Book Recommendations: April 2021

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My apologies, my bookish peeps, I’ve fallen behind on writing reviews due to these incessant daily migraine headaches and another bout of bronchitis. Having a migraine every day is bad enough, add in hacking up a lung (at least that’s what it feels like at times), and it just adds to the joy. Of course, it could be so much worse and I’m incredibly grateful it isn’t. To make a long-story shorter, in lieu of reviews, I’ll simply be posting the synopsis of a few of the books I’ve read that I’m recommending you add to your TBR list, if these titles aren’t already there.

Okay, I have two recommendations for you romance lovers. First up is the final book in the Brown Sisters trilogy by Talia Hibbert, Act Your Age, Eve Brown. If you haven’t read the previous two books in this series, Get A Life, Chloe Brown and Take A Hint, Dani Brown, then you’ll want to add those to your list as well. These stories feature flawed, but realistic characters that are trying their best to cope in a world that doesn’t often make room for differently-sized, neurodiverse/neurodivergent, or differently-abled people. What more can I say other than these are great diverse romance reads.

Act Your Age, Eve Brown, The Brown Sisters #3, by Talia Hibbert
ISBN: 9780062941275 (trade paperback)
ISBN: 9780062941282 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780062941299 (digital audiobook)
ISBN: 9781799971085 (audiobook on CD)
ASIN: B089WJ184B (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B089SYX5F5 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Avon Romance
Release Date: March 9, 2021

In USA Today bestselling author Talia Hibbert’s newest rom-com, the flightiest Brown sister crashes into the life of an uptight B&B owner and has him falling hard—literally.

Eve Brown is a certified hot mess. No matter how hard she strives to do right, her life always goes horribly wrong—so she’s given up trying. But when her personal brand of chaos ruins an expensive wedding (someone had to liberate those poor doves), her parents draw the line. It’s time for Eve to grow up and prove herself—even though she’s not entirely sure how.

Jacob Wayne is in control. Always. The bed and breakfast owner’s on a mission to dominate the hospitality industry—and he expects nothing less than perfection. So when a purple-haired tornado of a woman turns up out of the blue to interview for his open chef position, he tells her the brutal truth: not a chance in hell. Then she hits him with her car—supposedly by accident. Yeah, right.

Now his arm is broken, his B&B is understaffed, and the dangerously unpredictable Eve is fluttering around, trying to help . Before long, she’s infiltrated his work, his kitchen—and his spare bedroom. Jacob hates everything about it. Or rather, he should. Sunny, chaotic Eve is his natural-born nemesis, but the longer these two enemies spend in close quarters, the more their animosity turns into something else. Like Eve, the heat between them is impossible to ignore—and it’s melting Jacob’s frosty exterior.

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Read an excerpt here.

My next romance recommendation is the first book in a new series by award-winning romance author Sandra Kitt. Winner Takes All kicks off the Millionaires Club series. This is nice, tender, and sometimes emotional diverse romance from an author that has written quite a number of tender, emotional romances.

Winner Takes All, The Millionaires Club #1, by Sandra Kitt
ISBN: 9781728214887 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781728214894 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781662081477 (digital audiobook)
ISBN: 9781662081828 (audiobook on CD)
ASIN: B08SR9CXWF (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B08DHGVN2L (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: April 6, 2021

“Great story-telling of the most romantic kind.”—Brenda Jackson, New York Times bestselling author

“A warm-hearted story and a clever plot reflecting current issues with sensitivity, warmth, and wisdom.”—Susan Wiggs, #1 New York Times bestselling author

Jean Travis has the job of announcing the latest lottery winner on TV and is stunned to find that Patrick Bennett, her teenage crush, is the top mega winner. They haven’t seen each other in years, and Patrick is thrilled to renew their acquaintance. Jean, not so much. After all, a lot has changed since they used to study together and Jean worked so hard to hide her feelings. Now that he’s won so much money, Patrick faces a whole new world of demands from family, friends, coworkers, strangers. The only person he knows for sure he can trust, is Jean…

“Romantic, tender, emotional, and compelling.”—RaeAnne Thayne, New York Times bestselling author

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The previous books have already been released and are available for purchase in multiple print and digital formats. The next book won’t be available for some months, but I highly recommend adding it to your TBR list and pre-ordering it especially if you’ve ever read anything by this author in the past. The book is The Passing Storm by Christine Nolfi and this could be categorized as women’s fiction and/or family fiction. I simply classify it as a darn good read. It is a story about secrets, forgiveness (of others and of self), tragedy, survival, second chances, love, and family being more than DNA. Although this book won’t release until November, it will be worth the wait.

The Passing Storm by Christine Nolfi
ISBN: 9781542029124 (paperback)
ASIN: B08SXRK8M1 (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B08MZPFY3J (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Release Date: November 1, 2021

A gripping, openhearted novel about family, reconciliation, and bringing closure to the secrets of the past.

Early into the tempestuous decade of her thirties, Rae Langdon struggles to work through a grief she never anticipated. With her father, Connor, she tends to their Ohio farm, a forty-acre spread that itself has enjoyed better days. As memories sweep through her, some too precious to bear, Rae gives shelter from a brutal winter to a teenager named Quinn Galecki.

Quinn has been thrown out by his parents, a couple too troubled to help steer the misunderstood boy through his own losses. Now Quinn has found a temporary home with the Langdons—and an unexpected kinship, because Rae, Quinn, and Connor share a past and understand one another’s pain. But its depths—and all its revelations and secrets—have yet to come to light. To finally move forward, Rae must confront them and also fight for Quinn, whose parents have other plans in mind for their son.

With forgiveness, love, and the spring thaw, there might be hope for a new season—a second chance Rae believed in her heart was gone forever.

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Needless to say, I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading and could recommend many more titles, but felt this would be a good start until I get back to normal-for-me. I hope you’ll enjoy reading these books as much as I did. (Psst, if you enjoy reading nonfiction then you might want to grab a copy of The Black Church by Henry Louis Gates Jr. This book is an excellent companion to the recent PBS special and has some fascinating historical tidbits.) Have you read anything lately that you can recommend?

Happy Reading, y’all!

2019 Book 164: THE ROAD SHE LEFT BEHIND by Christine Nolfi

The Road She Left Behind by Christine Nolfi
ISBN: 9781542004213 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781721388073 (audiobook)
ASIN: B07KYGDZRW (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: June 11, 2019

Three women. Two families torn apart by secrets.

Crushed by guilt over the car accident that killed her father and sister, and torn apart by her mother’s resentment, Darcy Goodridge fled her family estate eight years ago and hasn’t looked back. Now an unexpected phone call threatens to upend what little serenity she’s found. Her nephew, Emerson, who was just a baby when his mother died, has gone missing. Darcy must return home and face her past in order to save him.

Once back in Ohio, Darcy realizes there’s more to Emerson’s disappearance—and to the sudden retirement of her mother, Rosalind—than meets the eye. As she works to make inroads with Rosalind, Darcy begins to unravel a decades-old secret that devastated her family and forced a wedge between her and Michael Varano, the man she left heartbroken when she vanished after the funeral. After carrying the scars of that fateful night for almost a decade, Darcy is determined to find closure, healing, and maybe even love where she lost them all in the first place—right back home where she belongs.

Purchase Links:  IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Kindle  |  Barnes & Noble  |  B&N Audiobook  |  BookDepository  |  Books-A-Million  |  Books-A-Million Audiobook  |  Downpour Audiobook    

Darcy Goodridge has spent the past eight years of her life running away from her family and life. She doesn’t spend more than one year in any job or town. She has no close friends. She doesn’t keep in contact with her family. When she left Ohio after the tragic accident that claimed her younger sister and father’s lives, she cut off all ties. Yes, she had promised her sister that she would take care of her nephew if anything happened, but she knew her mother — a well-respected judge, would never allow that to happen. Darcy is packed and ready to leave South Carolina in her rear view mirror and head to New Jersey for a new job placement, when she receives a phone call from her mother’s housekeeper and her surrogate mother, Latrice, telling her that her eight-year-old nephew Emerson has run away from home. Darcy is prepared to ignore this call for help until the one friend she’s made in eight years, an eighteen-year-old former foster child, talks her into returning home with him in tow. Needless to say, the last thing Darcy’s mother expects to see on her doorstep is Darcy, much less Darcy accompanied by an eighteen-year-old, Black male, dread wearing former foster child. Fortunately, Samson has a way about him and is able to worm his way into Latrice’s good graces and even strikes up a tentative relationship with Darcy’s mother Rosalind. Emerson is found safe and without harm, but his return home leads to a bombshell that will rock the Goodridge family. For someone that has spent years running away from the past, Darcy now must confront it and deal with all of the fallout. That fallout includes her mother’s declining health, revelations about her father and adored sister, and facing the love she left behind all those years ago. Is it possible to return home and mend the bridges we thought we burnt down?

I’m always excited when I hear about a new Christine Nolfi story. Her stories incorporate lots of realistic family drama often dealing with highly dysfunctional contemporary situations (some resolved, some not), multigenerational friendships, secrets, and romance. Needless to say, I jumped for joy (figuratively) when I received notice that I was going to be able to read and review The Road She Left Behind. I was eager to read this book in one sitting, but had to deal with a weather-induced migraine and then taking my mother out for her weekly grocery shopping. I liked all of the characters in The Road She Left Behind including the curmudgeonly and strict Rosalind Goodridge, Darcy’s mother. The eight-year-old Emerson and eighteen-year-old Samson provided some great comic relief at times, but I could emotionally relate to both of these guys. Emerson was struggling to be mature because that’s what his grandmother expected, whereas Samson was rather immature and naive for his age, but could come out with these amazingly prescient statements due to his observational skills. Samson had never been in a true family setting and expected a wealthy family to be happy. He was quite shocked to learn that Darcy’s family was anything but happy despite their wealth and privilege. Darcy and Michael’s friendship is gradually rebuilt as well as their romance. Yes, there’s a lot going on in The Road She Left Behind, but if I told you everything you wouldn’t need to read the book. If you’ve ever read anything by Ms. Nolfi, then I don’t have to tell you to get a copy of this book as soon as possible but I will anyway. If you’ve never read anything by Ms. Nolfi, then The Road She Left Behind might be a good book to start with, especially if you enjoy stories with family angst, drama, and romance. For now, I’m eagerly awaiting my purchased copy of The Road She Left Behind to download on the release day and I plan on spending the very next weekend leisurely rereading this book, hopefully without interruptions.

Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the author via NetGalley. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

2018 Book 238: THE SEASON OF SILVER LININGS by Christine Nolfi

The Season of Silver Linings A Sweet Lake Novel by Christine Nolfi
ISBN: 9781503903395 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781978605916 (audiobook)
ASIN: B0799LYXWB (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Release Date: July 17, 2018 (paperback)

She can’t change what’s come before. But letting go could bring healing—and the rare love that comes once in a lifetime.

When Ohio pastry chef Jada Brooks and her two best friends restored the glorious Wayfair Inn, it was a boon to Sweet Lake—and to their own lives. Now Linnie and Cat are focused on private matters: one engaged, the other swept up in newlywed bliss. Jada has also begun looking to the future by dating widower Philip Kettering and forging a sudden, sweet bond with his six-year-old daughter.

But the past isn’t finished with Jada. When a curious guest checks into the Wayfair, her delving questions stir Jada’s guilt about the heartbreaking events that scarred the town seven years ago. The risks Jada must take by revealing the truth will test every assumption she’s made about the meaning of family and the magic of enduring love. 

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Welcome back to Sweet Lake, Ohio and the Wayfair Inn. Since we originally were introduced to this inn and town, the inn’s majority owner and manager, Linnie Wayfair, has gotten engaged and is in the final planning stages for her wedding. A wedding that is only weeks away. The inn’s marketing manager, Cat Mendoza, is a newlywed and finds every minute she can to sneak away to grab time with her husband. As a result, the primary management of the inn is now on Jada Brooks’ shoulders, along with being the pastry chef for the inn. She is now tasked with hiring, ensuring proper training, overseeing all departments, accounts receivable, as well as being the maid of honor for her best friend and putting a host of emotional fires as Linnie prepares for her wedding. Jada doesn’t seem to have time for herself much less romance, but she always finds time for six-year-old Fancy Kettering and her dad, Phillip. She often brings them food in the evenings, helps with bath time for Fancy, and is a sounding board for both Fancy and Phillip when needed. When a stranger calls the inn and makes a special request to spend time with Jada, Jada fears the worst, especially since the Sweet Lake Sirens (the towns matriarchs and sage women) have issued her a warning of sorts and made her a talisman of rosemary to keep as a protection. Protection from what? The visitor is a retired college professor! But before you know, this visitor is asking all kinds of questions about Phillip’s deceased wife and Fancy’s mother and Jada is torn between trying to help this woman receive the answers she desires and protecting the people she loves. Can she do the right thing without alienating them all?

The Season of Silver Linings by Christine Nolfi is the third book in the Sweet Lake series. The first book, Sweet Lake, dealt with sibling issues and attempts to rejuvenate the inn in a dying town. The second book, The Comfort of Secrets, dealt with spousal and child abuse issues. The Season of Silver Linings touches on a variety of subjects including mental health problems, suicide, the guilt of those left behind when dealing with a suicide, and even gay marriage. Yes, there are lighthearted moments especially the parts dealing with Fancy and, of course, romance, but there are some heavy topics introduced as well, including the always timely issues of mental health and suicide. I have yet to read a story by Ms. Nolfi that I didn’t enjoy, and The Season of Silver Linings is no different. I enjoyed the opportunity to get to know Jada and Phillip a bit better and Fancy is my favorite character in this series. (Come on, what’s not to like about a 6-year-old that loves to dress up and has her own opinions about fashion. Can you say fashion diva?) If you enjoy reading stories that deal with real-world issues but have an HEA, then you’ll definitely want to read the Sweet Lake series. There’s humor, family drama, friendship, romance, timely societal issues, romance, and more. If you’ve already read Sweet Lake and The Comfort of Secrets, I encourage you to grab a copy of The Season of Silver Linings as soon as possible. 

Disclaimer: I received a free print review copy of this book from the author/publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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The Season of Silver Linings

The Season of Silver Linings


2017 Book 240: THE COMFORT OF SECRETS by Christine Nolfi

The Comfort of Secrets (Sweet Lake #2) by Christine Nolfi
ISBN: 9781542045711 (paperback)
ASIN: B01N4N00OR (Kindle edition)
Publication date: July 18, 2017
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Cat Mendoza needs a win. After a business failure and years of dating the wrong men, she’s ready to turn things around.

First, she must convince the residents of Sweet Lake, Ohio, that she’s taking her responsibilities seriously. As the events director of the newly restored Wayfair Inn, she has the support of her best friends, Linnie and Jada. But everyone elseincluding her overprotective mother and the well-meaning Sweet Lake Sirenscan’t help but chime in with advice about her plans, her apparently too-tight clothes, and her undeniable attraction to Ryan D’Angelo, the charming ad exec hired to promote the inn.

Cat knows she should keep Ryan at a distance, but she’s drawn closer by the heartbreak he tries to hide. Will uncovering his secrets derail the new life Cat hopes to achieve…or will she gain something to cherish forever?

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Author Christine Nolfi returns to the idyllic Sweet Lake, Ohio and its wonderful and quirky small-town inhabitants in The Comfort of Secrets. This amazing follow-up to the first book in this series, aptly named Sweet Lake, sees another romance on the horizon between Sweet Lake resident Cat Mendoza and big-city ad executive Ryan D’Angelo. While they both work to help the Wayfair Inn with marketing, they must overcome their initial attraction to one another that quickly becomes much more. Adding spice to the mix are all of the secrets that abound around them, individual secrets, family secrets, and Sweet Lake Siren secrets. Will these past secrets come back to haunt everyone’s present or can they be finally be laid to rest?

I’ve read and enjoyed a number of Ms. Nolfi’s books and The Comfort of Secrets has been added to the list of enjoyable reads by this author. I found this to be a pleasing and quick read. Ms. Nolfi provides a bit of comic-relief, by way of the Sirens (trust me, these ladies and their antics are hilarious) along with much more serious tones. The Comfort of Secrets touches on some weighty matters such as family estrangement, domestic abuse, child abuse and depression. The author may not go into depths about these matters but she doesn’t sugarcoat them either as these themes are crucial to the storyline. Obviously, there’s a lot more going on in this story, but if I tell you everything then you won’t need to read it. It is sufficient for me to tell you this if you enjoy well-written, women’s fiction then you’ll need to grab a copy of The Comfort of Secrets. For those of you that read Sweet Lake, you already know you’ll need to get yourself a copy of The Comfort of Secrets and I presume you have it on pre-order. If you haven’t read anything by Ms. Nolfi (and I don’t know why because I already recommended Sweet Lake to you), get a copy of Sweet Lake to read and then grab a copy of The Comfort of Secrets to read. These might just be the perfect vacation or even staycation reads! I’m enjoying the Sweet Lake series, thoroughly enjoyed reading The Comfort of Secrets, and can’t wait for the next installment in the Sweet Lake series just to see what the Sirens will get up to next.

Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes via NetGalley. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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The Comfort of Secrets

2017 Book 62: SWEET LAKE by Christine Nolfi

Sweet Lake: A Novel (Sweet Lake #1) by Christine Nolfi 
ISBN: 9781503942516 (trade paperback)
ISBN: 9781536609264 (audiobook MP3)
ASIN: B01IH81XUM (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing 
Publication Date: February 28, 2016

Linnie Wayfair knows just how many people are counting on her. But knowing doesn’t make doing any easier.

Everyone in Sweet Lake, Ohio, wants her to muster all her business sense and return the Wayfair Inn to its former glory. Her parents hope she’ll forgive her scoundrel of a brother and reconcile the family. The eccentric Sweet Lake Sirens want her to open the inn—and her heart—to new possibilities. And her hilarious lifelong friends Jada and Cat are dropping none-too-subtle hints for her to ignite a romance with Daniel Kettering, the sexy attorney who’s been pining for her for years…

Now a shocking turn of events will open old wounds and upend the world Linnie has carefully built. She has to make changes quickly—and the results, though not entirely what she expected, might be what she’s been yearning for all along.

Linnie Wayfair always grew up in the shadow of her older brother. Primarily because the Wayfairs were known to have only one child per generation and that child has always been a son. Her parents broke that tradition by having not only a second child but a daughter. It isn’t that her parents don’t love her exactly, it’s just that tradition dictates the son takes over the management of the Wayfair Inn and they don’t buck tradition. Linnie’s parents don’t seem to be overly concerned that their son took funds from the family and the Inn in order to leave town and start his own business elsewhere. Her parents won’t even acknowledge that it has been Linnie that has kept the Inn operating for the past seven years bringing it back from the brink of bankruptcy. What’s worse, is that her brother is back in town and even he doesn’t seem to care or acknowledge that Linnie has kept things going all these years. Linnie’s friends, the older ladies of the town known as the Sweet Lake Sirens, and her friend and probably-not-so-unrequited love interest, Daniel Kettering, all know and respect everything Linnie has and continues to do. Is it possible for Linnie to stand up for herself, confront her brother and parents about the Inn, and finally make a move on Daniel?

Just so you know, I absolutely love reading books by Christine Nolfi. Needless to say, when offered the chance to read and review her newest book I jumped at the chance. Sweet Lake was an incredibly fast-paced read and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. I loved the small-town setting of Sweet Lake and the idea that everybody knows what’s happening in their neighbor’s lives, personal and business. I enjoyed the machinations and, yes, eccentricities of the Sweet Lake Sirens. I enjoyed getting to know Linnie and can’t wait to really get a feel for her friends, Cat and Jada, as well as others in Sweet Lake. I truly felt for Linnie and wanted to smack her brother and parents at times. Sweet Lake was equal parts coming-of-age and romance for this reader. Ms. Nolfi has provided tons of drama, hints of intrigue, bits of humor, and romance (and the romance had its own dramatic moments). Yes, there’s a lot more going on in this story…read the book to find out more! If you enjoy reading stories set in small towns or romance, then you’ll definitely want to read Sweet Lake. If you haven’t read stories set in a small town or a really good romance in awhile, then you’ll also want to grab a copy of Sweet Lake to read. I am quite anxious to read the next installment of this new series and while awaiting that book, I’ll be reading and rereading other books by Ms. Nolfi.

Disclaimer: I received a free print copy of this book from the author for review purposes. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Sweet Lake: A Novel

Sweet Lake: A Novel 

Book 313: FOUR WISHES Review

Four Wishes by Christine Nolfi
ISBN: 9780985247782 (paperback – CreateSpace)
ISBN: 9780985247775 (ebook)
ASIN: B00IDVBPAM (Kindle edition)
Publication date: September 12, 2014

Meade Williams has a successful company, an ailing father—and a secret desire to find love at last. Dr. Mary Chance isn’t sure the time is right to expand her family. Birdie Kaminsky has married the man of her dreams, but yearns to grow closer to her powerful sister. And young Glade Wilson must confront the daunting truth that she’ll become a mother before finishing high school.

Welcome to Book Four of The Liberty Series, where the heartwarming stories of love, friendship and family life unfold in surprising ways.

The books of The Liberty Series serve as stand-alone novels you may enjoy in any order. Look for the other books in the series: Treasure Me, Second Chance Grill, and The Impossible Wish

Four Wishes is the fourth book in The Liberty Series set in the small rural Ohio town of Liberty. As with most small towns, Liberty is a place where everyone knows their neighbor (and their neighbor’s business), and everyone is eager to pitch in when there’s someone in need. Four Wishes starts with Meade trying to plan a wedding for her sister Birdie in less than three weeks. She must do this while running her business and dealing with her seriously depressed and paranoid father. When it appears that Birdie isn’t really taking an interest in the final planning of the wedding, much of the final decision-making is left up to Meade and she handles it with ease. Meade hasn’t been sure about what she wanted from life other than a successful business and to be a good daughter, but now wants what Birdie has: a loving man and the thought of a growing family.

Birdie is anxious to get married and is willing to have a picnic dinner rather than the formal affair wanted by her father and organized by Meade. She knows that this is their way of helping out, so she gives in. All Birdie really wants is for her sister to open up to her and for them to grow closer.

Dr. Mary Chance is struggling, and juggling, the responsibilities of a growing medical practice and family life. Her husband is happy to help out around the house, but is eager to grow their family (an idea that is strongly encouraged by his daughter Blossom). When Mary gets pregnant she wants to keep it a secret, but before she knows it the entire town is celebrating her pregnancy and her stepdaughter is researching baby names. Mary is cautiously optimistic that things will work out for the best with this pregnancy, but she worries that her superstitions about not declaring a pregnancy until the second trimester might foreshadow tragedy.

Glade Wilson is happy to be away from poverty. She’s grateful to her Aunt Reenie and to Meade for taking her in. She knows that without an education she may never make be more than the working poor, but she’s taken the first step to starting a new life. Now that she’s faced with the imminent arrival of her baby, she worries that she’ll be a good mother and how much pain childbirth will bring.

On the surface it may be difficult to see what a teenager, two thirty-something professional women, and one forty-something entrepreneur have in common. It quickly becomes evident that they all want the same thing, love and a family. They all may be going about using different methods, but the end result is the same for them all. Meade seems to be the one with the most: a privileged childhood, wealth, beauty, brains, and independence, but looks can be deceiving. Meade is the one that needs just as much help as the others. She needs to know that she can be loved for who she is as a person, not what she brings to the table. She needs to know that it is acceptable to not be perfect and no one really expects perfection from her.

Ms. Nolfi has, once again, crafted a story that spotlights the joys and sorrows of love, friendship, and family. Four Wishes provides great romance and family drama while dealing with some weighty issues such as teen pregnancy and depression. These weighty issues aren’t glossed over but dealt with in a realistic and respectful manner. I enjoyed Four Wishes, as I enjoyed reading the previous books in this series. I found Four Wishes to be a fast-paced read that made me smile, frown, and want to cry. If you enjoy reading contemporary fiction with realistic characters dealing with realistic problems, then you’ll definitely want to add Four Wishes to your TBR list.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from the author. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge by Christina Nolfi
ISBN: 9781468199277
Publication date: March 15, 2012
Publisher: Author
A savage rape on hallowed ground. Secrets buried for decades by the town’s most influential family.
Now Ourania D’Andre will learn the Great Oak’s secrets as construction begins at the Fagan mansion. She can’t afford to turn down a job that promises to stir up the long-buried guilt—and the passion—she shares with powerful Troy Fagan.
She’s already juggling the most important job of her career with her new responsibilities as a foster mother for young Walt and Emma Korchek. And there’s a hard, older man on the construction crew with eyes void of emotion—cold and killing. The secrets of his brutal past will pose a grave threat to the children in her care. Will she find the courage to face him?

Troy Fagan was blessed to be born into wealth. His family owns and operates Fagan Orchards in Lincoln, Ohio. Troy, a man who loves his family and appreciates the family business, has stepped out on his own and operates a general contracting business. Ourania D’Andre is an electrician. She’s been hired to work on the renovations at the Fagan mansion. Unfortunately she and Troy have a history together, an unhappy history. Troy isn’t happy to have Ourania on this current project, but he’ll make do in order to keep his sister happy with the renovations, as long as Ourania doesn’t cause any trouble on the work site.
Trouble is just what Ourania has to deal with as her mother, a social worker, contacts her to become an emergency foster-parent to two children, Walt and Emma Korchek. Walt and Emma have had to deal with the death of their mother and constant emotional, physical and even sexual abuse at the hands of their father. Their fear and mistrust of adults is another stress for Ourania to handle. All of this is an additional stress that Ourania doesn’t need or want, especially since it requires her to be absent from the work site at crucial moments. But Lianna D’Andre doesn’t accept no for an answer, and Ourania becomes a foster-parent to two young, traumatized and somewhat hostile children. As Ourania, Walt and Emma work on overcoming their differences and mistrust, they also come to respect one another. Just when it seems like things are going well, Ourania discovers a secret about Troy that could threaten his peace of mind and possibly threaten the welfare of all involved. Can she tell Troy the truth no matter the consequences? Troy also has secrets that relate to Ourania? Should he tell her the truth even though it may put more barriers to them ever having a relationship? Is it possible to forgive the past? How far is too far in an effort to protect these secrets and the past? Once these secrets are revealed can forgiveness be granted?
Ms. Nolfi has created a heart-stirring tale of love that overcomes many obstacles in The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge. This isn’t just a romance between a man and a woman; it’s also a romance between a woman and two children. Ourania may not be the typical mother-figure, but she grows to love Walt and Emma and is willing to do anything to protect them, no matter the cost. Walt and Emma learn to overcome their mistrust and show their affection toward Ourania despite their traumatic childhood. There are many stories woven into this story, and all seem to hinge on actions that took place under an ancient oak tree on the Fagan’s property, the proverbial “tree of everlasting knowledge.” All of the main characters have secrets they are keeping and these secrets are all divulged and dealt with in the story. Some of these secrets are life-changing and others are life-affirming. All of the primary characters are very well-developed and likeable, with one exception. The secondary characters are also well-developed and provide excellent support to the story and for the primary characters. Some of the action is tragic and heart-wrenching, whereas other action is loving and heart-warming. All of the action is realistic and never too over-the-top. The Tree of Everlasting Knowledge is a fast-paced read that provides warmth and laughter as well as moments that are close to being tear-jerking. I’ve actually read this story twice this year and thoroughly enjoyed it both times. Don’t expect this to be a light-hearted read, it isn’t, but hopefully you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.
Disclaimer:I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from the author. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”