Sweet Tea and Sympathy ( A Southern Eclectic Novel) by Molly Harper

Gallery Books Release on November 21st.

Sweet Tea and Sympathy (Southern Eclectic, #1)

Beloved author Molly Harper launches a brand-new contemporary romance series, Southern Eclectic, with this story of a big-city party planner who finds true love in a small Georgia town.

Nestled on the shore of Lake Sackett, Georgia is the McCready Family Funeral Home and Bait Shop. (What, you have a problem with one-stop shopping?) Two McCready brothers started two separate businesses in the same building back in 1928, and now it’s become one big family affair. And true to form in small Southern towns, family business becomes everybody’s business.

Margot Cary has spent her life immersed in everything Lake Sackett is not. As an elite event planner, Margot’s rubbed elbows with the cream of Chicago society, and made elegance and glamour her business. She’s riding high until one event goes tragically, spectacularly wrong. Now she’s blackballed by the gala set and in dire need of a fresh start—and apparently the McCreadys are in need of an event planner with a tarnished reputation.

As Margot finds her footing in a town where everybody knows not only your name, but what you had for dinner last Saturday night and what you’ll wear to church on Sunday morning, she grudgingly has to admit that there are some things Lake Sackett does better than Chicago—including the dating prospects. Elementary school principal Kyle Archer is a fellow fish-out-of-water who volunteers to show Margot the picture-postcard side of Southern living. The two of them hit it off, but not everybody is happy to see an outsider snapping up one of the town’s most eligible gentleman. Will Margot reel in her handsome fish, or will she have to release her latest catch?

Molly Harper is well known for her Half-Moon Hollow books. Paranormal romance in a small Kentucky town.

Her titles never fail to crack me up! And since she is a former humor columnist that is no surprise. This new Southern Eclectic is definitely something I can get behind.

Being a Georgia girl myself, the title kind of jumped right out at me and I just knew this was going to be good. And it is.

Chicago and small town Georgia are about as far apart as you can get in a lot of ways.

I don’t think anywhere in Chicago you would find the bait store next to the funeral home, but it works.

The McCready family is full of loveable characters. Even though Margot comes to town at the behest of a family she doesn’t remember, she quickly falls in love with her cousins and aunts and uncles and maybe even the hot new principal.

She may even find out why her father never followed her mother when his wife just up and left with Margot. Could they get another chance to be family? Or will she hightail it out of there as soon as a better opportunity comes along?

These are smart, witty and downright hilarious characters and I laughed right along with everyone else!

A good read about family, assumptions, and the love of family!

This book will be out November 21st.

Netgalley/Gallery

 

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The Boyfriend Swap by Meredith Schorr

The Boyfriend Swap

Is Christmas really the most wonderful time of the year? New Yorker’s Robyn Lane and Sidney Bellows aren’t so sure.

Robyn has always dated struggling creative types. For once, her parents would love her to bring someone with health insurance and a 401(k) to their Chrismukkah celebration. Her actor boyfriend doesn’t qualify. While across town, Sidney’s professional life already belongs to her parents. She’s an attorney at her father’s law firm and she works tirelessly to keep her love life private. If she brings her lawyer boyfriend to their annual Christmas extravaganza, her parents will have the wedding planned by New Year’s Eve.

A mutual friend playfully suggests they trade boyfriends for the holidays. The women share a laugh, but after copious amounts of wine, decide The Boyfriend Swap could be the perfect solution. This way, Robyn can show off her stable attorney boyfriend and Sidney’s high-society family will take no interest in her flakey actor beau.

It’s a brilliant plan—in theory. In practice—not so much. When Will turns out to be the boy-next-door Robyn crushed on hard throughout her teenage years, and Sidney’s family fawns all over Perry like he’s an Oscar-winner rather than a D-list wannabe, one thing is certain: The Boyfriend Swap might just change their lives forever.

I could definitely see this as a Hallmark Channel Movie! Especially at Christmas.

Sidney and Will haven’t been dating long and she is not looking forward to tossing him to the wolves at her family’s Christmas! Especially in a house already full of lawyers. She just wants something for herself. Agreeing to the swap Sidney gets more than she bargained for. Her entire family is charmed by Perry and Sidney may be getting a little hot under the collar for him as well.

While Robyn is bringing home the boy next door who she still has a crush on and her family thinks he is just the perfect man for her. And Robyn is beginning to think so too.

A lovely romp of a Christmas story and the stories we tell ourselves about who we are and what the people we love want for us.

Netgalley/Henery Press  November 07, 2017

 

Christmas at Two Love Lane by Kieran Kramer

Christmas at Two Love Lane

From the moment he strode through the iron gate and into the offices of Two Love Lane on a crisp December day, it was obvious that Deacon Banks was something different. He wasn’t a Charleston native, not with that adorable Yankee accent. And unlike the usual client at the elegant matchmaking agency, he had no interest in finding a woman to marry–just a few no-strings dates while he was in town.

Macy Frost takes her professional services very seriously–how could she not, when she’s rumored to be a direct descendant of Cupid? Tech entrepreneur Deacon says he’s just trying to make his social-climbing aunt happy by being seen out and about with a few prominent beauties, but Macy insists she can make her client fall in love…for real. And Deacon can’t help but think she might be right. As charming as the palmetto trees and magnificent harbor may be, it’s the beautiful, breath-of-fresh-air Macy who’s become Deacon’s favorite part of the scenery. But can the hopelessly romantic Southern belle stop trying to fix him up and just let Cupid do his work on her own heart?

First I would like to say this is a gorgeous cover! And although I never read Romance books, I thought of this more as a Christmas book. I even lit a pine candle to get in the mood.

Macy and her friends, Greer, Ella and Miss Thing, are running a successful matchmaking service in Charleston.

Deacon Banks has followed his famous Aunt Fran to Charleston for a month and has promised her he will at least date some potential love interests while he is there,  but he falls hard for Macy the moment he sees her.

How could you not fall in love in Charleston at Christmas time? Well, Macy is trying awfully hard not to do that.

The descriptions of Charleston were wonderful as was the food and traditions. Even I was not immune to the charm of Macy and her lovable cast mates!

A holiday book I would highly recommend! And there’s Coconut Cake Y’all!

Netgalley/St.Martin   October 3, 2017

House of Silence by Sarah Barthel

House of Silence

Oak Park, Illinois, 1875. Isabelle Larkin s future like that of every young woman hinges upon her choice of husband. She delights her mother by becoming engaged to Gregory Gallagher, who is charismatic, politically ambitious, and publicly devoted. But Isabelle s visions of a happy, profitable match come to a halt when she witnesses her fiance commit a horrific crime and no one believes her. 

Gregory denies all, and Isabelle s mother insists she marry as planned rather than drag them into scandal. Fearing for her life, Isabelle can think of only one escape: she feigns a mental breakdown that renders her mute, and is brought to Bellevue sanitarium. There she finds a friend in fellow patient Mary Todd Lincoln, committed after her husband s assassination.
In this unlikely refuge, the women become allies, even as Isabelle maintains a veneer of madness for her own protection. But sooner or later, she must reclaim her voice. And if she uses it to expose the truth, Isabelle risks far more than she could ever imagine.
Weaving together a thread of finely tuned suspense with a fascinating setting and real-life figures, Sarah Barthel’s debut is historical fiction at its most evocative and compelling.”

A wonderful look inside Bellevue Sanitarium in the year 1875. Isabelle is marrying Gregory and love has nothing to do with it. She has been raised as most of the women of the era, to either let her family pick a husband for her, or choose someone who could advance both of your stations in life. Her best friend Lucy, is working on running away and marrying the man she truly loves and while she is happy for Lucy and aids her in her attempt, Isabelle isn’t one to rock the boat.

She is however a smart young lady, and when she sees her supposedly loving fiance’ commit an unspeakable act, she does not stay silent. Unfortunately appearances are everything to Isabelle’s mother and neither she or the authorities believe Isabelle.

So she just shuts up. Not a word. Nothing. And that is how she ends up at Bellevue. A game of who can hold out the longest. Isabelle or her mother. As Isabelle meets more women at Bellevue, she sees how easy it is to just lock up a woman on pretty much any trumped up reason. She fears she may never be released and is alone and scared. Until she gets a neighbor. Mary Lincoln, whose son Robert is trying to have her declared insane.

Together she and Isabelle will come up with a plan to rescue them both.

Mary Todd Lincoln was a resident of Bellevue in that year, so there is some fact mixed in with the fiction.  This was a very nice historical fiction read, and I thank the Publisher and Netgalley.

This book will be released December 27, 2016. You can preorder here

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

The Bookshop on the Corner: A Novel by [Colgan, Jenny]

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.

As soon as I received this book for Book Club I read it straight through. I even read parts to my friend who said, ” Oh, that is totally about you!”. No it isn’t but it sure could be.

This is a book lovers book. Nina has always had her nose in a book. When life got sad or messy, she would escape into a book. Books are what she loves and what she knows about. The real world, not so much. But once she takes a leap of faith, she finds out there is a lot more to her than books. She finds a real world out there and her new friends find the joy of reading once again.

Books change lives but so does getting out there and experiencing what you read.

I loved this book from beginning to end! 20161030_120502

 

About the Author

Jenny Colgan is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous novels, including Little Beach Street Bakery, Christmas at Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop, and Christmas at the Cupcake Café, all international bestsellers. Jenny is married with three children and lives in London and Scotland.

I have read the Little Beach Street Bakery and am looking forward to Christmas at the Cupcake Cafe’.     Excellent reads.

Penguin Random House Fall Debut Fiction 2016

I was really excited to see this! Debut Fiction is always fun. And this list is really good.

There are 9 different titles with a couple of chapters each to peek at.

And the winners are…..

  1. The Bear and the Nightingale: A Novel by Katherine Arden (Jan.2017)
  2. The Mothers: A Novel by Brit Bennett  (Oct. 2016)
  3. Ninth City Burning by J. Patrick Black (Sept. 2016)
  4. The Education of Dixie Dupree by Donna Everhart (Oct. 2016)
  5. The Nix: A Novel by Nathan Hill  (2016)
  6. The Tea Planter’s Wife by Dinah Jefferies  (Sept. 2016)
  7. Behold the Dreamers: A Novel by Imbolo Mbue (2016)
  8. The Mortifications: A Novel by Derek Palacio ( Oct. 2016)
  9. First Light by Bill Rancic (Nov. 2016)

I am definitely adding The Bear and the Nightingale, The Mothers,The Education of Dixie Dupree, Behold the Dreamers and First Light to my TBR list!

Thank you to Penguin Random House!

Jane Steel A Novel by Lyndsay Faye

Jane Steele by [Faye, Lyndsay]

A reimagining of Jane Eyre as a gutsy, heroic serial killer says the NYT about Jane Steel.

“Reader, I murdered him”.  What a great opening!

Jane Steel has suffered more loss and ugliness in her life at age 9 than most people will in a lifetime. The loss of a Father she doesn’t remember and then her beautiful, sensitive French Mother has left her too tender for her overbearing Aunt and horrid cousin.

When her Aunt sends her to Lowan Bridge School, a boarding school that sounds like Gitmo,  she is left to fight for her life. Unable to bear any more, she commits another murder and runs away to London, leaving the dead behind her.

She hides for years, waiting for that knock on the door from the Law, all the while writing morbid “confessions” of the recently hanged, which are published in the paper daily.

Then her Aunt dies and Jane finds out there is a new Master of Highgate House who is looking for a governess for his 9 year old ward. Jane’s mother always told her that the house would one day be hers and now she intends to find out if she is the rightful owner.

This is a satirical romance about things we all can relate to, the lies we tell, the guilt we live with, who we really are and are the lines between good and bad a tad blurry.

While it is most definitely a Gothic piece and Miss Jane begins her killing very early in life, I laughed so hard. My favorite parts were the blurbs above each chapter. My favorite?

” Do you know where the wicked go after death?”

” They go to hell, was my ready and orthodox answer…”

” What must you do to avoid it?”

 I deliberated a moment; my answer, when it did come, was objectionable: ” I must keep in good health, and not die.”

This is one of those books that I kept saying to my reading partner, Hey you have to listen to this! It’s that good!

About The Author

Lyndsay Faye moved to Manhattan in 2005 to audition for theatre work; she found her days more open when the powers that be elected to knock her day-job restaurant down with bulldozers. Her first novel Dust and Shadow: an Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H Watson is a tribute to the aloof genius and his good-hearted friend whose exploits she has loved since childhood. Faye’s love of her adopted city led her to research the origins of the New York City Police Department, the inception of which exactly coincided with the start of the Irish Potato Famine. The Gods of Gotham, Seven for a Secret, and The Fatal Flame follow ex-bartender Timothy Wilde as he navigates the rapids of his violently turbulent city, his no less chaotic elder brother Valentine Wilde, and the perils of learning police work in a riotous and racially divided political landscape. The first book of the trilogy was nominated for an Edgar Award for Best Novel and has been published in 14 languages. Her lasting affection for Jane Eyre led her to re-imagine the heroine as a gutsy, heroic serial killer in Jane Steele.

After growing up in the Pacific Northwest, Lyndsay worked as a professional actress throughout the Bay Area for several years, nearly always in a corset, and if not a corset then at the very least heels and lined stockings. As her roles ranged from Scrooge’s lost fiancée in A Christmas Carol to Lavinia DuPlessy in Andrew Lippa’s world premiere of A Little Princess, whalebone prevented her from drawing a natural breath for a number of years. She is a soprano with a high pop belt, if it interests you. Her performances were generally reviewed well, with adjectives ranging from “soaring” and “delightful” to “sausage-curled.”

Lyndsay and her husband, artist Gabriel Lehner, live in Queens with their cats, Grendel and Prufrock. During the few hours a day Lyndsay isn’t writing or editing, she is most often cooking, or sampling new kinds of microbrew, or thinking of ways to creatively mismatch her clothing. She is a very proud member of AEA, MWA, ASH, GWN, and BSI (Actor’s Equity Association, Mystery Writers of America, the Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes, Girls Write Now, and the Baker Street Irregulars, respectively).