Friday, June 15, 2018

The Theory of Happily Ever After by Kristin Billerbeck

I couldn’t stop laughing while reading The Theory of Happily Ever After. 
At first I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to connect with the scientific yet quirky main character, Dr. Maggie Maguire. Needless to say, she grew on me. 

Ironically, Maggie is an acclaimed author of a book that is about the science of happiness, while in reality she is struggling with a broken relationship, and feeling quite sorry for herself. 

Thankfully her two best friends, Haley and Kathleen won’t let her wallow for long. Unbeknownst to her, they book her on a singles cruise. After boarding the ship, Maggie learns she’s has to give a speech on her scientific happiness theory to the shipmates. This is where the craziness starts. 

To top things off, two men show an interest in her despite her mistrust, she is lying to her parents, her ex continues to add to her misery by adding to the pain he’s already inflicted, and her publisher has expectations Maggie isn’t sure she can satisfy. 

The comedy is refreshing, and the story is super entertaining.  

Book courtesy of Net Galley.

Bluestone & Vine by Donna Kauffman

Though Bluestone and Vine is the second book of the Blue Hollow Falls series, it works a stand-alone story.

The main character, Pippa MacMillan, is a feisty, independent, Irish folk singer. Due to a catastrophe onstage, she stays out of the limelight to recover.  She house-swaps with her sister’s friend for a quiet, private cabin in the mountains of Virginia. With tabloids following her every move, Pippa grabs the opportunity. 

Seth Brogan, a former special forces solder turned vinter, is the owner of the private cabin, and brother of the other end of the house-swap, discovers his sister has "volunteered" him to have Pippa stay at his home for eight weeks. Within moments after his discovery, Pippa shows up in the midst of a snowstorm.

I was captured at once. Both characters are likeable. Pippa’s bouncy attitude made me chuckle, especially when she awkwardly curtseys. However, underneath, she is dealing with a lot of uncertainty and life-changing decisions.  

Seth is a hulk of a man, intent on bringing an old vineyard back to life, and quite content to live alone. He’s kind, giving and private—the latter now being invaded by Pippa.

Right from the start, there’s no denying the attraction between the two.  Throughout this endearing story everyone in the town is invested (aka endearingly nosey) in Pippa and Seth’s friendship. Those closest to Seth encourage him to stop getting in the way of his own happiness. Actually, Pippa is in the way of her happiness as well. They both seem to be more concerned with the drawbacks of their logistics than the closeness of their hearts. 

The community is chock full of fun characters. Mabry, the old man, is my favorite. There are several others who portrayed the closeness of a small town. Everyone embraces Pippa, and keeps her shielded from the adoring public and tabloids she fled from. 

Never once did this story lag. I couldn’t put this book down.  What happens to this charming Irish folk singer next? Can Pippa trust her voice … as well as her heart? And what about mountain-man Seth Brogan? Will he remain a part of her life when she goes back to Ireland? 

The answers and so much more are within the pages. The descriptions of the countryside and residents become “real” and the storyline makes one “feel” --Two of the best qualities a book can hold. 

 Be sure to read Bluestone and Vine. Pippa, Seth, and the myriad of charming residents of this mountain town are sure to capture your heart. 

Book courtesy of Net Galley. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

I Will Love You Forever by Cori Salchert & Marianne Hering

The death of a sweet baby is a life shattering ordeal, but Cori Salchert and Marianne Hering's story respectfully addresses loss. The love is selfless, and the giving nature throughout the book is touching. Cori wraps the reader with comfort through her written word.

This story shows how God guides us through hard times. This story is not sad like I thought, but uplifting. This book touched my heart, and reminded me of the strength we gain through faith.

The author grabbed my heart from the first page, and kept me immersed throughout the book. I highly recommend this true story. I Will Love You Forever changed me… and made me take a hard look within.

I received a complimentary copy from Net Galley