Before The Rain Falls by Camille Di Maio

As Della was released from prison after her life sentence and returning to Puerto Pesar, The Port of Regret, she wondered if she would regret going back since her life had definitely been a regret for more than one reason.

Della had been found guilty of murdering her sister Eula.  The trial and the story became well known, and portraits of both Della and her sister became famous. Eula’s portrait, the Santa Bonita, was most talked about and rumored to have actual tears falling from her eyes.  Della should have been the one with tears for having to spend her life in prison only four hours after she had married Tomas.

We move to another family in town that also had two sisters and a grandmother that raised them. They were sisters, Paloma and Mercedes, who knew the story of Della and Eula.  Paloma went to New York to become a doctor and has returned for a month to take care of her grandmother who had a heart attack.  The younger sister, Mercedes, was trouble from the beginning and still was but Paloma was trying to reconnect and help Mercedes.

Another person who knew the story of the murder, Della’s prison term, and the crying portrait was, Mick, a reporter from New York looking for a story to boost his career.  When all three of these
characters meet, an intriguing story is created that you won’t want to put down.

BEFORE THE RAIN FALLS has a mesmerizing cover and a mesmerizing story line.  The characters are very easy to connect with and love.  We follow the story and the characters as the author takes us back and forth between what Della’s life was like before and during her prison term, when she returns home, and her interaction with the town and its residents.  All characters are connected to Della’s story in one way or another.

BEFORE THE RAIN FALLS had me completely absorbed.  Ms. Di Maio has a writing style that just pulls you in, allows you to meet characters you will fall in love with, and meet characters you would want to have in your life.

BEFORE THE RAIN FALLS has love, family, tears, heartbreak, and yearning, but ultimately gives you a warm feeling inside.

BEFORE THE RAIN FALLS has a beautiful cover, a beautiful story line, and beautiful, heartfelt characters.

Do NOT miss reading BEFORE THE RAIN FALLS.  Absolutely LOVED this book.

 It is a perfect book for women’s fiction fans and makes you feel the need to hug all your women friends and family.  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and Net Galley in return for an honest review.

Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf

As if losing your hearing because of a hit-and-run driver wasn’t enough trauma, Amelia and her service dog, Stitch, found a dead body of a fellow nurse on the beach.

In addition to losing her hearing and her job as a trauma nurse, Amelia’s depression and drinking also caused the failure of her marriage and her income. She desperately needed a job and needed to get back into society because she was still living on her savings after two years and was lonely.

We follow Amelia through her days and nights and her fear about the killer knowing she was the one who found the body, her fear about little things happening while she is away from home, her fear about public interaction, and her continued fear of living in her silent world with people who have the ability to hear even though she can sign and read lips.

We also follow the police investigation with Jake, the head detective, and his protectiveness of Amelia.  Is he only being overly protective because he is Ameilia’s brother’s best friend or for some other reason.  Is he also being overprotective when she does investigating herself because she is putting herself in danger by “snooping​?”

Ms. Gudenkauf puts you into Amelia’s life and has you wondering what it would be like to be deaf as you empathize with Amelia. Ms. Gudenkauf’s research must have been extensive to make the reader completely feel and experience what Amelia was experiencing as she dealt with the everyday trials of her hearing loss and trying to find out who the murderer was.

The suspense in NOT A SOUND picked up at every turn of the page, and I had a few suspects in mind. Ms. Gudenkauf’s writing style pulls you in and keeps you interested and wondering what secrets some of the characters are keeping.

If you enjoy suspense at its best, you won’t want to miss NOT A SOUND.  I couldn’t stop reading.  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 

Rise & Shine, Benedict Stone by Phaedra Patrick

A knock on the door in the middle of the night could only mean one thing, right?  Bad news.

If it were Estelle, though, it would be good news so Benedict decided to answer the knock.

Much to his surprise, it wasn’t Estelle, but Gemma who announced that she was his niece from America and she had lost her purse, her passport, and her phone.  She wanted to stay with Uncle Ben.  What else could he say but yes?

Gemma was a bit on the troublesome side, but she also was good for Benedict since the house was pretty lonely since Estelle left.

Gemma was the one who was helping Benedict change even though Gemma was pretty closed mouth about why she appeared on his doorstep and didn’t want to call her father to let him know where she was.

Benedict was sweet but naive and had a heart of gold.  He and Gemma grew together, and Gemma helped Benedict in his jewelry shop – a shop Gemma said needed some new ideas and changes just like Benedict did.

Gemma also was playing matchmaker as she helped her Uncle Ben get his wife back.

I thoroughly enjoyed Benedict and felt sorry for him as he worked through living without his wife.  His jewelry shop and their love just hadn’t been enough for them after they were unable to have children after eight years.

RISE & SHINE, BENEDICT STONE was a heartwarming read about family, about trying new things, and about trying to get what you need in life.

If you need an uplifting read for any reason, RISE & SHINE, BENEDICT STONE fits the bill.  It brings back memories and thoughts of the precious things we all have in our lives and truly need to focus on.

ENJOY!!  5/5

This book was give to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

The Book of Summer by Michelle Gable

A summer home filled with years of memories, a book filled with years of written memories, and a home that is eroding away and about to fall off the cliff.

The Cliff House, appropriately named, has been the summer home on Nantucket for the Young/Packard/Codman family for over one hundred years.  The women maintained the house, but now only Cissy is left, and she doesn’t want to give up and face the reality that the house will be falling into the ocean before too long.

To help her mother come to the realization that she cannot continue to live in the summer home, Bess comes back home after four years.  The memories are pretty strong for Bess and even more so when she finds the book containing the thoughts of the guests and family members who stayed there, but she can’t convince her mother to leave.

THE BOOK OF SUMMER follows the family from 1939 to present day with flashbacks from entries in the memory book kept at the house.  I actually enjoyed the present-day story more than the past.

THE BOOK OF SUMMER is a pleasurable read and a book I enjoyed because of the family drama, its secrets, and the characters.  The characters are comical and lovable as well as stubborn.  The reader gets to meet each generation of the women who kept the house going.

THE BOOK OF SUMMER was a bit confusing at first and didn’t grab me right away like her other two books, but it definitely grabs your attention as you meet the characters and learn more about the history of Cliff HouseThat gorgeous cover draws you in as well. 

THE BOOK OF SUMMER is delightful, thoughtful, and a book about families that has you focusing on your family history. 

ENJOY when you read THE BOOK OF SUMMER. 4/ 5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

I Found You by Lisa Jewell

What happens when there is a single woman with three children, a man who doesn’t know who he is, a newly married woman who just moved to town, and a family who might have a connection to them at some point?

Alice, Lily, and “Frank” are connected but don’t know they are.

Alice invited “Frank” inside her home when she saw him sitting on the beach.

Lily’s husband has disappeared and has no clue what happened to him or if she even knows who he is.

“Frank” doesn’t know who he is.

I FOUND YOU has odd, dysfunctional, and mentally ill characters but flows well and has a story line that grabs you.  I liked the back and forth in time and the back and forth between the three main characters. 

As you read you know something is wrong all around. Someone just doesn’t disappear, end up back where they may have been as a child, or be in some place a crime had taken place.

Ms. Jewell weaved in a great deal of suspense, intrigue, edge-of-your-seat tension, and a whole lot of I don’t want to stop reading in I FOUND YOU even though some chapters were literally frightening and became more frightening as the book continued.

The secret of it all led to an ending with a marvelous twist and surprise.  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

The Baker’s Secret by Stephen P. Kiernan

THE BAKER’S SECRET takes us to a small village in Normandy during WWII.   We follow Emma, her family, and the village as they live under the restraints of German occupation.  The village citizens work together to stay alive and to help each other.

Emma is a very strong female character that you can’t help but sympathize with and fall in love with.  She is someone you would love to have had in your village during WWII.

Emma’s strength and subtle resistance to the Germans was amazing.  Emma knew how to be subversive and still stay alive.

Emma’s role in helping to save the residents of her town was to follow the Kommandant’s order to bake bread for him and his men every day.  

Emma had a secret about baking this bread.  She would sneak in two extra loaves to share with the townspeople by stretching the number of required loaves by two.

THE BAKER’S SECRET shows the unity the Europeans had to have in order to survive.

The characters were authentic, and you will become immersed in their lives and suffer with them as well as silently cheer with them when the courage they share turns in to a triumph.

I thoroughly enjoyed THE BAKER’S SECRET.  The writing is marvelous and detailed.  The book is one you won’t want to put down. 

If you read only one book this year, make it THE BAKER’S SECRET.   

THE BAKER’S SECRET is a wonderful testimony and tribute to the people who lived through and survived WWII.  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

The Forever Summer by Jamie Brenner


Secrets, mistakes, and revelations abound in THE FOREVER SUMMER.

We meet the Bishop family with members having secrets from the past as well as the present.

We also meet family members that were not known to exist.

THE FOREVER SUMMER brings together an unknown half sister, a grandmother, and memories of a father the sisters never knew.

The generations of women and how they connected as strangers was wonderful, and the beach setting was perfect for the connections and story line.

THE FOREVER SUMMER was filled with character disappointments, but it was also filled with love and making family connections and approval very enjoyable.

I enjoyed the characters….especially Grandmother Amelia.  Amelia made everything pleasant and made everything and everyone come together.

THE FOREVER SUMMER was an enjoyable read and filled with what women do best when they are together….nurture and care for each other. 

A heartwarming beach read…ENJOY when you get to read this book.  4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.