Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Can't Wait Wednesday: That Summer

Can't Wait Wednesday is hosted by Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!


 That Summer by Jennifer Weiner
Pub. Date: May 11, 2021


Goodreads says, "From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Big Summer comes another timely and deliciously twisty novel of intrigue, secrets, and the transformative power of female friendship, set on beautiful Cape Cod.  Daisy Shoemaker can’t sleep. With a thriving cooking business, full schedule of volunteer work, and a beautiful home in the Philadelphia suburbs, she should be content. But her teenage daughter can be a handful; her husband can be distant, her work can feel trivial, and she has lots of acquaintances, but no real friends. Still, Daisy knows she’s got it good. So why is she up all night?  While Daisy tries to identify the root of her dissatisfaction, she’s also receiving misdirected emails meant for a woman named Diana Starling, whose email address is just one punctuation mark away from her own. While Daisy’s driving carpools, Diana is chairing meetings. While Daisy’s making dinner, Diana’s making plans to reorganize corporations. Diana’s glamorous, sophisticated, single-lady life is miles away from Daisy’s simpler existence. When an apology leads to an invitation, the two women meet and become friends. But, as they get closer, we learn that their connection was not completely accidental. Who IS this other woman, and what does she want with Daisy.  From the manicured Main Line of Philadelphia to the wild landscape of the Outer Cape, written with Jennifer Weiner’s signature wit and sharp observations, THAT SUMMER is a story about surviving our pasts, confronting our futures, and the sustaining bonds of friendship. "


Who is excited for another novel from Jennifer Weiner? I love that this one takes place on Cape Cod as well as the Main Line of Philadelphia.  It sounds like a promising summer read. Let me know what you think! 


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Book Review: The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

Pages: 464
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: February 2, 2021
Publisher: St. Martin's
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author: Fly Away,
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, " From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale and The Great Alone comes an epic novel of love and heroism and hope, set against the backdrop of one of America’s most defining eras—the Great Depression.  Texas, 1934. Millions are out of work and a drought has broken the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as the crops are failing, the water is drying up, and dust threatens to bury them all. One of the darkest periods of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl era, has arrived with a vengeance.   In this uncertain and dangerous time, Elsa Martinelli—like so many of her neighbors—must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or go west, to California, in search of a better life. The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American Dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation."



The year is 1921 and Hannah brings us to Dalhart, Texas.  We meet Elsa Wolcott, your average young woman living for the time period, except her family shuns her for various reasons. She isn't pretty enough, she is too tall, she's too lanky, and too sickly due to her bout with a fever as a child.  Her parents really keep her to room and limit her activities due to her weak heart, but Elsa is just bursting at the seams to break free.  After making herself a scandalous homemade outfit, she goes out one night without her parents knowing and meets Rafe.  After spending the night with him, she finds herself pregnant and her parents force her to marry him and join his family. His family is a bunch of Italian immigrant farmers (cue the horror!) and Elsa's family looks down upon them.  However, Rafe's family takes her under their wings and she finds herself happily working at the family's farm. She learns the ins and outs of not only farming, but about love, family, and loyalty. It's here that Elsa finally feels accepted and can start repairing her wounds from childhood.  However, Rafe and Elsa didn't exactly share a real love, so their marriage is strained at times. Rafe always dreamed of going away to college, but marrying Elsa changed that and now he is stuck on his parents' farm where is constantly brooding.  Once 1930 comes, disaster strikes.  Farmers are really put to the test because not only do they have to deal with The Great Depression, there's also the debilitating Dust Bowl, which changes their lives forever.  Kristin Hannah's The Four Winds tugged on my heartstrings and is actually a very timely novel about the powers of motherhood and the strength of women during difficult times.

Elsa was a character that my heart immediately went out to as her parents treated her like garbage. She was so very sheltered and just so desperate for love that she put herself in a compromising situation.  However, this night with Rafe set her life down a different path and not necessarily a bad one as she finally finds acceptance with her new family.  She forms a bond with Rafe's mother, Rose, whom never had a daughter of her own. Through Rose, Elsa learns about love, Italian culture, family, loyalty, teamwork, how to cook, grit, and more.  Meanwhile, Rafe is a bit of a downer. He can't let go of the fact that he is now stuck at home on the farm and is miserable.  Even once they have children, he still only cares about his dreams; whereas, everything Elsa did was for her kids.  I kept hoping Rafe would see the amazing person he has in front of him, but in the end, he was too self-absorbed.  

Hannah describes the time period of the Depression and the Dust Bowl very well; she makes it so very memorable and haunting in The Four Winds.  I felt like I was living the nightmare right alongside Elsa and quite honestly, it made the pandemic we are currently living through feel like child's play. The dust storms, the starvation, the lack of water, the lack of government assistance, and the desperation all really moved me. I read an amazing novel about the Dust Bowl before (Hesse's Out of the Dust), and The Four Winds was just as moving. It really makes you appreciate the little things in your life and to be grateful for fresh water and food on your table.  I was somewhat familiar with the migrant situation and the amount of people traveling to California to find work and escape the dust; however, The Four Winds really brought it to life for me. I had no idea the conditions were as bad as Hannah depicted and the way that the big business treated fellow American is disgraceful.  Even though this book takes place many years ago, I felt that the themes are still strangely relevant to some of today's issues.

While a few moments in the novel were a bit melodramatic and cliched, I didn't let that stop me from enjoying The Four Winds.  I think Hannah's fans won't be disappointed and Elsa isn't a character I will easily forget.  With that said, The Four Winds will definitely end up on my "Best of 2021" list at the end of this year. Just remember if you pick up a copy of the book make sure you have tissues handy! 

Are you a fan of Kristin Hannah? Did you read The Four Winds yet or is it on your TBR pile? Let me know in the comments below.


Friday, February 19, 2021

Book Review: The Heiress Gets a Duke by Harper St. George

Pages: 316
Genre: Adult Fiction/Romance
Pub. Date: January 26, 2021
Source: Library
Publisher: Berkley
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Even a fortune forged in railroads and steel can't buy entrance into the upper echelons of Victorian high society—for that you need a marriage of convenience.  American heiress August Crenshaw has aspirations. But unlike her peers, it isn't some stuffy British Lord she wants wrapped around her finger—it's Crenshaw Iron Works, the family business. When it's clear that August's outrageously progressive ways render her unsuitible for a respectable match, her parents offer up her younger sister to the highest entitled bidder instead. This simply will not do. August refuses to leave her sister to the mercy of a loveless marriage.  Evan Sterling, the Duke of Rothschild, has no intention of walking away from the marriage. He's recently inherited the title only to find his coffers empty, and with countless lives depending on him, he can't walk away from the fortune a Crenshaw heiress would bring him. But after meeting her fiery sister, he realizes Violet isn't the heiress he wants. He wants August, and he always gets what he wants. But August won't go peacefully to her fate. She decides to show Rothschild that she's no typical London wallflower. Little does she realize that every stunt she pulls to make him call off the wedding only makes him like her even more."


The Duke of Rothschild should have it all except for the fact that his family is drowning in debt, thanks to his deceased father's mismanagement of the family money.  It's the Gilded Age, so that means his best bet of preserving his family's wealth is to marry an American heiress as this is the current trend.  If he can't do this, not only does he lose his wealth, status, and estate, his mother and sisters do as well, so a lot is riding on his possible engagement.  But the question is whom to marry?  His mother thinks Violet Crenshaw, an American heiress, would be the solution to their problems.  Even though Violet's parents have pretty much offered her up to a myriad of suitors, one might ask why her older sister, August, isn't in the market for a husband.  Violet is deemed a much more acceptable option, whereas August is a nonconformist, not to mention the fact that she helps her father with the family business at Crenshaw Iron Works. This is unheard of for the time period.  When Violet realizes that the Duke of Rothschild, Evan Sterling, might have his eye on her, Violet makes it clear that her heart belongs to another.  While August tries to help her sister get out of this mess, she spends time getting to know Evan.  She realizes that not only did she meet him before, but she finds herself doing the unimaginable. She is starting to fall for Evan! The story unfolds with more drama between the two and many big decisions need to be made.  The Heiress Gets a Duke by Harper St. George is a delightful romance novel that's perfect for fans of Bridgerton.

I really liked August from the beginning. I mean what's not to like in such an awesome feminist character? I loved that she helped out with her family business, had plans for herself, and was considered a blue stocking. She is truly such a fun character! Also, her relationship with Evan was also really done well.  I grew to like Evan more and more as the story unfolded.  At times, he reminded me of Simon from the Bridgerton series as he even participated in boxing in The Heiress Gets a Duke.

I think St. George really nailed the Gilded Age time period. I absolutely loved this glamorous time period filled with lavish balls, exquisite clothing, beautiful ancestral homes, elaborate dinner parties, and of course, eye-catching American heiresses.

While I don't consider myself a true romance reader as I tend to dabble in historical romances maybe once or twice a year, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. The Heiress Gets a Duke found me at the perfect time in my life as I was recovering from surgery and didn't want anything too heavy.  I also had just finished Bridgerton on Netflix and wanted something similar.  This didn't disappoint and I plan on checking out book two, which comes out this summer.  If you are looking for a pick-me up and really feeling the depths of despair this winter, give this fun romance a try.  

Are you a romance reader? Have you read this book? Is it on your TBR list?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 


Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Can't Wait Wednesday: Golden Girl

Can't Wait Wednesday is hosted by Wishful Endings and helps us spotlight upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating!


Golden Girl by Elin Hilderbrand

Pub. Date: June 1, 2021

Goodreads says, "In this immensely satisfying new page-turner from “the queen of beach reads” (New York Magazine), Nantucket novelist Vivian Howe has one final summer to protect her secrets while her loved ones on earth learn to live without their golden girl.  On a perfect June day, Vivian Howe, author of 13 beach novels and mother of three nearly grown children, is killed in a hit-and-run car accident while jogging near her home on Nantucket. She ascends to the Beyond where she's assigned to a Person named Martha, who allows Vivi to watch what happens below for one last summer. Vivi also is granted three “nudges” to change the outcome of events on earth, and with her daughter Willa on her third miscarriage, Carson partying until all hours, and Leo currently “off again” with his high-maintenance girlfriend, she’ll have to think carefully where to use them.  From the Beyond, Vivi watches “The Chief” Ed Kapenash investigate her death, but her greatest worry is her final book, which contains a secret from her own youth that could be disastrous for her reputation. But when hidden truths come to light, Vivi’s family will have to sort out their past and present mistakes – with or without a nudge of help from above – while Vivi finally lets them grow without her.  With all of Elin’s trademark beach scenes, mouth-watering meals, and picture-perfect homes, plus a heartfelt message – the people we lose never really leave us – Golden Girl is a beach book unlike any other."


Oh, I am obsessed with this synopsis of this novel! I think it sounds really good.  What do you guys think?


Sunday, February 14, 2021

Stacking the Shelves (136)

Blog Tour: The Vineyard at Painted Moon  

Can't Wait Wednesday: Family Reunion 

Book Review: The Invisible Woman by Erika Robuck



While I was recovering from surgery, I read The Heiress Gets a Duke by Harper St. George. It was the perfect book to escape to during my recovery.  I'll be sharing my thoughts on this novel this week!

It's been awhile since I shared the new books that I received for review.  Here are the books I have received over the past few weeks:


It Had To Be You by Georgia Clark - Thanks to Atria and NetGalley

The People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry - Thanks to Berkley and NetGalley




Three Words for Goodbye by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb - Thanks to William Morrow and NetGalley

The Widow Queen by Elzbieta Cherezinska - Thanks to Tor and NetGalley 




The Summer of Broken Rules by K.L. Walther - Thanks to Sourcebooks Fire and NetGalley 

Family Reunion by Nancy Thayer - Thanks to Ballantine and NetGalley



The Summer of Lost and Found by Mary Alice Monroe - Thanks to Gallery and NetGalley

Eternal by Lisa Scottoline - Thanks to Putnam and NetGalley


Radar Girls by Sara Ackerman - Thanks to Mira and NetGalley


Have you read any of these books? Are they on your TBR list? Let me know your thoughts. This meme is hosted by Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. Thanks for visiting!


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