Pre-Release Review and Bonus Offer! LOST AND FOUND SISTERS by Jill Shalvis (Wildstone #1)

From New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis comes her first women’s fiction novel—an unforgettable story of friendship, love, family, and sisterhood—perfect for fans of Colleen Hoover, Susan Mallery, and Kristan Higgins. Order your copy today!

 

They say life can change in an instant…

After losing her sister in a devastating car accident, chef Quinn Weller is finally getting her life back on track. She appears to have it all: a loving family, a dream job in one of L.A.’s hottest eateries, and a gorgeous boyfriend dying to slip an engagement ring on her finger. So why does she feel so empty, like she’s looking for a missing piece she can’t find?

The answer comes when a lawyer tracks down Quinn and reveals a bombshell secret and a mysterious inheritance that only she can claim. This shocking revelation washes over Quinn like a tidal wave. Her whole life has been a lie.

On impulse, Quinn gives up her job, home, and boyfriend. She heads up the coast to the small hometown of Wildstone, California, which is just a few hours north, but feels worlds apart from Los Angeles. Though she doesn’t quite fit in right away, she can’t help but be drawn to the town’s simple pleasures…and the handsome, dark-haired stranger who offers friendship with no questions asked.

As Quinn settles into Wildstone, she discovers there’s another surprise in store for her. The inheritance isn’t a house or money, but rather something earth shattering, something that will make her question everything she thought she knew about herself, about her family. Now with a world of possibilities opening up to Quinn, she must decide if this new life is the one she was always meant to have—and the one that could finally give her the fulfillment she’s searched so long for.

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Excerpt:

To say that Tilly had had a bad day, a bad week, a bad month was an understatement. But as she stared down from the tree house, looking into a face that so resembled her own, somehow, in spite of not being able to breathe, she managed to find her voice. “I don’t need you,” she said, hating that she sounded thin and quivery, like she’d been crying.

She had not been crying.

At least not that she would admit to.

She hadn’t been in the tree house in a while. Not since she’d gone through a rough patch at school when the girls had been bitches and the teachers jerks, and her mom had been on her about her grades, and all she’d wanted to do was make herself invisible. But no matter how much she’d wished for superpowers, including invisibility, they’d never come.

So she came here to vanish. The tree itself was tall and stable, and it always protected her. She’d named it Kevin.

Kevin had come through for her more than anyone else, with the exception of her mom.

The first time she’d sat up here, her mom had freaked out and called the cops to report her missing. When they’d found her, her mom had gotten a ladder and climbed up to the tree house, and with tears in her eyes she’d said, “Don’t fly away from me yet, darling, I’m not ready.”

After that, Tilly always had told her mom whenever she’d needed to be invisible and her mom had understood.

But now she was gone. There’d been no one left to give a shit if she disappeared or not. Especially not Quinn, a mysterious sister she hadn’t even known about. “I don’t need you,” she repeated.

“Well, that’s fair,” Quinn said. “I don’t like to need anyone either. You going to come down so we can talk?”

“No.”

“Is there a ladder?”

“It rotted.”

“Okay then.” And to Tilly’s shock, Quinn inhaled deeply and then began to climb the tree herself. “Yikes, they’re some seriously gigantor ants.”

“And killer squirrels,” Tilly said.

Maybe two whole feet off the ground, Quinn froze, looking terrified. “Killer squirrels?”

“They throw acorns with deadly accuracy,” Tilly said. “And the kamikaze blue jays are vicious, so watch out.”

Quinn searched the tree with concern, making Tilly laugh for the first time in a long time. “Are you afraid of squirrels and blue jays?”

“Of course not,” Quinn said. “I’m afraid of killer squirrels and kamikaze blue jays. In fact, there’s a squirrel starting at me right now with beady, shifty little eyes.”

“City girl.”

Review:

Loved this one!

Lost and Found Sisters is chock-full of wonderful characters–even if at first glance they don’t seem all that wonderful 😉 Ms. Shalvis does a fantastic job (as usual) of giving us flawed characters and making us love them, warts and all.

Quinn’s had her life thrown for a loop–she still is very clearly not remotely close to being over her younger sister’s death two years earlier, when she finds out that 1) she was adopted 2) her birth mother has just died and 3) she has a younger sister, who up to this point was raised by the mother who gave Quinn away. As much as I loved Quinn’s inner (and outer!) snark–Tilly, Mick, and Lena were especially adept at bringing her skills to the fore–I’ll admit I wanted her to get over her resentment at her birth mother much quicker than she does, but her inability to do so gave her yet another way that she had to grow, to get over herself and her fears and preconceived ideas so she could get to her own HEA.

Tilly, Tilly, Tilly–where do I start with Tilly? I love her and feel Quinn’s frustration with her, all at the same time. Oh, that girl–both wise beyond her years, and as young and uncertain as every other fifteen-year-old girl out there. Even though she would have hated it, I just wanted to hug that girl every time she showed up on the page. Well, maybe 50-75% of those times I might have wanted to give her a good shake first…but then a hug, definitely. A good 90% of my highlights in this book–and there are a good many highlights in my digital copy–are from the excerpts of Tilly’s journal that start each chapter. OMG, that girl.

Mick is a fantastic character, with a scary bug removing prowess that is so important to any true hero. He’s almost too perfect here–denying that he feels any pull at all to the hometown he’s left in the dust is pretty much his only flaw–but still, I loved him and all the support he gave Quinn along the way.

Lena starts the story off as the worst kind of you-know-what, but by the end of the story I was praying that she’d get her own book. Surely she will, yes? And Boomer? Skye? Even Cliff, the HP lookalike lawyer? All worthy of their own books 🙂

The animals in this book, of course, were also all stars in their own way–Coop, Tink, those chickens, heck, even those scary bugs–the story wouldn’t be the same without them! Two thumbs way, way, up!

In short, I loved my first visit to Wildstone, and absolutely cannot wait until Ms. Shalvis takes me back for another visit. Fingers crossed that it will be soon… 😉

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

ADD LOST AND FOUND SISTERS TO YOUR GOODREADS


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Simply enter your order number OR upload a screenshot of your proof of purchase. Entries must be received by June 25th and you will receive content via email on June 27th!

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About Jill Shalvis:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s sexy contemporary and award-winning books wherever romances are sold and click on the blog button above for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

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Jill Shalvis’s LOST AND FOUND SISTERS – Review & Excerpt Schedule:

June 12th

East Coast Book Chicks – Review & Excerpt

Fictional Rendezvous Book Blog – Excerpt

I Love Romance – Review & Excerpt

Lucky 13 book reviews and news – Excerpt

June 13th

Adventures in Writing – Excerpt

Book Angel Booktopia – Review & Excerpt

Cocktails and Books – Review & Excerpt

Melena’s Reviews – Review & Excerpt

The Book Hammock – Review & Excerpt

June 14th

Aly’s Miscellany – Excerpt

Books,Dreams,Life – Excerpt

Coffee Books Life – Excerpt

She Reads too Much Romance – Review

The Readdicts – Review & Excerpt

June 15th

Crystal’s Chaotic Confessions – Excerpt

Debbie’s World of Books – Review & Excerpt

Ramblings From This Chick – Excerpt

Red Hot + Blue Reads – Review & Excerpt

Shannon’s Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

June 16th

A Literary Perusal – Review & Excerpt

Brittany’s Book Blog – Excerpt

I Smell Sheep – Review & Excerpt

Reads & Reviews – Excerpt

June 17th

Bookishly Yours – Review & Excerpt

Lover of Big Books Cannot Lie – Review & Excerpt

Romantic Reads and Such – Excerpt

Two Girls with Books – Review

June 18th

A geordielass honest blog on reviews – Review

Nicole’s Book Musings – Excerpt

Robinson Reviews – Review

Those Crazy Book Chicks – Review & Excerpt

With Love for Books – Review

June 19th

Becky on Books – Review & Excerpt

BooksPieAndCoffee – Review

IrishdaisylovesRomance – Review & Excerpt

JOJO THE BOOKAHOLIC – Review & Excerpt

Writing My Own Fairy Tale – Review & Excerpt

June 20th

Marieke’s Books – Review & Excerpt

Reviews from the Heart – Review & Excerpt

Sascha Darlington’s Microcosm Explored – Review & Excerpt

Thoughts of a Blonde – Review & Excerpt

Two Book Pushers – Review & Excerpt

June 21st

AC Squared Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Babbling about books and more – Excerpt

Literary Gossip – Excerpt

Love’s A State Of Mind – Review

June 22nd

Books 2 Blog – Review & Excerpt

Cara’s Book Boudoir – Review & Excerpt

I’m A Book Shark – Review & Excerpt

Love Affair With Fiction – Review & Excerpt

What Is That Book About – Excerpt

June 23rd

Book and Tequila – Review & Excerpt

Once Upon A Page – Review & Excerpt

Reading To Unwind – Review & Excerpt

Sweet Red Reads – Review & Excerpt

Talking Books Blog – Excerpt

June 24th

G & T’s Indie Café – Excerpt

Reading Between the Wines Book Club – Excerpt

Red’s Romance Review’s – Review & Excerpt

Renee Entress’s Blog – Review & Excerpt

TjLovesToRead – Review

Tour Grand Finale and Giveaway! TANGLE OF STRINGS by Ashley Farley (Sweeney Sisters #4)


On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Book Tour Grand Finale for
Tangle of Strings
By Ashley Farley

We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops, go back and check them out now…

Launch – Note from the Author

I hope you’ll enjoy reading about the Sweeney sisters as much I’ve enjoyed writing about them. They are real women faced with everyday challenges, struggling to balance the demands of career and home while remaining true to themselves.

Reading Is My SuperPower – Spotlight

Katie’s Clean Book Collection – Excerpt

Annie checked the clock on the dashboard. She had eight minutes to change into her work clothes, grab a snack, and still be on time for her after-school job at Captain Sweeney’s Seafood Market. She turned off the main road and zoomed down the wooded driveway toward the house. When she rounded the last bend, she saw Heidi leaning against the hood of her vintage turquoise Mustang.

Christy’s Cozy Corners – Excerpt

Annie glared at her. “You gave up the right to call me honey, or any other term of endearment for that matter, when you abandoned me.” She tried to brush past Heidi, but she grabbed her by the arm.

Mel’s Shelves – Excerpt

Annie yanked her arm away. “The decision was right for you at the time. A very selfish decision, I might add. You took off to Hollywood to chase your dreams of becoming a big movie star, and left me with a man who didn’t know how to scramble an egg or balance his checkbook, let alone raise a little girl.”

Zerina Blossom’s Books – Excerpt

Annie stalked off toward her car, but Heidi teetered after her on spiked-heel booties. “You and I were getting along so well together back in December, before you found out who I was. We were becoming friends. We share so many things in common. I know we can build a life together based on that friendship. You can come live with me. I recently signed a lease on the second-floor apartment in a newly renovated old home down on Broad Street, on the Battery. I think you’ll like it. I even have an extra bedroom for you.”

Mythical Books – Excerpt

“I’m not your baby! You abandoned your baby sixteen years ago.” Shoving Heidi out of the way, Annie jumped into her car and struggled to fasten her seat belt. As she shot off down the driveway, she watched her mother slowly disappear in the rearview mirror. She careened onto Creekside Drive with barely a glance in either direction. Tears blurring her vision, she smacked her palms against the steering wheel. “Ugh! I hate her!”

Falling Leaves – Excerpt

He engaged his blue lights, preparing to pull her over, when the accident happened. Tires screeched and a horn blasted as the minivan swerved into Annie’s lane. The sounds of metal crunching and glass shattering filled the air as her Honda hit the front end of the minivan, bounced off the curb, flipped over, and landed on its roof.

Nicole’s Book Musings – Excerpt

“Come here, you.” He pulled Sam from her chair and held her at arm’s length, taking her in from the top of her cropped blonde head to her dark-washed jeans and the pointy toes of her cowboy boots, relieved to see she hadn’t changed since breakfast. Sensing the worry behind her deep blue eyes, he wrapped his arms around her slight frame and buried his face in the soft spot at the crook of her neck. “You never know when you wake up in the morning what the day will bring.”

Buried Under Books – Review

“Tangle of Strings is another fine episode in Ms. Farley’s engaging series but I do suggest the series be read in order because each book builds on the one before and it’s the best way to fully understand the Sweeneys and other people in their lives. I’m sorry to say this appears to be the end of the Sweeney family saga but Ms. Farley has at least left us with the possibility of future installments and I’ll be very happy if that happens.”

And don’t forget to enter the giveaway below…

Tangle of Strings
(Sweeney Sisters #4)
by Ashley Farley
Women’s Fiction, Romance
Paperback & ebook, 240 pages
January 18th 2017

A nearly tragic accident leads to a discovery that rocks the Sweeney family’s world

Some families never resolve conflicts. Not so with the Sweeneys. Their sense of family, their love for one another, and their willingness to forgive have always triumphed and brought them back together. Until now. The latest crisis threatens to tear the family apart and crumble the foundation that has always proved itself rock solid.

At the heart of the matter are sixteen-year-old Annie Bethune and her boyfriend, Cooper. At stake are their dreams for the future. As to these dreams, no one in the family holds back when asserting an opinion.

Annie soon begins to feel like a puppet on strings with all those she loves telling her what to do. When those strings become tangled and a family feud develops, Annie, unable to bear the pressure, runs away. Straight into the arms of danger.

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Tour Schedule

January 22: Reading Is My SuperPower & Katie’s Clean Book Collection
January 23: Christy’s Cozy Corners, Mel’s Shelves, & Zerina Blossom’s Books
January 24: Mythical Books & Falling Leaves
January 25: The Silver Dagger Scriptorium & Nicole’s Book Musings
January 26: Buried Under Books
January 27: Grand Finale

Other Books in the Series

Her Sister's Shoes (Sweeney Sisters #1)

Her Sister’s Shoes
(Sweeney Sisters #1)
by Ashley Farley
Women’s Fiction, Romance
Paperback & ebook, 380 pages
June 24th 2015

Set in the South Carolina Lowcountry and packed with Southern charm and memorable characters, HER SISTER’S SHOES portrays three sisters—Samantha, Jackie, and Faith—who struggle to balance the demands of career and family while remaining true to themselves.

Samantha Sweeney has always been the glue that holds her family together, their go-to girl for love and support. When an ATV accident leaves her teenage son in a wheelchair, she loses her carefully constructed self-control.

In the after-gloom of her dreaded fiftieth birthday and the discovery of her husband’s infidelity, Jackie realizes she must reconnect with her former self to find the happiness she needs to move forward.

Faith lacks the courage to stand up to her abusive husband. She turns to her sisters for help, placing all their lives at risk.

In the midst of their individual challenges, the Sweeney sisters must cope with their mother’s mental decline. Is Lovie in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, or is her odd behavior normal for a woman her age? No one, including Lovie, understands her obsession with a rusty key she wears around her neck.

For fans of Elin Hildebrand, HER SISTER’S SHOES is a contemporary women’s novel that explores and proves the healing power of family.

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Lowcountry Stranger (Sweeney Sisters #2)
Lowcountry Stranger

(Sweeney Sisters #2)
by Ashley Farley
Women’s Fiction, Romance
Paperback & ebook, 284 pages
July 1st 2016

Family Drama, Southern Style.

There’s a stranger in town. And it’s no coincidence when she shows up uninvited at a Sweeney family wedding. All eyes are drawn to this urchin who seems to have washed in with the tide. Before the night is over, the doe-eyed waif charms young and old with her street smarts and spunky personality. For better or worse, Annie Dawn is here to stay.

The memorable Sweeney sisters from Her Sister’s Shoes have returned with more suspense and family drama to hold you spellbound until the dramatic conclusion. As she approaches the next stage of her life as an empty nester, Jackie is torn between expanding her fledgling design business and spending these last precious months with her boys before they fly the coop. Her own worst enemy, Sam is terrified of making a commitment to Eli Marshall, handsome police officer, true love of her life. Her resolve is tested when a ghost from her past shows up after nearly two decades. Faith nurtures her seven-year-old daughter who is recovering from the trauma of her abusive father. Is the threat in the past, or is there more danger on the horizon? The sisters seek guidance from their mother, Lovie, a true Southern matriarch who shows them how to respond to adversity with grace and dignity.

Things are heating up in the Lowcountry. The Sweeney sisters remind us, once again, that being a part of a family is about more than sharing the same DNA.

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Boots and Bedlam (Sweeney Sisters #3)

Boots and Bedlam
(Sweeney Sisters #3)
by Ashley Farley
Women’s Fiction, Romance
Paperback & ebook, 166 pages
October 18th 2016

‘Tis the season for chaos.

Wedding bells will soon be ringing in the Lowcountry. All Sam Sweeney wants is to marry her man on Christmas Eve surrounded by family and friends. But emerging complications, some humorous and some not so humorous, threaten to converge and derail the best-laid plans during the busy stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Amidst the chaos—dealing with real estate, planning a wedding, running a seafood market, honoring traditions, and contending with teenagers—even the weather rears its head when the weatherman forecasts a white Christmas. Never has family support been more needed, but will it be enough to restore order and save the day?

Escape to the Lowcountry this Christmas where romance, intrigue, and holiday merrymaking await you.

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About the Author

Ashley Farley is the author of the bestselling series, the Sweeney Sisters Series. Ashley writes books about women for women. Her characters are mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives facing real-life issues. Her goal is to keep you turning the pages until the wee hours of the morning. If her story stays with you long after you’ve read the last word, then she’s done her job.

After her brother died in 1999 of an accidental overdose, she turned to writing as a way of releasing her pent-up emotions. She wrote SAVING BEN in honor of Neal, the boy she worshiped, the man she could not save.

Ashley is a wife and mother of two college-aged children. She grew up in the salty marshes of South Carolina, but now lives in Richmond, Virginia, a city she loves for its history and traditions.

Ashley loves to hear from her readers. Feel free to visit her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ashleywfarley or twitter.com/ashleywfarley.

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Tour Giveaway

1 winner to receive a $25 Amazon eGift Card & choice of a Sweeney Sisters ebook
2 winners to receive choice of a Sweeney Sisters ebook
Open internationally
Ends January 31st

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New Release Review: IF YOU ONLY KNEW by Kristan Higgins

If You Only Knew
by Kristan Higgins

Blurb:

Sisterhood in all its drama, hilarity and tears is at the heart of New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins’s thoroughly captivating new novel, featuring the wit and romance that readers have come to expect from the much-loved creator of the Blue Heron series…

Wedding-dress designer Jenny Tate understands the happily-ever-after business, yet somehow she’s still involved in her ex-husband’s life. In fact, Owen’s new wife may—inexplicably—be Jenny’s new best friend. Sensing this, well, relationship isn’t helping her move on, Jenny trades the Manhattan skyline for her hometown up the Hudson, where she’ll be able to bask in her sister Rachel’s picture-perfect family life…and hopefully make one of her own.

Her timing couldn’t be more perfect, since Rachel will need her younger sister. Her idyllic marriage has just fallen to pieces in spectacular fashion after she discovers her husband sexting with one of his colleagues. Second chances aren’t in Rachel’s nature, but the desire for an intact family has her rethinking her stance on adultery, much to Jenny’s surprise. Rachel points to their parents’ “perfect” marriage as a shining example, but to protect her sister Jenny may have to tarnish that memory—and their relationship­—and reveal a secret about their family she’s been keeping since childhood.

During this summer of secrets and lies, temptation and revelation, Jenny and Rachel will rely on each other to find the humor in their personal catastrophes, the joy in their triumphs…and the strength to keep hanging on.

 

Review:

This was a bit different from Kristan’s usual–the alternating voices of two heroines (on audio, done by two different narrators, a touch I definitely appreciated), the dog belonging to one heroine’s landlord instead of her, more of a focus on the heroines’ lives and less on romance…but I ended up really liking it. Normally this would be a given, since Kristan Higgins did write it, after all, but at times I wasn’t entirely sold on the story. For one, I wasn’t 100% sure that there would be a happy ending in there somewhere, since this felt far more like “women’s fiction” and less like “romance” (I’m still not sure which label it gets, or if we even really need to label it at all), and I’m a firm believer that the books I read need to end happily.

(Rest assured, there is a VERY happy ending in here. It gave me the warm tingles. And annoyed my daughter since she was trying to drive and I was cooing happily over my book in the next seat. Whatever, #2. I’ve been having to drive for years while you get to read blissfully in the next seat. We’re due.)

Second, Jenny was at times too firmly entrenched in the state of denial for even me to identify with–and I’ve long been known as the Queen of Denial. Fortunately, part of her journey was reining that tendency in (a bit)–but still, whoa. I thought my imagination was overactive… 😉 Also, her attachment to her ex- and his new wife (and baby, very soon into the book) was just over-the-top crazytown. It took her a little bit too long to figure that out, especially when she figured everything else out for everyone else so quickly…

I did love Jenny’s job, though. Reading about the dresses she created (especially Kimber’s!) made me want to go out and hunt down a prospective spouse just so she could make me one. You know–if she were real and not a fictional character, that is.

(Details. Whatever. Note the Q of D comment above.)

So…I ended up really liking the book, especially how it ended. It still has Kristan’s trademark quirky humor, though it’s a bit heavier and somewhat darker than her books tend to be. Being used to the more lighthearted feel of her books, this took a while to adjust to. Rachel’s story especially had me torn, as cheating spouses are one of my triggers, but I did like how that part of the story ended up even though we leave Rachel not entirely sure where she’s going to be going from there and knowing her journey will definitely not be easy. Their mother went rather quickly from a caricature it was easy to dismiss to a person to like and respect (that part kind of had my head spinning–it was like, where the heck did this woman suddenly come from?) toward the end, but I was glad she did, because the girls are going to need her support going forward.

And Leo. Totally sigh-worthy Leo. (Clutching chest in a moment of silence.) So. Worthy. 100% love.

If You Only Knew is a standalone, so you don’t have to have read any other KH books to fully enjoy it. (But geesh, if you haven’t, what the heck are you waiting for???)

And now, for the love of all that’s holy, can we please get to Connor’s book? 🙂

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review. And then I went and pre-ordered the audiobook too. And bought an e-version. Because I’m crazy like that. And hello, it’s Kristan Higgins.

View all my reviews

New Release Review: PALMETTO MOON by Kim Boykin

Looking for a window into the 1940s? Give PALMETTO MOON a try!

Palmetto Moon banner

Title: Palmetto Moon
Author: Kim Boykin
Publisher: Berkely Trade
Pages: 320
Genre: Southern Women’s Fiction
Format: Paperback/Kindle

 

June, 1947. Charleston is poised to celebrate the biggest wedding in high-society history, the joining of two of the oldest families in the city. Except the bride is nowhere to be found…

Unlike the rest of the debs she grew up with, Vada Hadley doesn’t see marrying Justin McLeod as a blessing—she sees it as a life sentence. So when she finds herself one day away from a wedding she doesn’t want, she’s left with no choice but to run away from the future her parents have so carefully planned for her.

In Round O, South Carolina, Vada finds independence in the unexpected friendships she forms at the boarding house where she stays, and a quiet yet fulfilling courtship with the local diner owner, Frank Darling. For the first time in her life, she finally feels like she’s where she’s meant to be. But when her dear friend Darby hunts her down, needing help, Vada will have to confront the life she gave up—and decide where her heart truly belongs.

 

Review:

Palmetto Moon has a slow, lazy-summer-day Southern feel to it, further increased by the 1947 setting. Everything has an oh-my-gosh was it really? feel to it. Motel rooms for four dollars! Cokes for five cents! (Of course they’re also only 6.5 ounces, as I noted while sipping from my 20 ounce Pepsi Max, but still…five cents. Whoa. Mind blowing.) If you’re a fan of seafood, the many, many crab cakes and salmon croquettes prepared by Frank in his diner might make your mouth water. There are recipes for several dishes at the end, if you’re feeling adventurous. The uniquely Southern expressions (my favorite was, “You’re slicker than a mass of okra, Hank. And twice as handsome.”) add flavor of a different kind.

Three of my favorite things about this book were the three young boys belonging to Claire the “Widow Greeley”. They were a riot on about every page they showed up on. Little Johnathan, the youngest, made me want to go find my own toddler to snuggle. When they’re taking turns running around like maniacs, pushing each other in a wheelbarrow I just had to smile–when they’re pretending to be a squadron of fighter planes up in the stuffy bedroom-slash-storage closet of the formerly-deserted local mansion just outside of town, the same. Hands down, though, my favorite scene with one of the boys was when Frank has a “man-to-man” talk with Daniel, the oldest, about how they’re both in love with Vada and all appears hopeless for them. So absolutely adorable and sweet!

I was all for Vada’s girl-power I-need-to-be-treated-as-a-partner-in-marriage attitude, and liked her about a million times more when she dropped her “poor me” attitude in the beginning and left home rather than marry her parents’ choice of a fiance. When she’s reunited with them and begins to stand up for herself in their presence as well? Even better.

I really enjoyed the time I spent with this book.

But…

There’s definitely elements of the fairy-tale-quick-fix throughout. Frank literally falls in love with Vada at first sight, and he stays steadfastly in love with her even though she barely allows him to really get to know her. Vada wishes that Claire will find a handsome and wealthy man to marry her in spite of the burden of her three children (and practically throws her at the first candidate they find, Claire’s new employer)–and poof!–it happens. The way for Vada and Frank’s HEA is somehow made smooth by…well, I’m not actually sure what, because it’s all behind the scenes. One minute she has obstacles galore, similar to those she’s had since the first page, and then suddenly they’re gone.

Yes, it’s fiction, but parts were a bit too fictional.

The first person (Vada) third person (everyone else–mostly, but not limited to, Frank and Claire) POV shifts were distracting. It always feels like an odd choice to make, shifting between two different types, and doing so tends to draw me out of the story briefly when the shifts occur.

Ditto the use of present tense–felt awkward.

The entire storyline with Vada’s former best friend Darby was superfluous. Vada spends a lot of time looking for and worrying about Darby, but nothing significant comes from all that expense of energy. The resolution of that part of the story is completely anticlimactic and left me scratching my head.

Still…

Overall Palmetto Moon was a pleasant way to pass the time. It definitely transported me to different world, and a lazy Southern summer from the past was a pleasant place to be as the weather here up north turns decidedly colder.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars / C+

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

Book Excerpt:

Charleston, SC

June 20, 1947

“Murrah?” Rosa Lee’s eyes go wide and she shakes her head at me like I’ve forgotten the rules, but I haven’t. Since before I was born, my parents forbade the servants to speak their native tongue in our house. Offenders were given one warning; a second offense brought immediate dismissal. I say the Gullah word again, drawing it out softly. “Why are you crying?” The hands that helped bring me into the world motion for me to lower my voice.

Rosa Lee’s husband, Desmond, told me my first word was murrah. It was what I called Rosa Lee, until Mother made me call her by name. “My own murrah.” The forbidden words bring more tears. I press my face into the soft curve of her neck and breathe in the Ivory soap Mother insists all the servants use, mingled with Rosa Lee’s own scent—vanilla and lemongrass.

She holds me at arm’s length, trembling, and I know I’ve done it again.

“You got to tell them,” she pleads. “Make them see you can’t go through with this.”

I point to the door that leads to the elegant dining room where my parents are eating their breakfast. “I have told them. Mother refuses to listen, and I’ve begged Father. He says I have to do this.” She looks away. Her body rocks, sobbing violently on the inside. “Rosa Lee, please don’t cry. I can’t bear it.” She shakes her head and swipes at the tears that stain the sleeve of her freshly pressed uniform. “I won’t do it again. I promise.”

“When you’re asleep, your heart takes over. You got no control, and it’s gonna kill you.”

She’s right. Since I graduated and moved home from college two weeks ago, I’ve been sleepwalking like I did when I was a child, but these outings don’t land me snuggled up in the servant’s quarters, between Desmond and Rosa Lee. Most of the time, I wake up and return to bed without incident, but last week Desmond found me trying to leave the house. He said I was babbling about sleeping in the bay, which might not have been so disturbing if I hadn’t been wearing five layers of heavy clothing. I knew what he thought I was trying to do to myself and told him not to worry.

Since then, Rosa Lee has insisted on sleeping on the stiff brocade chaise in my bedroom. Of course, my parents don’t know she’s there or that she’s so afraid I’ll walk to the bay or step off the balcony in my sleep, she’s tethered my ankle to the bedpost with three yards of satin rope she begged from Mrs. O’Doul.

“Maybe it will be different after the wedding.” I love her enough to lie to her. “Father says I’m a Hadley and once it’s over with, I’ll fall in line the way I was born to.”

“But what if Desmond hadn’t caught you?” She threads her fingers in mine and kisses the back of my hand. A part of me wishes her intuition hadn’t sent Desmond to check on me, that he hadn’t found me. “And what are you gonna do when we’re not there?”

“Don’t say that.” My knees buckle, and I melt into a puddle at her feet. Justin has made it clear he’s happy with his staff and has no plans to add “two ancient servants.” But living under his roof and not having Rosa Lee and Desmond with me is unthinkable, another high price of being the last Hadley descendant.

“You think it’s not going to get worse after you’re married? Who do you think’s gonna be there to save you? Mr. Justin?” She hisses the last word. “You think long and hard before the sun comes up tomorrow, because I’m afraid down to my bones that you won’t be alive to see it.”

She collects herself and heads into the dining room to check on my parents. They won’t look into her beautiful brown face and see she’s been crying any more than they see this wedding is killing me, or at least the idea of being yoked to Justin McLeod is. Not because he’s eight years older than me and, other than our station in life, we have nothing in common, and not because of his good qualities, although no one can find more than two: He is a heart-stoppingly beautiful man and the sole heir of the largest fortune in Charleston.

For over a hundred years, Justin’s family and mine have built ships. And while two world wars made us rich, a prolonged peace threatens to weaken our family fortunes considerably. Somewhere in all that, my father convinced Justin a Hadley-McLeod union would position them to take over the world, at least the shipping world. And Father is certain nothing short of a blood union will keep Justin in the partnership.

Rosa Lee pushes through the swinging door and pours the coffee down the drain, her signal that breakfast is over and my parents are no longer close by. I smile, trying to reassure her I’m okay, that I’m going to be okay. She shakes her head and starts to wash one of the breakfast plates in slow motion, barely breathing. I hate those things, and after tomorrow, I’ll own twenty-four place settings of them, part of my dowry. I don’t give a damn about thousand-dollar plates, but I do care for Rosa Lee.

“I can do this.” I say from behind her. My voice sounds sure, steady. “I will do this.”

 

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About the Author:

Kim Boykin was raised in her South Carolina home with two girly sisters and great parents. She had a happy, boring childhood, which sucks if you’re a writer because you have to create your own crazy. PLUS after you’re published and you’re being interviewed, it’s very appealing when the author actually lived in Crazy Town or somewhere in the general vicinity.

Almost everything she learned about writing, she learned from her grandpa, an oral storyteller, who was a master teacher of pacing and sensory detail. He held court under an old mimosa tree on the family farm, and people used to come from all around to hear him tell stories about growing up in rural Georgia and share his unique take on the world.

As a stay-at-home mom, Kim started writing, grabbing snip-its of time in the car rider line or on the bleachers at swim practice. After her kids left the nest, she started submitting her work, sold her first novel at 53, and has been writing like crazy ever since.

Thanks to the lessons she learned under that mimosa tree, her books are well reviewed and, according to RT Book Reviews, feel like they’re being told across a kitchen table. She is the author of The Wisdom of Hair from Berkley, Steal Me, Cowboy and Sweet Home Carolina from Tule, and Palmetto Moon, also from Berkley 8/5/14. While her heart is always in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, she lives in Charlotte and has a heart for hairstylist, librarians, and book junkies like herself.

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Blitz! You Will Pay (For Leaving Me) by Eve Rabi

This one looks intense…and is free for a limited time! Details below.

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Title – You Will Pay for Leaving me
Author – Eve Rabi
Genre – Woman’s Fiction
Publisher – Eve Rabi
Cover Artist – Eve Rabi

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SYNOPSIS:

“A compelling and heartbreaking story about love, lust and revenge.”

Blurb:

To the world it looked like I was the luckiest woman on earth. I had every material possession I could want or desire. Women envied me, while men strove to be like my successful and charismatic husband, Tom.

Little did everyone know that behind closed doors, Tom, the man I had chosen to have and to hold was a brutal tyrant who abused me and controlled everything aspect of my life.

In spite of his controlling ways, I found the strength to take my two children and leave.

I started a new life, met a wonderful man named Bear in record time and fell madly in love with him. Bear was everything Tom wasn’t and my children and I lived a blissful existence.

But Tom was livid at my new-found happiness. As promised when I left him, he took revenge for my leaving in the most horrific way possible, then sent me to prison.

Over time, I learned his game and when I realized he wasn’t going to stop, I knew it was time to fight back and fight dirty.

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EXCERPT:

The first time Tom hit me, I was eight months pregnant. Slapped me across the face. Unexpected and so hard, I saw tiny white stars even though I was indoors.
I was twenty-two, he was thirty-five.
I was eight months pregnant and waddling like a duck, he was eight-one kilos and took part in triathlons, ran ten kilometers almost every day, had wheat-grass and quinoa for breakfast, a green salad with no dressing for lunch, and usually ate lean chicken breast with three different colour vegetables for dinner.
Fit, disciplined and focused – that was my husband.
Throughout my two years of marriage, I’d seen bursts of his rage – towards me, towards others and his road-rage, now that was the worst – it terrified me. Especially since he liked to take it out on trucks drivers. The bigger the truck, the greater his rage.
Deep down, I guess I did fear being hit by him one day, but I didn’t expect it that day – the day of my second wedding anniversary.
I was so stunned by the slap that I didn’t move away or try to defend myself. I just stood and gaped at him, one hand on my cheek, the other on my swollen belly.
“I take care of everything!” he hissed. “All you had to do was to chill the Kristal and you forget to do that. A small thing like that. Chill …the …Kristal – how hard is that, huh?”
To celebrate our wedding anniversary, Tom had invited eight couples to a four-course, sit-down dinner at our house, located in the upscale suburbs of St Ives, Sydney.
He had hired caterers, wait-staff and a barman. Like all of Tom’s parties, it promised to be interesting, excessive and showy.
It was true, all I had to do was chill the Kristal, as he took care of everything, without consulting me once, or asking what I would like to serve our guests.
I didn’t mind though, as Tom was extremely capable, highly efficient and he had flair. I didn’t, so if I did make a suggestion of just about anything, he’d usually scoff at it and shred it to bits, making me feel like the hillbilly that I was. So over time, I stopped suggesting or contributing and left everything to Tom.
That suited him just fine.
With pregnancy hormones, my brain sometimes became a pile of mush and I tended to forget a lot of things. I would walk into a room and forget why I was there, and often at a mall, I couldn’t remember the level I had parked my car on.
It annoyed the hell out of Tom as he didn’t suffer fools gladly, and just about everything I did was foolish to him. Irritated him.
“See what you do to me!” he snarled, his nostrils flaring, his lips a thin line. “You make me like this.”
After throwing me a look of disgust, he adjusted his tie, straightened his 5’8” frame and walked towards the door of our bedroom.
“Put on a darker shade of lipstick, wear the necklace I bought you for Christmas and be downstairs in five!” he flung over his shoulder as he strode out of our bedroom.
With my hand on my cheek, I sat on the bed, shrouded in disappointment.
How could he hit me, I asked myself? How could he hit a pregnant woman? His pregnant wife – who does that?
There was no way I was going to go his party after he had just hit me. I would leave quietly through the back door before our guests arrived, I decided. I wouldn’t even tell him that I was leaving.
Fuck him and his party.
The doorbell went. Too late, our guests had just arrived.
“The place looks wonderful, Tom.”
“Thank you.”
“Yes, it’s fabulous, Tom. Marvelous. Where’s Arena?”
“She’ll be down in a sec,” I heard Tom say.
I didn’t know what to do. How could I possibly not turn up when guests had already arrived? After a lot of thought, I decided that I would go to the party, but I would leave immediately after it. I would have it out with him and call the cops if I needed to. I may have been twenty-two years old, but I wasn’t stupid enough to let him hit me and get away with it.
I scrambled up from the bed and walked over to a mirror where I eyed my cheek, red from his slap.
I picked up some concealer and dotted it over the redness. Didn’t work. His imprint on my cheek showed through the concealer.
I tried green concealer. That worked – my redness disappeared. That was the first time I learned that green concealer covers redness, better than yellow or beige concealer.
Over the years I used a lot of green concealer and I became an expert at concealing ‘flaws.’
Luckily, my hair was in a bob, deep mahogany and fell in a sharp point two centimeters below my ears and covered most of my cheek. (Hairstyle as per Tom’s orders. He instructed me to wear my hair exactly that way. He was in awe of Victoria Beckham.)
I decided that if for any reason, someone enquired about the marks on my face, say the concealer faded or something, I would simply say that I had an allergy –a new facial that didn’t quite agree with me. (Over the years, my friends were surprised at how many facials didn’t agree with me.)
Still dazed, I adjusted my clothing, darkened my lipstick, put on the chunky gold necklace and waddled downstairs. As instructed.
When I reached the last stair of the spiral staircase of our $2.6 million dollar home, which had a spa, sauna, tennis court and an Olympic-size pool, I plastered a smile on my disappointed lips and greeted our guests.

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Eve Rabi lives in Sydney Australia, but was born in South Africa. She is the author of 22 books and is known for her kick-ass leading ladies, her alpha males and her ability to make you cry and make you laugh as you fall in love.

 

 

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