Snowfall on Lighthouse Lane

Snowfall on lighthouse laneAuthor: JoAnn Ross

Series: Honeymoon Harbor #2

Publisher: HQN Books

Release Date: October 30, 2018

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

What a way to kick off the holiday small town romance season!

Aiden has tried to outrun his past from Honeymoon Harbor when he joined the marines. Even after he got out, he stayed out of the pacific northwest and joined up with the Los Angeles Police Department.  But when he and his partner get ambushed, Aiden gets shook when his partner is killed.  After quitting the force, Aiden returns to the pacific northwest to become a hermit and live out his days; unfortunately, his partner follows him as a ghost.  With much convincing from Honeymoon Harbor’s mayor, Aiden’s dad, he returns to his hometown to become chief of police.  But his past is waiting for him when he returns.  His old flame Jolene Harper has also returned back home and she might just be the most difficult thing he has had to deal with.

Jolene Harper also ran from her past as the poor girl. There is plenty of history between Jolene and the mean girls of the area, but she just let it make her better.  Now in the big leagues of make-up design for movie sets, Jolene finds that people are fickle no matter where you go.  When she gets a call that her mother has a suspicious lump in her breast and refuses to have it check out, Jolene returns home to help her deal with it.  But she didn’t count on Aiden being in town either.  The only boy she ever really loved, can she take being in the same town as him again?

Could there be a better candidate to open the holiday small town romance season? I think not.  This was really a fun book to read that was played out by an expert.  Everything fell into place right when it was supposed to.  The main characters were perfectly flawed so that you could relate to them and still pull for them at the same time.  The villains, if that is what you want to call them, had just the right amount of distastefulness to keep the reader against them.  I can’t think of a better book to draw me into the holiday romance.

There is some strong language throughout this book as well as some scenes that would be better suited for mature audiences.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

The Stranger Game

The Stranger GameAuthor: Peter Gadol

Publisher: Hanover Square Press

Release Date: October 2, 2018

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Intriguing concept of mistaking personal connection for stimulation.

Rebecca has had an off and on relationship with Ezra for several years. It started in college and has spanned most of their professional life.  When they go cold, they never separate for more than two weeks.  Ezra even followed Rebecca to the west coast after she took a job as an architect because he just couldn’t live without her.  But now he has gone missing.  When Rebecca checks his apartment to make sure he hasn’t hurt himself, she finds a print out of an article describing a phenomenon called the stranger game.  This game has people following random strangers to see if they can determine where they are going or what their life is about.  But society has taken the original concept and made it darker, now working to seduce victims that they are following.  They even begin staging violence to heighten peoples senses for playing the game.  In some cases, people just disappear.  Will Rebecca ever be able to find Ezra?  Or is he gone for good?  Just another stranger in a game?

The concept of this novel was really intriguing. It is basically saying that people have lost personal connections and have become isolated, lonely, and depressed.  Even when they have a relationship, they are still depressed because they don’t connect the way that nature intended.  Enter the stranger game.  This game allows people to imagine how another person’s life is lived, what they might be thinking, where they might be going, what they will be doing after that.  But the initial rules are never to make contact and never follow the same person twice.  But I suppose rules are meant to be broken and society has a knack for doing that.  It is terrifying to think that something like this could actually happen.  The book indicates that almost everyone starts playing the game.  Players are following players that are following players.

Overall it is a mystery and it is really a great read. I don’t want to give anything away, but you should really pick up a copy of this book.  It is worth your time.  There is some harsh language throughout the book as well as some mild sex scenes that still are more suited for mature audiences.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

One Day in December

One Day in DecemberAuthor: Josie Silver

Publisher: Broadway Books

Release Date: October 16, 2018

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

What happens when you see the one, but can’t meet them?

All it took was a moment in her mundane little life. Laurie was sitting on a bus on her way to her flat from work during Christmas when she saw him sitting at the bus stop.  They’re eyes met and they both knew in an instant that it was a connection meant to be.  They would spend eternity together just like you read in the books and see in the movies.  As he made his move to get on the bus and come to her, the doors locked and the bus drove away.  No names.  No number.  No way to see each other again.  Her flat mate, Sarah, tries to cheer her up and begins to fix her up with other dates, but she has elevated the nameless man to a place where no other man can touch him.  Then one day Sarah wants her to meet her new boyfriend, Jack.  As luck would have it, it’s him, the man from the bus stop.  Sarah is like a sister to her and Laurie knows she would never jeopardize their relationship, not even for Jack.  What ensues is a story about changes in life, romance, and circumstances that affect all because of one day in December.

I honestly did not expect this book to be as good as it was. I thought it was going to be a girl finds love with best friend’s guy and in the end it all works out.  However, this was more of a raw look at life and what circumstances can do and how it touches several lives, not just two or three.  There were so many different tangent lines that it was fun to watch them all connect in the future.  Through it all were Laurie and Jack, even when they were with different people. Silver did a great job of keeping those two characters at the center and really letting the reader see who they were and fleshing them out.  This isn’t your average holiday romance.  In fact, I’m pretty sure there might be a movie about this in the future that will be an exciting movie.

There is quite a bit of harsh language throughout the book as well as some sexual content that will be better suited for mature audiences. If you like holiday romances, this is for you.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

The Silver Shoes

The Silver ShoesAuthor: Jill G. Hall

Publisher: She Writes Press

Release Date: June 19, 2018

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

So much fun getting to know these women and watch them achieve fulfillment in their lives.

Anne McFarland is in the middle of a cross country romance. Her boyfriend Sergio lives in New York City and she loves visiting the him and the city too, but she is currently residing in San Francisco.  While on a trip to visit Sergio, Anne stumbles into a vintage antique shop and finds a pair of old shoes that must have a story attached to them.  As an artists, these shoes give her an inspiration and she buys them.  She soon finds clues that leads Anne on a mission to uncover the shoes original owner.

In 1929, Clair Deveraux is a sheltered socialite that wants more out of life than to just be a pretty face for a future husband. She wants to go to university, but her father just wants to marry her off to someone who is twice her age for her financial well being.  While looking for some items in Macy’s, she befriends a young store clerk named Winnie who leads Clair on an adventure to a speakeasy and to discovering a new era of music that can’t keep her body still.  But when Clair’s father suddenly loses all their wealth in the stock market crash, she finds herself wrapped up in this new world in an effort to save her family.

This was a really fun story to relate to two different women in different eras. Both woman had different circumstances, yet were looking for fulfillment in life and each woman was able to find it.  The past/present crossover storyline seems to be really picking up popularity with several readers.  I have found that typically the reader relates to one character more than the other, which I think was more the case with Anne for me.  There was more similarities that I could identify with based on her life, but I still enjoyed both stories.  I enjoyed getting to know both woman as the author made it very easy to be able to do that.  The writing was clean and the storyline was fantastic.  I recommend this book to people who enjoy contemporary crossover romances and women’s fiction.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Let Me Be Like Water

Let me be like waterAuthor: S. K. Perry

Publisher: Melville House

Release Date: August 14, 2018

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A very personal account of coping with personal loss.

After Holly’s boyfriend passed away, she couldn’t stand being in London as every thought reminded her of him. So, she moved away to Brighton to escape.  But even here sitting on a bench listening to the sounds of the sea, she can’t help but think about him.  There she meets Frank, a retired magician that has also experience personal loss.  She begins to meet others as well that have also experienced this.  Holly slowly begins to form a support group without even realizing that it is happening.  Over the next year, she begins to move on and deal with the emptiness that has been left inside her.

This way this book was written made it easy to step into Holly’s shoes and experience the same emotions that she was going through, especially if you have been through it yourself. It feels like a very personal account and almost an invasion of privacy that it is so raw.  Even the guilt that she began to feel as she began to move on was expressed throughout.

The book is told from Holly’s point of view and toggles from her past with her boyfriend to present. It is like going back through Holly’s memory of the good (and bad) times that they had together and how it came to shape who she was.  The remainder of the time was Holly figuring out how to deal with life now that he was gone, both on her own and with her group of friends.

There is quite a bit of strong language in this book and some intimate scenes as well. I would caution readers that have experience personal loss in the past that it may stir up some feelings that may have been put to bed.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Everything We Give

Everything We GiveAuthor: Kerry Lonsdale

Series: Everything We Keep #3

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Release Date: July 3, 2018

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The thrilling and insightful conclusion to the Everything We Keep series!  Summer must read for sure!

Ian Collins is married to the woman of his dreams and a father to his beautiful young daughter. As an accomplished photographer, he has just completed a successful show of his work when he gets a call from National Geographic.  The magazine loves the images he did of the Rapa Das Bestas Festival in Spain, so much so that they want to send him and a writer back to Spain to get more images and a narrative for the magazine.  There is even a good chance that this could be his chance to land the cover image.  Everything is going great and he plans to celebrate with his wife Aimee.  Except he can’t find her and she isn’t answering her phone.  He finally finds her at a friend’s apartment and discovers that she has talked to James, her former fiancé who now lives in Hawaii.  She is really shaken up and having a hard time.  The next day, James comes to talk to Ian as well, which goes about as well as expected.  Ian realizes that they will probably never see James again and is shocked when he gets a card from James with the phone number for a woman he has been searching for that may have answers about his mother.  This brings to surface all of Ian’s abonnement issues that could further threaten his marriage.  Can Ian manage to save his marriage and finally get closure for his past?

First of all, thank you to Kerry Lonsdale for dedicating this book to her readers. This series has been phenomenal and keep me anxious for each character’s backstory. Everything We Give is no exception.  This book dives into Ian’s backstory, who had a substantial role in Everything We Keep and he fell in love with Aimee and was the right fit for her.  Now readers get to understand what makes Ian have some of the issues he does.  Young Ian’s mother had dissociative personality disorder, so she would shift between being people in her mind.  I’m not sure how anybody could cope with this, but Ian become her primary caretaker until an event that led to his mother being placed in prison.  He has carried this inside him for his whole life and never even opened up to Aimee, which becomes a bit of an issue to say the least.

I’ve always enjoyed the setting in California in an area that I know well, but shifting part of the story to Spain was amazing as well. Getting to read about a culture and events that I don’t know much about are always an added bonus.  This is a very anticipated summer read that I can’t recommend enough.  There are some minor cases of strong language and sensuality, but nothing too extreme.  Grab this book or the whole series and enjoy every bit of it!

I received a complimentary copy of this book through the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Where Hope Begins

Where Hope BeginsAuthor: Catherine West

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: May 22, 2018

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

An emotional roller coaster ride that some may find difficult to read but will find closure in the end.

Savannah Barrington has just lost the one person she never dreamed would betray her. Her husband, Kevin, has had an affair and has decided to leave her for his younger love.  Now with Kevin gone, their daughter Zoe in college and son Adam at a boarding school, the house feels as empty as ever.  Savannah decides to go stay at the lake house her mother owns up in the Berkshires for a change of scenery.  While there, she is introduced to a  young girl who is the spitting image of her first daughter who died in a bicycle accident several years ago.  The girl’s father turns out to be a famous author that both she and Kevin always loved to read.  They are staying with his aunt, who has been prepared to help Savannah heal through tending her late husband’s greenhouse.  But healing won’t come easy, it will take faith and forgiveness.  Can Savannah find the strength to forgive her husband and move on?

I have been wanting to read a book by Catherine West for a long time and I am glad that I finally did. This book was really hard for me to read because half way through my three year old son had a freak accident that could have easily resulted in death.  It really shook my husband and I to the core and it was hard to pick up the book and continue reading when the main character was feeling the same emotions that were going through me at the time.  Fortunately, he is ok and the book had a silver lining at the end.

I love getting to read a great story that is clean and relatable. I understood the emotions of the characters and have seen what they were going through first hand.  There is a lot of family drama and struggle in this book and it makes it very real.  West also did a great job of setting her scenes so that I could easily find my way into the characters world.  I am going to go get a couple more of her books for future reading!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.