Review: The Witch of Belladonna Bay by Suzanne Palmieri

Disclosure: I received this book in order to facilitate my review. I have received no other compensation, and, as always, the opinions are my own.


From the Publisher:

The-Witch-of-Belladonna-Bay-207x300 Bronwyn “BitsyWyn” Whalen hasn’t set eyes on the red dirt of Magnolia Creek, Alabama, for fourteen years—not since her mama died. But with her brother, Patrick, imprisoned for the murder of her childhood best friend, and her eccentric father, Jackson, at his wits’ end while her eleven-year-old niece, Byrd, runs wild, Bronwyn finds herself once again surrounded by ancient magnolia trees and the troubled family she left behind. She becomes immersed in a whirlwind of mystery and magic as she tries to figure out what really happened that fateful night her friend died. And as her bond with Byrd deepens, Bronwyn must face the demons of her past in order to unravel her family’s uncertain future.In Suzanne Palmieri’s thrilling new novel, The Witch of Belladonna Bay, readers will learn if love and magic are enough to bring a broken family back together.

My Review:

I lost a week in my review cycle. I went to visit @EssieBurns to help her with a major project in Minnesota last week, and that just so happened to entail going without internet for four days. That may not be a big deal for you, but for me it is HUGE! I also accidentally left my iPad at home. The iPad that houses many of my books, and all of my favorite time killers (Candy Crush, anyone?). I learned though, that this internet exile was a really good thing. I had no choice but to spend good, lovely, quality time with my dearest friend. But, long story short, this review did not get posted last week.

I have a disclaimer for this review. I am a woman of strong Christian faith. I am not a fan of witchcraft. I do not condone witchcraft. This novel DOES deal heavily with many aspects of the supernatural. I am able to discern, and have the curiosity and ability to read about other cultures without being pulled away from my faith. Because of this, I was able to enjoy this gothic novel. IF you are more sensitive about themes like this, you may want to skip this book.

Disclaimer aside, I enjoyed [easyazon_link asin=”1250015537″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”dakotapamcom-20″]The Witch of Belladonna Bay[/easyazon_link]. I enjoyed the comparison and contrast between Alabama and Massachusetts. The relationship between Bronwyn and Byrd is touching to watch unfold. The dysfunctional family dynamics, combined with the magic, intrigue and mystery make this a page turning novel.

Suzanne Palmieri About the Author:
Suzanne Palmieri Hayes is the author of [easyazon_link asin=”1250015510″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”dakotapamcom-20″]The Witch of Little Italy[/easyazon_link] and the forthcoming [easyazon_link asin=”1250015537″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”dakotapamcom-20″]The Witch of Belladonna Bay[/easyazon_link] (May, 2014). She is also the co-author of I’ll Be Seeing You under the name Suzanne Hayes. She lives by the ocean with her husband and three darling witches. She is currently hard at work on her next novel.

Connect with the Suzanne Palmieri:


The Witch of Belladonna Bay: A Novel (Paperback)

The Witch of Belladonna Bay: A Novel (Kindle)










Review: Cure for the Common Breakup by Beth Kendrick

Cure for the Common Breakup Cover

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


From the Publisher:

Cure for the Common Breakup Cover Flight attendant Summer Benson lives by two rules: Don’t stay with the same man for too long and never stay in one place. She’s about to break rule number one by considering accepting her boyfriend’s proposal—then disaster strikes and her world is shattered in an instant. Summer heads to Black Dog Bay, where the locals welcome her. Even Hattie Huntington, the town’s oldest, richest, and meanest resident, likes her enough to give her a job. Then there’s Dutch Jansen, the rugged, stoic mayor, who’s the opposite of her type. She probably shouldn’t be kissing him. She definitely shouldn’t be falling in love. After a lifetime of globe-trotting, Summer has finally found a home. But Hattie has old scores to settle and a hidden agenda for her newest employee. Summer finds herself faced with an impossible choice: Leave Black Dog Bay behind forever, or stay with the ones she loves and cost them everything…

My Review:

Are you headed to the beach, or even poolside anytime soon? If so, you need to pick up [easyazon_link asin=”0451465857″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”dakotapamcom-20″]Cure for the Common Breakup[/easyazon_link] by Beth Kendrick.

I fell in love with Summer Benson, and I even found myself smiling at crabby old Hattie. The book is an easy, light read with loveable characters. I loved Black Dog Bay so much that I found myself wishing it was a real place so I could book a trip!

[easyazon_link asin=”0451465857″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”dakotapamcom-20″]Cure for the Common Breakup[/easyazon_link] is the perfect book to tuck into your beach bag, or to download to your Kindle before your next trip!

About the Author:

beth-kendrick-headshot Beth Kendrick is the author of [easyazon_link asin=”0451415736″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”dakotapamcom-20″]The Week Before the Wedding[/easyazon_link], T[easyazon_link asin=”0451236661″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”dakotapamcom-20″]The Lucky Dog Matchmaking Service[/easyazon_link], and [easyazon_link asin=”B00HRUQ9BA” locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”dakotapamcom-20″]Nearlyweds[/easyazon_link], which was turned into a Hallmark Channel original movie. She lives in Arizona with her two rescue dogs, but she loves to vacation at the Delaware shore, where she goes to Funland, eats boardwalk fries, and wishes that the Whinery really existed.

Connect with the Beth Kendrick:

Purchase :

[easyazon_link asin=”0451465857″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”dakotapamcom-20″]Cure for the Common Breakup[/easyazon_link] (paperback)


Cure for the Common Breakup (kindle)


Review: Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan

Love and Other Foreign Words

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


From the Publisher:

Love and Other Foreign Words Sixteen-year-old Josie lives her life in translation. She speaks High School, College, Friends, Boyfriends, Break-ups, and even the language of Beautiful Girls. But none of these is her native tongue–the only people who speak that are her best friend Stu and her sister Kate. So when Kate gets engaged to an epically insufferable guy, how can Josie see it as anything but the mistake of a lifetime? Kate is determined to bend Josie to her will for the wedding; Josie is determined to break Kate and her fiancé up. As battles are waged over secrets and semantics, Josie is forced to examine her feelings for the boyfriend who says he loves her, the sister she loves but doesn’t always like, and the best friend who hasn’t said a word–at least not in a language Josie understands

My Review:

First off, I need to say that I am thoroughly loving this summer reading challenge! I am very good at reading through the professional books in my work library (and I’m always adding more), but in the evenings I tend to get sucked into Facebook, or Candy Crush, or binge watching [easyazon_link asin=”B009RX7WTI” locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”dakotapamcom-20″]Grey’s Anatomy[/easyazon_link] on Netflix.

This reading challenge came at just the right time, and with all new to me authors! I am like a kid in a candy store with a new book to dive into every week!

[easyazon_link asin=”0803740514″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”dakotapamcom-20″]Love and Other Foreign Words[/easyazon_link] was a fun read. I am drawn to YA fiction partially because once upon a time I planned to teach middle school English, but mostly because I devoured every YA book written in the 1980s. . . I was addicted.

[easyazon_link asin=”0803740514″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”dakotapamcom-20″]Love and Other Foreign Words[/easyazon_link] is particularly interesting, because Josie, the protagonist is living a life that my little girls will probably lead. Josie is the youngest child, living at home and interacting with her older, married and newly engaged sisters. While my girls don’t have older sisters, they do have older brothers, and I suspect that as teens they will have strong opinions on the choice of wives their brothers make.

I enjoyed Josie’s descriptions of other languages and her understanding that different people communicate differently.  This was a light, fun, read, and I found myself laughing out loud at parts.

About the Author:

ErinMcCahan Erin McCahan is the author of the YA book[easyazon_link asin=”0545088186″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”dakotapamcom-20″]I Now Pronounce You Someone Else[/easyazon_link](Scholastic, June 2010). Erin’s debut novel was a 2010 Cybils Award finalist.  She grew up in Michigan and worked extensively with teenagers before beginning her writing career. She lives in Columbus, Ohio.

Buy the Book:

Love and Other Foreign Words Hardcover
Love and Other Foreign Words Kindle


Connect With the Author

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  • Goodreads



Review: The One and Only by Emily Giffin


I am super excited to be participating in the Book Sparks Summer Reading Challenge. I’ll be reading (and reviewing) one new book a week from now through Labor Day. Between my cozy reading chair and my favorite spot on my back porch, I’m going to be unwinding with books every night.

I’m a reader. I was born a reader. I chose my English major in college because I loved the looks of the reading lists in the college bookstore. Since starting back to work, my reading has taken a more professional turn as I have soaked up books on event planning, fundraising and business strategy. That is good reading as well. . .but I miss novels. This reading challenge will get me back on track!


The first book of the 2014 Summer Reading Challenge officially released yesterday. The One & Only: A Novel
by Emily Giffin is a rare treat for me. It is a must-read for college football fans; and yet is enjoyable for someone like me who can hardly tell a home run from a touchdown.
From the Publisher:

Thirty-three-year-old Shea Rigsby has spent her entire life in Walker, Texas—a small college town that lives and dies by football, a passion she unabashedly shares. Raised alongside her best friend, Lucy, the daughter of Walker’s legendary head coach, Clive Carr, Shea was too devoted to her hometown team to leave. Instead she stayed in Walker for college, even taking a job in the university athletic department after graduation, where she has remained for more than a decade.

But when an unexpected tragedy strikes the tight-knit Walker community, Shea’s comfortable world is upended, and she begins to wonder if the life she’s chosen is really enough for her. As she finally gives up her safety net to set out on an unexpected path, Shea discovers unsettling truths about the people and things she has always trusted most—and is forced to confront her deepest desires, fears, and secrets.

Thoughtful, funny, and brilliantly observed, The One & Only is a luminous novel about finding your passion, following your heart, and, most of all, believing in something bigger than yourself . . . the one and only thing that truly makes life worth living.

My Review

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. As I mentioned earlier, I am no football fan, and yet, the human side of football was displayed so well, that I hardly minded the sports references. Giffin’s characters are well developed and true. While I may not have made the same decisions Shea did, I could relate to her conflicting loyalties between career and team.

I enjoy reading about complex family interactions, as it lets me know that perhaps, just maybe, I’m not alone. I enjoyed the “inside look” at the world of college and professional football, though I suspect that it was a pretty sanitized glance.

There are racy moments in the book–not 50 shades racy, but racy–so this is not for the easily offended. (and, the racy parts are easily skipped).

This is a great, relaxing, poolside read.

 Learn More

Emily Giffin is the author of six New York Times bestselling novels: Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Baby Proof, Love the One You’re With, Heart of the Matter, and Where We Belong. A graduate of Wake Forest University and the University of Virginia School of Law, she now lives in Atlanta with her husband and three young children.
Summer Reading Challenge 2014

Connect with Emily Giffin:


Purchase The One & Only: A Novel


Disclosure: I was given a copy of this book to facilitate my review. I received no monetary compensation and I was not required to give a positive review.