Monday, September 16, 2019

Things You Save in a Fire

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

This should be Texas firefighter, Cassie Hanwell's,
shining moment as she wobbles across the stage
in uncomfortable high heels, to accept a prestigious
award of valor.

Instead, the momentous occasion marks the end of
a promising career when she pummels the councilman
handing her the honor, with a sharp hook that leaves
him in a bloodied heap on the floor.

Sometimes, painful, high school memories from ten
years ago, are hard to forget.

Now Cassie finds herself living with her estranged
mother, miles away near Boston, assigned to a different
firehouse badly in need of repair, and constantly proving
to her male counterparts that a female is worthy of
working along side them in every conceivable way.

When she meets the new rookie, the "girly"
part of her awakens. Not only is he kind, considerate,
and easy on the eyes, he's also a man who just might
break the impenetrable  barrier she's drawn around herself
after unspeakable heartache.

But becoming personally involved with someone in the trade,
is a really bad thing to do, as Cassie well knows. So she puts a
damper on her feelings and deals with the matters
at hand, like a cruel, relentless stalker who clearly
hates her, the budget cuts that put her in competition
with the rookie, and the near-death experience that tests
every survival skill she's ever learned.

This positively, entertaining novel, filled with
surprises at every turn, reiterates the power of
forgiveness, and how it can give hope to the
abandoned and betrayed, and those who have
simply lost their way.

It's a story filled with tears and laughter, romance and
inspiration, as it accurately portrays some of the
finest men and women in society, known as firefighters,
paramedics, and first responders. The details about what
they do each and every day is quite amazing, and worthy
of our admiration.

Friday, August 16, 2019

The Gifted School

The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger

They've been friends since their children
splashed in the pool together, learning to swim.

Four women who formed an immediate bond
as young mothers, drinking coffee from mugs
with inspirational words of ever-lasting
affection, meeting for early morning jogs
under the invigoratingly, blue skies of
Crystal, Colorado, sharing the same hard-working
housekeeper, and keeping each other abreast
of all the juicy gossip about the fabulously
rich and beautiful in a town where envy and
jealousies abound.

But when an exclusive, magnet school is set
to open in this suburb overlooking the mountains,
small cracks in a rock-solid friendship begin
to appear. Adults scheme to deliver their child's
perfect portfolio, and anxious kids feel the pressure
of stressful testing, as they claw over one another
to claim a spot on the coveted roster of students.

Everyone is keeping secrets, some small,
some monumental. Eventually, they find themselves
powerless to hide stunning, salacious deceptions,
deep-rooted resentments, and regrettable errors
in judgement.

This book takes an introspective look at how far some
parents will go to ensure their children are part of the
elite in the hallowed halls of higher learning, even if
it means losing their own dignity.

If you enjoyed Liane Moriarty's Big Little Lies,
then put this one on your list. An outrageously,
entertaining read, dealing with a relevant topic,
that will undoubtedly prompt spirited discussions
at your next book club about social status, race,
and entitlement.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Evvie Drake Starts Over

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

She's the grieving widow, a virtual recluse
in the big house in this small Maine
community where she led a seemingly
picture-perfect life with Dr. Timothy Drake,
the admired and adored physician
that so many called their savior and friend.

He's a washed-up former Major League
baseball pitcher who's lost the magic in
his arm that once graced every sports magazine
in the country.

When Evvie Drake and Dean Tenney meet, an easy
friendship begins, with the promise of romance
just a whisper away. But there's way too many
unspoken half-truths, misunderstandings, and
resentments in both of their lives, before a casual
relationship can turn into something much more
meaningful. And it won't be easy facing the truths
that have stayed hidden for so long.

No one can ever know that Evvie was planning
on leaving Dr. Tim hours before his tragic car
accident or the reasons why. And that includes two
special people, her own dear father and Andy,
her best friend and confidante.

Dean swallows his pride as his stellar pitching
career fades away, while secretly harboring the notion
his golden arm will return to resurrect his once glorious
career. Is it just a frivolous dream supported by Evvie,
or a real possibility?

This warm, funny, love story, about two
likable, vulnerable characters teetering on  the
threshold of happiness, is all about second
chances, forgiveness, and hope for a brighter tomorrow,
making it an ideal choice for the last days of summer.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Summer of '69

Summer of '69 by Elin Hilderbrand

It was a summer few will ever forget.

Man dared to step foot on the moon.

Angry protesters rallied against The
Vietnam War, amid the increased escalation
of the United States in the conflict.

Peace, love, and psychedelic drugs drew
hundreds of thousands to a music festival
known as Woodstock, an extravaganza of epic
proportions. And Ted Kennedy survived a
scandal at Chappaquiddick that almost
cost him his political career.

No one feels the impact of the summer of '69
more than the Levin family, who fervently
embrace the changing times.

One daughter has a season of awakening with
her stern grandmother on Nantucket, another
awaits the agonizing birth of twins, without the
support of her troubled husband, and a third girl
finds refuge on Martha's Vineyard where it's
impossible to escape the sins of her past, and
the racial tension that simmers behind closed

A son marches off to the jungles of Southeast Asia,
and a mother drowns her sorrows with a steady stream
of cocktails, terrified that sordid secrets from the
past could tear her family apart.

Hilderbrand's first historical fiction novel is an insightful
narrative about a remarkable, tumultuous era,
fifty years ago. She captures the essence of 1969
with her candid, eloquent writing, making it an
emotional, nostalgic, page-turner, certain to resonate
with so many readers.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The Dream Daughter

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain

It's time to celebrate author Diane Chamberlain's
thirty years of writing captivating novels that
inspire, enlighten, and thoroughly entertain
her many loyal readers.

Her latest, The Dream Daughter, now in paperback,
takes a decided turn from many of her previous books,
whisking the reader into the world of time-travel,
where anything is possible.

It's the 1960s. Carly Grant's work as a physical therapist
in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, is fulfilling, but sometimes
frustrating, especially when she meets Hunter Poole,
a quirky patient with a mind of his own. But he's the
perfect match for Carly's sister, Patti, and soon they marry.

Happiness is elusive, however, when Carly's husband, Joe,
dies in the Vietnam War. He'll never know the child she is
carrying, a daughter who suffers from a congenital heart defect
that can't be fixed.

But what if Hunter could transport Carly forward in time
to 2001, where doctors have the technology to possibly repair
a heart abnormality in the womb? Hunter promises just that,
and this is the story of Carly's perilous journey to save her child
by considering the impossible, fervently hoping that miracles
do come true.

Yet time is of the essence, and returning to the life she once knew,
may not be quite so easy for Carly and her precious child. Sometimes
the sacrifice we make for our child is the greatest love of all.

This imaginative story takes the reader on a time-travel adventure,
right along with Carly. It's a window into tumultuous times,
the highs and the lows, the joys and the sorrows of the
60s, 70s, and the not-so-distant future of 2022.

Step into this time capsule for another engaging tale
from Diane Chamberlain, and be prepared to

Monday, June 10, 2019

the Summer Guests

the Summer Guests by Mary Alice Monroe

The hot, sultry days of August are about
to change on the Southern coast as
Hurricane Noelle prepares to unleash fury
and might on everything and everyone
in her path.

A diverse mix of friends, family, and casual
acquaintances prepare to evacuate to the
sprawling farm of Grace and Charles
Phillips in North Carolina. Facing the
unknown, they take only their most prized
possessions, uncertain as to what will remain
in the aftermath of this powerful storm.

Grace's daughter, Moira, conflicted and confused
in her marriage, arrives with a pack of
dogs, seeking refuge. Famed equestrian, Javier
Angel de la Cruz, checks in with his current
flame, make-up artist, Hannah, along with
Grace's dear German friend, Gerta.
Wealthy, influential, and renowned for her
intuitive horse breeding skills, Gerta has
a valuable stake in these animals, and she's
determined to save them at all cost.

But will she be able to stop controlling
her restless daughter, Elise, before their
relationship is fractured beyond repair?

They all are about to embark on a journey
of discovery about themselves and those
they love. Forbidden desire, pent-up anger
and resentment, hidden secrets, and unfilled
dreams take center stage as they weather
Mother Nature's rage and ferocity.

Mary Alice Monroe's latest novel leaves the
familiar shores of South Carolina to tell a
captivating story in a new locale, but as with
all her books, the reader takes away enlightening
facts. This time it's about the fascinating world of
horses, their trainers, those who ride competitively,
and those who feel a deep connection to these
magnificent animals.

And for those loyal fans of the author's
Beach House series, the beloved character of Cara
Rutludge makes an appearance in this story,
as she races against time to save her beloved home,
Primrose Cottage on The Isle of Palms from the
relentless winds of the hurricane. Perhaps she'll
find it's time to commit to new beginnings in the
eye of a storm.

Another absorbing novel from an author who
continues to delight her many faithful readers
with relevant topics, appealing characters,
twisty plots, and of course, a touch of romance.

Friday, May 31, 2019

The Favorite Daughter

The Favorite Daughter by Patti Callahan Henry

This should be the happiest day of Colleen
Donohue's life. Splendid in her vintage,
lace wedding gown, she'll soon walk down
the aisle with a radiant smile, taking solemn
vows with Walter, the man she loves.

But those dreams are shattered when Colleen
witnesses a passionate, clandestine embrace
between Walter and her sister, Hallie,  just
minutes before the ceremony.

The deep, stinging betrayal by two people
she trusts the most, is overwhelming. So Colleen
follows her heart and runs far, far away from
the serene beauty of Watersend, South Carolina,
never looking back, praying her heart will
heal someday.

Ten years later, Colleen has made a name for
herself as a successful free-lance travel writer in
New York City. Friends, a bustling social life, and
casual romances along the way, keep her busy, but

When brother, Shane, summons her back home to
to help with the decline of their beloved father,
ravaged by Alzheimer's disease, she's keenly
aware of her obligation to return to the Low-
country she left behind.

So much has changed, yet many things remain
the same. Family calls her Lena, just like they did
years ago. Her brother still runs the Irish pub where many
after-school days were spent doing homework.
Hallie is married to the charming, deceitful Walter,
and mother to two precocious girls. And the pain, anger,
guilt, and resentment between the two sisters who were
once inseparable, is as fresh as it was on that fateful day.

As time goes on, Colleen can see her confused father
slowly slipping away from reality. Time is of the essence
as she and her siblings prepare to honor him with a
celebration of memories and pictures. But a puzzling
photograph from his youth contradicts what he's always
told them about the past. Could he be harboring a painful
secret, even as his mind is fading?

This is a mellow, heartwarming story about the
power of forgiveness, the futility of revenge, and
the achingly, difficult decision to accept what we
can't change, open to what the future holds.