Looking for something new to read? Our XOXperts have you covered! Three of our stellar members read and reviewed three hot novels to help make your #tbr selection a little bit easier! Check out their thoughts below, and don’t forget to visit their blogs for more great reviews!
When We Meet Again by Kristin Harmel (review by Brandi H.)
A must read for those who enjoy an emotionally stimulating book that you can easily get lost in. This piece of present day/historical fiction is amazing! First of all: this is a crying book. Don’t get me wrong – it’s amazing. I will read it again when it’s not still so strong in my mind/heart. When you read it, make sure you will not be around people who will judge your tears and that you have an adequate supply of tissues near by. I will say that my face was still puffy from the crying when I went to work the next day. I work at a public library so everyone instantly understood when I said I had been crying over fictional characters who changed my heart with their story.
This new novel, When we Meet Again by Kristin Harmel, takes us on a journey told from two perspectives: a woman in present time and a young male German soldier who is a POW in Florida in 1944. We begin in present day with a woman whose life doesn’t seem to be going as she had planned. Emily Emerson is having a tough time. She has recently been laid off from her job as a journalist and is lost as to what she should do next when she receives a package in the mail with a mystery attached. That mystery begins to reveal itself when the story takes you back in time by 70 years.
Back in 1944 we meet Peter Dahler. Peter is a POW in Florida. He is a young, handsome soldier for the German army that was captured during the war and is now working on a sugarcane farm. He’s happy to be there. Happy may be the wrong word, but he’s glad he’s no longer fighting a war he doesn’t believe in. Now let me say, I paid attention during history class, I promise. However, I never knew there were German POW camps in the United States during WWII. I did not know. On this farm, Peter meets a young, attractive woman who he is instantly drawn to. She’s strong willed and works hard for her family. We can all see where this is going, right?
In the mean time, Emily is in a tailspin of self discovery. She lost her mother as a teen and recently her beloved grandmother has passed away. Now her absentee father is trying to make inroads back into her life…and it seems if she is going to solve the mystery of the painting she’ll need his help. But therein lies one of the problems. Mr. Emerson never knew his father. He never even knew the name of his father. He was raised by a single mother and believed he and his mother were abandoned.
Will Emily find who sent the painting? Will we find out more about Peter – and is he Emily’s grandfather?
Like many stories, this one is wrought with tragedy of time and circumstance. Jealousy and vindictiveness. Love and loss. Harmel weaves a story that will leave you wanting more.
When We Meet Again is available on June 7th from Gallery Books.
Sour Grapes by Rachel Goodman (review by Laurie O.)
Sour Grapes is a fabulous book with which to kick off the Summer reading season. I dove into this book and didn’t put it down until I was finished. It is a story about a woman who needed a time out from her life and its expectations, and then discovers what she really wants out of it.
I have to admit that I wasn’t a big fan of Margaret Stokes at first. Though I loved her snark, I couldn’t see any softness in the least. BUT – As this book progressed, it became clear why. Not only do we get to learn Margaret, but we are allowed to witness her reinvention. Along the way we get to see Margaret rechannel that snark and put that energy into something amazing. And find ROMANCE.
Ryan Camden is every single bit the enigma. From their first scene, it is clear that he and Margaret have met their respective matches. Ryan is the stuff of sweet fantasies – gorgeous, works outdoors and with his hands. Oh and he has an endless supply of wine.
Sour Grapes has a fantastic supporting cast. Rachel Goodman constantly surprised me with which direction they go. Totally kept me on my toes – LOVED IT!!
What I also enjoyed about Sour Grapes was its setting – a wonderful small town in the Texas Hill Country, where they are all about their wine and all the best in supporting their community. It is the polar opposite of Margaret’s hometown of Dallas and it opens her eyes to all manner of possibilities!
Seriously – one-click this book and pair it with your favorite vintage and cheese plate, then enjoy it in your favorite reading spot.
Laurie’s Rating: 4 STARS
PS – I now need to check out the first book in the Blue Plate Series – From Scratch!!
Sour Grapes is now available from Pocket Star.
At the Edge by Laura Griffin (review by Jacqueline R.)
When We Meet AgainKristin Harmel
Emily thinks she's lost everything until a mysterious painting leads her to what she wants most in the world. The new novel from the author of international bestsellers The Sweetness of Forgetting and The Life Intended shows why her books are hailed as engaging (People), absorbing (Kirkus Reviews) and enthralling (Fresh Fiction).
The Sweetness of ForgettingKristin Harmel
A baker in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, must travel to Paris to uncover a family secret for her dying grandmother. A story of love, loss, faith, and cookies.
Sour GrapesRachel Goodman
Uncork this delectable Texas Hill Country romance from the critically acclaimed author of From Scratch, the "smart, sexy, and funny" debut that "piles on the Southern charm" (Publishers Weekly).
From ScratchRachel Goodman
What do you get when you mix delectable peach cobbler, a piping-hot ex-boyfriend whom you never got over, and stubborn-yet-trying-to-do-what's-right father? Well, you get Lillie Turner back in her hometown of Dallas wondering if the life she left behind is what she really wants after all...
At the EdgeLaura Griffin
Dive into Part One of this heart-pounding romantic suspense story, which continues in Edge of Surrender: Alpha Crew Part Two! When Emma Wright's government plane goes down over the Philippine jungle, she's forced to survive alone until an ultra-elite SEAL team goes in after her.
Edge of SurrenderLaura Griffin
The scorching-hot romance between Emma and Ryan that began in At the Edge: Alpha Crew Part One concludes in Part Two of this sexy, suspenseful adventure!Ryan had one job: keep Emma safe at all costs. But after a night of passion, Emma takes off and Ryan soon realizes he's not the only one looking for her. Can he figure out who's after the beautiful government aide, and why, before she falls into the wrong hands... if she hasn't already?