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One hundred more miles until I am the new Avery, the woman I’ve always wanted to be but was too afraid of. One hundred more miles until I’m a brand-new woman without a past to haunt her, without pitying stares and questioning looks. One hundred miles until I can shake off this coat of expectations and social requirements for my life. One hundred miles until I break out of the perfect square constructed for my life. One hundred miles until I start fresh with new people, with a new town, with a new life. Only Henry knows where I’ve been, and I don’t think he’s telling anyone anything.
And the first thing I vow to myself in this new version of life?
I won’t let a man change that again. I won’t let a man control me, own my heart. I’ll live for myself this time, wild and free, a girl of the unpredictable wind.
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The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I read The Beach House years ago and fell in love with Jane Green's writing charm and witty humor. I loved how she delved into deep issues fearlessly but with a sense of lightheartedness that made for great reading.
Jane Green's The Sunshine Sisters did not disappoint. It had that same feel as The Beach House, which was a great thing. The story follows the Sunshine family through the decades. In many ways, it is a family saga, but it is also about how the past can impact our identities.
Ronni Sunshine was a famous actress. However, she was never quite at the top of the Hollywood circuit. She was always just on the cusp of true, undeniable, life-altering fame. Because of this, she spent most of her life chasing that fame, resulting in a loss of connection with her three daughters. Through the years, the three daughters, Lizzy, Nell, and Meredith, are impacted by their mom's attitude and character.
The book is set at the end of Ronni's life, when she realizes how many mistakes she's made. She comes to regret the fact she hasn't been there for her daughters and that her daughters aren't close anymore. Deciding she still has time to make things right, she sets out on an impossible task: she wants to bring her family back together.
The book tells the family's story through the decades, giving us glimpses into their dynamic through the years. I love how each sister is very different and finds her own path in life. Each sister has her own successes and her own challenges. The three sisters have complex lives that are far from perfect, which made the book exciting to read. I love how there were so many different viewpoints and stories happening within the story.
I also love the deep themes that run through the book. Jane Green touches upon identity, family, loyalty, regret, and so many other human emotions in this book. I think every woman can relate to several pieces of this family's puzzle, which makes it a truly unique novel. It captures so much of the modern woman's struggle in a way that isn't in-your-face. It doesn't feel like a lecture; Jane Green's writing allows the reader to come to their own conclusion about the theme and about life itself.
I love the lighthearted moments that break up the novel. Lizzy was my favorite character by far. I found her to be the most human and the most exciting. I love the entire premise for the novel and found it to be very addicting. I also felt like I left the novel with many thinks to think about. This is definitely a book you could read several times because there are just so many themes running through it.
The only thing I disliked was the tense. The book is told in third person, and I found during the earlier segments of the book, the present tense felt awkward. I'm not sure if this was just me or because I've read a lot of books in past tense. I just found myself being thrown from the story. However, when the story got to present day, it made more sense.
Overall, Jane Green's newest book is a must read for the summer and really for anytime. I like that the cover captures the feeling and main plot of the story perfectly. Above all, I love that Jane Green managed to make me feel something for the Sunshine sisters. Even though I'm an only child, I felt like I could understand the bond of sisterhood, the loyalty of family, and the way it all shapes the women we become.
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Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I picked up Where They Found Her because I was I really liked Reconstructing Amelia and thought I'd give this author another try.
Where They Found Her is a mystery/suspense focused around the discovery of a dead body near a campus in a small town. Molly Sanderson has just moved to the small town of Ridgedale with her husband after he takes a job at the University. Their lives are in turmoil due to personal events, but Molly ends up being assigned the case as a journalist. The story is her chance to restart her career and perhaps get her life back on track.
As Molly gets wrapped up in the mystery in the town, other mysteries begin to surface. By the end of the book, she finds herself completely entwined in numerous situations, all of which complicate her life and career.
I liked Molly's character in the book because she is a broken woman searching for redemption and strength. Readers get to see her emerge and blossom throughout the book from an unsure woman into a confident, strong force. I like her dedication to doing what's right and to finding her way, despite many obstacles.
Like many suspense novels, this book follows numerous characters' perspectives. It was really confusing for a while to keep all of the characters straight, but I like how McCreight seamlessly weaves so many people together in her book. There are many subplots to the novel, and I like how McCreight can keep all of the stories feeling well-developed. I was surprised numerous times in the book as many twists and turns occurred. This book is far from predictable, which I enjoyed.
I did find the middle section of the book to lose my attention and lose the intensity. Nonetheless, the last one hundred pages were absolutely thrilling and made me want to keep reading. I felt the last few pages of the book could have been better developed, but overall, I thought McCreight did a good job at tying up all loose ends.
This book is an exciting, intense read filled with all sorts of questions and horrifying conclusions. It really makes you think about issues of trust, love, and loyalty. I liked the well-rounded characters and the pace of the book at the beginning and end. McCreight is clearly a talented writer, and I look forward to reading more of her works in the future.
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Title: Curves in the Road
Series: Southern Devotion, Book 2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 6, 2017
Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing
Designer: Claire Smith
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Living in Nashville with his daughter, Katelyn, single dad Derrick Collins’s main goal is to provide a good life for his daughter. With no social life to speak of, he knows it’s time for a change. He just needs to find the perfect woman who will complete his happy family. The problem is he’s already met her and let her go.
Mary Jane Evans’s life took a path she could only dream of. Though leaving her home in Nashville meant saying goodbye to childhood friends, family, and the first man she ever loved. Now she has to choose if she will return or continue her new journey.
With a decision to make, is it possible for two lost loves to find their way back to each other or are there too many curves in the road?
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Southern Devotion Series
Book 1 on sale for 99 cents!
Amy McClung was born in Nashville, TN. She is the second oldest of four girls and occasionally suffers from middle-child syndrome. She met the love of her life online in August of 2004, on his birthday of all days, and married him in September 2005.
Currently they have no human children, only the room full of colorful robots that transform into vehicles and the large headed Pop Funkos who represent their favorite characters. Collecting movies, shot glasses, Pop Funkos, and dust bunnies are some of her favorite pastimes.
Amy began writing in September of 2011 and independently published her first YA novel, Cascades of Moonlight, Book one of the Parker Harris series the following May. Her first book was a means of therapy for her, enabling her to escape reality for a while during a difficult transition in her life.
Rafflecopter Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ea80a6ed223/
Sophie Kinsella's must read for the summer
My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
"I think I've finally worked out how to feel good about life. Every time you see someone's bright-and-shiny, remember: They have their own crappy truths too. Of course they do. And every time you see your own crappy truth and feel despair...remember: Everyone's got a bright-and-shiny, even if it's hard to find sometimes."
My Not So Perfect Life is a great summer read or weekend read. It's light and fun but filled with powerful messages that resonate with every woman.
Katie Brenner, a.k.a. Cat, is trying to live her dream life in London. She works in promotion at a top-notch firm in London and is trying to make it work. London, she quickly learns, is a far cry from her rural life, however, and things start to fall apart. When her very condescending, mean girl boss Demeter fires her, Katie's life falls to pieces and she must go back to the life she left behind. Through the course of the novel, however, Katie learns she's not the only one living a not so perfect life.
I love this book because I feel like we've all been Katie at some point. We've tried to climb the ladder, reach for the glam life we see in movies. We've all wanted to chase after dreams of luxury and success. We've also probably tried to be something or someone we're not because of where it could take us. Most of all, like Katie, we've all fallen on our faces at some poitn.
Katie is very easy to like. She's not perfect, even though she tries so hard. She reminds me a little bit of Annie from Bridesmaids who is never quite getting what she wants in life and who is often in the shadow of more powerful women. She's very easy to relate to, and her sense of humor makes her sometimes miserable life feel not so miserable. My favorite scene is where she can't afford a cafe and has to run out to eat her packed sandwich, only to be mistaken as a homeless woman due to her less-than-London coat. Kinsella does a great job at including unique, funny scenes that lighten the mood, despite the fact Katie's down on her luck.
I also love this book because it's about something we all do: Judging. It shows that it's not just the "mean girls" who do the judging. Katie quickly learns how quick she was to judge others, including Demeter, and comes to find everyone has another story. Like Katie, by the end of the novel, we see Demeter in a very different light. It's easy to hate her and make her into a villain in the beginning, but by the end, we realize we are guilty of the very things we fault her for.
Kinsella also did a great job with details in this book. Katie's family starts a glamping business, and Kinsella leaves no detail unattended. I actually felt myself wanting to go see the glamping site because of the great details, down to the handmade soaps with monograms. Kinsella paints a wonderful picture of both London and the rural life, and helps you see the contrast Katie is facing.
Love takes a backseat in this book, and I liked that. Although it is a part of the story, it's not the focal point. Katie's focus is on her career, on her dreams, and on friendship/loyalty. I thought it was refreshing to see these themes at play in a book targeted at women.
Overall, this book is a refreshing read many will relate to. Kinsella steps out of the romantic comedy/chick lit box slightly to offer unique storyline, characters, and plot. I would say this is a must-read for your summer!
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All Books on Sale at Hot Tree
To celebrate World Book Day, Hot Tree Publishing is having a Mega Sale! All titles, including my popular chick lit series Then Comes Love and my latest Who We Were, are on sale! Sale price is reflected once you add to your cart. Right now, To Say Goodbye is only $2. Get your reading on this weekend with a slew of romances from sweet to spicy.
Lindsay Detwiler's 6th full-length novel with HTPubs will be releasing this coming October. You're in for a delicious inked treat!
“Six years, a complex about my freckles, a love for pastrami, and a fear of failure. That’s what he gave me before slaughtering my heart and my faith in men.”
Suffering from the sting of betrayal, twenty-eight-year-old Avery Johannas quits her job and moves hundreds of miles away to Ocean City, the beach town of her dreams. With the help of her zany roommate, Jodie, Avery finds a new career, home, and freedom. Throughout her self-exploration, she makes only one rule: She won’t give her heart to a man again. She’s living for herself this time.
But then she meets Jesse.
A tattoo shop owner, the green-eyed Jesse Pearce is wild with a touch of mystery. As Jesse and Avery explore Ocean City and their friendship, they’ll have a hard time drawing a line in the sand between their hearts.
When summer nights get a little more heated than either expected, they’ll have to ask themselves: Can they let go of their notions of love, or will their hearts be permanently inked by past pain?
Must-Read Romantic Comedy: Who We Were
IT'S LIVE TODAY! GRAB MY SIXTH BOOK, WHO WE WERE, EVERYWHERE!
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“I guess that’s the thing about high school reunions, though. They make you snap a little.”
In the ten years since high school graduation, Maylee’s career, living arrangements, family, and especially her love life are at a standstill. When her twin brother, Mitch, falls for her high school enemy at their ten-year reunion, Maylee’s life is catapulted into chaos.
Maylee’s hatred for the blonde-haired Josephine isn’t the only thing she discovers at her reunion. Benson Drake, the introvert from high school, has matured into a sexy intellect. Now a writer and bartender, Benson’s grown into a man with a perfect balance of quirky wit and sex appeal. After a wardrobe malfunction, a spy mission gone wrong, and a dangerous cup of coffee, Maylee and Benson explore something they never even thought about during senior year. Along the way, they find out that reconnecting with the past can change you… or maybe just help you find your true self.
All links: books2read.com/who-we-were
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2hWxCjg
Amazon UK: www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01MZ0BJPL
Amazon AU: www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01MZ0BJPL
Amazon CA: www.amazon.ca/dp/B01MZ0BJPL
***Part I of Simply Love: Welcome to Maplewood is available HERE***
“Oh dear, Tyrion doesn’t like to have his belly scratched,” Gram says, pulling her floral robe a little tighter in the cool morning air that is filling the house.
My hand is already bleeding from the crazy cat’s wild scratching and biting, his growls only punctuating his frustration. “I’m getting the idea he might not like to be pet at all,” I say, finally wrangling my hand back and standing up, my black leggings covered in white cat hair just from rubbing against him. So much for my favorite color to wear being black.
“How did you sleep, dear?” Gram is shuffling her feet in her hot pink slippers, her walker grinding into the carpet as she moves toward the kitchen.
“Great,” I lie as I head over to the coffee machine. I struggle to remember how to even make coffee in this ancient coffeemaker, making a mental note to put a Keurig on my list of things to buy as I attempt to open the foreign contraption.
In truth, I barely slept a minute, or at least that’s what the bags under my eyes seem to suggest. The mattress in the guestroom is probably circa 1950, and the yellow floral wallpaper just sort of gives me the creeps, even in the darkness. Perhaps its Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” or an overactive imagination, but I just feel like it’s watching me.
Still, I know things are hard enough on Gram. Going to bed alone, missing Grandpa—I can’t even dream of complaining. She’s done all she can in her condition to make my move comfortable, opening her home to me as best as she can.
I struggle with the measuring and pouring of the coffee for a while, hoping the liquid that comes out of the appliance won't be too tar-like. Here's to hoping.
Despite the peeling wallpaper, the bed, and the lack of modern appliances, I sit at the wooden table in the kitchen thinking about how warm I feel inside. To be in this cozy kitchen, gram trudging to the table with her cane in her right hand—it feels right.
This is where I need to be.
“So, what do you have planned today?”
“Well, I don’t have a Skype call until Thursday with Whitney,” I say.
I smile, shaking my head as I sloppily put my hair into a ponytail. “A call with work. I don’t have to call them until Thursday.”
“I do worry about your career with this move. I’m so glad to have you here. But I hate to see your dreams on hold.”
“Gram, I can design anywhere. Nothing is on hold.”
She smiles, taking a seat beside me as she pats my hand. “I don’t ever want to come between you and your dreams.”
The look in her eyes says she means it. It makes my heart swell even more to know she cares about me. I didn’t realize in New York how much I missed that, the connection of family.
“Thanks, Gram. Love you.”
“So you still didn’t answer me. What are you doing today?”
“Well, I need to run a few errands maybe. Pick up a few things to settle in. Do you want to get lunch?”
“No, honey. You take some time to explore on your own. Look around, see what Maplewood has to offer. You need to check out the young crowd.”
I laugh at the way the last words fly off her tongue like a foreign phrase. “Well, then maybe I’ll get us some takeout for lunch? I wouldn’t mind catching up on some soap operas you know.”
Grandma is a sucker for soap operas, or the “stories” as she calls them. She’s got a thing for quite a few of the actors.
“Oh, yes. Lovely! Your grandpa always made fun of me for watching them. It’ll be so great to have someone to share them with. You know, there’s a new Ricky on the stories and let me tell you, he’s something to look at.” She winks, and I shake my head.
“Always scoping out the men, huh Gram?”
“Hey, I might be old, but I’m not blind. A girl’s gotta get her looks in while she still can. Speaking of which, don’t you worry, Cadence. There are plenty of lookers in town here.”
I sigh. “Gram, don’t get any ideas. I don’t need you trying to set me up with anyone.”
She puts her hands in the air. “I’m just saying. My beautician Belinda has a grandson, and he’s not bad on the eyes.”
“Well, I’ll keep that in mind as I explore the town today,” I say, mostly just to appease her. She smiles as if pleased with herself.
“It’s about time you find yourself a nice young man, Cadence. Someone to share life with.”
“We’ll see, Gram.” I don’t have the heart to tell her that at my age, a nice young man isn’t exactly on my list. Give me some hot one night stands, give me a few fun nights out, and I’m happy. I don’t need a ring to make me happy. In fact, on the contrary. I’m doing just fine on my own, my career keeping me busy.
I know Gram’s from a different generation, though. A generation of commitment and settling down, of love being the answer. I don’t have the heart to tell her that’s not what I have in mind. Plus, I don't exactly want to explain the concept of a one-night stand to dear old Gram. She watches enough soap operas to know, but still--there are some things grandmas just don't need to hear from their granddaugthers.
Not that I’m against love or marriage. Someday maybe I’ll take that step. It’s just right now, I’m not ready to settle down, to let love take over.
I break out of my introspection, heading over to grab a cup of coffee for each of us. We spend the next hour talking about everything from the storyline of the soap operas to the weather to my job. Gram, although still in mourning, seems happy. It makes me feel good.
After I change out of my leggings and touch-up my makeup, I decide to head out. Gram lets me borrow her car, an ancient station wagon. I make a mental note that procuring a car is also going to be on my ever growing list of to-dos.
Uprooting your life isn’t quite as easy as I thought it would be. Once I finally get the thing to clink to a start, I back down the driveway, carefully watching the rearview mirror. It’s been so long since I’ve driven, the taxis in New York City and the subway substituting for driving most days. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I’ve actually been behind the wheel.
It’s not as if I’m driving in New York City traffic, though. There’s not a single car in sight for miles. I guess if I need to get reacquainted with driving, this is the place to do it.
I ease my way back down the driveway, momentarily getting hung-up in the mirror on my wonky eyebrow. When was the last time I had those things waxed? I think to myself.
And then crash, crunch, boom. I’m no longer looking at my eyebrow but slamming on the break, hoping to stop the crunching metal feeling before it’s too late.
But it’s way too late. The damage has been done. I exhale loudly, wondering if this whole moving thing was such a good idea after all. Because right now, looking at the crunched mailbox underneath the tire of the equally crunched up station wagon, I wonder what the hell kind of message the universe could possibly be sending me.
***To be continued***
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