Book Review | Stuck in Manistique by Dennis Cuesta

Book Description:

Near the midpoint of the Upper Peninsula, along a Lake Michigan bend of shore, is the town of Manistique, Michigan. Mark had never heard of Manistique before the death of his estranged aunt, but as sole beneficiary of Vivian’s estate, he travels there to settle her affairs. As Mark tours his aunt’s house for the first time, the doorbell rings.

Days after graduating medical school, Dr. Emily Davis drives north, struggling with her illicit rendezvous on Mackinac Island. She never makes it—on the highway near Manistique, her car collides with a deer, shattering the car’s windshield. Stranded for the night, Emily is directed to a nearby bed and breakfast.

Maybe it’s a heady reaction, the revelation that his aunt, an international aid doctor, ran a bed and breakfast in retirement. Or perhaps he plainly feels pity for the young, helpless doctor. Regardless, Mark decides to play host for one night, telling Emily that he’s merely stepping in temporarily while his aunt is away.

As a one-night stay turns into another and more guests arrive, the ersatz innkeeper steadily loses control of his story. And though Emily opens up to Mark, she has trouble explaining the middle-aged man who unexpectedly arrives at the doorstep looking for her.

Will these two strangers, holding on to unraveling secrets, remain in town long enough to discover the connection between them?

This was a pretty easy-to-read book. It started out with the perspective coming from Mark, the main character. He goes to Manistique (a place he’s never been) because he gets word that his aunt has died and when he gets there, he learns she has left him her inn. He didn’t have the best relationship with her, so he immediately feels guilty about staying and wants to meet with the lawyer to get things going to sell. Then all of a sudden, people start showing up, with previous bookings, unaware that Vivian has passed. He jumps into action and accommodates them, but doesn’t want to own a bed and breakfast.

Emily is someone who wouldn’t have even crossed paths with Mark unless she hit a deer, on her way to meet her doctor boyfriend on Mackinac Island. She tries to get out of seeing Dr. Bulcher, as she realizes that the relationship isn’t progressing as it should, and then ends up at the bed and breakfast. She hits it off with Mark, and after some exploring in the basement, she finds a book for Doctors without Borders, and begins reading.

Throughout the book, there are few characters. Most are townspeople trying to assist those who have come to Manistique and are stranded. Then, there are the ones staying at Mark’s bed and breakfast. He wants to get rid of the place and responsibility, but realizes that there might be a connection between him and Emily.

One thing I will have to admit, was that I was very appreciative of how he treated Emily throughout the book. He could’ve taken advantage of her, or been inappropriate at times, but he always held her in high regard, even when she would push his buttons, or when she would leave the inn because he was impossible to be around. I thought that was a highlight of the book. I enjoyed their personality conflicts, and how they grew to understand each other as they learned things about each other.

I think this is a great vacation read, for learning about small town characters, our internal struggles with grief and loss, admitting when we need help, and growing in relationship with others.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Celestial Eyes Press and Netgalley.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 (http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html): “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review | The Key to Love by Betsy St. Amant

NEW RELEASE – 10/13/20!~!~!

Book Description:

The only thing Bri Duval loves more than baking petit fours is romance. So much so, she’s created her own version of the famous Parisian lovelock wall at her bakery in Story, Kansas. She never expects it to go viral–or for Trek Magazine to send travel writer Gerard Fortier to feature the bakery. He’s definitely handsome, but Bri has been holding out for a love story like the one her parents had, and that certainly will not include the love-scorned-and-therefore-love-scorning Gerard.

Just when it seems Bri’s bakery is poised for unprecedented success, a series of events threaten not just her business but the pedestal she’s kept her parents on all these years. Maybe Gerard is right about romance. Or maybe Bri’s recipe just needs to be tweaked.

Novelist Betsy St. Amant invites you to experience this sweet story of how love doesn’t always look the way we expect–and maybe that’s a good thing. 

Alright y’all, I love Hallmark movies – maybe because they’re safe, wholesome and predictable. Yes, they can be nauseating, or they can tell sweet stories of love found in the craziest places. Typically, I love the establishment of the characters, their revealed flaws, a conflict and the resolution which usually involves a perfect kiss. I felt like this book was following that format pretty clearly until I got to the last page. It ended up being a sweet relief from the norm, and that is why I highly suggest this book! Because Betsy St. Amant is one of my favorite authors, I was honored to help in the launch of this new book! It just released October 13, 2020! Grab your copy now!

The main character Bri, is a grieving young woman who is a total romantic – she thinks very highly of her deceased parents and their relationship. She works in her mom’s bakery in a small town and loves reminiscing about her parents’ devotion and love to each other, as she works alongside the two ladies who worked with her mom: Agnes and Mabel. There is silliness and inside jokes amongst the coworkers. The “love angels”, named for their matchmaking abilities, banter and lovingly pick on Bri. The baking team loves to make petit fours, macarons and delicious delectables that draw in the locals.

On the premises of the bakery, is a replica of the “Love Lock Wall” that had previously been torn down in Paris, France. For a quick history of this wall, read here:

https://citywonders.com/blog/France/Paris/paris-love-lock-bridge-story.

So in the story, a travel writer comes to Story, Kansas to do a piece on the bakery and the love lock wall. He’s nothing like Bri would assume, but Gerard Fortier and her hit it off, develop feelings and keep running into each other in town. Of course there is a nemesis, Charles Richmond, a lawyer who wishes to purchase the bakery and Bri’s ex-boyfriend.

As Gerard and Bri collaborate on the magazine article, Charles keeps pursuing Mabel and Agnes with monetary offers to tear down the bakery and replace it with a commercial coffee place. Bri disagrees with selling, as she has such strong feelings on the bakery. It is one of the last things she has linking her to her mother.

Throughout the book, Gerard and Bri have many exchanges – some professional and some personal. Gerard seems to test everything there is in Bri, and his outlook of love is a complete polar opposite to hers. But in their exchanges, as frustrating as they can be sometimes, you notice the growth and inspiration effect that the one has on the other, and vice versa. They both learn from each other, and challenge each others’ beliefs. Where Gerard feels love is a waste of time, Bri thinks almost too highly of it, and crashes hard when some realizations about her parents shock her world. As a reader, you sense the imbalance.

What I loved most about the book, particularly when Bri finally saw things as they needed to be seen, was the faith element. There is a pastor who leaves a mark on Gerard, and the lesson that needs to be learned is clearly explained. Transformation takes place and the ending is sweet and realistic. I personally loved the conflict and tension of the story, because growth also takes place and REAL LOVE manifests.

Grab a cup of coffee (preferably a little bitter), a few macarons and a few hours of quiet and escape to Story, Kansas, where love still lives, as human as it is, and transforms even the hardest of hearts. A great read with a sense of completion at its end. I am appreciative of the opportunity to provide a non-biased review of this book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell at the author’s request. I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 (http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html): “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review | An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

The instant #1 New York Times bestseller (January 2019) everyone is talking about!

People Magazine’s Book of the Week • Bookish’s “Must-Read Books of Winter” • PopSugar’s “Best Books of Winter” • Cosmopolitan’s “2019 Books to Bring to Your Book Club” • Bookbub’s “Biggest Books of Winter” • Refinery 29’s “Best Books of January 2019” • Crime Reads’ “January’s Best Psychological Thrillers” • InStyle’s “7 Books That You Should Resolve to Read This January” • HelloGiggles’ “The 50 Most Anticipated Books of 2019” • USA Today’s “5 New Books Not to Miss” • Marie Claire’s “The Best Women’s Fiction of 2019 (So Far)” • Hypable’s “Winter Releases You Can’t Afford to Miss”

“Hendricks and Pekkanen are at the top of their game…You won’t see the final twist coming.” —People Magazine

“Beware strange psychologists…the authors know exactly how to play on their characters’ love of danger to bring them to the brink of disaster – and dare them to jump off.” —New York Times Book Review

“Slickly twisty [with] gasp-worthy final twists...major league suspense.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“For those who relished the creepy stalking in Hendricks and Pekkanen’s The Wife Between Us, this unnerving tale will have them rethinking what secrets are safe to share and if moral and ethics really matter when protecting the ones you love.” —Library Journal (starred review)

“Masterfully escalates the suspense.” —Booklist (starred review)

Looking to earn some easy cash, Jessica Farris agrees to be a test subject in a psychological study about ethics and morality. But as the study moves from the exam room to the real world, the line between what is real and what is one of Dr. Shields’s experiments blurs.

Dr. Shields seems to know what Jess is thinking… and what she’s hiding.

Jessica’s behavior will not only be monitored, but manipulated.

Caught in a web of attraction, deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.

From the authors of the blockbuster bestseller The Wife Between Us, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, An Anonymous Girl will keep you riveted through the last shocking twist.

UPDATE: FILM / MOVIE / ADAPTATION:

https://the-bibliofile.com/an-anonymous-girl-tv-series-movie-release-cast-trailer-film/

This book was amazing! I love psychological thrillers (obviously!) and this book led right into the suspense. The main character, Jessica Farris, in need of money for her family, and seeing an opportunity she couldn’t pass up, participated in a morality study for which she would be paid. The first hiccup, was that she wasn’t the invited participant to the study. She took the place of someone else. But she thought they would overlook it.

Slowly her story unraveled: her family history, her relationship issues, etc. And within the first few chapters, we came to realize the makers of the study were very interested in what she has to say and why. The psychology professor who created the study began to send Jessica on errands and after a few, they just didn’t seem to make sense, and then Jessica began to put it together.

Twists, turns, possibilities, and theories begin, and the story gets deeper and deeper with Dr. Shields. It’s so well written and thought-provoking, that I couldn’t put the book down, except to work and spend time with my hubby. I love books like this, that pull you in and make you wonder what on God’s green earth is going on.

One of my favorite things about the book was the switching of perspectives: one chapter would be from Jessica’s point of view, and the next chapter would be from the perspective of Dr. Lydia Shields. It was great to vacillate between the two and try to figure out the motives of both of them.

This is the second book I’ve read from this duo and I think they’ve got this down pat! They are able to coordinate and put together stories from multiple perspectives, with sinister plots and believable characters. I love reading their novels, can’t wait to read more from them and am really hoping a TV adaptation is made for this book. It’s definitely 5/5 from me!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 (http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html): “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review | Lies by T. M. Logan

T. M. Logan Lies cover

Book Description:

WHAT IF YOUR WHOLE LIFE WAS BASED ON LIES?
When Joe Lynch stumbles across his wife driving into a hotel car park while she’s supposed to be at work, he’s intrigued enough to follow her in.

And when he witnesses her in an angry altercation with family friend Ben, he knows he ought to intervene.

But just as the confrontation between the two men turns violent, and Ben is knocked unconscious, Joe’s young son has an asthma attack – and Joe must flee in order to help him.

When he returns, desperate to make sure Ben is OK, Joe is horrified to find that Ben has disappeared.

And that’s when Joe receives the first message . . .

Love psychological thrillers and this one was part whodunit, part thriller.  I have to admit it didn’t take me long to read it, since I would read past midnight, not wanting to miss the next chapter.

This book started out with a dad named Joe and his son in their car. While driving, the son sees his mother’s car and mentions it to Joe.  They decide to follow her, and before they know it, they’re at a hotel, witnessing a family friend and Mommy have an argument.  Joe decides to approach his friend Ben while he’s walking to his car in the parking lot and the two have a conversation, but Joe ends up with more questions than answers.  Ben also ends up on the ground of the parking lot after their altercation and things just seem to spin out of control afterward.

Any book that has me asking questions throughout, especially about personalities, behaviors and motives, draws me in.  This book did exactly that! Well written, fast-paced and with events that keep you asking questions during the investigation, this book does not disappoint on the “what’s going on” scale.  And the ending twist was a nice finish, considering everybody seems to be capable of wanting something bad to happen to Ben.

One thing I have to give credit to the author for, is the realistic reactions of Joe.  Normally dialogue between married couples and other people sometimes never sound realistic, but as tension began to build, there were realistic questions asked, rational reactions and it made for a believable storyline, so well done on that!

In order to know exactly what happens, you’ll have to read for yourself. What if everything you’ve ever believed WAS a lie?  #lies #netgalley

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 (http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html): “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Welcome

cropped-stack-of-booksFresh new books before or near their actual release dates!  I’ve migrated forty previous book reviews from my other blog (https://gracielynn.blog) and made this a separate site to browse new books that are coming out for your perusal.  I review books from multiple publishers and clearinghouses to bring you some new material.  My genres include: Christian life, Bible studies, memoirs, fiction, suspense, and psychological thrillers.

Happy Reading and Happy New Year!

-GLH