Gerty’s Garden Puzzle

This is the box that Gerty’s Garden puzzle comes in.

This is the poster – I always like having a poster to look at while doing a puzzle.

This is the Gerty’s Garden. The pieces are really nice to handle, it has a mat finish, and the pieces fit together really well. I really like Gibson puzzles – they are bit expensive and the shipping is high, but they are really worth it. It is a UK company. I did deal with customer service on a different puzzle and they were very responsive and helpful.

The View from Coral Cove

Author: Amy Clipston
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Christian Fiction
Source: Thomas Nelson ( Netgalley )

Goodreads: When a jilted romance novelist escapes to a small beach town, the last thing she expected to find was the start of an even better love story.

In the wake of a broken engagement and the death of her last surviving family member, romance novelist Maya Reynolds moves to the haven of Coral Cove, North Carolina, to take over her great-aunt’s toy store. Some of her grief is immediately eased by imaginative eight-year-old Ashlyn Tanner, who talks her into adopting a kitten and inspires Maya to create a princess tea-party room in the store.

Ashlyn’s dad, local veterinarian Brody Tanner, is quickly smitten by the newest resident of his hometown. As a single parent, he sacrifices a lot in order to give Ashlyn the world, so a romantic entanglement with Maya is not a distraction he is looking for.

As the three develop a deepening bond in the seaside town where Maya experienced some of her happiest childhood memories, clouds cast a shadow over Maya’s hope for the future: an impossible deadline looms over her next novel, a long-held secret by her late mother about Maya’s absent father comes to light, and Brody’s resolve to avoid romance seems unbreakable.

But together, they just might discover that sometimes happy endings happen outside the pages of Maya’s novels too.

Ope’s Opinion: This reminded me of a Hallmark movie. It was a sweet romance with a few conflicts along the way.

I was disappointed that Maya was not more independent. She felt the need to have a man and a family – she was not content to be alone until the right person came along. I did like Maya’s relationship with Ashlyn. I also enjoyed the story line of her looking for her father.

The ending is what you expect – happily ever after, but it came too fast after Maya’s feelings flop back and forth and Brody is all of a sudden willing to commit.

This Golden State

Author: Marit Weisenberg
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

Goodreads: The Winslow family lives by five principles:

1. No one can know your real name.
2. Don’t stay in one place too long.
3. If you sense anything is wrong, go immediately to the meeting spot.
4. Keeping our family together is everything.
5. We wish we could tell you who we are, but we can’t. Please—do not ask.

Poppy doesn’t know why her family has been running her whole life, but she does know that there are dire consequences if they’re ever caught. Still, her curiosity grows each year, as does her desire for real friends and the chance to build on something, instead of leaving behind school projects, teams, and crushes at a moment’s notice.

When a move to California exposes a crack in her parents’ airtight planning, Poppy realizes how fragile her world is. Determined to find out the truth, she mails in a home DNA test. Just as she starts to settle into her new life and even begins opening up to a boy in her math class, the forgotten test results bring her crashing back to reality.

Unraveling the shocking truth of her parents’ real identities, Poppy realizes that the DNA test has undone decades of careful work to keep her family anonymous—and the past is dangerously close to catching up to them. Determined to protect her family but desperate for more, Poppy must ask: How much of herself does she owe her family? And is it a betrayal to find her own place in the world?

Ope’s Opinion: Wow! what a great story, well written. It kept my attention the whole time. Just when I was getting a little frustrated not knowing the secret, it was revealed. But the secret was only a small part of the whole story.

This was told from Poppy’s perspective. She is a high school age student, but this is an adult story. Seeing her learn who is she, what she believes and how to deal with it made me want to keep reading.

The end was heartbreaking and amazing at the same time. I can’t say more without giving it away. I will definitely read Marit Weisenberg again.

Summer Love

Author: Nancy Thayer
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Fiction
Source: Ballantine Books ( Netgalley )

Goodreads: Old secrets come to light when four friends gather on Nantucket for a life-changing reunion in this heartwarming novel of love and self-discovery by New York Times bestselling author Nancy Thayer.

When four strangers rent bargain-basement rooms in an old hotel near the beach, they embark on the summer of their lives. First there’s Ariel Spencer, who has big dreams of becoming a writer and is looking for inspiration in Nantucket’s high society. Her new friend Sheila Murphy is a good Catholic girl from Ohio whose desire for adventure is often shadowed by her apprehension. Then there’s small-town Missourian Wyatt Smith–who’s immediately taken with Ariel. The last of the four, Nick Volkov, is looking to make a name for himself and have a blast along the way. Despite their differences, the four bond over trips to the beach, Wednesday night dinners, and everything that Nantucket has to offer. But venturing out on their own for the first time, with all its adventure and risks, could change the course of their lives.

Twenty-six years after that amazing summer, Ariel, Sheila, Wyatt, and Nick reunite at the hotel where they first met. Now it’s called The Lighthouse and Nick owns the entire operation with his wife and daughter. Ariel and Wyatt, married for decades, arrive with their son, and Sheila’s back too, with her daughter by her side. Life hasn’t exactly worked out the way they had all hoped. Ariel’s dreams have since faded and been pushed aside, but she’s determined to rediscover the passion she once had. Nick has the money and reputation of a successful businessman, but is it everything he had hoped for? And Sheila has never been able to shake the secret she’s kept since that summer. Being back together again will mean confronting the past and finding themselves. Meanwhile, the next generation discovers Nantucket: Their children explore the island together, experiencing love and heartbreak, and forging lifelong bonds just as their parents did all those years ago. It’s sure to be one unforgettable reunion.

This delightful novel from beloved storyteller Nancy Thayer explores the potential of dreams and the beauty of friendship.

Ope’s Opinion: This actually is a 3.5 book, but I don’t have half chairs! It is the perfect book to put in your beach bag. The setting is Nantucket, which makes it an even better beach read.

This story includes two generations experiencing love and friendship on Nantucket. The first generation is during a summer stay, the second generation is during the reunion of the first generation. There are a lot of people having sex in this book. I am happy to say, though it is not closed door, there are not a lot details. The story is more focused on relationships – both friendships and love relationships.

I have enjoyed reading Nancy Thayer’s books and will continue to look forward to what she has coming out next.

Blame it on the Brontes

Author: Annie Sereno
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Romance
Source: Layne at Books Forward ( Netgalley )

Goodreads: She’s going to write her own happy ending.English professor Athena Murphy is an authority on the novels of the Brontë sisters. But as they say in academia, publish or perish. To save her job, Athena decides to write a biography of C.L. Garland, the author heating up bestseller lists with spicy retellings of classic literature. Tracking down the reclusive writer and uncovering her secret identity, though, means Athena must return to her small midwestern hometown where Garland—and her ex-boyfriend, Thorne Kent—live.Seeing Thorne again reminds Athena that real life never lives up to fiction. He was the Heathcliff to her Catherine, the Mr. Rochester to her Jane. Not only did their college breakup shatter that illusion, but they also broke each other’s hearts again a second time. Now she has to see him nearly every…single…day.The only solution is to find C.L. Garland as quickly as possible, write the book, and get the heck out of town. As her deadline looms and the list of potential C.L. Garlands dwindles, Athena and Thorne bicker and banter their way back to friendship. Could it really be true that the third time’s a charm?Athena and Thorne have a love story only a Brontë could write, and the chance for their own happily-ever-after, but first, they’ll need to forgive the mistakes of the past.

Ope’s Opinion: I don’t think I was the right person for this book. It was easy to read, but I never really got invested in the characters. The relationship runs hot and cold with not much information to understand what happened.

The slow pace of the story and the descriptive writing some times made me loose track of what was really going on. The story was predictable. The ending came too fast without things being resolved.

This Just In….

Publication Date: July 26, 2022
Publisher: William Morrow

Goodreads: The New York Times bestselling author of The Lost and Found Bookstore returns to Perdita Street with a can’t-miss tale of friendship, hardship, redemption, and love between a San Francisco baker and a barbecue master from Texas.

Jerome “Sugar” Barnes learned the art of baking in his grandma’s bakery, also called Sugar, on historic Perdita Street in San Francisco. He supplies baked goods to the Lost and Found Bookshop across the street.

When the restaurant that shares his commercial kitchen loses its longtime tenant, a newcomer moves in: Margot Salton, a barbecue master from Texas.

Margot isn’t exactly on the run, but she needs a fresh start. She’s taken care of herself her whole life, pulling herself up by her fingernails to recover from trauma, and her dream has been to open a restaurant somewhere far, far from Texas. The shared kitchen with Jerome Sugar’s bakery is the perfect setup: a state-of-the-art kitchen and a vibrant neighborhood popular with tourists and locals.

Margot instantly takes to Jerome’s grandmother, the lively, opinionated Ida, and the older woman proves to be a good mentor. Margot thinks Jerome is gorgeous, and despite their different backgrounds their attraction is powerful–even though Jerome worries that Margot will simply move on from him once she’s found some peace and stability. But just as she starts to relax into a happy new future, Margot’s past in Texas comes back to haunt her… 

Thank you Tavia at HarperCollins!

Coming Soon….

…. On a Bookshelf near you!

In May I hope to read….

Publication Date: May 31, 2022
Publisher: Kensington

Goodreads: Summer fiction at its page-turning best for fans of Elin Hilderbrand, Holly Chamberlin, and Nancy Thayer! Colleen French, acclaimed author of The Summer I Found Myself, brings readers to Albany Beach, Delaware, where one woman must decide whether to seek out the daughter she gave up for adoption.

Each year, the start of summer brings bustle and much-needed tourist dollars to the little town of Albany Beach, Delaware. For Natalie Sullivan, this season is proving more stressful than others. It’s make-or-break time for the Irish pub her husband, Conor, recently bought with his brothers. Their two children are thriving, but she’s experiencing pangs of loss at the end of her childbearing years.

When sixteen-year-old McKenzie starts gushing about Bella, the new coworker at her summer job, Natalie suddenly finds her past and present in conflict. Bella, two years older than McKenzie, looks so similar that a customer remarks that they could be sisters. And when Natalie learns that Bella was adopted, she is propelled back into a heartbreaking decision. As a college student, Natalie became pregnant and put her baby up for adoption. Now, the more McKenzie talks about Bella, the more Natalie wonders: could Bella be her daughter?

Conor insists it’s a mistake to pursue the matter. Natalie’s child belongs to another family now; that was the agreement in the closed adoption. Still, Natalie can’t resist spending time with Bella. As their bond deepens, McKenzie accuses her mother of caring more for a stranger than for her, and Natalie begins imagining what it would be like to have Bella as a second daughter. What will the impact be if Bella really is her biological child? And if she isn’t, can Natalie embrace the joy and potential in her own family, without always wondering about what could have been? 

What is coming soon …. to a bookshelf near you?

Let me know – I am always looking for a good read!

A Family Affair

Author: Robyn Carr
Publisher: MIRA
Genre: Fiction
Source: MIRA ( Netgalley )

Goodreads: Life’s biggest dilemmas can provide its sweetest rewards

Anna McNichol knows how to take charge. Raised by a single mother, she’s worked to ensure her three children have every advantage she didn’t. And while her marriage has its problems, she values commitment and believes in “till death do us part.” Now an empty nester, she’s at the peak of her career and ready to seize the opportunity to focus on her future.

But life can change in an instant, and when her husband dies suddenly, Anna’s carefully constructed world falls apart. The mysterious young woman at the memorial service confirms her husband had been keeping secrets, and Anna is determined to get to the truth.

For once, she doesn’t have the answers. Her kids are struggling with their grief, her mother’s health is in decline and Anna needs closure. Faced with one challenge after another, she finds support from an unexpected source. And as she puts her life back together, Anna realizes the McNichols may not be perfect but they’ll always be family, and family is forever.

Ope’s Opinion: If you like a story with family drama from the beginning right up until the end, you should read this book. The whole McNichol family has issues to deal with and relationships that need to be worked on. The death of the husband / father at the start of the book opens a pandora’s box for each of them.

There were a few surprises along the way, but in the end, everyone was in a better place than where they started.

Mulberry Hollow

Author: Denise Hunter
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Fiction
Source: Taylor at HCCP

Goodreads: Contractor Wes Mathews is nearly finished hiking the Appalachian Trail in honor of his recently deceased best friend when he falls terribly ill. He stumbles into the nearest town and soon finds himself indebted to the beautiful young doctor who owns the clinic. In lieu of payment, he proposes a trade that will keep him in town—and away from obligations to his best friend’s sister—for several weeks.

But as Avery and Wes spend time together, their friendship begins moving into unexpected territory. Soon they both begin to question their plans for the future. But will Wes be able to let go of the debt he owes his best friend? And will Avery find the courage to risk everything for love? 

Ope’s Opinion: This is the second in the Riverbend series. You certainly do not need to read the first one to enjoy this one, but it is such a good series, I recommend starting at the beginning. Denise Hunter is a wonderful writer and this one is among her best ones.

The characters were ones you want to spend time with. The whole Robinson family are realistic, have flaws and make you want the best for them. The romance in this moved along at a perfect pace.

Although you know where the story will end, the ride along the way was amazing. I can’t wait for the next one in the series. Harvest Moon will be out in September.