Review: Dragonfly Wishes by Penny Harmon

Dragonfly Wishes
Author: Penny Harmon
Publication Date: June 23, 2017
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Note: I received this book from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

Callie Daniel’s had it all – a handsome and loyal husband – a sweet and loving son. When death comes knocking at the door twice and they are both taken from her, Callie is suddenly struggling to find a reason to continue with her own life.

During an accidental overdose, she discovers that maybe her son is not lost to her forever when she sees a vision and her journey to understand what happens after death takes top priority.

In the middle of Callie’s quest to deal with her grief, she uncovers a secret that she just can’t ignore. These secrets lead her on a journey to understanding more about life than she ever expected to know.


Dragonfly Wishes is the story of woman struggling with the grief and how she begins to overcome it. During treatment of her seven-year old son’s leukemia, Callie tragically loses her husband in a car accident. She pushes through to help her son heal. When her son loses his fight, Callie is sent spiraling into depression. She doesn’t know how to go on until her son Cooper inspires her from the grave. From that moment on, Callie goes on a journey of healing.

This is the first book I’ve read by Penny Harmon and I was impressed. Her story was very emotional and felt like it realistically covered Callie’s stages of grief. I don’t really want to imagine going through losing both my spouse and child, but Penny Harmon made it easy to put myself in Callie’s place. Her pain was my pain. While Dragonfly Wishes was uncomfortable at times, it was also inspirational. It showed there is always hope in the darkest of times.

My only problem with Dragonfly Wishes was the editing of it. This may sound nitpicky, but there were several writing errors throughout the book. They were words that weren’t the right words for the sentence. They popped out at me every time I came across them.

Overall, I really enjoyed Dragonfly Wishes. It was a great story about grief and reclaiming life.

Release Day Review: Lost and Found Sisters by Jill Shalvis

Lost and Found Sisters
Series: Wildstone, #1
Author: Jill Shalvis
Publication Date: June 20, 2017
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

From New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis comes her first women’s fiction novel—an unforgettable story of friendship, love, family, and sisterhood—perfect for fans of Colleen Hoover, Susan Mallery, and Kristan Higgins.

They say life can change in an instant…

After losing her sister in a devastating car accident, chef Quinn Weller is finally getting her life back on track. She appears to have it all: a loving family, a dream job in one of L.A.’s hottest eateries, and a gorgeous boyfriend dying to slip an engagement ring on her finger. So why does she feel so empty, like she’s looking for a missing piece she can’t find?

The answer comes when a lawyer tracks down Quinn and reveals a bombshell secret and a mysterious inheritance that only she can claim. This shocking revelation washes over Quinn like a tidal wave. Her whole life has been a lie.

On impulse, Quinn gives up her job, home, and boyfriend. She heads up the coast to the small hometown of Wildstone, California, which is just a few hours north, but feels worlds apart from Los Angeles. Though she doesn’t quite fit in right away, she can’t help but be drawn to the town’s simple pleasures…and the handsome, dark-haired stranger who offers friendship with no questions asked.

As Quinn settles into Wildstone, she discovers there’s another surprise in store for her. The inheritance isn’t a house or money, but rather something earthshattering, something that will make her question everything she thought she knew about herself, about her family. Now with a world of possibilities opening up to Quinn, she must decide if this new life is the one she was always meant to have—and the one that could finally give her the fulfillment she’s searched so long for.


I’m a big Jill Shalvis fan. She’s the first contemporary romance author I read who incorporated humor into her novels. I love how she’s always able to mix witty banter with intense sexual chemistry. It’s always exciting to read each new release of hers. I was especially excited to find out she was beginning a new series with Lost and Found Sisters.

Lost and Found Sisters was a little different from other novels I’ve read by Jill Shalvis. It almost had more of a women’s fiction feel to it than a contemporary romance. There were so many different levels to the story. First, there was Quinn coming to terms with the loss of her sister and where she was in life at age thirty. Second, there was Quinn’s discovery of a past she had no idea existed. Third, there was a possible romance between Quinn and the handsome stranger Mick. The majority of the story was focused on what Quinn wanted out of life and how she came to her decision. The romance was secondary to that.

Quinn was an easy character for me to identify with. I can’t go into why too much because I don’t want to give away any surprises, but she and I had something in common. Her surprise wasn’t something I’ve had to go through, but I was able to empathize with her because I could imagine going through the same thing. I’m just happy she had the adorably sexy Mick to help her through it all.

Mick was one of the good guys. His maturity was sexy. He knew what he wanted out of life, but wasn’t scared to make a change when an unexpected opportunity came his way. His relationship with Quinn may have had its ups and down, but his unwavering support of Quinn was sweet.

I loved all of the secondary characters in this book. Each was special to the story and Quinn in some way. Surprisingly, Lena was my favorite. She might have been Quinn’s nemesis at first, but she had so much personality! I am hoping Lena gets her own book. I would love to see how things work out for her and Boomer.

The only thing I missed in Lost and Found Sisters was Shalvis’ trademark humor. There were moments of it, but they weren’t as continuous as in some of her other novels. I also missed the romance being front and center in the story. I wanted a little bit more sexiness in the story. I’m hoping as the series goes on, those things get worked more into the next books.

Overall, Lost and Found Sisters was a very enjoyable read. It was filled with an amazing setting, lovable characters and a whole lot of heart. Lost and Found Sisters would be the perfect book to take to the beach or on any other of your summertime adventures.

Review: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies
Author: Liane Moriarty
Publication Date: July 29, 2014
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Mystery, Women’s Fiction, Contemporary

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.


Why did I wait so long to read this book? It’s been on my TBR ever since it came out. I got it from the library once, but ran out of time to read it. I’m so disappointed in myself because Big Little Lies is a masterpiece. I really need to thank my friend who chose it for our book club read. She forced me to pick it up, and I will be forever thankful.

Big Little Lies was flawlessly written. It kept me guessing the entire time I was reading.  I could never quite figure out how everything was going to all play out. It drove me a little nuts because so many of the revelations aren’t made until the end. All my guesses were wrong. Each twist and turn had me gasping and reading faster.

What wasn’t flawless in this story were the characters. Each had his or her imperfections. Some were instantly likable, and they had my instant sympathy. Others were annoying. A couple were down right detestable. When it all came down to it, how I felt about the characters didn’t matter. All that mattered was how they were wrapped up in what happened. Each character was perfect for Big Little Lies.

Big Little Lies was a constantly shifting story that explored several different issues. I loved how each issue was woven into the story and the mystery of it. It was an amazing read, and I highly recommend reading it. I really want to watch the new television adaptation of Big Little Lies now!

Review: Every Little Thing by Marie Force

Every Little Thing
Series: Butler, Vermont, #1
Author: Marie Force
Publication Date: February 14, 2017
Publisher: HTJB, Inc.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Synopsis:

Grayson Coleman has just moved home to Butler, Vermont after spending years working for a high-powered law firm in Boston. He’s looking for a simpler, less stressful existence in the sleepy little mountain town where he grew up with his siblings and Abbott cousins. Once the holidays are over, he plans to hang out a shingle and open a new general law practice. After helping to raise his seven younger siblings, the last thing on Grayson’s mind is a family of his own.
Emma Mulvaney is enjoying a break from her reality as a busy single mother in New York City while she and her adorable daughter, Simone, spend the holidays in Vermont with Emma’s sister, Lucy, and Lucy’s future in-laws, the Abbotts. After meeting Abbott cousin Grayson Coleman and talking to him for hours, Emma is nervous and excited to have dinner alone with him after sharing her deepest, most personal secrets with him.
Will that first night be the start of something new for the jaded lawyer and the selfless single mom or will a holiday week flirtation turn into something much bigger than either of them ever expected?
Come back to Butler, Vermont for more of the charming Abbott family, their matchmaking father and grandfather and of course, Fred the Moose.


Every Little Thing is a book for fans of Marie Force’s Green Mountain series. It may be labeled as the first book in the Butler Vermont, but it’s really Marie Force’s continuation of the Green Mountain series on her own terms.

Every Little Thing is written in Force’s traditional style of dual third person narrative. Most of the story is told from Grayson and Emma’s perspectives, but there are a few chapters of returning characters’ point of views to catch the reader up on their lives. Third person is not my favorite type of narration, but Marie Force is skilled at making it work for her characters and their stories. My only teeny tiny complaint about the narration in this story is the main characters sounded more mature than I expected. The characters were younger than me, but sounded older. I couldn’t quite identify with the way they spoke. Maybe it’s an East Coast versus West Coast thing. I’m not quite sure.

Emma and Grayson’s whirlwind romance was sweet. They knew from almost the moment they met that there was something tangible between them. They acted quickly on that feeling and found an even deeper connection than they expected. Unfortunately, they had a huge hurdle in front of their possible relationship with the distance in their living arrangements. Emma and Grayson had to decide quickly if their instant connection was worth rearranging the lives they had planned for themselves.

While I found Emma and Grayson’s relationship sweet, I also found it a little too good to be true. Their instant spark felt a little forced to me. I couldn’t believe the lengths both of them were willing to go to after a week together. It wasn’t that I didn’t like them together, I just needed more time for them to truly fall for each other.

I enjoyed the updates on other Green Mountain friends and family, but I couldn’t help but wonder if those chapters took away time that could have been spent on Emma and Grayson’s developing relationship and their backstories. I love seeing them and hearing what they are up to, but there are now so many of them that I feel focus is stolen from the main characters. I would rather see these updates through the current character’s eyes — or have returning characters given another book entirely of their own.

Overall, Emma and Grayson’s romance was a fun return to Butler, Vermont. I enjoyed getting to know them and learning their stories. I know fans of the Green Mountain series will love that it’s being continued and catching up with their old friends.

Review: On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins

On Second Thought
Author: Kristan Higgins
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: HQN Books
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Following in the footsteps of her critically acclaimed novel If You Only Knew , multi-bestselling author Kristan Higgins returns with a pitch-perfect look at the affection—and the acrimony—that binds sisters together. 

Ainsley O’Leary is so ready to get married—she’s even found the engagement ring her boyfriend has stashed away. What she doesn’t anticipate is for Eric to blind side her with a tactless breakup he chronicles in a blog…which (of course) goes viral. Devastated and humiliated, Ainsley turns to her half-sister, Kate, who’s already struggling after the sudden loss of her new husband.

Kate has always been so poised, so self-assured, but Nathan’s death shatters everything she thought she knew—including her husband—and sometimes the people who step up aren’t the ones you expect. With seven years and a murky blended-family dynamic between them, Ainsley and Kate have never been overly close, but their shared sorrow dovetails their faltering worlds into one.

Despite the lifetime of history between them, the sisters must learn to put their differences aside and open their hearts to the inevitable imperfection of family—and the possibility of one day finding love again.


I was so impressed with this book. Not because I haven’t always loved Kristan Higgins’ writing, but because On Second Thought felt so much more raw than her other novels. It still had that sassy humor and sparkling romantic element to it, but it also had heartbreak so deep and jarring. I wasn’t expecting it, but I loved it. (Here’s where I have to admit that I didn’t expect it because I didn’t read the blurb of this book before reading it. I just saw Kristan Higgins wrote it and was in.)

The characters in On Second Thought were spectacular. I loved ever single one of them — even the evil ones. I was especially impressed with the two main characters, Kate and Ainsley. Kate and Ainsley were sisters, but they weren’t close. When both of their lives implode, they find themselves leaning on each other for support. I empathized with both of them. I’ve never been through what Kate was going through, but I could understand her despair and confusion. I loved the frankness of her point of view. Her thoughts and feelings felt natural. Ainsley was very easy for me to identify with. The feelings of contentment with taking care of her loved ones and being pleasant with those around her really hit home with me.

One of my favorite characters in this book was evil Eric. Higgins couldn’t have made him more perfect. Everything he did made me want to smack him. I hated him, but I loved what his character brought to the story. Plus, his stupidity made me laugh.

The thing that made On Second Thought truly special was the journey Kristan Higgins took the reader on. I experienced heartbreak, grief, healing and the possibility of life after all of those things. The journey through all the emotions was beautifully crafted and well-timed. I loved every moment of this book.

On Second Thought is Kristan Higgins’ second foray into women’s fiction and exploring the bonds of sisterhood, but hopefully it won’t be her last. I loved this story so much, and I know other readers will as well.

Review: Accidentally on Purpose by Jill Shalvis

Accidentally on Purpose
Series: Heartbreaker Bay, #3
Author: Jill Shalvis
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

There’s no such thing as a little in love…

Elle Wheaton’s priorities: friends, career, and kick-ass shoes. Then there’s the muscular wall of stubbornness that’s security expert Archer Hunt—who comes before everything else. No point in telling Mr. “Feels-Free Zone” that, though. Elle will just see other men until she gets over Archer… which should only take a lifetime…

There’s no such thing as a little in lust…

Archer’s wanted the best for Elle ever since he sacrificed his law-enforcement career to save her. Their chemistry could start the next San Francisco earthquake and he craves her 24/7, but Archer doesn’t want to be responsible for the damage. The alternative? Watch her go out with guys who aren’t him…

There is such a thing as…

As far as Archer’s concerned, nobody is good enough for Elle. But when he sets out to prove it by sabotaging her dates, she gets mad—and things get hot as hell. Now Archer has a new mission: prove to Elle that her perfect man has been here all along…


Accidentally on Purpose is hands down my favorite book in the Heartbreaker Bay series so far. It was filled with Jill Shalvis’ trademark humor, diverse characters, and a romance I had to root for.

In Accidentally on Purpose, Elle and Archer have carefully constructed a working relationship and friendship. They’ve silently put their shared past behind them and set about being the best at their jobs. Neither is willing to address the elephant in the room: their crazy chemistry. But when Elle decides it’s time to put her feelings behind her and dive into the dating world, Archer will decide there is only one man good enough for her.

As always, Jill Shalvis’ writing was amazing. There was something exciting going on in this story every moment. I didn’t want to put the book down because I wanted to know what was coming next, whether it be for the main characters or what was going on around them. I really liked the way Shalvis crafted this story sp that all of the characters from the entire Heartbreaker Bay series were involved in it, but it still felt like it could be enjoyed as a standalone novel.

I loved Elle and Archer so much. Elle was this badass chick in a business suit and heels. She knew what she wanted in life and went for it. The only person able to bring out the softer side in Elle was Archer. Archer was the man no one wants to mess with. He exuded strength and seriousness when it came to everything around him. He was never one to show his feelings, especially when it came to Elle.

Elle and Archer’s relationship was perfectly volatile. There was just the right amount of push and pull between their characters. The frustration between them brought out the ideal amount of heat and sexual tension. It made giving into their true desires so much fun to read. I loved every minute of Elle and Archer’s romance.

Another thing Accidentally on Purpose had going for it was a little suspense. It didn’t take over the entire story, but added to the tension between Elle and Archer. I liked how it helped make their story complete.

Accidentally on Purpose was everything I love in a contemporary romance. It’s my one of my most favorite Jill Shalvis romance novels yet. It’s a must read for contemporary romance fans.

Review: Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner

6096187Good in Bed
Series: Cannie Shapiro, #1
Author: Jennifer Weiner
Publication Date: April 2, 2002
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Note: I received an e-book from the publisher via Goodreads in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Synopsis:

For twenty-eight years, things have been tripping along nicely for Cannie Shapiro. Sure, her mother has come charging out of the closet, and her father has long since dropped out of her world. But she loves her friends, her rat terrier, Nifkin, and her job as pop culture reporter for The Philadelphia Examiner. She’s even made a tenuous peace with her plus-size body.

But the day she opens up a national women’s magazine and sees the words “Loving a Larger Woman” above her ex-boyfriend’s byline, Cannie is plunged into misery…and the most amazing year of her life. From Philadelphia to Hollywood and back home again, she charts a new course for herself: mourning her losses, facing her past, and figuring out who she is and who she can become.


Good in Bed is a book I jumped at reading when NetGalley sent out an email announcing it was available to download for a day or two. I hadn’t read any of Jennifer Weiner’s books before, but I wanted to. It was the perfect opportunity to try out a new-to-me author.

Sadly, Good in Bed didn’t turn out to be the book I was hoping it would be. From the blurb, Good in Bed sounds like an inspirational story. It wasn’t. Well, maybe the last few chapters were, but the rest of it was complete misery.

While I could completely empathize with Cannie and her entire situation, I didn’t like her. Her poor me attitude throughout the entire story put a damper on the book. I also didn’t like the way she treated people. At one point, I actually considered DNFing the book because I didn’t think I could handle anymore of her.

Another thing I wasn’t fond of in Good in Bed was Cannie’s trip to L.A. It seemed too perfect. Everything was just suddenly handed to her. That entire part of the plot felt out-of-place.

What I did love about Good in Bed was Cannie’s entire relationship with Dr. K. The support and friendship he gave Cannie was really cool. I loved the way their relationship grew over time and changed naturally. Dr. K was a great guy. Honestly, Dr. K is one of the reasons I didn’t give this book 2 stars. He saved it in the end for me.

The other reason Good in Bed got 3 stars is Jennifer Weiner’s writing. While I didn’t like Cannie, I was impressed that her moods influenced my moods. I credit that to great writing. It takes great skills to influence how people feel.

Obviously, I didn’t love this book. It ended up being just okay for me. I think it’s one of those “It’s not you, it’s me.” things because I know this is a very popular book.