Audiobook Review: Table for Five by Susan Wiggs

19009241Title: Table for Five by Susan Wiggs (narrated by Amy Rubinate)
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Length: 7 hours and 4 minutes
Format: Audiobook via Audible
Publication Date: January 31, 2012
Rating – 4 stars

Before an estranged couple is killed in an unthinkable tragedy, they designate two guardians for their children–a man and a woman who are essentially strangers and who have nothing in common except their compassion for the couple’s three orphaned children. Thrown into this strange semblance of family, Sean McGuire and Lily Robinson work together to establish some kind of normalcy for the grief-stricken children–and in the process discover the possibilities that make everything seem worthwhile.

I listened to Table for Five by Susan Wiggs on audiobook via Audible. This is the second book I have read by Susan Wiggs, the first being a book I reviewed with TLC Book tours earlier this year, Family Tree. You can check out that review here: Family Tree. A lot of what I liked about that book, I liked about this book as well so I think that I am definitely just a fan of this author’s writing style.

Table for Five is a contemporary fiction novel about Lily, our main character Lily who takes on the responsibility of caring for her best friend’s three children after her best friend and their father are killed in an accident. Their legal guardian is their uncle but since they are familiar with Lily, they decide to take care of them together. It’s about their struggle through their grief and to become a family, and is also a sort of love story.

I really enjoyed this book. I feel like Susan Wiggs is really good at writing cozy stories. There’s just something about her writing that draws you in and makes you feel warm and fuzzy. I felt that way about the last book I read from her as well. This book did have a tragedy at the beginning of it and does deal with the subject of grief but it does end on a ‘feel good’ note that is really satisfying. After reading two books from her and enjoying them, I am confident in saying that I am definitely a Susan Wiggs fan. I am not so much a fan of the cover, although it is an older book. This isn’t something I would normally tend to pick up but knowing that I loved the first book I read by this author, I had to give it a try.  I enjoyed listening to it as an audiobook, I thought the narrator did a great job and I never lost focus on the story because of that. It was definitely a positive audiobook experience that I recommend. Four Stars!

Blog Tour Book Review: The Boy is Back by Meg Cabot

the-boy-is-back-coverAbout The Boy is Back

• Hardcover: 368 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow (October 18, 2016)

In this brand-new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot, a scandal brings a young man back home to the small town, crazy family, and first love he left behind.

Reed Stewart thought he’d left all his small town troubles—including a broken heart—behind when he ditched tiny Bloomville, Indiana, ten years ago to become rich and famous on the professional golf circuit.  Then one tiny post on the Internet causes all of those troubles to return . . . with a vengeance.

Becky Flowers has worked hard to build her successful senior relocation business, but she’s worked even harder to forget Reed Stewart ever existed. She has absolutely no intention of seeing him when he returns—until his family hires her to save his parents.

Now Reed and Becky can’t avoid one another—or the memories of that one fateful night.  And soon everything they thought they knew about themselves (and each other) has been turned upside down, and they—and the entire town of Bloomville—might never be the same, all because The Boy Is Back.

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Happy Tuesday everyone! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Boy is Back by Meg Cabot. I received this book from the publisher Harper Collins through TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review of it.

Truthfully I have never read a Meg Cabot book, but I have always been curious about her books because I hear so much about them. Because of that, when I had the opportunity to review a The Boy is Back I jumped at the chance to read a book from this author.

The Boy is Back is a cute contemporary about a boy and a girl who lost touch after a very eventful prom night and are thrust back together when he comes back to town to take care of family business.

This book was a lot of fun for me to read because it was told in a way that I had not previously encountered, but that I ended up loving quite a bit. The story itself is delivered through a range of media such as newspaper articles, emails, text messages, instant messaging, speech to text transcription and Facebook. This really intrigued me because I was so curious about how well the characters and the events of the story would translate to the reader through alternating media rather than traditional prose. I really, really loved it. I thought it was a really fun way to read and interact with the story. I also felt like my reading time was far less because I was sucked in to the story through the various different ways it was being told. It felt a little bit like gossiping with my best friend. It did give me some feels, especially towards the end.

I really enjoyed the actual plot, although not a  complicated one, I thought it was fun. I always heard that Meg Cabot’s books were addicting and like a sweet treat and I definitely agree. It was a cute, fun romance with a small touch of mystery and a whole lot of family drama and I was all there for it. I was impressed with how the character’s separate attitudes and personalities came through so well in a book written in the different formats but now I’m thinking that I really dig that and am looking forward to reading more books like this! I also want to read more of Meg Cabot’s book so if anyone has any recommendations on which ones to read, let me know! This book is also apparently part of a book series, although I think this is a standalone in that series (I hope that made sense). I believe the other books in the series are told in the same format so, yes, I will be reading those! I am giving this book four stars!

Also, this cover is wonderful! I really love this style of book cover!

If you are looking for a cute contemporary to enjoy or to get you out of a reading slump, check this book out!

Photo by Ali Smith

Photo by Ali Smith

About Meg Cabot

Meg Cabot was born in Bloomington, Indiana. In addition to her award-winning adult contemporary fiction, she is the author of bestselling young adult fiction, including The Princess Diaries and the Mediator series. More than twenty-five million copies of her novels for children and adults have sold worldwide. Meg lives in Key West, Florida, with her husband.

Find out more about Meg at her website, follow her blog, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Blog Tour Book Review: Just Fine with Caroline by Annie England Noblin

just-fine-with-caroline-coverAbout Just Fine With Caroline

• Paperback: 368 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (October 11, 2016)

From the author of Sit! Stay! Speak! comes a tender, terrific novel complete with long-buried secrets, a three-legged pot belly pig, and an irresistible dog—an unforgettable story about love, friendship, and community. Perfect for fans of Mary Kay Andrews and Mary Alice Monroe.

Caroline O’Connor never dreamed she’d be back home in Cold River, Missouri, the Ozark Mountain town where everyone is ‘up your business.’…they mean well as they drive you crazy. She thought she’d left town for good, but now she’s back, helping to care for her New York born mother—struck with Alzheimer’s, and prone to saying and doing anything—and her father, the beloved local doctor frustrated he can’t cure his own wife.

As for Caroline, she’s doing ‘just fine’ coping with her parents, her brazen cousin Ava Dawn’s marital disasters, her mostly-deaf dog…and with Noah Cranwell, far-flung relative of a local family mostly infamous for running moonshine, an ex-veteran who’s come to Cold River with troubles of his own.

Caroline believes she knows everything about Cold River and the people who live in its hills and hollers … but sometimes life’s greatest surprises happen closest to home.

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Thank you to the author, TLC Book Tours and the publisher Harper Collins for giving me the chance to read this book in exchange for my honest review of it.

Just Fine with Caroline is the second book I have read and reviewed from Annie England Noblin. You can read my review of her debut novel here: Sit! Stay! Speak! 

This book is about Caroline, a young woman who finds herself back in her hometown working in her family’s shop and taking care of her mother who is struggling with Alzheimer’s and her adorable, deaf dog Yara. Though not what she had initially envisioned her life to be like, Caroline is content in the town where everyone knows your business and newcomers aren’t exactly welcome. But Caroline soon finds out that even small towns have their secrets.

I really enjoyed this book and the feel of the setting. I love the small town vibe and the secrets that lie beneath the surface, in the history of the people there. 

What I loved most about this book were the many characters involved in it. I thought they all had such vibrant personalities and individual histories. It was fun to see them interacting with each other and to learn more about all of their lives and how they intertwine. The small town setting where everyone knows everyone was really fun, I just realized that I am a fan of books that are set in this type of setting. It made the book feel familiar and somewhat cozy to me.

I’ve said it before and I will say again, put a dog on the cover or in a story and you will have my heart. I am such a sucker for this type of marketing lol. I can’t control it. I am definitely a sucker also for how the author writes dogs in her stories. For me, this story was centered more on the people in the story though while her debut novel featured a dog that was more of a prominent character in that story so I guess I was expecting the dog in this one to be a more prominent character as well. But that’s okay, I still really really enjoyed this book and am giving it a four star review. It’s official, after two hits with me I am a Annie England Noblin fan and am looking forward to reading more in this series and just more of her writing in general. She is an ace at lovely, contemporary stories that are at the same time cozy and thought provoking. She usually deals with heavy subjects in her books but manages to also keep the story light and fun with some really good romance. Check this one out!

 

Annie England NoblinAbout Annie England Noblin

Annie England Noblin lives with her son, husband, and three dogs in the Missouri Ozarks. She graduated with an M.A. in creative writing from Missouri State University and currently teaches English and communications for Arkansas State University in Mountain Home, Arkansas. She spends her free time playing make-believe, feeding stray cats, and working with animal shelters across the country to save homeless dogs.

Connect with Annie on Facebook and Twitter.

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Blog Tour Book Review: The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

the-bookshop-on-the-corner-coverAbout The Bookshop on the Corner

• Paperback: 368 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (September 20, 2016)

“Losing myself in Jenny Colgan’s beautiful pages is the most delicious, comforting, satisfying treat I have had in ages.”—Jane Green, New York Times bestselling author of Summer Secrets

Nina Redmond is a literary matchmaker. Pairing a reader with that perfect book is her passion… and also her job. Or at least it was. Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more.

Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile—a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood, changing one life after another with the power of storytelling.

From helping her grumpy landlord deliver a lamb, to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like home… a place where she just might be able to write her own happy ending.

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Happy Monday! I hope everyone had wonderful weekend! As for me, I spent the weekend in the company of a good book!  I received this book for review from HarperCollins and TLC Book Tours.

The Bookshop on the Corner is a contemporary fiction book about a librarian who gets laid off from her small library. In a rare flash of bravery and at the shock of her friends, she buys a van and moves to Scotland to open a mobile bookshop. Unsure of how and where she is going to live when she gets there, she is in for quite a ride.

My Sunday was literally spent with my nose in this book. I finished it in one sitting, I just couldn’t bear to put it down. I’m getting ready to enter my last semester of library school and I probably should have known that I would connect with this character so much by her choice of profession but it’s really ridiculous how much I loved our main character.

I pretty much loved almost everything about this book. At first I wasn’t used to the writing but as I got used to it, it just pulled me in and quite literally never let me go. The plot itself was simple and not overdone or cheesy which I think would have been easy to do here but it was perfectly done.

I loved Scotland as the setting and now I seriously want to go there. This book gave me a bunch of feels with the romance story lines in this book. I loved that there was a really good balance between the elements of this story. There was romance, self discovery, humor and even some thrilling bits. Sometimes I catch myself thinking ahead as I am reading but I was NEVER bored or trying to guess what was going to happen next, I just went with it because I was so lost in this story. I just have to say that it had everything I love in a romance, kind of the Darcy  and Elizabeth feel.

I’m giving a well deserved five stars to this book as I loved it so much. It’s one of my favorites this year and I’m going to treasure having it on my shelf and will probably reread it at some point in the future. It was charming, warm and gave me the fuzzies! I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a good contemporary fiction read with a bit of romance to read this fall. It’s a perfect fall read to curl up with!

 

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jenny-colgan-apAbout Jenny Colgan

Jenny Colgan is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous novels, including Little Beach Street Bakery, Christmas at Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop, and Christmas at the Cupcake Café, all international bestsellers. Jenny is married with three children and lives in London and Scotland.

Find out more about Jenny at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Book Review: Southernmost by Sarah Sadler

31080280Title: Southernmost by Sarah Sadler
Genre:  Fiction – Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Blue French Press
Page count: 338 pages
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Rating – 5/5!!

In this engaging new novel from critically acclaimed author of southern literature Sarah Sadler, Southernmost delivers a charismatic account of one woman’s journey through the rigors of starting over in life and love. Set in the charming city of Charleston, South Carolina, Southernmost is a satisfying spin-off to Sadler’s debut novel Southern Solstice and firmly establishes the sophomore author with a stand-alone release that is sure to capture new and return readers alike.

Former Alabama beauty queen Kayla Carter is given an ultimatum by her wealthy ex-boyfriend Jackson Winslow – either move to his hometown of Charleston, South Carolina with their seven-year-old daughter or support herself on a waitress’s salary. She relocates only to discover Jackson’s life is suddenly in shambles, and he has become a broke, undependable and depressed alcoholic.

Kayla hesitantly establishes herself in Charleston’s bustling culinary scene and becomes involved in a delicious fling with a free-spirited and visceral photographer. While she navigates the turbulent waters of Jackson’s new emotional state and fights feelings for him that she’s suppressed for years, Kayla’s personal success is overshadowed by an unexpected complication.

With a secret from the past threatening the chance of restoring her family, Kayla forces herself to break Jackson’s heart – and her own – once and for all, or risk everything by facing the shameful truth that has kept them apart.

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Happy Monday everyone! Today I am SUPER excited to share with you my review for one of my most highly anticipated books of this year: Southernmost written by Sarah Sadler. I had the pleasure of reviewing her first novel Southern Solstice (click to see that review) back in 2015. I was really fortunate to have received a copy of Southernmost from the publisher in exchange for my honest review of it as well!

Southernmost is a contemporary fiction book about a woman named Kayla who at her ex’s request, moves to Charleston with their young daughter Avery. She has more or less  been living in the shadow of Jackson’s relationship with his ex, Larken and she immediately feels out of place in the new town. When Jackson’s bad decisions concerning Larken impact their lives in unseen ways, Kayla’s world is further thrown off kilter which may actually have been just what she needed to find her place and people in Charleston.

Since I absolutely loved Southern Solstice, I had really high expectations for Southernmost and it really delivered. Sarah Sadler has done it to me a second time. I loved this book but I am not at all surprised. It’s been a full year and a few months since I read Southern Solstice and while I remembered adoring it, I couldn’t exactly remember the specifics of why and reading Southernmost reminded me exactly why from the very first page.

This book was beautifully written. The language is gorgeous and the characters are so wonderfully fleshed out. My most favorite thing about a Sarah Sadler book is the characterization, she is an ace at characterization. All of the characters in this book made an impact on me. I cared so deeply for all of them (except Justin!) and each of them just really felt like old friends to me. Slipping back into this world was such a comfort, but it was also really thrilling to unfold Kayla’s story – her coming into her own and her romantic story line as well.

I also loved that this book, although it took place amongst the same people as Southern Solstice and in the same place, you don’t have to have read it to read this one. It can definitely stand on its own although it was definitely great to have that background on the people and certain events that had transpired in the first book to put a few things in this book into clearer perspective. This book is not more about Larken, so if you’re expecting that, you won’t get it in this book although we do see a bit of her. But don’t fret! Our main character Kayla, is every bit as wonderful of a character as Larken is. I do have to say that Jackson Winslow has impeccable taste in women.

I truly can’t say enough about how much I enjoyed my time with this book. I could have read it in one sitting but I chose to draw it out and enjoy it for as long as I could but there came a point where I just couldn’t anymore and I needed to devour it. My copy at this point looks pretty well read because I took it with me everywhere. This book will definitely give you all the feels…it certainly gave me all the feels!!

I am giving Southernmost a five star review, hands down. One of my favorite 2016 reads for sure…perfect for reading at the beach or to just curl up with at night for some good romance. If you are a fan of contemporary romances definitely pick this one up although I feel like the romance angle is just one piece of this book, there is so much more dealing with family, southern life and Kayla’s journey to really being comfortable with herself. If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Southernmost, you purchase it on Amazon! (Isn’t the cover gorgeous?)

P.S. I’m still waiting for the first book to be adapted to film and now I also need a sequel. Ahhh!

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img_3040About the Author

With her first song published at the age of twelve, Sarah Sadler had a pretty good notion early on that words would be her compass.  Nurtured by a wildly creative family full of Opera singers, inventors, pianists, hippies, preachers, pageant girls, master gardeners, world travelers and fellow writers, Sarah explored every gamut of where words and their possibilities could take her.

A sixth generation North Carolinian, Sarah’s family moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming when she was nine (where an insatiable love of the Wild West was born) before returning to Nashville, TN where much of her writing is influenced by the rich cultural distinction of being born a southern woman.

Sarah lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and their young son. When she’s not writing books and songs, she’s riding horses.

Blog Tour Book Review: Lowcountry Stranger by Ashley Farley

Lowcountry Stranger coverAbout Lowcountry Stranger

• Publisher: Leisure Time Publishing; 1 edition (July 1, 2016)

There’s a stranger in town. And it’s no coincidence when she shows up uninvited at a Sweeney family wedding. All eyes are drawn to this urchin who seems to have washed in with the tide. Before the night is over, the doe-eyed waif charms young and old with her street smarts and spunky personality. For better or worse, Annie Dawn is here to stay.

The memorable Sweeney sisters from Her Sister’s Shoes have returned with more suspense and family drama to hold you spellbound until the dramatic conclusion. As she approaches the next stage of her life as an empty nester, Jackie is torn between expanding her fledgling design business and spending these last precious months with her boys before they fly the coop. Her own worst enemy, Sam is terrified of making a commitment to Eli Marshall, handsome police officer, true love of her life. Her resolve is tested when a ghost from her past shows up after nearly two decades. Faith nurtures her seven-year- old daughter who is recovering from the trauma of her abusive father. Is the threat in the past, or is there more danger on the horizon? The sisters seek guidance from their mother, Lovie, a true Southern matriarch who shows them how to respond to adversity with grace and dignity.

Things are heating up in the Lowcountry. The Sweeney sisters remind us, once again, that being a part of a family is about more than sharing the same DNA.

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Happy Saturday! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Lowcountry Stranger by Ashely Farley. Thank you to the Author, TLC Book Tours and the publisher Leisure Time Publishing for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for an honest review of it.

Lowcountry Stranger is a contemporary fiction novel about the Sweeney sisters. They are part of a Southern family that comes with it’s fair share of drama, drama, drama.

I was super excited to read this book. In the past two  years, I have learned this about myself: I love Southern literature. I find it to be vibrant and fun. Such was my reading of Lowcountry Stranger. I loved the writing and I really loved these characters and their specific individual situations, but aside from that I also loved how all of their own problems, etc. affected the whole family. I really loved that familial aspect of this book and the fierce family bond and loyalty they have with each other even when put through the wringer.

I found this book to be super entertaining, I actually finished it in one night and just thought it was a really fun, involving read. Perfect for people that love family sagas but aren’t looking for a SUPER long book. This one is a pretty good length. One thing I was really surprised at is that I was able to jump right into the story and connect with most of the characters, even though I hadn’t read the first book in the series. Albeit, I am rather sad that I haven’t and will be going back to read the first one. I have to have more of this family.

Since I enjoyed this book so much I am giving it a four star review and recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading books about family drama, southern literature, suspense and contemporary fiction!

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The author is giving away a $50 Amazon gift card, visit the rafflecopter link below!

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Ashley FarleyAbout Ashley Farley

Ashley Farley writes books about women for women. Her characters are mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives facing real-life issues. Her goal is to keep you turning the pages until the wee hours of the morning. If her story stays with you long after you’ve read the last word, then she’s done her job.

After her brother died in 1999 of an accidental overdose, she turned to writing as a way of releasing her pent-up emotions. She wrote SAVING BEN in honor of Neal, the boy she worshipped, the man she could not save.

Ashley is a wife and mother of two college-aged children. She grew up in the salty marshes of South Carolina, but now lives in Richmond, Virginia, a city she loves for its history and traditions.

Ashley loves to hear from her readers. Feel free to visit her on Facebook or Twitter.

Visit her website at http://www.ashleyfarley.net.

Blog Tour Book Review: Family Tree by Susan Wiggs

Family Tree coverAbout Family Tree

• Hardcover: 368 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow (August 9, 2016)

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author comes a powerful, emotionally complex story of love, loss, the pain of the past—and the promise of the future.

Sometimes the greatest dream starts with the smallest element. A single cell, joining with another. And then dividing. And just like that, the world changes. Annie Rush knows how lucky she is. The producer of a popular television cooking show, she loves her handsome husband and the beautiful Los Angeles home they share. And now, she’s pregnant with their first child. But in an instant, her life is shattered. And when Annie awakes from a yearlong coma, she discovers that time isn’t the only thing she’s lost.

Grieving and wounded, Annie retreats to her old family home in Switchback, Vermont, a maple farm generations old. There, surrounded by her free-spirited brother, their divorced mother, and four young nieces and nephews, Annie slowly emerges into a world she left behind years ago: the town where she grew up, the people she knew before, the high-school boyfriend turned judge. And with the discovery of a cookbook her grandmother wrote in the distant past, Annie unearths an age-old mystery that might prove the salvation of the family farm.

Family Tree is the story of one woman’s triumph over betrayal, and how she eventually comes to terms with her past. It is the story of joys unrealized and opportunities regained. Complex, clear-eyed and big-hearted, funny, sad, and wise, it is a novel to cherish and to remember.

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Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Family Tree by Susan Wiggs. Thank you to the author, TLC Book Tours and the publisher William Morrow for giving the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review of it.

Family Tree is a contemporary fiction novel about a woman who seemingly had it all and loses it in an instant by way of an accident that leaves her in a coma. When she awakes, not only is she different, but her life is completely different as well. She finds herself back in the hometown she left long ago in order to pursue her big dreams and although the circumstances that bring her back are far less than ideal, it becomes a pretty extraordinary second chance for her.

Right off the bat I knew that Family Tree wasn’t my typical read but as always, I am open to reading anythings so I decided to give this book a try. I was hooked almost right away and ended up loving it. I loved the plot itself but there was so much more to this story that really drove it home for me. One of these things was the setting. I have never been to Vermont but after reading this book and the way the author writes about it, I feel as if I’ve been there and it’s a much beloved place. The picture I have in my mind of the setting is stunning. I loved how the setting impacted the characters, it was a really integral part to their lives and how they worked. I thought that was done extremely well. I liked the characters, especially Fletcher. I thought he was really warm and likeable. I thought Annie was also warm and likeable, albeit kind of selfish but I get that she’s just been very driven throughout her entire life so I won’t fault her for that too much.

I am super happy that I gave this book a chance! Let’s get real though, I probably would have read it anyway because there’s a dog on the cover and you know me!

There was really just something special about this book and the way it was written. It just feels cozy and warm when you’re reading it, it is literally the perfect Fall read. If the idea of “comfort food” was a book, it would be this one. It was warm, tragic, beautiful and definitely gave me some feels. This book gets five stars from me! I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a comfy read with a cute romance. Looking forward to reading more from Susan Wiggs.

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Photo by Susan Doupe

Photo by Susan Doupe

About Susan Wiggs

Susan Wiggs is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than fifty novels, including the beloved Lakeshore Chronicles series. Her books have been translated into two dozen languages. A Harvard graduate, Susan lives with her husband on an island in Puget Sound.

Find out more about Susan at her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.