Category Archives: romance

Maine and authors…two of my favorite things

As I sat here in hot and humid South Carolina, I read The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous writers (and their muses) by Terri-Lynn DeFino.  This book was pure delight.   The book takes place in Bar Harbor (which is where I will be in a month!!) in a retirement home for a selective group of authors.   The home was started by Cornelius Traegar who felt that these authors needed a place of peace to live out their days, and he chose the beautiful coast of Maine in Bar Harbor.

The story focuses on three famous authors and their muse: Cecibel.   Cecibel lives and works at The Pen (the retirement home), and she has a dark past in which she is escaping.  She finds comfort within the walls of the home.  When Alfonse Carducci, a literary legend and Cecibel’s idol, comes to spend the last few months of his life….reality and fantasy start to blend together as Alphonse begins to write again….he shares his story with fellow authors and residents, and the story takes on a life of its own.

I loved this story….I loved the flawed characters with their tragic pasts, and how they all come to find peace, love, and a new start in Bar Harbor.

There are a few racy scenes in this book….so reader beware.

 

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Action, mystery, and romance

 

Tosca Lee is a New York Times Bestselling author, and here are two excellent reasons for that!   She has written a story of mystery and intrigue…a story that keeps you reading and keeps you guessing.

Emily Porter finds herself in a small-town in Maine in a tiny house with a woman who is her caretaker…she awakes to realize she has no memory of her past….she knows nothing.  All she knows about her life is what her caretaker shares and from a short letter she had written to herself before her memory was taken.   As Emily tries to find her way in this small New England town, she “meets” Luka who works at the local grocer and quickly she discovers the two of them are linked in her past.   She also discovers that her real name is not Emily…it is Audra and she is descended from one of the most famous serial killers of all times — Elizabeth Bathory.  Once Audra begins to undercover the true, she realizes that she and others that she cares for are in danger.   She is in a race to not only save lives and discovers who she can trust, but also piece together the clues and letters that were left behind by her mother.

The books are quick reads, and all full of action and riddles and mysteries with some romance tossed in.  I would recommend this for adult and young adult readers.  These books would make a great kick-off for summer reading!!

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500 pages never read so fast

I have read several books by Beatriz Williams, and I find her style quite agreeable.  She writes historical-mystery-romance stories all jumbled up in one story with many twists and turns.

This story follows two strong women who are related but separated by time and an ocean.   Violet Grant’s story takes place in 1912 in Germany right before the start of WWI.  She is a recent college graduate from a wealthy family. Her family wants her to marry and be a proper lady, but she has other ambitions.   Violet is an intelligent woman and would prefer to study physics than love and motherhood.  She moves to Europe in order to study and research.   She meets and falls in love with her professor that is 30 years older than her.  Yet this relationship is not what she initially believed it to be, and Dr. Walter Grant turns out not to be Prince Charming….enter a mysterious British Army Captain, and an American woman and her 19 year-old son…..Violet’s life gets turned upside down.  She is wanted for murder and then she disappears….

In 1964, Vivian Schuyler (Violet’s great-niece and aspiring writer) receives her Aunt Violet’s suitcase on her doorstep in New York City.   This is the first time that Vivian is hearing about her aunt.   Vivian has a nose for a good story, and she has sniffed this one out.  She is determined to get to the bottom of Violet’s story and recruits a few others to help her play detective: Tibby, editor from the Metropolitan Magazine where she works, her Aunt Julie, and Doctor Paul.  Doctor Paul???  Who is he?   He seems like the perfect guy….too good to be true….I will let you read and discover just who is he.  Frankly, I am not sure what my feelings are for him even after finishing the book.  I have to think on it some more.

They are marketing the book as a beach read….I can see that, but I read it wrapped in a blanket while it was in the 20s outside and the wind was about 12 mph….and yes it is almost May.   Winter has over stayed its welcome in Pennsylvania this year.  This book helped me forget about the cold for a short time.

 

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Delightful, Warm, and Sweet

  

I just finished reading the third book in this trilogy, and I am bittersweet over it.   It was such a delight to read, and I am a tad bit sad that I read the last one first.   I know I can go back and read the first two and pretend that I know nothing….I will certainly have to do that since I do love the characters so much.

The stories take place in a Cornish coastal village only connected to the mainland by the causeway…no road.  Polly is the baker of the bunch and has her own little bakery and she has two dear friends whose stories are both heartbreaking and lovely.   I do not want to tell too much about this book, but I do recommend it.   I would first read The Little Beach Street Bakery and then Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery and then finish with Christmas at Little Beach Bakery.  With the cooler temperatures coming soon…these books will warm you this winter.

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Hollywood in the 1940’s

land of dreams  Ellie Hogan is 42 years-old (I can already relate), and she is the mother of two boys (more relating going on here).  She has lost two husbands to war, and now finds herself single and successful living on Fire Island, New York.  She is an Irish immigrant and has worked her all her life to support herself and now her two boys.  She has become a successful Irish artist in New York City.  It is in the city that she resides during the colder months.  However, it is in the summers, that she escapes to Fire Island with her younger son, Tom. to lead a simpler and more life.   She feels she has found a balance in her life…she is content.

Her older son, Leo, attends boarding school in New York City.  He is a dreamer and a romantic.  At 16 years-old, he believes he has discovered his life’s passion….acting.  He runs away to Hollywood to live with an “agent” and to start acting in motion pictures.  When Ellie discovers of Leo’s disappearance, she leaves for California immediately.  Once she finds Leo safe and happy….she does something most parents would question.  Instead of insisting that Leo return to boarding school with her, she sends for Tom and all of her belongings to be sent to them in California.   She has decided to support Leo in his decision.

The story that follows is one of love, war, disappointment and loss.  There are many colorful characters in this book, but none of them outshine Ellie…ultimately, this is her journey and she learns that life takes you on various paths throughout its course and sometimes it is best not to fight the path….but to journey on and let fate take over.

 

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Can love find a way?

vintage  Violet is in her late 30’s and owns a unique vintage clothing shop.  Who doesn’t love vintage?  How romantic it is to be a part of something from the past….Violet embraces this philosophy since her present situation is devoid of any romance.  She left her drunken husband five years early, and she has put all her emphasis on Hourglass Vintage….her shop.  Romance, marriage and motherhood have put placed far from her thoughts.  Yet, she still has a glimmer of someday falling in love and becoming a mother.  Then she is meets Sam….sparks fly and love blooms (excuse the overabundance of clichés).  Yet, there is one thing that puts a wedge between them and could be a deal-breaker for a forever love.

April is a pregnant 18-year old whose well-to do boyfriend…excuse me…ex-boyfriend has left her high and dry.  There were plans for the two of them to wed, but Charles mother cancelled the wedding and ended their relationship.  April has acquired an internship at Hourglass Vintage and is trying to build a life for herself despite the failed wedding and the death of her mother.  Can she find the strength to build a love with her new child on her own?

And finally, there is Amithi.  Married for decades to her husband Naveen and mother to her self-centered, modern daughter Jayana, Amithi has never made her needs a priority until she decides to step inside Hourglass Vintage to sell some silk dresses.  Soon after, she discovers her husband has been cheating on her for years.  Shocked and betrayed….she leaves Naveen and begins to forge a path to independance….something exciting and new to her.  Will she have to take this new journey alone?

The book is a quick, light-hearted read.  The female characters are developed and portray strong women.  I just wish that the men had more depth to them….it seems too easy to make them the villain all too often.

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Beach read….quick and sweet

beach house   This new book by Georgia Bockoven is perfect for anyone looking for a variety of stories filled with love, friendship, hardship and family.  The book is Return to the Beach House.    There are three stories that all unfold at this beautifully renovated beach house in California.  The house once belonged to Joe and Maggie….a couple bonded together by true love…awwwww…..how sweet.  Sadly, they are no longer alive, but they continue to influence the people who rent out the house.

The first story follows Alison and her 17 year-old grandson who have rented the house for a month to help them move on with their lives after losing two close family members.  It is here that they rediscover happiness, love and a new start to their lives.  We then enter into August, where four college friends have rented the house to reconnect after years of separation.  Carrie, Danielle, Bridget and Angie come to discover some of the tragedies and struggles they have all kept hidden during their absences and learn to rise above them and live anew.  Finally, we jump ahead to January where Matthew and Lindsey have arrived.  The two are busy photographers….one photographs graphic images of war while the other is an award-winning wildlife photographer.  They have been a couple for 10 years, but the distance that their careers have provided them has been too much of a strain on their relationship….will they be able to find a way to hold their love together or will they discover that not everything is forever?

A quick read….perfect for laying out by a lake with the fresh mountain air or on the sand with a salty breeze…whichever suits you best.

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