Book Review: The Yellow Lantern by Angie Dicken

There has been so much on my mind lately – thoughts tumbling and turning over one another, emotions and experiences lending a layer to the fog. I want to tell you all about it, but at the same time it all seems too much. So I read. And I will share with you my thoughts on a much simpler subject.

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen my story the other day on how wonderfully generous NetGalley is and how terribly behind I a in getting through my to-be-read pile of galleys and ARCs. So many books, so little time.

One of the series I’ve been fortunate enough to have read recently is the True Colors: Historical Stories of American Crime series, written by various authors, published by Barbour Publishing Inc.

Each title is a standalone focusing on true crimes throughout history, but presented in a neatly wrapped bundle of fiction. The latest title, published August 1, is The Yellow Lantern written by Angie Dicken.

This novel covers the dark side of medical research and the history of labour opportunities afforded to women, and the lack of options available to women. We are introduced to grave robbers, mill work, blackmail, murder, and more.

To balance the darkness of the crime aspects, we also have secrets unraveling left, right, and center… plus watching our protagonists fall in love.

Everything you could want… I guess. I wish there had been a bit more historical fact. I wish the protagonists were a little more developed (at times they felt a little banal.) The gruesome side of this tale and the secondary mystery held my attention more than the actual main storyline. I will say, however, that the author opened the book with a remarkably intense scene that set a tense background to the whole of the book.

Overall, a quick read that I would recommend for a bit of historical mystery, drama, and danger – a little on the light and perhaps even a tiny bit colourless. Overall, the series as a whole presents decent insight into dark and tragic events that impacted our society today, but this one might not be exciting enough for someone looking for a thrill.

My thanks to Barbour Publishing and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this complimentary title. All opinions are my own.

Book Review: Summer at Firefly Beach by Jenny Hale

A long, long time ago I was given this title, Summer at Firefly Beach by Jenny Hale, for advanced read and review. It was released June 17th and I just didn’t get around to reading it.

This morning I woke at the crack of stupid (before Kev’s alarm even went off) and when I say woke… I mean there wasn’t a chance of falling asleep again so I picked up my tablet and thought this sounded like a great read.

I was not disappointed – it hit all the notes I enjoy in a romance by the sea. Angst, family, pain, friendship, discovery, and, of course, love. I enjoyed the balance of general life relationships (friends, family) and the romance itself.

We’re aspects of the book unrealistic? Absolutely… but for an easy-to-digest escape it was perfect. I laughed. I cried. I cheered. I passed a few perfectly delightful hours and now want to escape to a quaint hideaway beach town myself.

If you’re looking for something light and engaging to toss in your beach tote this summer, this is it! Uplifting and charming – sweet as can be.

Published by Bookouture. I received a complimentary uncorrected advance reader copy via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

Book Review: The Pink Bonnet by Liz Tolsma

The Pink Bonnet is the second title I’ve read in the True Colors series – historical novels of real American crimes. I’ve enjoyed this series because I’ve actually learned about certain parts of history that I had no clue about. In fact, I just received an email inviting me to review a third title in the series.

Tolsma’s tale revolves around the battle between a widowed mother and Georgia Tann, the head of the Tennessee Children’s Home and child trafficker. Her gang stole more than 5,000 babies and adopted them our for profit on the black market.

This is not the first retelling of the historical events (I think I might be the only one who hasn’t yet read Lisa Wingate’s “Before We Were Yours.” I promise it’s been on my to-be-read pile for some time.) It was, however, enjoyable to read in a suspenseful, I really-hope-it-turns-out type of tale. The sweet romance element added a little extra something to the drama and hopeless expectation, underdog vs. corruption focus of the story.

Tolsma presents a likeable story marked with a clear picture of horrendous events. As a mother, I found it difficult to read at times. It was “clean” in language, romance, etc.

It was a good book. It piqued my interest in the Tennessee Children’s Home scandal. It was easy to read… but even though I enjoyed it, it felt like it was missing just little something – it’s a three-star rating from me – not bad at all, but not rave-worthy either. We’ll call it a good way to pass by a quiet afternoon.

Published by: Barbour Publishing, Inc.
Publication date: June 1, 2019

I was provided with a copy of this book via the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

Book Review: The Summer Retreat by Sheila Roberts


Exactly what you expect from a
summer paperback

When a publicist at Harlequin (Mira / Harper Collins) sent an email invitation to download this book for review, I jumped right on it. The phrase that caught my attention was “Perfect for fans of Susan Mallery, Robyn Carr, and Debbie Macomber, THE SUMMER RETREAT will have readers falling in love with Roberts’ sparkling humor and moving story lines in a delightful enemies to lovers tale of summer romance and sisterly bonding.” Count me in.

The Summer Retreat is the third installment by USA TODAY bestselling author Sheila Roberts in her seaside escape, beach-ready Moonlight Harbor series. It was my first read from this author and, obviously also my first read from this series.

Sheila Roberts lives on a lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her novels have been published in several languages. Her book Angel Lane was an Amazon Top Ten Romance pick for 2009. Her holiday perennial, On Strike for Christmas, was made into a movie for the Lifetime Movie Network, and her novel The Nine Lives of Christmas was made into a movie for Hallmark. You can visit Sheila on Twitter (@_Sheila_Roberts) and Facebook (@funwithsheila) or at her website.

Overall, it really is the perfect summer read – grab your sunglasses, a glass of something cool, and a great spot to soak up some sun and dive right in. I love the quintessential small town, beach front, everyone knows everyone’s business you get in these types of romance. Quirky and cute. The lead female character is unlucky in love and she feels like she’s running out of time to see her dreams come true. She offers to spend the summer (licking her wounded heart) with her sister, niece, and aunt, helping to run their small ocean-front inn. She decides if she’s going to pursue romance, she’s going to play it safe – cue in the local pastor, the perfect safe (but still attractive) candidate.

I will admit, however, that I wanted to shake sense into our girl (and her sister…) I found myself mentally admonishing her throughout the entire book. No sparks… no sparks… he’s great on paper but he’s not right for you!!! I was actually frustrated until the very end (no spoilers though… no spoilers.) I’m glad that the author came through – I wasn’t sure how she was going to redeem the situation, but rest assured, she did.

There is some sizzle, some sweet romance, some strange and wonderful characters and it’s set seaside – sand and water and a lovable misbehaved pup. All important elements. It did take it’s time meandering along the way (enough already – follow your heart!) and at first, I felt a little lost so perhaps reading the first two installments might be helpful (it could have just been me – I did fight with a parking pay machine for quite some time the other day before I realised the arm was up and they did not, in fact, want my money.) I’m giving it a 3-star rating – which is “it was good” in my review hierarchy – it just wasn’t jaw-dropping, stick with me forever intense. It was exactly what you expect from a summer paperback – easy to toss in your beach bag and read for a quick escape. Watch for this title to hit all major book retailers soon.

My thanks to Harlequin for the opportunity to download this title via NetGalley. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Publication date: April 23, 2019
Publisher: Harlequin – Mira