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Friday, June 15, 2018

Caroline: Little House, Revisited by Sarah Miller

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

In this novel authorized by the Little House Heritage Trust, Sarah Miller vividly recreates the beauty, hardship, and joys of the frontier in a dazzling work of historical fiction, a captivating story that illuminates one courageous, resilient, and loving pioneer woman as never before—Caroline Ingalls, “Ma” in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved Little House books.

In the frigid days of February, 1870, Caroline Ingalls and her family leave the familiar comforts of the Big Woods of Wisconsin and the warm bosom of her family, for a new life in Kansas Indian Territory. Packing what they can carry in their wagon, Caroline, her husband Charles, and their little girls, Mary and Laura, head west to settle in a beautiful, unpredictable land full of promise and peril.

The pioneer life is a hard one, especially for a pregnant woman with no friends or kin to turn to for comfort or help. The burden of work must be shouldered alone, sickness tended without the aid of doctors, and babies birthed without the accustomed hands of mothers or sisters. But Caroline’s new world is also full of tender joys. In adapting to this strange new place and transforming a rough log house built by Charles’ hands into a home, Caroline must draw on untapped wells of strength she does not know she possesses.

For more than eighty years, generations of readers have been enchanted by the adventures of the American frontier’s most famous child, Laura Ingalls Wilder, in the Little House books. Now, that familiar story is retold in this captivating tale of family, fidelity, hardship, love, and survival that vividly reimagines our past.

my thoughts:

Little House on the Prairie is one of my favorite TV shows. I still watch it to this day. It comes on in the early evening and I absolutely enjoy watching the residents of Walnut Grove go about their daily lives, enduring hardships and cheering when hard work pays off.  I've gotten to know Caroline (or Ma as she's known to Laura, Mary, Carrie, and Grace) through the show and I've seen her as a strong and determined woman who has definitely taken care of her family through the good and bad times that always seem to pop up during life.  So, I was super excited to receive a copy of Sarah Miller's novel, Caroline: Little House, Revisited - a book that focused on Ma and her perspective on life on the frontier.  How could I resist, right?

Caroline shares her story of her family's move from Wisconsin to Kansas.  She's pregnant, has two little girls (Mary and Laura) to care for, and a husband (Charles) who is set on building their new home in unknown territory.  So many new and terrifying events to endure.  And to have to deal with them on their own - no help from family and friends.  Well, except for Mr. Edwards who does help Charles.  Suffice it to say, life is hard and scary.  So, Caroline digs deep and she makes their new little house their home.  She gets her family settled in.  And she loves them fiercely with all of her heart.

Talk about a fantastic story! I absolutely loved getting to know Caroline through Miller's perspective of this beloved character.  Her retelling of Laura Ingalls Wilder's story is rich, vivid, and utterly gripping. I found myself easily caught up in the adventures, the fears, and the love that this family experienced together out on the frontier.  It was such a fun and lively story, that I couldn't help but fall in love with it.

I would happily recommend Caroline to fans of the Little House series - you will LOVE this book!!
Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: Caroline
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Matchingmaking for Beginners: A Novel by Maddie Dawson

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

Marnie MacGraw wants an ordinary life—a husband, kids, and a minivan in the suburbs. Now that she’s marrying the man of her dreams, she’s sure this is the life she’ll get. Then Marnie meets Blix Holliday, her fiancĂ©’s irascible matchmaking great-aunt who’s dying, and everything changes—just as Blix told her it would.

When her marriage ends after two miserable weeks, Marnie is understandably shocked. She’s even more astonished to find that she’s inherited Blix’s Brooklyn brownstone along with all of Blix’s unfinished “projects”: the heartbroken, oddball friends and neighbors running from happiness. Marnie doesn’t believe she’s anything special, but Blix somehow knew she was the perfect person to follow in her matchmaker footsteps.

And Blix was also right about some things Marnie must learn the hard way: love is hard to recognize, and the ones who push love away often are the ones who need it most.

my thoughts:

I am a huge fan of Chick Lit novels, so I was super excited to dive into Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson. I just knew that this book was going to be a fun treat to read - a story about matchmaking is guaranteed to have drama, romance, and a bit of magic, right?

Marnie is marrying Noah, the man of her dreams and they are set to establish an ordinary life chock full of ordinary dramas.  And then she meets Blix, Noah's aunt - a woman who sees a kindred soul in Marnie.  She knows that Marnie is meant for more than just ordinary and she knows that Marnie is meant for matchmaking. So, even though its a shock to Marnie when her marriage falls apart before its even truly begun, Blix has already set a plan in motion.  Marnie inherits Blix's home and along with her house she's also inherited a gaggle of tenants who are all suffering from romantic dramas.  Oh, and I did mention that Noah (her ex) is now her roommate. Yep, Blix has thought of everything.  And now, its up to Marnie to sort it all out.

Talk about a funny and delightful story to get lost in on a rainy day. I absolutely LOVED Matchmaking for Beginners - it was such a sweet and engaging story.  I found myself enjoying the time I spent with Marnie as she figured out how to fix everyone's love problems, while she struggled to deal with her own.  What a great story!

I would happily recommend this book to fans of Maddie Dawson and anyone looking for a summer romance to get lost in - you will LOVE this book!!

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: Matchmaking for Beginners
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

Monday, May 21, 2018

A Handbook For Beautiful People: A Novel by Jennifer Spruit

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

Winner of an IPPY award – bronze in popular fiction

When twenty-two year old Marla finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, she wishes for a family, but faces precariousness: an uncertain future with her talented, exacting boyfriend, Liam; constant danger from her roommate, Dani, a sometime prostitute and entrenched drug addict; and the unannounced but overwhelming needs of her younger brother, Gavin, whom she has brought home for the first time from deaf school. Forcing her hand is Marla’s fetal alcohol syndrome, which sets her apart but also carries her through. When Marla loses her job and breaks her arm in a car accident, Liam asks her to marry him. It’s what she’s been waiting for: a chance to leave Dani, but Dani doesn’t take no for an answer. Marla stays strong when her mother shows up drunk, creates her own terms when Dani publicly shames her, and then falls apart when Gavin attempts suicide. It rains, and then pours, and when the Bow River finally overflows, flooding Marla’s entire neighbourhood, she is ready to admit that she wants more for her child than she can possibly give right now. Marla’s courage to ask for help and keep her mind open transforms everyone around her, cementing her relationships and proving to those who had doubted her that having a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder does not make a person any less noble, wise or caring.

Praise
“Wonderful, heartfelt, heartbreaking–I can’t recommend this novel highly enough.” –Annabel Lyon

“Jennifer Spruit has such a distinct, poignant voice, and her brilliant debut novel A Handbook for Beautiful People highlights this perfectly. Through sharp characters and their complications, a driven narrative develops, enveloping us before we have a chance to judge. Jump into this novel. It will sweep you up.” –Joseph Boyden

my thoughts:

Love, love, love!! This book was an absolute treat to read!

A Handbook For Beautiful People is a wonderful story about love, complicated relationships, and the ever changing narrative of life.  The writing is fantastic! Rich details and a strong narrative that carries the story forward in such an open and intriguing manner; this book will have you turning pages faster and faster in order to find out what will happen next.  As for the characters themselves - unforgettable! You can't help but fall in deep with this diverse and fascinating cast who are overwhelmed by one drama and after another. I just LOVED getting to know Marla and wondering how she would figure out how to handle everything and anything that life seemed to be throwing at her in a given moment. Such a terrific character!  Overall, this book was such a great read - I really enjoyed getting lost in it. 

I would happily recommend A Handbook For Beautiful People to anyone and everyone looking for their next read - you will LOVE this book!!

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: A Handbook For Beautiful People
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Weaver's Daughter: A Novel by Sarah E. Ladd

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

Kate’s loyalties bind her to the past. Henry’s loyalties compel him to strive for a better future. In a landscape torn between tradition and vision, can two souls find the strength to overcome their preconceptions? 

Loyalty has been at the heart of the Dearborne family for as long as Kate can remember, but a war is brewing in their small village, one that has the power to rip families asunder — including her own. As misguided actions are brought to light, she learns how deep her father’s pride and bitterness run, and she begins to wonder if her loyalty is well-placed.

Henry Stockton, heir to the Stockton fortune, returns home from three years at war hoping to find a refuge from his haunting memories. Determined to bury the past, he embraces his grandfather’s goals to modernize his family’s wool mill, regardless of the grumblings from the local weavers. When tragedy strikes shortly after his arrival, Henry must sort out the truth from suspicion if he is to protect his family’s livelihood and legacy.

Henry has been warned about the Dearborne family. Kate, too, has been advised to stay far away from the Stocktons, but chance meetings continue to bring her to Henry’s side, blurring the jagged lines between loyalty, justice, and truth. Kate ultimately finds herself with the powerful decision that will forever affect her village’s future. As unlikely adversaries, Henry and Kate must come together to find a way to create peace for their families, and their village, and their souls – even if it means risking their hearts in the process.

my thoughts:

A delightful story set in England during the early 1800s - what more could I ask for, right? How about a bit of mystery and a spot of romance thrown in for good measure? Yep, this book has it all and I gobbled it up. Talk about the perfect book for a rainy spring day.

The Weaver's Daughter is about loyalty, tradition, technology, love, and family.  Kate's father is a weaver who is tied to the old ways of weaving and resistant to the new technologies that are being introduced.  The mill owners love this new technology, because it is saving them money and producing more product.  Of course, its also putting the weavers out of jobs. Yikes! Kate's father is not happy about any of this.  Especially, the fact that his son, Charles, now works for the mill owners, the Stocktons.  Yep, the family is now broken and Kate is torn - she loves her father and brother so much and hates seeing them so unhappy.

As for the Stocktons, they are rich and successful.  Grandson and heir, Henry, has returned from war and is expected to step right up and help his grandfather run the mill.  The only problem is that war has changed Henry and he is no longer the same man he once was.  Plus, the town has changed and the people have, too.  Henry quickly learns that moving forward in his life may not be as easy as he had hoped.

Kate and Henry are fantastic characters that you can't help but get attached to. I just loved getting to know them and wondering what would happen to them and between them. Yep, the two meet and meet and meet...soon becoming friendly and then friendlier.   Their families may be warring, but their hearts are quite in sync.  And that is all I will say.

Sarah E. Ladd has written a terrific story that will draw you in and keep you hooked all the way through.  The writing is rich with detail and emotion.  The characters are unforgettable. And the story is unputdownable! You will just LOVE this book to bits. I would happily recommend The Weaver's Daughter to fans of Ladd and anyone looking for their next great read - you will LOVE this book!!

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: The Weaver's Daughter
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

Friday, May 4, 2018

Becoming the Talbot Sisters: A Novel by Rachel Linden

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

Twin sisters Waverly and Charlie Talbot have drifted far apart as they pursue opposite dreams of stardom and service to the poor. On an astonishing journey across Central Europe, they must come together to face their fears, find their courage and fight for what they love.

Celebrity chef Waverly Ross has built a successful career with her home-entertaining show Simply Perfect. Yet she and her husband, Andrew, have never been able to realize the true desire of Waverly’s heart: to become a mother. Meanwhile Waverly’s twin sister, Charlie Talbot, buries her bitter disappointment and shattered idealism beneath a life spent serving others as an international aid worked in Budapest, Hungary.

When the beloved aunt who raised them passes away, Waverly and Charlie come together in their grief after living years on separate continents. Struck by a fierce desire to bridge the distance between them, Charlie offers Waverly and her husband the selfless gift of surrogacy.

But soon the sisters find they are each in danger of losing their jobs, seemingly putting their dreams on hold once again. When Waverly shows up unannounced in Budapest with a plan to rescue Simply Perfect, the sisters embark on an adventure across Central Europe that could save them both from occupational hazards. Though the twins haven’t had to rely on each other since childhood, an unforeseen dangerous turn in their journey across Europe forces them to stand together to save their careers, the baby, and each other.

my thoughts:

Waverly and Charlie are twin sisters who lose their parents in a plane crash.  They are sent to live with their Aunt Mae who provides them with the stability and care they desperately need.  When the two sisters turn eighteen, they are able to access their trust funds.  Waverly uses her money for culinary school, while Charlie travels to Africa (the country where their parents died) to find out more about the work their parents were obsessed with.  As the two sisters grow up, they grow apart.  It isn't until their Aunt Mae passes away that they are brought together.  As they grieve over their loss, they find themselves longing to form a close bond.  Sharing secrets and stories about their lives, the two sisters reconnect and soon find themselves closer than ever.  Especially, after Charlie offers to be Waverly's surrogate.  Waverly has always wanted to be a mother, but has miscarried with each of her pregnancies.  So, when her sister offers this generous gift, her only hope is that her husband is on board. And that is all I will write about the story.  You need to read it to find out whether or not being a surrogate to her sister will bring them even closer or drive them further apart.  Plus, getting to know Charlie and Waverly, their relationships, their careers, their lives makes for such a fun and fascinating story. You won't want to put the book down for anything!

I absolutely LOVED Becoming the Talbot Sisters by Rachel Linden. What a great story! I really enjoyed Charlie and Waverly - what a pair! Their family drama was deep and palpable.  The setting was terrific - central Europe!  And Linden's writing was top notch - the exploration of sisterhood, plus the way she weaved in hot topics like human trafficking and politics was gripping. I just loved this book!

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: Becoming the Talbot Sisters
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!