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Book Review

Book Description: 


In an unforgettable novel that traces a centuries-old curse to its source, beloved author Alice Hoffman unveils the story of Maria Owens, accused of witchcraft in Salem, and matriarch of a line of the amazing Owens women and men featured in Practical Magic and The Rules of Magic.

Where does the story of the Owens bloodline begin? With Maria Owens, in the 1600s, when she’s abandoned in a snowy field in rural England as a baby. Under the care of Hannah Owens, Maria learns about the “Unnamed Arts.” Hannah recognizes that Maria has a gift and she teaches the girl all she knows. It is here that she learns her first important lesson: Always love someone who will love you back.

When Maria is abandoned by the man who has declared his love for her, she follows him to Salem, Massachusetts. Here she invokes the curse that will haunt her family. And it’s here that she learns the rules of magic and the lesson that she will carry with her for the rest of her life. Love is the only thing that matters.

Magic Lessons is a celebration of life and love and a showcase of Alice Hoffman’s masterful storytelling.

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About the Author: 

Alice Hoffman is the author of more than thirty works of fiction, including The World That We Knew, The Rules of Magic, The Marriage of Opposites, Practical Magic, The Red Garden, the Oprah’s Book Club selection Here on Earth, The Museum of Extraordinary Things, and The Dovekeepers. Her most recent novel is The World That We Knew. She lives near Boston.

Author's Website.

Review: 

I just love Practical Magic and was really excited to see another prequel to the book by Alice Hoffman. Dating back to the 17th century to the beginning of the Owen family. I read this on my phone as an ebook and I will say it was harder for me to get into it at no fault of the authors. I just don't like reading on my phone. I will be going out and getting a paperback copy soon! This is a book I need on my bookshelf.

Alice Hoffman has done an amazing job bringing us back to the beginning of the Owen family with Maria. Witchcraft, curses, Salem trials, love and history. This is an extraordinary novel by an amazing author. A definite must read for any fan of Practical Magic or Alice Hoffman!

I give this book a 5 stars!

~*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and thoughts are my own. *~

Return to Virgin River by Robyn Carr ~ Book Review


Book Description: 


#1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr returns to the beloved town of Virgin River with a brand-new story about fresh starts, new friends and the magic of Christmas.

Kaylee Sloan’s home in Southern California is full of wonderful memories of the woman who raised her. But the memories are prolonging her grief over her mother’s recent death. A successful author, Kaylee hoped she could pour herself into her work. Instead she has terrible writer’s block and a looming deadline.

Determined to escape distractions and avoid the holiday season, Kaylee borrows a cabin in Virgin River. She knows the isolation will help her writing, and as she drives north through the mountains and the majestic redwoods, she immediately feels inspired. Until she arrives at a building that has just gone up in flames. Devastated, she heads to Jack’s Bar to plan her next steps. The local watering hole is the heart of the town, and once she crosses the threshold, she’s surprised to be embraced by people who are more than willing to help a friend—or a stranger—in need.

Kaylee’s world is expanding in ways she never dreamed possible. And when she rescues a kitten followed by a dog with a litter of puppies, she finds her heart opening up to the animals who need her. And then there’s the dog trainer who knows exactly how to help her. As the holidays approach, Kaylee’s dread turns to wonder. Because there’s no better place to spend Christmas than Virgin River.

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About the Author: 

Robyn Carr is a RITA® Award-winning, eleven-time #1 New York Times bestselling author of almost sixty novels, including the critically acclaimed Virgin River series. The fourth novel, THE BEST OF US, in her fan-favorite Sullivan's Crossing Series was released in Jan. 2019. Robyn's new women's fiction novel THE VIEW FROM ALAMEDA ISLAND, released in April 2019, deputed on four bestseller lists: The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and Publisher's Weekly! Robyn is a recipient of the Romance Writers of America Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award 2016, and in 2017, VIRGIN RIVER was named one of the HarperCollins 200 Iconic Books of the past 200 years. Look for the Virgin River Netflix Series coming to Netflix in late 2019. Robyn currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Author's Website.

Review: 

Virgin River series is now on Netflix and that is where I was introduced to the characters. Watching the first couple episodes I thought it felt like a Harlequin romance. I found out it is a MIRA published series. I was super excited when I heard that Robyn Carr had a new book out in the Virgin River series. I just love the characters from Virgin River and love how this book can be read as a stand alone or part of the on going story for each character. Kaylee is the main character in this novel. After losing her mother she is trying to finish a novel that is due but can't find the inspiration. A family friend offers her to rent out their summer place in Virgin River. Kaylee feels that it'll be a good change of pace to be able to sit back and write. Kaylee doesn't expect her whole life to change.

This is a sweet romance with loads of fun characters that live in Virgin River. They all welcome Kaylee into their small village. This story also takes place over Thanksgiving and Christmas so if you are looking for a nice holiday read I would recommend this one.

I really enjoyed this book right from the beginning and can't wait to read the other books in the series. I have already picked up a couple of the other books. I give this book a 5 star rating and look forward to reading more by Robyn Carr.


~*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and thoughts are my own. *~

Cathy's Christmas Kitchen by Tilly Tennant ~ Book Review

Book Description: 


As the snow flutters down in the little village of Linnetford, escape to a cosy farmhouse kitchen, scented with the rich aromas of fruitcake and gingerbread, where a love of baking is about to unite two lonely hearts…

Cathy cooked at her mother’s side her whole life and could bake a fairy cake before she could ride a bike. Now she is facing her first Christmas without her beloved mother, she’s determined to use her memories for something positive. She decides to organise a weekly cooking class, sharing her mother’s precious recipes with other lonely souls.

There’s just one small spanner in the works: teenager Tansy, who attends Cathy’s classes even though she’s rude to everyone there and seems to hate every minute. Cathy is poised to ask Tansy to leave, but her uncle, physiotherapist Matt, begs her to give the teenager another chance. And Cathy can’t resist Matt’s sparkling hazel eyes and incredibly kind heart…

But just as Cathy is feeling she might find joy again, her ex returns to Linnetford, desperate for a second chance. With Matt becoming distant as his life gets more complicated, it seems so easy to return to the safe embrace of someone she knows so well. Can Cathy avoid the temptation of falling back in love with the man who broke her heart and let Christmas bring her the greatest gift – that of happiness? 
 
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About the Author: 

Tilly Tennant was born in Dorset, the oldest of four children, but now lives in Staffordshire with a family of her own. After years of dismal and disastrous jobs, including paper plate stacking, shop girl, newspaper promotions and waitressing (she never could carry a bowl of soup without spilling a bit), she decided to indulge her passion for the written word by embarking on a degree in English and creative writing, graduating in 2009 with first class honours. She wrote her first novel in 2007 during her first summer break at university and has not stopped writing since. She also works as a freelance fiction editor, and considers herself very lucky that this enables her to read many wonderful books before the rest of the world gets them.

Tilly is represented by the wonderful, gorgeous Peta Nightingale at LAW.

Author's Website.

Review: 

I love Christmas novels once the fall hits. I love to cuddle up on my reading chair with one of my puppies and put the fire on and read. This was on of those cute wintery novels, it isn't full of Christmas so it can be read anytime. I enjoyed the characters and the story line, romance, baking and Christmas. I did find that the story took awhile to evolve but then I felt the ending was rushed. Other than that I enjoyed following Cathy's journey to making friends and finding romance after losing her mother to illness. I look forward to reading other novels by TIlly Tennant. 

I give this book a 3.5 out of 5 stars.

~*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and thoughts are my own. *~

A Hope for Emily by Kate Hewitt ~ Book Review


Book Description: 

Looking back, I wish I could find my way back to that moment. I’d snatch it and hold onto it and live in it for the rest of my life, if I could. When Emily could still throw her arms around me. Oh God, just give me that moment, or one like it again. That’s all I want.

From the moment Emily was born, reaching out with her tiny little star-shaped hand towards her mother, blinking with long eyelashes over soft blue eyes, she became Rachel’s whole world.

But Rachel’s worst nightmare comes true when a rare auto-immune illness leaves four-year-old Emily in a coma the doctors say she may never come out of. And Rachel has to make a heartbreaking decision—one that her ex-husband, Emily’s dad James, doesn’t agree with.

Terrified she’s going to lose her daughter for good, Rachel knows she must find a way to keep the hope alive for Emily. But there is only one person she can turn to for help to convince James—and it’s his new wife, Eva.

As an unlikely but powerful friendship develops between the two women, both Rachel and Eva will have to ask themselves—what is truly the right choice for the tiny, fragile little girl who lies between them?

A beautiful story that will break your heart into a million pieces, perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult, Diane Chamberlain and Susan Lewis.

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About the Author: 

Kate is the USA Today-bsetselling author of many books of both historical and contemporary fiction. Under the name Katharine Swartz, she is the author of the Tales from Goswell books, a series of time-slip novels set in the village of Goswell.

She likes to read women's fiction, mystery and thrillers, as well as historical novels. She particularly enjoys reading about well-drawn characters and avoids high-concept plots.

Having lived in both New York City and a tiny village on the windswept northwest coast of England, she now resides in a market town in Wales with her husband, five children, and two Golden Retrievers.

Author's Website | Goodreads

Review: 

Be prepared when you pick up this book to shed tears. This story is told by Rachel (the mother of Emily) & Eva (married to James, Rachel's ex husband). Rachel and James' daughter Emily has been very ill and is being moved to a palliative care unit, despite many treatments Emily is in a coma. Trying not to lose hope Rachel wants to take Emily to Italy to have a experimental treatment done to see if it would help little Emily.

Rachel, James and Eva have been through so much hurt, when they come together to help Emily, a new friendship is formed between Rachel and Eva. This is beautifully written story, with characters that are likable, secrets, hopes for the future. I did find a couple parts stretched on and I would have loved to have seen where Rachel's and Andrew's relationship will head.

This is a must read. I have now added a couple more of Kate Hewitt's books to my to-be-read list. After this book I need a feel good happy book to read.

~*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and thoughts are my own. *~

Sin Eater by Megan Campisi ~ Book Review


Book Description: 


The Handmaid’s Tale meets Alice in Wonderland in this gripping and imaginative historical novel about a shunned orphan girl in 16th-century England who is ensnared in a deadly royal plot and must turn her subjugation into her power.

The Sin Eater walks among us, unseen, unheard
Sins of our flesh become sins of Hers
Following Her to the grave, unseen, unheard
The Sin Eater Walks Among Us.

For the crime of stealing bread, fourteen-year-old May receives a life sentence: she must become a Sin Eater—a shunned woman, brutally marked, whose fate is to hear the final confessions of the dying, eat ritual foods symbolizing their sins as a funeral rite, and thereby shoulder their transgressions to grant their souls access to heaven.

Orphaned and friendless, apprenticed to an older Sin Eater who cannot speak to her, May must make her way in a dangerous and cruel world she barely understands. When a deer heart appears on the coffin of a royal governess who did not confess to the dreadful sin it represents, the older Sin Eater refuses to eat it. She is taken to prison, tortured, and killed. To avenge her death, May must find out who placed the deer heart on the coffin and why.

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About the Author: 

Megan Campisi is a playwright, novelist and teacher. Her plays have performed in China, France and the United States. She has been a forest ranger, sous chef in Paris and a physical theater specialist around the world. Originally from California, she attended Yale University and the L'École International de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her family.

Author's Goodreads

Review: 

Finally getting around to writing my review for this novel. I am still not sure how I truly feel about it. I enjoyed this novel but didn't love it. When I read the blurb that said it has been said to be "The Handmaid’s Tale meets Alice in Wonderland" I couldn't wait to read it. I was expecting some magical world/supernatural mixed with sinful acts but I don't feel it met any magical aspects. It is a historical novel set in England with a Queen, the story is centered around a young sin eater named May. 

At the beginning of the novel we are introduced to May who has stolen a loaf of bread, her sentence? Become a sin eater. A sin eater is someone who eats the sins of another person with specific foods assigned for each sin they committed. This ritual is done while the person is on their death bed.

I thought the premise of the novel was really neat and not like anything I have read before. I felt for May and enjoyed her internal dialogue. As a sin eater she is not allowed to speak. Sometimes I found myself wanting the story to pick up and finish but sometimes I didn't want it to end. Definitely a book that left me with mixed feelings but I would read more from Megan Campisi.

~*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and thoughts are my own. *~

Stay by Catherine Ryan Hyde ~ Book Review

Book Description:

An unforgettable novel about the power of friendship and kindness by the New York Times bestselling author of Pay It Forward.

In the summer of 1969, fourteen-year-old Lucas Painter carries a huge weight on his shoulders. His brother is fighting in Vietnam. His embattled parents are locked in a never-ending war. And his best friend, Connor, is struggling with his own family issues. To find relief from the chaos, Lucas takes long, meandering walks, and one day he veers into the woods.

There he discovers an isolated cabin and two huge dogs. Frightened, he runs. And the dogs run with him. Lucas finds unusual peace in running with the dogs, and eventually he meets their owner, Zoe Dinsmore. Closed off and haunted by a tragic past, Zoe has given up. She doesn’t want to be saved. She wants out. But Lucas doesn’t want her to go, and he sees an opportunity to bring more than one friend back into the light. It’s either the best or worst idea he’s ever had, but Lucas isn’t giving up on Zoe or Connor.

Their unexpected connection might be the saving grace that Zoe thought she’d lost, that Connor needs, and that Lucas has been running toward.

Purchase a copy on Amazon

About the Author: 

I am the author of more than 30 published and forthcoming books, including ALLIE AND BEA, SAY GOODBYE FOR NOW, LEAVING BLYTHE RIVER, ASK HIM WHY, WORTHY, THE LANGUAGE OF HOOFBEATS, TAKE ME WITH YOU, WHERE WE BELONG, WHEN I FOUND YOU, WALK ME HOME, SECOND HAND HEART, DON'T LET ME GO, and WHEN YOU WERE OLDER.

I'm an avid hiker, traveler, equestrian, and amateur photographer, and have released my first book of photos, 365 DAYS OF GRATITUDE: PHOTOS FROM A BEAUTIFUL WORLD.

I am co-author, with fellow author and publishing industry blogger Anne R. Allen, of HOW TO BE A WRITER IN THE E-AGE: A SELF-HELP GUIDE.

My novel PAY IT FORWARD was adapted into a major motion picture, chosen by the American Library Association for its Best Books for Young Adults list, and translated into more than 23 languages for distribution in over 30 countries. The paperback was released in October 2000 by Pocket Books and quickly became a national bestseller. Simon & Schuster released PAY IT FORWARD: YOUNG READERS' EDITION in August of '14. It is suitable for kids as young as eight. A special Fifteenth Anniversary Edition of the original PAY IT FORWARD was released in December of '14

Website

Review: 

This is a coming of age story about a 14 year old boy, Lucas, set in the summer of 1969. Lucas' parents argue, his dad comes home later and later, his brother is away in Vietnam, his bestfriend is depressed and talking about hurting himself. Lucas wants/needs to help everyone but he isn't sure how. Lucas finds himself running in the woods and meets two dogs who become his running partners. Lucas befriends their owner, a lady who has isolated herself in the woods years ago. This is a beautifully written story that is heartbreaking, touching and so very relatable. Characters that all intertwine and help each other through the hardships of life. So many likable characters that you find yourself hoping and praying they make it through their tough time stronger than they were and happier. Keep tissues by your side. This one will pull on the heartstrings but also make you smile. A beautiful literary fiction that will stay with you even after you put the book down. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more from this author.  I give this a 5 out of 5 stars. 

~*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*~

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