Author's last name starts with M

Love and Ruin by Paula McLain

Love and Ruin by Paula McLainCoolCoolHeartHeartThumbs upThumbs up

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!

The Luck of the Bride by Janna MacGregor

The Luck of the Bride by Janna MacGregor CoolCoolHeartHeartThumbs upThumbs up

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 McKennaCoolCoolHeartHeartThumbs up

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.

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 Bride That Got Lucky by Janna MacGregor

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The Bride that got Lucky by Janna MacGregor was a fun read.  It was the second book in the Cavensham Heiresses series and brought us the story of Lady Emma Cavensham while allowing us to check in on Alex and Claire from the first novel.

Lady Emma Cavensham is on a mission.  She just knows that her best friend Lena died at the hands of her husband and she is going to prove it.  Unfortunately, Nicholas St. Mauer does not totally trust her and knows she is up to something.  He has managed to squash her plans twice - and that was after all the hard work of getting her family occupied with other things.  Her parents are making noises about her getting married, but she knows what happens to women - they become possessions of their husband and are easily trapped and mistreated.  She does not want that to happen to her!  Nick has to find ways to keep her safe, while she is very independent and stubborn and find a way to keep both their hearts from being broken. 

To me, The Bride that got Lucky by Janna MacGregor was a more enjoyable read than the first novel.  I found the main characters more likable and therefor liked the storyline more.  The Bride that got Lucky was a good read!

To Tame A Wild Lady by Ashlyn Macnamara

To Tame a Wild Lady by Ashlyn MacnamaraCoolCoolHeartHeartThumbs up

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.

The First Kiss of Spring by Emily March

The First Kiss of Spring by Emily March CoolCoolHeartHeartThumbs upThumbs up

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!


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!


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

Beach House for Rent by Mary Alice Monroe CoolCoolHeartHeartThumbs upThumbs up

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.

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Latest comments

26.03 | 16:01

At first I thought it said spa season. Either way it is a sign of rejuvenation! On a Kristin Hannah kick, loved Winter Garden. Happy reading!

19.03 | 14:10

Cities are fun but exhausting. Like you the quiet is needed.

30.08 | 21:25

Have loved reading every one of Lisa Scottoline's books. Can't wait for the next one to arrive on bookshelves. Thanks for sharing your remarkable talent!

28.08 | 06:12

August snow days! What a fantastic idea! I've been reading Martin Walker's Bruno series set in rural France full or recipes. Yum

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