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One Good Thing by Wendy Wax

Source: Publisher
Paperback, 360 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

One Good Thing by Wendy Wax is the next installment (#5) in the Ten Beach Road series in which women duped by the Ponzi scheme of Malcolm Dyer find friendship through renovation.  For those who have yet to read this series, what on earth are you waiting for?  I do recommend reading these in order.

Maddie, Avery, and Nikki have grown closer, though Maddie is still viewed as the mother who takes care of everyone, including her ex-husband and their daughter, Kyra.  She’s still finding it hard to let go of her caretaker role and lead her own life, but she’s making some changes, even as Nikki’s time grows near and her nervousness about motherhood strengthens. Meanwhile, their television series Do Over is still in the hands of the network, and they seem to be holding all of the cards, which means the ladies need to find another source of income and fast or they may lose the home, Bella Flora, that brought them together.

As fear creeps in and takes some of them over, it is harder and harder to find just One Good Thing to share at sunset — a tradition that has helped them stay positive and keep things in perspective.  Wax’s ladies are strong, but never too far from their insecurities.  They flourish under pressure, and they must make hard decisions, even if they need a little push from their friends.

One Good Thing by Wendy Wax is another summer read that will make living on the beach sound less than idyllic, but you’ll still want to grab your blended drinks and head down to the beach to catch that sunset with these ladies.

RATING: Quatrain

Also Reviewed:

About the Author:

Award-winning author Wendy Wax has written eight novels, including Ocean Beach, Ten Beach Road, Magnolia Wednesdays, the Romance Writers of America RITA Award finalist The Accidental Bestseller, Leave It to Cleavage, Single in Suburbia and 7 Days and 7 Nights, which was honored with the Virginia Romance Writers Holt Medallion Award. Her work has sold to publishers in ten countries and to the Rhapsody Book Club, and her novel, Hostile Makeover, was excerpted in Cosmopolitan magazine.

A St. Pete Beach, Florida native, Wendy has lived in Atlanta for fifteen years. A voracious reader, her enjoyment of language and storytelling led her to study journalism at the University of Georgia. She also studied in Italy through Florida State University, is a graduate of the University of South Florida, and worked at WEDU-TV and WDAE-Radio in Tampa.

Mailbox Monday #421

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Martha, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

****Also, if you haven’t signed up, please do for the National Poetry Month blog tour****

Here’s what I received:

The Honorable Mr. Darcy by Jennifer Joy, narrated by Nancy Peterson, a giveaway win from Diary of an Eccentric.

Lieutenant George Wickham is dead.

The shot rings out in Wickham’s tent as the good citizens of Meryton dance the night away at Mr. Bingley’s Netherfield ball. The only person who can confirm Fitzwilliam Darcy’s alibi faces the loss of her reputation and her freedom if she comes forward.

Convinced that her sole motive is the pursuit of justice – and not her growing attraction to Mr. Darcy – Elizabeth Bennet begins an investigation to clear his name and evade an unwanted marriage.

If Darcy didn’t shoot Wickham in cold blood, who did? Which of Longbourn’s neighbors is not who they seem?

With a killer on the loose, can Elizabeth avoid being the next victim as she comes closer to revealing the truth?

Listen to The Honorable Mr. Darcy today to satisfy your craving for a fast-paced mystery interwoven with a heartwarming, sweet romance

One Good Thing by Wendy Wax for review.

Embroiled in a battle to regain control of their renovation-turned-reality TV show, Do Over, Maddie, Avery, Nikki, and Kyra find themselves holding tight to the frayed ends of their friendship and relationships.

Maddie must face the realities of dating a rock star once again topping the charts and dealing with her hapless ex-husband, while Avery is caught up in family drama even as she attempts to transform a tiny cottage into a home for the newly impoverished heiress who helped bankroll their last renovation. Put on bedrest, a hugely pregnant Nikki can’t quite believe love can last, or trust in her own maternal instinct. And Kyra, who has secretly put Bella Flora at risk in an attempt to salvage Do Over, must decide whether to accept a desperately needed bail out from her son’s famous father that comes with far too many strings attached…

But friendship is made for times like these, to keep each other—and their dreams—from crumbling.

Guzzle by Temple Cone, which I purchased.

The poems in GUZZLE are the Americanized cousins of the classic Arabic ghazal. Loose, shaggy beasts, their three-lined stanzas leap from celebration to skepticism to wild laughter. The poems reflect on the nature of language, environmental collapse, the presence of God, erotic desire, genius and madness, fatherhood, fame, and the pleasures of poetry, and they evoke artists and thinkers ranging from Whitman to Wittgenstein, Olivier Messiaen to Sally Mann. Forever stretching the ghazal form to compass the borders of postmodern reality, GUZZLE is a meditation on the ways that “we ourselves are holy timber, waiting to be joined, / Tongue and groove, to raise up the house of the beautiful.”

Darcy’s Ultimatum: A Pride & Prejudice Variation (The Cousins Book 1) by Jennifer Joy, a free Kindle download.

When Fitzwilliam Darcy’s arranged life falls to pieces, his father, Mr. George Darcy, gives him an ultimatum: Marry by the end of the London Season or risk disinheritance. Can Darcy cast aside society’s frigid attitude toward marriage and find true love? Or will his desire to honor his deceased mother’s memory hold him back?

Elizabeth Bennet faces the greatest challenge of her life: Find a husband by the end of the London Season or be forced to marry the heir apparent of her family home, Mr. Collins. A romantic at heart, will Elizabeth find a gentleman to meet her high expectations?

After a disastrous meeting, Darcy and Elizabeth determine not to like each other. But, the London Season has only begun…

Flying by the Seat of My Knickers (The Travel Mishaps of Caity Shaw Book 1) by Eliza Watson, a Kindle download.

Why run from your troubles when you can fly instead?

When Caity Shaw is fired from her first job that doesn’t require an elf uniform, her older sister, Rachel, an event planner, hires her to work a meeting in Dublin. Caity jumps at the opportunity to travel abroad and escape her pathetic life. However, even four thousand miles from home, there’s no avoiding debt collectors, an overbearing mother, and haunting memories of a controlling ex.

While in Dublin, Caity suffers a series of humiliating mishaps, causing her to lose even more faith in herself. Caity struggles to earn Rachel’s respect—and to keep Declan, her hot Irish coworker, at arm’s length. Declan repeatedly saves Caity’s butt and helps boost her self-confidence, making it difficult to keep her distance from the charming womanizer. When Declan helps her research her Irish grandmother, Caity discovers the mysterious past of the courageous woman she barely knew might hold the answers to her future.

Mr. Darcy’s Promise by Jeanna Ellsworth, a free Kindle download.

Jane Austen’s classic Regency story comes alive again in a tale of pride, prejudice, and a promise. Georgiana Darcy makes her way to Netherfield Park to meet the woman her brother so admires. While at first Georgiana’s presence smooths the course of true love between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, the ghosts of her past appear to wreak havoc on all of them. Unhappily, Elizabeth finds herself placed in the care of the Darcy family at Pemberley. Assuming he knows the cause of Elizabeth’s distress, Mr. Darcy makes a promise on his gentleman’s honor. The promise, although made with good intentions, becomes nearly impossible to keep for Mr. Darcy, and somewhat vexing for Elizabeth. Some promises are made to be broken but will the ever-trustworthy gentleman let go enough to secure Elizabeth’s heart?

One Love – Two Hearts – Three Stories: A Pride & Prejudice Anthology: The Library, Married!, Ramsgate by J Dawn King, a free Kindle download.

“One Love”, legendary in proportions, unites the “Two Hearts” of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. Delight in the sweet romance of “Three Stories” from J. Dawn King’s what-if variations inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

The Library becomes the set of a comedy of errors which just might open up the path to endearing confessions between these two hearts as Mr. Darcy takes a golden opportunity to command Elizabeth’s attention while at Netherfield Park. (Novella)

Married! Elizabeth Bennet is thrown into a misadventure when she successfully assists a fellow maiden in distress only to find her own reputation jeopardized. When the only solution is to marry a man she just met, can she find happiness with the kind-hearted, but imperfect stranger? Is love a faraway dream in her new life as Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy? (Novel)

When Darcy receives not one letter, but two from Ramsgate, he immediately drops everything to rush to his sister’s rescue. What will he find at the end of the road? While expecting the worst, this might possibly be the best thing to ever happen to him. (Novella)

The Library and Married! have both been voted reader favorites at Jaffrecs.com. J. Dawn King has also written Amazon bestsellers A Father’s Sins and Compromised!

Mr. Darcy’s Secret: A Mister Darcy series comedic mystery by Barbara Silkstone, a free Kindle download.

Based on the enduring characters created by Jane Austen, this is a contemporary spin on a classic tale of love denied, and love discovered. Each novella is part of the Mister Darcy series but each adventure can be read as a stand alone.

The mysterious Mister Darcy enlists the aid of dog psychologist Lizzie Bennet in his secret quest. Lizzie soon finds herself deep in his battle where familiar villains join forces to stop Darcy at all costs. Darcy’s true feelings for Lizzie bubble to the surface but can she reciprocate? And what about that peanut butter kiss?

Mister Darcy’s Dogs ~ Book One
Mister Darcy’s Christmas ~ Book Two
Mister Darcy’s Secret ~ Book Three
Pansy Cottage ~ Book Four
Mister Darcy’s Templars ~ Book Five
Mister Darcy’s Honeymoon ~ Book Six
Happy Christmas from the Darcy’s ~ Book Seven
Mister Darcy’s Maltese Falcon ~ Book Eight

Barbara Silkstone’s comedy mysteries feature goodhearted heroines caught up in screwball situations. Silkstone’s Mister Darcy series of comedic mysteries based on Jane Austen’s classic, Pride and Prejudice now includes eight adventures – with more coming! She is also the author of two Regency novels: The Gallant Vicar and The Return of the Gallant Vicar. The Witches of Longbourn is a series of three lighthearted episodes that weave one tale of love and magic with a charming happy ending.

Look for another Regency romance featuring Darcy and Elizabeth coming this fall.

Silkstone is also the author of the popular Wendy Darlin Tomb Raider series. Her writings have been compared to the works of Douglas Adams and Monty Python.

An Encounter at Pemberley: A Pride And Prejudice Variation by Isabelle Mayfair, a free Kindle download.

While touring Derbyshire with her aunt and uncle, Elizabeth Bennet is horrified to discover they intend to visit Pemberley, the home of Mr Darcy. She had hoped never to meet him again after rejecting his proposal months before. But assured that he is not home, Elizabeth decides to take the opportunity to explore Pemberley Woods while her aunt and uncle are out. There, alone in the woods, she is the victim of an accident.

Mr Darcy discovers her lying unconscious and must think quickly to get her to shelter before a storm begins. He takes her to his hunting lodge to tend to her injuries, realising he will have compromised her reputation and be obliged to marry her if word gets out. But Elizabeth is suffering from amnesia as a result of her accident and is intrigued by the kind, generous man who tends to her.

Is this Mr Darcy’s last chance to show her the man he can be? And as for Elizabeth, she is astonished to discover that the warm, caring man she’s starting to fall in love with was someone she disliked intensely before her accident. But just why was her dislike for him so strong?

When word gets out of them spending the night together, Lizzy’s reputation is compromised and the only way out is to agree to marry Mr Darcy. But can she accept him for the man he is now? And can she truly love a man she cannot remember?

Darcy and Elizabeth: A Beau Bon-Bon Christmas (A Pride and Prejudice Winter’s Tale) by Kate Bedlow, a free Kindle download.

It is 1815. Elizabeth Darcy returns to Hertfordshire to see her family at Christmas, but a silly quarrel between Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley threatens everybody’s pleasure.

The war is over, but Meryton is anything but peaceful. The neighborhood ladies are each determined her cook will win first prize in the Beau Bon-Bon charity baking competition, and Mrs. Bennet is determined to get the new tenant of Netherfield Park for Kitty—but Commodore Harrington might have other plans.

And there is a bit with a dog…

What did you receive?

Sunshine Beach by Wendy Wax

Source: Penguin Random House
Paperback, 420 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Sunshine Beach by Wendy Wax is the fourth in a series of books in which ladies taken for all their worth in a Ponzi scheme work together to renovate homes on reality TV. I would recommend reading these books in order because there are some spoilers in this one for previous books.

Maddie, Avery, and Nikki are struggling after the end of their last Do Over season ended with the renovation at Mermaid Point in the Florida Keys. Maddie is still seeing former rocker William Hightower, and she’s trying to reconcile her former wife and homemaker status with that of groupie turned girlfriend of a rockstar who is regaining his footing in the music business. Meanwhile, Avery is struggling to regain her confidence as the skilled contractor everyone knows her to be, and Nikki continues to deal with trust issues and learning to lean on others for support.

“But there was far more wishful thinking wrapped up in her pronouncement than she wanted to examine. The last time they’d had this conversation she’d insisted the future looked so bright it would require sunglasses. But at that moment she’d settle for a flashlight and a really good road map.” (pg. 32 ARC)

“‘It’s not a matter of trying, Avery. You believe or you don’t.’ Chase slung an arm around her shoulders and pulled her close. ‘You need to get all the way on board, or I’m going to have to give you some serious noogies.’ He knuckled his fist in her hair.” (pg. 247 ARC)

After quitting at the end of the last season on camera, the ladies are determined to find their own renovation project and re-create their show from scratch. There’s a little bit of sun on the horizon when Maddie’s daughter, Kyra, stumbles upon a forgotten hotel in the dunes. Lucky for the team, they just happen to know the owners, and all they need to do is convince them that even the darkest memories can be shined up.

Wax has become a go-to author for me for summer reads and for read that help me escape when I need it. Her female characters are strong, but they also need support to — from one another and from the men in their lives. This series of books also combines these wonderful elements with beaches and renovation shows — my secret addiction (looks like the secret is out)! Sunshine Beach by Wendy Wax was a wonderful read and it was like a visit with old friends. I can’t wait to catch up with them again on the beach!

RATING: Quatrain

Also Reviewed:

About the Author:

Award-winning author Wendy Wax has written eight novels, including Ocean Beach, Ten Beach Road, Magnolia Wednesdays, the Romance Writers of America RITA Award finalist The Accidental Bestseller, Leave It to Cleavage, Single in Suburbia and 7 Days and 7 Nights, which was honored with the Virginia Romance Writers Holt Medallion Award. Her work has sold to publishers in ten countries and to the Rhapsody Book Club, and her novel, Hostile Makeover, was excerpted in Cosmopolitan magazine.

A St. Pete Beach, Florida native, Wendy has lived in Atlanta for fifteen years. A voracious reader, her enjoyment of language and storytelling led her to study journalism at the University of Georgia. She also studied in Italy through Florida State University, is a graduate of the University of South Florida, and worked at WEDU-TV and WDAE-Radio in Tampa.

Mailbox Monday #375

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links.  Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

Sunshine Beach by Wendy Wax for review.

After losing their life savings in a Ponzi scheme, Maddie, Avery, and Nikki have banded together to make the most of what they have left, using their determination, ingenuity, guts, and a large dose of elbow grease. It’s Maddie’s daughter Kyra who stumbles across a once glorious beachfront hotel that has fallen into disrepair. The opportunity to renovate this seaside jewel is too good to pass up—especially when they come up with the idea of shooting their own independent television show about the restoration. What could possibly go wrong?

Everything. With the cameras rolling, Maddie’s second-chance romance with her all-too-famous new boyfriend gets complicated, Avery struggles with grief over the loss of her mother, and Nikki’s reluctance to commit to the man who loves her could leave her to face the biggest challenge of her life. Even the hotel seems to be against them, when their renovation uncovers a decades-old unsolved murder which just might bring their lives tumbling down all over again

Follow the River Home by Corran Harrington for review for TLC Book Tours in June.

DANIEL ARROYO has suffered a lifetime of guilt over the sudden death of his infant sister, who died when he was eight years old. He now lives his middle years between that guilt and worsening episodes of PTSD from a Vietnam he left thirty years ago. When a violent encounter on a dusty highway forces Daniel to face what haunts him, he finds himself pulled back to the neighborhood of his youth, where old houses hold tired secrets. What really happened on that steamy August afternoon? The answer comes spilling from the old neighborhood, and Daniel begins to find his way home. Corran Harrington takes the reader along the Rio Grande, from its headwaters to the sea.

The Girl from the Savoy by Hazel Gaynor for a TLC Book Tour in June.

Dolly Lane is a dreamer; a downtrodden maid who longs to dance on the London stage, but her life has been fractured by the Great War. Memories of the soldier she loved, of secret shame and profound loss, by turns pull her back and spur her on to make a better life.

When she finds employment as a chambermaid at London’s grandest hotel, The Savoy, Dolly takes a step closer to the glittering lives of the Bright Young Things who thrive on champagne, jazz and rebellion. Right now, she must exist on the fringes of power, wealth and glamor—she must remain invisible and unimportant.

But her fortunes take an unexpected turn when she responds to a struggling songwriter’s advertisement for a ‘muse’ and finds herself thrust into London’s exhilarating theatre scene and into the lives of celebrated actress, Loretta May, and her brother, Perry. Loretta and Perry may have the life Dolly aspires to, but they too are searching for something.

Now, at the precipice of the life she has and the one she longs for, the girl from The Savoy must make difficult choices: between two men; between two classes, between everything she knows and everything she dreams of. A brighter future is tantalizingly close—but can a girl like Dolly ever truly leave her past behind?

What did you receive?

A Week at the Lake by Wendy Wax

Source: JS Publishing & Media Consulting
Paperback, 432 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

A Week at the Lake by Wendy Wax is less of a chicklit romance and more of a story about friendship that has been tested when Emma Michaels backs away from her college friends Serena Stockton and Mackenzie Hayes without explanation and again when they agree to meet again for a retreat at Lake George.  Emma has been a single mother to Zoe for nearly 15 years, and her parents and siblings from Hollywood’s elite have been kept out of their lives for some time.  Although Emma enjoys acting, she takes jobs on her own terms, and she’s tried her best to shelter her own daughter from that fast-paced life.  Serena, on the other hand, may be a beautiful starlit that many men drool over, but her work is mainly as the voice of Georgia Goodbody in a cartoon.  Mackenzie is the least famous of the three, who moved back to the Midwest with her husband to run a local theater and make costumes when her dreams of motherhood were quickly dashed.

“‘We could put you in the bottom of a canoe and float you out into the lake like a Viking warrior,’ Mackenzie said.
‘As long as nobody tries to set me on fire,’ Emma said.
There was laughter, all of them glad to see any sign of the ‘old’ Emma.”  (page 132)

The friendship between these women has been strained, but each of them is excited to head to the lake and reconnect.  Serena continues to have a string of shallow affairs with married men, and Emma has focused her attentions on her daughter, Zoe, and her work.  MacKenzie has had a relatively quiet and routine life, and her life is the most disrupted by the events that happen to these women.  Readers will enjoy getting to know these women, the nuances of their friendships, and the struggles they have in their own lives.

A Week at the Lake by Wendy Wax is a heavier book than most chicklit books, given that these women deal with some significant crises of confidence, emotional baggage, and real-life pain.  Wax creates some strong and flawed female characters, and readers will love how these women interact with each other, how friendships can be tested and nearly break, and how they resolve their larger issues.  This was another winner, and if you haven’t read Wax’s books, you better get started.

About the Author:

Award-winning author Wendy Wax has written eight novels, including Ocean Beach, Ten Beach Road, Magnolia Wednesdays, the Romance Writers of America RITA Award finalist The Accidental Bestseller, Leave It to Cleavage, Single in Suburbia and 7 Days and 7 Nights, which was honored with the Virginia Romance Writers Holt Medallion Award. Her work has sold to publishers in ten countries and to the Rhapsody Book Club, and her novel, Hostile Makeover, was excerpted in Cosmopolitan magazine.

A St. Pete Beach, Florida native, Wendy has lived in Atlanta for fifteen years. A voracious reader, her enjoyment of language and storytelling led her to study journalism at the University of Georgia. She also studied in Italy through Florida State University, is a graduate of the University of South Florida, and worked at WEDU-TV and WDAE-Radio in Tampa.

Also Reviewed:

Mailbox Monday #326

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links.  Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

1. A Week at the Lake by Wendy Wax; this is the second copy I received and will pass this on to a friend.

Twenty years ago, Emma Michaels, Mackenzie Hayes, and Serena Stockton bonded over their New York City dreams. Then, each summer, they solidified their friendship by spending one week at the lake together, solving their problems over bottles of wine and gallons of ice cream. They kept the tradition for years, until jealousy, lies, and life’s disappointments made them drift apart.

It’s been five years since Emma has seen her friends, an absence designed to keep them from discovering a long-ago betrayal. Now she’s in desperate need of their support. The time has come to reveal her secrets—and hopefully rekindle their connection.

But when a terrible accident keeps Emma from saying her piece, Serena and Mackenzie begin to learn about the past on their own. Now, to heal their friendship and their broken lives, the three women will have to return to the lake that once united them, and discover which relationships are worth holding on to.

2.  Mistaking Her Character by Maria Grace for review.

Lady Catherine de Bourgh is prepared to be very generous when it comes to medical care for her sickly daughter, Anne – generous enough to lure noted physician Dr. Thomas Bennet to give up his London practice and move his family to Rosings Park. But his good income comes with a price: complete dependence on his demanding patroness’s every whim.     Now the Bennet family is trapped, reliant on Lady Catherine for their survival. Their patroness controls every aspect of the Bennet household, from the shelves in the closet to the selection of suitors for the five Bennet daughters. Now she has chosen a husband for headstrong Elizabeth Bennet– Mr. George Wickham.

But Lady Catherine’s nephew, Fitzwilliam Darcy, is not so sure about his aunt’s choice. He is fascinated by the compassionate Elizabeth who seems to effortlessly understand everyone around her, including him. Lady Catherine has other plans for Darcy, though, and she forbids Elizabeth to even speak to him.   As Anne’s health takes a turn for the worse, Darcy and Elizabeth are thrown together as Dr. Bennet struggles to save Anne’s life. Darcy can no longer deny the truth – he is in love with Elizabeth Bennet. But Lady Catherine will do anything to stop Darcy from marrying her – even if it means Elizabeth will lose everything she loves.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #325

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links.  Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

1.  The Essential Ginsberg edited by Michael Schumacher for review from Harper.

Featuring the legendary and groundbreaking poem “Howl,” this remarkable volume showcases a selection of Allen Ginsberg’s poems, songs, essays, letters, journals, and interviews and contains sixteen pages of his personal photographs.

One of the Beat Generation’s most renowned poets and writers, Allen Ginsberg became internationally famous not only for his published works but for his actions as a human rights activist who championed the sexual revolution, human rights, gay liberation, Buddhism and eastern religion, and the confrontation of societal norms–all before it became fashionable to do so. He was also the dynamic leader of war protesters, artists, Flower Power hippies, musicians, punks, and political radicals.

The Essential Ginsberg collects a mosaic of materials that displays the full range of Ginsberg’s mental landscape. His most important poems, songs, essays, letters, journals, and interviews are displayed in chronological order. His poetic masterpieces, “Howl” and “Kaddish,” are presented here along with lesser-known and difficult to find songs and prose. Personal correspondence with William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac is included as well as photographs–shot and captioned by Ginsberg himself–of his friends and fellow rogues William Burroughs, Neal Cassady, and more.

2. A Week at the Lake by Wendy Wax for review.

Twenty years ago, Emma Michaels, Mackenzie Hayes, and Serena Stockton bonded over their New York City dreams. Then, each summer, they solidified their friendship by spending one week at the lake together, solving their problems over bottles of wine and gallons of ice cream. They kept the tradition for years, until jealousy, lies, and life’s disappointments made them drift apart.

It’s been five years since Emma has seen her friends, an absence designed to keep them from discovering a long-ago betrayal. Now she’s in desperate need of their support. The time has come to reveal her secrets—and hopefully rekindle their connection.

But when a terrible accident keeps Emma from saying her piece, Serena and Mackenzie begin to learn about the past on their own. Now, to heal their friendship and their broken lives, the three women will have to return to the lake that once united them, and discover which relationships are worth holding on to.

What did you receive?

The House on Mermaid Point by Wendy Wax

Source: Berkley Books
Paperback, 416 pages
On Amazon and on Kobo

The House on Mermaid Point by Wendy Wax is like getting together with old friends — Nikki, Avery, Deidre, Kyra, and Maddie.  These renovation gurus are back shooting another season of their Lifetime television series, Do Over, but the next location is a surprise hidden in the Florida Keys.

(If you haven’t read the previous books in this series, this review could contain spoilers for previous books.)

Nikki and her man, Joe, seem to be on the right track, but she’s still got commitment issues after the brother she raised was sent to prison for his Ponzi scheme that took her money and those of her clients.  Meanwhile, Kyra and her son Dustin are adjusting to her mother’s new life as a 50+ single woman.  Maddie’s decided that its best to leave a sinking ship, and her ex-husband seems nonplussed about the break up.  Avery and Chase are still playing house and she’s still shutting out her mother, but the tensions are less on these pairings and more about Maddie and her search for a new life.  Like the name of their show implies, life is full of second chances, and many of these ladies have been given theirs in more ways than one.  Maddie is just the latest who needs to spread her wings.

“Close up, the house was far larger than they’d been able to discern from the water and in far worse shape.  The board-and-batten siding was not just devoid of paint but had been badly pummeled by the elements.  Like a boxer who’d gone one too many rounds, the house almost seemed to be standing upright from sheer force of will.  Of possibly from habit.” (page 51)

Mermaid Point, their next renovation project, is hidden on a private island, and private is how ex-rocker William Hightower would like to keep it.  Like the house, Hightower is a battered rocker who’s looking to redeem himself, just as some of these ladies have picked themselves out of the dumps and started new.  Hightower has a lot of repairing to do, from his relationship with his son to his ability to connect with people who want to get close to him.  There’s a lot of gentle nudging as they scrape the layers off the old wood to smooth it down, but as Hightower lets down his walls he’s struck by what’s been missing in his life — a sense of belonging and of family.  Like his home, he transforms little by little coming out from the jungle and the weathered walls to expose himself to scrutiny and relationships he never thought possible.

The House on Mermaid Point by Wendy Wax is a great summer beach read; these ladies will make you laugh, make you cry, but most of all want to hold all of your friends close.  Avery, Maddie, Deidre, Kyra, and Nikki all face their troubles head on, even if it is with a little push from their friends.  These ladies are ready to take on the next big challenge, and readers will be ready to go with them on their next adventure.

About the Author:

Award-winning author Wendy Wax has written eight novels, including Ocean Beach, Ten Beach Road, Magnolia Wednesdays, the Romance Writers of America RITA Award finalist The Accidental Bestseller, Leave It to Cleavage, Single in Suburbia and 7 Days and 7 Nights, which was honored with the Virginia Romance Writers Holt Medallion Award. Her work has sold to publishers in ten countries and to the Rhapsody Book Club, and her novel, Hostile Makeover, was excerpted in Cosmopolitan magazine.

A St. Pete Beach, Florida native, Wendy has lived in Atlanta for fifteen years. A voracious reader, her enjoyment of language and storytelling led her to study journalism at the University of Georgia. She also studied in Italy through Florida State University, is a graduate of the University of South Florida, and worked at WEDU-TV and WDAE-Radio in Tampa.

Also Reviewed:

Giveaway for 1 copy of The House on Mermaid Point by Wendy Wax for 1 U.S. resident.  Leave a comment below by July 16 by 11:59 PM EST.

Mailbox Monday #274

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links.  Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

1. The House on Mermaid Point by Wendy Wax for review.

Maddie, Avery, and Nikki first got to know one another—perhaps all too well—while desperately restoring a beachfront mansion to its former grandeur. Now they’re putting that experience to professional use. But their latest project has presented some challenges they couldn’t have dreamed up in their wildest fantasies—although the house does belong to a man who actually was Maddie’s wildest fantasy once . . .

Rock-and-roll legend “William the Wild” Hightower may be past his prime, estranged from his family, and creatively blocked, but he’s still worshiped by fans—which is why he guards his privacy on his own island in the Florida Keys. He’s not thrilled about letting this crew turn his piece of paradise into a bed-and-breakfast for a reality show . . . though he is intrigued by Maddie. Hard as that is for her to believe as a newly single woman who can barely manage a dog paddle in the dating pool.

2.  The Underground Girls of Kabul by Jenny Nordberg from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

In Afghanistan, a culture ruled almost entirely by men, the birth of a son is cause for celebration and the arrival of a daughter is often mourned as misfortune. A bacha posh (literally translated to “dressed up like a boy” in Dari) is a third kind of child – a girl temporarily raised as a boy and presented as such to the outside world. Jenny Nordberg, the reporter who broke the story of this phenomenon for the New York Times, constructs a powerful and moving account of those secretly living on the other side of a deeply segregated society where women have almost no rights and little freedom.

3.  One Evening in Paris by Nicolas Barreau, an unexpected surprise from St. Martin’s Press.

Alain Bonnard, the owner of a small art cinema in Paris, is a dyed-in-the-wool nostalgic. In his Cinéma Paradis there are no buckets of popcorn, no XXL coca-colas, no Hollywood blockbusters. Not a good business plan if you want to survive, but Alain holds firm to his principles of quality. He wants to show films that create dreams, and he likes most of the people that come to his cinema. Particularly the enchanting, shy woman in the red coat who turns up every Wednesday in row 17. What could her story be? One evening, Alain plucks up courage and invites the unknown beauty to dinner. The most tender of love stories is just getting under way when something incredible happens: The Cinéma Paradis is going to be the location of Allan Woods’ new film Tender Memories of Paris. Solène Avril, the famous American director’s favourite actress, has known the cinema since childhood and has got it into her head that she wants the film to be shot there. Alain is totally overwhelmed when he meets her in person. Suddenly, the little cinema and its owner are the focus of public attention, and the red-plush seats are sold out every evening.

What did you receive?

Christmas at the Beach by Wendy Wax

Source: Purchased for Amazon Kindle
E-Novella, 92 pages
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Christmas at the Beach by Wendy Wax is an e-novella that follows the talented women of Ten Beach Road and Ocean Beach (click for my reviews) — Madeline, Nicole, and Avery — told from the point of view of Madeline’s daughter, Kyra.  Kyra and her now one-year-old son Dustin are arriving at Ten Beach Road and Bella Flora under the close scrutiny of paparazzi.  She has little choice but to don a disguise to keep the photographers on their toes and protect her son as much as she can from Daniel Deranian’s fame and infidelity.

“The celebrity bar has dropped so low that if it were being set for a game of Limbo, that bar would be ankle-height.”

“A couple of weeks ago a crazed Daniel Deranian fan stole one of Dustin’s dirty diapers out of the trash and tried to sell it on eBay.”

Her time at Bella Flora was healing for her and her mother, as well as their new found friends who all found out they owned a piece of the rundown historic site.  Kyra is still struggling with her quasi-fame as the mother of an illegitimate Deranian child, but she still wants her own family to remain the same.  It’s unfortunate that her life plans have a way of changing on her, but she’s clearly poised to learn and grow from those changes.  Wax has created a cast of lovable characters with their own flaws, but these women are tough and ready to take on anything thrown in their way.

“What I really want is something built like a tank and with darkened windows, so that if I mow down a few photographers no one will see the satisfaction on my face,…”

Christmas at the Beach by Wendy Wax is a great novella to catch up with these women and a great set up for the next novel in the series, The House on Mermaid Point.  Kyra’s definitely got her plate full already, but when she learns what’s going on with her own family, she’s bound to feel overwhelmed.  Wax has set up readers for an eventful new novel that comes out in July 2014.

About the Author:

Award-winning author Wendy Wax has written eight novels, including Ocean Beach, Ten Beach Road, Magnolia Wednesdays, the Romance Writers of America RITA Award finalist The Accidental Bestseller, Leave It to Cleavage, Single in Suburbia and 7 Days and 7 Nights, which was honored with the Virginia Romance Writers Holt Medallion Award. Her work has sold to publishers in ten countries and to the Rhapsody Book Club, and her novel, Hostile Makeover, was excerpted in Cosmopolitan magazine.

A St. Pete Beach, Florida native, Wendy has lived in Atlanta for fifteen years. A voracious reader, her enjoyment of language and storytelling led her to study journalism at the University of Georgia. She also studied in Italy through Florida State University, is a graduate of the University of South Florida, and worked at WEDU-TV and WDAE-Radio in Tampa.

Interview with Wendy Wax, Author of Ocean Beach

Wendy Wax is one of my new favorite authors, and I loved her book, Ten Beach Road, so much that I recommended it for the Mother’s Day issue of Women’s World Magazine.

In Ocean Beach, readers will be reunited with the heroines of Ten Beach Road — Madeline, Avery, and Nicole — as they come to South Beach in Miami to renovate yet another historic house for the television show Do-Over.  While the women have no qualms about working together again and having it televised, they are less interested in having their personal lives shown to the world on television.

Today, I’ve got an interview with Wendy Wax.  I hope you give her a warm welcome.

The characters from Ten Beach Road return in Ocean Beach. When did you know you were not done with these characters and their story and how soon did you begin writing it?

When I finished writing and revising Ten Beach Road I said goodbye to the lovely ladies of Bella Flora thinking that I had given them enough closure to send them off to live the rest of their lives and either find their happy endings or not in the imagination of my readers. But doing a series was something I had always thought about and for some reason as the launch of Ten Beach Road approached and as I talked to bloggers, bookstore owners, friends and fans about the book, ideas for a sequel began to take shape. This was new territory for me and it was very exciting. Over the years as I visited with book clubs and readers to talk about my books I was often asked if there would be more on some of those characters or stories and while I so appreciated the connection readers were making with my characters, for me they were complete and I had no desire to go back. But Maddie, Nicole, and Avery were different – and the idea of tackling another renovation with them for another sweat-soaked summer, seeing where there lives were headed and giving them new challenges was just too hard to resist. Shortly after the tour for Ten Beach Road ended, the writing of Ocean Beach began and now as Ocean Beach is about to hit shelves, I already find myself thinking about new renovation projects and new sunset toasts for my gals, so be sure to stay tuned!

Ten Beach Road was a hit with a number of women and made my recommendation list for Women’s World Magazine in May. How many readers have said they share their books with their mothers, sisters, and friends? And have any readers said they’ve shared your books with the men in their lives?

When I discover a new author or come across a book that I love, it’s automatic for me to share that information with the women in my life, so I love hearing from my readers that they “introduced” me and my work to their mothers, sisters, daughters and friends. Especially since I write about the bonds between women and I feel those relationships are so important in life. Probably the most fun is when readers say “I told my mom/sister/friend all about your books but I made her get her own copy because I don’t want to let mine go!” What author doesn’t love to hear that?

I do hear from some readers that they’ve tried to get their husbands to read my books, because they’d like them to a) understand what women are thinking, b) understand why we need our women friends, c) act (and look) like Joe Giraldi from Ten Beach Road and Ocean Beach or d) all of the above.

When writing your novels, do you start with an event in the news or a character? Please explain.

For me every book is different. In one case it may be an idea for plot that gets me started, in another case it might be a character that begins to take shape first or a news story that gets me thinking. In Ocean Beach it was a combination of things… our country’s obsession with misbehaving and self-obsessed celebrities was something that I touched on in Ten Beach Road and wanted to explore further. Then the idea of contrasting that with an “old school” celebrity who was a true gentleman and class act from the Vaudeville days began to take shape. Also, because Ten Beach Road was very current event based (the women are strangers who come together when they lose everything in a Madoff-style Ponzi scheme), I wanted Ocean Beach to be driven much more by their personal struggles.

Book bloggers have become very influential in the publishing world. Have you enjoyed your interactions with them on blogs, Twitter, and Facebook? And what advice would you give to other authors?

It’s a very different world now than it was when I first started writing. I love that the Internet has made connecting with fans so direct and so easy. In many ways, book bloggers are like independent booksellers in that they make a personal connection with readers, and love to share and recommend books and authors that they discover. Interacting with people like that, who are passionate about books and about reading, is something I will never get tired of, no matter what the medium.

Please recommend a favorite poet or poem and why.

I wish I had more time to read and enjoy poetry than I do. In fact with two teenage sons, a husband and some tight deadlines from my publisher, I wish I had more time to read in general! That said, I love how some of the modern poets like Lee Rossi (Wheelchair Samurai) and Laura Kasischke (Space, In Chains) incorporate modern imagery from our everyday lives into such an old art form. I have to also admit that I’ve always loved the poem Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou mostly because I think it would be lovely to feel that way about one’s self every day.

Thanks, Wendy, for answering my questions.

Author Wendy Wax

About the Author:

Award-winning author Wendy Wax has written eight novels, including Ocean Beach, Ten Beach Road, Magnolia Wednesdays, the Romance Writers of America RITA Award finalist The Accidental Bestseller, Leave It to Cleavage, Single in Suburbia and 7 Days and 7 Nights, which was honored with the Virginia Romance Writers Holt Medallion Award. Her work has sold to publishers in ten countries and to the Rhapsody Book Club, and her novel, Hostile Makeover, was excerpted in Cosmopolitan magazine.

A St. Pete Beach, Florida native, Wendy has lived in Atlanta for fifteen years. A voracious reader, her enjoyment of language and storytelling led her to study journalism at the University of Georgia. She also studied in Italy through Florida State University, is a graduate of the University of South Florida, and worked at WEDU-TV and WDAE-Radio in Tampa.

Ocean Beach by Wendy Wax

Ocean Beach by Wendy Wax reunites readers with Madeline Singer, Avery Lawford, and Nicole Grant on another renovation adventure in South Beach, Miami.  When you don’t know what the house looks like or have its address, but the Lifetime network comes calling for a pilot of Do Over, the cash-strapped friends have little choice but to accept, hoping for reboot to their lives and careers.  Kyra, Deidre, Giraldi, and Chase return as well.

“Avery’s hands tightened on the wheel.  She knew the sinking sensation in her stomach had nothing to do with the dizzying height of the bridge, but everything to do with fear of the fall.”  (Page 19)

From Bella Flora in Ten Beach Road (my review), the women became not only friends, but a YouTube sensation.  Their latest project in Ocean Beach is The Millicent, which is owned by an aging comedian, Max Golden, who has dealt with a heavy loss for many years.  Max is wildly eccentric, but fun, and he takes a shine to the girls and their crew.  Meanwhile, the girls are constantly at odds with the crew from Lifetime that was an unexpected and unwelcome surprise.

As the ladies mix it up with renovation, they are still remaking their lives after losing everything in Malcolm Dyer’s Ponzi scheme, and they are still struggling to rebuild their familial relationships.  Wax also throws in some suspense and a mystery to keep readers turning the pages.  It’s not all fun in the Miami heat as the paparazzi returns when movie star Daniel Deranian re-enters Kyra’s life.  Wax is great at describing the Florida coasts, architecture, and Art Deco homes, making the setting almost a character unto itself.

“Like a patient on an operating table, The Millicent lay open, her guts spilling out, her innermost self put on display.  The kitchen had been stripped down to walls, floors, and windows.  They were down to one bathroom for however long it took to replace miles of rusted galvanized iron pipe and reconfigure an equal amount of cast iron.  Because they were trying to preserve rather than rip out existing walls, tiles, tubs, showers, and sinks, it often took an excruciating amount of time to move a pipe as little as ten feet.”  (page 243)

Even the house begins to stand in as a metaphor for the women who are bared to public view and raw, and as the house is resurfaced and put together, so too are the women.  Maddie must use her new strength to find her backbone where her marriage is concerned and learn to care for herself as well as others.  Nicole must learn to rely on others rather than go-it-alone all the time, just as Avery must learn the same and to forgive past transgressions.  Ocean Beach by Wendy Wax is a great summer read that will take readers to the beach, show them what it means to come together, and triumph over the most harsh circumstances even without creature comforts.

About the Author:

Award-winning author Wendy Wax has written eight novels, including Ocean Beach, Ten Beach Road, Magnolia Wednesdays, the Romance Writers of America RITA Award finalist The Accidental Bestseller, Leave It to Cleavage, Single in Suburbia and 7 Days and 7 Nights, which was honored with the Virginia Romance Writers Holt Medallion Award. Her work has sold to publishers in ten countries and to the Rhapsody Book Club, and her novel, Hostile Makeover, was excerpted in Cosmopolitan magazine.

A St. Pete Beach, Florida native, Wendy has lived in Atlanta for fifteen years. A voracious reader, her enjoyment of language and storytelling led her to study journalism at the University of Georgia. She also studied in Italy through Florida State University, is a graduate of the University of South Florida, and worked at WEDU-TV and WDAE-Radio in Tampa.