Category Archives: Women’s Fiction

Recent Release- The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

The two Lives of Lydia Bird

Title: The Two Lives of Lydia Bird

Genre: Women’s Fiction/ Contemporary Romance

Author: Josie Silver

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Ballentine, March 2020

Pages: 432

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

Lydia and Freddie. Freddie and Lydia. They’d been together for more than a decade and Lydia thought their love was indestructible. But she was wrong. On Lydia’s twenty-eighth birthday, Freddie died in a car accident.

So now it’s just Lydia, and all she wants is to hide indoors and sob until her eyes fall out. But Lydia knows that Freddie would want her to try to live fully, happily, even without him. So, enlisting the help of his best friend, Jonah, and her sister, Elle, she takes her first tentative steps into the world, open to life—and perhaps even love—again.

But then something inexplicable happens that gives her another chance at her old life with Freddie. A life where none of the tragic events of the past few months have happened.

Lydia is pulled again and again through the doorway to her past, living two lives, impossibly, at once. But there’s an emotional toll to returning to a world where Freddie, alive, still owns her heart. Because there’s someone in her new life, her real life, who wants her to stay.

**
This is a tearjerker. Be prepared with a full tissue box at your side. It is about grief and how it envelopes a life. Lydia is so distraught she cannot sleep. Her mother talks the doctor into giving Lydia a prescription for sleeping pills. Lydia takes the pink pill and finds herself asleep and waking in another dimension where Freddie is still alive and they are living their life together. But when she awakes from the sleep she is thrust back into the grief filled life without Freddie. This back and forth plays out over the next year. Lydia makes some independent strides and finds a way to live again. What didn’t ring true was Lydia’s job. She was away for months at a time and they still kept her on. Don’t we all want jobs like that.
I recommend this book only to those who won’t be pulled under by the sadness, it is a sad but eventually uplifting read.

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Recent Release- In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

in five years

Title: In Five Years

Genre: General Fiction

Author: Rebecca Serle

Source: purchase

Publisher: Atia Books, March 2020 (also available from Audible)

Pages: 266

Rating: 3.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating:0

Description from Amazon:

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Dannie Kohan lives her life by the numbers.

She is nothing like her lifelong best friend—the wild, whimsical, believes-in-fate Bella. Her meticulous planning seems to have paid off after she nails the most important job interview of her career and accepts her boyfriend’s marriage proposal in one fell swoop, falling asleep completely content.

But when she awakens, she’s suddenly in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger, and beside a very different man. Dannie spends one hour exactly five years in the future before she wakes again in her own home on the brink of midnight—but it is one hour she cannot shake. In Five Years is an unforgettable love story, but it is not the one you’re expecting.

**
I have mixed feelings about this book. It is a page turner. You will want to know what leads to that 5th year incident. Is it “real” or “fantasy”? I read this book because I read Rebecca Serle’s book THE DINNER LIST. I enjoy the way she attacks unique storylines and this book is another unique storyline. There is romance, heartbreak and everything in-between. Be sure and have a box of tissues handy. Yes, I can recommend this book with reservations, but only a few reservations.

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Recent Release Review- Been There, Married That by Gigi Levangie

Been there married that

Title: Been There Married That

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Author: Gigi Levangie

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Feb. 2020

Pages: 336

Rating: 2

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

In a world where therapist look like the Real Housewives of Equinox, where friends dispense Xanax like Pez, and where a woman’s status is directly linked to the how few carbs she eats…can one Hollywood wife take back her life?
Agnes Murphy Nash is in big trouble. When she returns home one evening only to find the locks changed on the gates of their mansion, the security guard breaks the news: her famous producer husband has filed for divorce. And he’s not going to play fair. Trevor Nash wants custody of their tween daughter, Pep, but only for the sake of appearances. And Agnes can’t let him win. With the help of her ex-con sister, a Hollywood psychic, a ballsy female lawyer, and a host of friends and “frenemies,” Agnes realizes that when he changes the locks, she needs to change the rules. But a crisis can lead to opportunity, and for Agnes, this gigantic betrayal brings her to a crossroads that will have her asking herself what she really wants out of life, who she really wants to be, and which man she really loves.

**
I read this book cover to cover thinking that “it must be me”. I must not be reading correctly or I wouldn’t always be so confused. Then it occurred to me that it was this book that was giving me grief. It was supposed to be humorous but it was try-too-hard humor, which means it was not funny. Often one scene would morph into the next scene with no discernible break between the two.

The heroine, Agnes, was often her own worst enemy, going off to rehab for a day for no reason. Allowing strange construction workers into her mansion when she had no idea what they were doing (spoiler: they were up to no good). Allowing prospective mansion-buyers to live in her house for a weekend and steal her piano and Tiffany clock. There was much more ridiculous stuff.

Trevor, the self indulgent, narcissistic husband, was so unlikable as to be irritating. How did she live with this man for 12 years?

Side characters like her ex-con sister, Fin, and the three Latino nannies were just filler, although often more interesting than the protagonists.

No, I can’t recommend this book, if I did I would be insulting your intelligence.

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The Best Books of 2019 from La Deetda Reads

All of these books received a 5-star rating from me this year. These are by no means the only “Good” books I’ve read this year,  there have been many. I encourage you to use the grid in the left column or the search function to see what other goodies you may have missed. 

Lachlan by D.B. Reynolds (Vampires In America, #13) Paranormal Romance

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren, Contemporary Romance

The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins, Women’s Fiction

The Work of Art by Mimi Matthews, Historical Romance

Brazen and The Beast by Sarah MacLean, Historical romance

The Landowner’s Secret by Sonya Heaney, Historical Romance/Australia

Seduction on a Snowy Night by Madeline Hunter, Sabrina Jeffries, Mary Jo Putney (HR Anthology)

Betrothed by Christmas by Elizabeth Essex and Jess Michaels,  HR Anthology

A Convenient Fiction by Mimi Matthews, Historical Romance

Take it Off The Menu by Christina Hovland, Contemporary Romance

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Filed under Anthology, Award Winners, Book review, Books, Books Historical Romance, Contemporary Romance, Favorites, Paranormal Romance, Women's Fiction

Advance Review- Child’s Play by Danielle Steel

Child's Play

Title: Child’s Play

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Author: Danielle Steel

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Publisher: Dell, Oct. 8,2019

Pages: 288

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon:

The lessons our children teach us are the hardest ones. What do we do when our children don’t pursue our hopes for them? In this riveting new novel, Danielle Steel explores how families can evolve and grow in unexpected ways.

A senior partner at a prestigious New York law firm, Kate Morgan couldn’t be prouder of her three grown children. Tamara, Anthony, and Claire all went to great schools, chose wonderful career paths, and would have made their father proud. A single mother for years after the death of her husband, Kate keeps a tight rein on her family, her career, and even her own emotions, never once asking herself if she truly knows her children . . . or if her hopes for them are the right ones, and what they want. She is about to find out.

During one hectic summer in Manhattan, Kate’s world turns upside down. One child has been keeping an astonishing secret while another confesses to an equally shocking truth. A wonderful match and picture-book wedding are traded for a relationship that shakes Kate to her core. A totally inappropriate love affair and an out-of-wedlock baby complete the chaos. Challenged as a mother and as a successful independent woman herself, Kate struggles to keep up with a dizzying and escalating chain of events, and begins to realize that she has a part to play in the chaos. Because Kate too has kept secrets from her children.

Sometimes the surprising choices our children make are the right ones . . . better than what we wanted for them. More often than not, parenting is about letting go of our dreams and embracing theirs.

**
The book description gives you a good idea of what this book is about and I will not pretend I can do a better synopsis. I enjoyed this book and fell into the author’s trap of needing to find out how everything would turn out. I really liked the several surprises and I really admired the protagonist, Kate. Tamara, Anthony and Claire are all successful adults to make any mother proud. That they each have a crisis in their lives only makes them more relatable and Kate more relatable. There is also romance around every corner as well as the problems that arise with romantic involvements.

I have not read this author in a number of years but I’m delighted that I picked up this book. A good read!

P.S.- I really dislike it when a book cover has absolutely nothing to do with the content of the book.  Like this one.

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Advance Review- The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins

The Book charmer

Title: The Book Charmer

Genre: Women’s Fiction/Magical Realism/Romantic Elements

Author: Karen Hawkins

Publisher: Gallery books, July 30, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 368

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

Sarah Dove is no ordinary bookworm. To her, books have always been more than just objects: they live, they breathe, and sometimes they even speak. When Sarah grows up to become the librarian in her quaint Southern town of Dove Pond, her gift helps place every book in the hands of the perfect reader. Recently, however, the books have been whispering about something out of the ordinary: the arrival of a displaced city girl named Grace Wheeler.

If the books are right, Grace could be the savior that Dove Pond desperately needs. The problem is, Grace wants little to do with the town or its quirky residents—Sarah chief among them. It takes a bit of urging, and the help of an especially wise book, but Grace ultimately embraces the challenge to rescue her charmed new community. In her quest, she discovers the tantalizing promise of new love, the deep strength that comes from having a true friend, and the power of finding just the right book.

**

I loved this book! It is not usually my go-to genre so I’m happily surprised that it was such a good read. It is very heartwarming as the protagonists have a very troubled background and for, Grace, also a very troubled present day that at times the troubles seem insurmountable. The magic of the Dove family is just delightful. I wish I had a Sarah to hand me some books,  a Mama G. to give me some wisdom and a quaint town like Dove Pond to visit. I truly liked the people of Dove Pond, even the ones that were not so likable. This felt like the first book in a series and I’m hoping for more books about the Dove Family and Dove Pond.

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Advance Review- The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan

The Wisdom of Sally red shoes

Title: The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes

Genre: General Fiction

Author: Ruth Hogan

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books, June 11, 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 312

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

They say friends make life worth living…

Once a spirited, independent woman with a rebellious streak, Masha’s life was forever changed by a tragic event twelve years ago. Unable to let go of her grief, she finds comfort in her faithful canine companion Haizum, and peace in the quiet lanes of her town’s swimming pool. Almost without her realizing it, her life has shuddered to a halt.

It’s only when Masha begins an unlikely friendship with the mysterious Sally Red Shoes, a bag lady with a prodigious voice and a penchant for saying just what she means, that a new world of possibilities opens up: new friendships, new opportunities, and even a chance for new love. For the first time in years, Masha has the chance to start living again.

But just as Masha dares to imagine the future, her past comes roaring back…

Like her beloved debut, The Keeper of Lost Things, Ruth Hogan’s second novel introduces a cast of wonderful characters, both ordinary and charmingly eccentric, who lead us through a moving exploration of the simple human connections that unite us all.

**
The writing is beautiful. The characterization is spot on. The story intriguing. But it was so depressing that even a light at the end of the tunnel didn’t lift the gray skies. If you like sad, heartwarming books, than this is definitely a good book and I did like it but I just couldn’t get past the gloom.

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Recent Release Review- Cottage By The Sea by Debbie Macomber

Cottage By The Sea

Title: Cottage By The Sea: A Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Debbie Macomber
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Ballentine Books, July 17, 2018
Pages: 352
Rating: 3
Sexy rating: 3
Violence rating: 4
Description from Amazon:

Annie Marlow has been through the worst. Rocked by tragedy, she heads to the one place that makes her happy: Oceanside in the Pacific Northwest, the destination of many family vacations when Annie was a teenager.

Once there, Annie begins to restore her broken spirit, thanks in part to the folks she meets: a local painter, Keaton, whose large frame is equal to his big heart—and who helps Annie fix up her rental cottage by the sea; Mellie, the reclusive, prickly landlord Annie is determined to befriend; and Britt, a teenager with a terrible secret. But it is Keaton to whom Annie feels most drawn. His quiet, peaceful nature offers her both comfort and reprieve from her grief, and the two begin to grow closer.

Then events threaten to undo the idyll Annie has come to enjoy. And when the opportunity of a lifetime lands in her lap, she is torn between the excitement of a new journey toward success and the safe and secure arms of the haven—and the man—she’s come to call home.

In this heartwarming tale, Annie finds that the surest way to fix what is damaged within is to help others rise above their pain and find a way to heal.

**
Since this is only the second book that I have read by this author, I hesitate to be too dismissive, but this book was not a good fit for me. That said I’m sure there are those readers who would genuinely like this story. The melodrama is a bit over the top with all of the characters having serious devastation in their backgrounds. There was little to be happy about in anyone’s life until the very pat ending. As expected the dialog was well written and the characters well developed. But this story was just “okay”, although I found it depressing.

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Review- Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins

Now That You Mention It

Title: Now That You Mention It
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Author: Kristan Higgins
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: HQN, Dec. 2017
Pages: 416
Rating: 5
Sexy rating: 5-not graphic
Violence rating: 5-very graphic
Description from Amazon:

One step forward. Two steps back. The Tufts scholarship that put Nora Stuart on the path to becoming a Boston medical specialist was a step forward. Being hit by a car and then overhearing her boyfriend hit on another doctor when she thought she was dying? Two major steps back.

Injured in more ways than one, Nora feels her carefully built life cracking at the edges. There’s only one place to land: home. But the tiny Maine community she left fifteen years ago doesn’t necessarily want her. At every turn, someone holds the prodigal daughter of Scupper Island responsible for small-town drama and big-time disappointments.

With a tough islander mother who’s always been distant, a wild-child sister in jail and a withdrawn teenage niece as eager to ditch the island as Nora once was, Nora has her work cut out for her if she’s going to take what might be her last chance to mend the family. Balancing loss and opportunity, dark events from her past with hope for the future, Nora will discover that tackling old pain makes room for promise…and the chance to begin again.

**
Spoiler Trigger Warning: There is an attempted Rape in this book.

Kristan Higgins can bring characters to life like no other author. They live and breathe on the page and because of this they draw us into the web of their lives so that we are living on that small Maine island along with them. Nora has had more hard times than anyone should have to endure but she is not a quitter, she is determined to bring her family together in spite of all their objections.

I love this author! I love that she can write violent dark scenes and then bring about laugh-out-loud scenes. She has me turning pages and losing sleep because I cannot put the book down. She is brilliant. I highly recommend this book.

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Advance Review- Matchmaking For Beginners: A Novel by Maddie Dawson

Matchmaking for beginners

Title: Matchmaking For Beginners: a novel
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Romance
Author: Maddie Dawson
Source: Free from “Amazon First Reads” for Prime members, otherwise $4.99 on Kindle
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing, June 1, 2018
Pages: 378
Rating: 5
Sexy rating: 5 (behind closed doors)
Violence rating: 0
Description from Amazon:

Marnie MacGraw wants an ordinary life—a husband, kids, and a minivan in the suburbs. Now that she’s marrying the man of her dreams, she’s sure this is the life she’ll get. Then Marnie meets Blix Holliday, her fiancé’s irascible matchmaking great-aunt who’s dying, and everything changes—just as Blix told her it would.
When her marriage ends after two miserable weeks, Marnie is understandably shocked. She’s even more astonished to find that she’s inherited Blix’s Brooklyn brownstone along with all of Blix’s unfinished “projects”: the heartbroken, oddball friends and neighbors running from happiness. Marnie doesn’t believe she’s anything special, but Blix somehow knew she was the perfect person to follow in her matchmaker footsteps.
And Blix was also right about some things Marnie must learn the hard way: love is hard to recognize, and the ones who push love away often are the ones who need it most.

**
There is a bit of magic in the way Blix and Marnie can see auras and “sparkles” that lets them know what couples belong together and those that should get out of the relationship. Maneuvering those that should be together has been elderly Blix’s life work and now that she is at the end of her life she wants to pass on her “projects” to the only person she has ever met who is qualified for the task, Marnie. Reluctant Marnie finds that she is manipulated into a life that she didn’t expect.

Oh my! This is a gem of a book and an absolute delight to read. I was smiling most of the way through, unable to put it down and so sorry to see it end. If you are an Amazon Prime member you can read this book for free now. If you are not a Prime member, at $4.99 it is still a steal but you will have to wait for its release on June 1st. Don’t wait! Go ahead and preorder if you must, I’m guaranteeing one of your best reads of 2018.

 

 

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Filed under Book review, Books, Contemporary Romance, Fantasy, General Fiction & Literature, Romance, Women's Fiction