New Release Spotlight! Dolly Alderton’s Ghosts Offers a Sad Glimpse Into Online Dating

About the Book

Nina Dean is not especially bothered that she’s single. She owns her own apartment, she’s about to publish her second book, she has a great relationship with her ex-boyfriend, and enough friends to keep her social calendar full and her hangovers plentiful. And when she downloads a dating app, she does the seemingly impossible: She meets a great guy on her first date. Max is handsome and built like a lumberjack; he has floppy blond hair and a stable job. But more surprising than anything else, Nina and Max have chemistry. Their conversations are witty and ironic, they both hate sports, they dance together like fools, they happily dig deep into the nuances of crappy music, and they create an entire universe of private jokes and chemical bliss.

But when Max ghosts her, Nina is forced to deal with everything she’s been trying so hard to ignore: her father’s Alzheimer’s is getting worse, and so is her mother’s denial of it; her editor hates her new book idea; and her best friend from childhood is icing her out. Funny, tender, and eminently, movingly relatable, Ghosts is a whip-smart tale of relationships and modern life.

My Take

Entirely enjoyable. I loved the characters, the scenes, the banter, just about everything. This is a sad story about dating in the 2020’s. Nina’s relationship with Max seemed so real, a happily ever after, and I felt her angst when he “ghosted” her.

A huge negative for me was the theme surrounding Nina’s father. He obviously has dementia, but that word is never mentioned in the story (although it is mentioned in the book description.) I get why Nina and her mom might not want to speak of it – like many grappling with this diagnosis, they are deep in denial – but it leaves the reader in limbo, especially the reader who is not familiar with the disease and doesn’t understand why Dad is the way he is. The writing surrounding this is exquisite and spot on. The author did a terrific job. But as an advocate for those living with dementia I felt she missed an opportunity here to do some real education on a poorly understood illness.

I also did not like the cover (upside down bouquet). That needs an improvement.

Still, a good read recommended for those who like women’s fiction with strong heroines, lots of drama, and well-placed laughs.

About the Author

Dolly Alderton is an award-winning author and journalist. She is a columnist for The Sunday Times Style and has also written for GQ, Red, Marie Claire and Grazia. From 2017 to 2020, she co-hosted the weekly pop-culture and current affairs podcast The High Low alongside journalist Pandora Sykes.

Her first book Everything I Know About Love became a top five Sunday Times bestseller in its first week of publication and won a National Book Award for Autobiography of the Year. Her first novel Ghosts was published in October 2020 and was also a top five Sunday Times Bestseller.l

Connect with Dolly Alderton

Website

Twitter

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New Release Spotlight! Emily’s House By Amy Belding Brown

I can’t wait to read this one! I just discovered this author and her backlist looks terrific. Lots to mine here. Looks like biographical historical fiction and women’s fiction.

About the Book

When Maggie accepts a temporary position at the illustrious Dickinson family home in Amherst, it’s only to save money for her upcoming trip West to join her brothers in California. Maggie never imagines she will form a life-altering friendship with the eccentric, brilliant Miss Emily or that she’ll stay at the Homestead for the next thirty years.

In this richly drawn novel, Amy Belding Brown explores what it is to be an outsider looking in, and she sheds light on one of Dickinson’s closest confidantes—perhaps the person who knew the mysterious poet best—whose quiet act changed history and continues to influence literature to this very day.

She was Emily Dickinson’s maid, her confidante, her betrayer… and the savior of her legacy. 

An evocative new novel about Emily Dickinson’s longtime maid, Irish immigrant Margaret Maher, whose bond with the poet ensured Dickinson’s work would live on, from the USA Today bestselling author of Flight of the Sparrow, Amy Belding Brown.

Massachusetts, 1869. Margaret Maher has never been one to settle down. At twenty-seven, she’s never met a man who has tempted her enough to relinquish her independence to a matrimonial fate, and she hasn’t stayed in one place for long since her family fled the potato famine a decade ago. 

About the Author

Amy Belding Brown grew up in Vermont and graduated from Bates College in Maine. She received her MFA in Writing degree from Vermont College in 2002 and is the author of the historical novels FLIGHT OF THE SPARROW and MR. EMERSON’S WIFE as well as two light romances. For many years she taught writing at universities and colleges in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. She currently lives and writes in Vermont, where she enjoys nature photography in her spare time.

New Release Spotlight! Jennifer Weiner’s That Summer Was Not the Beach Read I Expected

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Big Summer comes another timely and deliciously twisty novel of intrigue, secrets, and the transformative power of female friendship.

Daisy Shoemaker can’t sleep. With a thriving cooking business, full schedule of volunteer work, and a beautiful home in the Philadelphia suburbs, she should be content. But her teenage daughter can be a handful, her husband can be distant, her work can feel trivial, and she has lots of acquaintances, but no real friends. Still, Daisy knows she’s got it good. So why is she up all night?

While Daisy tries to identify the root of her dissatisfaction, she’s also receiving misdirected emails meant for a woman named Diana Starling, whose email address is just one punctuation mark away from her own. While Daisy’s driving carpools, Diana is chairing meetings. While Daisy’s making dinner, Diana’s making plans to reorganize corporations. Diana’s glamorous, sophisticated, single-lady life is miles away from Daisy’s simpler existence. When an apology leads to an invitation, the two women meet and become friends. But, as they get closer, we learn that their connection was not completely accidental. Who IS this other woman, and what does she want with Daisy?

From the manicured Main Line of Philadelphia to the wild landscape of the Outer Cape, written with Jennifer Weiner’s signature wit and sharp observations, That Summer is a story about surviving our pasts, confronting our futures, and the sustaining bonds of friendship.

My Take

I really wanted to like this book more than I did. My expectations were high when I picked it up. There’s a lot of hype surrounding this title and I like this author and enjoyed other books she’s written.

Maybe it’s me but I found myself confused about who was who and how the characters lives intertwined. I’ve been reading a lot lately – sometimes two or three books at the same time – which could have caused my confusion, or maybe it was the similarities in the characters names – Diana and Diana aka Daisy – that mixed me up. It also could have used a tighter editing as there were many grammatical errors, adding to my confusion. I almost brought the book back to the library unfinished. I also found the Diana character a bit unbelievable, taking on the persona of a sophisticated, sought after business consultant after living on the beach in Truro for years, hiding from the world and happy to do so. The other Diana – Daisy – was a lot more likeable and I found myself rooting for her.

The men were despicable characters, a bit cliche as privileged white men preying on young girls they considered beneath them (literally and figuratively.)

I can see where this book can be triggering for rape survivors and should have come with a warning. Definitely not a beach read.

Not what I expected, but I finished it.

Hopefully Weiner’s next book will be better.

About the Author

Jennifer Weiner is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of sixteen books, including Good in Bed, The Littlest Bigfoot, and her memoir Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing. A graduate of Princeton University and contributor to the New York Times Opinion section, Jennifer lives with her family in Philadelphia. Visit her online at JenniferWeiner.com

Books I Love! Just My Luck by Adele Parks is Unputdownable

It was supposed to be the lottery win they’d always dreamed of…

For fifteen years, Lexi and Jake have played the same six numbers with their friends. Over drinks, dinner parties and summer barbecues, the three couples have discussed the important stuff—kids, marriages, careers—and they’ve laughed off their disappointment when they failed to win anything.

But then the unthinkable happens. There’s a rift in the group. Someone is caught in a lie. And soon after, six numbers come up that change everything forever.

Lexi and Jake have a ticket worth millions. And their friends are determined to claim a share.

#1 Sunday Times bestselling author Adele Parks returns with a riveting look at the dark side of wealth in this gripping tale of friendship, money, betrayal and good luck gone bad…

My Take

Doesn’t everyone dream of winning the lottery? It’s fun to fantasize about how our lives would change, what we would buy, where would we live, quitting our jobs, travel, and so much more. Often the realities of winning are not what we thought they would be, which is the case in Adele Parks’ novel Just My Luck. I listened to the audiobook version and it was unputdownable. Narrated by Louise Brealey and Kristin Atherton, the story is a whirlwind of high emotion as lead characters Lexi and Jake grapple with whether or not to share the winnings with friends with whom they’d recently had a falling out. Up until the night of the argument they’d all been in a pool together. But Lexi bought the ticket after that night, using the numbers they’d played each week for years. No wonder there is animosity, anger, and backstabbing when the win is made public.

The characters’ characters are revealed in painful detail. Lexi and Jake do what most lottery winners do: Jake immediately quits his job (Lexi doesn’t) and buys himself a fancy sports car; they move to a fancy house; they throw a fabulous party sparing no expense. None of this leads to happiness.Secrets unravel and truths are bared upsetting their lives more than the windfall did. Things get ugly and Lexi discovers she’s not happy to have won at such cost.

This is a fast read, even with ear buds, that gets you thinking about how you would react to a lottery win and if you would do any better than this group.

Recommended for those who like “what if” stories with a cast of villains and a heroine with a good heart.

About the Author

Adele Parks, one of the most-loved and biggest-selling women’s fiction writers in the UK, has sold over 3.8 million books and her work has been translated into 26 different languages.

1500+ 5 star reviews have kindly been written by her fans on Amazon.co.uk 🙂

She has published 20 novels, all of which have been London Times bestsellers.

Adele has written 18 contemporary novels and 2 historical ones, Spare Brides and If You Go Away, which are set during and after WW1. Her latest novels, Just My Luck, Lies Lies Lies, I Invited Her In, The Image of You and The Stranger in My Home are twisty, domestic noirs. Adele likes to scrutinize our concepts of family, our theories on love, parenting and fidelity.

During her career Adele has lived in Italy, Botswana and London. Now she lives happily in Surrey, UK with her husband, son and cat.

If you want to stay in touch you can find Adele on Twitter @AdeleParks, Instagram @Adele_Parks or Facebook @OfficialAdeleParks. You can sign up to her newsletter at eepurl.com/cI0l and there’s lots more info about Adele and her books on http://www.adeleparks.com.

Great Escapes! Viola Shipman’s The Clover Girls is a Trip Back to 1980’s Summer Camp

A perfect read to take you back to youthful summer days!

Description

“Like a true friendship, The Clover Girls is a novel you will forever savor and treasure.” —Mary Alice Monroe, New York Times bestselling author

Elizabeth, Veronica, Rachel and Emily met at Camp Birchwood as girls in 1985, where over four summers they were the Clover Girls—inseparable for those magical few weeks of freedom—until the last summer that pulled them apart. Now approaching middle age, the women are facing challenges they never imagined as teens, struggles with their marriages, their children, their careers, and wondering who it is they see when they look in the mirror.

Then Liz, V and Rachel each receive a letter from Emily with devastating news. She implores the girls who were once her best friends to reunite at Camp Birchwood one last time, to spend a week together revisiting the dreams they’d put aside and repair the relationships they’d allowed to sour. But the women are not the same idealistic, confident girls who once ruled Camp Birchwood, and perhaps some friendships aren’t meant to last forever…

Bestselling author Viola Shipman is at her absolute best with The Clover Girls. Readers of all ages and backgrounds will love its powerful, redemptive nature and the empowering message at its heart.

My Take

What a joy this was on so many levels! I discovered this author on the Friends & Fiction Show. To my surprise, Viola Shipman is the pen name of Wade Rouse. To think a man wrote this gorgeous book that probes deep feminine issues and ponders the emotional decisions women make that impact and change their lives forever, changing themselves in the process. I got lost in it immediately and didn’t come up for air until I finished it.

The four woman at the heart of the story, The Clover Girls – Emily, Veronica, Elizabeth, and Rachel – are decades past their summer camp days and lifelong friendship pact. Left behind were backstabbing plots, deep hurts, broken hearts, and lost dreams. Their adult lives have been disappointing and difficult and all are “lost,” unsure of their purpose, their places in the world. All of this is etched out in the inner thoughts of each character, the thread that drives the tapestry of this richly woven novel. As they break through the pains of their past and rekindle their friendship, long dormant, they emerge with renewed purpose, both personally and as The Clover Girls. Throughout all is the music and pop culture of the ‘80’s: TV, fashion, John Hughes movies, Molly Ringwald, Boy George, Madonna, and so much more.

I never went to summer camp so am unfamiliar with all that goes on there but reading this book gave me a certain nostalgia for easier times and the benefits of long summer days outdoors, by a lake, with friends who are everything, and I’m certain I missed out on a good thing.

Recommended for lovers of women’s fiction, the 80’s, and women who long to go back to their girlhood and fix things.

About the Author

Viola Shipman is the pen name of Wade Rouse, a popular award-winning memoirist and internationally bestselling author of 12 books translated into 20 languages and selected as Today show Must-Reads, Indie Next Picks and Michigan Notable Book. Rouse chose his grandma’s name, Viola Shipman, to honor the woman whose heirlooms inspire his fiction. He lives in Michigan and California, and hosts Wine & Words with Wade, A Literary Happy Hour, every Thursday.

Connect with Viola Shipman

Viola Shipman Website

Wade Rouse Website

New Release Spotlight! Sunset on Moonlight Beach by Sheila Roberts

“Roberts proves again why she is the premier purveyor of small-town, feel-good romance.” Booklist

Description

Jenna Jones has been standing on the shore of the Sea of Love for too long. Even with two good men interested in her, she’s been afraid to wade in. According to her best friend, Courtney, she should. The water’s fine. Life is great! Practically perfect, if you don’t count Courtney’s problems with her cranky ex-boss. Maybe Courtney’s right. It’s time to dive in.

USA TODAY bestselling author Sheila Roberts takes readers back to the sun-dappled shores of Moonlight Harbor as its citizens find hope, happiness and humor in the wake of a tragic loss.

When tragedy strikes, everything changes and Jenna’s more confused than ever. But this fresh heartache might help her figure out at last who she can turn to when times get tough.

Full of warmth and humor, Sunset on Moonlight Beach proves that every ending can be the beginning of a beautiful new story.

Don’t miss these other delightful entries in the Moonlight Harbor series
Welcome to Moonlight Harbor
Winter at the Beach
The Summer Retreat
Beachside Beginnings

About the Author

With nearly thirty books to her name, Sheila Roberts is a frequent USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestseller – and a fan favorite. Her Christmas perennial “On Strike for Christmas” was made into a movie for the Lifetime Channel and her novel “The Nine Lives of Christmas” was made into a movie for Hallmark. Her novel “Angel Lane” was listed as one of Amazon’s Best Books of the Year. Before settling into her writing career, Sheila owned a singing telegram company and played in band. When she’s not traveling, Sheila splits her time between the Pacific Northwest and Southern California.

Connect with Sheila Roberts

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Facebook

Twitter

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