Under an Adirondack Sky by Karen Rock


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Summary:

Rebecca Day’s job is in jeopardy. She works in the public school system as a school psychologist for at-risk teenagers, but it’s unlikely that her tenure will be approved since faculty and parents are not thrilled about her low-key disciplinary methods. Determined to prove her worth and retain her position, Rebecca proposes a retreat to Tupper Lake in the Adirondacks with the school’s troubled adolescents, initiating a pilot program that she feels will help them with their behavioral issues. For one of the troubled students she counsels, Connor Walsh, this program’s success is particularly important because if he doesn’t make significant progress he will be expelled from school. Aiden Walsh, his older brother and guardian, is too busy working long hours at the family business to give Connor the attention he needs. Rebecca observes Aiden’s distracted presence at meetings pertaining to his brother’s future and pegs him an uninterested workaholic. Aiden thinks Rebecca’s methods are overly lax and ridiculous. The two don’t hit it off very well, especially when Rebecca makes Aiden aware that he’s required to accompany Connor on their Adirondack adventure. Things start out rough, but time away from their everyday lives reveals unique circumstances and positive qualities that neither realized the other possessed. But can Aiden make his brother the priority when his heart is being pulled in another direction?

If you can imagine 20 troubled teenagers in the wilderness, and the verbal exchanges that take place amongst today’s youth, then you can get a pretty good picture of what’s taking place here. There’s irritability, competitiveness and quarreling. But in time the kids learn to interact together and they begin to see the value of teamwork and that life can still be worthwhile without their smartphones. I liked how the teens personalities are portrayed through their dialogue. You get a good sense of each character. The descriptions of the setting are great, and Karen Rock is definitely skilled in writing convincing romantic scenes that are suitable for a Heartwarming book.

I enjoyed this book. It had a down-to-earth feel that I think many would appreciate. I did.

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Throwback Thursday – The House on Primrose Pond by Yona Zeldis McDonough

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Throwback Thursday is hosted by Renee of It’s Book Talk.  This meme was created to share old favorites and/or books published over a year ago.  Today I’m going to be sharing The House on Primrose Pond by Yona Zeldis McDonough.

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Why I chose this book:

Yona Zeldis McDonough was a new-to-me author.  I won her book, and when I received it I began reading, not knowing what to expect, and was immediately immersed in the story.  It was so interesting that I couldn’t put it down.  There were very emotional parts that brought me to tears.  It was my favorite read of 2016.  See my review here.

I was so elated that I contacted the author to let her know how much I enjoyed reading her book.  She was very kind, and since then I’ve purchased another book she’s written.  Unfortunately, it’s gotten lost in my TBR pile….fullsizeoutput_ae0
… but I have every intention of reading it once my review commitments are over.  If you like contemporary fiction with a little historical fiction included (the protagonist in the book is a novelist), you will probably really enjoy this book.  I highly recommend it.


Have you ever heard of or read any of Yona Zeldis McDonough’s books?  Please share your thoughts if you’re so inclined.

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Happy Reading!!

 

 

WWW Wednesday, October-25-2017

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. The three W’s are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

The idea is for book lovers to share their answers to these questions with other book enthusiasts. Just leave the link to your own WWW Wednesday post in the comments section. No blog? No worries. Just answer the questions in the comments section for others to enjoy. Here’s mine…

Currently Reading:

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Under an Adirondack Sky

Harlequin Heartwarming books are sweet, tender romances that I always find time to read since they are great stories but without the draining effect of some other books.  So when I’ve finished a particularly angst-ridden or psychologically challenging read, a Heartwarming book is just the thing for me. And sometimes I just go on a Heartwarming binge since I enjoy them so much.

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Killer Jam

I love Cozy Mysteries, especially during the colder months for some unknown reason, so I chose Killer Jam to read since it’s been on my TBR pile for some time.

Recently Finished:

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Heart’s Refuge

I loved this book! It was just what I needed. I can’t get enough of that sweet cover!! That dog is so cute!! The protagonist won me over in this book. Cheryl Harper writes great stories.

What I might read next:

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Planted

Planted is a cozy mystery book that I received for an honest review from the author. It sounds interesting and I’m looking forward to reading it.

So there you have it.  What do you think about my selections?  This is my first WWW Wednesday so it might be slow going at first with regard to commenters.  But hopefully it will gain momentum as time goes on.  I’m really interested in what everyone else is reading, has read or plans to read, so please share your WWW Wednesday post, or just comment below.  So…..

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Enjoy!!

Our 2017 RV Show adventure – Greensboro, NC

I have a confession to make. I love RV’s.  I’ve wanted one for decades but the truth is I’ll probably never own one. 


Fortunately, I can live out my fantasy of RV ownership at the annual RV show. This year we went to one of the largest shows, in Greensboro, NC. It was a sea of RV’s, and I got to ooh and aah at the largest RV’s imaginable, down to the cutest little pods that were basically meant just for sleeping. I had the time of my life!  I even saw a cute little RV that we could aspire to owning some day. Possibly. Maybe. If only we had the proper vehicle to tow it. 

Anyway, I wanted to share a few pictures from my RV show experience with you. Do you own, or have you ever rented an RV? Do you like RV’s?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section. I’d love to know what you think about them. 

Me in an RV’s dining area

The RV that was perfect for us

Kitchenette in the perfect-for-us RV

My dream RV

And another one I liked

Bed inside of a nice RV

Nice kitchen

Lunch time!! My husband’s chicken and waffles

My chicken and waffles – comfort food at its best

I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into our RV show adventure. 

Until next time…

Muffins and Mourning Tea by H.Y. Hanna

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My synopsis: It’s May Day, first day of Spring in England, and Gemma regretfully agrees to celebrate it with her best friend, Cassie. The Oxford University tradition is to gather on Magdelan bridge (pronounced Maudlin) and listen to choristers sing from the Bell Tower above Magdalen College during the wee hours of the morning. When a young man hurls himself off of the bridge into the river Cherwell below Gemma isn’t initially alarmed since that is somewhat the custom. But until now everyone has succeeded in emerging from the river unscathed. Charlie Foxton was not as fortunate. A likeable young man by all accounts, Charlie didn’t seem the sort to participate in such foolish antics. It’s no wonder that what was initially deemed an accident quickly turned to a suspicion of murder.

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Kids jumping off of Magdelan Bridge into the river Cherwell below

My Thoughts:  HY Hanna delivers another stellar, clever mystery with international characters that add intrigue and spice to the story. (Her audible narrator, Pearl Hewitt, does an exquisite job at imitating the accents for the various Russian characters in the story.) I can depend on a solid mystery and some laugh-out-loud moments whenever the “old biddies” interfere in the murder investigation. Their practical, albeit unconventional sleuthing methods, are hilarious. The luscious tidbits about Oxford University and the surrounding area are always a plus in this series.  I liked Gemma’s transition from normally mild-mannered girl to imposing figure at times in this installment. There’s an inkling of trouble in paradise with Gemma’s boyfriend, Devlin O’Connor, and the suspicion still lingers beyond the conclusion of the book. Overall, I absolutely loved this cozy mystery (I think it’s my new favorite one of the series), and I look forward to the next book in the series, Four Puddings and a Funeral.  Extremely highly recommended.

Have you ever read, or listened to, any books in the Oxford Tearoom Mystery series?  If so, what did you think?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Bell Tower at Magdelan College – Oxford University

Heart’s Refuge by Cheryl Harper

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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫  4.5 stars

Sarah Hillman’s no-kill animal shelter, Paws for Love, is in dire need of funding. Desperate for help, she reaches out to Will Barnes, a former H.S. classmate, and owner of Barnes Financial. Trouble is, Sarah was formerly the little rich, snarky, mean-girl who taunted her classmates, including Will, and “Beanpole Barnes” doesn’t feel much compassion for daddy’s little rich girl when she approaches him for assistance—at least initially. Sarah verbally taunted Will’s sister, Jen, too. And Jen and her two friends are the source for the funds needed to keep Paws for Love running. But Sarah seems to have changed, there’s no denying that, and Will’s attitude towards her begins to soften. Could it be that the shift in financial status since Bobby Hillman skipped town, leaving his shady luxury auto business behind and his daughter broke, has humbled her? Only time will tell, but meanwhile Paws for Love is a worthy cause and Will feels an obligation to seek aid for the foundering shelter. Sarah may be slowly winning his heart, too. Can Sarah be trusted, or is she putting on an act to get what she wants?

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How can you grow to love a mean-girl character? A former bully?  In Heart’s Refuge, Cheryl Harper makes you do it. This story stole my heart. The sweet shelter animals, the main character’s transformation and the community support were all reasons why I enjoyed Heart’s Refuge so much. This book is part of a series, and I suspect that a few loose ends will be tied up in the next book. Even so, I loved it and would definitely recommend this sweet, heartwarming story.

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Until next time….

The Little Bakery on Rosemary Lane

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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4-stars

Roxanne Cartwright, 47, is Fashion Director for YourStyle magazine.  A 30-year veteran in the magazine industry, she’s an ace at what she does and enjoys putting together glamorous fashion shoots for the magazine.  So when she’s told by her new boss that the magazine is being taken in a new direction to cheap, figure-fixing pieces, Roxanne is shocked to learn that her position will be replaced by the new fashion-director-in-chief, Tina Court, who will oversee the transformation. Wary of her imminent dismissal, Roxanne uses her temporary time off from work to escape from London and retreat to her sister’s home in the small village of Burley Bridge in Yorkshire, where they grew up.  After their mother’s death two years before, Della used her mum’s collection of cookbooks to open a cookbook bookshop and effectively changed the Burley Bridge landscape as Roxanne remembered it.  The success of the bookshop has necessitated an expansion, and Roxanne heads to the village to help her sister with the finishing touches before the upcoming party and unveiling of the expanded space.  At first reluctant to relinquish certain duties to her domestically impaired sister, in time Della realizes Roxanne’s effectiveness in handling matters in her absence and the two women become a great team.

Meanwhile, Roxanne is confused about her fashion photographer boyfriend back in London, Sean, who didn’t seem particularly displeased that she’d be leaving for two months.  Sean is the first responsible boyfriend Roxanne’s ever had. Prior relationships consisted of a host of losers, and until Sean she wasn’t much concerned about having a stable relationship with anyone. The idea of a responsible, reliable man who fussed over her and could provide security seemed boring to Roxanne.  But ever since she started dating Sean, suddenly she’s craving commitment.  Nevertheless, something is off-putting about him. She’s heard rumors of his being a philanderer, but she can’t seem to resist his good looks and impish charm.  She believes she’s in love with him, although his odd behavior, particularly that of chiding her for inconsequential incidents, is starting to get on her nerves. Roxanne finds herself continually making allowances for Sean’s bad behavior whenever he apologizes, and she feels conflicted in her emotions about him. Especially since she’s met the owner of the Bakery on Rosemary Lane, Michael.  He’s handsome, talented, available, and he seems to be interested in her.  Suddenly, Sean doesn’t dominate her every thought.  But then Sean shows up and surprises her in Burley Bridge while in Michael’s company, rendering her noticeably flustered. What will Roxanne do?

MY THOUGHTS:  I really enjoyed this book.  I loved reading about Roxanne’s life both in London and then Burley Bridge.  I appreciated that she was a middle-aged woman, as most female protagonists I read about are much younger.  I could easily relate to some of the witty references with regard to her age, and how it sometimes made her feel in the fashion world.  And yet, this book could be read by persons young and old.  Roxanne was a very chic, hip character, and didn’t come across as dowdy in any way.  The relationship she shared with her sister, and that which she developed with Michael’s daughter, Elsa, was endearing and added to my enjoyment of the book.  I was interested to know how she would resolve her relationship issues, but events that transpired in the book ultimately dictated her decision, and I was happy about her choice.  The only negatives I have about this book are that I’m not sure why it’s called The Little Bakery on Rosemary Lane since the Bakery in the story is not center stage.  It’s more in the background, so I found that a little misleading.  Also, I’m not sure how to categorize it.  Although it reads somewhat like a romance book, there wasn’t very much romance in it.  At least not enough leading up to the outcome of the story, in my humble opinion.  There was sort of a few themes going on too.  I would have liked to have seen a little more fulfilling wrap-up of everyone and everything at the end.  Aside from that it was a very good read.  It kept me interested and I would read another book by Ellen Berry in the future.

I received an E-ARC of this book from the publisher via netgalley.  All of the opinions stated in this review are my own.