Miss Book Lovers Joint Review- Morning Glory

November 26, 2013

Morning Glory
By: Sarah Jio

Ada Santorini is leaving New York, her job, and the heart-aching memories. She's hoping to find some peace in a houseboat in Seattle. While there, she learns of a previous owner to the boat she rents: Penny Winchestor. While letting go of her own past, Ada learns of Penny's and the mystery none of the fellow tenants will discuss. Just what happened on Boat Street all those years ago?

We at Miss Book Lovers have long felt Sarah Jio cannot write a bad book. After finishing Morning Glory, our opinion is only proven more. Despite a slower start than her past books had, Sarah Jio has written yet another book that captivates you and pulls you in. Another masterpiece that you can't tear yourself away from. 

Ada is a woman who has suffered a devastating, heartbreaking loss. Everywhere she turns, memories of what she once had surround her. Grief has swallowed her up since the tragedy 2 years prior. While she's been able to find some distraction in her career, more and more lately she just wants to leave New York City. When her therapist gives her a number for a houseboat in Seattle, Washington available for rent, Ada doesn't waste much time. 

It doesn't take long for the Lake Union houseboat community to welcome her- and hint at the mystery surrounding her particular houseboat. Eventually, Ada finds a key that opens the big trunk in the living room. Old remnants from a previous owner's life has been stored away. But what happened to the woman in the picture, and why won't anyone talk about it?

Penny Landry hasn't even graduated from her finishing school, when her path crosses that of Dexter Wentworth. The famous artist is 20 years old, and very taken with the young Penny. After several months, the pair get married. Penny Wentworth is not at all prepared for the life ahead of her. Dexter is a moody, depressed artist who leaves her alone more often than he's with her. 

Penny builds a friendship with the handsome neighbor, boat craftsman, Collin. Before long the two fall in love and embark on an affair that will forever change their lives. Collin convinces Penny to run away with him, leaving Dexter behind. However, something goes wrong on the night they are meant to leave. Collin's past comes back for him and Penny's future is anything but certain. Before the night is over, someone disappears and someone else is deemed dead. 

In classic Sarah Jio talent, you get to read how each story unfolds. You see the vulnerability to Ada as she tiptoes her way back into life. You marvel at the ease she feels with neighbor Alex. Debbie and I loved everything about this man who was more respectful than most would be. He was open about his past and delicate with helping Ada through hers. We cheered at the budding romance and feared Ada would be too afraid to embrace it. 

We both disliked Dexter, until it was too late. Throughout his marriage, he was too wrapped up in his own life and career to appreciate the wife who built her life around him. Far too often, he cheated on her and gave Penny multiple reasons to leave. We felt he gave Collin every opportunity to sweep Penny off her feet. However, once tragedy struck, and the damage had been done, he did a 180. He finally understood the gem he had. Unfortunately, it was too late to do anything about it.

We wouldn't be true fans of Sarah Jio if we didn't notice a couple of distinct differences between Morning Glory and her previous books. This book had religious tones in it. Alex's character tells Ada how church got him through his past, and Ada admits to her at God for dealing her the hand he did. He helps her find peace with God, and even attends services with him. Neither of us remembers any other book where Sarah involved, but we loved it!

The other difference we noticed was the inclusion of recipes. Both of us are determined to try them, so we'll let you know how they turn out. 

Once again, Sarah Jio delivers a book well worth it's asking price. While this one did have a slower start, once you got into it, you didn't want to put it down. You almost needed the slower start to brace you for the onslaught of story that awaited you the further into the book you got.

We hope you love the book as much as we did!

Switched by Cassie Mae

November 14, 2013

This book was such a hilarious and fun book to read. It's a story of four best friends: Talon, Wesley, Kayla and Reagan who have known each other for quite some time. This will definitely go down as one of my all time favorites! I've never heard of Cassie Mae but I'll be looking forward to reading more of her books going forward! This book was so cute and just a perfect read before I start on something more mind consuming!

I love the whole concept of the book (and one I can definitely relate to myself): a girl (Kayla) in love with a guy with a guy (Talon) who her best friend (Reagan) is dating. And on the flip side, Talon's best friend, Wesley, is also in love with Reagan. Definitely a love....triangle...no square!

So Kayla and Wesley decide to join forces and break Talon and Reagan up by showing them that they don't really belong together. I was cracking up laughing at the characters and their actions...especially Wesley and his personality! He is the type of guy that I would be attracted to! I found myself rooting for them to break up the pair, but at the same time, I loved the chemistry that Kayla and Wesley had so I was hoping that maybe they would forget the whole plan itself. In the end, will Kayla and Wesley's plan work with them or will tables be turned along the way?

I will recommend this book to everyone I know! Its funny, cute, romantic, and just a refreshing book for all ages!

Stella Bain

November 12, 2013

Stella Bain
By: Anita Shreve
199 Pages

A woman wakes up in a hospital, in France. She has no idea how she got there, or who she is. This is her story.

Anita Shreve has a distinct way of telling a story. She doesn't always go for the obvious angle, but she tells a compelling story anyway. Once again, she pulls you into a story that you can't tear yourself away from. You don't care that you get the story out of order. It actually adds to the suspense that you don't.

1916 isn't a good year in France. War has devastated the lives of countless people. Among the wounded and injured, a woman is left on a hospital porch. She's unconscious and in a cart. 3 days later, she awakes, but has no clue who she is. Nor does she have any idea how she got there. In fact, her entire life is blank. At some point the name Stella Bain comes to her. That is what she becomes known as.

After several months of recovery, she begins to help out as a nurse's assistant. Not knowing why, she tells them she can drive an ambulance- and does. However, a bizarre draw to the Admiralty pulls at her. She finally begins her journey when she has some leave. Before getting there, an exhausted Stella leaves her train, thinking she could get there faster on foot. She takes a minute to rest at a fence when Lily Bridge approaches her. Seeing the woman is exhausted, she invites her in. 

Lily and her doctor husband, August, care for the sick Stella. August is a cranial surgeon and does what he can to help Stella get her memory back. They begin an amateur therapy. Pictures of her past come to her as she draws them out. (A talent that helped her earn money while being a nurse's aid.) Still, she remains convinced that the secret to her past lies within the Admiralty. Several attempts yield no entrance. Finally, August begins to go with her. On trip number 5, everything changes when Stella hears 1 word: Etna.

Stella Bain remembers who she is. Etna has a husband and 2 children back in America. She fled her home after a devastating secret comes to light. She has since been trying to correct a horrible wrong done to an innocent man. While she was able to fix some things, not everything is as easy. When Etna returns, she wants her children with her again. It's a long process ahead of her. She's forced to face her past- including the husband she fled from.

I enjoyed this book. It kept me wanting to read more. I loved how Anita Shreve told the story. She told a story of rarity involving a woman's role in war in 1916. This wasn't your average war-time novel from a woman's point of view. She masterly unraveled a groundbreaking story. Definitely another great story from a great writer. While I don't agree with the pricing, both in hardcover and ebook, I do agree the story is one to be read.

Accidental Cowgirl: A Loveswept Contemporary Romance by Maggie McGinnis

November 11, 2013

First of all, WOW this was an amazing book! Such a perfect read and definitely one I can see myself re-reading! Maggie has a way of bringing you into the storyline and also with the characters...She makes it so relatable where I could feel and imagine how the characters feel! I couldn't put it down!

Who wouldn't like going into the country on vacation, meeting a charming and handsome cowboy, while enjoying some major eye candy, and falling in love?

Kyla Bennett is a newly un-engaged girl who is whisked away to Whisper Creek by her friends so they can vacation. Coming from Boston, they wanted to get the full experience of a ranch life: horses, walks, hikes, and making some unique sounding food concoctions! Let's just say, on one hike gone wrong they end up in a mud pit! I was rolling in laughter at this, I wanted to jump along in with them! A free version of getting a mud bath at a spa! At the same time unfortunately, Kyla is harboring a lot of baggage and she isn't ready to rehash those feelings.

Then there is Decker Driscoll who is home for the summer season trying to help his family's farm. With his father's recent passing, the family owes some people a lot of money. Coming from LA, and being business oriented that he is, he's trying to think of ways to keep the farm in the family! At the same time, Decker also has a past and feelings which still haunt him.

With a couple hiccups along the way, Kyla and Decker find themselves helping one another in more ways than one. This was a heartfelt romance and I'm about ready to fly into the country to see if I can find a cowboy myself! I can't wait to read more stories by Maggie!

Christmas He Loved Her by Juliana Stone

November 6, 2013

I’ll admit - I haven’t heard of Juliana Stone until now. I was so excited for the upcoming holidays that I decided to look up Christmas books that Netgalley offered hoping I would be granted one of them to read. I read the summary of “Christmas He Loved Her” and immediately requested it as my fingers were crossed. This is the 2nd book in the series and even though I haven’t read the first one, you follow along just nicely. Much to my surprise, I was given the opportunity to review it and was thrilled! Juliana Stone’s writing really captures the emotions of the characters and she draws you into the story. I loved getting lost in this town with the characters and their emotions.

A little background on the story and its characters: Jake Edwards is a former Army Ranger and recently served in Iraq with his fraternal twin brother, Jesse. Jesse married Raine Delgotta who grew up with the boys in their hometown. Those three, along with 2 other boys, got into all kinds of trouble together in their youth.

When the story begins, you realize that Jesse was killed in action over in Iraq and Jake came back home brotherless. He avoided his hometown for a year and a half, a week before Thanksgiving he returns to his hometown of Crystal Lake. He knows he has a rough road ahead of him: seeing his brother’s widow (the only woman he has ever loved), his father who is ill, and his parents who are still dealing with his brother’s loss. He has built up fences around himself and his heart that he’s not ready to let down yet. Having him retell stories of what he’s been through, and uncover those secrets which have been buried, was something that I’m sure others could relate to. He was dealing with so much and trying to keep it together for himself and all his loved ones was hard in itself.

Raine Delgotto knows pain. It’s what she has suffered the last 18 months, and that’s why her life has been put on hold: the pain of losing her husband, pain of being abandoned by her friend, and the pain that she shares with others. Then Jake Edwards finally returns home and she begins to feel again, she begins to live again, and come out of her shell so-to-speak. Can Raine and Jake help one another by grieving over their former loved one, while coming to terms of how they really feel about one another?   

Christmas He Loved Her is a story about tragedy, loss, love and definitely worth reading. You will laugh, smile, and cry but in the end it’s all worth it. After reading this book, Juliana Stone is definitely on my list of favorite authors. I loved everything about this book! The characters were so real and relatable, and the emotion: so heartfelt and genuine. This was a perfect read for me, I couldn’t put it down. I absolutely loved it!

Sweet Expectations

November 5, 2013

Sweet Expectations
By: Mary Ellen Taylor
342 Pages
Reviewed By: Betsey Brooks

Running the family bakery and living in the store’s attic might not be Daisy’s dream life, but she’s beginning to understand what being content feels like. And then she gets some unexpected news. In one moment, Daisy’s calm existence turns into chaos. Now she’s struggling to keep it together, especially with renovations at the bakery spiraling out of control.
But when a box of recipes and mementos is found hidden behind a wall in the bakery, Daisy suddenly has something to cling to—a mystery that echoes her own troubles and gives her the opportunity to figure out what she really wants out of life....   Publisher Summary

They say, "Life happens while you're making plans." Daisy McCrae's life is about to go in directions she hadn't planned. However, sometimes, life's little detours aren't bad ones.

With Daisy and her two sisters now running the family bakery, part of their plan is to breathe new life into it. A remodel is necessary. While doing this, they discover a box of recipes- and a dog tag. Daisy gets the chills upon unearthing the box- and for good reason. Jenna's ghost is hoping Daisy can help her find out what happened to her husband and child. This takes Daisy on a journey that alters her life.

Getting lost in the mystery of Jenna is a nice distraction for Daisy. A one night stand left an unexpected present- a baby. This development came to life after she and her boyfriend get back together. Will another man's baby be part of their future? Among all this, the sisters each struggle with their role in the bakery and making it their own. They must all decide what they want out of life, and how to fit it into their lives.

My favorite part of this book was Jenna's story. I loved traveling back in time to see her life play out. I loved reading all about her and the people she was surrounded with. It's interesting to see how all 3 sisters grow and change as the story progresses. Mary Ellen Taylor does a great job of telling the story of both Jenna and Daisy. The way she weaves you in and out of the two stories was effortless. There was so much to Sweet Expectations that it's hard to write this review. I look forward to reading further books in this series, as well as the book prior to this one. Fans of mysteries and romance will enjoy this book.

Along Came Trouble by Ruthie Knox

November 4, 2013

I'll have to admit, I had this on my kindle for quite some time before actually getting around to reading it. There was always a certain book that ended up edging its way into my reading schedule so again this book was postponed. However, just when I started reading it I couldn't put it down! I didn't realize that this was a 2nd in its series but I followed along completely! This was filled with chemistry, attraction, and a little drama (what book isn't good without a little drama every now and then??). I've never heard of Ruthie Knox before but she will definitely be on my radar going forward! The way she paints the pictures and characters is amazing!

Ellen is a lawyer with a very famous twin brother who is known for his singing. She has a 2 year old son Henry, and an ex husband who spent more time being drunk or flirting and hanging affairs with some of the local girls. Caleb Clark is ex military, tall, muscled, polite, caring, a big smile, could make a girl laugh...a book heartthrob!

Ellen's life is turned upside down when her pop star brother, Jamie, gets involved with her next door neighbor, Carly. The paparazzi are the first to pounce! Jamie's solution is to hire security for Ellen, Henry (her son), and Carly. Caleb soon was hired to be her security guard and keep her safe and free of the paparazzi. However, when he starts to suggest recommendations on how she should upgrade her house to be more protected, he ends up getting himself into quite a situation. The chemistry between the two is undeniable! The story unfolds around Ellen, her ex-husband, Carly, and Caleb and his family. This was a fun book, and if you want a feel good tale of romance, I highly recommend this! Thank you to Ruthie for writing such a captivating book and I can't wait to read more titles written by her!

A Groom for Christmas by Cara Marsi

November 2, 2013

It's close to Christmas and Graceann is in a bind...the plan she had of bringing a fake fiancé to her family's home for the holidays is off the table since her friend made some last minute plans which she understood.

Ever since Graceann's former engagement ended, her mom has been on her back about finding a man to marry. Having been thrown men at her, Graceann decides that this is a perfect way of showing her mom that she doesn't need her help. So when when Jake Falco from high school comes into the local cafe shop, the "Falcon" as he was then referred to, she decides to see if maybe he would be interested in her proposal: $5,000 in exchange for pretending to be a fake fiancé up until New Years passed. What Graceann didn't plan for was the attraction that she had Jake would have. The relationship builds between them and although it's supposed to be a fake engagement, it's starting to seem very realistic and easy to believe. But Jake is very secretive, when his secret comes out will Graceann push it passed her or will she be crushed by it?

The book is very well written and I really enjoyed the storyline! Overall a great easy book to read!!


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