The Favorite Daughter by Patti Callahan Henry

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Colleen (Lena) Donahue has made a point of not returning to her childhood home where her parents own an Irish pub in North Carolina for over 10 years.  As a travel writer living in New York, she has tried to forget her past, especially her own sister’s betrayal on Lena’s wedding day.
But unfortunately for Lena, she cannot hide from her family anymore.  With her father Gavin’s recent diagnosis of Alzheimer’s she must return to face a sister she has not spoken to in years, a brother who loves them both but is overwhelmed with keeping their business afloat, and a father who is slipping slowly away from them.
They decide to give their dad a party and are putting together a memory book of stories and pictures to hopefully assist him with his memory.  The book is to be filled with past memories from when they first bought the Irish pub when Colleen was born.
But then Lena begins to discover some of the stories and dates don’t match and that just doesn’t make sense.  Are they just mistakes or is something else going on?  Are there family secrets that have never been told?
Lena, Hallie and Shane must act quickly to find out the truth before their dad looses those memories.  And are any of them really ready for what he might reveal if he can even remember them?
The Favorite Daughter is the story about sibling rivalry, grudges, disappointment and hurt.  It’s also about family secrets and coming together as only family can no matter what the circumstances.  It’s about the bon between brothers and sisters that no one can break.
It’s also about the reality of what happens as a brain begins to be ravaged by Alzheimer’s and how it affects not only the person, but everyone around them.
Thank you Goodreads and Berkley/Penguin Random House for the advanced copy.  The Favorite Daughter is out right now.

Montauk by Nicola Harrison

fullsizeoutput_41f6In 1938 Beatrice Bordeaux and her husband Harry begin a summer of adventure in Montauk, a new and developing seaside area the rich are flocking to near Long Island in New York.  They are spending the summer, Beatrice there full-time and Harry taking the train there for weekends.  Harry is deciding if he should invest in the beautiful seaport all his friends with money are investing in.  Beatrice will spend the summer relaxing, attending parties, shopping and going to the beach.

Beatrice and Harry have been unable to conceive a child during their 5 year marriage, something which has been an embarrassment for her, but also something she wishes for desperately.  She also hopes the summer will  bring her relationship with Harry back to what is was.  They seem to be drifting apart.  But when Beatrice discovers some unsettling information about her husband, she must accept some harsh realities about their relationship.

While in Montauk, Beatrice meets and befriends Elizabeth, a laundry worker for the resort they are staying in.  She begins to feel her life of fancy dresses, parties and shopping are nothing compared to the tireless work ethic of the locals.  And although there is all this talk about investing, she realizes the locals are the ones who are truly in need of some money.

And then she meets someone who will change her life forever.  A man she never dreamed she would be interested in. Someone she becomes attracted to for so many reasons.  Perhaps even her soulmate.

Now Beatrice must make some decisions.  Decisions that were unheard of in those days.  What should she do…what CAN she do?

This is a beautifully written love story with believable characters and incredibly written majestic scenic passages with imagery that makes you feel you are there.  It was quite the page turner with my heart leaping for joy and pounding from suspense.  It possibly could be one of the best love stories I have read in quite awhile.  Although I have yet to go to Montauk, with this book I feel like I have finally been!

Thank you #NetGalley #St. Martin’s Press #Nicola Harrison #Montauk for this incredible advanced copy.
Montauk is on sale right now.

The Seduction Expert by Saya Lopez Ortega

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The Baroness is a beautiful mysterious woman.  Not much is really known about her, and what is known is probably not real.  When wealthy women are having problems with their love lives, or with their husbands, she and her crack staff come in and not only fix the problem, but make sure the problem never existed.
The Baroness is rich beyond belief, but for some reason she can never have enough money.  So when her boyfriend of two years, Louis Beaumont, of THE Beaumont’s of France finally proposes to her she happily accepts although it was perhaps her seduction expertise which makes it really happen. 
And that’s when the Baroness’ life takes a turn for the worse.  Because there is a Beaumont who is not particularly thrilled with this development.  Louis’s mother!
I enjoyed the easy dialogue and quick wit undertones of the Baroness. I enjoyed reading about what the lifestyles of the rich and famous looks like. I also look forward to the second installment which I have no doubt will be coming.
Thank you #NetGalley #VSP Publishing #Saya Lopez Ortega #The Seduction Expert for the advanced copy.  I believe the book will be out on June 26.

Banana Cream Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke

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This is book 21 in the Hannah Swensen murder mystery series.  I must say things are beginning to heat up in Lake Eden!
I had stopped reading the series at Book 20, but NetGalley sent me the most recent book, Chocolate Cream Pie Murder, and I read that and loved it so much I decided to read the books I had skipped.
In these later books, Fluke has learned the art of surprise and each one’s ending is more exciting than the previous one.
In Banana Cream Pie Murder, Hanna and her new husband Ross have just come home from their honeymoon cruise.  As they try to adjust to married life coincidentally a murder happens.
Hannah’s mother Delores hears a noise coming from her downstairs neighbor’s condo and when she goes to find out what it is she finds her neighbor, Victoria Bascomb, a former actress, now director of the local community theater dead, and next to her is one of Hannah’s Banana Cream Pies. Hannah immediately gets on the case.  Bascomb is the sister of the Mayor of Lake Eden and had a few enemies in the town.
One of her most difficult investigations to date, there seem to be no suspects and Hannah keeps us guessing as to who did it almost up to the last page.  But she saves the last page for even more shocking news!
As usual there are a slew of mouthwatering recipes included after most chapters, something I have decided I look forward to.
The Hannah Swensen series is not rocket science, but just an enjoyable romp into the world of cozy mysteries.  I am glad I have decided to join Hannah again.

 

Mine by Courtney Cole

What happens when a wife and a mistress meet during a hurricane?  Explosions and fireworks!

Tessa Taylor discovers by accident her husband Ethan has been having an affair with a twenty-something year old.  Alone in their home she takes it upon herself to invite Ethan’s “girlfriend” Lindsey over pretending to be him.  As a hurricane battles the Florida house, inside the women battle each other over who Ethan really belongs to.

And nothing is really what it seems as the women rehash their different relationships with Ethan.

Is it Tessa, his wife of twenty years, the mother of his three children or Lindsey, the girl in nursing school who has a young son staying with her mother in another state as she tries to better herself and to whom Ethan has told he loves and would leave his wife for?  Should Tessa really believe her? Should Lindsey really believe Tessa?

As the night progresses and Ethan who is out of town and unable to get back to Florida due to the hurricane finds out that Tessa now knows his dark secret he. tries to keep tabs on both women not realizing they are actually together.  But in Mine it becomes a dance of sorts between Tessa and Lindsey as to who loves Ethan more, and which woman he really loves and finally who will win him in the end.

An incredible book of betrayal, love and forgiveness I could not put it down and finished it in two days!

Thank you #NetGalley #Gallery Books # Mine #Courtney Cole for the advanced copy.  Mine is out now.  Go out and get your copy fast!

The Favorite Daughter by Kaira Rouda

A year after the death of her eldest daughter Mary from a horrific accident, Jane Harris tries to put her always present grief behind her and start anew with her husband David and youngest daughter Betsy.  But that is difficult as she has been in a drug induced haze and in counseling for the past year dealing with the death.

There is a memorial for Mary coming up as well as Betsy’s graduation from high school.  Her husband David is never around and leaves for work early and arrives home very late.  She feels like she has missed so much over the past year that she has to make up for the time she was “away” grieving.  Jane soon realizes very quickly that her family has changed and in her mind not for the better.  Betsy is short with her and very secretive and David seems to want to have nothing to do with her.

Jane gives a clear picture to the reader of a family moving on without her and she will have none of that.  Jane, although in mourning has been a busy woman throughout the year.  She sees and knows more than her family thinks,  It’s time now for her to reclaim her family.

But then Jane discovers someone knows something about Mary’s accident, her husband is having an affair and Betsy has been hiding things from her.  She misses Mary so much because she never caused these types of problems.

What should she do?  Well fix the family of course! As only she can.

This psychological fast paced thriller will have your heart racing as Jane addresses the reader and gives us bits and pieces of her plans and how the past and present merge into an explosive ending.

From the author of The Best Day Ever, Kaira Rouda is a psychological genius in her character development.

Thank you #NetGalley #Graydon House #Kaira Rouda #The Favorite Daughter for the advanced copy.  The Favorite Daughter is out now.

Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin

Melanie Benjamin’s well researched historical novels have mostly been about popular characters such as Truman Capote and Mary Pickford.  In Mistress of the Ritz she veers from this and tells the story of a couple not well known outside of a small circle in France, but what an amazing story she happened to stumble upon.
Blanche and Claude Auziello have lived a very charmed life in Paris, France.  He as the director of the Ritz and she as the Ritz’s designated mistress who charms guests such as Coco Chanel, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway.  But in 1940 when the Germans invade Paris, that all changes in an instant as they set up their operations at the Ritz. Thus begins the downfall of Paris as well as Blanche and Claude.
Both, unbeknownst to the other begin to assist in the resistance movement which threatens to challenge everything they believe in…their marriage, their lives as well as their beloved Ritz.  And there are shocking secrets each hold which could lead to their deaths.
As the war wages on they become so involved in what they believe their duty to country is that they lose sight of each other as a couple, but also as each other’s strength.  Until it all begins to blow up in their faces and the reality that they could lose each other becomes intolerable.
Even up to its shocking ending, Mistress of the Ritz sucks you into what life was like during Paris’ German occupancy and the courage many had to help get others out of the country. It gives you a glimpse into what life was like for those who were not as fortunate to be wealthy. All along you root for Blanche and Claude as they persevere and try to find the love they once shared as well as the realization of just how much loyalty they have to each other and to the country of France.
Thank you #NetGalley #Random House #Melanie Benjamin #Mistress of the Ritz for the advanced copy.  The book is out now.