Author's last name starts with M

Alaskan Holiday by Debbie Macomber

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Alaskan Holiday by Debbie Macomber was a lovely romance novel that reminds you how precious love can be.

Josie Avery, a recent graduate from cooking school, has spent the summer in Alaska.  Her job to cook in a very remote location is just for the summer. She is loving her adventure, using local foods and cooking for townspeople and visitors alike.  She has a new job coming up in Seattle for a famous chef. She is excited about starting her new life in Seattle, but she really likes Palmer.

Palmer Saxon, a famed master swordsmith works in the remote Alaskan wilderness. He can build swords anywhere, but the wilderness and quiet of Alaska speaks to him.  He is entranced with Josie, walking with her every night. He is falling in love with Josie.

Palmer screws up his courage and asks Josie to marry him.  She is quite mixed and saddened, but refuses because staying in Alaska is not her dream.  And that is when things get quite interesting! Suffice to say, not everything that happens is expected.  

Alaska Holidays by Debbie Macomber was a fun, sweet read.  

The Luck of the Bride by Janna MacGregor

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The Luck of the Bride by Janna MacGregor is the third book in a series called the Cavensham Heiresses. I picked up this book not realizing that the book was part of a series.  I found the book quite interesting and did not feel any problems due to reading a book without reading the prior books.  

Marsh Lawson, the oldest child of a close family, suddenly became the head of the family with her younger sisters and brother.  She managed for over a half dozen years, no matter the difficulty with managing and making ends meet. Marsh has been signing documents with the name of the Marquess of McCalpin to help maintain food and proper clothing for her siblings.  After all, the man was supposed to be taking care of them until her brother reached his majority and he was not doing his job and she was only taking money from her dowry.  

The Marquess of McCalpin  was notified that someone was taking money from the accounts, he was supposed to watch over.  Michael Cavensham did not keep the accounts himself but had “men” who took care of those things.  However, once apprised of the situation, he informed Marsh that any further withdrawals even from her account were unacceptable and sent her on her way, without even listening to her.

The fear, Michael felt that someone would find out his secret.  The desperation, Marsh felt for her family and the fear that can with that would push her toward Michael helping them.  The secret and other interesting supposed truths would cause the situation to spiral out of control. Was Marsh really the imposter some said, or was someone setting her up to hide the theft of larger amounts of money.  

I enjoyed The Luck of the Bride by Janna MacGregor.  The twists of the plots were interesting as were the characters.  The safety of younger siblings made the story more emotionally stirring.  Michael’s secret grew in complexity in his mind. He worked so hard to keep it that he missed how his family cared for him and probably wouldn’t care.  

The Luck of the Bride by Janna MacGregor was a good read.  

 

Lone Rider by Lindsay McKenna

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Lone Rider is the newest in the Wind River Valley series by Lindsay McKenna.  We are back on the Bar C Ranch designed to help veterans who are struggling with PTSD.  Shay was glad to see her friend from high school and wanted Tara to join the ranch. Tara has left the Arms Services.  Her tours left her with nightmares, anxiety and constant hyperawareness. Working outdoors as a wrangler and extra hand would be a godsend.  

Harper is fighting PTSD as well.  For him finding the ranch and being able to work with the horses helps him get through each day.  His marriage disintegrated and his life fell apart until he found the Bar C. Now he is working toward a future.

Together Harper and Tara spark.  They are both so damaged and afraid, but they are feeling things they hoped for but never expected.  I enjoyed the couple, but found the book dragged in the middle. I felt that the characters continued to repeat themselves and spent too much time in their head rehashing what happened and is happening.  I think the book could have included all the relevant plot line with more streamlined middle. However, the wordiness did not take away from the quality of the story with the mystery and adventure of Harper and Tara.  

I am looking forward to the next book in series when it comes out in the fall.  Lone Rider by Lindsay McKenna is a good read.

Love and Ruin by Paula McLain

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Love and Ruin by Paula McLain is an historical fiction novel about Martha Gellhorn.  I love historical fiction and had heard good things about Paula McLain’s books, so I decided to give it a try.  I have to admit, I was feeling some trepidation about the book for about the first 20 pages and then I was drawn into the story completely.  I knew little about Martha Gelhorn prior to reading, however I found myself looking up information about her life as the book progressed. Paula McLain has written a book of such quality and passion that you are totally enthralled with “Marty”, always wanting to know what is next.  

I admired the writing of Paula McLain.  I enjoyed reading about Ernest Hemingway and how he was such an integral part of her life. Mostly I admired the strength of character and the audacity to conquer a male dominated world that Marty had. The story followed the rough outline of her life, however the conversations, letters and connections were fiction. The fiction and the nonfiction rolled so smoothly together that it was hard to remember what was known and what was imagined.

Love and Ruin by Paula McLain was a fabulous read.  I enjoyed the book tremendously. I admired the subject matter, the writing, and the weaving of fiction and nonfiction.  I will add Paula McLain to my authors I like. I will continue to revisit the strength of the story and the portrayal of the main character in the future as well.  Love and Ruin is a five star read!

Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris

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Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris was a thoughtful novel about the unexpected consequences of a photo.  The idea of selling children is the abhorrent event that starts off a series of events that are chilling and fascinating, sometimes in the same breath.  The story holds your attention even when you are hoping truly that the series of events are not accurate (but they are). One of the other themes that is prevalent is that of guilt for what happened even though no guilt should be applied.  

Ellis Reed snaps a photograph of two boys next to sign - 2 children for sale.  The photograph was never meant to be part of a story, but Lily Palmer found the photo and that starts a series of events.  Lily and Ellis are thrown together while working through the situation and their secrets come out. Ellis is marred by the outcome of the photo despite the situation.  Lily is marred by the children being given up by the mother. And then we start hearing about what happens to children who are sold. The story really grips at the heart of the reader.

Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris was a good read.  

To Tame A Wild Lady by Ashlyn Macnamara

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To Tame A Wild Lady by Ashlyn Macnamara is a wild ride.  A proper lady and an improper estate agent.  A woman mad for horses and riding with no desire to be wed.  A bastard with no family, but an upbringing allowing him to make a living.  She wants to ride and hunt and he needs to sow and harvest the fields. Together they are fire, when in reality they should be servant and lady. Together they solve a couple of puzzles and set fire to their love.  Lady Caroline Wilde and Adrian Crosby… To bad they can’t be together.

Why Not Tonight by Susan Mallery

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Why Not Tonight by Susan Mallery is the third book in her trilogy Happily Inc.  Ronan Mitchell has been struggling ever since he found out he was not part of the family, he always thought he was.  He moved to start over and two of his brothers moved with him. They found their happiness, but he has found himself becoming more and more withdrawn.  

 

Natalie Kaleta runs the gallery where Ronan and his brothers work and show their creations.  She realizes that no one has heard from Ronan in several days and becomes concerned. She takes it upon herself to drive to his house to check on him.  The problems of an old car and horrid weather do not stop her. Luckily, she makes it even if her car does not. Stranded with Ronan, Natalie realises he is more than just another artist.  Ronan’s trust has been eroded and he really does not allow himself to forgive and more on. Until he does Natalie and his relationship is in peril…

 

Once again, Susan Mallery has reminded me about why I love her books.  Her characters are well thought out and jump off the page as real people.  You find yourself cheering for them, hopeful for their successes and wanting to comfort them when things are not going well.   Why Not Tonight by Susan Mallery is a great read.

 

When We Found Home by Susan Mallery

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When We Found Home by Susan Mallery is a stand alone novel about families.  The story line is one that is often universal in our world, that of a family made up of half siblings. Malcolm, Callie and Keira have all just found each other thanks to their grandfather. Their father had very little if anything to do with them growing up, so finding out about more family is a surprise.

Malcolm had lived with his grandfather for years, since he was twelve. . After his mom died, his Grandfather was everything to him and Malcolm will do anything to help his grandfather. As it is he is already taking over his family business and working to grow it into this century.

Keira is only twelve and has been without a home for a while. Most recently she has been staying with a friend of her mother’s and then was shipped to a foster home. Keira feels uprooted, alone and just mad, but who could blame her.

Callie’s life took a turn when at 18, thinking she was in love with her boyfriend, they held up a liquor store.  She was sentenced to prison and has been trying to make her way in the world all alone since then.

There are other great characters in the book that add to the storyline.  This book could have been maudlin, but it was not. There were moments of joy and moments of difficulty.  When We Found Home was a good read.

 

Sisters Like Us by Susan Mallery

Sisters Like Us by Susan Mallery was a fun read.  The book follows two sisters and their mother in Mischief Bay.  Since this is not a new setting (book 4), there were characters and story connections to past books, however the book could definitely be read as a stand alone.

Hannah, divorced and learning how to stand on her own feet has started a new business as a Virtual Assistant. Her daughter, Becca is a teenager with struggles of fitting in with her friends (mean girls) and is growing more distant.  Starting a new business and learning how to focus on what is important is very hard, especially when her mother, Bunny is constantly harping on her about how to be a perfect wife and mother.  

Stacey, a hugely successful doctor studying MS and Hannah’s sister is struggling as well.  All her life she heard she was different, unnatural and a problem by her mother.  In reality, it is clear to see she is brilliant, focused and terrified of becoming a mother.  She is clearly somewhere on the spectrum, but her husband gets her and loves her.  He is determined to stay home so she can work, but how will that go over with her perfectly traditional mother, who is inflexible.

Luckily Stacey and Hannah have each other and together they will support each other and find their way forward.  Once again Susan Mallery has brought us strong women characters who show that being strong means growing and changing and having each other’s back.  I was surprised by the honest and clear characterization of Stacey and loved the drive and determination by Hannah.  

Sisters Like Us reminds us of the powerful role sisters have in all of our lives!  Susan Mallery’s newest book is a great read.  

 

You Say It First by Susan Mallery

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Susan Mallery’s newest series is called Happily Inc.  The first book in the series was You Say It First.  In this novel, Susan introduced us to many of the new characters and the town of Happily.  Pallas and Nick are the main characters.  Nick Mitchell is a sculptor.  He works in many mediums but seems to prefer wood.  He moved her from Fool’s Gold as did his brothers from her Fool’s Gold series.  

Pallas owns a small business about weddings.  She puts on some types of fantasy weddings and keeps her business afloat.  Nick wanted something to keep his hands busy while he was waiting to hear about his newest commission.  He found himself being a used as an extra in a toga before he even interviewed for the job.  Pallas realized he was out of her league, but he stayed anyway. Together they figured out how much they liked each other and so it began.

A new series in a new setting, but the same successful format. Boy meets girl and they like each other and then realize they are in love.  One of them tweaks out and they break up and then something happens to make them come back together with apologies and lots of confessions of love.  Lovely storylines and books.

You Say It First by Susan Mallery was a good read.

The First Kiss of Spring by Emily March

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Emily March is a new author for me, so reading one of her books from the middle of her series was a bold adventure.  The First Kiss of Spring was a lovely read.  There was angst, heat, love, secrets and a town full of family.  What more could you ask for?  For Caitlin, a long term relationship ending in marriage and children. For Josh Tarkington, friends (maybe with benefits) but NO long term commitments...ever!

Caitlin has decided that her life needs to change!  She want to live in a small town working with children.  She wants a long term relationship called marriage and children.  So it is time to change.  However, it is hard to change when your family is questioning your wisdom or your choices, especially the choice of Josh…

Josh has started over again.  He thinks he is the original bad luck person of all time. He does not want to love again - it hurts too much! He just wants his garage, his little house and the small town where no one knows his background and maybe more time with Caitlin, but not love…=

Surprises and secrets are the reality in a relationship where everyone does not share the truth. Caitlin hates that.  Josh needs to save her but pushing her away…  The First Kiss of Spring by Emily March is a good read!

 

I Am Still Alive by Kate Alice Marshall

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Sometimes a book, just resonates so with you that each breath you take is in tune with the main character.  That you feel the pain, the anguish and the horror of each step. Be ready for that feeling. I Am Still Alive by Kate Alice Marshall is that kind of book.

Jess’s story is told in two parts, before and after.  As the reader, you know what the incident is that causes the before and after, but like Jess you just don’t want to think about it.  Jess is left alone in the wilderness. She is a city kid and lacks the knowledge to survive, but unlike other similar stories, Jess has already dealt with pain, a lot of pain in her life and she is a survivor.  

To me this book is a cross between Hatchet and Where the Red Fern Grows.  It brings you on a journey of surviving and hope, while allowing you to connect with the main character and her dog.  Books such as this leave the reader determined and hopeful while turning each page with their heart in their throat. I would recommend this book highly to a number of students who like adventure and who can handle the content that includes death, theft, forgery and fear.  Thank you Netgalley for allowing me to read this book. I Am Still Alive by Kate Alice Marshall is a wonderful, brutal, heart-wrenching young adult read that by the end held me riveted.

The Holiday Cottage by the Sea by Holly Martin

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The Holiday Cottage by the Sea by Holly Martin was a contemporary fun read with some humor and some heat. The setting is a small town in the southwestern corner of England.  The small oceanside town is one of the few places where heart berries are grown.

Tori Graham is on vacation at Blossom Cottage in Sandcastle Bay.  The vacation is badly needed and in exchange for staying at Blossom Cottage she is going to help work on a berry farm picking heartberries. She chose this place as her best friend Melody lives there and it has been too long since they have spent time together.   

The owner of the cottage is Aidan Jackson, one HOT farmer.  He is the person she is going to be working for and according to his elderly aunt, marry and have five children with.  The cottage comes with some curious features like a dog who comes with the cottage.

I enjoyed the reading this book.  I loved the entrance that Tori made coming into town…it made me giggle.  I saw the dilemma with starting a relationship when worrying about the future.  The townspeople were characters and I enjoyed spending time with them.

The Holiday Cottage by the Sea by Holly Martin was a good read filled with humor and heat!

 

Sandpiper Shore by Debbie Mason

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Sandpiper Shore by Debbie Mason is the sixth book in a series called Harmony Harbor.  I have not read the previous books and did not find the lack of knowledge about the previous books a problem.  Sandpiper Shore is about Jenna Bell, an erstwhile matchmaker and in the midst of planning her own Cinderella wedding, when her soon-to-be husband breaks up with her for her stepmother.  This is just one more straw to break her back! Her father died. Her stepmother has stole her company. Her stepsisters put up with her. And then this - and when she runs out of the wedding gown shop, she is almost hit by a car she ran in front of and then there was the fight - oh and the dancing pole…now she is trying to manage her new reality by helping her old flame (more on her part than his) Logan marry a Princess… (Yes, a real life Princess!)

Debbie Mason has a following of readers who enjoy her series.  I did enjoy the book, even though it seemed more than once that the book was a little too cluttered with things that kept happening. The main characters seemed to be fun and the book was populated with various characters that could be next in line for a book from Harmony Harbor.  I did like how there was redemption for the creepy ex of Jenna’s.

Sandpiper Shore by Debbie Mason was a good read.  

All Things New by Lauren Miller

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All Things New by Lauren Miller was a good read!  The main character, Jessa was really good at presenting an image to the world, she thought.  But inside she was a mass of anxiety with panic attacks that were barely in control.  She struggled everyday and found her relationship with Wren, her boyfriend, a saving grace.  Left to live with her mother and her mother’s new husband and their twins Jessa didn’t feel like she belonged except with Wren.  

Until Jessa found out he was cheating on her and others knew about it.  Until Jessa was in a horrible car accident and her world imploded.  Now Jessa has a new chance to start again, living with her dad and going to a new school.  No one has to know about the panic attacks - and the other problems brought on by her head injury. RIght?

I enjoyed this book.  I like how some things were interwoven so seamlessly within the story.  Jessa’s dad’s patience with her was another element that I liked.  Jessa and her friends were well drawn characters and I felt the story was well done.  I feel the book was mislabeled and should be labeled as Christian as well as Young Adult and Contemporary.  I enjoyed reading the book and hope others who read this learn how debilitating panic attacks can be.  

 

Beach House for Rent by Mary Alice Monroe

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Mary Alice Monroe’s books are superb.  They show the passion she has for the beauty of the lowland country and its natural preserves.  I love how she imbues her books with enough facts to hook the reader while not becoming strident about the need to save our world.

Her newest book is called Beach House for Rent.  Mary Alice Monroe brings us back to Lovey’s cottage on the Isle of Palms. (Don’t worry if you have not read any of the prior books - this can stand alone.)  It is here we meet Cara Rutledge as she rents out her mother’s cottage for the summer to Heather Fordham. To Cara this is a winning situation!  Heather’s story unfolds in pace with Cara’s story about the summer.  Each woman is at a different point in her life and needs help connecting to others and themselves.  

Beach House for Rent is a wonderful novel about changes, growing, and accepting.  Mary Alice Monroe has written another hit that makes us look at what is truly important and how we embrace the changes and pull ourselves into new segments of life.

The Last Weekend of Summer by Peter Murphy

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The Last Weekend of Summer by Peter Murphy is about a final family get together that last weekend before fall.   Gloria, the great grandmother had asked her daughter-in-law and her grandchildren and their families to join her at family lake house for the last weekend of summer.  The book starts with all the family driving to the lake in the traffic and then the ensuing days. Clearly this is a family who does drama well. What only part of the family knew was that their estranged father, ex-husband and son was also going to be there.  He divorced and left the family leaving behind obviously bitter feelings with some of them.

Gloria is feeling old, but determined to have this weekend be successful for them. Mary (the daughter-in-law) is still bitter about the divorce all those years ago. Johnnie is the oldest always seems to be taking care of people.  Buddy, the oldest daughter always takes her mother’s side and is very hard on her husband, Norm. CC is the youngest daughter and is enrolled in her own drama with a new love interest when she is still stuck on the old love interest.  Add to this are spouses, grandchildren and a mix of emotions and revelations that add to the drama.

The Last Weekend of Summer by Peter Murphy was like watching a family drama or soap opera.  I found myself being angry at some characters and cheering on others. I loved Gloria and wished that her wisdom from life could be infused in so many others.  Peter Murphy’s characters and storyline make The Last Weekend of Summer by Peter Murphy a good read.

 

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Latest comments

23.10 | 11:23

Awesome interview! B.J. Daniels books are just GREAT!! Always anticipating the next one! Appreciate her talent, and bringing us wonderful hours of reading!

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22.10 | 18:12

For one, I’m glad you can come up with ideas and that the characters talk to you. Keep them talking and thank you and your characters.

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22.10 | 17:30

I adore B J Daniels’ books. She grabs me from the first sentence and doesn’t let go until the last sentence. I loved this interview.

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01.10 | 16:20

Happy Birthday! I remember when book club started when you turned 50. OMG! 100% agree with political status. So disappointing. Happy Foliage!

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