Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Castaway Cottage by Joanne DeMaio (Book Review)

Book Review

Castaway Cottage by Joanne DeMaio
Book 7: The Seaside Saga Series
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: Paperback - May 12, 2018 / eBook - May 15, 2018
Format: Paperback - 408 pages
               Kindle - 2180 KB
               Nook - 851 KB
ISBN: 978-1717066213
BNID: 2940159152688
Genre: Women's Fiction

Buy The Book:

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review.

Book Description:

From New York Times bestselling author Joanne DeMaio comes a novel that knocks on a shabby cottage door, opening to an unforgettable summer.

Every cottage tells a story. It's a saying Jason Barlow returns to as an architect designing New England beach homes. The latest cottage story he hopes to tell rises from the Stony Point sand: the last-standing cottage on the beach. It's the sole survivor--something Jason can relate to--as surrounding cottages washed out to sea in long-ago hurricanes.

The owners aren't budging, though, keeping Jason's proposed renovation at bay. But with some help from the beach friends, the tide turns for Jason's new venture. Problem is, that weathered cottage on the beach? It holds secrets darker than its gray sea-worn shingles. And secrets don't stay buried in this little Connecticut beach town; they wash ashore or get dug up from the sand.

Castaway Cottage reunites the beloved Stony Point crew for a surprising summer by the sea, one that will leave you wanting more with the friends by the shore.

Book Excerpt: (Select The Preview Button)

My Book Review:

Another summer season is in full swing at the seashore town of Stony Point, Connecticut. So grab your beach towel, chair, and umbrella and soak up some sun as you catch up with our favorite beach friends.

In Castaway Cottage, author Joanne DeMaio transports the reader back to the tranquil seashore town of Stony Point, Connecticut, where the reader catches up with the lives of friends: Maris, Jason, Eva, Matt, Kyle, Lauren, Elsa, Cliff, Nick, Paige, Vinny, and Celia.

Just like the ebb and flow of the tide, life brings issues and changes to one's life, but the bonds of friendship, sea air, and salt water are cleansing, they cure what ails you. For this group of old friends, this summer season brings happiness, some bittersweet painful memories, and a mystery with a touch of deeply held secrets. As time heals all wounds, so does the sea air, and this group of friends lives by the credo: "salt air, not a care" and "cast away your troubles straight into the sea." The shimmering denim blue sea with its calming effect will offer them another summer season of hope, love, family, friendship, heartache, mistakes, forgiveness, redemption, and blissful new beginnings.

The reader will catch up with the friends as many changes have been occurring since their last visit: Elsa's newly renovated beach inn, Ocean Star Inn, is getting ready for the grand opening in September with Celia's help. Meanwhile, Maris continues to complete her late brother-in-law Neil's manuscript, while husband Jason is busy preparing for his new cottage renovation program on the local public television station, and he is vying for the approval from Mitch and Carol Fenwick to renovate their beach cottage and feature it on his cottage renovation program. Finally, there is Kyle and Lauren, who purchased a cottage in Stony Point and have moved in with the promise of making new beach memories. While these are all happy times for the beach friends, there are also a mixture of sad times and even a mystery develops: it is fast approaching the first year anniversary of Elsa's son and Celia's fiance Sal's death, Maris and Jason will be celebrating their second wedding anniversary but also the tenth anniversary of Jason's brother Neil's death, Kyle and Lauren will celebrate their tenth wedding anniversary with a renewal of vows ceremony, and the Fenwick's have a fifty year mystery concerning their cottage's history on their hands. But alas ... mistakes, secrets, past painful issues, and a surprising cliffhanger will leave the reader's mouth gaping and impatiently waiting for the next installment in The Seaside Saga Series. So now that I have whet your interest in the beach friends latest comings and goings, drive under the railroad trestle and enter the enchanting beach town of Stony Point ... pull up a beach chair ... and visit with the close-knit longtime friends in author Joanne DeMaio's delightful novel, Castaway Cottage.

Castaway Cottage is a heartwarming story of friendship, family, new beginnings and second chances. Author Joanne DeMaio weaves a wonderful tale written in the third person narrative, that is set in the present with flashbacks to the past. The reader is transported to the tranquil seashore town of Stony Point, Connecticut, where they follow along with Celia, Maris, Eva, Matt, Jason, Kyle, Lauren, Nick, Elsa, and Cliff as a new summer season dawns on their little tranquil coastal town.

Author Joanne DeMaio easily captivates her readers' attention with this beautifully written tale through a seamless and flowing storyline, and with a wonderful description of a tranquil beach setting that wraps itself around the reader like a sun-warmed beach towel. The characters draw you into their lives with a strong emotional pull, their complexities and flaws are true-to-life, it is easy to relate to them with compassion, empathy, and hope. With a mixture of intrigue, suspense, drama, humor, heartache, hidden secrets, romance, and a strong bond of friendship, this story takes you on a fun-filled roller coaster ride that will keep you smiling as you turn the pages. I would be remiss if I didn't mention how much I looked forward to catching up with this special group of close-knit friends. It's like you're a summer visitor, and the beach friends envelop you in a warm hug and offer up enough smiles, laughter, and fun-filled beach bliss as their summer adventures unfold.

I really enjoyed reading this latest installment, the element of mystery, suspense, drama, and deep secrets revolving around the history of the Fenwick's cottage, and Kyle and Lauren's upcoming vow renewal ceremony easily kept me turning the pages. But alas, author Joanne DeMaio has teased her readers with an unexpected and very surprising cliffhanger ending that will simply leave them wanting more!

Castaway Cottage is an intricate story of interweaving friendships and life events. It is a wonderful story that demonstrates the power of the magical sweet salt air that will cure what ails you, and it will resonate with you long after the last word has been read.


About The Author

Joanne DeMaio is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary fiction. She enjoys writing about friendship, family, love and choices, while setting her stories in New England towns or by the sea. The Beach Inn is her ninth novel. Currently at work on her next book, Joanne lives with her family in Connecticut.

Author Website
Amazon Author Page

Sunday, June 10, 2018

This Could Change Everything by Jill Mansell (Book Review)


This Could Change Everything by Jill Mansell
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Format: Hardcover - 416 pages
               Paperback - 352 pages
               Kindle - 352 pages / 1813 KB
               Nook - 352 pages / 1 MB
ISBN: 978-1492664222
BNID: 978-1492664239
Genre: Chick Lit / Contemporary Romance / Women's Fiction

Buy The Book:
Amazon - US
Amazon - UK
Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Book Description:

International bestseller Jill Mansell crafts the perfect summertime tale, filled with love, friendship, and the power of redemption. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll never want the story to end.

All it takes is one email to end her relationship, get her kicked out of her apartment, and just about ruin her life. Essie Phillips never meant for her private rant about her boss to be sent to everyone in her address book, but as soon as it goes viral, her life as she knows it is over. Solution: move to a new town, find a new job, make new friends. If only it were as simple as that...

Book Excerpt:

My Book Review:

In This Could Change Everything, author Jill Mansell weaves a lighthearted British romantic tale of friendship, love and second chances.

Set in Bath, the reader is easily drawn into this witty and caring story as they follow a group of friends who help each other navigate the trials and tribulations of life and love.

Twenty-five-year-old Essie Phillips wrote a Christmas round robin newsletter that was meant only for her best friend Scarlett's eyes ... but when the email is mistakenly sent to everyone on her email list, Essie's world is turned upside down, and she is forced to move forward in a new direction.

Thirty-two-year-old Conor McCauley is an ex-attorney who changed his career to pursue his passion for landscaping fulltime and photography on the side. What Conor is missing in life is a romantic relationship, and a series of events will lead him to a chance at finding true love.

Lucas Brook is the owner of the Red House pub. Lucas' pub is successful, but a troubled family past affects his chance of having a fulfilling life, that is until he unexpectedly meets Essie and events lead to a chance at happiness and love.

Finally, we have eighty-three-year-old Zillah Wash, who is the center of this group of friends. Zillah is the enchanting grande dame of their street, but she has demons from the past that haunt her, and her guilt drives her to atone for her past misbehavior by providing last wishes for terminally ill people.

Together this endearing group of friends will learn that choices made could change everything! The awesome message that the author provides the reader is this wonderful quote that Scarlett states in the book: "Every day, we do things that are capable of changing everything, and that's what makes life exciting." No truer words have been spoken, this quote will make the reader ponder about the choices and decisions that they make in their lives, and how that change/decision can ultimately change everything ... especially if it's for the better!

This Could Change Everything is a wonderful story that will keep the reader engaged as they follow each of the friends' personal journeys. I really enjoyed following each of the friends' journeys as they struggled to overcome life issues and find the determination to move forward with their lives. There was a great mixture of emotion, drama, and humor mixed in this story, you can't help but feel like you are transported right into the middle of the friends' lives! I would be remiss if I didn't mention how much I enjoyed Zillah's journey the most, this cheeky older lady made me smile and I couldn't help but appreciate her dedication to providing terminally ill people with a final wish, that act of kindness simply stirs the soul!

This Could Change Everything is a lighthearted and sweet story that has enough emotional depth, drama, romance, and witty banter, that is a delightfully entertaining must-read summer tale for chick lit, romance, and women's fiction fans.


About The Author

Jill Mansell
lives with her partner and children in Bristol, and writes full time. Actually that’s not true; she watches TV, eats fruit gums, admires the rugby players training in the sports field behind her house, and spends hours on the internet marveling at how many other writers have blogs. Only when she’s completely run out of displacement activities does she write.

Jill Mansell's books have sold over ten million copies and her titles include: Making your Mind Up, Fast Friends, Good at Games, Sheer Mischief and Solo, among many others.

Author Website
Amazon Author Page