The Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs

 

“Sometimes you stumble across a treasure when you’re looking for something else entirely.”

#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs brings readers to the lush abundance of Sonoma county in a novel of sisters, friendship and how memories are woven like a spell around us.

Tess Delaney makes a living restoring stolen treasures to their rightful owners. People like Annelise Winther, who refuses to sell her long-gone mother’s beloved necklace-despite Tess’s advice. To Annelise, the jewel’s value is in its memories.

But Tess’s own history is filled with gaps: a father she never met, a mother who spent more time traveling than with her daughter. So Tess is shocked when she discovers the grandfather she never knew is in a coma. And that she has been named in his will to inherit half of Bella Vista, a hundred-acre apple orchard in the magical Sonoma town called Archangel.

The rest is willed to Isabel Johansen. A half sister she’s never heard of.

Against the rich landscape of Bella Vista, Tess begins to discover a world filled with the simple pleasures of food and family, of the warm earth beneath her bare feet. A world where family comes first and the roots of history run deep. A place where falling in love is not only possible, but inevitable.

And in a season filled with new experiences, Tess begins to see the truth in something Annelise once told her: if you don’t believe memories are worth more than money, then perhaps you’ve not made the right kind of memories.

From one of America’s most beloved writers, The Apple Orchard is a story of family ties-both old and new-and of the moments that connect our hearts.–Description from Goodreads

 

Hardcover, 432 pages
Expected publication: April 30th 2013 by Harlequin MIRA (first published April 17th 2012)
ISBN
0778314936 (ISBN13: 9780778314936)
series
My thoughts on this novel:
OH IT WAS HEAVEN! I wanted to stay wrapped up in this book forever. This is the kind of novel that fills your heart and soul with warmth and makes you just feel good! The recipes are to die for as well.

This novel has one of the most beautiful opening chapters that I have ever seen. The descriptions of the landscape are so vivid and alive that you can almost smell the apples and hear the buzz of the honeybees. Immediately I was drawn in to this story and never lost interest throughout the entire book.

The cast of characters in this novel are the kind of people that you don’t want to forget. They are such an inviting family with so much rich history and compassion for one another that I almost felt, in some ways while I was reading this I had returned home to visit my own family.

Tess is a strong character with an interesting occupation. She is a sort of treasure hunter, sifting through the belongings of others looking for rare and fantastic items that can be auctioned. What she doesn’t realize, is that her life is about to completely change. After inheriting a share of an apple orchard and discovering a half sister she never knew she had, she must find out what living is really all about.

Suffering from an anxiety/panic disorder and trying to make sense of her life, she comes to Bella Vista with more fear and questions than she has ever had before. Through interactions with her family and learning of her history, she learns more about herself than she ever thought possible.

I completely loved the way this book unfolded. It was gentle and charming. Susan Wiggs has written a story where the past that lie beneath the surface of an ordinary life not only paints a vibrant picture of love and family, but makes for a much more fulfilling future for her characters.

This book is about learning to forgive, learning to love and finding who you are and who you were truly meant to be, but more importantly, it is about family and the bonds that make us who we are. I can’t say enough good things about this book.

This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher.

The Prince of Earth by Mike Robinson

In 1988, young American traveler Quincy Redding is trekking across the misty terrain of the Scottish Highlands. She is destined for the infamous peak Ben MacDui, the summit of which soon finds her inexplicably debilitated and at the mercy of a malevolent entity.

The book spans twenty years, alternately following Quincy in her 1988 ordeal in Scotland as well as Quincy in 2008, when, as an adult, she begins experiencing abnormalities that threaten her family and her life – phenomena that may be related to what happened all those years ago.

As both older and younger Quincy learn more of their situation, and as their worlds further entwine, she becomes increasingly uncertain of the perceived temporality or reality of each period.–Description from Goodreads

Paperback, 182 pages
Published February 9th 2013 by Curiosity Quills Press (first published February 9th 2012)
ISBN
1620071711 (ISBN13: 9781620071717)
edition language
English
original title
The Prince of Earth
You can find this book HERE
My thoughts:
Mike Robinson’s “The Prince of Earth” really surprised and in many ways delighted me. While this is not a terribly fast moving book, it is one of the most complex and deeply psychological novels I have read. The intensity of the main character pulls you in to the story and has a relentless grasp.

I was excited when I realized just within the first couple of paragraphs that this author uses incredible language in his work. The imagery he has produced in this book is some of the most vibrant and colorful in recent memory. Through his words you are able to paint a glorious picture in your mind.

The setting was interesting and I felt it added to the mysterious ambiance of this title. There is a dark, somewhat Gothic feel to this book overall and Scotland worked well with that. While I am certain that this book will not be for everyone, for those who enjoy a mystery that requires concentration and consideration this will be a fantastic journey that you will not soon forget. I found this to be one of those books where hours after you are done reading it, you suddenly sit up in bed and go “Oh! I get it.”

This story raises a lot of questions, but they are all answered in the end. I would recommend this better than average book to others who like to stay intrigued from beginning to end.

This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher.

Now accepting reviews from children!

I am officially open to now accepting reviews from children. If you or someone

you know has a child that likes to read and would like to have their opinion

published on this blog for all to see, please go visit the Children’s reviews page on

this blog to find out how to submit a review. I am so looking forward to this and

hope there are a lot of wonderful opinions from young people shared here in the

future!

To Write a Wrong by Robin Caroll

 

To Write a Wrong (Justice Seekers, #2)

In Angola State Penitentiary, a man is serving time for a crime he didn’t commit. Riley Baxter is an eager reporter desperate for a story to make a name for herself. When she stumbles upon the daughter of the incarcerated man, Riley sees a little too much of herself in the teen, and vows to help prove her father’s innocence.

At the same time, Hayden Simpson has his hands full with keeping his little sister in line, worrying about his job as Police Commissioner, and dealing with his past emotional baggage. The last thing he needs is someone blowing the lid off his emotional bucket. But when Riley Baxter storms into his life, struggling to understand why God would let bad things happen to good people, Hayden has no choice but to follow his heart.

Now, Riley and Hayden must work together to uncover the truth of the past . . . before someone shuts Riley up for good–Description from Goodreads

Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 1st 2012 by B&H Publishing Group
ISBN
1433672138 (ISBN13: 9781433672132)
edition language
English
series
You can find this book here
My thoughts on “To Write a Wrong”
To be fair, I have to first say that I didn’t read the first book in this series. I may not fully understand all of the past history of the characters a hundred percent.

The good news, for me anyway, is that this book can easily be a stand alone novel. I never felt I was missing much of the overall picture as I read.

This book was easy to get involved in and took me no time at all to become interested in. There are multiple different avenues the author, Robin Caroll, pursues throughout this book and eventually they all tie together very nicely. Each of the side stories was captured my interest and there were no dull spots.

The mysteries in this novel abound and there are so many wonderful things about the characters and the way they are developed into people you want to get to know that it is difficult to pick just one that was my favorite. If I absolutely had to choose, I guess I would say that Jasmine was my favorite. While she was not the main character, I thought the author did such an impressive job of turning her into an important and realistic part of her story she is a character I will not soon forget.

The dialogue in To Write a Wrong is written very well. It never felt stilted and each individual character was unique in the way they expressed their personalities.

I liked the main character, Riley, although at the very beginning I did think she came off as a bit immature. I started getting a sense that she might have more depth and be more respectable during the portion of the book where she questioned her own ethic while speaking to Jasmine and her mother. In the end, she was a character I grew to like very much.

Now that I have read this book, I would gladly read the book I have missed and look forward to reading the next one in the series as well.

If you like mystery, romance and well developed stories where the characters earn your respect, this is the book for you.

This review is based on a digital copy provided by the publisher.