Where It All Began by Lorana Hoopes – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Lorana will be awarding a Medieval Renaissance Handmade Leather Diary Journal Thought Book to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour (US ONLY). Click on the tour banner to see the rest of the stops on the tour.

Sandra Baker thought her life was going in the right direction until she ended up pregnant. Not ready for a baby, her boyfriend pushes her to have an abortion. After the procedure, Sandra spirals into depression losing her relationship and turning to alcohol. Then she meets Henry, a strong Christian man, who shows her God’s love. Will she accept God’s forgiveness and more importantly, will she forgive herself?

Enjoy an Excerpt

The delicate paper menu held only a few choices, and my eyes widened at the prices. I should have thought to ask where we were going before I agreed. I didn’t have the money to spend so much on dinner, especially since Peter had moved out and money was much tighter. My heart thudded in my chest as I quickly scanned for the cheapest item on the menu; even the side salad was nearly fifteen dollars. How do people afford this? Well, the salad comes with bread and a bowl of soup, so at least it should be enough to fill me up.

The waiter, clad in a white dress shirt and perfectly pressed black pants, appeared just as I laid the menu down. “Have we had enough time?” he asked politely, glancing at each of us before focusing his attention on Philip, who took the lead in ordering.

“Yes, we’ll have two glasses of your finest red wine and two plates of the steak and lobster, grilled medium well.” He handed his and Raquel’s menus to the waiter.

“Very well,” the waiter nodded and turned his attention to me.

I swallowed. “Um, I’ll have the side salad and the tomato soup.”

The waiter cocked his head. “Will that be all miss?”

My face flushed, and just as I was about to answer, Henry jumped in. “Yes, and the same for me please.” He handed our menus to the waiter.

The waiter nodded. “Yes, sir, and anything further to drink?”

Henry glanced at me; I shook my head. “No, water will be adequate for now, thank you.”

As the waiter turned away, I regarded Henry. Who was this man, and why was he being so nice to me? He caught me staring and shot me a small wink as he picked up a piece of bread.

About the Author:Lorana Hoopes is currently an English teacher in the Pacific Northwest where she lives with her husband and three children. When not writing, she can be seen kickboxing in her local gym, singing at her church, or performing on stage. The Heartbeats series is her first full length novel series. She has also just released the first book in her early reader chapter book, The Wishing Stone.

Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Get a free novella or audio reading of The Wishing Stone by filling out the contact form at her website.

The Book is on sale for $0.99 during the tour at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Kobo.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Why I Value Negative Criticism as a Writer by Kate Brandes – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kate Brandes will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Why I Value Negative Criticism as a Writer

I’ve spent most of my career, not as a writer, but as an environmental scientist. I didn’t start writing creatively until I was in my mid-thirties. I’ve always loved stories about complicated families and relationships. When I learned about fracking through my environmental science career, one of my first thoughts was that it would make a great metaphor in a novel about a fractured family. So that’s how I began writing my first novel, The Promise of Pierson Orchard. It took me seven years from the time I started writing to get a publisher and I couldn’t have done it without a lot of negative criticism between then and now.

When I started writing, I had to learn to tell a story in the novel form. In order to do that, I asked for and received a lot of feedback from acquaintances, friends, other writers, and professional editors.

For me, especially in the beginning, the worst kind of feedback was, “Yes, this looks good. I just found a few typos and corrected those for you…”

When I was starting the novel, I was completely new to creative writing. I knew my writing needed more than just typo help. I truly wanted to get better and what I was really looking for was complete honesty, even if that was something like, “I understood nothing after page one and I don’t really know why.” That’s not great feedback because it’s not very useful in terms of where to go with it, but it was always better than a patronizing pat on the back or someone who didn’t want to hurt my feelings.

What I’ve learned over the years is that the quality of the feedback is often dependent on how much experience the reader has with writing. I’ve also learned over time to trust my gut. Often for me, I have to give critical feedback a week or more to stew before I know which advice to take and which to discard.

Giving honest critical feedback takes time and deep consideration from a good reviewer. I’ve never seen it as a personal attack, but instead a well-intentioned hand extended trying to show me the way.

In the novel, Green Energy arrives, offering the impoverished rural community of Minden, Pennsylvania, the dream of making more money from their land by leasing natural gas rights for drilling. But orchardist, Jack Pierson, fears his brother, Wade, who now works for Green Energy, has returned to town after a shame-filled twenty-year absence so desperate to be the hero that he’ll blind their hometown to the potential dangers. Jack also worries his brother will try to rekindle his relationship with LeeAnn, Jack’s wife, who’s recently left him. To protect his hometown and to fulfill a promise to himself, Jack seeks out his mother and environmental lawyer Stella Brantley, who abandoned Minden—and Jack and Wade–years ago.

When LeeAnn’s parents have good reason to lease their land, but their decision leads to tragedy, Jack must fight to find a common ground that will save his fractured family, their land, and the way of life they love.

Enjoy an Excerpt

A brand new black pickup was parked between LeeAnn’s red Chevy and Jack’s old beater. A man stood beside it, with his hand raised in greeting, but he said nothing more. Coming from the bright light of the barn into the dusk prevented Jack from making out the man’s face. Jack stared in his direction. Some tug of memory caused him to hesitate. There was something familiar about the slight curl in his shoulders.

LeeAnn emerged from the edge of the orchard and the man turned at the sound of her boots on the gravel drive. “LeeAnn?” the man said.

She stopped. “Wade Pierson?” She hesitated a moment more and then walked slowly toward him. “Is it really you?”

There, right in front of him, was his brother. Wade. Back after twenty years. He was still alive, at least. Wade’s arms encircled LeeAnn.

Jack clenched his fists and went back into the barn. He offloaded the fruit from the wagon, bruising most of it. He washed apples with shaky hands and then crushed them for the cider press. LeeAnn and Wade came through the doorway.

“Jack, look who’s here.” Jack glanced up and then couldn’t take his eyes from his brother’s face for a long moment. He wasn’t a sixteen year-old kid anymore. He’d grown taller than Jack and filled out. Damn if he didn’t look even more like their dad now, with that same dark red hair and fair skin. That curl of the shoulder used to give Wade the look of someone unsure of whether he belonged. But now Wade stood there smiling, like he would be welcome. Like he could just show up after all this time with as much warning as he gave on the night he left.

About the Author: An environmental scientist with over 20 years of experience, Kate Brandes is also a watercolor painter and a writer of women’s fiction with an environmental bent. Her short stories have been published in The Binnacle, Wilderness House Literary Review, and Grey Sparrow Journal. Kate is a member of the Arts Community of Easton (ACE), the Lehigh Art Alliance, Artsbridge, the Pennwriters, and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Kate lives in a small town along the Delaware River with her husband, David, and their two sons. When she’s not working, she’s outside on the river or chasing wildflowers.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sisters One, Two, Three by Nancy Star

one
Sisters One, Two, Three by Nancy Star
Publisher: Lake Union Press
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: Full Length (352 pgs)
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

After a tragic accident on Martha’s Vineyard, keeping secrets becomes a way of life for the Tangle family. With memories locked away, the sisters take divergent paths. Callie disappears, Mimi keeps so busy she has no time to think, and Ginger develops a lifelong aversion to risk that threatens the relationships she holds most dear.

When a whispered comment overheard by her rebellious teenage daughter forces Ginger to reveal a long-held family secret, the Tangles’ carefully constructed web of lies begins to unravel. Upon the death of Glory, the family’s colorful matriarch, and the return of long-estranged Callie, Ginger resolves to return to Martha’s Vineyard and piece together what really happened on that calamitous day when a shadow fell over four sun-kissed siblings playing at the shore. Along with Ginger’s newfound understanding come the keys to reconciliation: with her mother, with her sisters, and with her daughter.

At turns heartbreaking, humorous, and hopeful, Sisters One, Two, Three explores not only the consequences of secrets—even secrets kept out of love—but also the courage it takes to speak the truth, to forgive, and to let go.

Catharsis, thy name is Sisters One, Two, Three.

Everyone has those moments they’ve gone through that have galvanized them. Kids growing up, getting older, mistakes made…we learn to live with them or at least get past them. That’s a lot of what this book is about. There’s a wide mix in a family. Yes, it takes all types and the Tangle family has them in spades.

The writing flowed well and I didn’t want to put the book down. That said, I did look away many times and had to redirect my interest. Makes no sense? While I wanted to know more, I got a tad bored on occasion. There was so much angst, I had to step away. I liked the book, but I had a hard time connecting the entire time. It wasn’t a bad story…but maybe it wasn’t the right read for me right now. That doesn’t mean it won’t appeal to others. I’m sure it will.

Readers, like me, should find a bit of themselves in each sister. The tragedy does mark them. Grief, numbness, sadness… we’ve all been there. It was like reading about my friends and going through the whole summer together. I don’t regret it. There’s the sister with control issues, the one who wants to control nothing, and the damaged one. There’s the mother with more issues than can be counted and everyone trying to come together to deal.

If you like a book high on angst and characterization, then this is the book for you. You’ll laugh, cry and look at your own life a little differently.

Opening Gates by Nancy King

GATES
Opening Gates by Nancy King
Publisher: Plainview Press Publishing
Genre: New Adult, Women’s Fiction, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (270 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Quince

Summer, 1956. With her parents away and her boyfriend abroad, Rennie is on her own. To make money for college, she takes a job as a recreational therapist in a large mental hospital in New York City, despite her reluctance to sign a loyalty oath in the charged times of McCarthyism. She has no relevant experience, but she’s good at sports. How hard can it be? Very hard, she discovers.

As Rennie struggles to relate to the confused, emotionally unpredictable women and challenging hospital administrators and staff, she is befriended by a troubled young man with a passion for jazz, meets a wise Middle Eastern restaurateur, and after an accident on her motor scooter, becomes three construction workers favorite “damsel in distress.”

Too stubborn to quit, Rennie finds meaningful ways to connect with her patients and creates previously unimagined opportunities for them. She also discovers a new, stronger part of herself. By summer’s end, no longer dependent on other’s opinions, she can listen to her heart and conscience and make crucial changes in her own life.

Opening Gates is story from which I got more than I bargained for. It is coming of age story that covers some pretty serious issues like gender equality, mental illness and life in USA in late 1950s.

The main character, and also the narrator, is 19 year-old Rennie Weinstein. Rennie is college student who decides to apply for a summer job in a mental hospital in New York as a recreational therapist, because it pays well. She thought that her job would be relatively easy one, but as soon as she enters the hospital she realizes that it a whole unknown world lies there, a world that has rules of its own which are almost impossible to change. But slowly, with hard determination, and a strong will, Rennie starts to change some rules. Also her different and human approach to patients starts to change the life of women in the mental hospital.

Opening Gates is not an easy read, not just because it deals with mental illness, but because there is so much injustice in this story. The treatment of women in the hospital is often very tenacious and inflexible. The patients are perceived as things or as trouble makers and people who want to help them or make their life a bit better are restricted by so many written and unwritten rules. There are few scenes that are harsh, but I believe that they also picture realistic treatments of the patients in the mental institution at that time. The author does not go into a private stories of the women in the hospital, because her focus is on the main character and the changes Rennie goes through during her summer work, but on the other hand she is describing the atmosphere, sights, and smells so well.

This is a story worth reading because it provides a genuine insight into a mental institution in 1950s. The message of the story: “the little things go a long way”, resonated to me for a long time after I finished the book.

Now and Then Friends by Kate Hewitt

FRIENDS
Now and Then Friends by Kate Hewitt
Publisher: New American Library
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: Full Length (336 pgs)
Heat: Sweet
Rated: 4 stars
Reviewed by Poppy

Childhood best friends Rachel Campbell and Claire West have not only grown up, but after fifteen years, they’ve also grown apart…

After her father left, Rachel had to dedicate her life to managing her household: her two younger sisters, her disabled mother, and her three-year-old nephew. When Rachel’s not struggling to look after all of them, she makes her living cleaning the houses of wealthy families—inclulding the Wests, where a surprise now awaits her. . . .

A lifetime of drifting in other people’s currents has finally left Claire high and dry. First it was her parents, then the popular crowd in school, and finally her fiancé. Now she’s returned to Hartley-by-the-Sea to recover. But running into Rachel brings back memories of past mistakes, and Claire wonders if she now has the courage to make them right.

Soon Claire’s brother, Andrew, asks Rachel to keep an eye on Claire, which is the last thing either woman wants. But as their lives threaten to fall apart, both Claire and Rachel begin to realize what they need most is a friend. The kind of friend they once were to each other, and perhaps can be again. . . .

Slow and steady, but not plodding, the characters make every page of this book worthwhile.

I struggled with a rating for this book, and I’m struggling a bit with the review. It’s hard to categorize, exactly, why I enjoyed it and why I kept happily returning to it after I’d put it down for a moment. This isn’t an edge-of-your-seat thriller, or a heart- warming romance. It’s more, rather, a day (or a few weeks) in the life of two women whose lives are at a pivotal moment and how the choices they make, even little ones, may affect their total future.

Claire was my favorite of the two … oddly, she felt more human and actually stronger than Rachel, despite outward appearances. Rachel’s constant irritation with life in general wore on me a bit, and there were times I wondered why Claire and Andrew even wanted to be around her. She goes through changes as the book progresses, thankfully, and by the end I really enjoyed her.

Claire has been treated as if she is fragile and utterly breakable her entire life. She finds just a little spine when she leaves a stint in rehab that she didn’t even need, and goes against her parents’ wishes for her to live with them, instead returning to the home of her youth. It’s there her journey truly begins.

Rachel is trapped in a life she hates. Her mother is an invalid, her father left when she was just eighteen, and her sisters do little to help her with keeping them afloat. Home life is a constant battle, and it gets worse as time goes on. More, suddenly her friend from school, the same friend who up and dumped her without any warning, shows up in town again and acts as if nothing was wrong.

There’s a solid cast of secondary characters to back the girls up. Dan, Lily, Meghan, Mrs. Carwell, Andrew, and others make Hartley-by-the-Sea a real living, breathing place.

I admit to tripping over some British slang and phrasings (like A-Levels … I had to go find out what grade that was in reference to), but I’m sure the reverse is true with the folks from over the pond read books written in the US.

Thing is … nothing much happens in the story. I mean, stuff happens, but nothing earth shattering. It’s really just watching the girls figure out some things in their lives. I still, even after thinking about it more while writing this review, can’t put my finger on what made this book so charming. However, I really, really hope the author visits the town again. I can’t wait to see what’s happening with Claire, Dan, Rachel, Andrew, Lily and others. I’m really quite hooked!

A Summer to Remember by Marilyn Pappano

SUMMER
A Summer to Remember by Marilyn Pappano
A Tallgrass Novel
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary, women’s fiction
Length: Full Length (361 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Stephanotis

FIRST LOVE NEVER FADES . . .

It’s been a long time since widow Fia Thomas felt the spark of physical attraction. But from the moment she meets Elliot Ross one stormy night, she yearns for a fresh start, for him to make her feel whole and well again. With his broad shoulders and a warm smile crinkling his dark eyes, he could finally offer her the solace she’s been seeking. And she’s willing to give him anything in return . . . except a promise that could break his heart.

Now that Elliot is out of the Army, he’s looking for a place to call home. Tallgrass was just a stop to stretch his legs, yet one look at Fia halts him in his tracks. In her sweet, sassy company, he finds the soul mate he never thought he’d have. But Fia is holding something back-something that keeps her from making any plans. Elliot’s new mission: gain Fia’s trust…and convince her that summer’s end can mean a new beginning.

I’ve just finished reading a highly enjoyable story that has summer theme to it.

I’m a fan of the author so I guess that does make me a tad biased about her stories but I can assure you, fan or not, I think you’ll fall in love with the two main characters, Fia and Elliot. What I always love about Ms. Pappano’s books is she has the uncanny knack of pairing up people who would actually make ideal lifelong partners in real life.

Fia and Elliot are well drawn characters who you immediately fall in love with. And yes, the story starts with Elliot and we learn he’s even rescued a dog! They’re not perfect people but that’s what adds to their appeal. They both have a history and sometimes that gets in their way of realizing they’re one another’s soulmates.

This is a story that has some tears, some laughter, and you find yourself turning the pages to get to their happily ever after because you feel they so deserve it.

Even the secondary characters are lovable too. While I haven’t read any other books in the Tallgrass series, it’s made me what to go check them out.

If you love an old fashioned romance, break out the lounger, grab your sunscreen and head outside to read this book. You won’t be disappointed.

Outcast by Dianne Noble

MediaKit_BookCover_Outcast
Outcast by Dianne Noble
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s fiction
Length: Full (308 pgs)
Rating: 5 stars
Review by Rose

Rose leaves her Cornwall café to search for her daughter in the sweltering slums of Kolkata, India.

In the daily struggle for survival, she is often brought to her knees, but finds strength to overcome the poverty and disease, grows to love the Dalit community she helps.

But then there are deaths, and she fears for her own safety.

Her café at home is at risk of being torched, and finally, she has to make the terrible choice between her daughter and the Indian children.

This is a beautifully written book about mothers and daughters, about forgiveness and redemption, about loss and finding oneself. The subject matter itself isn’t pretty. It deals with the poverty and struggle that is the life of the Dalits–the untouchables–of India. But the story itself is beautiful and is one I think I will be thinking about for a long time.

The story begins with Rose discovering that the plane on which her daughter was supposed to be arriving after her gap year in India was missing. Her relief that Ellie did not actually get on the plane quickly turned to a desire to repair the damage that had been done to their relationship over the years, so she decides to go to India on a surprise visit, leaving her café in the capable hands of Hannah, who we discover has her own mother issues that are juxtaposed against the story of Rose and Ellie.

I really enjoyed the juxtaposition of the two stories, and I hope Ms. Noble plans on revisiting Hannah and Willow. I would like to see how their story plays out.

Although the ending was not the one *I* would have chosen, I can quite see how it was the right decision for the characters.

Good job, Ms. Noble. I will definitely be checking to see if you have other books available.

Better To Have Loved by Christy Jackson Nicholas

MediaKit_BookCover_BetterToHaveLoved
Better To Have Loved by Christy Jackson Nicholas
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Historical, Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: Full Length (297 pages)
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 stars
Review by: Rose

Based on a true story.

In 1967, Julie was searching for adventure. What she found was herself, alone and pregnant, in a foreign country.

In 1985, Kristen was searching for her father. But did he want to be found?

Follow these two young women in a tale of a 30 year search for true love.

An interesting tale.

This story is told in alternating POVs— Julie, who in the 1960s, lived an adventurous life and found herself pregnant, alone, and in a strange county—and Kristen, a child in the 1980s on a search for the father she never knew. The book is based on the author’s and her mother’s own lives and the author’s search for her father. Other elements have been added to the story to fictionalize it and make it fuller.

There were a lot of good elements in the book—some of the writing was exquisite—and the juxtaposition of the two story lines is an interesting plot element which kept me reading to the end.

I had trouble fully connecting with the characters, though, because there was a lot more “telling” than “showing”. I never really felt like I was in either characters’ skin or walking their walk which might have invested me more in their journey. The majority of that issue was from the telling, but part of it was because, I feel, of the switching back and forth between the characters.

The story itself is interesting—and I have to admit to being curious about the Church that Julie worked for. I would be interested in trying more of the author’s work to see if the telling is limited to this memoir-style work.

Most Wanted by Lisa Scottoline

WANTED
Most Wanted by Lisa Scottoline
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery, Women’s Fiction
Length: Full Length (417 pgs)
Rated: 3.5 stars
Review by Poppy

Lisa Scottoline delivers another searing, powerful blockbuster novel that explores hot-button issues within the framework of an intricately plotted thriller. When a woman and her husband, desperate for a baby, find themselves unable to conceive, they decide to take further steps. Since it is the husband who is infertile, the heroine decides to use a donor. And all seems to be well. Three months pass and she is happily pregnant. But a shocking revelation occurs when she discovers that a man arrested for a series of brutal murders is her donor – the biological father of the child she is carrying. Delving deeper to uncover the truth, the heroine must face her worst fears, and confront a terrifying truth. Most Wanted is sure to be Lisa Scottoline’s most discussed, bestselling novel yet.

An intriguing premise leads to a crazy ride!

When Christine decides to use a sperm donor to start a family with her husband, Marcus, she had no idea what would happen next. They were allowed to see pictures of the donors in order to choose one who looked close to her husband’s appearance, so later when she sees an accused serial killer on TV, she’s certain it’s the biological father of her baby.

I was interested in the premise of nature vs. nurture that was present in both the book and in Christine’s mind. She’s so determined that her baby won’t have a serial killer father, she sets out to prove the man’s innocence. I liked Christine, though found it a little amazing that she proves such an apt sleuth considering her background as an elementary teacher who isn’t that proficient in much else.

My biggest issue with the story, honestly, was that I did not like her husband, Marcus in the least. I just couldn’t believe that they had a solid marriage, or support the idea of bringing a child into their unstable, difficult union, so it colored my overall enjoyment of the book. I spent much of the book wanting to slap Marcus silly.

I did, however, adore Griff! He was possibly the best, most interesting and well rounded character in the story. I hope he shows up somewhere again, because I’d love to revisit him.

The suspense portion of the story, while implausible really, was still interesting enough to keep me reading. I did want to know who the killer was…was it the guy who’d donated his sperm for he baby? Someone else altogether? It was enough of a question that I didn’t stop turning pages. Honestly, I was a bit let down by how the book ended, both in regards to the killer and that my romantic heart just didn’t buy the relationship between Christine and Marcus.

I’ve read a couple other books by the author and really enjoyed them. This one, while not up to the same level as those, still isn’t a waste of time. I think there’s enough meat to the plot and the characters to make it something I’d suggest picking up at your local library for a few hours of enjoyment.

Happy People Read and Drink Coffee by Agnès Martin-Lugand

HAPPY
Happy People Read and Drink Coffee by Agnès Martin-Lugand
Publisher: Weinstein Books
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (214 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Thistledown

She fled Paris to lose herself. The love she found would change everything.
Diane seems to have the perfect life. She is a wife, a mother, and the owner of Happy People Read and Drink Coffee, a cozy literary cafe in Paris. But when she suddenly loses her husband and daughter in a car accident, her life is overturned and the world as she knows it instantly disappears. Trapped and haunted by her memories, Diane closes her shop and retreats from her friends and family, unable and unwilling to move forward.

But one year later, Diane shocks her loved ones and makes the surprising decision to move to a small town on the Irish coast, finally determined to heal by rebuilding her life alone-until she meets Edward, a handsome and moody Irish photographer who lives next door. At first abrasive and unwelcoming, Edward initially resents Diane’s intrusion into his life of solitude . . . until he can no longer keep her at arm’s length. Along windy shores and cobbled streets, Diane falls into a surprising and tumultuous romance. As she works to overcome her painful memories and truly heal, Diane and Edward’s once-in-a-lifetime connection inspires her to love herself and the world around her with newfound inner strength and happiness. But will it last when Diane leaves Ireland, and Edward, for good?

At once heartbreaking and uplifting, Diane’s story is deeply felt, reminding us that love remembered is love enduring.

Diane is a woman who has it all. A happy family and a bookshop, she is living a dream in the middle of Paris. But tragedy strikes when her husband and daughter are killed in a car accident. Torn apart by grief, she withdraws from everyone and everything-except her best friend. Searching for meaning in her life now that everything she loved is gone, she decides to move to a small town on the Irish coast and what she finds there will forever shape her destiny.

Edward is a bitter man who knows loss only too well. When he and Diane meet, it is a combustible moment of fire and gasoline, leaving both of them reeling from the impact. Slowly, Diane crawls out of her grief stricken stage and she learns to feel again-even if it is rather a form of hate for her new neighbor that quickly turns into a burning hot romance. But when it comes time for Diane to leave, what will become of her new romance with the enigmatic Edward? You’ll have to read this book to find out.

This book grabbed me and didn’t let me go. In one sitting, I devoured the pages in one breathless gulp. More women’s fiction than romance, the tale showcases the evolution of a woman who is hanging on to her old life by the skin of her teeth and the courage it takes to forge ahead when you don’t know that you have anything left to live for. All of the raw human emotions are there and the book leaves you with a breathless precipice of possibilities that will appeal to fans of Meave Binchy, Jan Karon and Debbie Macomber.

I enjoyed the emotional roller coaster and the light touch of romance-not enough to classify the book as romance but it was still there. I was also excited to learn that it is being made into a movie. Think Tuscan Sun meets the Irish coast and you have the story in a nutshell-and what a good one it was.

I highly recommend Happy People Read and Drink Coffee for a nice beach read or just something to get you out of your own head for awhile.