The Half Sister by Sandie Jones

OIP (2)

Sisters Kate and Lauren and their mom Rose have been dealing with great loss in their lives.  First, the matriarch of their family, their dad and husband, died suddenly leaving terrible grief in the close knit family.  Kate has been desperately trying to get pregnant through IVF with her husband Matt.  This is their last shot.  Lauren, who has three children with her husband Simon is beginning to realize her life is miserable.  Unbeknownst to her family, Simon is verbally and physically abusing her.

But, during their weekly Sunday dinner, a knock at the door will create a chaos no one could ever see coming.  A girl who introduces herself as Jess is looking for her father.  She claims to be his daughter.

Kate who idolized her father knows Jess is lying.  Lauren whose relationship with hem was strained at best welcomes Jess with open arms. Rose is just speechless. And then each of their worlds begin to explode.

Kate, a journalist by trade begins to investigate Jess’ claim.  She uncovers untruths, deceptions and malice.  Lauren on the other hand embraces Jess and agrees to assist her in finding out who her mother could be. Rose will have no part of this circus.  She loved her husband and he loved them all, end of story.

Then Kate and Lauren begin to remember a time years before then they heard bits of conversations and perhaps saw things which at the time meant nothing. When Kate begins questioning her mother, she shuts her down, which only makes Kate more suspicious. DID something happen years ago? What is Rose not saying? Was their father not the person they thought he was? Could Jess really be telling the truth?  What family secrets have been buried and what will happen if and when they are exposed? Will their family survive?

Sandie Jones, author of the best-selling book The Other Woman has once again written a cat and mouse thriller with so much suspense that it allows the reader to just go along for the psychological chilling ride and wait for the stunning conclusion.

My thanks to #NetGalley #MinotaurBooks #SandieJones #TheHalfSister for the advanced copy.

The Second Home by Christina Clancy

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This is an enjoyable, yet sad story of secrets, trauma, love, hate and forgiveness.  The emphasis being that no family is without pain, and some families can feel isolation in different ways.  The question is can a family rise above all the mess and become one again.

Ann Gordon’s family owns a summer house on Cape Cod.  The last summer she was there when she was just a teenager with her sister Poppy and newly adopted brother Michael something happened which would not only change her life, but would tear her family apart.

Now, years later, her parents have died and it’s up to Ann and Poppy to decide whether to sell the Cape house or keep it.  Ann and Poppy have not been close since that last summer.  Ann works in Boston and Poppy lives wherever she lands, traveling and working and has never really settled down.  Michael’s whereabouts, after he left mysteriously that last summer is unknown.

So when the decision needs to be made whether to sell or keep the Cape house, Ann, who cannot bare even being in the house decides she wants to sell.  Unfortunately for Ann, Poppy who has come back with her own emotional baggage from the past decides she cannot imagine selling the house.

To complicate the situation even further, Michael discovers what is happening and is furious he had not been notified.  He concludes he cannot let this house go and wants to buy it himself.

Is it possible for three siblings who suffered great trauma, hurt and mistrust in their past be able, without their parent’s guidance, comeback together as a family, not the one they remember from the past, but a new type of family, one their parents would be proud of.

As I thought about the story after I finished it, I realized that the title, The Second Home has many meanings.  There are many seconds in this story for most of the characters.  The Second Home was an uplifting and satisfying read.

Thank you #NetGalley #St.Martin’sPress #ChristinaClancy #TheSecondHome for the advanced copy.

 

 

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E Reichert

51p9PhHI38L._SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_ The Coincidence of Coconut Cake is the sweetest love story I have read in a very long time. It is about a talented chef and newspaper restaurant reviewer who meet and become friends not knowing what the other does for a living. Through a huge mistake one will destroy the other’s dream.

Lou is a hardworking chef/owner of a restaurant named after her beloved grandmother Luella.  Although engaged to be married, nothing makes her happier than cooking for people and watching them smile.

Al is British and misses his homeland.  Hardly adjusting to the Wisconsin weather, he reviews restaurants for a Milwaukee newspaper.  He uses a pseudonym because some of his reviews can be quite scathing.

When he decides to dine at Luella’s, not only does he not know this is his new friend Lou’s restaurant, but he also is unaware that she has just had the worst day of her life.  Needless to day his review is not very pleasant.

As Lou begins to introduce Al to all the wonderful places Milwaukee has to offer, Al not only begins to love the city, but also begins to have feelings for Lou. And the feeling is mutual.

When Al’s review of Lou’s restaurant comes out Lou is unaware that Al is the actual writer.  And Al is unaware that Lou is the actual owner.  But the damage has already been done.  Luella’s starts losing business and Lou is in the horrible position of possibly having to close her beloved eatery.

And then Al discovers what he has done and cannot tell Lou for fear she will leave him. But Lou does find out and breaks all contact with Al. Is their love strong enough to keep them together? How could they give up what they both believe to be true, everlasting, until death do us part and beyond love.

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake is a scrumptious tale of love and forgiveness with a recipe for a a mouthwatering coconut cake at the end.

The New Husband by D.J Palmer

OIP (1) When Nina Garrity’s husband Glen disappears suddenly while on a fishing trip leaving her with two children, a dog and debt she was never aware of, she was not sure how she would be able to cope. But a few months later she is accidently introduced to Simon Fitch, a teacher at her daughter’s high school who as a widower himself, is kind, generous, charming, attentive and even smells like her missing husband. Simon seems to good to be true.

As their relationship progresses, much to the ire of her daughter, but to the excitement of her son Connor, they decide to move into a house together and be their own family. Although Maggie and Simon clash, Nina believes everything is going well.  Until little problems seems to pop up.  Simon gets sick on a night Nina is suppose to go out with her two best friends.  He finds a picture in a magazine and begs Nina to cut her hair in the same way. When Nina decides to get a job, although Simon does not admit his disapproval, she can tell for some reason it bothers him.  Nina blames herself, thinking it must be her fault.  She’s not communicating enough with him.

As she tries to adjust to her work and home life, she finds herself constantly doubting herself and feeling overwhelmed by trying to adjust to work, home and the constant fighting between Simon and Maggie.  When Nina suggests to Simon that they go to counseling to try and put themselves back on track he immediately agrees.  But the night before their session, her counselor’s home is broken into and she is attacked.

Then, Maggie has a terrible accident and Nina begins to question not only herself but what Simon could really be.  There are only so many accidents until they begin to seem like something more sinister.

The New Husband is a psychological rollercoaster thriller with twists and stunning turns you could never imagine.

Thank you #NetGalley #St.Martin’sPress #D.J.Palmer #TheNewHusband for the advanced copy.