Review: Sailing Lessons by Hannah McKinnon

Sailing Lessons by Hannah McKinnon
Expected Publication: June 5, 2018
Publisher: Atria Books
Format: via NetGalley
Rating: 4/5

Wrenn Bailey has lived all her life on Cape Cod with her mother Lindy, older sister Shannon, and younger sister Piper. Growing up, life was dictated by the seasons with sleepy gray winters where only the locals stayed on, followed by the sharp influx and colorful bustle of summer tourists who swept up the elbow of the Cape and infiltrated their small paradise.

But it wasn’t just the tourists who interrupted Wrenn’s formative years; her father—brilliant but troubled photographer Caleb—has long made a habit of drifting in and out of his girls’ lives. Until the one summer, he left the Cape and did not return again.

Now, almost twenty years later, Caleb has come back one last time, suffering from pancreatic cancer and seeking absolution. Wrenn and her sisters each respond differently to their father’s return, determined to find closure. But that means returning to the past and revisiting old wounds—wounds that cause the tightknit Bailey women to confront their own wishes and wants and admit to their own wrong-doings over the years. In a place that brings both great comfort and great pain, the Bailey sisters experience a summer on the Cape that promises not only hard endings, but perhaps, hopeful new beginnings.

My Thoughts
Focusing on family, love, and forgiveness, Sailing Lessons shows us that love can heal all wounds. We get to know three sisters Wrenn, Bailey, and Shannon all who are dealing with their issues unknown to other members of the family, come together when they realize their father who hasn’t been around in decades wants to come and visit them for reasons that are later revealed.

Shannon, the oldest, is the protector of them all. She doesn’t want anything to do with their father who left after a terrible accident years ago and she is the most like him for many reasons. She presents everything as perfect, her life, her family and herself. She wants to be the “fixer” yet beneath it all everything is less than perfect. With the news of her father coming back she must confront her demons and deal with her past or risk losing it all.

Wrenn is going to open her own business which she has worked hard for. She has a beautiful daughter and has tried to make their lives better but the one thing her daughter wants, to know her father, is the one thing Wrenn doesn’t need in her life right now. Not to mention her long-lost dad coming back into the picture is another thing she doesn’t need. She finds herself in the middle between him and her sisters.

Bailey the youngest, she just trying to find her way in life. She is constantly in school getting degrees after degrees but never settling down and truly starting her life. She is scared to enter the real world and has found herself in a relationship that isn’t the best, to say the least. She’s in love with someone who can't give her want she wants and when she realizes her father is back in the picture she couldn’t be happier. She's the one sister that doesn’t remember him or exactly what happened that day. 

I enjoyed this wonderful relatable tale especially the relationship between the sisters and their mother. The way their mother never put her feelings about their father on them was good, she let them make up their own minds about him. I also liked how each sister had their own time with him and each came to terms with him on their own time. This is a true story of forgiveness. I felt that while each sister was going through things in their lives some of it does stem from the past, maybe more than others but it was there. In seeing their father I felt it wasn’t so much for him but for them. They’ve had to come to terms with the past and let go in order to let that negativity free them. This is great read and one that has multi-layers that is a gift to unwrap. This is one book that is well worth the read.


2018 Summer Reads

It's that time of year Y'all!! The sun is shining [more like blazing here in Texas] and all you want to do is hit the pool or beach. I’m here to share some of my reads I’ll be getting to this Summer season. I enjoy light reads during these hot days but I also enjoy my thrillers/suspense novels. So here’s my list and hopefully you will find something you can enjoy in the months ahead.


Review: Tin Man by Sarah Winman

Tin Man by Sarah Winman
Published: May 15, 2018
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Format: via Edelweiss
Rating: 4/5

This is almost a love story. But it's not as simple as that.

Ellis and Michael are twelve-year-old boys when they first become friends, and for a long time, it is just the two of them, cycling the streets of Oxford, teaching themselves how to swim, discovering poetry, and dodging the fists of overbearing fathers. And then one day this closest of friendships grows into something more.

But then we fast forward a decade or so, to find that Ellis is married to Annie, and Michael is nowhere in sight. Which leads to the question, what happened in the years between?

With beautiful prose and characters that are so real that they jump off the page, Tin Man is a love letter to human kindness and friendship, and to loss and living.

My Thoughts
This is one book that will fill your heart yet will break it at the same time. You really take these characters to heart and you become so invested in them that you feel their pain and just want to protect and comfort them.

In the Tin Man, we met Ellis who has lost his wife and is just trying to go through the motions day after day. He lost his mother at a young age and is left with his father who doesn’t know how to deal with him. He soon finds solace in a woman named Mabel and soon her grandson Michael who comes to live with her. Soon Michael and Ellis become fast friends and in time something more. We know Michael and Ellis care deeply for each other and they keep whats between them just to them. As they grow older Ellis meets Annie and falls in love and soon marries. There is a time when Michael goes missing from their lives and no one knows what happens to him. He does come back and the bond between Annie, Ellis, and Michael is tight. I loved this friendship that is grounded in love and while Annie has had her suspences in the true nature of Michael and Ellis bond it never bothers her. As Ellis is trying to deal with his life he soon finds journals that belonged to Michael and he soon discovers where Michael was and how his life has been. We see his journey and the heartache he went through.

I really enjoyed this read while it was a quick, short and easy read it is a jammed packed emotional read. You have a novel of love that spans decades and genders. You have heartache then joy and heartache again. This read shows us that love isn’t defined by gender or race but simply by emotion. The heart wants what it wants and nothing can change that. This is one read that transcends and crosses all lines and while it will break your heart it’s a read that will make you believe in love.


Review: The Sometimes Sisters by Carolyn Brown

The Sometimes Sisters by Carolyn Brown
Published: February 27, 2018
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Format: audiobook via Kindle Unlimited
Rating: 5/5

When they were growing up, Dana, Harper, and Tawny thought of themselves as “sometimes sisters.” They connected only during the summer month they’d all spend at their grandmother’s rustic lakeside resort in north Texas. But secrets started building, and ten years have passed since they’ve all been together—in fact, they’ve rarely spoken, and it broke their grandmother’s heart.

Now she’s gone, leaving Annie’s Place to her granddaughters—twelve cabins, a small house, a café, a convenience store, and a lot of family memories. It’s where Dana, Harper, and Tawny once shared so many good times. They’ve returned, sharing only hidden regrets, a guarded mistrust, and haunting guilt. But now, in this healing summer place, the secrets that once drove them apart could bring them back together—especially when they discover that their grandmother may have been hiding something, too…

To overcome the past and find future happiness, these “sometimes sisters” have one more chance to realize they are always family.

My Thoughts
The Sometimes Sisters is the story of sisters who come together after the death of their grandmother. They all would spend the summers together growing up with their grandmother and now that she has passed they come back together after many years to sort out her affairs. Each has their notions about each other but none of them know how the others are actually really living. They all agree to stay for awhile and work at her business but little do they know she wanted them there in hopes they would reconnect and finally act like sisters. There isn’t any real reason why they aren’t close but in spending time together they do eventually bond.

I really enjoyed this novel of love, family and family secrets. I loved how in the beginning they didn’t get along but let someone else hurt one of them they all came to each other's rescue. I loved the sense of community the small town had and how their grandmother's longtime friend, who they considered an uncle was there to guide them and to make their grandmothers wishes a reality. While the journey of the sisters was a wonderful thing to see what I really loved was the story of their grandmother. We see how after her death she confesses who her true love was and why she couldn’t live her truth. She lived in a different time and she didn’t want people to get hurt.

This was a wonderfully written tale of love at all levels and how the journey is well worth it in the end. It's about how family is the most important thing, and that no matter how much time has passed you can indeed go home again. Do yourself a favor and seek this read out it's an emotional read that you will LOVE!


Review: The Memory of Butterflies by Grace Greene

The Memory of Butterflies by Grace Greene
Published: September 5, 2017
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Format: audiobook via Kindle Unlimited
Rating: 5/5

Hannah Cooper’s daughter is leaving for college soon. The change is bittersweet. A single mother since the age of eighteen, Hannah isn’t eager to confront the pain of being alone, but she’s determined not to let her own hang-ups keep Ellen from the future she deserves. As Ellen’s high school graduation approaches, Hannah decides it’s time to return to her roots in Cooper’s Hollow along Virginia’s beautiful and rustic Cub Creek.

With the help of longtime friend Roger Westray, Hannah devotes her energies to building a new house on the site of the old family home, destroyed in a fire more than a decade ago. But Hannah’s entire adult life has revolved around one very big secret. And her new beginning comes with unanticipated risks that will cost her far more than she could have imagined—perhaps more than she can survive.

When a confrontation forces Hannah to expose her secret, the truth may destroy her beloved daughter. Hannah is prepared to sacrifice everything to protect her family, but can their lives and their bond withstand the seismic shift that’s coming?

My Thoughts
In The Memory of Butterflies, Hannah never knew that rebuilding her family house would result in uncovering family secrets that could destroy everything she holds dear. Hannah was raised by her grandparents after her parents were said to have died in car accident. She didn’t go to college and instead stayed behind pregnant and taking care of her ill grandmother. One rainy night tragedy strikes and things will never be the same again.

A few years go by and a miracle of sorts appears making Hannah and her grandmother whole ago. From then on things appear to be fine all until Hannah decides to rebuild her old family and in rebuilding all the family secrets are uncovered. Hannah has no choice but to confess her part in things and to her surprise, she uncovers secrets she never even knew.

Sorry if I’m being very vague but this story is so good that I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone who would want to read it. This is a tale of family, secrets, and forgiveness. I loved how this story had a few twists and turns and some caught me by surprise which I enjoyed. What I loved most was how in the end everything wasn’t neatly tied up in a bow which was a nice thing to read because this is how life is most of the time. In reality, things aren’t always summed up right away and we just have to let things play out in their own time. This is one read that will have you in tears at times and will also break your heart but it’s a wonderful tale that I guarantee you will enjoy very much.


Release Day Blitz: 13 by Rhonda James

Today we have the release day blitz of 13 by Rhonda James! We are so excited to share this sexy new romance with you! Check it out and grab your copy today!

13 by Rhonda James

Genre: Contemporary Romance

About 13

“Fake it till you make it.”   A notion I once considered utterly ridiculous. Until one crazy night with a mysterious man resulted in a social media frenzy that had the entire entertainment industry talking.   Seems a fake marriage was just what my career needed to make Hollywood come knocking.   Convincing him to continue the charade was almost too easy. The chemistry between us made it impossible to keep my hands to myself. But it was all just pretend, right? Love was never in the script.   
That is until he re-wrote it.   13 Reasons You Should Stay:  
  1. I’m crazy about you
  2. I make you laugh
  3. You totally dig me

Get Your Copy

Amazon U.S. | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Kobo | iBooks | B&N

Exclusive Excerpt

The first thing I noticed were his eyes. Bottle green with the tiniest flecks of copper scattered throughout, and when the light hit them just right, those flecks sparkled in the most intriguing way. His shaggy caramel-blond hair stuck up in all directions, as if he’d been running his fingers through it all day, and the longer I stared, the more I found myself wanting to do the same thing. Tattoos circled both of his wrists, and his ears were pierced and adorned in black onyx. He had a smile that could simultaneously melt your heart and panties. Everything about him screamed male model, and if he wasn’t, then he sure as hell should be. He was that gorgeous. The bar was packed, and he was seated close. So close his muscular thigh pressed tightly against mine, making it impossible to ignore his presence. Not that I wanted to or anything. By the time I finished examining him, I looked up and found his pouty lips were puckered as if he was deep in thought. Either that or he was thinking about kissing me. Yeah, I knew we hadn’t been formally introduced, but I’d definitely consider kissing those lips. His gaze was intense, and it roamed my entire body, slowly, as if he were cataloging every detail for later when he was alone and naked in the shower. The thought of him naked, alone or otherwise, excited me. “No one special.” I fidgeted in my seat. “Old boyfriend.” “If you ask me, he’s a dumbass for letting you get away. You’re much prettier than candy.” Another blush heated my cheeks as I shook my head and responded, if only to keep him talking, “Ahh, but you haven’t seen this particular piece of candy.” “Don’t need to. He gave you up. In my book, that’s reason enough to achieve asshole status.” He winked and tipped his glass to mine. “But, thanks to his assholery, you’re here with me. So… to assholes.” Okay. He was definitely flirting.   

About Rhonda

Rhonda is an Amazon bestselling romance author who strives to create a book boyfriend for all her readers. She’s married and lives in Michigan with her family. In her spare time you can find her talking to readers, getting lost in a new book, or just spending time with her family.

Connect with Rhonda

Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Pinterest | Youtube | Instagram | Website

Enter Rhonda’s Giveaway


Sam & Ilsa's Last Hurrah by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Sam and Ilsa’s Last Hurrah by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Published: April 10, 2018
Publisher: Knopf BYR
Format: audiobook via Overdrive
Rating: 2/5

Siblings Sam and Ilsa Kehlmann have spent most of their high school years throwing parties for their friends--and now they've prepared their final blowout, just before graduation.

The rules are simple: each twin gets to invite three guests, and the other twin doesn't know who's coming until the partiers show up at the door. With Sam and Ilsa, the sibling revelry is always tempered with a large dose of sibling rivalry, and tonight is no exception.

One night. One apartment. Eight people. What could possibly go wrong? Oh, we all know the answer is plenty. But plenty also goes right, as well...in rather surprising ways.

My Thoughts
Let me start off by saying I’m a fan of Rachel and David’s previous novels so when I heard they were coming out with new read I couldn’t wait to read it but sadly this isn’t one of my favorites from them. In this read, we have twins Sam and Ilsa whose lives are at a crossroads. They are about to graduate and Sam is the apple of his grandmother's eye and Ilsa isn’t sure what she wants. They are known to throw dinner parties at their grandmother's lavish apartment but this one will be their last. They soon will move on and their grandmother is giving up her apartment and moving so they want this one to be best.
Needless to say, nothing goes as planned. Each one invites three guests and when everyone arrives its all a mess, no one gets along and the food is awful which is crazy since Sam is a great cook. Soon there are arguments and Sam and Ilsa must confront each other and say whats really bothering them not only to each other but also to themselves. I was really looking forward to this one but the story just fell flat to me. I thought this was just an unbelievable story not to mention I just saw these characters as pretentious and whiny rich kids. There wasn’t any real story for me to connect to and I just found myself rolling my eyes and waiting for this short read to be over. This was one read I couldn’t wait to be done with.