The Idea of You by Amanda Prowse

The Idea of You by [Prowse, Amanda]

With her fortieth birthday approaching, Lucy Carpenter thinks she finally has it all: a wonderful new husband, Jonah, a successful career and the chance of a precious baby of her own. Life couldn’t be more perfect.

But becoming parents proves much harder to achieve than Lucy and Jonah imagined, and when Jonah’s teenage daughter Camille comes to stay with them, she becomes a constant reminder of what Lucy doesn’t have. Jonah’s love and support are unquestioning, but Lucy’s struggles with work and her own failing dreams begin to take their toll. With Camille’s presence straining the bonds of Lucy’s marriage even further, Lucy suddenly feels herself close to losing everything…

This heart-wrenchingly poignant family drama from bestselling author Amanda Prowse asks the question: in today’s hectic world, what does it mean to be a mother?  

Lucy has it all. Great career. Great apartment. Great wardrobe. But the one thing Lucy wants is a baby. And time is running out, when she meets and marries Jonah.As they try time and again to have a baby, it is just hearbreaking.

As Lucy struggles with miscarriages and with the strain on them as a couple she hopes that she and Jonah have a strong love that can  withstand the pain, frustration and feelings of failure she deals with.

As Jonah’s teenaged daughter comes to stay, things get tense. She isn’t nice to Lucy and as hard as Lucy tries, she can’t get through.

I did enjoy the questions that arose on having it all.

Always a pleasure to read Amanda’s books!  Thanks to Netgalley and Lake Union Lake Union Publishing!

The Second Chance Tea Shop By Fay Keenan

The Second Chance Tea Shop (Little Somerby)

Second chances, new loves and scrumptious cakes, in this heart-warming novel. Perfect for all fans of Fern Britton, Katie Fforde and Cathy Bramley.

Folllowing the tragic death of her beloved husband, Anna Hemingway decides it’s time for a fresh start. So Anna and her three-year-old daughter Ellie move to a picture-perfect cottage in the beautiful village of Little Somerby, and when she takes over the running of the village tea shop, Ellie and Anna start to find happiness again.

But things get complicated when Matthew Carter, the owner of the local cider farm, enters their lives. Throughout a whirlwind year of village fetes and ancient wassails, love, laughter, apple pie and new memories, life slowly blossoms again. But when tragedy strikes and history seems to be repeating itself, Anna must find the strength to hold onto the new life she has built.

This beautiful, life-affirming debut novel marks the beginning of the Little Somerby series, and promises to make you smile, cry, reach for a cream tea, and long for a life in the perfect English countryside.

A real feel good read. We sympathize with Anna as she and her 3 year old daughter, Ellie, pick up the pieces after the death of her husband. Although some time has passed, starting over is scary and you tend to question every decision you make. Is it too soon to fall in love again?

Matthew Carter is running his family’s cider business. His brother is MIA and his ex has left for America. Leaving him to manage their little girl, who is now a lovely teenager. He is one of the walking wounded as well, having been cheated on and left, and he has poured everything into work.

Coming back to Little Somerby, where she grew up, Anna is all set to manage the local coffee and pastry shop, The Little Orchard Tea Shop. Getting to know Matthew and learning to trust in love again will take a lot of courage.

But will this new love work? When tragedy strikes, will they come out of it stronger or will it tear them apart?

I really enjoyed all of the characters and the story line of this book. The only thing that kept nagging at me was The Little Orchard Tea Shop, where was the tea? I would have liked to have seen more of the tea and sweets in the story.

All in all it was a charming story.

Thank you Netgalley and Aria!

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.

who we were before by Leah Mercer

Who We Were Before

Book Blurb:

Zoe knows that it wasn’t really her fault. Of course it wasn’t. But if she’d just grasped harder, run faster, lunged quicker, she might have saved him. And Edward doesn’t really blame her, though his bitter words at the time still haunt her, and he can no more take them back than she can halt the car that killed their son.
Two years on, every day is a tragedy. Edward knows they should take healing steps together, but he’s tired of being shut out. For Zoe, it just seems easier to let grief lead the way.

A weekend in Paris might be their last hope for reconciliation, but mischance sees them separated before they’ve even left Gare du Nord. Lost and alone, Edward and Zoe must try to find their way back to each other—and find their way back to the people they were before. But is that even possible?

The story of Zoe and Edward is told alternately from each one’s point of view, as they go through the weekend in Paris.

In between are flashbacks where we learn how they met and how there was more than just the one tragedy along the way.

Grief has a way of cementing a marriage or destroying it. When it is your child, you want someone to blame, but what do you do when there is no one to blame? They both have secrets and their communication has been awful, but when it comes down to the wire, will they open up to each other and help each other heal? Or will they decide it’s best to just move on alone?

There may be some triggers in this book if you have suffered from the death of a child whether through miscarriage or illness or accidents. So be aware of that.

I am really enjoying UK lit right now. And this one was a shorter story, but emotionally gripping.

Beignets, Brides and Bodies by J.R.Ripley

Grabbing my cup of Chai Tea this morning with some almond milk and nibbling a beignet. Okay, so I’m not nibbling, I am gobbling.

Beignets, Brides and Bodies: A Cozy Mystery Set in Smalltown Arizona

When we last saw Maggie Miller, she was trying to open her Beignet and Coffee shop in Table Rock, Arizona. And also trying to figure out how a dead body got into her storeroom.

Remember Clive and Johnny from the wedding shop next door? Well, when he pops into Maggie’s shop to beg a ride out to the cake shop to drop off a color swatch for the wedding cake, Maggie, who drives a Schwinn, borrows her brother in law Andy’s truck and heads out.

When Clive returns to the truck extremely shaken, he shows Maggie what he found. A body lying at the bottom of the stairs underneath a wedding cake. Now Clive and Johnny are suspects and Maggie isn’t going to stop nosing around until they are cleared.

But who to suspect? Table Rock is not exactly full of your normal everyday citizens. Think Area 51 meets new age hippies. Anyone could have done this horrible crime. Just as she thinks she has the killer figured out….bam! Plot twist! 

I love all of the oddball characters in Ripley’s books. They are people just like the people you probably know, a bit weird, but very lovable. I was right with Maggie in her thinking and was so very wrong!  Good Job, Mr. Ripley! You got me on this one!

Just one mention of Maggie trying to perfect a recipe for a chocolate beignet had me off the computer for 2 days trying to make one. Still working on that! However if you would like to make your own beignets, Cafe’ du Monde sells their boxed mix at Super Targets and specialty stores. Or if you are feeling adventurous you can whip some up in no time!

You can find all of the author’s books on Amazon!  You can find the author in New Orleans today eating beignets most likely! https://goo.gl/wk8NsU

Thank you Netgalley and Severn House. Look for the book coming out Nov.1, 2016

Beignets

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup evaporated milk
7 cups bread flour
1/4 cup shortening
Nonstick spray
Oil, for deep-frying
3 cups confectioners’ sugar

Directions
Mix water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.
In another bowl, beat the eggs, salt and evaporated milk together. Mix egg mixture to the yeast mixture. In a separate bowl, measure out the bread flour. Add 3 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add the shortening and continue to stir while adding the remaining flour. Remove dough from the bowl, place onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. Put dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours.
Preheat oil in a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F.
Add the confectioners’ sugar to a paper or plastic bag and set aside.
Roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness and cut into 1-inch squares. Deep-fry, flipping constantly, until they become a golden color. After beignets are fried, drain them for a few seconds on paper towels, and then toss them into the bag of confectioners’ sugar. Hold bag closed and shake to coat evenly.

 

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

Lilac Girls
Inspired by the life of a real World War II heroine, this debut novel reveals a story of love, redemption, and secrets that were hidden for decades.

The story of three women, and their own experiences with WWII.

One, a wealthy young woman living in New York and doing the best she can for the orphans and other displaced persons in France. Caroline Ferriday, finds herself in a relationship with an actor, who is also married and has a wife in France.

In Poland, we find Kasia Kuzmerick, a teenager whose youth is about to be ended when Poland is invaded. Kasia has a strength unlike I have ever seen. No matter what horrors she endures, she still puts one foot in front of the other and survives. But along with the physical scars, the emotional scars are heartbreaking.

In Germany, Herta Oberheuser, a young idealistic German doctor, is looking for a place she can use and practice what she has learned. When she answers an ad, her life and the lives of many others will be impacted.

Based on real people this story is one we all need to read. No matter how many articles or books I read on the Holocaust, it never gets easier and yet it must be told. This story of hope, courage, love, and selflessness is one I will recommend to one and all.

This book was difficult to read but the story was much more difficult for those living it.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Martha Hall Kelly   Martha Hall Kelly

Website

 

Martha is a native New Englander but has become nomadic, splitting her time between New York City, Martha’s Vineyard and Atlanta, Georgia. She worked as an advertising copywriter for many years and raised three splendid children, while researching Lilac Girls, her first novel. When Martha is not chasing after her new puppy she is hard at work on her next book. You’ll find more info about the true story behind Lilac Girls at her website: http://www.marthahallkelly.com and lots of visual inspiration for the book on the Pinterest account she is madly in love with.

 

XXP

Debut Fiction to pick up this Fall!

The Bear and The Nightingale   A young woman’s family is threatened by forces both real and fantastical in this debut novel inspired by Russian fairy tales.

In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, a stranger with piercing blue eyes presents a new father with a gift – a precious jewel on a delicate chain, intended for his young daughter. Uncertain of its meaning, Pytor hides the gift away and Vasya grows up a wild, willful girl, to the chagrin of her family. But when mysterious forces threaten the happiness of their village, Vasya discovers that, armed only with the necklace, she may be the only one who can keep the darkness at bay. Early Reviews on this one are so good I can’t wait to get it!

 

The Mothers   A dazzling debut novel from an exciting new voice, The Mothers is a surprising story about young love, a big secret in a small community—and the things that ultimately haunt us most. Set within a contemporary black community in Southern California, Brit Bennett’s mesmerizing first novel is an emotionally perceptive story about community, love, and ambition. It begins with a secret.

“All good secrets have a taste before you tell them, and if we’d taken a moment to swish this one around our mouths, we might have noticed the sourness of an unripe secret, plucked too soon, stolen and passed around before its season.”

It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother’s recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor’s son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it’s not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance—and the subsequent cover-up—will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt.

In entrancing, lyrical prose, The Mothers asks whether a “what if” can be more powerful than an experience itself. If, as time passes, we must always live in servitude to the decisions of our younger selves, to the communities that have parented us, and to the decisions we make that shape our lives forever.

 

First Light   A father from Chicago takes a road trip to the city of Whitehorse, in Yukon Territory, with his wife and son. During the car ride, they reveal to the boy their harrowing experience surviving a horrific plane crash in the wilderness ten years before, which is how the boy, in fact, came to be born.
Set amid the deep, wild woods of the Yukon, First Light tells the story of Daniel Albrecht and Kerry Egan, young lovers leaving a work trip in Alaska to plan their wedding back home in Chicago. Not long into their trip, both engines of their plane catch fire and send them careening into a mountainside in the middle of a terrible snowstorm. Kerry is seriously injured in the accident, and it soon becomes clear that search-and-rescue teams aren’t going to find the survivors in time to save her. Daniel—the one person with survival experience amid the passengers—makes the courageous decision to find help and bring it back to the rest of the passengers, hoping against hope he might save the woman he loves. He leaves Kerry in the care of their coworker, Phil Velez, himself seriously injured in the crash, and takes off into the woods to find a town, a house with a telephone, a road. Something.
But Daniel’s choices are made all the more difficult by the presence of his boss, a stubborn man more interested in results than taking care of people. Only one man will come out of their trek alive, but it still may not be in time to save Kerry and the others back at the crash site, slowly dying from their injuries.
As the parents’ story draws to a close, the truth about the boy’s life, and the identity of his father, will at last be revealed.

These are 3 I have earmarked for Fall, and maybe the following:

The Education of Dixie DupreeBehold the Dreamers

Thanks to the Publishers for these!