Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Review: Abby's Journey

About the Book:

Twenty-year-old Abigail Turner has only known her mother, Claire—who died shortly after she was born—through letters, videos, postcards, and journals. Abby’s father, Josh, has raised his precious daughter himself, but his overprotectiveness has become stifling. Abby longs to forge out on her own and see the world after a childhood trapped indoors: she suffers from bronchopulmonary dysplasia, which means a case of the sniffles can rapidly escalate into life-threatening pneumonia.

But when Abby’s doctor declares her healthy—for now—her grandmother Millie whisks her away to Europe to visit the Christmas markets that her mother cherished and chronicled in her travel journals. Despite her father’s objections, Abby and Millie embark on a journey of discovery in which Abby will learn secrets that force her to reevaluate her image of her mother and come to a more mature understanding of a parent-child bond that transcends death.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Steena Holmes offers a tender and heartfelt exploration of parental love and a daughter’s longing for connection in the poignant next chapter following Saving Abby.

My Comments:

I can't imagine what it must be like to lose a spouse in the prime of life.  I also can't image what it must be like to have a child who is sick "all the time" and whose health really is fragile.  I also can't image what it must be like to be that child who hasn't been able to do anything because of poor health.  That child is Abby.  

She's been homeschooled to keep her away from the germ factories that regular schools are.  She isn't allowed outside in the winter (and she lives in Canada where winter is a real season, not in south Louisiana where it is a periodic event). Blogging is her connection to the outside world.

In Abby's Journey Abby and her grandmother travel through the Christmas markets of Germany and Austria--markets Abby's deceased mother loved and during that trip Abby comes of age--no this isn't a book about sexual exploration but one of claiming adulthood, of making decisions about how to lead life and accepting the consequences.  It is a book about accepting the humanity of your parents--and I don't mean teenaged eyerolls that express the obvious stupidity of the older generation--but rather the realization that your parents really were young once, that they've made mistakes and that they've even had sex.  Since Abby knows her mother only through videos, letters, journals and the memories of others, secrets were easy to keep.  In this journey, some are revealed.

I really enjoyed Abby's Journey, both the journey around Europe and the journey to adulthood and give this book an A.  

I'd like to thank the publisher for providing a review copy via NetGalley.  I was not obligated to write any review, much less a positive one. 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Review: A Million Little Things

About the Book:

Zoe Saldivar is more than just single—she's ALONE. She recently broke up with her longtime boyfriend, she works from home and her best friend Jen is so obsessed with her baby that she has practically abandoned their friendship. The day Zoe accidentally traps herself in her attic with her hungry-looking cat, she realizes that it's up to her to stop living in isolation. 

Her seemingly empty life takes a sudden turn for the complicated—her first new friend is Jen's widowed mom, Pam. The only guy to give her butterflies in a very long time is Jen's brother. And meanwhile, Pam is being very deliberately seduced by Zoe's own smooth-as-tequila father. Pam's flustered, Jen's annoyed and Zoe is beginning to think "alone" doesn't sound so bad, after all. 

My Comments:

The book is primarily about three women:  Zoe and Jen are probably in their early thirties and Pam is Jen's mom. 

 Jen is married and the mother of an eighteen month old who does not talk, at all.  She was already on the high-strung "supermom" side--organic everything, no chemicals or dirt in the house etc--but the lack of speech is highly concerning and no one else seems concerned, which makes her even more anxious. 

Zoe  just broke up with her long-term boyfriend because they wanted different things from their relationship, but now she is trying to start living the life she wants.  Part of that is dating Jen's brother. Part of that is exploring her career options.  Just when things look like they are falling into place, she gets some news that changes everything--or does it.

Pam is a couple of years younger than I am.  She's a grandmother and a widow.  She volunteers at a center that helps new businesses get off the ground or expand, though that tread of the story never really seemed to connect with the others.  She meets Zoe's dad at a party and accepts a lunch date with him, without really considering it a date.  She doesn't want to forget her husband, she really isn't ready to move on--or is she?

I liked the strong supporting characters.  Lucas was Jen's husband's partner.  During the course of the story he moves from being someone she dislikes and resents to being "like a big brother".  He is the one person in her life who seems unafraid to tell it like it is to her, and he convinces her to get the help she needs.  Steve, Jen's brother and Zoe's love is a real sweetheart.  Pam's traveling buddies, a group of widows she met on a cruise shortly after her husband died, sound like a lot of fun--women who are now alone but who aren't letting life leave them behind.  

For those who care, there are a couple of graphic romantic scenes.

I'd like to thank the publisher for making a review copy available via Edelweiss.  Grade:  B. 

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Preview: Starlight Bridge by Debbie Mason


Author: Debbie Mason
Series: Harmony Harbor, #2
On Sale: February 28, 2017
Publisher: Forever
Mass Market: $7.99 USD
eBook:  $5.99 USD

A second chance for romance...

Hidden in Graystone Manor is a book containing all the dark secrets of Harmony Harbor, and Ava DiRossi is determined to find it. No one—especially not her ex-husband, Griffin Gallagher—can ever discover what really tore her life apart all those years ago. With Griffin back in town, it's more important than ever that she find the book before someone else does. Because her ex is still angry with her for leaving him. And he still has no idea Ava never stopped loving him...

Ava is no longer the vibrant, happy woman Griffin had once loved and married, and he would do anything to bring back the sparkle to her brilliant green eyes. But what's never changed are the sexy sparks of attraction between Ava and Griffin, and he won't give her up again without a fight. He knows there's the real possibility of a future together...if the truth doesn't burn the bridge between them forever.

Debbie Mason:

Debbie Mason is the USA Today bestselling author of the Christmas, Colorado series and Harmony Harbor series. Her books have been praised for their "likable characters, clever dialogue, and juicy plots" (RT Book Reviews). She also writes historical paranormals as Debbie Mazzuca. Her MacLeod series has received several nominations for best paranormal as well as a Holt Medallion Award of Merit. When she isn't writing or reading, Debbie enjoys spending time with her very own real-life hero, three wonderful children and son-in-law, two adorable grandbabies, and a yappy Yorkie named Bella.

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