Tag Archives: Ballantine Books

Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly

Series: Lilac Girls, Book 3

Publication Date:  30 March 2021

Publisher:  Ballantine Books

ARC Copy from Ballantine Books and NetGalley

Rating:  4 out of 5

An interesting, detailed story of the Woolsey family of young strong-minded, women with abolitionist hearts raised by their dedicated, hardworking mother! This story predominantly focuses on Georgeanna “Georgy”, a hard working dedicated young woman of 28 who sets her heart on becoming a nurse during the early years of the Civil War. Georgy, her sisters, and their mother are a force to be reckoned with during this difficult time of war.

Adding to the complexity of the story is the underlying tale of Anne-May Wilson Watson of Peeler Plantation and one of her slaves, Jemma. Anne-May is the epitome of a cruel slave owner who takes advantage of her status and slaves in the worst ways imaginable. Jemma, a bright, determined young girl, is determined to save herself and her family. Her life becomes intricately woven in with the Woolsey family as their paths cross in an unlikely place.

The book is based on the real life Woolsey family with characters, events, and places taken from the Woolsey family letters. Woven with threads of historical fact, the story deals with all the deeply emotional aspects of the Civil War and slavery. Mingled amidst the serious backdrop of the war, family drama and a bit of romance shows up.

I enjoyed the story told from varying points of view which added to the depth and detail of the story. Solid read for people who enjoy detailed historical fiction! Don’t miss reading the author’s notes in the back of the book. They are well worth it.

This ARC copy was received from Ballantine Books and NetGalley. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

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A Christmas Resolution by Anne Perry

Publication Date:  3 November 2020

ARC copy from Netgalley and Ballantine Books

Rating: 4 out of 5


Seth Marlowe, middle age widower, chooses the wrong woman to try and intimidate when he begins threatening Celia Hooper, wife of Detective John Hooper. When Celia’s best friend, Clementine, unexpectedly becomes engaged to Seth, controversy erupts in a multitude of ways in the small village in Victorian England. As Seth blames Celia for his troubles, John Hooper begins his own search for answers to the mysterious death of Seth’s first wife.

Will John and Celia be able to find their way through the tangled web of Seth Marlowe’s life and find an answer before it’s too late for Clementine? Sprinkled with Christmas kindness and lessons on forgiveness, the story unwinds with a satisfying answer to everyone’s questions on Christmas Eve no less!

This ARC copy was received from Ballantine Books and Netgalley. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

#AChristmasResolution  #NetGalley 

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Filed under Book Reviews, Christmas, Historical Fiction, Mystery/Suspense

The Lies That Bind by Emily Giffin

Publication Date: 02 June 2020

Publisher: Ballantine Books

ARC copy from Netgalley.com and Ballantine Books


Rating: 3 out of 5


“We are all living in tragedy of Shakespearean proportions while pretending we don’t know the inevitable ending. . .”

–Excerpt from Grant’s email

An interesting read set a few months prior to  9/11/2001 that dissects the natural weaknesses of human nature when people make mistakes and tell lies! In a story that contains a few too many coincidences, the reader meets Cecily Gardner, a reporter from New York City and Grant Smith, a financial consultant on Wall Street. Cecily and Grant meet in a bar in New York City like many other young adults.

As the story unfolds, a web of lies is woven by Grant and Cecily that will eventually affect many of the people in their lives.  In the months after 9/11, the lies will begin to unravel.  Is one lie worse than another? How important is the truth? The story explores the issues involved and lives affected when a good person makes mistakes and the complexities of how one lie often leads to another even when we tell them to ourselves.

A thought-provoking contemporary read exploring morals and the ramifications of telling less than the truth! The story also explores the theme of unconditional love, forgiveness, and the importance of listening to our head as well as our heart. I definitely recommend this book for readers of women’s fiction, contemporary fiction, and romance. A good start to your summer reading!

This ARC copy was received from Ballantine Books and Netgalley.com. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

#TheLiesThatBind #NetGalley

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The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate

Wingate, Lisa The Book of Lost Friends

Publication Date: April 07, 2020

Ballantine Books

ARC from Ballantine Books and Netgalley.com

Rating: 5 out of 5

“Stories change people. History, real history, helps people understand each other, see each other from the inside out.”

This emotional, dramatic story of three young women unfolds as they journey from Goswood Grove Plantation in Louisiana to the wilds of the untamed Texas frontier in the year 1875. Displaying courage, perseverance and loyalty, the three make their life altering journey led by Hannie, the free girl of color, by taking risks, using ingenuity, and never giving up. Along the way, Hannie and Juneau Jane, the illegitimate Creole daughter of the plantation owner, become acquainted with the Southwestern Christian Advocate’s advertisements from people who are seeking lost friends, their lost family members. As the girls travel they add to their list of people seeking lost friends. To Hannie, the task becomes a driving force in her life.

Told in a dual timeline, the novel encompasses the story of Benny Silva, a young teacher working in the town of Augustine, Louisiana near Goswood Grove. As Benny’s history project unfolds, the past and the present intertwine and weave a captivating story filled with a cast of characters with personality and spunk. As she bumps up against the town’s power base, she and her students learn some powerful lessons.

Interspersed with actual advertisements from the Southwestern Christian Advocate and based on real historical facts, this fiction story is one of the most captivating I have read in a long time. This book is one that will make you think for days after you close that last page. One of the best books I’ve read in 2020!

This ARC copy was received from Ballantine and Netgalley.com.  The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

#TheBookOfLostFriends  #NetGalley


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Window on the Bay by Debbie Macomber

Publication Date: July 2019

Ballantine Books

ARC from Ballantine Books and Netgalley.com

Excerpt:  “No matter what the weather, my window on the bay never failed to soothe me.”


When best friends and single moms, Jenna, an emergency room nurse, and Maureen, a librarian, find themselves with empty nests, the reality of a trip to Paris finally seems like it is on the horizon. As they plot and plan for their trip, life interferes in the most unexpected ways. As the women work their way through the unforeseen events, they each meet a man along the way.

The novel tells the story in alternating chapters of each woman’s struggle with her challenges and the men they meet. Jenna, who has sworn off doctors as a result of her ex-husband, meets a kind, decent man who happens to be a surgeon, and Maureen, a quiet and rather staid librarian at the local library, becomes acquainted with a good looking construction worker who is a bit rough around the edges but has a definite interest in books and life.  Have the two women finally met compatible men after all these years? Can they juggle elderly parents, grown children, and new relationships?

The story is pretty predictable and a bit slow in places. The book makes a nice, easy paced read for those who enjoy a clean story without a lot of excess drama.

This copy was received from Ballantine Books and Netgalley. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

 #NetGalley #WindowOnTheBay

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Filed under Book Reviews, Clean, Contemporary

All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin

Publication Date: 26 June 2018

Publisher: Ballantine Books

ARC copy from Netgalley.com and Ballantine Books


This emotional story goes straight to the core question of right and wrong in today’s world. The multi layered details are peeled away and the story unfolds predominantly through the narratives of Nina Browning, wealthy privileged wife of Kirk Browning, one of Nashville’s golden sons and Tom Volpe, a blue collar, single dad who works hard to maintain a decent life for his teenage daughter, Lyla.

The Brownings and Volpes worlds collide one weekend as a result of poor decisions on the part of both of their teenagers. Lyla and Finch, the teenage son of the Brownings, attend Windsor Academy; she is on a scholarship for high school and he has attended since kindergarten. The story is much more than just the privileged and wealthy son versus the lower income, scholarship girl. Neither teenager understands the far reaching consequences of their actions nor how many other people will become involved as a result of poor choices and the use of social media.

Read this story so relevant to our current times and find out exactly how widespread the effects of their decisions become! A terrific contemporary read with depth and complexity!

This ARC copy was received from Ballantine Books and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Contemporary