set up” at a party.   Their relationship starts out with great promise.   Then their companies merge.  The competition and sexual tension begin to OOZE and turns them into 7th graders on steroids! 

Evie and Carter have exceptional chemistry….OOOOOOOOLALA!! I just swoon every time Carter walks into a room! He is smart, hard working and down right FINE! Their relationship takes a turn and they just cannot stop themselves from niggling each other..in more ways than one. They are competing for the same job. This puts them in a do or die mode. Plus, their boss, Brad is a real (ok, I will try not to curse) “piece of work” (insert your own expletive).  You have to read the book to find out how sexist,  condescending and criminal Brad really is. 

This is childish in some places, especially when Carter and Evie are in the midst of their petty backstabbing. But, this just adds to the fun experience of reading this story.  This is a joyous, laugh out loud,  HOT AND STEAMY ride. 

I received this novel from Simon and Schuster as part of XOXPERTS


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