Mending Fences

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Author: Sherryl Woods
Publisher: Mira
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Christi Sheenan at HarperCollins

Goodreads:  Devastating secrets tear two families apart in this acclaimed novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Sherryl Woods!

For ten years Emily Dobbs and Marcie Carter have been the closest of friends. They’ve raised their kids together, shared joy and heartache, exchanged neighborhood gossip over tea. But when Marcie’s son, now a college freshman sports star, is arrested for date rape, the bond between the families could be shattered forever.

As the Carters try to deal with the unthinkable, Emily discovers her daughter has been hiding a terrible secret…a secret that threatens the futures of both families. Recently divorced, Emily struggles to keep it all together—to support her terrified daughter, to maintain her friendship with Evan’s mother and to have faith in the detective who could change all of their lives.

When things seem darkest, both she and Marcie discover that sometimes the first step toward a better future is mending fences with the past.

Ope’s Opinion:  Where to start talking about this amazing book –  I don’t think Contemporary Romance is the correct genre.  It is a so much deeper subject and characters then what I think of as a traditional romance novel.  There was some romance in it, but not what I think that most romance readers would expect.

This is hard to talk about without revealing spoilers, so I am going to be vague.  I was into this book from page one and did not want to put it down at all.  Even though it was deep, it was written so that it was easy to read.  The subject was handled very well and realistic.

The only thing that I found a little unrealistic is Emily and Marcie’s friendship goes through a hard time and I feel like after being angry with each other, they just forgave each other without really working through their difficulties.

This book has been made into a Hallmark movie.  I am looking forward to watching it and seeing if it looks like I pictured it while reading.

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Coming Soon….

…. On a Bookshelf near you!

In October I hope to read….

only-youPublication Date:  October 25, 2016

Goodreads:  Never say never . . .

Romance isn’t an option for Holly Greenwood. With her wedding planner career on the line she needs to stay focused, and that means pleasing her demanding boss, not getting distracted by her mind-alteringly hot neighbor . . .

Ex-Marine Kevin Vandemeer craves normalcy. Instead, he has a broken-down old house in need of a match and some gasoline, a meddling family, and the uncanny ability to attract the world’s craziest women. At least that last one he can fix: he and his buddies have made a pact to swear off women, and this includes his sweetly sexy new neighbor.

After one hot night that looks a whole lot like a disaster in the light of day, Kevin and Holly are about to learn that true love doesn’t play by the rules . . .

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

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

The Life She Wants

the-life

Author: Robyn Carr
Publisher: Mira
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source:  BEA 2016 / Claire of Little Bird Publicity

Goodreads:  #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr creates an emotional and uplifting ensemble of characters in this rags-to-riches-to-rags novel about women, friendship and the complex path to happiness

In the aftermath of her financier husband’s suicide, Emma Shay Compton’s dream life is shattered. Richard Compton stole his clients’ life savings to fund a lavish life in New York City and, although she was never involved in the business, Emma bears the burden of her husband’s crimes. She is left with nothing.

Only one friend stands by her, a friend she’s known since high school, who encourages her to come home to Sonoma County. But starting over isn’t easy, and Sonoma is full of unhappy memories, too. And people she’d rather not face, especially Riley Kerrigan.

Riley and Emma were like sisters—until Riley betrayed Emma, ending their friendship. Emma left town, planning to never look back. Now, trying to stand on her own two feet, Emma can’t escape her husband’s reputation and is forced to turn to the last person she thought she’d ever ask for help—her former best friend. It’s an uneasy reunion as both women face the mistakes they’ve made over the years. Only if they find a way to forgive each other—and themselves—can each of them find the life she wants.

Ope’s Opinion:  Let me just be honest upfront – I am a huge Robyn Carr fan, so I maybe a little prejudice when I review her books. She writes such wonderful characters and great stories.  This book is no exception.

I liked how all the characters lives twist and turn around each other in this story. This story was different from her series stories.  I like those, but this was also a really good read.  I feel like her characters in this book were developed a little deeper then some of her other books.

This definitely is one of her best books.  I am looking forward to her next one.

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Little Bird Publicity sent me the following Q & A from Robyn Carr about The Life She Wants.  Thank you Claire!

Q&A w/ Robyn Carr — THE LIFE SHE WANTS

(Ope’s Opinions)

 

Q: The damaged friendship between Emma and Riley is one of the central relationships in this novel. After having written so many successful romantic love stories, what was different or challenging about building your story around a fraught, deeply complicated female friendship?

A: I’m accustomed to writing “girlfriend books” that, from the beginning, have a very strong bond between the women, that the friends get each other through the tough times. I wanted to know how it’s different when the bond has been broken but the tough times are present.

You’ll find out what you’re made of when you go through a relationship crisis, when you feel scared and alone.

Q: Although this book focuses a great deal on the relationships between various female characters, there’s still plenty of romance to be had. Can you tell us a little bit about some of the leading men in this book? Riley’s brother Adam comes into play in Emma’s life…

A: Adam enters the story early on and we learn right away that he has always cared for Emma, but he was the older brother in the equation and when he was 18, 19, 20 – Emma was just a young girl and he kept his safe distance. When they were both finally old enough, he was too late – Emma was gone. To Adam it is miraculous that she’s back, that he has a second chance. And he’s determined to make good use of it.

There are other heroes, some of them hiding in plain sight. There’s Jock, the high school boyfriend that Emma and Riley lost their friendship over and the father of Riley’s teenage daughter. He was an irresponsible boy when he betrayed Emma with her best friend but he’s not a boy any longer, nor is he foolish and irresponsible.

And there’s Logan, a police detective who seems to keep running into Riley by chance. Or is it chance? He’s a very good guy who wants to be involved with Riley but given his role in her life, might be fighting a conflict of interest with his job.

Q: Emma and Riley are both people who have suffered betrayals and trauma in their romantic relationships. What makes Emma so open to finding love again, and what makes Riley so wary of it? Was it fun to write the two different sides of that coin?

A: I think Emma is surprised to find love and with, of all people, an old friend who she feels safe with. She was so alone in her marriage, so unloved and neglected. Riley, on the other hand, sees falling in love as a danger – the one and only time she fell for someone it destroyed her cherished friendship and left her adrift in a very difficult world as a single mother.

It was much more fun to write about a lost friendship than it is to live it! Everyone has had the experience of being dumped by a best friend and it’s horribly painful. And there’s always two sides to every story but we’re usually so determined to be right, we never try to understand the other side of the story. In this book I get to look at both of their perspectives without prejudice and it’s something to learn from. And I think the reader, like the writer in this case, will wonder to the very last page if they can resume their friendship.

Q: The concept of forgiveness is important throughout the book, and several of the characters struggle to find ways to forgive each other and themselves for past mistakes. Why do you think forgiveness is so crucial to happiness, and why do you think it sometimes takes people such a long time to forgive?

A: I think the idea of forgiving is not only crucial, asking for forgiveness is even more so! Who among us won’t forgive if someone makes sincere amends? Most of what has to happen to patch up a tattered relationship is admitting you’re wrong and asking to be forgiven. Forgiving in a vacuum doesn’t change much but what everyone wants to hear from someone we think wronged us is a real apology. We can say we forgive a hateful person, we can say that gives us peace of mind, but if that person goes on being hateful, we’ll keep experiencing the pain of it.

In the case of Emma and Riley, they both made serious mistakes. I knew what it was going to take for them to get each other back. What I didn’t know until the whole story played out was whether they would do it.

Q: We have to ask, what’s next for you? What are you working on right now?

A: I’m at work on the second Sullivan’s Crossing novel, no title yet. It should be ready soon and out the beginning of April 2017.

This Just In….

books

I have been gone a little while and this is what I came home to.

First came Pretty Little World from Sarah of Little Bird Publicity.

Publication date: January 17, 2017
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Goodreads:  On a cozy street in Philadelphia, three neighboring families have become the best of friends. They can’t imagine life without one another—until one family outgrows their tiny row house. In a bid to stay together, a crazy idea is born: What if they tear down the walls between their homes and live together under one roof? And so an experiment begins.

Celia and Mark now have the space they need. But is this really what Celia’s increasingly distant husband wants? Stephanie embraces the idea of one big, happy family, but has she considered how it may exacerbate the stark differences between her and her husband, Chris? While Hope always wanted a larger family with Leo, will caring for all the children really satisfy that need?

Behind closed doors, they strive to preserve the closeness they treasure. But when boundaries are blurred, they are forced to question their choices…and reimagine the true meaning of family.

These are new authors for me.  It will be good to see if I add them to my must read list.

Next I got Only Daughter from Emer at HarperCollins

Published:  September 20, 2016
Publisher: Mira

Goodreads:  In this chilling psychological thriller, one woman’s dark past becomes another’s deadly future 

In 2003, sixteen-year-old Rebecca Winter disappeared.  

She’d been enjoying her teenage summer break: working at a fast-food restaurant, crushing on an older boy and shoplifting with her best friend. Mysteriously ominous things began to happen—blood in the bed, periods of blackouts, a feeling of being watched—though Bec remained oblivious of what was to come.

Eleven years later she is replaced. 

A young woman, desperate after being arrested, claims to be the decade-missing Bec.

Soon the imposter is living Bec’s life. Sleeping in her bed. Hugging her mother and father. Learning her best friends’ names. Playing with her twin brothers.

But Bec’s welcoming family and enthusiastic friends are not quite as they seem. As the imposter dodges the detective investigating her case, she begins to delve into the life of the real Bec Winter—and soon realizes that whoever took Bec is still at large, and that she is in imminent danger.

This is out of my normal genre, but I am excited to try something new. 

Breaking up with Barrett

breaking-up

Author: Katy Regnery
Publisher: Katharine Gilliam Regnery
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source:  BEA 2016

 

Goodreads:  Breaking Up with Barrett is the first of six books about the Philadelphia-based, wildly-handsome English brothers who are all on the look-out for love.

(Except Alex. He’s a womanizing manwhore. And maybe Stratton, because he’s wicked hot, but super awkward around girls.)

Barrett English, aka “the Shark,” is the fair-haired, first-born of the English brothers, and the CEO of the oldest, most prestigious investment banking firm in Philadelphia. He rules the boardroom with an iron fist, refusing to take no for an answer and always getting his way.

Emily Edwards, a first-year doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania, grew up in the gatehouse on the outskirts of Barrett’s childhood estate. The daughter of his family’s gardener and housekeeper, she was always looking through the window of privilege, but forced to remember her place at the very periphery of the kingdom.

When business partners suggest that a fiancee might soften Barrett’s image over business dinners, he approaches Emily for the “job” of fiancee. And while love wasn’t necessarily on Barrett’s radar, he begins to realize that Emily always has been. But will his take-no-prisoners boardroom tactics work on the heart of the woman he loves.

Ope’s Opinion: If you want a quick cute romance – this book is for you.  There are a lot of steamy scenes in this book – (a lot more then I am interested in) so if this is your favorite read – there are five more books in this series.

I did enjoy that this book was a short one, so the author got right to the story.  There wasn’t a lot of extra description and unnecessary words.  It made it move very fast.

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The Bookshop on the Corner

bookshop

Author: Jenny Colgan
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Fiction
Source: William Morrow

 

Goodreads:  Nina Redmond is a literary matchmaker. Pairing a reader with that perfect book is her passion… and also her job. Or at least it was. Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more.

Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile—a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood, changing one life after another with the power of storytelling.

From helping her grumpy landlord deliver a lamb, to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like home… a place where she just might be able to write her own happy ending.

Ope’s Opinion: I read this on the plane on the way to Seattle.  It was such a nice relaxing, easy read.  Nina ( the main character ) started out in a bad place and I was afraid the whole book was going to be negative – just the opposite.  It was a very uplifting, positive book.

This book was set in Scotland, so if that appeals to you, you would really enjoy this book.  She talks about the landscape and places she goes, so if you are familiar with it, you would connect with this book.

I,( like Nina ), love to find “homes” for my books ( I do not sell them ).  After I read a book I enjoy finding someone I know who would enjoy it.  I think that would be such a great job!  The romance of the book was fun and not explicit, so I really enjoyed that part too.  Overall, a good book.

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Create N Take Class

My daughter Jennifer has a store in Berryville, VA called Create N Take that teaches arts and craft classes. On Saturday we took this class on how to make a wreath from coffee filters and look how it turned out!!

wreath

I am like the least crafty, creative person and I did this!!
If I can do it, anyone can!!
Come try her other classes.

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This is an amazing way to learn new things.
Here is the link to her website with all the classes.