When someone buys the old Honeycutt house, Nora Bonesteel is glad to see some life brought back to the old mansion, even if it is by summer people. But when they decide to stay through Christmas, they find more than old memories in the walls.
On Christmas Eve, Sheriff Spencer Arrowwood and Deputy Joe LeDonne find themselves on an unwelcome call to arrest an elderly man for a minor offense. As they attempt to do their duty, while doing the right thing for a neighbor, it begins to look like they may all spend Christmas away from home.
In a story of spirits, memories, and angels unaware, Sharyn McCrumb revisits her most loved characters who know there is more to this world than the eye can see, especially at
Bubby: Sissy, you do realize its June, right? And Christmas is more than six months away? And it is 85 degrees outside?
Sissy: Christmas is in my soul year round, dearest one. And when I saw that Sharyn McCrumb had a new Nora Bonesteel novella out, my heart sang Christmas carols of joy!!
Bubby: Okay…so what about the fact that this title won’t be published until October? I know it is full of McCrumb’s signature Appalachian folksy flavored warmth and magic and fabulous storytelling, but aren’t we getting ahead of ourselves?
Sissy: First of all, sister mine, the summer will fly by as per usual, the leaves will fall and the pumpkins ripen, and people will be looking for an alternative to the standard, insipid holiday fare. They will say “oh yes, I remember that the perfect Christmas novella by Sharyn McCrumb is out. I must hie to Amazon and purchase it!” Secondly, if people forget this post, when they see the novella advertised at various outlets they will say “oh yes, I remember that Bubby and Sissy highly recommended this book because it is an entertaining, heartwarming tale full of nostalgia and Christmas magic. Or, best of all, they will go to amazon.com or somewhere else and pre-order it, and when October comes they will receive an unexpected bit of joy in the mail or on their device.
Bubby: Alright, I see that you won’t let this one wait. As Sissy has pointed out to all you readers, this is the perfect vehicle for a getaway on a crisp Fall afternoon. 4 bubbles
Sissy: I love Sharyn McCrumb’s tales of Appalachia, and nothing is more wonderful than revisiting beloved character Nora Bonesteel. 4.5 bubbles from me.
Click HERE to pre-order Nora Bonesteel’s Christmas Past on Amazon.com
©2014 Bubble Bath Books
Rachel Wiltshire has everything she’s ever wanted: a close group of friends, a handsome boyfriend, and acceptance to the journalism program at her top-choice college. But one fateful evening, tragedy tears her world apart.
Five years later, Rachel returns home for the first time to celebrate her best friend’s wedding. Still coping with her grief, she can’t stop thinking about the bright future she almost had, if only that one night had gone differently. But when a sudden fall lands her in the hospital, Rachel wakes to find that her life has completely changed. Now she has her dream job as a writer and a stylish apartment, but the people she loves most are not the way she remembers them. Unable to trust her own recollections, Rachel tries to piece together what really happened, and not even she can predict the astonishing truth. (From Netgalley.com)
Bubby: Then and Always has just skyrocketed to the top of my all-time favorite books list. Turns out it was released in 2013 in the UK under the title “Fractured” and guess what? It made tons of best book lists over there too. And for good reason. There is a massive plot twist right in the beginning of the book, another about 1/3 of the way through the book and one or two more thrown in for good measure. Not to mention the ending. The ending! I so want to talk about THE ENDING! I must admit that I was bawling by the last page, but not necessarily because I was sad. The ending is perfect. And heart-wrenching. And oh so good.
Sissy: Bubby read this first and told me I had to read it right away because it was one of those fantastic books. She said to me, “It’s like oh no! And then, what’s happening? And then wait, what? But ok, this is good, no! No! Wait! Oh, that’s so sweet!” Bubby was waving her arms about like a crazed loon and getting choked up just trying to describe the plot so I gave her a sedative and started to read Then And Always for myself. And guess what? Bubby was right, although I managed to convey that sans tears and lunatic ravings.
Bubby: First off, I don’t recall being QUITE that dramatic about the whole thing. And secondly, of course I was right. I always am.
Sissy: Right. *cough, cough.* This book caught me in its spell immediately and wrung me out with its emotional intensity. A good, “must continue reading until I drop” intensity, not a painful one. Rachel goes through so much in a short period of time, you can’t help being all involved in her feelings and reactions. Jimmy is sweet, loyal, loveable, and heartbreaking. Andy is complex. Cathy needs to be put down. The relationship between Rachel and her father is so lovely, you want to weep (I just wanted to weep; Bubby did all the actual weeping).
Bubby: I am a deeply emotional woman who feels things strongly. Thus, I cry.
Sissy: People who cry during boy band videos have issues. Still love you, though.
Bubby: That was one time! Back to the book. I fell in love with the character of Rachel. I wanted so much to fix her life for her, to make her happy. I cheered when she was happy, cried when she was sad, and got really ticked off when that *unmentionable word* Cathy did what she did (more than once, mind you!). Every aspect of this book is so well done; the writing, the characterizations, and, oh my gosh, the plot? So original, and so riveting! It’s almost impossible to believe that this is Dani Atkins’ debut novel.
Sissy: The problem we are having in reviewing “Then And Always” (aka “Fractured” in the UK) is that the whole plot-twisty premise of the thing prohibits us from saying much, because we are not spoilers! As Bubby said, the story line is so unique and original, it was a captivating joy to read. You’re just going to have to trust us on this one.
Bubby: Did I mention THE ENDING? It played out in my mind like a movie montage, complete with violin music and a slow, misty fade-out. Dani Atkins needs to be locked in a room with a laptop and some chocolate so that she can produce a novel every three months. And I will buy them all. Oh, there’s this one little bit where you think its going to get all naughty/steamy, but don’t worry. We shall protect you from too much naughty, never fear! I give it 5 bubbles.
Sissy: I’m not sure of your methods, but okay! Lock Ms Atkins away so I can read more (searching for non-over-used adjectives) splendiferous books like this! 5 heartwarming/wrenching bubbles from me!!
Click HERE to buy Then And Always by Dani Atkins at Amazon.com
©2014 Bubble Bath Books
We received a copy of this title from Netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Chira Kelly thought she didn’t need anyone…until she met Ben. Because of one ugly rumor, Chira lives as an outcast at her school. Which is fine with her, because she works better alone. Always has, always will. And at least she has her one and only true friend, Tasha. When Tasha insists that they join a group to visit a possibly haunted abandoned old schoolhouse, she’s wary, but joins her friend. Because of that decision, their lives are in jeopardy as a malevolent spirit targets the group. Tragedies and accidents pick them off one by one, and Chira finds herself drawn to the one person who can see the truth. But can he protect her?
Sissy: The story begins by introducing us to Chira, a young adult protagonist who is so complex, yet extremely well fleshed out by the author. She has a dodgy home life with a verbally abusive step-father and a mostly absent mother. Her school/social life is just as bad. But she is strong, independent, determined, and very relatable. We next meet our hero, Ben, explained in his own words “…I’m a Shadow Maven. I see the truth that most people can’t, like impressions or demons.” Does this whet your appetite? How about a haunted house, unexplained “accidents,” and a sweet, slow-paced hint of romance? I knew it–you want to read it!
Bubby: So, I don’t do haunted houses. Or scary movies. Or anything like that. I am a wuss. Scary books are the only exception. Unfortunately, I did not realize that First Impression was going to be creepy/scary, and so I managed to completely freak myself out and had to stay up all night in case the axe-wielding zombie demons came. Seriously, though, it was a great story ( and there really are no zombies or axes).
Sissy: Bubby is indeed a right gaping scaredy cat. I didn’t even blink an eye–just enjoyed thoroughly this first YA paranormal mystery from Pauline Creeden. I only remember having nightmares from a book on two occasions–once from an early Mary Higgins Clark and the other time from an early Orson Scott Card. Ghastly and disturbing, they were, but this is not anything like those. I can’t say much more without spoiling things, except I was surprised often and didn’t guess who (or what) dunnit. Mwahahahahaha!!
Bubby: And now I’m scared again! Great story, great characters. Just read it with the light on…4 bubbles
Sissy: What a milquetoast! Read it in the darkkkk….aaaagh!! 3.9 moaning bubbles from me.
Click HERE to buy First Impression by Pauline Creeden at Amazon.com
We received a copy of this title from Netgalley in return for a fair and honest review.
© Bubble Bath Books 2014
An unforgettable epic romantic thriller about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world . . . if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to. Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love. This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins. Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth. But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves.
Sissy: I haven’t read anything from Ann Brashares since the days of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. The Here And Now couldn’t be more different from that series, but I really got caught up in this story. This is such a refreshing new twist on the dystopian futuristic society type of story. Imagine solving the problems of the future by going back to the past.
Bubby: It’s like Back to the Future in reverse! Except that the new future you make might not always be the one you were hoping for. I’d like to expound on that but Sissy is smacking me and yelling “Spoilers! Spoilers!” so I guess I won’t.
Sissy: If we could go back in the past I would start smacking you in order to make your present day lies the truth. One thing this book made me do is really think about the future consequences of the way we treat our planet–what could occur because of global warming and the overuse of petroleum. This showed depth and intelligence in the thinking of author Ann Brashares. Blood plagues and mutations and the proliferation of mosquitoes in the overly warm future world are convincingly crafted, and I found myself buying into it and counting the years to see if I would be alive when things got “really bad.”(No, I would be thankfully dead, which was a relief to the part of my brain having paranoia about the future). And even though it is fiction, my psyche found the whole thing to be frightfully plausible, except for the escaping to the past part. Which is bad, because that means being stuck in a hideous, tragedy-filled future with no way out.
Bubby: I agree that it was scarily plausible and doesn’t sound like any future that I want to be a part of. I like my current lifestyle of overabundance and ease. I loved the characters of Prenna and Ethan. With one exception. Ethan is a horn dog. Now I realize most teenage boys fall into this category, but there I felt like Ethan pressures Prenna too much and it doesn’t jive with the otherwise thoughtful and loving boy that he is. I have a really big issue with teenage sex in books–its just not okay. They are too young and too dumb to realize the meaning and consequences of intimacy. Fortunately, they didn’t actually go that far in this book, but I wanted to smack Ethan upside the head and say “give it a rest already!”
Sissy: That being said, the love story between the two is sweet. Prenna’s mother is portrayed really well. She is a flawed character trying to do her best in a difficult situation. She annoyed me, but I don’t know that I would or could have done things differently in her shoes.
Bubby: Overall a fascinating, entertaining read. 3.75 bubbles
Sissy: Captivating and thought provoking. 3.75 for me as well.
Click HERE to pre-order The Here And Now by Ann Brasheres at amazon.com
©Bubble Bath Books 2014
New York socialite Goldie Fischer seems to have it all: wealth, beauty, and a fiancé to die for. Until she’s murdered on her wedding night by a jealous witch and instantaneously loses everything. Angry and seeking revenge, Goldie becomes a dybbuk. Her soul possesses the body of Southern football hero Clay Harper and she refuses to join the light until the wrongs are rectified.
Only Clay has issues of his own and doesn’t take kindly to a petulant New Yorker in his head, interfering in his already messed up life. When Goldie promises to leave if Clay helps her break up the wedding between her fiancé and the witch who killed her, Clay reluctantly agrees. Only neither of them is prepared for the chain of events that follow.
Through the journey of two disparate people on a quest to make things right, Touchdown is a funny yet heartbreaking look about what it takes to truly know another soul and what it means to love.
Bubby: Sissy, what would you call a romance about a high-society New York Jewish bride whose soul gets stuck in the body of a college football player from Alabama?
Sissy: Well Bubby, that’s the most bizarre thing I’ve ever heard. It’s just the kind of weirdness that usually attracts you. I am definitely intrigued. Tell me more!
Bubby: That’s the plot of the new book from one of our favorite authors, Yael Levy. It’s a light and fluffy paranormal romance with lots of fun characters who end up learning what love and life and true happiness are really all about.
Sissy: Yes it’s just the kind of read one needs for a quick getaway during this busy time of year. Do yourself a favor. Do not go to the mall, instead order online and spend the afternoon on the couch reading. Or in the bathroom hiding from your kids and reading. Not that I ever do that.
Click HERE to buy Touchdown by Yael Levy at Amazon.com
We received a copy of Touchdown from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.
© Bubble Bath Books 2013
Her eccentric boss has spent his whole life searching for the resting place of the lost Ninth Roman Legion and is convinced he’s finally found it—not because of any scientific evidence, but because a local boy has “seen” a Roman soldier walking in the fields, a ghostly sentinel who guards the bodies of his long-dead comrades.
Here on the windswept shores, Verity may find the answer to one of the great unsolved mysteries of our time. Or she may uncover secrets someone buried for a reason. (From Goodreads.com)
Bubby: One of the best parts of writing this blog is finding new and fabulous authors that instantly top my favorite author list. Susanna Kearsley is one of these. We reviewed Mariana a while back and loved it so much that we’re doing another! I think I might actually like The Shawdowy Horses better. If that is possible.
Sissy: Thanks to Jenny for the heads up on this book–you know how we likey! I’m in complete accord with the Bubster on this one. Susanna Kearsley is GIFTED and if I were the queen of England I would make her Dame Susanna Kearsley. As I am the queen of my 1 acre I shall award her the Duchy of the corner garden plot. The Shadowy Horses is a love story ghosty mystery set in the port of Eyemouth, Scotland…
Bubby: Pronounced “Eye Mouth”, just like it’s written, not “imuth”-and I know this because I used to visit there as a child on my imaginary summer vacations…
Sissy: Thank you Mrs. Oxford English Dictionary–the insane, schizophrenic version. Wow, Bubby, I’ve tried to hide your somewhat scary quirkiness from the general public, but now they’ve seen you in all your squinty-eyed glory!
Bubby: I have no shame. I say, stand proud and let the wack-a-doodle flag fly high! Perhaps I have some sort of otherworldly connection to the psychic realm, like little Robbie McMoran, who can see the ghost of a Roman soldier who still roams the fields of Eyemouth. Our heroine, Verity, has trouble at first believing in Robbie’s gifts (kind of like Sissy not believing in me) but soon realizes that there is more to him than meets the eye.
Sissy: The characters in The Shadowy Horses are well-developed and I especially liked her employer, Peter Quinell.
Bubby: Yes, he’s slightly daft, like you.
Sissy: If my daftness comes with excellent eccentricity and brilliance, like Peter Quinell, then hey-ho! I’m game! Anyway, Peter has secrets that aren’t revealed until the end that involve all the players. All the people say this but I too like the relationship between Verity and David. It is refreshing and different. All together the writing and story were satisfying to my literary soul.
Bubby: Susanna Kearsley’s books have an ethereal quality to them that is so delicious. I am almost afraid to start one of her novels because I know that nothing at all will be accomplished until the book is finished. No laundry, dishes, cooking or child’s needs will be attended to whilst I am deep in a Kearsley book. Sorry, family. She’s just that good.
Sissy: My 14-year old son’s friend told me that the best compliment she gives to her mom is to tell her that she’s the bomb-dot-com. So if you can’t already tell how we feel about Susanna Kearsley and her books, then I have to say – Susanna, you’re the bomb-dot-com.
Bubby: Slightly eerie, beautifully romantic, completely entrancing. That sums up The Shadowy Horses. It’s a must read. Oh, and by the way, little Robbie’s story continues in The Firebird. It’s amazing too. 4.75 bubbles from me. Would have been 5 but the story ended too soon!
Sissy: So you only give 5 bubbles to books that go on forever?
Bubby: No, I just wanted to know a bit more. Maybe another 50 pages. Is that too much to ask?
Sissy: That’s why we have sequels, dearheart. I cannot sum up any better than Bubby just did. 5 bubbles, because I’ve read so much crap lately that I would give anything for another Susanna Kearsley book.
Click HERE to buy The Shadowy Horses from Amazon.com
© Bubble Bath Books 2013