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Book Review: The Oysterville Sewing Circle

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The Oysterville Sewing Circle by Susan Wiggs– At the break of dawn, Caroline Shelby rolls into Oysterville, Washington, a tiny hamlet at the edge of the raging Pacific.

She’s come home.

Home to a place she thought she’d left forever, home of her heart and memories, but not her future. Ten years ago, Caroline launched a career in the glamorous fashion world of Manhattan. But her success in New York imploded on a wave of scandal and tragedy, forcing her to flee to the only safe place she knows.

And in the backseat of Caroline’s car are two children who were orphaned in a single chilling moment—five-year-old Addie and six-year-old Flick. She’s now their legal guardian—a role she’s not sure she’s ready for.

But the Oysterville she left behind has changed. Her siblings have their own complicated lives and her aging parents are hoping to pass on their thriving seafood restaurant to the next generation. And there’s Will Jensen, a decorated Navy SEAL who’s also returned home after being wounded overseas. Will and Caroline were forever friends as children, with the promise of something more . . . until he fell in love with Sierra, Caroline’s best friend and the most beautiful girl in town. With her modeling jobs drying up, Sierra, too, is on the cusp of reinventing herself.

Caroline returns to her favorite place: the sewing shop owned by Mrs. Lindy Bloom, the woman who inspired her and taught her to sew. There she discovers that even in an idyllic beach town, there are women living with the deepest of secrets. Thus begins the Oysterville Sewing Circle—where women can join forces to support each other through the troubles they keep hidden.

Yet just as Caroline regains her creativity and fighting spirit, and the children begin to heal from their loss, an unexpected challenge tests her courage and her heart. This time, though, Caroline is not going to run away. She’s going to stand and fight for everything—and everyone—she loves.

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Published: August 13, 2019

Acquired: Pubic library e-book

Series: N/A

My Rating: 4 Stars

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. It was a slow build but evenly paced and it hit on a lot of different issues without seeming over the top dramatic. I loved the small town feel of the setting and I could just picture the white picket fences and front porches while I was reading. This is not a light or fluffy read and it’s not chick lit. There are some really heavy issues within the story and they’re handled very well without going too far in either direction- glossing over them or making them so heavy that the story gets lost. I identified with the main character, Caroline, and everything she was going through. I loved that she had a spine of steel and was determined to do the right thing. The relationship between her and Will was hard for me to feel good about for most of the story because he was married. I struggled with that even though I could see where the story was heading. All in all it was a really good story and I hope there’s a follow up book in the works!



New Releases This Week {11.12.19}

These are the new releases for the week of November 12 that I’m adding to my wish lists.

Twisted Twenty-Six by Janet Evanovich– Grandma Mazur is a widow…again. This time her marriage lasted a whole 45 minutes. The unlucky groom was one Jimmy Rosolli, local gangster, lothario (senior division) and heart attack waiting to happen…well, the waiting’s over. It’s a sad day, but if she can’t have Jimmy at least Grandma can have all the attention she wants as the dutiful widow. But some kinds of attention are not welcomed, particularly when Jimmy’s former “business partners” are convinced that his widow is keeping the keys to their financial success for herself. As someone who has spent an entire career finding bad guys, a set of missing keys should be no challenge for Stephanie Plum. Problem is, the facts are as twisted as a boardwalk pretzel with mustard.

Trying to Score by Kendall Ryan– Teddy King excels at many things. Playing hockey. Check. Scoring on and off the ice. Check. Being stupidly attractive … Double check. I knew him way back when. Before he was the guy everyone wanted a piece of, he was just a rebellious college co-ed and one of my more energetic study partners. But secrets have a way of getting out, and a steamy encounter from our college days (that we probably shouldn’t have filmed) is about to cause a major scandal. Unless we can work together to stop it. Teddy’s no stranger to hard work … but the thing he wants most? Is me.

Lake Season by Denise Hunter– When their parents die in a tragic accident, Molly Bennett and her siblings pull together to fulfill their parents’ dream: turning their historic home back into an inn. Adam Bradford (a.k.a. bestselling author Nathanial Grey) is a reclusive author with a bad case of writer’s block. Desperate for inspiration as his deadline approaches, he travels to a North Carolina lake town, the setting of his next novel. There he immediately meets his muse, a young innkeeper who fancies herself in love with his alter ego. When Molly finds an old letter in the walls of her inn she embarks on a mission with Adam to find the star-crossed lovers and bring them the closure they deserve. But the guest she invites along has secrets of his own. Past and present collide as truths are revealed, and Molly and Adam will have to decide if love is worth trusting.

His Royal Highness by R.S. Grey– I’ve spent eight years wishing I’d fall out of love with Derek Knightley. Blowing out birthday candles, chasing after shooting stars, making it rain spare change into mall fountains—every time it’s the same wish: forget about Derek. But the day he walks back into my life, I realize there are two things time has yet to soften: my feelings for him and his chiseled jawline. It’s infuriating that my heart still races when he walks into a room. I refuse to fall prey to old unrequited love, so I decide the less I’m around him, the better. Avoidance is key. Unfortunately, Derek isn’t going to make it easy. As a teenager, I would have crawled on my hands and knees to attract his attention. Now I can’t seem to escape it. I’m not sure why he’s bothering. He’s not just out of my league—he’s out of my tax bracket. As the sole heir to the Knightley Company, he’s as close to American royalty as you can get. As for me, I’m just a part-time princess at Knightley’s flagship magical theme park. I spend my days playing make-believe, but Derek has no use for fairytales. His unwavering confidence makes it clear he thinks I’ll surrender in the end. He’s just biding his time. Making me sweat.

Not the Girl You Marry by Andie J. Christopher– Jack Nolan is a gentleman, a journalist, and unlucky in love. His viral success has pigeon-holed him as the how-to guy for a buzzy, internet media company instead of covering hard-hitting politics. Fed up with his fluffy articles and the app-based dating scene as well, he strikes a deal with his boss to write a final piece de resistance: How to Lose a Girl. Easier said than done when the girl he meets is Hannah Mayfield, and he’s not sure he wants her to dump him. Hannah is an extremely successful event planner who’s focused on climbing the career ladder. Her firm is one of the most prestigious in the city, and she’s determined to secure her next promotion. But Hannah has a bit of an image problem. She needs to show her boss that she has range, including planning dreaded, romantic weddings. Enter Jack. He’s the perfect man to date for a couple weeks to prove to her boss that she’s not scared of feelings. Before Jack and Hannah know it, their fake relationship starts to feel all too real—and neither of them can stand to lose each other.



Book Review: The Friend Zone

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The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez– Kristen Petersen doesn’t do drama, will fight to the death for her friends, and has no room in her life for guys who just don’t get her. She’s also keeping a big secret: facing a medically necessary procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children.

Planning her best friend’s wedding is bittersweet for Kristen—especially when she meets the best man, Josh Copeland. He’s funny, sexy, never offended by her mile-wide streak of sarcasm, and always one chicken enchilada ahead of her hangry. Even her dog, Stuntman Mike, adores him. The only catch: Josh wants a big family someday. Kristen knows he’d be better off with someone else, but as their attraction grows, it’s harder and harder to keep him at arm’s length.

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Published: June 11, 2019

Acquired: Pubic library e-book

Series: N/A

My Rating: 4 Stars

My Thoughts: I enjoyed this book a lot and it was so close to being a 5 star favorite read for me. There were two major events in the book that I just couldn’t overcome. But the writing was great, the story was well paced and flowed seamlessly, the characters were strong and the issues were realistic. I really liked the chemistry between the two main characters and I was rooting for them to work out their issues. I thought Kristen’s “secret” was handled well throughout the book up until the end and that was one of my major issues. There’s a lot of feelings in this book that range from humor to grief to rage and I felt all of them while reading. I loved how sassy and fierce Kristen was but the lack of communication was frustrating. I could understand why Kristen made the choices she did but it was extremely frustrating to read about her stringing along Josh for nearly 2/3 of the book. I definitely will read the next book about the secondary characters. 



New Releases This Week {11.5.19}

These are the new releases for the week of November 5 that I’m adding to my wish lists.

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell– Be careful who you let in. Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am. She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them. Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

Stealing Her by Rachel Van Dyken– My estranged twin brother, Julian, was always the wonder boy – and soon-to-be CEO of our ruthless father’s corporation. My mother and me? Left behind. Now, years after tearing our family apart, my father dares to ask “me” for a favor? Pretend to be Julian while he fights to survive a tragic accident. It can save the company. Nobody will be the wiser. It’ll be our secret. I can play Dad’s favorite. I’ll do anything for Julian. And for my mother, who’ll want for nothing. But this double life comes with a beauty of a hitch: my very real feelings for Julian’s fiancée, Isobel. Not only am I betraying Julian, I’m deceiving a woman I love. She doesn’t suspect a thing. As lies compound, lines are crossed and loyalties tested, all I can ask myself is. . .what have I done? Because sooner or later something’s got to give. There’s no way I’m giving up Isobel. But once the truth is exposed, it might not be my choice at all.

Leopard’s Wrath by Christine Feehan– Born into a life of crime, Mitya Amurov has had a hard life, and his leopard has developed into a feral beast to protect him. It’s constantly trying to claw its way to the surface—until a chance encounter with a stranger instantly calms the predator inside him. While Mitya wants Ania desperately, it’s only a matter of time before his past catches up with him, and he’d rather die than put her in danger. But Ania is dealing with dangers of her own….Considering her family’s history, Ania Dover should know better than to get mixed up with a criminal like Mitya, but she just can’t stay away. Something wild in her responds to his presence. A need so strong it scares her. But she’s not sure she can accept what he’s offering. Ania has always been an independent woman, and Mitya expects to be obeyed in all things. Even with her body calling out for his, Ania won’t let anything stop her from settling a deadly score years in the making—not even the man who wants to claim her as his mate.

Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt– Delsie loves tracking the weather–lately, though, it seems the squalls are in her own life. She’s always lived with her kindhearted Grammy, but now she’s looking at their life with new eyes and wishing she could have a “regular family.” Delsie observes other changes in the air, too–the most painful being a friend who’s outgrown her. Luckily, she has neighbors with strong shoulders to support her, and Ronan, a new friend who is caring and courageous but also troubled by the losses he’s endured. As Ronan and Delsie traipse around Cape Cod on their adventures, they both learn what it means to be angry versus sad, broken versus whole, and abandoned versus loved. And that, together, they can weather any storm.

Under Lying by Janelle Harris– Susan has everything she ever wanted. A loving husband, an angelic daughter and the cottage of her dreams in County Cork. Her picture-perfect life seems too good to be true. And it is. At a housewarming party with their new neighbours, her daughter Amelia goes missing. As friends become suspects, Susan’s life spirals out of control. And when Amelia’s yellow cardigan is dredged from the lake, every parent’s worst nightmare suddenly seems horribly real. In the aftermath of Amelia’s disappearance Susan and her husband Paul are not themselves. Someone is hiding something. What if Susan and Paul’s entire relationship was built on lies stretching back years? Some secrets may be best left buried in the past, but uncovering the truth could be the only way to find Amelia – before it’s too late.



Book Review: Everything Is Just Fine

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Everything is just Fine by Brett Paesel– Coach Randy is working mightily to keep it together, and not simply with his vaguely unhappy wife, distant child, and a new boss who’s eliminating half the sales force. This season’s soccer parents are a demanding bunch. Diane’s wine-fueled group e-mails are almost unintelligible; team mom Jacqui’s enthusiasm for the league verges on manic; a divorced couple can barely conceal their murderous rage at each other; and another mom is laser-focused on schooling everyone on what constitutes a healthy snack option.
All the secrets and lies bubbling below the surface of their membrane-thin civility threaten to combust when Alejandro, a young, foreign assistant coach refuses to play by the Beverly Hills code, which is to mind your own business and don’t look too deeply into anyone’s soul. Especially your own. Brett Paesel brings hilarity and huge heart to a world that looks enviable and shiny on the outside but is, in truth, filled with aching for connection on the inside.

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Published: April 9, 2019

Acquired: Pubic library e-book

Series: N/A

My Rating: 4 Stars

My Thoughts: If you have kids who have played in youth sports- recreational, club, or school leagues included- you will totally understand this book. You will nod your head, you will chuckle, you will cringe, and you will feel outrage. This is truly a book for anyone who has experienced the politics of youth sports. I laughed so hard while reading this because I was picturing people from my own life as the characters. I really enjoyed the contrast between the characters and having those contrasts and differences displayed in email form was genius because it added an additional dimension to the story. It does get a bit darker towards the end of the story but that was needed for balance, in my opinion. I definitely recommend this one!