Friday, April 24, 2015

At The Water's Edge by Sara Gruen - Book Review

In this thrilling new novel from the author of Water for Elephants, author Sara Gruen again demonstrates her talent for creating spellbinding period pieces.

At the Water’s Edge is a gripping and poignant love story about a privileged young woman’s awakening as she experiences the devastation of World War II in a tiny village in the Scottish Highlands.

About The Book:

After disgracing themselves at a high society New Year’s Eve party in Philadelphia in 1944, Madeline Hyde and her husband, Ellis, are cut off financially by his father, a former army colonel who is already ashamed of his son’s inability to serve in the war. When Ellis and his best friend, Hank, decide that the only way to regain the Colonel’s favor is to succeed where the Colonel very publicly failed—by hunting down the famous Loch Ness monster—Maddie reluctantly follows them across the Atlantic, leaving her sheltered world behind.

The trio find themselves in a remote village in the Scottish Highlands, where the locals have nothing but contempt for the privileged interlopers. Maddie is left on her own at the isolated inn, where food is rationed, fuel is scarce, and a knock from the postman can bring tragic news. Yet she finds herself falling in love with the stark beauty and subtle magic of the Scottish countryside. Gradually she comes to know the villagers, and the friendships she forms with two young women open her up to a larger world than she knew existed. Maddie begins to see that nothing is as it first appears: the values she holds dear prove unsustainable, and monsters lurk where they are least expected.

As she embraces a fuller sense of who she might be, Maddie becomes aware not only of the dark forces around her, but of life’s beauty and surprising possibilities.

My Thoughts:

I have been a big fan of Sara Gruen's writing since I read her incredible book, "Water For Elephants." So I knew I was in for a treat with "At The Water's Edge," but I wasn't prepared to be awe-struck!

This World-War II era novel, set in Scotland, was one of the most moving stories that I've read in a long time.  Gruen captures the time period so exactly, and with her masterful storytelling skills she pulls her readers deep into the heart of her tale with a bit of romance, a lot of mystery, and a dash of humor here and there. Plus there is the lush background of Scotland for the story's setting, and the always intriguing mystery of the Loch Ness monster lurking around the edges.

I thoroughly enjoyed "At The Water's Edge," and in my opinion, I think this is one of the top books for 2015 so far! 

About The Author:

Sara Gruen

SARA GRUEN, the author of Ape House and Water for Elephants, moved to the United States from Canada in 1999 for a job as a technical writer. She was laid off in 2001 and decided to pursue a lifelong dream of writing fiction. She has published four novels, each involving animals as full-fledged characters.

Gruen lives in North Carolina with her husband, three sons, and a menagerie of rescued animals. She donates a portion of her earnings from all her books to various animal charities.

Check out her website at (It's really cool!)

My thanks to Random House Publishing and NetGalley for the review copy of this book. I was not compensated for my opinion.

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Girls of Mischief Bay by Susan Mallery - Book Review

About The Book:

Susan Mallery, the New York Times bestselling author of Three Sisters, is world renowned for her "insightful, funny, and poignant" stories (Booklist). With her brand-new Mischief Bay series, she brings vivid color to the story of three friends on the brink of a new life.

Nicole Lord wants to be a good wife, but there's a difference between being supportive and supporting her husband, who quit his job to write a screenplay she's never seen. He won't even help take care of their son, leaving Nicole to run the house and work full-time.
Sacrificing a personal life for her career is how Shannon Rigg became VP at her firm, but she wonders now whether she made the right choice. An exciting new relationship with a great guy convinces her that it might not be too late—until he drops a bombshell that has her questioning whether she really can have it all.
Although Pam Eiland adores her husband, she feels restless now that the kids are grown. Finding sexy new ways to surprise him brings the heat and humor back to their marriage, but when unexpected change turns her life upside down, she'll have to redefine herself. Again.
Through romance and heartbreak, laughter and tears, the girls of Mischief Bay will discover that life is richer with friends at your side.

My Thoughts:

Susan Mallery is a master storyteller when it comes to tales of women's friendships and romance, and with the introduction to "The Girls of Mischief Bay," the first book in her new series of books featuring the women of the fictional town of Mischief Bay, California Mallery once again delivers a book that is emotion-packed as well as highly entertaining.

Mischief Bay is an adorable small beach town right in the middle of Southern California and features the best of small-town living. It's fun to explore the "town" through Mallery's writing. The residents of this adorable town are also fascinating, and Mallery brings them (and their problems!) to life through her skilled writing.

Fans of contemporary romance and women's fiction will love this new offering from Susan Mallery.  I highly recommend it!

About The Author:

Susan Mallery

New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery has entertained millions of readers with her witty and emotional stories about women. Publishers Weekly calls Susan’s prose “luscious and provocative,” and Booklist says “Novels don’t get much better than Mallery’s expert blend of emotional nuance, humor and superb storytelling.” Susan lives in Seattle with her husband and her tiny but intrepid toy poodle.

Visit her at

My thanks to Mira Books for supplying the review copy of this book. I was not compensated for my opinion.

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The Second Sister by Marie Bostwick - Book Review

About The Book:

From New York Times bestselling author Marie Bostwick comes an emotionally rich, inspiring new novel about family, second chances—and the connections that bring women together in hope and healing. . .

Years of long workdays and little sleep as a political campaigner are about to pay off now that Lucy Toomey's boss is entering the White House. But when her estranged older sister, Alice, unexpectedly dies, Lucy is drawn back to Nilson's Bay, her small, close-knit, Wisconsin hometown.
An accident in her teens left Alice mentally impaired, and she was content to stay in Nilson's Bay. Lucy, meanwhile, got out and never looked back. But now, to meet the terms of Alice's eccentric will, Lucy has taken up temporary residence in her sister's cottage—and begins to see the town, and Alice's life, anew. Alice's diverse group of friends appears to have little in common besides an interest in quilting. Yet deep affection for Alice united them and soon Lucy, too, is brought into the fold as they share problems and stories. And as she finds warmth and support in this new circle, Lucy begins to understand this will be her sister's enduring gift—a chance to move beyond her difficult past, and find what she has long been missing. . .

My Thoughts:

I've been a big fan of Marie Bostwick's "Cobbled Court Quilt" novels for a long time, so I was curious to read her latest stand-alone novel, "The Second Sister." I was delighted to find that Bostwick can and did carry her love of quilting and her unique view of sisterly relationships into a fascinating story that will delight her legion of fans, and will garner her a whole new group of devoted readers.

The characters who populate this emotionally charged story are intriguing and personable, and the premise of the story is heart-wrenching as well as heartwarming.  Readers will find a little piece of every woman in "The Second Sister," and whether you have sisters or not, you will finish up this story longing for a sister of your own!

I highly recommend anything Marie Bostwick writes, and am honored to have been asked to review this title.  If you read one heart-pulling novel this spring, read this one!  You'll be glad you did!

About The Author:

Marie Bostwick was born and raised in the Northwest. She and her family have moved a score of times, living in eight US states and two Mexican cities and collecting a vast and cherished array of friends and experiences. She has three handsome sons and now lives with her husband in Connecticut, where she writes, reads, quilts, and is active in her local church.

Check out her website at for more information on her books and appearances.

This is a fun interview Marie did that talks about The Second Sister.

My thanks to Nancy Berland Public Relations for supplying the review copy of this book. I was not compensated for my opinion.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

TIffany Girl by Deeanne Gist - Book Review

Release date: May 5th

About The Book:

From the bestselling author of It Happened at the Fair and Fair Play comes a compelling historical novel about a progressive “New Woman”—the girl behind Tiffany’s chapel—and the love that threatens it all.

As preparations for the 1893 World’s Fair set Chicago and the nation on fire, Louis Tiffany—heir to the exclusive Fifth Avenue jewelry empire—seizes the opportunity to unveil his state-of-the-art, stained glass, mosaic chapel, the likes of which the world has never seen.
But when Louis’s dream is threatened by a glassworkers’ strike months before the Fair opens, he turns to an unforeseen source for help: the female students at the Art Students League of New York. Eager for adventure, the young women pick up their skirts, move to boarding houses, take up steel cutters, and assume new identities as the “Tiffany Girls.”
Tiffany Girl is the heartwarming story of the impetuous Flossie Jayne, a beautiful, budding artist who is handpicked by Louis to help complete the Tiffany chapel. Though excited to live in a boarding house when most women stayed home, she quickly finds the world is less welcoming than anticipated. From a Casanova male, to an unconventional married couple, and a condescending singing master, she takes on a colorful cast of characters to transform the boarding house into a home while racing to complete the Tiffany chapel and make a name for herself in the art world.
As challenges mount, her ambitions become threatened from an unexpected quarter: her own heart. Who will claim victory? Her dreams or the captivating boarder next door?

My Thoughts:

The art of making beautiful stained-glass pieces is central to author Deanna Gist's latest novel, "Tiffany Girl," and Gist delivers a sweet romance filled with spunky characters, a fascinating time period and a bit of history as well when combined makes for a fun read!

In Gist's previous two books, "It Happened At The Fair," and "Fair Play," she set her stories at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago.  In this title, the World's Fair takes a minor role in the story that centers on one girl's struggle to make her way in the world of art at a time when women were expected to stay at home - out of sight, out of mind. Gist intertwines her story of "Flossie Jayne," the Tiffany Girl, with the history of the women's movement of the 1890s as well as the history of the Louis Comfort Tiffany art glass.

Fans of historical romantic fiction will truly enjoy this title. It is also a sweetly inspirational story as well. I highly recommend it!

About The Author:

Deeanne Gist has rocketed up bestseller lists and captured readers everywhere with her very fun, very original historical novels. She has won the National Readers’ Choice Award, Booksellers’ Best Award, USA Best Books Award, and stellar reviews. With a background in education and journalism, Deeanne has written for People, Parents, and Parenting magazines.
Visit her online at and at
My thanks to Nancy Berland Public Relations for supplying the review copy of this book. I was not compensated for my opinion.

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Book Spotlight - The Heroes Welcome by Louisa Young

I recently had the pleasure of reading "The Heroes Welcome." This fascinating look at the world after World War I and how the people who were involved in "The Great War" handled the aftermath.

If you are interested in the era surrounding this time period, you will enjoy this well-written story of love, trauma, and regaining stability in a world gone a little mad.

The Heroes' Welcome

About The Heroes’ Welcome

• Paperback: 272 pages
• Publisher:
Harper Perennial (March 10, 2015)

April 1919. Six months have passed since the armistice that ended the Great War. But new battles face those who have survived.
Only twenty-three, former soldier Riley Purefoy and his bride, Nadine Waveney, have their whole lives ahead of them. But Riley’s injuries from the war have created awkward tensions between the couple, damage that threatens to shatter their marriage before it has truly begun.
Peter and Julia Locke are facing their own trauma. Peter has become a recluse, losing himself in drink to forget the horrors of the war. Desperate to reach her husband, Julia tries to soothe his bitterness, but their future together is uncertain.
Drawn together in the aftermath of the war, the two couples’ lives become more tightly intertwined, haunted by loss, guilt, and dark memories, contending with uncertainty, anger, and pain. Is love strong enough to help them all move forward?
The Heroes’ Welcome is a powerful and intimate novel, chronicling the quiet turbulence of 1919—a year of perilous beginnings, disturbing realities, and glimmerings of hope.
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About Louisa Young

37025Louisa Young was born in London and read history at Trinity College, Cambridge. She lives in London with her daughter, with whom she co-wrote the best-selling Lionboy trilogy, and is the author of eleven previous books including the bestselling novel My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You, which was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award and the Wellcome Book Prize, a Richard and Judy Book Club choice, and the first ever winner of the Galaxy Audiobook of the Year.

Learn more about Louisa at her website and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

My thanks to TLC Book Tours for providing the review copy of this book. I was not compensated for my opinion.

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It's Monday! What Are You Reading??

It's Monday, and (fingers crossed) this is going to be a fun week of reading around here!  I've got some great reads lined up and wanted to share with you what I'm excited about this week!

What I'm Reading Now:

What I Plan To Read:

I'll also be catching up on reviews this week, so be sure to keep an eye out for what I've been reading lately!

Hope you all have a great week of reading, and get out and enjoy the spring!!

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Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Beauty of Grace: Stories of God's Love from Today's Most Popular Writers edited by Dawn Camp - Book Review

About The Book:

The Beauty of Grace contains over 50 inspiring, heartfelt stories of faith from some of today’s foremost writers and bloggers, including Holley Gerth, Margaret Feinberg, Melanie Shankle, Lisa-Jo Baker, Ann Voskamp, and more. They share tales of their personal relationship with a God who bestows His unfathomable grace upon them daily. A related Scripture or quote concludes each one.

Illustrated throughout with Dawn Camp's photography — images of God’s incredible creation — it is the hope you’ll find The Beauty of Grace to be a haven of calm contemplation amidst the chaos.

This collection is arranged into seven categories — Purpose, The Big Picture, Surrender, Trust, Lessons Learned, Hope & Encouragement, and Worship — multiple aspects of the Christian faith.

He's Discovered in the Quiet

My Thoughts:

This is a beautiful collection of stories from women for women, and reflects all ages - from young to mature.  What a lovely book to use as a bible study or to share in a book group - it is appropriate for each, and for personal enjoyment too!

I highly recommend it!

God is in Control in the Storm

My thanks to Revell Books for providing the review copy of this book. I was not compensated for my opinion.

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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Weekend Cooking! The Cozy Cookbook by Laura Childs, Cleo Coyle, Julie Hyzy, et al - Book Review

About The Book:

Great meals don’t have to be a mystery—but they can come from a mystery. Selecting the most delicious recipes from some of the most popular names in crime solving, The Cozy Cookbook serves up mouth-watering appetizers, entrèes, and desserts that will leave your family or book club group asking, “Whodunit?”

In addition to recipes, choose a sleuth du jour from our menu of mystery series and get a taste of each of our authors’ bread and butter—page-turning puzzles and stay-up-all-
night suspense in excerpts from their bestselling works.
Whether you like your meals sautéed, roasted, baked, or served cold like revenge, The Cozy Cookbook has something to satisfy every mystery fan.

My Thoughts:

Oh my goodness, what a sweet and deliciously delightful cookbook this is!  Eleven of the top cozy mystery authors have joined together to present more than 100 of the most incredible recipes in one place.  And in addition to the recipes, each author has contributed excerpts from some of their best books to whet the appetite of their loyal legions of fans!

There are recipes for sweet treats and savory tidbits.  Cleo Coyle contributes some of the luscious Coffeehouse Mysteries muffins, Laura Childs includes her wonderful scone and tea recipes, and Soup Lover's Mysteries author Connie Archer has her yummy soup recipes here as well. A little something for everyone can be found here!

This is just a fun book to read through.  I love cookbooks, but the added pieces from the authors' books is just the cherry on top!  I highly recommend this book!!

My thanks to Penguin Books/Berkley Prime Crime for furnishing the review copy of this book. I was not compensated for my opinion.

Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend.

To see more blogger's cooking blogs, check out Beth Fish Reads blog (

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