Showing posts with label romance fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label romance fiction. Show all posts

Friday, March 22, 2019

The Interlude by Lin Stepp Reviewed

The Interlude by Lin Stepp Reviewed
Definition of Interlude: an intervening episode, period, space, etc.  

Everyone has times in our lives when we need a break from work and responsibility, especially when we are grieving.  Therefore, most of us can identify with Mallory Wingate as she seeks a refuge of peace in The Interlude.

The story takes place in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, which is the perfect place for respite and recovery.  I know from my own experience that the Smoky Mountains are a little piece of heaven here on earth. 


Synopsis of The Interlude


 The InterludeCheck PriceMallory has spent the last few years working full-time and also caring for her terminally ill mother.  When her mother dies, Mallory has an emotional breakdown at work.  Her concerned boss insists that she take time off, so Mallory returns to the one place where she has always found love and care, her grandparents home.

On the plane, a handsome man is seated next to her, but Mallory prefers to be left alone.  However, Lucas James is intent on engaging Mallory in conversation.  He even invites her to join him for dinner during the layover between flights.  What seems like a casual meeting and flirtation when traveling, actually takes on a totally different significance when the two passengers find their destination is exactly the same place, her grandparents home and resort.  

Mallory is slightly embarrassed to find out that Lucas is the pro-golf instructor at the resort.  Lucas is shocked to discover that Mallory is actually his employers granddaughter.  Both would prefer to keep their "interlude" a secret between just the two of them.  Both have their own issues and baggage that keeps them from desiring a romantic relationship.  

One of the things I found most interesting about this book was how the author showed us just how easy it is to say something hurtful to someone else without realizing, or even intending, to cause pain.  Most likely, we have all experienced that to some degree in our own lives, but seeing it written so vividly in the context of a conversation in a book, really can be eye-opening.  A promising friendship, or relationship, can be irreparably fractured by careless words and assumptions.


My Copy of the Book, The Interlude


I would like to thank the author, Lin Stepp, for gifting me with an advance copy of "The Interlude".  That gave me the opportunity to read and review it before the actual release date.  You will definitely want to grab your copy of this wonderful book today and start reading as soon as possible.

  


Read More Book Reviews at
ReviewThisBooks.com


House of Sylvestermouse




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Book Review: Debbie Macomber's A Girl's Guide to Moving On

Moving On after a Divorce is Never Easy


Debbie Macomber's new novel, A Girl's Guide to Moving On, follows the emotional journey of two women after they divorce their husbands. Nichole had watched her mother-in-law Leanne look the other way for decades while her husband Sean had serial affairs. When she found her own husband Jake was cheating on her, she filed for divorce quickly, not wanting to suffer the humiliation Leanne had lived with for thirty-five years.

Image Courtesy of Pixabay


After Nichole filed for divorce, Leanne almost immediately followed her lead and divorced Sean. He had been a good provider and had tried to be mostly discrete, but Leanne's friends at the Country Club they belonged to always let her know what a tomcat Sean was. Though he was always polite about the small things, like opening doors and helping with chairs as etiquette dictated, he had no problem with betraying Leanne where it mattered most. Though he showed Leanne affection in public, he had not privately shown any for ten years in or out of the bedroom.

Nichole had seen enough watching Leanne to know that financial security wasn't worth paying the emotional price of ignoring Jake's infidelity. She knew if she did, it would become a pattern with Jake as it had with his father. Even though she knew living separately would be hard on them all, especially their three-year-old son Owen, she refused to let Jake shred her self-esteem by treating her as his father had treated Leanne.

Leanne and Nichole were both concerned that Owen might follow in the steps of his father and grandfather if there appeared to be no consequences. Nichole's filing to divorce Jake gave Leanne the courage to finally divorce Sean. Both women faced fear and insecurity in making this change from the comfortable life they had been used to.

The Country Club was no longer a comfortable place. Edited from Morgue File image.


More than financial security was at stake. Both women were emotionally shaken and had moved from the homes they had shared with their spouses when married. Both women also needed new friends, since the old ones they'd made at the Country Club seemed only interested in keeping them up-do-date on their ex-husbands' latest exploits. Debbie Macomber shows the steps they took to get on with their lives.


The Guide to Moving On is Born


After Nichole and Leanne had filed for divorce they moved into apartments across from each other and became even closer friends than they had been before. They had common hurts and common problems. They wanted to support each other emotionally as they faced their journey into new experiences. They made a list of what they needed to do to get on with their lives and heal. They called it A Guide to Moving On. This guide contained only three items (quoted from novel):


  1. Don't allow yourself to wallow in your pain. Reach out. Volunteer. Do something you love or something to help others.
  2. Cultivate new friendships
  3. Let go in order to receive
Image created on paid version of Stencil


Both Women Form New Relationships 

Nichole and Leanne follow the steps they created for moving on well. Each found a volunteer job she loved. For each the job paved the way for a new and very different man to enter her life. Nichole met Rocco, a tow truck driver with some very uncouth friends, when he hauled her out of a ditch she had backed into. 

He asked her to return the favor by helping his teen-age daughter, the result of a one-night stand, learn to dress appropriately enough to stay out of trouble. He endeared himself to Nichole's son Owen by giving him a tow truck driver uniform and letting him "drive" a real tow truck. It's obvious to the reader a relationship is developing. But Rocco had a criminal record. After becoming responsible for his daughter, he had turned his life around to the extent that Nichole  trusted him. 

Photo Credit: Don Hankins, Creative Commons 2.0


His tattoos and rough manner would not have made him welcome at the country club, but Nichole could see that under his rough exterior he had a good heart. He still occasionally hung out with his biker pals at bars, but he now owned the tow truck company he used to work for and he hired some other ex-cons who needed a second chance to become good citizens. None of them disappointed him. 

Meanwhile, Leanne, who had a master's in education, took a volunteer job in night school teaching English as a foreign language. One of her students, Nikolai Janchenko from the Ukraine, was about her age. He adored her and began to bake her bread as a sign of love. 

Bread image from Pixabay


 He was a widower whose wife had died of cancer years ago. Gradually they began to date. Leanne began to return his affection. 

Both Relationships Reach a Crisis Point


Just as the reader is getting ready for a happy ending for Leanne and Nichole, relationship disasters strike both of them. Leanne had promised Nikolai she would never again do things for Sean like clean his house or help him. Then Sean got terminal cancer, his other women ran from him, and Leanne felt she needed to step in. She could not simply desert him in his time of trouble after so many years of loving him. Nikolai stopped seeing her and even dropped the English class. Leanne was broken hearted. 

Image Courtesy of Pixabay

About the same time Jake threatened Nichole that if she did not stop seeing Rocco, he would file to take custody of Owen from her. He had discovered Rocco's criminal record and insisted he was a bad influence on Owen. Nichole could not risk losing Owen. Without revealing the reason why, she told Rocco she could not see him anymore. He indicated he was walking out of her life forever, since he believed Nichole thought he wasn't good enough for her after all. Owen can't understand why his pal Rocco isn't visiting him anymore. 


My Review of A Girl's Guide to Moving On



I picked this up at the library in the new book section when the ebook I was reading couldn't keep me awake. I had fled the noise of workman at my house and wanted to read something that would interest me enough to keep me from falling asleep before I could go home. Debbie Macomber got me interested in Leanne and Nichole from the first page. 

Although both Leanne and Nichole divorced their husbands, they felt they had no other choice because of the infidelity. Neither believed it would stop. But the divorces still hurt them and left them grieving the loss of their marriages. Neither was really looking for a new relationship when Rocco and Nikolai walked into their lives. Both women were courageous and supported each other emotionally as they faced an uncertain future and the problems in dealing with the changing relationships.

 Macomber's portrayal of their struggles and their triumphs is emotionally realistic. Although the book is heavy, some of the minor characters added humor to lighten it up. Owen is a precious little boy who reminded me of my own when he was the same age.

I liked that neither woman took divorce lightly and neither violated her moral standards or set a bad example to her children, even though they did face temptations. I appreciated that. I was also impressed by each woman's desire to do the right thing, even when it hurt.

I think women going through the aftermath of a divorce will appreciate and probably identify with Leanne and Nichole as they attempt to get on with their lives. Those of us who are happily married will learn more about what those whose marriages failed go through so we can be understanding and supportive.

If you are a Debbie Macomber fan already, you will find this book a bit different than her usual romances, but you won't be disappointed. I won't spoil it by revealing the ending, but I found it satisfactory. I did not cry after reading it. I don't think you will, either. I wish there were a sequel. These are some of the other Debbie Macomber books I have enjoyed.



Here are the reviews I have written about these Debbie Macomber books.



Find more of my book reviews at Bookworm Buffet.

See the book reviews from our other contributors at Review This! here. 


******



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Chef at the Water's Edge by Kee Patterbee - A Mystery Review

Chef at the Water's Edge, Where Mystery and Romance Meet



Mix a celebrity lady chef, an assistant who looks almost like her, an obsessed fan, a controlling husband, a greedy agent, a gorgeous niece, a jealous ex-boyfriend, and you may have a recipe for murder. Although the police ruled chef Julia Karas' death as an accident, many who knew Julia well had their doubts. Too many facts didn't fit. Too many people had motives to kill Julia. And someone bribed the medical examiner to hide facts in the toxicology report that suggested suicide. Was Julia's death an accident, a suicide, or murder?

Chef at the Water's Edge by Kee Patterbee -  A Mystery Review



The Obsessed Fan, His Friends, and Ex-FBI Agent Hannah


The obsessed fan would be Louie Woolridge, a food critic, who lived and worked in the small town of Zebulon where Julia and Asa Karas lived and worked. He was never able to accept the fact that Julia's death was an accident. The official story was that Julia had gone out to the gazebo next to the lake on a dark rainy night and died around 11:30 PM. 

The groundskeeper found her body the next morning when he was cleaning trash from the ground around the lake. The coroner called the death an accident. Evidently, as Julia stumbled in the dark, she bumped into a beam of the gazebo and it sent her into the water. 

Louie could not accept this story because Julia had been deathly afraid of open water and also had night blindness. He could think of no reason she should have gone to the water's edge on a moonless night, unable to see. 

Louie's friends were Buster and Cate Jordan, cousins who had been raised together in the small town of Twilight. Cate was a librarian who was also a computer whiz.  

Hannah Starvling the ex-FBI agent, age 31, was their friend.  She had spent her summers with her grandparents in Twilight while growing up. After she had been wounded in a shoot-out while working for the FBI and could no longer use a weapon, she came back to Twilight to recover and decide what to do with the rest of her life. 

Her grandparents had owned a restaurant in Twilight, and her grandfather sent her for culinary training in Paris when she had to quit the FBI. She then became a restaurant consultant who worked with some of the most famous chefs in the world. 

Hannah also had a pilot's license and a reputation as an amateur sleuth. She had flown her friends to Zebulon for a food festival to commemorate the anniversary of Julia's death. Louie had invited all the friends to stay with him. After they became acquainted, Hannah agreed to look into the real cause of Julia's death. 




What Really Happened to Julia?


Hannah is determined to find out! She knew Louie and Julia had been close friends when they had both trained as chefs at the Goddard Institut Gastronomique in Paris. They had remained friends until Julia had married Asa. Asa then kept Julia from him. They occasionally met in public at culinary events Louie covered. 

Hannah could tell Louie had never stopped loving Julia. He kept a collection of memorabilia associated with her, along with a file of news clippings. Hannah thinks if she can prove Julia died in an accident as the police reported or find the murderer if there had been foul play, Louie might finally get closure. 

Many people had motives for killing Julia. She had argued loudly with her husband Asa the afternoon of her death because she'd heard rumors Asa was having an affair with their niece, Jazlyn Karas. Before her marriage to Asa, Julia's agent, Jack Miller, had tied her into a bad contract that gave him half of all she earned, and she wanted out of it. Xabierre Dauphin and Timothy Holloway were Julia's sous chefs, but Asa had fired them both and they had vowed to get even. Julia had chosen her assistant Vera to eventually replace her on her cooking show so Vera might have had a motive. And, of course, the husband is always a suspect, especially one rumored to be having affairs. 

Other Questions Readers Will Have 


As Hannah worked with Officer Miles, nicknamed Hymn, to reopen the case and investigate, it becomes evident to the reader that they are fast becoming friends, and maybe even more. Will it develop into love? How would they handle a long-distance relationship?

Vera looks a lot like Julia. In fact, Louie did a double-take the first time he saw her. She was very close to Julia. Vera explained to Louie, Cate, Buster and Hannah that she'd never known her birth parents. As she tells it, 'Someone left me with a family, Lenora and Jacque Bessinger. They were to care for me for a few days...but it turned into a lifetime.'

Jacque was a baker and the couple owned a little shop in Arzon. One day Julia had come in looking for rolls when Vera was very small. She learned Vera's story and kept up with her whenever she was in Arzon. As Julia became richer, she never forgot Vera, and she saw that the Bessinger family always had enough money to meet their needs. Later, she paid for Vera's education and even set up a trust for her. Hannah isn't sure she buys Vera's story. Readers will also wonder. Who is Vera really?

My Review and Recommendation


The three main characters in Chef at the Water's Edge - Louie, Vera, and Hannah, were credible. By the end of the book, readers will know them fairly well. I personally liked all of them, even though Louie was a bit obsessed with Julia. In the end, it is more evident why. My favorite character was Hannah. She was compassionate, thoughtful, analytical and smart. She also tried to stay objective. The minor characters added interest and widened the circle of suspects, but they weren't as well-developed as the main characters. 

I enjoyed looking over Hannah's shoulder as she investigated. There were many twists and turns in the plot and I kept changing my mind about the murderer as I read.  In spite of this, I was not totally caught off-guard at the end. It was a satisfying conclusion that made sense in light of what came before it. 

I highly recommend the book to those who like police procedural mysteries. Hannah adds the amateur sleuth dimension. The setting in a culinary town devoted to a celebrity chef will add interest for those interested in the culinary arts. Lastly, dog lovers will enjoy the important role Louie's large Mastiff, Critic, played near the end.  If you love mysteries, don't miss Chef at the Water's Edge.

Chef at the Water's Edge by Kee Patterbee -  A mystery review, with a touch of romance.
Please share this on Pinterest
Photo © B. Radisavljevic
Unattributed photos were created on https://getstencil.com/app, paid subscription version.

See more book reviews by our contributors here. 
See more of my book reviews on my blog, Bookworm Buffet



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Hunger Games Trilogy ~ A Review of a Very Romantic Book Series

The Hunger Games Book Series from a Romantic Viewpoint 

The Hunger Games Book Series
I would be the first to admit, that I never expected "The Hunger Games Trilogy" would end up being on my list of most romantic books of all time.  I had heard mixed reviews about the books and I wanted to see for myself what all of the fuss was about.

It turns out, The Hunger Games Trilogy is not only action filled, a bit of a thriller and almost seems prophetic at times, it really is a fabulous love story right up to the very last words, in the very last book of the series.

I don't think I have ever cried as much over a book, or felt so close to the characters that I thought of them as personal friends.

The very best part about this book, is that I would feel comfortable recommending it to any age or gender.  I don't recall any profanity in the book and absolutely nothing crude or immoral, including the love scenes.  Yet, every scene was vivid and consuming.

The only thing that I would caution readers about, is obvious.  It is a book where people are killed.  Those descriptions are detailed, but I wouldn't categorize them as gory.  If you can say a book "tastefully" kills someone brutally, than that would be my description of those scenes.


Background for The Hunger Games Trilogy

Review Written by Cynthia Sylvestermouse



The Hunger Games Card Set
The main characters of "The Hunger Games Trilogy" are children, who are thrown into adult situations such as battle and survival.  As a parent, I wanted to protect these kids. I think that played a large part in the amount of tears I shed while reading these books.

While some of them are experienced hunters, they are not murderers and have to find a way to survive when they are cast into a vast arena for days, in some cases, weeks, without any supplies and most of them without any real training.

For the fans of the actual Hunger Games, they believe these games are set-up for sport, for the purpose of entertainment, reminiscent of the coliseum games in Ancient Rome.  In fact, they are much worse.

They are established for the purpose of reminding the districts, which are comparable to the states of the United States, of the ultimate power and control the government has over whether they eat, work, live or die.  That the government literally holds their lives, and their children's lives, in their hands and they can do anything they want to, any time, to you and all that you love.

How corrupt and evil to hold parents under governmental thumbs by killing, or threatening to kill their children while the whole world is watching for sport and entertainment.


The Romantic Side of The Hunger Games Trilogy


The Hunger Games: Official Illustrated Movie Companion
But, once you look past all of the political aspects, you see there is a beautiful love story intertwined throughout the pages.

Now remember, these are children, well teenagers actually, but from a parents perspective, they are children.  Had these children not been thrown into "The Hunger Games", I doubt they would have discovered or revealed their love for one another at such a young age, but they were placed in situations that forced them to grow up faster and that created an everlasting bound of dependence, trust, devotion and love.

My heart broke for Peeta, who knew he loved Katniss long before they were the chosen participates in the 74th annual Hunger Games.  Upon first declaration of love, the reader thinks perhaps Peeta is playing a game himself for the purpose of winning support and favoritism with the fans, especially when it looks like he has teamed with an alliance to kill Katniss.  But, we find out rather quickly that he is actually trying to infiltrate the enemy with the intent of saving her life.

The Hunger Games are designed to insure there will only be one participate that survives. There can only be one Hunger Games winner each year!

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." — The Bible ~ John 15:13

 

The Hunger Games Trilogy - Easy Reads

I Read All 3 Books in 2 Days


The books are fast and easy reads and the story-line is gripping enough that you simply cannot put the books down!

You will want to have all 3 books on hand when you start the first book, because you will want to keep reading.

 
Okay, that's it!  That's as much as I am going to tell you!

You simply must read the books for yourself!  No review, no excerpt could possible delve deep enough into the layers of this story to do it justice.

It is a love story I doubt you will ever forget.  I know I won't!


The Hunger Games Trilogy Books ~ Romantic Book Review 
House of Sylvestermouse



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON:

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Review of The Obituary Society by Jessica Randall

Review of The Obituary Society by Jessica L. Randall
Sometimes light escape reading is just right when we aren't feeling up to tackling nonfiction or literary novels. Times of illness or convalescence call for lighter than normal reading. That is what I wanted after my cervical spine surgery.

Perhaps with flu season fast approaching, it would be good to have this book on hand -- just in case. Of course, it's also a fun read when you are perfectly healthy and just don't want to get involved in a book that you can't put down when you have commitments to keep. 


I was only in the hospital overnight and through lunch the next day. I did manage to start and finish one book on my Kindle before I went home: The Obituary Society by Jessica L. Randall. I was in a post-op drug and sleep-deprived haze when I read the book, but I remember enjoying it. 

It's set in Auburn, a small town in the Midwest, and the main character, Lila, inherits her grandfather's house there. She lives with her Aunt Ada while the house, which needs a lot of work, is being repaired. Strange things happen whenever she's working at the house, however, and it would seem that someone doesn't want her there. Some incidents are even a bit frightening.

There is a lot of humor in the book that revolves around the relationships of Aunt Ada's friends and associates in her church. Some of the ladies collect clippings of the obituaries of their friends and neighbors in scrapbooks and discuss them at meetings of their Obituary Society.

There is also mystery. Lila has been warned never to go near the pond at the back of her property, but she decides to explore it by herself anyway. What happened there almost killed her. It was a place most people avoided because it was considered dangerous.

One of the most humorous series of interactions provides a touch of romance. One of Ada's friends, Gladys, tries in very obvious ways to match Lila with her grandson, Max, whom Lila doesn't like much at all.

This book was just right for hospital reading. It had enough action in the plot to grab me and keep me interested in spite of my condition, and I needed the humor. I was satisfied with the ending that resolved the mysteries and put the right people together. Another thing of interest at the end is a collection of all the recipes mentioned in the book. Many of the chapters deal with church dinners and such and women who have special recipes they are known for.

If you're looking for some easy light reading, The Obituary Society is a winner. It would be ideal to have in front of you when you are waiting for slow websites to load or programs to update. I often have my kindle handy for such occasions when I can only read in spurts, with one eye on the computer so I can click at the right times.  Enjoy. 


For more of my book reviews, please check out Bookworm Buffet, where you will find a varied menu for bookworms.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


FOLLOW US ON: