Starfish Pier by Irene Hannon Length: 352 pages Publisher: Revell Book acquired through Revell Reads Blogger Program Genre: Contemporary Romance Release Date: March 31, 2020
**I received a complimentary copy of Starfish Pier through Revell Reads Blogger Program, in exchange for an honest review**
Starfish Pier is a romantic story with a slow build. It gives the backstory of Steven and Holly, two people with opposing viewpoints on life. The tension in their love story only deepens after Steven’s details from his difficult past are revealed.
This story is layered with religious undertones; Holly is a strong pro-life advocate, and her resolve to find value in every life is felt from everyone around her. Despite being a new resident of this seaside Oregon community, Holly’s calm demeanor is welcomed by her students and other members in the area. While Steven is a bit intimidated by the cause Holly strongly holds to her heart, he is equally drawn to her heart.
Starfish Pier also focuses on Patrick (Steven’s brother), as he fights alcohol addition. This story plays the role of Patrick fighting the battle of the bottle, as his habit threatens to repeat the dangerous cycle his father lived through. Patrick grapples with his addiction, but there is nurturing guidance on his side from his wife and other townspeople.
While I felt that Starfish Pier kept drifting to many storylines within Steven’s family (and the sudden tale about the cannon), I did appreciate that this story that teaches about the power of forgiveness. Love and understanding can only come through patience.
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
A year ago, ex-Delta Force operator Steven Roark left the rigors of combat behind to run fishing charters in Hope Harbor, decompress, and talk some sense into his kid brother. Business is good–but making peace with his past is more challenging than he expected.
First-grade teacher Holly Miller leads a quiet, low-profile existence–until she’s recruited to advocate for a cause that’s dear to her heart. When she solicits Steven’s assistance, sparks fly–especially after they find themselves on opposite sides of an issue that disrupts their placid seaside community.
As these two seemingly incompatible souls search for common ground, might they discover a deeper connection–and find that love can banish darkness and light the way to a future filled with promise?
Bestselling and award-winning author Irene Hannon invites you back to Hope Harbor–where hearts heal . . . and love blooms.
The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver Publisher: Ballantine Books Length: 369 pages Genre: Contemporary, Romance Format: Hardcover (purchased through Book of the Month) Release Date: March 3, 2020
Synopsis: Lydia and Freddie. Freddie and Lydia. They’d been together for more than a decade, and Lydia thought their love was indestructible.
But she was wrong. On her twenty-eighth birthday, Freddie died in a car accident.
So now it’s just Lydia, and all she wants to do is hide indoors and sob until her eyes fall out. But Lydia knows that Freddie would want her to try to live fully, happily, even without him. So, enlisting the help of his best friend, Jonah, and her sister, Elle, she takes her first tentative steps into the world, open to life–and perhaps even love–again.
But then something inexplicable happens that gives her another chance at her old life with Freddie. A life where none of the tragic events of the past few months have happened.
Lydia is pulled again and again across the doorway of her past, living two lives, impossibly, at once. But there’s an emotional toll to returning to a world where Freddie, alive, still owns her heart. Because there’s someone in her new life, her real life, who wants her to stay.
My Thoughts: When Josie Silver’s new book The Two Lives of Lydia Bird became available for purchase, I immediately picked it up! I loved reading her debut novel One Day in December, and I was ready to enjoy another tale revolving around friendship and romance while enduring life experiences!
The Two Lives of Lydia Bird begins with loss–Lydia Bird is struggling to live without her fiance Freddie Hunter, who was killed in a car accident. One evening, Lydia discovers that she can enter a world in which Freddie still exists. The story then takes us through Lydia’s life as she lives between these two worlds. The grieving process of losing a loved on can be extremely difficult and painful, yet Lydia’s grieving is placed on pause as she continues (in a sense) to have a life with Freddie. Both worlds are vastly different, and Lydia struggles to gain a sense of who she is as an individual throughout the experience.
Lydia is also struggling to repair her friendship with Jonah Jones. Jonah is both Lydia’s lifelong friend and Freddie’s closest companion. Since Jonah was with Freddie at the time of his death, he is also enduring his own grief as he continues life without him. Both Lydia and Freddie are also grieving the loss of the bond they shared throughout their lives. They make attempts to repair the bond they previously shared, yet the personal tie to Freddie makes things doubly complicated!
There is also a delightful cast of characters in this story, as Lydia’s family and co-workers ensure that she is not alone while navigating the grieving process. There are some unexpected turns in this tale, and Lydia faces some difficult lessons while learning to discover what she truly wants for herself!
The Two Lives of Lydia Bird is a wonderful story of a woman seeking to find her true self while navigating the stages of grief. It is a great depiction of Lydia’s desire of wanting her fiance to be remembered, while rediscovering the meaning of life. I highly recommend it!
The Women of Brewster Place: A Novel in Seven Stories by Gloria Naylor Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Penguin Books Length: 192 Pages Format: Audiobook Release Date: June 2, 1982
I read this book through Audible in one sitting. I was thoroughly captivated with the lives of the women residing in Brewster Place, since they represent a microcosm of society: a matriarch providing space and a helping hand when needed; a young revolutionary at odds with her mother’s definition of the true meaning of social justice; a young same-sex couple starting over after countless experiences of discrimination. Gloria Naylor writes an unflinching account of women surviving extremely emotional situations. Brewster Place has a group of women thriving despite the difficult circumstances they have. They turn to each other when moments become extremely difficult, a community of women turning to one another despite their hardships.
The Women of Brewster Place was a wonderful television special years ago. I recall watching the program admiring this strong group of women turning to each other when faced with violence and discrimination. The neighborhood that Brewster Place is situated in can be placed in many big cities throughout the country. There is always a community living in difficult financial standing, yet their community stays united, working to build a better life within the neighborhood. The Women of Brewster Place continues to hold as a powerful story about women surviving extreme difficulties while staying together.
I’m participating in The Library Looter & Anniek’s Library Blogtober challenge.
I’m happy to be reviewing ‘Keeping Her Close’ for Prism Book Tours! Many thanks to Carol Ross for sending me a complimentary copy!
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
The job sounds simple: teach a businessman’s daughter how to stay safe. But former navy SEAL turned bodyguard Kyle Frasier has a personal motive, too. Harper Jansen is his late best friend’s fiancée. Loyalty demands he protect her, not that Harper looks in need of rescuing. In fact, it’s Kyle who needs help—balancing duty with his desire to build a life with the one woman he shouldn’t want…
Keeping Her Close tells the story of Kyle Frasier, a former Navy SEAL hired by a wealthy environmentalist to guard his daughter Harper Jansen after an attempted attack on his life. Kyle and Harper’s first encounters were uneasy, but they soon form a deep connection that grew intimate as time went on, much to Kyle’s discomfort. To make matters even more complicated, Kyle is also tasked to uncover the mystery of his friend Owen’s death, who happened to be Harper’s ex-fiancee.
One thing that I enjoyed about this novel is the healthy tension between Kyle and Harper. Their decent into coupledom wasn’t immediate, which I appreciated! They both endured some experiences that caused them to learn more about each other.
We also learn that Kyle is a complicated figure, one who’s in a constant state of insecurity. He feels like he’s never living up to his family’s expectations, which flows into his circumstances with Harper as the story progresses. Kyle’s family serves as a welcoming respite among the tension brought from Kyle and Harper dealing with the ‘less-than-ideal’ situation of being supervised every minute of the day. The Frasier family radiates a loving dynamic, something that both Kyle and Harper were without for a long time. For Harper, a large family introduced an only child to a sense of community. For Kyle, it reinforces the fact that a strong family unit is always present, ready to accept and overcome any obstacle. The notion of inclusion and forgiveness is a recurrent theme throughout the book: Love and family will always prevail despite struggle.
If you love a romantic story with trust, community, and family as a focal point, then this is the book for you!