BeachReads · Book Reviews

Book Review: “The Moonglow Sisters” by Lori Wilde

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Thank you @williammorrowbooks for my gifted copy of “The Moonglow Sisters” by Lori Wilde! (pub date 3/3).

It’s Jill Shalvis meets Susan Mallery in this gorgeous novel by NYT bestselling author Lori Wilde about three sisters, one small town, a wedding, & the summer that changes everything.

Welcome to Moonglow Cove, Texas, a place where your neighbors know your name & the gentle waves of the Gulf of Mexico lap lazily against the sands. It’s a magical spot, especially in the summertime…

Once the town was the home of the Clark sisters—brought up by their grandmother at the Moonglow Inn. Nicknamed “The Moonglow Sisters”, as children they were inseparable.  Then, a wedding-day betrayal tore them apart & they scattered across the globe & away from each other. But the sisters have at last come home…

There’s Maddie: smart, sensible, & stubborn. Shelley, who ran off to find her bliss. And Gia, a free-spirit determined to keep the peace. It’s her impending wedding that keeps them together…but Gia has a secret, & when her sisters find out all heck is going to break loose!

The Moonglow Sisters continues Lori Wilde’s trademark storytelling to create an unforgettable novel of family, betrayal, love, & second chances.

**I won this book back in very early March, then the pandemic hit & many publishers ceased mailing books out, so I didn’t receive this book until May…but it was worth the wait. This book has the perfect recipe for a summer read: atmosphere, family drama (particularly sisters), betrayal, romance, & second chances. If you are a fan of Elin Hilderbrand, Susan Mallery, Jill Shalvis, or Robyn Carr, you will love this book!


I was able to completely engulf myself in this novel since I, too, live in a small, lakeside town where everyone knows everyone, & also everyone’s business (which is not always a good thing). I could totally picture people I knew in the roles of these women. “The Moonglow Sisters” is chock full of sisterly drama & petty bickering, but it is also breezy, uplifting, heartwarming (& breaking at times), lighthearted beach-read that would make a fantastic Hallmark movie. I hope this becomes a series, as I would love to read more about these sisters in the future.


Look for this one now wherever books are sold! You can also use BookStoreLink to search independent bookstores for this & any other book. Simply go to the website, type in the books title (or author) & then your city and/or state. And voila! Easy peasy! Shopping local is so much better than heading straight to the big “A” online (you know who I mean…).

Be sure to stop over to my Instagram page & show some love for my post there. It makes both the author & publisher very happy to see people showing appreciate & positive comments on their works of art.

Lori Wilde is an award-winning, New York Times, USA Today and Publishers’ Weekly bestselling author of 88 works of romantic fiction. Her books have been translated into 26 languages, with more than four million copies of her books sold worldwide. Her breakout novel, The First Love Cookie Club, has been optioned for a TV movie.

Lori is a registered nurse with a BSN from Texas Christian University. She holds a certificate in forensics and is also a certified yoga instructor. A fifth-generation Texan, Lori lives with her husband, Bill, in the Cutting Horse Capital of the World; where they run Epiphany Orchards, a writing/creativity retreat for the care and enrichment of the artistic soul.

BeachReads · RomCom

Book review: “The Happy Camper” by Melody Carlson

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Thank you @revellbooks for my gifted copy of “The Happy Camper” by Melody Carlson! (pub 3/3)

Home is the place to heal, right? At least, that’s what Dillon Michaels is hoping as she leaves her disappointing career & nonstarter love life behind to help her grieving & aging grandfather on his small Oregon farm. The only problem? Her eccentric mother beat her there & has taken over Dillon’s old room. After a few nights sleeping on a sagging sofa, Dillon is ready to give up, until she receives an unlikely gift–her grandfather’s run-down vintage camp trailer, which she quickly resolves to restore with the help of Jordan Atwood, the handsome owner of the local hardware store.

But just when things are finally beginning to run smoothly, Dillon’s noncommittal ex-boyfriend shows up with roses… and a ring. Full of quirky characters, family drama, & sweet romance, “The Happy Camper” will have you scouring Craigslist for your own diamond-in-the-rough camper to restore & hunting your local hardware store for a handy guy to help your dreams come true.

I love the cover of this book so much, & I actually hate camping. Personally, I consider staying in a hotel a form of “glamping”. I just prefer all the amenities of home. I really loved reading about Dillon’s restoration of the vintage camper because it reminded me of a neighbor of mine (who has since passed away) that had one of these cute, little campers to travel with when she visited her kids. I think one of these vintage campers would make an amazing playhouse in our backyard.

The Happy Camper” is a very engaging, light, charmingly delightful beach read for everyone, & it’s completely PG. That’s one of the things I love about Baker Publishing & Revell Books. Enjoyable reading without all the raunchy sex or language. This is an uplifting & heartwarming novel that would make a fun screen adaptation. I would love to see a follow-up book where Dillon is a bit more matured. (That’s the mom in me coming out, I guess.)

I look forward to reading more from Carlson in the future, as she has written over 200 books! Look for “The Happy Camper” at your local bookstore & check out some of her other novels as well!

You can use BookStoreLink to find this book & any others. Simply type in the book title or an authors name, then type in a bookstore, city or state, & all the independent stores will be listed. Some have e-commerce sales & will ship & some have curbside pickup or home delivery right now.

The indie bookstores need our sales more than that “other online giant”. Click HERE for “The Happy Camper“.

Hope you are all having a fantastic week & are staying safe out there. And Happy Camping this summer to all you camper’s out there!

Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books (with sales around 6.5 million) for teens, women & children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller.” Her novels range from serious issues like schizophrenia (Finding Alice) to lighter topics like house-flipping (A Mile in My Flip-Flops) but most of the inspiration behind her fiction comes right out of real life. Her young adult novels (Diary of a Teenage Girl, TrueColors etc.) appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She’s won a number of awards (including Romantic Time’s Career Achievement Award, the Rita & the Gold Medallion) & some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons & makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband & yellow Lab dog. To find out more about Melody Carlson, visit her website at http://www.melodycarlson.com/

BeachReads · Book Reviews · Romance · RomCom

Book Review: “The Marriage Game” by Sara Desai

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Thank you @berkleypub for my gifted copy of “The Marriage Game” by Sara Desai! (pub date 6/9)

A high stakes wager pits an aspiring entrepreneur against a ruthless CEO in this sexy romantic comedy..After her life falls apart, recruitment consultant Layla Patel returns home to her family in San Francisco. But in the eyes of her father, who runs a Michelin starred restaurant, she can do no wrong. He would do anything to see her smile again. With the best intentions in mind, he offers her the office upstairs to start her new business & creates a profile on an online dating site to find her a man. She doesn’t know he’s arranged a series of blind dates until the first one comes knocking on her door…

As CEO of a corporate downsizing company Sam Mehta is more used to conflict than calm. In search of a quiet new office, he finds the perfect space above a cozy Indian restaurant that smells like home. But when communication goes awry, he’s forced to share his space with the owner’s beautiful yet infuriating daughter Layla, her crazy family, & a parade of hopeful suitors, all of whom threaten to disrupt his carefully ordered life.

As they face off in close quarters, the sarcasm & sparks fly. But when the battle for the office becomes a battle of the heart, Sam & Layla have to decide if this is love or just a game.


A Marriage Game” is a perfectly paced & pretty hilarious rom-com, with fun, witty banter, particularly between Sam & Layla. This is an ideal beachy/poolside read & is a refreshingly feel-good, hopeful, sexy, & culturally atmospheric novel. And I LOVE the cover & all the pastel colors! I really enjoyed this book & definitely look forward to reading more from Desai!

This book releases this coming Tuesday, June 9th. Be sure to look for it at a local or online indie bookseller first! They need our sales now more than ever! Click HERE to use BookStoreLink & find this book & any others at an independent bookstore.

Click HERE to add “The Marriage Game” to your Goodreads TBR.

Here’s what others are saying about “The Marriage Game“:

“[An] enticing debut.”—SheReads

The Marriage Game is the most delicious read! From the humor, to the heartwarming family bonds, to the off the charts chemistry, it’s impossible for me to love this book anymore. I can’t wait for more from Sara Desai!”—Alexa Martin, author of Intercepted

“I fell hard for The Marriage Game from the moment I read Layla and Sam’s dynamite meet-cute. It’s a hilarious, heartfelt, and steamy enemies-to-lovers romance.”—Sarah Smith, author of Faker

“Desai’s delightful debut is a playful take on enemies-to-lovers and arranged marriage tropes starring two headstrong Desi-American protagonists. Rom-com fans should take note of this fresh, fun offering.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“This witty and delightful story about family, forgiveness, and letting go is utterly satisfying. Desai’s first book will be a hit with fans of Sonya Lalli’s The Matchmaker’s List.”Library Journal


Sara Desai has been a lawyer, radio DJ, marathon runner, historian, bouncer and librarian. She lives on Vancouver Island with her husband, kids and an assortment of forest creatures who think they are pets. Sara writes sexy romantic comedy and contemporary romance with a multicultural twist. When not laughing at her own jokes, Sara can be found eating nachos. Visit Sara at www.saradesai.com.

Book Reviews

Book Review: “The Burning” by Megha Majumdar

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Thank you @aaknopf & @shelf.awareness for my gifted copy of “A Burning” by Megha Majumdar! (pub date 6/2) (Click HERE to add the book to your Goodreads list.)

For readers of Tommy Orange, Yaa Gyasi, & Jhumpa Lahiri, an electrifying debut novel about three unforgettable characters who seek to rise—to the middle class, to political power, to fame in the movies—and find their lives entangled in the wake of a catastrophe in contemporary India.

Jivan is a Muslim girl from the slums, determined to move up in life, who is accused of executing a terrorist attack on a train because of a careless comment on Facebook. PT Sir is an opportunistic gym teacher who hitches his aspirations to a right-wing political party, & finds that his own ascent becomes linked to Jivan’s fall. Lovely–an irresistible outcast whose exuberant voice & dreams of glory fill the novel with warmth & hope & humor–has the alibi that can set Jivan free, but it will cost her everything she holds dear.

Taut, symphonic, propulsive, & riveting from its opening lines, “A Burning” has the force of an epic while being so masterfully compressed it can be read in a single sitting.

Majumdar writes with dazzling assurance at a breakneck pace on complex themes that read as the components of a thriller: class, fate, corruption, justice, & what it feels like to face profound obstacles & yet nurture big dreams in a country spinning toward extremism.

An extraordinary debut.

**Everyone has a right to their opinion, but there are things you just can’t post on social media or any online forum, whether jokingly or not, without possibly being flagged as a terrorist by your government or invoking a visit to your home from the FBI, maybe even arrested. This story is about what happens when one young woman, Jivan, shares a video & posts a seemingly innocent comment on Facebook.


Set in present day India & told from 3 POV’s, there’s a reason this book was selected as a June BOTM. Click HERE to use my referral & join Book-of-the-Month & add this book to your first monthly box. (See one of my previous BOTM posts for all of the wonderful benefits to joining BOTM.)

Relevant, propulsive, positively captivating, & often witty, “The Burning” is an exceptionally well-written & thought-provoking, debut novel that you can zip through in a couple sittings. It’s just that good! Use BookStoreLink.com to find this book & any others at a local, independent bookstore. Click HERE to find “A Burning“.

More editorial reviews of “The Burning“:

#1 Indie Next Pick for June

One of the most anticipated books of summer by the
Wall Street JournalEntertainment Weekly, Vogue, O, Elle, The Millions, Lit Hub

“Particularly relevant today… entertaining as well as intellectually serious… complex… nuanced… Captures the grainy specificity of life in India.”
The New York Times 

“In her captivating debut novel A Burning, Megha Majumdar presents a powerful corrective to the political narratives that have dominated in contemporary India.”
Time

“Propulsive…ambitious…headlong…beautiful and supple…heartbreaking.”  
The Boston Globe

“Remarkable…Early buzz is already comparing A BURNING to the work of modern literary stars . . . but the voice—or voices—here are entirely Majumdar’s own.”—Entertainment Weekly

“Combines fast-paced plotting with the kind of atmospheric detail one might find in the work of Jhumpa Lahiri or Daniyal Mueenuddin. . . A highly compelling read”
—Vogue

““Majumdar’s explosive first novel is an intimate epic”
—Elle

“A BURNING is an excellently crafted, utterly thrilling novel full of characters that I won’t soon forget.  Megha Majumdar writes about the ripple effects of our choices, the interconnectedness of our humanity, with striking beauty and clarity. A stunning debut.”
—Yaa Gyasi

“Polyphonic…Lovely is a particular gem…brilliant”  —Kirkus Reviews

“This is a novel of now: a beautifully constructed literary thriller from a rare and powerful new voice.”
—Colum McCann

MEGHA MAJUMDAR was born and raised in Kolkata, India. She moved to the United States to attend college at Harvard University, followed by graduate school in social anthropology at Johns Hopkins University. She works as an editor at Catapult, and lives in New York City. A Burning is her first book. Follow her on Twitter @MeghaMaj and Instagram @megha.maj

Book Reviews

Book Review: “The Second Home” by Christina Clancy

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Happy Pub Day & Thank you @stmartinspress for my gifted copy of “The Second Home” by Christina Clancy! (pub date 6/2, today!)

A debut novel set on Cape Cod that centers on a beloved family home & the summer that changed the lives of three siblings forever, perfect for readers of J. Courtney Sullivan & Elin Hilderbrand.

Tender and compassionate, incisive & heartbreaking, Christina Clancy’s “The Second Home is the story of a family you’ll quickly fall in love with, & won’t soon forget.

After a disastrous summer spent at her family summer home on Cape Cod, 17-year-old Ann Gordon was left with a secret that changed her life forever, & created a rift between her sister, Poppy, & their adopted brother, Michael.

Now, 15 years later, her parents have died, leaving Ann & Poppy to decide the fate of the Wellfleet home that’s been in the Gordon family for generations. For Ann, the once-beloved house is tainted with bad memories. Poppy loves the old saltbox, but after years spent chasing waves around the world, she isn’t sure she knows how to stay in one place.

Just when the sisters decide to sell, Michael re-enters their lives with a legitimate claim to the house. But more than that, he wants to set the record straight about that long ago summer. Reunited after years apart, these very different siblings must decide if they can continue to be a family―& the house just might be the glue that holds them together.

Told through the shifting perspectives of Ann, Poppy, & Michael, this assured & affecting debut captures the ache of nostalgia for summers past & the powerful draw of the places we return to again & again. It is about second homes, second families, & second chances.

**They had me at ‘for fans of Elin Hilderbrand!’ I love well-written, debut novels that deal w/ family drama & stir emotions…& a Cape Cod setting makes it even better!

The Second Home” has well-fleshed out characters & is deftly plotted, complex, nuanced, & atmospheric. This is not a fluffy beach read, as there are a couple trigger warnings you should be aware of: rape & suicide. This is a deeply gripping & unforgettable book that you will have a hard time putting down. This riveting book would also make a super book club or book discussion group read.

Look for this book at your local booksellers today! Click HERE to add this to your Goodreads TBR. Click HERE to use BookStoreLink & find it at a local, independent book seller. (And I will another post about this book later this week, so keep an eye out for that.) What other books released today that you are excited to read? Please comment & let me know.

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Praise for The Second Home:

One of Good Morning America’s “25 Novels You’ll Want to Read this Summer”

“A sure-footed ode to the strength of family, the depth of loss, and the power of forgiveness.” ―J. Ryan Stradal, New York Times best-selling author, Kitchens of the Great Midwest

The Second Home shows us how families are knit together and how they unravel; how a place―a geography, a house―can act as the repository for our best and most important memories. And that even the most damaged past can be reclaimed, a hard-won wisdom that shines through on every page. ―Jean Thompson, New York Times bestselling author of The Year We Left Home

“Clancy imagines her complicated characters with such empathy and precision that every questionable choice, every mistake, feels like the only option. The Second Home is a big, sprawling, smart, beautiful story about love and betrayal, home and family, and the foundations of forgiveness.” ―Lauren Fox, author of Days of AweFriends Like Us, and Still Life With Husband

“Christina Clancy writes with an arresting vividness and a nuanced understanding of her characters, who are buffeted by a storm of conflicting desires. A poignant but also very entertaining novel―full of startling detail, humor, and above all, an abiding sympathy for its beautifully drawn characters.” ―Christine Sneed, author of Little Known Facts

“This deeply moving and heartfelt book explores what makes a home – and how homes make us. It’s deftly plotted, sensuously told, and incredibly smart about the secrets that pull families apart and the love that knits them back together.” ―Liam Callanan, author of Paris by the Book.

“From the first pages of The Second Home, it’s abundantly clear that Christina Clancy has an abiding love for outer Cape Cod, which she conjures in all its bluster and beauty. But as this compelling novel progresses, it also becomes obvious that Clancy has a keen awareness of how secrets can tear apart even the closest of families. Drawn in by the exquisitely-rendered setting, I was riveted by this stirring, family drama.”―Karen Dukess, author of The Last Book Party

Warm, absorbing and thought-provoking…” ― Shelf Awareness

A riveting family saga that fans of J. Courtney Sullivan, Cristina Alger, and Maria de los Santos will devour, Clancy’s debut novel is a delight. With nostalgia as thick as the scent of coconut-scented sunscreen, The Second Home explores the consequences of emotional decisions and the strength needed to set things right.”―Booklist (starred review)

Transporting
…Clancy’s beach-ready debut is sure to be a favorite with book clubs.” ― Publisher’s Weekly

Witty and compassionate, this is the page-turning saga, unfolding in several voices, of two sisters, their estranged adopted brother and the dispute that arises 15 years after their parents’ death.” ― Naples Daily News

“With its fond descriptions of Cape Cod’s land and seascapes and an evocation of a historic house layered with love and secrets, Clancy’s debut clearly has its eye firmly set on the summer-read market.” ― Kirkus

Christina Clancy‘s work has appeared in the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Sun Magazine and in various literary journals, including Glimmer Train, Pleiades and Hobart. She holds a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. 
The Second Home is her first novel.