Perennials by Julie Cantrell (Review + Giveaway)

About the Book

Perennials Julie CantrellWhen two estranged sisters reunite for their parents’ 50th anniversary, a family tragedy brings unexpected lessons of hope and healing amid the flowers of their mother’s perennial garden.

Eva—known to all as Lovey—grew up in Oxford, MS, surrounded by literary history and her mother’s stunning perennial gardens. But a garden shed fire and the burns suffered by one of her best friends seemed to change everything. Her older sister Bitsy blamed her for the fire—and no one spoke up on her behalf. Bitsy the cheerleader, Bitsy the homecoming queen, Bitsy married to a wealthy investor. And all the while, Lovey blamed for everything that goes wrong.

At eighteen, Lovey turns down a marriage proposal, flees from Oxford and the expectations of attending Ole Miss, and instead goes to Arizona—the farthest thing from the South she can imagine. She becomes a successful advertising executive, a weekend yoga instructor, and seems to have it all together. But she’s alone. And on her 45th birthday, she can’t help but wonder what’s wrong.

When she gets a call from her father—still known to everyone as Chief from his Ole Miss football days—insisting that she come home three weeks early for her parents’ 50th wedding anniversary celebration, she’s at wits end. She’s about to close the biggest contract of her career, the one that will secure her financial goals and set her up for retirement. But his words, “Family First,” hit too close to home. Is there hope for her estranged relationship with Bitsy after all this time?

Eva’s journey home, to the memory garden her father has planned as an anniversary surprise for her mother, becomes one of discovering roots, and truth, and love, and what living perennially in spite of disappointments and tragedy really means. Eva thought she wanted to leave her family and the South far behind . . . but she’s realizing she hasn’t truly been herself the whole time she’s been gone.

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Portrait of Vengeance by Carrie Stuart Parks (Review)

Portrait of Vengeance Carrie Stuart Parks

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An unsolved case. A tempest of memories. The future’s at stake—and time is running out…

Gwen Marcey has done a good job of keeping the pain of her past boxed up. But as she investigates the case of a missing child in Lapwai, Idaho, details keep surfacing that are eerily similar to her childhood traumas. She doesn’t believe in coincidences. So what’s going on here?

No one knows more about the impact of the past than the Nez Perce people of Lapwai. Gwen finds herself an unwelcome visitor to some, making her investigation even more difficult. The questions keep piling up, but answers are slow in coming—and the clock is ticking for a missing little girl. Meanwhile, her ex-husband back home is threatening to take sole custody of their daughter.

As Gwen’s past and present collide, she’s in a desperate race for the truth. Because only truth will ensure she still has a future.

 

 

Unless you live or have lived in the Pacific Northwest, you probably haven’t heard of or been to the small Idaho towns where Carrie Stuart Parks’ fourth Gwen Marcey novel is set. For those of us who do know or have been to towns such as Lapwai, Orofino, or Kamiah, it’s a pleasant surprise to run across them in a story.

What was even more enjoyable about this story was the mystery around Gwen Marcey’s past. In Portrait of Vengeance, Gwen has a probationary position with a new task force and delves into a case of a double homicide with a missing four-year-old. The similarities to what happened to her were too much coincidence for her to leave alone.

I love this character’s sense of humor, her relationship with her best friend, and the fact she doubts herself where her personal life is concerned. She’s usually got it together professionally but when the personal bleeds into her job, it’s hard for her to keep it together. The behind-the-investigation scenes are interesting and engaging, but it’s Gwen’s journey that made this book an emotional and enjoyable read.

My Rating:

Disclosure statement:
I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. 

The Separatists by Lis Wiehl (Review)

Separatists Lis Wiehl

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From New York Times bestselling author Lis Wiehl comes the final book in her Newsmakers series. Journalist and newscaster Erica Sparks is only planning to report on an explosive story—until she gets caught in the middle of it.

After getting the green light from her network to launch an investigative news show, Erica flies to Bismarck, North Dakota, to investigate Take Back Our Homeland, the largest secessionist group. What she finds is profoundly disturbing – a growing threat to the future of our union.

Back home, her husband Greg is drinking more and talking less—and taking an unusual interest in the glamorous author Leslie Burke Wilson. Erica’s teenage daughter has also begun acting out in troubling ways.

Bestselling novelist and former legal analyst for Fox News Lis Wiehl takes us behind the anchor’s desk in this gripping look at high-stakes reporting in a country torn apart.

 

 

Even though Lis Wiehl’s first person present tense writing style is a little awkward and takes some getting used to (mostly because most fiction is not written this way), and I’m not a huge fan of discussing politics, I keep coming back to these books. They are interesting, engaging, and fast-paced. An intriguing look at what could become very real scenarios and situations in today’s disillusions and discontent within our federal government.

In The Separatists, the third book of the Newsmakers series featuring journalist Erica Sparks, North Dakota is on the brink of secession. As Erica scoops the rest of the news industry on this breaking story, she discovers there’s much more hiding under the surface.

While Wiehl’s story gives an excellent case of how this state can separate itself from the rest of the United States, the heart of this story for me was about the masks people wear for their public. Whether it’s someone trying to present a spotless image for their potential constituents while hiding a heart of darkness or a successful news anchor doubting herself in other areas of life, many of the characters in this book are hiding secrets.

Separtists Lis Wiehl

As the body count climbs and Erica Sparks races to find the truth behind the secessionist movement, readers are taken along the journey fraught with danger and suspense.

I had to backtrack a bit at the beginning in order to keep track of all the players but had them straight about a quarter of the way through. The ending seemed a bit abrupt to me. I would have liked a little more detail about the wrap up other than the short epilogue. It drove me absolutely crazy that Erica would not talk to her husband about her doubts. I understand that not communicating is a common issue in romances but this was not a romance and that communication issue is usually taken care of during the dating/courtship stage. Erica and Greg have been together long enough that they should not be faced with this issue.

Overall, it was an okay read for me. If you’re a fan of political suspense with lots of intrigue, backstabbing, and subterfuge, this is a keeper. As the body count climbs and Erica Sparks races to find the truth behind the secessionist movement, readers are taken along the journey fraught with danger and suspense.

 

Warning: There are several references to sexual situations (allusions to the act, mentions of words associated with it, and a few homosexual relation mentions).

My Rating:
 

 

Disclosure statement:
I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. 

 

The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck (Review)

Wow. That’s what I have to say about Rachel Hauck’s newest book. The Writing Desk is so good.

With a dual timeline, one in the present and the other during the Gilded Age, each heroine approach to life is so different, they’re almost opposite of each other. Elizabeth “Birdie” Shehorn is determined. Despite her parents’ plans for her, she longs to go after her dreams. And Tenley Roth, ridiculous sometimes, hiding from life, doubting her worth and abilities, trying to carve a relationship with the mother who abandoned her, was my favorite of all.

 

The Writing Desk Rachel Hauck

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Unraveling by Sara Ella (Review)

In Unraveling, book two in Sara Ella’s Unblemished trilogy, all is not well. Despite the defeat of the evil Jasyn Crowe, something is happening to the callings of those who follow the Verity.

As El wrestles with the question of whether she is worthy of being the verity’s vessel, her people are starting to wonder the same. Was there a mistake made?

The love triangle between El, Joshua, and Ky grows more complicated and twisted as this book continues. As one man’s love for El fights the Void within him, the other’s gives it roots. Will El listen to her heart or her history?

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