Book Review: A Round-Up

There are certain books you read that leave a big impression on your heart. Others you read and wonder why you didn’t just put it down. Many more fall into the in-between – they’re great distractions in the moment, but the emotional wow-factor isn’t quite what you hoped. Most fall somewhere along the middle. They are entertainment, pure and simple.

I haven’t been reading as much over the last few weeks – falling into a bit of a slump on that front. We’ve been busy. I’ve been tired. And even my great escape has felt like it required too much energy. I’ve been blogging even less. Priorities and all that… I have a few titles I’ve read that I should post reviews for… but instead of a singular post for each, I’m going to offer a round-up of recommendations and reflection. Each of these titles are complimentary copies I received via NetGalley in exchange for my opinions.

The Spanish Promise by Karen Swan is a dual-timeline novel touching on a family’s secrets and the desire to prevent a scandal. (Bonus trivia: Author Karen Swan is a Globe & Mail bestseller.) I loved the mystery and unlocking of the secrets – the questions and false-leads and the historical elements as they tried to figure out who the wealthy patriarch was leaving his estate to and the why behind his actions. The drama of all that unfolded during the Spanish Civil War and how it influenced so many lives in the present really captured my attention. I didn’t love the supposed romance of the contemporary characters – or even the characters themselves. That aspect fell flat and I found it a bit worldly and jaded. Rating: 3 stars

Published by: Pan MacMillan / Publishers Group Canada
Publication Date: May 1, 2019 .

Edie Browne’s Cottage by the Sea by Jane Linfoot is set seaside, obviously, in the UK. After some health issues and a break up, our female lead tries to find healing and herself as she stays with her aunt and tackles the renovation of her cottage by the sea. Both Edie and her aunt have some healing to do. The novel is quirky and like other seaside romance novels, makes me want to take a vacation. That being said, while I loved the comradery that developed (because that’s what happens in small towns, no?) the book isn’t deep or even emotionally engaging. I loved the crafty and creative spin on things because that’s my language… and Cam had me won over from the start. Overall, it’s a light bit of fluff that’ll have you craving ice cream and bonfires, but you probably won’t feel like your life has been changed. Another 3 stars from me.

Published by: Harper Impulse and Killer Reads
Publication Date: May 24, 2019

The Woman In Our House by Andrew Hart isn’t my typical read. It’s contemporary suspense done well. It’s a bit dark and twisted (as suspense typically is.) Based on the premise that the nanny they hired isn’t who she claims to be, I will admit there were things I didn’t see coming… and other aspects that I had pinned down right away. As a mother, it gave me goosebumps. As a reader, I wanted to see what happened next. That being said, I found some of it was a little stilted. Give it a go if you are into twists and turns and twisted minds. Still… just a 3 stars from me. (and 3 stars aren’t bad, just somewhat indifferent…)

Published by: Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: June 18, 2019

I have some others to review as well, but they will hold until another day… as it seems these were all mediocre (and that could just be the slump speaking) what’s on your must-recommend list? What have you recently read that sticks out in your mind and actually moved you? Please share…

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