Same Beach, Next Year (by Dorothea Benton Frank) … it’s heating up at the Isle of Palms

Dorothea Benton Frank does it again! What a roller coaster ride of emotions. This one has you falling into the lives of two families as they meet for the first time (or is it?!) at their condo in Isle of Palms. You will experience life with them as their children grow older, lives of their family members change, how their emotional connection is challenged.

The story is also one that will bring out definite opinions on the behavior of some of the characters. Do you understand what’s happening, what might have happened, would could have happened? One thing is for certain, you will be invested in their relationship and will truly have strong feelings about how they each respond to their partner’s behavior.

I really enjoyed this book and look forward to another Lowcountry saga by Dorothea Benton Frank. I love her style of writing and how she draws you into the story she weaves together with her words.

Nell and Lady (by Ashley Farley) … an emotionally charged book about family secrets

Oh my! This one had so many issues that were addressed. This book made you stop and take a moment to think about how you respond to certain situations, about your prejudices, about your life and what you’ve made of yourself. Lots and lots of things to delve into and while the story is about Nell and Lady, it makes you take a good hard look at yourself.

This story is heart wrenching and heart warming. You will find pain and joy, anxiety and enjoyment, love and loss throughout the pages. You will definitely be taken on an emotional journey. While Southern charm is am amazing thing, it doesn’t always make people feel comfortable. And in the Bellemore grand home in Charleston, SC, you will experience Southern charm but with a little bit of bite to it.

You will also experience the precious gift of friendship … and yet how that friendship falls apart. But is it possible to recapture the bond that initially brought them so much joy?

What an emotional tale of family secrets and how those secrets can impact your life! Can a long lost friendship be rekindled? Wonderful book and I encourage you to take the time to get lost in the story of Nell and Lady.

Thank you to the author, Ashley Farley, for an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

Return to Tradd Street (by Karen White) … sparks are flying once again on Tradd Street!

I love the Tradd Street series. And this one has you hanging on to the end. The sparks between Melanie and Jack just keep blazing. The dynamics of the relationships between the characters has you grinning, sighing, gritting your teeth, and ready to slap somebody silly.

The author does a great job of keeping the intrigue going and making you really care about the outcome of the drama surrounding Melanie’s house…and her life! I love how the mysteries surrounding Melanie and the ghosts/spirits that plague her bring to light stories that are interesting. It’s not a story just for a story.

Nola is coming into her own and, as a typical teenager, is struggling with her dad. I really like her spunk and the relationship she has with Melanie. She’s a great addition to Melanie and Jack’s lives.

Can’t wait to read the next installment in this series!

The Lying Kind (by Alison James) … how far will a parent go?

Great mystery! This one had you waiting until the end to solve the puzzle. And what a wonderful puzzle it was…lots of pieces to fit together.

The characters were well developed and you felt that you got to know them and their quirks well. The dynamics of the relationships were interesting and had you cheering under your breath for some things to work out a certain way. There were definitely people you grew to despise as human beings!

This first book in the Detective Rachel Prince series got my attention and kept it. I couldn’t stop reading…even picking up my iPhone at stoplights. I needed to get to the end of that chapter. And then I couldn’t stop myself from starting the next chapter.

I am definitely hooked on this series and am looking forward to book two!

A Fragile Hope (by Cynthia Ruchti) … a story hope and grace ~ a must read

This was a wonderful book! I was sitting in a restaurant two different times eating dinner and reading the book with tears flowing down my face! Such a moving story and so many examples of grace demonstrated throughout.

The author has done a fabulous job of drawing you into the lives of the Chamberlains from the very first page. You are waiting anxiously to see how the story will unfold. You will experience how people handle issues in a different way…some with grace and some with exasperation and impatience. I really liked how the doctors and nurses could be so different in their approaches and how these differences affected the patient and the family members.

The sayings at the beginning of each chapter were so touching. I took pictures so I could remember them. One of my favorite examples was:

“No matter how high your problems mount, remember the One who scales mountains with the same elegance as when He walks on water.”

Absolutely beautiful! I felt a sense of love and caring surround me knowing the He is there through it all!

I cannot begin to describe how moving this story was and how it touched me to the depth of my soul. How do I show grace in my everyday life? Do I share just my “leftovers” with someone in need, or do I take the time to share an entire meal…plus dessert…with that person.

This is one to put on your TBR list. But don’t wait too long before you read it. It will move you to tears, it will make your heart ache, but it will leave you with a hope that, while sometimes fragile, will be lifted up and soar on wings.

The Other Woman (by Sandie Jones) … hold onto your seat for the shocking ending!

Wow! Wow! Wow! This audiobook was absolutely amazing! I have never been an audiobook fan. They just didn’t keep my attention…I’d find my mind wandering and then I would have to rewind it and catch up with what I’d missed. That was not the case with The Other Woman! And I’m not sure if it was the book itself, the narrator and/or the book, or the fact that my brain has suddenly decided it likes audiobooks and this was a great one with which to learn that.

I don’t want to have any spoilers, so this will be hard review to write. But in exclaiming how excellent the book was, it’s an easy one to write. So here it goes…

You are grabbed from the very first word on the first page and you assume you know what’s going to happen. You might not know whose thoughts are being expressed, but it’s not going to be good for the person in the wedding dress. And then you find out it’s the boyfriend/fiancé’s mother. What an evil, wicked, manipulative, conniving, passive/aggressive human being. What lengths she goes to in order to get what she wants is appalling. You will simply sit there with your mouth hanging open thinking, “That God my mother-in-law isn’t/wasn’t like that!”

And then is it all her fault? Or are there some crazy, paranoid individuals who see things that aren’t really there? Just as you think that’s the case, you are in for another twist!

Unbelievable interactions and situations are jumping out at you from one page to the next. You can’t wait to turn the page to discover the next episode in this intriguing saga. Just make sure you’re sitting down and holding on tight to your seat as you will be blown away!

That’s all I’m going to say or I’ll give away too much and I don’t want to spoil the surprise ending for you.

This author does a fabulous job of developing the story and the characters. You feel that you know them really well and are absolutely positive you know what they will do next. I can’t believe this is a debut novel. And I can promise you, I will read anything else Sandie Jones writes. The book is that good! I simply did not want to get out of the car while I was listening to it. I would just there in the heat and be carried away with the story.

This is definitely a put on your TBR list…or better yet, rush out and buy it now! You won’t regret it.

Thank you to Goodreads for an free audio copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

By Invitation Only (by Dorothea Benton Frank) … weddings and chickens and families…oh my!

Loved, loved, loved this book! This was a wonderful book about relationships and how life can bring you to your knees. The characters were wonderful…well thought out and made you love ’em or hate ’em. I loved the relationships that Diane had with her mother, Miss Virnell. Between them and Diane’s brother, Floyd, you were just sitting there and waiting for the next moment of craziness to begin. I adore southern families and their loving and quirky ways.

And then you have Susan…mother-of-the-bride. And she was quite something. She was rich and opinionated and loved to look down her nose at her daughter’s future in-laws. She lived a life of sheer luxury. Oh, but how the mighty have fallen!

The family dynamics of this book were delightful. You found yourself wanting to move in with the hard working peach farmers because you knew they would take you under their wing, love and care for you, and make you feel like part of the family.

This is one of the few books I’ve read by Dorothea Benton Frank, but it will not be the last! I think I’ve found a new favorite author to add to my list. That makes me happy!