Book Review: Summer at Hope Haven (Dune Island #1) by Kristin Harper

I received a copy of the book via NetGalley and Bookouture. Read on to know my thoughts on the book.

About the Book:

Summer at Hope Haven (Dune Island #1)

Making her way up the cedar-lined driveway, tears fill her eyes at the sight of the cottage’s faded trim and peeling turquoise shutters. Taking a deep breath, she grasps the heart-shaped iron door handle and steps inside the once-happy childhood home she’s been avoiding. It is time to face up to the past…

When Emily’s fiancé walks out on her while she’s still grieving the loss of her family in a terrible accident, she escapes back to Hope Haven on the remote Dune Island, where her family vacationed every summer. Emily hopes that fixing up the house will also mend her broken heart, but the cottage holds more than just bittersweet childhood memories. Emptying her father’s antique writing desk, Emily finds a letter that reveals a devastating secret about her parents.

With a head full of questions that can never be answered, it seems like returning to the island was the worst decision Emily ever made… until she meets Lucas Socorro, saltwater dripping from his dark curls after a surf session. As they take long walks on the soft sand, and talk late into the firefly-lit night, Emily wonders if Dr Luke—as the kids in the hospital call him—could be the one to help her heal. With Luke holding her hand, delving into her family’s painful past is a little easier.

Painting the gloomy cottage walls the colour of seashells, and revamping her grandmother’s flea-market furniture, Emily starts to feel she might call Dune Island home for good—and that she could build that home right here with Luke. But when Emily’s family secret spreads through a network of local gossips, her fragile heart breaks all over again. Luke is the only one who could have started the rumours. Was she wrong to trust him so easily?

As the sun sets behind the dunes, Emily has a difficult decision to make. Does she pack her bags and leave the island for good? Or take a risk that Hope Haven has everything she’s been looking for?

A beautiful and emotional read that will make you long to feel the sand beneath your feet. Perfect for fans of Nancy Thayer, Tracy Brogan and Mary Alice Monroe.

My Thoughts:

The book introduces us to Emily, the main protagonist dealing with the loss of her family in a terrible accident and a broken engagement. To get away, Emily comes down to Hope Haven, to stay at the house her family vacationed at every summer. Surrounded by many memories and in the midst of discovering new secrets about her parents, Emily is once again shattered as she struggles to reconcile the knowledge she has of her parents and the new information she finds. In the midst of all this, she leans on her bonds with her childhood friend and his wife while trying to forge new with Lucas Socorro, a doctor at the hospital and the people at Dune Island.

As the story progresses, the reader is thrown into the midst of Emily’s emotional turmoil as she struggles to cope. The story is well-written and is filled with some very well crafted characters. They are endearing and relatable and fun to read about. The setting is beautiful and while our characters take long strolls along the beach, it is easy for the reader to imagine themselves doing the same thing.

The story is quite enjoyable and as Emily becomes stronger and accepts her life, the secrets, the people at Dune Island, she also starts to consider opening herself up to love. This is a great read for all the romance fans out there!

Book Review: Sunrise on Half Moon Bay by Robyn Carr

About the Book:

Sunrise on Half Moon Bay

Sometimes the happiness we’re looking for has been there all along…

Adele and Justine have never been close. Born twenty years apart, Justine was already an adult when Addie was born. The sisters love each other but they don’t really know each other.

When Addie dropped out of university to care for their ailing parents, Justine, a successful lawyer, covered the expenses. It was the best arrangement at the time but now that their parents are gone, the future has changed dramatically for both women.

Addie had great plans for her life but has been worn down by the pressures of being a caregiver and doesn’t know how to live for herself. And Justine’s success has come at a price. Her marriage is falling apart despite her best efforts.

Neither woman knows how to start life over but both realize they can and must support each other the way only sisters can. Together they find the strength to accept their failures and overcome their challenges. Happiness is within reach, if only they have the courage to fight for it.

Set in the stunning coastal town of Half Moon Bay, #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr’s new novel examines the joys of sisterhood and the importance of embracing change.

My Thoughts:

Sunrise on Half Moon Bay follows the lives of two sisters, born twenty years apart and with a very weak relationship save for the common link that is their parents. Adele dropped out of university to stay home and care for her ailing parents while Justine provided the monetary support. However, tragedy strikes in the form of their parents deaths and then follows a scrambling as the girls try to adjust to their lives without them. Furthermore, Justine also faces a failing marriage and is unsure how to deal with it.

Adele is reserved and keeps to herself. Being younger, she looks for guidance but doesn’t always get it. Justine is more put together, successful and the sole breadwinner of her family, putting her children through school, paying the bills and saving for college funds. Her husband is happy to be the parent at home taking care of the house and children, until he is not.

The story follows the sisters as they navigate a rocky relationship and finally find solace in each other and in family. They learn to change, live a little and take decisions together, bringing them more closer than ever. This is a story of togetherness, family and even forgiveness. As Adele stumbles upon a job that helps her interact more with people, she is inspired to go back to school and complete her degree. She also gains confidence to face her past and try to move forward, even allowing herself a chance at love. Justine on the other hand cuts back on her brutal hours as a corporate lawyer, looking for something more laid back and ending up in her old town. This brings her closer to her daughters, allowing her more time to spend with her children and sister and maybe, even a chance at a new life and new love.

The story is well-written and though it gets a little monotonous, the message is wonderful and heartfelt! This is a wonderful story to read at your leisure and it has all the right elements of a family story filled with love and romance.

Book Review: The Circle Taken by Sage Sask

Note: I would like to thank NetGalley for the review copy.

About the Book:

Abandoned at eleven with no memory of her family, Alexia yearns to learn her true identity. Under the new government’s regime, sixteen-year-olds are evaluated for their desire to harm others. Throughout the test, Alexia struggles to conceal her secret. Failing in her mission, Alexia is taken and must fight to prove herself to her captors.

Desperate to escape, Alexia embarks on a dangerous quest for the truth of her past. In the resulting battle between life and death, Alexia learns that sacrifice and the gift she fought to keep hidden may be her only chance for survival.

A secret unearthed, a shocking betrayal, and a moment when lives hang in the balance leaves Alexia with only one choice. Will the decision determine her destiny or end her life?

My Thoughts:

The Circle is an interesting YA Dystopian read. A major part of the plot reminded me of The Hunger Games, but the story here is well-written and the characters were easy to understand. The story is quite fast paced and if the reader does not pay attention, it is easy to miss something important.

Alexia, the protagonist, has no memory of who she is or about her family for more than 5 years. She lives at an orphanage and learns to just keep her head down and move forward. When her secret is discovered, she is sent to a secret place. Here she has to fight to prove herself, to train, all the while trying to figure out who she really is. As she navigates this world and discovers it’s secrets, we are introduced to a group of people with a very specific way of thinking.

The characters are well crafted and interesting, most in their teenage years. All of them seek to befriend Alexia for different reasons, but in the end they stand together as one group. This journey is wonderful to read about. As fast-paced as the story is, a lot happens in this book and it ends at a twist leaving the reader yearning for more. I enjoyed reading this book and am looking forward to the next book, mainly to discover what happens to Alexia. The questions of how she deals with the truth behind her identity and the consequences of her decisions will hopefully be answered in the next book! This book is worth a read for fans of dystopian YA fiction.

Book Review: Here to Stay by Suanne Laqueur

Here to Stay is the sequel to The Man I Love. The book is set for release in January 2016. I was provide with an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. I have also had the pleasure of reading The Man I love and it’s parallel narrative in Daisy’s POV: Give me your answer true.

Here to Stay (The Fish Tales, #3)

About the Book:

“You can’t sort of do this, Fish. Draw a line and get on one side or the other…”

Love is never so sweet as when it receives a second chance. In the sequel to the award-winning novel The Man I Love, Suanne Laqueur continues the story of Erik Fiskare’s romance with Daisy Bianco. Though separated for twelve years, the extraordinary bond they forged in their youth has endured. Now reconciled and committed as adults, they begin to create a new life together.

Laqueur crafts a new journey that stretches into both the future and the past. Erik’s passionate, soulful love for Daisy continues to evolve and be tested. His friendship with Will Kaeger grows deeper and more complex. And unexpected contact with his Fiskare cousins offers insight to the cruel childhood desertion that shaped Erik as an adult. With Daisy at his side, he travels back to his hometown to explore fragile memories, meet his people and learn about the charms on his signature, heirloom necklace.

All these relationships will prove invaluable when Erik faces his greatest challenge as a son, a husband and a father. Once he walked away from everything he loved. But now he is here to stay.

My Thoughts:

*Spoiler alert*

For those of you who have not read the first book, some things mentioned throughout the review may be treated as small spoilers, but I promise to avoid any direct references to events in this story.

Here to Stay continues where The Man I Love left off. Erik finally returns to face his past and apologises to Daisy. They start working on their relationship and Erik also focuses on his relationship with his friends and family. Many references are made to the past and all the events that led up to the current situation. Thus it is indeed necessary to read The Man I Love before reading this. Note: It is not necessary but is a plus if Give Me Your Answer True is also read before this.

The story is filled with strong, raw emotion expressed beautifully in a style that one will understand and associate with Suanne. The reader will be drawn in as the journey continues and there will not come a moment when the reader will want to stop.

Though this story goes at a slightly slower pace than the first one, it gives the feeling that everything has settled down and hence the pace of the story also seems to be in tune with the tone.

This entire story is an emotional roller-coaster that portrays a deep romance that some say is the kind that are meant to be or the made for each other stuff. I know it can be hard to believe or digest but the author convinces us that fairy-tales can be true and that we can all have our stories as long as there is belief and trust.

A lot can be learnt about relationships and how fragile they are as well as the thin line between trust and betrayal. The focus is on finding oneself even after everything that happens and learning to forgive and move on.

A great story and a wonderfully written book that will tear at your heartstrings and move you to tears! This is for all the romantics out there showing that this kind of love does exist. This is also a must read for every person, to understand that there will be a lot of ups and downs in life, but the most important thing is to hold on to your family and friends and open up about one’s thoughts and feelings.

I would like to end my review here. If I continue writing I will just keep going on and on like a broken record, trying to stress on how much I have enjoyed this sequel. I hope you all decide to read these books too.