Monday, June 27, 2016

Book Review: First Comes Love by Emily Giffin

Book Review
First Comes Love

Emily Giffin
Book Description:

In this dazzling new novel, Emily Giffin, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Something Borrowed, Where We Belong, and The One & Only introduces a pair of sisters who find themselves at a crossroads.

Growing up, Josie and Meredith Garland shared a loving, if sometimes contentious relationship. Josie was impulsive, spirited, and outgoing; Meredith hardworking, thoughtful, and reserved. When tragedy strikes their family, their different responses to the event splinter their delicate bond.

Fifteen years later, Josie and Meredith are in their late thirties, following very different paths. Josie, a first grade teacher, is single—and this close to swearing off dating for good. What she wants more than the right guy, however, is to become a mother—a feeling that is heightened when her ex-boyfriend's daughter ends up in her class. Determined to have the future she's always wanted, Josie decides to take matters into her own hands.

On the outside, Meredith is the model daughter with the perfect life. A successful attorney, she's married to a wonderful man, and together they're raising a beautiful four-year-old daughter. Yet lately, Meredith feels dissatisfied and restless, secretly wondering if she chose the life that was expected of her rather than the one she truly desired.

As the anniversary of their tragedy looms and painful secrets from the past begin to surface, Josie and Meredith must not only confront the issues that divide them, but also come to terms with their own choices. In their journey toward understanding and forgiveness, both sisters discover they need each other more than they knew . . . and that in the recipe for true happiness, love always comes first.

Emotionally honest and utterly enthralling, First Comes Love is a story about family, friendship, and the courage to follow your own heart—wherever that may lead.

Publication date: June 28, 2016
Pre-order now on Amazon

My Review:

4 Stars

Anytime you put two sisters who are complete opposites together, you are bound to have a story filled with drama and conflict. Enter the Garland sisters, Meredith – the eldest – and Josie – the baby of the family. Fifteen years earlier, their older brother died in a car accident and since then the family hasn’t been the same. Meredith gave up her dream of acting and pursued her father’s choice – law. She married her brother’s best friend, settled down, had a child and a stressful career. All seems perfect in her world – emphasis on “seems perfect.”

Josie never takes anything seriously. She became a teacher, found love, then lost it, and lives with a man who is her very best friend. She’s the fun sister, the fun aunt, and basically, the all-around happy-go-lucky unencumbered sister. Or so it seems. Looks can be deceiving.

But as the truth unfolds, each sister carries a heavy secret that weighs down her ability to completely let go of her brother’s death and carry on with the life they truly want.

First Comes Love is a story of a broken family that, on the outside, looks fine but is anything but perfect. Deeply emotional, this is not a light beach read.

So, why only 4 stars? I have read nearly all of Ms. Giffin’s books, and have enjoyed them, but this one took some work getting through. Many times I just wanted to tell the sisters to grow up and get on with life. Their complaints and bickering were childish for their age. I do realize that sisters can act this way, but it was tiring to read about it. And many of their problems were trivial. Life isn’t easy, girls – suck it up! But, of course, you wouldn’t have a full novel if you didn’t have a lot of drama.

I did, however, finish this novel so it must have been interesting enough to forge on. Ms. Giffin is a talented writer, so therefore you may enjoy her story more than I did.

 (I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.)

About the Author:

Emily Giffin is a graduate of Wake Forest University and the University of Virginia School of Law. After practicing litigation at a Manhattan firm for several years, she moved to London to write full time. The author of seven New York Times bestselling novels, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Baby Proof, Love The One You're With, Heart of the Matter, Where We Belong, and The One & Only, she lives in Atlanta with her husband and three young children.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Book Review: Sister of Mine by Sabra Waldfogel

Hi all,

I'm a bit of a history buff so I am always thrilled to find an interesting novel about the Civil War. Sister of Mine by Sabra Waldfogel mixes fiction with historical fact - which I love. Here is more about the book and my thoughts.
Sister of Mine: A Novel

Sabra Waldfogel


Book Description:

When two Union soldiers stumble onto a plantation in northern Georgia on a warm May day in 1864, the last thing they expect is to see the Union flag flying high—or to be greeted by a group of freed slaves and their Jewish mistress. Little do they know that this place has an unusual history.

Twelve years prior, Adelaide Mannheim—daughter of Mordecai, the only Jewish planter in the county—was given her own maid, a young slave named Rachel. The two became friends, and soon they discovered a secret: Mordecai was Rachel’s father, too.

As the country moved toward war, Adelaide and Rachel struggled to navigate their newfound sisterhood—from love and resentment to betrayal and, ultimately, forgiveness.

Now, facing these Union soldiers as General Sherman advances nearer, their bond is put to the ultimate test. Will the plantation be spared? Or will everything they’ve lived for be lost?

Revised edition: Previously published as Slave and Sister, this edition of Sister of Mine: A Novel includes editorial revisions.

Lake Union Publishing

Publish Date: March 22, 2016

Buy on Amazon:




My 5 Star Review:

In 1852, young Adelaide Mannheim is given a gift – her own slave. The two young girls bond quickly and Adelaide teaches the slave, Rachel, reading and math skills. As they grow, however, they soon learn a secret: Adelaide and Rachel are half-sisters. But while one was born into privilege, the other was born a slave.

As the years pass, the two girls grow into women and find their relationship with each other difficult. Adelaide sees nothing wrong in slavery because it’s been considered normal all her life. Rachel, however, craves to be free of her bonds, free to love, free to marry and have children not born into slavery. When Adelaide finds herself in a loveless marriage, she slowly becomes jealous of her sister who her husband seems to favor. And when he goes off to war, it is up to the two sisters to manage the plantation together. But can they navigate their relationship in these changing times?

Sister of Mine is an intriguing novel that draws the reader in and holds their interest to the end. The characters are well-developed and considering there are many, this is a great accomplishment. I was impressed with the historically accurate details and how the author so successfully managed to show Rachel’s love/hate relationship with her sister. This is a not-to-be-missed novel for those who enjoy civil war stories.

(I received an advance copy of this novel from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.)


About the Author:

Sabra Waldfogel grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but has always been fascinated by the drama of slavery and freedom in the South, before and after the Civil War. She studied history at Harvard University and received her PhD in American history from the University of Minnesota. Since then, she has worked as a technical writer and has written about historic architecture for Old House Journal and Arts and Crafts Homes. Waldfogel’s short story “Yemaya” appeared in Sixfold’s Winter 2013 fiction issue. In her free time, she collects and sells antiques with her husband. Sister of Mine is her first novel.




Friday, May 20, 2016

Cover Reveal: Finding Libbie by Deanna Lynn Sletten

Hi all,

I'm so very excited to share with you the beautiful cover of my upcoming novel Finding Libbie. Without further ado - here it is!

Book Description:

Poring over a dusty hatbox of photographs in her grandmother’s closet, Emily Prentice is shocked to discover her father was married to his high school sweetheart before meeting her mother.

In the summer of 1968, Jack and Libbie fall in love under the spell of their small town, untouched by the chaos of the late sixties. Though Libbie’s well-to-do parents disapprove of Jack’s humble family and his aspiration to become a mechanic, she marries Jack a year after they graduate high school. But soon their happiness crumbles as Libbie’s mental state unravels and she is drawn to alcohol and drugs. Despite his efforts to help her, Jack loses the woman he loves and is forced to move on with his life.

Now that Emily’s mother has passed away, Jack is alone again, and Emily grows obsessed with the beautiful woman who had given her father such joy. Determined to find Libbie, Emily pieces together the couple’s fragmented past. But is it too late for happy endings?

Finding Libbie is a powerful story of a love so strong that decades cannot tear it apart.
If you loved Sara's Promise or Memories - you will love this novel!
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Lake Union Publication
Pre-order now on Amazon!
I'd like to thank my editor, Danielle Marshall, and the entire team at Lake Union Publishing for their patience and hard work on Finding Libbie. They have been amazing to work with.


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Giveaway! Walking Sam Signed Paperback

Hi all,

It's Time for a Giveaway!
The Prizes:

Walking Sam Signed Paperback
to 5 lucky winners!
Dates of Giveaway:
May 19th - June 3, 2016
Who can enter?
Anyone in the U.S. or Canada
How to Enter?
Use the Raffelcopter below.
The more items you do - the more likely you are to win!
Good Luck!
The giveaway is now over. Thank you to everyone who entered. The winners have all been notified. Winners were:
Don't worry - there will be many more giveaways soon! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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