Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Book Review: Heaven Adjacent by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Hi all,

As you may already know, I’m already a big fan of Catherine Ryan Hyde’s work. So, it will come as no surprise to you that I loved her latest novel, HEAVEN ADJACENT. Honestly, if I had to chose my favorite book of hers to date – this would be it. Beautifully written, honest, heartfelt, and realistic. I loved this one! Below is more about this novel and my review.

Heaven Adjacent

Catherine Ryan Hyde

Book Description:

From New York Times bestselling author Catherine Ryan Hyde comes a bittersweet novel about healing old wounds and finding a new place to call home…

Roseanna Chaldecott spent her life as a high-powered lawyer in Manhattan. But when her best friend and law partner dies suddenly, something snaps. Unsure of her future, Roseanna heads upstate on one tank of gas and with no plans to return.

In the foothills of the Adirondacks, Roseanna discovers the perfect hideout in a ramshackle farm. Its seventy-six acres are rich with possibilities and full of surprises, including a mother and daughter squatting on the property. Although company is the last thing Roseanna wants, she reluctantly lets them stay.

Roseanna and the young girl begin sculpting junk found around the farm into zoo animals, drawing more newcomers—including her estranged son, Lance. He pleads with Roseanna to return to the city, but she’s finally discovered where she belongs. It may not provide the solitude she originally sought, but her heart has found room for much more.

Publish Date: June 19, 2018
Lake Union Publishing

Preorder now on Amazon

My 5-Star Review:

Rosanna has a high-powered job and everything that money can buy but when her best friend passes away suddenly, Rosanna has second thoughts about the life she is living. On a drive outside of the city, she comes upon a run-down farm that calls her name. A place to be alone and rethink her life. But after buying it, she finds she is not alone. Other people are drawn to her little piece of heaven too. And when her son shows up on her doorstep, wondering what has gotten into her, she isn’t sure how to answer. Can she return to her empty city life, or is the little farm her destiny?

Beautifully written, heartfelt, sometimes humorous, honest. These words describe this latest story by Catherine Ryan Hyde. She touches a nerve here, giving the reader something to think about. Are you living your life to its fullest? Rosanna isn’t sure she is, and we follow her as she struggles with the changes going on around her. Changes occurring by her recent loss, by the people who are now surrounding her, by her trying to reconnect with her grown son. But the author does this in a way that entertains, makes you smile, and maybe even cry. This is Catherine Ryan Hyde at her best. Highly recommended.

About the Author:

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of thirty-three published books. Her bestselling 1999 novel, Pay It Forward, adapted into a major Warner Bros. motion picture, made the American Library Association’s Best Books for Young Adults list and was translated into more than two dozen languages for distribution in more than thirty countries. Her novels Becoming Chloe and Jumpstart the World were included on the ALA’s Rainbow List; Jumpstart the World was also a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards and won Rainbow Awards in two categories. The Language of Hoofbeatswon a Rainbow Award. More than fifty of her short stories have been published in many journals, including the Antioch ReviewMichigan Quarterly Review, the Virginia Quarterly ReviewPloughsharesGlimmer Train, and the Sun, and in the anthologies Santa Barbara Stories and California Shorts, as well as the bestselling anthology Dog Is My Co-Pilot. Her short fiction received honorable mention in the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest, a second-place win for the Tobias Wolff Award, and nominations for Best American Short Stories, the O. Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Three have also been cited in Best American Short Stories.

Hyde is the founder and former president of the Pay It Forward Foundation. As a professional public speaker, she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with AmeriCorps members at the White House, and shared a dais with Bill Clinton. An avid equestrian, photographer, and traveler, she lives in California.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

New Release: The Good Liar by Catherine McKenzie Plus a Giveaway!

I'm so excited to share this new release by the talented author, Catherine McKenzie. And she has generously offered up one of her other books for a giveaway!

New Release!

The Good Liar 

Catherine McKenzie

Book Description:

Can you hide a secret with the whole world watching?

When an explosion rips apart a Chicago building, the lives of three women are forever altered.

A year later, Cecily is in mourning. She was supposed to be in the building that day. Instead, she stood on the street and witnessed it going down, with her husband and best friend inside. Kate, now living thousands of miles away, fled the disaster and is hoping that her past won’t catch up with her. And Franny, a young woman in search of her birth mother, watched the horror unfold on the morning news, knowing that the woman she was so desperate to reconnect with was in the building.

Now, despite the marks left by the tragedy, they all seem safe. But as its anniversary dominates the media, the memories of that terrifying morning become dangerous triggers. All these women are guarding important secrets. Just how far will they go to keep them?

Buy now on Amazon Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback, and Audiobook: http://amzn.to/2oYNnZf

About the Author:

A graduate of McGill University in History and Law, Catherine practices law in Montreal, where she was born and raised. An avid skier and runner, Catherine's has published six bestsellers which have been translated into numerous languages. HIDDEN was a #1 Amazon bestseller and a Digital Bookworld bestseller for five weeks. SMOKE was named a Best Book of October by Goodreads, one of the Top 100 Books of 2015 by Amazon, and was a #1 Amazon bestseller. FRACTURED was also named a Best Book of October by Goodreads in 2016. Catherine published her first novel writing as Julie Apple, THE MURDER GAME, in 2016, and had a short story included in MONTREAL NOIR in 2017. 

Visit Catherine online at: 



Twitter and Instagram at @cemckenzie1.


To celebrate, Catherine is offering a FREE Kindle copy of her novel, FRACTURED, to one lucky winner. The giveaway will run from now until 4/10/2018. Enter by using the Rafflecopter below, or by leaving a comment. U.S. Residents only, please. (Sorry :( )

Good Luck!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Book Review: Hurricane Season by Lauren K. Denton

Hi all,

I had the pleasure of reading THE HIDEAWAY by Lauren K. Denton, so I was thrilled to be offered the opportunity to read HURRICANE SEASON too. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for allowing me to read an advance copy of this fascinating novel.

Hurricane Season

Lauren K. Denton

Book Description:

Betsy and Ty Franklin, owners of Franklin Dairy Farm in southern Alabama, have long since buried their desire for children of their own. While Ty manages their herd of dairy cows, Betsy busies herself with the farm’s day-to-day operations and tries to forget her dream of motherhood. But when her free-spirited sister, Jenna, drops off her two young daughters for “just two weeks,” Betsy’s carefully constructed wall of self-protection begins to crumble.

As the two weeks stretch deeper into the Alabama summer, Betsy and Ty learn to navigate the new additions in their world—and revel in the laughter that now fills their home. Meanwhile, record temperatures promise to usher in the most active hurricane season in decades.

Attending an art retreat four hundred miles away, Jenna is fighting her own battles. She finally has time and energy to focus on her photography, a lifelong ambition. But she wonders how her rediscovered passion can fit in with the life she’s made back home as a single mom.

When Hurricane Ingrid aims a steady eye at the Alabama coast, Jenna must make a decision that will change her family’s future, even as Betsy and Ty try to protect their beloved farm and their hearts. Hurricane Season is the story of one family’s unconventional journey to healing—and the relationships that must be mended along the way.

Publish Date: April 3, 2018

Pre-order now:

My 5-Star Review:

Two sisters. Betsy wishes she had what here sister has. Jenna isn’t sure she’s happy with what life has handed her. When an opportunity arises for Jenna to follow her dream – at least for two weeks – Betsy steps in to care for Jenna’s two daughters. And as a hurricane brews, so do the sisters’ emotions, both reexamining what it is they want out of life.

Hurricane Season explores the complicated relationship of sisters and family. Each sister has problems she has to deal with in their own lives, plus the issues of their relationship with each other. We watch as they each delve deep inside themselves to find the happiness they seek. We also see them struggle between the one thing each wants, which seems unattainable, and how they each come to terms with how to get it, or let it go. An enticing family drama that shows how strong the bond between sisters, and family, really is.

About the Author:

Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Lauren now lives with her husband and two daughters in Homewood, just outside Birmingham. In addition to her fiction, she writes a monthly newspaper column about life, faith, and how funny (and hard) it is to be a parent. On any given day, she’d rather be at the beach with her family and a stack of books. Her debut novel, The Hideaway, is a USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Amazon Charts bestseller. Her second novel, Hurricane Season, releases April 3, 2018. 

Find her at LaurenKDenton.com or on Facebook (LaurenKDentonAuthor), Instagram (LaurenKDentonBooks), or Twitter (@laurenkdenton).

Read my review of Lauren K. Denton’s novel THE HIDEAWAY.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Book Review: The Girls in the Picture by Melanie Benjamin

Hi all,

I loved The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin (see link below) so when I had the chance to read her latest novel, The Girls in the Picture, I jumped at it. Below is more about the book and my review.

The Girls in the Picture

Melanie Benjamin

Book Description:

It is 1914, and twenty-five-year-old Frances Marion has left her (second) husband and her Northern California home for the lure of Los Angeles, where she is determined to live independently as an artist. But the word on everyone’s lips these days is “flickers”—the silent moving pictures enthralling theatergoers. Turn any corner in this burgeoning town and you’ll find made-up actors running around, as a movie camera captures it all.

In this fledgling industry, Frances finds her true calling: writing stories for this wondrous new medium. She also makes the acquaintance of actress Mary Pickford, whose signature golden curls and lively spirit have earned her the title “America’s Sweetheart.” The two ambitious young women hit it off instantly, their kinship fomented by their mutual fever to create, to move audiences to a frenzy, to start a revolution.

But their ambitions are challenged by both the men around them and the limitations imposed on their gender—and their astronomical success could come at a price. As Mary, the world’s highest paid and most beloved actress, struggles to live her life under the spotlight, she also wonders if it is possible to find love, even with the dashing actor Douglas Fairbanks. Frances, too, longs to share her life with someone. As in any good Hollywood story, dramas will play out, personalities will clash, and even the deepest friendships might be shattered.

With cameos from such notables as Charlie Chaplin, Louis B. Mayer, Rudolph Valentino, and Lillian Gish, The Girls in the Picture is, at its heart, a story of friendship and forgiveness. Melanie Benjamin perfectly captures the dawn of a glittering new era—its myths and icons, its possibilities and potential, and its seduction and heartbreak.

Buy Now at:

My 5-Star Review:

When artist/writer, Frances Marion, is introduced to silent screen star, Mary Pickford, it is a meeting of souls. Two ambitious women working in a man’s world in 1914, dream of success and riches and the ability to call their own shots. Alone, neither may have had the courage to succeed, together as a team, they are unstoppable. And so begins a journey of both a great friendship and great success.

Author Melanie Benjamin captures the era and the larger-than-life characters perfectly in her new novel, The Girls in the Picture. Using both fact and fiction, we follow each woman through her successes and failures, and watch as they each obtain the careers and lives they dreamt about, only to find that one should be careful what they wish for. Benjamin writes wonderfully fleshed out characters in a well thought-out story, and intrigues the reader with the highs and lows these women experience. I highly recommend to star-struck readers who love stories of old Hollywood.

About the Author:

Melanie Benjamin was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. An avid reader all her life--as a child, she was the proud winner, several years running, of the summer reading program at her local library--she still firmly believes that a lifetime of reading is the best education a writer can have.

While attending Indiana University--Purdue University at Indianapolis, Melanie performed in many community theater productions before meeting her husband, moving to the Chicago area and raising two sons. Writing was always beckoning, however, and soon she began writing for local magazines and newspapers before venturing into her first love, fiction.

By combining her passion for history and biography, she has found her niche writing historical fiction, concentrating on the "stories behind the stories." Her most recent novel, THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE, a novel about Truman Capote and his high society Swans, is a New York Times, USA Today and Indiebound best seller, as was her novel about Anne Morrow Lindbergh, THE AVIATOR'S WIFE. Her first novel, ALICE I HAVE BEEN, was a national bestseller; this was followed by the critically acclaimed THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MRS. TOM THUMB. Her next novel, THE GIRLS IN THE PICTURE, a novel about early Hollywood and the creative friendship between Mary Pickford and Frances Marion, will be out in January 2018.

She and her family still live in the Chicago area; when she's not writing, she's gardening, taking long walks, rooting for the Cubs--

And reading, of course.

Read my review of Melanie Benjamin’s novel, THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE.

The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

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