The Comedown by Rebekah Frumkin

Overview

A dazzling epic that follows two very different families in Cleveland across generations, beginning with their patriarchs, who become irrevocably intertwined one fateful night

A blistering dark comedy, The Comedown is a romp across America, from the Kent State shootings to protest marches in Chicago to the Florida Everglades, that explores delineating lines of race, class, religion, and time.

Scrappy, street-smart drug dealer Reggie Marshall has never liked the simpering addict Leland Bloom-Mittwoch, which doesn’t stop Leland from looking up to Reggie with puppy-esque devotion. But when a drug deal goes dramatically, tragically wrong and a suitcase (which may or may not contain a quarter of a million dollars) disappears, the two men and their families become hopelessly entangled. It’s a mistake that sets in motion a series of events that are odd, captivating, suspenseful, and ultimately inevitable.

Both incendiary and earnest, The Comedown steadfastly catalogs the tangled messes the characters make of their lives, never losing sight of the beauty and power of each family member’s capacity for love, be it for money, drugs, or each other.

Review

Well, I have to say, this book is unique. The tale basically revolves around a suitcase and what it may, or may not, contain. So, of course, every character wants this suitcase. A drug deal, which went horribly wrong, sets off a series of events and this entangles two men and their families for years.

There are too many characters in this novel and it makes it hard to keep up with who is what and what is who! And sometimes I felt the author would go off on a tangent which really didn’t have much to do with what is actually going on. Now, that the negatives are out of the way…I enjoyed the dark humor and the creativity which runs throughout this story. It is an entertaining and a different story. I cannot wait to see what this author comes up with next.

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

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Beach House Reunion by Mary Alice Monroe

Overview

Whisking you back to the shores of her bestselling Beach House series, Mary Alice Monroe weaves together a tale of the struggles and triumphs of the historic Rutledge family of Charleston, South Carolina. Beautifully wrought and rich with keen insight, this is an illuminating tale of new beginnings, resilience, and one family’s enduring love

Cara Rutledge returns to her Southern home on the idyllic Isle of Palms. Everything is comfortingly the same, yet each detail is rife with painful memories. Only through reconnecting with family, friends, and the rhythms of the lowcountry can Cara release the hold of the past and open herself to the possibility of a new love, career, and hope for the future.

Meanwhile, her niece Linnea, a recent college graduate who doesn’t know where her life will take her, leaves her historic home in Charleston, with all its entitlement and expectations, and heads to her aunt’s beach house. On the island, she is part of the freer, natural ocean lifestyle she loves, rejoining the turtle team, learning to surf, and falling in love. Remembering the lessons of her beloved grandmother, Lovie, the original “turtle lady,” Linnea rediscovers a meaningful purpose to her life and finds the courage she needs to break from tradition

In this heartwarming novel, three generations of the Rutledge family gather together to find the strength, love, and commitment to break destructive family patterns and to forge new bonds that will endure long beyond one summer reunion.

Review

Linnea has just graduated college. She cannot find a job so she takes a job as a nanny for Cara. It is perfect for her. She gets to live in the beach house and surf every day, and who doesn’t want to do that! Little does she know the family business is in ruins because of bad business deals made by her father. And her brother is about to make some terrible choices which could cost him his life.

I love Linnea and her ability to stand up for what she wants and what she needs. Every family has expectations and Linnea’s is no different. Her father wants her to do something different with her life and he also expects her brother to go to the Citadel plus go into the family business. These expectations rock this family to its core!

No one does a southern family beach read like Mary Alice Monroe. This one does not disappoint. Reading this book is like visiting with old friends and family. Just takes you home, home to the beach, shrimp and grits and of course, the sea turtles.

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

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How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

Overview

From the author of Happiness for Beginners comes an unforgettable love story about finding joy even in the darkest of circumstances.

Margaret Jacobsen has a bright future ahead of her: a fiancé she adores, her dream job, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in one tumultuous moment.

In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Margaret must figure out how to move forward on her own terms while facing long-held family secrets, devastating heartbreak, and the idea that love might find her in the last place she would ever expect.

How to Walk Away is Katherine Center at her very best: an utterly charming, hopeful, and romantic novel that will capture reader’s hearts with every page.

Review

This book is more than a love story. It is about courage, strength and overcoming all which life throws your way. And believe me, Margaret has just taken a huge hit. She has just been in a plane crash. And yes she survived, but her back and her life as she knew it, did not.

There is a double meaning in the title of this book. Margaret has been paralyzed, so she can’t just “walk” away. But she learns to deal with walking away from all she knew and discovering the new path her life is now headed.

I love this book! I love Margaret and her family, especially her sister, Kitty. Kitty is a straight shooter, rough around the edges and she definitely has her sister’s back plus, she has her own little story line through out this read. Then, there is Margaret and Ian, her Scottish physical therapist. These two have a chemistry not to be ignored. I enjoyed the way the author intertwined all these story lines. There are several running through this read and they all intersect to create a sad, courageous, love-filled tale.

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

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The Optimist’s Guide to Letting Go by Amy E. Reichert

Overview

Grilled G’s Gourmet Food Truck is where chef, owner, obsessive list-maker, and recent widow Gina Zoberski finds the order and comfort she needs to struggle through each day, especially when confronted with her critical mother Lorraine and sullen daughter May.

Image-conscious Lorraine always knows best and expects her family to live up to her high expectations, no matter what. May just wants to be left alone to mourn her father in her own way. Gina always aims to please, but finds that her relentlessly sunny disposition annoys both her mother and her daughter, no matter how hard she tries.

But when Lorraine suffers a sudden stroke, Gina stumbles upon a family secret Lorraine’s kept hidden for forty years. In the face of her mother’s failing health and her daughter’s rebellion, this optimist might find that piecing together the truth is the push she needs to let go.

Review

Gina finds her mother in the floor after a stroke. After the frantic rush to the hospital, Gina is going through her mother’s papers. She finds a picture of her mother with a strange man. “What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”

Gina is a hard-working mom. She is trying to overcome her husband’s recent death and to basically survive in her life. She finds her mother incapacitated, then her daughter in a compromising position with a boy, she is about done! Then, on top of all this, she realizes her mother is harboring a secret. But like most strong women, she does not give up.

I fluctuated between 4 and 5 stars. I settled on 5 because this book dang near made me cry…TWICE. Plus, Gina is one of my favorite type characters….strong woman! This is a powerful novel about surviving death, overcoming hardships and accepting family for who they are.

This is the best Amy Reichert has ever written and I have read them all.

I received this novel from Netgalley for a honest review.

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My Ex-Life by Stephen McCauley

Overview

The time for Stephen McCauley’s breakout novel has come and My Ex-Life is it in a major way. A delicious novel for fans of Tom Perrotta, Maria Semple, and Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney about how sometimes the only way to move forward is to go back.

David Hedges’s life is coming apart at the seams. His job helping San Francisco rich kids get into the colleges of their (parents’) choice is exasperating; his younger boyfriend has left him; and the beloved carriage house he rents is being sold. His solace is a Thai takeout joint that delivers 24/7.

The last person he expects to hear from is Julie Fiske. It’s been decades since they’ve spoken, and he’s relieved to hear she’s recovered from her brief, misguided first marriage. To him.

Julie definitely doesn’t have a problem with marijuana (she’s given it up completely, so it doesn’t matter if she gets stoned almost daily) and the Airbnb she’s running out of her seaside house north of Boston is neither shabby nor illegal. And she has two whole months to come up with the money to buy said house from her second husband before their divorce is finalized. She’d just like David’s help organizing college plans for her 17-year-old daughter.

That would be Mandy. To quote Barry Manilow, Oh Mandy. While she knows she’s smarter than most of the kids in her school, she can’t figure out why she’s making so many incredibly dumb and increasingly dangerous choices?

When David flies east, they find themselves living under the same roof (one David needs to repair). David and Julie pick up exactly where they left off thirty years ago―they’re still best friends who can finish each other’s sentences. But there’s one broken bit between them that no amount of home renovations will fix.

In prose filled with hilarious and heartbreakingly accurate one-liners, Stephen McCauley has written a novel that examines how we define home, family, and love. Be prepared to laugh, shed a few tears, and have thoughts of your own ex-life triggered. (Throw pillows optional.)

Review

David is all alone now. His lover has left him, he has gained weight and just seems to have lost all traction where is life is concerned. Then enters Julie…his EX-WIFE. David and Julie have always had a great relationship, even when their marriage ended. David was more than happy to fly east and lend a helping hand. Julie is going through a divorce. Her only child is about to go to college. He husband wants to sell her house out from under her. Needless to say, her life is falling apart. But, David is there to prop her up.

This is a tale basically about a good, strong friendship. I did find the characters a little whiney, especially at the beginning. This does level off as the story goes along and they become stronger through each other. The plot is thin and needs a good bit more action. However, I still enjoyed the tale.

The one-liner jabs through out this novel are a hoot! And Julie smoking pot…and quitting…but finding her hidden joints and smoking again, made me laugh out loud.

All in all not a bad story and life, friendship and getting the job done!

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

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Damned if I Don’t by Ant Richards – SPOTLIGHT

Overview

DAMNED IF I DO

Recovering unexpectedly after a long illness can be hard to accept.  A painful decision made over a decade ago eventually has its consequences.  A life-changing opportunity missed can lead to bitter disappointment.  Settling old scores can mean having to make brave choices.  Love sometimes requires brutal compromises.  You never appreciate what you have, until it gets you arrested.  Memory loss and a missing mobile phone, what can possibly go wrong?

DAMNED IF I DON’T

These seven tales will take you on a tour of the human psyche, showing you both sides of that old adage.  Buckle up and prepare for a bumpy ride as life, friendship, love, loyalty, passion, revenge and fear meet at every twist and turn resulting in the difference between opportunity and regret.  Where would you turn at that fork in the road?  Do you follow your heart and make a deal with the Devil, or play it safe and just take the high road?

About the Author

Ant Richards was born in St Mary Abbotts Hospital in Kensington, London, but spent the formative part of his life in Caracas, Venezuela.  After finishing High School he trained as a recording engineer, working in leading dubbing and voice-over studios in his adopted hometown.

In the mid-nineties Ant returned to his native London where he ended up working in the travel industry.  Here he was able to indulge in his other passion; travelling.  At the same time, the dormant writing talent in him began to flourish.  He started as a travel writer, reviewing destinations, accommodation, flights, always adding his personal writing style to make his stories more enticing, appealing and entertaining.

It was only a matter of time before he seriously considered writing his fist novel.  His first, self-published novel, In Your Dreams was released in mid-2014.  This was followed at the end of 2017 by his current release, Damned If I Don’t.

Ant currently lives in South East London with his family.

Excerpt

DAMNED IF I DON’T

While wrecking my brains trying to complete what would become my debut novel IN YOUR DREAMS, finding the time, the inspiration, and basically, the will to continue writing, I came across with loose ideas to add to the storyline.

As it sometimes happen, they didn’t necessarily fit in with the original story I was working on, but after discarding a few ideas, I decided to keep some of them as they came along in my head. At the time, I had joined Wattpad, and then it occurred to me that it would be a good idea to turn these loose ideas into short stories. That way, besides being a good writing exercise, and a way to churn out more ideas to add to IYD, it could be a good way to showcase my writing to other Wattpad members, and start growing an audience in preparation for my first book’s release.

IYD was released in July 2014, and in between trying to market that title and life getting in the way, I continued developing these short stories. I must have had three or four by that time.

I then decided that this collection of tales could be my second release.

Working on these short stories I believe really helped develop my writing style, and taught me that there was no need for clever, complicated words to convey an entertaining and easy to understand message. It was a great learning curve that taught me that simple is usually more effective.

I explore various different genres with these stories, always however, keeping a few common aspects. In each story, irrespective of its genre, there is an element of dark humour, regret, false hope at times, but ultimately, a moment of lost opportunity. Oh, and the South East London element of some of my characters or locations. DAMNED IF I DON’T therefore, became a fitting title for these tales.

Life is a journey of opportunities, decisions, and tests. The means and tools are scattered throughout our life and it’s up to us to decide which we use or which we ditch. More often than not, we will decide on the outcome depending on what choices we make and what risks we take.

So, if you love short tales packed with romance, suspense, dramas, southeast London gangsters, speakeasies in Spanish beach towns, bad decisions, even worse behaviour, a ruthless enforcer and a missing cell phone then you shouldn’t miss reading DAMNED IF I DON’T. After all, what can possibly go wrong?

It’s available on Amazon in e-book and paperback format.

But hurry, you won’t always get a second chance

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Water color card

Good morning! Today I am sharing a card I completed for Mother’s Day or a Birthday. I used Art Impressions Video. Honestly, it took no time at all to create this! I am kind of new to this watercoloring thing….so I will Get better. I used die cuts to cut and emboss the actual card. The paper is SEI from my stash.

Thanks for stopping by!

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