Saturday, April 22, 2017

Review - Plan Cee by Hilary Grossman

Would you abandon your present for a second chance at your past?

Cecelia Reynolds has spent most of her life trying to forget the commitment-phobic man who broke her heart. It wasn’t easy, but eventually she did it, or so she thought…

As Cecelia and her husband gather for a friend’s wedding, her perfect world is thrown into complete turmoil. Even though it’s been twenty years since she last laid eyes on Keith Emerson, all it takes is one glance for her to feel emotions she thought were long gone. When Keith ends up officiating the ceremony, she quickly realizes his message of love is directed at her, not the happy couple. But can she believe him?

We live our entire lives thinking we know ourselves. But do we ever really?

As secrets and lies cause Cecelia’s world to spin completely out of control, she is forced to seek advice from the most unlikely ally. In the process, she must confront the demons of her past and the events that shaped her into the woman she is now. Will she finally learn the real meaning of love, friendship, and family?

While this book is a sequel to Plan Bea, it also reads as a standalone.


My Thoughts 
What a great follow-up read to Plan Bea.  It was great to see a lot of the characters back again - Bea and her cranky (yet supportive) self and Anna who had it touch in Plan Bea but is the steadfast friend to Cee and trying to help her get her life back on track at the end and so many others...
I'm sure many if us have had that one love who has gotten away, no matter the situation, and the thought of seeing that person again years and years later, what would you do?
Cee was left by the love of her life, Keith, and she never really got over it.  She had moved on and married her husband Bryce and they have adorable twin boys together.
One day she attends Bea's wedding to Walter and who walks in the door?  Keith!
Cee starts to panic and doesn't know what to do.  She can't tell anyone, yet she figures out later that Bea and Walter already know, Walter and Keith being long time friends and all.
What is Cee going to do?  Her past comes flooding back to her now and sends her head into a tailspin of emotion.
Can she just forget about Keith and Move on?  Can she and Bryce's marriage last after this sighting?  It will be a long crazy ride but the end is well worth the wait!

Drink Selection
I am going to pair this beauty with a Seaside Sunrise - Delish! Who doesn't love juice and a little bit of rum?! 
Rating 
What a great read to relax with this week!  It was just what I needed!  5 wine glasses all the way!



Thursday, April 20, 2017

Review - Dreaming of Venice by TA Williams

Find love, friendship and prosecco – in the magical city of Venice
Life is tough for Penny. A dead end job in a London café, a boyfriend in Australia (what could go wrong?) and an art career going nowhere. But then Penny is approached with an extraordinary proposition.
It isn’t going to be easy but, if she can pull it off, she will turn her life around and at long last see the fulfilment of her dream – to visit Venice. And, just maybe, find true happiness with the handsome man of her dreams.
But can dreams come true?

My Thoughts 
Oh my goodness!  THIS cover!  Amazing!  The colors are TO DIE FOR!  I can honestly say that if this is what Venice truly looks like I will be visiting very soon!
The concept behind this story is so creative!  I love the mystery and the intrigue!  The dynamic between the characters is at a whole different level.
Penny was basically living life day to day and felt like her life was going no where.  Then one day she was approached with an offer that she couldn't refuse.  The money was amazing and with her bills piling up she really couldn't say anything other than yes!  Would she really be able to pull it all off in the end?
There are so many elements to this piece - love, mystery, art, heartbreak, friendship and so much more.  This story will draw you in from the beginning and the images that TA paints really make you feel are you are right there with the characters in London and Venice.

Drink Selection 
We have to go with the yummy drink selection of the book, Prosecco!   One of mt all time favorites!
Rating 

I really loved this story from beginning to end and it is 5 wine glasses all the way!



 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Book Review - Kim vs. the Mean Girl by Meredith Schorr

High school sophomore, Kim Long, is no stranger to the “mean girl” antics of Queen Bee Hannah Marshak. When Hannah steals Kim’s diary and in front of the entire class reads personal (not to mention humiliating) entries Kim wrote about her crush, Jonathan, Kim vows to enact revenge.

Kim and her loyal best friend, Bridget, come up with the perfect plan to put the evil Hannah in her place once and for all. But will their scheming have the desired effect of getting even, or will Hannah emerge more celebrated by her peers than ever?

Kim vs. The Mean Girl can be read as a young adult standalone novel, but it is also a prequel to the popular Blogger Girl adult romantic comedy series and is set in 2000. Told in the duo perspectives of teenage Kim and Hannah, fans of the series will get an inside look into Kim’s early passion for reading, writing (and Jonathan) and find out why Hannah is so darn mean.

"In Blogger Girl we meet the irrepressible Kim Long and her nemesis Hannah Marshak. Kim Vs. the Mean Girl takes us back to high school with Kim and Hannah 101 in this delightful prequel. I gobbled it up in one byte…er, I mean bite (this is the era before a cell phone was in every backpack). When Kim declares war on Hannah, it takes some unexpected, and at times amusing, turns, and though the enemies don’t emerge as friends, or even frenemies, they each come away the better for it. A fun read for all ages." Eileen Goudge, New York Times best-selling author
.

My Thoughts
What a fun read!  I loved Kim in Blogger Girl and it is fun to go back in time and see what life was like for Kim going to high school with Hannah.  It really did play out just the way that I thought in would in my mind.
Hannah has always been a bully of sorts and her behavior when she was younger doesn't shock anyone.  Towards the end I really think she started to see Kim in a whole new light.  Could even be a fun second book starting point!
From Hannah stealing her diary and telling the entire class her inner most secrets to Kim getting her back with the perfect revenge plan, the girls both learned a few very important lessons in life. Hannah learned that there is more to life then just money (sort of) and Kim learned that you should just let things go and ignore people who are irritating you because the more attention you give them the more they will pester you.
If you loved Blogger Girl you will love Kim vs. the Mean Girl.

Drink Selection
This was a fun read from beginning to end, and going a long with the theme of younger characters, I will be picking a Shirley Temple.  Delish!

 Rating
Such a fun book, highly anticipated by all of us Blogger Girl fans!  5 wine glasses all the way!  I wish it had been longer!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Review - The Art of Southern Charm by Patrica Altschul

“Patricia on #SouthernCharm, like lookin’ in the damn mirror. Cheers queen.” —Lady Gaga

Fan-favorite Bravolebrity Patricia Altschul from the primetime show Southern Charm finally brings fans her eagerly anticipated opus on etiquette and living a glamorous Southern lifestyle. Patricia provides advice on every situation, from hosting a memorable cocktail party, to decoding the dress code for any event, to handling a drunken boor at the dinner table, to delivering the perfectly phrased insult—like her now iconic “shameless strumpet.” The Art of Southern Charm takes readers inside the world of Charleston’s most captivating grande dame, who (with Michael the Butler) offers a blueblood’s blueprint for curating and celebrating life at its best.


My Thoughts 
LOVE LOVE LOVE Patricia!  She is laugh out loud funny, her comebacks are simply amazing!
She is one of my favorite people on Southern Charm on Bravo.  I will have to say I am totally addicted to the show - if you haven't seen it you need to check it out now!  The new season just started and the hot messes have already begun!
Not only is Patricia a true southern matriarch, she is the "mother" to all the charmers and that is not an easy task!  She has the best advice in Charleston by far!
Her parties are to die for and I would love to be in attendance.  He butler Michael is adorable and together they have a great time and live great lives!
Throughout this book she gives advice on dressing, parties, and life in general!  She has great guest celebs that give advice and one is Carson Kressley - the amazing man from one of my favorite all time shows, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy!  I miss that show!

I highly recommend this book with its household tips and delicious recipes that will have your mouth watering and planning a trip to your nearest Wegmans (or the Piggly Wiggly if you are down south!).

Drink Selection 
Perfect drink for this book is none other than Patricia's signature drink, Michael's Perfect Martini!  They sound simply amazing and created to perfection by Michael, her butler.

Rating 1
5 wines glasses all the way!  Patricia is amazing, smart and funny as hell!  I would LOVE the meet her one day!  I believe a trip to Charleston is in order!


Review - Everything We Left Behind by Kerry Lonsdale

Two months before his wedding, financial executive James Donato chased his trade-laundering brother Phil to Mexico, only to be lost at sea and presumed dead. Six and a half years later, he emerges from a dissociative fugue state to find he’s been living in Oaxaca as artist Carlos Dominguez, widower and father of two sons, with his sister-in-law Natalya Hayes, a retired professional surfer, helping to keep his life afloat. But his fiancée, Aimee Tierney, the love of his life, has moved on. She’s married and has a child of her own.
Devastated, James and his sons return to California. But Phil is scheduled for release from prison, and he’s determined to find James, who witnessed something in Mexico that could land Phil back in confinement. Under mounting family pressure, James flees with his sons to Kauai, seeking refuge with Natalya. As James begins to unravel the mystery of his fractured identity, danger is never far behind, and Natalya may be the only person he can trust.

My Thoughts 
I couldn't wait to read this sequel!  And Kerry did not disappoint.   I personally hope that this story will continue and there will be a third story sometime soon down the road!
The Donato family is nothing but trouble.  Or so we think.  James was trying to track Phil down after he harmed his fiance Aimee. 
What he didn't bargain for was being lost at sea and losing six years of his life as James and instead becomes Carlos.  This all took place when he suffered from a dissociatic fugue and couldn't remember any of his life pre-Carlos.
He creates a new life as an artist, gets married and has a child.  To then talk to Aimee when she locates him as Carlos and have no idea who she is.  How is that possible?
He goes through a roller coaster of emotions from fear to love to questioning everyone and anyone around him.  Who and what can he believe?
Will Carlos ever become James again and if so will he remember his life in Mexico or fall back into his previous life?
He returns to California and he tries to piece together the life he once had and has to figure out if that's the life he wants again or if he wants to live in Mexico and remain Carlos for as long as possible?
This book will have you questioning what is going to happen till the very end and then you may still not believe it.

Drink Selection
The is the perfect story to pair with a yummy Casa Blanca, perfection!

Rating 
What a great sequel from beginning to end, and can't wait to see if there is a third book to find out more!  4 wines all the way!

 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Review - The Cornish Escape by Lily Graham

Victoria Langley’s world crumbles when her husband leaves, but she knows exactly where to go to mend her broken heart. The rugged shores of Cornwall will be her perfect sanctuary.

In the quaint, little village of Tregollan, nestled in the sea cliffs, Victoria is drawn to Seafall Cottage, covered in vines and gracefully falling apart. Inside she finds a diary full of secrets, from 1905.

Victoria is determined to unravel the diary’s mystery, but the residents of Tregollan are tight-lipped about Tilly Asprey, the cottage’s last owner. Just as she reaches a dead end, Victoria meets Adam Waters, the lawyer handling the cottage’s sale. He’s handsome, charming, and has a missing piece of the puzzle.

Tilly’s diary tells a devastating love story that mirrors Victoria’s own. Can Victoria learn from Tilly’s mistakes, and give herself a second chance at love? Or is history doomed to repeat itself?



My Thoughts
What do you do when your life falls apart at the seams?  Well if you are Victoria you take a road trip and getaway to Cornwall to clear your head!  I'm game, I can truthfully think of many times I would have loved to do this but alas I have children and it's not possible.  Darn!
As Victoria is visiting the town, she takes a walk and is drawn to a hidden cottage known as Seafall Cottage.  The feelings that she gets when she is there are hard to describe, she feels as if she was meant to find it, hidden in the cliff.
Then one day she hears that it is about to be demolished and what does she do?  She buys it!  What has she just gotten herself into?
As she is walking around her new home, she comes across a diary with a mystical coded language and then she locates letters here and there and she begins to research the past of this mystical place.
Victoria learns how to live life, smile, breathe and possibly finds love again?
What more could a broken hearted woman ask for?
Curl up with a copy today!  You will fall in love with Cornwall!


Drink Selection
Sit back and relax and enjoy a glass of 2013 Camel Valley Sparkling Demi-Sec from the Camel Valley Vineyard in Cornwall!
Rating
Well, I couldn't put it down and I LOVED every minute, 5 wine glasses all the way!













Sunday, April 2, 2017

Review - The Good Widow by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke


Elementary school teacher Jacqueline “Jacks” Morales’s marriage was far from perfect, but even in its ups and downs it was predictable, familiar. Or at least she thought it was…until two police officers showed up at her door with devastating news. Her husband of eight years, the one who should have been on a business trip to Kansas, had suffered a fatal car accident in Hawaii. And he wasn’t alone.
For Jacks, laying her husband to rest was hard. But it was even harder to think that his final moments belonged to another woman—one who had left behind her own grieving and bewildered fiancé. Nick, just as blindsided by the affair, wants answers. So he suggests that he and Jacks search for the truth together, retracing the doomed lovers’ last days in paradise.
Now, following the twisting path of that fateful road, Jacks is learning that nothing is ever as it seems. Not her marriage. Not her husband. And most certainly not his death…

My Thoughts 
What just happened?  Wow, I can't even process how good Liz and Lisa's first suspense book is!  The lies, the cheating, this story has it all and more!
Jacks truly believes that her marriage is OK, there are a few ups and downs but every marriage has its moments right?  She's then blindsided and doesn't know how to process what her life has become.  She just received news that her husband died in a car accident in Maui, wait! Maui?  How is that possible?  He's on a business trip in Kansas?  They must have the wrong person.  There has to be another explanation.
Then Nick shows up one day at her door, Dylan's Fiance, and Jacks is thrown another curve ball.
Nick not only wants to find out the truth but he wants Jacks to accompany him to Maui to find out what REALLY happened with their exes.  Did they truly love each other or were they just having a fling that didn't mean anything?  Did that really matter?  I mean cheating is cheating right?  Would you be able to take the same trip that your husband took with his mistress?
This story will have you questioning all aspects from love to cheating to the accident.  Just when you thought you knew what happens, then you are sent into left field.  You won't be able to put this book down - I literally read it in a couple of days time! 

Drink Selection
This story will have your head spinning, not knowing what is going to happen next!  Enjoy a Mai Tai!  I could enjoy these all day!  Delish!
Rating 
5 wine glasses all the way!  You won't be able to put it down till you get to the end!  Forget about sleep, it's totally overrated! 


 

Review - The Forever Summer by Jamie Brenner

The discovery of long-buried secrets brings three generations of women together to Cape Cod for the summer homecoming of a lifetime.

Marin Bishop has always played by the rules, and it's paid off: on the cusp of thirty she has a handsome fiancé, a prestigious Manhattan legal career, and her father's hard-won admiration. But with one careless mistake at work, Marin suddenly finds herself unemployed and alone. Before she can summon the courage to tell her parents, a young woman appears, claiming to be Marin's half-sister. Seeking answers, Marin agrees to join her on a soul-searching journey to Cape Cod, to meet the family she didn't even know she had.

As the summer unfolds at her grandmother's beachside B&B, it becomes clear that her half-sister's existence is just the first in a series of truths that will shake Marin's beliefs--in love, and in her own identity--to the core. Filled with shocking revelations, heartfelt romance, and resilient women banding together against the most unexpected twists of fate, THE FOREVER SUMMER is an emotionally resonant page-turner, and a delicious escape for any season.


My Thoughts 
The perfect beach read for anyone looking for a story about love, life, family, redemption, forgiveness just to name a few -  I could go on and on.
The depth of the multiple story lines within this one piece sets apart Jamie from many other writers.  She is able to flow from one character to the next seamlessly, not skipping even the smallest of details to intertwine their lives together in one great novel.
Marin has always followed the rules and has planned for a set course in life - follow in her father's footsteps and become a lawyer, get engaged to a top notch guy and live in an amazing city.  But then she meets the man of her dreams and decides to leave her fiance to pursue him.  But there is one tiny little problem, she and Julian and are not allowed to date and work together.
Just when then thought they had it under wraps, someone leaks their relationship to the partners and both Marin and Julian are out on their butts.  What are they going to do?  At least they have each other right, or do they?
Then a stranger contacts Marin and states that she is her long lost half sister, how is that possible?  Her parents have never been apart?  There has to be a mistake, right?
Then Marin chooses to follow her "half-sister" to Cape Cod and meet the fam.  She is still not sure what to think or what to expect.
This trip will change Marin's life in more ways then she will ever imagine.  Will she find her true passion?  Will she reconnect with Julian?  Will her mother be able to look her in her eyes after living such a lie?

Drink Selection
Yum!  The PERFECT drink to go along with this beach read, the Cape Codder!  Grab one (or a couple today!)

 Rating 
 5 wine glass review all the way - pre-order your copy today!


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Review - Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult




#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • With richly layered characters and a gripping moral dilemma that will lead readers to question everything they know about privilege, power, and race, Small Great Things is the stunning new page-turner from Jodi Picoult.

SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE
“[Picoult] offers a thought-provoking examination of racism in America today, both overt and subtle. Her many readers will find much to discuss in the pages of this topical, moving book.”—Booklist (starred review)

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy’s counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other’s trust, and come to see that what they’ve been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.

With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion—and doesn’t offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game.



My Thoughts
Wow...just wow!  Everyone should read this book at some point in their lives.  It's relevant, timeless, and race is something that we deal with each day.
I see that this will be a movie, I can't wait to see who plays these characters.  Now that I have said that out load, I am truly trying to decide who would be great for these roles.
Ruth Jefferson lives in a nice neighborhood in CT, has set high expectations for her son, and wants to live a better life than most family and friends that she knows.  She is a labor and delivery nurse for a local hospital and has had her job for over 20 years and loves it!
Then one day she gets the patients from hell, literally.  A white supremacist family and they were out to make her life miserable.  Not allowing her near their baby and going to her boss with their tainted views of African Americans. 
One day their newborn son is fighting for his life and Ruth is the only person near to help at that moment.  What does she do?  Should she help?  Should she wait till others show up?
Tragedy strikes and Ruth's life is turned upside down.  Will she rise above and get past it or will she snap and let it take her down along with her son?
I refuse to giveaway too many details, you must read the book for yourselves to get the big picture and understand what is going on.  It is more relevant today then ever!


Drink Selection
I would have to pair this selection with a deep red wine, Merlot to be exact.  Delish!  Here are a few suggestions that you may love!



Rating
This is one of my top reads of 2017!  I couldn't put it down and lived for opening it every second of the day.  Read it today!  5 wine glasses all the way!











Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Review - Have Your Cake and Eat It by Isabelle Andover

Bella Hunt thought the nanny quitting was the worst life got. Until she lost her job, that is. Going from a high-flying fashion PR consultant to a stay-at-home mother of three turns out to be a rather rude awakening, and Bella finds she’s coming up short in a few too many areas. But with a dash of ingenuity, a spoonful of friendship, and a sprinkling of love, Bella manages to not only have her cake, but eat it, too.

My Thoughts 
What a fun story about the life of a mom who went from the woman who was sought after by many for her amazing PR skills to a SAHM who feels like she's is forgotten at age 38.  A has been...who will hire her now?
She goes through the trials and tribulations of cleaning, temper tantrums and trying to remember if she washed her hair and brushed her teeth that morning?
Then she snaps...she needs to do something with her life...find her true passion...does she go for it?  Does she give up her dreams?
Being a single mom myself I can truly relate to Bella and what she is experiencing.  I have since gone back to work full-time and had decided once the kids were all in school I wanted to further my education and I have!  I graduate with my Masters in May and have already started my second Masters as well!  The sky is the limit and single moms know how to reach for their goals!

Drink Selection
This mom needs a little energy to get through the day and mixing just about anything with Vodka is yummy, a red bull and absolute vodka it is!  Enjoy!

Rating
Looking for a fun story that will have you smiling (and relating) from beginning to end, grab your copy and sit back and relax!  4 wine glasses all the way!




Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Review - The Life She Was Given by Ellen Marie Wiseman

From acclaimed author Ellen Marie Wiseman comes a vivid, daring novel about the devastating power of family secrets—beginning in the poignant, lurid world of a Depression-era traveling circus and coming full circle in the transformative 1950s.

On a summer evening in 1931, Lilly Blackwood glimpses circus lights from the grimy window of her attic bedroom. Lilly isn’t allowed to explore the meadows around Blackwood Manor. She’s never even ventured beyond her narrow room. Momma insists it’s for Lilly’s own protection, that people would be afraid if they saw her. But on this unforgettable night, Lilly is taken outside for the first time—and sold to the circus sideshow.

More than two decades later, nineteen-year-old Julia Blackwood has inherited her parents’ estate and horse farm. For Julia, home was an unhappy place full of strict rules and forbidden rooms, and she hopes that returning might erase those painful memories. Instead, she becomes immersed in a mystery involving a hidden attic room and photos of circus scenes featuring a striking young girl.

At first, The Barlow Brothers’ Circus is just another prison for Lilly. But in this rag-tag, sometimes brutal world, Lilly discovers strength, friendship, and a rare affinity for animals. Soon, thanks to elephants Pepper and JoJo and their handler, Cole, Lilly is no longer a sideshow spectacle but the circus’s biggest attraction. . .until tragedy and cruelty collide. It will fall to Julia to learn the truth about Lilly’s fate and her family’s shocking betrayal, and find a way to make Blackwood Manor into a place of healing at last.

Moving between Julia and Lilly’s stories, Ellen Marie Wiseman portrays two extraordinary, very different women in a novel that, while tender and heartbreaking, offers moments of joy and indomitable hope.





My Thoughts
I am so in love with this book, it is a top novel of 2017 for sure.
There are so many themes - sad, furious, happy, and in love just to name a few.  There were so many times through out that I caught myself second guessing what was happening, what happened in the past and who each character was.  It had me enthralled all the way to the very last page, and saddened with the fact that I would not have anymore to read.


Lilly's story has so many depths to it - sad, terrifying, devastating, scary, electric, loving and tragic.  She was beautiful on the inside and out.  She lived a very horrifying life that I'm not sure I would have been able to survive as she did.  How could her parents do that to her?  I can't imagine ever thinking those thoughts a day in my life NO MATTER WHAT.  I love the fact that there was a glimpse of happiness for her to experience even if it was fleeting.
The Barlow Brother's Circus was not only her nightmare, the happiest time in her life and her demise in the end!


Julia's life mirrored her mother's life in many ways, although different in the grand scheme.  I feel for her -  finding out the truths and realities of her family and what they kept from her till the very end. 


This story will have you feeling so many emotions on so many different levels and will teach you about the horrifying realities of circuses and the treatment of animals as well as how people were treated that were different from the rest of the "real" world.


Put this book on your TBR pile and pre-order your copy TODAY!


Drink Selection
In comparison with this amazing read, I will pair it with a warm glass (or two) of Bourbon. 
Rating
5 wine glasses all the way!  I can't sing enough praises for this novel.  Amazing!  Tragic! Top pick of 2017!










Friday, March 10, 2017

Review - The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines


These famous words are now synonymous with the dynamic husband-and-wife team Chip and Joanna Gaines, stars of HGTV’s Fixer Upper. As this question fills the airwaves with anticipation, their legions of fans continue to multiply and ask a different series of questions, like—Who are these people?What’s the secret to their success? And is Chip actually that funny in real life? By renovating homes in Waco, Texas, and changing lives in such a winsome and engaging way, Chip and Joanna have become more than just the stars of Fixer Upper, they have become America’s new best friends.
The Magnolia Story is the first book from Chip and Joanna, offering their fans a detailed look at their life together. From the very first renovation project they ever tackled together, to the project that nearly cost them everything; from the childhood memories that shaped them, to the twists and turns that led them to the life they share on the farm today.
They both attended Baylor University in Waco. However, their paths did not cross until Chip checked his car into the local Firestone tire shop where Joanna worked behind the counter. Even back then Chip was a serial entrepreneur who, among other things, ran a lawn care company, sold fireworks, and flipped houses. Soon they were married and living in their first fixer upper. Four children and countless renovations later, Joanna garners the attention of a television producer who notices her work on a blog one day.
In The Magnolia Story fans will finally get to join the Gaines behind the scenes and discover:
  • The time Chip ran to the grocery store and forgot to take their new, sleeping baby
  • Joanna’s agonizing decision to close her dream business to focus on raising their children
  • When Chip buys a houseboat, sight-unseen, and it turns out to be a leaky wreck
  • Joanna’s breakthrough moment of discovering the secret to creating a beautiful home
  • Harrowing stories of the financial ups and downs as an entrepreneurial couple
  • Memories and photos from Chip and Jo’s wedding
  • The significance of the word magnolia and why it permeates everything they do
  • The way the couple pays the popularity of Fixer Upper forward, sharing the success with others, and bolstering the city of Waco along the way
And yet there is still one lingering question for fans of the show: Is Chip really that funny? “Oh yeah,” says Joanna. “He was, and still is, my first fixer upper.”


My Thoughts
I can't say enough about this couple.  I've loved their show Fixer Upper from the beginning.  They are real, funny, memorable, and truly kind and genuine people that I could be friends with!
Listening to them write about how amazing they were doing and then describe the crippling effects of a business economy that wasn't on their side is truly inspirational.  They didn't try to hide that downfall just to keep up a persona for their fans and friends and families.  They truly tell it like it is and then they show us how they can rise above a situation and move on.  I love how they said in our society today some couples would turn on each other but in these times of crisis they relied on each other even more.
The fact that Joanna was never a trained designer of any sort and just fell into her profession really speaks volumes.  She truly has a gift, a calling so to speak, and I love watching her create each and every room.  Truly inspiring. 
They really are living the American Dream in all senses and it makes me want to model the relationship that they have and aspire to be like them in my own life.
You will love learning about Chip and his quirky ways and you will love even more the kind of parents they are and their kids and family comes first.
On a cold weekend day in March, get your copy of The Magnolia Story and enjoy!


Drink Selection
A yummy pink magnolia cocktail goes along with this book perfectly!  Not only does in sound delish but it is gorgeous too!


Rating
I can't say enough great things about this book!  5 wine glasses all the way!





Saturday, March 4, 2017

Review - Center of Gravity by Laura McNeill

The truth could cost her everything.
Her whole life, Ava Carson has been sure of one thing: she doesn’t measure up to her mother’s expectations. So when Mitchell Carson sweeps into her life with his adorable son, the ready-made family seems like a dream come true. In the blink of an eye, she’s married, has a new baby, and life is wonderful.
Or is it?
When her picture-perfect marriage begins unraveling at the seams, Ava convinces herself she can fix it. It’s temporary. It’s the stress. It’s Mitchell’s tragic history of loss.
If only Ava could believe her own excuses.
Mitchell is no longer the charming, thoughtful man she married. He grows more controlling by the day, revealing a violent jealous streak. His behavior is recklessly erratic, and the unanswered questions about his past now hint at something far more sinister than Ava can stomach. Before she can fit the pieces together, Mitchell files for divorce and demands full custody of their boys.
Fueled by fierce love for her children and aided by Graham Thomas, a new attorney in town, Ava takes matters into her own hands, digging deep into the past. But will finding the truth be enough to beat Mitchell at his own game?

My Thoughts
This book will grab you and pull you in from the very first chapter!  Laura has this way with words - the details are extraordinary and the plot is gripping.
Does Ava have the family she has always desired?  From the outside her, Mitchell, Jack and Sam look to be your perfect family unit.  Or are they?
The past has a way of catching up you and turning your world upside down in a heart beat.
When Ava starts to question what is really going on Mitchell loses it.  Questions if Ava is having an affair or asking what she is really doing when he's not around?  Then one day he just takes off and files for divorce.  He takes temporary custody of the boys and sets out to make Ava look like the most unfit mother in the community who cheats on her husband.
Ava has no choice but to get an attorney and fight with everything she has. 
She starts to investigate Mitchell and what he is hiding.  Family?  Karen's death?  Who exactly is this man she married and how can she get her kids home safely where they belong?
Get your copy on this chilly March day and indulge.  You will not be able to put it down.

Drink Selection
Sit back and enjoy a glass or two of southern style sweet tea!  Delish!
Rating
Hands down - 5 wine glasses for this suspense novel that will have you saying " Do I really know the man I married? Or is that family next store really as perfect as they seem to be?" 

Review - This Life I Live by Rory Feek

The story she said he was born to write.

Her story. His story. The love story of Joey and Rory.

By inviting so many into the final months of Joey’s life as she battled cancer, Joey and Rory Feek captured hearts around the world with how they handled the diagnosis; the inspiring, simple way they chose to live; and how they loved each other every step of the way. But there is far more to the story.

“My life is very ordinary,” says Rory. “On the surface, it is not very special. If you looked at it, day to day, it wouldn’t seem like much. But when you look at it in a bigger context—as part of a larger story—you start to see the magic that is on the pages of the book that is my life. And the more you look, the more you see. Or, at least, I do.”

In this vulnerable book, he takes us for the first time into his own challenging life story and what it was like growing up in rural America with little money and even less family stability.

This is the story of a man searching for meaning and security in a world that offered neither. And it’s the story of a man who finally gives it all to a power higher than himself and soon meets a young woman who will change his heart forever.

In This Life I Live, Rory Feek helps us not only to connect more fully to his and Joey’s story but also to our own journeys. He shows what can happen when we are fully open in life’s key moments, whether when meeting our life companion or tackling an unexpected tragedy. He also gives never-before-revealed details on their life together and what he calls “the long goodbye,” the blessing of being able to know that life is going to end and taking advantage of it. Rory shows how we are all actually there already and how we can learn to live that way every day.

A gifted man from nowhere and everywhere in search of something to believe in. A young woman from the Midwest with an angelic voice and deep roots that just needed a place to be planted. This is their story. Two hearts that found each other and touched millions of other hearts along the way.

My Thoughts
What a truly gorgeous, heartfelt story of love, commitment, honor, family and so much more.  This is the story of Rory and Joey Feek, an amazing Country Duo group that just happen to fall in love and this is their story.
Rory discusses his life growing up and how he became the man that he is today.  Life was not always easy or pretty for Rory but he was determined to make it in Nashville.
His father was not in the picture and his mother was never really able to give his siblings the upbringing they deserved.
He had many failed relationships, he truly didn't know what love was and had no real measure to compare to.
He had two girls when he was young and in the military and then their mother left and he was alone to raise them and give them the best life he could.
And then there was Jory.
Joey had a plan for stardom ever since she was young.  She wanted to make it in Nashville and tried every way possible.
Then she fell in love at first sight with Rory.  But it took her 2 years to come back to him again after that night.
This is a true story of two people that were destined to be together and knew that God meant for them to find one another and live out the life he had planned for them.
Though this story may have a sad ending, it also has a happy beginning for a precious little girl named Indiana. You will fall in love with this amazing family as I have.  I guarantee it.


Drink Selection
Grab a delicious pitcher of southern sweet tea, it would be a great combination with this story of love and life!

Rating
Sit back and enjoy a glass or two of sweet tea and enjoy a sweet story about love, life and smiles from Indiana, the little girl who has Rory's heart.  5 wine glasses all the way!




Saturday, February 25, 2017

Review: My Not So Perfect Life by Sophia Kinsella

Everywhere Katie Brenner looks, someone else is living the life she longs for, particularly her boss, Demeter Farlowe. Demeter is brilliant and creative, lives with her perfect family in a posh townhouse, and wears the coolest clothes. Katie’s life, meanwhile, is a daily struggle—from her dismal rental to her oddball flatmates to the tense office politics she’s trying to negotiate. No wonder Katie takes refuge in not-quite-true Instagram posts, especially as she's desperate to make her dad proud.

Then, just as she’s finding her feet—not to mention a possible new romance—the worst happens. Demeter fires Katie. Shattered but determined to stay positive, Katie retreats to her family’s farm in Somerset to help them set up a vacation business. London has never seemed so far away—until Demeter unexpectedly turns up as a guest. Secrets are spilled and relationships rejiggered, and as the stakes for Katie’s future get higher, she must question her own assumptions about what makes for a truly meaningful life.


My Thoughts
Sophia really hit this one out of the park. I couldn't make it through a day without reading several chapters either at school or at work on break, I always had this book with me.  Even work friends were asking me to tell them how it was because they had heard so much excitement around this release.
Katie "Cat" Brenner is truly amazing - she is a small town girl who wants to make it big in London.  She will do anything to make that happen from changing her name, losing her accent, recreating a whole new look from clothes to make-up and hair.  But will that truly make Cat happy and all her dreams come true?
She struggles daily with office politics - is this truly the success that she was looking for?  To come to work and be treated like a second class citizen and back stabbing behind each corner?
Then the worst happens, how will Cat make her dream of London a permanent reality with NO JOB?  Yes, you heard me correctly, Cat was fired! 
And back to Somerset she heads with her tale between her legs and a secret a mile long that she is going to keep from her dad and Biddy. 
Craziness ensues from her dad's crazy investment schemes to an appearance from a few of her co-workers down on the farm!
Run, don't walk, and buy this book today!  Trust me!

Drink Selection
I had to go with a fun "Londonesque" drink, with a (few) glass of Robin Hood, Quince of Thieves!
It has a yummy blend of Somerset apple brandy (Somerset!), quince liqueur, honey mead, lemon, and even a mini apple bullseye.  Yum! 






Rating 
5 wine glasses all the way, there is no other acceptable rating!  You must check this book out!  You will want to book a flight to London tomorrow!  (Now what can I do with my job and kids on short notice, hmmmm, OK it may have to wait a bit but you know what I mean!)



Sunday, February 12, 2017

Review: Deliver Her by Patricia Perry Donovan

On the night of Alex Carmody’s sixteenth birthday, she and her best friend, Cass, are victims of a terrible car accident. Alex survives; Cass doesn’t. Consumed by grief, Alex starts cutting school and partying, growing increasingly detached. The future she’d planned with her friend is now meaningless to her.
Meg Carmody is heartbroken for her daughter, even as she’s desperate to get Alex’s life back on track. The Birches, a boarding school in New Hampshire, promises to do just that, yet Alex refuses to go. But when Meg finds a bag of pills hidden in the house, she makes a fateful call to a transporter whose company specializes in shuttling troubled teens to places like The Birches, under strict supervision. Meg knows Alex will feel betrayed—as will her estranged husband, who knows nothing of Meg’s plans for their daughter.
When the transport goes wrong—and Alex goes missing—Meg must face the consequences of her decision and her deception. But the hunt for Alex reveals that Meg is not the only one keeping secrets.

My Thoughts 
This book grabs you from the very beginning.  Alex was just a normal teenager and the she was involved in accident that turned her whole world upside down.  How will she ever survive this horrible nightmare?  I will be honest and I was reading from the perspective of having a daughter the same age and if this ever happened to me I would be just as confused and lost as Alex's mom Meg.   Will she be able to save her daughter?

Meg has no idea where to turn for help, they have tried everything.  Her last hope is a school in the North East, The Birches, for troubled teens.  But how will she get there?  They've tried to get her in the car for a "trip" before and that didn't go well, obviously.  But the final straw, the prescription pills Meg found in the basement, after a party, sent her overboard.  She hired a transporter that would get Alex from their home to school.

Everything seems to be going smoothly from point A to point B, but they never quite make it to Point B.  Are they alive?  Dead?  What has happened to Alex?  Where is she?  Has she been kidnapped?

Pick up this book today and I guarantee you won't be able to put it down till it's over!  

Drink Selection
I have decided to pair it with a tasty glass (or 3) of Sweet Bliss - sweet red wine.  Delish!


Rating
I loved the story from the heart ache in the beginning to the suspense through to the end.  5 wine glasses all the way!


Saturday, February 4, 2017

Review: Blogger Girl by Meredith Schorr


SUMMARY
What happens when your high school nemesis becomes the shining star in a universe you pretty much saved? Book blogger Kimberly Long is about to find out. A chick lit enthusiast since the first time she read “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” Kim, with her blog, “Pastel is the New Black,” has worked tirelessly by night to keep the genre alive, and help squash the claim that “chick lit is dead” once and for all. Not bad for a woman who by day ekes out a meager living as a pretty, and pretty-much-nameless, legal secretary in a Manhattan law firm. While Kim’s day job holds no passion for her, the handsome (and shaving-challenged) associate down the hall is another story. Yet another story is that Hannah Marshak, one of her most-hated high school classmates, has now popped onto the chick lit scene with a hot new book that’s turning heads—and pages—across the land. It’s also popped into Kim’s inbox - for review. With their ten-year high school reunion drawing near, Kim’s coming close to combustion over the hype about Hannah’s book. And as everyone around her seems to be moving on and up, she begins to question whether being a “blogger girl” makes the grade in her off-line life.

MY REVIEW 
I can't believe that I haven't read this book sooner! 
MUST READ Chick Lit  book for everyone!
Let me first state that this book, in some ways, is close to my life!  I am a paralegal in a law firm and I have my own up and coming book blog!  
Kimberly Long is obsessed with Chick Lit, so much so that a few years back she created an amazing blog dedicated to it, Pastel is the New Black!  She is constantly in contact with authors and publishers who are dying to work with her and have their book be the next that she reviews.
She has an amazing boss, Rob, who allows her to review, read and write book reviews while on the job as long as her work is taken care of! (I do the same as well, I am currently half way done with my Monday at work and blogging away).
Then he joins the firm...
She can't get him out of her mind and hopes that each and every day they have some reason to converse.  Does he have a girlfriend? Would he ever be interested in dating her?
As if her life wasn't crazy enough, then her high school reunion rolls around. And so does - Hannah Marshak, the evil girl who used to torment her in high school.
And if that was bad enough, Hannah is releasing a chick lit novel and wants Kimberly to review it!  
So many twists and turns and ups and downs, Blogger Girl will have you wanting to read until the early hours of each morning till you are done!


WINE SELECTION 
I would pair this amazing book with Girly Girl Merlot!
MY RATINGI give Blogger Girl a five wine glasses rating!  It had me coming back for more around each and every twist and turn.