The Happiness Pact by Liz Flaherty and **Giveaway**

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💚💚💚💚 4-hearts

fullsizeoutput_ac2Libby Worth and Tucker Llewelyn have known each other since they can remember. In fact, they’re only 27 minutes apart.  As handsome as Tuck is, Libby sees him as her forever friend, not imagining that they could ever be anything more. Tuck is closer to her than her own brother, and he’s seen her through the most difficult times of her life. (Or so he thinks. He doesn’t know about “the viper.”) Now the two have turned thirty-four, and each wants something different to happen in their life. Tuck realizes he wants a nuclear family, and Libby wants to add some adventure to her rather ordinary life. So they make a pact to help fulfill each other’s desires. Since each knows everything there is to know about the other it should be a rather easy task. But what’s that odd feeling Libby gets when trying to pair Tuck up with other women? And why does Tuck feel compelled to do whatever it takes to add adventure to Libby’s life in order to make her happy?  Tucker senses that Libby is hiding something, something that’s weighing her down. Is her secret the obstacle that restrains her heart from committing to a loving relationship?
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This sweet story pulled me in within the first few pages. Tragedies have affected both of the main characters, but Libby has had a more difficult time coping, unbeknownst to her best friend, Tuck.  The Happiness Pact touches on the effects that tragedy can have on ones mind and body, and how trying to tackle our own fears is not always the best route to take. But mostly it shows how the love of friends, family and a close-knit community can help us to overcome our challenges so that we can feel free to love, and to enjoy living.  And, of course, since this is a sweet romance book, there’s an endearing love story.

The Happiness Pact is a testament to how love can triumph despite hardships in life. Liz Flaherty has an inventive imagination. The scenes in her books envelop you in warmth and comfort.  Recommended for those who enjoy light, sweet romance stories with a smidgen of more complex themes.

Liz Flaherty has kindly supplied me with a prize pack to give away.  To enter, LIKE this post, and then tell me if you enjoy sweet romance stories, and if you do, what do you appreciate about them?  Contest open to U.S. residents only. 😔  Winner will be announced on 7/7/2018.

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Thanks, as always, for visiting Cozynookbks.

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Woman Last Seen In Her Thirties by Camille Pagán

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4-stars

What could be worse than finding out that your husband of 27 years is leaving you for a younger woman? Maggie Harris, 53, will learn that there IS something worse, and it will be difficult to accept. Being blindsided by her husband’s affair and subsequent departure leaves Maggie in a state of uncertainty and insecurity. How does a woman go about starting anew when she’s been relatively comfortable and stable in her life for nearly the past three decades?

When I began reading Woman Last Seen In Her Thirties, I thought it was about why women of a certain age feel invisible in this world because of society’s obsession with youth and beauty; and how difficult it is attempting to navigate life amongst those who hardly acknowledge a middle-aged woman’s existence. But really, it was less about that and more about how a mature woman struggles to regain her confidence, redefine herself and reshape her life after her husband leaves her.

I enjoyed this book. I was interested to know what direction Maggie would go in her life. I loved seeing her character develop throughout the course of the book, and I feel that the author portrayed Maggie’s challenges and the choices she ultimately makes in a realistic way. The ending brought tears to my eyes. Nicely done.

Thank you Netgalley, Lake Union Publishing, and Camille Pagán for a complimentary, Advance Reader Copy of Woman Last Seen In Her Thirties. In exchange I have provided an honest review.

Until next time….

Meet Me on the Midway by Amie Denman

🎡🎡🎡.5 – 3.5 Ferris wheels

The ribbon cutting ceremony is underway for the new Starlight Point Marina. Evie Hamilton, part owner of the Starlight Point Amusement Park along with her two siblings, is convinced that the new Marina and eventual renovation of the century-old Lake Breeze Hotel will be the answer to Starlight Point’s financial struggles. Everything is set to go for the grand opening of the Marina until the fire inspector puts the brakes on, citing violations and refusing to sign off on an occupancy permit. Evie is worried. Revenue from the new Marina is necessary for the success of Starlight Point, and this project is exactly what’s needed to attain it.

Scott Bennett, fire inspector and the bane of Evie’s existence, is taciturn and distant. He seems displeased with any projects Evie plans to undertake to improve Starlight Point. Evie is convinced that Scott’s difficult and off-putting demeanor stems from something in his past that he’s keeping to himself, but what? Behind the brooding exterior is a caring, loving, protective man. He’s demonstrated these qualities with injured Starlight Point patrons and his sister, Caroline, an officer at the Point. Evie’s seen this side of Scott and it’s hard to deny the attraction she feels toward him. But are her instincts correct regarding his appealing qualities, or is she headed for further disappointment from the man who seems to live for the sole purpose of frustrating her plans?

I enjoy the Starlight Point series and it’s amusement park setting. Imagining the rides, games, food and crowds is fun and entertaining. However, in Meet Me on the Midway, it was a little difficult for me to envision Evie’s romantic interest in Scott when he presented nothing but trouble for her. I think there was just a bit too much conflict, and consequently the romance didn’t develop quite enough to be convincing to me.I did really like the behind the scenes look at the complexities of owning and running an amusement park. There are medical emergencies, fires, fights, malfunctions. We are rarely aware of these goings-on when we visit amusement parks. There’s so much happening during a typical jam-packed amusement park day, and I found myself thinking about how it’s at all possible to operate one smoothly. I wished the romance between Scott and Evie was as inspiring as the amusement park details.

Meet Me on the Midway was a good, wholesome read. But I have to admit that it wasn’t my favorite of the series because I thought the romantic element was lacking. However, I still enjoyed many parts of it, and I’m looking forward to reading book 4 in the series.

A picture from our somewhat recent trip to Myrtle Beach, SC.

Enjoy your day everyone!

Hetty’s Farmhouse Bakery by Cathy Bramley

🍰🍰🍰🍰🍰 5 cake slices

Don’t let the sweet little innocuous cover fool you. Sure, there’s a sheep farm, homemade pies and a quaint little village called Carsdale in Cumbria, England, that’s filled with caring neighbors….

My vision of Hetty’s farmhouse

But there’s also secrets, bad decisions and the resultant consequences that will astound you…

When Hetty Greengrass learns that her daughter, Poppy, is inspired by her aunt Naomi, and not her own mother, Hetty feels inadequate and slightly jealous. She’s a sheep farmer’s wife, while Naomi runs the successful Sunnybank Farm Shop that she built from the ground up. Hetty re-evaluates her life; she wants to be her daughter’s role model. So instead of living to appease everyone else’s wishes and desires, she decides to finally put her own first. What can she do? Folks rave about her homemade sweet and savory pies, including Poppy, so she’s determined to bake pies, not just recreationally for charities and the village fete, but for profit. Everyone is supportive except the one person whose support means the most: her husband, Dan. He relies on Hetty to help with farming duties, and expresses his reluctance to allow her to pursue this new venture. But when she gets entered into the Cumbria’s Finest competition without her knowledge, Hetty’s life begins to change, in more ways than one.

I loved this book!! I learned a lot about the goings-on of a sheep farm. I got lost in the imagery of the beautiful Lake District with its rolling hills, valleys and meadows. And although there are witty and heartwarming scenes, there’s also the complexities of life that will take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions. I’m so glad I purchased this book, even if I had to wait for it to arrive all the way from across the pond. I think you will love it too. Highly recommended.

The beautiful Lake District

Do you enjoy books set in England and written by British authors? Please, share your thoughts.

Have a great day. And thank you for visiting Cozynookbks.😊

Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’s Sweetshop of Dreams (Audiobook-Tantor Audio) **Top Pick**

I know I’ve loved a book when:

-The audiobook version is 13 hrs. long and I’m utterly disappointed when it ends

-I find myself chuckling throughout the day recalling random scenes

-I start researching other books by the author so I can add one to my tbr

-I stalk the author online and follow their social media posts

This is how I felt after devouring Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’s Sweetshop of Dreams. I enjoyed this book immensely. The audiobook narrator, Beverley Crick, did an outstanding job portraying the various characters, both male and female, in the book. An incredible performance. This book checked off all of the boxes that make for a thoroughly satisfying read.

And now a peek at the plot…..

Rosie Hopkins, age thirty-one, is an auxiliary nurse living in a tiny London flat with her status-quo boyfriend, Gerard, age thirty-six. She’s convinced herself that she’s satisfied with her life, but her friends and family consistently suggest otherwise. Angie, Rosie’s mother who lives in Australia, has commandeered her to move to the English countryside to care for her elderly great aunt, Lilian, who used to run a sweetshop but is no longer up for the task since a terrible fall has taken its toll on her. Rosie’s job is to transform the neglected, abandoned shop into a proper sweetshop so that it can be sold and aunt Lilian placed in a comfortable senior home to live out her days. Rosie resists with numerous excuses as to why she shouldn’t go, but after considering having the most favorable circumstances amongst all of her relatives, along with her inner desire to have a break from Gerard, acquiesces and decides to go.

Rosie eventually settles into village life with its quirky residents and beautiful landscape. She even gets the opportunity to demonstrate her adept nursing abilities on a few occasions. Subsequently, she’s beginning to feel useful in the small town of Lipton. When Gerard finally gets around to visiting, she realizes what a disappointment he really is; his idiosyncratic ways so clearly visible and pathetic when compared with the rugged men she’s met out in the country. Rosie is reevaluating her life, and just where will she end up? Can she find love and a new life in the little town of Lipton, or will she choose to return to her familiar life in London with Gerard?

I adored this book. It was so well crafted. An excellent story. The audio narrator brought it to life and I didn’t want it to end. Be warned though, there is a bit of language in this book here and there, but overall it’s a cozy, sweet read with loads of British wit and charm. Fabulous!

Thank you, Tantor Audio, for a complimentary download of Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’s Sweetshop of Dreams. In exchange I have provided an honest review.

Have a lovely week!!

Watching Glass Shatter by James J. Cudney

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4-stars

Patriarch, Benjamin “Ben” Glass, has a successful law practice, five grown sons, a spectacular home and a wife of 40 years who adores him. He cherishes his life and his family, but he has a secret that could shatter everything he holds dear. When Ben’s attorney and friend, Ira Rattenburg, is given specific instructions regarding how the secret he’s been keeping from his family should be handled upon his death, Ira obliges him and locks away the pertinent documentation should there ever come a time when it becomes necessary to unveil it. Ben Glass meets an untimely death. The time has come.

When Olivia, Ben’s wife, learns part of the secret that her husband’s been keeping from her, she is initially shocked, dismayed and infuriated by it. It involves one of their five sons. She decides to spend time with each one of them while a woman by the name of Rowena Hector, the final key to the mystery, is located by Ira Rattenburg. Olivia will soon learn that her husband wasn’t the only member of the family with secrets. Each son has a secret of his own, and it’s up to Olivia to shred her austere, exacting ways and conservative values, to embrace her sons’ unconventional approach to living their lives.

Watching Glass Shatter started out a little shaky. I found it a bit wordy and overly descriptive in the beginning, causing the narrative to appear forced at times, but it quickly gained its footing and fell into a more natural flow as the book progressed. It was at this point that I began to enjoy it. The author’s personality shines through; his sense of humor, compassion and natural way with words. I liked the premise of the story, albeit I had to suspend disbelief to some degree as it was hard to imagine that some of the events in the book could really happen. But hey, it’s fiction, and I’m okay with that as long as it’s an entertaining read.

I found this to be a good debut novel. Admittedly, a few scenes were a bit too raw or TMI for my taste—entirely personal preference. The midpoint of the book was the most page-turning part for me. I wanted a little more meat regarding the implications of some of the characters’ actions nearest the end of the book. All in all, well done.

The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth

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4-Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Four women wonder who the presumably single woman is who moves onto their family-friendly Pleasant Court street. And why does she feel comfortable speaking to them so familiarly almost immediately, as though she’s known them all for years? Perplexed, they watch Isabelle, wondering what her intentions are. Essie’s mother has misgivings about the mysterious neighbor from the start. She’s different from their little clan, and vague about her background, so why did she move from Sydney to Melbourne and into their neighborhood?

Each of the three families on Pleasant Court has its own secrets and insecurities that tidily remain hidden within the confines of their own homes, while outside appearances paint a very different, more pristine picture. They’re keeping secrets from their families, and secrets from their neighbors. But the women are slowly becoming unhinged by the various complexities affecting their lives. Fran is trying to run from her problems—literally; subconsciously burning through the fear and regret that prods her every day. Essie is detaching from her familial obligations; her husband and mother worrying about her, especially since her frightful episode a few years back. In their minds she’s fragile and unstable. Ange’s guilty conscience is eating her alive, even though she is the one everybody envies—the one with the great career, gorgeous husband, immaculate home and well-mannered kids. Little do they all know that Ange is insecure about said husband whom she can never seem to track down, and who gives her a niggling feeling about his activities when he’s not at home. What is everyone hiding, and who is the stranger on Pleasant Court?

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I like the way The Family Next Door starts out mellow, builds, and then reaches a crescendo. But after that it ends rather abruptly. The psychological buildup was intense, but the end result was tamer than I’d anticipated in some instances. Specifically when it came to the enigmatic neighbor. I think there could have been a little bit more dramatic effect in some cases. However, the story advanced forward easily overall, and I was eager to turn pages. But as far as the conclusion goes, I wanted just a bit more. Other than that it really was a great read. The way and time in which secrets were revealed was excellent. Each revelation came when I wasn’t expecting it and I was blown away by how the author executed those parts. It was very well done. I would definitely recommend this book.

Thank you Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for an E-ARC of this book, in exchange I have provided an honest review.

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