Tuesday, May 31, 2022

The Boardwalk Bookshop by Susan Mallery: Review & Excerpt!

 The Boardwalk Bookshop

Book Summary

With her unique brand of witty, emotional storytelling, Susan Mallery's latest is a heartfelt tale of friendship between three women brought together by chance who open a bookshop together on the boardwalk of the California beaches and ultimately become one another's family. Fans of Elin Hilderbrand, Robyn Carr and Susan Wiggs will love The Boardwalk Bookshop!

Brought together by chance, Bree, Mikki, and Ashley become fast friends and open up a beachfront bookshop together, bringing together their three different businesses. To celebrate, each Friday at sunset they pop open champagne on the beach and enjoy the sunset together. Little did they know that that chance meeting and this simple ritual would make them one another’s family.

Bree owns the bookshop. Funny that she can’t stand authors. They’re far too demanding. But when NYT bestselling author Harding Burton, the memoirist who wrote about being paralyzed as a teenager and how he fought his way back, comes in, Bree never expected to actually like him. But anything beyond casual sex is out of the question for her. She trusts no one—a brutal first marriage and a painful childhood taught her well. Still as much as she wants to walk away, she can’t quite do it…

Ashley, Harding’s brother, owns the muffin shop and she has her own problems. She’s been happily in love with her boyfriend, Seth, for eight years. He’s thoughtful, supportive, kind, generous…but he hasn’t proposed and, she can’t hold it in any longer. When he announces that marriage isn’t for him, she’s shocked. And as much as she wishes this was enough, the truth is that she wants to be married. But what now?

And Mikki, the gift shop owner, is getting a second chance. She married her high school sweetheart, but three kids and completely different interests made them drift apart until they divorced a few years ago. They’re still close for the kids, but when someone new enters her life, he makes her feel appreciated and alive. Suddenly Mikki’s ex is making her dinner and asking her advice and Mikki must choose between the man she loved and let go of—and a chance for a brand new beginning.

About the Author

SUSAN MALLERY is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of novels about the relationships that define women's lives—family, friendship and romance. Library Journal says, “Mallery is the master of blending emotionally believable characters in realistic situations," and readers seem to agree—forty million copies of her books have been sold worldwide. Her warm, humorous stories make the world a happier place to live.

Susan grew up in California and now lives in Seattle with her husband. She's passionate about animal welfare, especially that of the two Ragdoll cats and adorable poodle who think of her as Mom.

Author Links

Twitter: @susanmallery

Facebook: @susanmallery

Instagram: @susanmallery

Author website: https://www.susanmallery.com/

My Thoughts

The Boardwalk Bookshop by Susan Mallery takes us to a store on the beach that houses a bookshop, gift shop, and muffin shop.  Three women have come together to lease the space.  You can pick up a snack, a book, and beach towel plus a cute tote bag to hold everything all in one charming shop.  We get to meet Bree, Ashley, and Mikki.  Their business is booming, but their personal lives are not.  Bree is determined to not let anyone get close to her.  She has casual flings, but she does not do relationships.  Bree has a rule to not date authors.  Then she meets Ashley’s author brother, Harding.  He can see past the barricades Bree has erected.  This terrifies Bree, but she finds herself drawn to Harding. Ashley and Seth moved their relationship to the next level three months prior when they moved in together.  Ashley is wondering when Seth is going to pop the question.  When Ashley learns that Seth has no intention of proposing, she must decide if she can be happy without a ring on her finger.  Mikki has been divorced for three years.  She is still friends with her ex-husband as they co-parent their two children.  Mikki has not dated since the divorce, and she has Earl (her battery-operated pleasure device) to take care of her needs.  But then a man enters Mikki’s life at the same time her ex-husband is interested in resurrecting their relationship.  What does the future hold for Mikki, Bree, and Ashley?
In The Boardwalk Bookshop we see three strangers come together as business partners, friends, and family.  I enjoyed following the women on their journey as they grew as individuals and in their friendship.  I believe women will relate to the characters and their issues.  I enjoyed the descriptions of the lady’s unique store.  They each managed to put their own spin on their spaces while making it cohesive as a whole.   There is foul language as well an intimate situations in the book including references to women’s personal pleasure devices.  The ending is sweet, but I wish there had been an epilogue so we could see how the characters are faring in the future.  It was interesting learning about the different champagnes and sparkling wines.  The three women tried a different bubbly each Friday after work as they enjoyed watching the sunset on the beach.  There is a recipe for red, white, and blue muffins at the end of the book along with discussion questions and a preview of Home Sweet Christmas (Susan Mallery’s next book).  The author also gives helpful information on champagne and sparkling wines plus some recommendations.  The Boardwalk Bookshop is a charming beach tale with a busy bookshop, mouthwatering muffins, an attractive author, chilled champagne, a sad sack, firm friends, and relationship woes.  

“I thought there’d be more sex.”

Bree Larton stared at her seventy-something-year-old customer, not sure how to respond. Bursting out laughing would be inappropriate and Ruth would take offense. “You need to tell me what you want so I can get you the right book,” Bree said with a gentle smile. “You wanted a political thriller. Most of them aren’t sexy.”

Ruth, barely five feet tall but feisty as a badger, pursed her lips. “Not true. James Bond has sex all the time and he spends his day saving the world. I want a book like that. Ticking bombs, financial collapse, kidnappings and then everyone jumps into bed.” She winked. “That would be a good book.”

“I can do a sexy thriller. Maybe international?” Bree started walking toward that section of the bookstore. “A couple of options come to mind. Now, on the sexy part—do you want monogamy or can the partners play around?”

Ruth’s eyes brightened. “I’d like them to play around, but nothing too kinky. And no groups. That’s just too hard to keep track of.”

Bree held in a chuckle. “All right. We’ll limit the body parts, add a little European flair.” She held out a book with a hunky guy on the cover. “If you like this one, the author has five more stories waiting for you.”

Ruth, an unnaturally yellow blonde wearing cherry-red lipstick, clutched the book to her narrow chest. “I’ll take it.”

Bree suggested several additional authors. Ruth browsed for a few more minutes, then carried a stack of books to the register.

“I think I would have been a good sidekick for James Bond.” Ruth passed over her credit card. “Back in the day, I was quite the looker.”

“You still are,” Bree told her.

Ruth waved away the comment. “I’m too old for espionage, but I wouldn’t say no to dinner with a charming man.” Her smile turned sly. “I’ll just have to keep living vicariously through you.”

“Sadly, I’m lacking a man these days.”

Ruth leaned close. “What I admire about you, Bree, is that you’re not holding out for love. You go after what you want. When I was your age, that wasn’t an option. Not in polite society anyway. I was born in the wrong time.”

Bree honest to God had no idea what to say. “I guess we have to work with what we have.” She tucked a flyer into the shopping bag. “Harding Burton is signing here in a couple of weeks.”

Ruth looked at the poster next to the counter. Her bright red lips curved into a smile. “He’s a good-looking man.”

Bree mentally shrugged. “I suppose.”

“You don’t think he’s exceptionally handsome? Those eyes, that smile. Isn’t he the one who was hit by a car and left for dead on the side of the road when he was just a teenager?” Ruth clucked her tongue. “So tragic. But he pulled through and walked again and now look at him.” Her gaze darted to Bree. “You should have your way with him and then tell me all about it.”

Bree held in a wince. “First, I’d never tell you about it and second, I don’t date authors.”

Between her late husband and her parents, she knew enough about the type to want to avoid them forever. At least on a personal basis. Work-wise, she was stuck. What with owning a bookstore and all.

“Harding seems exception-worthy,” Ruth told her. “He might have some interesting scars you could trace and—”

Bree held up her hands in the shape of a T. “Stop right there. If you’re interested in Harding’s scars, go for him. How could he resist you?”

“I’m old enough to be his mother.”

Grandmother, Bree mentally corrected, but kept silent. She had a soft spot for the ever-outspoken Ruth.

“Maybe he’s into older women,” she said instead.

“Wouldn’t that be nice.”

Ruth was still laughing when Bree walked her out of the store. Anson, Ruth’s driver, was waiting in the no-parking fire lane. Anson helped Ruth into the Mercedes. Bree stayed outside until the car drove away.

The Boardwalk Bookshop is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BAM, Google Play, Apple Books, Bookshop.org, Kobo, Walmart, and Target.  Susan Mallery has Home Sweet Christmas publishing October 4.  You can find Susan Mallery's other novels here.  Thank you for stopping by today.  I hope I have helped you find a new book to read this summer.  I will return tomorrow with Season of my Enemy by Naomi Musch.  I hope that you have an enriching day.  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader 

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Monday, May 30, 2022

Happy Memorial Day!

 Happy Memorial Day!

A special day to honor those who have served our country and lost their lives doing so.

I hope that you have a special day!


The Avid Reader 

Friday, May 27, 2022

The Sweet Life by Suzanne Woods Fisher: Review & Giveaway!

 The Sweet Life

About the Book

Book: The Sweet Life

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release date: May 3, 2022

Jilted by her fiancé, Dawn Dixon escapes to beautiful Cape Cod on a groomless honeymoon–with her mother. But she didn’t expect her mom to risk everything, on a whim, to move there permanently or buy a rundown ice cream shop in need of repair. In order to make their new life work, they’ll also need her ex’s help.

Click here to get your copy! 

About the Author

Suzanne Woods Fisher

With over 1.5 million copies sold, Suzanne Woods Fisher is a bestselling author of over 30 books, ranging from novels to children’s books to non-fiction. She is a Christy Award finalist, a winner of Carol and Selah awards, and a two-time finalist for ECPA Book of the Year. She writes stories that take you to places you’ve never visited—one with characters that seem like old friends. But most of all, her books give you something to think about long after you’ve finished reading it. Suzanne lives with her very big family in northern California.



More from Suzanne

The Sweet Life is a story about a mom and a daughter who, both in need of a little respite from life’s bumps and bruises, start an ice cream shop on Cape Cod…thinking it will be easy. After all, who doesn’t love ice cream?

Well, sure. That’s true. Everybody loves ice cream. But ice cream can be tricky. This I can say with authority. My husband is a serious hobby ice cream maker. He even attended Penn State’s Ice Cream School. While Steve was working on his vanilla recipe, he experimented fifty-nine times before he was finally satisfied. 59 times! Other flavors, like chocolate, can mask mistakes. Not vanilla. Too pure.

Here’s a few other things you probably didn’t know about ice cream:

The very first mention of a frozen dessert dates back to Persia in 550 BC, though it might have been sorbet-like. It’s said that Emperor Nero had ice brought down from the Apennine Mountains to produce a sorbet of honey and wine. And then there are those who insist that ice cream came out of China, and were introduced to Italy with the help of Marco Polo. Regardless of its origins, a love of ice cream has been around for a very, very long time.

Quaker colonists introduced ice cream to early America, having brought their recipes with them from England. Some argue that the French brought ice cream to America. Regardless, during the colonial era, ice cream was sold in shops in New York.

George Washington loved ice cream. So much so that he even brought ice cream making equipment to Mount Vernon! There are many accounts of “ice creem” (as it was then called) served during his administration.

First Lady Dolley Madison, wife of U.S. President James Madison, served ice cream at her husband’s Inaugural Ball in 1813. Common colonial flavors were soft fruits, like peaches or strawberries, added to a vanilla custard. Dolley had a curious favorite flavor: oyster. (Ugh.)

In September of 1846, a Philadelphia housewife named Nancy Johnson filed patent #3254 for a simple hand cranked ice cream churn. Prior to this point, ice cream belonged to the wealthy. Her hand cranked ice cream churn made it affordable for everyone. Nancy Johnson’s design is still used today.

During the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904, an ice cream vendor ran out of cardboard dishes. The vendor next door offered to make cones by rolling up his waffles. Voila! The birth of the ice cream cone.

The majority of American ice cream companies have been in business for more than 50 years. Many of them are still owned by single families.

For the last 128 years, Penn State University has held Ice Cream School for professionals and serious hobbyists during January (for obvious reasons). All the greats have attended: Baskin & Robbins, Ben & Jerry, Dreyer’s, Nestle’s, Blue Bell Creamery, Dairy Queen, and…my husband.

The most popular flavor in the world? Vanilla. Of course.

My Thoughts

When Dawn Dixon’s fiancé calls off the wedding, Dawn decides to go on the honeymoon to Cape Cod with her mother, Marnie.  Marnie could use the break as well.  She had been going through a rough time and Marnie had yet to tell her daughter about it.  Marnie is exploring the shops in downtown Chatham when she comes across a run-down ice cream store.  Marnie can imagine what the shop will look like all fixed up.  She arranges to meet with the owner and Marnie purchases the Main Street Creamery without consulting Dawn.  Dawn happens to be the one with the experience making ice cream.  Dawn and her deceased father went to the Penn State Ice Cream School. While Marnie likes to dream and jump in, Dawn is a planner.  She likes spreadsheets and lists which is not Marnie’s style.  Dawn agrees to stay and help her mother for the summer to get the place renovated and open.  The two women get help from Lincoln Hayes, a local, who takes an interest in Marnie.  Their improvements, though, are met with resistance from the chairman of the local Historical Commission.  As if the mother and daughter do not have enough on their plate, Dawn’s ex-fiancé arrives in town to offer his assistance.  Will they make a go of the Main Street Creamery?  

The Sweet Life by Suzanne Woods Fisher is a charming story.  I enjoyed my trip to Cape Cod with Dawn, Marnie, Lincoln, Kevin, Nanette, Leo, and Mrs. Nickerson-Eldredge.  I thought The Sweet Life was well-written with developed, realistic characters.  We get to meet some of the quirky and kind characters who live in the town.  One of my favorites is Leo the Cowboy and I also loved Nanette (her antics will have you laughing).  It was enjoyable following Marnie and Dawn as they fixed up the building and experimented with ice cream flavors.  Dawn was determined to get the best vanilla ice cream possible.  They came up with some interesting flavor combinations.  I loved the quotes involving ice cream before each chapter. My favorite is, “When everyone has let you down, you still have ice cream.”  There were also some fascinating facts about ice cream.  I can tell the author did her research for the book.  I liked seeing Marnie and Dawn grow in their faith as well as find their purpose in life and where they belonged.  There are good life lessons in the story including having faith and taking a risk.  God will lead you down the right path if you allow Him.  The Sweet Life is a story about healing, love, self-reflection, faith, and ice cream. I do need to warn you that The Sweet Life will have you craving ice cream so make sure your freezer is well stocked with your favorite flavor.   I am looking forward to the next book in the Cape Cod Creamery seriesThe Sweet Life is a sweet treat with nosy Nanette, jumbles of junk, a fragmented engagement, various vanillas, historical hitches, a pier support problem, and incredible ice cream.


To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!! Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click here to enter.  Good Luck!!!

The Sweet Life is available from Amazon*.  Suzanne Woods Fisher next book release is Anything But Plain coming out October 4.  You can find Suzanne Wood Fisher's other novels here.  If you follow the author on Amazon, you will receive an email when she has a new book release.  Thank you for joining me today.  I need a little rest, so I am taking a three-day weekend for Memorial Day.  I will return on Tuesday with The Boardwalk Bookshop by Susan Mallery.   I hope that you have a fun weekend.  It is the perfect time to go to the beach and then come home to cook out on the grill (or take a picnic with you).  As a child, I loved going on picnics to Wet Stone Park.  We could fish with our father and then explore the area for slate.  I loved finding a piece of slate big enough to use as a small chalkboard along with a slate "pencil".  Little House on the Prairie was on the air then, so my sister and I wanted a slate like Laura and Mary. I hope that you have a lovely Memorial Day Weekend! Do not forget to enter the giveaway. Enjoy your weekend, take care, and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader 

Blog Stops

Back Porch Reads, May 26

Inside the Wong Mind, May 26

The Avid Reader, May 27

lakesidelivingsite, May 27

Vicky Sluiter, May 27

Remembrancy, May 28

Southern Gal Loves to Read, May 28

Splashes of Joy, May 28

Texas Book-aholic, May 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 29

Miriam Jacob, May 29

Daysong Reflections, May 30

Inklings and notions, May 30

For Him and My Family, May 31

The Book Club Network, May 31

Blogging With Carol, May 31

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, June 1

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, June 1

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, June 2

deb’s Book Review, June 2

Artistic Nobody, June 2 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 3

Jeanette’s Thoughts, June 3

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 3

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, June 4

Blossoms and Blessings, June 4

Mary Hake, June 4

Christina’s Corner, June 5

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, June 5

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 6

Book Looks by Lisa, June 6

Simple Harvest Reads, June 6 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Pause for Tales, June 7

Spoken from the Heart, June 7

She Lives To Read, June 8

Bigreadersite, June 8

Labor Not in Vain, June 8

*This post contains affiliate links.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.