Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Now and Then Friends & A Mother Like Mine by Kate Hewitt - Book Reviews, Interview & Giveaway


Review by Suze

Rachel and Claire were best friends when they were children, but something caused a rift between them. Rachel was never able to leave Hartley-by-the-Sea, she's been stuck taking care of her family for years. Since her mother became disabled Rachel has been looking after her younger sisters. She also has a three-year-old nephew to partially raise, so her days are always filled. She supports everyone by cleaning houses of wealthy people. One of those houses is being owned by Claire's family. The house hasn't been used as a permanent residence for years, but now Claire is back. What does that mean for Rachel?

Claire always did what she was told. Other people made the decisions in her life and she just went along with everything. Because of this she now has nothing left, she doesn't have a job, she isn't together with her fiancé any longer and she has to start over completely. She's back in Hartley-by-the-Sea friendless and alone. She could use a shoulder to lean on and her brother Andrew asks Rachel to keep an eye on his fragile sister. However, after everything that happened between them, Rachel isn't happy to spend time with her former best friend and is feeling hurt all over again. Will she and Claire be able to find their way back to each other eventually or is it too late for them to make up?

Now and Then Friends is an impressive story about two former friends who could use a second chance together. Both Rachel and Claire are struggling. Claire has never had a true identity. She let other people direct her and never made any decisions for herself. This was quite shocking at first. She's sweet, but doesn't know how to live and she doesn't have a backbone. I enjoyed witnessing her grow and turn into the woman she's supposed to be. For me that was one of the best parts of the story. Because of Claire's behavior Rachel was hurt and those feelings keep resurfacing. Rachel is quite bitter because of the unfairness of her situation. She's incredibly smart, but can't follow her dreams because she has to provide for her family. She tries to remain in control and sometimes becomes too much because of this. I could easily feel her pain and think Kate Hewitt has done an amazing job describing the feelings of both of her main characters.

Now and Then Friends is set in Hartley-by-the-Sea, which is a beautiful place with interesting inhabitants. I had a lot of fun reading about it. She combines this with a gorgeous moving story about friendship and family. I loved this combination and think it worked out very well. Now and Then Friends is a fantastic book, it has many emotional layers and there are plenty of surprising twists and turns. Kate Hewitt's writing has a wonderful warmth that always manages to pull me in straight away. I love her books and highly recommend them.

Advice

If you love beautiful stories about friends and family Now and Then Friends would be an excellent choice. It's part of the Hartley-by-the-Sea series, but can easily be read as a standalone.


Review by Suze

Abby lives with her grandmother and helps her with the family business, a beach café in Hartley-by-the-Sea that could use an upgrade. Abby's grandmother is struggling with her health, so Abby is glad she can take care of her and help her with the café. When Abby and Noah needed a place to stay after Abby's fiancé passed away moving in with her grandmother was the perfect solution and Abby is happy where she is. This abruptly ends when her mother shows up. Laura left Abby with her grandmother when Abby was little and never returned. They've only seen each other a few times since then. Laura has come back to stay and once more turns Abby's life completely upside down.

Laura is back in her hometown. She used to have a successful career, but is now jobless and homeless. She wants to make a fresh start with her daughter. However, Abby isn't ready to let her mother back in just like that. Laura has to work for it. Slowly she's trying to bond with her daughter and grandson, something she should have done years ago. Will she be able to make up for her past mistakes and is there a chance Abby will forgive her? Several tragic incidents are making things even harder for them, will they be able to find their way back to each other eventually?

A Mother Like Mine is a beautiful emotional story about a complex mother-daughter relationship. Abby has never seen Laura as a mother. Laura was very young when she had her daughter and then left. Nothing is ever black and white though and it was interesting to discover why she went away. Both Abby and Laura are having a hard time adjusting to their new situation and Kate Hewitt describes their struggles in a fantastic emphatic way. I was intrigued by them from the start and couldn't wait to find out more about them. Abby is sweet and caring and Laura has a harder surface, but underneath she is actually much more kind than I expected. They have a lot in common and I enjoyed finding out in which ways they resembled each other. I couldn't turn the pages quickly enough to discover if they'd find a way to get along.

Kate Hewitt writes about complicated family relationships with love and compassion. I love how heartwarming her stories are. Her characters have their flaws and sometimes it's hard to understand their decisions, which makes their stories even more fascinating. I love reading about family connections and A Mother Like Mine is a strong story about this topic. I really enjoyed reading this book and was surprised by the many unexpected directions the story takes. I liked it very much and was spellbound from beginning to end.

Advice

If you love mother-daughter stories you will definitely like A Mother Like Mine. It's part of the Hartley-by-the-Sea series, but can be read as a standalone as well.

About Kate Hewitt


Kate is the USA Today-bestselling author of over 40 books of women's fiction and romance. She is the author of the Hartley-by-the-Sea series, set in England's Lake District and published by Penguin. She is also, under the name Katharine Swartz, the author of the Tales from Goswell books, a series of time-slip novels set in the village of Goswell. Other series include the Emigrants Trilogy, the Amherst Island Trilogy, and the Falling For The Freemans series.

She likes to read romance, mystery, the occasional straight historical and angsty women's fiction; she particularly enjoys reading about well-drawn characters and avoids high-concept plots.

Having lived in both New York City and a tiny village on the windswept northwest coast of England, she now resides in the English Cotswolds with her husband, five children, and an overly affectionate Golden Retriever. You can read about her life at http://www.acumbrianlife.blogspot.co.uk.

Author links


Interview

1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am an American ex-pat living in a small market town in Wales with my husband and five children, aged between 4 and 18.

2. What makes your heart beat faster?

A great story idea, the beauty of the world around me, knowing I am loved!

3. If you could create the perfect romantic day what would it look like?

I think it would be a fairly normal day. My husband and I have had to find romance in little things, as with five children we can’t get away very often! So I find him bringing me a cup of coffee in the morning just as romantic as a day strolling through Paris—something we haven’t been able to do ☺

4. Who are your favorite romantic couple?

I love the quiet, tortured aspect of the suppressed romance between the butler Stevens and the housekeeper Miss Kenton in Remains of the Day. They never get together, but their fledlging romance is so perfectly done.

5. Could you describe what romance means to you?

Romance is showing a person how much he or she means to you with thoughtful gestures, loving words, and ultimately, sacrificial love for that person.

6. Do you find it difficult to write about romance?

I love writing romance, because I love writing stories of healing and hope. Romance isn’t just the ‘meet cute’ at the beginning where two people meet and sparks fly. It’s the depth of enduring love, which faces fears, trials, and grief.

7. Can you tell us about your most romantic experience?

My husband’s marriage proposal was very romantic—in Central Park, with him kneeling in front of the fountain of Bethesda.

8. What kind of music do you like to listen to when you're in a romantic mood?

I love old Sinatra songs which combine whimsy with romance.

9. Which country personafies romance for you and why?

I’m not sure a country personifies romance for me, but I love the Greek isles and find them quite romantic—white sand, blue-green sea, and delicious food! The perfect place to be swept away.

10. What can we expect from you in the future?

My third Hartley-by-the-Sea book, A Mother Like Mine, is coming out August 8 and my fourth and last Willoughby Close book is coming out July 18. In the autumn I will be coming out with a brand new series, the Holley Sisters of Thornthwaite, set in the Lake District.

Giveaway

One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a signed paperback copy of Now and Then Friends by Kate Hewitt.


The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Book Review - The Nearest Faraway Place by Hayley Long

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Review by Suze

The brothers Griff and Dylan are close to their parents. When they're on their way back to Manhattan after a great family holiday a terrible accident ends life as they know it. Griff and Dylan lose everything they hold dear. They have to move on, but it's difficult to live without parents when there's nobody close to look after you. Dylan worries about Griff. Will he be able to cope, can he manage without their beloved mother and father? And who will take care of the two boys, will they be okay?

The Nearest Faraway Place is a beautiful story about love, grief, hope and family. I immediately loved Dylan. He's kindhearted and responsible. He's always looking out for his brother and wants the best for Griff. Griff is so closed off in the beginning and I kept hoping he'd find someone who could break down his walls and make him talk again. Dylan is trying to help him and I was anxious to find out if he'd succeed. My heart ached when I read about their tragic accident and everything that followed after and I shed quite a few tears while reading their story. Hayley Long describes emotions in a fantastic honest, understandable and emphatic way and she always balances them exactly right, which is something I found absolutely amazing.

The Nearest Faraway Place is about loss, healing and being forced to move on even if sadness is preventing you from doing so. I was completely blown away by this story. It radiates love and care and that is what makes it so mesmerizing. Unexpected friendships are giving the story a fascinating angle and compassion in surprising ways makes it extra special. The Nearest Faraway Place is a compelling multilayered story that will stay with me for a very long time, it's an absolute must-read.

Advice

If you love stories about siblings filled with tragedy, but also love and hope you should definitely read The Nearest Faraway Place. It's suitable for both young adults and adults.

Book Review - Cocky Captain by Kelly Moore

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Review by Anniek

Kenna is a 24-year-old nurse and she's still a virgin. On a night out with her best friend she met Luke. He's in the military and they've been writing to each other for the past two years. Luke has been stationed in Germany and Kenna will be going over to there get to know him better in person. However, at the airport she meets Decklan. The second Kenna sees him he makes her feel things she's never felt before. Kenna does believe in fairytales, will she settle for the things life has given her or will she go after her prince charming?

After his father died Decklan worked hard, so he could provide for his family. He did his best to climb the ranks as fast as he could and he's now a Captain. He hides his true self behind a mask, but the moment he looks at Kenna he knows that the time to play games is over. Decklan is a man of honor and he lives for the military. Will he open his heart to possibly find his one true love?

Kenna is such a sweetheart. She always worked hard at school and is a practicing nurse now. She'd never met a man who made her feel flustered just by looking at her, until Decklan. From the very first moment sparks fly and I loved it that she could hold her own against this big and stunning man. Decklan is all muscle. He's such a badass, but so sweet to Kenna at the same time. I fell in love with him immediately and the fact that he's not afraid to show his feelings made me like him even more.

Cocky Captain is a short story about finding true love. I flew through the pages and read it in one sitting. Kelly Moore is a brilliant and skillful writer and every time she releases a story I can't wait to read it. The beautiful way she uses her words to tell a story has me hooked every single time. I have a soft spot for men in a uniform, so Cocky Captain was right up my alley. Kelly Moore is one of my favorite authors and I highly recommend any of her books.

Advice

If you love to read military romance Cocky Captain is a fantastic choice. This book is perfect for when you don't have a lot of time and want to read a complete story.

Embroidering Stars Tote Bag, Mug & Pillow Giveaway


Enter this giveaway for a chance to win an Embroidering Stars tote bag, mug and pillow set designed by Nyx Sullivan. Good luck!


The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.