High Season by Judy Blundell

Judy Blundell

The High Season

It’s not the Hamptons. It’s the other end of the island. The end that is much more low key. That’s where Ruthie Beamish and her family live.  But the only way they can afford to live there is by renting the house out three months of the year. Of course those are the most wonderful months… Hey, it is what it is. Her teenage daughter hates this.  When the novel begins it’s that time of the year again. Yeah, you guessed it. Time to pack up their belongings and move out for the summer so some hotshot rich person can take over their home.

This novel takes place on Long Island, New York. But this is a novel we here in S.W. Florida can certainly relate to, especially during the winter months when our own roads are swollen past capacity and it seems as if no one in a vehicle has any idea where he or she is or how to drive… And, what is a turn signal, anyhow?

Ruthie and her husband are separated. They share a daughter who’s at “that” difficult age.  They’ve been managing to have a pretty good relationship until…. he finds someone. It was inevitable.  But the someone he finds is one of the beautiful people and so a whole lot of bitterness comes to the surface. And we begin to see a far deeper chasm between them than was earlier thought to be.

Ruthie works as head of the local art museum where she’s been at the helm for many  years. She feels quite secure there and enjoys her work. The “board” members love her. For now..

Suddenly, Ruthie’s job, her home, and her entire life are in jeopardy. Scrunched into a corner, she feels she has nowhere to turn.  And all her so-called friends have turned on her to save their own butts.

If you enjoy Elin Hilderbrand and Mary Alice Monroe, this could be your next summer read. I loved it! The venue is unique for me. The writing is great. The characters memorable. You will love adding it to your tbr pile for the summer.

My review copy came from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. I loved it!

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Beach House Reunion by Mary Alice Monroe

Mary Alice Monroe

Beach House Reunion

It’s almost summertime. We’re all ready to go back to the beach! No one hears us like Mary Alice Monroe. She’s bringing us the fifth in the Beach House series.

Your favorite characters are back. Cara Rutledge has been away from her beloved Isle of Palm cottage. Yes, the lovely beach front home she inherited from her mother. She’s been away sorting out her soul after the death of her husband, the love of her life. She’s done a 180. And she’s sure got a surprise for you.

Linnea, Cara’s niece, has decided she needs a break from her home in Charleston. Her dad is not himself lately and her brother is deeply troubled. Her mom is no help right now. Moving into the beach house with her aunt is a good decision for both of them.

BEACH HOUSE REUNION oozes  summery charm.  I can still hear the surf and the birdsong. I can smell the sea. And I can feel the sun shine on my face as if I were lifting it to the sky on Isle of Palm. I’m a beach girl at heart; always will be.  All I have to do to feel as if I’m  back to the beach is think about one of Mary Alice’s BEACH HOUSE books. Perfect.

The turtle patrol is back in action and this time Linnea gets to join in. I always enjoy going back to the basics of turtle season. I never tire of hearing about Big Girl. NEVER.  Thanks, Mary Alice, for bringing her back in this novel.

” A stand alone novel, BEACH HOUSE REUNION brings three generations of the historic Rutledge family together to find the strength, love, and resilience to break destructive family patterns and forge new bonds that will endure long beyond one summer reunion.”

Even if you haven’t read the first books in this wonderful series, it’s okay to start with this one. Publisher says.  Then, of course, you’ll want to read the rest of them.

I have fallen in love with the Lowcountry over the years, and it’s all through reading Mary Alice’s lovely books. We’ve traveled to Charleston and Isle of Palm and Sullivan’s Island and they are all as wonderful as they are depicted in these very atmospheric books.

Mary Alice’s bestselling novel THE BEACH HOUSE has been made into a movie and aired on  Hallmark Hall of Fame  on April 28, 2018. #TheBeachHouseHallmarkMovie

Mary Alice Monroe

Mary Alice Monroe

is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty one novels and three children’s books. Mary Alice is an active conservationist and lives in the Lowcountry of South Carolina.

The great publishing people at GalleryBooks were kind enough to send me a review copy of BEACH HOUSE REUNION before publication. Thank you so much!

We have copies of BEACH HOUSE REUNION at Copperfish Books

in Punta Gorda, Florida. Going on sale tomorrow, May 22, at 20% off. Come on in to see us. Let’s talk books!

Mary Alice visited us at Copperfish last month and we had standing room only. She’s gracious, kind, and lovely. She writes about issues that are near and dear to our hearts. Her work with sea turtles and dolphins is to be applauded. We just love everything about her!

Brand New Winner!

beach read

Best Beach Ever

A very successful giveaway this week. Most of you are ready for summer reading. My winner is Vicki Beck. Congratulations, Vicki! You will receive an email from me asking for your snail mail address. Your book will arrive straight from Berkley Publishers.

A big shout out of thanks goes out to Berkley, a division of Penguin Random House. Thanks guys.

And, as always, thank you all who took the time to comment and enter my giveaway. Happy reading everybody.

Giveaway! Best Beach Ever by Wendy Wax

beach read

Best Beach Ever

What a beachy cover. I just love it.  BEST BEACH EVER is the newest in the Ten Beach Road series written by Wendy Wax.  Get ready find out what’s going on with your favorite characters as we discover what challenges they are each facing this year.

Set on Florida’s West coast, this atmospheric novel does not disappoint. Smell the gulf breezes, taste the fruity summer cocktails. And get ready for another romp through the lives of some strong women.

I have one copy of BEST BEACH EVER for giveaway. The generous publishing people at Berkley, a division of Penguin Random House, are providing my giveaway copy. Please leave a comment below. I will be choosing my winner on Friday, May 18. Only U.S. addresses, please, and no P.O. boxes. Good luck!

Tin Man by Sarah Sarah Winman

Sarah Winman

Tin Man

I was totally drawn in by the prologue.  In Oxford, England, a woman defies her husband when she wins a local raffle by choosing not what he desires, whisky, but a reproduction of Van Gosh’s Sunflowers.  It was the first time she had ever crossed him.

“TIN MAN is a story about alternate lives. Lives that might have been lived had circumstances been different.”

This beautifully crafted love triangle begins in 1950 with the friendship of two twelve-year-old boys, Ellis and Michael,  in Oxford, England.  Their friendship becomes something more…

Ten years later we find Ellis has married a young woman named Anna. And where is Michael? Told in two voices, Ellis’s and Michael’s, TIN MAN is a powerful and yet quiet observation of three lives.  The story is beautifully crafted and shows kindness, love, loss, and cruelty pretty much in equal parts.

TIN MAN is a very quick read. Not just because it’s such a tiny book, but because you find yourself becoming more and more involved with the characters and are compelled to know what happened.  The book is a mere 211 pages.  Not many women writers can write in the voices of men convincingly. Winman does it and does it well.

My review copy of TIN MAN by Sarah Winman arrived from Putnam, a division of Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. It’s simply and  quietly superb.

 

By Invitation Only by Dorothea Benton Frank

Dorothea Benton Frank

By Invitation Only

BY INVITATION ONLY is Dottie Frank’s newest novel.  She just keeps getting better and better. Plus, she’s really funny. Don’t think funny is easy to write…

We all know that weddings bring out the best and worst in most of us. Tensions rise, expectations abound, and everyone is on point trying to make everything spot-on perfect for the big day.   That’s what Frank’s story is all about.

You already know that when you pair a rich socialite from a large urban city and a not-so-rich country boy from a small farm near Charleston, South Carolina, well, you know, there will be hurdles.  The bride and groom are kind people. It’s the bride’s parents who are over-the-top snobs with more money than anyone should be allowed to have.  Then there’s the groom’s mother, his grandmother, and his Uncle Floyd. They are farmers; always have been. Still live and work on the farm. Just saying’, it’s a FARM versus a penthouse apartment in Chicago…

At times, I found myself laughing my head off. At others, just enjoying the Lowcountry and the drama that ensues. Frank is witty.  I was not prepared to love this story. First of all, I was all set to read a summer beach read that takes place in and around the South.  Most of this novel is set in the frigid cold of a Chicago winter, one with more snow than usual.  Once my mindset was on straight, I was good to go.

This story begins with Diane who is Fred’s mom preparing for a big BBQ to celebrate Fred’s and Shelby’s engagement. Shelby’s parents have just arrived from the city and it sets the tone for the story. Try to picture a super successful businessman, Shelby’s dad, on his phone on conference calls almost every given moment. Then picture Shelby’s mom with her nose high in the air. Then enter Uncle Floyd and his moonshine. And you have a recipe for a very interesting evening to say the least.

Move the story to Chicago where Shelby’s parents are now giving their own engagement party.  Both Shelby and Fred are only children. The pressure is on.  And it’s winter.

Very funny and quite insightful, BY INVITATION ONLY is a thought-provoking story of two families totally out of their comfort zones. There is a turnaround here that changes everything.  And gives this story more depth than I expected. The book was so readable, so engrossing, and, yes, it is a quick read. But don’t think you’re getting a beach read. It’s much more than that!

Dorothea Benton Frank

frank

Dorothea Benton Frank

is the New York Times  bestselling author of eighteen novels, all taking place in the Lowcountry of the Carolinas.  She rocks.

My beautiful finished novel arrived from William Morrow a division of Harper Collins in exchange for an honest review. I loved it!

Happy Mother’s Day!

I’m wishing all you mothers  out there an incredible day filled with love and family, and, well, something great to read! THE HIGH TIDE CLUB by Mary Kay Andrews will have you laughing and biting your fingernails trying to figure out who done it.

Mary Kay Andrews

The High Tide Club

You may have noticed I’m reading a lot of lighter stuff right now. There’s a reason for this. I  have been reading some pretty heavy novels over the past several months. And, I’ll be reading more of the literary books I’ll be reviewing soon.  So, I’m giving myself permission to read some lighter novels just for the enjoyment of it. They’re all well-written. All by authors I love. All quick and easy.

Mother's Day

Flowers & Bennett’s Donuts

My daughter-in-law Ana was at my door bright and very early this morning. She had in her hands a huge bouquet of colorful flowers and a specialty strawberry cheesecake doughnut from my favorite Donut Shop, Bennetts.

On Friday, I received the cutest little box in the snail mail.

Alicia Lewis Murray

Mother’s Day tea

Alicia was not able to be here today, but, she sent some cups of love via the post. We do love a good cup of tea. I love the photo on the top of the box. We were visiting Black Mountain over a year ago.  It reminded me that we’ll be going back to visit the new bookstore on the mountain later this summer.

Wyatt literally smelling the roses

My husband Jack is preparing broiled lobster tails and his famous stuffed portobello mushroom caps for dinner tonight.  And I get to choose the movie tonight.

I hope you all get to touch base with your children. It’s a great day for celebration! What on earth would we do without our mothers!