New Book Releases May 2017

New Book Releases for May 2017

Books, books, glorious books. Here is my little list of new books due for release in May 2017. Click on covers for more information and reviews.

Adult Fiction

The Sweet Smell of Magnolias and Memories – Celeste Fletcher McHale – Thomas Nelson – Published 23 May 2017

Jacey Lang spent three terrifying days atop a roof during a terrible storm. She shared that experience with a young family and (possibly) the man of her dreams. But a traumatic accident during their rescue left Jacey with scattered memories and no way to reconnect with Colin. One year later Jacey accidentally finds Colin again – at the end of the isle at her best friend’s wedding, as the preacher. Uncertain what the future holds for them, Jacey must deal with her returning memories about the accident and the fate of the young family, while Colin comes to terms with his family’s past.

Adult fiction: Contemporary


Children’s Fiction

The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre – Gail Carson Levine – HarperCollins – Published 2 May 2017

Peregrine strives to live up to the ideal of her people, the Latki—and to impress her parents: affectionate Lord Tove, who despises only the Bamarre, and stern Lady Klausine. Perry runs the fastest, speaks her mind, and doesn’t give much thought to the castle’s Bamarre servants, whom she knows to be weak and cowardly.

But just as she’s about to join her father on the front lines, she is visited by the fairy Halina, who reveals that Perry isn’t Latki-born. She is Bamarre. The fairy issues a daunting challenge: against the Lakti power, Perry must free her people from tyranny.

Children’s fiction: Fantasy.


Young Adult Fiction

Love and Vandalism – Laurie Boyle Cromption – Sourcebooks Fire – Published 1 May 2017

Rory creates her art in the dark depths of night, spray painting her lions onto vacant walls and overpasses. It helps her control her rage and rebel against her father. Art is the thing she has most in common with her artist mother. But Rory has a plan to escalate her art and paint a lion that is larger and far more visible than all her previous pieces. She knows she will need help to pull it off but the new guy in town is probably last on her list of limited choices. Never mind his city-boy looks and his determination to stay away from trouble (especially the illegal kind), it’s enough that he is threatening to reveal Rory’s identity as the lion graffiti artist if she doesn’t show him around town.

Young adult fiction: Contemporary

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Book Review: The Sweet Smell of Magnolias and Memories

The Sweet Smell of Magnolias and Memories – Celeste Fletcher McHale – Thomas Nelson – Published 23 May 2017

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Synopsis

Jacey and Colin shared the three most intense days of their lives together, waiting for help as Mississippi floodwaters surrounded them. Jacey knew Colin was the love of her life—until her rescue boat went under water, along with Colin’s last name and pieces of Jacey’s memory.

As Jacey walks down the aisle as the maid of honor in her friend’s wedding a year later, the last person she expects to see is Colin. The biggest surprise, though, is that the man of her dreams is not wearing jeans and flip-flops as he did when he held her through those long nights of the flood. He’s the preacher.

As Jacey’s memories come flooding back, it’s almost more than she can take. The fate of the young family trapped with them haunts her. The unwavering honesty—and support—of her best friend Georgia forces her to take a fresh look at herself. She’s spent her life afraid of love. But this flood is opening Jacey’s heart in the most unexpected ways.

My thoughts

The Sweet Smell of Magnolias and Memories is a lighthearted tale of friendship, misunderstandings, and missed chances.

Jacey Lang spent three terrifying days atop a roof during a terrible storm. She shared that experience with a young family and (possibly) the man of her dreams. But a traumatic accident during their rescue left Jacey with scattered memories and no way to reconnect with Colin. One year later Jacey accidentally finds Colin again – at the end of the isle at her best friend’s wedding, as the preacher. Uncertain what the future holds for them, Jacey must deal with her returning memories about the accident and the fate of the young family, while Colin comes to terms with his family’s past.

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Book Review: The Hideaway

The Hideaway

The Hideaway – Lauren K. Denton – Thomas Nelson – Published 11 April 2017

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Synopsis

When her grandmother’s will wrenches Sara back home from New Orleans, she learns more about Margaret Van Buren in the wake of her death than she ever did in life.

After her last remaining family member dies, Sara Jenkins goes home to The Hideaway, her grandmother Mags’s ramshackle B&B in Sweet Bay, Alabama. She intends to quickly tie up loose ends then return to her busy life and thriving antique shop in New Orleans. Instead, she learns Mags has willed her The Hideaway and charged her with renovating it—no small task considering Mags’s best friends, a motley crew of senior citizens, still live there.

Rather than hurrying back to New Orleans, Sara stays in Sweet Bay and begins the biggest house-rehabbing project of her career. Amid Sheetrock dust, old memories, and a charming contractor, she discovers that slipping back into life at The Hideaway is easier than she expected.

Then she discovers a box Mags left in the attic with clues to a life Sara never imagined for her grandmother. With help from Mags’s friends, Sara begins to piece together the mysterious life of bravery, passion, and choices that changed Mags’s destiny in both marvelous and devastating ways.

When an opportunistic land developer threatens to seize The Hideaway, Sara is forced to make a choice—stay in Sweet Bay and fight for the house and the people she’s grown to love or leave again and return to her successful but solitary life in New Orleans.

My thoughts

The Hideaway is absolutely charming, featuring two intertwined stories of love, self-discovery, and the search for peace.

Deep in the heart of the South is a dilapidated, quirky, and much-loved old home. The Hideaway is a shelter for those who are lost or want to escape society. For Sara, growing up there with her equally quirky grandmother, the Hideaway was embarrassing and as a young adult she quickly escaped to New Orleans to start her own business. Now her grandmother is dead and Sara has been left with the Hideaway, its remaining occupants, and the task of refurbishing the house. But the longer she stays, the harder it is to imagine leaving. She also begins to uncover the secrets her grandmother closely guarded and starts to fall in love with the charming contractor refurbishing what is quickly becoming her home.

This book is written in two sets of alternating chapters. The first from Sara, present day as she returns to her childhood home after the death of her grandmother. The other chapters are written from the perspective of Mags, Sara’s grandmother, dating from the 1960s as Mags escaped an unfaithful husband, learned to love again, stand on her own feet, and never again let someone’s judgement shape who she was.

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Author Interview: Anne A. Wilson

Anne Wilson Banner

Author Interview: Anne A. Wilson

Clear To LiftI am very excited to share with you my interview with author Anne A. Wilson. If you are a regular visitor to my blog, then you might have picked up on my absolute adoration for Anne’s books. They are fantastic!!! So, it was wonderful when Anne graciously agreed to answer my questions about her own experience in the navy and her writing process.

Anne is the author of Hover, which was released in 2015 and Clear To Lift, which is due for release in July 2016. Both books are thrilling stories of action and romance, about strong, courageous women and their careers in the navy.

In Clear To Lift, Navy helicopter pilot Lieutenant Alison Malone has been assigned to the search and rescue team stationed in Sierra Nevada. Alison is strong, determined, a rule follower and feeling constrained after being deployed to an area she considers the end of her commander dreams. Her team plan to educate her in working outside the rules, while the ruggedly handsome Will Cavanaugh challenges her to evaluate her life and take risks. Romance, action, suspense and family secrets make this a wildly addictive story. 

You can find my full review of Clear To Lift here, and if you haven’t already read Hover, check out my review of it here.


anne-wilson-350Hi Anne. Welcome to my Library.

Thanks so much for answering my questions (and writing really fabulous books).

Firstly, describe Clear To Lift in five words or less.

Adventure, search and rescue, romance.

Both your books Hover and Clear To Lift come loosely from your own experiences in the navy. How much is fiction and what can you tell us about your own adventures in the Sierra Nevada?

In Clear to Lift, the plot and characters are fictional, but the aircraft maneuvers are pretty accurate. The last rescue scene was based on a rescue that I did during the “100-Year Flood” that affected Yosemite Valley, the city of Reno, Nevada, and surrounding areas. Hover had more scenes than Clear to Lift did that were “real.” I used the journals I kept while deployed at sea to write Hover, and pulled directly from those pages for several scenes. The Shellback ceremony in Hover is almost word-for-word from my journal.

Being stationed near the Sierra Nevada was a dream. Not only did we fly over the range routinely to do our rescue work, but my husband and I played there in our off time, too. We did backcountry skiing, where you hike a mountain and then ski down. Still do, in fact. I enjoy telemark skiing, which is a nice ski set-up to have in the backcountry since your heel is free in the binding, which allows you to hike up more easily. We also did a lot of rock climbing and my husband even trained as an assistant mountain guide. So we enjoyed plenty of adventures both on the ground and in the air while stationed there.

So that’s why the scenes in Clear To Lift, when Will is free climbing up huge cliff faces sound so realistic!!!

HoverWhat inspired you to join the navy?

I was in my high school counselor’s office and saw a catalog for the United States Naval Academy on the coffee table in the waiting room. I picked it up and was intrigued by the prospect of the travel and adventure that might accompany going to a university like this. When you go to the Naval Academy, the tuition is free and you receive a four-year degree just like any university. You pay back the cost of your schooling by giving years of active duty service to the navy, so I served for nine years flying helicopters after I graduated. The travel was as advertised, by the way. I was able to see and experience so much of the world that I otherwise would not have.

What did you prefer as a pilot, search and rescue or deployment at sea? Which did you prefer writing?

I preferred search and rescue. The high altitude flying and the rescue work we did—and the setting in which we did it—was just spectacular. And then, of course, the mission itself was extremely rewarding. We were helping people in need, which I loved. Plus, I was stationed inland, so when we weren’t flying, we were living a pretty normal life. Flying on deployment could be exciting, also, but in a different way. It just depended on the operation or the mission. Flying with the SEAL teams was always fun and doing vertical replenishment—transferring crates and pallets under the helicopter via a long pole and sling—was a great test of flying precision. But I would say there was a lot more monotony when flying on deployment. Most of the time, you were just flying ship to ship and looking at endless miles of ocean. There’s just no comparison between that and flying over snow-covered peaks at 12,000 feet.

Sierra Nevada

Sierra Nevada

Gosh, which did I prefer writing? That’s a tough one! They were both equally fun to write, I would say. I like writing action scenes and dialog, and both books had these in spades, so I was happy to be at my computer any time I was writing either book.

Where do you like to write? Do you have any writing habits or things that have to be just so before you start writing?

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Book Review: Clear To Lift

Clear To Lift

Clear To Lift – Anne A. Wilson – Forge Books – Published 12 July 2016

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Synopsis

Navy helicopter pilot Lt. Alison Malone has been assigned to a search and rescue team based at Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada, near the rugged peaks of the Sierra Nevada, and far from her former elite H-60 squadron. A rule follower by nature, Alison is exasperated and outraged every time she flies with her mission commander, “Boomer” Marks, for whom military procedures are merely a suggestion. Alison is desperate to be transferred out of the boonies, where careers stagnate, and back to her life and fiancé in San Diego.

Alison’s defenses start to slip when she meets mountain guide Will Cavanaugh during a particularly dicey mission. Will introduces her to a wild, beautiful world of adventure that she has never known before. Stranded on a mountain during a sudden dangerous blizzard, Alison questions every truth she thought she knew about herself. When Will braves the storm to save her life, she must confront the fact that she has been living a lie. But is it too late to change course?

My thoughts

Set amongst the beautiful Sierra Nevada landscape, Clear To Lift is a compelling story of adventure, love, family and self-discovery. The tension, both romantic and life-and-death-danger, leaps off the page, drawing you into this epic story. It is unforgettable, addictive and just so much fun! With vibrant characters, a strong and relatable heroine, blizzards, storms, unexploded bombs, a gorgeous Labrador search and rescue dog, doughnuts and a very ruggedly handsome mountain guide, this book has everything I needed to make it unputdownable. I loved it.

I’ve got to say I was a little worried that Clear To Lift wouldn’t live up to the very high expectations that reading Hover, Anne A. Wilson’s first book, created. I shouldn’t have worried. Clear To Lift met all those expectations and more. I was biting my nails after the danger-laden first chapter and couldn’t wipe the grin off my face after the second. I love the world that Wilson creates. The team banter and comradery, the tension during a mission, and the times they let off steam is all so real you feel like you are strapped into the H-1 helicopter right along with the crew.    Continue reading

Review: Hover

Hover

Hover – Anne A. Wilson – Forge Books – Published 2 June 2015

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Synopsis

Helicopter pilot Lt. Sara Denning joins a Navy battle group with little fanfare—and that’s just the way she likes it. After her brother Ian’s tragic death, her career path seemed obvious: step into his shoes and join the Naval Academy, despite her fear of water. Sara’s philosophy is simple—blend in, be competent, and above all, never do anything to stand out as a woman in a man’s world.

Somewhere along the way, Sara lost herself—her feminine, easygoing soul is now buried under so many defensive layers, she can’t reach it anymore.

When she meets strong, self-assured Lt. Eric Marxen, her defenses start to falter. Eric coordinates flight operations for a Navy SEAL team that requests Sara as the exclusive pilot. This blatant show of favoritism causes conflict with the other pilots; Sara’s sexist boss seems intent on making her life miserable, and her roommate and best friend, the only other woman on the ship, is avoiding her. It doesn’t help that her interactions with Eric leave her reeling.

The endgame of the SEALs’ mission is so secret, even Sara doesn’t know the reason behind her mandated participation. Soon, though, the training missions become real, and Sara must overcome her fears before they plunge her into danger. When Sara’s life is on the line, can she find her true self again and follow the orders of her heart before it is too late?

My thoughts

Fantastic. Hover is a book that just gets better and better.

I initially read a sample of the first 100 pages of this book. I was highly intrigued from the very first page. In fact, I loved every one of those 100 pages. But the question is, having now read the whole book, do I still love it? Yes. Resoundingly, YES! In fact this book only gets better and better. My previous comments stand: I was blown away with how great it was. I was sucked in from page one. I was laughing, intrigued, excited. I wanted more. I wanted to know what happened next.

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