Monday, May 31, 2021

Audiobook Review - THE BREAK-UP BOOK CLUB by Wendy Wax


 The Break-Up Book Club
Author:  Wendy Wax
Narrators: Hillary Huber, Nicole Lewis, Renata Friedman, Cassandra Morris
Genre:  Women's Fiction
Release Date:  May 18, 2021
Listening Length: 12 hours and 12 minutes

About the Book

Named one of 2021’s Best Beach Reads by Bustle ∙ Country Living ∙ Cosmopolitan ∙ Augusta Chronicle ∙ E! Online ∙ SheReads ∙ and more!

Breakups, like book clubs, come in many shapes and sizes and can take us on unexpected journeys as four women discover in this funny and heartwarming exploration of friendship from the USA Today best-selling author of Ten Beach Road and My Ex-Best Friend’s Wedding.

On paper, Jazmine, Judith, Erin and Sara have little in common - they’re very different people leading very different lives. And yet at book club meetings in an historic carriage house turned bookstore, they bond over a shared love of reading (and more than a little wine) as well as the growing realization that their lives are not turning out like they expected. 

Former tennis star Jazmine is a top sports agent balancing a career and single motherhood. Judith is an empty nester questioning her marriage and the supporting role she chose. Erin’s high school sweetheart and fiancé develops a bad case of cold feet, and Sara’s husband takes a job out of town saddling Sara with a difficult mother-in-law who believes her son could have done better - not exactly the roommate most women dream of.

With the help of books, laughter, and the joy of ever evolving friendships, Jazmine, Judith, Erin and Sara find the courage to navigate new and surprising chapters of their lives as they seek their own versions of happily-ever-after.

My Review:

Wendy Wax once again knocks it out of the ballpark with characters you can't help but love. In The Break-Up Book Club she brings us four ladies, each with their own story that goes straight to your heart. Jazmine is a single mom who has put her love life on hold for far too long, Judith is dealing with trouble in her marriage and then a horrific loss, Erin's fiance drops her one week before their wedding, and Sara finds out shocking news about her husband. Add in Dorothy, Erin's troublesome mother-in-law, and Meena, Judith's best friend, along with several other interesting characters and you have an amazing collection of book club friends who take the time to support each other. 

I listened to the audio book and found the narrators to be extremely good. The story was heartbreaking at times and made me smile from ear to ear at other times. But no matter what was happening, this author kept me engaged in the story.

This is a feel-good book that awakens the reader to the fact that no matter what hurdles you have in life, with good friends and a bit of determination, you can go on to a better life. I highly recommend this book as a great summer read!

Additional note: Tears came to my eyes as I listened to the author's note and dedication at the beginning of this audiobook. Wendy Wax, my thoughts and prayers are with you and I hope and pray you have a support group of friends like those you write about. Friends who are there for you during this difficult time. 

My Rating: 

About the Author:

I write novels that explore friendship, self-discovery and the challenges life brings us, leavened with a touch of humor. I'm proud of all my books and perhaps best known for my "Ten Beach Road" titles including the USA Today bestsellers, Ten Beach Road and The House on Mermaid Point, and for While We Were Watching Downton Abbey.

I was born in St.Petersburg, Florida and grew up on St. Pete Beach within spitting distance of the Gulf of Mexico. I went, appropriately enough, to Sunshine Elementary School where recess and art class sometimes took place on the beach, and the highlight of every school year was the annual fish broil.

It’s hard to be a type-A personality when you grow up in such a laid back environment, but I managed. Convinced that you were expected to know how to read BEFORE you showed up for school, I forced a neighbor friend to teach me to read at the age of five. I’ve been reading ever since.

Books, in all forms, are one of my greatest pleasures and best forms of escape. And they’ve had a major impact on my life.

I went to the University of Georgia after reading Gone with the Wind one too many times. For a while I re-read Margaret Mitchell’s classic yearly, saw the movie whenever it played within twenty miles, and could quote large passages from memory. Today I have a growing GWTW collection, and the time I spoke at he Margaret Mitchell House was an incredible last thrill. 

After college I worked in radio, television, and film. Like Olivia in 7 DAYS AND SEVEN NIGHTS, I’ve done live talk radio. I hosted a show in the eighties called Desperate & Dateless, and while I was never locked in an apartment for a week with a webcam rolling as she was, I did fall in love. Happily, the man who swept me off my feet consults with financial types and understands the bottom line. Unlike Olivia’s nemesis, Matt Ransom, my husband has never, to my knowledge, advised anyone to ‘love the one they’re with.’ We live in Atlanta with our two sons

Wendy loves to hear from her readers! You can reach her at

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Audiobook Review - BETWIXT: Betwixt & Between, Book One by Darynda Jones


 Betwixt: Betwixt & Between Book One
Author:  Darynda Jones
Narrator: Traci Odom & 1 more
Genre:  Paranormal Fantasy
Release Date:  March 2, 2021
Listening Length:  6 hours and 45 minutes

About the Book:

Divorced, desperate, and destitute, former restaurateur Defiance Dayne finds out she has been bequeathed a house by a complete stranger. She is surprised, to say the least, and her curiosity gets the better of her. She leaves her beloved Phoenix and heads to one of the most infamous towns in America: Salem, Massachusetts.

She's only there to find out why a woman she's never met would leave her a house, a veritable castle that has seen better days. The lawyer assigned to the case practically begs her to take it off her hands, mostly because she's scared of it. The inanimate structure that, as far as Dephne can tell, has never hurt a fly.

Though it does come with some baggage. A pesky neighbor who wants her gone. A scruffy cat who's a bit of a jerk. And a handyman bathed in ink who could moonlight as a supermodel for GQ.

She decides to give it three days, and not because of the model. She feels at home in Salem. Safe. But even that comes to a screeching halt when people begin knocking on her door day and night, begging for her help to locate their lost objects.

Come to find out, they think she's a witch. And after a few mysterious mishaps, Dephne is beginning to wonder if they're right.

Buy Links: Amazon 

My Review:

I knew the moment I saw this book that I was going to love it. Why? Because it was written by Darynda Jones. I listened to Betwixt while on a road trip and arrived at my destination not realizing how I got there. The time passed too quickly because I was so into this story! Great narration and so much humor!

Defiance (yes, that's her name) is recently divorced from a jerk who stole her restaurant from under her and left her with nothing. Then she discovers that a woman she has never met has died and left her a house in Salem, Massachusetts. And that house is named Percival and has it's own personality, one that makes the realtor afraid to step foot in the house. That's when the fun and mystery begins! And who is the hunky guy in her kitchen? I'm not giving you any spoilers. You really need to read this... or listen to it like I did. But I warn you  that you will not be able to stop at Book #1. You will want more!

This book had me hooked from the very beginning. As soon as I finished it, I downloaded the next book in the series. Awesome characters! Great narration! Totally entertaining!

My Rating: 

About the Author:
NYTimes and USA Today Bestselling Author Darynda Jones has won numerous awards for her work, including a prestigious RITA, a Golden Heart, and a Daphne du Maurier, and her books have been translated into 18 languages. As a born storyteller, Darynda grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, and she is ever so grateful for the opportunity to carry on that legacy. She currently has two series with St. Martin's Press: The Charley Davidson Series and the Darklight Trilogy. She lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys. 

Friday, May 28, 2021

Audio Book Review - THE TASTER by V.S. Alexander


 The Taster
Author:  V.S. Alexander
Narrator:  Carol Monda
Genre: Historic Fiction
Publisher:  Blackstone Audio
Release Date:  January 30, 2018
Listening Length:  11 hours and 58 minutes

About the Book:

Amid the turbulence of World War II, a young German woman finds a precarious haven closer to the source of danger than she ever imagined - one that will propel her through the extremes of privilege and terror under Hitler's dictatorship.

In early 1943, Magda Ritter's parents send her to relatives in Bavaria, hoping to keep her safe from the Allied bombs strafing Berlin. Young German women are expected to do their duty - working for the Reich or marrying to produce strong, healthy children. After an interview with the civil service, Magda is assigned to the Berghof, Hitler's mountain retreat. Only after weeks of training does she learn her assignment: she will be one of several young women tasting the Führer's food, offering herself in sacrifice to keep him from being poisoned.

Perched high in the Bavarian Alps, the Berghof seems worlds away from the realities of battle. Though terrified at first, Magda gradually becomes used to her dangerous occupation - though she knows better than to voice her misgivings about the war. But her love for a conspirator within the SS and her growing awareness of the Reich's atrocities draw Magda into a plot that will test her wits and loyalty in a quest for safety, freedom, and, ultimately, vengeance.

Vividly written and ambitious in scope, The Taster examines the harrowing moral dilemmas of war in an emotional story filled with acts of extraordinary courage.

Buy Links: Amazon 

My Review:

Listening to an audiobook about World War II from the perspective of the people of Germany made my heart ache. But I found this story to be totally fascinating. The narrator was excellent and managed to pull me in immediately and kept me hanging on. I could not stop listening until I finished. I believe the audio version is much better than the print version.

Although the storyline was captivating... imagine what a person experienced each time they tasted Hitler's food, thinking they could be poisoned at any time... but the romantic encounter between Magda and Karl was lacking in emotion. Aside from the romance, the realities of Nazi Germany were horrifying and the fact that so many of the German people had no idea of the atrocities occurring with the Jewish population. 

A word of caution for those who have difficulty with certain topics, there is a rape scene in this book involving German girls and Russian military men.

My Rating

About the Author:

V S Alexander is an ardent student of history with a strong interest in music and the visual arts. Some of V.S.’s writing influences include Shirley Jackson, Oscar Wilde, Daphne du Maurier, or any work by the exquisite Brontë sisters. V.S. lives in Florida and is at work on a third historical novel for Kensington.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Book Review - THE GIFT AT SUGAR SAND INN by Leigh Duncan


 The Gift at Sugar Sand Inn (Sugar Sand Beach, Book 1)
Author:  Leigh Duncan
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction
Publisher:  Hallmark Publishing
Release Date:  March 23, 2021
Print Length:  344 Pages

About the Book:

Escape to Sugar Sand Beach with Michelle Robinson and her best friends for a second chance at all life has to offer.

At forty-five, Michelle has a great life. A husband who loves her. Two children on the fast track to success. A beautiful home in the rolling hills of Virginia. And three of the best friends a girl could ever want.

But with the sudden death of Michelle’s husband of twenty-five years, her life turns upside down.

Forced to sell their forever home and at odds with her children, Michelle faces a bleak future. Until an unexpected inheritance starts her on a path paved with bright possibilities.

Join Michelle, Reggie, Nina and Erin as they journey to Sugar Sand Beach where fresh opportunities for life, love and happiness are as limitless as the blue Florida skies.

Buy Links: Amazon 

My Review:

Oh my gosh! This is my new favorite series by Leigh Duncan! Written in her same style of charismatic characters and descriptions so vivid you think you're right there sitting in the sand with them!

Four friends, each with different lives, come together in the way that true girlfriends do. This book was warm and captivating and leaves the reader feeling that even in the worst of times, life can turn around for the better. I didn't want the book to end and I can't wait to read the next book in this series!!

Thank you Leigh Duncan for making me smile!

*Disclosure:  I received a complimentary advance copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts, comments and opinions are my own.

My Rating:

About the Author:

Leigh Duncan is the award-winning author of more than two dozen novels, novellas and short stories. Her first full-length book, The Officer's Girl, was released by Harlequin American Romance in 2010. Leigh went on to write seven more books for Harlequin, including the highly acclaimed Glades County Cowboys series, before she began writing the more complex, heart-warming and emotional stories that have resonated with her readers. One of the lead authors for Hallmark Publishing, an Amazon best-selling author and a Readers' Choice Award winner, Leigh lives on Central Florida's East Coast where she writes women's fiction and sweet, contemporary romance with a dash of Southern sass.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Book Review - A WATERFRONT WEDDING by Leigh Duncan


 A Waterfront Wedding (A Heart's Landing Novel)
Author:  Leigh Duncan
Genre:  Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction
Publisher:  Hallmark Publishing
Release Date:  April 20, 2021
Print Length:  224 Pages

About the Book:

It’s the wedding of the year…

But who will get to host it?

In Heart’s Landing, Evelyn wants to prove she’s a good manager of the Captain’s Cottage by the bay—a favorite place for weddings. Meanwhile, Ryan has invested his life savings to remodel the town’s old boatworks into a brand-new wedding venue.

When a Marine and his bride win the Wedding in a Week contest, they have seven days to put together a romantic, all-expenses-paid event. It’ll be written up in Weddings Today magazine. But will they choose Evelyn’s cottage or Ryan’s boatworks?

The rival business owners cozy up to the bride and groom, helping them plan their military wedding. And even though Evelyn and Ryan both grew up in Heart’s Landing, they learn they never truly knew each other until now. But can they trust each other when only one of them can win?

This sweet, heartwarming romance includes a free Hallmark original recipe.

Buy Links: Amazon 

My Review:

A Waterfront Wedding is the third book in the Heart's Landing series, and although each book can be read as a stand-alone, it's fun to read them in order to really feel the warmth and love in this charming town of Heart's Landing. If I were getting married, this is truly the place I would want that ceremony to happen.

As with the first two books in this series, author Leigh Duncan lures her readers into this charming small town that is so easy to visualize that you feel like you are right there, surrounded by quaint little shops and horse drawn carriages. Her descriptions are so lovely that you never want to leave. This is sweet romance at its finest!

We meet Evelyn in the second book of this series, A Cottage Wedding. Ryan is new to the series, but not new to Evelyn. She has had an interest in him since their school days! And Ryan has been interested in Evelyn for just as long. When the two are thrown together as competitors in the Wedding-In-A-Week contest, new sparks develop that cannot be ignored.

If you like stories about second chances, both in a love relationship and in a family relationship, this is the book for you.  As for me... I'm hoping there is another book in this series in the future. Oh! And be sure to check out the recipe at the end of the story!!

*Disclosure:  I received a complimentary advance copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts, comments and opinions are my own.

My Rating:

About the Author:

Leigh Duncan is the award-winning author of more than two dozen novels, novellas and short stories. Her first full-length book, The Officer's Girl, was released by Harlequin American Romance in 2010. Leigh went on to write seven more books for Harlequin, including the highly acclaimed Glades County Cowboys series, before she began writing the more complex, heart-warming and emotional stories that have resonated with her readers. One of the lead authors for Hallmark Publishing, an Amazon best-selling author and a Readers' Choice Award winner, Leigh lives on Central Florida's East Coast where she writes women's fiction and sweet, contemporary romance with a dash of Southern sass.


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