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Sunday, 25 November 2012

Second Chance Grill by Christine Nolfi

If you are an avid reader of my blog. You will have noticed I haven't been posting as many reviews as of late.
This is not due to lack of reading material, but a series of bad luck and bad health that has been plaguing my house. (DARK CLOUD BE GONE!) Up until a few weeks ago it was hard to get a chance to read, let alone write.

At the end of it all, I needed emergency surgery due to an irritating re-occurring medical issue. Needless to say I have been dealing with bed rest (more like house arrest) for the past few weeks while I heal. (What fun!) I spent the first week or so in haze watching trash tv and sleeping, while my wonderful mother and husband ran the fort!
If there is anything I have learned it is I am not meant to lay around, unless it is on a beach, cold drink and novel in hand. (Trip to the Caribbean anyone?)
In any case, Once the fog started lifting, I started tackling my mountain of books for review. I decided I was in the mood for a 'feel good' novel, so I looked at my review selection. 'Second Chance Grill' by Christine Nolfi sounded perfect.

Let me tell you, it was a fantastic choice for someone cooped up at home, and I could not put it down!

Here is the summary:

Dr. Mary Chance needs a sabbatical from medicine to grieve the loss of her closest friend. But when she inherits a struggling restaurant in Liberty, Ohio she isn’t prepared for Blossom Perini. Mary can’t resist falling for the precocious preteen—or the girl’s father. The bond they forge will transform all their lives and set in motion an outpouring of love that spreads across America.

Welcome back to Liberty, where the women surrounding the town’s only restaurant are as charming as they are eccentric.

My Take:

This is such a wonderful 'feel good' novel. The kind of book that reads like a Lifetime movie or blockbuster chick flick. (I could see Reese Witherspoon playing Dr. Mary Chance....just sayin')
The way author Christine Nofli writes makes it easy to picture the quaint town of Liberty and it's colorful, feisty inhabitants.

Dr. Mary Chance is a character looking to keep her cool under pressure and prove that she can make her new restaurant succeed, no matter what the locals think of her. (And the locals are not shy when it comes to sharing their opinions of the outsider!)  Things start picking up when Mary meets Blossom, a clever young girl who is determined to play Cupid.
Mary meets Blossoms handsome father Anthony and sparks ignite.

Anthony Perini was very young when his daughter was born. He immediately fell into the role of dutiful parent and would do anything for his little girl. He's a hardworking, down to earth man from a large Italian Family. A single father for most of Blossom's life, he has had to endure one of the hardest things a parent could ever go through, having a child diagnosed with cancer.

Both adults are attracted to one another, but Mary doesn't want to take the risk of falling in love when she plans to return to her medical career in the city after the restaurant is up and running. She's caught between a rock and a hard place. Does she choose an unknown, possibly wonderful future in Liberty, or her sense of duty in the big city?

This book is packed with story lines such as the budding romance, a story of cancer survival, difficult career choices. One of the things I loved about this novel it illustrates just how far good people will go to help those who need it most. (On a side note, have you gone out of your way to help someone lately?)
The author has also thrown into the mix some humor, and quirky characters you will love such as Finney, Ethel Lynn and Theodora. (I hope to be a crotchety old lady like Theodora one day)
With all that is going on in the story, you will not put this book down.
One word of advice, do not read without a box of tissues handy! There are some very emotional parts of this book that will have you weeping. (If you don't cry while reading it you are dead inside, DEAD I say!)

So, my verdict? As it stands, I HIGHLY recommend this book to women (men too, let's not be sexist!) who are looking for a feel good, romantic, heartwarming tale. Second Chance Grill captures that wholesome small town 'Americana' feel to a T!

I have also added Christine Nolfi's book Treasure Me to my 'To Be Read' pile! It is actually the first installment of the Liberty series!

Here is a synopsis of Treasure Me compliments of Amazon!

Petty thief Birdie Kaminsky has arrived in Liberty, Ohio to steal a treasure hidden since the Civil War. She's in possession of a charming clue: Liberty safeguards the cherished heart. The beautiful thief wants to go straight. She secretly admires the clue's author, freedwoman Justice Postell, who left South Carolina at the dawn of the Civil War and carried untold riches on her journey north. As Birdie searches for the treasure, will she discover a history more precious than gems, a tradition of love richer than she could imagine?

Christine Nolfi and her books are receiving rave reviews (mine included) and it's no wonder!

Are you interested in owning your very own copy? You are in luck! Check out the awesome giveaway compliments of author Christine Nolfi!!

                                                   **GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED**

  International E-Book Giveaway Winner!!!

                       CONGRATS OLLIE M!!!!!!!!!!

  North American Paperback Giveaway Winner!!!

                      CONGRATS TRACY K!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Ship Of Haunts by Ellie Stevenson

Happy Candy Hangover Day!!!! (November First, Day after Halloween for those who haven't had their coffee yet)

How was your Halloween?? Have you raided your children's stash of candy yet? (of course you have) I'm willing to bet your breakfast this morning had chocolate, and candy involved. (Admit it)
In any case, it's time to toss out the jack-o-lanterns, tear down the creepy decor, and put the costumes away until next year.
The good news is that we can still read books about spirits, vampires and otherworldly creatures year round.

I'm a bit late on my next blog review, so I will cut to the chase and introduce you now... there maaaaaaaaaaaaybe some ghosts involved......

Ship Of Haunts isn't your typical spooky ghost story. I'll be frank (you be Suzy) I think this is a novel you either like it, or you don't. Wonder why?

So, go grab a mini chocolate bar, or some candy rockets and I will tell you more. (Chocolate is for you, the rockets are for me! Yum!)

I typically like to give my own rundown following the real book description. However, based on the nature of the novel and how it plays out, I will keep it to the basics and my general thoughts this time. (Just trust me)

Here is the book description from

Carrin Smith remembers a past life – on Titanic. And now she's being stalked by a ghost from the ship. Lily the ghost is searching for her cousin. She's crossed time to find Lucie, but now time is running out. Carrin's shipmates are gathered together to remember Titanic, but Carrin's not certain who can she trust. Certainly not the man who drowned her, but can she even trust herself? For Carrin has a secret, one she's been hiding all her life. But at least Lily is on her side. Or is she? From the heat of the harsh Australian sun to the darkest depths of the ocean floor, Ship of Haunts is a novel of conflicts. Carrin is scared and Lily is desperate, both of them in a race against time. When the pressure is on, can they outwit the demons that chase them, including the damaged, vengeful Mad?

My Take:

I love the general theme. Titanic, Ghosts, Reincarnation.... thumbs up!

I'm not gonna lie, I was very confused when I sat down to read Ship Of Haunts. The chapters threw me off a bit. We (the reader) are bounced from time to time, character to character. One minute you are reading Carrin's story in 2012, the next, she is a ghost in the past. Than we are reading Lily's story to do with the Titanic, than boom, thrown into another era, another character, another location (Australia, England, on the Ocean floor at the Titanic wreck...) minute she's a ghost, than she's alive in another time.... it's a merry go round to say the least. (confused yet?) 

There are plenty of characters to keep straight. I had to go back a few times to re-read and verify who did what and who was who. (In a novel like this, I wish that there had been a character list for reference) The major players are with us throughout the years, reincarnated in the same relationships and similar scenarios as their previous lives. It was an interesting take on reincarnation. The one thing that made me raise an eyebrow is how they all had the same names in each life. At first this bothered me, because if you are reincarnated, wouldn't you have a different name? I got over it fast, because let's face it, if Carrin or Lily had been called Betty, Veronica, Bella, Gertrude (whatever) in their different lives, you'd lose sense of the story trying to figure out who is who. The author did us a favor by keeping names the same.
Another thing to note is that some characters could remember all their past lives, where others didn't seem to have any recollection. (Imagine getting revenge on someone a hundred years later for something they don't remember)
 The thought crossed my mind while reading, how well it would have been done had the story taken place in a series of novels. One for the Titanic Era, the second for the 1940s, and than the truth of it in the 90's-2000's?
 As I continued to read, I realized that doing it that way would probably make it easier to get to know the characters, yet the story would have grabbed the reader as much.  Sometimes I found the novel skimmed the surface, that there could of been 'more' to the story (for example, I wanted to know more about Carrin's background before Titanic) but would that have helped or hindered? It's a tough call.

That said, once I found my rhythm, it was hard to put the novel down. When I wasn’t reading it, I was actually trying to figure out the plot and where it was all leading. (Kept my mind busy while making dinner!) The confusion actually added to the mystery and the lure of the novel. 

The writing style is simple and easy, but the story is complex and layered. It was an interesting contrast.

I found Ship Of Haunts to be an original. I have been racking my brain trying to come up with comparison and can't. It must have taken a lot of hard work and dedication to intertwine the stories and get it out of the authors imagination and onto the pages. Hat's off to Ellie Stevenson for her creativity.

I did enjoy it. Like I said, it was hard to put down. 
I recommend this book to people who love a book with a sense of history or who have a creative imagination. I do not recommend it if you are looking for a 'scary' horror novel about ghosts. This is not what it is.
I encourage those who do read it to give it time and keep pushing through if you find it hard to get into as I did. It's really quite interesting how the author plays the story out.

Interested? Here are the links to the novel on Amazon!
For Kindle
In Paperback

Happy Reading!