Special Feature: THE BOOK OF POLLY by Kathy Hepinstall

I have a soft spot for local writers and when I saw that this author lives in Portland, OR I had to at least do a special feature on her novel!

This is an unforgettable story about the grip of love in a truly quirky family, told with a particular blend of sass and warmth. Polly is one of those can’t-forget-her female characters with whom readers are destined to fall in love, and her daughter Willow’s coming of age story is one to which both mothers and their daughters will relate.

Publishers Weekly says, “Polly is a hybrid of Granny from The Beverly Hillbillies and Shirley MacLaine’s Ouiser Boudreaux in Steel Magnolias… [THE BOOK OF POLLY] is full of laughter and warmth” and Kirkus Reviews said, “classic elements of Southern comedy—evil twins, people dropping dead, a faith healer, a river-rafting trip—surround a lovable pair of central characters.”

The character Polly is based, in part, on Kathy Hepinstall’s own wicked-tounged mother and Hepinstall has incorporated her mother’s sayings, and some family anecdotes in coloring the narrative of THE BOOK OF POLLY. Although the story itself is fictional, Polly’s stories and persona are on every page.

Willow Havens is ten years old and obsessed with the fear that her mother will die. Her mother, Polly, is a cantankerous, take-no-prisoners Southern woman who lives to shoot varmints, drink margaritas, and antagonize the neighbors and she sticks out like a sore thumb among the young modern mothers of their small conventional Texas town. She was in her late fifties when Willow was born, so Willow knows she’s here by accident, a late-life afterthought. Willow’s father died before she was born, her much older brother and sister are long grown and gone and failing elsewhere. It’s just her and bigger-than-life Polly.

Willow is desperately hungry for clues to the family life that preceded her, and especially Polly’s life pre-Willow. Why did she leave her hometown of Bethel, Louisiana, fifty years ago and vow never to return? Who is Garland Jones, her long-ago suitor who possibly killed a man? And will Polly be able to outrun the Bear, the illness that finally puts her on a collision course with her past?

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Review: The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff

I just happened to stumble upon Pam Jenoff’s books. I was part of a book blog tour a couple of years ago and one of the books for review was The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach.

I fell in love with her story telling and writing style almost instantly! I have since bought two more books by her!

This is one of the reasons I book blog….to find new authors. When I first picked up The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach, I was not really excited about reading it but I thought it sounded marginally interesting so I gave it a go and was so happy when I was hooked almost immediately!

So when her new book, The Orphan’s Tale came up for review, I jumped at the chance to read it early! Fan girl moment!

Sixteen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier and being forced to give up her baby. She lives above a small rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep…

When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the child that was taken from her. And in a moment that will change the course of her life, she snatches one of the babies and flees into the snowy night.
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Special Feature: SHADOW OF WHIMSY: A CAPE COD LOVER STORY by Ann Hymes

02_Shadow of Whimsy

Shadow of Whimsy: A Cape Cod Love Story by Ann Hymes

Publication Date: June 15, 2016
Secant Publishing
Hardcover, Paperback, eBook
Genre: Contemporary/Women’s Fiction/Literary
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Several generations of one family have lived, loved, and lied at Whimsy Towers, a unique oceanfront house in Chatham, Massachusetts. Strong women who refuse to be suffocated by marriage have found excitement and refuge in this house filled with artists and parties. Love surfaces in unexpected ways.
The newest owner, Theresa Alston Crandall, has just inherited the property and leaves her too-predictable husband in Virginia to spend time on the Cape and unravel family secrets and history. She swims, reflects, explores, and watches dramatic cloud formations float high over the ocean as she sorts through the choices in her path forward.
Romance arrives in the form of a young widower and landscape gardener with an awesome pickup truck, who likes Theresa’s dog and provides temptation to stay at Whimsy Towers. Tips of tree branches dance with the weight of birds that seem to scream warnings of danger, and the churning ocean disrupts family continuity.
Theresa learns how her Southern grandmother came to buy a storm-weathered New England house and how loveless marriage is not a mandatory life style. The final decision feels just right.
“In her debut novel, Hymes presents a conflicted young woman who is beginning to question her humdrum existence. From grief and loss to forgiveness and redemption, Hymes does not hold back. The author steers clear of predictable outcomes in this unexpected story, providing ample romantic suspense and witty prose to keep the reader turning pages. Chock-full of rich descriptions of the New England coast, as well as surprising scandals and an adorable dog named Gypsy, the book should satisfy even seasoned beach readers. A captivating and uplifting tale best suited for fans of meaningful beach-town romances.” -Kirkus Reviews

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Review: The Wicked City by Beatriz Williams

When I picked up my first Beatriz Williams book, I was completely engrossed and fell in love with her writing style.

I wasn’t sure that I would like her books and wasn’t excited to read the first one, but I did and when I began, I was completely sucked in and impressed with her ability to tell a story.

So from that point on, she earned a place in my heart as one of my favorite writers.

When this latest book came across my desk for review, I was thrilled because I knew the caliber of writing and story telling would be second to none and I wasn’t disappointed in this one!

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Review: Stolen Beauty by Laurie Lico Albanese

What are the odds that the first few books that I’ve reviewed this month have all been so good? That rarely happens to me but for some reason the stars have aligned and this month has been a fantastic kick off to the new year book-wise!

The last few novels have all been set during war time and I love love love the drama and romance that comes from a war era novel. This novel was full of beautiful language and writing.

From the dawn of the twentieth century to the devastation of World War II, this exhilarating novel of love, war, art, and family gives voice to two extraordinary women and brings to life the true story behind the creation and near destruction of Gustav Klimt’s most remarkable paintings.

In the dazzling glitter of 1903 Vienna, Adele Bloch-Bauer—young, beautiful, brilliant, and Jewish—meets painter Gustav Klimt.

Wealthy in everything but freedom, Adele embraces Klimt’s renegade genius as the two awaken to the erotic possibilities on the canvas and beyond.

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