Peter and Rand Danner have had their problems over the years, most notably because of Rand’s often irresponsible behavior. Now that the brothers are married to their lovely wives, Kira and Alyssa, they are trying to get along.

But when Rand tells Peter and Kira that he and Alyssa have bought a B & B in Vermont, and want them to go in on it with them, they are stunned. And reluctant. They are used to their home in Florida, but then again, their jobs could use some improvements.

Kira is unhappy with the law firm she works for, and Peter is ready for a change, too.

When they arrive, they have a lot to learn and even more to do to set everything up. And for fun, they take in some snowboarding. Kira envies Alyssa’s carefree attitude. Alyssa shares how she can ski and snowboard with ease: “It’s like the mountain knows when you’re nervous. But gradually I learned to just be in that glorious moment of catching air. Once I began trusting that I’d land safely, I always did.”

Before they have scarcely gotten off the ground with the B & B, they take in Dawn, a young woman who obviously needs a place to stay, and who shows herself willing and able to work for board and room. What are her secrets? Who is she hiding from?

Narrated from several perspectives, Catching Air unfolds in a realistic fashion that shows the reader about their struggles, the mistakes they make, and how one huge job, a wedding, will take over their lives for weeks. But good things could be just around the corner…if they hang in there.

I enjoyed the story and came to care about the characters, who felt like real people I might have known. I loved how the mix of problems and joys made me laugh and even cry a little. Recommended for fans of women’s fiction…and the author. 4 stars.




Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

I am delighted to share an e-ARC from NetGalley that I’ll be reading soon.  The Lake House, by Kate Morton, is an intricately plotted, spellbinding new novel of heart-stopping suspense and uncovered secrets.





Intro:  (Cornwall, August 1933)

The rain was heavy now and the hem of her dress was splattered with mud.  She’d have to hide it afterwards; no one could know that she’d been out.

Clouds covered the moon, a stroke of luck she didn’t deserve, and she made her way through the thick, black night as quickly as she could.  She’d come earlier to dig the hole, but only now, under veil of darkness, would she finish the job.  Rain stippled the surface of the trout stream, drummed relentlessly on the earth beside it.  Something bolted through the bracken nearby, but she didn’t flinch, didn’t stop.  She’d been in and out of the woods all her life and knew the way by heart.


Teaser:  (London, 2003)

A list of sites appeared on her screen and she skimmed through the options until she found an entry from a site called which seemed reputable.  Sadie clicked and started reading the definition.  A term used to describe psychological trauma…intensity of artillery battles…neurotic cracks in otherwise mentally stable soldiers. (58%).


Blurb:  Living on her family’s idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, innocent, and precociously talented sixteen-year-old who loves to write stories. But the mysteries she pens are no match for the one her family is about to endure…

One midsummer’s eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest child, eleven-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace. What follows is a tragedy that tears the family apart in ways they never imagined.

Decades later, Alice is living in London, having enjoyed a long successful career as an author. Theo’s case has never been solved, though Alice still harbors a suspicion as to the culprit. Miles away, Sadie Sparrow, a young detective in the London police force, is staying at her grandfather’s house in Cornwall. While out walking one day, she stumbles upon the old estate—now crumbling and covered with vines, clearly abandoned long ago. Her curiosity is sparked, setting off a series of events that will bring her and Alice together and reveal shocking truths about a past long gone…yet more present than ever.

A lush, atmospheric tale of intertwined destinies, this latest novel from a masterful storyteller is an enthralling, thoroughly satisfying read.


Would you keep reading?  I have been very eager to open this book and discover the heart-stopping suspense and the secrets that stayed buried for a long while.   What do you think?







Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

Today’s featured book is an e-ARC from NetGalley:  Pretending to Dance, by Diane Chamberlain.





Intro:  (2014 – San Diego)

I’m a good liar.

I take comfort in that fact as Aidan and I sit next to each other on our leather sectional, so close together that our thighs touch.  I wonder if that’s too close. Patty, the social worker sitting on the other wing of our sectional, writes something in her notes, and with every scribble of her pen, I worry her words will cost us our baby.  I imagine she’s writing The couple appears to be codependent to an unhealthy degree.  As if picking up on my nervousness, Aidan takes my hand, squeezing it against his warm palm.  How can he be so calm?

“You’re both thirty-eight, is that right?”  Patti asks.

We nod in unison.

Patti isn’t at all what I expected.  In my mind I’ve dubbed her “Perky Patti.”  I’d expected someone dour, older, judgmental.  She’s a licensed social worker, but she can’t be any older than twenty-five.  Her blond hair is in a ponytail, her blue eyes are huge, and her eyelashes look like something out of an advertisement in Vogue.  She has a quick smile and bubbly enthusiasm.  Yet, still, Perky Patti holds our future in her hands, and despite her youth and bubbly charm, she intimidates me.


Teaser:  I have no old family photographs.  I’d taken a handful with me when I left home at eighteen, but I threw them away one day when my anger got the better of me.

I wish old memories could be as easily discarded. (Loc. 450).


Blurb:  Molly Arnette is very good at keeping secrets. She lives in San Diego with a husband she adores, and they are trying to adopt a baby because they can’t have a child on their own. But the process of adoption brings to light many questions about Molly’s past and her family-the family she left behind in North Carolina twenty years before. The mother she says is dead but who is very much alive. The father she adored and whose death sent her running from the small community of Morrison’s Ridge. Her own birth mother whose mysterious presence in her family raised so many issues that came to a head. The summer of twenty years ago changed everything for Molly and as the past weaves together with the present story, Molly discovers that she learned to lie in the very family that taught her about pretending. If she learns the truth about her beloved father’s death, can she find peace in the present to claim the life she really wants?


What do you think?  Would you keep reading?  I know I’m excited about this book, as this author is one of my favorites.






The three of them had met at the Philadelphia Friends School years before, and their friendship bonds had cemented during the summers spent at the Avalon Beach house. They were very different from one another, yet their connections came from a common bond developed in the school: Katherine (Kate) Harrington, whose twin brother Colin often joined them; Vanessa Dale, whose hippie parents were a constant reminder of how different her life was from her friends’ lives; and Dani Lowenstein, whose father owned the house on Avalon Beach and provided the backdrop to the fabulous summers.

Now, years later, they come together for one more summer, hoping to heal from the secrets of the past and a tragic event that left them all reeling, and the problems in their present. Kate’s fiancé Peter has just broken up with her only weeks before their wedding; Vanessa is still reeling from her husband Drew’s betrayal with another woman; and Dani is suffering from her own guilt and unable to maintain any kind of life out in San Francisco.

Will their secrets break them apart, or will they find enough strength in their friendship to help them heal? All the Summer Girls: A Novel (P.S.) is alternately narrated by the three friends, and the reader can jog along with them as they agonize over the past and try to carve out a future.

An enjoyable and somewhat predictable read, it was also very satisfying and the perfect ending to a summer. 4.0 stars.




Grief has followed Alison (Ali) McAdams around in the more than one year following the death of her fiancé, Dr. Andrew Morris. She stays busy working in the dental practice she shares with Andrew’s father, the same practice that now has a hole in it where Andrew once worked.

She believes she is moving along okay, despite the rage she still feels as she goes over the details of Andrew’s death: his suicide. It came out of nowhere, of course, and that is the hardest part for her. How did she miss the signs? Were there any signs?

On this particular day, however, her anger is further aroused by a stupid, hateful note left on her car: Learn to park: Asshole.

Was the note the impetus she needed to take a break from it all? Perhaps. Or could it have been her dad’s fractured wrist? Whatever the motivation, Ali is soon arranging for a flight to Oakland, and then a shuttle to Napa, where her father now lives. In a senior citizen home, in the independent living section. She’ll be taking a break from Scottsdale, AZ, and the life she lived there with Andrew.

In the days she spends in Napa, she meets several of her father’s cronies in the home, including a ninety-four-year-old woman named Edie. There is something compelling about Edie, but she is also crotchety, feisty, and a bit abrasive. Still, Ali can’t resist the connection she begins to feel for the elderly woman, especially after Edie shares some of her stories from the war years in Germany. There were secrets and betrayals…and the sadness and loss could have defined her. Instead, Edie seems more engaged in life than some younger people. And then there are the two handsome grand-nephews of Edie’s: Craig and Chad Hallahan.

It’s You is alternately narrated in the first person voices of Ali and Edie. Edie’s perspective is interesting, in that we also read portions of diaries she kept during the 1930s and 40s in Germany. She first went to Germany to study music, but over time, became entrenched in her life there. We learn about her lost love, Franz.

Why does Ali impulsively decide to fly to Germany, after reading Edie’s diaries? What does she hope to learn there? Can this be a journey of healing? Of starting over?

I enjoyed the characters and the brief appearance of Meg, Kit, and Brianna Brennan, from the Brennan Sisters novels. I kept rooting for a romance for Ali, but it probably made more sense for her to very slowly begin again. The ending was lovely…although it was a bit rushed, after the slow build of the rest of the story. Definitely a 4 star read.





Most chapters in Freedom’s Child: A Novel begin with this opener: “My name is Freedom,” and then reveal bits and pieces of her story. We learn quickly that Freedom Oliver is not her real name; that she is in the Witness Protection program; and that she is hiding from some dangerous people.

Currently living in Painter, Oregon, and spending most nights in a bar, regularly getting drunk and arrested, one might think that her goal in life is self-destruction. But no, she has a larger purpose, and it governs most of her days. She wants to find the children she lost many years before. The children whom she knows were renamed by their adoptive parents as Mason and Rebekah Paul.

In Goshen, Kentucky, where the Pauls live, we see a glimpse of the life of their evangelical world and realize that they have dark secrets and a deadly plan.

In upstate New York, the Delaneys are set on revenge. Matthew Delaney just got out of prison, where he served time for killing his brother Mark, a cop, and the husband of Nessa Delaney, now hiding out as Freedom Oliver. The matriarch, Lynn, and the three brothers, Matthew, Luke, and John, are scary people that one would not want to encounter. The descriptions are vivid, and I can easily visualize what lies ahead for Freedom when/if they find her. Also headed toward Freedom is the kind brother, Peter, wheelchair-bound with Cerebral Palsy.

Multiple narrators show us the collision course that will bring the dangerous Delaneys into Freedom’s new life, just as she is headed to Kentucky to search for her daughter Rebekah, now reported as missing. A cop from Painter, James Mattley, is also looking for Freedom and her daughter, too; he has a soft spot for her and is hoping to find her before the others do.

Will Freedom find her daughter in time? Can she outrun the Delaneys? When she finally reaches Goshen, what will she discover about the small child Magdalene? The story is fast-paced with intriguing characters, and I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen to them all. Themes of violence, dark legacies, and redemption kept me reading, even as parts of the story and the writing style bogged down for me at times. Recommended for those who enjoy stories that could be ripped from the headlines. 4.0 stars.






Friendships that go on for years can sustain a person, and when there is a break in the regular get-togethers and an absence of contact, feelings are hurt. People feel abandoned.

Emma Michaels grew up among Hollywood royalty, and was a child actor. She famously divorced her parents at a young age and lived with her grandmother. The cottage at the lake was a special gathering place for Emma’s friends, the ones she bonded with in their Manhattan days: Mackenzie Hayes and Serena Stockton.

Now, after a five-year absence, Emma has invited her old friends to the lake house for a week in the summer.

But when they arrive in Manhattan, before heading up to the Adirondacks cottage, they are stunned by the news that Emma is in the hospital, after sustaining major injuries. Her daughter Zoe, almost sixteen, is waiting for them at Mt. Sinai.

While Emma is in her coma, we see flashbacks of the friends over the years, learning about what kept them together…and pondering what might have separated them.

Mackenzie is going through her own angst, as her husband Adam is in LA, meeting with production companies about his screenplay. For the past twenty years, they have been living in Indiana, running a small theater. Mackenzie writes a popular blog.

Meanwhile, Serena, an actor, portrays a cartoon character, and she has received a lot of attention and some fame. But the loss of her long-ago love, Brooks Anderson, has left her bereft and making poor choices.

Why did Emma call her friends together? What does she have in mind? Explanations, or is there a deep, dark secret that will change everything between them?

Finally they are all at the lake, and as Emma heals, with the moments and days ticking away like a time bomb, we learn bits and pieces. I guessed the secret long before it was revealed. And it was a doozy. Despite that fact, I enjoyed seeing how the ramifications would all play out.

Will the friendships survive? Will Mac’s marriage go on after the decisions Adam made in LA? And what will Serena do when an unexpected brush with the past puts her in another quandary? A Week at the Lake was another novel from a favorite author that I enjoyed all the way to the end. 5 stars.






My explorations of this author’s work began with her later books, and I have subsequently moved backward to her earlier ones. Three Wishes was a delightful read, and I thoroughly enjoyed “meeting” the Kettle family, with the sibling rivalry intensified due to the fact that the Kettle girls are triplets.

Set in Sydney, Australia, the story moves back and forth in time, alternately narrated by various characters, including brief notes from random observers.

Lyn and Cat are identical, while Gemma is the fraternal one. Lyn and Cat are blond and Gemma has red hair.

Their parents, Maxine and Frank, divorced when they were six, but something seems to be happening between them now, as the girls, at age 33, approach birthday number 34.

Cat has a lot of issues, starting with her difficulty in getting pregnant. Then she discovers that Dan, her husband, has been unfaithful. She learns a few other things about Dan that throw her world upside down.

Lyn, on the other hand, is obsessively controlled, with her numerous lists…so why is she suddenly suffering from panic attacks in parking lots? As the “perfect” business woman and mother to Maddie, a toddler, why does she feel so estranged from her teenage stepdaughter Kara?

Gemma has a lot going on beneath the surface; why do her relationships seem to self-destruct before they barely get off the ground? What really happened between her and her fiancé Marcus?

With a great peek behind the facades that families present to the world, the story was engaging and kept me glued to the pages. I loved the dynamics between the siblings; the dialogue was often funny, which made me want to be a part of their family, or to be their friend. There were sad, angry, and emotional moments. They felt like real people, and I didn’t want the story to end. I wanted to stay connected to them indefinitely. 5.0 stars.




Dee and Simon grew up in a world outside the norm, with a mother immersed in special ops, with secret missions and a handler whose presence felt intrusive.

Annette Vess had been a big deal in her time, with the nickname Spider, and even though she couldn’t tell her secrets to her kids, she taught them plenty of lessons along the way. Lessons that, in the end, could save their lives.

Monday’s Lie is an intriguing story with Dee Vess Aldrich as the first person narrator. When the story opens, we focus in on Dee’s memories of the past, and especially one particular night of terror, after which their mother is gone for seven months.

Moving between the past and the present, we see Dee zeroing in on a place and some answers she has been seeking for a while. What is the significance of Carlisle, Inc.? What is her husband Patrick hiding? How will his dark secrets affect her future, and what does her future hold?

Simon works in law enforcement and seems less disturbed by their past than Dee, but he is there to provide comfort and an assist now and then. What will Dee learn about Simon before the story ends? And how will Dee once again connect with the past through former operatives like Brian Menary and Paul Rowland?

Lots of twists and turns kept me turning pages until the somewhat dark conclusion. As much as I enjoyed the plot and the characters, the writing style was hard to follow at times. The sentences were flowery and beautiful, actually, but they interfered with my concentration. Otherwise, a satisfying read. 4.0 stars


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAfriday 56 - spring and summer logo

Welcome to some bookish fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time!

What better way to spend a Friday?

Today’s spotlight is shining on an ARC from Patti Callahan Henry:  The Idea of Love.







Beginning:  In his mind, he was already writing her—the woman who stood at the patio table with her eyes closed and her face lifted to the sky.  She was only a subject, or more precisely, an object.  Her slumped shoulders folded inward and her beautiful mouth turned down.


56:  Ella felt the panic of loneliness well up behind her chest, but she smiled anyway, because that’s what she’d always been taught to do.  “You are so sweet to invite me in and let me tell you my crazy story but I need to get on home.  I just wanted to…meet you.”


Blurb:  As we like to say in the south,

“Don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story.”
Ella’s life has been completely upended. She’s young, beautiful, and deeply in love–until her husband dies in a tragic sailing accident while trying save her. Or so she’ll have everyone believe. Screenwriter Hunter needs a hit, but crippling writers’ block and a serious lack of motivation are getting him nowhere. He’s on the look-out for a love story. It doesn’t matter who it belongs to.
When Hunter and Ella meet in Watersend, South Carolina it feels like the perfect match, something close to fate. In Ella, Hunter finds the perfect love story, full of longing and sacrifice. It’s the stuff of epic films. In Hunter, Ella finds possibility. It’s an opportunity to live out a fantasy – the life she wishes she had because hers is too painful. And more real. Besides. what’s a little white lie between strangers?

But one lie leads to another, and soon Hunter and Ella find themselves caught in a web of deceit. As they try to untangle their lies and reclaim their own lives, they feel something stronger is keeping them together. And so they wonder: can two people come together for all the wrong reasons and still make it right?


I am eager to dive into this one.  This author is one of my new favorites, and I can’t wait.  I also love the cover.  What do you think?