Feb 212012
 

 Olivia

Author: Julie Wright

Publisher: Covenant

Published: February 2012

Softcover: 211 pages

Part of the Newport Ladies Book Club Series

FTC FYI: I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewed by Mindy

Goodreads Summary:  The Robbins household looks perfect from the outside: no dust, no stains, no wrinkles. Yet a glimpse into its heart reveals no laughter, no closeness, no joy. Olivia thinks that if she keeps everything tidy and serves delicious meals on time, family life is bound to get better. But when her husband, Nick, misses their anniversary, she realizes no amount of domestic success will compensate for failure in their marriage, or for her own failure to develop her identity, always busy as a mother, wife, and neighbor, she has forgotten how to be a unique and vibrant individual. Determined to make a change, Olivia joins a local book club, where she nurtures new friendships and explores new ideas. But her growing confidence falters when Nick declares his independence, and while her new friends lovingly encircle her with support, only Olivia can reach into the depths of her fledgling self to find the faith, hope, and love her troubled family needs.

After her disappointing anniversary dinner, Olivia tries to put it behind her.  Nick doesn’t even acknowledge their anniversary even passed.  Out running errands one day she sees a flyer taped to a door.

Looking for serious readers to join the Newport Ladies Book Club. Women only!  Eating and good conversation!  Space limited.

Olivia thinks of all the things that she needs to do.  Soccer games, schedules, dry cleaner runs, grocery shopping, school functions, Junior League meetings.  The list goes on and on.  Thinking of all that makes her tired.  Even the thought of her own lonely home makes her hurt.  After much inward discussion, Olivia decides to join the book club.  Meanwhile, her family life doesn’t improve.  Nick is still standoffish, and his silence is deafening.  Olivia wishes she knew what was wrong with him.  Nick was married before.  His two children from “The Ex”, Jessica and Kohl, feel his separation too.  Jessica is trying to plan a going away party for Kohl, who joined the marines to pay for college.  He is being sent to Africa.  Nick doesn’t want anything to do with him, Livvy wants to figure out why.  But it could cost Livvy her marriage.

Nick calls Livvy “The Giving Tree”.  Giving and giving until there is nothing left.  She calls him on that, and says he is the boy in the story.  Who takes all he can.  Nick also teases her about finding new friends.  Making her feel more hesitant and insecure.  Book club changes all that for Livvy.  It gives her confidence and courage.

I loved this book.  I loved loved Livvy.  She is too funny sometimes.  She talks to herself and always hears her mother’s words in her head.  I loved how she decides to do what she wants anyway, without Nick, to show her kids that life goes on.  And that’s not just joining the book club.  They go on picnics to the beach together, and do things the family hasn’t done in years.  I liked how flashbacks were used subtly.  I felt they never took me away from the story, and kept the current situation in my mind.  I was very proud of the woman that Livvy was at the end.  I loved (wow, saying that a lot) the other ladies in the book club too.  Especially Ruby.  I just wanted to give her a hug.  Each woman became a force in the book club, and they all grow to love each other.  Realizing that they need other too.

I’m excited for the other stories to be told in the series. Daisy by Josi S. Kilpack comes out in June 2012.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.  Olivia is a must read for Julie Wright fans.  She does an amazing job with each character.  The story is told so beautifully, I didn’t want it to end.  When I did get there, I loved how Olivia’s story finishes.  So well written.

Find out more about The Newport Ladies Book Club here.  Follow Julie Wright on Facebook and Twitter.

BARNES AND NOBLE / AMAZON / SEAGULL / DESERET BOOK

 

 

 

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Nov 162011
 

Marian’s Christmas Wish

Author: Carla Kelly

Publisher: Cedar Fort

Published: September 2011

Paperback: 304 pages

ISBN13: 9781599559537

Genre: Regency Romance

FTC FYI: I received my copy from NetGalley with approval from publisher

Reviewed by Mindy

Goodreads summary:  ”Miss Marian Wynswich is a rather unconventional young lady. She plays chess, reads Greek, and is as educated as any young man. And she’s certain falling in love is a ridiculous endeavor and vows never to do such a thing. But everything changes when she receives a Christmas visit from someone unexpected— a young and handsome English lord.”

Marian’s brother Percy is coming home for Christmas.  He surprises everyone by bringing two suitors.  The pompous Sir William who is the intended one for Ariadne, Marian’s older sister.  Although she has eyes for the town vicar, who is as poor as a church mouse.  The second is Gilbert Collinwood, Lord Ingraham.  Marian (or Mare, as her family calls her) swears that romance is not for her.  This is the first Christmas since her father’s death, which has left the family deeply in debt with his precarious ways.  There is even talk of the Wynswich family having to sell their estate to pay off the debt.

The Wynswich family has a Christmas tradition making a Christmas pudding, and while stirring it, a wish is made in your heart.  One that you can not repeat. In her mind Marian’s wish is that Gilbert Collinwood will have the best Christmas.  Gil also makes a wish of his own.

Marian’s mother, Lady Wynswich is overly dramatic and judgmental.  It is these actions, one day, that send Marian to check on her newly born kittens, Lord Ingraham goes with her.  They talk and Marian finds herself in easy conversation.  He keeps telling her to stop calling him “Lord Ingraham”, so she settles on Gil. Gilbert has a scar on his face, and Marian in her animal loving ways has made a healing salve, which she applies to his face.  Right away, I think, Gil starts to think well of Marian.

Marian is such an enjoyable character.  I really liked her.  Many times she had me smiling.  She is smart, well-read, witty, and has a lot of spunk (even for the time period that it is set).  This story takes place in the Napolean era.  Eventually goes in a direction I wasn’t expecting, but really enjoyed. There are many surprises that were exciting and kept me wondering.  It’s a well written book, with a very sweet ending.  I loved the changes in some characters too.

4 out of 5 stars.  Read more about Carla Kelly and her many books here. Follow Cedar Fort on Twitter and Facebook.


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Oct 052011
 

The Next Door Boys

Author: Jolene B. Perry

Publisher: Cedar Fort

Published: October 2011

ISBN13: 9781599559100

Softcover: 272 pages

FTC FYI: I received a PDF  from the publisher which did not affect my review

Reviewed by Mindy

Goodreads summary: With her body still recovering from last year’s cancer treatments, Leigh Tressman is determined to be independent. Despite the interference from her overprotective brother, the ever-expanding line of young men ready to fall in love with her–not to mention the physical frustrations and spiritual dilemmas Leigh discovers what it actually means to stand on her own and learns that love can be found in unexpected but comfortable places.

We meet Leigh and Jaron Tressman on their way to BYU for the start of school.  Leigh is very anxious to get there, mostly to start living her life away from her mother’s worried eyes.  Leigh’s cancer is in remission, and everyone is still worried for her.  At home Leigh is known as: “Jaron’s little sister” or “the girl who sews” and “the girl who sings” so she is excited to start fresh.  The only way she could go to school this semester was with the stipulation that her brother Jaron would be next door to keep an eye on her.  Brian lives with Jaron even though he is a few years older.  We also meet Stuart and his wife Julie.  Stuart served with Brian in Iraq, and they are all very close.  Luckily Leigh’s roomates Megan and Kim are easy to get along with too.  Soon they all become fast friends.  Although, Leigh is leery of Brian with his tattoos and late hours, she starts to develop a friendship with him.  A friendship that she starts to need.

I instantly loved Brian.  As soon as he ran up to Leigh and Jaron’s car to welcome them, he did so into my heart.  As Leigh’s story is told, I loved it when Brain would stop by.  Truly a great character with heart, brains, and good looks.  I loved the relationship between Leigh and Jaron.  They have many traditions: always stopping in Cedar City for pizza, walking arm in arm, and going to the temple together.  Their family has had some struggles, but they’ve always had each other.

The Next Door Boys is very enjoyable!  Leigh is a great character, but she has many things to work out for herself.  She has an incredible support system with her family, roommates and especially Jaron.  I was happy when she finally realized it.

4 out of 5 stars.  Thank you Jolene for asking me to review your great book, and to Laura at Cedar Fort for the PDF.

For purchase information and to learn more about the author, click here.

 

 

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Sep 082011
 

Minor Adjustments

Author: Rachael Renee Anderson

Publisher: Cedar Fort

Published: August 2011

Softcover: 216 pages

ISBN: 978-1-59955-913-1

FTC FYI: I received a free copy from the publisher which did not affect my review.

Reviewed by Mindy

Devon Pierce is a busy man.  He owns his own internet security company in Chicago, and doesn’t have time in his life for distractions.  When Devon is asked to come to Australia to meet an old acquaintance’s son, he feels obligated to go.  Devon has been asked to be Ryan’s guardian.  His mom, Lindsay, passed away and named Devon as his guardian.  Stella Walker is Ryan’s solicitor, and Lindsay’s best friend.  Stella loves Ryan and wishes that she could of been the one to raise him.  Stella at last convinces Devon to at least get to know Ryan for two weeks before he makes his final decision.  Devon is unsure of how he would be as a father, and Stella has her doubts too.

Right away Devon sees what a sweet and agreeable child Ryan is.  Although Ryan has his “four-year old” tendencies to misbehave or be winey, Devon handles it well.  He quickly starts to love Ryan.  Stella in her kind, but pushy way, keeps asking Devon to take Ryan.  Devon reminds her that he is only doing the two week trial because she asked him too, but as their time together progresses, is Devon having second thoughts?  And, is Stella telling him everything?

Rachael’s writing is so smooth.  I love the way the relationship between the characters progress.  Especially Devon’s and Stella’s.  Trials come up for them, and I thought they are handled well.  An ex-girlfriend, selling companies, relocations, just to name a few.  There is a bunch of humor that made me smile too (Stella is a lover of random facts).  I also really enjoyed the beautiful setting of Australia.  I felt I was there with the characters, what a beautiful place.  Australian’s way of saying things are so fun and different.

4 out of 5 stars.  I really enjoyed this book.  It’s very cute and clever.  Rachael is such a great writer.  Minor Adjustments is Rachael’s third book.  Check out my review of Luck of the Draw.  To purchase Rachael’s book’s click here.


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Aug 192011
 

If I Should Die

Author: Jennie Hansen

Publisher: Covenant Communcations

Published: June 2011

ISBN-13: 978-1-60861-199-7

Softcover: 235 pages

FTC FYI: I received a free copy from the publisher which did not affect my review.

Kallene and her best friend Linda never miss their morning run together.  This morning was the same as others, but something was bothering Linda.  She is unhappy in her marriage and decides she needs to file for divorce.  The next day, Kallene was running a little behind, Linda was never late, so when Linda is not there, Kallene is immediately concerned about her friend.  She quickly jogs over to Linda’s, and hurriedly knocks on the door.  Linda’s husband Carson answers, not knowing where she is either.  Kallene doesn’t like his reaction, as he just assumes Kallene will watch their daughter Macie, and that Linda will come home once she cools down.  After a few days and still no sign of Linda, Kallene calls the police out of concern for her friend.  Detectives arrive and question Carson, making him the person of interest in Linda’s disappearance.  Secondary characters such as the nosey neighbor, another neighbor with a shady past, and her sweet but troubled cub scout were captivating as well.

This is the first book of Jennie Hansen’s that I have read.  She is a good writer and I enjoyed this book.  Kallene is a smart and likable character.  Two love interests are vying for her, and I was happy with the end result, even though I really liked both male characters.  If there was one thing that distracted me from the story a bit was Kallene’s job.  She worked from home mostly for an advertising firm, and there was some controversy over her boss taking credit for her work.  For me, the story focused too much on her job at times and took away from the disappearance of her friend.

3 1/2 stars out of 5.

Jennie Hansen has written many books. I look forward to reading more from her.  Find out more about Jennie Hansen here.

Happy Friday!

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Aug 172011
 

City Limits

Author: Sheralyn Pratt

Publisher: Bonneville Books

Published: 2010

Softcover: 213 pages

ISBN:  978-1-59955-423-5

FTC FYI-I purchased my own copy

“Whoever he was, the man was a scoot from death.  He sat with both legs dangling ten stories above street level, his hands gripping the ledge and pushing his body into a precarious forward lean.  A hundred feet below, a large crowd gathered to witness the potential suicide of a man whose name no one knew.” page 1

This is the second book of Sheralyn’s that I have reviewed.  Why? Because I love them! The Rhea Jensen series just gets better and better.  City Limits does not disappoint.

Rhea’s “missionary” (the one who converts Rhea to the LDS church) Andy is in town.  He is getting ready to start BYU, and is staying with Rhea’s boyfriend.  Rhea’s best friend Kathryn, who has recently moved to town, is suspicious of Andy’s true feelings for Rhea.

When a huge news story breaks, Kathryn needs Rhea’s help.  But that favor leads to a lot trouble for Rhea when men from a secret society show up at Rhea’s door “suggesting” she not help Kathryn with the story.  Where the story goes from here is so exhilarating and heart pounding, I didn’t breathe until I was finished, and it was way past my bedtime.

I love Sheralyn’s books.  They are so fast-paced and exciting.  The ending of City Limits is amazing.  If you are looking for a fun summer read, the Rhea Jensen series is for you.

5 stars out of 5

Content:

Car chases, explosions, kissing

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