Three Story House by Courtney Miller Santo

September 2nd, 2014

threeHaving read Courtney Miller Santo’s first novel The Roots of the Olive Tree and loving it I was really looking forward to reading her newest novel Three Story House.  Once again she delves into the drama of families with three cousins who have lost their sense of self and need to rediscover who they are and what they want.  Three Story House is the journey the three women take to find themselves and restore a historic family home.

Cousins and best friends since childhood Lizzie, Elyse, and Isobel are all approaching thirty and none of them are happy with where they are in their lives.  Lizzie is trying to recover once again from a surgery on her knee while thinking about the fact that her Olympic dreams are likely to be shattered.  She’s hoping that spending time in her grandmother’s home and trying to save it from being destroyed will also allow her the chance to finally discover who her father is.  When she finds some old family note cards she hopes that she may find the answers she so desperately wants.  Elyse is stressed because her sister is marrying the man she wants, the man she used to be crazy about and probably still is.  The question is what is she willing to do about it.  As for Isobel she’s struggling with once being a child star but can’t seem to draw that stardom into her adult life no matter how much she wants it.  As the women work to renovate the home they face their insecurities and failures in the hopes of starting over in an even better direction in their lives.

The novel is told in three parts with each woman telling her story which was okay but I think I would have liked to see their stories intertwined and told as a whole.  I also really wanted more of the renovation of the house and wish that aspect had been taken more in depth than it was.  For me the characters were okay but I didn’t form any connections with any of them although I liked them well enough.  I found Three Story House to be a good summer read – it’s light and fun and a good way to spend a few hours.  The author’s first novel though remains my favorite and I loved that she connected the two stories in a small way.  One thing for sure is I love Courtney Miller Santo’s writing and I look forward to seeing what she tackles in her next novel!

Recommended for fans of women’s fiction.

 

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Source: Digital review copy was provided by the publisher. No compensation was received and all thoughts and opinions are that of the blog owner.

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The Hexed by Heather Graham & Giveaway (US/Canada)

August 29th, 2014

hexedWhat can be better that witches, ghosts, and a mysterious thriller all set against the backdrop of Salem?  The Hexed by Heather Graham offers all of this and more!  I really liked this book and had such a hard time putting it down for anything.  Things haven’t been the best lately and I’ve been so lucky to have books like The Hexed to escape into.  You know you’re reading or listening to a good book when you’re gasping or talking out loud when things are happening or going to happen and therefore scaring your poor dog a bit.  The Hexed is one of the books in the Krewe of Hunters series but these books all have separate stories and stand alone and I’m more than excited to start tackling them all.

Devin has only recently returned home to Salem after inheriting her great aunt Mina’s old cabin.  Aunt Mina was always considered to be the crazy old lady because she could speak to the dead and yet so many of the women of Salem came to see her.  Devin is loving her time there until she finds a murdered woman nearby her cabin.  Luckily she flags down Rocky, an agent working for the Krewe of Hunters who are the FBI’s paranormal investigators.  Rocky too has a past in Salem having grown up there.  Not only that but when he and his friends were younger they found one of their own friends dead in the woods … exactly the same as this new body so many years later.  What could it mean?  Is the killer after the young women of Salem again and if so why did they wait so many years to commit another murder.

Devin has a few special abilities that she inherited from her great aunt Mina and one of those is the ability to see and communicate with the dead.  Still she is startled when her aunt Mina shows up and begins talking to her like she’d never left.  Needless to say she’s worried about Devin and has every intention of keeping her safe.  When Devin is led to yet another dead woman by a ghost from the long ago Salem witch trials the investigation really heats up.  As Rocky and the team uncover more and more details it becomes apparent that there is a method to the killer’s madness and even more terrifying is that Devin may also be a target.  Rocky can not let Devin be hurt … especially since they’ve developed feelings for each other.  Will he be able to uncover just who the killer is before it’s too late?

This book had my heart a pounding in more than a few places and I loved it.  The characters were great especially aunt Mina.  She was so funny popping in and out.  More than that though I just simply enjoy books like this – ones that deal with anything to do with witches and Salem.  I’ve already started listening to The Cursed which is the book before this one and in the coming months I’ll be reviewing the next one called The Betrayed.  I know without a doubt I’m in for another treat!  I listened to The Hexed in audio and it is really well done.  It’s narrated by Luke Daniels and at first I was leery because I’m not always fond of male narrators but he’s great and had the perfect voice for the telling of this often suspenseful tale.

Highly recommended for those who enjoy thrillers and the supernatural.  I loved it!

 

Other tour stops with TLC Book Tours
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GIVEAWAY – OPEN TO US & CANADIAN RESIDENTS

1 paperback copy of The Hexed up for grabs!

*CLICK HERE* and fill out the form to enter

Draw Date September 14/14

Good luck!

(comments are welcome! but do not count as an entry)

 

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Source: Digital review copy provided by the publisher. Audiobook from my personal library. No compensation was received for this review and all opinions are that of the blog owner.

The Virtues of Oxygen by Susan Schoenberger & Giveaway (US/Canada)

August 22nd, 2014

virtueThe Virtues of Oxygen by Susan Schoenberger is a wonderful novel. It not only was a story that touched my heart but also one that makes you think about how precious the gift of life is. Taking place in a small town during the recession The Virtues of Oxygen is an emotional tale of love and friendship but even more so about making each moment in our lives matter.

The story revolves around Vivian and Holly, both very different in their circumstance in life. Vivian has been confined in an iron lung since having polio as a young child. Although she has her bad moments she really has a strong spirit and amazing strength that keeps her going each day. As the years passed Vivian earned a degree in business and has been successful despite not being able to live as a normal person. Being a sweet lady the small community has always rallied around Vivian and many volunteer to sit with her as she has to have constant supervision. She literally depends on the machine to live – to breathe.

Then there’s Holly, a widow with two boys. She began sitting with Vivian when she moved back to her hometown after getting married and they formed an instant bond. Holly works at the local newspaper but she’s struggling. With help from her mother she’s been able to at least keep up with her bills but now her mother has has a stroke. Holly’s world is quickly closing in on her. Although she’s never discussed her troubles with Vivian she knows that things aren’t going well for Holly. She wants to help but even more she wants Holly to realize that she can reach for anything she wants and get it if only she wants it bad enough.

This book really makes a person think of life in a different way. I had heard of iron lungs but didn’t know what one looked like until I looked it up. I can’t imagine being confined in one for a minute let alone a whole life. The one thing Vivian craved was a even a moment alone because she’d never had that and I know I would feel the same. This novel made me realize that you have to take the time to enjoy your family, friends, and even that moment in which you can step outside and take a breath of fresh, beautiful air.

I listened to the audiobook of The Virtues of Oxygen which is narrated by Tanya Eby and Laural Merlington who both did a wonderful job. I’ve listened to Tanya Eby before and always enjoy her narration but Laural Merlington was new to me and was perfect as Vivian. I felt that the two of them really brought out the emotional side to this novel and as a warning – be sure to have a Kleenex nearby!

For fans of women’s fiction I highly recommend The Virtues of Oxygen.

 

Other tour stops with TLC Book Tours
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GIVEAWAY – OPEN TO US & CANADIAN RESIDENTS

Win 1 Paperback edition of The Virtues of Oxygen

“CLICK HERE* and fill out the form to enter

Draw Date September 6/14

Good luck!

(comments are much welcomed but do not count as an entry)

 

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Source: Digital review copy was provided by the publisher.  Audiobook from my personal library.  No compensation was received for this review and all opinions are that of the blog owner.

Season of the Dragonflies by Sarah Creech

August 20th, 2014

dragonSeason of the Dragonflies by Sarah Creech is a magical novel of family, old secrets, and love. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I love books that are full of magical happenings. I delved headlong into this one and it captivated me fully at a time when I really needed a book like this. The characters and story worked their way into my heart and I truly regretted turning the last page and having the story end.

Generations of the Lenore women have been manufacturing a unique perfume. A perfume with the power to change a life. This perfume sells only to the most wealthy and powerful and has made the Lenore women very successful. Up in the Blue Ridge Mountains they grow their own flowers to create the perfume along with a few of their own secret ingredients. When making a perfume a certain secret ingredient can be the key to the success or downfall of a client. But in desperation could this be taken too far – far enough to be dangerous?

I loved the women in this novel. Willow is the head of the family and single mom to two now grown girls, Mia and Lucia. These sisters could not be more different. Mia, the elder sister has always been the one with the ‘nose’ for scent and has been working alongside her mother for years. She should inherit the presidency of the company but as things begin to spiral downward in her life Willow begins to question that decision. Making her question it even further is the homecoming of Lucia. Lucia has always been the one who seemingly had no magical talents with the perfume business but now that she’s come home Willow is seeing a different side to her. Should Lucia be made the president of the company? Willow knows that this will tear the sisters apart even further…but what choice does she have as it seems Mia is bent on a path of destruction that could ruin the business.

I listened to the audiobook of Season of the Dragonflies which is narrated by Kate Turnball who I’ve not listened to before but wouldn’t hesitate to again. She does a wonderful job telling this tale with its mystical air and I felt she really brought this story and these characters alive in my minds eye. Very enjoyable indeed!

For fans of women’s fiction and magical realism, Sarah Creech’s debut novel Season of the Dragonflies is wonderful and the audio even more so!

 

Other tour stops with TLC Book Tours
Goodreads Link
Author Links: Website, Facebook
Buy at: Amazon, Amazon Canada, B&N, IndieBound

 

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Source: Digital review copy provided by the publisher. Audiobook from personal library. No compensation was received for this review and all opinions are that of the blog owner.
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