Book Review: The Cliff House by RaeAnne Thayne

cliff house

Goodreads Summary:

After the death of their mother, sisters Daisy and Beatriz Davenport found a home with their aunt Stella in the beautiful and welcoming town of Cape Sanctuary. They never knew all the dreams that Stella sacrificed to ensure they had everything they’d ever need. Now, with Daisy and Bea grown, it’s time for Stella to reveal the secret she’s been keeping from them—a secret that will change their family forever.

Bea thought she’d sown all her wild oats when she got pregnant far too young. The marriage that followed was rocky and not destined to last, but it gave Bea her wonderful, mature, now eleven-year-old daughter, Marisol. But just as she’s beginning to pursue a new love with an old friend, Bea’s ex-husband resurfaces and turns their lives completely upside down.

Then there’s Daisy—sensible, rational, financially prudent Daisy. She’s never taken a risk in her life—until she meets a man who makes her question everything she thought she knew about life, love and the power of taking chances.

In this heartwarming story, Stella, Bea and Daisy will discover that the path to true happiness is filled with twists and turns, but love always leads them back home.

My Thoughts:

This book had a different feel from the other books I have read by Thayne. Her books have a certain essence about them, quirky, feel good, small town. The Cliff House felt more serious, although still had that small town goodness I love. While this book was a little different, I still very much enjoyed it – actually, I really came to like the change!

Stella, Bea, and Daisy are three women who deal with some real world big issues.  Stella raised her two nieces, Bea and Daisy, after their mother passed away – but as her sister was a bit wild and a bit lost, she didn’t know that her sister had died until Daisy and Bea had spent a year in foster care, in separate houses. When Stella found out, she dropped all her life plans and took her nieces in, raising them although she was just a young woman really herself.

Daisy is a tightly controlled woman, a widow at a young age, after marrying a man older than her who had had a terminal disease. She keeps her emotions in check, and views herself as the sensible one, while her sister Bea is artistic and creative and follows her heart and emotions. Well, with one exception that she means to change until her ex-husband Cruz steps back into the picture.

There is so much rich backstory in this novel, and I don’t want to give too much away. So many layers to uncover as you read, and I would hate to take away from those revelations as they occur. However, I will say that all three of these women are at a crossroads – and have some secrets that they need to share.

My favorite story line was Stella’s. Stella is forty, and we find out right away that she is pregnant, something she had wanted for a long time. Stella is a teacher and foster parent, besides raising her nieces, and is such a nurturing, caring soul. I really could relate to her character, as I was considered a “geriatric pregnancy” since I was over 38 when I was pregnant with my son. Lol. I understand her fears and concerns and also her hopes and dreams. I found Stella to be beautifully written, and I feel that Thayne really understood this character very well to write her as she did, so perfectly. That is not to say I didn’t enjoy Daisy and Bea’s journey’s as well, but Stella’s spoke to my own heart.

I found this book to be a wonderful read – it had real emotion and soul, and I found these character’s stories moving, particularly Daisy’s and Stella’s. I honestly wasn’t super interested in Bea’s character or story all that much, but it did provide a less intense story line. Overall, I would definitely recommend this one! It is a moody read, not as lighthearted throughout, but has great heartwarming moments and a sense of family and love. I think this is a great read for anytime, but would be especially good on a rainy day with a cup of tea, a perfect book to sink into on a cozy day.

 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Little Bird Publicity and Harlequin!

Book Review: Sunset Beach by Mary Kay Andrews

sunset beach

Goodreads Summary: 

Drue Campbell’s life is adrift. Out of a job and down on her luck, life doesn’t seem to be getting any better when her estranged father, Brice Campbell, a flamboyant personal injury attorney, shows up at her mother’s funeral after a twenty-year absence. Worse, he’s remarried – to Drue’s eighth grade frenemy, Wendy, now his office manager. And they’re offering her a job.

It seems like the job from hell, but the offer is sweetened by the news of her inheritance – her grandparents’ beach bungalow in the sleepy town of Sunset Beach, a charming but storm-damaged eyesore now surrounded by waterfront McMansions.

With no other prospects, Drue begrudgingly joins the firm, spending her days screening out the grifters whose phone calls flood the law office. Working with Wendy is no picnic either. But when a suspicious death at an exclusive beach resort nearby exposes possible corruption at her father’s firm, she goes from unwilling cubicle rat to unwitting investigator, and is drawn into a case that may – or may not – involve her father. With an office romance building, a decades-old missing persons case re-opened, and a cottage in rehab, one thing is for sure at Sunset Beach: there’s a storm on the horizon.

My Thoughts:

I love to read Mary Kay Andrews. Always a great warm weather location, interesting premise, and madcap, zany characters. I first started reading her when I found the Savannah Blues series, and haven’t stopped. When I received a free review copy from St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley, I was so excited! I was feeling a bit down and out over this everlasting, non-stop winter we seem to be experiencing in Michigan, and I needed a bit of a Vitamin D boost, even if it was vicariously through fiction.

At first, it was not quite what I was expecting. Not quite as madcap and zany, there was a different tone right from the start. Poor Drue was going through one of the lowest moments of her life, losing almost everything in her life all at once. Her estranged father shows up to her mom’s funeral with an offer she thought she could refuse – until the rest of her world came crashing down, like the kite board that rendered her injured on top of everything else.

Drue reluctantly accepts the offer, which was sweetened by the prospect of living her in Noni and Popi’s cottage on the beach, where she had spent many a happy summer. The cottage needs some work, but in the beginning, so does Drue. I have to be honest – Drue kind of bugged me at first. She was a bit whiny, had a bit of a chip on her shoulder, and while I guess in part it was a well-earned one, she didn’t seem to be swayed by her father’s attempts to reconcile their relationship, and it just seemed sort of…bratty. And this character was over the age where that is acceptable. However, Drue’s wall starts to come down, and as it did, she was a much more likable character. Perhaps this was intentional by the author, for us to meet her in such a bad place, at less than her best, then see how she blooms as she heals.

Judging by just the cover, I expected a lot more beach time romance, and while there was a bit of romance, there was a lot more depth to this story as well. While working for her father’s law firm, Drue is drawn into two unsolved murders – one from more recent times, and another from 1976. The more I read, the more fascinated I was. There were a lot of layers to unwrap in both of these mysteries, and I loved when a new clue was dug up by Drue, who went to any length to find out the truth.

All in all, a bit of a slow start for me, but really picked up in the end. I didn’t want to put it down. I hope that Andrews writes more books involving these characters, as I feel that Drue has more adventures ahead of her!

 

Book Review: Snowfall on Lighthouse Lane

snowfall on lighthouse lane

Goodreads Summary:

Lose yourself in the magic, charm and romance of Christmas in the Pacific Northwest as imagined in JoAnn Ross’s heartwarming Honeymoon Harbor series. 

Growing up on the wrong side of the tracks, Jolene Harper is forever indebted to the mother who encouraged her to fly—all the way to sunny LA and a world away from Honeymoon Harbor. Although Jolene vowed never to look back, returning home isn’t even a question when her mom faces a cancer scare. Which means running into Aiden Mannion all over town, the first boy she ever loved—and lost—and whom she can barely look in the eye.

Aiden’s black-sheep reputation may have diminished when he joined the marines, but everything he’s endured since has left him haunted. Back in Honeymoon Harbor to heal, he’s talked into the interim role of police chief, and the irony isn’t lost on the locals, least of all Aiden. But seeing Jolene after all these years is the unexpected breath of fresh air he’s been missing. He’s never forgotten her through all his tours, but he’s not sure anymore that he’s the man she deserves.

Despite the secret they left between them all those years ago, snow is starting to fall on their picturesque little town, making anything seem possible…maybe even a second chance at first love.

My Thoughts:

This book was the perfect start to a holiday reading season line up. It’s not a Christmas book, although, Christmas movies of the Hallmark sort are talked about! It was a fun, easy read about starting over and reconnecting with the “one that got away”.

I thought Aiden’s character was great – a real hero, the epitome of what a sheriff of a small town should act like.  Returning to Honeymoon Harbor from a stint in the military and then as a cop in LA, he finds that being a sheriff of the town he grew up in suits him. He cares about his community, the people he serves, and despite the fact that he used to be a big city detective, he takes his new position very seriously. He is a family man, cares about animals, and is just a good guy. His past haunts him however, both in his professional life and the memory of the rebellious boy that he used to be, and he has some demons to work through and figure out. Jolene is a bit too blithe for me, or lacking something. I had a hard time connecting with her character – she didn’t seem to care much about some major things that happened to her at the beginning of the book, and it was kind of weird. She, like Aiden, is returning to Honeymoon Harbor after a long time living away, to be with her mother during a health scare. She is on the brink of beginning a new chapter in her career life as well, and is able to use her time back home to gather what she needs and really think about her options.

The two find that their connection is just as strong as ever, and can’t be denied. Both have ties to their past still lingering, and must deal with these issues as well.

Honestly, that is my only complaint about this book. I felt that there were way too many threads and plot lines going on – I think it really watered the book down a bit. Had there been fewer, Ross would have been able to really flesh out the ideas that were left. As it was, I felt some of the issues were a bit throw away, and when they would pop up I would be like, “oh yeah, I totally forgot about that”.

Otherwise, this book is a good solid read to put you in the holiday spirit without going overboard before the holidays, if you are waiting until after Thanksgiving to dive headfirst into the winter holidays. It is not a Christmas romance, but they do celebrate Thanksgiving!

 

Thanks for Little Bird Publicity for the chance to read and review this fun holiday read! I received a complimentary review copy from Little Bird Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: The Hawkweed Legacy

hawkweed I received this book for free in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Goodreads Summary:

Poppy is discovering a purpose for her powers in Africa, but she is haunted by a vision of her own death. Taken in by a boy and his great-grandmother, a healer, they vow to keep her safe-even if that ultimately means holding her captive. But Poppy never stops longing for Leo and, when she feels his magic begin to spark, she will do anything to be reunited with him.

Desperate to regain Poppy’s trust and bring her home, Charlock embarks on a plan to reunite Leo with his mother. What Charlock doesn’t foresee are the string of consequences that she sets into motion that leave Ember all alone and prey to manipulation, the clan open to attack from other witches, Sorrel vulnerable to Raven’s ghost, Betony determined to protect her son from his father’s fate, and which leave both Leo and Poppy in terrible danger.

My Thoughts:  This book picks up pretty immediately from where the first leaves off. I really enjoyed this book, the surprises, the explanations, the ups and downs.

Everyone in this book is a mess, and in disarray, from the start of this book. Poppy’s absence leaves the clan in danger, unprotected without the queen. Ember is struggling, as is Leo, to adjust to life in regular society, and life without Poppy. Charlock is busy trying to hold things together and to keep Poppy’s position safe, but her good intentions lead to not so good results. She reunites with her old BFF Betony, who has no memory of her life as a young girl. Sorrel is finally free of her mother – or so she thinks. Things start to go really south for everyone, as the story spins on, leading to a big dramatic finish.

I absolutely loved all the backstory in this book. All the information about Ember/Poppy’s mom, Charlock and her friend Betony; Charlock and Raven’s youth together. We learn more about the coven, and the lengths they will go to protect their secrets. I loved these flashbacks.

There were some things I didn’t love too. I didn’t love Ember’s slow crumble into a character completely unrecognizable from the delightful girl from Prophecy. I didn’t love her loneliness and new hardness. I didn’t enjoy either, what happened to Leo. I really felt that part was unnecessary. I have to say, I hated that part. It was super ugly and distasteful, and then hard to reconcile later on.

Overall though, I really enjoyed this book. And I wonder if there is a third in the works? If so, I will for sure read it.

Thank you Little Bird Publicity for the chance to read and review this book!

The Sunday Post/It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

Check out the The Caffeinated Book Review for the Sunday Post
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date
Hi guys! It is my first book post over here, rather than on Quixotic Magpie. I think it will be much easier to keep everything on the same page, if you will…
We just got back from a family vacation in Northern Michigan, one of my favorite places on Earth. Michigan is truly beautiful, with so many different landscapes. We had a great time and I have some of our adventures to share with you later this week!
We did have a slight hiccup when we got home though. My husband’s car caught fire as he was driving it through a construction zone on I-75 through Detroit. It was pretty terrifying to hear about, but he is completely fine. He is a quick thinker and managed to stop the car and get to safety. The car is gone but that is ok. The firefighters on the scene think it was an electrical fire that started somewhere.
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On to the books!
Read Last Week:
These two books were delightful! I especially loved The Late Bloomers’ Club. I love a small town, and Guthrie was just the type I would love to live in.
Reading This Week:
As August starts to come to an end, I find myself being pulled in the direction of more fall reading. The weather here is still summer, but I am beginning to dream of autumn. I see the pumpkin beer and cider on the store shelves, the Halloween decor, the cooler nights, and I can’t wait! Fall is definitely my favorite season, and I am so looking forward to jeans and sweater weather.
I am really enjoying The Hawkweed Prophecy! I received the second book in the series as a review book, and checked this first one out from the library to read before I started it. And I love it. And Dear Bob and Sue is a pick for one of my online book clubs. I am looking forward to reading it – I am hoping for a A Walk in the Woods type feel!
Watching:
Insatiable which has a very 90s feel that I love, Red Oaks on Amazon Prime, Orange is the New Black, and the newest season of Death in Paradise. ( I love that show!)
How about you all? What has been going on with you?
Also, I don’t know why this post is all squished when I didn’t type it that way. Any ideas? Thanks!