Book Spotlight: The Summer List by Amy Mason Doan

The Summer ListThe Summer List by Amy Mason Doan

HARLEQUIN – Graydon House Books (U.S. & Canada)

Graydon House

General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

Pub Date 26 Jun 2018

I received this book on NetGalley and really looking forward to reading it soon. The premise is a but different from what I normally read, so that is good.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Description:

In the tradition of Judy Blume’s Summer Sisters, The Summer List is a tender yet tantalizing novel about two friends, the summer night they fell apart, and the scavenger hunt that reunites them decades later—until the clues expose a breathtaking secret that just might shatter them once and for all.

Laura and Casey were once inseparable: as they floated on their backs in the sunlit lake, as they dreamed about the future under starry skies, and as they teamed up for the wild scavenger hunts in their small California lakeside town. Until one summer night, when a shocking betrayal sent Laura running through the pines, down the dock, and into a new life, leaving Casey and a first love in her wake.

But the past is impossible to escape, and now, after seventeen years away, Laura is pulled home and into a reunion with Casey she can’t resist—one last scavenger hunt. With a twist: this time, the list of clues leads to the settings of their most cherished summer memories. From glistening Jade Cove to the vintage skating rink, each step they take becomes a bittersweet reminder of the friendship they once shared. But just as the game brings Laura and Casey back together, the clues unravel a stunning secret that threatens to tear them apart…

Mesmerizing and unforgettable, Amy Mason Doan’s The Summer List is about losing and recapturing the person who understands you best—and the unbreakable bonds of girlhood.

 

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Cover Crush: The Last Daughter by Ann Turner

Cover Crush banner

I am not a cover designer but I can agree that cover layouts play an important role in the overall presentation of stories and I must admit, often times I first judge a book by its cover.

The Last DaughterThe Last Daughter

by Ann Turner

Troubador Publishing Limited

Matador

Historical Fiction, Romance

Pub Date 04 Apr 2018

Why is Rose transported back in time, to the London of 1666? What waits for her there? Will she ever be able to return back to the present day?

Recovering from her father’s death, Rose books into a small London hotel. On one of her explorations, she meets and strikes up a friendship with Alan, vicar of St Mildrith.

During her stay at the Hotel Aragon, Rose encounters Julia, a ghost who has been searching through the centuries for the last daughter, the only woman who can help her. Having found Rose, the spectral Julia spirits her to Pudding Lane, only days before a fire breaks out in a nearby bakery. This scares Rose, and she insists Julia returns her to her own time. Evaluating what has happened to her, Rose asks Alan to join her, and Julia takes them back to the London of 1666.

They become involved in a plan to help Julia, daughter of the third wealthiest man in London escape an arranged marriage, as she has met and fallen love with an ambitious apprentice baker, Adam.

A fire with dire consequences for London breaks out in Pudding Lane. Can Rose and Alan, whose friendship is slowly developing into love, without either realising it, survive and escape the ravenous fire and return to their own time? Or will they be trapped forever in the London of King Charles II.

Will Julia and Adam succeed in their audacious plan to marry, despite the cavernous divide of their different lives?

My thoughts:

I’m not really into romance stories but the premise looks good and I love the cover. Pictures of clocks always catches my eye.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary.

Other great cover crushes from my fellow book bloggers: 

Magdalena at A Bookaholic Swede
Colleen at A Literary Vacation
Heather at The Maiden’s Court
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired
Meghan at Of Quills & Vellum

 

 

Cover Crush: The Time Rescuers by Alan Crosby

Cover Crush banner

I am not a cover designer but I can agree that cover layouts play an important role in the overall presentation of stories and I must admit, often times I first judge a book by its cover.

The Time RescuersThe Time Rescuers

by Alan Crosby

Matador

Children’s Fiction, Sci Fi & Fantasy

Pub Date 25 Apr 2018

Time travel. Nobody really believes in it, but when Claire, Gerald and Wally wake to find themselves trapped in a strange, glass dome, they’re forced to face the fact that a) it exists and b) there’s stranger still to come.

Lifted from a place of danger, somehow each have been whisked through time to…here. Their one common memory before blacking out is a silver globe spinning in the air, and when it reappears, a spirit life form inhabiting the object is revealed. Axolear, their rescuer, tells of their parents, who have been taken by the Nephilites, an alien race responsible for the destruction of Axolear’s kind. Now they have their sights set on earth and Axolear seeks vengeance upon them, but needs the help of these three to do it.

He aims to bring about a confrontation with this evil empire with only himself and the Remnant of his race. Determined to save their parents – and now in spirit forms themselves – the three teens embark on this mission, little knowing the pitfalls and catastrophes that lie in wait. And what about Axolear – can they trust him? And if they don’t, what worse events could be in store?

A story of trust and keeping faith in someone even when it seems the most illogical thing to do, The Time Rescuers is a clever twist on a classic storyline of time travel, alien abduction and intergalactic war! Readers aged 12+ will enjoy this thrilling and emotionally-satisfying adventure.

My thoughts:

Any book covers with clocks on it has my vote! Great cover and what seems perfect for the premise.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary.

Other great cover crushes from my fellow book bloggers: 

Magdalena at A Bookaholic Swede
Colleen at A Literary Vacation
Heather at The Maiden’s Court
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired
Meghan at Of Quills & Vellum

Friday Musings

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Today I am hoping to get half way through, Sailing Lessons by Hannah McKinnon because I need to start another ARC rather quickly. I’ve got several-actually-to get through. So far, I am enjoying the story so that is good. It is a great read for summertime and I will probably be recommending it to my audience and friends.

I’m also listening to three audiobooks at the moment. *laughing* Crazy, I know but that is how I roll. In the slide show you see above displays them and I must admit they are an interesting contrast.

This evening-besides reading-I’m wanting to maybe work on an abstract on canvas. I’ve been inspired by taking walks in my neighborhood and envision an abstract of maybe a scene with a tree and water. Hmm…. we will see.

Tomorrow, I am posting about art that I created last weekend, so be on the lookout for that.  I hope you all enjoy your day and weekend! Cheers!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Friday Musings: Christian Fiction & Weekend Delights

This week I have been looking at new titles on NetGalley and no-as much as I want too- I haven’t added any to review because I am already backlogged as it is…nonetheless, I like to see what is out there to keep up with the latest. I don’t normally read Christian Fiction but came across these three that look really interesting. I will be keeping my eye on them and I do like the book covers! Check them out!

Today, is the start of a new weekend and Sunday being Mother’s Day in the US, I want to wish moms a Happy Mother’s Day! Tomorrow I’m meeting up with friends to go explore old southern plantations and I’m really looking forward to spending time with them. We always enjoy each other company and have a great time. After the week I have had, their company will be a comfort. -Stephanie M. Hopkins

The Love Letter by Rachel HauckThe Love Letter by Rachel Hauck

Thomas Nelson–FICTION

Christian, Romance

Pub Date 12 Jun 2018

Description

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Dress comes a story of long-lost love and its redemption in future generations.

Romance has never been actress Chloe Daschle’s forte—in life or on screen. But everyone knows who to call for a convincing death scene . . . and it might be killing her career.

When Chloe is given a peek at the script for an epic love story, she decides to take her destiny into her own hands and request an audition for the lead female role, Esther Kingsley. The compelling tale, inspired by family lore and a one-page letter from the colonial ancestor of scriptwriter Jesse Gates, just might break her out of this career-crippling rut. Jesse would rather write about romance than live through it after his past relationship ended in disaster. But once on-set together, the chemistry between Jesse and his leading lady is hard to deny.

Centuries earlier, in the heart of the Revolutionary War, Hamilton Lightfoot and Esther Longfellow wrote their saga off the silver screen. Esther’s Loyalist father opposes any relationship with Hamilton, but Esther must face her beloved father’s disapproval and the dangers of war in order to convince Hamilton of their future together. Hamilton has loved Esther for years, and on the eve of battle pens the love letter she’s always wanted—something straight from the heart.

Set in stunning upcountry South Carolina, The Love Letter is a beautifully-crafted story of the courage it takes to face down fear and chase after love, even in the darkest of times. And just maybe, all these generations later, love can come home in a way not even Hollywood could imagine.

Hidden Among the Stars by Melanie DobsonHidden Among the Stars by Melanie Dobson

Tyndale House Publishers

Christian, Historical Fiction

Pub Date 04 Sep 2018

Description

From the award-winning author of Catching the Wind, which Publishers Weekly called “unforgettable” and a “must-read,” comes another gripping time-slip novel about hidden treasure, a castle, and ordinary people who resisted evil in their own extraordinary way.
The year is 1938, and as Hitler’s troops sweep into Vienna, Austrian Max Dornbach promises to help his Jewish friends hide their most valuable possessions from the Nazis, smuggling them to his family’s summer estate near the picturesque village of Hallstatt. He enlists the help of Annika Knopf, his childhood friend and the caretaker’s daughter, who is eager to help the man she’s loved her entire life. But when Max also brings Luzia Weiss, a young Jewish woman, to hide at the castle, it complicates Annika’s feelings and puts their entire plan—even their very lives—in jeopardy. Especially when the Nazis come to scour the estate and find both Luzia and the treasure gone.

Eighty years later, Callie Randall is mostly content with her quiet life, running a bookstore with her sister and reaching out into the world through her blog. Then she finds a cryptic list in an old edition of Bambi that connects her to Annika’s story . . . and maybe to the long-buried story of a dear friend. As she digs into the past, Callie must risk venturing outside the safe world she’s built for a chance at answers, adventure, and maybe even new love.

The Solace of WaterThe Solace of Water by Elizabeth Byler Younts

Thomas Nelson–FICTION

Christian, Women’s Fiction

Pub Date 05 Jun 2018

Description

“Younts has set herself apart with this exquisite story of friendship and redemption . . . I’ll be talking about this book for years to come.” —Rachel Hauck, New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Dress

In a time of grief and heartache, an unlikely friendship provides strength and solace.

After leaving her son’s grave behind in Montgomery, Alabama, Delilah Evans has little faith that moving to her husband’s hometown in Pennsylvania will bring a fresh start. Enveloped by grief and doubt, the last thing Delilah imagines is becoming friends with her reclusive Amish neighbor, Emma Mullet—yet the secrets that keep Emma isolated from her own community bond her to Delilah in delicate and unexpected ways.

Delilah’s eldest daughter, Sparrow, bears the brunt of her mother’s pain, never allowed for a moment to forget she is responsible for her brother’s death. When tensions at home become unbearable for her, she seeks peace at Emma’s house and becomes the daughter Emma has always wanted. Sparrow, however, is hiding secrets of her own—secrets that could devastate them all.

With the white, black, and Amish communities of Sinking Creek at their most divided, there seems to be little hope for reconciliation. But long-buried hurts have their way of surfacing, and Delilah and Emma find themselves facing their own self-deceptions. Together they must learn how to face the future through the healing power of forgiveness.

Eminently relevant to the beauty and struggle in America today, The Solace of Water offers a glimpse into the turbulent 1950s and reminds us that friendship rises above religion, race, and custom—and has the power to transform a broken heart.

 

 

Book Review: Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen by Sarah Bird

DAUGHTER OF A DAUGHTER OF A QUEEN“Here’s the first thing you need to know about Miss Cathy Williams: I am the daughter of a daughter of a queen and my Mama never let me forget it.”
Missouri, 1864

Powerful, epic, and compelling, Daughter of a Daughter of a Queenshines light on a nearly forgotten figure in history. Cathy Williams was born and lived a slave – until the Union army comes and destroys the only world she’s known. Separated from her family, she makes the impossible decision – to fight in the army disguised as a man with the Buffalo Soldiers. With courage and wit, Cathy must not only fight for her survival and freedom in the ultimate man’s world, but never give up on her mission to find her family, and the man she loves. Beautiful, strong, and impactful, Cathy’s story is one that illustrates the force of hidden history come to light, the strength of women, and the power of love.

My thoughts:

General Sheridan and his soldiers were burning everything in sight and took Cathy Williams-a slave-off a plantation as contraband to be an assistant to the generals cook. After the war is over she enlists in the Union Army disguised as a man with the Buffalo Soldiers.

I’ve always wondered how the Union Army was able to recruit/convince ex-slaves-right after the civil war- to become Buffalo Soldiers knowing what they were going to do to the Indians. It really has always baffled me. This story goes into that a little of that and explores the feelings of the Buffalo soldier’s feelings on this. The Union Army was not kind to the soldiers and I believe used them horribly.

As I was reading this story, I was dreading reading about what was going to happen once they get out west-already knowing its history and the author gives you a vivid picture of their struggles and Cathy’s efforts to keep her disguise as a man.

Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen is a top-notch historical fiction story, memorable characters, outstanding history details of its setting, conflict and I’m truly looking forward to more stories by this author.

I obtained a copy of this book from the publishers through NetGalley for an honest review.

I have rated this book five stars.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

 

Book Review: Every Single Secret by Emily Carpenter

Every Single Secret II

Pub Date 01 May 2018

Emotionally guarded Daphne Amos always believed she’d found a kindred spirit in her fiancé, Heath. Both very private people, they’ve kept their pasts hidden from the world, and each other, until Heath’s escalating nightmares begin to put an undeniable strain on their relationship. Determined to give their impending marriage the best chance of succeeding, Heath insists that Daphne join him on a seven-day retreat with Dr. Matthew Cerny, a psychologist celebrated for getting to the root of repressed memories. Daphne reluctantly agrees—even though the past is the last place she wants to go.

The retreat’s isolated and forbidding location increases her unease, as do the doctor’s rules: they must relinquish their keys and phones, they’ll be monitored at all hours by hidden cameras, and they’re never to socialize with the other guests.

One sleepless night, Daphne decides to leave her room…and only then does she realize that the institute is not at all what it seems—and that whatever’s crying out from Heath’s past isn’t meant to be heard. It’s meant to be silenced.

My Thoughts:

I love reading psychological thrillers and I admire writers who pen them because to really get in the mind of a sociopath or psychopath, one has to explore the dark side and in this particular case, it’s beyond creepy! Doing so is not always easy and coming up with a premise for these stories, you want to have quite the imagination to keep your readers hooked. Carpenter’s stories do this for me, and she out did herself with Every Single Secret. There is also the fact that this story is set in my state which makes it all the more intriguing.

This story has so many surprises and unexpected twist and turns that keeps you in suspense throughout the book.  Carpenter is great at setting the stage for a gothic southern story and she does it with such flare that I am always curious as to what she will write next. Her characters are so complex and at times you feel like you might not want to get too deep into their minds…I say this in a good way. She also has you question the characters actions and motives throughout the story and I find this thoroughly engaging.

When I first saw the book cover and title, I knew I had to get my hands on this story quickly! I had wondered about the cover and how it related to the story and when I got to that part, I was stunned! It’s a whopper and intensely chilling and had me a bit freaked out!

There are monsters all around us…

I rated this book four stars.

I obtained a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review.

Stephanie M. Hopkins