Friday, September 10, 2021

The 20th Anniversary of 9-11-2001 : The Attack on the World Trade Center

Hard to believe it's been 20 years since the terrorist attacks of 9-11-01 in the USA...The world has really changed since then! 

The Wall Street Journal (via writer-journalist Anne Michaud) pays beautiful homage to personal stories surrounding the 9-11-01 attack on the World Trade Center...I'm pleased and proud that my own experience/memory has been included. 

The story I share centers on my meeting, by chance, a 9-11 Police widow on the last night of the Tribute in Light memorial at Ground Zero--the very first installment of that monument commemoration that ended on April 14, 2002. I was greatly moved by the encounter and took a photograph that night--a photograph that remains close to my heart...Learn the story behind the story (and the photograph) in the article...God Bless America and all those personally impacted by the terrible attacks...and God Bless the USA. I/We will never forget!


Link to read the article HERE

Thank you Anne Michaud!

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

The Summer of No Attachments

In this gentle, feel-good romance, a small-town veterinarian and her dedicated assistant fall in love with two brothers.

As in The Somerset Girls, animal rescue is central to The Summer of No Attachments, Lori Foster's tender-hearted romance set again in Sunset, a small community in rural Kentucky. This installment focuses on Ivey Anders, a veterinarian who recently called it quits with her beau. Ivey is assisted at the vet clinic by Hope Mage, a good friend and dedicated worker who has sworn off men because of a disturbing incident that occurred several years before.


Ivey and Hope tend to an abandoned dog with a broken leg and soon discover the dog is pregnant. After the birth of the pups, Hope looks into renting a new apartment in town, roping in Ivey to offer her opinion of the place. There, Ivey meets the landlord, Corbin Meyer, a single businessman. Corbin has just learned he's father to a troubled 10-year-old boy, Justin. The child was dumped into Corbin's life by Justin's drug- and alcohol-addicted mother.


When the boy meets Ivey, the two instantly hit it off, discovering they share a love of animals and horror movies. Their connection bonds them--and Ivey and Corbin. As father and son get to know and fall in love with romantically reluctant Ivey, Hope meets Corbin's brother, Lang, who is smitten with Hope, but finds he must walk on eggshells in order to woo her wounded heart.


Foster's feel-good, small-town romance weaves in well-plotted story threads and complications that expose how scars from the past, if healed, can unlock more hopeful, brighter futures. 

 

The Summer of No Attachments by Lori Foster

HQN: Harlequin, $16.99 paperback, 9781335459893, 336 pages

Publication Date: June 22, 2021

To order this book on INDIEBOUND, link HERE

 

NOTE: This review is a reprint and is being posted with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (June 22, 2021), link HERE 

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Golden Girl

A beautifully drawn novel about a middle-aged woman, killed in a hit-and-run accident, who monitors life as it goes on without her.

Prolific novelist Elin Hilderbrand (28 Summers) ponders death, grief and the hereafter in the beautifully uplifting Golden Girl.

 

As the book commences, Vivi Howe--successful author of 13 novels and a 51-year-old divorced mother of three--dies in a hit-and-run accident near her home on Nantucket Island. Once Vivi's soul ascends from Earth, she is assigned a spirit guide, Martha, who allows her to view one last summer as life goes on without her for her three adult children, their father (her ex), her best friend and an old flame. As Vivi monitors from afar, she can give three "nudges" to alter the shape of events as they unfold in the lives of those she's left behind.

 

What ensues is an emotionally powerful story largely centered on Vivi's three children, all named for authors. Willa, the oldest, is married and pregnant again after suffering two miscarriages. When a long-lost beau of Vivi surfaces, Willa becomes intrigued to learn more about the life her mother led--and the secrets she kept--before marriage and family. Beautiful, rebellious middle child Carson gets swept up in substance abuse and makes histrionic bad choices. And Leo, an angsty high school senior about to start college, faces romantic turmoil. Threaded throughout the story is an ongoing investigation into who might've killed their mother.

 

Faithful readers have come to depend on Hilderbrand's top-notch escapist fiction that puts lively, dramatic new spins on families challenged by love and loss. Golden Girl will exceed their expectations.

 

Golden Girl: A Novel by Elin Hilderbrand

Little, Brown and Company, $29.00 Hardcover, 9780316420082, 384 pages

Publication Date: June 1, 2021

To order this book on INDIEBOUND, link HERE

 

NOTE: This review is a reprint and is being posted with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (June 4, 2021), link HERE 


Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Three Dreamers: A Memoir of Family

An incredibly moving memoir about three women who greatly influenced the life of notable suspense novelist and screenwriter Lorenzo Carcaterra.

Suspense novelist and screenwriter Lorenzo Carcaterra (Payback; Sleepers) shares an intimate, true story about three, strong-willed, determined women who "saved" his life. Carcaterra--"the son of an ex-con and a housewife who spoke only Italian [who] grew up in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan"--was raised watching his mother trapped in an abusive, loveless, impoverished marriage to a man who had murdered his first wife. When he was 14, Carcaterra's mother sent him to Ischia, Italy, to spend the summer with his maternal grandmother, Nonna Maria, and other relatives. The trip proved to be a watershed.


Nonna Maria--wise, dignified and of great resilience--becomes a bedrock, championing her sensitive grandson, who has storytelling aspirations. Upon returning to the U.S., Carcaterra grows determined to forge a writing career, though his mother, Raffaela, belittles his goal. Steeped in misery, Raffaela--a widow whose second marriage is to Carcaterra's volatile father--often resents her son for being his bullying father's offspring. Dutiful, devoted Carcaterra, however, stands by his mother through some cruel, searing rejections. When Carcaterra meets Susan, an editor and coworker at the New York Daily News, he finds a soulmate whose love and support help turn the tide. Carcaterra finally launches his novel-writing career and the couple build a beautiful, sadly shortened, life together.


Many heart-wrenching incidents pervade the traumatic landscape of Carcaterra's life. But the richness of his forthright storytelling gives tender form to sadness and loss, shaping it into a deeply moving narrative about hard-fought familial love and forgiveness.

 

Three Dreamers: A Memoir of Family by Lorenzo Carcaterra

Ballantine Books, $28.00 Hardcover, 9780593156711, 240 pages

Publication Date: April 26, 2021

To order this book on INDIEBOUND, link HERE

NOTE: This review is a reprint and is being posted with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (April 30, 2021), link HERE

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Much Ado About Nauticaling

A sister and brother running a tourist operation off the California coast get dragged into the undertow of a murder investigation.

Santa Catalina Island is an idyllic Pacific paradise—one that was fondly frequented by former corporate businesswoman, Whitney “Whit” Dagner, and her brother, Nick, who return to the island to take over “Nautically Yours,” a tourist operation once run by their grandparents. The duo conducts popular glass bottom boat tours and also operate a quaint gift shop. But when a dead body emerges--a strangled corpse is spotted during one of the boat tours and is later identified as belonging to a wealthy and powerful (albeit shady) local businessman--the once heavenly vacation destination turns into a hellacious crime scene. Matters grow even more grave when the investigation points to Nick--who had an ax to grind with the deceased--as prime suspect. This sets Whitney on a quest to clear suspicions about her brother and root out the real killer.

 

A well-drawn cast of memorable characters—along with a cuddly cat, the spirited pull and tug of romance and surprising twists and turns--deepen the appeal of this swimmingly bright and breezy first cozy mystery by Gabby Allan.

 

Much Ado About Nauticaling (A Whit and Whiskers Mystery: Book One) by Gabby Allan

Kensington Cozies, $15.95 paperback, 9781496731067, 256 pages

Publication Date: July 27, 2021

To order this book on INDIEBOUND, link HERE


Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Summertime Guests

A probing, suspenseful drama where strangers at a posh hotel reflect on their lives after a jarring sudden death.

 

Wendy Francis (Best Behavior) delivers a smart, probing drama that skillfully unravels the complex emotional lives of an ensemble cast in Summertime Guests, a novel set one weekend in June at a posh hotel on the North Shore of Boston.


Legendary elegance is the hallmark of The Seafarer, a famous, historic hotel. After a major renovation, the landmark destination reopens under the management of workaholic, 39-year-old Parisian, Jean-Paul, who has a wife and new baby he is woefully neglecting. There are 250 rooms at The Seafarer. However, Francis narrows her focus on only a handful of guests: Riley and Tom, a young, Midwestern couple planning a wedding at the establishment are challenged by the overbearing expectations of the mother-of-the-groom. Widowed Rhode Island journalist Claire O’Dell, age 61, checks into the hotel to take a breather. Claire wrote a provocative article about a local politician with mob ties, and her newspaper suggests she take some time off. Claire uses the opportunity to reconnect with an old flame who lives near Boston. And then there is a 30something couple: Gwen, a teaching assistant, who treats her beau, Jason, an adjunct professor, to a weekend birthday get-away in the hope of healing their fraught relationship. Emotional, personal complications abound and deepen as the lives of these strangers are affected when a woman plunges to her death from a hotel balcony. 

 

The subsequent investigation into the mysterious sudden death makes for a reflective, deeply engaging and suspenseful story with many threads sure to ensnare the attention of rapt readers.


Summertime Guests: A Novel by Wendy Francis

Graydon House, $16.99 paperback, 9781525895982, 320 pages

Publication Date: March 9, 2021

To order this book on INDIEBOUND, link HERE

NOTE: This review is a reprint and is being posted with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (April 9, 2021), link HERE


Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Runner

A Chicago cop-turned-private investigator sets off to find a missing girl, in foster care, who might be running away from danger.

 

Tracy Clark delivers the fourth book in her highly-charged Chicago Mystery Series featuring Cassidy “Cass” Raines, a 36-year-old, African American former cop-turned-private eye. Cassidy, immensely perceptive, is no-nonsense, but has a sense of humor that lightens even the grimmest of scenarios. She takes on all kinds of cases. However, missing persons are her specialty.

 

In this installment, a recovered addict hires Cass to search for Ramona, her fifteen-year-old daughter who has run away from her foster home. Alongside the police search, Cass employs her street-smart connections to find the missing girl. Might Ramona be hiding out because she’s privy to secrets that have the power to destroy her?

 

Clark (Broken Places, Borrowed Time, What You Don’t See) has created an engaging heroine and supporting cast that keeps readers coming back for more. Runner is a super-charged, atmospheric, story anchored in big city drama that lives up to the fast-paced implications of its title.

Runner: A Cass Raines Mystery (Chicago Mystery, Book Four) by Tracy Clark

Kensington, $26.00 Hardcover, 9781496732019, 304 pages

Publication Date: June 29, 2021

To order this book on INDIEBOUND, link HERE

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

The Little French Bridal Shop

A heartfelt story about a down-on-her-luck single woman who has an awakening after committing a sin of omission.

Tender moments add levity to Jennifer Dupee’s greatly appealing first novel. The story focuses on Larisa Pearl--pushing 40-years-old--who losses her job in Boston, breaks up with her boyfriend and learns that her 96-year-old aunt--her father’s sister; a spinster--has died and left her house, “Elmhurst,” to Larisa and her father. Larisa’s parents live in a New Hampshire retirement community, where her mother is battling dementia and her devoted father is lovingly committed to her daily care. This leaves Larisa to set off on her own to Elmhurst, located in the small seaside town of Kent Crossing, Mass. Elmhurst is in need of repair. Thus, she enlists the help of Jack Merrill--a disillusioned, married father of triplets, in his late 30s--the part-time caretaker of the estate. Larisa and Jack were friends who grew up together, spending memorable summers at Elmhurst.


While grappling with her mother’s deteriorating health and re-acquainting herself with the allure of small-town life, Larisa decides--on a lark--to try on a beautiful wedding gown displayed in the window of the local bridal shop. Unbeknownst to Larisa, the shop owner is one of her former teachers, now retired, who happily presumes Larisa is finally getting married. Not wanting to disappoint, Larisa gets roped into the assumption. This choice escalates in hard-won ways that challenge Larisa’s perceptions of happiness and love.


Dupee successfully combines the pull-and-tug of romance with family drama to deliver a more serious message about facing up to the often-harsh realities of life.

 

The Little French Bridal Shop: A Novel by Jennifer Dupee

St. Martin’s Press, $26.99 Hardcover, 9781250271525, 304 pages

Publication Date: March 9, 2021

To order this book on INDIEBOUND, link HERE

NOTE: This review is a reprint and is being posted with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (March 9, 2021), link HERE

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

The Windsor Knot

In a witty, clever mystery, Queen Elizabeth II secretly unravels details of a possible murder at Windsor Castle.

Queen Elizabeth II... a super-sleuth? In the vivid imagination of British author SJ Bennett (aka YA author Sophia Bennett), Her Royal Majesty becomes swept up in a possible murder investigation at Windsor Castle. This clever fictional premise humorously plays out with grand appeal.


The first in a proposed series, The Windsor Knot commences in April 2016, as 89-year-old Queen Elizabeth II takes in "an almost perfect spring day" in the bucolic countryside on the grounds of Windsor Castle. The night before, Prince Charles had gathered a who's who of high-profile overnight guests to "curry favor with some rich Russians for one of his pet projects." At the soiree, a performer--a good-looking Russian pianist in his early 20s--"played Rachmaninoff like a dream" and even danced with the Queen. The next morning, however, the young musician is found dead in his bedroom. At first, it appears that he died in his sleep. But at breakfast, banter among the guests sheds new light. There's talk that ladies' underwear and lipstick were found near the man's nude corpse, "strung up like a Tory MP" near his bedside. Foul play? Suicide?


While professional detectives work the case, Queen Elizabeth enlists the help of her loyal private secretary, Rozie Oshodi, who assists as the tenacious, resolute Queen secretly investigates the murder on her own. Bennett portrays the perceptive, resourceful Queen with great wit and affection, and a well-drawn supporting cast further enlivens a fast-moving, spirited and suspenseful plot.

 

The Windsor Knot: A Novel (Her Majesty the Queen Investigates; Book One) by SJ Bennett

William Morrow, $27.99 Hardcover, 288 pp, 97800630500006

Publication Date: March 9, 2021

To order this book on INDIEBOUND, link HERE


NOTE: This review is a reprint and is being posted with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (March 12, 2021), link HERE

To read the longer form of this review as published on Shelf Awareness for the Book Trade (March 5, 2021), link HERE

 

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Read, Laugh, Repeat: 101 Laugh-Out-Loud Stories

With all the craziness "plaguing" the world right now (pun intended :), it's my pleasure to contribute a story to the latest Chicken Soup for the Soul anthology: READ. LAUGH. REPEAT: 101 Laugh-Out-Loud Stories.

In "Making a Splash" (p. 30) my beloved--however agoraphobic--Yorkshire terrier (more like "terrorist") becomes flushed with fear and hides in a harrowing, totally unexpected place. Ugh! 

This collection is a "best of" volume that will lighten your mood, help you escape and make you laugh!

Order a copy today! 


Amazon: https://amzn.to/3xzwQg9

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/3t1xTCd


Link to Chicken Soup for the Soul on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ChickenSoupfortheSoul
Link to the Chicken Soup for the Soul Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chickensoupsoul
Link to Chicken Soup for the Soul on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChickenSoupSoul


Chicken Soup for the Soul: Read, Laugh, Repeat: 101 Laugh-Out-Loud Stories - Edited by Amy Newmark

Chicken Soup for the Soul, $14.95, Paperback, 9781611590753

Publication Date: May 4, 2021

To order this book on INDIEBOUND, link HERE

Monday, April 26, 2021

The Seat Filler


A quirky romance about a struggling dog groomer--with a kissing phobia--and the hunky actor, a celebrity crush, who steals her heart.

Sariah Wilson is a prolific romance writer. Her break-out novel, Roommaid, a feel-good romance, told a clever story about living life on your own terms and in pursuit of your own dreams.

 

In The Seat Filler, she delivers another fun, meet-cute rom-com. The story centers on Juliet Nolan, a quirky, single, struggling dog groomer—with a kissing phobia. During a Hollywood awards show, Juliet is asked to fill an empty seat during the program. This one small act leads to her meeting handsome, charismatic actor, Noah Douglas. An unexpected friendship develops between Juliet and Nolan that ultimately leads to--and challenges--romance.

 

Readers will be charmed by Wilson’s lively, brisk storytelling as she plunges readers directly into the comedic action, slowly peeling back hidden secrets of her characters.


The Seat Filler: A Novel by Sariah Wilson

Montlake, $12.95 Paperback, 978-1542025713, 319 pages

Publication Date: April 27, 2021

To order this book on INDIEBOUND, link HERE