One Day in December

One Day in December Josie Silver ReviewTitle: One Day in December
Author: Josie Silver
Publisher: Crown
Publication Date: October 16, 2018
Genre: Fiction | Women’s Fiction | Contemporary Romance
Free copy provided by publisher.

Synopsis: Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic…and then her bus drives away.

Certain they’re fated to find each other again, Laurie spends a year scanning every bus stop and cafe in London for him. But she doesn’t find him, not when it matters anyway. Instead they “reunite” at a Christmas party, when her best friend Sarah giddily introduces her new boyfriend to Laurie. It’s Jack, the man from the bus. It would be.

What follows for Laurie, Sarah and Jack is ten years of friendship, heartbreak, missed opportunities, roads not taken, and destinies reconsidered.

My Thoughts: Oh Jack and Laurie…so much anguish and missed opportunities…

I devoured ONE DAY IN DECEMBER over two days and put virtually everything else in my life on hold because I could not stop reading it! This is truly the evolution of a love story spanning ten years.  It’s complicated and messy; a search for happiness, gratification and self discovery enhanced the authenticity of Laurie, Sarah and Jack whom I fell in love with.  Each new chapter of their story depleted my heart and then filled it back up and I found myself invested in their well being which attests to Silver’s ability to connect story to reader.

I laughed at the British humor sprinkled in just enough to diffuse complicated situations and my heart leapt at every missed chance for Laurie and Jack to unite. I honestly had no clue how this story would end but every bit of anguish thrown in made it worthwhile.

If you believe in love at first sight and crave a beautiful story about love, loss and forgiveness then you need this debut of a gem this holiday season!

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Review: The Start of Something Good

The Start of Something Good Jennifer Probst ReviewTitle: The Start of Something Good
Author: Jennifer Probst
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Genre: Fiction | Contemporary Romance

Synopsis: When Ethan Bishop returns to the Hudson Valley, his body and spirit are a little worse for wear. As a former Special Forces paratrooper, he saw his fair share of conflict, and he came home with wounds, inside and out. At his sisters’ B & B and farm, he can keep all his pain at a safe distance. But quiet time isn’t easy when a fiery woman explodes into his life…

It’s business—not pleasure—that brings Manhattan PR agent Mia Thrush reluctantly to the farm. Tightly wound and quick tempered, Mia clashes immediately with the brooding Ethan. Everything about him is irritating—from his lean muscles and piercing blue eyes to his scent of sweat and musk.

But as the summer unfolds and temperatures rise, Ethan and Mia discover how much they have in common: their guarded histories, an uncontrollable desire, and a passion for the future that could heal two broken hearts. But will their pasts threaten their fragile chance at a brand-new future?

My Thoughts: Charming, humorous and sizzling hot, THE START OF SOMETHING GOOD is the kind of flirty, sexy and touching contemporary romance I crave.

When Manhattanite PR maven Mia Thrush is hired by her biggest client to keep an eye on his delinquent daughter’s community service contribution on a farm in upstate New York, her urban lifestyle is uprooted.  When she arrives in town hunky former special forces op Ethan Bishop is quick to let her know she doesn’t belong.  Mia’s plan is to avoid Ethan, a quirky farm rooster and the never ending rotation of desserts so she can get back to her high maintenance city life.

The acrimony and funny banter are coverups for the chemistry brewing between Mia and Ethan.  Things are about to get H-O-T!  Probst adds a delightful cast of secondary characters striking the perfect balance between steamy romance and zest.  This is the first book in her new Stay series and I cannot wait for the next book, A Brand New Ending.

Review: Winter in Paradise


Winter in Paradise Elin Hilderbrand ReviewTitle:
Winter in Paradise
Author: Elin Hilderbrand
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Publication Date: October 9, 2018
Genre: Fiction | Contemporary Women
Free copy provided by publisher.

Synopsis: Irene Steele shares her idyllic life in a beautiful Iowa City Victorian house with a husband who loves her to sky-writing, sentimental extremes. But as she rings in the new year one cold and snowy night, everything she thought she knew falls to pieces with a shocking phone call: her beloved husband, away on business, has been killed in a plane crash. Before Irene can even process the news, she must first confront the perplexing details of her husband’s death on the distant Caribbean island of St. John. After Irene and her sons arrive at this faraway paradise, they make yet another shocking discovery: her husband had been living a secret life. As Irene untangles a web of intrigue and deceit, and as she and her sons find themselves drawn into the vibrant island culture, they have to face the truth about their family, and about their own futures.

My Thoughts: The end of Hilderbrand’s Winter Series left a gaping hole in my reading heart – I was not ready to let go of the beloved Quinn family on Nantucket Island. And then this happened: Paradise trilogy set on St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. WINTER IN PARADISE had me falling in love all over again with the Steele family, the charming island community and oh-so picturesque setting.  I’m crazy about the Caribbean locale and vibe  – sandy beaches, blue water, amazing views, snorkeling; it’s like Elin Hilderbrand 2.0!

So many people are interwoven together by Russ Steele’s secret life; his wife Irene and son’s Baker and Cash uncover the painful truth about Russ with the help of islanders, Huck, Maia and Ayers and I loved each and every one of them.  With so much left hanging in the wind plus a cliffhanger at the end I can’t wait to dig deeper into the plot and characters in the next book.

Death, anguish, a double life, a love child, a side of romance, and a nod to Mitzi Quinn make this book so incredibly captivating!

Review: The Simple Wild

The Simple Wild K.A. Tucker ReviewTitle: The Simple Wild
Author: K.A. Tucker
Publisher: Atria
Publication Date: August 7, 2018
Genre: Fiction | Contemporary Romance | Women’s Fiction

Synopsis: Calla Fletcher was two when her mother took her and fled the Alaskan wild, unable to handle the isolation of the extreme, rural lifestyle, leaving behind Calla’s father, Wren Fletcher, in the process. Calla never looked back, and at twenty-six, a busy life in Toronto is all she knows. But when her father reaches out to inform her that his days are numbered, Calla knows that it’s time to make the long trip back to the remote frontier town where she was born.

She braves the roaming wildlife, the odd daylight hours, the exorbitant prices, and even the occasional—dear God—outhouse, all for the chance to connect with her father: a man who, despite his many faults, she can’t help but care for. While she struggles to adjust to this new subarctic environment, Jonah—the quiet, brooding, and proud Alaskan pilot who keeps her father’s charter plane company operational—can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. And he’s clearly waiting with one hand on the throttle to fly this city girl back to where she belongs, convinced that she’s too pampered to handle the wild.

Jonah is probably right, but Calla is determined to prove him wrong. As time passes, she unexpectedly finds herself forming a bond with the burly pilot. As his undercurrent of disapproval dwindles, it’s replaced by friendship—or perhaps something deeper? But Calla is not in Alaska to stay and Jonah will never leave. It would be foolish of her to kindle a romance, to take the same path her parents tried—and failed at—years ago.

My Thoughts: No….why did the rugged Alaskan wilderness, the strong community relationships and the oh so chemistry-charged banter between Calla and Jonah have to end?! THE SIMPLE WILD simply blew my expectations away. I assumed I was getting into a light romance, which is great, but Tucker delivered so much more with her in depth plot and characters.

I was not always a fan of Calla because let’s face it, she’s hugely entitled, but that’s what makes the dynamic between her city dwelling self and rugged Jonah so engrossing. I cannot get enough of the charge between two characters who defy the odds of being together! I loved the teasing and their antics but loved it more when they sealed their relationship.

THE SIMPLE WILD is not all romance.  There is a deep and meaningful plot between a father and his daughter that plays throughout the story and tugged at my heartstrings.  This is my first K.A. Tucker book that so many book friends recommended and I’m glad I picked this one up!

Review: A Spark of Light

A Spark of Light Jodi Picoult ReviewTitle: A Spark of Light
Author: Jodi Picoult
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
Genre: Fiction | Women’s Fiction | Literary Fiction
Free copy provided by publisher.

Synopsis: At Mississippi’s sole remaining women’s reproductive services clinic, a gunman bursts in and takes its patients and staff hostage. The stories that brought these individuals to the clinic vary, from a woman awaiting cancer screening results to a protestor hoping to catch the clinic in a scandal that could be used in a pro-life campaign. Then there is the police hostage negotiator, whose daughter is also trapped inside the facility, and the gunman himself, who has a vendetta to carry out. Meanwhile, across the state, a seventeen-year-old woman lands in the hospital after an attempt to self-terminate her pregnancy and is subsequently charged by the pro-life DA for the murder of her unborn child. They, too, are connected to the events unfolding in the clinic.
As the book moves backward in time, each chapter set one hour earlier than the last, we learn how all these people and their stories are unwittingly connected–and that none of these characters’ reasons for being where they are at this fateful place and time are exactly what it appears at first glance.

My Thoughts: A SPARK OF LIGHT opens up during a hostage situation at a Mississippi abortion clinic.  I admire Picoult for writing about such a significant and controversial issue, creating characters on both sides of this issue and presenting it neutrally and without bias.

This is my first Jodi Picoult book and one of my most anticipated reads of the year and to be honest it fell kind of flat for me.

Things I liked: The storyline is powerful, timely and important. The characters brought their own complex personal stories to the forefront. I was engrossed in the secondary storyline that follows Beth’s traumatic story with a surprise ending I didn’t see coming!

Things I disliked: The story is told in reverse chronology, which I do not like.  When the book opened up I already knew too much upfront and each chapter repeated events. There were too many characters to keep straight. In the end it was convoluted and I really did not connect with the characters.